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White Sox steam cools off in rain

Jeff Fogle  
VSiN City newsletter

August 22, 2018 12:02 AM

Flamethrower Michael Kopech steams the line, then fires fastballs for the Chicago White Sox. Plus, Cleveland wins again in Boston…Nick Foles is cleared for the Eagles…the WNBA Playoffs are under way…and Dave Tuley takes honors! Details ahead in VSIN City. 

MLB Tuesday: Flamethrower Michael Kopech debuts for White Sox, leaves after two innings and 52 pitches because of rain delay

The biggest market story of the day turned into a bit of a dud at night. Sharp support for potential phenom Michael Kopech drove an opener of Minnesota -135 all the way down to pick-em. That’s a great rule of thumb by the way. If you see a pitcher you’re not familiar with getting tremendous market respect, you can be sure he throws HARD. 

Kopech threw HARD for just two innings, unfortunately. Four of his six outs were strikeouts. No walks, which is a great sign. But three hits allowed (all singles) and a hit-by-pitch helped jack up the pitch count to 52. Then a rain delay convinced the Sox brain trust to call it a night. Juan Berrios of Minnesota did return after the delay, but didn’t get a decision. 

Minnesota (pick-em) 5, Chicago White Sox 2 

Total Bases Plus Walks: Minnesota 14, Chicago 15

Starting Pitchers: Berrios 5 IP, 1 ER, Kopech 2 IP, 0 ER

Bullpen: Minnesota 4 IP, 1 ER, Chicago 7 IP, 5 ER

Tied 2-2 heading to the ninth inning. Minnesota rallied to get the win. Odd distribution of offense. Chicago’s two runs came on a pair of solo homers. Minnesota had 10 singles and four walks…inching their way to more runs. Twins now 60-65, with a shot to get to .500 before the year is done. Chicago falls to 47-78, which means the Sox would have to go 34-3 to reach the .500 mark. 

The big story for bettors…and why this is still our lead story of the day…is that Kopech looked ready to strike fear into hitters at the Major League level. His change-up clocked 91 mph! Let’s see how the market handles his future starts. If high pitch counts are going to hold him to about five innings per outing (in good weather), it’s tough to lay any sort of odds with him. Fading the phenom worked out for both a 5-inning win (2-1 Twins after five) and a full game victory despite the strikeouts. If he can stretch effectiveness to six or seven innings, look out!

MLB Tuesday: Cleveland still crushing, second straight win at Fenway brings Indians to 14-3 last 17 games

Monday night’s win in the series opener featuring these two playoff-bound teams was kind of lucky for visiting Cleveland. Scoreboard victory, but a stat loss in Total Bases plus Walks. Tuesday night…a rout! Dominant offensive performance, particularly against suddenly struggling Bosox starting pitcher Nathan Eovoldi. 

Cleveland (even) 6, Boston 3 

Total Bases Plus Walks: Cleveland 25, Boston 8

Starting Pitchers: Bieber 6.1 IP, 3 ER, Eovaldi 5.1 IP, 4 ER

Bullpen: Cleveland 2.2 IP, 0 ER, Boston 3.2 IP, 2 ER

Former Tampa Bay Ray Eovaldi has allowed nine earned runs in his last 13 innings, after starting his Red Sox experience with two gems. Can he be trusted in October?

Cleveland has now won nine of 10, 14 of 17, and is up to 73-52 for the season. Still sneaking up on the AL West leaders for possible home field in the divisional round. (Maybe we wrote them off too early for that.) Boston is 88-39, and can sleep for a week if it wants to. 

In other early finishers involving playoff contenders…

*Atlanta (-125) won at Pittsburgh 6-1. Braves are now 70-55 as they try to hold onto first place in the NL East, or lock in one of two Wildcard spots.  

