FALCON POINTS

Analysis and plays for the Preakness Stakes card

Analysis and plays for the Preakness Stakes card
Getty Images

Saturday marks the running of the Preakness Stakes. It has little meaning, because there is no Triple Crown possibility and the Rona has it being run in October instead of May. But here are a few plays for the card, focusing on all the stakes races. As for wager sizes, bet what you can afford. Most of these will be $20-$50 per race on my tickets, but you can bet minimums and spend as little as $6-10 if you like. It's up to you. These are all free to do with as you wish. They are all guaranteed to win unless they don't. Good luck:

Race 2: The 1 is favored here, but we will take a shot with the second choice, She'sonthewarpath. Has only missed the board three times in 11 starts on the turf and will give you an honest effort.

The bet: WIN/PLACE/SHOW on the 3.

Race 5: Interesting filly sprint here, with not a lot of actual early speed, which should favor Fly On Angel. If she clears early, she should be tough. Wicked Whisper almost caught her in last, however, and is rounding in to form and will be our key horse.

The bets: Exactas 2 with 1-3-4-6-7, 1-3-4-6-7 with 2. Also, box 2-3-6-7.

Race 6: Pass. Factor This is even money and will be tough to beat.

Race 7: No. 8 Nitrous is a bit of kryptonite for me. I have played him several times over the last year and he usually lets me down. But he has faced some monsters this year - Whitmore, Vekoma and CZ Rocket in particular - and while he hasn't threatened those, I think today he is in a perfect spot. His last was a bit of a dog so we have to get past that, but he will get more of my money today at 10-1 morning line.

The bets: WIN/PLACE/SHOW on No. 8. Bet heavier to place and show than win.

Race 8: Pass for me. If you must play something, the 3 across the board.

Race 9: Not crazy about this one either but play the 9 across the board small.

Race 10: Bonnie South will get most of the money here, and she is worth using. But we will also do an exacta box where we try to beat her. If she runs, we get it twice. If not hopefully we pull a nice score.

The bets: Exactas 5 with 1-3-4-8-11, 1-3-4-8-11 with 5. Exacta box 3-4-5-8-11.

Race 11: The Preakness Stakes. In the Derby, Authentic was able to get to the lead early after a slow start, set moderate fractions and was never really threatened. He could easily do the same thing today. He might face a little more pressure from Art Collector, Swiss Skydiver and perhaps Thousand Words. We will play two trifectas: The Authentic wins trifecta and the one where we go for the big score. Maybe double the price on the first ticket.

The bets: Trifecta wheel 9 with 2-3-5-7-8 with 1-2-3-5-6-7-8-10-11.

8 with 3-5-7-9 with all; 3-5-7-9 with 8 with all, 3-5-7-9 with all with 8.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Justin Verlander will start for the Astros on Friday night. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Houston Astros (22-28, third in the AL West) vs. Oakland Athletics (21-31, fourth in the AL West)

Oakland, California; Friday, 9:40 p.m. EDT

PITCHING PROBABLES: Astros: Justin Verlander (2-2, 3.97 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 26 strikeouts); Athletics: Ross Stripling (1-8, 5.19 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 32 strikeouts)

BETMGM SPORTSBOOK: LINE Astros -170, Athletics +142; over/under is 8 1/2 runs

BOTTOM LINE: The Oakland Athletics begin a three-game series at home against the Houston Astros on Friday.

Oakland has a 21-31 record overall and a 12-14 record in home games. The Athletics have hit 65 total home runs to rank third in the AL.

Houston is 22-28 overall and 8-13 in road games. The Astros have a 13-4 record in games when they did not allow a home run.

The teams match up Friday for the fifth time this season. The Astros lead the season series 4-0.

TOP PERFORMERS: Brent Rooker has 11 home runs, 17 walks and 32 RBI while hitting .286 for the Athletics. Max Schuemann is 12-for-35 with a double and two RBI over the past 10 games.

Kyle Tucker leads Houston with 17 home runs while slugging .638. Alex Bregman is 9-for-38 with three home runs and six RBI over the last 10 games.

LAST 10 GAMES: Athletics: 2-8, .225 batting average, 5.25 ERA, outscored by 27 runs

Astros: 7-3, .272 batting average, 3.13 ERA, outscored opponents by 20 runs

INJURIES: Athletics: Esteury Ruiz: 10-Day IL (wrist), Darell Hernaiz: 60-Day IL (ankle), Alex Wood: 15-Day IL (rotator cuff), Paul Blackburn: 15-Day IL (foot), Joseph Boyle: 15-Day IL (back), Freddy Tarnok: 60-Day IL (hip), Luis Medina: 60-Day IL (knee), Sean Newcomb: 60-Day IL (knee), Aledmys Diaz: 60-Day IL (calf), Miguel Andujar: 10-Day IL (knee), Ken Waldichuk: 60-Day IL (elbow), Trevor Gott: 60-Day IL (elbow)

Astros: Oliver Ortega: 60-Day IL (elbow), Bennett Sousa: 60-Day IL (shoulder), Penn Murfee: 60-Day IL (elbow), Luis Garcia: 60-Day IL (elbow), Lance McCullers Jr.: 60-Day IL (elbow), Jose Urquidy: 15-Day IL (forearm), Kendall Graveman: 60-Day IL (elbow)

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome