Bryan Power Bryan Power
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YESTERDAY'S PLAYS
Matchup Selection W/L
MLB  |  May 25, 2018
Twins vs Mariners
Mariners
-185 at pinnacle
Won
$100
Play Type: Top Premium

8* Seattle (10:10 ET): While I remain unsold on the Mariners long-term (too many one-run victories lately), it's tough NOT to like them here, or any time when James Paxton is starting, for that matter. Despite being only 3-1 (6-4 TSR), Paxton has certainly been one of baseball's best pitchers in 2018 w/ 1.021 WHIP and two complete game shutouts to his credit, one of them a no-hitter back on 5.8 @ Toronto. He again went the distance his last time out, this time allowing just three hits in a 7-2 win over the Tigers. Tonight, he faces a Twins team that is just 26th in runs scored. Outside the division, AL Central teams are a woeful 54-98 so far (.355 win percentage) and I just can't see Minnesota beating Seattle for a second time w/ Paxton starting. 

These teams have already met three times before, all in the Twin Cities. Two of those games were played in early April, then a rainout was made up on 5.14. Back in one of the early April games, the Twins beat the M's w/ Paxton on the hill. Paxton went only five innings and allowed two runs in a no-decision. (Twins won 4-2 in a very cold home opener). Paxton has made eight starts since and seven of them have been quality, including each of the last five. Over those five consecutive quality outings, he's allowed just seven runs total in 37 IP. He has a ridiculous 45 strikeouts during that time as well. He's been particularly great at home where his WHIP is 0.975. He won't have to worry about the cold weather this time around and still has a 2.91 ERA in four career starts vs. Minnesota. 

Facing a pitcher who has a 0.542 (which Paxton does) over his L3 starts is problematic enough for a team. That's what the Twins are dealing w/ here and they're just 2-5 as a road underdog of +125 to +175 on the ML this season (29-46 L3 seasons in that range). They send Fernando Romero to the bump on Friday and while he's unbeaten (2-0) in four starts (2-2 TSR though), he's off his weakest effort to date as he gave up four runs in five innings against Milwaukee on Sunday. The Twins lost that game, 5-4, and while they "recovered" to win their next three, they're off a home loss here to Detroit on Wednesday. Playing after an off-day, the team is only 2-5 this season, so I don't think the rest advantage matters here. Seattle had won five in a row (four by one-run) before losing by one-run yday afternoon in Oakland. Paxton leads them to victory at home tonight. 8* Seattle

Matchup Selection W/L
MLB  |  May 25, 2018
White Sox vs Tigers
White Sox
+103 at 5Dimes
Lost
$100.0
Play Type: Top Premium

8* Chi White Sox (7:10 ET): As most though it would be, the American League Central is very bad this year. Despite being only a .500 team entering Friday, Cleveland figures to run away w/ the division as I don't believe any of the other four teams figure to finish w/ a wining record at season's end. Collectively, the AL Central has a win percentage of .355 outside the division (54-98 overall) and the last place White Sox have been the biggest "offenders" w/ a 9-23 mark in such games. They were also swept at home by the Tigers very early on in the season and tonight have their shot at avenging that. The theme of this three-pack has been taking teams looking to avenge a prior sweep and I won't deviate from this game plan here!

The White Sox have the fewest number of wins in all of baseball (15), but have played better of late as they've won five of their last eight, even after a loss yday. That loss resulted in four-game split w/ fellow cellar-dwellars Baltimore, that coming after taking three of four from the AL's other last place team, Texas. It's not much of a step up in class facing the Tigers, who ended an ugly five-game losing streak w/ a win at Minnesota on Wednesday. The last time Detroit scored more than four runs in a game was 5.15 vs. Cleveland. That bodes well for Chicago starter Reynaldo Lopez, who didn't allow any runs in his last start. He went eight innings against the Rangers on 5.20, allowing only two hits. It was the seventh time in nine starts this season that Lopez allowed 2 ER or fewer. So, he's certainly deserving of better than a 3-6 team start record. Sure enough, he has a 2.98 ERA and 1.160 WHIP. 

