THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

Re: THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

JEFF BENTON

For Thursday, well look at some real early baseball action and play the Reds on the run-line (-1.5 runs) against the Dodgers.

First off, I just dont see Cincinnati getting swept by this mediocre, banged-up Dodgers club, which had lost five straight games and 17 of 23 prior to arriving in Ohio. In fact, L.A. hasnt won three in a row since sweeping the Reds in Los Angeles from May 19-21.

Mostly, though, I like the Reds because theyre handing the ball to ace Aaron Harang in this one, while the Dodgers were forced to call up rookie lefty Eric Stults because of injuries to starters Brad Penny and Hiroki Kuroda. Harang bounced back from his worst start of the season at Florida and dominated the mighty Red Sox on Friday, allowing a single run on four hits in seven innings, walking none and striking out seven in a 3-1 home victory. Harang has been money at home this year (3.40 ERA) and, despite a 1-3 record, hes shined in day games (2.98 ERA in seven starts).

Meanwhile, Stults hasnt pitched in the big leagues since late September, and he went 1-4 with a 5.82 ERA in 12 games (five starts) last season. Throw in the fact that the Reds are hitting left-handed pitching very well at home this year (.298 team average) and are 14-7 in their last 21 as a favorite, and its obvious why Cincy is such a big favorite today. But rather than lay the big price, take the Reds on the run-line and look for a comfortable multi-run win by the home team.

4* REDS -1½

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MATT RIVERS

For Thursday take the Royals at Busch.

I am certainly not going to call this a value as the Cardinals have been the better team this season when compared with the Royals, with ot without the great Albert Pujols but I will take my chances here today on the visitors from Kansas City with the much much better pitcher.

Zach Greinke started the season in fine fashion and then seemed to tail off a little. But that last start in Arizona was awesome and the righty appears to be back on the right track. Opposing Greinke is Anthony Reyes who will be making his first start of the season. I have always liked the potential of Reyes as he has at times had electric stuff but last season was a total abortion as the guy had lost it a bit losing game after game after game.

Could Reyes show his potential here? I guess there is a small chance of that but if the Redbirds were to have a chance he has to as Greinke should be more than ok today against the Pujols-less Cardinals, even on the road.

The Royals have been pretty good of late as this kid Mike Aviles has made a big splash, David DeJesus has been on fire and a few others like Mark Teahan, Mark Grudzielanek, etc. are not that bad at all.

Big-time pitching advantage for us here and it may sound crazy but I like the Royals here on the road!

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STEVE MERRIL

Chicago Cubs @ Tampa Bay Rays
PICK: Tampa Bay Rays

The Cubs have been a much stronger team at home this season, 29-8 SU, compared to just 16-19 SU on the road. The biggest difference has come offensively and the Cubs have been particularly weak against right-handed pitchers, averaging just 4.2 runs and batting only .249 versus RHP away from home.

Chicago scored just 4 runs last night and should struggle again tonight against Tampa?s James Shields who has pitched extremely well this season with a powerful 69-17 strikeout/walk ratio and a solid 1.18 WHIP in his 14 starts. Shields has been especially strong at home with a 1.72 ERA and 0.86 WHIP and a 6-1 SU team record and an incredible 39-8 strikeout/walk ratio this season, and my pitcher performance ratings predict a strong bounce-back effort for Shields tonight after back-to-back road losses.

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Kyle Baugues

3* Atlanta Braves/Morton  -104

3* St. Louis Cardinals/Reyes  -104

3* Chicago Cubs/Tampa Bay Rays UNDER 8.5

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JOHN FINA

Cleveland/Colorado Over 10.5

Today we expect a high-scoring game as the Cleveland Indians do battle with the Colorado Rockies. One reason why we expect a high-scoring game is because both these teams will send to the mound struggling starting pitchers. This says it all... The Cleveland Indians Starting Pitcher (Jeremy Sowers) has a 7.23 ERA this season, while Colorado Rockies Starting Pitcher (Jorge De La Rosa) has a 6.89 ERA this season. As you can see, both these starting pitchers will give up many runs today. We expect to see another high-scoring game today! Take the Cleveland Indians/Colorado Rockies Over 10.5!

