WEDNESDAY SERVICE PLAYS

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David Malinsky

Kansas City Royals @ Baltimore Orioles
PICK: Kansas City Royals  4*

We lost an underdog ticket with Kansas City on Tuesday but it did not have to be - the Royals had more hits, more extra base hits, more home runs, and drew more walks. But a couple of defensive lapses by Mike Aviles opened the door for that early Baltimore scoring cycle, and they could not recover completely. All that means is the chance to come right back at a more than fair price again, and we will.

We wrote a “TOTB” column about Gil Meche back in early May, noting how he had found a flaw in his mechanics that had led to such a slow start, and that he should go into a correction mode. He certainly has, with a 3.20 over his last nine starts, but all that does is lower his full season to 4.57, which is the way that the markets are pricing him for this outing. That works for us from a value standpoint, and his direction has been getting even better - how about a 2.06 over his last four starts, a span in which he has recorded 23 strikeouts, while only allowing 17 hits? And behind him is a bullpen with all key arms rested and ready, including closer Joakim Soria, arguably the most under-rated performer in the Major’s right now.

Daniel Cabrera has been the flip side of Meche - he got off to a strong start that is carrying a lot of weight in his overall numbers, but is struggling in a major way right now. It has been an 0-3/7.06 slide over the last five starts, a span in which those control issues have come into play again. The pressure of performing in front of the home fans continues to exacerbate that issue, instead of providing confidence - it has been a 6.15 over 158 innings from this mound the past two seasons, compared to a 4.22 in 155.2 on the road. And behind him is an erratic bullpen for the latter stages, one that has seen both closer George Sherrill and set-up man Dennis Sarfate work three straight days, with Sherrill wobbling badly in all three of them (allowed game-turning home runs on Sunday and Monday, and then a two-run single to score inherited runners last night).

The Royals have 24 hits and 10 walks in this series, compared to 18 and six for the Orioles. That paints a more accurate picture of the current momentum of these teams than the scoreboards, and getting Meche and the superior bullpen at an underdog price has us back in the hunt here.

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KBHOOPS

5 units Florida/Washington OVER 8.5 **POD**
5 units Atlanta/Philly UNDER 9.5
5 units Minnesota Twins -120
4 units Chicago Soxs EVEN
4 units LAD/Houston OVER 9

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Re: WEDNESDAY SERVICE PLAYS

Chris James Sports

3* A's / Angels Under

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GINA

Washington Nationals at Florida Marlins
 
The Nationals beat the Marlins 9-6 yesterday, but Florida has won 11 of their last 13 games against Washington and will send right-hander Ricky Nolasco to the hill, who has won his last three starts and is 4-1  with a 3.77 ERA in seven career outings, including 5 starts versus the Nationals. Washington counters with veteran Odalis Perez. The southpaw is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in his last three starts and went 2-2 in 11 career games against the Marlins.

Go with the Marlins today at Miami's Dolphin Stadium with Nolasco on the hill. Florida has won 6 of the last 7 meetings versus Washington and Nolasco’s last 4 starts.

Florida Marlins -170

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WINNERS EDGE

NY Mets - 105 , 3 units ( GAME OF WEEK)

Boston Red Sox + 125 , 1 unit

S.D Padres + 130 , 1 unit

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JEFFERSONSPORTS

MLB WED
ATLANTA-128
CLEVELAND-113
COLORADO-138
LA ANGELS-128

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Wunderdog

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Pick: Cincinnati -141

These teams are fighting each other to keep out of the basement in the NL Central. Nothin has yet been decided as they have split the first two games of this series. This looks to be a tough spot for the Pirates. Since taking their opening road series of the season two games to one in Atlanta, they have managed to win just one other series on the road all season. Although they have been tough at home, their road woes continue at 14-25. John Van Benschoten has not supplied much hope for a struggling team on the road, as his only start vs Atlanta he was gone after four innings and seven runs. He has allowed 20 baserunners in just 8.2 innings of work. This is a good spot for the Reds, who have played winning baseball at home to grab the win in this one.

