Follow Chalk Talk On:

MLB Power Rankings (Week 4)

CE Manager 0 hours, 39 minutes ago
Blog Image

Below are my updated MLB power rankings at the start of Week 4 (April 25th):

1. Chicago Cubs (-132) - The Cubs stay atop the rankings after going 5-2 last week.  Chicago is now 15-5 on the season.  Chicago’s pitching has been terrific all year, and if their offense gets consistent, the Cubs could be an elite team.

2. Washington (-128) - Washington had another winning week; the Nationals are 14-4 after their first 18 games this season.  The Nationals’ starting pitching has been outstanding.  Washington’s offense broke out last week as they’ve scored 27 runs in six games.

3. Kansas City (-125) - Kansas City continued their winning ways this past week.  The Royals started 12-6 overall this season.  Kansas City will hit the road for a 6-game West Coast trip this week against the Angels and Mariners.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (-124) - Los Angeles is now 12-7 on the season after winning four of their last five games.  The Dodgers’ pitching staff will be happy to get out of Colorado where they gave up 18 runs in a 3-game series over the weekend.

5. Pittsburgh (-122) - The Pirates are 10-9 after three weeks of play.  Pittsburgh’s offense is in excellent form as they’ve scored 32 total runs in their last four games.  Pitching is still a concern as they gave up 25 runs in those four games.

6. St. Louis (-120) - The Cardinals are 10-8 after opening the season with an 0-3 record.  St. Louis has now won ten of their last fifteen games overall.  St. Louis’ offense has scored a whopping 111 total runs in their eighteen games this season.

7New York Mets (-118) - The Mets are heating up as they are 6-1 over their last seven games, bringing their season record to 10-7.  New York’s offense has come around; they’ve scored 54 runs in their last nine games.

8. Chicago White Sox (-117) - The White Sox went 5-2 this past week week, pushing their record to 13-6 on the season.  They have played a soft early schedule, but Chicago’s pitching has been excellent as they’ve given up 3 runs or less in 15 of their 19 games.

9. Baltimore (-116) - Baltimore is 11-6 on the season.  The Orioles have a potent offense, but their pitching is poor.  However, the pitching staff has been good recently, allowing 22 runs over their last six games.

10. Cleveland (-115) - Cleveland came into this season with high expectations, but the Indians have started their season off slow.  Cleveland is 9-7 after sixteen games.  The Indians will begin this week with momentum after a 3-game sweep in Detroit over the weekend.

11. Toronto (-114) - Toronto has been extremely disappointing so far this season.  The Blue Jays are just 10-10 over their first twenty games.  Toronto has been a streaky team, winning or losing in clusters.

12. San Francisco (-113) - San Francisco had another poor week, and the Giants are just 3-9 over their last twelve games.  Their last seven games have come at home against weak competition, so there is some concern with this team which prompted a steep drop in the rankings.

13. Boston (-114) - Boston has played .500 baseball over their first 18 games of the season.  However, that is pretty good considering the Red Sox have played a brutal schedule so far this year.

14. Detroit (-112) - Detroit is in terrible current form.  The Tigers are 8-9 overall, but they are just 2-6 over their last eight games.  In their defense, they did play the Royals and Indians in their last six games.

15. Texas (-105) - The Rangers were hot, but they just got swept in a 3-game series by the White Sox.  Texas is still a respectable 10-9 on the season.  The Rangers’ offense needs to put-up a lot runs to win because their pitching has been so poor.

16. Arizona (-102) - Arizona is 10-10 on the season despite playing a 4-game series with the Cubs, and a 3-game series against the Dodgers.  The Diamondbacks’ offense has been fantastic while scoring 30 runs in their last four games.

17. Seattle (+100) - The Mariners are 4-1 over their last five games, pushing their record to 9-9 on the season.  Seattle’s woeful offense came to life this past week as they scored 26 runs in their last four games.

18. Oakland (+105) - Oakland is 10-9 on the season after ripping off a 6-game winning streak.  The A’s play in a lot of close games; 54 one run games last season.  Oakland has already played in 8 one run games this season; they are 5-3 in those games.

