MONDAY SERVICE PLAYS

MONDAY SERVICE PLAYS

SPORTS ADVISORS

NBA PLAYOFFS

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Boston (6-4, 5-5 ATS) at (4) Cleveland (5-4 SU, 6-3 ATS)

The Cavaliers tries to draw even in their best-of-7 series with the Celtics when the two square off inside the Quicken Loans Arena.

Cleveland got back into the series with a 108-84 victory Saturday, jumping on top 32-13 after the first quarter and cruising to the easy win and cover as a two-point chalk. The Cavs had five players score in double figures in their Game 3 win, and despite LeBron James’ 5-for-16 performance in the contest – he’s now 13-for-58 in the series – they shot 53.6 percent from the floor, including 52.6 percent from beyond the three-point line.

Boston leads the season series 4-3 but the Cavaliers improved to 5-2 ATS. The home team has won eight straight series clashes, including all seven this season, and nine of the last 11. Also, despite the Game 3 result, the road team is still 4-2 ATS in the last six and the underdog has dominated at the window, going 7-2-1 ATS in the last 10 between these two.

The Cavaliers are on ATS streaks of 6-0 in playoff games as a favorite of less than five points, 4-1 against the Atlantic Division, 25-10 on Mondays and 4-1 as playoff chalk. On the flip side, Cleveland is just 4-7 ATS in its last 11 at home, 3-5 ATS in its last eight after one days’ rest and 2-8 ATS in its last 10 at home against a team with a winning road record.

Despite Saturday’s loss, Doc Rivers’ Celtics remain on a bevy of positive ATS runs, including 24-10 overall, 11-4 against the Central Division, 10-4 on one day of rest, 17-8 against the East, 40-15 as a road underdog and 12-4 on Mondays. But Boston is in a 1-5 ATS funk in conference semifinal games and is 0-4 SU and ATS on the road this postseason.

After the first two games in Boston stayed well under the total, the over rolled in Saturday and is 6-2 in the Celtics’ last eight road games. But from there, the under is on streaks for Boston of 15-8 against the Eastern Conference, 7-4 in conference semifinal contests, 16-6 against the Central Division and 4-2 as an underdog. The “under” trends run deep for the Cavaliers, too, including 11-4 overall, 6-1 against the Atlantic Division, 11-4 against the Eastern Conference, 13-4 as a home favorite, 11-4 when playing on one days’ rest and 12-2 in conference semifinal playoff games.

However, all three meetings between these teams in Cleveland this season have soared over the posted price.

ATS ADVANTAGE: CLEVELAND


NATIONAL LEAGUE

St. Louis (23-16) at Milwaukee (18-19)

Having taken two of the first three in this series against the Cardinals, the Brewers now send David Bush (0-4, 6.98 ERA) to the mound opposite St. Louis right-hander Adam Wainwright (3-1, 2.25) in the finale at Miller Park.

Ryan Braun hit two homers to lead the Brewers to a 5-3 victory Sunday as Milwaukee has now won two of three on the heels of a six-game losing streak. These teams have already faced each other eight times this season with the series tied 4-4, but the Cardinals are still 11-6 in the last 17 series clashes going back to last season.

The Brewers are 36-17 in their last 53 home games against teams with a winning road mark but just 1-5 in their last six against right-handed starters, 2-4 in their last six against N.L. Central squads and 8-24 in Bush’s last 32 outings versus N.L. Central teams.

St. Louis is on streaks of 5-0 in Wainwright’s last five outings against N.L. Central foes, 19-7 against right-handed starters and 8-4 on the road against teams with a winning home record, but the Cards are just 2-6 in their last eight Monday contests.

Wainwright blanked the Rockies in Colorado on Wednesday, allowing just four hits in seven innings but got a no-decision as the Cardinals fell 4-3. St. Louis has won five of Wainwright’s seven outings this season, and he’s allowed more than three runs in a game just once.

In two outings against Milwaukee this season, Wainwright has allowed four runs (three earned) in 14 2/3 innings as the Cardinals have scored 5-4 and 4-3 victories. Overall, he’s got a 2.36 ERA in four starts against Milwaukee, with St. Louis going 3-1 in those contests.

