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New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays Betting Odds & Pick from Will Rogers: September 12th 2017

| September 12, 2017

New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays
MLB Betting Pick: Yankees -144 odds (September 12th 2017)

The set up: Hurricane Irma has reeked havoc on the Rays here as instead of hosting the Yankees this week, this series is being contested at Citi Field, home of the Mets. No longer having to go on a road trip, the Yankees should benefit immensely from this change in venue. They won Monday’s opener, 5-1, and look to be in prime position to make it two straight over their AL East rival as Sonny Gray is pitching tonight. The Yanks have won seven of their last night games and three straight. As for Tampa Bay, they’ve lost four of five and are in real danger of dropping out of playoff contention.

The pitching matchup: Acquired at the trade deadline, Gray has pitched well for the Yankees. In seven starts, his ERA is 2.74 and he’s lasted at least six innings in all but two of those. He went 5 2/3 innings his last start, but the only run he allowed was unearned and the team ended up recording an easy 9-1 win over Baltimore. Gray has faced TB twice this season (both with Oakland) and pitched well both times. He has 16 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. Tampa will send out Blake Snell, who is coming off a rather ugly outing. He allowed six runs in his shortest stint in more than a month (four innings) and the Rays lost 10-6 to the Twins. Despite making 20 starts this year, Snell has only three wins.

The pick: The Yankees are the road team “in name only” here as the majority of last night’s crowd were their fans. Quietly, they have put together the American League’s second best run differential (+156), trailing only red hot Cleveland. Home or road, Tampa Bay has been positively mediocre in 2017 and a 5-9 record vs. New York certainly hasn’t helped. The “road team” is my call here.

New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings Week 1 NFL Monday Night Over-Under Pick from Jimmy Boyd: September 11th 2017

| September 11, 2017

New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings
Week 1 NFL Monday Night Over-Under Pick: Under 48 points (September 11th 2017)

A lot of people just instantly look to take the OVER in any game that involves the Saints. However, historically Drew Bree’s and Sean Payton’s offense hasn’t been as lethal on the road. Another big part of that is they have had no choice but to try and outscore teams with how bad their defense has been.

I really thought New Orleans was going to take a bigger step forward than they did on the defensive side of the ball last year. While the numbers weren’t great, I saw a lot of good things in the first year under defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. This could be the year they breakout. The addition of 1st round pick Marshon Lattimore at corner should help improve a secondary that ranked dead last against the pass.

You also have to factor in that the Vikings aren’t a team that figures to be an offensive juggernaut. They ranked just 28th with 315.1 ypg and 23rd in scoring at 20.4. They were also in the bottom half of the league in 3rd down conversions. They should be better now that Bradford has had time to really learn the offense. Plus they improved the offensive line. Still, Zimmer is more of a ball control guy that wants to keep his defense fresh.

Hard to blame him given how well his stop units have played both here and previous when he was the defensive coordinator with the Bengals. Minnesota suffered all kinds of injuries on this side of the ball last year and still finished 3rd in yards allowed (314.9 ypg) and 6th in scoring (19.2 ppg). You can bet he’ll have his unit fired up for this one. Let’s also not forget they get a shot at going against their former star in Adrian Peterson.

I have a hard time seeing the Saints changing up their offense, but maybe they want to control the ball a little more. Why else would you bring in a guy like AP, who needs his touches to be effective and isn’t a huge threat in the passing game.

As you can see, I think defense will be the story line in this one. UNDER is an impressive 17-5 in all Vikings games in the 1st half of the season since Zimmer took over and 17-5 in Minnesota’s last 22 home games in the first two weeks of the season. Take the UNDER!

Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals Betting Line Prediction from Al McMordie: September 11th 2017

| September 11, 2017

Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals
MLB Betting Line Prediction: KC -170 odds (September 11th 2017)

At 8:15 pm, our complimentary selection is on the Kansas City Royals over the Chicago White Sox.  A total of 12 different players have gotten starts for the White Sox this season, and you may even see one or two additional before the end of September.  When a team is in rebuilding mode — and no team is in that mode more than Chicago — there are a lot of opportunities for young (and not so young) arms to get a look in the rotation in the second half of the season.  That’s basically what’s happened with the White Sox and tonight one of those younger pitchers hoping to stick with the club will take the hill as RH Reynaldo Lopez gets his fifth start of the season.

The former Washington Nats pitcher has actually looked pretty good for the Sox, but he still walks far too many batters (four per nine innings) and that’s a dangerous proposition against a team like the Royals.  Veteran RHP Jason Hammel will get his 29th start for Kansas City and despite a losing record at 8-10, Hammel has been pretty good lately for his team, going 3-1 in his last four starts.  KC has been producing some runs lately, scoring 11 on Sunday and 37 in their last five games.  This will be Hammel’s first start vs. the Sox this season, but in his lone start against them in 2016, he went seven strong innings in an 8-1 rout. The Royals are 5-1 in the last six meetings.  Take KC.  As always, good luck…Al McMordie.