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October 23, 2014

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Vegas Play of the Day: Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates

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Elise Amendola / AP

Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun (8) pauses at first base after grounding out in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Friday, April 4, 2014, in Boston.

I’ve avoided baseball in the Play of the Day, which uses odds from the South Point and features $10,000 starting bankrolls, because I haven’t dedicated myself to following the sport with diligence daily.

The sports books are beatable in baseball, but it requires a meticulous level of dedication. So, here goes nothing.

Milwaukee Brewers minus-1.5 runs at Pittsburgh Pirates plus-150: $200 to win $300

At the risk of sounding heedless — as if my distressing record doesn’t indicate as much — I can’t figure out why Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse isn’t a bigger favorite over Pittsburgh starter Brandon Cumpton.

Sure, the Pirates are at home but the Brewers already took three out of four games at PNC Park earlier this year. Milwaukee has also beaten Pittsburgh in five out of six games at home this season.

There’s a large enough sample at this point of the season to deduct that Milwaukee is the better team — and Lohse is the better starter. Lohse is a crafty veteran who looks at the peak of his game this season. Cumpton is a green rookie still finding his way in the majors.

The 25-year-old Georgia Tech graduate got hit soundly in his only two starts against teams with above average offenses. The Brewers fit the bill as they’re third in runs scored among National League teams this season.

I detest betting run lines, but this presents the precise scenario when I think they can be useful: with a superior road team, meaning they’re guaranteed to get nine innings of at-bats, as a slight favorite. The Brewers have been a profitable run line bet over the course of the season, and thinking they can thump Cumpton early in the game, I’ll make a calculated risk for a better payout.

Standings: Bern (29-21-1, $11,429), Keefer (24-28, $8,568), Brewer (18-27-3, $4,450)

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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