Tigers @ Angels on Friday 5/12

By Totals 4 U

Hello, Sports Fans! We are now in the heart of the Major League Baseball season and will over the next couple months be looking at some interesting match ups from the diamond with a free selection each trip. The first entry takes us to the American League for Tigers @ Angels Friday night. Let’s take a look…

DETROIT: The Tigers (17-16, 8-9 road) find themselves in the middle of a very contested AL Central pack through the first fifth of the season, relying on the 3rd-best offense in the AL. 37 homers and a team slugging mark of .416 have added up to 5.00 runs per game led LF Jason Upton (.262, 7 HR, 19 RBI) and 3B Nick Castellanos who continues to improve in his 4th year, leading the squad in hits, doubles, triples, and RBIs. Manager Brad Asmus can also rely on strong offensive production at his former catcher position where McCann and Avila have combined for 11 homers and 29 ribbies.

Pitching, however, has been a real need with Detroit holding the next to last position in the Majors with a bloated 4.83 ERA. One of their biggest under-performers, RHP Jordan Zimmerman (3-1, 6.21 ERA, 1.53 WHIP), takes the hill tonight. From his days as one of the league’s best young arms with the Nationals, Zim has tumbled in his switch to the Junior Circuit. Poor control leading to too much contact remains the issue with 41 hits yielded through 33 1/3 innings. The Tigers paid $110 million over 5 years for this 2-time All Star and owner of a no-hitter but haven’t seen that guy since early 2016.

LOS ANGELES: The Angels (17-20, 10-7 home) have struggled all season from the plate, ranking 26th in runs per game (3.70), 23rd in batting average (.233), and 28th in slugging (.359). CF Mike Trout again leads the squad in most offensive categories, hitting .342 (.433 OBP, .675 SLG) with 8 homers and 10 doubles but he doesn’t have much support. DH Pujols is still getting the runs in with 25 RBI but is only hitting .239 as trade off. 3B Junel Escobar (.272, 17 RBI) has been a rare bright spot, already equaling his 2016 total of 5 long balls.

Pitching has been hit or miss this season for Manager Billy Eppler. His crew boasts the league’s 5th-best WHIP at 1.247 due to just 3.03 walks allowed per game but only manages the 19th-best ERA, getting positively clobbered by 1.46 homers allowed per game. Only the Phillies allow more long balls. Tonight’s starter, RHP Matt Shoemaker (1-2, 5.21 ERA) is a decent example. Not as stingy as his teammates with the free passes (18) but has only allowed a very respectable 33 hits over 38 innings pitched. The problem is control has led to 9 of those 33 going over the wall – already half the number he allowed all of last year.

FREE SELECTION: Pitching often beats hitting and Zimmerman has been very poor but we just can’t lay the favorite price on an offense as poor at that of the Angels while supported by another struggling starter. Take Detroit +130.

Pick up tonight’s Free Selection at the TOTALS 4 YOU HOMEPAGE

– TD at Totals 4 You

Ohio State @ Maryland on 2/11

By Totals 4 U

Hello, Sports Fans! With the very busy football seasons behind us, it is time to jump back in here by looking at some match ups down the College Basketball homestretch. First up, we head to the Big 10 Conference for Ohio State @ Maryland, tipping off 4:00 EST Saturday on ESPN…

OHIO STATE (15-10, 5-7 Big 10): The Buckeyes held off Rutgers Wednesday night with a 4-point play by Kam Williams with a minute to play, taking a 70-64 win in Columbus. 7’0″ junior C Trevor Thompson added 15 points, 13 boards, and 3 blocks to earn the crew their 2nd straight victory and just barely keeping their Big Dance hopes alive.

Thad Matta’s group is pretty well-balanced with 4 players averaging double-digit scoring, led by forwards Jae’Sean Tate (14.1p, 6.1r) and Marc Loving (11.7p, 5.0r) plus a solid big man with Thompson adding 9.4 rebounds per game to his 10.8 points.

