The San Francisco Giants will try to pick up that push as it begins the second half with a three-game series at home against the Houston Astros starting Friday night. How can us MLB bettors profit off of this series?
Sunday's Game 3 Pick & Preview
San Francisco took the opener of this series Friday night
5-1, then won Saturday's game 3-2 in 12 innings, with help from a quality start
from Tim Lincecum, which is rare these days.
So the Giants now lead the Dodgers by a half-game in the NL
West, while the Astros, well, let's not go there, other than to say they've now
lost 12 of their last 13 games.
Matt Cain (9-3, 2.62), who threw a perfect game vs. Houston
at AT&T Park back a month ago, will shoot for a repeat performance Sunday,
while Bud Norris (5-6, 4.71) will throw for the Astros.
Cain has 10 quality starts out of 17 outings this season,
and San Francisco is 11-6 in games he's started. But over his last two starts against the Reds and Nationals, Cain allowed eight earned runs on 17 hits in 13 1/3
innings. Also, the Giants have lost his last three starts. For the season,
though, Cain has given up just 91 hits in 120 innings, walked 24 and struck out
As mentioned above, in his only start so far this year vs.
Houston, Cain threw a perfect game, walking none (obviously) and striking out
14. And in his only start last year against the Astros he gave up two ER on five
hits through eight innings.
Norris, meanwhile, is six-for-15 on quality starts this
year, and Houston, a team that's 22 games under .500, is 8-8 in his starts. But
they have lost his last six starts in a row, as Norris has struggled after a
solid start to this season. Back on May 21 his ERA sat at 3.14. Since then it's
jumped over a run and a half. Most
recently, in his two starts since coming off the DL (sprained knee) he's
allowed six ER on 12 hits in 13 innings.
On the season Norris has given up 88 hits, including 13
homers, in 86 innings, walked 32 and struck out 88.
In his one start last year against the Giants Norris held them
to two ER through seven innings. But in his only start so far this year against San
Fran he gave up three runs in 3 1/3 innings, then hurt his knee.
On the injury front, as if the Astros don't have enough
problems as it is, Jed Lowrie, who leads the team in homers with 14, turned an
ankle Saturday and is doubtful for Sunday's game. That can't help an offense
that's scored a total of 32 runs over its last 14 games.
As of Sunday AM most online sportsbooks are listing Cain and
the Giants as favorites of at least -220 for Sunday's game, with a total of
San Francisco can also be found at +110 on the run line at a
couple of baseball books.
Free MLB Pick
There's only one way we'd touch this game, and that would be
to take the Giants on the run line.
Saturday's Game 2 Pick & Preview
San Fran picked up a 5-1 win in the opener of this series
Friday night, as Madison Bumgarner tossed seven innings of two-hit ball. San
Francisco won as a -190 favorite on the MLB betting line, and the game stayed
'under' its total of 6.5.
With the win San Francisco remained a half-game back of
first-place Los Angeles in the NL West, while Houston dropped to a ML-worst 21
games under .500.
The Giants will give struggling starter Tim Lincecum (3-10,
6.42) another chance Saturday night against Lucas Harrell (7-6, 4.56) for
Lincecum, amazingly, has just three quality starts in 18
outings this season. A couple weeks ago he held a Kemp-less Dodgers team
scoreless though seven innings, but in his two starts since then he's been ripped
for 13 earned runs on 16 hits in less than seven innings.
For the year the two-time former Cy Young Award winner has
allowed 103 and walked 50 (!) in 97 innings.
Lincecum hasn't pitched against Houston since 2010.
Meanwhile, Harrell is just five-for-17 on quality starts
this year, and the Astros are 7-10 in games he's started. His last time out, 11
days ago vs. Pittsburgh, he gave up five runs on nine hits in five innings,
although he did strike out nine. But just before that he threw a six-hit shut-out
vs. San Diego, and before that he held Cleveland to one run on two hits over
seven innings. On the season Harrell has allowed 104 hits and walked 35 in 103
This will be Harrell's first-ever start against San Francisco.
