FRIDAY SERVICE PLAYS

FRIDAY SERVICE PLAYS

Nelly

Texas + over Baltimore

The Rangers are 9-1 when Vicente Padilla starts on the road this season and the Rangers continue to deliver solid results this season, home or away. Texas is one of the top hitting teams in baseball with a .278 team average and the Rangers have been especially productive against right-handed pitching. Baltimore owns a 24-13 home record but the Orioles have received inconsistent results from Jeremy Guthrie. He is 1-3 in home games and the Baltimore bullpen has really struggled in the last week. Look for the Rangers offense to put up solid numbers tonight despite playing in a second straight road series. Baltimore is putting together a nice season but the Orioles are overvalued in this match-up.

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James Patrick Sports

Indians vs. Twins

Our Fourth of July Holiday selection in Major League Baseball action is Minnesota Twins as the Tribe is fading light a Tropical Sunset.

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Jimmy The Moose

Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins
Prediction: Minnesota Twins

The Indians come into this one having lost 5 in a row and 8 of their last 10 games. Cleveland is 7-20 in their last 27 road games. In their last 30 games as an underdog the Indians are 8-22. Minnesota is 13-2 in their last 15 games. The Twins are 10-2 in their last 12 home games. Minnesota has won their last 8 games where they have been the favorite. In their last 10 games following an offday the Twins are 9-1. The Indians have had their way with the Twins over the last couple of season's but right now the Twins are red hot. Play on the Minnesota Twins -.

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Marc Lawrence

Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
Prediction: Boston Red Sox

The BoSox send ace Josh Beckett to the mound against Darrell Rasner and the Yankees in New York this afternoon in Game Two of this crucial four game series. Rasner has certainly struggled of late in his last seven starts (1-6 with a 5.68 ERA) while Beckett is 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in his last three starts against the Pinstripes. With that look for Beckett to make it five straight wins on Fridays here today.

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Scott Ferrall

Seattle -125 over Detroit--Bedard finally looks like the guy they wanted in the Emerald City and cools off the Tigers and Kenny Rogers

TEXAS +120 over Baltimore--Padilla beats Guthrie and I'm on the OVER 8 RUNS.  The Rangers can defintiely score runs.

KANSAS CITY +140 over Tampa--upset special !  It's just to obvious that everyone is on the Rays.  But they just swept the Red Sox and layed it all on the line.  I say they get burned as Bannister tops Edwin Jackson in St.Pete at the Trop

Chi Sox -155 over Oakland--TAKE THE OVER 8.5 RUNS and run with Buerhle over Blanton.  The GO GO SOX are back

Minnesota -120 over Cleveland--Take Livan Hernandez because the Tribe blow this yr.  The Twins can beat anybody.

ANGELS -125 over Toronto--The Jays suck and they are even worse when they are on the road.  Burnett gets the L and Jared Weaver pulls one out of his ass at Anaheim.  JUMP OVER THE 7.5 RUNS

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SPORTS ADVISORS

New York Mets (42-43) at Philadelphia (47-39)

Left-hander Johan Santana (7-7, 3.01 ERA), who is winless in his last five starts, will toe the slab for the Mets when they open a four-game weekend set at Citizens Bank Park against the Phillies. New York has alternated wins and losses in its last six games, though the Mets pounded St. Louis 11-1 on the road Thursday night. The Mets are 2-7 in their last nine against the National League East and 1-4 in Santana’s last five outings when facing a winning team.

Philadelphia will counter with 25-year-old left-hander J.A. Happ, making just his second career major league appearance. The Phillies finished off a three-game sweep of Atlanta on Thursday, winning 4-1 on the road to post a combined 19-6 run advantage in the series. Philly is just 5-9 in its last 14 outings and has lost five straight at home, but the Phillies are on hot streaks of 11-1 against losing teams, 8-2 in the N.L. East, 12-4 on Friday, 8-3 at home against southpaws, 9-4 overall against lefties and 36-16 in their last 52 series openers.

The Mets are 4-2 in six meetings against the Phillies this season, taking two of three at home and two of three on the highway in a pair of April series. However, New York is still only 2-6 in the last eight clashes at Citizens Bank Park.

Santana is 0-4 with a no-decision in his last five starts, despite giving up just nine runs in 32 innings (2.53 ERA). On Saturday at home against the Yankees, he allowed three runs on four hits in six innings in a 3-2 loss for his third straight setback. Santana has pitched at least six innings in 11 consecutive starts, going just 4-5 despite a 2.96 ERA.

