Daily Bet: Phillies (+160) at Reds

Told you USC would race out to a big lead against Hawaii on Saturday. Told you the Trojans would then yank their starters in the fourth quarter. Told you Hawaii would do just enough to cover an inflated 42-point spread. Result: USC 49, Hawaii 10. Now, if only I was as successful with the rest of Saturday’s college football recommendations …

But I digress. The good news is I’ve now hit four consecutive “Daily Bet” selections, and my overall “Daily Bet” record is inching closer to 10 games over .500. Two wins in the next two days will get me there, and it starts with tonight’s big, ballsy underdog play on the Phillies, who despite gutting a chunk of their roster around the trade deadline have been playing winning ball over the last 2½ weeks. Philadelphia is 11-5 over in its last 16 games, including 5-1 on the road, a 3-2 against the Reds (who own baseball’s second best record) and a 3-0 when Kyle Kendrick toes the rubber.

Speaking of Kendrick, the career No. 5 starter/long reliever looks like he’s solved the jigsaw puzzle. Kendrick is 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA in his last four starts, allowing a grand total of four runs, 19 hits and three walks (vs. 22 strikeouts) in 29 ⅓ innings. On top of that, he’s working on a 15-inning scoreless streak on the road. Now, I admit that Kendrick’s counterpart tonight—Reds right-hander Mat Latos—has been terrific most of the season (11-4, 3.79 ERA). But in his last start at home, Latos surrendered seven earned runs to St. Louis in just five innings, losing 8-5. Also, the Phillies faced Latos four times when he was with San Diego (twice in 2010, twice last year), and won all four games.

Of course, the Reds aren’t exactly the Padres; and the 2012 Phillies aren’t exactly the same team from the last several years—I get that. But that’s why we’re getting such a generous underdog price with Philly here. Keep this in mind, too: With yesterday’s 4-2 win over Cy Young candidate Johnny Cueto, the Phillies have now won six straight games in an underdog role, and they’re 37-14 in their last 51 meetings with Cincinnati.

Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Saturday’s Result: Hawaii (+42) at USC (Win)

Record: 41-33

“Going for Broke” college football results: Aug. 23: 6-0; Aug. 30: 2-6