It’s about time we caught a fucking break! We have been on the wrong side of some of those kinds of games to start the football season so you can bet your ass I will take an unlikely turn of events to take a win like that! Sorry to all Brewers fans and I can’t imagine the pain and sorrow you are feeling after a pathetic ending last night. We have the American League Wild Card game tonight and it’s opening night for the NHL. Let’s get to the picks and get a HOT streak going!
Rays / A’s Under (7.5) - Runs will be tough to come by tonight with Charlie Morton starting for the Rays and Sean Manaea starting for the A’s. Charlie Morton has held this A’s lineup to a .241 avg in 112 at bats and he only allowed 1 earned run over 6.1 innings against this A’s lineup earlier this season on June 20th. Morton has allowed 3 runs or less in 28 starts this season. Sean Manaea didn’t make his season debut until September 1 when he lost to the Yankees but the A’s have won his 4 starts since then and he has allowed 2 earned runs or less in each of those starts while pitching 5+ innings in each of them. Manaea has held this Rays lineup to a .245 avg in 49 at bats. I also like the fact that the Rays have the #1 ranked bullpen ERA behind Morton and the A’s have the #7 ranked bullpen behind Manaea. I think it will be tough for both teams to get any sort of rally going. Don’t forget that the Oakland Coliseum is a pitcher friendly park and it ranked #27 out of #30 in run factor this season and #26 out of #30 in homerun factor. Those are stats that measure each parks influence on runs and homeruns. 7.5 is a big number with the kind of history these two pitchers have against the opposing lineup, the success both pitchers have had this season, and the pitcher friendly confines of the Oakland Coliseum. Give me the under.
Maple Leafs (-1.5) - The Leafs were bounced in the first round of the playoffs last season but they went 7 games with the Boston Bruins who ended up losing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. This Leafs team comes in loaded again this year after ranking #4 in goals scored last season. It is strange that they lost the season series 1-3 against the Senators last season who were such a bad team and it looks as though they will be that bad again this season. The Sens ranked dead last in goals allowed at 301. There’s a lot of hype for this Leafs team and I think they will open up the season in a big way tonight!
Capitals (+130) - First underdog of the season on opening night! We have the Caps on the road taking on the St Louis Blues after their emotional banner raising ceremony. The two most recent Stanley Cup Champions will be playing in this game tonight. The Blues had quite the second half of the season last year and it was a Cinderella story going from worst to first from January to June. The Caps won it the year before and they have plenty of fire power after finishing with the 5th and 9th ranked offense in each of the last two seasons. The Blues are known for their defense and they added Justin Faulk over the offseason that will make their D even stronger. I never believe that teams carry over momentum from one season to the next and momentum played a large part in the Blues run last season. The Capitals outscored the same team that took the Blues to Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals by 8 goals last year. I think the Caps at +130 is too much value to pass up on a night where the Blues highest point of satisfaction will be coming before the puck even drops.