THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

James Patrick

Rays vs. Indians

Tampa Bay has won 38 of their past 56 games and Thursday is one of their shining days as they have cashed 8 of 10 Thursday games. Tonight’s opponent, The Tribe, is heading in a completely opposite direction losing 16 of 21 games. Our Thursday selection in Major League Baseball is Tampa Bay Rays.

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Marc Lawrence

Play On: Kansas City

Note: Royals close out a three game set with the White Sox when they send Zach Greinke to the mound against Mark Buerhle in Kansas City this evening. While Buerhle has enjoyed great success against KC of late (8-0 last eight team starts), the fact of the matter is he is 4-10 in his last fourteen road starts and 4-15 in his last nineteen starts in July entering tonight's contest. With Greinke in solid 22/2 KW form in his last three efforts and also 5-9 in his last fourteen starts on Thursdays, including 5-1 at home, look for Buehrle's royal bubble to burst here tonight.

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Robert Ross

St Louis Cardinals at Philadelphia Phillies
Prediction: St Louis Cardinals

Phillies have been struggling. Cards are 16-8 against the money line vs. teams outscoring opp by 0.5 or more runs/game on the season this season and 10-3 against the money line vs. a very good bullpen whose ERA is 3.33 or better this season. Meanwhile the Phillies are 10-19 against the money line when playing against a good team (Win Pct. 54% to 62%) this season and starter Moyer is 32-41 against the money line vs. poor baserunning teams - averaging 0.5 or less SB's/game in the second half of the season since 1997. (Team's Record) Take St. Louis!

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Jimmy The Moose

Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays
Prediction: Over

The over is 22-8 in Baltimore's last 30 games. The over is 13-4 in their last 17 road games. The over is 15-3 in the Orioles last 18 games as an underdog. In their last 10 vs. AL East opponents the over is 8-1-1. The over is 4-1 in Guthrie's last 5 starts as a road dog. The over is 9-3-1 in the Jasy last 13 games vs. a right-handed starter. Toronto has played over the total in 4 of their last 5 games. The over is 5-2-1 in Halladay's last 8 home starts. The over is 7-0 in Baltimore's last 7 trips to Toronto. The over is 11-1 in the last 12 meetings overall between the clubs. Play the over.

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Scott Ferrall

DODGERS -155 over Marlins--Chan Ho Park gets the W over Johnson, making his first start for Florida.  The Marlins have been on the road and have to be gassed at this point.  OVER 8.5 RUNS

Toronto -170 over Baltimore--Guthrie can't stop the bleeding for the O's.  They had dropped 3 straight and were 4-6 in their last 10 headin in to Wednesday night.  Plus, Halladay is going for the Jays at home no less.  UNDER 7.5 RUNS

Cleveland -115 over Tampa--After losing 3 straight-two in NY to the Yanks-they'll stumble again at the Jake against Laffey and the Tribe.  Cleveland has been losing every night so this is a tad risky, but I'm feelin it

ANGELS -150 over Rangers--Lackey will spit them out--he's just too good for Feldman to beat.  UNDER 9.5 RUNS

Kansas City -105 over ChiSox--Zach Greinke shows his stuff and knocks off Chicago and Buerhle in KC.  UNDER 8.5 RUNS

YANKEES -135 over Pirates--Mussina and the Bombers are suddenly heating up and have won 4 straight.  This is an interleague rain makeup game at PNC for one night only in the Burgh.  They played two there in June and the second game had New York blowing out the Bucs.  They'll do it again to Maholm on Thursday night.  OVER 9 RUNS

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STU FINER

Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers

Love the Tigers here tonight at this price.  Just look what the Tigers are capable of.  Last night Detroit was down 6-0.  In just two quick innings they were able to put together hit after hit and actually even up the score.  Matt Joyce tied the game up for them in the seventh inning.  The Tigers just find a way with their line-up.  Don’t look at their overall record, look at what they have done for a month plus.  They have been playing almost .600 baseball.