19. Tampa Bay (+108) - Tampa Bay is just 8-10 in their eighteen games, but their offense has recently come around.  The Rays scored 25 total runs in their last four games, including 15 runs in their 3-game series in New York against the Yankees.

20. Los Angeles Angels (+110) - Los Angeles is just 8-11 after the first three weeks of the season.  Their offense has scored just 57 total runs in those nineteen games.  The Angels were a fortunate team last season, but they’ve had no such luck so far this season.

21. New York Yankees (+111) - New York had another rough week; they are now just 7-10 on the season.  The Yankees’ offense is in an extended slump as they’ve only scored 31 total runs in their last twelve games.

22. Milwaukee (+115) - Milwaukee is just 8-11 after three weeks of the season.  The Brewers’ pitching continues to be a major concern.  They’ve given up 113 total runs; the second most in all of baseball.

23. Cincinnati (+118) - After opening the season with a 5-1 record, Cincinnati has gone 4-9 to bring their overall record to 9-10.  Their losing ways can be mainly attributed to their poor pitching which has allowed 117 total runs on the season; the most in baseball.

24. Colorado (+120) - Colorado is a respectable 9-9 after the first three weeks of the season.  The Rockies have played a pretty tough schedule, so this team may be better than projected.

25. Philadelphia (+124) - Philadelphia opened the season at 0-4, but they’ve gone 9-6 since.  While the Phillies have moved up in the power ratings in consecutive weeks, they are still one of the worst teams in baseball.

26. Houston (+125) - The Astros have taken a major drop in the power rankings after opening the season with a 6-13 record.  Houston has simply looked terrible on the mound and at the plate, and they won’t be moving up until they show some major improvement.

27. San Diego (+127) - The Padres are just 7-12 after nineteen games this season.  Aside from scoring 29 runs in two games in Colorado, the San Diego offense had scored a total of 18 runs in their other eleven games.  But they’ve come alive lately, scoring 25 runs over their last six games.

28. Miami (+128) - Miami’s season continues to be terrible; the Marlins are just 6-11 in their first seventeen games.  Miami will stay on the road this upcoming week with 7 away games against the Dodgers and Brewers.

29. Minnesota (+129) - The Twins began this season with an 0-9 record, but they’ve gone 5-5 since to raise their record to 5-14.  Minnesota is just 1-10 on the road, so their upcoming 6-game homestand will be welcomed with open arms.

30. Atlanta (+130) - The Braves began the season winless at 0-9, but they went 4-5 over their next nine games.  However,  Atlanta is on a 5-game losing streak, and their next seven games will be against the Red Sox and Cubs.


Power Ratings compute offensive and defensive statistics into one number for each team, while accounting for factors like recent performances and strength of schedule. Power Ratings can be used as a baseline for relative spread index to compare current or future match-ups between two teams. The relative spread does not account for non-statistical factors like home-field advantage, recent injuries, game-time decisions, rivalries, publicity, and weather.

Thursday Outlook - Picks & Advice

CE Manager 8 hours, 30 minutes ago
Blog Image

Before we get down to action lets have a look to see how the Experts have faired so far in NBA and NHL playoffs, as well as MLB.

NBA Playoffs: Ben Burns: 16-8 +$7,320 | Steve Merril: 10-3 +$6,730 | Zack Cimini: 10-5 +$4,415

NHL Playoffs: Al McMordie: 9-3 +$3,816 | Brandon Shively: 1-0 +$1,000 

MLB Season to date: AAA: 29-18 +$12,453 | Steve Merril: 23-11 +$9,072 | Ben Burns: 38-14 +$6,364


Experts Consensus is now 16-7 (70%), +7,296 over the last six days and 182-121-8 (61%), +$49,715 in its last 311 plays overall. 

If you are not already a subscriber or you're not buying the guaranteed picks, you're simply missing out. For a limited time only, we are discounting the Consensus Monthly to $799 [regularly $999]. Join today and get access to Covers Experts' strongest picks!



