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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 12:00 AM










Folks, it wasn’t all that long ago that the Major-League Baseball Trade Deadline fell on June 15th of each year – imagine the onslaught of big deals we’d have this week if that was still the case!

Nowadays – as everyone knows – the MLB Trade Deadline is July 31st but as we’ve been saying in recent Jim Sez columns the fact of the matter is there figures to be a slew of teams that will be looking to upgrade their respective starting rotations sooner rather than later.

Let’s take a few moments to check out the Top 3 Starting Pitchers that figure to be on the market in the coming weeks …


CHRIS ARCHER, RHP, Tampa Bay – Okay, so this 29-year-old hurler right now isn’t the ace of the Rays’ pitching staff (that goes to LHP Blake Snell who sports an 8-3 record with an 0.98 WHIP) but better believe that a batch of contenders want to swing a deal for Archer soon. The righty has been out since June 2nd with abdominal muscle issues – he threw a 20-pitch bullpen session last weekend and said he felt no pain – but the trick here is Tampa Bay would rather not trade Archer inside the confines of the American League East and so toss out the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees as potential suitors. Best guess is that the Los Angeles Dodgers want in on the Archer sweepstakes and ditto for the Chicago Cubs. Stat update: Archer is 3-4 with a 4.24 ERA this year in 13 starts and he’s allowed 76 hits and 26 walks in 76.1 innings.


COLE HAMELS, LHP, Texas – The $64,000 question is whether or not this one-time World Series champion (see Philadelphia Phillies, 2008) still has the stuff to get key outs in August/September/October baseball games. No doubt Hamels has been a solid starter for the disappointing Rangers this year – he’s heading into his Wednesday start at the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 3-6 record and 3.86 ERA in 13 starts but note only 69 hits allowed in 79.1 innings and a 79-to-29 K-to-BB ratio. Word’s been coming out that the Yankees are ready/willing/able to obtain Hamels for a couple of prospects (one of which would be OF Clint Frazier) but a return to Philly is not out of the question – wouldn’t that be fun? – and don’t discount the aforementioned Dodgers being part of the talk here.


TYSON ROSS, RHP, San Diego – Here’s an under-the-radar hurler who has become a real hot commodity when it comes to trade talk. Ross – who figures to get his next start Thursday in Atlanta – is 5-3 with a decent 3.43 ERA in his 13 starts so far and check out these numbers: In 76 innings pitched, Ross has allowed just 66 hits with a keen 78-to-28 K-to-BB ratio. The 6-foot-6 Berkeley native is already a nine-year pro but there hasn’t been that much mileage on his right arm, so the Padres really want a major bring-back for his services. Right now, the major “chasers” are the Yankees, Red Sox and the Cubs but a dark horse team in the mix is right there in the National League West where Arizona is said to be sniffing around.


Now hear this …

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It’s always fun to take a look back at what last year’s Super Bowl teams – the champion Philadelphia Eagles and the runner-up New England Patriots – did spreadwise en route to getting to the “ultimate game” but here we’re also gonna look ahead and project what they might do here in the upcoming 2018 season:


PHILADELPHIA – The Eagles rock-n-rolled their way to a 16-3 SU (straight-up) and 13-6 ATS (against the spread) last year and that includes three consecutive wins/covers in the post-season (all as underdogs) against Atlanta / Minnesota / New England. Note that the Eagles finished last year with a nifty 7-3 ATS mark at home while going 6-3 versus the vig away (that’s either on the road or the neutral field game in Super Bowl 52) while Philly was 8-4 ATS as betting favorites and 5-2 against the odds when snapping up points … all excellent numbers, of course.

The post-Super Bowl season will open at home on Thursday, September 6th against the Atlanta Falcons – and did you realize last year the Eagles registered a tasty 10-3 ATS mark against non-NFC East clubs last season? Hmm, might not be that good against the juice in non-divisional affairs this year as we stop to consider the fact Philadelphia could well be laying road points at Tampa Bay and at Tennessee in the very first month of the 2018 campaign.


NEW ENGLAND – True, the Patriots suffered their third Super Bowl loss in the 18-year reign of head coach Bill Belichick (against five Super Bowl wins, of course) but all was not lost last year for folks who financially backed New England. In fact, the Pats banged out a solid 12-7 against the odds record that featured 10-of-11 spread wins between Week 7 and Week 18 of regular-season play and overall this AFC East crew finished 6-4 ATS at home and 6-3 vig-wise away. Note that the Patriots were never a wagering underdog last year – their smallest spread was minus 2.5 points in a highly-controversial 27-24 triumph at Pittsburgh in Week 16 – and right now the only 2018 game in which the Pats might be taking points is – get this – a Week 16 game in Pittsburgh. Wow!

One other schedule-related item here for the Patriots:

Believe it or not New England’s a shaky 1-3-1 spreadwise in its last five season-opening games – the Pats are just 4-5-1 ATS in openers the past 10 years overall – and so keep that under advisement as we head towards the Week 1 bash at home against the Houston Texans that pops up on Sunday, September 9th.



NOTE: Catch all the Major-League Baseball news/notes in the next edition of Jim Sez and we’ll continue to dig into all the key NFL news items from here through training camps, so don’t miss out!


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