Baseball Over Unders & NBA Finals Notebook
THE MLB REPORT: IT'S SOME 50 GAMES IN (GIVE OR TAKE) FOR MOST TEAMS AND WE CHECK OUT "OVER/UNDER" WINS TOTALS FOR A BATCH OF BIG-LEAGUE SQUADS ...
THE NBA NOTEBOOK: THE FINALS ARE STILL DAYS AWAY BUT LOTS TO SAY ABOUT THE CAVS & WARRIORS
We'll be flipping the calendar page to read "June" in a couple of days and so let's take this time now to examine/analyze a handful of Major-League Baseball teams as to what was expected of 'em this 2015 season ... and what they've produced so far (note all records through May 28th). Let's go ahead and focus on one team per division with the "2015 Wins Price" listed below and we shall start with the ...
BOSTON (22-26) - The Red Sox could either finish first (see 2013 and a third World Series title in 10 years) or last (see both the 2012 and '14 seasons) or somewhere in between in the jumbled AL East race this year but say this: Nobody in New England expected this type of Jekyll and Hyde season where this jam-packed lineup ranks only 10th in the league in runs scored and where the starting pitching has more holes than a pound of swiss cheese:
The 2015 Wins Price: 85.5
Not gettin' there if the Bosox continue to struggle so badly at Fenway Park (10-12 so far) and after firing the pitching coach you do have to wonder how long the "leash" is for third-year manager John Farrell.
KANSAS CITY (28-18) - Love how all the baseball pundits to continue to claim the Royals are playing with a "chip on their shoulder" when in reality it should dawn on everyone that Ned Yost's club is good, really good. Just one year after making it to Game 7 of the World Series, KC's a splendid + 46 in runs differential, thanks in large part to the league's second-best team ERA (3.52) and still starring that terrific bullpen that makes the seventh, eighth and ninth innings a snap.
The 2015 Wins Price: 80.5
The Royals are on a pace to crack the 81-win mark by late August and so - barring a major collapse - the "over" players here sure knew what he/she was doing, eh?
SEATTLE (23-24) - Remember when the Mariners were the "vogue pick" to win the AL pennant back in March? Okay, it could still happen but it won't as long as the M's rank 13th in the league in runs scored and 2B Robinson Cano (1 HR and 13 RBI in 187 at-bats) continues to swoon. Let's face it, save for slugger Nelson Cruz (AL-best 18 home runs) this club is often downright lifeless!
The 2015 Wins Price: 86.5
If Seattle is gonna steamroll to an 87-win-or-better campaign then the Cano conundrum must be fixed and someone other than ace RHP Felix Hernandez must perk up a pitching staff that's blown six saves (yes, closer Fernando Rodney is 13-of-15 in save opportunities but others not so dependable). The M's should have a better team ERA than 3.80 - agree?
NEW YORK METS (27-21) - Once upon a time the Mets couldn't buy a win at Citi Field but this year Terry Collins' club is 20-6 at home and owning divisional foes (20-9) but what happens straight ahead with this much-discussed six-man rotation that ace RHP Matt Harvey doesn't like and when (if ever) will 3B David Wright return from his back injury?
The 2015 Wins Price: 81.5
The Mets have not produced a winning season since their Shea Stadium days (see 2008) but assuming Harvey, RHP Jacob deGrom and RHP Noah Syndergaard all stay healthy this year, could very well see NYM hitting 90-win mark. Quickie question: Do the Mets trade one of the other young arms for a bat this summer?
PITTSBURGH (25-22) - The Pirates finally have heated up with Clint Hurdle's club sporting a seven-game winning streak while heading into Friday's game in San Diego and no coincidence that mega-star CF Andrew McCutchen is scorching hot with a .382 batting average in his last nine games prior to nifty 3-for-5 showing in Thursday's 11-5 win at the Padres.
2015 Wins Price: 83.5
Gotta believe that the Pirates will be in the hunt for an NL wild card (not catching the St. Louis Cardinals!) but winning more than 83 games may well depend on whether or not righty A.J. Burnett (5-1, 1.81 ERA) can give the Buccos close to 200 innings. In any event, hats off to the Pirates for not "giving up" on this season some six-to-seven weeks in.
ARIZONA (21-25) - At first glance you might not think much about the Diamondbacks who enter this late-May weekend some 7 full games back of the NL West division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers but consider that 'Zona has overachieved so far and actually owns a 13-12 mark inside divisional play.
2015 Wins Price: 72.5
One year after the D-Backs won just 64 games, they could be a .500-type team but need to perk up the league's 12th-best team ERA (4.24). Maybe it's the management team of Tony LaRussa and GM Dave Stewart that has "changed the culture" in the desert but the bottom line is Arizona is fun to watch and better than you think.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will go on blasting the books in this NBA post-season - the NBA Finals swing into gear Thursday, June 4th, so don't miss out on all the game-by-game Side & Totals winners! Go online right here at www.jimhurley.com or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day and cash in with all the NBA Playoffs and remember there's lots of Major-League Baseball on tap every day too!
THE NBA FINALS
The momentum is building towards this year's NBA Finals - okay, the league has some "days to kill" after both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors extinguished their respective opponents in four and five games in the recently-completed NBA Conference Finals - but nothing wrong with taking some time to digest lots of pertinent info when it comes to this year's finalists:
CLEVELAND - The Cavs will enter the NBA Finals with a 47-49-0 ATS (against the spread) mark for this entire 2014-15 season and note that includes the team's 8-6 spread log.
In this year's post-season, Cleveland is 6-5 ATS as betting favorites and 2-1 spreadwise as the underdog sides;
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are 3-4 versus the vig as playoff hosts and 5-2 against the odds away this post-season.
GOLDEN STATE - The Warriors are a collective 54-42-0 spreadwise this entire 2014-15 season and that includes a 7-8 ATS log in this year's playoffs.
In the post-season, note that Golden State is 6-8 ATS as betting favorites and 1-0 as a dog (see Game 3 of the Western Finals in Houston);
Finally, the Warriors are 3-5 vig-wise as playoff hosts and 4-3 ATS when playing playoff road games this year.
You may also want to note that NBA Playoff Betting Favorites are a composite 32-41-1 ATS with one pick 'em game for a .438 winning rate for the chalk sides - not nearly as good as one might think considering we have a #1 seed (Golden State) and a #2 seed (Cleveland) making it to this final round.
P.S., in Friday's edition of Jim Sez we documented the last 10 series matchups in the NBA Finals but now we'll add one other item:
In the past 10 years of NBA Finals action, there's been five different #1 seeds that won the championship (2008 Boston Celtics, 2009 and 2010 Los Angeles Lakers, 2013 Miami Heat and 2014 San Antonio Spurs);
There's been three different #2 seeds that have won it all including the 2005 Spurs, the 2006 Heat and the 2012 Heat; The other two NBA champs during this 2005-thru-2014 time frame include the 2007 Spurs and the 2011 Dallas Mavericks - both of them were #3 conference seeds.
Note: More NBA Playoff Reports/Previews plus there's Baseball too in the next edition of Jim Sez!
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