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YESTERDAY'S PLAYS
Matchup Selection W/L
NFL  |  Sep 25, 2017
Cowboys vs Cardinals
Cardinals
+3½ -120 at Bovada
Lost
$120.0
Play Type: Top Premium

10* Arizona (8:30 ET): Both teams come in at 1-1 SU here, but took opposite routs to get there. Dallas won their opener, 19-3 over the Giants, but was then humiliated (as a road favorite) LW in Denver, losing 42-17. Arizona lost its opener, 35-23 to Detroit (fell victim to a Matt Stafford comeback) and then escaped from Indianapolis LW w/ a 16-13 OT win. Coming into the year, I certainly expected the Cowboys to regress a little from last year's breakthrough 13-3 campaign. (Who didn't?). But the Cardinals were a team I'd earmarked for improvement as they were certainly a lot better than LY's 7-8-1 record showed (outscored opp by 56 pts!). I'm sticking to my initial respective reads on the two teams here and will take take points as there's been some "reverse line movement" at play here as well.

The loss to the Lions and the injury to David Johnson caused most to "give up" on the Cards pretty quickly I feel. I didn't want any part of them last week as they were laying a pretty sizable number on the road. They definitely started sluggish in Indy, trailing 13-3 early in the 4Q. But even though the Colts had Jacoby Brissett starting at QB, I was impressed by the Cards' defense permitting just three points after the 1st quarter. They ended up outgaining the Colts 389-266. Running the ball may be a problem w/o Johnson, but Denver certainly provided a blueprint for them as last week they ran for 178 yards against the Cowboys defense. Also, look for Carson Palmer to attack a banged up Cowboys secondary that is down two starters. Defensively, Arizona's gameplan here should be similar to Denver's last week in that they need to look to force Dak Prescott to thrown more. 

Though they did fall behind early, I was stunned to see the Cowboys abandon the run game so quickly last week. Ezekiel Elliot had his worst game as a pro, by a mile, and had his effort level questioned to boot. I can't see him being held in check to that degree for a second straight game, but certainly this Dallas' offense is not "clicking" right now as they're averaging only 18 PPG. WR Dez Bryant will be matched up against CB Patrick Peterson and thus isn't likely to have a big game here either. Under Jason Garrett, the Cowboys have always been money burners in the favorite role. Given what happened last week, I certainly don't trust them laying points here and will back the Cardinals in their home opener. 10* Arizona

Matchup Selection W/L
MLB  |  Sep 25, 2017
Mariners vs A's
A's
+1½ -150 at 5Dimes
Lost
$150.0
Play Type: Top Premium

8* Run Line Oakland (10:05 ET): Please note that this is a run line play only where I am backing the A's at +1.5. Oakland certainly made me look foolish over the weekend, sweeping Texas for the seccond time in less than a month. They've now won a season-best seven in a row and enter this series hoping the revenge angle plays out better for them than it did for Texas over the weekend. I played against this A's team in each of the last three games (cashing once - on the run line) as I'm a firm believer in taking a team playing w/ revenge for a prior sweep. It didn't pan out, but I'm obviously "doubling down" on the strategy here tonight as all three teams I'm taking in this 3-game report are in that very situation. Here, I'll take the safe rout and say the A's do no worse than a one-run loss.

Seattle has played its way right out of Wild Card contention by dropping eight of its last nine games. They were officially eliminated after yday's 4-2 loss to Cleveland. While they did actually take a game from the Indians over the weekend (Friday), prior to that, they had been swept (at home) by the same Texas team that Oakland just dominated. I expect morale to be pretty low for the Mariners this final week of the season. The reality is that they were pretty fortunate to even find themselves in playoff contention. It was owed to a still MLB-best 26-13 record in one-run games. So we're covering ourselves by taking the run line in this one. But the bottom line is that the M's are probably due to drop a couple of one-run games this final week. Oakland, while having nothing to play for here either, is at least playing loose and well. Late season callups have led to a much-needed infusion of youth and the club is 14-3 its L17 games overall.