NBA Playoffs Game 6

8:00 PM ET Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics | BOS +2 O/U: 198

The Atlanta Hawks found a formula to stop Isaiah Thomas in Game 5, and it brought them to the brink of a series win. The Hawks will try to stop a hobbled Thomas again and close out the series when they visit the Boston Celtics for Game 6 on Thursday.

The Celtics were already down 31 points in the fourth quarter of Game 5 in Atlanta when Thomas went up for a layup and rolled his ankle on the way down, effectively ending his night at seven points on 3-of-12 shooting in the 110-83 setback. Thomas, who vows to play in Game 6, averaged 35 points in home wins in Games 3 and 4 and was the clear focus of the Hawks defense in Game 5, with two players trapping every time he had the ball. “If we’re able to contain him, it gives us a better chance,” Atlanta center Al Horford told reporters. “We just wanted to be aggressive. (Thomas’) a guy that’s very capable.” The Hawks trailed by 10 points midway through the second quarter before exploding for 70 points over the next 18 minutes of the game and coasting through the fourth quarter.

Side bets: Ness' 10* Perfect Storm | Teddy's 10* Game of the Week | Shively's 10* ATS Dominator

Total Bets: Merril's 10*Playoffs TV Cash | AAA's 10* Red Dragon | Big Al's O/U Winner


NHL Playoffs Game 1

8:00 PM ET Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals | WAS - 125 O/U: 5

Alex Ovechkin doesn't look back fondly on the last time his Washington Capitals met fellow captain Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the postseason, although the encounter proved to be an epic Eastern Conference semifinal series showdown. The talented twosome put on a show in 2009 before Crosby's Penguins won the series in seven games - and later the Stanley Cup - a result Ovechkin would like to remedy when the Metropolitan Division rivals meet in Washington for Game 1 on Thursday.

"It's history," the three-time Hart Trophy-winning Ovechkin told reporters. "I don't like to look back. I'm looking forward. What was the past, it's over. Right now, it's a new challenge and a new moment in our life." Ovechkin, who collected eight goals and six assists in the 2009 series, got the Presidents Trophy-winning Capitals off on the right foot by scoring a team high-tying three goals and setting up two others in their six-game series victory over Philadelphia. Crosby, who had eight goals and five assists versus the Capitals seven years ago, recorded a team-high eight points (three goals, five assists) as the Penguins dusted off the rival New York Rangers in five contests of their opening-round series. Special teams were the name of the game for both teams as Pittsburgh's 8-for-21 38.1 percent) power-play performance led the NHL clubs in the first round, while Washington scored on eight of its 27 opportunities (29.6 percent) with the man advantage.

Moneyline: Ness' 10* Perfect Storm | Burns' 10* Game of the Week

Total: AAA's NHL Total Blockbuster 


10:10 PM ET Miami Marlins vs. L.A. Dodgers | LAD -125 O/U: 6.5

The Miami Marlins look to extend their season-high winning streak to five games and give manager Don Mattingly a sweep to remember when they visit the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday for the finale of their four-game series. Miami improved to 4-2 on its 10-game road trip with Wednesday's 2-0 triumph over the Dodgers, whom Mattingly managed from 2011-15.

Giancarlo Stanton's home run streak ended at three games, but the slugger is 21-for-66 (.318) with 21 RBIs in 18 career contests at Dodger Stadium after delivering an RBI single in the first inning Wednesday. Los Angeles managed only a pair of singles against Justin Nicolino and four relievers and dropped to 4-5 at home this season. Adrian Gonzalez did not record one of those hits, falling to 0-for-14 over his last four games at home. The Dodgers will turn to Japanese phenom Kenta Maeda to try and avoid the sweep while the Marlins counter with young ace Jose Fernandez.