The Brewers have lost four of Bush’s last five starts including Wednesday’s horrible outing in Florida when he gave up six runs on five hits in six innings of a 6-2 loss to the Marlins. When he saw St. Louis on April 15, Bush gave up three runs on six hits in six innings of a 6-1 loss on the highway, continuing his struggles against the Redbirds. For his career, he’s 1-4 with a beefy 6.98 ERA in five starts against St. Louis.

For St. Louis, the under is on runs of 11-4-1 overall, 9-2-2 against Central Division teams and 4-1-1 in Wainwright’s last six starts. For the Brewers, the under is on streaks of 6-0-1 at home, 4-1 on Mondays and 13-6-1 against right-handed starters, but the over is 18-8 in Bush’s past 36 games against a team with a winning record.

ATS ADVANTAGE: ST. LOUIS


AMERICAN LEAGUE

N.Y. Yankees (19-19) at Tampa Bay (21-16)

The Rays look to notch a franchise-record 10th straight home victory, in addition to extending a four-game overall winning streak, when they hand the ball to Matt Garza (1-1, 4.91 ERA) in the opener of a three-game series against the Yankees at Tropicana Field. New York is set to go with Andy Pettitte (3-3, 3.77).

Tampa Bay swept the Angels over the weekend, concluding with Sunday’s 8-5 victory. The Rays, who have won 13 of their last 18 to climb five games over .500 for the first time in team history, have allowed just eight runs during the four-game winning streak, including consecutive 2-0 shutouts of the Angels on Friday and Saturday. On the downside, the Rays are still just 3-7 in their last 10 on Mondays and 23-51 in their last 54 series openers.

New York split two games in Detroit before getting rained out on Sunday. The Yanks have followed a three-game winning steak by going 2-3 in their last five. But they’re on streaks of 17-8 when Pettitte starts, 44-19 when he opens a series for them, 14-3 on Mondays and 43-18 against A.L. East rivals. Overall, New York is on runs of 4-1 against right-handed starters and 37-17 on Mondays, but just 1-4 in a series opener.

So far this season, the Yankees are 4-2 against Tampa Bay, with all four wins coming in the last four contests. New York has won four straight in Florida, and that includes a brief two-game series sweep at Tropicana Field on April 14 and 15.

In that April 15 game, Pettitte allowed just three runs on nine hits in seven innings as the Yankees scored the 5-3 win. However, when he faced the Rays at home on April 5, Pettitte got lit up for five runs (three earned) on eight hits in five innings of a 6-3 loss. For his career, Pettitte is 14-3 with a 3.62 ERA against the Rays.

In his last start, the veteran southpaw allowed just two runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings, but the Yankees’ bullpen imploded in an eventual 5-3 home loss to the Indians. Pettitte is 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA on the road this year.

Garza was brilliant on Wednesday at Toronto when he surrendered one run on six hits in 6 2/3 innings, but it wasn’t good enough as Tampa suffered a 6-2 road loss. The right-hander has allowed more than three earned runs just once in his five starts this season.

Garza’s only career start against New York came in 2006 as a member of the Twins when he allowed five runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings of a 10-1 loss.

The over is 9-2-2 in the last 13 series clashes in Tampa Bay, but the two teams have stayed under in four of their last five this year. For the Rays, the under is 7-1 in their last eight home games and 6-0 in their last against southpaw starters, while the over is 5-1 in their last six against A.L. East foes and 10-2 in their last 12 series openers. For the Yankees, the under is on runs of 26-10-1 overall, 6-0 against right-handed starters, 5-1 on the road and 12-5 against A.L. East rivals.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE

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DUNKEL

MLB

Seattle at Texas   
The surprising Rangers are 10-3 this month while starter Vicente Padilla is 3-0 with a 0.42 ERA over his last three starts.  Against a Seattle team that is 2-7 on the road when the total is 9 to 9 1/2, Texas is the pick (-105) according to Dunkel, which has the Rangers favored by 2 1/2.  Dunkel Pick: Texas (-105).  Here are all of today's games.

