THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

Nelly

Milwaukee + over Arizona

Manny Parra has been absolutely outstanding for the Brewers and Milwaukee has won six consecutive starts. In four of those outings he allowed one run or less and he has delivered seven innings of shutout ball in two of his last three starts. Parra does occasionally walk batters but Arizona is not an overly patient team with the third most strikeouts in baseball. Parra allowed just one run and four hits earlier this season against Arizona and the Diamondbacks are hitting .193 in the last ten games against left-handed pitching. Brandon Webb has fallen out of his early season form and he has allowed 17 runs in his past four starts. His ERA at home is nearly a full point higher than on the road and Arizona is just 3-5 in his last eight starts following his perfect start to the year. Arizona is just 14-26 in the last 40 games and the Diamondbacks are greatly overvalued against one of the top young pitchers in baseball.

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Brad Diamond Sports

Play on: New York over Boston

The last I checked the staggering Yankees were approximately 3-27 with men in scoring position, I’m sure that has been elevated by the time Boston faces off at the Bronx Palace Thursday evening. We do know, Boston is gifted and has many edges when facing the once powerful Yankees, but I still like our chances with the home club. Remember the Yankees are a perfect 4-0 L4 with Andy Pettitte versus Boston.

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Jimmy The Moose

Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants
Prediction: San Francisco Giants

Prior to last night game the Cubs had lost 7 of their last 8 road games. The Cubs are 2-12 in their last 14 games as a dog of +110 to +150. Chicago has dropped 5 of their last 6 overall. The Cubs have lost Gallagher's last 4 starts overall. The Cubs have lost his last 5 road starts. The Giants have won 5 of their last 6 games where they have been the favorite. San Francisco has won 6 of Lincecums last 8 starts. The Giants have won 5 of his last 7 home starts. SF is 7-3 in his last 10 home starts vs. a team with a winning record. Play on the San Francisco Giants -.

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Marc Lawrence

Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants
Prediction: San Francisco Giants

When the Giants send Tim Lincecum up against Sean Gallagher and the Cubs today they'll do so knowing San Francisco is 11-5 in Lincecum's team starts this season. With Lincecum 4-1 in July and 4-1 on Thursday's in his MLB career, look for Gallagher to remain winless (0-5 5.06 ERA) on the road in his MLB career starts here today.

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Big Al Mcmordie

Kansas City Royals at Baltimore Orioles Jul 3 2008 7:05PM
Prediction: Baltimore Orioles

At 7:35pm our member selection is on the Baltimore Orioles over the Kansas City Royals. The O's look to take this four game series against the Royals at home and if they do, then don't look now but Baltimore may be only seven games back and in a virtual dead heat with New York for the third place spot in the AL East. Not bad for a team that most people thought would probably finish in last place and were likely to have one of the worst overall records in the American League. Barring a disasterous second half, that isn't going to happen, despite the fact that most fans probably couldn't name half of their starting lineup these days. If Baltimore could play better on the road, they would be a serious contender this season. Even better, if Baltimore could play only the Royals, they would have the best record in baseball. Few series have been more one-sided than this one in the past three seasons. The Orioles are now 17-3 in their last 20 contests against this squad, and really haven't had much of a better team than KC has on paper in recent years to justify such a lopsided tally. Baltimore's starters have probably been their biggest positive surprise so far in '08 and they should get a very big boost from the return of young lefty Adam Loewen, although Baltimore is reporting that he will pitch out of the bullpen and not rejoin the rotation. One of the reasons they are able to do this is due to the performances of some other surprising youngsters, like tonight's southpaw starter, 24-year-old Garrett Olson. Take the Orioles.

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Sports Gambling Hotline

Philadelphia at ATLANTA

Two games played in this Philly-Atlanta series, two Philadelphia wins, and both games playing OVER the total.

Look for the OVER streak to be halted here, as Cole Hamels and Jair Jurrjens do battle.

Hamels has already thrown a complete game shutout at Atlanta back in the middle of May, and has allowed only 11 runs to the Braves over his last 36 innings of work against them dating back to last season.

