THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

Big Al Mcmordie

Game: Baltimore Orioles at Kansas City Royals
Prediction: Baltimore Orioles

Reason: At 8:10pm ET our member selection is on the Baltimore Orioles over the Kansas City Royals. Could this be the year that righthanded starter Daniel Cabrera finally breaks out for the Orioles and puts up ace-like numbers for an entire season? There has never been any question as to Cabrera's ability as he has electric stuff and can be overpowering for all but the top hitters in the league. But at 6 feet 7 inches, Cabrera has always had problems with his mechanics which usually has led to too many baserunners. It's not unusual for a tall pitcher to take years to completely work out all the wrinkles in his delivery and this is most likely the case with Cabrera, who seems to finally be putting things together. In his last five starts, Cabrera has only given up a total of ten earned runs and only once during this time did he walk more than three batters. Cabrera seems to be on track to finally deliver for the O's and it couldn't come at a better time. These two teams' seasons have pretty much mirrored each other as both came out of the chute in April with surprisingly strong showings featuring some great pitching, but both squads have come back to reality lately. KC has been dismal at its home park (6-9) and that has to have them concerned. Despite their similar records to this point, Baltimore has significantly more offensive talent than the Royals, and has won 12 of 13 vs. KC. Take the Orioles.

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Marc Lawrence

Game: Baltimore Orioles at Kansas City Royals
Prediction: Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles move from Oakland to Kansas City to take on the Royals in the first of a four-game series behind Daniel Cabrera. That's good news for Cabrera considering he is 6-0 with a 2.57 ERA in his MLB career team starts in this series. With Kansas City having plated less than five runs in 7 of their last 11 games, look for Cabrera and the Birds to come up big here this evening.

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Jimmy The Moose

Game: Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers
Prediction: Boston Red Sox

Two aces take the mound tonight but neither is off to the start they would have liked. Beckett is 3-2 on the year while Verlander is a horrible 1-5 with an ERA of 6.28. The Tigers have lost 5 of the 6 games he's started this season. Boston is 44-19 in their last 63 games as a favorite. Boston has won Beckett's last 5 starts as a favorite. In his last 15 starts with 4 days rest between action the Red Sox are 12-3. Detroit has lost 4 of their last 6 home starts. The Tigers are 0-4 in Verlander's last 4 starts vs. a team with a winning record. Play on the Red Sox -.

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James Patrick

Milwaukee vs. Florida

The Brew Crew and the Marlins are at the back end of their pitching staffs and that means a lot of offense in tonight’s National League contest. Our Thursday selection is Brewers-Marlins OVER the TOTAL in National League action.

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Stephen Nover

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Boston Celtics
PICK: Under

REASON FOR PICK: This certainly seems like a low total on the surface. Underline the word surface because with these two teams it's a mountain of a total to reach.

The Celtics play great defense, especially at home. They are allowing an average of 76 points in five home playoff games. If LeBron James is cold, the Cavaliers have no other scoring options.

Cleveland has gone 'under' in 10 of its past 13 games. Cavaliers coach Mike Brown is all about defense. He's deficient when it comes to designing an effective offense. But his Cavaliers can play intense, tenacious defense.

The combined 148 points in Game 1 fell nearly 30 points short of this total. Yes, the oddsmaker has made a five-point adjustment in the 'over/under,' but it's still not enough.

The Cavaliers shot just 30.7 percent from the floor in Game 1. James had a horrible game shooting. That may not change, though, with the Celtics ganging up on him while just paying lip service to the rest of the Cavalier bricklayers.

Cleveland did hit 22-of-26 (84.6 percent) of its free throws in the opening game. That high percentage isn't likley to hold up here in Game 2. The Cavaliers were 28th in free throw percentage during the regular season, converting 71.7 percent of their free throws.

The Celtics shot 42.6 percent from the floor. They made 14-of-18 (77.8 percent) of their free throws, which was right around their season average.

Going 'under' the total was the right play in Game 1. The bottom line is there is no reason to deviate from that thinking until proven otherwise.

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SPORTS ADVISORS

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Philadelphia (20-15) at Arizona (22-12)

The Phillies send right-hander Brett Myers (2-2, 4.70 ERA) to the mound to close out a four-game series at Chase Field against the Diamondbacks, who will trot out unbeaten ace right-hander Brandon Webb (7-0 record, 2.49 ERA).

