Frank Sawyer is on a 13 of 17 (76%) NBA run that has furthered a 27 of 40 (68%) NBA mark! Now Frank spots a SUPER SIDE SITUATION that has B-L-O-W-O-U-T written all over it! CA$H IT IN!
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At 4:05 PM ET on Saturday, we will be playing the money-line on the Houston Astros (924) versus the Oakland A’s (923) listing both starting pitchers Jose Urquidy and Frankie Montas. THE SITUATION: Houston (6-2) lost the opening game of this series in a 6-2 loss to the A’s. Oakland (2-7) has won two of their last three games.
REASONS TO TAKE THE ASTROS WITH THE MONEY-LINE: Houston has bounced back to win 10 of their last 14 games after a loss — and they have won 6 of their last 7 games after allowing at least five runs in their last game. The Astros are playing just their third game at home in Minute Maid Park this season — and they have won 38 of their last 52 home games with the Total set in the 9 to 10.5 range. They give the ball to Urquidy who allowed two runs in 4 1/3 innings of work in his first start of the season at Oakland last Sunday. The 25-year old right-hander was 1-1 with a 2.73 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP in five starts last year. The right-hander was more effective at home where he had a 2.08 ERA with a 0.85 WHIP and an opponent’s batting average of .200 as compared to his 3.24 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and .210 opponent’s batting average on the road. He faces a slumping A’s team that is scoring only 2.4 Runs-Per-Game this season with a .170 batting average and an OPS of .514. Oakland has lost 7 of their last 9 games against right-handed starting pitchers. They have also lost 7 of their last 8 games after a win — and they have lost 4 straight games after scoring at least five runs in their last game. They have lost 5 of their last 7 games after not allowing more than two runs in their last game. They counter with Montas was rocked for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings of work in his first start of the season in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. The 28-year old right-hander had a 3-5 record with a 5.60 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP in 11 starts last year — but while he had a 2.56 ERA with a 1.20 WHIP and an opponent’s batting average of .225 in 31 2/3 innings at home, those numbers rose to a 10.13 ERA with a 1.97 WHIP and an opponent’s batting average of .330 in 21 1/3 innings of work on the road. He faces an Astros team that is scoring 7.3 Runs-Per-Game with a .290 batting average and an OPS of .890 this season. The A’s have lost 5 of their last 7 games with Montas on the mound as an underdog priced in the +100 to +150 price range. Oakland has also lost 7 of their last 9 games against teams with a winning record.
FINAL TAKE: Houston was upset yesterday as a -175 money-line favorite — and they have won 20 of their last 30 games when avenging an upset loss where they were favored as at least a -150 money-line favorite. 10* MLB Oakland-Houston FS1-TV Special with the money-line on the Houston Astros (924) versus the Oakland A’s (923) listing both starting pitchers Jose Urquidy and Frankie Montas. Best of luck for us — Frank.
At 3:00 PM ET on Saturday, we will be playing Real Madrid (201958) plus the goal-line (or as a pick ‘em) versus Barcelona (2019557). THE SITUATION: Real Madrid (19-6-4) is unbeaten in their last twelve competitions including a 2-0 win at home against Eibar last Saturday in their most recent match in La Liga. Barcelona (20-5-4) comes off a 1-0 victory against Real Valladolid on Monday.
REASONS TO TAKE REAL MADRID PLUS THE GOAL-LINE (or as a pick ‘em): The Real Madrid script is pretty standard under manager Zinedine Zidane: win La Liga, go on vacation, return in the fall, play down to some competition, create some drama — then step up and then defeat top-flight opponents. Los Blancos limped into the fall’s incarnation of El Clasico off a loss in La Liga and a loss in the Champions League. Frankly, Zidane’s team was not working very hard. They responded by simply outclassing Barcelona, 3-1, while decisively winning the expected goals (xG) battle, 3.43-1.91. That match took place on October 24th. 5 1/2 months later, Real Madrid is clicking on all cylinders — just as they always are under Zidane. Karim Benzema was out of form in October — but he has raised his scoring average to 0.67 xG per 90 minutes with eight goals in his last six matches. Los Blancos looked dominant on Wednesday in a 3-1 win over Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League Quarterfinals showdown. Real Madrid is undefeated in their last 12 competitions — and they have won 12 of their last 17 matches with a net xG differential of +15.83. Barcelona is unbeaten in their last 19 matches in La Liga — but 13 of those contests were against teams in the bottom half of the league. Barca has faltered against top-level competition. They were humiliated at home in the first leg of their Round of 16 matches in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain by a 4-1 score. I read nothing in their meaningless 1-1 draw against PSG in the second-leg since they lost by a decisive 5-2 aggregate score. In La Liga against their top-three competitors of Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, and Real Madrid, Barcelona is just 1-1-2 with losses to Atletico Madrid and Los Blancos. They scored only four goals in those five matches while surrendering five goals. Real Madrid, on the other hand, has won all four of their matches against Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, and Barcelona by a decisive 7 to 2 goal margin -- and they won the expected goals battle in all four of those matches. Zidane does not have center backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane — but those two were not available against Liverpool either (and Ramos has been out most of the season). Zinedine has an embarrassment of riches in being able to rely on Nacho and Eder Militao as his two center backs. And that raises the fundamental problem with this Barcelona side — while Lionel Messi remains sublime, his teammates have lost a step (or three) on a roster that needs to go young (there is a reason why Messi is so frustrated with management). Barca management brought in Ronaldo Koeman as their new manager this season in a questionable decision. Koeman is building up great stats for 538 to marvel at against lesser competition — but they fall flat against teams of equal or superior talent.
FINAL TAKE: Barcelona is in second place in La Liga, one point behind Atletico Madrid. Real Madrid is in third place, three points behind Atletico Madrid. With both teams having an upcoming showdown with Atletico, the winner of this match controls their destiny to win the league title. Real Madrid has one of the best midfield trios in the world in Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, and Casemeiro — and Zinedine deploys a mid-block that has effectively thwarted Messi’s advancement up the pitch. Messi has not scored against Real Madrid in over three years — and he does not have as much help as he once did. Real Madrid hosts this rematch at their Alfredo di Stefano training facility with their main stadium under reconstruction — and they are still a small dog with analytics sites like 538 considering Barcelona the second-best team in the world (real-world results be damned!). Messi certainly does not think he plays for the second-best team in the world. And here comes Real Madrid: the reigning La Liga champions with four Champions League titles in the last seven seasons. 25* La Liga Match of the Year with the Real Madrid (201958) plus the goal-line (or as a pick ‘em) versus Barcelona (2019557). Best of luck for us — Frank.