Friday Service Plays

Friday Service Plays

SPORTS ADVISORS

NBA PLAYOFFS

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(4) Cleveland (48-39, 40-47 ATS) at (5) Washington (45-42, 48-39 ATS)

The Cavaliers, who were dealt a last-second loss on their home floor Wednesday to prolong this series, travel to the Verizon Center for Game 6 and another chance to eliminate the pesky Wizards.

Caron Butler hit a layup with 3.9 seconds left, and LeBron James followed by missing a running bank shot at the buzzer to give Washington an 88-87 victory as a 5½-point road underdog in Game 5 The Wizards snapped an 0-4 ATS road skid, though they are just 2-4 SU and ATS in their last six games overall. Cleveland, meanwhile, is 8-9 SU in its last 17 starts, going 6-11 ATS in that stretch (playoffs included).

Washington played Game 5 without star guard Gilbert Arenas, who has been ruled out of the rest of the playoff because of a recurring knee injury.

Wednesday’s win was just the second in the Wizards’ last 10 playoff games (3-7 ATS) – all against the Cavaliers, who have knocked out Washington in each of the last two postseasons. Despite Wednesday’s outcome, the home team is still 7-2 SU in this rivalry this season (5-4 ATS), and the favorite is still 7-4 ATS in the last 11 meetings (playoffs included).

The Cavaliers are in ATS funks of 3-7 against winning teams, 2-8 in Friday games, 1-4 playing on one day of rest and 1-4 as an underdog of less than five points. On the bright side, Cleveland is 4-1 ATS in its last five as a playoff pup of less than five points, 4-1 ATS in its last five after a non-cover, 20-8 ATS in its last 28 overall as a road ‘dog and 13-6 in its last 19 as a playoff ‘dog.

The Wizards are on a 4-1 ATS run at home and are 10-4 ATS in their last 14  Friday starts, but they are on negative ATS slides of 2-5 in the conference quarterfinals (all against Cleveland), 2-5 laying less than five points and 1-5 when going on one day of rest.

For Cleveland, the under is on steaks of 9-2 overall, 14-4 as a playoff underdog, 21-8-1 when playing on one day of rest, 7-1 as an underdog of five points or fewer and 6-1 after a SU loss. However, for Washington, the over is on runs of 14-3 at the Verizon Center, 6-0 as a favorite of less than five points, 17-4 as a chalk of any price, 13-3 as a home favorite, 12-1 at home against teams with a losing road record, 23-10 against the East and 11-5 after a SU win.

Finally, in this rivalry, the over-under has alternated in the last eight clashes, with Wednesday’s meeting falling well short of the 191-point posted price. However, the over is 7-3 in the last 10 head-to-head clashes in Washington.

ATS ADVANTAGE:                    OVER


(1) Boston (69-18, 55-30-2 ATS) at (8) Atlanta (39-48, 39-47-1 ATS)

After suffering two stunning losses in Atlanta to leave this series tied at 2, the Celtics righted the ship with a Game 5 rout at home and will look to close out the Hawks in Game 6 at Philips Arena.

Boston pummeled Atlanta 110-85 Wednesday night, easily cashing as a heavy 14½-point home chalk to halt its two-game SU and ATS slide in the series. The Celtics are 7-2 SU and ATS in their last nine starts dating to the regular season, while the Hawks are just 4-8 SU and ATS in their last 12, including a current 2-6 SU and ATS slide.

The straight-up winner is 28-1 ATS in Boston’s last 29 games, including 10-0 ATS in the last 10, and the winner has cashed in each of Atlanta’s last 12 contests.

Boston is 6-2 against Atlanta this year (5-3 ATS), with all six wins coming by double digits. In fact, the Celtics’ three wins in this series have come by margins of 23, 19 and 25 points, respectively. However, the home team has cashed in eight of the last 10 clashes in this rivalry, going 5-0 SU and ATS in this series.

The Celtics, who had the league’s best regular-season ATS mark, are on a 13-4 ATS run going back to the regular season and are on further positive pointspread streaks of 22-7 overall, 8-1 on one day of rest, 18-5 after a SU win, 37-16-1 after a spread-cover and 48-21-1 on the highway. On the negative side, Boston is 1-4 ATS in its last five as a road chalk and 1-4 ATS in its last five as a playoff favorite of five to 10½ points.

The Hawks are on a 4-0 ATS run when catching five to 10½ points, and they are 5-2 ATS in their last seven at home in that same role. However, from there, the pointspread trends go all downhill, including 1-4 after a SU loss, 1-4 after an ATS loss, 2-5 on one day of rest, 2-5 catching points, 2-5 against winning teams and 5-12 on Fridays.