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Computer Crushers Guaranteed Selections

5000 UNIT BASEBALL CRUSHER WINNER
LA Angels w/Saunders -131 

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Ben Burns

Cleveland Indians @ Chicago White Sox
PICK: Cleveland Indians

Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia and Chicago's Jose Contreras have very similar stats through the first half of the season. Contreras has a 3.99 ERA and 1.244 WHIP. Sabathia has been slightly better, coming in with a 3.78 ERA and 1.242 WHIP. That doesn't tell the whole story though. While Contreras has been terrible lately, Sabathia has been superb. Indeed, Sabathia is 2-0 (Indians are 3-0) his last three starts, recording an outstanding 1.57 ERA and 0.826 WHIP during that stretch, recording at least 10 K's in all three of those starts. Conversely, over his last three starts Contreras has gone 1-2 with an awful 8.44 ERA and an 1.875 WHIP. Despite coming up short (against Contreras) when he faced the Chisox here in May, the reigning AL Cy Young award winner is still 14-4 with a 3.61 ERA against them for his career. With the Sox batting just .242 against southpaws (averaging 4.2 rpg) look for Sabathia to step up with another big game, avoiding losing two straight against Chicago for the first time and helping his team avoid the sweep. Consider backing the Tribe.

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mvbski wrote:


JEFFERSONSPORTS

MLB WED
ATLANTA-128
CLEVELAND-113
COLORADO-138
LA ANGELS-128

ADDING

LA ANGELS UNDER 8

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Smooth44

MLB
WASHINGTON +155
LA-ANGELS -135 ***PLAY OF THE DAY***
LA-ANGELS RL +160
TEXAS +160

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NSA

20*
White Sox

10*
Detriot
Tampa Bay
St Louis
KC Royals
LA Angels

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ROCKDEMAN

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES vs ATLANTA BRAVES

10* PHILLIES / BRAVES UNDER 9.5

COMPS

TEXAS RANGERS vs NY YANKEES
Play: NY YANKEES

OAKLAND A's vs LA ANGELS
Play: A's / ANGELS UNDER 8

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SPORTS KINGZ

ANGELS -135

YANKEES -170

PHILLIES +120

WHITE SOX -105

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Rocky Atkinson

Analysis: Oakland @ LA Angels 
Play On:  1* LA Angels -125

Eveland is 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA overall vs LA Angels since 1997 while Saunders is 3-1 overall vs Oakland since 1997.  LA Angels are 15-5 against left handed starters this year.  Oakland is scoring only 4.4 runs per game overall this year and 3.6 runs per game against left handed starters this season.  Saunders is 11-4 with a 3.06 ERA overall this year and has a super 1.86 ERA his last 3 starts.  We'll recommend a small play on the LA Angels today! 

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Jeff Scott Sports

2 UNIT PLAY

Oakland/ LA ANGELS Under 8

The Under is 15-5 in Athletics last 20 games as an underdog of +110 to +150 and 10-4-2 in Evelands last 16 starts overall, while the Under is 13-4-1 in Angels last 18 home games with the total set at 7.0-8.5 and 5-1-1 in Saunders' last 7 starts as a home favorite of -110 to -150, plus the Under is 29-11 in the last 40 meetings in Los Angeles. Joe Saunders has had a nice year for the Halos, posting a 3.06 ERA overall, including a 3.42 ERA in day games and a 1.86 ERA in his last 3 starts. Joe's overall starts have averaged just 7.6 rpg, while his last 3 starts have averaged just 5.3 rpg. Dana Eveland has also had a solid year so far as he has a 3.34 ERA overall, a 3.38 ERA in day games and a 2.94 ERA in his last 3 home starts, plus he has really been on a roll lately posting a 2.05 ERA in his last 4 starts. Dana's starts have averaged just 7.2 rpg overall, 6.7 rpg on the road and 6.8 rpg in his last 4 starts. Both teams are having big time problems at the plate as the A's come in averaging just 2.7 rpg and hitting just .226 in their last 7 games, while the Halos also have an average of 2.7 rpg and hitting just .209 in their last 7 games, including averaging just 1.4 rpg in their last 5 games. The Under is 3-15 when the Angels face a lefty, with those games averaging just 6.7 rpg, while the Under is 8-19 when the a's face a lefty, with those games averaging just 7 rpg. There was a rare Over for this series last night, but that won't happen here as both teams struggle vs letities and there are two very good ones on the mound today. I see no more than 5 runs in this one.

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Wunderdog

Game: Texas at New York Yankees
Pick: 3 units on Texas +155

This Yankees team is quite puzzling. The lineup is so deep, but they often find themselves in offensive slumps, and they are deep within one right now. The Yankees have scored just 7 runs in their last four games, and last night broke an 0-18 mark hitting with runners in scoring position. The bats have all gone cold. They opened the season with seven of nine games scoring 3 runs or less. They hit another streak of scoring 2 or less in six of seven games, and here we go again. While this Yankee offense should be very good and consistent, it simply is not. This is an extremely valued line on a Rangers team that does one thing well, and that's score.


