Archive for October, 2012

Speaking of football, in London, this weekend it’ll be the kind we’re used to in America, not the brand the Brits are familiar with.

The St. Louis Rams (3-4) “host” Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (4-3) Sunday at Wembley Stadium in the annual NFL International Series in London.

The Patriots are 7-point favorites over the Rams, while the total is sitting at 47.

First-year coach – but certainly no newbie to the game – Jeff Fisher has seemingly turned this team around, and it’s evident on the defensive side of the ball. St. Louis has the 10th-ranked defense in the league overall, after being 22nd last year.

Prior to last week’s 30-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Rams had stifled their foes to a mere 14.7 points per game at home in the Edward Jones Dome, with impressive victories over the Redskins, Seahawks and Cardinals.

Of course, there might be a question mark against more-formidable opponents after seeing what the Packers did; this week may tell more against the Patriots and their No. 1 ranked overall offense.

The young Rams figure to have their hands full, as is this their first trip across the pond; the Patriots have been here before, beating Tampa Bay at Wembley in 2009. And let’s be real, though the official boxscore will list St. Louis as the home team, the Patriots are by far the more popular team in Europe.

No doubt in my mind the Patriots will get a majority of the support.

That’s not to say I’m ready to lay the chalk with New England, especially after seeing last Sunday’s second-half collapse and overall scare, relinquishing a 10-point fourth-quarter lead to the New York Jets in a three-point, overtime win. And that was one week after blowing a 13-point fourth-quarter lead in a loss to Seattle.

I will be intrigued to see how well these two teams defend one another, since Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels¬†held the same position with the Rams last season. Theory being, the Rams might be able to predict some of his tendencies, albeit with guys like Brady, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. And, the Patriots could benefit by McDaniels’ info about the tendencies of the Rams’ offensive personnel.

The ‘under’ is on a 4-1 run in this ‘London game,’ and the Rams were on a four-game ‘under’ streak til last week, when they went over 45 with the Packers, totaling 50 points. They have to know their best chance in this game is to slow the Patriots down, eat up clock by controlling the tempo with a strong rushing game, protecting the football and keeping Brady off the field. I can buy into that philosophy and still see the Patriots win this game.

Again, I don’t want to lay the points, since I could see New England up by 10 late in this one, and the Rams scoring a backdoor touchdown. The Patriots might just put it on Fisher’s boys, like they did the Buccaneers in 2009, in a¬†35-7 rout.

For my official free play on this game, head over to Chris Jordan Sports where I have a 4* play (based on a scale of 1* to 5*) ready right now.

PREVIOUS NFL GAMES OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES

Oct. 2 2005¬†Cardinals (-3, 44) 31‚Äď14 over 49ers, at Mexico City

Oct. 28 2007 Giants 13-10 over Dolphins (+10, 47.5), at London

Oct. 26 2008 Saints (+3, 45.5) 37-32 over Chargers, at London

Oct. 25 2009 Patriots (-15.5, 44.5) 35-7 over Buccaneers, at London

Oct. 31 2010 49ers (-2, 41) 24-16 over Broncos, at London

Oct. 23 2011 Bears (-1.5, 44) 24-18 over Buccaneers, at London

If you would like a free pick emailed from one of the handicappers in my stable, enter your information below my Customer Service team will take care of the rest!!!

With the World Series beginning Wednesday night, much of the debate surrounding who will in Most Valuable Player award doesn’t necessarily have to surround the team the oddsmakers think will win the Fall Classic.

Oddsmakers¬†have put four¬†Detroit Tigers in the top 5 of potential MVPs, led by ace pitcher Justin Verlander, who is a 2-to-1 choice. Behind him is Triple Crown-winner Miguel Cabrera, at 5-1. Then comes San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Poser (6-1), and Detroit’s Prince Fielder (8-1) and Austin Jackson (12-1).

