June 1, 2013 SFTC PICKS

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I’m going to have a much more detailed thread this month, including a stash path, pick of the day, recommended picks, and picks that I feel are the weakest of the day.  Here are my records since July 2011 when I started posting picks on 27inarow.com.  Please feel free to let me know if you would like anything else included in this thread.  I am not going to include a monthly wins path, but you can assume many of those picks anyway just by looking at my picks.

My Personal SFTC Record (Majority as a monthly wins player): 3,341-2,580 (.564)

Overall Site Picks Record: 5,904-4,420 (.572)

Pick of the Day Record: 177-82 (.683)

June Stash Path Record: 0-0

Personal June SFTC Record: 0-0

Stash Path
1. Nadal 
(have to pick this)
2. Bayern Munich 
(have to pick this)
3. Penguins 
(if you want a 3rd stash pick)

Recommended Picks
1. Nadal
2. Bayern Munich
3. Florida
4. Blackhawks
5. Penguins
6. Braves
7. Angels

Weak Picks to Avoid
1. Brewers/Phillies
2. SKC/Impact
3. Red Sox/Yankees

1. Rafael Nadal (Unbelievably Confident) PICK OF THE DAY #1: Ya soooo…Nadal is -5000 to win this match…Need I say more?

2. Stosur (Low Streak): This is a tough one because Stosur is the better player in this matchup, but Jankovic has been the better player head to head.  Jankovic has won 6 of 8 meetings, including 3 in a row.  She defeated Stosur this year on clay in Stuttgart 6-4 6-4.  Stosur got the best of Jankovic in their only French Open meeting, which was a 6-2 6-1 victory in 2010.  Both players are in very good form right now, so I give the slight edge to Stosur who is also the slight favorite.

3. Real Madrid 2+ (Low Streak): This is a meaningless match in terms of the standings as this is the final game of the season and the standings are pretty much set for them at least.  Real Madrid is -123 to win by 2+ goals, which they have done 13 out of 18 times at home this season.  Osasuna has lost by 2+ goals on the road 7 times in 17 matches this season.

4. Florida (Low Streak/Confident): Florida is -245 to beat Nebraska here.  Florida has better pitching and much better offense.  Nebrasksa should consider themselves lucky to get past Washington.  They manufactured runs without really doing anything offensively and avoided some big Washington innings that likely won’t happen against Florida.  These odds speak the truth in this one.

5. Bayern Munich (Very Confident) PICK OF THE DAY #2: Bayern Munich is the best team in the world right now and they proved it by winning the Champions League last week.  They are a ridiculous -555 to win this match in regulation.  I see no reason why I need to write anything else, so I won’t.

6. Arizona State (Low Streak): ASU is -160 against Michigan.

7. Peru (Low Streak): Both teams are roughly +180 to win outright, which means that Peru has the big advantage with the draw option here.  Peru is ranked 32 in the FIFA rankings, while Panama is ranked 38.  I don’t put too much stock into these rankings, but I’m just showing that Panama isn’t a team to get excited about.   The only thing that they really have going for them here is that the match is being played in Panama City, Panama.  Remember, this is a “friendly” which means that this match does not really matter.  Who knows who will actually care enough to win this match?  With so many unknowns in friendlies and there not being a clear team to win outright, I would prefer to go with Peru here

8. Tigers (Low Streak/Confident): Justin Verlander was anything but his usual dominant self in May, but he had a very good April.  His strikeout rate is still strong, but his ERA, WHIP, and BAA are way up from the past chunk of seasons.  He is 6-4 with a 3.68 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 11 starts.  The Orioles are a solid offensive club, but Verlander has always had success against them and has actually never recorded a loss to them in his career.  He is 7-0 with a 2.85 era in 11 starts against Baltimore and has not faced them yet this season.  Jason Hammel is 7-2 this season, but that record is very inflated due to the amount of run support he has been receiving in his starts.  The Orioles have scored 5 or more runs in 10 of his 11 starts this season.  His 4.98 ERA and 1.46 WHIP indicate how he is really pitching this season, which is just mediocre at best.  He has a 6.17 ERA in 4 career starts against the Tigers and has an ERA above 6 at home this season.  I’d go with the former Cy Young winner here.

