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The Prez

Los Angeles Dodgers @ Houston Astros
PICK: Houston Astros

LA Dodgers at Houston Astros
Pitchers: Clayton Kershaw vs. Wandy Rodriguez
Umpire: Fieldin Culbreth

Conditions: 94 degrees at first pitch with winds blowing in from center field at 5-10 mph

Clayton Kershaw (0-2, 4.36 ERA) has yet to win a major league start, and tonight's task against the Astros will take a near perfect effort to record that first win. The 20-year-old left-hander struggled in his last outing, allowing two runs, six hits and four walks in four-plus innings Thursday in a 2-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Kershaw is winless in 16 professional starts dating to Aug. 20, 2007, with Double-A Jacksonville. The rookie hasn't received much run support - getting only eight runs in his seven starts -- and isn't likely to get much tonight against the Houston left-hander (Wandy Rodriguez) who is stellar when pitching at home.

Kershaw has an advantage with a generous strike zone from home plate umpire Culbreth tonight, and no Houston hitter has any first hand experience against the Dodgers rookie. (advantage Kershaw the first 2-to-3 times through the batting order).

Wandy Rodriguez (3-3, 2.58) looks to win consecutive starts for the first time this season. The left-hander matched a career high with nine strikeouts and limited Texas to one run and five hits over a season-best eight innings Thursday in a 7-2 victory. Rodriguez is 2-2 with a 1.89 ERA pitching in Minute Maid Park. He has yielded one earned run or none in five of six starts at home.

Rodriguez versus the LAD hitters:
Angel M. Berroa is 0-for-3
Andre Ethier is 0-for-2
Matt Kemp is 1-for-2
James Loney is 0-for-3
Russell Martin is 0-for-3
Jason Repko is 1-for-3

The only bat in the Dodgers lineup that has had any success against Wandy is Jeff Kent who is 3-for-5 with two doubles and a home run. Expect Rodriguez to pitch carefully to the ex-Astro.

Both teams have been more productive against left-handed starters, however, tonight's umpire and conditions should keep both offenses honest.

Fieldin Culbreth has always been pitcher-friendly, but fair. The hitters in the Bigs know he has a wide zone and go to the plate with the understanding they have to swing the bat. Culbreth gives both starters room to work tonight, but he is especially a good fit with the veteran Rodriguez.

3 UNIT Play on Houston and Rodriguez

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Dave Malinsky

LA Dodgers (HT) @ Astros (HT)
PICK: Astros First 5 Innings

Last night we cashed an easy ticket at Minute Maid Park with a play-on Houston pitcher vs. the decrepit Los Angeles offense, and an Astro offense with the right-handed punch to knock down an unimposing left-hander. Change a few names here, and we have the same game. We only take a different method to cash the ticket.

Wandy Rodriguez has worked to a 1.89 tune at home this season, despite the fact that five of the six outings came against teams that currently sport winning records. But that is not exactly news - he worked to a 6-3/2.94 from this mound LY. And his last two starts bring us exactly the form we are looking for, with 15 strikeouts vs. only 10 hits and two walks allowed, continuing his command of the strike zone - how about 51 strikeouts vs. 16 walks for the season? Now he gets a chance to step way down in class against a Dodger offense having one of the worst cycles in memory, having been held to one run or none 17 times in their last 36 games. With Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra and Andrew Jones all playing at AAA Las Vegas on rehab assignments right now, and Juan Pierre also sidelined, it is easy to see why.

Meanwhile the for the second night in a row Los Angeles sends out a lefty that is not ready for prime time just yet. Eventually Clayton Kershaw will be; he has the physical tools to be a winner. But the necessary polish to be successful at this level is a long way off. Although his 4.50 ERA through 33 innings is respectable his 1.67 WHIP is not, especially the 22 walks. A lineup that has faced Jon Lester and Eric Stults over the last four days is more than ready to take on another lefty, and Kershaw will find the Berkman-Lee-Tejada trio in the middle of the lineup a particular challenge.