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SPORTS KINGZ

MINNESOTA -150

TORONTO -125

WHITE SOX -155

BALTIMORE -130

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JB's Computer Plays

Minnesota Twins -140

Chicago White Sox -160

Baltimore Orioles -130

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VEGAS EXPERTS

Chicago Cubs at Tampa Bay Rays

The Cubs are a perfect 9-0 this season if coming off back to back losses and despite the oddsmakers opinion on this matchup, we like them to get the job done tonight in Tampa. Rays starter James Shields is coming off consecutive poor outings where his team was outscored by a combined 13-2 margin. With the Cub bats having been silent thus far in the series, we look for MLB's best offense to rediscover itself and salvage a win in this three game set.

Play on: Chicago Cubs

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Matt Fargo

Atlanta Braves vs. Texas Rangers     
Play: Atlanta Braves   

Atlanta recorded a win in Texas last night to get the road winning on the right track once again. We all know the Braves are the worst road team in baseball as their 11-26 record shows but they have been playing better. They have won four of their last six away from home after getting swept in Chicago. Atlanta has a 3.93 ERA over its last 10 games so the pitching has been the key part of the turnaround. The solid pitching has been contagious as Atlanta is 13-6 in its last 19 games after allowing two runs or less.

Texas meanwhile has dropped four of six and while it is just a game under .500, its 18-17 record at home is nothing to be intimidated by. The pitching has been the problem as the team ERA is now at 5.06 on the season which is worst in the American League and worst in baseball. It is a combination of the starting pitching with a 4.92 ERA and the bullpen with a 5.26 ERA. The offense has had to carry the load but even that is struggling now with just four rpg being scored over the last five games.

The good pitching for Atlanta has come from surprise places with both Tom Glavine and John Smoltz on the shelf. We can add Charlie Morton to that list. His Major League debut was solid as he allowed three runs in six innings in a win against the Angels and posting a quality start. Don’t think it was a fluke as this kid is the real deal as he posted a 2.05 ERA while going 4-2 in 12 starts at Richmond. His 6’4” frame allows a lot of heat as well as a devastating curveball.

Scott Feldman is coming off his worst start of the season and that is saying a lot since there has been some bad ones. After starting the season with four straight quality outings, his ERA has risen from 3.45 to 4.84 thanks to allowing five runs or more in three of his last five outings. He has an ERA of 6.30 over this five games span with the Rangers going 0-5 in those games. Texas is 1-8 in his nine starts on the season and the offense has mustered just 3.7 rpg in those outings. Play Atlanta Braves 1.5 Units

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James Patrick

Braves vs. Rangers

Bravos and the Rangers have played OVER the TOTAL in six of eight match-ups and we look for that trend to continue today in Arlington. Our selection is Atlanta – Texas OVER the TOTAL. Texas is Over in 8 of 11 home games and 12 of 15 overall.

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THE MILLER GROUP

Nationals (RL) @ Twins (RL)
PICK: Nationals (RL)

The Nationals have been battling hard on this road trip, going 4-4 so far, with only one blowout in the mix, that coming here last night, 11-2. The Twins haven't been good in series finales this year, particularly when coming off a win. Look for them to let down their guard this afternoon, and allow the Nationals to at least keep it within the slimmest of margins, and possibly even win outright.

Washington actually owns more wins on the road than it does at home this season. They have at least one positive going for them here today as they'll be facing Glen Perkins, a lefty. They're hitting 14 points higher against left-handers than right-handers on the road this season. It's a small difference to be sure, but it is worth noting. They're also a respectable 8-9 in Game 3 of a series following a loss. Compare that to the Twins 3-8 record in Game 3 after a victory.