9. Athletics (Low Streak): The White Sox are 11-16 on the road this season and have Jose Quintana on the hill today who posts a 3-2 record with a 3.75 ERA.  Dan Straily is having a tough season for the Athletics, but he has come on strong in his last 2 starts, allowing 1 run in his last 13 innings.  He defeated the Giants at home and shutout the Rangers on the road over 7 innings.  The Athletics are 15-10 at home and the anemic White Sox offense could help Straily record his 3rd consecutive strong start.

10. Phillies (Low Streak): This isn’t one of those pitching matchups that anyone should care to see.  Mike Fiers is 1-3 with a 5.66 era and is making his 3rd start of the season after starting in the bullpen.  He was actually decent last year as a starter when he posted a 3.74 era in 22 starts.  He only pitched 3 and 4 innings in his first 2 starts so it seems as though he is still working his way back into form.  Cloyd will be making his 4th start of the season and 10th of his career.  He pitched well in 2 of his 3 starts, all coming on the road.  The Brewers are the 2ndworst road team in baseball this year with a 7-16 record.  

11. Rockies (Low Streak): Jhouly Chacin will be on the mound for the Rockies at home against Greinke.  Chacin has thrown a quality start in 7 of his 9 outings on the season.  He has a 3.15 ERA in 11 career starts against the Dodgers.  Greinke hasn’t been quite himself since coming off the DL.  He has allowed 9 runs in his last 8 innings.  He has struggled against the Rockies in the past with a 4.88 era in 5 starts.  The Dodgers are just 8-15 on the road this season.

12. Marlins (Low Streak): It’s strange to hear me say this, but the Mets are sort of on fire right now.  They have won 5 straight games and just swept the Yankees.  Despite this hot streak, I have trouble picking them in this matchup even though it’s against the lowly Marlins.  They are throwing out Chris McHugh on the mound, who will be making his 1st start of the season and 5th of his career.  He allowed runs in both of his relief appearances this season and struggled in his short time in the MLB last year.  He faces a very good 20 year old pitcher for the Marlins, Jose Fernandez.  Fernandez is coming off his worst start of the season against the Rays, but he has been one of the bright spots in what will be a very long season for this team.  He has faced the Mets twice already this season and has allowed 3 runs in 9 innings over 2 starts.

13. Blackhawks (Low Streak): The Blackhawks are -160 at home in game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.  I’m very excited for this series because we have arguably the best team overall team in the West in the Blackhawks and hottest home team with the best goalie in the NHL with Jonathan Quick and the Kings.  The Kings have yet to lose a home game this season, so it is important that the Blackhawks take care of business at home in these first 2 games.  It seems that Chicago found their groove after trailing 3-1 to the Red Wings.  Their defense picked up, Corey Crawford started playing a lot better in net, and their offense started clicking as well.  This is one of those series, just like the Kings/Sharks series, where it is going to be hard to pick the road team to win any of these games.  Will the Kings magical run from 2012 have a repeat performance in 2013 or will the best regular season team prevail?  Stay tuned.

14. Red Sox (Low Streak): The Yankees have lost 5 straight games and have fallen behind the Red Sox in the AL East standings.  This is an important series for both teams as the Red Sox try to increase their 1st place margin in the division, while the Yankees try to regain their position atop the division.  The return of Teixeira and Youkilis should be a big boost for this team, but they have to stay healthy of course.  Phil Hughes has pitched very well in back to back starts after pitching very poorly in back to back starts.  Hughes has not pitched well against Boston in the past, posting a 4.95 ERA in 12 starts.  Doubront has been pitched decent this season, despite his 5.29 ERA.  He has allowed exactly 2 or 3 runs in 6 of his 9 starts this season.  Doubront has a 2.73 era in 4 starts and 4 relief appearances against the Yankees in his career.  With the way the Yankees are playing right now and the Red Sox being 16-10 on the road, I like Boston here.

15. Braves (Low Streak/Confident):  It’s getting pretty ridiculous how awful the Nationals offense has been this season.  They are hitting a putrid .202 as a team, which ranks last in the entire MLB.  The Nationals coming into town could be just what Tim Hudson needs to get back on track.  He has pitched very poorly in 3 of his last 4 starts, though those starts all came on the road.  At home this season, Hudson is 3-0 with a 2.97 era in 5 starts.  He has faced and defeated Washington twice this season, allowing 1 run in 7 innings in both starts.  In his career, he has a 16-5 record with a 2.55 ERA in 28 starts.  Gio Gonzalez on the other hand has really struggled against the Braves in his career, posting a 6.75 era in 6 starts.  He got rocked in both of his starts against Atlanta this season, allowing a total of 12 runs in 9 innings.  I see very little that points to the Nationals in this game.

