GAMBLING GUIDE

Bookie Busters: The Astros, NBA, UFC and soccer

Lance McCullers (left) and the Astros should be easy money. Elsa/Getty Images

This weekend is jam-packed with action. Let's cash some tickets!

MLB

Astros vs. Padres
Date: Friday, April 6, 2018
Time: 7:10 PM
Minute Maid Park, Houston Texas
Projected Pitchers: Luis Perdomo vs.Lance McCullers

The DEFENDING, REIGNING, CHAMPIONS of the world Astros, start a three-game series with the Padres with Lance McCullers taking the mound in the opener. The visitors come into this game looking for a change after starting the season an abysmal 1-6. San Diego was hoping for a better start to the 2018 campaign and a seven-game homestand to begin the season was the perfect antidote. Instead, the team only managed to claim one victory, while possessing a -9 run differential. In five of the six Padres losses this year, they were defeated by 2+ runs, leading them to a 2-4 Run line record.

Houston has done the exact opposite this year and started scorching hot and sit 6-1 atop the AL West, and 5-2 on the run line. In all but one of the Astros wins, they have managed to pull away and win by +2 runs. The Astros come into this game averaging 5.8 runs per game, while the Padres are surrendering 5.5 runs a game. Another thing working in favor of the Astros is that although they strike out 9.43 times a game, San Diego's pitchers have been struggling with striking out batters this year (6.83).

The Pick

Friday Night we get a pitching duel, with two pitchers that started the season in different directions. McCullers was able to put together a quality performance fanning 10 batters while allowing two earned runs on four hits. McCullers was able to shake off a ball that hit him on the ankle, giving a scare to the hometown faithful. The pitcher said he was fine, just slightly sore and "lucky" the ball hit the muscle part in between the shin and ankle. His counterpart had a less than stellar first start and got knocked around for five runs on seven hits and four walks. He was taken out after 96 pitches in only four innings of work after struggling all game. A solid start at home and some wins is what San Deigo was hoping for as they are 28-59 in their last 87 games as visitors attached to a  3-10 record in Perdomo's last 13 road starts. McCullers ankle soreness is somewhat of a scare, but I think he will be fine and the Astros offense should be enough to get the win. TGIF because the Champs love playing Friday nights, and are 21-8 in the last 29 games doing so.

Astros-1.5
Astros Total Runs over 5

NBA

Pelicans vs. Suns        Pelicans -10.5 O/U 220

The Pelicans are in the middle of a dogfight for the final playoff spots and will be needing this game like blood. With no room for error, New Orleans will be focused after finally getting a win, following a treacherous four-game skid. With their final three games being vs. the Warriors, Clippers and the Spurs, this is a must win if they want to stay in the race. In both matchups this season, the Pelicans scored 115+ points and won decisively,  going into both fouth quarters with double-digit leads. In those contests, New Orleans lit up the scoreboard in the first halves, and we will look for more of the same in a "must-win" for the Anthony Davis led squad.

Picks:

New Orleans Team Total Over 115
New Orleans 1st half -6
New Orleans  First quarter -3
*Projected Lines

UFC 223

Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk    
Pick: Joanna Jedrzejczyk -112

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Max Holloway
Pick: Under 3.5  -135

Soccer

Sunday 4/8
Manchester Utd vs. Manchester City
Pick: Over 2.5 goals -120

Real Madrid vs  Atletico Madrid
Pick: Under 3 -152


Tuesday 4/10
Champions League
Roma vs. Barcelona
Over 3 -118

For any questions or comments reach me at @JerryBoKnowz on Twitter.









 


 

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Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

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