There was a time when I'd never consider fading Felix Hernandez. But the Seattle starter is no longer "King" as an injury-plagued season has left him w/ a 5-5 record in 15 starts (8-7 TSR), a 4.57 ERA and 1.339 WHIP. Due to injury, his last three starts have actually all come against Texas. He finished w/ a 7.30 ERA in those three outings, two of which took place since he returned from the DL. The last one saw him last only 3 1/3 innings and he allowed six runs. Strikeout numbers are way down for Hernandez this year. During their seven-game win streak, the A's have allowed just 2.6 runs per game (opponents batting only .225). Contrast this w/ Seattle averaging only 2.7 rpg its L7 games (.227 BA). Daniel Gossett is hardly Oakland's top starter and in fact, the team was lucky to escape a winner in his last start thanks to Gossett allowing six runs (were facing Detroit). But prior to that, Gossett had been pitching well and I'll call for a bounce back start here. 8* Run Line Oakland (+1.5)

Matchup Selection W/L
MLB  |  Sep 25, 2017
Marlins vs Rockies
Rockies
-165 at betonline
Lost
$165.0
Play Type: Top Premium

8* Colorado (8:40 ET): I'm taking the Cardinals today, but the team that they are chasing finds itself in a similar position as the Rockies return home from their own disappointing road trip (went 2-4 against the Padres and Giants). Their lead over Milwaukee is down to a precarious two games for the 2nd NL Wild Card spot, though it was just one before yday's results. I like them to preserve their edge over the Brew Crew and Cards tonight w/ a very favorable matchup against the Marlins. Miami has zero to play for in the final week of the season as Sunday's loss assured them of a sub-.500 campaign. Tonight is one year to the day that we tragically lost Jose Fernandez, but emotion alone will not be able to carry the Marlins in this one.

Any discussion of the Rockies at home has to start and end with how their offense increases exponentially here at Coors Field. They lead the league (again) w/ an average of 6.0 rpg scored at home. That's a full two more runs per game than what they average on the road. I see them having little difficulty scoring tonight off Odrisamer Despaigne, whose two previous road starts have not gone well at all (8.63 ERA, 2.278 WHIP). Despaigne only became a full-fledged member of the Miami rotation late last month. He has more walks (13) than strikeouts (10) during that time, which is never a good sign. Lefties are batting .306 against him this season w/ an .834 OPS. The Marlins already allow 5.5 rpg on the road and this is simply not the venue for that number to start going down.

The Rockies also have revenge here as Miami swept them last month, the lone time these two teams have met previously this season. (By the way, both of these franchises entered the league in 1993). Miami's offense just scored a ton in Arizona over the weekend (25 runs in three games), but was limited to only two on Sunday. I'm hoping Tyler Chatwood can continue his current September pace, which has seen him make four starts and not allow more than 3 ER in any of them. He has a 1.83 ERA in September and was unbeaten before a hard-luck loss in San Francisco last Wednesday (Rockies shut out). I look for Chatwood to get plenty of support tonight, however, as the Colorado offense should "wake back up" upon its return home (regardless if Nolan Arenado plays or not). A lot is on the line for them here. 8* Colorado

Matchup Selection W/L
MLB  |  Sep 25, 2017
Cubs vs Cardinals
Cardinals
-122 at BMaker
Lost
$122.0
Play Type: Top Premium

8* St. Louis (8:15 ET): It's desperation time for the Cardinals, who return home from a nine-game trip (went 4-5) down 2.5 games to Colorado in the chase for the final available playoff spot in the National League. They are also competing w/ Milwaukee, who leads them by one-half game. The Cubs come in looking to clinch the NL Central here and have made it no secret that they'd love to accomplish the feat on their rival's field. "We intend to clinch there. For a lot of the guys that have been around here for a long time, it's going to be very satisfying," said Ben Zobrist. The Cubs have certainly had the Cards' number here in 2017, going 11-4 in 15 head to head matchups, including a three-game sweep at Wrigley just over a week ago. But their second straight division pennant will have to wait as St. Louis obviously has something to play for here as well and has a sizable edge in starting pitching in this one. 