Happ, meanwhile, will again face the Mets, whom he lost to in his only other major league appearance – giving up five runs on seven hits in four innings in an 8-3 setback last year.

Santana is 4-4 with a 3.12 ERA in nine road starts this year, with one of those wins being a 6-4 victory at Philadelphia on April 18. In that contest, he allowed three runs on four hits in seven innings, giving him a 1-0 mark and 3.09 ERA in two career starts against the Phillies.

The over is 6-0-1 in Santana’s last seven starts in series openers, and it is 10-4-1 in the Mets’ last 15 contests against left-handers. The over has also cashed in four of the last six for the Phillies and is 10-3 at home following a Philadelphia road trip of seven or more days.

ATS ADVANTAGE: N.Y. METS


Chicago Cubs (51-35) at St. Louis (49-38)

Carlos Zambrano (8-3, 3.13 ERA) returns from a stint on the disabled list as he leads the Cubs against the rival Cardinals in the opener of a three-game weekend series at Busch Stadium between the top teams in the N.L. Central. Chicago wrapped up a four-game set at San Francisco on Thursday by losing 8-3. The Cubs are mired in slumps of 2-6 overall, 2-7 on the road and 0-6 on the road against winning teams.

St. Louis, which will send right-hander Braden Looper (9-5, 4.26) to the hill, finished off a four-game home series against the Mets with a blowout 11-1 loss. Despite that, the Cards have won four of their last six after a three-game hiccup, and they’re 10-3 in their last 13 as a home underdog.

The Cardinals took two of three at home against the Cubs the first week of May, but Chicago is 11-5 in the last 16 clashes and a perfect 8-0 in the last eight games that Zambrano has started versus St. Louis.

Zambrano is 0-2 with a no-decision in his last three starts, taking the loss in a 5-4 setback at Tampa Bay on June 18 before going on the DL with a shoulder strain. In that game, he allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.

The Cardinals have won three of their last four behind Looper, with the 33-year-old going 2-0 with two no decisions. On Sunday at Kansas City, he didn’t figure in the decision after allowing three runs on six hits in 3 1/3 innings of a 9-6 St. Louis win.

Zambrano is 4-3 with a 4.08 ERA in seven road starts this season, but the Cubs are 30-13 in his last 43 on foreign turf. Also, the right-hander is 8-4 with a 2.37 ERA in 19 career appearances (18 starts) against the Cardinals. Meanwhile, Looper is 4-3 with a 4.50 ERA in nine home starts this year and is 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA in 47 career appearances – but just one start – against the Mets.

Chicago carries a plethora of “over” trends into this series, including 8-2 overall, 7-2 in roadies, 7-3 in series openers, 4-0 with Zambrano on the road and 6-2 overall behind Zambrano. The over is also 5-1-1 in St. Louis’ last seven games overall and 7-1-1 in its last nine against righties.

ATS ADVANTAGE: CHICAGO CUBS and OVER

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STU FINER

Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

I know on paper this looks like a major mis-match but let’s dig a little deeper. Josh has made two starts against the Yankees this season. He had one start at Fenway and one start at Yankee stadium. Both of them were just average starts. He threw fourteen innings and he allowed thirteen base-runners (For Josh that is just average). Also in those fourteen innings he struck out just ten batters and he allowed six runs.

Josh is not the same pitcher on the road as he is at home. First of all at home he is 4-1 and has a fantastic whip. On the road Josh is just 3-4. Josh has allowed six long balls on the road and twenty one earned runs.

Let’s not forget that in the Red Sox last series they were swept out of the ball park. They just aren’t a good team on the road. Things may change in the future, but the Yankees at home will get the job done. Remember just two nights ago they scored 18 runs, that doesn’t happen on accident.

New York Yankees (+)


Detroit Tigers at Seattle Mariners

The Tigers have been playing better baseball but can’t pass on Erik Bedard tonight. It doesn’t matter that the Tigers are a better team than the Mariners. On most days that is surely the case, but not tonight, not with this match-up.

Kenny Rogers still battles, but he is just an average pitcher. On the season he is 6-5 and the Tigers are just 9-8 in his seventeen starts. Kenny faced the Mariners once before this season and didn’t fair too well. He lasted just 5 1/3 innings and allowed eight hits, two walks and two home-runs. That start was at home as well.

