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MONDAY SERVICE PLAYS
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Game: San Diego Padres at Chicago Cubs
Prediction: Chicago Cubs
Reason: The Cubs have been great at home thise season and they figure to have a major advantage this evening. Zambrano has a 0.45 ERA his last three starts. Wolf has a 6.45 ERA his last three. Zambrano is 4-1 with a 1.94 ERA in seven starts against the Padres. In his last three starts against them, he has allowed one run in 23 innings. Wolf, on the other hand, is 2-5 with a 4.35 ERA in 12 starts vs. Chicago. Wolf will be support by a lineup which averages 3.2 runs per game against right-handers, hitting .236. Zambrano will be supported by a lineup which is hitting .288 against southpaws, averaging 6.6 runs per game and 6.9 overall at home. Consider laying the wood with Zambrano and the Cubs.
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Florida Marlins +155
The Florida Marlins just keep on winning, as they have now won seven games in a row, yet they are again a sizable underdog tonight when they visit the Cincinnati Reds.
This time, the odds are more understandable considering that the Reds have Aaron Harang on the mound, but we still like the value on Florida here. Florida starter Burke Badenshop may be nothing special, but he has allowed two and three runs in his last two starts respectively. Sure, he went just six innings in one of those starts and 5.2 innings in the other, but a repeat performance would still be fine with us given that the Marlins bullpen is ranked third in baseball with a 2.95 ERA, making Florida a Bullpen System play.
The Reds may have some trouble offensively facing Badenshop for the first time, as they are hitting a modest .249 vs. right-handed pitchers for the season including a poor .227 over the last 10 games. Thus, this may be just another case of no run support for the unlucky Harang, who is unbelievably 1-5 despite a 3.09 ERA and 1.10 WHIP, and being commonly regarded as one of the best pitchers in the National League.
We look for the Marlins’ good fortune to continue at a very nice price tonight.
Pick: Marlins +155
Chicago White Sox -105
The short-handed Los Angeles Angels have now lost four straight games after getting swept by the Tampa Bay Rays this past weekend, and we now look for the Chicago White Sox to take advantage of the Halos.
The White Sox had a three-game winnings streak snapped in Seattle, but they are still 4-2 in their last six games. The erratic Mark Buehrle takes this start tonight, and he is just as capable of tossing a shutout as he is of getting bombed. He appeared to have turned the corner with two straight Quality Starts, but he was then hit hard by the Minnesota Twins last tine out.
However, should Buehrle be in need of a quick hook, it is reassuring to know that the Sox have now moved up to ninth in the Major Leagues in bullpen ERA at 3.42, and that makes them a Bullpen System play vs. an Angles team whose bullpen ranks 29th and second to last with a 4.88 ERA. The Bullpen System is now 26-22, +5.04 units so far this season after averaging over 97 units over the last three years.
The Angels are still without Howie Kendrick, Chone Figgins and Maicer Itzuris, and this has obviously affected the offense. In fact, they have been shut out in each of the first two games at Tampa before scoring five runs in another loss yesterday. Besides a struggling offense and a struggling bullpen, Los Angeles is staring Nick Adenhart tonight, who has lasted a grand total of 6.1 innings in two starts while surrendering eight earned runs and a whopping 19 baserunners. That translates to a disgusting 11.37 ERA and 3.00 WHIP!
Just about the only thing in the Angels’ favor here is that they are home, but we do not think that will be enough to overcome all the other obstacles tonight.
Pick: White Sox -105
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Minnesota Twins +130
This play is the result of a successful computer model that has allowed Bob Akmens Sports to finish in first-place in 162 different categories of documented monitored handicapping contests since 1978.
The computer models I’ve developed for each sport look at the most-predictive variables that go into the winning and losing of games.
Several interesting factors in today’s play are as follows (ATS = against-the-spread) –
Once again, the Red Sox & Clay Buchholz have been made a road-favorite – in this case, the line opened at about -136 and can be found as high at about -146.
This game perfectly illustrates the dichotomy between perception and reality. Always remember that lines are not accurate reflections of who is better than whom.
If that were the case, favorites would win disproportionately, wouldn’t they?
Lines are created to do one thing only: to split betting dollars as equally as is possible.
Because, after all, that’s the ideal situation for any bookmaker – to get approximately the same amount of money on each side of the equation. As crazy as this sounds to some of you, bookmakers are not gamblers and don’t like to take needless risks if they can avoid them.
The perception (at least the one that the sharp linemaker perceives) is that the public believes the Bosox are the better team than the Twins. Well, their respective overall records bear that out: 24-16 compared to 19-17.
But realize also that the general public just doesn’t delve into matters very deeply. So if you look below the surface of that perception, you see it’s flawed in this game.
Why? First of all, look at the Bosox road record. It’s a losing record at 10-11. And the Twinkies at home? A stellar 13-7 record. You can see right away that there’s a major flaw in this Boston -140 line. The only way the Red Sox should be favored by anything at all is if the respective pitchers are over- and under-achievers with respect to their club’s home/away W-L records.