Kevin Slowey is just .500 on the road.  We recognize that Kevin has been solid for the Twins but he is as over-rated as they come.  In his last start he went six innings and allowed five hits and five runs to go along with a home-run and two walks.  Crafty Kenny Rogers has been able to get the job done.  He hasn’t allowed more than five runs in nine starts.  Even better than that his ERA has steadily declined in his last eight starts.  He has allowed three or less runs six times in those eight starts.  When he goes out there the Tigers win.  Kenny is above .500 at home and he knows how to pitch.

The Tigers will take advantage of an over-aggressive Minnesota Twins team.  They were just blitzed against the Red Sox.  It takes a few games to get over a game in which you allow 18 runs and over 20 hits.

Detroit Tigers (-)


Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics

You wouldn’t know it by his record but Greg Smith has been one of the better pitchers in the American League.  Greg has made seventeen starts on the season.  Greg’s only problem has been the fact he has walked too many batters.  It has forced him to come out of too many games too early.  Just looking at some of his starts, it is scary how few hits he has let up.  In his last fourteen innings he has allowed just nine hits.

We know many people don’t want to believe in the Athletics but it is time.  They have a way of just winning and competiting in every game.  They don’t have a great offense, but they have a top level bull-pen and they get good pitching.  Every pitcher has to step up  a little more now that Rich Harden is gone.

R.A. Dickey is a converted knuckle-baller and a guy that you can’t have much faith in.  He is just 2-4 on the season and he allows more than a hit per inning and has just 35 strikeouts to go along with his 22 walks.  Against a team that knows how to win at home he isn’t going to cut it.  Dickey doesn’t go deep in to games and the Mariners are still one of the worst teams in all of a baseball.

Oakland Athletics (-)

Tampa Bay Rays at Cleveland Indians

Don’t get fooled in this game.  Don’t go out there and just look at a few numbers and pick the Rays.  If you do that you are going to lose.  The Rays are not the same team on the road as they are on at home.  You can’t avoid those facts.  You can’t avoid the fact that they are fantastic at home and less than average at home.

The Rays are coming off of three straight losses.  Is there any surprise that two of those three losses have come on the road?  Tampa played a Yankees team that is just average so far this season and didn’t even have a shot.  Sure they went to extra innings yesterday but they scored one run.  They got one solo home-run from their clean-up hitter and didn’t do anything else.  They are now two games under .500 on the road.

The Indians on the other hand are struggling all together, but does that mean they aren’t capable of winning ball games?  Not at all.  They still have a very respectable mark at home.  In fact at home they are right around the .500 mark.

Aaron Laffey is a more than capable starting pitcher.  Don’t look at his 4-5 record, look at the fact that he has an ERA top 12 in the American League.  Laffey has allowed less than a hit per inning and is now the Indians number two starter.  There is a reason why this guy is a top level prospect.  It hasn’t taken him too long to get accustom to the Major leagues.  The Indians still have a few guys that can get the job done.

Cleveland Indians (-)

Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays had a big lead and almost blew it, but the key word is almost.  The Blue Jays held on for the win.  With all their problems and all their ups and downs the Blue Jays are just three games from the .500 mark.  The Blue Jays normally have an issue putting runs on the board.  That wasn’t the case last night though.

The Blue Jays pounded out twelve hits last night.  Their top four hitters had a combined eight this.  That is what we call table-setting.  Eckstein two hits, one run, two RBI.  Scutaro two hits, one run, two walks.  Rios two hits, one run, two RBI.  Wells two hits, two runs and an RBI.  The Blue Jays have talent and the Blue Jays have players that can stroke it.

While the Jays bats have come around, they may not have to do much here tonight.  Roy Halladay goes for the Jays.  Roy is arguably the best pitcher in the American League.  He averages almost eight innings a start!  He has an ERA under three and he is four games over .500.  There isn’t much this guy can’t do.   We love him and the Jays at home tonight.

Toronto Blue Jays (-)

LA Angels at Texas Rangers

John Lackey has been on another level so far this season.  This guy hasn’t been good, this guy has been fantastic.  John does something that many pitchers don’t do and that is winning on the road.  You would be happy if your starting pitcher has a .500 mark and an ERA of 4.50 or so, on the road.  You would take that from almost every one of your starters.  Well Lackey blows those numbers out of the water.