Seattle is playing much better baseball under their new manager. That includes a 5-1 record in their last six games and three straight series wins. Take the Mariners and Bedard tonight.

Seattle Mariners (-)


Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles

Look for the Orioles to bounce back tonight. The Orioles are a team that doesn’t get enough credit. Everyone talks about the rest of the AL East. Everyone talks about the nice job that the Twins have done. People talk about what the Cardinals have done. What about these Baltimore Orioles?

The Orioles play in the toughest division in all of baseball. Imagine playing almost half your schedule against the: Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Even with that competition they are above .500.

Jeremy Guthrie has a big time arm. His last 21 innings he has allowed just five runs and sports a 3.50 earned run average on the season. Look for him to keep down a Texas line-up that is good but not great.

Baltimore Orioles (-)


Kansas City Royals at Tampa Bay Rays

How can you not love what the Rays are doing? Tampa is now a full 20 games over the .500 mark. Yes on July 4 the Tampa Bay Rays have the best record in all of base baseball. They haven’t done it with a soft schedule either. The Rays have played the toughest schedule of any team so far this season. They still have managed a 52-32 record on the season.

Tampa is even more impressive in their ball park. The Rays are 33-13 at home. It is not out of the question that this team will have 60 wins in their building. At worst they are looking at a 55 win season in Tropicana field.

Tampa has won four straight games and seven of their last eight. They know how to win close games, and will win again here tonight. The Royals are a below average team, the Rays are now the class of the American league.

Tampa Bay Rays (-)


Oakland Athletics at Chicago White Sox

Mark Buehrle is heating up as usual. Mark has been on a torrid pace on the mound. It is not just his last three starts. Mark has had six straight top level starts. In fact eight of his nine starts have been of the quality start variety.

Last start for Mark Buherle he allowed zero earned runs, one the start before, two the start before that, one the start before that, one the start before that, three the start before that. Do you see a pattern here? Mark has been going deep in to games and not just pitching well but winning these contests.

Mark hasn’t lost a start since May 27 and that was on the road. He hasn’t lost at home since the first week of May. Mark just beat the Cubs and the Dodgers, he will take care of an Oakland line-up that has been over-achieving for a while. White Sox are the play here tonight.

Chicago White Sox (-)


Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins

Both of these two teams are coming off an off day on July 3 and both are going in separate directions. The Cleveland Indians just can’t put anything together this season. They surprised many people last year, but they aren’t even close to having the same success. There is no doubt that injuries have been a big part of the problem. You can’t lose your number two starter (Carmona) your All-Star catcher (Martinez) and your clean-up hitter (Hafner) within the span of a month. That is exactly what has happened to the now buried Indians.

The Twins on the other hand have been playing fantastic baseball. In fact Minnesota and not Tampa may be the best story of the American league as we head in to July 4 weekend. We all knew that Tampa had pitching, but Minnesota? Who knew?

Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are arguably the two best back to back left-handed hitters in baseball. If you don’t think facing those guys causes right-handed pitching to scratch their head, than you are missing the boat. Livan Hernandez will always allow his share of hits, but the guy still wins ball games. Twins are the play tonight.

Minnesota Twins (-)


Toronto Blue Jays at LA Angels

Toronto is one of the few teams that can win on the road. There is one simple reason for that and that is they send out a quality starter to the mound each and every day. Whether it is Dustin McGowan or Roy Halladay or Shaun Marcum or tonight’s starter the Blue Jays always have a chance to win. If you don’t want to take our word for it, just look at their season statistics. They have played 81 games and 48 times the number has gone under.

Tonight we get the Blue Jays hottest pitcher. We get a pitcher that has much talent as anyone out there. We also get a pitcher that is throwing for his supper. A.J. Burnett will not be in Toronto after this season and he knows it. Last start A.J. faced one of the best line-ups in baseball (Atlanta Braves) and absolutely shut them down. Seven innings, four hits, no runs, eleven strikeouts! Think that was a fluke? How about the start before against the Reds in which he threw eight innings of one run ball? This guy can win and he can win on the road.

Toronto Blue Jays (+)


National League   

Washington Nationals at Cincinnati Reds

We were very impressed with the Reds last night. They were down 3-1 late in that game, in a classic let-down game. They were facing a bad team, they were tired from the night but they went to work and took care of the Nationals as they should. The Reds were able to take advantage of some bad defense by the Nationals. Brandon Phillips ended up with three RBI’s and the Reds capitalized and won the game 5-3.