Meaning, the only way to support a -140 price on Boston is if Buchholz is a very solid road performer and Livan Hernandez is a sub-par home performer.
Is that the case? Nothing could be further from the reality here.
Buchholz has made 5 starts on the road in the bigs – and the Red Sox have lost every single one of them – all as favorites. Matter of fact, had you bet to win $1000 on every one of Buchholz’s road starts, you would be down a nifty -$6150. On the other side, Livan Hernandez and his team have won 7 of his last 10 starts at home. And had you bet to win a dime in those 10 home starts, you’d be up a nice +$5400.
So – who should be the favorite and who should be the dog?
The play may not win – but in my view, there’s no value at all going with Boston in this one.
Most good handicappers look at things this way. To make more money betting, sometimes you have to try to avoid doing the obvious.
Go with the TWINS as a +130 dog in this 7:05 PM ET ESPN matchup
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Game: Washington Nationals at New York Mets
Prediction: Washington Nationals
Reason: Ai Simulator 3* graded play on the Nationals ? Met?s starter Figueroa is struggling to say the least sporting a 6.46 ERA and a 2.218 WHIP over his last 3 starts. He has yielded 22 hits, 12 BB, and recorded just 8K in 15.3 innings. His Whip simply implies that on average there are better than 2 base runners in every inning pitched. Washington has been strong against good base stealing teams. They are 13-8 (+12.8 Units) against the money line in road games versus good base running teams averaging 0.85 or more SB's/game over the last 3 seasons. Skipper Manny Acta is 9-4 +7.1 units made when facing a NL starter with an ERA between 4.70 and 5.20. Odalis Perez is on the hill for the Nationals and he is a strong vastly under rated starter. For the season he has a 3.43 ERA and has allowed a 249 BA. He is dominating against LH batters allowing a 191 BA. Perez has a very good change that he is not hesitant to throw when behind in the count. 26% of the time he will throw the change when behind in the count. This forces hitters NOT to sit on his fastball. Like so many other MLB pitchers he works low away to both LH and RH hitters. Take the Nationals.
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NY Yankees -1.04 (3 Unit Play)
The Yankees are rested as their game yesterday was postponed due to rain in Detroit while Tampa Bay has been red hot winning their ninth consecutive home game yesterday and sweeping the LA Angels. The Angels however were without several of their regular players due to injury and did not put up much of a fight in the series. The Yankees are slowly improving and although they still have some major injury concerns they are quietly at .500 right now. The Yankees have Andy Pettitte on the mound tonight and he has pitched very well in his career against Tampa Bay going 14-3 with a 3.62 ERA and he is even better pitching at Tampa as he is 8-1 with a 3.30 ERA. Matt Garza will be on the mound for the Rays and he has struggled against the Yankees in his limited starts against them as he is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA. The Yankees know that Tampa Bay is ahead of them in the standings right now and are anticipating A-Rod coming back later this week and will want to gain on the home town Rays tonight. A small price to lay is a perfect wager in my opinion here. Take the Yankees tonight.
Chicago White Sox/LA Angels Under 9 -1.03 (3 Unit Play)
The Angels return home after a frustrating three game sweep at Tampa Bay and take on a White Sox team that was on a roll before losing yesterday 6-3 at Seattle. Tonight's starters have been struggling but I like the Under here as both teams are anemic offensively. The Angels have injury problems as both Figgins and Kendrick are on the DL and are not receiving much support from the fill ins for those players. Buehrle in his career has not been that great against the Angels but in the last 10 games he has started against them the total has went Under 7 out of 10 times. On the hill for the Angels is Adenhart who is a youngster called up a few weeks ago and he has started twice but not been that effective but does have electric stuff. I think he should be settled in by now in the majors and I look for a good game from him. I also think we will see a good game out of Buehrle and they need 10 runs to beat us here so I recommend the Under in this one.
Dallas Even (4 Unit Play)
I nearly made this my 5* play of the month but better judgment kept me making it a 4* instead. Detroit continues to play well and they look to be on their way to the Stanley Cup but if Dallas is going to mount a charge in this series they will have to play well tonight. The ending of the last game I believe will give Dallas some extra motivation tonight as although it appeared that Ribeiro was the culprit for the stick swinging incident last game it was really started by Osgood. Dallas should have a rocking home crowd supporting them tonight and Detroit has some problems with injuries as Franzen is out for this game and Drake was injured last game. Once again I think people are underestimating just what Dallas has done in these playoffs so far and I think they will make a statement this evening at home. Look for Turco to come up large and Dallas to get on the power play where they have been deadly when given the opportunity. Take the Stars big tonight.