The over is on a 3-0 run in this playoff series, with Wednesday’s game hurdling the 187½-point posted price, and the over is 4-1 in the last five clashes at Philips Arena. The over is also on streaks of 4-1 for Boston as a road chalk, 4-0 for Boston when laying between five and 10½ points, 8-1 for Atlanta at home, 10-1 when Atlanta plays on one day of rest, 4-0 when Atlanta is a home underdog, 9-4 when Atlanta faces Atlantic Division foes and 13-3 with the Hawks catching five to 10½ points.

On the flip side, the under is 9-4 in the Celtics’ last 13 first-round playoff games and 13-4 in their last 17 after scoring 100 or more points.

ATS ADVANTAGE: OVER


WESTERN CONFERENCE

(5) Houston (57-30, 50-35-2 ATS) at (4) Utah (57-30, 48-39 ATS)

The Jazz, who got blown away in Game 5 in their first opportunity to end this series, hope the friendly confines of the EnergySolutions Arena prove more beneficial in Game 6 against the resilient Rockets.

Houston flattened Utah 95-69 Tuesday night as a 1½-point home favorite. It was the biggest blowout of this series and marked the first time in this matchup that the home team and the favorite have gotten the cash. The Rockets are now on a 3-0 ATS run after failing to cover in the first two games of this series, while the Jazz have followed a 7-0 spread-covering spree by going 2-4 ATS dating back to their regular-season finale.

Despite Tuesday’s outcome, the road team in this rivalry is still 6-3 SU and 7-2 ATS in the last nine matchups, all as an underdog. However, the Jazz, who knocked Houston out of the playoffs in seven games last year, are 9-4 ATS in the last 13 clashes.

The Rockets have cashed in four straight playoff games as a ‘dog of five to 10½ points and carry additional positive ATS trends of 37-18-1 overall, 6-1 on two days’ rest, 21-6 after a spread-cover, 23-7-1 after a SU win, 5-2 on the highway and 9-4 against the Western Conference. But Houston is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 conference quarterfinal games (all against the Jazz) and 2-5 ATS in its last seven as a road pup of five to 10½ points.

The Jazz, who went 37-4 at home in the regular season (29-12 ATS), are 37-15-1 ATS in their last 53 in Salt Lake City. They’re also on a bevy of additional pointspread streaks, including 20-6 against winning teams, 9-3 as a home chalk of five to 10 ½ points, 6-2-1 as a playoff home favorite, 13-5 against the Southwest Division and 24-11 against the Western Conference. The lone negative for Utah: a 7-17 ATS mark in its last 24 starts on two days’ rest.

The under is 4-1 in this playoff series, with the lone “over” barely hitting by 1½ points in Game 3. The under is also on runs for Houston of 8-3 overall (5-1 in the last six), 5-0 after a SU win, 6-0 after a spread-cover, 5-1 as a playoff ‘dog, 13-3 against the Northwest, 10-4 in first-round playoff tilts and 18-6 as a road pup of five to 10½ points. For Utah, the under is on streaks of 8-3 overall, 13-4-1 against the Southwest, 17-5 after a SU loss and 17-7 in first-round playoff games.

Finally, in this West rivalry, the under is 11-5 in the last 16 battles at EnergySolutions Arena.

ATS ADVANTAGE:                    UTAH and UNDER


NATIONAL LEAGUE

Chicago Cubs (17-11) at St. Louis (18-11)

The top two teams in the N.L. Central – and two of the fiercest rivals in baseball – square off for the first time this year, as the Cubs send lefty Rich Hill (1-0, 3.79) to the Busch Stadium mound to battle the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright (3-1, 2.79).

St. Louis was idle on Thursday after taking two of three from the Reds at home. The Cardinals are 4-1 in their last five (all at home), running their season record at Busch Stadium to 12-6. Also, the Redbirds are 5-1 in their last six after an off day, 4-1 in their last five on Fridays, 5-1 in Wainwright’s last six starts overall and 4-0 in Wainwright’s last four at home.

Chicago capped a three-game home series against the Brewers with Friday’s tough 4-3 loss, blowing a 3-1 ninth-inning lead. The Cubs have followed up a six-game winning streak by going 2-5 in their last seven, and they’re also just 6-5 on the road. On the bright side, Lou Piniella’s club is on positive runs of 16-8 overall, 8-3 as a road underdog, 24-9 against Central Division foes, 11-3 in Hill’s last 14 starts overall and 4-0 in Hill’s last four on the road.

