FRIDAY SERVICE PLAYS

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Ben Burns

Toronto Blue Jays @ Philadelphia Phillies
PICK: Over

REASON FOR PICK: This game has the makings of a high-scoring affair. Purcey makes his second start for the Jays. While he did only allow only a single earned run in his debut, a closer look shows that he lasted just 4 1/3 innings and the he surrendered a whopping seven walks. That should spell trouble against a potent Phllies lineup which is heating up, having scored at least five runs per game in each of its last three. Slugger Ryan Howard is finally coming around, with three home runs in his last seven games. As manager Charlie Manuel noted: "When he gets hot, somebody’s ERA is going up." Veteran Jamie Moyer is coming off his worst outing of the season which saw him allow a season-high six earned runs and nine hits in just four innings of an 8-2 loss. That game finished above the total, bringing the 'over' to 2-0 his last two starts. Now the 45-year old southpaw takes on a Jays team which has really given him problems. In his last 18 starts vs. the Jays, dating back to 1999, Moyer has an ugly 5.69 ERA. Not surprisingly, the OVER was 13-5 in those games. The most recent of those starts came here last season. Moyer lasted just 3 1/3 innings and gave up seven earned runs. The final score of 11-2 sailed 'over' the posted total. Consider a play on the OVER

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Cal Sports

4'* Cavs
4* Jazz Under 213

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GamblersWorld Tip of the Day

Washington Nationals vs. Baltimore Orioles

Prediction: Baltimore Orioles

The Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles will both be trying to pick up a win on Friday when they battle at Camden Yards in an interleague contest. The Nationals will pin their hopes on the pitching of ace righthander Shawn Hill in this game. Hill has a 0-0 record and a 3.56 ERA this season. The Orioles will counter Hill with Garrett Olson. Lefthander Olson has a 2.95 ERA to go along with a 2-0 record this season. Oddsmakers currently have the Orioles listed as 140-moneyline favorites versus the Nationals, while the game's total is sitting at 8½. The Nationals defeated the Mets 1-0 in the series finale on Thursday to claim the four-game set. The Nationals won the game as +160 underdogs, and team's played UNDER the posted over/under (9.5). Felipe Lopez' sacrifice fly drove in the only run and Aaron Boone had two hits for the Nationals. Jason Bergmann tossed seven scoreless innings and allowed just three hits in the victory. Jay Payton belted a grand slam to lift the Orioles to a 6-3 win over the Red Sox on Wednesday as +115 underdogs. The nine runs went as a PUSH against the posted over/under (9). Payton finished with five RBIs to lead the Orioles. Daniel Cabrera improved to 4-1 with the win, allowing three runs off 10 hits over seven innings. Current streak: Washington has won 2 straight games. Baltimore has won 2 straight games. Team records: Washington: 18-24 SU Baltimore: 21-19 SU Washington most recently: When playing on Friday are 6-4 Before playing Baltimore are 4-6 After playing NY Mets are 6-4 After a win are 5-5 Baltimore most recently: When playing on Friday are 5-5 Before playing Washington are 4-6 After playing Boston are 3-7 After a win are 5-5 A few trends to consider: Washington is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games on the road Washington is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Baltimore Washington is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Baltimore The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Washington's last 10 games when playing on the road against Baltimore Baltimore is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games Baltimore is 12-5 SU in its last 17 games at home The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Baltimore's last 10 games when playing at home against Washington The total has gone UNDER in 11 of Baltimore's last 16 games when playing Washington

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PowerPlayWins

DBacks -128

Angels -125
       

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BEN BURNS

NBA

Game: Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Prediction: Boston Celtics