We all know that Jurrjens hasn't allowed an earned run in nearly 22 innings of work over his last 3 starts. With this being the first time the Phils are seeing Jurrjens, we expect him to add a few more scoreless frames to his account

These teams have met 8 times this season, and 5 of the 8 have played LOW.

This one does as well.

Play on the UNDER.

3♦ UNDER

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Karl Garrett

Florida at COLORADO

Tonight I have a total for you, as I look for the Marlins and Rockies to put up some runs at Coors Field.

We all know that the Marlins can swing the sticks, and with Jeff Francis continuing to have an off-year, the G-Man has to believe Florida is going to get their fair share in this one.

Francis comes into this one having allowed 11 runs over his last 10 innings, which has raised his season ERA to a juicy 5.67.

Andrew Miller counters with 7 runs allowed in his last 10 innings of work, and his season ERA is at 5.05 for the season.

Colorado's bats have been getting healthy lately, and ALL 3 series meetings last year in the thin Denver air went OVER the posted total.

Take the OVER in the series opener.

5♦ OVER

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SPORTS ADVISORS


AMERICAN LEAGUE

Boston (50-37) at N.Y. Yankees (45-40)

Fresh off getting swept in Tampa Bay, the Red Sox head north to the Bronx to battle their archrivals in the opener of a four-game series at Yankee Stadium. Boston, which will send left-hander Jon Lester (6-3, 3.48 ERA) to the mound tonight, blew a 4-1 lead in Tampa last night and fell 7-4. The Red Sox are in the midst of a five-game losing skid (all on the road), which matches their longest skid of the season

Boston is also mired in funks of 1-7 in series openers and 8-21 on the road against winning teams. On the bright side, Terry Francona’s squad is on hot streaks of 12-4 on the highway against left-handers, 22-7 overall against left-handers, 11-2 behind Lester against A.L. East foes and 36-17 in Thursday contests.

The Yankees dropped the first two games of a three-game home series against Texas, then blasted the Rangers 18-7 on Wednesday night o avoid the sweep. Still, New York is just 3-4 in its last seven games, 2-5 in its last seven at Yankee Stadium and 0-4 in its last four series openers. However, Joe Girardi’s squad is on lengthy runs 102-41 at home against lefties and 65-26 behind Pettitte at home.

Going back to last season, the Yankees have won five of the last six head-to-head battles with the Sox in New York. Also, the Yanks are 4-0 in Pettitte’s last four starts against Boston overall and 9-3 in his last 12 at home versus the Sox.

Lester, who has a no-hitter to his credit this season, hasn’t lost since May 25, going 3-0 with three no-decisions as the Red Sox put up a 5-1 mark in that stretch. The 24-year-old got pounded in his last start, though, allowing six runs on nine hits in five innings of an 11-10 loss at Houston on Saturday. That halted a four-start stretch in which he’d allowed just five earned runs over 27 2/3 innings (3-0, 1.67 ERA).

Lester is 2-2 with a 4.66 ERA and five no-decisions in nine road starts this year. He’s faced New York just once in his career, and that was back in 2006 when he got roughed up for eight runs (seven earned) in just 3 2/3 innings but got a no-decision in Boston’s 14-11 home loss.

The Yankees have won five in a row and seven of their last eight behind Pettitte, who has posted four straight wins and gone at least six innings in nine consecutive starts. Since getting shelled for 10 runs on 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings at Kansas City on June 7, Pettitte has allowed just three earned runs over 27 innings during his current four-game win streak, good for a stunning 1.00 ERA.

Pettitte is 3-3 with a 4.59 ERA in eight home starts this year, and this will be his first 2008 start against Boston. He is 15-6 with a 3.45 ERA in 29 career appearances (27 starts) against the Sox.

For New York, the under is on streaks of 5-1 overall, 6-2 at home, 12-4 in division play, 11-3 with Pettitte throwing at home and 23-8 behind Pettitte overall. The under is also 6-3-1 in Boston’s last 10 games overall and 15-7-2 in Lester’s last 24 starts. In this rivalry, though, the over is 6-1 with Pettitte starting against the Red Sox.

