Wednesday, September 30, 2015

MLB Recap: Houston Astros (7) vs. Seattle Mariners (6) - 9/30/2015

MLB Recap: Houston Astros (7) vs. Seattle Mariners (6) - Date: 9/30/2015 Colby Rasmus' broken-bat RBI single capped Houston's rally from a three-run deficit, and the Astros retook the lead in the race for the second AL wild-card spot, beating the Seattle Mariners 7-6 on Wednesday night. A day after being passed by the Angels, the Astros moved back in front of Los Angeles, which lost at home to Oakland. Baseball Picks. The Astros are a half-game ahead going into their final series of the season beginning on Friday in Arizona. Astros relievers Will Harris and Oliver Perez worked through two errors by rookie shortstop Carlos Correa for a scoreless eighth. Luke Gregerson pitched the ninth for his 31st save, capped when center fielder Carlos Gomez caught a line drive by Franklin Gutierrez and doubled pinch-runner James Jones off first base to end the game. < a href="https://www.cappertek.com/todaysPicks.asp?sport=MLB">Free MLB Baseball Picks. Trailing 6-3, the Astros got a three-run homer from Chris Carter, his 24th of the season, in the sixth inning to draw even. Rasmus' blooper off Danny Farquahar (1-7) over a drawn-in infield scored pinch-runner Jonathan Villar in the seventh to give Houston the lead. Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz hit back-to-back homers in the fifth for Seattle. Seager hit a three-run shot, his 26th of the season and a new career-high. Cruz followed with his 44th to give Seattle a 6-3 lead, putting him one behind Baltimore's Chris Davis for the most in the majors. Houston's bullpen managed to pitch shutout ball over the final four innings. Seattle had runners on the corners and two outs in the seventh but Tony Sipp (3-4) got Brad Miller to fly out and end the threat. Houston took the lead in the seventh after Evan Gattis tripled with one out, helped by Miller in right f ield taking a bad step and slipping. Rasmus followed with a broken-bat blooper over the infield. Luis Valbuena hit his 24th homer of the season for Houston, a solo shot as part of a three-run fifth inning. Jose Altuve and Correa also had RBIs in the inning. ROTATION SETAstros: Houston will go with Dallas Keuchel in the series opener on Friday night in Arizona, followed by Collin McHugh on Saturday and a starter to be determined for Sunday's regular season finale. Manager A. J. Hinch said the decision to have Keuchel throw on Friday leaves open the chance he could pitch in the AL wild-card game next Tuesday if the Astros make the postseason. Mariners: Felix Hernandez is done for the season and will not pitch in the final series against Oakland. Manager Lloyd McClendon said he didn't want to extend Hernandez for one more spot in games that don't have any meaning. Hernandez finished the year 18-9. UP NEXTAstros: Houston has an off-day before beginning final series i n Arizona against the Diamondbacks. Mariners: Seattle has a day off before opening final series at home against Oakland.  

MLB Recap: Milwaukee Brewers (5) vs. San Diego Padres (0) - 9/30/2015

MLB Recap: Milwaukee Brewers (5) vs. San Diego Padres (0) - Date: 9/30/2015 Zach Davies pitched seven innings and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the San Diego Padres 5-0 on Wednesday night. Davies (3-2) did not allow a run for a second consecutive start, having shut out the Chicago Cubs over six innings in his last outing. He struck out six and walked two. Hernan Perez and Martin Maldonado drove in two runs each in the Brewers' five-run sixth inning. Perez and Maldonado had two hits apiece. Sports Handicapper Reviews. The shutout is the seventh of the season for Milwaukee, which has won five of its last seven games. San Diego starter Andrew Cashner (6-16) struck out four of the first five batters in the game, but left after allowing five consecutive hitters to reach in the fifth. He gave up five runs and nine hits, while striking out seven and walking t wo. Padres outfielder Justin Upton left the game in the first inning after crashing into the wall while fielding a ground ball near the third base line. Upton remained on the ground following the collision and was helped off the field. San Diego has lost three straight and four of five, and was shut out for the 19th time this season. MLB Baseball Handicappers. TRAINER'S ROOMPadres: OF Matt Kemp (finger) will need 4-to-6 weeks to recover from a right middle finger strain and will not play again this season. UP NEXTBrewers: RHP Taylor Jungmann (9-7, 3.64) lost his last start in St. Louis after allowing six runs in five innings. He has not won a start since Sept. 3 against Pittsburgh. Padres: RHP Ian Kennedy (8-15, 4.38) takes the mound for San Diego following an outing in which he allowed four runs over five innings to San Francisco but did not factor in the decision. Kennedy has lost four straight.  

MLB Recap: Los Angeles Dodgers (0) vs. San Francisco Giants (5) - 9/30/2015

MLB Recap: Los Angeles Dodgers (0) vs. San Francisco Giants (5) - Date: 9/30/2015 Mike Leake pitched a two-hitter for his first career shutout, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 on Wednesday night. A day after being eliminated from playoff contention, the Giants jumped to an early lead, then rode Leake to beat the Dodgers for the eighth time in nine games at AT&T Park. Leake (11-10) struck out one and walked three to win for just the second time in nine starts since being acquired in a trade from Cincinnati on July 30. Sports Handicapping Sites. The impending free agent faced only three over the minimum. Jimmy Rollins singled in the fourth for the Dodgers, who remain one game behind the New York Mets for the No. 2 seed in the NL. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The two teams will pl ay each other in the NL Division Series, though homefield advantage for that showdown has yet to be decided. Matt Duffy had three hits, including a two-run home run, while Nick Noonan hit his first career homer for the Giants, who have won four of five. Game Fixing. The game drew another sellout crowd to the Giants' waterfront ballpark, but had far less emotion than Tuesday's game, which ended with Los Angeles players celebrating their third consecutive NL West title in the defending World Series champions' stadium. Free MLB Baseball Picks. There was no celebration this time, though the Giants relished playing spoiler to their long-time rivals by keeping them behind the Mets. Duffy hit his 12th home run of the season in the first after Kelby Tomlinson drew a one-out walk off Dodgers starter Mike Bolsinger (6-6). Duffy, who went into the game leading all NL rookies in hits, also singled in the sixth and in the ninth. Angel Pagan reached on an infield single in the third when Bolsinger was late covering the bag, and Tomlinson followed with an RBI double into the right field corner to make it 2-0. Noonan homered off Joel Peralta in the seventh. Bolsinger gave up three runs and four hits in 3 1-3 innings. He struck out seven and walked two but remained winless since Sept. 4. Make Money Betting Sports. TRAINER'S ROOMDodgers: Yasiel Puig faced live pitching but has not yet been cleared to run the bases. Puig has been out since Aug. 28 with a hamstring injury. Giants: 1B Brandon Belt underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Belt, who hasn't played since Sept. 18, has been sidelined with a concussion and recently visited concussion specialist Dr. Michael Collins in Pittsburgh. He's expected to be recovered i n time for spring training. . INF Nori Aoki is also meeting with Collins to see if he can be cleared to return before the season ends. UP NEXTDodgers: LHP Brett Anderson (9-9) pitches against San Francisco on Thursday afternoon. Anderson has beaten the Giants just once in eight previous career starts. Giants: RHP Tim Hudson (8-8) will make the final start of his 17-year career in the series finale. Hudson, a four-time All-Star, has 222 career wins, including two against the Dodgers this season.  

MLB Recap: Colorado Rockies (1) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (3) - 9/30/2015

MLB Recap: Colorado Rockies (1) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (3) - Date: 9/30/2015 Chase Anderson pitched effectively into the sixth inning in a combined five-hitter and the Arizona Diamondbacks scratched out a 3-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night. Anderson was solid in his last start of the season, allowing a run on four hits in 5 1-3 innings. Randall Delgado (8-4) got the final out in the sixth. Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a run-scoring single off Chad Bettis (8-6), and Phil Gosselin and David Peralta each had sacrifice flies. Arizona stranded 11 runners and went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position. Daniel Hudson worked around a single in the ninth for his fourth save. Nolan Arenado hit a double in the fourth inning to become the fourth Rockies players with at least 40 doubles, 40 homers and 120 RBIs in a season. He joined Todd Helton (twice), Ellis Burks and Larry Walker. In his las t outing, Anderson struck out a career-high 10 and allowed a run in six innings, but ended up with a no-decision in the 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Inside Info. The right-hander didn't pile up the strikeouts against the Rockies, but worked around traffic to end the season with his team winning. Anderson fanned four. DJ LeMahieu drove in the lone run against Anderson in the second inning with a sacrifice fly after Justin Morneau hit his third triple of the season. Bettis had been solid since coming off the DL with elbow inflammation on Aug. 24, going 3-1 with a 3.24 ERA in six starts. Bettis escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second and stranded a runner at third in the third before giving up a sacrifice fly to Gosselin in the fifth. Bettis allowed two runs - one earned - on six hits with six strikeouts and three walks. Peralta put Arizona up 3-1 with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Free MLB Baseball Picks. TRAINER'S ROOMDiamondbacks: Brito replaced Ender Inciarte (bruised shin) in right field. UP NEXTRockies: RHP David Hale, Thursday's starter against the Diamondbacks, is 0-1 with an 8.71 ERA in three career games vs. Arizona. Diamondbacks: LHP Patrick Corbin is 3-2 with a 2.27 ERA heading in his final start of the season, Thursday against Colorado.  