The clubs have alternated wins and losses in the first three games of this set, with Philadelphia rallying for a 5-4 victory on Wednesday night. The Phillies have won five of their last six games and are 5-2 in their last seven road starts. The first-place Diamondbacks, meanwhile, have dropped four of their last six and are a middling 5-6 in their last 11 games overall.

These two teams met six times in 2007, with Arizona going 5-1 (2-1 at home), after Philly went 5-1 in the series in 2006. The Diamondbacks are 6-3 in the last nine meetings.

Myers has made seven starts this season, getting three no-decisions, and the Phillies are just 3-4 in games he’s started. He was solid in his most recent outing Saturday against San Francisco, allowing two runs on six hits in seven innings, with 10 strikeouts, but the Giants went on to a 3-2 road win in 10 innings.

Myers is 0-2 with a whopping 7.41 ERA in three road starts this season, but he is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in four career starts (five appearances) against Arizona.

Webb, the 2006 National League Cy Young winner, appears to be on track for that award again. He’s won all seven of his starts, with his worst outing coming on Saturday, when he gave up four runs on five hits in six innings of a 10-4 home victory over the New York Mets. In five of Webb’s seven starts, the D-backs have allowed two runs or less.

Webb is 3-0 with a 4.05 ERA at Chase Field this season, and he’s 2-3 with a  3.99 ERA in eight lifetime starts against Philly.

The Phillies are on runs of 11-5 overall, 8-2 in Thursday games, 6-2 against right-handed starters, 8-3 against the N.L. West, 9-2 in Myers’ last 11 road starts against winning teams and 20-6 in Myers’ last 26 outings against the N.L. West. On the downside, Philly is just 3-9 in Myers’ last 12 starts overall and 1-5 with Myers on the highway.

Despite losing two of the first three games of this series, the Diamondbacks continue to sport several winning trends, including 21-10 overall, 24-11 in their last 35 home games, 7-3 at home against righties, 5-0 with Webb going on four days’ rest, 5-0 with Webb facing an N.L. East opponent, 20-8 with Webb pitching at home and a sterling 18-4 in Webb’s last 22 starts overall.

The over is 6-3-1 in Philadelphia’s last 10 games, 7-3 in its last 10 on Thursday, 4-1 with Myers going on Thursday and 4-1 with Myers facing winning teams. For Arizona, the over is on runs of 9-5-3 at home and 5-2-2 against winning teams, but the under is 15-7-1 in Webb’s last 23 starts overall, 5-1 for Webb against the N.L. East and 11-4-1 in Webb’s last 16 starts at home.

ATS ADVANTAGE: ARIZONA and UNDER


AMERICAN LEAGUE

Boston (22-14) at Detroit (15-20)

Josh Beckett (3-2, 4.19 ERA) is set to toe the slab when the Red Sox wrap up their four-game road set at Comerica Park against the Tigers, who will hand the ball to struggling righty Justin Verlander (1-5, 6.28).

Detroit snapped a five-game losing streak on Wednesday in the most unlikely fashion, scoring two runs in the bottom of the ninth against Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon to steal a 10-9 victory. The 10-spot was one more run than the Tigers had scored during their three-game slide.

Boston, which won Monday’s series opener 6-3, saw its five-game winning streak come to an end. Still, Terry Francona’s squad is on an 8-2 roll, which comes on the heels of a five-game slide.

The Red Sox are still 35-18 in the last 53 meetings in this American League rivalry, including 4-2 this year after taking two of three at home in an early April series. The Tigers won the season series last year, 4-3.

Beckett matched the longest outing of his five starts this season in Boston’s 12-4 home win over Tampa on Saturday, going eight innings and allowing four runs on seven hits and four walks. Prior to that, the Rays beat Beckett and the Red Sox 3-0 in Tampa on April 27, with Beckett yielding just two runs on four hits with 13 strikeouts in seven innings but getting no offensive support. Beckett, who is 1-2 with a 4.12 ERA on the highway this season, has only one career start against Detroit: a 7-4 home loss in 2006 in which he gave up five runs on six hits in six innings.

Verlander, who got a no-decision in a season-opening 5-4 loss to Kansas City, has proceeded to lose five of six since then, including his last two starts. On Saturday at Minnesota, he gave up four runs on seven hits in seven innings in a 4-1 defeat. Verlander is 1-2 with a lackluster 5.79 ERA at Comerica this year and 1-1 with a 4.61 ERA in two career starts against Boston – one in each of the past two seasons.