ATS ADVANTAGE: N.Y. YANKEES


Oakland (45-39) at Chicago White Sox (49-35)

The streaking White Sox will hand the ball to right-hander Javier Vazquez (7-6, 4.49 ERA) to open a four-game set at U.S. Cellular Field against the Athletics, who will counter with stingy right-hander Justin Duchscherer (8-5, 1.91). Chicago wrapped up a three-game sweep of Cleveland with Wednesday’s dramatic 6-5, 10-inning victory courtesy of a walk-off homer by A.J. Pierzynski. The White Sox have won seven in a row and are 37-15 at home dating to last season (29-11 this year). They’re also 10-1 behind Vazquez in series openers and 14-3 in Vazquez’s last 17 home starts.

Oakland completed a three-game trip at the Los Angeles Angels with Wednesday’s 7-4 loss. The A’s have lost four of their last five games, but they have won six straight series openers, and they’re 6-0 in Duchscherer’s last six starts against winning teams.

Oakland is 42-18 in the last 60 meetings with the White Sox, including 5-1 in the last six. However, Chicago is 6-2 in its last eight home games against the Athletics, splitting a two-game series at U.S. Cellular in mid-April.

The White Sox have alternated wins and losses in Vazquez’s last seven starts, fending off the Cubs 6-5 Saturday at home. In that contest, Vazquez got a no-decision, allowing all five runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. Vazquez is 2-3 with a no-decision in his last six starts, and in his last five outings, he’s allowed a combined 23 runs in 27 2/3 innings for a bloated 7.67 ERA.

Vazquez is 5-1 with a 4.68 ERA in eight home starts this year, and he’s 1-2 with a 6.60 ERA in five career starts against Oakland.

Duchscherer had his four-game winning streak snapped in his last outing Saturday, despite another sterling effort. The 30-year-old allowed just one run on two hits in eight innings, but he got no offensive support in a 1-0 home loss to San Francisco. The right-hander has given up just one earned run in each of his last four games and hasn’t yielded more than two since May 18 – a stretch of seven starts. He’s thrown at least six innings in each of his last seven starts (eight innings three times), allowing a total of eight earned runs in 51 1/3 innings, for a minuscule 1.41 ERA.

Despite a 2.52 road ERA this year, Duchscherer is just 2-4 in six starts. He’s 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA in 13 relief appearances against Chicago, but this will be his first start.

For Oakland, the under is on streaks of 6-3 overall, 9-2 in series openers, 8-2 as an underdog and 5-1 versus right-handed starters. The under is also 5-1 in the last six in this rivalry. Conversely, the over is 7-2 in Chicago’s last nine at home, and 10 of Vazquez’s last 11 starts at U.S. Cellular have hurdled the posted total.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE

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STU FINER

Kansas City Royals at Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles just win ball games. They aren’t the strongest team, they aren’t the fastest team and they surely aren’t the best team but they win games. They win those games at home at an alarming rate.

The Baltimore Orioles are 24-13 at home this season. You can not “fluke” your way to a record like that. We aren’t a month in to the season, or forty games in. We are now just a week away from the all-star break and the Orioles have played 83 games.

The Orioles send a reliable southpaw to the hill tonight. Garrett Olson does it with moxy. He doesn’t have great stuff but he battles and gets wins. He is 6-3 on the season and pitches much better at home.

Baltimore Orioles (-)


Boston Red Sox at NY Yankees

Big showdown here tonight in the Bronx. Both of these teams are coming off tough series. The Yankees dropped two games to Texas. Sure they scored 18 runs last night but their offense was non-existent in game one and game two. The Red Sox are coming off there tough series against the Rays. I think everyone knows what happened in that three game set. The Sox bullpen let them down time and time again.

The Yankees send their ace to the hill tonight. Not only is Andy the Yankees ace, he is their hottest pitcher as well. Andy is 3-0 in his last three starts. Andy hasn’t relied on the Yankees big offense to get these wins either. Andy has thrown nineteen innings and he has allowed just two runs.