MLB Recap: Kansas City Royals (5) vs. Chicago White Sox (3) - 9/30/2015

MLB Recap: Kansas City Royals (5) vs. Chicago White Sox (3) - Date: 9/30/2015 Eric Hosmer hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the 10th inning, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3 on Wednesday night to clinch home-field advantage in an AL Division Series. Ben Zobrist singled with one out, and Hosmer drove a pitch from David Robertson (6-5) into the bullpen in right field to give the Royals the lead. For Hosmer, it was his 18th homer of the season. Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas also homered for Kansas City, which had already clinched the AL Central title. Good Return on Investment. They will host the first two games of their ALDS, and a Game 5 if necessary. Combined with Toronto splitting its doubleheader in Baltimore, the Royals pulled within a game of the Blue Jays for home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. Toronto did win the season series, giving it the tiebreaker over the Royals. Handicapper Directory. The win was a painful one for Kansas City. In the seventh, Lorenzo Cain fouled a pitch from Jose Quintana off his right knee. He remained in the game and grounded out to third but he didn't make it to first and was replaced in the bottom of the inning. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Royals said Cain has a right knee contusion and is day-to-day. Edinson Volquez went six innings, allowed one run and nine hits while striking out five but couldn't pick up his first win since Sept. 8. Franklin Morales (4-2) pitched a scoreless inning in relief and Wade Davis picked up his 15th save in 16 tries. Quintana remained winless since Sept. 12 despite going nine i nnings while allowing three runs and five hits. Chicago gave Quintana a 1-0 lead in the second on Adam Eaton's run-scoring single. Sports Picks Today. The White Sox had three singles off Volquez in the first and three more in the second but only scored one run. Gordon led off the third with his 13th home run over the fence in deep left-center field. Moustakas' two-run homer in the sixth gave Kansas City a 3-1 lead. Jose Abreu hit his 30th homer in the seventh for Chicago to pull within 3-2. In the eighth, Chicago tied the game with a double by Tyler Flowers when his drive to right off Kelvin Herrera went over Paulo Orlando's head and bounced over the wall, bringing in Tyler Saladino. Flowers had four hits to match a career high. Free MLB Baseball Picks. TRAINER'S ROOMRoyals: OF Jarrod Dyson replaced Cain in center field. White So x: INF Micah Johnson will have surgery on his left knee Thursday. Manager Robin Ventura said he didn't have a timetable for when Johnson would return to baseball activities. ''It's not that big a deal but it's enough to go in and fix it,'' Ventura said. UP NEXTKansas City RHP Kris Medlen (5-2, 4.30) faces Chicago LHP John Danks (7-14, 4.53). Medlen is 4-0 with a 1.13 ERA in three starts and eight outings on the road in 2015.  

MLB Recap: Detroit Tigers (2) vs. Texas Rangers (6) - 9/30/2015

MLB Recap: Detroit Tigers (2) vs. Texas Rangers (6) - Date: 9/30/2015 Elvis Andrus and the AL West-leading Texas Rangers know they are getting close to another postseason berth.'' Yeah, we're feeling great right now, but can't stop playing the way we're doing right now because we're getting close,'' Andrus said. ''We're pretty confident.'' After a 6-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night, the Rangers have to win only once in their final four games against the Los Angeles Angels to be guaranteed a playoff spot.'' I think you can't help but feel it. We also believe in the fact that these guys are in the now ... no opportunity wasted,'' first-year Texas manager Jeff Banister said. ''They really don't get caught up with what's down the road, but I believe that it brings a sense of energy and a little added energy for us, and some adde d focus.'' Adrian Beltre hit the first of three Texas home in the win over the Tigers. Robinson Chirinos and Mike Napoli also went deep for the Rangers (86-72), who open that final regular-series at home against the Angels on Thursday night. Los Angeles lost 8-7 Wednesday against Oakland to fall three games back in the division. Houston, with the same 83-75 record as the Angels, played at Seattle later Wednesday night. Football Tipsters. The Rangers won the AL West title in 2010 and 2011 on way to their only World Series appearances. MLB Baseball Handicappers. They lost the AL's first one-and-done wild-card game at home in 2012, then dropped a wild-card tiebreaker at home in 2013 before losing 95 games last season. Yovani Gallardo (13-11) allowed nine hits over 5 1-3 innings, but gave up only two runs to win for the first time in his last four starts. Todays Free Sports Picks. The right-hander struck out five and walked one. Detroit took a 2-0 lead in the first inning for the second night in a row, this time on a two-run double by Tyler Collins. Free MLB Baseball Picks. Texas got even in the bottom of the first on Beltre's 17th homer, a shot to left-center field. Beltre has an AL-best 29 RBIs in September, and 74 for the season. Chirinos led off the second with his 10th homer, putting Texas ahead to stay. Beltre had a two-out double off the left-center wall and scored on Prince Fielder's bloop single before Napoli hit a blast to the wall behind the lower deck of seats in left field. Beltre is hitting .416 (32 of 77) in his last 19 games, raising his season average from .261 to .283.'' The captain, the guy that sits right in the middle of our club, beacon that all these guys look towards,'' Banister said. Best Sports Picks Today. Tigers left-hander Matt Boyd (1-6) allowed all three Texas homers while giving up seven hits in 2 2-3 innings. He struck out two and walked one.'' My changeup usually doesn't get hit that hard. It wasn't the only thing that was hit,'' Boyd said. ''I wasn't really staying with my delivery. Didn't have the rhythm like I've the past three outings.'' SHIN-SOO'S STREAKShin-Soo Choo, who singled and scored before Beltre's homer in the first, has an eight-game hitting streak and is batting .444 (24 of 54) over his past 14 games. He has reached base in 49 of his last 51 games. GALLARDO'S MARKSGallardo matched his career high by making his 33rd start. He became the sixth pitcher to make at least 30 starts and throw 180 innings the past seven seas ons. One of the others is teammate Cole Hamels. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. TRAINER'S ROOMTigers: Victor Martinez missed his second consecutive game with a sore left quad. ... 3B Nick Castellanos was back in the lineup after coming out in the first inning Tuesday because of a bruised right finger and sore left wrist. Rangers: C Robinson Chirinos made only his second start since being activated from the disabled list Sept. 7 after missing more than a month with a left shoulder strain. UP NEXTTigers: After its final off day of the season, Detroit opens a three-game series Friday night at the Chicago White Sox. Rangers: LHP Derek Holland, 0-2 with an 8.59 ERA his last four starts, pitches the series opener against the Angels.  

MLB Recap: Boston Red Sox (9) vs. New York Yankees (5) - 9/30/2015

MLB Recap: Boston Red Sox (9) vs. New York Yankees (5) - Date: 9/30/2015 The Yankees' normally steady bullpen wasted a chance to clinch New York's first playoff berth in three years when Dellin Betances gave up a tying homer and Andrew Bailey allowed the go-ahead hit in Boston's 9-5, 11-inning victory Wednesday night. After losses in the first two games of the four-game series and with the chance to wrap up a wild-card berth, the Yankees rallied from a 3-0 deficit. Alex Rodriguez's first homer in two weeks gave them a 5-4 lead in the sixth. But on a night when Masahiro Tanaka struggled early in his return from a hamstring injury, the Yankees stumbled again. Still, they need just one win in their final four games to earn the playoff spot. Mookie Betts tied it with a seventh-inning homer off Betances - who has allowed six homers this season, all from July 4 on. Betts connected again in 11th to cap Boston's season -high sixth straight victory and again deny the Yankees their 10,000th win. Bailey (0-1) gave up an RBI single to Deven Marrero with one out in the 11th. Chasen Shreve yielded a run-scoring sacrifice to Jackie Bradley Jr. and a two-run homer to Betts. New York, which dropped to 65-3 when leading after six innings. left 15 on base and was 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position. Sports Handicapping Monitor. Tanaka was rusty in his first start in 12 days, returning from a right hamstring strain to make what should be his final tuneup before a likely start in the wild-card game on Tuesday. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Japanese star entered with a deceptive 3-0 record against Boston. He allowed 10 earned runs in those starts, but the Yankees romped to big wins in each. He had trouble Wednesday, too, allowing four runs and fi ve hits in five innings on 95 pitches. He quickly fell behind, giving up a three-run homer to Travis Shaw in the first. David Ortiz's RBI single in the third gave him 105 RBIs. Sports Cappers. TRAINER'S ROOMRed Sox: Rusney Castillo (Right quadriceps) was out of the lineup for a third straight game. Interim manager Torey Lovullo said the leg is still has ''soreness and tenderness.'' ... RHP Steven Wright (concussion) still has some symptoms and has not passed the concussion test. He was examined by a specialist in Pittsburgh on Wednesday but the results of the tests were not yet available. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval (pneumonia) has not played since Sept. 20. He's unlikely to play again this season. ''To resume all baseball activities would be very challenging to him,'' Lovullo said. Yankees: 2B Stephen Drew (dizziness) went to Pittsburgh to see a concussion specialist. Girardi assumes Drew will be back in New York on Thursday. UP NEXTRed Sox: Rich Hill is 2-0 in three starts. Has 10 Ks in each of the outings. Hill, who has pitched in parts of 11 big league seasons, pitched briefly this summer for the Long Island Ducks, an independent league team. Yankees: CC Sabathia (5-10) is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in four starts since coming off the DL (right knee inflammation) on Sept. 9.  

