Friday Service Plays

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EZ WINNERS

MLB

5 STAR: (960) HOUSTON (-1.5)(+$115) over Florida
(Listing Oswalt and Nolasco)
(Risking $500 to win $575)


1 STAR: (969) OAKLAND (+$154) over Cleveland
(Listing Blanton and Sabathia)
(Risking $100 to win $154)


1 STAR: (975) MINNESOTA (+$127) over Kansas City
(Listing Hernandez and Meche)
(Risking $100 to win $127)


1 STAR: (979) LA ANGELS (+$111) over Seattle
(Listing Weaver and Hernandez)
(Risking $100 to win $111)

NBA

5 STAR: (721) PORTLAND (+3) over Sacramento
(Risking $550 to win $500)

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Paul Leiner

10* DBacks

5* Twins

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BEN BURNS

BASEBALL

TEXAS
Game: Toronto Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers
Prediction: Texas Rangers Reason: I'm playing on TEXAS. Yes, the Rangers played a double-header yesterday. However, that was here at home, so at least there wasn't any traveling. Additionally, the fact that they won both games, their first two home victories of the season, should help to negate or at least lessen any feelings of fatigue. These teams enter the series going in opposite directions. While the Rangers are coming off a pair of wins yesterday, the Jays have now lost three games in the past three days. All three losses came in the late innings, making the trip to Texas significantly less pleasant than it might have been otherwise. Normally a good team at bouncing back from a single loss, the Jays don't typically fare nearly as well when they've managed to lose three in a row. In fact, they were just 13-17 (-4.7) the last two years, after having lost their previous three games. During that stretch, they were also a horrible 56-80 (-20.8) when playing on a grass field. Their numbers here at Arlington have been particularly brutal, as they've gone a terrible 3-16 their last 19 games here. The Rangers won the three games played here last season by a combined score of 21-8. Litsch gets the call for the Jays after winning his first start. Give him credit for beating the Red Sox in this season's only previous start. However, lets not get too carried away. For starters, the offense gave him 10 runs to work with, something that's unlikely to happen again today. Additionally, he only pitched five innings and he did give up two runs during that stretch. That's a fairly solid outing, but its still not overly spectacular. It should also be noted that Litsch pitched that game in the comforts of his home stadium and that it was played during the afternoon. That's worth mentioning as last season, Litsch was 3-3 with a excellent 3.04 ERA in his daytime starts while going 4-6 with a mediocre 4.38 ERA at night. While Litsch will have the advantage of facing the Rangers for the first time, Rangers Ballpark is generally no picnic for pitchers (especially Toronto ones!) and I expect him to learn that fact this evening. Padilla gets the call for the home team and he's off to a very strong start. In his first start, he held a solid Seattle club to just one run through six innings. Next time out, he beat a powerful Angels lineup, allowing three earned runs in seven innings. That gives him a 1-0 mark with a 2.77 ERA on the season. Now Padilla makes his first start at home, where he was much better last season, recording a highly respectable 3.28 ERA. Padilla has also fared very well vs. the Jays, going 3-1 with a 3.25 ERA for his career, most recently outpitching Roy Halladay here last May. Behind another solid effort from Padilla, look for the Rangers to build momentum from yesterday's sweep, continuing their home field dominance in this series and improving to 32-14 the last 46 times they played at home with a line ranging from +100 to -125. *Annihilator