Andy is 9-5 this season despite his tough start. Andy knows how to pitch big games, and this is a big game. Look for the Yankees to win this game, as this is a tough trip for Boston, who played well in to the night last night.

New York Yankees (-)


Oakland Athletics at Chicago White Sox

We don’t know if anyone can stop the Chicago White Sox right now. The Chicago Cubs couldn’t stop the White Sox. The Indians couldn’t stop them, even the Indians ace C.C. Sabathia couldn’t beat the red-hot Chicago White Sox.

The White Sox have won eight of their last ten and have won seven straight games. The White Sox aren’t beating bad teams either. They took two of three in Los Angeles, took all three from Chicago and then followed up with another sweep and took of the Indians winning three close games.

The White Sox are the most balanced team in baseball. They are top five in both offense and pitching. In fact the White Sox rank first in earned run average and first in quality starts. Their offense averages close to five runs per game and is second in baseball with 119 long balls.

The Cubs get all the talk, but they shouldn’t The White Sox may be the best team in baseball.

Chicago White Sox (-)


Detroit Tigers at Seattle Mariners

All about the pitching match-up here tonight. If you look at it quickly you may think these guys are even, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure both Carlos Silva and Justin Verlander are 4-9. Sure both guys have thrown around 100 innings but the comparisons end there.

Justin has really been dominating in his recent starts. Carlos Silva on the other hand has been getting hit very hard. In Carlos last 15 innings he has allowed 22 hits and has an ERA over 5. Justin on the other hand hasn’t lost since June 6 and two starts ago had his most dominant start all year. Justin’s last start on the road he threw five innings allowed just five hits and struck out ten batters and picked up the win. This is a guy that can win in any ballpark.

The Tigers will get it going again, they still are red hot.

Detroit Tigers (-)


National League    


LA Dodgers at Houston Astros

It is tough to get on the read on the Dodgers we know that.  You have to trust they are a better team than what they have shown though.   There is one thing that is consistent for the Dodgers, and that is there starting pitching.  The Dodgers have quality starters and have a very deep bull-pen.   They don’t have one or two good arms, they have four or five.  Their bullpen is led by closer Takashi Saito.  On the season he has thirteen saves and three wins.  Saito has thrown 34.2 innings this season and has struck out 48 batters.  You want to know his walk total?  How about just eleven walks this season?  How about over a four to one strikeout to walk ratio?

The Dodgers actually have seven relievers with an ERA under 3, which is absolutely outstanding.  These guys come in late to games and close the door.  Hong-Chih Kuo has been great, Chan Ho Park has had a resurgent and Cory Wade is throwing better than ever.

The last few nights the Dodgers have actually scored a few runs and got a few hits, if the Dodgers hit they are going to win a ton of baseball games.

LA Dodgers (-)


Milwaukee Brewers at Arizona Diamondbacks

Love the Diamondbacks here tonight. Brandon Webb has made just home start out of his last five outings. This is a guy that has been pitching each and every start on the road. To take it one step further he has made just two starts at home since May 16. He has managed to pitch well on the road, he is 6-3 on the road.

At home there isn’t anyone better than Brandon though. He has made eight starts and he is 6-1 in Arizona. He has struck out 39 batters and has walked just eleven. We all know Brandon has a fantastic sinker but allowing just three home-runs at home is almost mind boggling. Arizona is still the class of the NL West, they will get back on the winning track.

Arizona Diamondbacks (-)


Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves

The Braves will be able to get back on track here tonight at home. This is a team that isn’t just three games over .500 or five games over .500. This is a team that is still 12 games over .500 at home.   Playing against Atlanta and those big bats is no easy task.

Jair Jurrjens goes for the Braves tonight. This is Atlanta’s best pitcher, make no mistake about it he is even better than Tim Hudson. Jair has not lost a game since May 12, that is a span of nine starts and he has gone undefeated in those.

Jair has really been picking it up as of late which is no surprise. In fact in his last three starts he hasn’t allowed an earned run. Over 21 innings with no runs allowed. He has walked just five batters in that time-frame as well.

Look for this Curaco native to win this game tonight, when he is on, he can shutdown any line-up.