So why the focus on the First Five innings? It is a case of the marketplace not adjusting properly at all for the setting. While Rodriguez and the Houston offense rate a substantial edge over Kershaw and the Dodger bats, the same can not be said of the bullpens. Los Angeles has a deep and talented group, with all key arms rested and ready. Meanwhile Jose Valverde has worked three straight days for the Astros, and will have to be given this night off. That will not be a concern of ours; by the time Cecil Cooper begins to work his bullpen our mission will already be accomplished. The fact that the line for the first five innings is almost a mirror of the full game shows the extreme value that this brings.

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Stephen Nover

Los Angeles Dodgers @ Houston Astros
PICK: Houston Astros 

The Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping to get back three of their injured starters by the weekend. Until then, though, the Dodgers are struggling on offense.

Struggling is putting it kindly. Los Angeles has scored one or fewer runs in six of its last eight games. The Dodgers have managed just three runs in their last four games.

Since being without Rafael Furcal, the Dodgers have gone 12-24. Now they are without their main table setter, Juan Pierre. He's out four-to-six weeks with a knee injury.

Now the Astros have to face Wandy Rodriguez at Minute Maid Park, a place where Rodriguez pitches like an all-star. Rodriguez has a 2.64 home ERA the past two years. He's allowed one or fewer runs in five of his six starts this season at Minute Maid Park with a home ERA of 1.89.

Rodriguez has given up two earned runs or less in seven of his 10 overall starts this year. He's 2-1 with a 2.29 in four career appearances versus the Dodgers.

Rookie Clayton Kershaw gets the start for Los Angeles. Kershaw is a top prospect, but the 20-year-old is paying his dues, learning to pitch in the majors. The lefty has put 55 base runners on in 33 innings. He has yet to master certain command issues that have resulted in 22 walks. The Astros also hit lefties very well, batting close to .300 against them.

Houston is playing well, too, winning seven of its past 10. This includes four wins in six games against the Red Sox and Rays. The Dodgers have lost in their last five games to the Astros and are 5-13 in their last 18 overall road contests. 

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Ben Burns

Milwaukee Brewers @ Arizona Diamondbacks
PICK: Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks grabbed yesterday's series opener and I feel that tonight's matchup gives them a solid shot at another victory. It's true that "The Big Unit" isn't quite as intimidating as he once was. Contrary to popular current opinion, he's still capable though. Despite losing, he's coming off a quality effort against Boston in his most recent start. In that outing, Johnson held the defending champions to just two runs through six innings.

Suppan also lasted six innings in his last start, a loss at Atlanta. He wasn't quite as sharp as Johnson though, as he gave up nine hits and four runs. That was actually a big improvement from his previous start. In that outing, Suppan gave up six runs (3 earned) in just 1 2/3 innings, en route to an 8-5 loss vs. Baltimore. Not surprisingly, the Brewers are 0-3 in his last three starts. Looking back further and we find that the Brewers are just 7-13 the last 20 times that Suppan started on the road. This season, Suppan has a 5.73 ERA and 1.685 WHIP on the road. He wasn't much better on the road last season either, going 3-9 with a 5.38 ERA.

While Suppan's teams are 0-2 his last two visits to Arizona, the Diamondbacks are 4-1 the last five times that Johnson started at home against the Brewers, most recently a win here in 2004. Johnson had 10 K's and just one walk in that game, outpitching Sheets en route to a 3-1 victory. Look for him to get the better of Suppan tonight, as the D-Bax improve to 15-6 when playing a home game with an over/under line of either nine or 9.5.

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BIG AL's TUESDAY NIGHT BASEBALL TOTALS WINNER

Dodgers / Astros Under

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Locksmith Sports

1 Unit on Braves -107

The Phillies are just 2-9 in their last 11 overall.  Their struggles will continue tonight against a very good home Braves club.  The Braves are 35-16 in their last 51 games following an off day, 18-8 in their last 26 games as a home favorite, and 37-16 in their last 53 home games.  It also plays right into Atlanta 's hands that they will be facing a righty as the Braves are 21-8 in their last 29 home games vs. a right-handed starter.  Take Atlanta tonight at home in this divisional showdown.

