Alright, the NCAA tournament is over and (puke) Duke is the Champion. I’ll live with it. What it really means is that College Basketball is out until late next fall and Major League Baseball is in. A few times a week, similar to my NBA picks, I’ll drop some baseball advice for the gambling folk. Here are my sports picks for Thursday, April 6th.
Oklahoma Thunder (+5.5) @ Utah Jazz (4-6: 7:00 PM ET): This game is huge for both teams as the Jazz currently sit in a tie for 2nd while the Thunder are 1.5 games back from the Jazz, and just a game and a half ahead of Portland, the current 8-seed. A loss for either team could end up costing them home court advantage in the playoffs – like I said, this one is big. The Jazz are very tough at home, but the Thunder play plenty of close games, have one of the most unstoppable scorers in the game, and most importantly have won 3 games in a row against Utah – they go for the season sweep tomorrow. They might not get the sweep, but I’m thinking they do – either way, I’m going for the cover.
New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox (-140) (4-6: 7:10 PM ET) (Burnett vs. Lester): A.J. Burnett and Jon Lester get a chance to do their dirty work in Boston on Tuesday Night – only it’s likely that Burnett’s work will be dirtier than Jon’s, and not in a good way. Lester had an ERA of 4.43 against the Yankees last season, about one run above his average. He was 1-1 in 4 starts against New York. However, Lester was also a whole run better at home than he was on the road – so things are starting to even out. He allowed just 5 home runs in Boston’s hitter friendly park compared to 15 away from home – another thing going good for the Sox. That should help shut down the power bats in the Yankees lineup. Burnett had an 8.85 ERA in 4 starts against the Red Sox, going 0-2 last season. He allowed more than a run more per game on the road than at home, and he pitched just 20 innings in his 4 appearances against the Red Sox, plus it’s early, so that Yankee bullpen should be tested today. Burnett’s struggles against the Red Sox teamed with Boston’s early season dominance of the Yankees makes tomorrows game a pretty good bet on the Red Sox to win.