Atlanta Braves (-)


Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants

This line is just too good to pass up. We all know that the Cubs are a good team and four out of five days they are a better team, but not here, not tonight. Tim Lincecum is this weeks sports illustrated cover boy and for good reason. Nicknamed “The Freak” because of his immense talent and small stature Tim is the real deal.

Tim has thrown 109 innings so far this season. Tim sports a 2.38 ERA this season with a whip of just 1.23. Even more impressive is Tim’s record. Let’s remember he pitches for one of the worst teams in baseball. Timmy is 9-1 on the season. 9-1 folks. The Giants are 11-5 in his sixteen starts, what else can you ask?

Tim’s last start was his best. Seven innings, five hits and eleven strikeouts against the Oakland Athletics. That was a 1-0 shutout win! Tim’s only loss came back in April, when he is on, he beats anyone!

San Francisco Giants (-)


Washington Nationals at Cincinnati Reds

There is a ton of talk and a ton of buzz for Edinson Volquez and he deserves it. Johnny Cueto actually came in to this season as the higher rated prospect though. Johnny came to the scene on April 3, 2008. That game he threw seven innings of just one hit baseball. All told he threw seven innings, allowed just one hit, struck out ten and didn’t walk a batter.

Over the middle part of the season Johnny began to issue too many free passes. That has all ended. His last start he was great. He threw 6 plus innings of shutout ball against the Indians. In his start before last he threw five real solid innings against the Yankees and didn’t walk a batter.

The Reds bats came alive last night and we expect a similar result. Look for Jay Bruce to go deep again (He hit two out last night!)

Cincinnati Reds (-)


New York Mets at St. Louis Cardinals

The Mets just can’t get out of their own way. Tonight they are going to drop this game and this series. The Mets will end up going 1-3 against the Cardinals and falling even further back in the NL East. On top of fading out of the NL East, if the Mets aren’t careful they aren’t even going to have a shot at the wild-card.

The Mets send Mike Pelfrey to the hill tonight. Mike is the Mets number five starter. Mike has improved slightly from last year but that wasn’t too tough of a step. Last year Mike went 3-8 and had an ERA over 5.55. This year Mike still hasn’t gotten past his road struggles. Mike has three wins on the road, but overall he has thrown 36 innings and has allowed 77 base runners. He has OVER a 2.00 whip and his ERA is a putrid 6.38 away from Shea.

The Cardinals have taken two of the first three, tonight they take the third game and the series in convincing fashion.

St. Louis Cardinals (-)

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Robert Ross

New York Mets at St Louis Cardinals
Prediction: St Louis Cardinals

Going to continue backing the better team vs. the dysfunctional Mets. Tony LaRussa has been managing since the last ice age so bothing fazes him while new Mets skipper Jerry Manuel, like the rest of us, has to be wondering how he got this job.The Mets are 7-18 against the money line vs. good defensive catchers - allowing 0.5 or less SB's/game in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons while the Cardinals are 14-7 against the money line vs. a starting pitcher whose gives up 0.5 or less HR's/start this season. Take St. Louis!

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Triple Threat Sports

Game: Oakland vs Chicago White Sox
Pick: Take the Under

Two solid starters here in  Duchscherer and Vazquez, and the A's fit a 3-8 posted total trend while the White Sox are 11-20 to the Under against winning teams this season and in his career Vazquez has made five starts against the A's, with each of the five going Under.

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Scott Ferrall

NEW YORK -130 over Boston--Pettitte has been on fire.  He's won 4 straight and the Red Sox have been getting their asses kicked by the Rays in St.Pete.  UNDER 9.5 RUNS--Lester is 6-3 and both pitchers have ERA's under 4.