Interestingly, while oddsmakers¬†have made the Tigers’ ace the favorite, not one member of the Giants’ rotation is in the list of names I found, including a resurgent Barry Zito, who has won his last five starts and seven straight decisions.

Zito and Verlander are the starters for Game 1.

Venezuelan Marco Scutaro, who was named MVP of the National League Championship Series, is listed as a 12-1 shot to win the title in the World Series. He tied the league championship series record with 14 hits. He capped his NL Playoff run with three singles and a walk in the Giants’ 9-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night in Game 7 of the NLCS.

Delmon Young, who was selected MVP of the ALCS after batting .353 with two home runs and six RBI for the Detroit Tigers in a four-game sweep of the New York Yankees, is also listed as 12-1 to win World Series MVP honors. Young holds the franchise record with seven postseason homers, all in the past two years.

Here are the current odds from Sportbook.ag:

  • Justin Verlander (Tigers) 2-1
  • Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) 5-1
  • Buster Posey (Giants) 6-1
  • Prince Fielder (Tigers) 8-1
  • Austin Jackson¬† (Tigers) 12-1
  • Angel Pagan (Giants) 12-1
  • Hunter Pence (Giants) 12-1
  • Pablo Sandoval (Giants) 12-1
  • Marco Scutaro (Giants) 12-1
  • Delmon Young (Tigers) 12-1
  • Alex Avila (Tigers) 15-1
  • Brandon Belt (Giants) 15-1
  • Brandon Crawford (Giants) 15-1
  • Avisail Garcia (Tigers) 15-1
  • Omar Infante (Tigers) 15-1
  • Jhonny Peralta (Tigers) 15-1
  • Field 8-1

For my FREE World Series selection, and value choices for the World Series MVP, be sure to visit the Baseball Free Pick page at Chris Jordan Sports.

Breaking down the best-of-seven National League Championship Series between St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants:

Schedule: (All times PDT)

Game 1, Sunday, at San Francisco (5:15 p.m.)

Game 2, Monday, at San Francisco (5:07 p.m.)

Game 3, Wednesday, at St. Louis (1:07 p.m.)

Game 4, Thursday, at St. Louis (5:07 p.m.)

x-Game 5, Friday, at St. Louis (5:07 p.m.)

x-Game 6, Sunday, at San Francisco (1:45 p.m.)

x-Game 7, Monday, at San Francisco (5:07 p.m.)

x-if necessary.

Projected Lineups (regular season statistics):

St. Louis Cardinals

CF Jon Jay (.305, 4 HRs, 40 RBIs, 18 SBs, .373 OBP)

RF Carlos Beltran (.269, 32, 97)

LF Matt Holliday (.295, 27, 102)

1B Allen Craig (.307, 22, 92)

C Yadier Molina (.315, 22, 76)

3B David Freese (.293, 20, 79)

2B Daniel Descalso (.227, 4, 26)

SS Pete Kozma (.333, 2, 14).

San Francisco Giants:

CF Angel Pagan (.288, 8, 56, 29 SBs, 15 3Bs)

2B Marco Scutaro (.306, 7, 74 for Giants and Rockies)

3B Pablo Sandoval (.283, 12, 63)

C Buster Posey (.336, 24, 103, 39 2Bs)

RF Hunter Pence (.253, 24, 104 for Giants and Phillies)

1B Brandon Belt (.275, 7, 56)

LF Gregor Blanco (.244, 5, 34, 26 SBs) or Xavier Nady (.184, 4, 13 for Giants and Nationals)

SS Brandon Crawford (.248, 4, 45).

Starting Pitchers (in projected rotation order):

St. Louis Cardinals:

RHP Lance Lynn (18-7, 3.78 ERA)

RHP Chris Carpenter (0-2, 3.71 in 3 starts after shoulder surgery)

RHP Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86)

RHP Adam Wainwright (14-13, 3.94).

