Sunday Service Plays

Sunday Service Plays

Marc Lawrence

Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds

Reds send ace Aaron Harang to the hill in the finale of this three-game series against the Brewers knowing he is 12-2 in his last 14 team starts in April, including 6-1 at home. In addition he is 4-0 in his last four home starts on Sundays. Look for Harang to avoid the series sweep here today.

Play on: Cincinnati

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VEGAS EXPERTS TIP OF THE DAY

Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers clobbered the Nuggets in both meetings here in Staples Center during the regular season winning by 17 and 28 points. Since the venue opened, Denver is just 2-15 here. Considering that this is the strongest Lakers team they've faced in quite a while, this series is a daunting task.

Play on: LA Lakers

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Tom Scott

Philadelphia at Detroit
Play ON: UNDER the total points

When the Pistons begin a playoff series, the one thing they want to make clear right off the bat is that there will be no easy baskets, no runs, and no shoot-outs. Since 1996, they have made their point. The Pistons haven't allowed 100 points in any playoff series opener since then and we're talking about TWENTY-TWO games here. 15 of those 22 games went UNDER the posted total. Philadelphia's defense is not quite as dominating as Detroit's but it's pretty good. The Sixers should be able to keep the Piston's in check. The clincher, though, is Philadelphia's record in the 48 games this season when failing to score 100 points. The Sixers covered only 18 of those games but went UNDER the posted total 35 times, nearly 75% of the time. We'll take our chances with those numbers.

PREDICTION: TOTAL POINTS SCORED = 168

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Big Al Mcmordie

Game: San Francisco Giants at St Louis Cardinals
Prediction: over

Reason: At 2:15pm ET our member selection is on the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals 'over' the total. It may have taken righthander and converted closer Braden Looper one year to get in the groove as a starter but that patience appears to be paying off in 2008. Last season, in his first campaign on the mound as a member of the rotation, Looper put up numbers that were below-average at best, but so far in 2008, his strikeout ratio is up, his hits are down, and his ERA is a very nice 2.70. The other thing that has helped Looper go 3-0 in his first three starts this season, is the fact that he is getting great run support from a re-tooled Cardinal batting order. In his first three starts in '08, his team has plated a total of seventeen runs, helping Looper become one of the top starters in league so far. Giants southpaw Jonathan O. Sanchez is another converted reliever, but he is having a very different season than Looper. Sanchez hasn't pitched that badly at home, but in his last two road starts (one this season and one back in September of 2007) he has given up 11 earned runs in only five innings. These two teams have already met six times this season and four of those six have featured ten or more total runs. Take the 'over'

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Jimmy The Moose

Game: Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers
Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers

Reason: The Nuggets are 9-24-1 ATS in their last 34 games as a dog of 5-10.5. Denver is 0-4 ATS in their last 4 playoff games as a dog and in their last 4 Conference Quarter Finals games. In their last 6 games following a SU win they are 1-5 at the window. The Lakers have had their way with the Nuggets of late. LA is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings between the clubs. The Nuggets are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 trips to LA. Play on the Lakers -.

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VEGAS SPORTS PICS

Detroit Pistons./ Philadelphia 76ers UNDER 179.5
Teams split two meetings in Detroit this season, Pistons 83-78, 76ers 83-82. The UNDER is 11-2 in NBA second best record Detroit's last 13 games within the East.
   
Boston Celtics - 15 over Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta (37-45) hasn't finished with a winning record in ten years. NBA best record Boston won both home meetings this season, 98-88, and 106-83. Celtics have covered last 6 games as a home favorite.

MLB
   
Atlanta + 100** over Los Angeles Dodgers (action)
Atlanta is 14-4 last 18 home games. Dodgers are 2-6 on the road this season off losing at Atlanta 4-1 Saturday. The Braves are 7-3 last ten meetings.
   
N.Y.Mets (Pelfrey) + 100** over (at) Philadelphia (Eaton)
Pelfrey is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA including an 8-2 home win over the Philadelphia on 04/09. Mets have won the last four meetings including 4-2 at the Phillies Saturday.