*Philadelphia (plus 130) LOST at Washington 8-4. Washington sent David Murphy to the Chicago Cubs, igniting “fire sale” reports across major media. Easily the biggest disappointment this season amongst the original market contenders. Sometimes teams start winning during fire sales. Phillies fall to 68-57, now two games behind the Braves

*Milwaukee (-200) LOST to Cincinnati 9-7. More bullpen misery for the Brewers. A 7-7 tie in the ninth inning. Milwaukee falls to 70-58, missing out on a great opportunity to pick up a game on the first-place Cubs in the NL Central.  

*Colorado (-175) LOST to San Diego 4-3. Already a brutal night for bettors who like to parlay all the favorites that “need” to win. Rockies can’t figure out how to hit at altitude! Colorado now 68-57, same record as the Phillies in the crowded Wildcard race. 

*The Chicago Cubs (-200) LOST at Detroit 2-1. Chicago’s offense has been in the deep freeze lately. Acquiring Daniel Murphy should help. Amazingly, run production is 1-1-1-1-1 the last five games! More amazingly, they won TWO of those by throwing shutouts. Cubs fall to 71-53, which still gives them some air over the other divisional or Wildcard contenders. But…something like that is a really bad indicator for an offense. Not liked the Cubs faced Clayton Kershaw five days in a row. We were seeing way too many of these dead spots during the best of times. Now they’re clustering. 

Is it a home/road thing? Wrigley Field has been a hitter’s park this season. Here are Chicago’s road scoring totals in road games since the All-Star break.

2-2-5-4-9-3-5-0-1-1-1-1-1

Total of 35 runs in 13 games, which is just 2.7 runs-per-game. Median is two. Ugly stretch.

*The New York Yankees (-200) won at Miami 2-1 in 12 innings. A long sweat for backers of this big favorite. Miami’s struggled for a few weeks now. Yankees amidst a very easy schedule stretch. 

We pushed our deadlines back to get the WNBA playoff nightcap in. That allowed two additional MLB finishers to make today’s report. Two big favorites cashing tickets. 

*Arizona (-240) beat the LA Angels 4-3. Diamondbacks move to 70-56 to extend their lead in the NL West.

*Oakland (-230) beat Texas 6-0. Is Oakland getting BETTER with each passing week?! Two-hit shutout pushes the A’s to 76-50. 

NFL Market Watch: Foles cleared for Philly, Eagles now plus 3 at Cleveland Thursday

In our prior report, we said that a line of Cleveland -3.5 over Philadelphia Thursday night suggested Nick Foles would miss the game. He’s been cleared to play (after a shoulder scare), and that point spread is down to Browns -3.

We promised to keep an eye on all the dress rehearsal lines for you. Let’s run through the matchups in Nevada Rotation order. 

Thursday

Philadelphia at Cleveland now -3/41 (down from -3.5/42) (on FOX)

This is still a tall line for the home favorite considering Philadelphia would be around -5.5 at this site in a regular season game. Pittsburgh is now -5.5 in the season opener here. Philadelphia “with Foles” is probably about the same as Pittsburgh in market Power Ratings. That was the guess from Jonathan Von Tobel and I back when we compiled initial ratings during baseball’s All-Star break. Cleveland’s “quarterback war” still getting respect from sharps…though -3 against Foles is probably the new ceiling. 

Friday

NY Giants vs. NY Jets now -2.5/42 (up from -2/42) (neutral site)

Denver at Washington still -3/43.5

New England at Carolina now -1/46 (up from pick-em/46)

Detroit at Tampa Bay now -3/45.5 (total up from 45) (on CBS)

Seattle at Minnesota still -3.5/39.5

Green Bay at Oakland still -7/41 (on the NFL Network)

The Jets are another team with a perceived quarterback war…and they keep getting market respect too. Now up to -2.5 on a neutral field against the Giants. Can you imagine a line around Jets -5 if this were somehow a home game for them? We’ll have to see if the full three comes into play by kickoff. You’d think that would bring in Giants’ money. Carolina is up a point from pick-em after two good offensive games. Oakland is holding solid at -7…biggest number of the preseason. 