Reason: I'm taking the points with BOSTON. The Celtics' struggles on the road in these playoffs have been extremely well documented. That's given us excellent line value with what I expect will be an extremely determined Celtics team. Let's not forget that this team was 31-10 on the road in the regular season, the best mark in the entire league. Not surprisingly, the Celtics are also 10-5 ATS as underdogs, winning nine of those games outright. Additionally, they're 5-2 ATS (6-1 SU) when playing a game with a total in the 170s, including a 3-1 ATS mark on the road. They'll face a Cleveland team which is 2-4 ATS (1-3 ATS at home) when playing a game with a total in the 170s and which will be without one of it's major weapons in Daniel Gibson. Note that Gibson had 14 points and made two 3-pointers, helping the Cavs to a win in the last game (Game 4) here. You may also recall Gibson's memorable performance in Game 6 of last year's Eastern Conference Finals vs. the Pistons. In that game, Gibson had 31 points, including 25 in the second half. In other words, he's a very valuable contributor and I expect him to be missed. As Lebron had to say: "It's something we didn't want to happen. It's kind of the tale of our season—a guy goes down in the heat of a playoff series. He's very key to our team. It's not good seeing a guy who is that key to your team in a suit." At least Lebron already has a pre-made excuse. The last time the Cavs faced elimination was also here at Cleveland, last year in their series vs. the Spurs. You may recall that they lost that game outright, scoring only 82 points. Look for them to struggle again tonight, falling to 4-11 ATS on Friday nights for the season.


Game: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Utah Jazz
Prediction: Under

Reason: I'm playing on the Jazz and Lakers to finish UNDER the number. I lost with the 'under' in Game 5 of this series but that won't stop me from pulling the trigger in Game 6. A closer look at the last game shows that the final combined score only just barely snuck above the number and that was only due to the teams combining for a dozen points in the final 1:10. With the Jazz facing elimination, even if the teams match that output in the final minute of tonight's game, assuming we can avoid overtime, I still expect a much lower final combined score tonight. Including their 104-99 win here in Game 3, the Jazz have seen the UNDER go a perfect 4-0 the last four times they were listed as home favorites of -6 points or less. Game 4 didn't qualify as they closed as underdogs. Likewise, the UNDER is also a perfect 4-0 the last four times that the Lakers were listed as underdogs of six points or less. Overall, the UNDER was 14-7-1 when the Lakers were underdogs this season and 12-6 when they played a road game which had an over/under line of 210 or greater. Looking back a bit further and we find the UNDER at 18-9 the last 27 times the Lakers were listed as road underdogs in the +3.5 to +6 range and 22-12 the last 34 times that they played a road game which had an over/under line of 210 or greater. Jerry Sloan has been the coach of the Jazz for a long time. When trailing in a series, he's typically seen his teams respond with a strong defensive effort. In fact, the UNDER is a profitable 22-11 the last 33 times that the Jazz and were trailing in a playoff series. During the same stretch they also saw the UNDER go 69-49-4 when listed as home favorites in the -3.5 to -6 range. That includes last year's Game 6 here against Houston. The Jazz were also trailing that series 3-2 and were favored by roughly the same number of points that they are toniight. They responded with a dominant defensive effort and held the Rockets to just 82 points, a game which fell below the total. The only other time that the Jazz have ever played a home game, when trailing 3-2 in a series, was way back in the 1998 Finals vs. the Bulls. That game also fell below the number as the teams combined for just 173 points, with Michael Jordan hitting the winner in the final seconds. Look for tonight's game to be much lower-scoring than expected once again with the final combined score falling beneath the generous number. *Blue Chip

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Info Plays

3* on Arizona Diamondbacks -130

Playing on Arizona at home has proven to be very profitable this season.  We will hop on board for another winning ride with the Diamondbacks tonight behind Dan Haren.  Haren would be an Ace on almost any other staff, but with Brandon Webb on his team he becomes the best No. 2 starter in the league.  Haren is 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA in all home games this season.  There is no doubt he will stay undefeated by game’s end tonight.  The Detroit Tigers have lost 4 straight and 10 of their last 12 games overall.  Now they don’t get to use a Designated Hitter tonight so their offense will be even more putrid than it has been this season, which is really saying something.  The Tigers are scoring just 3.6 runs per game over their last 7 games.  The Diamondbacks own a 17-7 home record, largely due to the fact that they are scoring 6.3 runs per game at home.  Detroit is 0-11 against the money line off a loss to a division rival as a favorite this season.  Bet Arizona at home.

