Balanced offense and pitching key to Cards' run

Jeff Fogle  
VSiN City newsletter

Cards stay red(bird) hot with another easy win. Now 16-3 their last 19! Plus, intense drama from the WNBA playoffs and the latest from college football betting markets right now in VSiN City. 

MLB Tuesday: St. Louis Cardinals now 16-3 their last 19, 26-12 since All-Star break

We haven’t had a chance to check on the St. Louis Cardinals for a few days. We called them “caliente” not too long ago and didn’t jinx them! Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Pittsburgh made the current run 16-3 the last 19 games. You’ll recall they fired their manager just before the All-Star break. Cards are 26-12 since the break, and 74-58 for the season. 

Though 16 games over .500 may not be enough to chase down the Cubs at the top of the NL Central, that record does position the Cards well for a Wildcard spot.  

Let’s see how they did it…

St. Louis (-170) 5, Pittsburgh 2

Total Bases Plus Walks: Pittsburgh 9, St. Louis 20

Starting Pitchers: Nova 3.2 IP, 4 ER, Flaherty 7 IP, 1 ER

Bullpen: Pittsburgh 4.1 IP, 1 ER, St. Louis 2 IP, 1 ER

Solid stuff again. Eight of nine in the starting lineup got a hit (including pitcher Flaherty). It’s not uncommon for teams that lack superstar starting pitchers to sneak up on the market like this. Nobody in the rotation is priced like an ace. Yet, all are capable of throwing quality starts in front of a productive offense before handing the game to the bullpen. That’s been the story of this recent run. Effective efficiency after bettors gave up on them. 

MLB Tuesday: A’s bounce back with win in Houston

“NOT SO FAST” said the Oakland A’s after dropping Monday’s series opener to the Houston Astros. Big bounce back result Tuesday with a 4-3 win for a team that won’t be counted out. 

Oakland (plus 180) 4, Houston 3

Total Bases Plus Walks: Oakland 15, Houston 9

Starting Pitchers: Jackson 4.2 IP, 2 ER, Morton 4.2 IP, 3 ER

Bullpen: Oakland 4.1 IP, 0 ER, Houston 4.1 IP, 1 ER

Neither starting pitcher could finish five innings. But, it still ended up being a pitchers' duel because both bullpens were so effective. Oakland is now 80-53 (already well clear of their projected season win total). Houston is 81-51, meaning the lead is down to 1.5 games. 

In other Monday night early finishers involving playoff contenders…

*Philadelphia (pick-em) LOST at home to Washington 5-4. Phillies led 3-0 through six innings, and 3-2 into the top of the ninth. Just not quite the pedigree yet to perform as a “playoff caliber” team when it’s time to earn a berth. Philly falls to 70-62, now 4.5 games behind surging Atlanta in the AL East. And, sinking like a rock in the Wildcard race while other contenders are either winning or least treading water. Record now 2-8 the last 10 games, 6-13 the last 19. Phils have been the anti-Cardinals.

*Milwaukee (-125) LOST at Cincinnati 9-7. You can’t win every road game on command when you’re in a pennant race. But, a lost opportunity at the very least. Milwaukee falls to 73-60. 

*The Chicago Cubs (-120) and the NY Mets were 1-1 in the 10th when rains hit. It was suspended until today.  

*The NY Yankees (-250) beat the Chicago White Sox 5-4. Yanks rallied from 4-0 down in the top of the sixth inning. This team has bounced back well off of losses all season. Though, bettors playing that angle had to sweat this one. Yankees now 84-48, still 6.5 games behind Boston in the AL East. 

*Cleveland (-245) beat Minnesota 8-1. Indians in kind of a netherworld of boredom…locked into where they’re going to be. Record now 75-56 on the season. 

*Boston (-260) beat Miami 8-7. Wasn’t supposed to be this exciting. Maybe Derek Jeter still hates the Red Sox so much he won’t let his new team tank those games. Boston now 91-42, closing in on its high regular season win total before September even arrives. 

*Atlanta (-125) beat Tampa Bay 9-5. Can we call that a workmanlike win rather than trying to make a Dolly Parton joke? Braves really in good form of late. On the verge of being a playoff lock at 74-57. Playing at just one game over .500 the rest of the way gets the Braves to 90-72. Tampa Bay always unlucky to be in the brutal AL East. Same record as Philadelphia of the NL East at 70-62.

*LA Dodgers (-240) won Texas 8-4. Manny Machado has to be happy to be back in an AL hitters’ park after struggling so long in NL pitchers’ parks since going over to the Dodgers. Four RBI’s in this one on two singles. Dodgers now 71-61 after their fourth straight win (Padres and Rangers). At least LAD is beating the dregs. 