Tonight expect much of the same. While the Reds don’t have a great record they are still playing better than expected. 40-47 on the season and showing sings of life each and every ball game. After all this team is 23-19 at home. The Reds face a starter who is used to losing tonight. Jason Bergmann is just 1-5 on the season. Even worse is the fact that the team is 2-9 in his eleven starts of 2008. Take the Reds and lay the number.

Cincinnati Reds (-)


Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers will bounce back tonight. Sure they were stunned last night. Sure last night was a terrible loss. We aren’t going to come on here and tell you that they did play well last night. Actually for the first eight innings they did play well. They were able to score off the best pitcher in the National league (Brandon Webb) and they were able to put some runs on the board.

They just couldn’t close the door. After all they don’t have a dominant closer. Eric Gagne is hurt and Torres just couldn’t close the door. They allowed the Diamondbacks to come and score six runs in the final inning and losing the game. That game is over and done with though.

Momentum is only as good as the next day’s starter right? Well who would we and the Brewers have than Ben Sheets? Ben is 9-2 on the season with a 2.83 ERA. When healthy this guy wins, and that is exactly what he is doing right now. Take the home team at any price!

Milwaukee Brewers (-)


LA Dodgers at San Francisco Giants

This line is just too good to pass up. The Dodgers are making a long trip to come here and start a set with the Giants. The Giants played yesterday at well, but they were at home. Last night the Giants beat the Cubs behind their ace Tim Lincecum. They feel real good about themselves today. They will send their second best pitcher to the mound in Pac Bell Park.

Jonathan Sanchez has been dealing. Jonathan is 6-1 in his last seven starts! Notice we didn’t say the Giants or his team is 6-1, Mr. Sanchez has gone out there and battled the opposition and has won ball games.

Sanchez has allowed just two runs in his last three starts. IN fact in his last ten starts he has had just one bad start (Seven runs against the Rockies in a start he actually won). He has not allowed more than a handful of runs since early May. Keep riding this left-handed all the way to the bank!

San Francisco Giants (-)


New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

It wouldn’t matter if Sandy Koufax was on the hill for the New York Mets tonight, this line is just completely off. The Mets are far too up and down to trust at all like this. We are sure that many of you have been burned by the Mets and especially Johan Santana in the recent months.

The Mets and Johan are laying this big number even though they are on the road and they don’t deserve it. Johan Santana’s last win came on the first day of JUNE. He has gone five straight starts without a win. Even worse the Mets haven’t won in Johan’s last five starts. Johan just hasn’t been on top of his game. Just two starts ago he allowed a grand-slam to an American League pitcher.

The Phillies won a huge ball game last night and their bats are picking up. They hit three long balls in Atlanta. Returning home they will put another three to four over the wall and they will beat the Mets here on this Friday night contest.

Philadelphia Phillies (+)


Houston Astros at Atlanta Braves

There is a reason why this line is so high folks. The line should be this high. After all look at it objectively. Tonight we get the better team, tonight we get the better pitcher, and tonight we get the home-field advantage. What else would we want? What else could we ask for?

The Braves are still one of the best teams at home this season. They are 10 games over .500 with a record of 28-18. Tonight we get Tim Hudson going for Atlanta. Tim thrives at home. Tim for the season is just 2-5 on the road with a 4.34 ERA. Not exactly CY Young numbers. At home though Tim Hudson has a 6-1 mark with a 2.24 ERA. Those numbers make him one of baseball’s best pitchers.

Atlanta still has a ton of power in their line-up. They are still in this division race because of the Mets and Phillies stumbling around. Look for the Braves to win this game easily.

Atlanta Braves (-)


Florida Marlins at Colorado Rockies

Wild game last night in Coors. Tonight look for a more conventional game. Scott Olsen goes for the Marlins and has he been good or what? Scott has really matured. He busted on the scene in 2005 making just four starts but throwing the ball well and impressing the Marlins enough to give him a spot in the rotation the following season.

2006 Scott was just as good. He won 12 games and had an ERA right at 4. His electric stuff really impressed people. He had 166 strikeouts in that his “rookie” season. Last year he had a ton of off the field problems and took a step back. This year he has picked up where he left off in 2006. This guy is just 4-4 but the team has won ten of his starts. Scott has an ERA and a WHIP they rank in the top 20 in the National league.