MONDAY, MAY 12

Game 901-902: Atlanta at Pittsburgh
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Hudson) 16.737; Pittsburgh (Van Benschoten) 16.151
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-170); 9
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-170); Under

Game 903-904: Washington at NY Mets
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Perez) 15.402; NY Mets (Firgueroa) 15.236
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1/2; 9 1/2
Vegas Line: NY Mets (-145); 9
Dunkel Pick: Washington (+135); Over

Game 905-906: Florida at Cincinnati
Dunkel Ratings: Florida (Badenhop) 15.228; Cincinnati (Harang) 16.200
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-165); 9
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (-165); Under

Game 907-908: San Diego at Chicago Cubs
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Wolf) 14.451; Cubs (Zambrano) 16.747
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 2 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Chicago Cubs (-140); No Run Line
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (-140); N/A

Game 909-910: St. Louis at Milwaukee
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Wainwright) 15.851; Milwaukee (Bush) 14.184
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 2; 8
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-120); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-120); Under

Game 911-912: Houston at San Francisco
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Oswalt) 16.162; San Francisco (Zito) 14.755
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Houston (-130); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (-130); Over

Game 913-914: Boston at Minnesota
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Buchholz) 16.474; Minnesota (Hernandez) 16.194
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1/2; 10 1/2
Vegas Line: Boston (-125); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-125); Over

Game 915-916: Toronto at Cleveland
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Marcum) 14.846; Cleveland (Lee) 16.584
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 2; 6 1/2
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-160); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-160); Under

Game 917-918: NY Yankees at Tampa Bay
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Pettitte) 15.419; Tampa Bay (Garza) 15.546
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-120); 9
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (+110); Under

Game 919-920: Seattle at Texas
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Bedard) 13.437; Texas (Padilla) 15.826
Dunkel Line: Texas by 2 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Texas (-105); 9
Dunkel Pick: Texas (-105); Under

Game 921-922: Chicago White Sox at LA Angels
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Buehrle) 14.995; LA Angels (Adenhart) 15.764
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1; 9
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-105); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (-105); Under

Game 923-924: Atlanta at Pittsburgh
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Jurrjens) 15.703; Pittsburgh (Duke) 16.577
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 1; 8
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 925-926: Toronto at Cleveland
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Burnett) 14.199; Cleveland (Carmona) 16.616
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 2 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A


NBA

Boston at Cleveland
The Cavs pounded Boston in Game Three (108-84), but are just 3-9 ATS after a win by 10 points or more while the Celtics are 6-1 ATS after scoring 85 points or less.  Boston is the underdog pick (+2) according to Dunkel, which has the Celtics favored straight up by 1.  Dunkel Pick: Boston (+2).  Here are all of today's games.

MONDAY, MAY 12

Game 515-516: Boston at Cleveland
Dunkel Ratings: Boston 124.262; Cleveland 123.325
Dunkel Line & Total: Boston by 1; 184
Vegas Line & Total: Cleveland by 2; 182
Dunkel Pick: Boston (+2); Over


NHL

Detroit at Dallas
The Red Wings have won eight straight postseason games and face a Dallas team that has lost four of its last five and could manage only two goals in the first two games of the series.  The Red Wings are the pick (-125) according to Dunkel, which has Detroit favored by 1.  Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-125).  Here are all of today's games.

MONDAY, MAY 12

Game 5-6: Detroit at Dallas
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit 13.133; Dallas 12.404
Dunkel Line & Total: Detroit by 1; 4 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Detroit (-125); 5
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-125); Under

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Matt Fargo

Florida Marlins vs. Cincinnati Reds    
Play: Florida Marlins   

The Marlins continue to find ways to win as they have now won seven straight games to improve their lead to three games in the National League East. Teams that are hot like this need to be played despite what the linesmakers are telling us and in this case they are telling us Florida has no chance. This is a huge number for any below average team to be laying no matter what the starting pitching matchup is. The Marlins are now 11-5 away from home which is the best road record in baseball.

The Reds are the below average team in this case and despite a return home, they are not in good shape right now. They have lost eight of their last 11 games and playing at home isn’t necessarily a good thing as they are 4-7 in their last 11 at home. Both the offense and the pitching have been inconsistent and that does not make a favorable combination. Cincinnati has scored five runs or more in five of its last seven games but it has also scored three runs or fewer in six of 11 games.

Aaron Harang is the reason for the size of this number. He is a top quality pitcher who will give a good effort almost every time out but that does not mean it is a sign to back him. He has tossed four straight quality outings but the last three have all resulted in losses as the offense mustered a total of three runs on those games. As good of a pitcher as he is, this is the most he has been favored by which comes as a huge shock considering who he is facing. Also, Harang has a 6.49 ERA in five career starts against Florida.