Lopez has lost only three decisions and one of them was in that previous series vs. Detroit. But in his start there, he allowed only an unearned run in 7 IP. Note that he was priced at -170 on the ML for that matchup, so it's solid value on him in the revenge spot. Again, he'll be matched up against Michael Fiers, who threw six innings of shutout ball in that first meeting. But Fiers has been quite inconsistent so far this season, including his last time out where he allowed four runs, which is far too many when facing James Paxton. Despite owning the better TSR, Fiers has an ERA that's a full point and a half higher than Lopez and his WHIP is higher as well. While the Tigers are a respectable 14-11 in day games this season, they are only 7-17 at night. Make it 7-18. 8* Chi White Sox

Matchup Selection W/L
MLB  |  May 25, 2018
Cardinals vs Pirates
Cardinals
+109 at 5Dimes
Lost
$100.0
Play Type: Top Premium

8* St. Louis (7:05 ET): Taking the woeful Reds out of the equation, the NL Central may be shaping up as baseball's toughest division in 2018. Entering the weekend, the two clubs here find themselves involved in a four-team race where everyone is separated by just 3.5 games. Milwaukee currently has the lead, but I'm not really buying into them as their record is being propped up by a somewhat fortunate 12-5 mark in one-run games. For my money, the Cubs are probably the division's best (confirmed by a +62 run differential?). That brings us to the two teams in question here, St. Louis and Pittsburgh. The Cardinals enter in off B2B disappointing losses to Kansas City (had yday off) while the Bucs have lost five of six, all of the setbacks coming at the hands of San Diego or Cincinnati at home, no less. The Cards have revenge here for getting swept here at PNC Park back in April and I'm on them in the series opener. 

Losing twice in a row to Kansas City at home is pretty unforgiveable, if you're St. Louis, or really any other team for that matter. The Cards didn't score much in either game (just three runs total) and lost the series finale in extra innings Wednesday. They're just 4-7 the L11 games, but I look for them to turn it around here as they give John Gant the baseball. Gant is off a strong showing w/ a career-best seven strikeouts (in just 4 1/3 innings). In the rotation only due to an injury to Adam Wainwright, Gant is -sadly - still looking for his 1st win (as a starter) since 2016. He got a no decision his last time out and the offense failed to score for him in his first outing. Tonight though, he faces a Pittsburgh offense that has scored three runs or less in five of the last 10 games and topped five just once during that same span.

The Pirates counter w/ Joe Musgrove, who is making his '18 debut. He was considered the prize in the haul acquired for Gerrit Cole in the trade w/ Houston. Truthfully, he wasn't all that great w/ the Astros last season as he finished up in the bullpen (after failing as a starter) and went 7-8 w/ a 4.77 ERA. The Pirates' rotation will be relying on him from here on out, which perhaps "speaks volumes." Musgrove started in four different places in Pittsburgh's minor league system while working his way back. But even though the Redbirds struggled at the plate the L2 games, they'll present Musgrove w/ a greater challenge than he's faced in a while. I like the revenge angle and the visitors here. 8* St. Louis

Matchup Selection W/L
MLB  |  May 25, 2018
Angels vs Yankees
Angels
+1½ -110 at pinnacle
Won
$100
Play Type: Top Premium

8* Run Line LA Angels (7:05 ET): Please note that this is a run line play only where I'm backing the Angels at +1.5. I've written about this in previous discussions about the Angels, but they've really struggled when taking on the American League's top teams. Against Boston, Houston and the Yankees, they're a combined 3-9 w/ all three wins coming against the Astros. They're 25-13 against "everyone else." They were swept by both the Red Sox and Yankees back in April. They get a chance to avenge the latter tonight and even though they are rather massive underdogs on the money line, I see them having a shot to pull it off. Certainly, they'll do no worse than a one-run defeat here. Take the +1.5. 

