FRIDAY SERVICE PLAYS
Re: FRIDAY SERVICE PLAYS
Bob Harvey Sports
Take Chicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays OVER 8.
A.J. Burnett has struggled under the dome at the Rogers Centre this season, and Sean Gallagher has been horrible on the road. Play the Blue Jays and Cubs over the total.
Sean Gallagher and the Cubs travel north of the border to battle the Blue Jays in the opener of a three-game series. Veteran A.J. Burnett gets the call for Toronto.
The Jays have dropped their last three games when Burnett has toed the rubber. Burnett got blasted in his last outing allowing eight earned runs on 10 hits and was gone by the fifth inning. Of extreme interest to those of us who are playing the Over tonight is what Burnett has done under the dome this season. It’s not pretty. Burnett is 2-3 with a whopping 9.00 ERA in six appearances (five starts) at home this year.
Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Gallagher has had recent trouble on the road going 0-2 with two no-decisions and a 5.93 ERA in four road starts this year, and tonight marks his first career start against Toronto.
Finally, the Over is 7-2 in the Blue Jays' last nine interleague games.
Pick: Cubs-Blue Jays Over 8
Re: FRIDAY SERVICE PLAYS
ARENA FOOTBALL for FRIDAY
UNDER 108 NO/ORL 1*
WNBA for FRIDAY
WASHINGTON +6 2*
NYY (-152) vs HOU 1* ML WAGER
PIT (+110) vs BAL 2* ML WAGER
ARI (-135) vs KAN 1* ML WAGER
ATL (+129) vs ANA 3* MLB BEST UNDERDOG BET of the DAY
FLA (+141) vs TAM 1* ML WAGER
CLE / SDP Over 9.5 1* TOTAL
BAL / PIT Over 9.5 1* TOTAL
CWS / COL Over 9 1* TOTAL
Re: FRIDAY SERVICE PLAYS
Ted Sevransky 4*
Columbus is a ‘dead’ team right now, the only team out of nine in the National Conference with no hope of making the playoffs heading into Week 16. Frankly, the Destroyers have been dead for months, 1-7 SU in their last eight games. Remember, this team went to the Arena Bowl last year; their disappointment with the 2008 campaign is almost palpable. Their lack of effort has been most apparent on the defense side of the football, allowing 9.5 and 10.0 yards per pass attempt in their last two ballgames while giving up 17 touchdowns in 19 meaningful drives. And, as we clearly saw against Georgia last week, the Destroyers are not responding well to adversity at this stage of the campaign – one bad break and the roof starts to fall in.
We bet against Quincy Carter making his first career start last week, and were paid off rather easily, as Carter’s KC Brigade lost by 39 points as a favorite! In this game, we get to bet against Justin Zwick making his first career appearance. Zwick, the former Ohio State Buckeye was a dud in college, but he’s a hometown fan favorite and attendance is lagging. He won’t be the only backup getting playing time here – the Destroyers coaching staff plans to use their final two games of the season to look at a number of other second tier prospects.
Meanwhile, Grand Rapids is coming off a brilliant performance against Colorado, putting them in position to actually clinch a playoff spot with a win and some help this week despite their 4-10 record. The Rampage put on a truly impressive offensive showing, hanging 84 points on the Crush. First year head coach Steve Thonn promised a more aggressive approach following their home loss to Utah the previous week, and he certainly wasn’t bluffing. The Rampage had a season high 16 possessions against Colorado, averaging less than two minutes per possession. Three different Grand Rapids receivers had 100 or more yards and at least three touchdown receptions, the first time in team history they’ve accomplished that feat. One team cares about winning; the other squad is waiting for the season to be over. 4* Take Grand Rapids. Current Line: GR -4.5, reduce wager size to ½ unit at -7 or higher.