The Marlins counter with Burke Badenhop whose numbers may not look appealing but they are clearly getting better. He is coming off his first Major League victory and that is a huge confidence builder right there. He was a third of an inning away from a second straight quality start and his ERA over those outings is a solid 3.86 compared to an ERA of 13.00 over his first three starts. His command is getting better as proven by his very impressive 1.11 WHIP over the last two games. Play Florida Marlins 1.5 Units

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Alex Smart

Atlanta Braves -133

The Atlanta Braves prepare to send one of the bright young rising talents in the NL to the hill today , to face the Pittsburgh Pirates. That pitcher is 22 year old Jair Jurrjens ( 4-2, 2.84) . This kid continues to impress me with his overall stuff, and cockiness, and his exceptional ability to think fast, under pressure. He is in my opinion a good bet, to get his 4th straight win against a Pirates squad, that despite of being on a 6 game home win streak, are hitting just .245 against righties like Jurrjens this season. Yes, I know the Braves have not played well on the road this year, as is evident by a 4-13 mark, but against a Pirates team that is just 4-14 against the money line in home games vs. a starting pitcher who gives up 0.5 or less HR's per start , they look to be in trouble. Key Trend: The Pirates are 1-10 in their starter Dukes last 11 outings vs. a team with a winning record. Play on the Braves

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James Patrick Sports

Blue Jays vs. Indians

Tribe fans are ecstatic over the fact that Cliff Lee has found his groove and is again vying to become the ace of the Indian pitching staff. Our complimentary selection is for Lee and his Indians to win another on his way to being named the American League Comeback Player of the Year.Cleveland Indians Monday’s winner from James Patrick Sports.

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Marc Lawrence

Play On: Houston w/Oswalt vs Zito

Note; The Astros end ace right hander Roy Oswalt up against struggling Barry Zito and the Giants in San Francisco Monday night knowing Zito is 0-7 in his seven starts this season, and 2-11 in his last 13 starts dating back to last season. With Oswalt back in good current form with four wins in his last five team starts, look for Zito's miseries to continue here this evening.

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Tom Scott

Boston at CLEVELAND
Play ON: UNDER the total points

In the first three games of this series, at least one team was held to less than 85 points and Cleveland's 108 point outburst last Saturday was the only time either team hit 90. Today will be no different. There are two different angles that tell us so. One is a 62+% grinder that we use over and over again in these events. Here is how the second one translates: In all NBA playoff games since the 1996-97 season, there have only been nine "game threes" played in which a team scored less than 80 points in back-to-back games, then followed those scoring droughts with a 100+ game. In the fourth game of that set, the UNDER won the money all nine times. 100% total points angles are rare. We can't pass this one.

PREDICTION: TOTAL POINTS SCORED - 168

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Jimmy The Moose

Game: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
Prediction: under

Reason: The under is 7-2 in the Yankees last 10 games. The under is a profitable 26-10-1 in the Yankees last 37 games overall. Pettitte takes the mound tonight and the Yankees have played under the total in all 7 of his starts this season. His last 5 road starts have played under the total. Tampa has played under the total in 7 of their last 8 home games. The under is 6-0 in their last 6 home starts vs. a left-handed starter. The team's have played the under in 4 of their last 5 meetings. Play the under.

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Big Al Mcmordie

Game: St Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers
Prediction: St Louis Cardinals

Reason: At 8:05pm ET our member selection is on the St. Louis Cardinals over the Milwaukee Brewers. With Cardinal ace Chris Carpenter still probably two months away from his return to the Major League Club, the Cards are looking towards their other veteran starters to step up and produce. And nobody has produced more for this team than 26 year old righthander Adam Wainwright. Wainwright seems to be getting better and better with every start. He is 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA on the year and 1-0 with a 1.61 ERA in his last three trips to the mound. He should be 2-0 during that time as in his last start he shut out the Rockies in Colorado over seven strong innings, only to have closer Jason Isringhausen blow it for him (the Cards have since removed Izzy from his closing duties and will go with a committee for now). The Brewers will go with 28 year-old Dave Bush who has been absolutely awful this season, and was shipped down to the minors, but is getting another chance at the rotation thanks to the season ending knee injury suffered by young stud Yovani Gallardo. The Cards are 11-6 in the last 17 meetings between these two. Take St. Louis.

