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Free NCAA Pick Saturday

#702 San Francisco +4 over BYU 5:00 PM CT

14-7 San Francisco is 0-2 vs. Saint Mary’s in a 3-3 WCC start but both games vs. the Gaels were close while every non-conference loss came in a competitive game as well. All three home defeats have been top 100 caliber results and there is a lot to like about the offensive numbers for the Dons with strong shooting numbers all over the floor. Half of BYU’s losses this season have been overtime games but the only road win in the past two months came Thursday at Pacific. BYU is now drawing a third-consecutive road game on Saturday and a Cougars team reliant on 3-point shooting will face one of the top 3-point defenses in the WCC. San Francisco looks likely to dominate the rebounding in this game and have great interior scoring opportunities with some clear size advantages in this contest. Home wins over Yale, Southern Illinois, Sam Houston State, California, and Santa Clara provide support of a quality edge at War Memorial and the Dons won both meetings with BYU last season. A pair of huge home games are lined up next week for BYU making this a challenging spot on the schedule for the Cougars to be in top form, having scored 69 and 74 in the past two road games after scoring in the 90s in the past two home games for a clear contrast.  

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Free MLB Pick Friday

#961 Arizona Diamondbacks (Ray) -125 over San Francisco Giants (Pomeranz) 9:15 PM CT

Arizona had a pair of tough-luck losses vs. lefties in San Diego earlier this week but the Diamondbacks have nine wins vs. southpaw starters this season, tying for the most in the NL while a season OPS of .825 vs. left-handed pitching is also an elite figure that trails only a few teams in baseball. Mired in five straight losses, yesterday’s off-day should help the team re-group while they get to face a demoralized Giants team that lost in 13 innings in a game the Giants led most of the way Thursday afternoon. A strong start from Madison Bumgarner and a lot of bullpen innings were wasted in a loss that will make this Friday night game a difficult turnaround contest.

The Giants are 9-10 in May but -26 in scoring as a short-term surge early in the month appears to have been a mirage. San Francisco has very poor offensive numbers vs. left-handed pitching with a season OPS of just .619, posting only 11 home runs in 626 plate appearances while the Giants are 6-10 vs. southpaw starters on the season. Robbie Ray remains one of the top strikeout producers in baseball and after an injury-plagued 2018, he appears to be back in his 2017 form, posting a 11.5 K/9 with a 3.25 ERA. Ray has allowed just four earned runs over his last four starts and he pitched well vs. the Giants last week.

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San Francisco has a great bullpen but six key relievers were used yesterday for double-digit pitch counts and Drew Pomeranz will be hard to count on for a long outing. Pomeranz owns a 5.66 ERA this season and once in eight starts has completed six innings. He has a 4.6 BB/9 and his numbers don’t improve much at AT&T Park. Right-handed batters have hit .292 vs. Pomeranz this season and Arizona can generally feature a lineup with eight right-handed hitters. These teams are only a few games apart in the standings but are 75 runs apart in scoring differential and the losing streak puts Arizona at a very reasonable price in a favorable matchup and situation Friday.

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Free NFL Pick Sunday

#124 San Francisco 49ers +3 over Denver Broncos 3:05 PM CT

Denver has faced a difficult schedule this season while looking the part against some of the league’s top teams including wins over the Chargers and Steelers. Denver also lost to the Jets however and is is a challenging scheduling spot this week facing a third road game in four weeks and a second straight road contest after winning in Cincinnati last week. The Broncos caught a break on the schedule last week vs. the sinking Bengals drawing the first start from Jeff Driskel.

Denver won 24-10 but Cincinnati had three turnovers and 12 penalties. The Broncos had a solid edge on the ground but fewer first downs while losing the time of possession battle as well. 10 Denver points came on drives of just 33 and 7 yards as there was good fortune for the Broncos. This could be a dangerous game in San Francisco with the Broncos back in the playoff race and now a healthy road favorite for the second straight week. 2-10 San Francisco has a top 10 run defense and the 49ers have had some misleading results this season thanks to a NFL worst -20 turnover margin juggling three different quarterbacks and numerous injuries on offense.

The 49ers are also a top 10 rushing team as Denver isn’t likely to enjoy a big rushing edge in this matchup. San Francisco has out-rushed six of the past eight foes while out-gaining three of the last four foes by at least 97 yards. The 49ers are the more productive passing team with Denver posting only 6.8 yards per attempt and Denver actually allows a higher completion rate and more yards per attempt on defense than San Francisco despite the perception of these defenses. Emmanuel Sanders is also out of action to greatly limit Denver’s passing potential. Denver is on a 5-11 ATS run in road games and this could be the biggest road favorite spread since 2015 for the Broncos.

