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National League Championship Series Betting Preview

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The technical angles favoring San Francisco right-hander Tim Hudson are simply overwhelming as the 38-year-old veteran is a profitable 28-10 (+15.9 units) at home, 17-3 (+13.2 units) as a home favorite and 16-2 (+13.8 units) at home with a total between 7 and 8.5 runs. Hudson is also 73-30 (+26.1 units) following a loss, 105-58 (+32.5 units) in day games and 74-30 (+29.0 units) as a home favorite of -175 or less. Let’s also note that San Francisco is 9-3 in Hudson’s last twelve home starts, while the Giants are 9-1 in their last ten home games versus teams with a losing road record and 7-1 in their last eight games versus National League Central foes.

Trends Favoring San Francisco:

  • Giants are 10-3 in their last 13 home games vs. right-handed starters
  • Giants are 24-9 in their last 33 games as favorites
  • Giants are 21-8 in their last 29 playoff games
  • Giants are 16-5 in their last 21 home games
  • Giants are 21-7 in their last 28 games with a total between 7 and 8.5 runs

Hudson looked very good in his lone postseason start versus the Nationals against whom he allowed just one run over 7 1/3-innings of work (8/0 K/BB). Overall, Hudson has garnered a 3.48 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 2014, including issuing a mere 34 walks in 196 2/3-innings pitched.

Important Metrics: Tim Hudson:

  • 3.57 xFIP overall in 2014
  • 3.66 SIERA overall in 2014
  • 3.32 xFIP at home
  • 3.36 SIERA at home

Hudson now faces an anemic St. Louis lineup that is batting just .252 with a .311 on base percentage this season (3.9 runs per game), including hitting .245 with a .301 on base percentage on the road (3.6 runs per game) and .227 with a .278 on base percentage in postseason play (3.8 runs per game). Hudson is also supported by an outstanding San Francisco bullpen that owns a 2.99 ERA and 1.05 WHIP this season, including a 2.96 ERA and 1.05 WHIP at home, a 2.78 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in day games and a 2.55 ERA and 0.81 WHIP in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, St. Louis starter John Lackey is an entirely different pitcher on foreign soil where he is 7-7 with a 4.73 ERA and 1.36 WHIP this season. Lackey is also 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in day games, which is bad news for the veteran hurler as the Giants are 39-27 (+11.5 units) under the afternoon sun (4.6 runs per game). How different is lackey on the road as compared to at home? Consider these advanced analytics:

Lackey at Home in 2014: 3.19 xFIP & 2.76 FIP
Lackey on the Road in 2014: 3.79 xFIP & 4.84 FIP

A 3.94 xFIP and 4.20 FIP in the second half of this season also doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in the right-hander. I should also note that the Cardinals’ bullpen owns a pedestrian 3.79 ERA and 1.24 WHIP on the road this season. Finally, tonight’s home plate umpire, Gerry Davis, is a 64% winning proposition for home teams over the last three seasons (62-35), including posting a 73.3% win rate for home squads this year (22-8). The home team is a remarkable 37-15 in Davis’ last 52 games behind home plate. Take San Francisco and invest with confidence.