TAMPA BAY
Game: Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays 
Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays Reason: I'm laying the price with TAMPA BAY. As of yesterday morning, the Orioles had gotten off to a great start and were red hot while the Rays were mired in the midst of a losing streak. Twenty-four hours can change a lot though and these teams are now 'heading in opposite directions.' The Rays snapped their losing skid in a big way yesterday (7-0 win!) and I feel that both the situation and the pitching matchup favors them again this evening. While Tampa played yesterday afternoon and didn't have any traveling, the Orioles played a late double-header and then had to travel from Texas afterwards. In other words, they didn't arrive here until fairly late. The travel situation wasn't made any more pleasant by the fact that they lost both games either. As Baltimore manager Dave Trembley lamented: "It's a long day. It's much longer when you lose." In addition to having had more rest, having homefield advantage and having the 'momentum' on their side, the Rays should also enjoy a pitching advantage. Guthrie and Shields faced each other at Baltimore last week on Opening Day. Guthrie gave up six runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. That gives him an ugly 5.40 ERA and 1.672 WHIP in four career starts against Tampa. Shields, on the other hand, tossed seven solid innings allowing just two runs and five hits. The Rays would go on to win the game by a score of 6-2. Including that result, Shields is 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA (1.250 WHIP) in eight career starts against the Orioles, allowing one earned run through seven innings the last time he faced them here at home. Yes, at first glance, the current price seems expensive for a team that struggles each year, like Tampa. However, as I've mentioned, I feel that the Rays have a lot of things in their favor here. Additionally, when considering that the Rays are a perfect 8-0 the last eight times that they were favored in the -150 to -175 range, the current price starts to look significantly more reasonable. *Personal Favorite

NBA

MIAMI
Game: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Miami Heat
Prediction: Miami Heat Reason: I'm taking the points with MIAMI. The Grizzlies have played better over the past six weeks and they're sure to be a popular pick with the betting public. However, they've cooled off somewhat in April and are 2-4 SU/ATS their last six games. With a 7-31 record (two of the wins came by four points or less) away from Memphis, I don't feel that they deserve to be laying this many points for a 'meaningless' road game, not even against the lowly Heat. Facing another team (Chicago) that wasn't going to make the playoffs I played on the Heat in their last game. They responded by winning outright as a double-digit underdog. It was a strong team effort and their hard work showed that they aren't just playing out the string, as some had accused them of doing. While the Bulls have a lot more talent than the Heat, the Grizzlies are a lot more of an even match. This is Miami's second last home game and offers the best opportunity for a win on the rest of the schedule. I expect them to build some momentum and confidence from the big win over the Bulls and follow it up with another strong effort. In addition to being a very poor road team overall, the Grizzlies are among the worst in the league defensively. In fact, the 106.8 points they allow per game (115 last five games!) ranks third worst in the league. The Nuggets and the Warriors are the only two teams which allow more points and both those teams back up their defensive deficiencies with high-powered offensive attacks, a luxury which Memphis doesn't enjoy. That's worth noting as the Heat have been at their best against poor defensive teams, going 12-6-2 ATS on the season against teams which allow 99 or more points per game. Despite an earlier loss at Memphis (failed to cover by a point) the Heat remain a healthy 4-1 ATS the last five series meetings. Look for them to improve on those stats this evening. *Best Bet

HOCKEY

UNDER Caps/Flyers
Game: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Washington Capitals 
Prediction: under Reason: I'm playing on the Flyers and Capitals to finish UNDER the total. For a playoff game, I feel this total should be set at five and that getting 5.5 gives us excellent value. Both teams come in playing very well defensively and getting strong goaltending. The Capitals have allowed just three goals in their past four games, winning by scores of 3-0, 4-1, 4-1 and 3-1. All four games stayed below the total. Not to be outdone, the Flyers come off back to back shutout victories, knocking off the Devils by a score of 3-0 and then following it up with a 2-0 blanking of the Penguins. With the latter result, the UNDER improved to a perfect 5-0 on the season when the Flyers were coming off a shutout in their previous game. Including this year's two shutouts, a look back shows that the Flyers have seen the UNDER go a highly profitable 67-39-13 the past dozen years when playing in the month of April. During the same stretch, the Caps have also been very kind to 'under' bettors as they've seen the UNDER go 49-26-5 in their April games. Its also worth noting that the Caps have seen the UNDER go 16-4-1 on the season when coming off a win by two goals or more. Look for more of the same this evening.

WILD
Game: Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild
Prediction: Minnesota Wild Reason: I'm laying the price with MINNESOTA. The playoff tested Avs showed that they are not to be taken lightly be stealing Game 1 here. Considering how much better they've been at home all season (and for the past few) that makes tonight's game become a virtual "must win" for the Wild. I expect them to respond with a massive effort. Despite Wednesday's loss, the Wild, who had a 30-22 edge in shots in the opener, are still 6-1 their last seven games here. They're also still 5-1 the last six times they hosted the Avs. The Avs, who have now won three in a row, were 4-5 after three straight wins this season and a money-burning 14-16 (-6.5) their last 30 in that situation. Look for the Avs, who had the advantage of scoring first in Game 1, to find things much tougher tonight. The Wild are among the best at protecting a lead. Look for them to find a way to score first this evening and then to never relinquish the lead.