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Doc's Sports

Toronto Raptors @ Orlando Magic
PICK: Orlando Magic

REASON FOR PICK: We like the Magic for Sunday, especially under the NBA key number of 7. Toronto has really looked lackluster towards the end of the season with losses against Chicago, Charlotte and New Jersey. The Raps are 2-12 in their last 14 road games and they are 3-11 against the number during that stretch. We have been really impressed with the way the Magic have clamped down on defense towards the end of the season. They were horrible at the end of the season but now they have close to a top 10 defense to compliment one of the best offenses in the league. We expect a big first game from Dwight Howard and the boys and think they will get close to a double-digit win.

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TV Play Hotline

NBA Lock - Boston -15

MLB Lock - LA Dodgers -115

MLB Power Play - Chicago White Sox -120

NBA Power Play - Detroit -10

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Black Widow Sports

1* on Atlanta Hawks +15

We will take a shot at the Atlanta Hawks catching 15 points as our free play tonight against the Boston Celtics.  This line indicates the Hawks are a slouch in the East, but Atlanta won the games they had to win down the stretch to make the postseason.  The addition of Mike Bibby at the point brings the all-important playoff experience to the Hawks.  Having a floor general who has this kind of experience is crucial in the playoffs because he handles the ball 50% of the time and gets his team set up offensively.  This will be too big of a stage for Rajon Rando to be effective in Game 1.  He may calm down later in the series, but tonight’s edge at the point clearly goes to Mike Bibby.  Atlanta has played the Celtics very tough in their last two meetings, losing by 10 points or less in both.  They had Mike Bibby for both contests to make the difference.  Atlanta falls into a 45-18 ATS Situation with a 71% cash rate since 1996 today.  This situation tells us to wager on the underdogs of 10 or more points after going over the total by 18 or more points total in their last three games against an opponent after going under the total by 48 or more points total in their last ten games.  Atlanta can score the basketball which gives them a chance to keep this one close when facing the second best defensive team in the league.  Take Atlanta and the points.

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SPORTS ADVISORS

NBA PLAYOFFS

(6) Toronto (41-41, 39-42-1 ATS) at (3) Orlando (52-30, 50-29-3 ATS)

The Magic, who haven’t advanced to the second round of the playoffs since 1996, are favored to end that drought as they kick off their first-round Eastern Conference series against the Raptors inside Amway Arena.

Orlando took two of three SU and ATS against Toronto in the regular season including a 102-87 win at home back on March 4 as a 9½-point chalk. But dating back to 2005, the Raptors are 7-3 SU and 8-2 ATS against the Magic, including 3-2 SU and 4-1 ATS in Orlando.

Orlando hasn’t reached the second round since Shaquille O’Neal led the Magic to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1996 and they haven’t won a playoff game since 2003. Orlando was swept out of last season’s playoffs by top-seeded Detroit, though it did go 2-1-1 ATS.

Stan Van Gundy’s team finished the season on a three-game SU and ATS winning streak and won six of its last nine overall (6-2-1 ATS). The Magic blew out Washington 103-83 as eight-point home favorites on Wednesday, and went 23-15-3 ATS in front of the home fans this season.

Toronto lost its season finale 107-97 in Chicago in a meaningless affair, falling as 5½-point ‘dogs, it’s third straight non-cover and sixth ATS setback in its last eight contests. Furthermore, the Raptors went 17-23-1 ATS on the highway this year and lost their last four away from home both SU and ATS. Toronto is back in the playoffs for the second straight year, having suffered a first-round, six-game loss to New Jersey last season.

The Raptors have gone 36-15-2 ATS in their last 53 against the Southeast Division, but otherwise they are on ATS slides of 7-19 overall, 8-20 as an underdog, 2-6 against the Eastern Conference, 0-8 as a road ‘dog and 0-6 on Sundays.

The Magic are on ATS runs of 37-18-3 against the Eastern Conference, 11-4-2 at home, 4-1 as a favorite and 5-2 on Sundays.