The Cubs went 11-5 against the Cardinals last season, including winning seven of nine in St. Louis.

Hill has pitched just five innings in each of his last two starts, despite giving up a combined three runs, six hits and seven walks, with the Cubs beating the Pirates 3-2 at home and the Rockies 7-6 on the road. Hill, who hasn’t pitched in eight days, has posted 5.62 ERA in two no-decisions on the road, though Chicago won both contests.

Hill has faced the Cardinals three times in his young career. The first was ugly (four runs in 3 1/3 innings in a 5-4 Cubs home win), but he was brilliant in the last two, giving up a single run over seven innings in each contest, with the Cubs winning 2-1 at home in 2007 but losing 2-1 on the road in 2006.

Wainwright has strung together three straight quality starts, going 2-0 with a 2.28 ERA as the Cardinals beat the Brewers twice and the Astros once, all by a single run. The righthander is 3-0 with a 2.19 ERA at Busch Stadium this year.

Wainwright’s four career starts against the Cubs came last year, and he went 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA, with all three losses coming at home by a combined score of 20-5.

The under is 10-4-1 in Wainwright’s last 15 home starts, 5-1-1 in his last seven outings on Fridays, 19-8-2 in Hill’s last 29 starts overall, 10-3-1 in Hill’s last 14 road starts and 4-0 in Hill’s last four on Fridays.

The under is 8-3 in the last eight series meetings at Busch Stadium and 5-2-1 in the last eight meetings overall. The under is on further streaks of 10-1-1 for Chicago on Fridays, 40-16-2 for Chicago on the road, 6-1 for the Cardinals overall, 5-1 for the Cardinals at home and 19-9-2 for St. Louis after an off day.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


AMERICAN LEAGUE

Tampa Bay (16-12) at Boston (17-13)

A week after sweeping the Red Sox in Tampa Bay, the surprising Rays head north to Fenway Park for a weekend series against Boston. Edwin Jackson (2-2, 3.86) will toe the rubber for Tampa Bay, while the Sox will counter with Clay Buchholz (1-2, 4.08) in a battle of young right-handers.

Tampa Bay, which just completed its first winning April in franchise history, enters this series on an 8-1 run following Thursday’s 4-2 victory in Baltimore. The Rays, who are tied with Boston atop the A.L. East standings, are now 6-5 on the road this season. On the downside, they’re just 11-26 in Jackson’s last 37 starts overall and 6-14 in his last 20 as an underdog.

Boston failed to complete a three-game sweep of Toronto last night, getting blanked 3-0 at home, managing just three hits in the defeat. The Red Sox are just 2-6 in their last eight games, but Terry Francona’s club is still 11-5 at home in 2008 and 38-17 in its last 55 at Fenway dating to last season.

The Rays got three outstanding pitching performances last weekend – including one from Jackson – in sweeping the Red Sox by a combined score of 10-5. Going back to the end of last season, Tampa has won four straight from Boston, but the Red Sox are still 41-10 in the last 51 meetings overall and 92-43 in the last 135 all-time at Fenway Park.

Jackson dominated the Red Sox on Saturday, allowing just one run on five hits in seven innings, getting a no-decision in Tampa Bay’s 2-1 victory. The right-hander has allowed a total of three runs and 13 hits in three of his starts – all Rays victories – covering 20 innings. But in his other two outings – both Tampa losses – he surrendered 11 runs and 11 hits in 9 1/3 innings.

Jackson, whose last four starts have come at home, was spectacular in his only previous road outing of the season, holding the Yankees to a run on five hits in six innings in a 6-3 win. Also, in eight career appearances (five starts) against the Red Sox, he’s 2-1 with a 4.54 ERA, but in his last four against Boston he’s given up a total of eight earned runs in 24 1/3 innings (2.96 ERA), with Tampa winning three of those four games.

Buchholz opposed Jackson on Saturday and was terrific, allowing just two runs on three hits and two walks with nine strikeouts in eight innings, but he got saddled with the loss. Since throwing a no-hitter in just his second career major-league game last September, Buchholz has made six starts, and the Red Sox have lost five of those games.

Buchholz has taken a liking to Fenway Park in his young career, going 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA in four starts, including 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two starts this year.