Total: MLB $$$ Maker

Side: Shively's 9* Destroyer | PSP 10* MLB Game of the Week


MLB Regular Season - $999
Consensus Monthly - $799 limited time only [regularly $999]
MLB Monthly - $299
NHL Playoffs - $149 [now $50 off, originally $199]
NBA Playoffs - $299

As always, take it to the books!
The Covers-Team

The Secret Truth About NFL QB's

CE Manager 23 hours, 51 minutes ago
Blog Image

Wiseguy Report: The Secret Truth about the NFL

Everybody is talking about quarterbacks, with the NFL draft upcoming, starting on Thursday.  In recent weeks, both the St Louis Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles paid a steep price to move up to #1 and #2. The expectations are that Cal QB Jared Goff and North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz will go with the top two picks, although their draft order is still up in the air. 

If things go well with those two picks, the Rams and Eagles will be set up for the long term with above average quarterbacks.  If things go poorly with those two picks, the Rams and Eagles will be steady, consistent losers until the next time they draft a QB in the first round.  In fact, that’s exactly where the Rams have just been since they picked Sam Bradford #1 overall back in 2010.

The advanced metric pundits are all screaming ‘bad deal’ for the two teams that traded up, and ‘great deal’ for the two teams that traded down (Tennessee and Cleveland).  And the history of QB’s going #1 and #2 in the draft hasn’t seen two above average QB’s in those spots since 1971.  Here’s the list:

2015- Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota (jury’s still out on these two)

2012- Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin

1999- Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb

1998- Peyton Manning, Ryan Leaf

1993- Drew Bledsoe, Rick Mirer

1971- Jim Plunkett, Archie Manning

Tim Couch was taken ahead of Donovan McNabb in 1999, but that’s about the only instance of a #2 drafted QB outshining the guy at #1.  That list does not make the Eagles trade look particularly prescient. 

Eagles GM Howie Roseman had this to say after already locking up Sam Braford and Chase Daniel in free agency before making the move up to #2: “You look at teams and it’s clear — you have quarterbacks or you don’t, and teams that don’t have quarterbacks are looking for them, and we don’t want to be in that position going forward.……..So even though we understand that we made a commitment to Sam and Chase, we went into this offseason saying we wanted to improve the quarterback situation. We don’t want to be in a situation where we’re desperate.”

The reality is that half the league – at least -- would upgrade their QB if they could.  Brock Osweiler just got $72 million from the Texans.  RG3 got $15 million from the Browns.  Remember when the sports universe went abuzz because Andy Dalton signed a $96 million dollar deal to stay in Cincinnati?  Any warm body that can throw the football even a little bit is a valued commodity.  Becausethe secret truth about the NFL in 2016 is that there are no quarterbacks.

Look at the serviceable QB’s drafted over the last ten years.  These are not the top draftees (that list looks much worse), just the ones who have gotten some playing time.  The five QB’s on the list from the last two seasons all get ‘incomplete’ grades – too soon to tell.  But the aggregate result of the rest of this list isn’t very pretty!

2015: Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston.  

2014: Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, Teddy Bridgewater.  

2013: EJ Manuel, Geno Smith.

2012: Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson, Brock Osweiler, Nick Foles, Kirk Cousins.

2011: Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick.

2010: Sam Bradford.

2009: Matthew Stafford, Marc Sanchez.

2008: Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Chad Henne.

2007: JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, Kevin Kolb

2006: Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Jay Cutler, Charlie Whitehurst.

Look at that list closely.  Over the last ten years, there have been a grand total of three legit superstar quarterbacks to come out of college: Andrew Luck (a #1 overall pick), Cam Newton (a #1 overall pick) and Russell Wilson (the only QB under the age of 30 with a Super Bowl ring).  So basically, if you didn’t draft #1, you’ve had one chance in ten years to get an elite QB.  Hard to find that kind of needle in a haystack, isn’t it!

But it gets worse than that.  Over the last ten years, other than the three superstar QB’s, there have only been three other ‘Well Above Average’ QB’s drafted: Andy Dalton, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco.  The scary thing is that the next tier guys on the list – the Jay Cutler’s, Matthew Stafford’s and Ryan Tannehill’s of the world – look good by comparison, even though none of those three appear primed to ever lead their team to a Super Bowl.