The Red Sox, who really have no negative trends worth noting, are on a 21-6 tear in their last 27 Thursday contests, 5-2 in their last seven road games, 22-8 in their last 30 against the A.L. Central and 42-18 in their last 60 against losing teams. Also, with Beckett on the hill, Boston is on streaks of 28-1 overall, 14-4 on the road, 7-2 against the A.L. Central, 12-3 when he pitches on four days’ rest and 5-0 in his last five road outings against losing teams.

The Tigers, conversely, are in slumps of 2-4 at home, 1-5 against right-handed starters, 1-7 in Verlander’s last eight overall and 0-4 in Verlander’s past four versus a winning team. On the bright side, Detroit is in the midst of streaks of 10-1 when Verlander goes against A.L. East teams, 22-7 with Verlander going on four days’ rest and 23-10 when Verlander works at home.

For Boston, the under is on runs of 7-4-1 overall, 4-1-1 on the highway, 7-3-1 against righties and a lengthy 56-28-6 on the road against right-handers. However, the over is 5-2-1 in Beckett’s last eight starts, and the over is also 17-5-1 in Verlander’s last 23 home starts, 5-1 in his last six Thursday outings and 11-3 in his last 14 against a winning team.

ATS ADVANTAGE: BOSTON


EASTERN CONFERENCE

(4) Cleveland (4-3, 5-2 ATS) at (1) Boston (5-3, 4-4 ATS)

The Celtics, who escaped with a Game 1 win in a horrible offensive display from both teams, look to maintain home-court advantage in Game 2 against the defending Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers at TD Banknorth Garden.

On Tuesday night, Boston eked out a 76-72 home win but never threatened to cover as a heavy 10-point chalk, continuing its five-game trend of alternating ATS wins and losses. Kevin Garnett was the story for the Celts, scoring 28 points, but Ray Allen was held scoreless and Paul Pierce had just four points, with the duo missing 18 of its 20 shot attempts. Also, Cleveland’s LeBron James had just 12 points and shot 2-for-18 from the floor.

The Celtics had covered the spread in 10 consecutive home games prior to Tuesday’s contest, while Cleveland has now cashed in five of its last seven on the highway (4-3 SU).

Boston is now 3-2 in five meetings this year against Cleveland, but the Cavaliers are 4-1 ATS in those contests (3-0 ATS in Boston). The home team is on a 6-0 SU run, but the road team is 4-0 ATS in the last four, and Cleveland is 8-3-2 ATS in the last 12 clashes, including 5-1-2 ATS in its last seven games in Boston. Finally, in this Eastern Conference rivalry, the underdog is on a 7-0-1 ATS streak.

The Cavaliers are 35-17 ATS in their last 52 games as an underdog, and they have additional positive ATS trends of 4-1 on the road, 4-1 as a playoff underdog, 4-1 after a SU loss and 9-4 in conference semifinal games. On the flip side, Cleveland is 6-14 ATS in its last 20 after scoring less than 75 points, 5-16 ATS in its last 21 after a spread-cover and 1-5 ATS in its past six Thursday games.

The Celtics, despite Tuesday’s effort, are still on a bevy of positive ATS runs, including 23-9 overall, 13-3 at home, 10-3 against the Central Division, 9-3 on one day of rest, 18-7 following a SU win, 16-7 against the East and 18-8 as a favorite. But Boston is in an 0-4 ATS funk in conference semifinal games and is 0-5 ATS in its last five as a playoff chalk of five to 10½ points.

The “under” trends run deep for the Cavaliers, including 10-3 overall, 15-5 as a playoff underdog, 5-0 against the Atlantic Division and 11-1 in conference semifinal playoff games. Meanwhile, the under is 7-2 in Boston’s last nine home games, 5-1 in its last six against the Central Division and 3-0 in three home meetings against Cleveland this year. But the over is 10-4 with Boston as a home chalk of five to 10½.

ATS ADVANTAGE: BOSTON and UNDER


WESTERN CONFERENCE

(2) New Orleans (6-1, 5-2 ATS) at (3) San Antonio (4-3, 2-4-1 ATS)

The Hornets, who continued to show that they are no fluke in routing San Antonio in Games 1 and 2 at home, hit the road for Game 3 at the AT&T Center against the Spurs, who quickly find themselves in a must-win situation in this best-of-7 series.

