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TODAY'S PLAYS --
UNDER 40.5 TB BUCCANEERS @ IND COLTS
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (+10.5)
TEXAS RANGERS (+120) --
The Rangers found their offensive rhythm in Game 2 and come out looking to do the same in Tampa against a pitcher who, despite being one of the most talented young pitchers in the game, has never actually beaten the Rangers in Tampa, or anywhere for that matter, throughout his impressive young career. Price comes into this postseason having ended his 2011 campaign in a bit of a funk as he went 0-2 overall for the month of September in 6 GS, which equaled to the first losing month of his entire career. Add to that he finished the 2011 season with a 12-13 record and really struggled at times, it will be interesting to see how he rebounds next year. But as for tonight, to say that he has struggled against the TEXAS RANGERS in his career would be a major understatement. Not only is he winless over 6 career regular season starts against TEX, going 0-3 in those starts, but he also has a ballooned 5.67 ERA against them. He also struggled against them in the 2010 postseason, as he was a disappointing 0-2 with a 4.97 ERA in 2 home losses to Cliff Lee and the Rangers in their series. On the other side of the mound, the Rangers counter with Lewis and although Lewis had an up-and-down, borderline disappointing season (14-10 / 4.40 ERA), he was absolutely dominant in helping lead the Rangers on their World Series run. In the 2010 postseason, Lewis was a perfect 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA, to go along with a 1.10 WHIP, and surrendered only 16 H and 5 ER in 26+ IP to go with an impressive 24 K's. And although he didn't pick up one of those wins in his start vs. TB, he did throw extremely well despite 5 BB'S allowed, only allowing 2 H over 5 scoreless innings, in his first ever postseason start. In fact, in his 4 career postseason starts (all in 2010) he has never allowed more than 2 R. Impressive! This kid absolutely stepped up his game in the postseason last year and proved that he thrives in the big stage - and we expect him to do much the same again here. I say roll with the RANGERS to WIN in this one.......
DETROIT TIGERS (-120) --
Although it is always tough in every regard to go against the NYY in the playoffs, especially when CC takes the hill, the Tigers just appear to be a team with too much power and too much pitching for the Yankees to overcome and it should be evident again here tonight. Although the Tigers have struggled in Verlander's starts against NYY (they have dropped his L3 GS against them), they have never quite had the offensive power they have on this team. Verlander looks to make his first real start in this postseason (as the Game 1 showdown against CC was 2 innings in before getting suspended) and comes in off what was a very impressive, CY Young Award winning season as he went a gaudy 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA, to go with 250 K's and a 0.92 WHIP. Absolutely dominant! He hasn't been quite that impressive against the Yankees, although not altogether disappointing either, as he has gone 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 10 career GS against NYY. The Yankees did hit him quite well this season though (one of the very few who did) and held him to a 0-0 record with a 4.50 ERA against him in 2 starts. He fared much better against them in the 2 seasons before that, compiling a 2-0 record over those 2 seasons, with a 2.31 ERA in 2010 against them, and an even better 1.21 ERA in 2009. On the other side of the mound, Sabathia comes into the game off of a successful 2011 campaign himself, posting a 19-8 record on the season to go with an even 3.00 ERA, with 230 K'S and a 1.23 WHIP. Although always one of the most dominant pitchers in the game, Sabathia has also struggled against the Tigers, especially in DET, where he has gone 0-4 with a skyrocketed 7.56 ERA in his L4 GS there. He has also struggled greatly against this Tigers team since the start of the 2010 season, as he has posted a 1-2 record against them overall with a 4.34 ERA. Everything just seems to make us lean towards another Tigers victory in this pivotal swing game, and ultimately propel them to a dominating advantage in the series. One interesting note to point out -- in the Yankees last 8 postseason series, the winner of Game # 2 (The Tigers) ended up winning all 8 series! Including during the Tigers run to the World Series in 2006. I say jump on the DET TIGERS to WIN this one as a small home favorite........
OVER 7 NY YANKEES @ DET TIGERS (-115) --
Much along the same lines as the above breakdown for the game overall, these two starting pitchers also have struggled mightily in their brilliant careers during the postseason, and when the big stage is brightest on them. Verlander comes into the game having now pitched in 2 postseasons (2006 and 2011) and he was somewhat of a disappointment the first time around, despite the Tigers reaching the World Series in that run, as he was 1-2 with a 5.82 ERA and allowing 17 R (14 ER), 26 H, 5 HR and a 1.66 WHIP over 21+ IP in 4 GS. He gave up an early R in that suspended Game 1 start as well, so he has a weak 5.97 ERA in his postseason career. Sabathia on the other hand has appeared in many more postseason games, but his struggles have been almost equally as apparent, as he posts a respectable career 7-4 postseason record over 14 GS, but he has a hefty 4.65 ERA and 1.54 WHIP in his postseason career as well. That is an increase of more than a full R over his regular season career ERA (3.51 career ERA) and 0.31 over his career WHIP (1.23 career WHIP in Reg. season)! And he has struggled even more greatly in 4 of his L5 postseasons, as from the start of the 2007 postseason, he does have a productive 5-2 record, but he carries a very high 4.78 ERA - with single year postseason ERA'S of 8.80 (2007), 12.27 (2008), 1.98 (2009), 5.63 (2010) and 4.50 (2011). So although this appears like a pitching match-up where the R's will be at a premium, based on these 2 studs career in the postseason, this is going to be a high scoring affair. Go with the OVER 7 in this game and watch the OVER cover easily.......
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