A.L. Wild Card and College Football ATS Good and Bad
We highlighted the wild, wild race for the National League's two Wild Card teams - depending on how deep you wish to count, there are actually 11 teams in all that are chasing those two post-season berths (yes, we're counting both the New York Mets and the Cincinnati Reds who exited Friday's action some 6.5 games back of the second wild card berth).
It's not quite as frantic when it comes to the American League Wild Card berths but - hey - there's a half-dozen teams that have a shot to wind up playing in that one-game playoff in early October and so let's monitor a couple of items in the junior circuit this summer weekend.
The Cleveland Indians (56-40) entered Saturday with a one-game lead over the surging Oakland A's (56-42) for the top two spots with Tampa Bay (56-44) a mere .011 percentage points behind the swingin' A's for that second berth.
But let's spend a few moments this weekend examining the Boston Red Sox (53-45 / three games back of Oakland for that second berth): The Sawx figured to feast off the host Baltimore Orioles this weekend though you might want to be careful with those haughty price tags (LHP David Price and Boston was at - 240 in Baltimore on Friday night and got clobbered 11-2) and, while the Texas Rangers (50-47) may be fielding trade offers for the likes of LHP Mike Minor and DH/OF Hunter Pence, the Lone Star State squad entered Saturday's action weekend just 5.5 games back of the second Wild Card and is looking to cut into that margin in Houston where somewhat generous prices are being offered against pitchers not named Justin Verlander and Gerritt Cole.
Might there be a "sleeper" among these AL Wild Card Game hopefuls?
Try on the Los Angeles Angels (50-49) who are within 6.5 games of that second Wild Card. The Halos - seemingly galvanized by the July 1st tragic death of 27-year-old LHP Tyler Skaggs - were on the wrong end of a Seattle RHP Mike Leake perfect game for eight innings before losing 10-0 on Friday but they have gone 8-6 since July 1 and this weekend look to make noise against the Seattle Mariners and then note seven of the Angels' following nine games are against sad sacks Baltimore and Detroit. You could see Brad Ausmus' crew make a run real soon but keep in mind the Angels have the fewest quality starts in all of MLB and laying thick prices in those games against the Orioles / Tigers might not make you a rich man / woman.
Finally, check out a couple of keen pitching matchups this weekend in the bigs:
On Saturday it's the return of LHP Gio Gonzalez for visiting Milwaukee against Arizona RHP Zack Greinke (10-4, 0.95 WHIP) and on Sunday we'll be eyeballing Miami RHP Jordan Yamamoto (4-0, 1.59 ERA) against Los Angeles Dodgers righty Walker Buehler (8-1, 1.00 WHIP) ... hmm, might that be an "under" play for the Jim Hurley Network customers?
COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT
Let's complete our week-long look at the College Football world - today we check out another batch of pointspread goodies (and that's M thru Z in the alphabet). Folks, we're gonna see if these trends continue in the upcoming 2019 College Football Season:
Marshall is 11-4-1 ATS (against the spread) as an underdog side the past three years
Navy is 18-9-1 as point-grabbers since the start of the 2013 campaign
Pittsburgh covered seven of its final nine games a year ago including outright dog wins versus Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Duke and Virginia
South Carolina is 13-5-1 spreadwise against fellow SEC foes the past 3+ seasons
Texas is 8-2-1 vig-wise as underdogs under now third-year head coach Tom Herman
UCF is 18-7 spreadwise overall the past two years
Michigan State is 21-30 ATS overall the past four seasons and that includes a four-game spread losing skid at the end of 2018
Nebraska's failed to cover 11 of its last 14 home games and that includes non-league home ATS setbacks versus Akron, Buffalo and Bethune Cookman
North Carolina is 5-10 in its last 15 home games the past three seasons
Oklahoma went 3-6 ATS as double-digit betting favorites last year
Tennessee is 7-18 against the Las Vegas prices at home the past four years
Wisconsin failed to cover seven of its nine games last year when in the betting favorite's role
West Virginia is 1-10-1 against the odds when in the dog role these past four years