New Orleans followed its 101-82 Game 1 rout with a 102-84 beat-down in Game 2 on Monday, covering as a three-point favorite in both contests. On the day he learned that he finished second to Kobe Bryant in MVP voting, point guard Chris Paul went out and had 30 points and 12 rebounds for the Hornets, who are 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS in their last four starts. Conversely, the Spurs are in the midst of a 1-3 SU and 0-3-1 ATS slump.

The Hornets now lead the season series 4-2 SU and ATS, winning and covering the last three, with the smallest margin of victory during this stretch coming in the 19-point blowout in Game 1 of this series. New Orleans is 4-1 ATS in the last five clashes, but the home team is on a 4-0 ATS run and the favorite is 9-4 ATS in the last 13 meetings. Finally, the straight-up winner is 10-2 ATS in the last 12 head-to-head contests.

Byron Scott’s Hornets are in ATS funks of 1-6 as road ‘pups of five to 10½ points, 1-9 on Thursday and 3-7-1 after a spread-cover, but they sport positive ATS trends of 5-2 against the Southwest, 23-10 after a double-digit SU win, 43-20-1 overall, 36-17-1 on two days’ rest and 21-10 catching points.

The Spurs are a middling 4-9-1 ATS in their last 14 starts and are on additional pointspread slides of 2-8-1 after a SU loss, 3-7 on two days’ rest, 6-14-1 against Southwest Division rivals and 5-11-1 after a non-cover. But San Antonio is on a 7-0-1 ATS spree as a playoff chalk of five to 10½ points, 14-3-2 ATS as a playoff favorite of any price, 6-2-1 ATS at home and 17-7-1 ATS laying five to 10½ points at home.

For New Orleans, the over is on runs of 7-1-1 in the conference semifinals, 5-1 on Thursday, 26-9 on two days’ rest and 7-3 as a road pup, but the under is 5-0-1 in the Hornets’ last six as a playoff ‘dog and 4-1 in their last five on the road. For San Antonio, the over is on streaks of 7-2-1 overall, 4-1 as a favorite, 12-5-1 in conference semifinal games and 13-6 as a playoff chalk of five to 10½ points, but the under is 16-7-1 in San Antonio’s last 24 against the Southwest Division and 38-17 in its last 55 after a SU loss.

ATS ADVANTAGE: SAN ANTONIO

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DUNKEL

MLB

Tampa Bay at Toronto   
The Blue Jays have won five of six on the current homestand and look to build on that today against a Tampa Bay team that has lost four of its last five on the road.  Toronto is the pick (-115) according to Dunkel, which has the Blue Jays favored straight up by 1 1/2.  Dunkel Pick: Toronto (-115).   Here are all of today's games.

THURSDAY, MAY 8

Game 901-902: San Francisco at Pittsburgh
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Cain) 14.432; Pittsburgh (Maholm) 15.798
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 1 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh (-125); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (-125); Over

Game 903-904: San Diego at Atlanta
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Ledezma) 14.674; Atlanta (Reyes) 15.865
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1; 10
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-160); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-160); Over

Game 905-906: St. Louis at Colorado
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Lohse) 15.387; Colorado (De La Rosa) 14.779
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Colorado (-110); 11
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (+100); Under

Game 907-908: Philadelphia at Arizona
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia (Myers) 14.997; Arizona (Webb) 16.885
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 2; 9
Vegas Line: Arizona (-155); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (-155); Over

Game 909-910: Milwaukee at Florida
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Villanueva) 14.298; Florida (Hendrickson) 16.036
Dunkel Line: Florida by 2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Florida (-105); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Florida (-105); Under

Game 911-912: Washington at Houston
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Lannan) 14.986; Houston (Backe) 16.201
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Houston (-120); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (-120); Under

Game 913-914: Cleveland at NY Yankees
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland (Byrd) 15.123; NY Yankees (Mussina) 16.656
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-135); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (-135); Under

Game 915-916: Minnesota at Chicago White Sox
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota (Slowey) 15.536; White Sox (Danks) 15.401
Dunkel Line: Minnesota by 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Chicago White Sox (-150); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+140); Over

Game 917-918: Boston at Detroit
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Beckett) 17.173; Detroit (Verlander) 16.043
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Boston (-125); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-125); Over