Lackey is 4-1 on the road.  Not only is John 4-1 on the road but he has an ERA of 1.40!  He has thrown 38 road innings and allowed a total of seven runs and just six earned runs.  Those numbers are almost unfathomable.  John has almost a 4 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio both on the road and for the season.  The Angels don’t mind playing on the road.  In fact they have the best road record in all of baseball.  You don’t get that mark by being a soft baseball team.  This guy and this team is a winning proposition on the road.  Remember that good pitching shuts down good hitting.

LA Angels (-)


Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals

These two rivals have been playing some crazy games.  Tonight we like the Royals to take care of business.  A great pitching match-up tonight in Kansas City.  Mark Buehrle has been very solid for the White Sox.  His record isn’t great so far this season but his numbers are.  He is just 6-7 on the season but he has thrown 117 innings and he has an ERA under 4.00.

Zack Greinke has been special though so far this season.  He is another pitcher that is under-rated.  This guy has a ton of talent and he is putting it together.  Zack has the best record on a team that is ten games under .500.  You may not think 7-5 is all that special but for the Royals it really is.  117 innings as well for Zack and just 114 hits allowed.  When you watch this guy you will think of a young John Smoltz.  He features a 95 mph fastball and a devastating second pitch.  Look for the Royals behind their ace to get the job done here on get away day.

Kansas City Royals (-)


National League   

St. Louis Cardinals at Philadelphia Phillies

Very even game here tonight folks.  We have two teams that have similar records and similar talent and we also have two very even pitchers.  There is one glaring difference though and that is the bull-pen.  It is not as if the Cardinals have a bad bull-pen it is the fact they are overly taxed.  Last night Mark Mulder was out of the game after just 16 pitches.  It is a shame but Mulder has not been able to recover from his surgery.  It looks as if his career may be over.

St. Louis had to turn to multiple arms for multiple innings last night.  Even though the Phillies didn’t explode they still had to work hard against a top notch line-up.  We know Philadelphia hasn’t been consistent.  They still are a team that can put up double-digit runs at any-time.

Jamie Moyer goes tonight for the Phillies and he has been a god-send for Philadelphia.  It isn’t just the fact that he has seven wins, it is the fact that he actually works deep in to ball games.  He has made eighteen starts this season and has already logged 107 innings.  Jamie has been pitching in to some bad luck his last few starts.  Look for the home team to get the job done.  The line isn’t too high and it is worth jumping on.

Philadelphia Phillies (-)


San Francisco Giants at New York Mets

We hope you don’t make a crucial mistake here tonight.  We hope that you don’t think Barry Zito is back or Barry is a pitcher worth taking a gamble on.  Sure has put together a few decent starts, but come on?  It is going to take a lot more than a hot few weeks.  Just a few starts ago Barry couldn’t get out of the third inning.  He ended up throwing just two innings and allowing five hits, five runs with four walks.  This guy is just a disaster waiting to happen.

There is no pitcher in baseball that puts more base-runners on.  Even when he allows a few less hits, he still walks batters almost every other inning.  For the season Barry has accumulated 12 losses.  Barry is just four and twelve on the season and he sports an ERA near 6.00 (5.73 to be exact).  In 92 innings he has walked 54 batters and has allowed a staggering 111 hits.  Barry has been struggling for a few years’ folks.

The Mets are playing their best ball all-season right now folks.  They took care of the Phillies winning three straight and then they went on to beat Tim Lincecum and the Giants.  Zito won’t be able to hold down this offense.

New York Mets (-)


Colorado Rockies at Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are making their run folks.  They just made a big trade and they are coming for not only the division crown but the National League pennant.  Everyone speaks about hitting being contagious but so is pitching.  You better believe that it is the same with starting pitchers.  Milwaukee got a solid start from Sabathia and then Sheets took it to another level.

David Bush has been on his best streak all season.  David hasn’t been pitching well just for a start or two, his last five starts have all been real solid.  He has four quality starts out of five and is beginning to limit the home-runs that burned him earlier in the season.  David hasn’t given a home run up since June 7, 2008 and that was in Colorado.  Look for the Brewers to become the team they are looking to be.  They have to get good starts time in and time out for that to happen and it will.