Saturday

Kansas City at Chicago still -2/47.5 (on the NFL Network)

Tennessee at Pittsburgh still -4/45.5 (on the NFL Network)

Houston at LA Rams still -3.5/42

San Francisco at Indianapolis went up at -1/43.5

Atlanta at Jacksonville now -3/40 (total down from 40.5)

Baltimore at Miami went up at pick-em/41.5

New Orleans at LA Chargers still -2.5/44 (on CBS)

Not much happening this far in advance because head coaches aren’t confirming much for the media yet. Games involving the Monday night teams…Indianapolis and Baltimore…finally hit the board. San Francisco getting market respect as a visitor. Baltimore still hasn’t lost a preseason game since 2015, and is pick-em in Miami. Dolphins off two losses might be tempting as a first half play considering Baltimore’s on such short rest. 

Sunday

Cincinnati at Buffalo still -1.5/41.5 (on FOX)

Arizona at Dallas still -3/43.5 (on NBC)

Nothing percolating in these yet. Great to have so many national TV games this week! 

WNBA: Phoenix dominates Dallas to tip off 2018 playoffs

Yesterday we asked if the Over/Under was high enough in Dallas/Phoenix given the shootouts the defense-less Wings have been playing lately. That early total we reported of 175 was bet up to 178. Still wasn’t enough.

Phoenix (-7) 101, Dallas 83 

2-point Pct: Dallas 55%, Phoenix 60%

3-pointers: Dallas 4/19, Phoenix 13/29

Free Throws: Dallas 17/20, Phoenix 10/15

Rebounds: Dallas 31, Phoenix 30

Turnovers: Dallas 10, Phoenix 7

Teams had already combined for 109 points by halftime. Game slowed down in the second half and cleared by six points.

All of Dallas’ weaknesses were on display here. Horrible defense…with 60% allowed inside the arc and 45% allowed on treys…and only seven forced turnovers. Plus, poor three-point shooting. Dallas plays the OPPOSITE of playoff-style basketball.   

Our last chance to do this in 2018 (and maybe counting 2019 too!)…

Elizabeth Cambage: 8 of 16 from the floor (50%)

Everyone Else: 23 of 52 from the floor (44%)

Cambage has hinted she may not come back next year. Annual schedules are grueling because so many stars also play overseas. Those stars would like to see bigger contracts as popularity continues to grow. And, there could be specific issues with Dallas management with the head coach being fired late in the regular season.

For Phoenix, Diana Taurasi scored 26 points in 30 minutes…Brittney Griner scored 17 and was able to occasionally frustrate Cambage. 

Fifth-seeded Phoenix advances to play at fourth-seeded Connecticut Thursday. 

In the late game…

Los Angeles (-6) 75, Minnesota 68 

2-point Pct: Minnesota 52%, Los Angeles 47%

3-pointers: Minnesota 4/15, Los Angeles 7/19

Free Throws: Minnesota 6/11, Los Angeles 14/16

Rebounds: Minnesota 32, Los Angeles 27

Turnovers: Minnesota 15, Los Angeles 10

End of the road for last year’s champs and this season’s early favorite. Minnesota lost a few steps out of the gate. Lynx never got their bearings. Final game for Lindsey Whalen. Feels like other teams in the league evolved as Minnesota hit a wall. 

Great result for Los Angeles, considering Candace Parker was just 1 of 6 from the field for two points! Rest of the team picked up the slack while earning free throws and avoiding turnovers. Sparks visit #3 seed Washington Thursday. 

Night one sends Elizabeth Cambage and Maya Moore home. Favorites sweep against the spread (thanks to two very late free throws from LA). One Over, one Under. Our coverage of the WNBA playoffs resumes in Friday morning’s report. 

VSiN News: Dave Tuley honored by Pro Football Writers of America

Proud to announce that VSiN’s senior reporter Dave Tuley placed second in the “News” category for this year’s “Dick Connor Writing Awards” from the Pro Football Writers of America. 

Dave’s article on Super Bowl handle in Nevada stuck a chord with judges as articles about sports gambling continue to gain more acceptance in the mainstream. Click here for details, and a full listing of all the luminaries winning awards. Dave’s in some great company!

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