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Nick Parsons Monday NHL Pick
Play OVER 5 goals in Dallas vs Detroit
The tensions have now escalated in this series and thats why there is going to be a quick reversal of the Stars low-scoring ways. There was an altercation at the end of Game Two that involved the Red Wings netminder, Chris Osgood, after some rough stuff between the goaltender and the Stars Mike Ribeiro. Even though Detroit is not known as a physical team, this is the type of stuff that will carry over into Game Three and will result in some extracurricular activity tonight. Dallas is certainly not happy about what they feel was a cheap shot on Ribeiro and they also are not happy to be down two games to none in this series. This means that we can certainly expect a top effort from the Stars in tonights game and it means putting more pressure on the Red Wings with a better offensive attack in the Detroit zone. Even though there will be a conscious effort on the part of the Stars to create more offense we also feel that penalties are going to be committed as Dallas gets more physical with Detroit. This is going to be a direct result of the carry over from late game shenanigans in Game Three of this series and it means that more power play opportunities are likely to be created. The Red Wings have already scored four power play goals in this series and its time for the Stars power play to heat back up again as well. Being back on home ice should certainly help in that regard. Look for a chippy game tonight as both teams bring a little extra physicality to tonights game. Even though this is not the Red Wings style there is some ill will after the way Game Two finished up in Detroit. The result will be the highest scoring game in this series and the highest scoring Stars game in quite some time. The OVER is the way to go in Game Three
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15 Dime –
RANGERS (With Padilla as listed pitcher)
Take the Rangers for the home win tonight over the Mariners.
The Mariners just can’t hit, other than Ichiro. Believe me, when a pitcher like Erik Bedard takes the mound at this price, it’s almost a sure thing to back him.
But the left-hander hasn’t received any run support, having lost two straight and getting just one run to work with during that span. Bedard is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts versus the Rangers this season.
Vicente Padilla will start for the Rangers and he’s been virtually unhittable lately. He’s 3-0 with a 0.42 ERA over his last three starts. He has given up just one run in two starts over 13 innings against Seattle this year.
Texas has rebounded after a poor start to go 11-5 over the last 16 games.
Take the Rangers as they grab the home win.
10 Dime –
Take the Celtics over the Cavs tonight in Game 4 of their playoff series.
Boston has had its troubles on the road this postseason after having so much success during the regular season. I’m not sure why all of a sudden they can’t get it done on the road, but this is a perfect opportunity to back them as I feel they are really going to bring it here tonight.
Look, the Cavaliers offense is putrid. Throw out what happened in Game 3 because that was a classic case of everything going right for them while Boston didn’t even show up.
The most glaring thing to come out of that Game 3 win was that LeBron James continued to struggle from the field despite the Cavs 24-point margin of victory.
James hit just 5-of-16 shots in Game 3, putting him at an abysmal 13-for-58 in the series.
You don’t think everything is going to fall tonight for the Cavs like it did on Saturday, do you?
Of course not.
Boston is determined to end its road woes in the playoffs right now, and I feel like this is the perfect opportunity to back them as they are listed as the small dog.
Take the Celtics over the Cavs as they bring it tonight.
5 Dime –
CARDINALS (With Wainwright as listed pitcher)
Take the Cardinals as the road chalk for the win tonight over the Brewers.
St. Louis will send Adam Wainwright to the mound and he’s turned into the real horse of this rotation.
The right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA on the season, and the win total would surely be higher if the bullpen would have done its job behind him. Wainwright has allowed just one run in 13 1-3 innings over his last two starts but hasn’t received a decision in either outing. The bullpen squandered leads in both games.
Wainwright has made two starts against the Brewers this season, going 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA.
The Brewers will turn to Dave Bush, who is back in the rotation after an injury to Yovani Gallardo.
Bush is 0-4 with a 6.98 ERA on the season and is 1-4 with a 6.98 ERA in five career starts versus St. Louis.
Take the Cardinals as they grab the road win.
Re: MONDAY SERVICE PLAYS
Cleveland/Boston Over 181 (POD)
I actually prefer the Cavs here as I would not be surprised if they won this game by double-digits to close as I have not been impressed with Boston whatsoever on the road. However, I feel the safer play is the over given that I think if Boston shows up it will be on the offensive end not scoring 84 points but rather dropping over 95 points today. After all, I expect Rondo to have more than 1 assist and to give up his selfish play for his team. Consequently, I see an over happening as Boston will improve on the offensive end but I still feel that plenty of fouls will be called and this game will not resort to be a defensive ballgame until this contest goes back to Boston in game 5, where I expect Boston to play very well and an under to consequently hit. But, as far as this game is concerned, I look for Cleveland and Boston to get off to a hot start and similar to Atlanta vs. Boston in game 4 that went over, look for this contest to go over as Cleveland will likely even this series, but the dynamics of Cleveland scoring more at home where they feel more comfortable like I mentioned in game 3 where they dropped over a 100 points, I expect Boston to score around 95 points, about 10 more from their last contest in Cleveland and consequently this game goes over. The over is 4-0 when the Celtics face a team with a winning % greater than 60% on the road and the over is 23-10 when Cleveland is a small favorite at home.