The Rockies aren’t the same team from last year folks. Look for Florida to keep plugging along and win this game.

Florida Marlins (+)


Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

Big match-up here in St. Louis. This is a rivalry in every sense of the word. This year this rivalry is hotter than ever. Sure the Cubs have been playing great baseball. They have been a feel good story. They have people out there predicting that they will be in the World Series etc. etc. Before we crown the Cubs, can they win a few games on the road?

The Cubs fly in to St. Louis after a disappointing split at the hands of the Giants. Yes it is true that the Cubs couldn’t even beat the Giants more than two games (Four game series) on the road. For the season the Cubs are seven games under .500. The Cardinals in the mean time have almost caught the Cubbies. With a sweep here in this series the Cardinals will take over first place.

Carlos Zambrano does not pitch well on the road. At home he is 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA. On the road he is just 4-3 with an ERA over 4.08. Look for the battle of the Midwest go to the Cardinals in this game.

St. Louis Cardinals (+)


San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks

Don’t be scared off by this big line. In fact we want you to run to this line before it moves in any direction. The Diamondbacks are going to win this game and win this game easily.

Arizona is coming off their best win of 2008 season. See many people forget but the Diamondbacks are still a first place team. Sure there is no denying they have struggled for a long time, but they are a better team than what they have showed. Just take yesterday’s game for example. They were down 6-0 in the last inning. How many teams can come back from that? Well the Diamondbacks did exactly that. They scored seven runs in the last inning to win the game in dramatic fashion. You better believe that carries over the next day, especially when you have your “1A” on the hill.

Danny Haren would be an ace on 25 teams in baseball. For the season he is 8-4 but in the dessert this guy is just un-hittable. 7-1 with just 45 hits allowed in his sixty innings. Look for him to shut down a very weak line-up. Diamondbacks all the way.

Arizona Diamondbacks (-)

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Alex Smart

Cincinnati Reds -150

The Cincinnati Reds will send Bronson Arroyo (5-7,6.19 ERA) to the hill to stop the light hitting Washington Nationals, this afternoon in Ohios Great American Ball Park. The Reds right hander ,has not been all that efficient of late, but is off notching a win in his last trip to the hill, allowing just 2 runs in 6 innings of capable work. Meanwhile, the visiting Nationals, will return fire with hard luck hurler ,Jason Bergmann (1-5, 4.26). The righty thrower is 0-4 along with a 2.98 ERA in eight starts since beating the New York Mets back in mid May. His losing run can mostly be attributed to his teams inability to get runners home, as is evident by 2.5 RPG in support. It must be noted that Washington is hitting below the Mendoza line on the season, and a lowly .226 against righties like Arroyo. Bottom line: Despite of the perceived starting pitching advantage that Washington has, it is their lack of offensive punch, that in my humble opinion, makes them fade material in this spot. Final notes & Key Trends: The Reds are 8-2 in Arroyos L10 starts as a home favorite. Play on the Reds

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Matt Fargo

Chicago Cubs vs. St Louis Cardinals   
Play: St Louis Cardinals   

The Cubs are in a struggle right now and they cannot seem to right the ship. They have lost seven of their last nine games and on the road alone, they have dropped eight of their last 10. It has been a mix of bad pitching and hitting as the arms have allowed five runs or more seven times over the 10 games while the offense has scored more than five runs only three, averaging a mere 4.4 rpg. The pitching problems go back even further as Chicago has allowed 5.6 rpg over the last 14 games.

The Cardinals are coming off a split with the Mets as the two alternated wins and losses. The St. Louis offense was held in check which was a rarity as it came into Thursday having averaged 5.8 rpg over its previous nine games. Despite last night’s letdown, the Cardinals are hitting .303 over their last 10 games and they want to carry that over into this series. St. Louis trails Chicago by just 2.5 games in the National League Central and it comes in a solid 10-3 in its last 13 games as a home underdog.

Braden Looper is coming off an early exit last time out against the Royals but it wasn’t a complete disaster as he allowed only two earned runs. He had tossed three straight quality starts before allowing four runs in Detroit prior to the game against Kansas City. His ERA is 2.92 over his last six games and his record sits at 3-1 only due to poor run support in the lone loss. Looper has allowed three runs or fewer in seven of his last nine starts and has a career ERA of 2.37 against Chicago and is a perfect 4-4 in quality starts.

