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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 7:00 AM

In the build-up to the 2015 Major League Baseball season, there were two teams everyone was talking about. The Chicago Cubs, who were inspiring insane amounts of “win the World Series” bets for a team with a projected win total barely above the .500 mark. And, the San Diego Padres, with a projected win total closer to 84 or 85 and the likely runner-up to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. The MARKET says the Padres are more likely to be a team people are talking about in September (or even October!).

The Padres and Dodgers opened the season head-to-head. Then, San Diego must deal with the San Francisco Giants this weekend. We’ll see very quickly if the Padres are ready to make a jump to respectability after so much offseason spending.

Let’s run some numbers for tonight’s game that you can watch on ESPN2…



San Diego: 3.30 runs per game, .292 on-base, .342 slugging

LA Dodgers: 4.43 runs per game, .333 on-base, .406 slugging

Of course, the big problem here is that San Diego “bought” a lot of offense in the offseason. They were horrible last year, which was only partly the result of playing at home in such a great pitcher’s park. They were horrible everywhere. So, those numbers don’t apply. They’ll need to get up to about .320 and .380 to be taken seriously in the NL…and about 4.00 runs per game. The Dodgers are still fairly loaded…so catching them offensively will be tough. San Diego needs to be in the same neighborhood more than just geographically!

Interesting pitching matchup Wednesday…



Andrew Cashner: 2.55 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 6.8 K-Rate, 6.5 IP-per-Start

Brandon McCarthy: 4.05 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 7.9 K-Rate 6.3 IP-per-Start

Cashner was only able to make 19 starts last season…but those are Cy Young contending numbers if he’s able to pull that off for a full season. His home park does help his stats. But, he can get people out wherever he throws. McCarthy split time between Arizona and the New York Yankees last season. He managed to stay healthy (rare for him) while not throwing in many meaningful games. He’s on a divisional favorite and pennant threat now. Can he avoid breaking down? Can he be a positive influence if his ERA stays above four? The Dodgers are hoping for about a half-run lower. Edge to the Padres on the mound, but still likely LAD with the bats.

Handicapping San Diego in this first month of the new season will be very much about properly evaluating the scoring potential of their new offense. If this team can get some runs on the board, they are a serious Wildcard contender in a parity-riddled NL (once you get below the projected divisional winners LAD, Washington, and St. Louis)…



Pittsburgh 85

San Diego 84.5

San Francisco 84

Chicago Cubs 82.5

NY Mets 82

Miami 81.5

Not much margin for error there. And, both Milwaukee and Cincinnati are capable of jumping into the mix as well if they can exceed market expectations (Philadelphia, Atlanta, Arizona, and Colorado are probably too far gone, but you never know). By half a game, the market “expected” San Diego to be a Wildcard team. YOU need to figure out if the Padres are overrated or underrated…and you need to focus on these early matchups against California rivals to make that determination.

JIM HURLEY loves handicapping early season baseball because there are market misreads all over the card. That’s true in both leagues! It will likely be a factor influencing the Wednesday NETWORK ticket. Padres/Dodgers may or may not make the final cut on a busy slate. You can purchase the final word for Wednesday right here at the website with your credit card (be sure you take care of business EARLY because of the day games). If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours.

We’ll spend a day in the NBA Thursday before jumping back to the bases. Here’s what’s coming up in the NOTEBOOK…

Thursday: NBA TV Preview…Chicago at Miami (plus Eastern Playoff discussion)

Friday: MLB Series Preview…Detroit Tigers at the Cleveland Indians

Monday: MLB Series Preview…Washington Nationals at the Boston Red Sox

Wednesday April 15: NBA Season Finale “Must-Game” Preview (if applicable)

Friday April 17: NBA Playoff previews begin!

The NBA stretch run looks to be kind of a dud…but the playoffs are going to be AMAZING! And, all of the early baseball action features a bunch of great opportunities daily in sports betting’s most profitable sport (you can win 7 days a week for six months!). Are you ready to GET ALL THE MONEY?! Don’t sit on the sidelines, GET IN THE GAME!

Be sure to follow:

Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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