WEDNESDAY SERVICE PLAYS

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MTi

4.5-Star Utah +6.5 over LA LAKERS
In game one of this series, the Jazz shot 37.9% from the field including 4-of-19 from the arc. Their starters were a combined 1-14 from three-point territory and, as a team, they missed eight free throws. The well-coached Utah Jazz is famous for their intensity and determination in this situation. They are a sparkling 10-0 ATS on the road when seeking revenge for a double-digit road loss, covering by an average of 10.2 ppg - winning each of the last five straight up. In their last qualifying game, they beat the Hornets 77-66 in New Orleans on April 8th as a 5-point dog.

We also have a league-wide system that has been perfect since the 2003-04 playoffs. It reads, "the League is 11-0 ATS (+9.5 ppg) as a road dog with two or more days of rest after a game in which they shot at least 10 percentage points lower than their season-to-date average from the field and less than 85% from the line. The last qualifying team in this situation was these Utah Jazz, when they beat the Rockets 93-82 as a slight road dog in round 1 of this season's playoffs.

In game one, the Lakers played team defense and team offense. A whopping 24 of their 33 baskets were assisted, with Bryant leading the team with 7. This type of game seems to cause the Lakers, especially Kobe Bryant, to go from a Bryant-dominated offense to a egalitarian offense. This is not the way the Lakers' offense should be run and it causes problems. Indeed, the Lakers are 0-15 ATS with two or more days of rest after a game in which the percentage of their baskets that were assisted was at least ten percentage points higher than their season-to-date average, as long as they weren't laying 8+ points. LA is only 1-14 straight up in this situation, with their lone win over the Grizzlies. In their last two, both from this season, they lost by double digits.

Looking at the player-based trends we find that the Lakers are 0-4 ATS DURING THE PLAYOFFS at home after winning the previous matchup at home in which Kobe Bryant was the Lakers' high scorer.

As for the Jazz, they are 8-0 ATS (9.5 ppg) when seeking revenge for a road loss in which Carlos Boozer had more turnovers than assists and 6-0 ATS DURING THE PLAYOFFS with at least a day of rest after a loss on the road in which Deron Williams was not the Jazz's high scorer, covering the spread by an average of 14.6 ppg.

Because the Lakers are undefeated in the playoffs and they looked so good in game one, the series price on this one is currently a big overlay. Currently, the Jazz are something like +475 to win this series. We think they will win tonight, and if they do, this price will drop precipitously. Remember, the Jazz were 37-4 at home during the regular season and if they win tonight, all they have to do is "hold serve" to win this series.

The Jazz are a focused, dedicated and quiet team, whereas the Lakers are in the news with Bryant's MVP award. Utah's play tonight will speak for them. Take the Jazz plus the points tonight and if you want to play them on the moneyline, +475 in the series is better than +265 tonight.

MTi's FORECAST: Utah 98 LA LAKERS 92


4-Star ORLANDO -3' over Detroit
One thing I think we can count on here is a less-than-urgent effort from the Pistons. So, all we have to worry about is the Magic. Will they be discouraged by their near miss in game two, or will they be inspired and buoyed by the home crowd. We expect the latter.

Detroit is a poor 0-12 ATS as a road dog with at most one day of rest when they have won and covered their last three games, as long as the total is less than 200 points. In addition, the Pistons are 0-5 ATS (-7.9 ppg) on the road after winning the previous matchup in which Tayshaun Prince had a double-double.

Turning our attention to the Magic, we find that they are a perfect 18-0 ATS with at least a day of rest after a loss on the road in which Dwight Howard played more than 40 minutes - including 10-0 ATS last season. In addition, Orlando is 11-0 ATS (7.8 ppg) after a loss on the road in which Rashard Lewis played more than 40 minutes and 10-0 ATS (7.2 ppg) after a loss on the road in which Dwight Howard was the Magic's high scorer. We have still more. The Magic are 8-0 ATS (7.7 ppg) as a favorite when seeking revenge for a loss in which Maurice Evans took fewer than 10 shots and 8-0 ATS when seeking revenge for a loss in which Dwight Howard had at least 5 turnovers. If the Magic come to play, and all indications are that they will, they can beat the Pistons going away.

