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PICKS IN PROGRESS
8* Under Orioles/A's (3:35 ET): Going Under anytime this dreadful Orioles' pitching staff is involved seems like a dicey proposition at best, but I think it's the right call here as they wrap up a three-game set in Oakland. Baltimore has scored only two runs themselves in each of the first two games. But they were up to their "old tricks" last night in allowing the A's to score 16 times! Oakland homered six times and 10 of their runs came in one inning. That won't happen again today, so my bet is this game being lower-scoring than anticipated. Take the Under.
Baltimore is going w/ a "lesser-known" commodity today as Jimmy Yacabonis will "open" w/ Josh Rogers following him. Yacabonis has already pitched in the series as Monday saw him go two innings w/o giving up a run. He allowed just one hit. Rogers has pitched just once all year and that was last Friday where he went 4 1/3 and gave up just two runs on five hits. So I think that the Orioles can slow down the A's bats this afternoon. Now, winning the game is a whole different matter for a club that comes into Wednesday having dropped seven in a row.
Baltimore has scored three runs or less in five of its last six games. They average only 3.9 runs per game for the season. Another positive is that they allow fewer rpg on the road than at home. Yacabonis should help against Oakland's mostly right-handed hitting lineup. Chris Bassitt is the more traditional starter here for the A's and should do just fine. He has a 1.80 ERA in two previous starts vs. the Orioles. Hoping the A's have the lead heading into the ninth as that means we can avoid playing the bottom half of the final inning. 8* Under Orioles/A's
8* Under Marlins/Cardinals (8:10 ET): I already have an Under play on the American League's lowest scoring team (Detroit) in this package, so now let's also go Under w/ the National League's lowest scoring team (Miami). There's a rather sizable gap between Detroit/Miami and everyone else when it comes to runs scored this year. Yet Miami did put six runs on the board yday in a shocking shutout of their own here in St. Louis. That came after they were shutout themselves in Monday's opener. Another low scoring game should be on tap tonight. Take the Under.
Five of Miami's last 10 games have seen either them or the opponent being shutout. Three of those five it's been them getting blanked. There were also two other games where they scored only one run. The last time they shut an opponent out was June 12th, also against St. Louis (won 9-0). They came back the next game and were shutout themselves (albeit by a different team). Before Starlin Castro's solo HR in the fifth last night, the Marlins had gone 18 straight innings w/o scoring.
Trevor Richards should keep Miami in this game, however. While he struggled his last time out, before that Richards had allowed 1 ER or less in four straight starts. Then there's the fact that the Marlins have not scored a single run in Richards' last two starts. He'll be opposed here by Daniel Ponce de Leon. This will be Ponce de Leon's third start. The first two have seen him go a combined nine innings and allow only two runs. The Under is now 5-0 in the Cardinals last five home games. 8* Under Marlins/Cardinals
8* Under Tigers/Pirates (7:05 ET): I took the Pirates yday and that proved to be a mistake as they suffered a 5-4 loss to the Tigers. It's not like I hadn't been critical of Pittsburgh previously. In fact, I'd been pretty much FADING them for the last month or so. This is a team that has been outscored by 78 runs on the year, the second worst differential in the National League. Not to be outdone, Detroit's YTD run differential is -131, which is second worst in all of baseball. Today I'll be playing the Under, a sensible bet considering the Tigers have scored the fewest number of runs in all of MLB.
The Tigers won yday despite being outhit 8-6. The GW run scored on a fielder's choice in what should have been an inning-ending double play. Regardless, the win snapped a four-game losing streak for the team from the Motor City. But that won't change the fact this is an American League team playing in a National League park, which means no designated hitter. Considering every other AL team has scored at least 45 more runs than the Tigers, the lack of a DH is the last thing they need. Trevor Williams makes his return from a 30-day stint on the DL to start for the Pirates tonight. I expect him to pitch well. He's 2-0 w/ a 0.95 ERA in three previous starts vs. Detroit and went at least six innings in six of his first eight starts.
Also making his return from the DL today will be Detroit's starter Jordan Zimmerman, whose last big league start came on April 25th. I think this is a good spot for him to return. Pittsburgh is not playing well right now obviously, so facing them should give Zimmerman some much needed confidence. The Under is 4-1 the L5 times tonight's home plate umpire has been behind the plate. The Under is also 41-15-1 in Williams' last 57 starts! 8* Under Tigers/Pirates
8* LA Angels (7:07 ET): Time to cut bait with the Blue Jays, who just can't seem to beat the Angels. Last night's 3-1 loss dropped Toronto to 0-5 in the season series and things don't look any more promising Wednesday w/ Aaron Sanchez on the hill. Sanchez is 0-7 (nine starts) since the beginning of May. The Jays simply aren't hitting the ball well right now (only three hits yday) either. In fact, they have the lowest team batting average in all of MLB (.223), including a horrid .207 at home. Look for the Angels to make it three straight here.
Toronto got blitzed in Monday's opener, falling behind 7-0 after the second inning. Yesterday was a little different in that the game was closer (and lower-scoring), but the result was the same - a loss (3-1). Sanchez has done plenty of losing lately as have the Blue Jays. The team has lost 30 of its last 41 games and Sanchez certainly hasn't helped. He is 0-3 his L3 starts w/ a 10.20 ERA and 1.933 WHIP. As I said earlier, he hasn't won a decision since April. He has a 6.95 ERA during the losing streak and is also winless in five career appearances vs. the Angels (4.42 ERA). Toronto is 2-6 the L8 times they've dropped the first two games of a series.
The Angels go w/ Andrew Heaney tonight. Seeing as last night's starter Tyler Skaggs went a season-high 7 1/3 innings against this weak-hitting Blue Jays lineup, I expect Heaney to pitch well here. He has a 0.969 WHIP in four starts, so that 4.57 ERA is actually a little misleading as is the fact he's still winless. His first three starts saw him punch out 28 batters in 16 2/3 innings and last time out he allowed only one run and two hits in 5 IP at Tampa Bay. The bottom line is that Toronto has lost two-thirds of their home games (!) and is one of the worst teams in baseball. 8* LA Angels