Now I am by no means attempting to minimize the accomplishments of Yanks' starter Luis Severino. Two years removed from an 0-8 record as a starter, Severino is now the most profitable pitcher to bet on (so far) here in 2018. He's got a 9-1 team start record (+8.0 units) and absolutely deserves it, given a corresponding 2.35 ERA and 0.969 WHIP. He's had only one non-quality start and that was the loss in Boston back on April 10th. He did face the Angels in the previous series and held them to three runs over seven innings. However, that was still only a one-run victory as the Yankees needed runs in the 9th and 10th innings to come out ahead. In fact, two of the Yankees' wins in that three game sweep last month were of the one-run variety. We can live w/ that result here.

The Yankees may have scored 10 or more runs in three of the last four games, but for just the second time in the last month, they're coming off B2B losses. Those came at Texas of all places. A big reason I feel that the Angels are a tremendous value here is their 16-5 road record is the best in baseball and they are averaging an impressive 5.9 runs per game. Shohei Ohtani will no longer be starting in this series, but he'll still hit and he's coming off a strong game yday where he had two doubles, leading an 8-1 win at Toronto. Andrew Heaney will be the one starting Friday and getting hit for four unearned runs his last time out snapped a string of four consecutive quality starts. He's allowed five or less hits in five straight starts, giving up just 4 ER total. Note that the Yankees are just 5-5 the L10 games after going 17-1 their previous 18. It makes sense that they're cooling off following such a ridiculous run and that cooling off period should extend into this weekend. 8* Run Line LA Angels (+1.5)

PICKS IN PROGRESS
Matchup Selection W/L
MLB  |  May 26, 2018
White Sox vs Tigers
White Sox
+1½ -155 at 5Dimes
Play Type: Top Premium

8* Run Line Chi White Sox (4:10 ET): Please note that this is a run line play only where I am backing the White Sox at +1.5. The White Sox appeared poised to start this series out w/ a win as they quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead last night and led 4-2 heading into the bottom of the eighth. But that's when their bullpen betrayed them, giving up three runs in that half inning, resulting in a 5-4 loss. They're now 0-4 head to head w/ the Tigers in 2018. The revenge angle is still in play (boy, will today's three-pack resemble last night's) and because of that I'm back the road team again in this one. Only this time it's getting the additional 1.5 runs, a situation which would have resulted in a win last night. 

The White Sox have the fewest number of wins in all of baseball (15) and a pitcher that has an 0-4 team start record (w/ a 7.11 ERA and 1.684 WHIP) going tonight. That may not sound all that promising, but it's not like the Tigers are any "great shakes." The team from the Motor City came into this series as losers of five of their last six. Now they've won B2B games, but that doesn't bode too well for them considering win streaks of three or more have been rare this year. There's been only three of them previously, the longest at four straight. Obviously, one was the prior sweep of the White Sox. The other included a sweep of another last place team, Baltimore. The team is still averaging only 2.7 runs over its last seven games while batting a collective .216.

The starter for the White Sox here is Hector Santiago. While his numbers are poor; they're largely skewed by one awful start against Minnesota earlier this month. In the other three, he's allowed 3 ER or less everytime. All three of those have resulted in one-run losses, again, a result that would be just fine given how we're playing this one. Allowing three solo home runs his last time out was simply a tough break as those were the only runs he gave up in the contest. Santiago will be opposed here by Francisco Liriano, who is off a shockingly good showing at Seattle on Sunday where he went eight innings and gave up only one hit. But I wouldn't look for a repeat of that from a starter who has a 4.64 ERA and 1.406 WHIP at home this year (4 starts). I won't be backing Chicago much this season, but I will here until they get a win over this division rival. You just don't see a team sweep another twice in a row very often, especially if it's division rivals. 8* Run Line Chi White Sox (+1.5)

Matchup Selection W/L
MLB  |  May 26, 2018
Cardinals vs Pirates
Cardinals
-108 at 5Dimes
Play Type: Top Premium

8* St. Louis (4:05 ET): The Cardinals dropped to 0-4 head to head w/ the Pirates this season as they had a poor showing last night here at PNC Park, losing 8-1. In a crowded NL Central field (absent Cincinnati), such a poor head to head mark against any division rival could come back to haunt you. St. Louis is currently fourth out of the four-team logjam, but just four games out of first place. They're only one game back of the second place Pirates, despite the 0-4 record, so they're lucky there. I can't see the Cards getting swept again by the Bucs this weekend, so I'm back on them today as the revenge angle continues to be prevalent. 