MTi's FORECAST: ORLANDO 98 Detroit 87


4-Star Utah at LA Lakers UNDER 209'
The Jazz can do something that the Nuggets can't - play tough team defense. We expect Utah to play a half-court, defensive game today, with their "bigs" focusing on defense rather than scoring. As evidence, Utah is 0-5 OU when seeking revenge for a road loss in which Mehmet Okur was the Jazz's high scorer, staying under by an average of a whopping 19.5 ppg. In addition, the Jazz are 0-5 OU as a dog after losing the previous matchup on the road in which Deron Williams was not the Jazz's high scorer, staying under by an average of 18.6 ppg.

That said, the major reason, for this play is a playoff-only player-based trend involving Kobe Bryant. In the playoffs, the Lakers are a perfect 0-7 OU since the 2003-04 NBA playoffs after two wins in which Kobe Bryant scored at least 30 points in each. In their lone active date this playoffs, they went under by 44 points in game 3 vs the Nuggets. In addition, LA is 0-7 OU after a win at home in which Derek Fisher had more assists than points.

With the Jazz a perfect 0-10 OU (-15.6 ppg) after a road loss in which they made more baskets than their opponent, there's only one way to take this total - UNDER.

MTi's FORECAST: UTAH 98 LA Lakers 92

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Ben Burns

Mets/Dodgers under 4 units

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PSYCHIC

NBA

3 units Orlando -3.5
5 units Utah +7
WISEGUY

MLB

1 unit Colorado -125


DA STICK

MLB

15 units Kansas City Royals -115

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JeffMoney

A's Un 8, +105 (pod)
Blue Jays -140
Royals -120

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Brandon Lang

15 Dime - Braves Run Line
15 Dime - Lakers
15 Dime - Red Sox

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Dave Malinsky 4* play

GAME: Philadelphia Phillies @ Arizona Diamondbacks
PICK: Over

Not getting this one home last night has to rate as one of the more frustrating moments of our MLB season so far - the two teams had reached the Total of 10 with no one out in the top of the 6th inning, but there were 21 scoreless outs the rest of the way. But that enables us to come right back at the same price here, and with two vulnerable starters facing tough offenses with the Chase Field roof open once again, finding the 11th run becomes an easy task.

On the surface both Kyle Kendrick (5.01) and Micah Owings (4.66) sport ERA’s below the N.L. average. But when we dig beneath that surface we find that they are even worse than the uninspiring base numbers. First we have to deal with the impact of the schedule, which shows up in a significant way here. There have been 59 N.L. pitchers that have worked at least 30 innings so far this season, and Kendrick rates #55, and Owings #52, in terms of the quality of batters faced (as always, we use “On Base + Slugging” as our barometer). And then some particulars make them even more vulnerable.

Kendrick’s 5.01 does not show seven unearned runs that have already been scored against him in just 32.1 innings. He is a classic “pitch to contact” guy that does not miss bats (an ominous 3.82 Strikeouts-Per-9 so far in his career), and that means difficult matchups when facing a good offense, particularly on the road. This is a good offense. The Diamondbacks are 2nd in the N.L. in runs; 2nd in doubles; 1st in triples; and 4th in home runs. They will get good swings tonight, and Kendrick’s run of 12-2 to the Over in his last 14 starts can continue if his own offense holds up their end of the equation. We believe they will.

Micah Owings is showing a real bias problem through the early stages of his MLB career - he has allowed 20 home runs in 369 at-bats to left-handed hitters already, and this season they have rocked him to a .634 slugging average. That makes this a particularly difficult matchup for him, now that Shane Victorino is back to be setting the table for Chase Utley and Ryan Howard (and they can also load the lineup from that side with Geoff Jenkins and Greg Dobbs). But we do get the positive of Owings bringing his own lumber to the table - he is hitting .358 through his first 81 at-bats, with five home runs, eight doubles, and 18 rbi’s. The marketplace has a difficult time factoring that properly into these Total equations, and that helps to leave us with the outstanding value that this game brings.