San Francisco Giants:

LHP Madison Bumgarner (16-11, 3.37, 191 Ks)

RHP Ryan Vogelsong (14-9, 3.37 in 31 starts)

RHP Matt Cain (16-5, 2.79, 193 Ks, 219 1-3 IP, first perfect game in franchise history June 13 vs. Astros)

RHP Tim Lincecum (10-15, 5.18, 186 IP, 190 Ks, matched career high with 17 wild pitches) or LHP Barry Zito (15-8, 4.15, 184 1-3 IP; won final 5 starts and 7 straight decisions).

Season Nuggets:

This is a showdown between the past two World Series champions, for the right to play for this year’s title

The season series was deadlocked at 3 wins apiece

The Under has cashed in 6 of the last 8 meetings in San Francisco

The road team has covered five of the last eight meetings, dating back to 2011

St. Louis Nuggets:

The Cardinals rallied for four runs in the ninth inning to beat Washington 9-7 in the deciding Game 5 of the NLDS.

Carlos Beltran had three hits and was on base five times in the crucial win for the Cardinals.

The defending World Series champs won two games less than they did last season.

The Redbirds still won 12 of their final 16 games, then beat Atlanta in the first-ever one-game wild card contest.

St. Louis is in the NLCS for the seventh time since the start of the 2000 season

Ace hurler Chris Carpenter is 10-2 lifetime in the postseason and has won five straight decisions.

NL MVP candidate Yadier Molina had a career season anf finished fourth in the league in hitting

The Cardinals have become road warriors of late, having won seven of their last nine with a suitcase in hand.

San Francisco Nuggets:

The NL West champs overcame a 2-0 deficit by winning the final three games of the NLDS on the road to rally past Cincinnati.

Amazingly, Cincinnati outscored the Giants 22-18 in the series, outhit them .261-.194 and recorded a 3.13 ERA, compared to Frisco’s 4.11.

San Francisco is the first team since the 1987 Cardinals to make playoffs with fewest home runs in the majors, with just 103.

Game 1 starter Madison Bumgarner gave up seven runs over 13-1/3 innings in his two matchups with the defending World Series champs this past regular season.

The Giants hit just 31 homers during the regular season at AT&T Park

Two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum looked good as a reliever in the NLDS, allowing one run, three hits and no walks in 6-1/3 innings, and getting the win in Game 4.

Lincecum might move back into the rotation for this series, as Barry Zito lasted just 2-2/3 innings in his one start.

National League MVP candidate Buster Posey, hit only .211 in the NLDS, but was the leading hitter on the senior circuit at .336 with 24 home runs and 103 RBI during the regular season.

The Giants are on an 8-3 run in the playoffs.

Breaking down the best-of-seven American League Championship Series between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees:

Schedule: (All times PDT)

Game 1, Saturday, at New York (5:07 p.m.)

Game 2, Sunday, at New York (1:07 p.m.)

Game 3, Tuesday, at Detroit (5:07 p.m.)

Game 4, Wednesday, at Detroit (5:07 p.m.)

x-Game 5, Thursday, at Detroit (1:07 p.m.)

x-Game 6, Saturday, at New York (5:07 p.m.)

x-Game 7, Sunday, at New York (5:15 p.m.)

x-if necessary

 

Projected Lineups:

Tigers: CF Austin Jackson (.300, 16, 66, 10 triples), LF Quintin Berry (.258, 2, 29, 21/21 SBs), 3B¬†Miguel Cabrera (.330, 44, 139 for baseball’s first Triple Crown since 1967), 1B¬†Prince Fielder (.313, 30, 108), DH Delmon¬†Young (.267, 18, 74), RF Andy Dirks (.322, 8, 35), SS Jhonny¬†Peralta (.239, 13, 63), C Alex Avila (.243, 9, 48), 2B¬†Omar Infante (.274, 12, 53 with Marlins and Tigers).

