MLB: Top Baseball Weekend Power Trends 5/29-5/31

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MLB: Top Baseball Weekend Power Trends 5/29-5/31


2009-05-29

It seems hard to believe but nearly two months of baseball action for 2009 is already in the book, as this weekend’s play will wrap up May and the season’s second month. At this point, the standings are finally starting to look like most experts envisioned coming into the campaign, particularly in the East Divisions of the two leagues. Boston and New York have surged past Toronto in the A.L. while the Mets and Phillies have begun to separate from the rest of their divisional mates in the Senior Circuit. Both of those A.L. clubs will be on the road this weekend, while their N.L. counterparts will be hosting divisional foes. Those series’ are all part of a full weekend of baseball. Here’s a look at the action plus our weekly feature highlighting some key betting trends for you to consider in your wagering.

The highlight series in the American League finds Boston visiting Toronto, as the Blue Jays look to shake out of a horrific slump that has seen them drop to third in the A.L. East standings. Toronto lost all nine games on its recent road trip after reaching 13-games over .500 a week and a half ago. A 3-game sweep at the hands of the Red Sox started that swoon. Boston meanwhile is 2-2 on its current 10-game road swing and leading the division by just a half game over the surging Yankees. New York is in Cleveland this weekend for a 3-game set after many members of the team took in the Cavaliers-Magic game on Thursday night. They’ll be looking for a better showing this time around vs. the Indians, at least from the pitching staff, since they allowed 40 runs in four games back in April. Cleveland is playing its best baseball of the season, having won seven of its last nine games.

Elsewhere in the Junior Circuit, West Division leading Texas will play host to Oakland, while Central frontrunner Detroit continues a 4-game set in Baltimore where it lost on Thursday 5-1. That win was the fourth straight for the Orioles and sixth in their last seven games.

In the National League’s East Division, preseason favorites New York and Philadelphia are separated by just ½ game entering weekend play. The Mets will be hosting the Marlins in the third series the teams have already played in ’09. Florida is 4-2 in the six previous matchups, including 2-1 in the other series at brand new Citi Field. The Mets are hoping to build on a 3-game winning streak and 15-8 start at home. The Phillies are also playing at home, hosting the lowly the Nationals. Washington is just 13-33 overall and 3-15 in its L18 games. The Nats are also a brutal 5-22 in divisional play in ’09, including 2-7 vs. Philly. The Phillies have had problems of late stranding runners on base, and will look to convert better this weekend.

The two other big series’ on the N.L. slate feature the Cubs hosting the Dodgers in a rematch of last year’s divisional playoff matchup, and the struggling Brewers welcoming Cincinnati to town. Dating back to last year, Los Angeles is 6-1 versus Chicago. Milwaukee & Cincinnati are separated by just ½ game for the wildcard lead, each within close striking distance of Central leader St. Louis, who spends the weekend on the coast taking on the Giants.

Here’s a look now at some of the betting angles you might want to keep in mind when filling out your betting tickets for the weekend.

LA DODGERS at CHICAGO CUBS
LA DODGERS are 18-6 (+11.8 Units) against the money line vs. a poor bullpen whose ERA is 4.50 or worse this season. The average score was LA DODGERS 6.2, OPPONENT 4.1 - (Rating = 1*)

WASHINGTON at PHILADELPHIA
WASHINGTON is 4-19 (-14.1 Units) against the money line vs. NL teams scoring 4.8 or more runs/game on the season this season. The average score was WASHINGTON 4.9, OPPONENT 6.8 - (Rating = 2*)

HOUSTON at PITTSBURGH
HOUSTON is 32-13 (+20.1 Units) against the money line when playing against a bad team (Win Pct. 38% to 46%) over the last 2 seasons. The average score was HOUSTON 5.8, OPPONENT 4.5 - (Rating = 2*)

FLORIDA at NY METS
FLORIDA is 17-5 OVER (+12.2 Units) in road games vs. a very good bullpen whose ERA is 3.33 or better over the last 2 seasons. The average score was FLORIDA 4.9, OPPONENT 5.3 - (Rating = 2*)

CINCINNATI at MILWAUKEE
MILWAUKEE is 15-5 (+10.3 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record this season. The average score was MILWAUKEE 5.6, OPPONENT 3.7 - (Rating = 1*)

SAN DIEGO at COLORADO
SAN DIEGO is 4-15 (-11.4 Units) against the money line vs. a poor bullpen whose WHIP is 1.550 or worse over the last 2 seasons. The average score was SAN DIEGO 3.9, OPPONENT 5.9 - (Rating = 1*)

ATLANTA at ARIZONA
ATLANTA is 30-13 UNDER (+14.9 Units) in road games when playing against a team with a losing record over the last 2 seasons. The average score was ATLANTA 3.6, OPPONENT 4.0 - (Rating = 2*)

ST LOUIS at SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO is 26-12 OVER (+14.5 Units) when playing against a good team (Win Pct. 54% to 62%) over the last 2 seasons. The average score was SAN FRANCISCO 4.4, OPPONENT 4.9 - (Rating = 2*)

DETROIT at BALTIMORE
BALTIMORE is 37-80 (-31.0 Units) against the money line when playing against a good team (Win Pct. 54% to 62%) over the last 3 seasons. The average score was BALTIMORE 4.6, OPPONENT 6.1 - (Rating = 1*)

BOSTON at TORONTO
BOSTON is 18-4 (+13.7 Units) against the money line vs. an AL team with an on base percentage of .345 or better this season. The average score was BOSTON 6.0, OPPONENT 4.0 - (Rating = 2*)

NY YANKEES at CLEVELAND
CLEVELAND is 19-6 OVER (+12.6 Units) vs. AL teams scoring 5.2 or more runs/game on the season this season. The average score was CLEVELAND 6.8, OPPONENT 6.1 - (Rating = 3*)