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Mr A's

Detroit Pistons +3½

Los Angeles Lakers - 6½


MLB

Washington Nationals (14-19) at Houston Astros (17-16)

The surging Houston Astros have won five straight and the last seven at Minute Maid Park. Houston will send their ace Roy Oswalt to the mound. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 3.46 ERA in his last four outings and went 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA in eight career games, including six starts against the Nationals. Washington has won six of their last eight games, but have struggle away from home, just 2-11 in its last 13 on the road. The Nationals counter with Odalis Perez The right-hander is 0-4 with a 12.91 ERA in six career appearances, including five starts against the Astros. Take Houston tonight at home.

Houston Astros - 170

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Johnny Guild

Detroit Pistons (65-25) at Orlando Magic (56-33)

The Pistons have won 12 of the last 14 versus the Magic, going 10-3 ATS, but haven't been profitable underdogs. They are 0-5 both straight-up and against the spread in their last five as the dog. Go with the Magic, down two games for a vital win in Game 3 at home. Tonight’s battle could most likely be the only victory against the superior Pistons that have dominated Orlando. The home team in this series has covered the spread in the last 5 clashes.

Orlando Magic - 3.5

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Bob Akmens

Los Angeles Dodgers -118 4 units

New York Mets/Los Angeles Dodgers Over 8.5 4 units

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Jeffersonsports

NBA
Orlando -3.5

MLB
Texas+156
Toronto-135
Oakland-126
Oakland Under 8
Colorado Under 9

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LARRY NESS DAYTIME DELIGHT

Dodgers 5 Units

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Mike Rose

Mets/Dodgers under 8.5  3 units

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LT Profits

LOS ANGELES DODGERS -115 2 units

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Donald Tran

Boston Red Sox -110


Jennifer Barry

Toronto Blue Jays -130


Chad Jordan

LA Angels +110


Frank Patron

Arizona Diamondbacks -135


Bobby Bo

1*Orlando -3.5

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Rocketman Sports

San Francisco @ Pittsburgh
Play On: 1* Pittsburgh -120

San Francisco is scoring only 3.3 runs per game overall, 2.9 runs per game on the road and 3.8 runs per game against left handed starters this year. Pittsburgh is scoring 5.8 runs per game against left handed starters this year. Pittsburgh bullpen has a 2.33 ERA at home this year. Pittsburgh is 10-3 overall vs San Francisco last 3 years. We'll recommend a small play on Pittsburgh tonight!

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Tom Freese 

Texas at Seattle

Seattle starter Eric Bedard has allowed just 9 runs total in his 4 starts this year. The Mariners are 13-6 their last 19 games vs. righties and they are 14-6 their last 20 games vs. a pitcher with a WHIP of over 1.30. the Mariners are 6-2 their last 8 games vs. the Rangers. Texas is 9-23 their last 32 games as road dogs and they are 23-47 their last 70 games vs. lefties. PLAY ON SEATTLE w/Bedard 

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MATT RIVERS

For Wednesday take the Magic at home.

This is it for Dwight Howard and the Magic. If they lose they are done and they know it therefore the effort here back home in the Magic Kingsom is going to be outstanding. It's not like Orlando hasn't played toe to toe with Detroit because they have. The Big O really had a great shot to win game two after being in the game for the first half in the opener. The Magic also had some success in the regular season so this is not exactly a bad matchup at all.

The Pistons are obviously extremely experienced and talented and playing very well but this is the game where they can sit back and take a deep breath. Rip, Chauney, Tayshaun and Rasheed have taken a few plays off evey now and then when they are not too threatened too much (ie the 76ers) and I see that happening a bit here.

Stan Van Gundy is an underrated and very solid coach that was very upset after game two as the refs did not really do his team justice. In the very least the Magic deserved the cover. How they lost by a full seven points was a bit much considering they were pretty much right there until the bitter end.