The under is 7-0 in Jackson’s last seven starts overall, 4-0 in his last four outings on the road and 4-0 in his last four against Boston. Also, the under is 7-1 in Tampa Bay’s last eight, 6-0 in Boston’s last six and 4-0 in the last four series meetings.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER

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VEGAS EXPERTS

New York Mets at Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona's Micah Owings can hit, he can pitch, he can do it all. After hitting a two-run, pinch hit home run two nights ago against Houston, Owings will put his perfect 4-0 record on the line tonight agianst a Mets team that is 48 hours removed from a 13-1 loss to the Pirates of all teams and is sending out John Maine, 0-2 on the road with a 5.40 ERA, to the hill. Not that Owings will need it, but the D'backs are averaging nearly seven runs per game at home this season.

Play on: Arizona

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BRAD DIAMOND SPORTS

Play on: Detroit over Minnesota
Like the way the Tigers are fighting back after a deficit ridden early April. With some of their major injuries responding to playing time the offense is on an up-tick.Here they venture to Minnesota and play in one of the toughest visiting parks in the American League, but history tells us the visitor has won 5 of 6 on that turf. In fact, the Tigers control the recent series overall with an 11-1 mark.


James Patrick Sports

Philadelphia Soul vs. Cleveland Gladiators

The Soul and the Gladiators do battle at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Friday Night and this will be one of the highest scoring games of the season in our opinion as these offenses just put up the points in bunches. Our Arena Football selection for Friday Night is Soul – Gladiators OVER the TOTAL.


Dave Cokin

Mets @ Diamondbacks
Play: Diamondbacks -125

Micah Owings is turning into a legend right before our eyes with his incredible hitting. But let's also remember that he's not exactly chopped liver on the mound, as Owings is off to a 4-0 start for the Diamondbacks. John Maine can be very tough for the Mets, but he's facing a red hot lineup tonight and the road team isn't on a hot offensive roll just now. I'm on Owings and the DBacks in this contest.


Marc Lawrence

Play On: Oakland w/Blanton

Note: Joe Blanton and the Athletics play host to the Rangers in the first of a three-game series in Oakland tonight. Blanton has certainly enjoyed hurling against Texas as evidenced by a 6-1 mark in his last seen team starts. He's also riding a nice 11-5 streak on his last 16 starts on Fridays. With the Rangers a miserable 1-9 in their last ten road games on Fridays, and the A's 4-0 on Fridays this season, we say TGIF! Back the steady serves of Blanton and the Athletics here tonight.


Nelly

Cincinnati (Volquez) + over Atlanta (Hudson)

Cincinnati starter Edinson Volquez has posted incredible numbers this season, never allowing more than one run or five hits in any of his starts this season. He has greatly outshined the early hype of fellow Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto and he should not be an underdog in this match-up against a struggling Braves team. Tim Hudson has not pitched well in two of his last three starts, failing to last past the fourth inning in those two outings and the Braves continue to find ways to lose close games with nine one-run losses. Both Cincinnati and Atlanta have 12 wins and the Braves have not proven they will take care of business at home so far this season. Look for the Reds to deliver the upset with a superior starter on the mound and a bullpen that is yet to blow a save.

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Jimmy The Moose

Game: Cincinnati Reds at Atlanta Braves
Prediction: over

Reason: The over is 7-3 in the Reds last 10 road games. The Reds have played over the total in 3 of Volquez's 4 starts this season. The over is 38-16-3 in their last 57 games vs. NL East opponents. Hudson has an ERA of 6.49 over his last 3 starts and two of the played over the total. The over is 8-1-1 in Hudson's last 10 starts vs. NL Central team's. The over is 19-7 in the Reds last 26 trips to Atlanta. The over is 8-1 in the last 9 meetings between the clubs. Play the over.

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Big Al Mcmordie

Game: Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies
Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers

Reason: At 9:05pm ET our member selection is on the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Colorado Rockies. Dodgers veteran righthanded starter Brad Penny appears to be well on his way to his third straight 16+ win season. Penny went 4-2 during the month of April and his ERA is an outstanding 2.89 heading into this, his first start of May. His fastball is as potent as ever, as evidenced by a scary moment during his last start when Penny hit umpire Kerwin Danley in the jaw with a 96 mile-per-hour heater when catcher Russell Martin got his signs crossed and the ball glanced off his mit and into Danley's face. The umpire was removed on a stretcher and taken to a hospital and is ok. Not so ok are the Rockies, especially now after learning that their young star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is headed to the DL until probably at least the All-Star break. Tulowitzki's bat will be missed, but perhaps more so will be his play in the field as statistically Tulo was far and away the best defensive shortstop in the NL last season. One of the heroes from last postseason, lefthander Jeff Francis, gets the start tonight for the Rockies, and 2008 has not been kind so far. It doesn't bode well for Francis and his teammates that the Dodgers are currently batting a sick .321 vs. southpaws. Take Los Angeles.