Milwaukee Brewers (-)


Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs

How can you not like the Cubs tonight?  We have them in their ball park, we have them with one of their pitchers and we have them playing solid baseball.  Ted Lilly goes tonight for the Cubs.  Ted has been fantastic all-season.  Not only is he 9-5 but the Cubs have won 12 of his nineteen starts.  Don’t sneeze at 63% folks.

Ted like most pitchers has been his best at home.  He is 5-2 at home on the season.  Ted has really been locked in for a long while right now.  Since the final week of May Ted has gone out there and pitched himself deep in to ball games.  Six of his last seven starts are of the quality fashion.  His worst start was a game he won and in that game he went seven innings and allowed just four runs.  His last two starts were on the road.  Ted will have no problem pitching deep in to this game.  The Reds have a tough time against left-handed starters.  Take the Cubs they still have the magic at Wrigley.

Chicago Cubs (-)


Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals

Love the Diamondbacks to bounce back here tonight in Washington.  The main reason is because of the pitcher they send to the hill.  Danny Haren has been the Diamondbacks best pitcher.  We know that Brandon Webb is starting the all-star game, but we don’t care.

Danny hasn’t been of these guys that have feasted in their home ball park.  Sure he has been great at home, but on the road this guy has an ERA of 3.35.  In fifty one road innings he has allowed just nine walks and five home-runs.  Those are staggering numbers folks.  Overall for the season Haren has a mark of 8-5 and an ERA of 2.83.  Danny just doesn’t beat himself.  Haren is one of the rarest types of power pitchers.  He throws 92 plus MPH but he has impeccable control.  Just 20 walks all season.  A full five to one strikeout to walk ratio.

The Nationals are one of the worst offenses in the league.  They also struggle in their own ball-park.  We know that Arizona has struggled for a long time but that is due to their number three, four and five starting pitchers.  When Webb and Haren go to the hill and you get a fair price, you make sure to get on that game.  We’d be surprised to see him let him more than a run.

Arizona Diamondbacks (-)


Florida Marlins at LA Dodgers

The Dodgers are having a tough time putting together a streak.  We know that they are under .500 and we know they have been up and down all-season.  That doesn’t mean we have given up home.  We have said this time and time again but we really feel the Dodgers have the best chance of winning the National League West.  They still do have a winning mark at home.

The Marlins on the other hand are coming off a grueling series against the Padres.  They also send a starter to the mound for the first time in the 2008 season.  Josh Johnson makes his long awaited return.  Josh pitched a total of 15 innings in the 2007 season.  Josh was very good in 2006 we know that, but we aren’t at the point we can trust him.  In 2007 we know he had some arm problems but he did go 0-3 and have an ERA over 7.00.  If nothing else it shows us that he has a tough time battling.

The Marlins bull-pen has been over-worked all week.  They will have to be in the bull-pen early in this game.  Even if Josh pitches well he doesn’t have a prayer of pitching past the fifth inning.  Look for the Dodgers to win the way they always do.  They will keep the number low and they will come up with a few hits in the later innings.

LA Dodgers (-)

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SPORTS ADVISORS

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Florida Marlins (47-44) at L.A. Dodgers (45-46)

Right-hander Chan Ho Park (4-2, 2.36 ERA) will toe the slab for the Dodgers when they open a four-game home series against the Marlins. Los Angeles wrapped up a three-game series against Atlanta on Wednesday night with a 2-1 victory, improving to 7-2 in their last nine games. L.A. has won four straight series.

Right-hander Josh Johnson is scheduled to make his first start of the year for the Marlins, who head north to Los Angeles after taking two of three from the Padres in San Diego, capped by Wednesday’s 5-2 victory. Despite winning that series, Florida is just 3-4 in its last seven, all on the road.

Los Angeles is on a 4-0 run in this rivalry, having swept a three-game set at Florida from April 29-May 1 in the only other series this season between these teams.

