Dave’s Free Plays, Friday 5/22/15
The Golden State Warriors are now up 2-0 in the duel with the Houston Rockets for the NBA Western Conference title. That’s not unexpected. But neither of the two victories for the Warriors have come easily, and with the series now shifting to Houston, things have a chance to get really interesting.
The Warriors appeared to be on their way to a relatively comfortable Game Two win on Thursday night as they sprinted to a 17-point lead in the second quarter. But Houston refused to buckle, and if not for some great end game defense by league MVP Stephen Curry, the Rockets might well have come away with the upset win.
From a spread perspective, Warriors backers have to be disappointed as while Golden State has won the first two games, they’ve covered the number in neither. Welcome to the playoffs. Big spreads are tough to get past as the teams that are behind don’t simply accept a likely loss and roll over in hopes of doing better in the next game. That’s in contrast to the regular season where that’s a tendency that’s more easily exploited.
Spread results aside, however, I’m really impressed with Golden State’s ability to find ways to win even when certain aspects of their game aren’t clicking. That’s the mark of a championship team, and that’s also why I’ll be surprised if the Warriors don’t capture at least one of the two upcoming games at Houston. I don’t think this will be a sweep as the Rockets are playing with confidence following that dramatic back from the dead rally against the Clippers. I also don’t see them simply tossing in the mental towel even if they happen to fall behind 3-0 in this series.
Right now, I’d have to give the NHL a substantial edge over the NBA in terms of post-season drama in what we’ve witnessed this far. But off the first two games in this Rockets-Warriors showdown, there’s no question I’ll be tuning info Game Three with definite expectations of more excitement.
2-1 here on Thursday. The Angels failed against Toronto, but I picked up my fourth straight win going against the Marlins, and a first five innings play on the Indians won easily. Find out what I’ve got tonight and for the next 30 days to boot with my ongoing monthly offer. This deal includes a powerful guarantee that I remain convinced is the strongest anyone in my industry offers. Get complete details by emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No sweat on the Thursday free play as the Rangers and Red Sox stayed well Under the number, in spite of the breeze blowing out at Fenway park. Boston’s ineptitude with the sticks continued, as they went 0/6 with runners in scoring position. They’re now a mind blowing 19/134 this month in this category, which works out to a .142 average. And here we all thought pitching would be their problem. Oops. Tonight’s free play is an NL West hookup featuring a charging World Series champion.
907 GIANTS (Vogelsong) @ 908 ROCKIES (Kendrick)
Take: GIANTS -112 (DonBest consensus line at press time)
If this were college football or perhaps even college basketball, I’d probably be looking at a game like this as a potential letdown spot for the Giants. Team coming off a statement win against an arch rival, now going on the road to face a weak opponent. That’s a scheduling dynamic scenario that has letdown written all over it.
But baseball can’t be analyzed like other sports, and while I’m sure there are emotional dead spots for teams, I don’t believe they’re nearly as predictable or easy to recognize. In fact, when it comes to baseball, the idea here is to try and get on teams that are rolling if the money line price doesn’t get in the way and ruin the value. I don’t see that being the case tonight.
Ryan Vogelsong is once again kicking off the dirt after being dead and buried for the umpteenth time. Vogelsong had a terrible spring training and started the regular season off in awful form. But he’s found a way to make another recovery and while his road numbers to date are unattractive, Vogelsong is back to throwing it well enough to give his team a chance to win most nights.
Kyle Kendrick is off a couple of decent starts for Colorado, and perhaps he can get it done again tonight. But given Kendrick’s mediocre track record, I wouldn’t make that happening the favorite tonight.
The team elements clearly favors the Giants. Three straight shutout wins over the hated Dodgers is huge, and while they’re not tearing the cover off the ball, I don’t think there’s any question this is a better offense now that Hunter Pence has returned to action.
The Rockies finally won a series, taking two of three from the lowly Phillies, but there’s not a lot to like about this team right now. If you want to break it down into one statistical category, let’s look at walks taken and walks allowed. Colorado as a team has drawn only 79 walks. The staff has surrendered 141, the third most in the majors.
There are obviously lots of other stats to pore through to explain why the Rockies are so bad. But this one is pretty good. Just focusing on Coors field for a moment, there is no worse ballpark to issue free passes in, because it’s such a good hitter’s stadium, and walks can frequently lead to big innings. Walks also inflate pitch counts and that means less innings for starters and more for an already beleaguered bullpen.
On the flip side, not taking walks at home means less chances for big innings for the Rockies and it’s not like this is one of the great Colorado lineups of all time when it comes to home run power. In fact, the current Rockies are way down the HR list, standing 25th overall with just 30 long balls all season.
Hot road team vs. a badly struggling home team that’s also on the beat up side physically. I also can’t recall less of a home field advantage for Colorado than right at the present time. There’s just not much energy. Maybe things will improve with a few wins and some warmer weather, but right now this is a team that’s bad and playing like they know it, which is a troubling combination.
I’m a bit baffled by this number, to be honest. I figured the Giants to show in the -125 neighborhood tonight, so I’ve got no beefs with price where it is. I’ll look to back the world champs this evening at this number.
FanDuel Value Play, Friday 5/22/15
Angel Pagan, OF $2600
The idea here is to take a good, low priced hitter against a potentially soft pitcher. Kyle Kendrick pitching at Coors, even on a coolish night, is not a bad guy to perhaps stack against. Angel Pagan doesn’t have particularly good stats against Kendrick but the Giants center fielder is hitting it well and I like the idea of taking a cheap leadoff hitter at this ballpark. Pagan has a good chance of getting me a few point tonight, and priced as he is, that might make him a worthwhile addition this evening.