Chicago Cubs vs Los Angeles Dodgers MLB Picks: The Los Angeles Dodgers (11-11) and the Chicago Cubs (10-10) split the first two of their of three games at historic Wrigley Field this weekend, and the winner of Sunday’s nationally televised MLB betting affair will win the series.
LA has already plated 20 runs in the first two games of this series, which is a far cry from the 3.40 runs per game that it was putting up per game before this one got underway. Still, this isn’t a unit with much to be proud of offensively at this point, which is going to put a heck of a lot of pressure on Hiroki Kuroda to pitch well to finish the deal in the Windy City.
Kuroda has an absolutely stellar career against the Cubs, allowing just two runs, only one of which was earned in 15.1 innings of work. He has a 0.59 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP, and the Cubbies are only batting .204 against him in his career. Thus far this season, Kuroda is continuing with his rock solid pitching. For a man that just doesn’t issue that many walks, it’s no surprise to see Kuroda with just five free passes issued in four starts on the season.
However, it is surprising to see that he is only 2-2 in spite of the fact that his ERA is a solid 3.33 and his WHIP is an amazing 1.19. Of course, the Japanese sensation hasn’t gotten any help from his bullpen, which has allowed 13 runs in four games that he has pitched, and the offense hasn’t done all that much either, giving him just 3.33 runs of support in his last three outings.
In the offseason, Cubs fans were screaming to get rid of Carlos Zambrano. Maybe they’re changing their tune now. Sure, Big Z had allowed an average of four runs per start in his first three outings, but he did pick up two wins and led the team to three victories. However, his most recent start gave us some flashes of the old Big Z that we had become accustomed to seeing from a few years ago.
Zambrano allowed just three hits and one walk in eight scoreless frames against the San Diego Padres, and he struck out a whopping 10 batters. The Venezuelan knows that he is going to have to pitch well to get the benefit of his offense, which really has shown no signs of consistency yet this season. Case in point: The team only managed two runs against the Dodgers on Friday night, and then turned around and had 16 hits and 10 runs on Saturday.
Even more remarkable, though, is the fact that the Cubs have been 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, 9-9, and now 10-10 this season, and their comeback with five runs in the eighth inning on Saturday continued that streak.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs MLB Free Picks: We’re a tad puzzled as to why the Cubs are the favored team in this game on the MLB odds. The Dodgers have already proven that they are capable in this series, as their offense is just feeling it right now. Chicago is too inconsistent, and we just don’t trust that Zambrano can keep this up for any extended period of time. LA will get the job done to close out the Cubs on Sunday on TBS. Go with the Dodgers +115.
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AFC West Team 2011 NFL Picks: The 2011 NFL Draft is right around the corner, and here at NFL Picks, we’ve got all of the team needs for the AFC west squads drawn up in preparation for the NFL draft.
NFL Draft Choices: 2, 36, 46, 67, 186, 189, 247
Team Needs: DL, DB, OL, TE
2011 NFL Draft Analysis: Although John Elway isn’t sold on Tim Tebow or Kyle Orton, with all their other needs it is highly doubtful that the Broncos will take Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert with the second overall pick. Last season, Denver’s defense was the worst in the league, giving up 390 yards per game and couldn’t stop a runny nose.
Their improvement will need to start up front after giving up 4.7 yards per carry in 2010. DT Marcell Dareus is the logical pick here as he provides immediate help up front and was a great run stuffer in the middle of the line for the Crimson Tide in College. If the Panthers take Dareus, look for the Broncos to take LB Von Miller.
Kansas City Chiefs
NFL Draft Choices: 21, 55, 86, 118, 135, 140, 199, 223
Team Needs: LB, OL, DL, WR
2011 NFL Draft Analysis: Kansas City was one of the most surprising teams of the 2010 NFL season and if full of young talent that is starting to come of age. The Chiefs are pretty set at their skill position, but need help along both their lines. They would love if tackle Anthony Castonzo fell to them, but Castonzo will probably be off the board by then.
If the Chiefs are still looking to go offensive tackle, Nate Solder and Derek Sherrod are definite possibilities. An outside rusher opposite of Tamba Hali could also be selected with this pick, someone like LB Akeem Ayers or Cameron Heyward.
Draft Choices: 48, 81, 113, 148, 181, 219, 241
Team Needs: QB, OL, DB, WR
2011 NFL Draft Analysis: The Richard Seymour trade left the Raiders as the only team in the 2011 NFL Draft without a first round pick. After toiling in obscurity for close to a decade, the Raiders went a respectable 8-8 in 2010 behind a defense that was surprisingly solid.