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Wunderdog

Game: Los Angeles Lakers at Utah
Pick: Utah -4

As we've pointed out, the home teams have dominated the playoffs. In the second round in 21 games, only one road team has broken through - Detroit. What team better exemplifies the home court advantage than Utah? They have dropped just five games here, sitting at 41-5. What is even more remarkable than that is how they are winning at home. If you gave them a line of -4 at home all season and in the playoffs to date, the season loss total would rise from 5, to just 7 (39-7 ATS to this line)! That means they aren't playing close games at home all year. The Lakers are playing very well right now, but they still haven't come within 4 points at Utah either. Kobe did not score a 4th quarter point in game five as he remains hobbled. At home, the Lakers can get away with that, but if his back is keeping him to anything less 90%+ here, it will be even more difficult in this spot. It doesn't get any stronger than the Jazz at home and we'll back them to win and cover tonight.

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Mti Sports

4-Star Boston +2' over CLEVELAND

With the home team now 20-1 in the second round of the playoffs, this is not a popular selection. However, the line value is clearly with the Celtics as an underdog.

In game five, Lebron scored 35 points but the Cavs lost. When Lebron tries to do it all himself, the team can suffer. In game five, Cleveland only had eleven assists as a team. For comparison, Rajon Rondo has a dozen by himself. The Cavaliers are a poor 0-9 ATS at home with one day of rest after a loss in which they had more turnovers than assists and 0-9-1 ATS at home when less than two days rest when seeking revenge for a loss in which fewer than 50% of their baskets were assisted. This problem is exacerbated with the loss of Daniel Gibson, as even more of the scoring responsibility will be on Lebron's shoulders.

The Celtics have a lot of things going for them here - not the least of which is the steady improvement and growth of young Rajon Rondo. Since the start of the 2007-08 season, Boston is a perfect 4-0 ATS when they won the previous matchup in which Rajon Rondo had at least 10 assists, covering by an average of 14.5 ppg.

Also, we have a nifty player-based trend involving Paul Pierce. He, along with Lebron James, increased his scoring output significantly in game 5, scoring 29 after only 13 in game 4. Well, the Celtics are a perfect 10-0 ATS since the start of the 2006-07 NBA season when they are off a game in which Paul Pierce's scoring output jumped by at least 16 points from the previous game.

If the Celtics fold under pressure and Wally Z, Sasha and/or West shoot the lights out from three point range, then we lose. However, Pavlovic didn't make a shot from the field in game five in 10+ minutes and the Cavs are 0-7 ATS at home with at least a day of rest after a loss on the road in which Aleksandar (Sasha) Pavlovic shot worse than 33% from the field.

A key but unmentioned fact is that the Detroit Pistons are waiting for their next opponent. This gives the Boston Celtics some urgency here, as a loss will give the Pistons more rest and force a game seven on Sunday. There is no denying that the Celtics are a much, much better team than Cleveland. What make this a soloid play is the fact that even if the Cavs wins it with a buzzer-beater, we STILL cover. Grab the points.

MTi's FORECAST: Boston 95 CLEVELAND 91


4-Star UTAH -4 over LA Lakers

With the Hornets and Spurs preparing for a game seven, this series should fall into step and go seven as well. Kobe Bryant has back problems and going all out here, and potentially causing further damage to his back would be disastrous if they have to play game seven. The prudent thing to do is for Kobe to it easy here to ensure he is healthy for game seven. LA has won eleven straight games at home, so they will not feel any urgency here.