Both teams have been involved in low-scoring affairs lately, with the under 6-0-1 in Toronto’s last seven, 11-5 in the Raptors last 16 on Sunday and 6-2 in their last eight on the highway. The under is also 8-1 in the Magic’s last nine, 6-1 in their last seven as a favorite, 7-1 in their last eight against the Eastern Conference and 14-3 in their last 17 following an ATS win.

ATS ADVANTAGE: ORLANDO and UNDER


(8) Denver (50-32, 44-38 ATS) at (1) L.A. Lakers (57-25, 47-34-1 ATS)

After fighting their way into the playoffs, the Nuggets’ reward is a best-of-7 matchup with the Western Conference’s top-seeded Lakers that begins inside the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The Lakers swept the season series 3-0 SU and ATS and they’re 6-4 SU (8-2 ATS) against Denver dating back to 2005. What’s more, Los Angeles is on a 7-1 SU and ATS run against the Nuggets in the Staples Center, and the home team is 12-5 ATS in the last 17 series clashes.

Denver won four of its last five overall (3-2 ATS) to earn the eighth seed in the playoffs, including home wins over Houston on Sunday (111-94 as a 6½-point favorite) and Memphis on Wednesday (120-111, failing as a 15-point home chalk). Denver was just 17-24 SU on the road this season (19-22 ATS).

Los Angeles won eight of its last nine down the stretch, but struggled to cover the number, going 4-5 ATS. Additionally, the Lakers went just 2-7 ATS in their final nine home games, all as a favorite. However, Phil Jackson’s team clinched the top seed in the West by blowing out the Kings in the season finale 124-101, cashing as a 17-point home favorite for its sixth straight win at Staples.

After stealing Game 1 in the first round last year in San Antonio, the Nuggets lost the next four to the Spurs (0-4 ATS). This is Denver’s fifth straight postseason appearance, but it failed to get out of the first round in the previous four. In fact, the Nuggets haven’t made it to the second round since 1994. Meanwhile, The Lakers have been bounced in the first round of the playoffs each of the last two years, both times falling to Phoenix.

Denver is 6-2 ATS in its last eight Sunday games but just 1-5 ATS in its last six following a victory. Meanwhile, the Lakers are on ATS slides of 1-6-1 in the playoffs, 1-4 following a spread-cover and 2-5 on Sundays.

For the Nuggets, the under is on streaks of 5-0 overall, 14-3 as a playoff underdog, 7-2 on Sundays and 5-2 on the highway. On the flip side, for L.A., the over is on runs of 5-2 at home, 5-2 on Sundays, 6-2 against teams with a winning record and 36-15 as a favorite of 5 to 10½ points.

ATS ADVANTAGE: L.A. LAKERS


(7) Philadelphia (40-42, 43-36-3 ATS) at (2) Detroit (59-23, 45-36-1 ATS)

The heavily favored Pistons host the young Sixers in Game 1 of this best-of-7 Eastern Conference first-round series inside the Palace of Auburn Hills.

These teams split four games this season, with Philadelphia cashing in three of the four. Each squad split its home games, and the road team is 4-1 ATS in the last five series clashes. Also, the favorite is 12-5-1 in the last 18.

Detroit won four in a row SU and ATS to close the regular season, including Wednesday’s 84-74 road win in Cleveland, getting the cash as an 8½-point favorite. Going back further, the Pistons won nine of their last 11 overall (7-4 ATS) and they went 13-1 in their last 14 home games (10-4 ATS).

While Detroit sprinted to the finish line, Philadelphia struggled at the end of the regular season, ending on a four-game SU and ATS losing skid, including a 115-109 loss in Charlotte on Wednesday as a 1½-point road chalk. Maurice Cheeks’ squad went 18-23 SU on the road this season (21-17-1 ATS).

The Pistons, who are back in the postseason for the eighth straight year, made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season and had a 2-0 lead on the Cavs before dropping the final four games. The Pistons were just 5-10-1 ATS in the postseason a year ago, including 1-2-1 ATS in an opening round four-game sweep of the Magic.