MLB Recap: New York Mets (5) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (7) - 9/30/2015

MLB Recap: New York Mets (5) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (7) - Date: 9/30/2015 Yoenis Cespedes and the New York Mets felt they'd caught a lucky break - no broken bones for the slugger. Cespedes wound up with bruises on two fingers of his left hand after he was hit by a pitch Wednesday night in a testy, 7-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. X-rays were negative on Cespedes, struck on the ring and middle fingers.'' That's always scary,'' Mets manager Terry Collins said. ''Very relieved he's OK.'' Cespedes was hit by Justin De Fratus and came out of the game.'' I felt pain when I first got hit,'' Cespedes said through a translator. ''I was relieved when X-rays came back negative.'' De Fratus said it was a sinker that got away.'' I hope he's OK,'' he said. ''We don't want to be doing them any favors, but that's not the way I want to do it. I feel bad about it.'' Acquired at the July 31 trade deadline from Detroit, Cespedes is batting .287 with 17 homers and 44 RBIs in 54 games with the Mets. Overall, he has set career highs this season with 35 home runs and 105 RBIs. Cespedes exited in the third inning after being hit, but returned to the dugout in the sixth when the benches started to empty following a high-and-tight pitch. Cespedes' replacement, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, later was hit. After that, Odubel Herrera of the Phillies was plunked in the back. Leading Handicappers. The three hit batters prompted a warning to both teams before Hansel Robles' head-high pitch sent Philadelphia's Cameron Rupp to the ground in the sixth. Robles and Collins were ejected.'' It was a fastball that got away,'' Robles said. Said Collins, ''You can't miss that bad up around the head.'' Daniel Murphy and M ichael Conforto homered for the NL East champion Mets, who began the day with a one-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage in the Division Series. Freddy Galvis drove in two runs for the Phillies and scored the go-ahead run in the sixth on a wild pitch. Ken Roberts (1-1) retired one batter. Seven Phillies relievers combined to pitch 8 1-3 scoreless innings, capped by Ken Giles working the ninth for his 15th save in 19 chances. Bobby Parnell (2-4) faced three batters and retired none of them. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The teams combined to use 17 pitchers in the 3-hour, 59-minute game.'' It was an ugly game,'' Collins said. ''We have to get rekindled here. We'll get it going.'' Darin Ruf had a two-run double for the Phillies. Good Sports Handicappers. The Phillies went ahead with three runs on one hit in the sixth, with Galvis scoring on Carlos Torres' wild pitch. Conforto's two-run homer with two outs in the first made it 5-0 and finished Alec Asher. FILLING INLogan Verrett made a spot start for the Mets in place of Steven Matz and surrendered three runs on four hits in 4 1-3 innings. Matz originally was slated to pitch, but the rookie's outing was pushed back a day after he woke up Tuesday with a sore back. Collins said prior to Wednesday's game that the back issue was lingering and Matz would not appear on Thursday, either. After the game, Collins indicated that Matz was feeling batter following treatment and medication for muscle spasms. CENTURY MARKThe Phillies need to win two of their last four games to avoid losing 100 games for the first time since 1961.'' I know I wake up every day, knowing I don't want to lose 100 games,'' De Fratus said. ''That wouldn't be a nice thing to sit on i n the offseason.'' TRAINER'S ROOMMets: SS Wilmer Flores left the game in the fourth inning with lower back stiffness. Phillies: Manager Pete Mackanin said prior to Wednesday's game that 1B Ryan Howard, out since Sept. 14 after getting hit on the left knee by a ball at first base, may not play the rest of the season. ... 3B Maikel Franco plans to rejoin the team for their season-ending weekend series against the Marlins, which begins Friday. Franco, who has been on the DL since Aug. 12, is scheduled to arrive in Philadelphia late Thursday morning. UP NEXTRHP Jerad Eickhoff (2-3, 3.07) takes the mound for the Phillies in the conclusion of the three-game series at 12:05 p.m. on Thursday. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The start time was changed from 7:05 p.m. due to the impending storms in the Northeast expected from Hurricane Joaquin. LHP Sean Gilmartin (3-1, 2.58) will start for the Met s.  

MLB Recap: Oakland Athletics (8) vs. Los Angeles Angels (7) - 9/30/2015

MLB Recap: Oakland Athletics (8) vs. Los Angeles Angels (7) - Date: 9/30/2015 One day after the Angels completed a two-month chase by passing Houston for the second AL wild-card spot, Los Angeles committed four errors and gave up seven unearned runs in an 8-7 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night that further complicated the AL playoff race. Mike Trout hit his 41st homer and was on third base when Sean Doolittle retired pinch-hitter Collin Cowgill on a game-ending groundout. Sports Handicapping Service Winning Streaks. That completed a five-out save in a wild regular-season home finale for the Angels (83-75), who dropped back into a tie with the Astros. Houston played a late game at Seattle. Stephen Vogt hit a tiebreaking, two-run single during Oakland's four-run rally in the seventh inning. Eric Sogard had an early three-run double for the last- place A's, who won for the second times in 11 games. Los Angeles hit five homers, including Kole Calhoun's leadoff shot in the ninth. Johnny Giavotella hit a go-ahead homer in the sixth inning for the Angels, who finish the season with four games at AL West-leading Texas. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. Trout went 3 for 3 with a homer. He also drew his second walk in the ninth after Calhoun's 25th homer. Doolittle then got Albert Pujols on a popup and C. J. Cron on a 350-foot line drive before David Freese singled. Cowgill, getting just his fourth at-bat since Sept. 5, meekly tapped the first pitch he saw to third. What is Sports Handicapping. The Angels' short-handed bullpen gave up five runs in two innings after the departure of Garrett Richards, who wasn't sharp despite six innings of two-hit ball. Mike Morin (3-2 ) combined with Trevor Gott on a disastrous seventh capped by Vogt's big hit. Freese and Carlos Perez also homered for the Angels. Ryan Dull (1-1) got five outs for his first major league win. Barry Zito pitched four innings in perhaps the final start of his major league career, leaving with a lead despite yielding four hits and four walks. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The 37-year-old Zito, a 15-year veteran and former Cy Young Award winner, spent most of this season in the minors. freepick. Trout connected against Zito, matching Troy Glaus' 41 homers in 2011 for the second-highest season total in Angels history. Richards yielded no earned runs, but walked four and gave up Sogard's big two-out hit in the fourth to cap a rally aided by Giavotella's error. Giavotella drilled a two-out pitch from Edward Mujica into the bullpen for his fourth homer - his first since June 18. Calhoun added an RBI double later in the sixth to put Los Angeles up 5-3, but the A's rallied in the seventh after an error by Giavotella's defensive replacement, Taylor Featherston. Mark Canha had an RBI single before Josh Reddick drew a bases-loaded walk to tie it, and Vogt delivered a two-out, two-strike single. Oakland added another run in the eighth, which featured C. J. Cron's error and Trout's horrible misplay on a hit to center that was ruled a triple. Free MLB Baseball Picks. TRAINER'S ROOMAthletics: Carson Blair had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. The catcher should be ready for spring training. Angels: Joe Smith pitched for the first time since Sept. 17, returning after spraining his ankle on a hotel staircase. UP NEXTAthletics: After a day off, Aaron Brooks (2-4, 7.26 ERA) opens the season-ending series in Seattle . Angels: Rookie Andrew Heaney (6-3, 3.29 ERA) opens the crucial four-game series at Texas.  

MLB Recap: Chicago Cubs (10) vs. Cincinnati Reds (3) - 9/30/2015

MLB Recap: Chicago Cubs (10) vs. Cincinnati Reds (3) - Date: 9/30/2015 Austin Jackson drove in a career-high five runs and Jon Lester set a Chicago season record for strikeouts by a left-handed pitcher, leading the playoff-bound Cubs to a 10-3 victory over the last-place Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, their fourth straight win. What is Sports Handicapping. The Cubs will play the Pirates in next week's NL wild-card game, as St. Louis clinched the NL Central Wednesday. Lester's strikeout of Ivan De Jesus Jr. in the fifth inning was his 203rd of the season, snapping the franchise record for a left-hander set by Ken Holtzman in 1970. Lester (11-12) finished with nine strikeouts and retired the last 20 batters he faced. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Reds lost their 11th straight, equaling their longest lo sing streak since dropping 12 consecutive in 1993. Starlin Castro homered and had four hits for Chicago. Free Guaranteed Sports Picks. The Cubs reached double figures in runs for the first time since a 14-5 win over Arizona on Sept. 4. Anthony Rizzo doubled to lead off the fourth, snapping a 0-for-11 slump, and scored on Addison Russell's single. In the fifth, Jackson followed Lester's leadoff single with a one-out RBI double. Jackson added a bases-loaded two-run single in Chicago's three-run eighth. Castro led off the sixth with his 11th homer of the season, helping knock Anthony DeSclafani out of the game in the pitcher's final start this year. DeSclafani (9-13), who finished as the team leader with 31 starts, lost his last three. With Todd Frazier and Joey Votto sidelined with minor injuries, the Reds scored their only runs on two Jay Bruce sacrifice flies and one by Brandon Phillips. < a href="https://www.cappertek.com/todaysPicks.asp?sport=MLB">Free MLB Baseball Picks. TRAINER'S ROOMReds: 3B Todd Frazier was scratched from the starting lineup with stiffness in his lower right calf and Achilles tendon that developed after his foot caught in the grass while he tried to make a sliding catch of a foul ball Tuesday. 1B Joey Votto was sidelined with stiffness in the back of his shoulders. UP NEXTCubs: RHP Jason Hammel (9-7) will try to reverse a season-ending performance dip in the series finale against the Reds. He is 4-3 over his last 12 starts with a 5.84 ERA. Reds: LHP John Lamb (1-4) makes his 10th career start and first against the Cubs in Cincinnati's home finale.  

MLB Recap: Washington Nationals (0) vs. Atlanta Braves (2) - 9/30/2015

MLB Recap: Washington Nationals (0) vs. Atlanta Braves (2) - Date: 9/30/2015 Rookie Williams Perez threw six innings and the Atlanta Braves' bullpen did the rest as they recorded a rare shutout in beating the Washington Nationals 2-0 on Wednesday night. A. J. Pierzynski had an RBI single in the first inning one night after hitting two home runs, and Michael Bourn singled home the Braves' other run in the second. Rookie Arodys Vizcaino earned his 10th save - and second in two nights - with a perfect ninth. Baseball Predictions. This was the Braves' first shutout since beating the Mets 1-0 on June 21. Edwin Jackson and Peter Moylan pitched perfect innings out of the bullpen. Jordan Zimmermann (13-10), a fixture in the Nationals' rotation since 2011, took the loss in what will likely be his final appearance for the team that drafted him i n 2007. Zimmermann, a free agent at the end of the season, gave up two runs and six hits in six innings in his career-high 33rd start. Perez (7-6), who is auditioning for a spot in an uncertain rotation for the Braves in 2016, worked his way out of trouble all game. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The Nationals had runners in scoring position in four of the six innings Perez was on the mound, but he was able to keep them off the scoreboard each time. Sports Handicapper Records. The Braves turned two double plays for Perez, giving the team a MLB-best 181 for the season. Perez allowed six hits and three walks while winning his third consecutive decision. Pierzynski singled home Nick Markakis with a bloop to left field in the first inning, and Bourn drove in Todd Cunningham in the second and that accounted for the Braves' offense. Bryce Harp er, who is battling for the National League batting title, went 0 for 4 and saw his average drop to .331. He entered the game hitting .334 while Miami's Dee Gordon was at .332. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Braves have won five straight at Turner Field - scoring two runs in each of the wins - just weeks after setting a franchise record with 12 consecutive home losses. Handicapping Sports. TRAINER'S ROOMNationals: 3B Yunel Escobar was scratched from the lineup with back spasms. He is day-to-day. Braves: 1B Freddie Freeman will not start again this season due to a sore wrist, but he will be available to pinch-hit. Freeman said tests have indicated surgery is not necessary at this time. . 3B Hector Olivera, who was removed from Tuesday's game after getting hit by a pitch on the left elbow, returned to the lineup. He was 0 for 4. UP NEXTNationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (10-7, 3.63) will make his 23rd and final start of the season in the series finale. Strasburg threw five shutout innings against the Braves during a 3-1 win on June 23. He is 5-7 with a 4.01 ERA in his career vs. Atlanta. Braves: Rookie Ryan Weber (0-2, 5.91) will make his fifth career start since getting called up from Triple-A Gwinnett on Sept. 8. He gave up seven runs in two innings in his last start against Miami.  