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Terron Chapman

Florida Marlins vs. Cincinnati Reds
Play: Florida Marlins   

Believe it or not the Florida Marlins own the best record in the majors with a record of 23-14. They roll into Cincinnati Monday evening on a seven game win streak outscoring their opponents 49-14.

They'll face Aaron Harang and the struggling Reds as they return home from a three game set with the New York Mets in which they dropped two of three. The Reds seemed to lose the momentum they carried into New York. They took two of three from the division leading Cubs after losing five straight. Harang has not gotten much run support this season on his way to a 1-5 record. The Reds have given Harang an average of 2.7 runs of support when he takes the hill. The price attached to Harang and his teammates is a little pricey for a team struggling such as the Reds are, giving us good value to back the best team in the majors.

Young right hander Burke Badenhop will take the hill for the Marlins and despite his early struggles has pitched well in his last two outings. His most recent a 6-2 win against the Brewers in which he allowed five hits and two earned runs in five and two thirds innings. Badenhop has never faced the Reds who are hitting only .216 in their last 10 games against right handers. The Marlins are 11-5 on the road this season while the Reds are just 2-11 in the first game of a series this season. Play on the Florida Marlins for 1 unit.

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Jimmy Moore

Game: Detroit @ Dallas
Pick: Detroit pick -125

Reason:The Red Wings are unstoppable right now especially by the Stars who are having trouble scoring goals on Osgood. The loss of Franzen is tough on Detroit but the potential loss of Lehtinen is a killer for Dallas. Take the Wings to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series on Monday night.

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Bob Donahue.

NY Yankees and TB Rays
Take NY Yankees

It's the ace against the kid! Veteran Andy Pettitte has thrown very well despite a .500 record. He takes on Matt Garza, a young kid facing the mighty Yanks, as team he has a 6.75 ERA against. Play the Yankees!

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Dave Cokin

SEA Mariners and TEX Rangers
Take TEX Rangers

The Mariners managed to stop the bleeding Sunday as they got past the White Sox. But now they have to head to Texas to face a Rangers team that's been hot lately. Erik Bedard is always tough to go against, but with Vicente Padilla on fire for Texas presently, and the Rangers in vastly superior team form, the home team is the right side."

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Jim Feist

SEA Mariners and TEX Rangers
Take SEA Mariners

It will be good for Seattle to get out of town. The Mariners heard the boos before two innings were complete in Saturday's loss. They opened the season against this bad Texas team and took 2 of 3. Texas is second worst in team ERA in the AL. Seattle goes with ace Erik Bedard, who has been great with a 1.99 ERA. He's 4-2 lifetime against Texas with a 2.44 ERA. Play the Mariners!

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Sportsbettingstats

Chicago White Sox at L.A. Angels

The White Sox come into this game after losing yesterday to Seattle 6-3, while the Angles lost to Tampa Bay 8-5. The Angles have lost 4 straight games and are now 1 game back of the Oakland A's in the AL West. The White Sox are 4-6 in their last 10 games and are 1 game back of first place Minnesota in the AL Central. The Angels will be trying to snap their longest losing streak in over a year, as the Tampa Bay Rays recently swept them. Taking the mound for the Angles will be Nick Adenhart (0-0 11.37 ERA), who will only be making his 3rd start of the season. In his last outing he went 4 innings giving up 3 earned runs in a no decision. Adenhart will look to have a strong outing and jump start the Angels, who have not been playing good baseball lately. In their loss to Tampa Bay yesterday the Angels scored 5 runs on 9 hits and left 7 men on base. The Angels gave up 8 runs on 15 hits to the Rays. Taking the mound for the White Sox will be Mark Buehrle (1-4 5.31 ERA), who has not pitched well this season. In his last outing he went 5 innings giving up 7 earned runs in the loss. In yesterday's loss to Seattle the White Sox scored 3 runs on 11 hits and left 13 men on base. The White Sox gave up 6 runs on 13 hits to the Mariners.