The Sixers haven’t been in the postseason since 2005 when they lost 4-1 to the Pistons (1-3-1 ATS), and Andre Iguodala is the only remaining player from that Philadelphia team.

Philadelphia is on ATS streaks of 9-3 on the road, 6-2 as a road ‘dog, 7-2 against the Central Division and 13-6-1 as a pup, but it is just 4-9 ATS in its last 13 on Sundays.

Detroit is on ATS runs of 10-3 on Sundays, 5-1 at home and 6-2 against the Eastern Conference. On the downside, the Pistons are 0-6 ATS in their last six as a playoff favorite, 2-6 ATS in their last eight against the Atlantic Division and 0-5 ATS in their last five when playing on three days’ rest.

The under is on streaks of 5-2 in series meetings in Detroit, 9-3 for the Pistons overall, 11-2 for the Pistons against the Eastern Conference and 5-1 for the Pistons as a favorite. Meanwhile the over is 7-3-1 in the Sixers’ last 11 as a road ‘dog.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE


(8) Atlanta (37-45, 37-44-1 ATS) at (1) Boston (66-16, 52-28-2 ATS)

The Hawks return to the playoffs for the first time in nine years when they open their best-of-7 first-round Eastern Conference playoff series against the top-seeded Celtics inside TD Banknorth Garden in Boston.

Doc Rivers’ Celtics swept the three-game season series against Atlanta (2-1 ATS), easily winning both games in Boston by double digits. These teams squared off just eight days ago in Atlanta, with the Celtics getting the 99-89 road win as three-point ‘dogs. In the last 10 series clashes, the underdog is 7-3 ATS.

Boston, which started its magical season with an 11-1 record (9-3 ATS), also closed the year by winning 11 of its last 12 (10-2 ATS). The Celtics finished with four straight wins, including Wednesday’s 105-94 home win over the Nets as 9½-point favorites. Finally, they dominated in front of the home fans this year, going 35-6 at home (25-15-1 ATS).

It’s been three years since the Celtics were in the postseason when they lost a seven-game opening-round series to the Pacers (3-4 ATS).

Atlanta hasn’t seen the postseason since 1999 and doesn’t come into this one with any momentum having lost three straight and five of seven overall SU and ATS. The Hawks closed the season with a 113-99 loss in Miami as five-point favorites.

Boston is on ATS runs of 19-7 overall, 8-2 as a favorite, 6-0 at home, 4-0 against the Eastern Conference and 6-2 on Sundays.

Atlanta is 6-14 in its last 20 as a road ‘dog, but is on positive pointspread streaks of 4-1 on Sundays and 4-1 when playing on three or more days’ rest.

The under is 6-1 in the last seven head-to-head meetings in Boston. Also, for Boston, the under is on runs of 7-3 overall, 10-3 against the Eastern Conference, 4-1 against the Southeast Division and 6-1 at home against teams with a losing road mark. For the Hawks, the over is on runs of 9-3 overall, 25-9 on Sundays, 8-3 against the Eastern Conference, 7-3 on the road, 10-4 on the highway against teams with a winning home record and 6-2 against the Atlantic Division.

ATS ADVANTAGE: BOSTON


NATIONAL LEAGUE

San Diego (8-10) at Arizona (13-4)

Randy Johnson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) toes the rubber for the second time this season as he and the Diamondbacks try for a three-game sweep of the Padres, who will hand the ball to Randy Wolf (1-0, 1.42).

Arizona has pounded San Diego in the first two games of this set, winning 9-0 Friday and 10-3 Saturday to extend its winning streak to four. Also, since starting the season 1-2, the DBacks have won 12 of their last 14, and three of their four losses have come by a single run. Arizona, which leads the majors in runs scored (112) and team ERA (2.80), is 21-8 in its last 29 at Chase Field (7-1 this year) and 12-2 in its last 14 against N.L. West rivals dating to last season.