So, we’ve got three elites, three well above average QB’s, and a handful of serviceable guys coming out of the NFL draft over the last ten years.  But when it comes to first round QB’s drafted, there’s been more busts than anything: JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert, EJ Manuel, Marc Sanchize, Josh Freeman, Tim Tebow, Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel .  Each and every one of those guys were a ‘set your franchise back at least two or three years’ type of bust, and there were more of those guys than anybody else. 

That being said, the first rounders sure were better than the second rounders, unless you think Jimmy Clausen, Pat White, Brian Brohm, John Beck or Tavaris Jackson enjoyed productive careers.

I know, I’m exaggerating, with the whole ‘There are no QB’s thing.  That being said most of the top remaining QB’s have played at least a dozen previous seasons in the NFL.  We just lost Peyton Manning.  The likes of Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers and Carson Palmer are all in or fast approaching  ‘past their prime’ territory.  And there just aren’t a new crop of QB’s ready to replace them.

Say you’re an NFL GM.  The history of recent quarterbacks drafted is nothing short of hideous.  The top free agent this offseason was Brock bleeping Osweiler, and he got a $72 million deal.  Chase Daniel got $21 million.  Who knows how much Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to command on the open market, or Brian Hoyer, the ‘Top 2’ remaining free agent QB’s?  Neither guy has much ‘Super Bowl’ upside.  And don’t expect next year’s free agent class to look much better.

If you can’t get a QB in free agency, it means that you’ve got to find a QB somewhere else.  An elite QB turns a mediocre team good (Andrew Luck in Indy) or a good team great (Russell Wilson in Seattle).  I don’t blame Roseman for paying a king’s ransom in draft picks to give the Eagles that shot, even though it’s more likely to fail than to succeed.  Quite simply, there are no other options in a league with a real dearth of talent moving forward at the quarterback position.



MLB Regular Season - $999
Consensus Monthly - $799 limited time only [regularly $999]
MLB Monthly - $299
NHL Playoffs - $149 [now $50 off, originally $199]
NBA Playoffs - $299

As always, take it to the books!
The Covers-Team

Consensus Is On Fire... 16-2 Run!

CE Manager Apr 26, 2016
Blog Image

Experts Consensus is now 16-2 (89%), +9,830 over the last five days and 182-116-8 (61%), +$55,149 in its last 306 plays overall. To put that into perspective, the average professional handicapping winning percentage is 54% and Experts Consensus has maintained a +60% win percentage for over four months straight.

If you are not already a subscriber or you're not buying the guaranteed picks, you're simply missing out. For a limited time only, we are discounting the Consensus Monthly to $799 [regularly $999]. Join today and get access to Covers Experts' strongest picks!

Streak Recap

Friday: 2-1 (+$530)

Saturday: 5-0 (+$4,700)

Sunday: 1-0 (+$800)

Monday: 5-1 (+$3,800)

Tuesday: 3-0 (+$2,900)

That's right folks, our subscribers have earned a whopping $12,730 over the last five days! Having recently updated our criteria surrounding play releases, the revamped Experts Consensus has since raked in the profits!

Haven't heard of the recent changes? Let's do a quick recap:


A minimum of three Experts must line up on the play.
There must be at least a 3:1 ratio (75%) of Experts on that side/total.
Odds and pricing restrictions in place (more details below).


Consensus plays will be priced according to how many Experts are aligned on the play, as well as special pricing on select high odds plays:

3 & 4 Experts - $60 Guaranteed/$36 Non-Guaranteed
5 Experts - $70 Guaranteed/$42 Non-Guaranteed
6 Experts - $80 Guaranteed/$48 Non-Guaranteed
7 Experts - $90 Guaranteed/ $54 Non-Guaranteed
8+ Experts - $100 Guaranteed/$60 Non-Guaranteed


All Consensus picks *released between (+115 & -115) odds will be rated 10* plays.
All Consensus picks *released between (+116 & +135) and (-116 & -135) odds will be rated 9* plays.
All Consensus picks *released between (+136 & +150) and (-136 & -150) odds will be rated 8* plays.
All Consensus picks *released at +151 odds and higher will be rated 7* plays.
All Consensus picks *released between -151 & -175 will be rated 7* plays; nothing to exceed -175.