16. Penguins (Low Streak/Confident):  The Penguins are -170 at home in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the visiting Boston Bruins.  Pittsburgh dominated the Senators in 5 games, in which they scored 22 goals in that span.  Crosby and co. are clicking on all cylinders offensively, so it will be interesting to see how the Bruins solid defense handles their potent offensive attack.  During the regular season, the Penguins were able to win all 3 games against the Bruins, though they were close games.  The Bruins beat the Rangers in 5 games, which was a surprise to me.  I thought that series would go 6 or 7, but the Bruins were able to shut down the Rangers power play and prevent them from ever opening up offensively.  This should be a good series that should go 6 or 7 games.  I have to favor the Penguins here at home in game 1.

17. Heat (Low Streak): The Heat took a 3-2 lead in the series after winning game 5 at home behind a dominant performance by Lebron James.  He looked like his old self from his Cavs days where he just took over the game by himself, scoring at will.  His 3rd quarter was just remarkable as he and Udonis Haslem overcame a 4 point halftime deficit and never looked back.  The Pacers obviously match up well against the Heat with their size down low with Hibbert and West.  But imagine if the Heat were draining 3’s on a consistent basis like during the regular season.  They’re getting open looks, but guys like Battier, Chalmers, and Allen aren’t hitting them as frequently as they had been all season long.  Anyway, people thought the Pacers were in trouble after they blew game 1, but they answered with a win in game 2.  People thought they were in trouble after losing game 3 and answered with a win in game 4.  People now think they are in trouble after losing game 5.  This time I think they’re right.  When guys like Haslem and Anderson step up like they have been, the Heat are extremely difficult to beat.  I can’t say I’m overly confident here because Indiana is home, where they have been strong throughout the playoffs.    The Heat are favored by 2.5 points.  This is a line I would not touch as a bettor.

18. Any Other Player (Low Streak): Pretty simple odds play here.  The Pacers have a pretty balanced scoring attack.  3 players vs. 2.

19. Montreal Impact (Low Streak): I’m going against the odds here, which have SKC at -130.  SKC is 1 point behind the Impact in the standings, but they have also played 3 more matches than them.  SKC will be without some key players here, such as Graham Zusi and Matt Besler due to international duties.  SKC hasn’t quite found its form yet this year, winning just 2 of their last 7 matches.  Montreal has lost just 2 of their last 11 matches going back to last season and has won 2 straight.

20. FC Dallas (Low Streak): The Rapids are +130 to win this match at home against 1st place FC Dallas.  FC Dallas is 8-3-2 with 21 goals scored and 15 conceded.  The Rapids are 5-4-4 with 13 goals scored and 10 conceded.  Dallas has won 3 straight meetings against the Rapids dating back to 2012.  They are probably not as good as their record indicates, but they are finding ways to get positive results.  I cant find enough reason to think they won’t pull off a draw or better here.

21. Angels (Low Streak/Confident):  There has to be a very favorable matchup for me to take the Astros to win on the road in a year like this.  They are obviously one of the worst teams in baseball and naturally one of the worst road teams in baseball.  Bud Norris isn’t a bad pitcher at all and has actually dominated the Angels twice this season already.  He has allowed 1 run in 15 innings, which earned him 2 of his 4 wins this season.  The Angels are playing a lot better these days than they did earlier in the season.  They have won 8 of 10 and are climbing their way back up the standings in the AL West.  Jerome Williams has been a pleasant surprise this season so far, posting a 4-1 record and a 2.58 ERA in 5 starts and 8 relief appearances.  He has allowed 2 runs or less in 4 of his 5 starts this season.  With the way the Angels have been playing lately, I see no reason to pick against them in this matchup.

22. Blue Jays (Low Streak):  Mark Buehrle has pitched well in 3 of his last 4 starts, but he has struggled big time on the road this season.  He has a 7.22 ERA in 5 road starts, which is concerning.  However, the Padres don’t have the most potent offense in the league, so he has a somewhat favorable matchup.  Clayton Richard has been horrendous this season, allowing 5 or more runs in 5 of his 7 starts.  He has had a sub 4 ERA in 3 straight seasons, so he seems to just be having a tough start to 2013.  However, until he figures things out, I won’t be trusting him to pitch well against a lineup like Toronto’s.   

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