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LAS VEGAS SPORTS PICS

Cleveland Cavaliers + 4 over (at) Washington Wizards
Cleveland is 4-2 ATS last six meetings. The Cavaliers won at Washington 100-97 in game four outrebounding the Wizards 51-31. The Cavs are 13-6 ATS last 19 games as a playoff dog.
   
Houston Rockets + 8 over (at) Utah Jazz
Houston has covered the last three meetings including going 1-1 SU at Utah, winning 94-92 in game three, losing 86-82 in game four. Rockets are 21-6 ATS last 27 games following an ATS win.

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Ross Benjamin

Pittsburgh (Gorzellany) @ Mets (Ol. Perez)
Play On: Over 8.5

All 6 games between these 2 clubs went over the total in 2007. The Pirates have gone over the total in 9 of their 12 on the road and 17 of their 25 games overall. The Pirates are #30 in MLB in team ERA and #30 in team fielding. Both starting pitchers enter this game in bad form off their last 3 starts. The Mets are hitting a robust .293 as a team versus left-handed pitching so far in 2008. The Pittsburgh starting pitcher Gorzellany has seen 10 of his last 12 starts as an underdog go over the total including all 8 as an underdog of 1.50 or less. Play on over the total

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Jim Feist

Washington is without star Gilbert Arenas. Even though they pulled a surprise win in Game 5, the Wizards missed him, shooting 40% while scoring 88 points. The Cavs knew they let this one slip through their fingers. LeBron James sat in front of his locker staring at the TV. Often after games, wins or losses, James will engage in conversation with several teammates. For at least several minutes, James was in deep thought. He was probably wondering how they blew a five-point lead with 1:47 left. Cleveland's Antonio Daniels finally had an impact in this series: In 39 minutes he hit 5-of-9 shots and scored 12 points. Washington is just 2-4 SU/ATS the last six games, and Cleveland won on this court as a dog in Game 4.

Play the Cavaliers!

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DCI

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Game 6, best-of-7
WASHINGTON 98, Cleveland 94
Boston 99, ATLANTA 92

Western Conference Quarterfinals
Game 6, best-of-7
UTAH 100, Houston 94

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Karl Garrett

NBA winner tonight on Houston plus the points.

This sure seems like a ton of points when you consider that Houston is responsible for two of the Jazz' five home losses this season, and the Rockets did stay inside the number in an 86-82 loss in Game Four.

Houston should have some confidence working tonight, as they are fresh off an elimination game that saw them romp the Jazz in a 95-69 laugher.

If the Jazz do win this game, I don't think they will be able to win it by more than 5-points.

Mark the G-Man down for a play on the dog here.

1* HOUSTON

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Play By Play Inc.

BOSTON at ATLANTA   Over 189.5
CLEVELAND at WASHINGTON   Over 187
HOUSTON at UTAH   Over 181

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THE POWER INDEX

NBA

Washington* 4.5 over Cleveland
Boston 5 over Atlanta*
Utah* 5 over Houston

NHL

San Jose* (-104) even with Dallas (+104)

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Bobby Maxwell

If it wasn't for "closer" Kerry Wood the Cubs would have gotten out of Chicago with a win on Thursday, but three Milwaukee ninth-inning runs killed them as they lost 4-3 to the Brewers.

Now they head to St. Louis to renew this rivalry with the Cardinals with southpaw Rich Hill (1-0, 3.79) on the hill for the Cubs against St. Louis' Adam Wainwright (3-1, 2.79).

Chicago has won seven of the last nine matchups in St. Louis and took six of the last eight overall at the end of last season. The Cubs are 24-8 in their last 32 against the N.L. Central and 11-3 in Hill's last 14 starts.

Hill hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of his four starts this season and last pitched on April 23 in Colorado when he allowed two runs on three hits in five innings of a 7-6 win. Last year he faced the Cardinals once and dominated them, allowing one run on three hits in seven innings of a 2-1 Chicago win.

Wainwright threw a lot of pitches last time out, tossing 126 pitches and giving up three runs on five hits in a complete-game win at home over Houston, 4-3. He got four starts against the Cubs last season and got drilled in three of the four. In four outings he allowed 21 runs on 33 hits in 21.2 innings of work as the Cardinals lost three of the four.

