Cubs lose again as the NL Central race tightens. Plus, Game 5 intensity in the WNBA Playoffs, defending champion Sloane Stephens shocked at the US Open, and sharps are betting the Cleveland Browns again. Real wise guys read VSiN City!
NFL: It’s Wednesday and the 2018 season starts Thursday: Time for a “Market Watch”
Let’s check in on midweek lines for Week 1 of the new NFL season. Here are Tuesday night lines at the South Point…
Atlanta at Philadelphia (-2.5/45)
This line was Philly -4 or -3.5 all summer when the market was assuming Carson Wentz would be back on the field for the Eagles. NOT going to happen this week. Plus, Philadelphia had a dismal preseason that looked like an extended Super Bowl hangover. Sharps took out the key number of 3 with aggressive Falcons interest. Some stores are testing Philadelphia -2. A telling sign when there isn’t an immediate move back to a 3 when it’s crossed.
Pittsburgh (-4/45.5) at Cleveland
San Francisco at Minnesota (-6/46)
Cincinnati at Indianapolis (-3/48.5)
Buffalo at Baltimore (-7/41)
Jacksonville (-3/44) at the NY Giants
Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-9.5/49.5)
Houston at New England (-6.5/51)
Tennessee (-1/45) at Miami
Kansas City at San Diego (-3.5/48)
Seattle at Denver (-3/42.5)
Dallas at Carolina (-3/43)
Washington at Arizona (-1/44)
Chicago at Green Bay (-8/48)
Most important note here is at the top of the list. Pittsburgh was -6 much of the summer. Now we’re down to -4 because LeVeon Bell may not be ready for action. At the very least, the market is pricing him as absent right now. Amazing how much respect Cleveland continues to get! Otherwise, a few games near the critical 3 that you should monitor through the week.
NY Jets at Detroit (-6.5/44.5)
LA Rams (-4/49.5) at Oakland
Rookie Sam Darnold will get the start for the Jets. But neither sharps nor the public have brought the key number of 7 into play. A strike against the Lions. We warned you last season about the dangers of using favorites of -6.5 in 6-point teasers or in money line parlays to win straight up. They don’t win as often as you’d expect. Though, they’re usually not facing rookie QBs in career openers!
We’ll check in again on these tomorrow, with a bonus stat preview of Falcons-Eagles.
MLB Tuesday: Cubs lose again, giving Brewers and Cards hope in the NL Central
Two early finishers matching playoff contenders. We start in Milwaukee where the Brewers won their second straight over the first-place Chicago Cubs.
Milwaukee (pick-em) 11, Chicago 1
Total Bases Plus Walks: Chicago 8, Milwaukee 23
Starting Pitchers: Montgomery 4 IP, 1 ER, Miley 6 IP, 1 ER
Bullpen: Chicago 4 IP, 8 ER, Milwaukee 3 IP, 0 ER
We talk in Wednesday’s New York Post article about how generic the Cubs have been against winning teams since the All-Star break. They pulled away from the NL pack with a strong homestand vs. non-contenders Cincinnati and the NY Mets. But against the caliber of team they’ll face in October…nothing to suggest they’re going to WIN in October beyond enjoying home field advantage. No relevant clearance vs. quality of late.
1-0 vs. Atlanta
2-1 vs. Philadelphia
4-4 vs. St. Louis
2-2 vs. Arizona
1-3 vs. Milwaukee
That’s 10-10 after the two losses this series in Milwaukee. Offense has been an issue since the break. That was the case again in their second straight loss to the Brewers. Though, game stats suggested something more like a 6-2 win rather than 11-1. Brewers were extremely efficient clustering their bases. Cubs fall to 81-57. Brewers now three games back at 79-61.
Boston (-125) 5, Atlanta 1
Total Bases Plus Walks: Boston 19, Atlanta 11
Starting Pitchers: Porcello 5 IP, 1 ER, Newcomb 4.1 IP, 3 ER
Bullpen: Boston 4 IP, 0 ER, Atlanta 4.2 IP, 2 ER
Boston won drawn walks 9-3. Walks are the least valuable way to get an offensive base (any runners on base move the minimum. But, they can be the tie-breaker in an otherwise competitive game. That could matter come October if cool weather cuts down on the number of homers. Red Sox move to 96-44 as they march toward locking in home field throughout the postseason. Atlanta falls to 76-62. Bad news on a night Philadelphia won.
We haven’t checked in on Interleague play for a while. Though Boston won here, the National League is still on track to have its first winning season since 2003.
At the moment…National League 144 wins, American League 130 wins.
There are now 300 Interleague games every season. So, first league to 151 victories claims bragging rights. As long as the NL can go at least 6-20 in this month’s final 26 matchups…the AL’s streak is over. Takes 7-19 for the NL to win the year.
Of course, that won’t mean anything for the World Series. In fact, all five likely AL playoff teams currently have…and will finish with…winning records vs. the senior circuit.
AL Powers vs. NL This Season
NY Yankees 11-9
Unless both Boston and Houston are taken out of the AL brackets, the AL winner will probably be a series favorite over the NL winner.
Enough of that little side trip. Let’s get to early Tuesday finishers involving playoff contenders…
*St. Louis (even) won at Washington 11-8. That ended a three-game losing streak for the previously hot Cardinals. Win pushes them back to 15 games over .500 at 77-62, 4.5 games behind the Cubs at the top of the NL Central. Pretty amazing factoid for you…Washington has been within two games of .500 for all but two games since July 1. More than two months on a mediocre treadmill.