MLB Recap: Toronto Blue Jays (15) vs. Baltimore Orioles (2) - 9/30/2015

MLB Recap: Toronto Blue Jays (15) vs. Baltimore Orioles (2) - Date: 9/30/2015 The Toronto Blue Jays clinched their first AL East championship in 22 years with a 15-2 rout of Baltimore on Wednesday, bringing an appropriate conclusion to their unstoppable, two-month run. NHL Handicappers. Toronto entered the doubleheader needing only one victory to eliminate the New York Yankees and claim its first title since 1993. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The suspense ended rather quickly, as Toronto built a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning before adding four unearned runs in the fifth. Picks and Parlays. The remaining innings were a mere prelude to a celebration that was more than two decades in the making. Fre e MLB Baseball Picks. There were several hundred blue-clad Toronto fans in the small crowd that gathered for the makeup of a game washed out by rain on Tuesday. Sports Handicapper Tracker. Toronto's dugout emptied at the final out and players jumped up and down in a mass huddle between the mound and the third-base line. Because there was a second game to be played, the Blue Jays opted to put off the champagne celebration until after the nightcap. After waiting this long to toast a division title, a few hours probably wasn't going to make much of a difference. Marcus Stroman (4-0) allowed one run and five hits over eight innings in his fourth start since returning from left knee surgery. He struck out eight and walked two. Jose Bautista hit his 40th home run, Edwin Encarnacion delivered No. 37 and Justin Smoak also connected for Toronto. Ryan Goins had a career-high five hits to help the B lue Jays win their sixth straight. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. Toronto was fourth in the AL East on the morning of July 29 with a 50-51 record, eight games behind the Yankees. But boosted by the acquisitions of David Price, Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Revere, LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe, the Blue Jays won 42 of their next 56 games, outscoring opponents 342-200. They ended the major leagues' longest playoff drought on Sept. 26 when they clinched no worse than a wild-card berth. In their first postseason appearance since Joe Carter's World Series-winning homer sealed their second straight title, the Blue Jays open the AL Division Series at home on Oct. 8. They are just ahead of defending Kansas City for best record in the AL, which would bring a matchup against the wild-card winner. Stroman's exceptional pitching this month added to the surge. The right-hander has a 1.67 ERA and has beaten t he Yankees twice. A year ago, Baltimore celebrated its first AL East title since 1997. On Wednesday, the Orioles watched their successors end an even longer wait. This was Baltimore's first game since being officially eliminated from playoff contention. The Orioles offered little resistance, and even provided more than a small measure of assistance: seven pitchers combined to issue 10 walks and Baltimore committed four errors despite coming in with the best fielding percentage in the majors. After Miguel Gonzalez (9-12) walked three and gave up four runs in 3 2/3 innings, errant throws by pitcher Jason Garcia and first baseman Chris Davis on the same play fueled a fifth-inning uprising that turned the game into a rout. Steve Pearce homered in the seventh for Baltimore. The loss ended any hope the Orioles had of salvaging a winning season. TRAINER'S ROOMBlue Jays: Tulowitzki (back, shoulder) is rapidly mending and could return before the postseason , manager John Gibbons said. Orioles: CF Adam Jones remains sidelined with back problems. He's played in one game since Sept. 20. ON DECKThursday's series finale has been moved up to 12:05 p.m. from 7:05 because of the threat of rain. David Price (17-5, 2.34 ERA) pitches for Toronto and rookie Tyler Wilson (2-2, 3.60 ERA) is on the mound for Baltimore.  

MLB Recap: Minnesota Twins (7) vs. Cleveland Indians (1) - 9/30/2015

MLB Recap: Minnesota Twins (7) vs. Cleveland Indians (1) - Date: 9/30/2015 Kyle Gibson pitched six shutout innings and Torii Hunter had a three-run double as the Minnesota Twins gained ground in the AL wild-card race, winning their fourth straight with a 7-1 victory over the fading Cleveland Indians in the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday. Joe Mauer and Byron Buxton hit a solo homers for Minnesota, which entered play trailing the Angels by 1 1/2 games for the AL's second wild card. Football Tipsters. The loss dealt another setback to Cleveland's slim playoff hopes. MLB Baseball Handicappers. The Indians began Wednesday five games behind the Angels, who host Oakland in a night game. Gibson (11-11) wasn't affected by having his start pushed back by Tuesday night's rainout. Expert Sports Picks. The right-hander struck out nine, matching a career high, and held Cleveland to four hits. Carlos Carrasco (14-12) was roughed up in his final start of the season, allowing five runs in three-plus innings. Free MLB Baseball Picks. The right-hander, who pitched a one-hitter with a career-high 15 strikeouts against Kansas City last week, faced six hitters in the fourth. Leading Handicappers. The Indians announced before the game that left fielder Michael Brantley has been shut down for the season because of a sore right shoulder. Rookie Buxton hit his second major league home run in the ninth and had two RBIs. Gibson was coming off a rocky outing against the Indians last week when he allowed six runs in a season-low 2 2-3 innings. Mauer homered to dead center in the fi rst. Carrasco retired the next eight hitters before getting rocked in the fourth. After Mauer and Miguel Sano singled, Trevor Plouffe's RBI single made it 2-0. Eddie Rosario walked, and Hunter's double scored all three runners. Jason Kipnis drove in Cleveland's only run with a seventh-inning single. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. TRAINER'S ROOMTwins: RHP Phil Hughes (virus) and RHP Trevor May (back) both feel well enough to work out of the bullpen. Hughes was scratched from his Monday start, while May last pitched on Sept. 26. Indians: 3B Giovanny Urshela (sore right shoulder) could return to the lineup Thursday. He hasn't played since Sept. 17. UP NEXTTwins: RHP Tyler Duffey has not lost in his last eight starts, going 5-0 with a 2.17 ERA. He went six shutout innings in a 4-1 win over the Indians on Aug. 15. Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer returns to the rotation in order to give RHP Josh Tomlin an extra day between starts. Bauer only made one appearance in relief.  

NFL Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts - 10/4/2015 - 1:00 PM EST

NFL Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts - Date: 10/4/2015   Mired in one of the worst three-game stretches of his career, Andrew Luck is now having to deal with a sore right shoulder that has limited his practice time. It doesn't seem likely to keep the star quarterback out for a matchup with a Jacksonville Jaguars defense that's reeling after an embarrassing performance last week. Coach Chuck Pagano insists Luck will play Sunday when the host Indianapolis Colts seek a sixth straight win over the Jaguars and 15th in a row against the AFC South. Seemingly under constant pressure from opposing fronts, Luck has thrown a league-high seven interceptions over a three-game stretch for the first time since his 2012 rookie season. Luck also has the NFL's worst passer rating at 65.1 after getting sacked three times and hit on four other occasions in last Sunday's 35-33 win at Tennessee. He stepp ed up in the final 12:20, going 11 of 13 for 144 yards and two scores to lead the Colts (1-2) back from a 13-point hole." It just seems like at times some teams have got some pressure on him," Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley said. "I see him making some of the same throws that he made last year, just some overthrows and some tip-balls that were interceptions." After he was hit more than any quarterback in the league from 2013-14, Luck has been sacked five times and taken 21 hits this season. Only San Diego's Philip Rivers (22) has been hit more. Now that punishment may finally be catching up with him. Luck hasn't missed a game in his four seasons but was given Wednesday off so he could rest his throwing shoulder. He and Pagano both said it was merely a precaution.'' There's always bumps and bruises that show up in high school, college and the NFL. You deal with stuff, you manage it,'' Luck said. ''It& #39;s nothing more than that in my mind.'' Luck has been outstanding against Jacksonville, completing 72.2 percent of his passes for 905 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions in his last three meetings. But it would likely serve Indianapolis well to get the running game going after totaling 133 yards on 5.8 per carry against the Titans. Frank Gore finished with 86 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries after totaling 88 yards and no scores on 23 attempts in the first two games. Jacksonville (1-2) allowed the most points in franchise history in a humbling 51-17 loss at New England last Sunday. Sports Betting Profit. The squad also surrendered its most yards (471) since giving up 529 in a 44-17 home loss to Indianapolis on Sept. 21, 2014. Profitable NFL Football Handicappers. The Jaguars, though, rank second in the NFL with 3.3 yards allowed per carry." It's tough to run against them because they slant a lot, have a lot of movement," guard Hugh Thornton told the Colts' official website. Bradley didn't want to use injuries as an excuse against the Patriots, but Jacksonville was missing several key players on both sides of the ball. Left tackle Luke Joeckel (ankle), defensive end Andre Branch (knee), safety Johnathan Cyprien (calf) and cornerback Dwayne Gratz (ankle) are expected to return this weekend, while receiver Marqise Lee (hamstring), safety Sergio Brown (lower leg) and cornerback Davon House (calf) are day to day. Despite the historic defeat, the Jaguars have a chance to stay atop the division if they can snap a five-game losing streak to the Colts in which they've been outscored 161-43." It's an opportunity to stay where we're at in the division, to excel in the div ision, set a tone in the division,'' defensive end Jared Odrick said. ''You have to be able to put your energy into this so you don't miss out on this.'' Blake Bortles is still searching for consistency in his second season as he's completed 53.8 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and three interceptions. He went 15 of 27 for 146 yards with a pick in a 23-3 loss at Lucas Oil Stadium last November. Top Rated Sports Handicappers. The Jaguars could try to get T. J. Yeldon on track against an Indianapolis defense that ranks 20th in the NFL with 336 rushing yards allowed. NFL Football Handicappers. The rookie had 33 yards on 11 carries last Sunday before the team abandoned the run facing a huge deficit. Indianapolis cornerbacks Darius Butler (hip) and Greg Toler (neck), running backs Tyler Varga (concussion) and Josh Robinson (back) and linebacker Trent Cole (knee) are uncertain to play. Sports Predictions. Tight end Dwayne Allen expects to return from an ankle injury.