However, the offense still needs improvement at every position save running back. Jason Campbell hasn’t worked out like Al Davis thought he would and the Raiders could look quarterback with their second round pick. It is no secret that Davis loves quarterbacks with big arms and questionable character, so Ryan Mallett could be the pick here. An offensive lineman like Ben Ijalana also makes sense in this position.
San Diego Chargers
Draft Choices: 18, 50, 61, 82, 89, 183, 201, 234
Team Needs: DL, LB, OL, WR
2011 NFL Draft Analysis: Prior to the 2010 NFL season, the Chargers had won the AFC west four years straight. However, San Diego’s traditional early season stumbling came back to bite them last year and led to the Chargers missing the playoffs. GM AJ Smith has come under fire for how he has run the team, but San Diego’s on-field success speaks to his ability as a talent evaluator.
The continuing drama surrounding WR Vincent Jackson means that wide receiver is a priority in this draft, but they are in no-man’s land at 18. Assuming the Chargers don’t trade down look for them to instead try to improve the front seven. DE Muhammad Wilkerson from Temple is a favorite of mock draft analysts to go in this spot, as are Aldon Smith, Ryan Kerrigan, and JJ Watt. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Akeem Ayers fall here either, though it would be a bit of a reach.
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2011 NFL Picks – NFL Draft Props for Round 1 Picks: The 2011 NFL Picks is here, and to get you prepped for the big time event, we have all of the best NFL props available for you for the first round of the draft!
Number of Running Backs Taken in Round 1 Over 0.5 -360 – Word came out yesterday that Alabama’s Mark Ingram has gotten a clean bill of health from Dr. James Andrews, who is always a good man to get a clean bill of health from. Someone is going to take Ingram in the first round in all likelihood, and we just don’t see him slipping out even 20% of the time. It’s a chalky proposition, but the NFL Picks are definitely on our side for at least one man toting the rock to get drafted in Round 1.
Number of Quarterbacks Taken in Round 1 over 3.5 -160 – This is really just more of a gut shot that the run on quarterbacks is going to happen at some point this year during the first round instead of late on like it did last year. We already know that Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton are going to be Top 10 (and likely Top 5) choices, but the questions are about Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett, Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder, and maybe even Collin Kaepernick. Don’t be shocked if these entire men end up hearing their names called in the first round of the draft, and we have to believe that at least two of them will get the nod.
AJ Green Draft Position Under 4.5 -190 – Barring a trade, it seems awfully likely that Green is going to end up with the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 4, and it makes a ton of sense. The Bengals are going to try to do everything that they can to keep Carson Palmer happy, and regardless, the sentiment is that Chad Ochocinco… err… Chad Johnson… is at the tail end of his career and cares a lot more about playing with FC Kansas City in the MLS than anything else. Green is a perfect fit here in the ‘Nati.
Jake Locker Draft Position Under 23.5 -130 – Locker has been all over the place on draft boards. As we mentioned before, we tend to think that there is going to be a heck of a run on quarterbacks at some point during the first round. Will that start with a team like the Tennessee Titans at No. 8? Will it start with the Minnesota Vikings or the Jacksonville Jaguars? If any of these teams come into play, Locker is coming off of the board in the teens, not in the 20s. Even so, there is a decent chance that the local Seattle Seahawks could trade up and snare Locker somewhere in the early 20s, which would also make us a winner.
Total Number of SEC Players Drafted in Round 1 over 8 -240 – This is just too good to pass up on. The SEC already has seven absolute locks in the first round of the draft, and all seven of these players are going to go in the top half of the first round in all likelihood. We know that we are going to hear the names of Cam Newton, Marcell Dareus, AJ Green, Patrick Peterson, Nick Fairley, Julio Jones, and Mike Pouncey relatively early. Beyond that though, we have a ton of other options here for the SEC to rely on. Derek Sherrod should be a first rounder, as should Mark Ingram (discussed earlier), and we wouldn’t be shocked if Randall Cobb from Kentucky snuck into the back end of the first round as well. Ryan Mallett is another possibility.
Total Number of Defensive Ends Drafted in Round 1 over 7.5 -115 – An interesting prop to say the least. We know that Robert Quinn is a Top 10 pick, and the likes of Cameron Jordan, Ryan Kerrigan, JJ Watt, Aldon Smith, and Da’Quan Bowers should all go in the mid teens to early 20s. That gives us at least six DEs, and it leaves us Adrian Clayborn, Jabaal Sheard, and Cameron Heyward to work with.
We basically needs to see two of the three end up getting drafted to be safe with this prop. It seems as though Heyward is really tied to the New York Jets at pick No. 30, and the likelihood is there that teams like the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers are going to be looking for defensive ends to help bolster some depth in this area. We tend to believe that we’ll get there with this prop at least 55 percent of the time.
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