DEVILS
Game: New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils 
Prediction: New Jersey Devils Reason: I'm laying the short price with NEW JERSEY. The Rangers dominated the season series and after they won Game 1 in convincing fashion, most people are already giving them the series. As they say on ESPN, "Not so fast, my friend..." While the Rangers may indeed find a way to win the series, I really don't expect the Devils to just hand it to them on a silver platter. Yes, the Rangers did 'dominate' the regular season series, in terms of wins and losses. However, the Devils won the final (and most important) of those games and every single one of them was extremely close. People have been writing off this New Jersey team for years, and many did so at the beginning of this season, yet they typically bounce back with a huge performance and/or season every time they do. The perception that that the Rangers are in for an 'easy' series has given us terrific value here. Behind a huge game from goalie Marty Brodeur, look for the desperate Devils to bounce back once again, dropping the Rangers to 3-12 the last 15 times they played on a Friday and sending the series to MSG all knotted up at 1-1.

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ATS Basketball Lock Club

4 units Lakers
3 units Phoenix

ATS Hockey Lock Club

4 units Wash
3 units Minn

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Larry Ness LEGEND Play

Game: Indiana Pacers at Philadelphia 76ers
Prediction: Philadelphia 76ers

Reason: The Pacers are surely trying hard not to miss the playoffs for the second straight season, after being a "playoff regulars" in the East since 1990 (made the postseason 16 of 17 years until last season). Indiana has won NINE of its last 12 (8-4 ATS) and has even gotten O'Neal (14.4-6.9) back these last five games, after the team's long-time star missed 33 games (team was 12-21). O'Neal is coming off the bench (averaging just under 20 MPG), scoring 8.6 PPG and grabbing 4.2 RPG. Granger (18.9-6.0) and Dunleavy (18.8-5.3-3.4) have been the team's best two players all season but it's also hard to ignore other contributions. Detroit reject Flip Murray and third-year guard Travis Diener have filled in nicely at the point for Tinsley (11.9-8.4 APG). Up front, the 6-11 Murphy (12.3-7.2) ALWAYS plays hard (and pretty well, too) plus starting center Foster (6.4-8.7) is just a 'banger!' However, I think the team's playoff hopes will be "all but crushed" in this game. The Pacers trail the Hawks by two (with four left) and the Hawks visit the pathetic Knicks tonight, while the Pacers will try to make it a 3-0 season-sweep over the Sixers with this game in Philly. The 76ers stood at just 18-30 on Feb 4 but a win the next night at home vs Washington sparked a 22-8 run (21-9 ATS), which currently has the team at 40-38, one game behind the Wizards for the fifth playoff spot in the East and one game ahead of the seventh-place Raptors. Do-everything SF Iquodala (20.1-5.4-4.7) and PG Miller (17.0-6.9 APG) lead the way, but there are more than a few "unsung heroes" on this team. Guards Green (12.3) and Williams (11.4) have been very good and all center Dalembert has done this year is average a double-double (10.8-10.3) plus play great defense. Evans (5.4-7.8) is the staring PF, while 6-8 rookie Young (7.8-4.2) and 6-7 third-year player Carney (6.0) have played pretty well off the bench at the small forward position. Philly is 13-3 SU at home (includes wins over Dallas, Orlando, San Antonio, Denver and Detroit) during its current 22-8 run, covering 11 of its 13 home wins. Meanwhile, since winning at Philadelphia on Jan 21, the Pacers are just 4-12 SU and 5-10-1 ATS on the road. Even in the team's recent 9-3 run, just four of those games were on the road, with the Pacers winning at Chicago and Milwaukee (big deal!), while losing at Boston and New Jersey. Indiana has plenty to play for but so does Philly. Catching Washington for the No. 5 seed would be nice but NOT falling to the No. 7, which means the 76ers would get the Pistons in this first round, is MORE important. The 76ers want this game every bit as much as the Pacers, especially with Washington and Cleveland up next.