*Odds/lines are ever changing and this is to indicate our star rating is based off the original line in which the pick is released at; and not the updated line at time of purchase or when placing your bet.


Let's get down to business and have a look to see what is going on tonight. We've got another busy day ahead of us with NBA and NHL playoffs in full swing, and dont forget the first month of MLB is coming to a close and things are starting to shape up!

2016 NBA Playoff Records

Merril: 9-2 | Cimini: 8-3 | Burns: 12-7


10:00 PM ET - Portland vs. L.A. Clippers

LAC +2 O/U: 197.5

The Los Angeles Clippers looked like things were finally breaking their way on the injury front, and then Chris Paul reached in for a steal. The fourth-seeded Clippers will be without their All-Star point guard and All-Star forward Blake Griffin when they host the fifth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.

The MCL sprain suffered by Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry on Sunday seemed to make the path to the Western Conference finals much easier for Los Angeles, but the path out of the first round got much tougher the next night. Paul reached in for a steal in the lane in the third quarter on Monday and suffered a broken third metacarpal on his right hand which required surgery on Tuesday that will keep him out for the rest of the playoff. Griffin, who missed over three months in the regular season with his own broken hand and a quad injury, re-aggravated the quad in Monday’s Game 4 loss and will also sit out the rest of the way. The Trail Blazers took advantage of Paul’s absence in Game 4 and outscored the Clippers 32-20 in the fourth quarter, marking the second straight game they pulled away late.

Side picks: Brandon Shively’s 10* NBA Moneyline DOMINATOR | BIG AL's 100% (7-0 ATS) NBA ELITE INFO WINNER!

Total picks: Updated throughout day...

11:30 PM ET - Houston vs. Golden State

GS -9.5 O/U: 211.5

The news wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but the Golden State Warriors will still be without MVP Stephen Curry when they attempt to close out the Houston Rockets at home in Game 5 on Wednesday. Curry left Sunday’s Game 4 after slipping on the floor at the end of the half and was diagnosed with a sprained MCL in his right knee.

Curry will sit for two weeks before being reevaluated, putting his availability for the next round in jeopardy should the Warriors, as expected, close out the eighth-seeded Rockets. The star guard was defending on the final play of the first half on Sunday when he slipped on a wet spot and had his right knee bend awkwardly on his way to the ground. "We said two weeks, but that's no guarantee that it will be in two weeks, might be after two weeks, might be before," Golden State general manager Bob Myers told reporters after an MRI exam on Monday. "But I think it will be somewhere in that range, hopefully." Houston had a chance to even the series with Curry limping around the locker room on Sunday at home and instead were outscored 65-38 in the second half of a 121-94 loss.


Total picks: AAA’s 10* “BIG TIGER!” (+$36,000 RUN w/ 10* NBA PICKS!) | *10* TOTAL POWER ~ *RED HOT* 16-8 Overall L4 Days!

2016 NHL Playoff Records

McMordie: 8-2 | Ness': 21-11 NHL Run

We've recently slashed our prices for the NHL playoffs! Get all picks and Expert advice from your favorite Handicapper for only $199 - Now only $149


7:00 PM ET - NY Islanders vs. Tampa Bay

TB -155 O/U: 5

Side picks: Rogers’ NHL SURE SHOT SPECIAL (Just $25!)


Total picks: *10* NHL TOTAL POWER ~ 33 Games OVER .500 This Season! | BIG AL's 10* NHL TOTAL OF THE WEEK (35-15 RUN)!

10:00 PM ET - Nashville vs. Anaheim

ANA -165 O/U: 5

Side picks: BURNS' WED. MAIN EVENT! (30-13 L9 DAYS, $49,262 IN HOCKEY PROFITS!)Larry Ness’ NHL PERFECT STORM (21-11 +$5.7K NHL RUN!)

Total picks: Updated throughout the day...