Game: Boston at Tampa Bay
Pick: 4 units on Boston +130

We will take the Red Sox all day long with Dice K, as the Sox have won 11 of his 13 starts. Yes, Scott Kazmir can match him pitch for pitch, but if that makes this matchup even, then the Sox back end of the bullpen is much more solid, and gives them the edge here. The Sox got to Kazmir already this year, and his 6-6 mark lifetime against them says the Sox can win this one. We will back them as a live dog.


Game: Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Pick: 3 units on Cincinnati -141

These teams are fighting each other to keep out of the basement in the NL Central. Nothin has yet been decided as they have split the first two games of this series. This looks to be a tough spot for the Pirates. Since taking their opening road series of the season two games to one in Atlanta, they have managed to win just one other series on the road all season. Although they have been tough at home, their road woes continue at 14-25. John Van Benschoten has not supplied much hope for a struggling team on the road, as his only start vs Atlanta he was gone after four innings and seven runs. He has allowed 20 baserunners in just 8.2 innings of work. This is a excellent spot for the Reds, who have played winning baseball at home to grab the win in this one.


Game: Cleveland at Chicago White Sox
Pick: 4 units on Chicago White Sox -101

The White Sox have not only won six in a row, but in their last 19 home games they have been a sizzling 17-2. The pitchers that took losses in this stretch are Dempster, Lee and Lackey - three likely All-Stars. The 19 games has shown the Sox outscore the opponent by a 139-68 margin, more than doubling them up. The offense has been as good as their is in baseball, as that run total equals 7.3 per game, very significant for a 19 game stretch. The Indians actually have a losing overall record with Sabathia on the mound and are just 2-4 in his road starts. These teams have traded places from a year ago, and the Sox get the call here.


Game: Chicago Cubs at San Francisco
Pick: 3 units on San Francisco +126

The Cubs remain atop the NL Central, but certainly that has nothing to do with their road play, nor play of late. The Cubs have been horrible over the past few weeks, and are just 5-9 in their last 14 games and just 1-7 in their last eight on the road. The Giants looked awful at the start of the year quickly falling to a 17-29 record, but over the last six weeks have become a much different team. THey have gone 20-18 in their last 38. You also have to remember that Ryan Dempster was pitching way over his head. He is a career 10 games below .500 pitcher, with close to a 5 ERA. He has pitched more like his career numbers of late, and with the Cubs struggling, particularly on the road, we have to grab the value on the improved Giants as a home dog.


Game: Chicago Cubs at San Francisco
Pick: 3 units on San Francisco +1.5 runs -137

We like the Giants to win this one straight up, so it's hard to ignore the value on the run line as well. The Giants have also had their way over the years vs good pitchers. They have amassed a run line record of 236-172 good for +50.8 units vs. a pitcher with an ERA of 3.50 or less.

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Andre Gomes

Chicago Sky @ Indiana Fever

Chicago caused one of the major upsets of the day by winning outright at Minnesota, but for me it wasn't an upset at all, as I knew the Sky would be competitive and that's why I took them plus the points yesterday. Chicago is a young team and those players need confidence to compete at their best. With two wins in a row and against teams with winning records, the best that can happen to a young team in this kind of situation is to play on the next day.

However Indiana comes to this game with a bad mood, as they have lost 4 of their last 5 games, all road games. They had 3 days to rest and prepare this game. Their last defeat was at Houston by 61-75 in a terrible offensive game, not only for the 61 points scored but also due to the 25 TO committed. The team had a terrible spot for that game, as they had a triple overtime game at NY two days before. So, come to this I expect an offensive bounce back of the team, starting in the attack. This season, everytime the team didn't score more than 70 points in the game, they are 4-1 Over in the following game, as when the team has lost by more than 10 points, the team at home has exploded offensively, having a 2-0 Over record until now.

I expect a bounce back of Indiana in this game and against a young team with confidence, which can be an active dog today, I expect a game reaching the mark of the 150 points. Take the over in here.