LEGEND Play on the Phi 76ers.

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CAL SPORTS

GOY - Spurs under 186'
4* Cavs
3* Tor

4* Detroit over 10
3* NYM

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MR A'S

Cleveland Cavaliers - 4½

Boston Celtics - 14½

Memphis Grizzlies - 5

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GINA

Minnesota Timberwolves (19-59) at Orlando Magic (49-29)
The struggling Timberwolves have lost eight of its last nine games and have played dreadful away from home, dropping seven straight and just 5-33 this season. They are playing horribly, especially on offense. Go with the Magic at home. Minnesota is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games, 1-6 ATS in its last 7 on the road. Play Orlando Magic


Orlando Magic - 12

San Antonio Spurs - 15


Atlanta Braves (3-6) at Washington Nationals (3-7)
(R) Tim Hudson (1-0) vs. (L) Matt Chico (0-1)

Both teams look to get back on track. The Atlanta Braves have dropped thee games in a row, but the struggling Washington Nationals have lost seven straight and are just 2-7 in its last nine at home. Atlanta sends Matt Chico to the mound. The lefty allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings of a 5-4 loss at St. Louis on Saturday. He is 2-2 with a 2.70 ERA in five career starts against the Braves. Atlanta counters with Tim Hudson. The right-hander has been successful versus Washington. Hudson is 5-1 with a 1.25 ERA in nine career starts against the Nationals. Go with the Braves with Tim Hudson on the hill.

Atlanta Braves - 155

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JOHNNY GUILD

Atlanta Hawks (36-42) at New York Knicks (23-56)

The gloomy New York Knicks go for their fourth straight win tonight. The Knicks have been a tough opponent at home for the Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta is 3-0 against New York this season, but has dropped 15 of their last 17 games in the Big Apple. Take the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. New York has covered the spread in seven of their last 8 games and is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 against Atlanta, 6-2 ATS in the last 8 clashes at home.

New York Knicks - 5.5

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Bob Balfe

NBA Basketball
TWolves +12 over Magic

MLB
Cubs -110 over Phillies
Zambrano/Myers


Savannah Sports

3 Units on Arizona -143

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ROOT

Chairman - LA Dodgers
Millionaire - Houston Rockets
Money Maker - Chicago Bulls
Insiders Circle - Texas Rangers

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Erin Rynning

Playmaker: New Orleans +3.5


KING MAKER

Cardinals -135

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Black Magic Sports

1 Unit on Sonics/Spurs UNDER 183.5

The last meeting between the Sonics and Spurs resulted in an 88-85 Seattle victory and a combined 173 points.  Seattle will get the best defensive effort of the season from San Antonio tonight when playing with revenge on their minds.  Don’t be surprised if the Sonics fail to surpass 70 points in this one.  The UNDER is 5-1 in the Spurs’ last 6 games overall.  San Antonio is scoring just 88 points while allowing only 86 points in their last 5 games.  The UNDER is 8-2 in the Sonics’ last 10 games overall.  San Antonio is 48-29 UNDER in all games this season.  San Antonio is 18-6 UNDER when playing only their 2nd game in 5 days this season.  San Antonio is 15-4 UNDER in home games after a combined score of 175 points or less 3 straight games since 1996.  Cash in with the UNDER 183.5 points.

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SportsKingz

MLB

SAN DIEGO -115       

ARIZONA -150         

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Mike Rose

3* MIL/NYM OVER 9

3* LAA/SEA OVER 8

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GOLD SHEET

TORONTO over New Jersey

CLEVELAND over Chicago

NEW YORK over Atlanta

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Arthur Ralph

Super Pick Arizona D'backs

900 Gold Key play Atlanta Braves

Free play San Diego Padres

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Nick Parsons Friday Forum Pick