After a poor game three, Carlos Boozer has had two straight dozen-dozens in points and rebounds. This is a solid spot to back the Jazz, as they are 10-0 ATS as a home favorite of fewer than nine points when Carlos Boozer has had a double-double in each of their last two games. This player-based trend was 5-0 ATS in last season's playoffs, 4-0 ATS during the recently concluded regular season and is 1-0 ATS in this season's playoffs.

Also, the Jazz are 6-0-1 ATS as a favorite when seeking revenge for a road loss in which Deron Williams was the Jazz's high scorer and 5-0 ATS since Kyle Korver joined the Jazz when seeking revenge for a road loss in which he scored fewer than 10 points, winning by an average of a whopping 19.8 ppg.

The Jazz had the best home record in the league during the regular season and they will not be eliminated on their home court. With the home team doing so well in the second round and the Lakers playing so well at home, LA will take their "mulligan" here. Lay the points.

MTi's FORECAST: UTAH 107 LA Lakers 92


5-Star LA Lakers at UTAH UNDER 213

With Kobe Bryant' back troubles, he will be taking it easy when he is on the court tonight. At home, we look for the Jazz to play tough defense and rebound the ball. As evidence, Utah is 0-5 OU at home with at least a day of rest after a loss in which Mehmet Okur took fewer than 10 shots, staying under by an average of 15.5 ppg and 0-7 OU (-9.2 ppg) at home after a loss in which Carlos Boozer was NOT the Jazz's high scorer. In addition, the Jazz are 0-6 OU (-11.8 ppg) after a loss on the road in which Deron Williams was the Jazz's high scorer.

The Lakers also have key player-based trends that point to a low-scoring game here. The Lakers are 0-13 OU (-12.3 ppg) on the road as a dog after winning the previous matchup at home in which Lamar Odom had a double-double and 0-8 OU (-16.7 ppg) as a dog after winning the previous matchup at home in which Derek Fisher took fewer than 10 shots.

Also, the Lakers are 0-7 OU (-16.4 ppg) on the road after a win at home in which Vladimir Radmanovic played fewer than 30 minutes and 0-9 OU as a dog after winning the previous matchup at home in which Kobe Bryant was the Lakers' high scorer, staying under by an average of 13.6 ppg.

Finally, we have a great team trend that indicates the Jazz will revert to defense here. In game five, they actually made more baskets that the Lakers (37 to 35), but lost 111-104 nonetheless. This result will cause the Jazz to be more careful on offense and more intense on defense. Indeed, the Jazz are 0-10 OU at home after a road loss in which they made more baskets than their opponent, falling short of the total by a staggering 20.1 ppg.

Let's go UNDER this substantial number.

MTi's FORECAST: UTAH 107 LA Lakers 92

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Karl Garrett

White Sox -115 at SAN FRANCISCO

Interleague winner late night tonight, as I like the Pale Hose to continue their winning ways against the Giants.

Chicago has won back-to-back games against the Angels, and now they head down the coast to take on a San Fran team that has dropped 3 of their last 4.

True, Gavin Floyd was just roughed up in a start at Seattle, but twice this year he has been close to throwing a pair of no-hitters, so I expect he will be on top of his game tonight.

Sanchez counters having allowed 10 runs in his last 8 innings of work, and does sport a season ERA near 5.

The Chicago bats have been showing some pop in their two most recent wins, look for that to carry over to tonight's game.

I am backing the White Sox this Friday night!

3* WHITE SOX

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Sports Gambling Hotline

Boston at CLEVELAND -3

NBA action tonight, and we will go OVER the total in the Celtics-Cavaliers game.

After seeing the defense win out in the first two games, we have seen a pair of OVERS in 2 of the last 3 games in this series.

The linesmakers have kept the totals on these games quite low in our estimation, and all it takes is one of the teams to light it up for a half of basketball, and you are staring at a game that may not feature a team hitting the 100-point mark, but will find its way OVER the low posted total.