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NFL Preview: Minnesota Vikings vs. Denver Broncos - 10/4/2015 - 4:25 PM EST

NFL Preview: Minnesota Vikings vs. Denver Broncos - Date: 10/4/2015   The season's first week did nothing to quiet the critics who felt Peyton Manning's age and Adrian Peterson's layoff would hinder their performances in 2015. Sports Handicapping Service Winning Streaks. They're likely feeling much differently now. Manning looks to help guide the Broncos to their second 4-0 start in three years while Denver's top-ranked defense tries to slow Peterson and the visiting Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Profitable NFL Football Handicappers. The 39-year-old Manning failed to throw a touchdown pass in his second consecutive regular-season game and also tossed an interception in the Broncos' 19-13 home win over Baltimore on Sept. 13. He bounced back with three TD passes to he lp rally Denver from 14 points down to beat Kansas City the following week, then went 31 of 42 for 324 yards and two scores Sunday night in a 24-12 victory at Detroit. None of the wins came easily, and Manning even quipped Wednesday with a reporter who indirectly suggested he made only a few good throws against the Lions." If we can keep improving and win games at the same time, that's a real positive," Manning said. "Offensively we want to be able to do our part. We know our defense is playing at a high level, but we'll have our hands full against (the Vikings) on Sunday." Denver's defense is allowing the league's fewest yards per game at 259.0 and has forced the second-most turnovers with 10. It ranks eighth in opponents' yards per carry at 3.54, considerably less than Peterson's 4.93 average. Peterson missed the final 15 games last season after being suspended by the league for a child abuse incident involving his son, but that didn't stop him from suggesting he would return to form in 2015 despite the time away. He ran only 10 times for 31 yards in a season-opening loss at San Francisco, then finished with 134 yards in a win over Detroit on Sept. 20 and rushed for 126 and two touchdowns in last week's 31-14 victory over San Diego. Peterson again didn't shy away Wednesday from boasting that he's the NFL's top back despite being 30.'' Who is a better running back than me?'' Peterson said, pausing for nearly a minute. ''Peyton Manning's got some nice moves." Vikings coach Mike Zimmer spoke more seriously about Manning's abilities having faced him as a defensive coordinator in other stops around the league." He still looks like Peyton Manning to me," Zimmer said. "He's extremely accurate, he gets the ball out quick and he sees a lot of things. Sports Handicapper Revie ws. There's probably not a blitz we can devise that he has not seen and there's probably not a coverage that we run that he has not seen. If you make a mistake, he's going to find it." It's a level second-year Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater aspires to reach, but he might not have much time to think in the pocket this week. NFL Football Handicappers. The Broncos are allowing an NFL-low 176.3 yards through the air, and their 11 sacks are tied for second. DeMarcus Ware has 3 1/2 and forms part of a dangerous pass-rushing duo with linebacker Von Miller." We know that defense is playing some great football right now and everything starts up front with those guys," said Bridgewater, who has completed 67.6 of his passes but has only one touchdown and two picks. "We know that defense runs through those guys and they play with a ton of confidence. We're just going to a pproach this game with the mindset that we have to be physical and play fast." The Vikings' defense got some good news Wednesday when cornerback Xavier Rhodes passed post-concussion tests and returned to practice after colliding with safety Andrew Sendejo trying to make a tackle last week. Rhodes is expected to play in this contest. Denver left tackle Ty Sambrailo didn't practice Wednesday because of a shoulder injury and is considered day to day. He suffered the injury blocking for C. J. Anderson last week but remained in the game. Anderson and the rest of the Broncos' running game rank last in the league at 2.59 yards per carry, but Minnesota is allowing 4.31 yards per rush to rank 25th.

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NFL Preview: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins - 10/4/2015 - 1:00 PM EST

NFL Preview: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins - Date: 10/4/2015   Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford has gotten off to a rocky start in Philadelphia, and Kirk Cousins' latest opportunity with the Washington Redskins hasn't been much different. Best Bets of the Day. The two struggling signal-callers will again try to prove they should be under center when the NFC East rivals square off Sunday at FedExField. Philadelphia (1-2) dropped its first two games with Bradford committing five turnovers and throwing only two touchdown passes, and his shaky return from his second torn ACL has left lingering questions about coach Chip Kelly's master plan. Wins help, though, and an ineffective Bradford couldn't keep the Eagles from a 24-17 victory over the New York Jets last Sunday that avoided their first 0-3 start since 1999." I fee l like we were all pressing a little bit," said Bradford, who ranks toward the bottom of the NFL with a 72.5 passer rating. "It's just nice to get that first one. Now that pressure's gone." Bradford went 14 of 28 for 118 yards with a touchdown against the Jets after throwing for 560 total yards in the first two games. More important, however, was that he protected the ball after throwing four interceptions and coughing up a fumble during the 0-2 start. He's posted a 37.9 completion percentage and 3.48 yards per attempt on third down. Free NFL Football Picks. The Eagles have just two plays of 25 yards or more - tied for last in the league - but Kelly said that has as much to do with the wide receivers as it does Bradford." It's a combination of everything," he said. "We've had some drops, but there's been some times where guys are open but we didn't put it on them at the appropriate time." Cousins and his receivers have combined for only four plays of 25 yards or more while the Redskins have also limped to a 1-2 start. Sports Handicapping Service Winning Streaks. The fourth-year quarterback's passing yards have climbed from 196 to 203 to 316 in those games, but he has just one touchdown in each to go with four interceptions - which combined with running back Matt Jones' two fumbles gives the team six turnovers. Robert Griffin III lost the starting job to Cousins in August and was again inactive for last Thursday's 32-21 loss to the Giants, and backup Colt McCoy missed practice Monday with a cut on his foot. Coach Jay Gruden said Cousins will remain the starter." There's too many good things going on with Kirk and his progression for us to pull the plug right now because he threw an interception or two," Gruden said in a conferen ce call Friday. "But he's got to be aware and he's got to protect the football - as does Matt Jones, as does the rest of our football team - for us to have a chance." A big help to Cousins may come with DeSean Jackson's return from a hamstring injury that's kept him out since the opener, but Gruden said the former Eagles receiver is day to day. Profitable NFL Football Handicappers. Tight end Jordan Reed leads the team with 19 catches for 241 yards, followed by Pierre Garcon's 17 for 161. Football Tipsters. The next four receivers have a combined 21 for 202 yards. Another factor has been the decline of Alfred Morris, whom Gruden continues to call his top running back. After gaining 121 yards on 25 carries in a Week 1 loss to Miami, Morris has since run for 78 on 24 carries in two games. Washington totaled just 88 rushi ng yards against the Giants, 19 coming on six attempts from Morris. Philadelphia held the Jets to 47 yards on the ground last week and ranks toward the top of the NFL with 261 allowed this season." They're a very disruptive defensive line," Gruden said. "But if you get them blocked, we feel like we can get to the second level and make some good hits." Jordan Matthews leads the Eagles with 22 catches and 231 receiving yards, but the next four on the list consist of running backs Darren Sproles (15 and 118), DeMarco Murray (9 and 64) and Ryan Mathews (5 and 44), and tight end Zach Ertz (8 and 93). Philadelphia's four other receivers have combined for 13 receptions and 122 yards. NFL Football Handicappers. The biggest disappointment might be rookie Nelson Agholor, who impressed in training camp and the preseason but has so far amounted to only four catc hes for 36 yards. Veteran Riley Cooper has three catches for 25 yards and two drops. Murray, meanwhile, is on pace to return from a hamstring injury, but linebacker Kiko Alonso will miss his second game while rehabbing a sprained left knee.