Pick 3 units (Regular Play) on Over 144.5

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Robert Ferringo

3-Unit Play. Take Minnesota (-125) over Detroit
I really like the situation here for the home team. Minnesota was one blown late lead away from going for the sweep in this series. I think that they will get to Ed Bodine here as well, a rookie that's coming off a career outing and whose had two inflated starts against bad N.L. West clubs. The Twins are 19-7 in their last 26 against right-handed starters, 14-3 overall, and 9-2 at home. The Tigers have gone just 3-14 as an underdog and 2-12 as a road dog. I think the Twins take this one, and the series, in what should be a spirited Game 3.

2.5-Unit Play. Take Cincinnati (-140) over Pittsburgh
Note: Originally misposted as a 2-Unit play.

Welcome back, John Van Benschoten. VB is 1-10 with a career 8.45 ERA as a starter. Really should be 'enough said' right there. He's 0-7 on the road and allows opponents to hit .345 against him on the road. That's not a misprint. Not at all. There's an ump with a tight zone behind the dish today and the lefty bats in the Reds' lineup should tool on VB.

2-Unit Play. Take Atlanta (-130) over Philadelphia
Philly's Game 1 win now works the Braves into a solid system of mine that we're going after for the rest of this series. Chipper actually avoided the D.L. and Yunel Escobar is back in the fold. The Braves are desperate. And beware the desperate team. Adam Eaton has an ERA near 6.00 in his career against Atlanta and I like Jorge Campillo's mojo. Road sweeps in divisional series are rare, but the Phils will not win six straight against the Braves in Atlanta.

2-Unit Play. Take Chicago Cubs (-135) over San Francisco
Just a flat-out pitching mismatch. Ryan Dempster has been stellar this year, while Kevin Correia is essentially a glorified spot starter. It was not surprising that the Cubs came out a little flat on Tuesday. But I think they get their head right today and take another 'W'. The Cubs have been rough on the road, but I think that will even out a bit, starting today. They are 12-2 backing Dempster as a favorite and the Giants are 7-19 as a home underdog.

2-Unit Play. Take St. Louis (-110) over New York Mets
I'm more banking on the Cardinals as a better team here. Pedro is not the Pedro of old and Joel Piniero has been throwing much, much better than his record indicates. I think that the Cardinal bats will be extra focused and extra sharp tonight knowing they are going up against Petey, and the way the Mets (don't) hit right-handers will again come back to cost them. The key to this game is going to be which bullpen blows it because I see six strong from both starters. St. Louis is 16-7 at home against the Mets

1.5-Unit Play. Take Los Angeles Angels (-130) over Oakland
I wanted to stay away from this series (I had dedicated myself to a chase on L.A., backed off after Game 1, they won, so now here I am - brilliant) but I am playing one thing here: momentum. Garrett Anderson hit a huge two-run shot last night to give the Halos a win. I'm looking for a carryover effect today. Even though Greg Smith got the better of them on Monday the Angels are still 16-6 against lefty starters and I think they can put up four or five on Dana Eveland, who is 1-5 after a Quality Start. Joe Saunders has been steady and sure, and I think L.A. rides the wave and takes control of the West with a series win.

Today's Totals
3-Unit Play. Take ‘Under’ 9.5 Milwaukee at Arizona
3-Unit Play. Take ‘Over’ 9.5 San Diego at Colorado
2-Unit Play. Take ‘Over’ 9.0 Los Angeles Dodgers at Houston
2-Unit Play. Take ‘Under’ 8.0 Toronto at Seattle

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Lenny Del Genio's 15* AL Game of the Week

TAM (-140) vs BOS

Following Tuesday's 3-1 by the Rays, home sides are a perfect 11-0 when Tampa and Boston hook up this season. With the victory, the Rays have now won seven of their last eight and own Major League Baseball's best record at 51-32. To further illustrate how far this formerly moribund franchise has come, consider that it was just Tim Wakefield's fourth loss in 23 decisions against Tampa. Needless to say, this is no longer your "older brother's Rays." They are now 19 games above .500 at Tropicana Field this season, where they have obviously downed Boston in all five meetings in 2008. We might be able to look past the "home dominance" of this series for just a game, but take note that the Red Sox are now 1-11 on artificial turf this season. While Daisuke Matsuzaka does boast a tremendous 9-1 record on the year, including 4-0 on the road, one needs to take a further look inside the numbers. Over his last three starts, the Japaneese superstar has an ERA of 8.10. He hasn't thrown more than five innings in any of those outings. Compare that to the Rays's Scott Kazmir, who has been lights out at home this year (4-1, 1.24 ERA). Tampa is 20-5 as a home favorite of -125 to -175. Tampa Bay is our 15* AL Game of the Week.

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