The Nats' have been swept twice on the road this season, but both of those took place in the first three weeks of the season. Since that point, they've gone nine road series' without coming away empty-handed.

With this being a day game following a night game, the Twins will likely sit Joe Mauer. Hitting .332, that's a big bat to take out of your lineup. Grab the insurance run with the visiting Nationals this afternoon. Take Washington +1.5 runs.

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Re: THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

Stevie Y

Washington Nationals vs. Minnesota Twins    
Play: Over     

Were fading the Minny Twins Glen Perkins who sports a huge 4.57 ERA, a 1.57 WHIP and a batting average against of .317. At home this season he is 1-2 with a 5.47 ERA and a .348 batting average against. In his last 3 starts, he has allowed 22 hits and 6 walks in 15.1 innings, for an ERA of 6.00 and a WHIP of 1.854. For the month of June his ERA is 5.87 and his batting average against is .344. Looking @ the Nationals they sport a .276 over the past 10 days

Looking at Washington Shawn Hill a poor 1-3 with a 4.61 ERA & a 1.57 WHIP , throw in a over 7.00 ERA and a .366 batting average against. Hill is also a lofty 5.66 Era and his batting average against is .356. Pitching in a dome this year his ERA is 11.25 and his batting average against is .389. Over the past 3 years, his ERA in domed stadiums is 7.20 and his batting average against is, get ready, .409. The Twins are batting .272 at home this year & this baby has 10-9 written all over it

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Re: THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

Jimmy Moore

Baltimore -130


Jack Clayton

Rays


MustWinSportsPicks

San Diego +1.5    


JerseySteveWins

Minnesota


RedZone Sports

Braves


MIGHTY QUINN

Royals
A's


Templer's Sports Picks 

Cincinnati 


Insider Sports Report

San Diego/N.Y UNDER 9.5 


RAZOR SHARP

HOUSTON/BALTIMORE OVER


MIKE WYNN

Cleveland/Colorado Under


PLATINUM PLAYS

BREWERS


HUDDLE UP

Arizona


BIG TIME SPORTS

CUBS/RAYS OVER 8.5


#1 SPORTS

ROCKIES


TOTALS 4 U

HOUSTON/BALTIMORE UNDER


DR VEGAS

Seattle


THE VEGAS SREAMLINE

CLEVELAND/COLORADO UNDER


SCOUT

St. Louis


floridabookybusters    

LA Dodgers


Brian James Picks

Toronto Blue Jays -115

   
Joe Wiz    

Houston +110
SD/NYY Under


Cappers Access

Texas
Cubs


Bob Donahue

Cardinals


Glen Mcgrew

Hou/Balt Over


Frank Patron

Chicago White Sox -150


Paul Leiner

10* Over 9 NYY/SD

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EZWINNERS

3 STAR: (908) TEXAS (-$117) over Atlanta
(Action) (Risking $351 to win $300)

2 STAR: (911) MILWAUKEE (+$105) over Toronto
(Action) (Risking $200 to win $210)

2 STAR: (916) ARIZONA (-$105) over Oakland
(Action) (Risking $105 to win $100)

1 STAR: (914) ST. LOUIS (-$105) over Kansas City
(Action) (Risking $105 to win $100)

1 STAR: (917) HOUSTON (+$113) over Baltimore
(Action) (Risking $100 to win $113)

1 STAR: (919) CHICAGO (+$135) over Tampa Bay
(Action) (Risking $100 to win $135)

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Re: THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

BALFE

Major League Baseball
Brewers -105 over Bluejays
Bush/Burnett

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ARTHUR RALPH

Super Pick: CHI White Sox

900 Best Bet : Baltimore Orioles

Free play: Tampa Bay

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Re: THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

DAVID MALINSKY

Atlanta Braves at Texas Rangers 4*
PICK: Texas Rangers

Sometimes the best value comes from unusual circumstances that are not grounded in baseball logic. The current 1-7 Texas run behind Scott Feldman is a good example. Feldman has been solid, with a 1.18 WHIP through those eight games a better indicator than a 4.56 ERA, and in the four starts from this mound it has been even better - a 0.96 WHIP and a 2.08 ERA. He also worked at least six full innings in seven of those starts, yet it all adds up to a 1-7 despite being backed by one of the best offenses in that game, which is why the Rangers are not being given much respect by the marketplace for this game. That gives us an excellent line to work with, especially with Milton Bradley slated to return to the lineup.