A monstrous game here for the home boys and I do believe they pull it out so at this fairly cheap price I'm willing to lay a few to the Pistons

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LARRY NESS

Texas Rangers @ Seattle Mariners
PICK: Seattle Mariners

REASON FOR PICK: Not much was going right for the Rangers after losing the final seven games of a nine-game road trip which ended on April 24th and left them 7-16. However, the Rangers have won seven of their last 11, including a 10-1 win last night in Seattle. As for the Mariners, the loss was their SIXTH in their last seven and dropped them to 14-20 on the season, a year after going 88-74 (plus-$1,924), which made them MLB's second-biggest "money-makers' in 2007. Most of those profits came at home, where the Mariners were 49-32 (plus-$1,355). Seattle is just 8-8 (minus-$264) at home to open '08 and no wonder no one is showing up. Tuesday's attendance was 15,818, the smallest crowd in the stadium's 10-year history. I hope more people show up tonight because I expect a Seattle win. Vicente Padilla goes for the Rangers and while he's 4-2 with a 3.50 ERA in seven starts this year (Texas is 5-2), he's no match for Seattle's Erik Bedard. Bedard quickly established himself as a top-notch pitcher with a bad Baltimore team the last two seasons, going 15-11 with a 3.76 ERA in 2006 and then 13-5 with a 3.16 ERA in 2007. He allowed only 141 hits in 182 innings last year, with 221 strikeouts and just 57 walks. Consider this stat. The Orioles were 19-9 (.679) in games started by Bedard but just 50-84 (.373) with someone else on the mound. Talk about being a difference-maker! Bedard was shaky in his second start of the year for Seattle but after a stint on the DL, looks just fine. He's 2-1 with a 1.82 ERA in four starts this year and that includes him allowing just five hits and one ER in two home starts (11.1 innings), giving him an ERA of 0.79. He sure won't be nervous about facing the Rangers, as he's 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA in his last four starts against Texas. What's more, Texas is just 1-6 against left-handers in '08, averaging only 3.0 RPG. The number is a little high but there's a reason for that. Take Seattle.

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Ted Sevransky

Los Angeles Angels @ Kansas City Royals
PICK: Under

REASON FOR PICK: All signs point towards a low scoring ballgame at Kaufmann Stadium this evening. The Royals aren’t hitting: 22-10 to the Under overall, 11-3 to the Under at home. The reason for this run of Unders has been the anemic KC lineup, averaging just 2.6 runs per game at home. KC has put only three runs on the scoreboard in the first two games of this series, and things aren’t going to be any easier tonight against Jered Weaver. Weaver has dominated this weak Kansas City lineup, allowing a grand total of seven earned runs against them in his five previous starts against them.

But the Angels aren’t likely to blow up the scoreboard tonight either. Royals starter Zack Grienke is 11-2 to the Under in his last 13 starts. Grienke has been nothing short of outstanding in 2008, allowing only seven earned runs in his six previous starts. 43 innings of work and 44 baserunners allowed is exactly the type of ratio I look for when betting Unders. Both bullpens are rested and in solid current form. Even the series history here is all about Unders: 20-6 to the Under in the last 26 meetings between these two teams. Take the Under.

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BEN BURNS

Minnesota Twins @ Chicago White Sox
PICK: Chicago White Sox

REASON FOR PICK: Fans of the Twins should enjoy today while they can. That's because Minnesota is currently all alone in first place in the Central and Twins' fans can (temporarily) claim to be the best in the division. However, a loss today will drop them into a first-place tie with Chicago and with a 4-game series with the defending World Champs on deck, it may be a long time before their fans make that claim again.

The Twins send Livan Hernandez to the mound and he won last time out. However, he got rocked (7 runs in 2 2/3 innings!) his previous start and still has a 6.89 ERA and 1.851 WHIP his last three starts.

Unlike Hernandez, Buehrle lost last time out. However, he pitched very well as he only allowed two runs (both were unearned!) through eight complete innings. It was the fourth time in five starts that the Chicago southpaw allowed two earned runs or less. Additionally, note that Buehrle has always dominated the Twins, going 7-1 with a 2.50 ERA in his last eight starts against them and 20-10 with a 3.69 ERA in 31 starts and two relief appearances against them for his career. Look for Buehrle to continue his success against the Twins, as the Sox build off yesterday's victory and make things even tighter in the Central.

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