College Football: “Market Watch” for marquee matchups

A few line moves in the games you’ll be most interested in watching this weekend. Tuesday night lines at the South Point in the same order as yesterday…

Thursday

Northwestern at Purdue (pick-em/52) (down from -2.5/52.5)

Most stores are at Purdue -1 rather than pick-em. But, clear support for the road dog hitting the market Tuesday. You regulars know that a line sitting just under the key number of three for a long time is a red flag that sharps DON’T like the favorite. Dog lovers finally accepted that the full field goal wouldn’t come into play, and took whatever points they could. Slight tick down on the total too. 

Friday

San Diego State at Stanford (-14/49) (down from -15)

Sharps usually respect this dog. A move down to the critical number Tuesday. Some stores currently show Stanford -14.5. So…we may see this line hop between those two prices for awhile. The public likes big-name favorites on key numbers (like -14). Sharps have now made it clear they like the underdog at anything over 14. 

Saturday

Texas (-13.5/56.5) at Maryland (in Landover)

BYU at Arizona (-12/60.5) (down from -14)

Washington vs. Auburn (-1.5/48) (in Atlanta)

Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech (-2.5/67) (in Houston)

West Virginia (-10/61.5) (up from -9.5) vs. Tennessee (in Charlotte)

Michigan at Notre Dame (-1/47)

Louisville at Alabama (-25/60.5) (in Orlando)

Big move on BYU across Las Vegas Tuesday. Falling from a critical number, and still falling. West Virginia was pushed to the critical number against Tennessee. A little early for the public to be hitting that one hard. But, sharps have had a while to attack and didn’t. Let’s assume that’s a sign of early public interest on the Mountaineers. Some stores are showing Notre Dame at pick-em. Let’s see if the South Point moves there Wednesday. Interesting that the public isn’t yet seeing ND as “cheap” at that price in South Bend. 

Sunday

Miami (-3.5/47.5)(down from 48) vs. LSU (in Arlington, TX)

Some interest on the Under, and 48 is a relatively key number for totals (though, nothing’s like 3 and 7 for team sides). TV games usually draw Over money from the public. That half point feels more like a point in that context. 

Monday

Virginia Tech at Florida State (-7/56.5) (down from 57)

Many stores are showing FSU at -7.5 now. Possibly a game that hops on top of a key number through Labor Day. The public (and some sharps) like FSU at the touchdown. Virginia Tech must be drawing some interest at plus 7.5 or all stores would be there by now. 

WNBA: Washington loses after Elena Della Donne hyper-extends knee; Seattle blows huge lead but beats Phoenix

Possibly horrible news for WNBA fans. With just a few minutes to go in its second game in a best-of-five series with Atlanta, Washington lost future Hall-of-Famer Elena Della Donne to what appeared to be a serious knee injury. She needed assistance leaving the court. You’ll know more about the extent of that injury by the time you read this. Did not look good at the time. But, Della Donne was optimistic to post-game reporters that she could return for game three. 

Atlanta (plus 1) 78, Washington 75  

2-point Pct: Washington 44%, Atlanta 43%

3-pointers: Washington 6/20, Atlanta 4/10

Free Throws: Washington 13/16, Atlanta 16/23

Rebounds: Washington 26, Atlanta 44

Turnovers: Washington 11, Atlanta 17

Delle Donne was a virtual wrecking crew in her 36 minutes on the floor. She scored 27 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and dished out six assists. But, the danger of relying too much on one player is that playoff intensity can wear that star down. Either through fatigue or an injury. 

Atlanta pulls even at one game apiece as the series heads to Washington for the next two games. We’ll see what kind of adjustment the market makes once Della Donne’s status is known. Atlanta has NOT been getting market respect for weeks despite playing well enough to earn a #2 seed in a very competitive league. Big edge on the boards tonight helped overcome turnover issues.  

In the late game…

Seattle (-5.5) 91, Phoenix 87 (in overtime)

2-point Pct: Phoenix 55%, Seattle 45%

3-pointers: Phoenix 5/19, Seattle 7/19

Free Throws: Phoenix 10/13, Seattle 18/26

Rebounds: Phoenix 38, Seattle 36

Turnovers: Phoenix 11, Seattle 8

Seattle led comfortably most of the night. Then Phoenix won the fourth quarter 28-12! You can not count a Diana Taurasi team out. She scored 28 points in 39 minutes, adding eight assists and six rebounds. League MVP Breanna Stewart was one of five Storm scoring double figures, leading the way with 27 points. Seattle’s fourth quarter lead maxed out at 17 with just under six minutes to go at 73-56. Phoenix closed 23-6 to force extra time. 

Seattle wins both home games to start the series, but Phoenix covers both point spreads. Game three will be Friday night in Phoenix. 

Sports Betting: CBS says its NFL announcers won’t refer to point spreads, betting

CBS told press at its official NFL media day that its announcers WON’T refer to point spreads or betting terms during broadcasts this season. A bit surprising with betting now legal within minutes of the biggest TV market. But we're glad we can be here to help.  

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