Yankees: SS Derek Jeter (.316, 15 HRs, 58 RBIs, 99 runs, MLB-best 216 hits), LF Ichiro Suzuki (.283, 9, 55, 29 SBs with Mariners and Yankees), 1B Mark Teixeira (.251, 24, 84), 2B Robinson Cano (.313, 33, 94, 48 doubles, 105 runs), DH Raul Ibanez (.240, 19, 62), RF Nick Swisher (.272, 24, 93), CF Curtis Granderson (.232, 43, 106, 195 Ks), C Russell Martin (.211, 21, 53), 3B Eric Chavez (.281, 16, 37 in 278 at-bats) or Eduardo Nunez (.292, 1, 11, 11 SBs, 7 errors in 38 games).

 

Starting Pitchers (in projected rotation order):

Detroit Tigers

RHP Doug Fister (10-10, 3.45)

RHP Anibal Sanchez (9-13, 3.86 with Marlins and Tigers)

RHP Justin Verlander (17-8, 2.64, ML-leading 239 Ks)

RHP Max Scherzer (16-7, 3.74, 231 Ks).

New York Yankees

LHP Andy Pettitte (5-4, 2.87 in 12 starts)

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (16-11, 3.32, 219 2-3 IP)

RHP Phil Hughes (16-13, 4.23, 191 1-3 IP)

LHP CC Sabathia (15-6, 3.38 ERA, 200 IP, 197 Ks).

 

Series Nuggets:

The Yankees won the 2012 series 6-4.

New York has won 40 of the past 58 meetings in the Bronx.

The Yankees won four of seven at Comerica Park in Motown this season.

The Over has cashed in 9 of the last 12 meetings at Yankee Stadium.

 

Detroit Nuggets:

The Tigers beat the Yankees in the division series in 2006 and last year.

Detroit’s starting rotation went 2-1 with a 1.30 ERA in its American League Divisional Series with the Oakland A’s.

In seven starts against the Yankees in 2011 and 2012, playoffs included, ace hurler Justin Verlander is 2-1 with a 3.92 ERA.

Slugger Miguel Cabrera’s run to the Triple Crown took charge on Aug. 1, as he hit .344 with 19 home runs and 54 RBI in 57 games for the remainder of the regular season.

Manager Jim Leyland is making his seventh postseason appearance.

Detroit finished sixth in the American League in runs scored with 726.

The Tigers ranked 10th in the bigs in home runs, with Cabrera and Prince Fielder accounting for more than 45 percent of the team’s 163 homers.

Fielder struggled in the ALDS, hitting just .190 with one home run and two RBI.

Cabrera did no better, hitting a mere .250 with no homers and just one RBI against the Athletics in the ALDS.

 

New York Nuggets:

Ace hurler CC Sabathia was 3-0 in three starts with 20 strikeouts over 21-2/3 innings against Detroit this season.

The Yankees went 19-8 down the stretch to finish two games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles for their 13th division crown in 17 years.

The Yankees, which hit just four home runs in their five-game American League Divisional Series win over the O’s, led the league with 245 home runs this season.

The Bronx Bombers hit a paltry .211 with 47 strikeouts in the ALDS.

Robinson Cano, arguably the team’s best player, his 2-for-22 with an on-base percentage of .130 versus Baltimore in the ALDS.

Others who struggled in the ALDS were Nick Swisher (2-for-18, 5 Ks, .190 OBP), Alex Rodriguez (2-for-16, 9 Ks, .222 OBP), and Curtis Granderson (3-for-19, 9 Ks, .222 OBP).

Game 1 starter Andy Pettitte is baseball’s career leader in postseason wins (19) and starts (43).

Raul Ibanez turned out to be an integral part of the offense, hitting .444 with two homers and three RBI in the ALDS.

First baseman Mark Teixeira’s¬†bat was hot in the ALDS, as he hit .353 versus the O’s. He had no homers and just one RBI, so they’ll be looking for his power in this series.

A look at the National League wild-card playoff between the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves, at Atlanta (5:07 p.m. EDT) (TBS).