The Padres have scored a total of six runs in the last four games and have tallied two runs or fewer in six of their last nine contests. They’ve now dropped four in a row and eight of their last 12. Finally, Chase Field continues to be a house of horrors for the Padres, as they’ve now lost 56 of their last 81 games in Arizona.

Johnson, making his first big-league start since late June, lasted five innings on Monday in San Francisco, giving up three unearned runs on three hits and four walks with seven strikeouts. He got a no-decision as Arizona went on to lose 5-4. The 6-foot-10 lefty made seven home starts last year before suffering a season-ending arm injury, going 1-3 with a 5.08 ERA.

The Big Unit faced the Padres once last year and got bombed, allowing six runs on six hits in five innings, losing 10-5 at home. For his career, Johnson is 14-4 with a 2.34 ERA in 23 games (22 starts)

Wolf has been outstanding in his first season with the Padres, allowing just three runs and 10 hits with 18 strikeouts over 19 innings of work. On Tuesday at home against Colorado, he allowed just a single hit and four walks over seven scoreless innings, striking out nine in a 6-0 victory. In his one road outing this year, the southpaw gave up just two runs on five hits in six innings in San Francisco, getting a no-decision in San Diego’s 3-2 loss.

Wolf faced Arizona twice last year when with the Dodgers and went 1-1 with a 6.94 ERA, running his career numbers against the DBacks to 5-2 with a 4.11 ERA in 10 starts, including 3-1 with a 3.46 ERA at Chase Field.

The under is 3-0 in Wolf’s three starts this season, but the over is 3-0 in his last three outings against the DBacks. Meanwhile, the under is 20-6-1 in Johnson’s last 27 starts overall, including 12-5-2 in his last 19 outings at home.

The over is on streaks of 24-8-2 for the Padres on the road, 7-2-1 for the Padres against a left-handed starter, 6-1-1 for the DBacks overall, 5-0-1 overall in this rivalry and 6-0-2 when these teams face off at Chase Field.

ATS ADVANTAGE: ARIZONA and OVER


N.Y. Mets (10-6) at Philadelphia (9-9)

After three home starts, Mike Pelfrey (2-0, 1.50) hits the road for the first time this season when he starts for the Mets, who try to sweep a weekend set at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies are set to go with Adam Eaton (0-0, 4.12).

New York held on for a 4-2 victory Saturday for its fifth straight win and eighth in the last 10 games. Meanwhile, the Phillies dropped to 4-4 on their current homestand, including losing four of the last six. On the bright side, Philadelphia is 38-18 in its last 56 Sunday outings.

Philadelphia won the first meeting of the season between these rivals, capping a nine-game winning streak against the Mets. Since then, however, New York has won the last four in a row, scoring 22 runs in the process.

Pelfrey is coming off a gem against Washington, as he scattered five hits and two walks over seven scoreless innings en route to a 6-0 home victory. Going back to last season, New York is on a 5-1 run in Pelfrey’s starts (2-0 on the road).

Pelfrey beat the Phillies 8-2 on April 9 in New York, yielding two runs on five hits in five innings. That evened his career mark against Philadelphia at 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA, as he’s given up two earned runs in exactly five innings in each outing.

Eaton has record three consecutive quality starts to begin 2008, allowing exactly three runs in each contest while pitching a combined 19 2/3 innings. However, he has three no-decisions to show for it, with Philadelphia going 1-2, the one victory being Tuesday’s 4-3 home triumph over the Astros.

One of Eaton’s no-decisions came on April 10 in New York, as he surrendered three runs on five hits in six innings in a 4-3 Phillies loss. For his career, the righthander is 5-0 with a 2.80 ERA in eight starts against the Mets, giving up two earned runs or fewer in six of those eight games.

The under is 4-0 in Eaton’s last four starts since the end of 2007 and 4-1 in his last five outings against the Mets. Conversely, the over is 4-1 in Pelfrey’s last five starts overall, while the under is 4-1 in his five career road starts.