*Philadelphia (-135) won at Miami 9-4. Temporary stop to Philly’s road woes. Philadelphia moves to 73-65 in the NL East race. Marlins now 9-23 their last 32.
*Colorado (-190) beat San Francisco 6-2. Rockies are now 76-62. Will be interesting to see if many of the Wildcard contenders surge home. The public will want to play the “must win” teams. Worked out okay in Tuesday’s early action.
*Cleveland (-240) beat Kansas City 9-3. Indians now 78-60…in the endless build-up to their divisional round series against the AL West champ.
*Houston (-300) beat Minnesota 5-2. Astros now 86-53…including an astounding 68-30 in games decided by two runs or more.
We also wanted to check in on Tampa Bay. The Rays have been off our radar for awhile because they’re not a playoff contender. A 4-0 win at Toronto tonight made it 13-2 the last 15 for Tampa Bay…and 71-50 since starting the season 4-13. Rays continue to make that quirky starting pitching strategy work. It’s going to be copied by more teams next season. Success breeds imitators.
WNBA: Washington and Seattle survive semifinals, advance to best-of-five championship series
Amazing intensity from first tip of the climactic doubleheader to the closing minutes of the finale. Great night for fans…for chalk lovers…and for the Washington Mystics and Seattle Storm. Let’s run the key stats in the order games were played.
Washington (-3) 86, Atlanta 81
2-point Pct: Washington 49%, Atlanta 52%
3-pointers: Washington 8/25, Atlanta 7/21
Free Throws: Washington 16/10, Atlanta 8/9
Rebounds: Washington 36, Atlanta 34
Turnovers: Washington 12, Atlanta 11
Head to head, it was clear Washington was the superior team in the series when Elena Delle Donne was healthy, or even slightly hobbled…even though Atlanta enjoyed a seeding advantage and home court in three of five games. Washington was either tied or ahead for most of the final minutes in the finale. Delle Donne was a presence on the floor despite lacking some speed and mobility. Late points pushed her to a double double…14 points and 11 rebounds.
Dream season ends for Atlanta…who was not expected to be much of a force in 2018. Best in the East in the regular season. Losing Angel McCoughtry to a late-season injury made winning the title a longshot. Overachievers until then.
Washington advances to the league finals that begin Thursday. No time to rest! Delle Donne will still be playing like she’s wearing weighted shoes. Against a #1 seed that makes treys and drives you crazy with backdoor cuts
Seattle (-5.5) 94, Phoenix 84
2-point Pct: Phoenix 63%, Seattle 49%
3-pointers: Phoenix 8/28, Seattle 11/25
Free Throws: Phoenix 10/14, Seattle 15/18
Rebounds: Phoenix 29, Seattle 40
Turnovers: Phoenix 8, Seattle 8
Furious battle until Phoenix ran out of gas at 76-all with four minutes to go. You could see the legs go in terms of rebounding, and guarding the back door. Plus, three-pointers started clanking. Tough to play five wars with a short rotation. When it counted, Seattle’s three-pointers didn’t clank.
Here are the Storm’s last 18 points…
Sue Bird trey
Breanna Stewart jumper
Sue Bird trey
Alysha Clark backdoor layup
Sue Bird trey (32-footer)
5 team free throws to close it out
At all levels…the roof blows on late-game three-pointers. Richter Scale stuff from the oldest player in the league.
Seattle will be a home and series favorite over Washington when the championship round opens Thursday night. Bird will battle with a broken nose. Delle Donne deals with a bone bruise. Finals will have trouble living up to the high drama of the semi’s.
The market has been underrating both finalists for awhile. Seattle is 16-7-1 ATS its last 24 games, despite clearly being the class of the league in style of play. Washington peaked late, and is 10-4 ATS its last 14 games.
US Open Tuesday: Defending champ Sloane Stephens shocked
So much has happened since the last time we talked tennis!
*Roger Federer was stunned very late Monday night by huge underdog John Millman
*Sloane Stephens was knocked out of the women’s draw Tuesday afternoon
*Rafael Nadal lost a set 6-0!
(Nadal’s quarterfinal match with Dominic Thiem ended in a fifth set after publication deadlines.)
Let’s start with the women. Anastasija Sevastova (plus 205) beat Stephens in straight sets Tuesday afternoon. In the evening, Serena Williams (-305) had little trouble with Karolina Pliskova. That sets up these global exchange odds at Betfair to win the event…
Serena Williams: risk $1 to win $0.76, risk $0.78 to win $1 that she won’t win
Madison Keys: risk $1 to win $4.10, risk $4.20 to win $1 that she won’t win
Naomi Osaka: risk $1 to win $7.60, risk $8.80 to win $1 that she won’t win
Anastasija Sevastova: risk $1 to win $11, risk $12 to win $1 that she won’t win
Heavy favorite Williams and Sevastova will meet in the semifinals later this week. Keys and Osaka must win Wednesday to get there. Here are overnight odds from bookmaker.eu.
Early money lines for Wednesday’s Quarterfinals
Madison Keys (-275) vs. Carla Suarez Navarro (plus 230)
Naomi Osaka (-230) vs. Lesia Tsurenko (plus 195)
Because Nadal/Thiem ended so late, we’ll catch up with the men’s exchange odds tomorrow. A look at bookmaker.eu odds for Wednesday’s pair of quarterfinal matches…
Early money lines for Wednesday’s Quarterfinals
Novak Djokovic (-2000) vs. John Millman (plus 1000)
Marin Cilic (-170) vs. Kei Nishikori (plus 145)
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