The Redbirds' pitching has actually been quite good this year. In fact, they've allowed fewer runs than the Cubs this season and the 4th fewest overall in the Senior Circuit (three playoff teams ahead of them). Monday starter Luke Weaver has played a significant role in that. He has a 7-1 team start record and since a somewhat shaky debut back on 7.27, he's been lights out. The Cards have won each of the last seven times he has pitched w/ him allowing 2 ER or fewer everytime. His ERA and WHIP during this time are 1.69 and 0.937. His KW ratio is 57-6! The Cubs have yet to see him to the point, which is a disadvantage for them. Over the L7 games, the Cubs offense is averaging only 3.6 rpg and they were a little lucky over the weekend in Milwaukee as two of their three wins required extra innings. 

The Cardinals' returning home is a big deal as they're a lot better at Busch. Note the 42-32 home record as they are limiting opponents to just 3.9 rpg here. The Cubs, off a 5-0 shutout win on Sunday, are making their final stop on a nine-game road trip that's taken them to both Tampa Bay and Milwaukee. Only 3-3 off a shutout win this year, the Cubs have lost money in virtually all setting in '17, including on the road (-6.3 units). They'll have the struggling Jon Lester on the mound Monday. Lester was rocked for seven runs in just 4 1/3 IP his last time out (at Tampa Bay) and in general, has not pitched well of late. He has a 6.81 ERA and 1.766 WHIP his L7 starts. The WHIP is 1.837 in the last three and his ERA is 5.11 since the All-Star Break. The revenge-minded Cards need this one BAD. 8* St. Louis

Matchup Selection W/L
MLB  |  Sep 25, 2017
Nationals vs Phillies
Phillies
-128 at betonline
Lost
$128.0
Play Type: Top Premium

10* Philadelphia (7:05 ET): Welcome to the final week of the MLB regular season where you can find lines such as this one. Washington has already clinched the NL East and almost certainly will be matched up against the Cubs in the Division Series. That means they have little to play for the rest of the way. Of course, the same holds true for the last place Phillies, but they've actually played better than their record shows this season. Maybe it's not much of a difference but, based on run differential, they "should" have 66 wins (they have 62). They'll have their best pitcher on the mound Monday, that being Aaron Nola, and I view that as the difference in this series opener. Meanwhile, the Nats are sending out A.J. Cole to see what he's got. Big pitching mismatch for the home team here.

Nola has been sharp of late and the Phillies have won each of his last two starts. The last one saw him go seven innings and allow just two runs and five hits against the the Dodgers. That was a nice win as +145 money line underdogs. That followed a showing against Miami where he allowed only one run on four hits, again in seven innings, with 11 K's. Both starts came at home. He did face the Nats earlier this month, in D.C., and pitched well there too, giving up just three runs (two earned) w/ 8 K's. But the Phils came up short in that one, 4-3. But facing them at home now is a big advantage as after those L2 starts, Nola is 9-4 in 13 starts at Citizens Bank Park this season. His ERA and WHIP are 2.98 and 1.027 respectively. Tonight will be Nola's final start of '17, so expect him to pitch well.

Cole will be making just his 8th start of the year for the Nats. Six of the previous seven have come since August 2nd, but he's been used in the starter's role only sparingly of late w/ just three starts since 8.13. The last one saw him face the Dodgers and he lasted only five innings in a 3-2 loss. That was back on 9.16. I'm just not high on him here given that he has a 4.19 ERA and 1.552 WHIP overall this year. Yes, Bryce Harper has been activated for this game, but it's going to take awhile for him to come around. Normally, I might be a little leery of endorsing the Phillies in this situation, but the Nats really do have nothing to play for right now, thus I'll lean on the rather sizable starting pitching edge for the home team. 10* Philadelphia

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