Game 919-920: Tampa Bay at Toronto
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Jackson) 14.977; Toronto (Litsch) 16.294
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Toronto (-115); 9
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (-115); Under

Game 921-922: Baltimore at Kansas City
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Cabrera) 15.011; Kansas City (Hochevar) 15.140
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Baltimore (-110); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (+100); Under

Game 923-924: Texas at Seattle
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (Gabbard) 14.867; Seattle (Hernandez) 14.742
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Seattle (-160); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Texas (+150); Under

NBA

New Orleans at San Antonio
The Spurs need a win tonight to get back into the series and look to take advantage of a New Orleans team that is just 2-6 ATS when listed as a road underdog between 6 1/2 and 9 points. San Antonio is the pick (-6 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Spurs favored by 8.

Dunkel Pick: San Antonio (-6 1/2).

Here are all of today's games.

THURSDAY, MAY 8
Time Posted: 8:30 a.m. EST
Game 501-502: Cleveland at Boston
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland 117.949; Boston 128.142
Dunkel Line & Total: Boston by 10; 175
Vegas Line & Total: Boston by 8 1/2; 177
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-8 1/2); Under

Game 503-504: New Orleans at San Antonio
Dunkel Ratings: New Orleans 122.824; San Antonio 131.121
Dunkel Line & Total: San Antonio by 8; 187
Vegas Line & Total: San Antonio by 6 1/2; 183
Dunkel Pick: San Antonio (-6 1/2); Over

NHL

Dallas at Detroit
The Red Wings blitzed through the Avalanche in four straight and look to take advantage of the resulting time off as they come into tonight's opener with a 7-2 mark when playing with 3 or more days rest.  Detroit is the pick (-205) according to Dunkel, which has the Red Wings favored by 2.  Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-205).  Here are all of today's games.


Game 53-54: Dallas at Detroit
Dunkel Ratings: Dallas 11.857; Detroit 13.650
Dunkel Line & Total: Detroit by 2; 5 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Detroit (-205); 5
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-205); Over

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Scott Spreitzer

Baltimore Orioles at Kansas City Royals

I'm wagering on the Orioles on Thursday night. Baltimore has found the right matchup to end their five-game skid. Daniel Cabrera owns outstanding numbers against the Royals and in Kauffman Stadium. In six career starts against KC, the righthander is a perfect 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA and .232 BAA! Cabrera has been on top of his game away from Camden Yards this season, and pitching well in KC, MO., has been like second nature to him. He's 2-0 in as many starts at this venue, allowing just four earned runs in 12 innings of work. KC exploded for nine runs last night, but that was an anomaly. Before that rare outburst, the Royals had averaged just 2.9 runs per game in home night tilts against righties. I expect a return to form for the Royals' bats tonight.

Play on: Baltimore Orioles

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VEGAS EXPERTS TIP OF THE DAY

Washington Nationals at Houston Astros

Look for Houston to pull off the sweep tonight behind Brandon Backe, who has seen his team prevail in 24 of his 29 home starts - an incredible mark. Sure enough, he's off to a 2-0 start in Minute Maid Park this year (3-0 TSR) with an ERA of 2.55. The Nationals' .227 batting average away from home certainly won't help them nor will the Astros' average of nearly six runs per game at thome this season.

Play on: Houston

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LT Profits

Florida Marlins -105

The surprising Florida Marlins have helped get our Bullpen System off to a winning start, and they get the call again tonight vs. the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Marlins ate tied for first place in the National League East with the Philadelphia Phillies with a 19-14 record, thanks to a bullpen that ranks sixth in the Major Leagues with a 3.03 ERA. Their starter tonight Mark Hendrickson has also been pitching out of his mind with a 5-1 record, 3.71 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. No, we do not feel Big Mark is this good, but with the support of the pen, we do feel he is capable of another victory here.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee starter Carlos Villanueva is struggling along with a 5.56 ERA and 1.53 WHIP, and the Brewers have not provided much relief with a 4.49 pen ERA. Also, the Marlins are now 23-9 in the last 32 head-to-head meetings between these clubs here in the Florida sunshine.

It seems as though the Marlins have been undervalued this season, and that appears to be the case again tonight.

Pick: Marlins -105


San Antonio Spurs -6.5

The New Orleans Hornets have dominated the San Antonio Spurs the first two games of this series, especially in the second half, but we think it will be a different story here in San Antonio.