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John Ryan

Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago White Sox
Play: OVER

Ai Simulator 3* graded play OVER Cleveland/CWS – AiS shows a 79% probability that 9 or more runs will be scored in this game. Both starters are pitching well, but this fact many times becomes an accurate contra-indicator of how the game will be played. This system has produced a record of 43-14 OVER for 75% since 2002. Play over with home teams where the total is 8.5 to 10 starting a pitcher who gave up no earned runs last outing and is now facing an opponent with a hot starting pitcher sporting a WHIP <= 1.000 over his last 3 starts. Here is a second system and is essentially a variation of the first one. It has produced a record of 41-16 for 72% since 1997. Play over with road teams where the total is 8 to 8.5 and are poor hitting teams batting <=.260 and with a hot starting pitcher posting an ERA less than 2.50 over his last 3 starts and now facing a good AL starting pitcher sporting an ERA <=4.20. Both starters have had their best when facing each other’s respective teams. Note that Lee is 4-5 when starting against the CWS with an ERA of 6.44 and a WHIP of 1.519. Danks is 1-2 when starting against Cleveland with an ERA of 4.44 and a WHIP of 1.253. CWS are also 55-32 OVER (+20.6 Units) versus a starting pitcher whose winning percentage is better than 70% since 1997. The month of July will now become important as well with total plays as the heat rises and so does the fatigue levels of all players. Lee is 9-1 OVER last 3 seasons and 15-5 OVER since 1997 in July starts. He is also 14-4 OVER in the 2nd half of the season over the past 3 seasons. 

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Alex Smart

Game: San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies
Prediction: Colorado Rockies

I do not know where came from, but an inept San Diego Padres offense that has scored the second-fewest runs in the majors this season with 317, exploded yesterday smacking out 22 hits in a 15-8 win vs their hosts Colorado. With that said, I can see them entering into this the 2nd game of the series, in a let down situation, making the Padres good fade material against a motivated hurler Aaron Cook (10-5, 3.64 ERA)that is is primed to bounce back ,off two consecutive lackluster efforts. The Rockies southpaw hurler has a very good chance of doing just that against a team that he has dominated in the past,as is evident, by going 7-1 in 10 starts along with a 1.72 ERA, since 2004, allowing them two runs or less in every start. He is also a perfect 5-0 along with a 2.01 ERA in seven starts in Coors vs the Fathers. Play on Colorado

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LT Profits

Texas Rangers @ New York Yankees Under 9.0 

Joba Chamberlain of the New York Yankees was stretched out to a career high 114 pitches in his last start, and he is capable of almost single-handedly keeping this game vs. the Texas Rangers Under this total.

Chamberlain pitched 6.2 scoreless innings while allowing just six hits and recording seven strikeouts in that last start at Pittsburgh, and he has now allowed a grand total of two runs in 18.1 innings over his last three starts. In fact, he has allowed one earned run or less in four of his five starts, and two earned runs in the other! As if that is not enough to keep the Rangers in check, consider that most of the Texas batters have never faced him before.

Sure, there is some risk taking an Under with Kevin Millwood starting for the Rangers, but he did have back-to-back Quality Starts before getting shellacked by Houston last Thursday, so it is not as if he is not capable of turning in a solid outing. The best part is that if Joba pitches true the form and the Rangers end up scoring three runs or less, Millwood does not even need to be dominating for this contest to stay Under.

Finally, somewhat surprisingly, the Under is 50-30-2 in all Yankees games this season, so while this may not be a replay of the 2-1 Texas win last night, we so expect another low scoring affair.

Pick: Rangers, Yankees Under 9


Cleveland Indians @ Chicago White Sox Under 7.5 

The Chicago White Sox defeated the Cleveland Indians 9-7 in a wild series opener here last night, but look for a completely different type of game this time around.

Cliff Lee is an amazing 11-1 with a 2.34 ERA and 1.04 WHIP for the Indians, and he is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down. Lee has allowed two runs or less in four consecutive starts, he has a 1.66 ERA and a fantastic 0.92 WHIP in his last three outings and he posted a season high 11 strikeouts vs. the Giants in his last start.

Not to be outdone, White Sox starter John Danks has allowed only one run in 18 innings (0.50 ERA) over his last three starts, and he too has an excellent 2.62 ERA for the entire season in 16 starts. He has already tossed one gem at the Indians this year, allowing just one run and two hits in 6.2 innings way back on April 3. The southpaw is now facing a Cleveland lineup that is batting a pathetic .184 vs. left-handed pitching over the last 10 games.