Projected Lineups:

Cardinals: CF Jon Jay (4 HRs, 40 RBIs, 18 SBs, .385 OBP), RF Carlos Beltran (.269, 32, 97), LF Matt Holliday (.295, 27, 102), 1B Allen Craig (.307, 22, 92), 3B David Freese (.293, 20, 79), C Yadier Molina (.315, 22, 76), 2B Daniel Descalso (.227, 4, 26), SS Pete Kozma (.333, 2, 14).

Braves: CF Michael Bourn (.274, 9 HRs, 57 RBIs, 42 SBs), LF Martin Prado (.301, 10, 70), RF Jason Heyward (.269, 27, 82, 21 SBs), 3B Chipper Jones (.287, 14, 62), 1B Freddie Freeman (.259, 23, 94), 2B Dan Uggla (.220, 19, 78, 168 strikeouts), C David Ross (.256, 9, 23), SS Andrelton Simmons (.289, 3, 19).

Starting Pitchers:

Cardinals: RH Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86 ERA). Healthy after two years of nagging forearm trouble, Lohse followed up a 2011 season that saw him lead the rotation in wins and ERA with another stellar campaign. The right-hander’s¬†.842 winning percentage topped the majors, while he set a career high with 211 innings pitched and ranked eighth in the majors with a 2.86 ERA. Lohse fires an 88-¬†to 92-mile per hour fastball with late sink movement, while complimenting it nicely with a downer curveball, a quick slider and a stifling changeup he isn’t afraid to throw on any count to any hitter.

Braves: RH Kris Medlen¬†(10-1, 1.57, 120 Ks, 138 IP). After missing most of 2011 recovering from Tommy John surgery, Medlen¬†has been the biggest story for the Braves, going 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA as a starter after the All-Star break. The Braves have won 23 straight games with Medlen¬†as the starter going back to 2010. Drafted as a shortstop and part-time relief pitcher in 2006, Medlen will make his first-ever postseason start. He boasts arguably the best four-seam fastball in the bigs, while he also has a knack for spinning his nifty breaking ball as a quality out pitch whenever he’s ready. And while the speed change on his curve is deadly for hitters, he also has a change that baffles batters more times than not.

Series Nuggets:

The Braves won the 2012 series, 5-1.

Over the past two seasons, the series is deadlocked at 6-6.

Ironically, the road team went 4-2 this season, after the home team went 4-2 in 2011.

The Over is a whopping 22-8 when these two play in Atlanta.

These two haven’t met since May.

St. Louis Nuggets:

St. Louis is on winning streaks of 4-1 with a suitcase in hand, 5-2 against winning teams, 5-2 with Lohse on the hill against winning teams and 12-4 overall.

The Cardinals boast one of baseball’s most power-packed lineups with five 20-homer hitters for the first time in franchise history.

After lingering in the top two most of the season, the Cardinals finished  with the fourth-best batting average (.271) in the bigs this season.

Though they rank 17th overall with 159 home runs, manufacturing runs has become the name of their game, as they rank fifth in the league with 765 plated runs.

Since 1996, only the New York Yankees have won more postseason games (94) than the Cardinals (50.) With that, the Cardinals have won three National League pennants and two World Series trophies to their trophy case.

Atlanta Nuggets:

Atlanta is on winning streaks of 9-1 when laying money at home, 7-1 against winning teams, 13-0 with Medlen up at home, 25-1 with Medlen on the hill and 8-3 overall.

The Braves, who returned to the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, swept a three-game series in St. Louis and took two of three at Turner Field.

In their lone meeting with Lohse this season, the Braves tagged him for five runs and nine hits over five innings back on May 30.

Last year, Atlanta squandered a 10-1/2-game wild-card lead and lost out to the Cardinals on the final day.

Atlanta’s Chipper Jones completed his farewell tour in Pittsburgh, but is looking to extend the final season of his career in the postseason. He hit .287 this season – his highest mark since stroking a league-leading .364 in 2008 – with 14 home runs and 62 RBI in 112 games.