There is also some respect being given to Charlie Morton here, but we do not believe there is merit. Yes, he has had a decent season in the Minor’s, and also got a win against the Angels in his first start since being called up. But this is a guy that has toiled at the lower levels since being drafted in 2002, and sports an uninspiring 30-45/4.53 through those years. He throws a fast-ball in the mid 90’s, which can help elsewhere but is absolutely the wrong dimension to bring against this lineup in this park, and we will call for a Texas team that has been rocking right-handed fast-balls all season to turn this into a true “Welcome to the Big League’s” for Morton. Remember, this was not a merit call-up, but one that was forced because of injuries to Atlanta’s starting rotation. And an inconsistent Brave bullpen will only add fuel to the fire in the latter stages.


Kansas City Royals at St. Louis 5*
PICK: Kansas City Royals

Kansas City is playing solid baseball right now. The key is that the marketplace does not realize just how solid it has been, and that is what gives us such a great price to work with in this one. The Royals got relegated to the bottom of baseball’s barrel when they endured that 0-12 run, but they have shown their grit in snapping back, all the while showing potential in several key areas.

The turnaround started with a 2-2 split in Yankee Stadium, and it would have been a 3-1 if one major lead had not been lost in the 9th inning. Then it was a disappointing 1-2 at home in a series vs. Texas, but that one also swung in a bitter way - if now for seeing a 5-1 lead in the 8th disappear of the series opener, they win that set. Then it was on to Arizona, where they dominated the Diamondbacks to a 20-7 tune, but only got a 2-1 series win because of an extra innings loss. Now they have already clinched the battle for local bragging rights vs. the Cardinals, and will bring plenty of momentum to the table and they go for the sweep. Take away those bitter one-run defeats, and it would be a surge that would be visible to all.

Now we get Zack Greinke right after he got back on form against Arizona in his last outing (seven innings, no runs, three hits), and after facing the Diamondbacks, White Sox and Yankees on the road in his last three outings he is stepping way down in class here, as the absence of Albert Pujols is finally taking a toll on a Cardinal lineup that has been held to three runs or less in six of the last seven games. And a Kansas City bullpen that has not been scored on since last Friday does not carry a fatigue rating anywhere - Joakim Soria has worked each of the first two games in this series, but in getting those saves only needed 20 pitches, including just seven last night.

Meanwhile it is more than just the St. Louis offense that is a mess today; Tony LaRussa could be facing real problems on the mound. His original intent was to start Anothony Reyes this afternoon, but Reyes will be shelved indefinitely with an elbow injury. That forces Brad Thompson into Major League action for the first time since he went on the DL on April 23rd, and there is no indication that he is ready yet. Over two rehab starts with AAA Memphis he has allowed seven runs on 13 hits over just 8.2 innings, and in his last outing he faced 18 batters without recording a single strikeout. He was scheduled for at least one more Minor League start before being called up, the Cardinal way of admitting that he is not ready, and we would not be surprised to see his stuff sorely lacking in this one.


Padres (RL) at Yankees (RL) 4*
PICK: Yankees (RL)

Here is one that should not come as any surprise. In winning the first two games of this series by a combined 17-5, the Yankees have led by multiple runs at the end of 17 of the 18 innings, and we cashed easily both times. Now we can play the Run Line in a pick’em range, and that is the mode for another game that we do not believe will be close.