MLB Regular Season - $999
Consensus Monthly - $799 limited time only [regularly $999]
MLB Monthly - $299
NHL Playoffs - $149 [now $50 off, originally $199]
NBA Playoffs - $299

As always, take it to the books!
The Covers-Team

MLB Cheat Sheet: April 25-29

CE Manager Apr 25, 2016
Blog Image
Here's a comprehensive look at betting notes for the mid week major-league schedule:

Heating up in the desert...

The Arizona Diamondbacks came into 2016 with high expectations, but things didn't look great after losing seven of their first 10 games. They've since turned things around, and they come into Game 1 of a home series versus St. Louis as winners of six of their last eight. Slugger Paul Goldschmidt is swinging a hot bat, hitting .360 with a pair of home runs and six RBIs the last seven days. The Cardinals have won five straight at Arizona, but they will be an underdog in Game 1 with Arizona sending ace Zack Greinke to the mound.

Shooting Blanks...

Jordan Zimmerman is enjoying a fresh start in Detroit, and in his first three starts for the Tigers he's blanked the opposition, tossing 19 1/3 scoreless innings. His most recent start was him most impressive, striking out eight batters through 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a win over the Royals in Kansas City. He has a much easier matchup on Monday, facing the light-hitting A's at home.

Houston... We have a problem...

The Astros were the favorite to win the AL West this year, but so far it the other Texas team doing all the damage. The Rangers are in first, while Houston sits in the division cellar. The bullpen was a strength for Houston last year, but the Astros relievers rank 21st in the majors with a 4.13 ERA so far in 2016. They relied heavily on the long-ball last year, ranking second in the majors in homes runs with 230, just two fewer than the Blue Jays. It's going to be difficult for them to keep that kind of pace again this year. They come into Game 1 of a new series in Seattle as losers of five of their last six.

Hitting Notes

*Robinson Cano is among the major league leaders with six home runs and 14 RBIs this season, but Seattle's slugger is really struggling versus southpaws, batting .118 versus left-handed pitching. He's crushing right-handers though, batting .318. He should be in for a big series against Houston, as he's batting .346 lifetimes versus the Astros staff. Doug Fister will start Game 1, and Cano is batting .333 lifetime versus the righty.

*Nolan Arenado led the major leagues in RBIs in 2015, and tied for the most home runs with 42. So far this season it's much of the same, as his seven home runs and 17 RBIs are among the major league leaders. He'll play Game 1 of a home series versus Pittsburgh on Monday, and he'll face left-hander Jeff Locke. He's crushed the southpaw in previous meetings, batting .545 with a home run and four RBIs lifetime.

Pitching Notes

*Zack Greinke's career in Arizona got off to a rough start, as he was torched for seven runs on nine hits in a home loss to Colorado in his Diamondbacks debut. He followed that up with another home loss to the Cubs, but has since delivered consecutive dominant performances in a pair of road wins. He will get a chance to pick up his first home win of the season against the Cardinals, and he's 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA in four starts versus St. Louis since 2013.
*Jake Arrieta tossed his second career no-hitter in Cincinnati last week, and he's been pretty close to untouchable so far. Arrieta (4-0, 0.87 ERA) has blanked the opposition in three of four starts. His next start comes on the road in Milwaukee, and he's 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his last three starts at Miller Park.

Totals Streak

Coors Field is renowned to be the most hitter friendly park in the majors, so it's no surprise when the over is trending in Colorado. The Rockies are coming off a home series versus LA, and the series finale saw both teams combine to score 22 runs. The Pittsburgh Pirates are in town this week, and we should see plenty of offense in this series. The Pirates have gone over in seven of their last eight road games, while the Rockies have gone over in six of their last seven at home.

Injury Notes 

*Rockies ace Jorge De La Rosa was scheduled to start Game 1 versus Pittsburgh, but he's battling a flu bug. Chad Bettis will get the call, starting opposite Jeff Locke.

*The Cleveland Indians will be without right-hander Carlos Carrasco for a while after he suffered a hamstring injury on Sunday. He had to be helped off the field in the third inning versus Detroit, and he will have an MRI on Monday.

MLB Regular Season - $999
MLB Monthly - $299
Expert MLB Picks - starting at $15

As Always, take it to the books.
Covers Team