San Diego Padres (LeBlanc) vs. San Francisco Giants (Zito) Preview and Pick – Betting Line

San Diego Padres (19-12) Wade LeBlanc, at San Francisco Giants
(18-12) Barry Zito, AT&T Park, San Francisco, Calif., 10:15 PM EST,
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

by Badger of

Betting Line: Padres +145/Giants -155
Total: 7.5

First place in the National League West will be up for grabs this
week when the San Diego Padres try to keep their perch at the top of
the standings when they travel to AT&T Park to face the San Francisco

Tuesday nights opener of the three-game set will kickoff the
showdown in style, with an enticing pitchers duel between young
Padres south-paw Wade LeBlanc and the Giants resurgent lefty Barry

Why an enticing pitchers duel you ask? Simply put, both pitchers are
white hot on the bump right now.

LeBlanc is 2-0 and has only allowed three runs in his four starts
this season (23 IP), but more importantly the Padres are a perfect
4-0 in those starts with a scoring margin of nearly five runs (5.5
RF, 0.75 RA in LeBlancs starts). And the ironic part is that LeBlanc
and his studly numbers are completely overshadowed in this matchup
because of the way Zito is pitching right now.

Zito is a perfect 5-0 with ridiculous splits (1.49 ERA, 0,92 WHIP, .
244 OBP) that have put him back on the map and reminded everyone why
he was once MLBs highest paid pitcher.

The Giants also have a certain amount of revenge coming into the
series as well, since the Padres swept them at Petco back at the end
of April. The Padres didnt face either Zito or Tim Lincecum in that
series, so the Giants out to prove things are different this time
around with their southpaw ace on the mound.

Oddsmakers opened the game with Zito and the Giants as just -135
favorites at home on the overnight line, but the early steam at the
window has already driven up the moneyline bet to Giants -155 at most
books and even -160 at a few offshore sportsbooks. Books with a
dimeline or reduced juice odds list the underdog Padres at +145,
although most are at +140 on their boards.

The over/under total bet is where you might be able to gain an edge
tonight. Most books list the total at 7, but there is also a 6.5 (at
5Dimes and several 7.5’s on the board (SportsInteraction,
Pinnacle) so you can get yourself an extra run in either direction if
you feel strong about the over/under.

On paper that bet would be the under, since LeBlanc and Zito both
have been lights out on the mound in a ballpark now called AT&T Park
that plays very deep (.680 OPS) and very pitcher friendly (.240 BA).
In addition, the under is 5-0 in the last five head-to-head games
between these two and its also 9-1 in the Giants last 10 games at
home in AT&T.

Plus, neither team is riding a hot streak at the plate right now

The Padres won two of three in Houston to start their road trip, but
only scored 12 runs in the three games and lost the finale in
crushing fashion when closer Heath Bell blew a save. The Giants
salvaged the final game of their three-game set in New York on
Sunday, blowing Lincecums early lead but saving it with a late two-
run jack by Aaron Rowand and a two-inning save by Brian Wilson, so if
thats momentum then you be the judge.

The Giants are a little dinged up right now though, as both Mark
DeRosa (wrist) and Bengie Molina (hamstring) are nursing injuries and
are listed as questionable for tonight. Andres Torres and Eli
Whiteside played in their place on Sunday and could be back in there
again if two days off wasnt enough time away.

Badgers Pick: With all of the early money on the Giants and Zito
(open at -135 and now up to -160), the skeptic in me would take the
Padres at the enticing +140 to +145 odds as underdogs. Instead Ill
put the safe money on the under of 7, as these two pitchers against
dinged up lineups in a big park is obvious, but also the smarter wager.