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NFL Preview: New York Giants vs. Buffalo Bills - 10/4/2015 - 1:00 PM EST

NFL Preview: New York Giants vs. Buffalo Bills - Date: 10/4/2015   Two of the more efficient quarterbacks through three weeks might be two of the least likely. For one, it's resulted in two wins and a one-possession loss to the Super Bowl champions. For the other, what could very well be a 3-0 record has resulted in two losses. Buffalo Bills first-year starter Tyrod Taylor and New York Giants veteran Eli Manning square off Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium, and both are facing exposed pass defenses. Handicappers Watchdog. The former has two top offensive options in doubt, while the latter could be without a favorite target who was originally expected back in the slot. While Taylor ranks fifth in quarterback rating (116.1) through the first three starts of his career, Manning is 12th (97.9) but has no interceptions in 108 attempts. Only Tom Brady (133) has thrown more passes without being picked off. Manning has two INTs over his last eight contests after having 39 in his previous 27 games from the start of 2013, eight more than any other player. NFL Football Handicappers. That cutdown on mistakes has the Giants (1-2) tied for fourth in turnover differential at plus-4, and Buffalo (2-1) is tied for second with a plus-5 mark - pleasant surprises for teams with unpredictable signal-callers entering the season. Basketball Picks. Taylor has three interceptions, though they all came in a Week 2 40-32 loss to New England, and he followed with his best performance yet. Free NFL Football Picks. The versatile 26-year-old was 21 for 29 for a career-best 277 yards and had three touchdown passes for a second straight week in Buffalo's 41-14 win at Miami last Sunday. His 74.4 completion percentage ranks fourth and is ahead of Brady and Aaron Rodgers. He's the first Bills quarterback to complete more than 70 percent of his passes and throw for at least seven touchdowns over the first three games since Jim Kelly in 1991." We know he's legit," coach Rex Ryan said. "When the protection holds up, this kid can burn you." He could be short on weapons with the statuses of running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (calf) both uncertain. McCoy's nagging injury has limited the 2013 rushing champion to 146 yards on 43 carries in his first season with Buffalo, but rookie backup Karlos Williams rushed for 110 yards on 12 carries against the Dolphins. Williams became the first player to score a touchdown in each of his first three NFL games since teammate Percy Harvin accomplished the feat in 2009 with Minnesota." We have got plenty of weapons," Ryan said. "But it will be fun once we get everybody about 100 percent." They might not need that against New York, which has the NFL's lowest-ranked pass defense (335.7 ypg), but the same applies the other way around with Buffalo ranking 31st (326.7). Giants coach Tom Coughlin is still focused on first stopping Ryan's traditional rushing attack. Buffalo tops the NFL with 458 rushing yards despite McCoy's limited production." In games where clearly you have to stop the run, I think that's where it all starts," Coughlin said. "... If it is going to turn into the drop back, two-minute style game, we're going to have to adjust to that as well." But we continue to work on these types of things - being a little bit tighter in coverage, for example, doing a better job of recognition underneath, our roles, having our disguise package continue to improve, all those types of things." New York initially thought it would be able to exploit any of Buffalo's coverage holes with Victor Cruz making his season debut to join the dangerous Odell Beckham Jr. in the receiving corps. However, that's on hold after Cruz was unable to practice Wednesday after feeling some discomfort in his calf. Best Sports Picks Today. The two-time 1,000-yard receiver missed the final 10 games last year after rupturing his right patella tendon. He had targeted the season opener for his return, but a calf injury in training camp pushed that back - now possibly for another week after being hopeful Monday of returning. Profitable NFL Football Handicappers. The Giants, however, probably need more help in their ground game. Over their last 12 games, they've averaged 90.7 yards per contest and 3.46 per attempt, which ranks last. No New York player has totaled 100 rushing yards through three games. That puts more pressure on Manning, who has only started one season with a 1-3 record or worse (0-6 in 2013). This year began 0-2 with the Giants blowing 10-point leads in the fourth quarter against Dallas and Atlanta, but they led throughout last week's 32-21 home win over Washington." Hey, it's a long season, there's a lot of football to play," said Manning, who was 23 of 32 for 279 yards and two TDs. "Our division, it's too early to know and we can't run away with it right now. But hey, you've got to get one win and just keep going. Let's try to get another." The Giants have won three of the last four meetings, including the last two in Buffalo.

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MLB Recap: St Louis Cardinals (2) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (8) - 9/30/2015

MLB Recap: St Louis Cardinals (2) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (8) - Date: 9/30/2015 Francisco Cervelli hit his second career grand slam, Gerrit Cole pitched seven solid innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-2 in a doubleheader opener to put St. Louis' NL Central title hopes on hold. Top Rated Sports Handicappers. The Cardinals' magic number remained at two for their third straight division championship after the Pirates jumped on Michael Wacha (17-7). Cervelli delivered the big blow, a shot to left field with the bases loaded in the fourth. Neil Walker also homered for the Pirates, who moved within three games of St. Louis for first and inched closer to homefield advantage in next week's wild-card game. Cole (19-8) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings in likely his final regular-season start. Matt Carpent er hit a 435-foot solo homer off Cole in the sixth that bounced into the Allegheny River but the Cardinals could do little else against Pittsburgh's ace, who will almost certainly get the call against the Chicago Cubs in the wild-card game if the Pirates don't overtake St. Louis for the division crown. Pittsburgh blew a chance to apply pressure on the frontrunning Cardinals on Monday, when the Pirates stranded 16 runners in a 3-0 loss that assured St. Louis the Central title barring a historic collapse. Manager Clint Hurdle altered his rotation slightly, sending Cole out to start the day-night opener rather than Charlie Morton, who was bumped to the nightcap. Cole retired his first nine batters, giving the Pirates a chance to get to the normally unflappable Wacha. Profitable MLB Baseball Handicappers. The right-hander has dominated Pittsburgh, including a dazzling performance in Game 4 of the 2013 NL Division Series with the Cardinals facing elimination. Sports Handicapper Reviews. The stakes weren't quite as high this time, and Wacha wasn't quite as crisp. Walker led off the second with his 16th homer, and Wacha's control abandoned him in the fourth. Andrew McCutchen led off with a single and Aramis Ramirez walked. Wacha intentionally walked Pedro Alvarez to load the bases with one out, and Cervelli sent the second pitch into the bleachers to put the Pirates up 5-1. Gregory Polanco added an RBI double later in the inning. Wacha allowed six runs, four hits and four walks in four innings. MLB Baseball Handicappers. TRAINER'S ROOMCardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright returned from a five-month stay on the disabled list and gave up one run in the eighth, his first appearance out of the bullpen since 2006. Free Soccer Picks. The three-time All-Star tore his left Achilles on April 25, an injury that was thought to sideline him until 2016. Wainwright made it back well ahead of schedule, and manager Mike Matheny expects Wainwright to be in the mix to start in the playoffs barring a setback. Free MLB Baseball Picks. That's fine by the 34-year-old Wainwright, who called his grueling rehab ''not a fun deal'' but one that could pay off in October.'' The silver lining is my arm got some great rest and I'm healthy now,'' he said. ''All this is preseason for the real season coming up, right?''To make room for Wainwright the Cardinals placed RHP Carlos Martinez on the 60-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain. UP NEXTThe Cardinals take another shot at wrapping up the division in Game 2 when they send out Tyler Lyons  0;2-1, 3.96) to face Morton (9-8, 4.54). Lyons has an ERA of 4.93 in seven starts this year and a 1.76 ERA in eight relief appearances. Morton is just 2-11 against St. Louis and hasn't beaten the Cardinals since April 4, 2011.  

NFL Preview: Houston Texans vs. Atlanta Falcons - 10/4/2015 - 1:00 PM EST

NFL Preview: Houston Texans vs. Atlanta Falcons - Date: 10/4/2015   The Atlanta Falcons feature arguably the hottest quarterback-wide receiver duo in the NFL. Now they're hoping they've complemented it with a prolific rushing attack. Free Predictions. The surprising Falcons seek their second 4-0 start in 11 seasons Sunday when they host perhaps their toughest challenge yet in the Houston Texas, who could get Arian Foster back. Matt Ryan threw a pair of second-half touchdown passes to Julio Jones last Sunday as Atlanta rallied from a 14-point deficit for a 39-28 win at Dallas. Free NFL Football Picks. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback is averaging an NFC-best 315.3 yards. Jones, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, has been Ryan's favorite target with NFL highs of 34 catches and 44 0 yards. After finishing with 12 receptions for 164 yards against the Cowboys, he's looking to put up four consecutive 100-yard efforts for the first time in his career.'' Matt has all the faith in the world in me and I have the same in him,'' Jones said. Gambling Profit. The Texans (1-2) also have to be concerned with Atlanta's running game after Devonta Freeman broke out with 141 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries last Sunday. Profitable NFL Football Handicappers. The Falcons had run for a combined 161 yards in the first two games when rookie Tevin Coleman started. Even if Coleman isn't ruled out again because of injured ribs, Freeman is likely to get a chance to build on his performance with another 20 or more touches.'' He's one of the guys that really set it off for us," coach Dan Quinn said. "He's such a competitor. When guys get that look about them, he had it.'' Atlanta, averaging a conference-best 411.7 yards, won its first eight games in 2012. Sports Handicapping Sites. That's the only time it's started 4-0 since 2004. After allowing 269 rushing yards in losses to Kansas City and Carolina, the Texans limited Tampa Bay to 57 on 2.9 per carry in last Sunday's 19-9 victory. Veteran cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who could see time on Jones, tied a career high with five passes defensed. J. J. Watt leads the squad with three sacks, but Jadeveon Clowney is still seeking his first." We're working to find our brand and get back to playing our brand of football,'' Watt said. ''I still wouldn't say we're a hundred percent there yet, but I think (last Sunday) was a great step in the right direction toward where we want to be.' ;' Making his third start since Brian Hoyer was benched following a poor showing in the opener, Ryan Mallet hopes to keep making strides under center. He completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 228 yards with a touchdown and an interception last week after he had connected on 46.6 percent with a score and a pick against the Panthers. DeAndre Hopkins has been the top target with 22 receptions for 252 yards and three scores. NFL Football Handicappers. The offense could receive a big boost if Foster can make his debut following groin surgery. The two-time NFL rushing leader is expected to be a game-time decision." I think we listen a lot to that player," coach Bill O'Brien told the league's official website. "Basically how do you feel? We'll go on that a little bit and we'll go on what our doctors say and we'll go from there." If Foster can't return, Alfred Blue will get another start after he rushed for a season-high 139 yards and a touchdown on 31 attempts against the Buccaneers. Tackle Duane Brown (thumb) and guard Brandon Brooks (ankle) are also hopeful to play. The Atlanta defense hopes to play more like it did in the second half against the Cowboys than it did in the first 30 minutes. The Falcons gave up 295 yards and four touchdowns in the opening half before limiting Dallas to 52 yards and no points in the final two quarters." I think we found out about who we were in the second half, how tight we were and how hard we wanted to play for one another - the effort it takes to play really good football," said Quinn, whose club has trailed in the fourth quarter in all three games. Starting tight end Jacob Tamme likely won't play after he was placed in the league's concussion protocol after getting hurt against the Cowboys. Houston is going with former San Diego kicker Nick Novak after releasing Randy Bullock, who missed an extra point and a field-goal attempt last Sunday. The Texans have won two of the three all-time meetings, losing 26-16 in their only trip to Atlanta on Sept. 30, 2007.