Kansas City +120 over Baltimore--Davies is 3-1 and his ERA is 3.34.  The Royals haven't been playing badly.  The easy snag is Olson, but I bet everyone gets burned that takes him.  Jump on the OVER 9.5 RUNS

OAKLAND +110 over CHISOX--Duchsherer has been amazing.  He's got an ERA of 1.91 and I say he knocks off the favored Vazquez and keep it UNDER 8 RUNS

Seattle +125 over Detroit--Upset city here.  Cross your fingers and hope SILVA doesn't blow as usual.  Both he and Verlander are 4-9.  POUND THE OVER 8.5 RUNS

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ARMVIN SPORTS 

KANSAS CITY ROYALS +125

ATHLETICS/WHITE SOX Over 8


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Dave Cokin

LA Dodgers and HOU Astros
Take LA Dodgers

The Dodgers still can't hit, but at least they're getting some pitching. Their recent 4-2 "surge" has them knocking on the first place door in the thoroughly mediocre NL West. LA has a great shot at another win today with Chad Billingsley taking on Houston's struggling Brandon Backe. Backe's command issues have returned and he's simply not dominating enough to be issuing free passes to opposing hitters. I believe laying the spot with Billingsley and the Dodgers is the play.

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Jim Feist

FLA Marlins and COL Rockies
Take Under

Coors Field in Colorado has the reputation of a high scoring hitter's park, but notice that the Rockies are 23-17 under the total at home. A pair of good pitchers take the hill here in Jeff Francis and Andrew Miller. The Rockies have never faced the young Miller, while Francis has a 2.25 career ERA against Florida. Miller's last 4 starts the Marlins are 3-0-1 under the total. Play the Marlins/Rockies under the total!

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PlusLineSports Daily Baseball Selection


Detroit-1.5

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EZWINNERS

CFL

5 STAR: (404) EDMONTON (+2) over Calgary
(Risking $550 to win $500)

This is a big game for the Eskimos even though it is only week two. With the strength of the west, Edmonton can't afford to start the season at 0-2. Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray is healthy again this season after struggling with a shoulder injury last year and he has more weapons in his arsenal as well. Calgary is playing with confidence after last weeks home win over BC, but now they hit the road where they are only 9-18 straight up in their last 27 games. The Eskimos thrive in this role as a home underdog posting a 4-1 record against the spread in their last five chances. Take the points!


2 STAR: (402) TORONTO (-9.5) over Hamilton
(Risking $220 to win $200)

The Tiger-Cats have a long way to go. Their play was horrible last week with their only bright spot being Casey Printers play at quarterback. Hamilton looks like the worst team in the CFL right now. Their offense is a work in progress and they just don't have the fire power to hang with the Argos on the road. Toronto showed last week that their defense is playing very well and their offense looked as if they are about to start to clicking. The Tiger-Cats are only 5-13-1 against the spread since 1996 when visiting Toronto. I like the Argos by double digits here.

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Jason Lowry

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves   
Play: Atlanta Braves

We look for the Braves to snap out of their funk on Thursday when they send arguably their best starter this season in Jair Jurrjens who hasn't given up and earned run in his last 3 starts. The Braves are 72-37 against the money line in home games vs. an NL starting pitcher whose WHIP is 1.150 or better since 1997, and 24-9 against the money line when playing with a day off over the last 2 seasons. Plus Jurriens is a perfect 8-0 against the money line in home games this season, and 13-3 against the money line in night games over the last 2 seasons. Take the Braves in a good one!

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Chris Jordan

Detroit -130 at SEATTLE

Big winner with the Yanks on the Run Line; tonight we roll with the the Tigers in Seattle. We're listing both Justin Verlander and Carlos Silva, as the former has righted his ship after a terrible start to the season.

Silva may be coming off his first win in 13 starts, but he's dropped both of his starts against Detroit this season, giving up 14 runs in those games back in May. Couple that with the fact the Tigers have won eight of the last 10 meetings, and it looks like an easy win with the boys from Motown.

Meanwhile, Verlander is 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA over his last four starts. He is also 5-1 with a 2.90 ERA in six career starts against the M's. Today he avenges a May 31 loss in Seattle.

5♦ TIGERS

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James Patrick

A’s vs. White Sox

Chisox are a solid 14-3 in Javie Vazquez home starts and a solid 8-1 in Thursday action. A’s have had problems in Chi-Town going 2-6 in their visits. Our Thursday selection is Chicago White Sox.

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