The Cubs know what kind of stuff Wainwright has and they are going to continue to light him up. Play Chicago to keep up the success they found against him and the Cardinals last season.

4* CHICAGO

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Jeffersonsports

KC Under 8.5

NY Yankees Under 8

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Alex Smart

Seattle Mariners @ New York Yankees Under 8.0

Erik Bedard (2-0, 2.04 ERA) the Mariners southpaw hurler today vs the Yankees at the Bronx Zoo , returned from the disabled list last time out, throwing 6 2/3 innings of shut out ball. Bedard has had recent success in this series, going 2-0 along with a stingy 1.29 ERA against the Pinstripes last year. Right hander Chien Ming Wang (5-0, 3.23 ERA) will return fire for the Bronx Bombers. With two top quality hurlers on the hill for this tilt, a score that fails to eclipse the total makes for a good bet. Final notes & Key Trends: Under is 6-1 in Mariners last 7 road games vs. a right-handed starter .Under is 5-1-1 in Yankees last 7 games against a left-handed starter . Play on Under

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LT Profits

Houston Rockets @ Utah Jazz Under 180.0 

The Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets have gone Under in four of the first five games of this series, and we expect a carbon copy tonight.

In fact, besides Houstons 94-92 win in the only Over in Game 3, none of the four Unders have exceeded 175 total points scored, with those contests averaging just a combined 170.3 points. Then again, low scoring games are nothing new for the Rockets, as the Under is now 50-36-1, 58.1 percent in all Houston games this season combining regular season and playoffs.

Now the Jazz obviously prefer a faster pace as they are averaging 105.1 points per game for the year. However, they have not been able to solve this Houston defense this series, as the 93 points they scored in Game 1 is still their highest output so far. In fact, going back even further, the Under is 11-5 in the last 16 head-to-head meetings between these teams here in Utah.

Now the Jazz are not nearly as bad as they looked in their 94-69 loss at Houston in Game 5, but they may still be hard-pressed to score much more than 90 points here. Since we still feel that Utah will win this game, this means that we do not expect more than 175 total points at the most.

Rockets, Jazz Under 180

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WINNERS EDGE

NBA
Atlanta Hawks + 8.5 , 3 units ( Game of week  )
Houston Rockets / Utah Jazz Over 180 , 2 units


MLB
NY Mets even , 2 units
Oakland A's RL +140 , 1 unit
Oakland / Texas under 8.5  -105 , 1 unit

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Chuck Franklin

The Wizards backed up some of the trash talk on Wednesday night at Cleveland.  They will come into this Game 6 overconfident.Their cocky swagger will backfire tonight in front of the home crowd.  Washington is only 1-5 ATS the last six games played on one day of rest.

Cleveland is on a 4-1 ATS run in the playoffs when getting less than five points.  They have covered the spread 20 of the last 28 road games when listed as an underdog of less than five points.  The Cavs are also 4-1 ATS the last five games after an ATS loss. 

They have been hugely profitable on the road against teams with a better than .600
home record, going 25-9-1 ATS in that situation.

3* CLEVELAND

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Drew Gordon

I know after watching the Pistons close out the 76ers Thursday, many in the public are expecting the # 1 seed Celtics to finish off the # 8 seed Hawks tonight, but I disagree and here's why:

First, although the two series are similar in the sense of a higher seed having trouble with a lower seed, that's where the similarities end. The Hawks, unlike the 76ers, won outright on their home court twice in convincing fashion (by 9 in Game 3 & by 5 in Game 4). Yes, they got pounded in Boston, but that was to be expected, especially after consecutive losses by the Celts. Now back at home, look for Atlanta to make this game, even if they lose SU.

Second, the young Hawks clearly played better in the Atlanta, with Joe Johnson and Josh Smith leading the way on their home court. Also, the emergence of Al Horford is a positive sign, because he should be able to outplay Perkins at every turn. Its not just on the offensive end either, as the Hawks defense has been considerably better at home, allowing the Celtics 92.5 ppg on 42% shooting in their two wins there.

Finally, as in all these closeout games, you've got the "back against the wall" factor. Granted, it didn't work for the 76ers yesterday, but that doesn't mean it won't work for the Hawks tonight. Reason being, the Hawks have won both games in Atlanta, giving them confidence they just didn't play with in Boston. Again guys, I'm not saying they win outright, but what I am saying is they make the Celtics work for their series win, grabbing the cash in the process.

Take Atlanta plus the points over Boston in Game 6 of this Eastern Conference Playoffs series.

2* ATLANTA

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