Play ON New Jersey Devils Money Line (-) vs New York Rangers

We had a premium play on the Devils on Wednesday and, although it didn't work out there is every reason to come back with it here as the Devils look to bounce back even up this series. Many of the same principles we touched on in Wednesday's write-up are in play here. Being a contrarian handicapper has served me well through the years and tonight is a prime example of where it should pay to go against the grain. Because the Rangers took seven of eight meetings between these clubs this season (as well as Game 1 o f this series), many are leaning toward New York here. However, the fact that the Devils took the final game of the season series, Sunday in New Jersey, has not only given them home ice for this playoff series, it's also given them some momentum! Now they will battle back hard in Game 2 to have a shot at regaining the home ice edge by then taking a game in New York. Even though the games between these clubs were very tight this season they still were all ending up in Devils losses, at least until Sunday. With that win this past weekend, the Devils got the "monkey off their back" and with Martin Brodeur between the pipes, they are certainly capable of a playoff push. The late season return of Patrick Elias, after missing nearly two weeks in March, was critical for the Devils. Elias helped the Devils to win four of their last five games to close out the regular season and he's also one of New Jersey's most experienced playoff performers. While Brodeur is consistently solid between the pipes for the Devils (both at home and on the road), Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers has numbers that show he's much more comfortable at Madison Square Garden than anywhere else. Lundqvist only won 13 of his 32 road starts this season and his GAA was more than a half goal higher on the road in comparison with at home. Certainly Lundqvist is still a solid netminder but, in a tight game, it doesn't take much to make a big difference in the final outcome. That said, the fact that Lundqvist is not quite so steady on the road could play a role in the games played in New Jersey throughout this series. Lundqvist just turned 26 about a month ago while Brodeur is going to be 36 in less than a month. You can see where the experience lies in this match-up. This is why, even though the Rangers do have a little more firepower on offense, the defensive-minded Devils are the play in Game 2 of this series as we fully expect them to bounce back after Wednesday's loss!

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TEDDY COVERS Arena Football

Cleveland Gladiators -2.5 / 4 units

Cleveland has been a fairly easy team to handicap through the first six weeks of the season. The Gladiators have been strong at home, undefeated at ‘Q’ Arena. They’ve been strong against weaker opposition, averaging more than 60 points per game against sub .500 squads. The Gladiators haven’t been able to extend that level of success to quality foes, losing at New Orleans and at Dallas in their last two ballgames, prior to and directly after their bye week. But with a tremendous return game (Cleveland has been nothing short of spectacular when it comes to kick returns this season) and a quarterback (Raymond Philyaw ) in the midst of a stellar campaign, we can expect Cleveland to get right back on track against a lesser foe this week.

Colorado played their first good game of the season last week, at home, against a slumping Avengers team in the midst of a four game losing streak and playing without their starting quarterback. Other than that single performance, the Crush haven’t looked impressive against anybody, particularly on the road where they failed to score more than 40 points in a pair of ugly losses; their only two road games so far this season. The Crush won only three road games last year, unable to reach the key 50 point plateau in six of their eight road tilts. And with QB John Dutton continuing to struggle with key turnovers at inopportune times, posting a very modest 107 QB rating for the season, I wouldn’t expect this banged up Colorado squad to be able to trade touchdowns with the Gladiators for the full 60 minutes. Take Cleveland. Current Line: Cleveland -2.5, reduce wager size to .5 unit at -5.5 or higher.

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Rocketman Sports

Phoenix @ Houston
Play On: 3* Phoenix -2 1/2

Suns are 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 games as a road favorite. Suns are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. NBA Southwest. Suns are 10-2-1 ATS in their last 13 vs. Western Conference. Suns are 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 games as a favorite. Suns are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Friday games. Suns are 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game. Suns are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games playing on 1 days rest. Suns are 11-5-1 ATS in their last 17 games overall. Suns are 35-17 ATS in their last 52 games as a road favorite of 0.5-4.5. Rockets are 17-35-1 ATS in their last 53 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. Rockets are 10-25-1 ATS in their last 36 games as a home underdog. Rockets are 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games as a home underdog of 0.5-4.5. Rockets are 7-20-1 ATS in their last 28 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600. Rockets are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600. Suns are 12-2 ATS in the last 14 meetings in Houston. Suns are 14-3 ATS in the last 17 meetings. Favorite is 7-2 ATS in the last 9 meetings. Road team is 20-8 ATS in the last 28 meetings. We'll play Phoenix for 3 units tonight!

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