Staff Pick: The Angles offense has been in a slump, as in the first three games against Tampa Bay they were shut out. In yesterdays game they snapped a 20 inning scoring drought, but still lost the game. Even though the White Sox are 4-6 in their last 10 games they had won 3 straight and scored a total of 18 runs before yesterday's loss. The Angels rank tied for 3rd in team batting average (.265) and 5th in runs scored (174), while the White Sox rank dead last in batting average (.239) and 7th in runs scored (168) in the AL. Adenhart, who will be making only his 3rd Major League start, will have to be careful of the White Sox Carlos Quentin, who is 1st in home runs (9) and 4th in RBI's (29) in the AL. The Angles are hurting on offense and need to wake up soon or they will keep falling in the AL West. It is a tough task for the Angels to depend on a pitcher with only 2 Major League starts to break out of their losing ways, but they face Mark Buehrle, who is also struggling on the mound. The key to this game is if Adenhart can give the Angels some good innings and if they can start to hit the ball. There are too many good bats in the Angles lineup to keep their offensive slump going. Look for a good start from Adenhart, as 3rd times the charm, and for the Angels offense to wake up at the expense of the Chicago White Sox.

Angels 8 White Sox 4

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Charliessports

Houston @ San Francisco.

While Houston Astros ace Roy Oswalt is beginning to settle down after a poor start, there’s no telling how long San Francisco Giants disappointment Barry Zito’s problems will last.Oswalt looks to win his fourth straight decision for the surging Astros as they face Zito and the Giants tonight in the opener of a four-game series, Astros win-105.

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JEFFERSONSPORTS

EARLY MLB RELEASES
CLEVELAND-134 CARMONA
TEXAS UNDER 9
WASHINGTON+146
ST. LOUIS-115
CHIC CUBS-176
HOUSTON-138

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Sports Gambling Hotline

Saturday was the first OVER in three games in the Boston-Cleveland series. The total for that game was right around 178, but for tonight's Game Four, they have bumped the total up some 7 points to right around 185.

We feel that is too much of a bump, and are going to play this one UNDER the posted price.

Boston has played UNDER the total in 9 of their last 12 games against the Central Division, while Cleveland has played UNDER the total in 16 of their last 21 home dates.
The Cavs have also been UNDER in 11 of their last 15 games overall.

We look for a return to the slow down, half court games we have seen in Games One, and Two, and for this game to hold UNDER the inflated price.

Play on the LOW.

2* UNDER

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Bobby Maxwell

Can we go against the Rays right now? I don't think so. This young, talented team has rattled off nine straight home wins and four straight overall and they are making Tropicana Field a tough place for a visitor to come into.

Today we'll take our chances with Tampa Bay starter Matt Garza (1-1, 4.91 ERA) to get the job done against the Yankees and starter Andy Pettitte (3-3, 3.77). Pitching is contagious and winning baseball is contagious, so expect to see Garza be on top of his game as the other Rays' starters have allowed just eight runs in the last four games, including back-to-back 2-0 wins over the Angels Friday and Saturday.

Tampa Bay has won 13 of their last 18 and Garza was great in his last start on Wednesday in Toronto when he allowed one run on six hits in 6.2 innings. He has allowed more than three eanred runs in a start just once this season.

Pettitte faced the Rays on April 15 and gave up three runs on nine hits in seven innings of a 5-3 win, but on April 5 he allowed five runs on eight hits in five innings of a 6-3 loss. He's had career success against the Rays, but this is a whole different team than he's seen in the past.

The Rays are getting some timely hitting and the pitching has been excellent. They are right in the thick of things in the tough A.L. East and these youngsters might just have what it takes to be in this thing to the end.

Play the home team in this one as the Rays keep it going against Pettitte and the Yankees.

3* TAMPA BAY

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Michael Cannon

Yesterday's free play on the Tribe gets rained out, but that doesn't change my mind about this play. This game has been rescheduled as part of a doubleheader today, so make sure you put your play on Game 1 of the DH, with Burnett and Carmona as listed pitchers!

Cleveland will start Fausto Carmona, and he's 3-1 with a 2.95 ERA on the season. The right-hander has struggled with his command somewhat, but I expect him to turn in a solid performance today.

That's because the Blue Jays have been decimated by injury. They lost Vernon Wells to a broken wrist on Friday after placing infielders David Eckstein and John McDonald on the DL the day before.

Even with those players the Blue Jays were struggling offensively, they're averaging just 2.8 runs per game over their last 23 games.

The Tribe have scored 18 runs over the last two games, so offense hasn't been a problem for them.

Take Cleveland as they grab the win.

2* CLEVELAND

mvbski
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