NBA teams returning home for Game 3 down 0-2 have been a great bet this season, continuing a long-standing pattern in this league. Besides, the Spurs are 37-7 straight up at home this year while winning by an average of +9.1 points. Worse teams than San Antonio have risen from the deck to win Game 3 in this circumstance, so there is no reason to believe the Spurs can’t win by double-digits here.

Now this is in no way a slight toward the Hornets, who have already proven this post-season that they are for real. However, remember that their only playoff loss so far came in Game 3 at Dallas when up 2-0, the identical circumstances as these. The difference though is that the Spurs are a tougher opponent than the Mavericks.

Thus, look for a similar result here as the San Antonio handily closes the series gap to 2-1.

Pick: Spurs -6.5

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Mike Rose

Minnesota Twins +135

Getting the starting nod for the Twins this afternoon will be right-hander Kevin Slowey. He opened the season in the big club’s starting rotation, but a right biceps strain in his first start of the season sent him to the DL right away. After rehabbing the injury, he got three starts under his belt in the minors. He last start came for Triple-A Rochester back on May 1st when he threw five innings of two-run ball with a K/BB ratio of 9/2. He’ll be taking the place of the recently injured Scott Baker. Slowey started 11 games for the Twins last season and made MLB bettors some coin by compiling a 4-1 overall mark with a 4.73 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. He’s a big strikeout pitcher that fanned 49 while only walking 11. He faced the White Sox once last season and tossed a gem throwing seven innings of one-run ball while striking out nine and not issuing a walk in the Twins 4-1 home victory.

Opposing him will be lefty John Danks who’s been a strong component of Chicago’s staff to start the season. He enters this afternoons start 2-3 but with a solid 3.12 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. He’s allowed 28 hits and 12 earned runs with a K/BB ratio of 25/8 in almost 35 innings of work. Danks allowed two runs or less in five of his six starts this season, but the one start he got rocked in just so happened to come against these Minnesota Twins. He got shelled a month ago at US Cellular to the tune of seven hits and seven earned runs in just 2 1/3rd innings of work, and in his career, he’s 1-3 with a bloated 8.35 and 1.90 WHIP in four starts against the Twins.

The Twins now stand 4-2 against the White Sox this season, and they’re 8-1 their L/9 against the AL Central. They’re also 8-3 the L/11 times they faced a left-hander on the road, which includes Wednesday nights thrashing of Mark Buehrle. Making the Twins that much sweeter a betting proposition is the fact that Chicago is 1-6 in Danks’ L/7 home starts, and they’ve lost each of his L/4 starts when installed the favorite.

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Tom Scott

Cleveland at BOSTON
Play ON: UNDER the total points

You all saw how difficult it was for both teams to get points on Tuesday. Today will be no different. There are two different angles that tell us so. One is a grinder that we have used since 1991 that wins over 62% of the time. Here is how the second one translates: In all NBA playoff games since the 1990-91 season, there have only been 22 games played in which both teams scored less than 80 points and at least one of the teams tallied less than 75. In the next game (in the same series between the same two teams), the UNDER won the money 18 times. 18-4 total points angles are rare. We can't pass this one.

PREDICTION: TOTAL POINTS SCORED - 165


BRAD DIAMOND SPORTS

Play on: Pittsburgh (Maholm)/San Francisco (Cain)'Under' the total

Realize this is short price, but both youngsters have show signs of improvement this baseball season. So, I fully expect a low scoring game in cloudy and rainy Pittsburgh early Thursday afternoon. With SF 7-0 UNDDER in Cain's L7 starting calls and Pittsburgh 4-0 UNDER at home with Maholm, the play is quite obvious. However, what was not quite obvious was our Lakers winner last night in the NBA as most proponents of the zig-zag theory hit the dust again. The Lakers, at home, appear to have more consistent weapons. Now going on the road, maybe be a different story.


Nelly

Cleveland (Byrd) + over New York (Mussina)

Cleveland has won seven of the last ten meetings and the Yankee bats have been cold with a .239 team average in the last ten games. New York has also won just once in the last nine games as a favorite. The starting pitching match-up is basically a wash between two pitchers that now have similar styles. Byrd has slightly better numbers on the season and he is actually allowing significantly fewer base runners than Mussina. The Indian offense has not posted strong numbers but Cleveland but these teams own almost identical records. Mussina is overvalued here based on New York winning his recent starts but he may be the perfect remedy for the struggles for Cleveland’s offense. With underdog value it makes sense to back the Tribe for the sweep.