Here are the updated Padre numbers in this role - they are 5-18 on the road against non-division opponents, with 15 of the losses coming by two runs or more. They are also 6-15 against teams that currently sport winning records. So why are we left with a fair range to work with? Largely because the 2-0/1.29 that Josh Banks shows in the pitching forms is leading to a lot of double takes. It will take a lot more than those 20 innings to convince us, however - he worked to a 1-3/6.80 tune over 11 appearances in the Minor’s (six starts, five outings in relief), and does not have the kind of pedigree to tell us that his current form is for real. That makes this the ideal setting to step in, as he faces a tough lineup from a most challenging mound.

We also get a reduced rate here because Joba Chamberlain has not been all that impressive as a starter, but in many ways this can feel like Opening Day for him. First the major pressure is now off, after he has taken the ball to open a game three times. Second, by stretching out to six innings in his last outing at Houston, he shows that he has built his arm strength up to the point at which we can count on him to work some quality innings. Those innings come easily against the feeble Padre offense, and we can call for him to show his best stuff since joining the rotation in a game in which we also expect him to have a big lead to work with. And while Marino Rivera has worked both games in this series, he only needed 11 pitches last night, and will be available.

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Re: THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

Jeff Scott Sports

2 UNIT PLAYS

NY YANKS/ San Diego Under 9

The Under is 5-1 in Padres last 6 interleague games vs. a team with a winning record and 8-2 in Padres last 10 Thursday games, while the Under is 5-14 in Yankee day games this year, plus the Under is 10-2 in Estabrooks last 12 games behind home plate. Joba is starting to show sign of being a solid starter as he is off his best start yet, going 6 innings, allowing just 1 run and 6 hits. he hasprogressed now in each of his last 2 starts and has posted a 2.61 ERA in those 2 starts. Today that progression should take another step forward as he will be taking on a bad offensive squad. The Padres hit just .246 and score 3.7 rpg overall, including hitting .249 and scoring 3.7 rpg on the road. The Yankee offense has been clicking off late but today they take on a tough right-hander in Josh Banks, who has a 1.29 ERA overall, including a 1.80 ERA in his 3 starts and a 1.93 ERA in his 2 road starts. Joba's 3 starts this year have averaged just 8 rpg, while Josh's 3 satrs have avaeraged 7.7 rpg. Both pitchers are pitching too well right now to think that this game will go over 9 runs. Take the under here.

I ALSO LIKE

Minnesota -140 over Washington



1 UNIT PLAY

CHISOX -146 over Pittsburgh

I have been on the RL in theis series the first 2 games, but today I think I'll just stick with the ML. I have been watching something interesting as the season has gone on, and that is that Gavin Floyd has not been getting much respect. His prices seem kinda low considering how well he has pitched this year. Gavin has gone 7-3 on the year with solid 3.30 ERA, including a nice 4-1 mark at home with a 2.82 ERA. He also gets help from his offense as the Sox score 5.4 rpg for him overall, outscoring their opponents by 2 rpg and they score 6.9 rpg for him at home, while out scoring foes by 3.9 rpg in his home starts. Along with a solid home ERA, he also has a very strong WHIP at 0.86 in his home starts. He will be taking on a decent offense as the Pirates score 5.4 rpg on the road, but they only hit .257 vs righty starters and score just 4.7 rpg and even then though they score 5 rpg in interleague play, they have hit just .210 in those games. The Sox offense is having little problems scoring right now as the have put up 24 runs in the 1st 2 games of the series and have averaged 7.8 rpg in their last 12 home games. Chicago doesn't hit lefties very well, but they are just too hot right now to think that they won' t have success vs Dumatrait, who is 1-1 with a 4.54 ERA on the road, while allowing teams and OBP of .359 in the process. Chicago is a solid 23-11 at home, while the Bucs struggle on the road with a 12-23 mark. It may not be pretty or easy, but still look for the Sox to pull away late with a 2 or 3 run win.

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Re: THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

Winners Edge

LA Dodgers RL (+1.5) -135 , 2 units

Chicago Cubs + 135 , 2 units

Oakland A's - 110 , 1 unit

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