Finally, the Under is 12-4 in all games started by Danks this season, as well as 8-6 in all Lee starts.

Pick: Indians, White Sox Under 7.5 

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BIG AL's TUESDAY NIGHT BASEBALL TOTALS WINNER

Los Angeles/Houston Under

At 8:05pm our selection is on the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros 'under' the total. Two talented lefties go at it in this game as LA's 20-year-old Clayton Kershaw faces off against Houston's 29-year-old Wandy Rodriguez. Although Kershaw is talented and everyone agrees that he has great stuff, he is still very raw and needs to cut down on his walks, a common problem for such young Major League hurlers. After several years of flirting with all-star caliber numbers, Rodriguez looks like his time has finally arrived. If you excuse his poor performance against the Yankees on June 14, Rodriguez has given up only three earned runs in the other 4 starts sandwiched around that one, including back-to-back 6+ inning shutouts on June 3 and June 8. His last start was perhaps his best, as he went deep into the game against a very tough Texas offense (the highest-scoring team in the Majors), giving up only one earned run in eight innings while striking out nine Rangers. The Dodgers have failed to score more than 1 run in four of their last six games. And yet they are actually talking about platooning 5-tool outfielder Matt Kemp when Andruw Jones comes off the Disabled List. With moves like that, is it any wonder this team is toiling at 38-44? Houston has gone 'under' in 49 of its 80 games, and the Dodgers have gone 'under' in eight straight. Look for another low-scoring game tonight.

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MICHAEL CANNON

Cleveland at CHICAGO WHITE SOX -125

A nice win on the Royals last night as they pull it off in extra frames

Take the White Sox for the home win tonight over the Indians.

This should be a great matchup, with Cliff Lee taking the mound for Cleveland and the White Sox playing so well.

Lee, of course, is having a Cy Young season so far.  The left-hander is 11-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 15 starts.  He?s walked only 16 batters and surrendered just five home runs in his 103 2-3 innings.

But if there?s one thing Lee doesn?t have going for him, it?s a less than stellar career mark against the ChiSox.  Lee is 4-5 with a 6.61 ERA in 15 lifetime appearances against the White Sox.

Chicago will counter with John Danks, who is 5-4 with a 2.62 ERA on the year.  The left-hander is 1-0 with a 0.50 ERA in his last three starts.

Take the White Sox as they grab the home win.

2&#9830; CHICAGO WHITE SOX

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MATT RIVERS

Tuesday take the White Sox.

Cliff Lee has been phenomenal this season and going against him can definitely be dicey but the Indians have become half a joke and I will therefore take my chances with the first place White Sox at home,.

John Danks is a lefty that has not done all that much before this season. In fact the guy did not win a game for something like 15 consecutive starts but ever since the lefty broke threw he has been great.

Danks has really come into his own and has been very very very good this season. I'm talking like almost ace good, maybe not Cliff Lee good, but I will still take Ozzie Guillen's club knowing that the Tribe have a bit of a pitching edge here. Cleveland is in the midle of a flat out terrible season. These guys just lost a series at home to the road challenged Reds as Aaron Laffeyand Paul Byrd  were just belted at home and besides Grady Sizemore this high flying offense has become terrible. Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner are both out injured and the season has been a borderline disaster thus far.

US Cellular Field is the biggest home run hitting stadium in the bigs and with little pop right now on the Indians these visitors are in a ton of trouble against the powerful Sox.

Thome, Dye, Crede and the Sox may not be the greatest value here as they are up against a top flight hurler but in the end the better team should pull this thing out behind another solid Danks' effort and a few more long balls.

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NATIONAL SPORTS ADVISORS

Houston -140


SPORTS ACTION 365 

Boston/Tampa Bay OVER 8.5


GAMEDAY SPORTS NETWORK

Mets/St Louis OVER 9


Jennifer Barry

Arizona DBacks -120


Chad Jordan

Orioles -130


DONALD TRAN

Twins -130

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SCOTT DELANEY

We're going to take the Angels with Ervin Santana tonight, as he'll shut the A's down and lead the Halos to an easy win. I know he has a tough chore in front of him, if in fact Rich Harden opposes him, but I want Santana listed for us tonight.