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NFL Preview: Cleveland Browns vs. San Diego Chargers - 10/4/2015 - 4:05 PM EST

NFL Preview: Cleveland Browns vs. San Diego Chargers - Date: 10/4/2015   Multiple Cleveland Browns have denied a report that there's dissension in the locker room over whether Johnny Manziel or Josh McCown should be the starting quarterback. Coach Mike Pettine knows where the fans' allegiance lies after hearing chants for Manziel last week, but he wouldn't be surprised if his players had differing opinions on the topic. Despite Manziel having led the Browns to their only victory and McCown being banged up, Pettine remains committed to starting McCown in Sunday's road matchup with the San Diego Chargers.'' Are we going to have one thousand-percent agreement on how we're using players? No,'' Pettine said. ''It falls into coaches coach and players have their jobs to do. And are they going to have their opinions? Certainly. I'm confident there is no rift in the locker room. We're confident in our plan and we'll move ahead forward with it.'' McCown suffered a concussion attempting to dive into the end zone on Cleveland's first drive of the season in a loss to the New York Jets. Manziel came on and connected with Travis Benjamin on a 54-yard touchdown pass, and the pair hooked up on a 60-yard TD the following week in a 28-14 victory over Tennessee. Despite Manziel's success, Pettine decided to go back to McCown last week. He went 28 of 49 for 341 yards and two touchdowns but was intercepted in the final minute and the Browns (1-2) fell 27-20 to Oakland. McCown also suffered a hand injury in that contest, though he doesn't expect it to be a problem against the Chargers (1-2). He's also dealing with a TMZ report that claimed three unnamed Browns starters would rather have Manziel starting under center, and he certainly heard the fans calling for the Heisman Trophy winner. Linemen Joe Thomas, John Greco, Mitchell Schwartz questioned the report's authenticity, and Alex Mack and Joel Bitonio said they didn't contribute to anything that was written if it indeed was true." Control the controllables," Pettine said. "The only thing we know how to do is not get caught up in that. Sports Picks for Today. That stuff can drag you down emotionally. If you start to let the past sit on your shoulders - I won't allow it to happen to myself. I won't allow it to happen to this team." San Diego's quarterback situation is completely clear, but protecting Philip Rivers has been an issue. He's been sacked four times in each of the last two weeks and had the wind knocked out of him in the third quarter of Sunday's 31-14 loss at Minnesota. Rivers committed two turnovers and left the game in the fourth. He's been playing behind a damaged offensive line as D. J. Fluker has been de aling with a badly sprained left ankle and Chris Hairston has dealt with an ankle injury of his own. Chris Watt suffered a groin injury against the Vikings, Orlando Franklin hurt his right ankle and King Dunlap suffered a concussion. San Diego signed J. D. Walton, who started every game at center for the New York Giants last year, and promoted Tyreek Burwell from the practice squad. It's uncertain who will be healthy enough to play Sunday.'' The nature of this business is that when you're called upon to do your job, it doesn't matter if you started the game or not," said Trevor Robinson, who replaced Watt against the Vikings. ''I think I'm confident in myself and confident in everybody. Whoever those five are, I'm confident we can give ourselves a chance to win." The Chargers are fourth in total offense at 402.0 yards per game, but their eight turnovers are tied for second-most in the league. Free NFL Football Picks. Their one sack is tied for the fewest." We'll do whatever it takes to fix this," McCoy said. "You've got to have thick skin in this business. We need to be more consistent in all three phases." The Browns allowed 314 passing yards last week after giving up at least that many once last season. However, All-Pro cornerback Joe Haden played through a rib injury suffered on the game's first play. Haden and safety Tashaun Gipson (groin) are considered day to day but should play Sunday.

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NFL Preview: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cincinnati Bengals - 10/4/2015 - 1:00 PM EST

NFL Preview: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cincinnati Bengals - Date: 10/4/2015   The early-season vibes for the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs are almost as different as their records. While the Bengals have risen to the top of the North as one of the AFC's three unbeaten teams, the Chiefs have drifted to the bottom of the West heading into what's looking like a critical Week 4 contest for Kansas City on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.'' The way we're clicking right now, it would be naive not to think that this is really a great opportunity for us to escalate in our division and within the AFC,'' Bengals receiver Marvin Jones said. ''It's important to note that, keeping a mindset we're in this play-by-play, game-by-game. But you obviously see the big picture and right now, it's in our favor.'' Cincinnati joins New England and Denver atop the AFC with 3-0 recor ds, a mark that's yielded a 75 percent chance to reach the postseason since 1990. Gambling Profit. The Bengals are trying to go 4-0 for the first time since 2005. With Pittsburgh missing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the next four to six weeks, Cleveland engulfed in another quarterback controversy and Baltimore struggling early, Cincinnati's prospects of its second division title in three seasons look promising early. For the Bengals, though, 3-0 means little. Profitable NFL Football Handicappers. They won their first three last season en route to a 10-5-1 finish, but lost their fourth consecutive wild-card game.'' It just reminds me of last year when we were 3-0, then we kind of blew it,'' running back Jeremy Hill said. ''We're not content with what we have right now. We have to keep on pounding and keep on working.'' Andy Dalton played a big part in each of Cincinnati's first-round playoff exits but has enjoyed the best start of his career. Sports Bettors Email Leads. The fifth-year quarterback has completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 866 yards with eight touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of 121.0. He threw for 383 yards and three TDs in last Sunday's 28-24 win at Baltimore, 227 and two of which went to A. J. Green. NFL Football Handicappers. That was a career high and the second-best receiving day in franchise history for Green, who will pose a problem for a Kansas City secondary that has been in a state of flux. Soccer Picks. Top cornerback Sean Smith will return after serving a three-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse poli cy, but Phillip Gaines tore his ACL against the Packers and will miss the rest of the season. Free NFL Football Picks. The Chiefs (1-2) have surrendered 861 passing yards and a NFL-high 10 touchdowns - half of which came off the arm of Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay's 38-28 win Monday night." We have a good team," linebacker Derrick Johnson told the team's official website, "but the roster's not going to win games for us. We have to go back and look in the mirror." This is the NFL, so the veteran guys like myself will make sure the young guys will be ready for this next game coming up. It doesn't get any easier, but if we want to do anything great, we have to go through a little adversity." Kansas City did end a streak of 18 games without a wide receiver catching a touchdown when Alex Smith and Jeremy Maclin hooked up for a 5-yard score in the third quarter. But that did little to ease the pain of a game that included 448 yards of total offense from Green Bay. Perhaps the Chiefs' biggest concern is an inability to keep their offense on the field. Kansas City has converted just 5 of 30 (16.7 percent) third-down opportunities, easily the worst mark in the league.'' I'm very confident in this group, but I think it's important we take care of a few things,'' coach Andy Reid said. ''We can talk about it all we want to talk about it, but you've got to do it. That's what is real. That's why I'm not into talking about it. (I'm) more into getting on with Cincinnati and get rolling.'' Getting more consistent quarterback play would help. Smith threw two interceptions in Week 2 against Denver and completed just 2 of 7 passes for 39 yards in the first half against Green Bay. He's also been sacked 11 times in the last two games. The Bengals have won the la st three meetings in this series, and the Chiefs have lost all four trips to Cincinnati since last winning there in 1984.

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NCAAF Preview: Arizona vs. Stanford - 10/3/2015 - 10:30 PM EST

NCAAF Preview: Arizona vs. Stanford - Date: 10/3/2015 Picks   While Stanford's quarterback was the one leaving his last game in a walking boot, it seems Arizona will be more substantially hobbled as the Pac-12 foes meet for the first time in three seasons. Kevin Hogan seems ready to go Saturday night for the 18th-ranked Cardinal, while the visiting Wildcats will at least be without All-America linebacker Scooby Wright and could be missing quarterback Anu Solomon. Hogan helped Stanford (3-1, 2-0) to a 42-24 win on Sept. 25 at Oregon State by completing 9 of 14 for 163 yards, two touchdowns and an interception after being a game-time decision. After struggling along with the rest of the offense in the Cardinal's season-opening loss at Northwestern, the senior has thrown for seven touchdowns and one interception in the last three games. In that time, he's completed 66.7 percent and averaged 261.0 ya rds per game, while his 11.86 yards per attempt trail only Baylor's Seth Russell in the FBS." I'm out there, the adrenaline is kicking in," Hogan said. "I feel good. I feel no limitations." Hogan is dealing with a sprained left ankle, and coach David Shaw said they'd likely limit him in practice this week as they did before UCLA." We'll be really smart with him during the course of the week," Shaw said. Stanford has put up 484.3 yards per game in the wins with running backs Christian McCaffrey (206 yards on 30 carries) and Barry Sanders (97 yards and two touchdowns on seven attempts) each rushing for career highs. Selections. The yards could continue to pile up against an Arizona defense that was exposed in last Saturday's 56-30 home loss to then-No. 9 UCLA. Free NCAAF College Footba ll Picks. The Wildcats (3-1, 0-1) were shredded for 497 yards and the most points they'd allowed since a 58-21 loss at Arizona State in 2013. Coach Rich Rodriguez expects a different yet complicated look against Stanford with various offensive schemes and a stacked line." They do a lot more scheme wise and formation wise, personnel group wise than you would think," Rodriguez said. "They are in a groove right now. So there is no question, we have to do a better job, one, just recognizing what is coming at us defensively, but also getting off blocks and making tackles. Sports Betting Profit. Two things we did poorly in the game was getting off blocks and then tackling. Profitable NCAAF College Football Handicappers. That is going to be critical for us." Wright is out again after spraining his right foot against UCLA, which was his first game back after suffering a left knee injury. Rodriguez said they're planning to be without Wright for "several weeks," and he's uncertain of fellow linebacker Derrick Turituri's status due to an unspecified injury." Our linebacker situation has been a little sketchy anyway, but having Scooby out several weeks is something that we will have to deal with," said Rodriguez, whose team has dropped its last three games against ranked opponents while giving up 48.3 points per game. "We are hoping (Derrick) will have a good week of recovery. Professional Sports Handicappers. This is not a good team to be short linebackers (against), but it is what it is. Whoever goes in is going to play." The same applies at quarterback. Solomon is day to day after suffering a concussion against UCLA. Jerrard Randall took over ag ainst the Bruins and would likely start if Solomon can't go. Randall was just 4 of 16 for 45 yards with a touchdown and an interception as Solomon's replacement, but the rushing attack didn't suffer. Arizona's 329.0 rushing yards per game rank fifth in FBS, and 852 have come in the last two games. Randall carried 16 times for 128 yards, while running back Nick Wilson is averaging 157.7 in the last three games. Stanford has been a tough defense to open up on that level at home, limiting its last eight opponents to an average of 223.9 yards of offense dating to its final home game of 2013 against Notre Dame. NCAAF College Football Handicappers. The Cardinal have won the last three meetings, though the schools haven't played since 2012. The Cardinal have also won the last three home meetings with the Wildcats' last victory at Stanford coming back in 2006.