On the injury front, Ohio State may be getting their starting point guard back in position. 6’5″ sophomore PG JaQuan Jyle (11.4p, 5.0a) has been taking a secondary role while he works through an ankle injury and represents a big step up over 6’1″ CJ Jackson (5 turnovers last game), his temporary replacement.

The Buckeyes are capable of surprising a good team in the Big 10 Tourney – and they are going to have to earn the invite they missed last season.

MARYLAND (20-4, 8-3 Big 10): The Terrapin dropped their 2nd straight Tuesday night with a lackluster 64-70 loss at middling Penn State to follow a tough 72-73 home drop to Purdue. Flat all night, Maryland managed just 20 of 59 from the field and 7 of 26 behind the arc against the Lions.

Dynamic 6’3″ junior G Melo Trimble leads the way with 16.9 points per game and is deadly from the line at .831, paired with 6’0″ Anthony Cowan (10.2p, 4.0r, 3.6a) in the back court. 6’7″ forwards Jackson (11.4p and 6.3r) and Heuerter (8.9p, 5.0r) are versatile and add some 3-point firepower (81-196 combined).

Coach Mark Turgeon’s offense starts with strong defense, allowing just 66.5 points per game on .402 shooting from the field and .320 behind the arc. Truly a team-rebounding crew with 7 players averaging at least 3 boards a game while big men Dodd, Cekovsky, and Bender are all capable of delivering a pass over the top on the break.

Wins by Wisconsin and Purdue Thursday night, paired with recent Terp losses, have ended hopes for a regular season championship but this a team that could still take the Big 10 Tourney.

FREE SELECTION: College Park will be raising a banner at the XFinity Center for former Coach Lefty Driesell. Driesell was the originator of “Midnight Basketball” back in 1971, the only coach to record 100+ wins with 4 teams, and piled up 786 wins over 41 seasons (17 at Maryland).

The Terrapins topped the Buckeyes 77-71 on January 31st in Columbus and we expect them to right the ship with a home game against a team they so recently beat. Better shooting, better on the break, a better star, and know how to grind with 17 made free-throws per contest. No line on the game yet but our prediction is 76-67 Maryland.

Pick up tonight’s Free Selection at the TOTALS 4 YOU HOMEPAGE

– TD at Totals 4 You

2016 ALCS Showdown!!

By Totals 4 U

Hello, Sports Fans! The divisional match ups of your American League Playoffs certainly held some exciting moments but 3-0 sweeps don’t exactly make for compelling series. Still looking to punch a ticket to the World Series are the Blue Jays and Indians, opening tonight from Progressive Field in Cleveland, first pitch a few minutes past 8 EST. So will this be a classic or another clunker…

Cleveland comes in as the home team after winning the AL Central and holds a better regular season mark at 94-67 to 89-73 for the Jays, though Toronto did so against a much tougher division with 334 victories by their divisional mates against the 304 of those of Cleveland. DRAW

Offensively, Cleveland was ever so slightly more productive with 4.83 runs per game versus 4.73 for Toronto. The Blue Jays hold the small edge in walks plus hits per contest at 12.30 against 12.18 plus 1.39 homers per game compared to 1.16 for the Tribe. Total bases it’s Cleveland over Toronto at 14.63 to 14.52. DRAW

Defensively, Toronto’s team 3.75 ERA and 1.224 WHIP edges Cleveland’s 3.82 and 1.236. Starters go to Toronto with a 3.64 ERA against 4.08. Relievers go to Cleveland with a 3.45 ERA versus 4.11. How about fielding? 0.53 errors per game compared to 0.54 errors per game. Which is which, you ask? Does it matter?! DRAW

Some days it sure is easier being the “Totals Guy” than picking sides between a pair so evenly matched! You can put the brooms away for the season because this is going to be a whale of an American League Championship Series. Game by game will offer the better options but at the series price we suggest to avoid playing the money-line favorite between teams so square, leaving Cleveland currently at +118. Have a great series!

