Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tuesday Three Play

We didn’t touch on it earlier this morning, but we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that UEFA’s Champions League Group Stage gets underway today on eight fronts.

FC Porto hosts Liverpool (aka Spanish National Team North) at the Estadio do Dragao, with both teams favoured to qualify for the knockout stage. Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez has been talking about how the English giants will be looking for a win tonight in hopes of securing their place in the next round long before the group stage is over. Porto, winners of their first four league games, come into the competition with a slightly different team from last year, having sold defender Pepe and midfielder Anderson in the off-season – its just the way it is in Portugal, where teams sell their best players in order to remain financially viable and profitable. FC Porto is the European equivalent of the Minnesota Twins. Notwithstanding what the Spaniard says, we are looking for Porto to play to a draw this afternoon.

Benfica of Lisbon travels to Italy to face European power AC Milan. We aren’t feeling nearly as buoyant over this matchup – Milan has too much for Benfica to contend with, so we aren’t expecting much from this one. A tie would be a huge result for Benfica – almost as good as a win – but we aren’t holding our breath. Milan is the class of the group – but Benfica has enough to get to the knockout stage with Celtic & Shaktar Donetsk in their group.

Normally, we’d be talking about Chelsea (formerly referred to here as Portuguese National Team North) but we aren’t feeling the love for Jose Mourinho’s boys these days – especially after their tie against Blackburn cost us HUGE on a number of Pro-Line tickets. Still though, they have enough to get it done this afternoon in London against Rosenborg.

Los Angeles over Tampa Bay – the biggest mismatch of the night, John Lackey vs Jason Hammel. Lackey’s career numbers against Tampa are very good - 7-1 with an ERA of 2.51; couple that with coming off a surprise loss to Baltimore’s rookie Jon Leicester and you have to think Lackey is due for a dominant game. Lay $100 on the Angels - $260.

Milwaukee over Houston – Ben Sheets goes for the Brewers against Felipe Paulino, making his first career start. Sheets’ career numbers against Houston aren’t exactly thrilling – but he was pitching for some pretty bad Milwaukee teams in his eight losses. We like Milwaukee to keep the pressure on the Cubs with a win tonight. Lay $100 on the Brewers - $170.

Arizona over San Francisco – back to the well with the DBacks. We aren’t thrilled with the matchup, with Arizona starter Micah Owings getting pounded in his only start vs. the Giants – but Johnathan Sanchez does have us feeling all warm and fuzzy either. Arizona avenges last night’s late inning blow up to beat the Giants tonight. Lay $100 on the DBacks - $155.

New York over Baltimore – no explanation needed. Sorry Red Sox Nation, but as much as you hate them, you have to think they’ll get it done tonight against an O’s team playing out the string – no “Cowboy Up” nonsense at Yankee Stadium tonight. Lay $100 on the Yanks - $250.

That’s it, that’s all. Tuesday’s Hazies tonight.

We’re Out.


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