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Free MLB Pick Friday

#911 Colorado Rockies (Anderson) -130 over San Francisco Giants (Stratton) 9:15 PM CT

Tyler Anderson has rough numbers in his last five starts but four of those were Coor’s Field games with the lone road outing in Houston for a difficult path. Anderson has a season xFIP of 4.22 with steady strikeout marks as he is a capable option for the Rockies despite his numbers swelling of late. He has pitched extremely well in his past two outings vs. the Giants with three runs allowed in over 13 innings and he has held right-handers to a .234 batting average this season with San Francisco generally batting seven right-handers vs. southpaw starters.

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Chris Stratton owns a 4.99 ERA on the season with only a 6.9 K/9 and he has surprisingly provided no better results at pitching-friendly AT&T Park. Colorado has simply owned him this season with a 9.81 ERA in three starts. The season numbers for Colorado at the plate are underwhelming even with two MVP candidates but no team has been hotter of late with a .927 team OPS the past 12 games, scoring 6.2 runs per contest and batting .308 as a team while hitting nearly two home runs per game.

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The Giants are 0-11 in September while topping three runs just once in that span. San Francisco is just 5-11 vs. Colorado this season and San Francisco has a .561 team OPS while batting .198 over the past four weeks, averaging just 2.8 runs scored per game. San Francisco has just seven extra-base hits in the last five games combined as the Rockies could overcome a mediocre start from Anderson while only a slight favorite despite the contrasting recent results and the current stakes in the NL playoff race.

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Free MLB Pick Wednesday

#909 Arizona Diamondbacks (Godley) -115 over San Francisco Giants (Rodriguez) 9:15 PM CT

Zack Godley has 13 wins but a 4.59 ERA for Arizona this season but his FIP is only 3.68 and with a 9.6 K/9 Godley remains a threat for a great outing most nights. His last two starting efforts have featured 14 strikeouts but 11 runs allowed after Godley had allowed just 13 runs over his previous seven starts combined with his ERA 3.79 with a 2.00 FIP over his last nine starts. Godley has had mixed results against the Giants this season but San Francisco has been ice cold at the plate in August.

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In the past 25 games San Francisco has hit .217 while posting a .589 team OPS with only 14 home runs and averaging 3.4 runs per game. Arizona has dropped four of the last five games including getting shutout in the first two games of this series. They now sit tied with the Rockies in the NL West with the Dodgers now within a game and the Diamondbacks have four games at Dodger Stadium this weekend.

Arizona has a .751 team OPS the past 23 games with steady production. Arizona has improved its numbers vs. right-handed pitching since the trade deadline and Dereck Rodriguez has suspicious numbers in 15 games as a rookie. Rodriguez is 6-1 with a 2.30 ERA but with a 4.07 xFIP, benefiting from a .247 BABIP on the season. Rodriguez has made only three starts in August and Arizona has faced him before which should help the cause Wednesday.

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NFC West Staff Changes

NFC WEST 2018 COACHING STAFF CHANGES

ARIZONA CARDINALS

Over/Under Win Total: 5½

Odds to win Super Bowl: 100/1

Staff Change: Bruce Arians retired and Arizona hired Steve Wilks as the new head coach. Wilks has been an assistant with Carolina since 2012 and a defensive assistant in the NFL since 2006. Al Holcomb comes with Wilks as a Carolina assistant and is the new DC. Former Chargers HC Mike McCoy is the OC after being let go midseason in that role with Denver last season and there is an entirely new set of QBs in Arizona.

Probable QB Rotation:

Sam Bradford

Josh Rosen (rookie – via UCLA)

Mike Glennon

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LOS ANGELES RAMS

Over/Under Win Total: 10

Odds to win Super Bowl: 12/1

Staff Change: After leading the NFL in points the Rams have to replace OC Matt LaFleur who signed with Tennessee. With big shoes to fill OL coach Aaron Kromer and TE coach Shane Waldron are sharing the OC duties in 2018. Wade Phillips is back as DC for a second season.

Probable QB Rotation:

Jared Goff

Sean Mannion

Luis Perez (rookie–via Texas A&M-Commerce)

Brandon Allen

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SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Over/Under Win Total: 8½

Odds to win Super Bowl: 20/1

Staff Change: Keena Turner and DeMeco Ryans were given promotions on the staff but DC Robert Saleh is back for a second season while head coach Kyle Shanahan did not hire an offensive coordinator at his hiring and will remain handling those duties in his second season.

Probable QB Rotation:

Jimmy Garoppolo

C.J. Beathard

Jack Heneghan (rookie – via Dartmouth)

Nick Mullens

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Over/Under Win Total: 8

Odds to win Super Bowl: 50/1

Staff Change: Kris Richard was let go as DC for the Seahawks despite great numbers and former star linebacker Ken Norton, Jr. will be in that role in 2018 after stops in Oakland and San Francisco. Darrell Bevell was also let go after seven years as OC with Brian Schottenhiemer now with his seventh franchise in two decades though not as a NFL OC since 2014 with the Rams.

Probable QB Rotation:

Russell Wilson

Austin Davis

Alex McGough (rookie – via FIU)

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