The struggles of Carlos Zambrano continue. After posting eight quality outings in his first nine starts through May 12th, he has only three over his last seven. His ERA over those seven games is 4.67 which is up from a 2.03 ERA though those first nine games. He has gone three straight games on the road without a quality start and his ERA over those games is 7.13. Zambrano has absolutely owned the Cardinals but he is not in the form he needs to be in to continue that domination. Play St. Louis Cardinals 1.5 Units

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Big Al Mcmordie

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants
Prediction: under

At 4:05pm our member selection is on the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants 'under' the total. Dodgers veteran righthander and today's starter Derek Lowe would probably be fine with facing the Giants every time he goes out to start a game. Few starters have been consistently dominant against an opponent the way Lowe has been against San Francisco the last three years. In his last eight starts against them going back to July 2005, Lowe only has one which was not a quality outing, and he also has gone 'under' the total 11 of his last 13 on the road vs. losing teams. Take the 'under'.

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Robert Ross

Detroit Tigers at Seattle Mariners
Prediction: Detroit Tigers

Taking the better team here at a price. The Tigers, with last night's win, have won 17 of their last 22 games. They are also 10-4 their last 14 in Seattle. Take Detroit!

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Sports Gambling Hotline

Los Angeles at SAN FRANCISCO 

Today, we will stick with the surging Dodgers who hit the Bay Area fresh off 3 straight wins at Houston.

Los Angeles has already claimed 2 of the first 3 meetings against San Francisco down the freeway in LA earlier this season, and they have owned the Giants at AT&T Park the last couple of years, going 14-4 versus San Fran in their own backyard the last 2 years.

It will be Lowe and Sanchez, and while Sanchez has shown promise with an 8-4 mark, we prefer the veteran Lowe to build off his 7 inning, 1 run hard-luck loss to the Angels his last time out.

Lowe has gone 2-1 his last 5 strarts against the Giants, allowing just 8 runs in 34 innings of work.

With the Giants just 16-26 at home this year, it is hard to make a case to back their cause.

Play on LA.

4♦ LOS ANGELES

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Karl Garrett

Boston -130 at NY YANKEES 

Throw away the Yankees 18 run outburst on Wednesday, and this team has scored just 7 runs over 5 games!

That lack of offensive production will hurt them once again today against one of the best in the game in Josh Beckett.

Beckett's last 22 innings have seen just 4 runs score, and Beckett has long been a thorn in New York's side dating back to his days as a Florida Marlin when he bested the Yanks in the World Series clincher at Yankee Stadium.

Beckett is 2-0 this season against New York, and his Red Sox are now 4-2 against the Yankees in this year's season series.

Darrell Rasner opposes, and the fine work he did when he first came up for Ian Kennedy has been diminished of late, as the righty has dropped his last 2 starts, working only 10 innings while allowing 9 runs.

Rasner has dipped to 4-6 for the year...make that 4-7 after the Red Sox get done with him today.

2♦ BOSTON

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Bobby Maxwell

Cleveland +115 at MINNESOTA 

We've been away for the last seven days but we certainly remember the run we were on with FREE picks before the break. We're on a 21-14 run with comp selections and today we're going with the Indians to score a road win in Minnesota.

We love Cleveland in this one as they are sending Paul Byrd (3-9, 5.26 ERA) to the mound in Minnesota to take on the surging Twins.

Byrd has dominated the Twins in his career, going 10-4 with a 3.79 ERA in 18 starts against Minnesota, including a remarkable 6-1 record with a 2.03 ERA in 10 starts inside the Metrodome. Saturday he gave up four runs and six hits in six innings but his offense let him down and failed to score a run in a 5-0 loss to the Reds.

The Twins are coming with veteran Livan Hernandez (8-5, 5.22) who has been struggling lately. He's lost three of his last five starts and has a 6.43 ERA in that span. Saturday he gave up five runs in seven innings of a 5-1 loss to the Brewers.

Hernandez has seen the Indians just once in his career and gave up seven runs on 12 hits in a 12-2 loss on June 12. No doubt the Tribe will have the bats working tonight.

We'll take the pitcher with the history of success rather than the rapidly aging Hernandez who can't get anybody out right now. Even with the Twins recent hot streak, we're playing Cleveland in this one.