Despite Lincecum's scary numbers most online sportsbooks are
listing the Giants as favorites of around -180 for Saturday night's game, with
a total of eight.
The Giants can also be found with MLB odds upwards of +130 on the run
line at some baseball betting outlets.
Free MLB Pick
We had a winner
Friday night with the Giants on the run line getting +115, as Bumgarner and the
San Fran bats came through. As for Saturday's game San Francisco would seem an
obvious pick, but Lincecum scares the hell out of us. So instead, with no
reason to believe he won't continue along the same path he's been on all
season, and despite our qualms about playing the 'OVER' at AT&T Park,
that's what we'll go with.
Friday's Game 1 Pick & Preview
The San Francisco Giants, with some help from the LA
Dodgers, cut what was a seven-and-a-half game deficit in the NL West down to a
half-game at the All-Star break.
Back on May 26 the Giants sat at 24-23 and 7.5 games behind
first-place LA in the NL West. Since then San Francisco has gone 22-17 while
the Dodgers have come back to the pack, playing without Matt Kemp. The Giants
actually took over first place briefly a couple weeks ago, but seven losses in
their last nine games going into the break kept them from holding on to it.
Still, San Francisco is right in it, and as of Friday
morning they were the MLB odds favorites on Bovada's updated NL West championship board
at -120, with LA now getting +160.
The Astros, meanwhile, went into the break having lost 10 of
their last 11 games. So they now sit at a ML-worst 33-53 and 15.5 games off the
pace in the NL West. And they just traded away their best slugger Carlos Lee.
So it might be nearing fire-sale time in H-Town.
Houston is also a ML-worst 9-32 on the road this season.
San Fran, on the other hand, is 26-16 at AT&T Park.
Madison Bumgarner (10-5, 3.27) is slated to throw for the
Giants Friday night against Jordan Lyles (2-5, 5.08) for the Astros.
Bumgarner is 10-for-17 on quality starts this year, and San
Fran is 11-6 in games he's started. Most recently, though, Bumgarner got bopped
for seven runs on nine hits in five innings against the Nationals nine days ago, but just before that he threw a complete-game one-hitter against the Reds. On the
season Bumgarner has given up 104 hits in 116 innings, walked 23 and whiffed
Bumgarner has one start this year against Houston, and it was a
good one, as he picked up win by allowing one ER on six hits through 7 2/3
innings, walking none and striking out a dozen.
On the other side of this arms race Lyles is five-for-11
this year on quality starts, but Houston has won just two of the games he's
started. Most recently Lyles held Milwaukee to two runs on six hits in seven
innings last Sunday, but the Astros lost that game 5-3 in extra innings. Just
before that Lyles got tagged by the Pirates for seven runs in four innings. For
the season he's allowed 69 hits, 10 of those homers, in 62 innings, walked 21
and struck out 39.
In his only career start against San Francisco, last August,
Lyles gave up two runs, neither earned, on seven hits through five innings and
got a win as Houston prevailed 7-5.
As of Friday AM the best price we could find on the Giants
for Friday night's game was the -205 at Bookmaker, while the Astros could be
played at +200 at most of the biggest baseball betting sites on the web.
The Giants could also be gotten at +114 on the run line at
And most baseball books are listing the total on Friday's
game at 6.5.
In early wagering action on Friday's game 70 percent of play
on the side was coming in on the Giants, while about 55 percent of play on the
total was coming in on the 'over.'
In the only previous encounter between these teams this
season San Francisco took two of three games from Houston a month ago also at
AT&T Park. All three of those games played 'over' on the totals.
Free MLB Pick
The obvious MLB pick here is the Giants with Bumgarner, but that
price is a little steep for our taste. So we'll go with San Francisco on the
run line for Friday's game.
MLB Pick: San Francisco on the Run Line