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NCAAF Preview: Miami Florida vs. Cincinnati - 10/1/2015 - 7:30 PM EST

NCAAF Preview: Miami Florida vs. Cincinnati - Date: 10/1/2015   Having Miami's Brad Kaaya and Cincinnati's Gunner Kiel lead their respective offenses on Thursday night would have certainly qualified as an enticing matchup of quarterbacks. Kaaya and Hayden Moore might be equally enticing. Moore - a freshman who came off the bench and threw for a school-record 557 yards and four touchdowns last week after Kiel got hurt - will be the starter when the Bearcats (2-2) play host to Kaaya and the Hurricanes (3-0) in a nationally televised matchup.'' I don't think I've ever seen a performance like that. ... He broke our record here and we've had some quarterbacks that could really throw the football,'' Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville said. ''And he did it in three quarters.'' Facing Moore instead of Kiel doesn't change Miami's opinion of Cincinna ti's offense, which has averaged 622 yards per game so far - the third-best clip among all FBS teams. Free Guaranteed Sports Picks. The Hurricanes are fully aware that a high-octane challenge awaits.'' Our guys know,'' Miami coach Al Golden said. ''We played them last year. We know they can score quickly and can score in bunches. It's going to be another rock and roll game. Free NCAAF College Football Picks. They're going to go fast and we've got to be ready.'' Kaaya has thrown a touchdown pass in all 16 of his games as a Hurricane, and is facing a Cincinnati defense that has allowed 1,018 yards in the last two weeks alone. In last season's 55-34 Miami win, the Hurricanes racked up 621 yards against the Bearcats. Miami opens Atlantic Coast Conference play next weekend at Florida State. Kaaya said there's no way the Hurricanes will be looking ahead.'' Our focus is going to be on beating Cincinnati,'' he said. Best Sports Picks of the Day. To get ready for what it expects to be a raucous Thursday night crowd at Cincinnati's newly remodeled Nippert Stadium, Miami cranked up the noise at practice this week. Profitable NCAAF College Football Handicappers. The Hurricanes have a booming mobile sound system on their practice field and it worked overtime to get ready for what Miami expects to be a very loud matchup.'' A lot of people have been to Nippert before, probably before they spent $80 million on it,'' Golden said. ''Clearly it's a tight environment and a tough place to play.'' ---Here's some of what to know going into Thursday night:NEW LOOK `CANES: Yes, Miami' ;s offense got into the end zone six times against the Bearcats last season - but the people who scored five of those touchdowns are either hurt or in the NFL. Phillip Dorsett (Indianapolis Colts) caught two touchdown passes, Clive Walford (Oakland Raiders) grabbed another, Duke Johnson (Cleveland Browns) ran for one and Gus Edwards (injured, out for season) also scored on the ground. Kaaya ran for a score that day and LB Tyriq McCord ran an interception back for a score in the Hurricanes' easy win. Sports Tipsters. THE SERIES: It's the 13th matchup between Miami and Cincinnati. NCAAF College Football Handicappers. The Bearcats won the first one, back in 1947. Miami has won each of the last 11 in the series. LONG GAME AHEAD? College games with plenty of passes and tons of offense - as this one figures to have - don't tend to move along quickly. Oddly, that might favor Miami. All three of the Hurricanes' games so far this season have lasted more than 4 hours, though two of those were extended by lightning delays. Per the NCAA, the Hurricanes' games have averaged 4 hours, 18 minutes this year, the most of any FBS team. TOUGH AT NIPPERT: Cincinnati has won 27 consecutive non-conference games at Nippert Stadium. The last time the Bearcats lost in their own facility to a nonconference team was 2002, against Miami - that is, Miami of Ohio. SHORTHANDED FOR A HALF: Miami's pass defense has been shaky at times this season, especially when Florida Atlantic and Nebraska were playing at a quick pace. The Hurricanes expect the Bearcats will play the same way, and further complicating matters on that front for Miami is that safeties Deon Bush and Jamal Carter will be suspended until the second half because of targeting penalties they received late in the win over the Cornhuskers.

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NFL Preview: Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks - 10/5/2015 - 8:30 PM EST

NFL Preview: Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks - Date: 10/5/2015   The rediscovery of Jimmy Graham and the return of Kam Chancellor helped the Seattle Seahawks put aside an 0-2 start. Money Cappers. Those factors as well as the performance by an undrafted rookie have lessened the concern over star running back Marshawn Lynch's health. Even with their workhorse's status uncertain, the Seahawks seemingly have a great shot to post their seventh straight home win and 23rd in 25 games Monday night against the winless Detroit Lions and their woeful defense. Lynch, who had been dealing with a sore back and neck along with a calf injury, had a difficult time getting himself loose before last Sunday's 26-0 victory over Chicago. He didn't come out of the locker room until midway through the first half, rushing five times for 14 yards before injuring h is hamstring. Profitable NFL Football Handicappers. The five-time Pro Bowler is expected to be re-evaluated later in the week after undergoing an MRI on Monday. He's only missed one game since joining the Seahawks early in the 2010 season." I don't think I've ever been out there without Marshawn," fifth-year receiver Doug Baldwin said. "... We've got great guys that he's taught up, that he's coached up, that are able to come in there and do what they're coached to do. Not only by our coaching staff, but also by Marshawn. So yeah, we missed him in the huddle, but it's always the next man up." That next man was rookie Thomas Rawls, who went undrafted out of Central Michigan but could get another chance to fill in after shining last week with 104 yards on 16 carries. Veteran Fred Jackson is expected to remain in the role of pass blocker and receiver in thir d-down situations." He's not looking to make guys miss him as much as he's looking to run right at you," coach Pete Carroll said of Rawls. "Through the line of scrimmage he's got nice wiggle and all of that but he's got an attitude that he's going to let you know he's coming." Carroll might also want quarterback Russell Wilson to lean more on Graham as the team tries to avoid only its third loss in 30 home games since December 2011, including the postseason. Sports Handicapping. The Pro Bowl tight end publicly expressed his frustration after being targeted just twice in Week 2, making one catch for 11 yards in a 27-17 loss at Green Bay, but he had season highs of seven receptions and 83 yards with a touchdown against the Bears. Backup tight end Luke Willson was inactive with back spasms but should be able to play Monday." It's not smooth yet, it's not how we wa nt it to be, but it's a work in progress, and we know we have a lot of plays we can get and playmakers out there," Carroll said. Detroit (0-3) has had its struggles defensively, allowing 27.7 points and 395.7 yards per game. NFL Football Handicappers. The Lions, who haven't started 0-4 since 2010, allowed San Diego's Philip Rivers to throw for 403 yards in Week 1 and Denver's Peyton Manning to throw for 324 yards in last week's 24-12 home defeat. Free Sports Picks Daily. They also allowed Adrian Peterson and Minnesota to rush for 199 yards on 4.7 per carry in Week 2." This point in time is where our team is going to build our character and find out what we're made of going through this," safety James Ihedigbo told the team's official website. F ree NFL Football Picks. The offense hasn't been much better with an NFC-high eight turnovers and a league-worst 135 rushing yards. Rookie Ameer Abdullah has shown some promise, though he's run for 32 yards on 14 carries in the last two games. Starter Joique Bell, nursing Achilles tendon and knee injuries, has 22 yards on 20 attempts. That's made things difficult on Matthew Stafford, whose five interceptions are second-most to Andrew Luck's seven and his 78.7 passer rating ranks 24th. He completed 31 of 45 passes for 282 yards against the Broncos but also threw two picks and lost a fumble in the fourth quarter. Calvin Johnson has 18 catches for 160 yards in the past two games after he had two receptions for 39 yards in Week 1. However, he's only been targeted more than 15 yards downfield three times, and now he'll have to go up against superstar cornerback Richard Sherman." Penalties hurt us. I had turnovers that hurt us," said Staff ord, who was sacked four times last week. "You correct some of those things, you know, we play a whole lot better." That certainly won't easy to do against a Seattle defense that got on track last week in Chancellor's return. The three-time Pro Bowl safety should continue to ease his way back after holding out all of camp and the first two weeks because of his contract situation. After they allowed an average of 30.5 points and 356.5 total yards in two road losses, the Seahawks (1-2) held Bears backup quarterback Jimmy Clausen to 48 net passing yards in the shutout. It was the second time Chicago had finished with fewer than 50 since 1990. Seattle, however, now could be without defensive tackle Brandon Mebane due to a strained groin. The Seahawks won the last two home meetings by a combined 33 points but dropped the most recent matchup 28-24 in 2012 when Stafford threw a touchdown pass with 20 seconds left.

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