MINNESOTA at TAMPA BAY
TAMPA BAY is 20-5 (+14.5 Units) against the money line in home games vs. an AL team with an on base percentage of .345 or better over the last 2 seasons. The average score was TAMPA BAY 5.4, OPPONENT 4.1 - (Rating = 2*)

OAKLAND at TEXAS
TEXAS is 17-8 (+10.2 Units) against the money line in May games this season. The average score was TEXAS 4.8, OPPONENT 3.8 - (Rating = 1*)

CHI WHITE SOX at KANSAS CITY
CHI WHITE SOX are 61-38 (+19.6 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a losing record over the last 2 seasons. The average score was CHI WHITE SOX 5.3, OPPONENT 4.3 - (Rating = 1*)

SEATTLE at LA ANGELS
LA ANGELS are 28-13 (+14.0 Units) against the money line vs. teams outscored by opp by 0.5 or more runs/game on the season over the last 2 seasons. The average score was LA ANGELS 5.0, OPPONENT 4.6 - (Rating = 1*)

NASCAR: Autism Speaks 400 (FOX, 2:00 PM ET)
Following up a less than appealing 50th anniversary Coca-Cola 600 race last week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup series heads to Delaware on Sunday for the running of the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway. Known as “The Monster Mile”, Dover is a one-mile concrete oval that hosts two Cup events each season, with the latter race taking place during the Chase in September. Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle won the two races here a year ago and are both among the eight drivers listed at 10-1 or better odds to win this time out. Speaking of betting odds, with Delaware recently passing a sports betting bill through it legislature, the next time NASCAR visits here in September, there could be race wagering in place at the Dover Downs Casino located trackside. Talk about an exciting development!

This past weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 was marred by bad weather conditions. After getting rained out on Sunday in the traditional start, the Memorial Day weather was only slightly better, and officials were only able to get 227 laps in before stopping the race and declaring it official. That was good news for David Reutimann, who picked up his first series win ever and climbed back to within 6-points of Mark Martin for 12th in the point standings. Other beneficiaries of the shortened event were Ryan Newman, Robby Gordon, Carl Edwards, and Brian Vickers, the remainder of the Top 5. Gordon however was docked 50 points since for an illegal rear housing setup. Kyle Busch dominated most of the race however, and only dropped when he chose to pit on what turned out to be the final caution of the event. With that race in the books, now, heading to Dover, Jeff Gordon continues to lead Tony Stewart in the points standings, with Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, and Denny Hamlin occupying their same spots in the Top 5.

In terms of Dover stats, the best overall average finish belongs to Edwards, at 7.7, followed by Ryan Newman at 10.5. Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin lead the active circuit with four trips to victory lane here. However, neither has won recently, and in fact, dating back to 2006, there have been six different winners. Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards have been most impressive of that group, each boasting at least four Top 5’s in that time and an average finish under 5.0. Both have also led over 40 laps per race in those events. That last stat falls a distant second to Matt Kenseth though, as he has led an amazing 627 laps over the last three years at Dover, winning once while scoring three other Top 5 finishes. Jeff Burton (6.83) and Gordon (7.83) have also scored decent finishes of late at Dover minus the dominant numbers of the aforementioned three drivers. Those who have struggled here include Tony Stewart (26.5 avg., 3 DNF’s in 6 starts), Kasey Kahne & Kurt Busch (24.2 avg since ‘06), and Denny Hamlin (23.8 avg.).

The racing at Dover is rarely boring, as the track is often called a bigger version of Bristol because of its concrete surface. Most teams will stiffen up their chassis similarly for both facilities to account for the difference. The track is just a mile long and the banking is 24 degrees in the turns, steep unlike the other one-mile tracks on the circuit. There is normally plenty of action on the track at any one time. Sizable wrecks of five or six cars are not uncommon. Most of that has earned this venue the nickname of “The Monster Mile”. Taming that monster is the goal for all 43 drivers and teams on race day. Normally, the winning driver here is aggressive by nature and boasts a recipe of good horsepower and downforce. Normally, Dover is tough on engines. However, in recent years, fuel strategy and patience have played an increased role. Taking 400 miles around this track can take a lot out of a driver and engine.

According to Sportsbook.com, Jimmie Johnson is the favorite for the Autism Speaks 400 at 7-2 odds, followed by Kyle Busch at 9-2. Jeff Gordon (5-1), Mark Martin (6-1), as well as Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart, each at 8-1, are the rest of the drivers listed in single digits. Amazingly, despite their Dover success, Greg Biffle (10-1), Ryan Newman (10-1) and Matt Kenseth (12-1) and not listed among the premier favorites for this week. Each could have some value as underdogs in matchup wagers or prop offerings. A few of the other longshots to consider on your betting ticket this weekend are Jeff Burton (20-1), Jamie McMurray (30-1), Juan Montoya (50-1), and even rookie Joey Logano (50-1). Burton and McMurray have run well at Dover, while Montoya and Logano have shown signs in recent weeks of starting to contend for top finishes.

This week’s action starts with qualifying on Friday at 3:10 PM ET. Starting position has proved critical historically at The Monster Mile as of the last 78 winners here, 37 of them have started in the top three positions. Busch and Biffle started 3rd & 5th last year respectively. Additionally, only three drivers have come from outside of the top 20 to reach victory lane. In terms of practice speeds, it should also be noted that all of the past three winners, not coincidentally driving the COT, ranked among the Top 3 cars in their given Happy Hour sessions. The race green flag is set to drop on Sunday at 2:10 PM ET. Prepare yourself for all the action with this week’s StatFox NASCAR FoxSheet, Driver Pages & Matchup Analyzer.



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