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MLB Weekend Preview (Apr. 18-20)

Between the NBA playoffs and the NHL playoffs, bettors are spoiled for choice when it comes to action this weekend. But while we’re watching things unravel on the hardwood and ice, let’s not forget about the baseball diamond.

Once again, BettingSports.com brings you a preview of this weekend’s Major League Baseball action, picking out the matchups and storylines you’ll want to keep an eye on.

Let’s start with a clash between AL heavyweights.

Mike Trout and the Angels aren't struggling to score, but they are having problems winning.

Mike Trout and the Angels aren’t struggling to score, but they are having problems winning.

American League Pick of the Weekend – Los Angeles Angels at Detroit Tigers

The season hasn’t begun exactly how the Detroit Tigers (7-5) and Los Angeles Angels (7-8) might have hoped.

After beginning the year 4-0, the Tigers – tipped for the AL pennant this year – have gone 3-5 over their last eight games, and are looking to shore things up a little. The team has allowed an AL-low 47 runs so far this year, but with just 49 runs scored, good pitching and solid defense hasn’t equated to wins.

The Angels on the other hand haven’t had any problem scoring runs. They’ve hit an AL-best 24 home runs so far this term and scored 83 runs, good enough for third in the AL. But the team – which has been involved in more than its share of high-scoring games – hasn’t been able to transfer this offensive success into runs. They’ll look to change that with a trip to Comerica Park.

Mike Trout (5 HR, 11 RBI, .323 AVG) has been in good form so far this year while veteran Raul Ibanez (3 HR, 12 RBI, .164 AVG) has hit big when he’s hit.

On the other side of the field, Torii Hunter (3 HR, 9 RBI, .237 AVG) has led the Tigers offense alongside newcomer Ian Kinsler (2 HR, 7 RBI, .327 AVG). The Motor City faithful is currently waiting for Miguel Cabrera (1 HR, 6 RBI, .250 AVG) to find his MVP form again. The Angels are hoping the latter won’t come into effect until after this weekend.

Adam Wainwright was on form in Thursday's opener between the Cards and Nats.

Adam Wainwright was on form in Thursday’s opener between the Cards and Nats.

National League Pick of the Weekend – St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals

The St. Louis Cardinals (10-6) and Washington Nationals (9-7) were highly thought of heading into the season and, for the most part, have lived up to expectations. This weekend’s series will be a good opportunity to see just where the two sides stand right now.

St. Louis took the series opened on Thursday, handing Washington an 8-0 defeat at Nationals Park. Adam Wainwright was the star of the show as he pitched a two-hit shutout, striking out eight and reaching base three times. The victory gave the Cardinals a fifth success in six games.

The Nationals meanwhile have dropped five of seven after starting the year 7-2, including a three-game sweep by division rivals the Atlanta Braves. New skipper Matt Williams will look to guide his team out of this mini-slump over the next three games.

Saturday’s matinee game in the capital serves up a pitching duel well worth tuning in for. Lance Lynn (3-0, 4.00 ERA) will take to the hill against Jordan Zimmerman (1-0, 5.27 ERA). Both will be looking to lower their ERA and leave the game with that zero in place.

Baltimore's Chris Tillman will look to peg back the Red Sox on Friday night.

Baltimore’s Chris Tillman will look to peg back the Red Sox on Friday night.

Pitching Matchup of the Weekend – Chris Tillman (BAL) vs. John Lackey (BOS)

Speaking of pitching duels, Friday night’s game between the Boston Red Sox (7-9) and Baltimore Orioles (7-7) at Fenway Park will see a gem of a matchup as the Orioles’ Chris Tillman (1-1, 0.84 ERA) goes up against John Lackey (2-1, 3.86 ERA).

Tillman has allowed just four runs in three games for the Orioles, and were it not for poor run support his record would be 3-0. He’s struck out 15 and walked three in 21 1/3 innings, and averaged 107 pitches a game.

Lackey got tagged for six runs in his last start, allowing four home runs at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. Prior to that he’d allowed just two runs in two games, while posting a 1.38 ERA. Red Sox manager John Farrell will hope Saturday’s game in The Bronx was just a minor bump in the road, and that a return to the familiar confines of Fenway will help nurture a solid performance.

Tillman recorded a no decision when these two sides met at Camden Yards on March 31, allowing one run on seven hits in five innings of play. Lackey earned a ‘W’ against the Orioles two days later, giving up two runs on three hits in a 6-2 victory.

Can Paul Goldschmidt and the 4-14 D'backs turn things around?

Can Paul Goldschmidt and the 4-14 D’backs turn things around?

Rapid Roundup

Sporting the worst record in the majors, the Arizona Diamondbacks (4-14) will look to snap a six-game skid as they visit the Los Angeles Dodgers (10-6). They’ll also look to make some kind of improvement on a 0-5 record against the Dodgers this season. Like their chances?

The New York Yankees (10-6) picked up a fifth consecutive win in their series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays (7-9) on Thursday. They’ll look for more of the same at Tropicana over the next three days before heading to Bean Town on Tuesday.

The Pittsburgh Pirates (8-8) handed the Milwaukee Brewers (11-5) an 11-2 shellacking on Thursday night in the first of four games between the division rivals this weekend. Can the Brewers – still with the best record in baseball – bounce back or is that soft schedule to start the year beginning to show?

Top meets bottom in the Bay Area this weekend as the AL-leading Oakland Athletics (10-5) host the AL-worst Houston Astros (5-11). Can the Astros take advantage of the Athletics’ so-so home record (3-3) or will it be more misery for the side that’s lost four straight?


Weekend Schedule

American League

Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox

Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Indians

Los Angeles Angels at Detroit Tigers

Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals

Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics

New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays

Chicago White Sox at Texas Rangers

National League

Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs

Philadelphia Phillies at Colorado Rockies

Arizona at Los Angeles Dodgers

Atlanta Braves at New York Mets

Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates

San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres

St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals


Seattle Mariners at Miami Marlins


For a full list of today’s Major League Baseball odds, click here.

For MLB Futures odds, courtesy of Bovada, click here.

For team prop bets, click here.

For player prop bets, click here.

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