3♦ CLEVELAND

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Nostradamus:

MLB-Yankees +120
MLB-Wash/Cinn OVER 9.5 +100
MLB-Milwaukee -200
MLB-Kansas City +145
MLB-Houst/Atl OVER 9 +100
MLB-Toronto +115
MLB-SD/Ariz OVER 9 +100
MLB-Cubs/Cards UNDER 8.5 +100

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Jim Feist

LA Dodgers and SF Giants
Take Under

If you're fan of offense in baseball, don't watch this game. Both teams have struggled all season, with the Dodgers ranked 13th in the National League in runs scored, while the Giants are 14th. Both starting pitchers are on a roll, with LA's Derek Lowe sporting a 3.20 ERA his last three starts, while San Francisco lefty Jonathon Sanchez has a 2.08 his last three games. The Dodgers are on an 11-4 run under the total, highlighted (or lowlighted) by winning a 1-0 game despite getting no hit. San Fran is on a 10-5-1 run under the total. Don't look for much offense, Play the Dodgers/Giants under the total!

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Dave Cokin

TEX Rangers and BAL Orioles
Take TEX Rangers

Jeremy Guthrie is pitching some outstanding baseball for Baltimore. But the talented right hander hasn't been able to dent the win column on a regular basis thanks to unfortunate run support when he takes the mound. It's been the opposite for Rangers veteran Vicente Padilla, who's been almost unbeatable on the road regardless of how he throws. I'm going to go with the trends in this one and I'll go for the good sized dog price in the process with the Rangers.

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JEFF BENTON

Josh Beckett is a stud, we know this, and he's been pitching his tail off recently (1.64 ERA in his last three starts), but the Red Sox ace doesn't have much to show for his efforts. Boston last his two most recent starts (2-1 at home to Arizona; 3-2 at Houston); they're 1-3 in his last four outings; and they're only 8-7 in his 15 starts this season, including 4-5 on the road. So why are the struggling Sox such a big favorite in this one Mostly because New York rookie right-hander Darrell Rasner has come crashing back to earth the kid has gone four straight starts without a quality outings, and New York is 1-6 in his last seven starts.

However, Rasner wasn't that bad against the Mets on Sunday, giving up just two runs in five innings of a 3-1 loss. Also, Rasner has been dynamite at Yankee Stadium this year, going 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA in four starts the only defeat being a 2-1 setback to the Royals. Throw in Beckett?s 5.87 career ERA against the Yankees (5.90 in five starts at the Stadium), and I'll look for the Bombers to bounce back from Thursday's ugly 7-0 loss to the BoSox.

3♦ N.Y. YANKEES

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JAKE TIMLIN

Friday selection is the Milwaukee Brewers -1 1/2 Runs.

Looking to erase their tough loser on Thursday I look for the Brewers to roll big time minus the Run Line today. After all thanks to being back home where they have been a big money maker posting a 25-13 season record as Milwaukee has won their last 6 at home it's the Brewers who hold all of the advantages today. You see what today comes down to is pitching where Milwaukee with Sheets who is 9-2 with a sub 3 ERA has a huge edge over the Pirates who counter with Gorzelanny who has been awful on the road this year going 1-5 with a road ERA of 8.63. Flat out Milwaukee is going to be on a mission to forget about their ninth inning collapse in the desert yesterday and due to that look for the Brewers to destroy the weak traveling Pirates.

All Milwaukee!

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TONY WESTON

Tonight it'll be another easy winner as the Baltimore Orioles will get over on the Texas Rangers.

Over their last 19 games the Orioles are a modest 11-8, but are 7-3 at home in that stretch. They're 8-3 their last 11 home games and are an impressive 24-13 at home this season. But the difference for Baltimore tonight will be starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, who is only 4-7 this season, but has an impressive 3.50 ERA.

Over Guthrie?s last six starts he's 2-1 with three no decisions and the Orioles are 4-2. He also has a 3.25 home ERA this season in eight starts in front of the home crowd.
Opposite Guthrie will be Rangers starting pitcher Vicente Padilla, who has allowed 18 earned runs in his last 31 innings of work as Texas is only 3-2 in that stretch.

Padilla has been giving up a lot of earned runs and a lot of home runs (eight in that five game stretch) and he?ll get lit up again tonight.

Pencil in Guthrie as your starting pitcher and take Baltimore at home.

3♦ ORIOLES

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