Great Lakes Sports

Texas at Seattle
Play on: Seattle Mariners with Hernandez

The Seattle Mariners are a solid 16-9 at home vs the Texas Rangers the last three years in this series, and are 3-2 as a home favorite of -150 to -175 this year. The Texas Rangers are only 6-7 vs teams with losing records this year, and are a terrible 9-12 on the road this year. We look for the Seattle Mariners to roll over the Texas Rangers for the home Win tonight.

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Ross Benjamin

Game:San Francisco (Cain) @ Pittsburgh (Maholm)
Pick: Pittsburgh -130

The Pittsburgh starter Paul Maholm is 3-0 in his team starts at home this season while posting a brilliant 0.89 ERA in the process. After taking the first 2 games of the series Pittsburgh is now 14-3 in the last 17 versus San Francisco. Pittsburgh is 11-3 in the last 14 as a favorite of 1.50 or less and 12-4 in the last 16 as a home favorite. The Giants are 2-8 in the last 10 on the road versus a left-handed starting pitcher and 9-23 in the last 32 on the road overall. The Giants are 5-16 in the last 21 on the road when Matt Cain is their starting pitcher. Play on the Pittsburgh Pirates as my free selection of the day.

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Jimmy Moore

Game: Dallas @ Detroit
Pick: Dallas pick +170

I think the Red Wings will win this series in 5 or 6 games but in game 1 the Stars will have their best chance to steal a game in Detroit with the Wings having a week long lay off after sweeping Colorado and Dallas having enough time to recover from their 4OT clincher against San Jose. Bet Detroit in the series but put a small investment on Dallas in game 1.

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JB's COMPUTER PLAYS

Atlanta Braves - 165

Toronto Blue Jays - 120

Florida Marlins - 110

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CAPPERS ACCESS

Cavaliers

Spurs

W. Sox

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THE POWER INDEX

NBA

Boston* 11 over Cleveland

San Antonio* 2.5 over New Orleans

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John Fina

Selection: Cleveland/New York Under 9.5

Today we expect a low-scoring game as the Cleveland Indians do battle with the New York Yankees. One reason why we expect a low-scoring game is because both these teams will send to the mound starting pitcher who have been playing very well as of late. This says it all... The Cleveland Indians Starting Pitcher (Paul Byrd) has a 2.21 ERA in his last 3 starts, while New York Yankees Starting Pitcher (Mike Mussina) has a 2.50 ERA in his last 3 starts. To say the least, we see both these pitchers having great games once again today. In addition, these teams have a history of playing low-scoring games when they meet. In fact, the Under is a Perfect 6-0 in the last 6 meetings between these teams. We expect to see another low-scoring game today!

Take the Cleveland Indians/New York Yankees Under 9.5

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VEGAS SPORTS PICS

Cleveland Cavaliers + 8 over (at) Boston Celtics

New Orleans Hornets + 7 over (at) San Antonio Spurs

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MATT RIVERS

For Thursday take the under at Turner Field between the Padres and Braves

Do I love Jo-Jo Reyes or Wil Ledezma? Hell no!

Can these hurlers get blasted at times? Sure they can  but I don't see that happening today in this spot.

I am not a big totals player at all but there are some factors here in this game leading me to believe that runs will be somewhat at a premium making the under a solid play.
Reyes looked very good in that first start of the season last week pretty much shutting down Ken Griffey, Jr. and the Reds. The lefty did get smacked around last season a bit but the Padres don't hit anybody with their feeble offense and nothing should be any different here.

Then you have a journeyman in Ledezma up against Chipper and the suddenly surging Braves but the lefty was just a member of Bobby Cox' squad and should be properly motivated here to prove that he should still be a member of the Braves. Whenever a hurler goes up against a former team you see them tighten their game up and perform at a higher level.

Plus I am still not fully sold on the Atlanta offense as Chipper has been great but Teixeira has not and besides maybe McCann you really do not know what you are going to get from the other players. Francouer can be very good but he also can be lacking as well.
All in all look for the pitchers to actually throw up some gooseggs and for this thing to be lower scoring than the experts believe.

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