The right-hander is a stellar 8-1 with a stifling 1.38 ERA in 12 appearances - 11 starts - against Oakland, including 1-0 in two starts this season. He's given up just two earned runs in 13 innings this season against the rival-A's, and has gone 21 consecutive innings without giving up an earned run to the A's in Anaheim.

That's good enough for me at this price.

2&#9830; ANGELS

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WUNDERDOG

MLB

Washington at Florida
Pick: Florida -137

The Nats have never been a good road team and this season is no different. Washington have posted an 8-18 mark on the road against .500+ teams, and are just 11-22 overall in their last 33 games. Collin Balester will make his Major League debut tonight for the Nats, but his numbers at AAA Columbus aren't outstanding. He has pitched to a 4 ERA and allowed 14 HR'S in just 78 innings. Like the Marlins at home here.

WNBA

New York at Los Angeles
Pick: New York +9

The Los Angeles Sparks now own the best record in the WNBA at 10-4 and have played well for the entire season. They have dropped two of their last four however, including an inexcusable loss to Washington at home their last time out. This is a good team, but we question the lofty pointspread issued for this game and we find value on the visiting Liberty. The Spark has had five double-digit wins on the entire season in their 14 games to date, and just one of those has been to a team with a .500 record or higher, so this line comes into question here. The Liberty has struggled within their own conference, but has been more than competitive against the West, where they own a 4-1 mark on the season. We look for the Liberty to hang around in this one.

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PRICELESS PICKS

1 Unit on Chicago Cubs +103

The Cubs busted out for 9 runs and held the Giants to just 2 last night.  The Cubs have the edge again here and they surprisingly have the value.  The Cubs have won 5 of the last 6 meetings against the Giants.  The Cubs are 4-0 in their last 4 vs. a team with a losing record, 19-7 in their last 26 vs. the National League West, and 5-1 in Marquis' last 6 starts.  The Giants are 1-9 in their last 10 vs. the National League Central, 5-23 in Cain's last 28 starts vs. a team with a winning record, and 0-4 in Cain's last 4 home starts.  Bet the Cubbies tonight.

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John Fina

Selection: Oakland Athletics -105

Today the Oakland Athletics will be on the road as they take on the Los Angeles Angels. We will side with the Oakland Athletics! One reason why we will side with the Oakland Athletics is because they will be sending to the mound the much better pitcher. This says it all... The Oakland Athletics Starting Pitcher (Rich Harden) has a 0.46 ERA in his last 3 starts, while Los Angeles Angels Starting Pitcher (Ervin Santana) has a 4.82 ERA in his last 3 starts. As you can see, the Oakland Athletics will be sending to the mound the much better starting pitcher. We see the Oakland Athletics beating the Los Angeles Angels tonight! Take the Oakland Athletics!

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Tony Weston

Tonight we’re going with the Houston Astros in an easy winner of the Los Angeles Dodgers in Houston.

To say the Astros have dominated the Dodgers would be a great understatement. With yesterday’s 4-1 win over Los Angeles, Houston is now 4-0 against the Dodgers this season and has outscored them 24-7 in that stretch.

And now the Astros come into this game on a three-game winning streak and won seven of their last 10 games, including five of their last seven at home.

The Dodgers, on the other hand, come into this game 5-12 their last 17 road games and are 4-6 their last 10 games overall. And for the season the Dodgers are only 16-24 away from home.

It’ll be another loss for Los Angeles tonight in Houston.

Take the Astros in an easy winner at home.

4&#9830; ASTROS

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Bob Balfe

Major League Baseball
Pirates +150 over Reds
Duke/Volquez

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Jeff Alexander Sports

1 Unit on Phillies/Braves OVER 9 Runs

Right off the bat I like the OVER here as the Braves are averaging 5.2 runs per game at home and Philly is averaging 5.1 runs per game on the road.  ATLANTA is 17-8 OVER in July games over the last 2 seasons and PHILLY is 17-7 OVER in July games over the last 2 seasons.  ATLANTA is also 22-7 OVER in home games after a game with a combined score of 2 runs or less since 1997 and 15-4 OVER with a rested bullpen that pitched one inning or less last game over the last 2 seasons.  In all these instances, the average score for both teams totaled over 10 runs.  Bet the OVER.

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