The over is on runs of 20-10-1 for the Mets overall, 23-10-2 for the Mets on the road, 9-5-2 for the Mets as an underdog and 7-2 for the Phillies on Sundays.

ATS ADVANTAGE: N.Y. METS

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DOC'S AFL

4 Unit Play. Take Under 111½ in Grand Rapids @ Chicago
The Rush still have some of the best defenders in the league and playing @ home should allow them to keep the Rampage under fifty points as they cruise to a victory.

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Tom Scott

Philadelphia at Detroit

Play ON: UNDER

When the Pistons begin a playoff series, the one thing they want to make clear right off the bat is that there will be no easy baskets, no runs, and no shoot-outs. Since 1996, they have made their point. The Pistons haven't allowed 100 points in any playoff series opener since then and we're talking about TWENTY-TWO games here. 15 of those 22 games went UNDER the posted total. Philadelphia's defense is not quite as dominating as Detroit's but it's pretty good. The Sixers should be able to keep the Piston's in check. The clincher, though, is Philadelphia's record in the 48 games this season when failing to score 100 points. The Sixers covered only 18 of those games but went UNDER the posted total 35 times, nearly 75% of the time. We'll take our chances with those numbers.

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Rocketman Sports

NY Mets @ Philadelphia
Play On: 1* Philadelphia

NY Mets bullpen has a 5.40 ERA on the road this year. Philadelphia bullpen has a 3.10 ERA overall this year and a 3.49 ERA at home this season. Eaton is 5-0 with a 2.90 ERA overall vs NY Mets since 1997.Mets are 3-12 in their last 15 games vs. a right-handed starter. Mets are 3-9 in the last 12 meetings. Mets are 1-5 in the last 6 meetings in Philadelphia. We'll recommend a small play on Philadelphia tonight

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Tony Mathews

San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

Selection: San Diego/Arizona Under 8.5

Explanation: We expect a low-scoring game as the San Diego Padres face-off against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sunday's MLB contest.

The San Diego Padres will use starting pitcher Randy Wolf. Randy Wolf has been solid so far this season. In fact, in 19 innings pitched this season Randy Wolf has only given up 3 runs (1.42 ERA). We see Randy Wolf having another solid start today.

The Arizona Diamondbacks will use starting pitcher Randy Johnson. Randy Johnson has only pitched 5 innings so far this season, however, has given up zero runs. Randy Johnson is not as good as he once was but still has a lot of talent. We see Randy Johnson pitching a great game today.

When all is said and done, we should see a very low-scoring game today!

Take the San Diego Padres/Arizona Diamondbacks Under 8.5

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MATT FARGO

Colorado Rockies vs Houston Astros
Colorado Rockies +103

The Rockies took Game Two of this series on Saturday and they will be going for the sweep on Sunday. Colorado has now won four straight games and we will ride this streak out as it ends this roadtrip with a huge head of steam. Since starting the season 1-5, Colorado has completely turned things around going 8-3 over their last 11 games. Take away a 1-5 mark against Arizona and the Rockies are 8-3 against the rest of the league as well. Usually it is the hitting but the pitching has been the cornerstone to this run.

While the Rockies are surging, the Astros are reeling. Houston has dropped three straight and it is mired in its second three-game losing streak in the last two weeks. The Astros are a disappointing 6-12 on the season and a lot of the problems can be blamed on an offense that was projected to be one of the most improved in baseball. Houston is hitting .228 on the season which is 2nd to last in all of baseball. The Astros are dead last in on-base percentage and they have scored three runs or fewer in exactly half of their games.

Shawn Chacon seems to have found a home in Houston. Chacon has three quality outings in his three starts this season but exactly how long is this going to last? I say not past today. He falls into the situation of playing against a bottom tiered pitcher that has thrown three or more quality outings on the season. Making this even stronger is the fact that of those three previous starts, the Astros won none of them. It goes back to that offense as they have scored eight total runs for Chacon.