Ted Sevransky 4*
I made a large bet on Dallas last week, but it went down in flames in the final minute, following the Desperados second special teams miscue of the game. The bad news is that we lost that bet; the good news is that we’ll get the chance to make some of it back right here. Last week’s loss effectively ended the regular season for the Desperados. Barring a Philadelphia collapse, the Soul will have homefield edge in the playoffs after sweeping the season series from Dallas. And, after going 15-1 last year but getting bounced out of the playoffs in the first round, and having a league best 13-3 record in 2006, but also falling short in the playoffs, this team has absolutely nothing to prove here in the regular season – their success will be entirely determined by what they accomplish once the playoffs begin.
To make matters even worse for Dallas here, their defense has collapsed in recent weeks, allowing 8.1 yards per pass attempts against Cleveland two weeks ago and 8.7 yards per attempt last week, while giving up ten touchdowns on eleven meaningful drives. When the Desperados played New York back in Week 5, they suffered four sacks and scored only 33 points, their second lowest output of the season. Throw in some injury concerns (and the lack of a bye week if Philly wins the division, as expected), it’s far more important for head coach Will McClay to get his team healthy and focused for a playoff run than it is to win this game at all, let alone win it by any sort of a margin.
New York has been nothing short of outstanding since their awful 1-4 start, reeling off seven wins in their last nine games. It’s surely worth noting that the Dragons two losses during that span came by five and two points, each contest coming right down to the wire – this is not a team that gets blown out, even in hostile environments. Weylan Harding’s defense is coming off a season best performance, holding New Orleans to 4.7 yards per pass attempt last Saturday, while QB Aaron Garcia now has the fifth highest QB rating in the league, with a truly impressive 72-7 touchdown-to –interception ratio, far better than Desperados QB Clint Dolezel in all three statistical categories. And, unlike Dallas, New York has no margin for error with Philadelphia on tap next week – they absolutely, positively, need the victory here, while Dallas does not. 4* Take New York. Current line: NY +7.5, reduce wager size to ½ unit at +5 or lower.
Ted Sevransky 4*
San Jose’s offense has been good this year, but it’s been their defense that has carried them to a 9-5 record, putting them in position to secure another Western Division title with a victory here. The Sabercats D has forced an AFL high 38 turnovers (21 interceptions, 17 forced fumbles). All three starters in their secondary – Omarr Smith, Marquis Floyd and Clevan Thomas – have started every game together over the last two seasons, a true rarity in this league, giving the Sabercats far more defensive chemistry than the average AFL squad. And with Steve Watson, Alan Harper and Ronald Jones leading the way on a defensive line that has forced 23 sacks, it’s no surprise that the San Jose defense ranks second in their conference in red zone defense, consistently holding foes out of the end zone.
No team in the league attempts more field goals than San Jose, with head coach Darren Arbet settling for three again and again. AJ Haglund is a great kicker, but any time a possession ends with anything less than a touchdown, under bettors smile. Tampa Bay, too, has the second best red zone defense of any team in their conference, so the potential for fewer Sabercats touchdowns and more Sabercats field goals this week is rather high, particularly considering that San Jose is coming off their bye week, taking their offense out of rhythm.
Tampa Bay head coach Tim Marcum was not pleased with his defense last week when they allowed a season high 363 passing yards and a season high 9.1 yards per pass attempt against Orlando. QB Brett Dietz has not performed particularly well against the quality defenses that he’s faced, a good part of the reason why the Storm are 5-2 to the Under in their last seven ballgames and 5-2 to the Under in their seven road games this season. In fact, both of these quarterbacks rank in the bottom half of the starters in the league in terms of their QB ratings, and both defenses are much stronger than average at creating a pass rush and forcing turnovers. And let’s not forget Tampa kicker Seth Marler, who ranks fourth in the league in FG attempts, clearly indicating that Marcum, too, is content to settle for three points on a consistent basis, which is exactly the offensive approach Under bettors are looking for. 4* Take the Under. Current total: 110.5, reduce wager size to ½ unit at 107.5 or lower.