Please pick up Today’s Free Selection at the Totals 4 You HOMEPAGE

– TD at Totals 4 You

What We Learned from Week 1

By Totals 4 U

Hello, Sports Fans! Coming off a fine 12-3 effort on your 2016 NFL Preseason Week 1 Totals, we’re taking a quick look today at how the stats for the openers shook out…

On the Totals Side, a combined 597 points were scored last week in 16 games for an average of 37.3 points per game. Compared to an average closing line of 36.4, a small “Over” advantage was yielded of 0.9 points per game and the results mirrored this modest edge. For the week 8 games finished over, 7 games under, with 1 push.

Over on the Covers Side, we saw much more dramatic trends that flipped after the initial set of Thursday games.

On Thursday, we saw 5 of 6 home teams cover and 4 of 6 favorite teams cash the ticket. Ride the home favs, yes? Not so much. In fact, jumping on that trend would have been very expensive. Over the remaining 10 games we saw 8 of 10 road teams cover the number while an amazing 9 of 10 underdogs got the money. In the end, home teams finished 7-9 against the line while the favorites only managed 5-11.

So what’s the trend, what’s the lesson?

After a couple decades of this pursuit we can tell you the magic answer is…don’t give much weight to trends and don’t look for many lessons! Sorry, folks, but it’s the truth. Every game must be approached individually, in solely the circumstances in play right now. Never let the last result have an exaggerated effect on the next, simply because it was the most recent, and there’s just no replacement for doing the work.

Just like life!

Pick up Today’s Free Selection at the Totals 4 You HOMEPAGE

– TD at Totals 4 You

Young Guns – Lucas Giolito

By Totals 4 U

Hello, Sports Fans! Welcome to a fresh edition of your Young Guns series where we give you a heads-up on baseball’s top pitching prospects making their jumps to the Big Leagues. Today we take a look at a very prominent talent, Lucas Giolito, who is currently ranked by many sites as the very Top-Rated Minor League Player and will get his first start for Washington Tuesday night at Nationals Park…

Lucas was projected to go #1 overall in the 2012 Draft but fell to the Nationals at 16th over elbow injury concerns and, after signing the day before his 18th birthday, underwent Tommy John surgery. A strong and timely recovery made way for 11 appearances in 2013, earning a 2014 promotion and a full season with A-Hagerstown where he dazzled with a 2.20 ERA over 20 starts, pairing 100 strikeouts with 28 walks. The South Atlantic League’s pitching MVP Award and an invite to the All-Stars Futures Game were to follow.

The 21-year-old rightie advanced again in 2015 with time at both high-A Potomac and AA-Harrisburg, posting a 3.15 ERA over those 117 innings, allowing 113 hits and just 3 homers. This season at AA-Harrisburg he’s matched those numbers with a 3.17 ERA over 71 innings, allowing 67 hits but control has been more spotty with 34 walks to go with 72 punch-outs. Lucas is coming off maybe the worst start of his pro career with 5 earned and 7 hits over just 4 2/3.

This is a Big Guy with Big Stuff. Giolito is 6’6″ and 255 pounds, bringing a fastball that has touched 100 MPH. According to Statcast this combination of release point and velocity gave hitters at the 2015 Futures Game just .38 seconds from release to plate, competitive with the very best in the Majors. Add a big-breaking 12-6 power curve plus an improving change and it’s no wonder ONLY 13 HOMERS have been hit off this kid through 324 2/3 minor league innings!

Of course the safe path for me when evaluating these youngsters is to down-play expectations but Lucas Giolito is simply the bluest of chips. The stuff is unquestionably dominating and, as a son of a prominent Hollywood family in Studio City, he’s unlikely to be shaken by the big stage. His downsides are holding runners, fielding, and occasional control problems – common to most his age.

With Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day DL again and Gio Gonzales struggling, Giolito has a legitimate shot to hang around in The Bigs but the Nationals are known as very disciplined when it comes to managing the innings of their pitchers. Expect maybe 20 or 25 more than his 117 of last season and 71 are already in this season’s books. I can’t wait for the show tonight in the Nation’s Capitol, first pitch at 7:05 EST.

Pick up Today’s Free Selection at the Totals 4 You HOMEPAGE

– TD at Totals 4 You