Four of Boston's five road playoff games have landed OVER the total, and we think this one will as well.

Play Game Six to land OVER the posted total.

1* OVER

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Chuck Franklin

Los Angeles +4 at UTAH

Despite recent spread losses, I will stay on the Lakers yet again tonight.  They are going to win this series and they just may do it in Salt Lake City.  I'll predict a close game and take the points with the road team.
   
Los Angeles is 7-3-1 ATS the last 11 games played versus Utah.  They are on an 8-0-1 ATS run the game after a win and they are 7-1-1 ATS the last nine games when listed as a road underdog.  As a matter of fact, the Lakers rise to the occassion when listed as the dog, going 21-8-2 ATS in that role.
   
I am well aware of how well the Jazz play at home, but tonight I will take the points with the Top Dog Lakers.

3* LOS ANGELES

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Gavazzi / PPP Hoops + Baseball

5% Boston Celtics

Pass in MLB

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Doc's Baseball

3 units - Balt.
3 units - Flor.
3 units - Ariz.

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Yankee Capper

MLB

4 Units - Arizona Diamondbacks
4 Units - Cleveland Indians
4 Units - Chicago White Sox
4 Units - Washington Nationals
3 Units - Houston Astros
2 Units - Milwaukee Brewers

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Re: FRIDAY SERVICE PLAYS

Steven Budin

25 DIME PLAY - ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

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Scott Rickenbach

St Louis vs Tampa Bay
Play OVER

The Rays come into this match-up as a big surprise in the American League. Tampa Bay actually has the best record in the AL entering Interleague action. So what does that mean tonight? It means they better score some runs if they want to stay hot and we have a feeling they will do just that. This will quickly turn this game into a back and forth high scoring affair because we have no doubt about the Cardinals being able to score early and often against the Rays Andy Sonnanstine.

The Rays righthanded starter, Sonnanstine, is receiving some positive publicity this season because he?s 5-1 so far on the year. However, this guy has still been far from overpowering! Sonnanstine has a 5.07 ERA on the season and he?s been hit at a .286 clip this year. Keep in mind that these numbers include two very strong starts against the Orioles and Yankees. That said, when you look at Sonnanstine?s other six starts you see just how overrated he is this season! Sonnanstine has allowed 27 earned runs in 32.2 innings in those other six starts! How do you go 5-1 and do that? It?s called run support of course and he?s received plenty of it. The Rays have averaged 6.5 runs per game in his starts and he should get a lot more of that today too!

Look for the Rays to tee off on Braden Looper of the Cardinals. Looper has a history of struggling against lefthanded batters and the Rays have a number of dangerous lefthanded sticks. Also, Looper has been struggling recently after he had put together some solid numbers earlier this season. Looking at his last five starts, Looper truly had just one ?stand-out? effort. In the other four starts he allowed 17 earned runs on 34 hits in just 23.1 innings of work. Sure doesn?t look like a guy whose 5-2 on the season with a 4.21 ERA, does it? Similar to Sonnanstine for the Rays, Looper has received solid run support from his Cards teammates in his victories. The Cardinals have averaged 5.6 runs per game in Looper?s five wins and they should support him well today.

The Cardinals lineup yesterday included four lefthanded bats and lefties are hitting .311 against Sonnanstine in his career. Also, the other four Cardinals position players included the powerful righthanded sticks of Albert Pujols and Troy Glaus plus two more righties who are each hitting over .300 on the season (Yadier Molina and Brendan Ryan). We like the looks of this Cardinals lineup against an overrated Rays hurler. The problem for the Cards is their own pitching as, behind Looper is a bullpen that is struggling, thanks in part to Jason Isringhausen having a miserable time in the pen. Plenty of runs on tap in a game many may be fooled into thinking will be a pitcher?s duel as it will be anything but. Play OVER the total in St Louis as a regular selection.

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