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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Play ball!

The 2012 Major-League Baseball Season if officially here but there's still some time today to get in on those now highly-popular "prop plays" and we'll get to a few that have caught our eye ... so here goes:

OVER/UNDER WINS -Go "over" 81½ wins for the Colorado Rockies
Okay, so maybe you read our Jim Sez MLB Preview in yesterday's column space where we predicted the Tampa Bay Rays would defeat the Colorado Rockies in 7 games and so it makes complete and perfect sense for us to go "over" the regular-season wins total for this National League West squad. The Rockies may not dominate the division that's absolutely littered with stellar starting pitchers but there's plenty of good arms on the Rockies side including Opening Day hurler RHP Jeremy Guthrie who comes over from Baltimore plus we're counting on big years from OF Carlos Gonzalez and SS Troy Tulowitzki (among others) and gut feel here is Jim Tracy's team will win somewhere between 90 and 93 games and so let's get in on the "over" wins total here.

OVER/UNDER WINS -Go "under" 92 wins for the Texas Rangers
Folks, we knew it the minute the Rangers blew last year's World Series in St. Louis that this American League West squad would suffer a major season-long hangover here in 2012 and so pony up and go "under" the wins figure here and look for Ron Washington's club to play .500 ball -give or take -and expect this Texas bullpen to be a major weakness for much of this '12 season. The Rangers have been to back-to-back World Series and have nothing to show for their efforts and here the rest of the AL "catches up with them" and so it's "under" the bloated win.

Note that there are many wagering web sites/outlets that these days post individual over/under numbers and here are three players -and their prices -that have piqued our interest:

Go "over" 155 hits for Cleveland Indians OF Shin Soo Choo -The Tribe could well be one of the surprise teams in the AL this year and look for the sweet-swinging lefty-hitting Choo to whack somewhere between 170-to-180 hits in all.

Go "over" 29½ home runs by Arizona OF Justin Upton -The Diamondbacks have a slew of good young players but B.J.'s brother is one of the real shining stars in the senior circuit and expect him to wallop 37-to-40 homers this season as he has power alley strengths that will allow him some home-field dingers where other folks just gap doubles/triples.

Go "under" 17½ wins for New York Yankees starter CC Sabathia -No doubt that the Yankees' stud lefthander is an innings-eater and someone who can always be counted on for 33 starts a year but consider that Sabathia could start as many as 9 or 10 games against fellow AL East rivals Boston and Tampa Bay and we believe he won't meet with much success in these outings. Throw in the fact that the seventh and/or eighth innings could be a problem spot for the Yankees bullpen and so they could cost Sabathia a couple of wins too.

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are ready to rock this 2012 Major-League Baseball season and don't forget there's lots more NBA Winners too this spring and so sign up today and be sure to check in with us either right here online or else at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the daily/nightly winners. Note that the check-in times are anytime after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday Baseball Winners and after 1 p.m. ET for weeknight MLB and NBA Winners. Plus, check in after 11 a.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday for all the weekend winners.



Let's take a few moments to examine what's happening in the chase for the final playoff berths in the NBA's Eastern and Western Conferences:

A couple of days ago there was talk that the New York Knicks (27-27) might be able to flag down the Philadelphia 76ers and/or thee Boston Celtics inside the Atlantic Division but Tuesday's frightful 112-104 loss at 5½-point favorite Indiana pretty much kayoed those dreams as the Knickerbockers were outscored 40-19 in the fourth quarter ... yikes! The Knicks entered Wednesday night ahead of Milwaukee by a mere 1½ games and keep in mind the Bucks were to Cleveland last night and host we-be-gone Washington on Friday night with another home game Saturday against Portland. Might Milwaukee be major beneficiaries of a late-season schedule that could push 'em past Mike Woodson's wounded Knicks? Stay tuned.

The Knicks are without PG Jeremy Lin for the rest of the regular season and F/C Amar'e Stoudemire is hurting bad with knee/back problems and it appears that everything is gonna fall squarely on the shoulders of Carmelo Anthony who scored 39 points against the Pacers and that still wasn't enough -what happened to the Knicks' so-called "depth"?

There are -in effect -five teams battling it out for the last three playoff berths here in the NBA's Western Conference although talk of schedule is important here too:

The Houston Rockets (29-25) -who entered Wednesday night's play in that eighth and final playoff berth -play six of their next nine games on the road and that includes three games in four nights at the Los Angels Lakers, at Sacramento and at Portland ... can Kevin McHale's guys follow up that Monday night win at Chicago with two-of-three "W's" on this upcoming West Coast swing?

On the flip side, take the case of the Utah Jazz (28-26) who entered Wednesday night's action a full game back of Houston for that eighth and final playoff slot: The Jazz -who lost three of its last four games prior to last night's tilt with Phoenix -will finish off the regular season by playing four of its final five games in Salt Lake City and that includes showdowns against Western Conference rivals Dallas and Phoenix. Might it come down to home games against the Suns (see April 24th) and Portland (April 26th) to see if Utah can slip past the crowd and into either seventh or eighth place in the West?

NOTE: Get some NBA Weekend Previews in the next Jim Sez and don't forget that our NFL Draft coverage begins next week as we take a position-by-position look leading up to our NFL Draft Preview.

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