Overall, the Cardinals have now dropped three in a row. Prior to last night's series opener, they'd embarrassingly dropped two at home to the lowly Royals. This is the third three-game skid for the Cards so far in 2018. The good news is that they have yet to lose four in a row. Over the L3 seasons, they are 23-8 when on a losing streak of three or more games. Charged w/ being the "stopper" here is Jack Flaherty, who has pitched well for them of late. Flaherty was flat out dominant in his last start, striking out 13 over 7 2/3 innings and giving up just one run on two hits against a good Phillies team. Flaherty has allowed 1 ER in three of his four starts this year. Ironically, the one he did not was against Pittsburgh, but even then, he gave up only three. Flaherty's WHIP over his L3 starts is an impressive 0.927. 

Now runs may be tough to come by for the Redbirds as well considering they're up against Trevor Williams, who has allowed 2 ER or fewer in 13 of his last 15 starts here at home (dating back to last season). Williams did outduel Flaherty last month, giving up just two runs over six innings. But I don't see that result repeating itself here as I'm simply not a believer in this Bucs team long-term. They'd lost five of six coming into this series w/ those games coming against two last place teams: San Diego and Cincinnati. All were here at home as well. St. Louis is too good (and too proud) to be swept for a second time by the Pirates. 8* St. Louis

Matchup Selection W/L
MLB  |  May 26, 2018
Diamondbacks vs A's
A's
-147 at BetPhoenix
Play Type: Top Premium

10* Oakland (4:05 ET): Arizona snapped what had been an ugly seven-game slide w/ a 7-1 win in Oakland last night. But I don't look for the good times to last here for the D'backs as their up against Daniel Mengden Saturday afternoon and a ML underdog for good reason. Mengden's 4-4 record (6-4 TSR) is in no way indicative of the way he's pitched for the A's as he comes into this game carrying a 3.30 ERA and 1.081 WHIP. He's been even sharper of late w/ a 1.37 ERA and 0.864 WHIP. During their losing streak, Arizona wasn't scoring many runs (just 12 total!), so this would certainly appear to be a bad matchup for them on paper. Not even the addition of the designated hitter to their lineup can save them here.

The D'backs are a team I expected to regress in 2018. I think that's a pretty logical take considering last year saw them jump from 69 wins (in '16) to 93 and a surprising Wild Card berth. In no way am I intimating that they'll drop to 2016 levels, but certainly they won't be hitting last season's win total either. Now, I recognize I looked pretty foolish early on as they were 20-8 at the end of April. But then came what we'll call a rather huge "market correction." Not only had the club dropped seven in a row going into yday; they'd lost 13 of 14 overall! They scored two runs or fewer in 11 of those 14 games, including the lone win (2-1 over Milwaukee on 5.15). They've now fallen out of first place in the NL West as they currently trail the Rockies by one-half game. 

Though the offense was able to "break out" last night, I don't see that happening again today against Mengden, who has given up 2 ER or fewer in six of his last seven outings. He's off arguably his best; having thrown seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball at Toronto Sunday. While his strikeout numbers are far from dominant, the bottom line is he's allowed just four runs this month, in 24 2/3 IP. I don't see Clay Buchholz, who is starting for just the second time this year, matching him. Buchholz made his season debut on Sunday and while he pitched well (allowed just one run on two hits), the D'backs still lost, wasting that effort. Buchholz has never pitched well here in Oakland (9.58 ERA in three career starts) and remains a huge question mark having gone 13 months in between big-league starts. 10* Oakland

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