The Rockies counter with Ubaldo Jimenez who has a 4.60 ERA on the year but has pitched much better than what that indicates. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in all three of his starts but due to a lack of innings, he has just one quality start to show for it. He has been dominant at times and it has been just an inning here or there that had led to problems. The good thing is that he is facing a struggling offense and the Astros are 2-6 in their last 8 games against a right-handed starter.

Play Colorado 1.5 Units

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JIM FEIST

If there's one team Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield has struggled against its Texas. The Rangers like to run, which is something you can do on a knuckleballer. Wakefield is 9-14 with a 5.66 career ERA against the Rangers. In addition, when Wakefield pitches, star catcher Jason Varitek sits and Wakefield's new personal catcher is young Kevin Cash, brought in for his defense, not his offense. Texas starter Kevin Millwood has his sharp sinker going early in the season, with a 2.42 ERA.

Play the Texas Rangers

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DAVE COKIN

So far, so good for Hiroki Kuroda and he'll look for another solid start here against the Braves and Jair Jurrjens. The Atlanta rookie has also looked pretty good. I think there's a good chance this game gets decided by the late inning relievers and that's where the Dodgers have to be accorded a good sized edge right now, as the Braves have significant injury issues in their pen. The Dodgers are the choice in this contest.

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TONY WESTON

Twenty-nine games separated the Celtics and Hawks in the regular season standings as Atlanta lost nearly three times as many games as Boston (45 to 16).

Still, the number for this game is set in the double-digit area, some places setting it at around 15. Of course that number is subject to change, but I doubt by much before tip-off.

Either way, I?m pretty certain the Hawks have no chance of beating the Celtics outright. However, in three meetings this season Boston averaged beating Atlanta by 14.3 points. And in their last two meetings on March 2 and April 12 the Celtics beat the Hawks by only 10 points each time out.

And over the Hawks last seven losses, only one has been by more than 15 points, a 121-105 loss against the Orland Magic. In that seven-game stretch Atlanta lost only by an average of 10.8 points per game.

So, obviously the Hawks are putting up somewhat of a fight.I think Atlanta has enough to hang within that number.

Take the points and take the Hawks on the road.

2* HAWKS (1* to 5* Scale)

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DCI

NHL

Playoffs: 13-10 (.565)
Season: 427-333 (.562)

Western Conference Quarterfinals
Game 6, best-of-7
Anaheim vs. DALLAS: TOO CLOSE TO CALL
Detroit 3, NASHVILLE 2
San Jose vs. CALGARY: TOO CLOSE TO CALL

NBA

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Game 1, best-of-7
ORLANDO 107, Toronto 97
BOSTON 104, Atlanta 88
DETROIT 96, Philadelphia 87

Western Conference Quarterfinals
Game 1, best-of-7
L.A. LAKERS 118, Denver 112

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MATT RIVERS

For Sunday take the points with the Raptors

Orlando had a great season and Stan Van Gundy has once again proven himself to be a very good coach. This number though is still a bit much for an inexperienced Orlando group.

Dwight Howard is certainly a beast and the Magic have other quality pieces with Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, Jameer Nelson and others but to be honest with you I really do not trust those guys to just go out there, even in the Magic Kingdom, and dominate.

The Raptors clearly scuffled down the stretch but a lot of that had to do with the injury to Chris Bosh along with the terrible loss in Atlanta where the refs stole a win and basically turned the victory into an overtime loss. That was the game where TJ Ford slammed the inbounds pass in with under .5 remaining but the officials somehow started the clock early and therefore wiped out the basket. It really was highway robbery and the Raptors did not recover for a week or so which is a little understandable as these guys are still Human Beings with emotions. .

Bosh is an All-Star and a great player and along with TJ Ford, Andrea Bargnani, Anthony Parker and a few others there is no reason why Toronto will not only being able to compete but have a chance for the outright.

All in all the dinosaurs played better last season but with more experience now I believe these guys will be just fine and prove they are a lot better than the last six or so weeks showed.

A pair of similar teams and in the end I'll grab a dozen plus for sure

mvbski
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