Park, who has 20 relief appearances this year, will make just his fifth start. On Saturday at San Francisco, he yielded just one run on three hits in six innings and left with a 2-1 lead, but the bullpen couldn’t make it stand up in a 5-2 loss. In his four starts, Park has allowed just three earned runs in 21 innings (1.29 ERA).

Johnson returns to the mound for the first time since July 4, 2007, when he gave up no runs on four hits in five innings of a 1-0 loss at San Diego. A month later, he had ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow. He made only four starts last season, going 0-3 with a bloated 7.47 ERA, after going 12-7 with a 3.10 ERA in 31 appearances (24 starts) as a 22-year-old in 2006.

Park is 2-0 with a stingy 0.62 ERA in 10 appearances (two starts) at Dodger Stadium this season, but he’s a middling 4-3 with a 5.04 ERA in 14 career appearances (12 starts) against Florida. He has not pitched against the Marlins this season. Johnson is 1-1 with an inflated 9.00 ERA in two career starts against Los Angeles, facing the Dodgers twice in August 2006. He got pelted for five runs on eight hits in three innings of a 10-2 home loss, then gave up four runs on six hits in six innings of a 15-4 road victory.

The under for Los Angeles is on streaks of 13-4 overall, 9-1 at home, 13-3 at home against winning teams and 20-7 overall against winning teams. On the flip side, the over for Florida is on runs of 5-2 against the N.L. West, 12-5-1 in series openers, 36-16-6 overall and 35-17-6 on the highway. Finally, the over is 5-1 in the last six clashes in this rivalry overall and 4-0 in the last four meetings at Dodger Stadium.

ATS ADVANTAGE: L.A. DODGERS and OVER


AMERICAN LEAGUE

L.A. Angels (54-37) at Texas (48-44)

Fresh off a dramatic walk-off win over the Angels last night, the Rangers send Scott Feldman (3-3, 4.39 ERA) to the mound as they wrap up a four-game series against Los Angeles. MVP candidate Josh Hamilton smacked a two-run homer off Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez with two outs in the bottom of the ninth Wednesday night to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 victory.

Texas, which scored three runs in the ninth to win it, has won four of its last five overall and is also on streaks of 11-4 against divisional foes, 29-13 against right-handed starters, 8-3 on Thursdays and 7-1 in the fourth game of a series. The Rangers have also evened this season series at 4-4.

The Angels look to rebound from consecutive losses when they give the ball to ace John Lackey (6-2, 1.93 ERA). Los Angeles still has the best road record in baseball this season at 28-17, including 12-6 in their last 18.

After coming off the disabled list in mid-May, Lackey had been lights-out in his first nine starts of the season, posting a minuscule 1.44 ERA while going 6-1. But Toronto finally got to him Saturday, plating six runs (five earned) on eight hits in six innings as the Angels lost 7-5 at home. That snapped a five-game win streak for Lackey – during which he gave up five combined earned runs over 38 2/3 innings (1.18 ERA) – and it also marked the first time he’s gone less than seven innings this year.

Feldman, meanwhile, has been in the rotation all season, but he has nine no-decisions among his 15 appearances (13 starts). That said, he’s on his first two-game win streak of the season, following a 5-3 victory Saturday at Baltimore in which he allowed all three runs on five hits in six innings, and the Rangers have won four in a row behind the 25-year-old right-hander.

Lackey is 4-1 with a sterling 1.40 ERA in five road starts this year, and the Halos have won 16 of his last 21 outings on foreign turf. But he’s 9-8 with a 5.21 ERA in 23 career starts against the Rangers (4-5, 6.24 ERA in 12 outings in Texas). Meanwhile, Feldman, in his first year as a starter, is 1-0 with a 3.20 ERA in eight appearances (six starts) at home this season. This will be Feldman’s first career start against L.A., though he’s 0-1 with a 2.89 ERA in nine relief stints against the Angels.

The under has been the play the last two nights, but the over is still 10-4-2 in the last 16 series meetings between these rivals. However, for the Halos, the under is on streaks of 48-23-5 overall, 23-8-2 on the highway and 16-5-2 when Lackey starts (8-1-1 this year). The under is also 6-0 in Feldman’s last six starts overall, 5-1 in his last six at home and 11-1 in his last 12 on grass.

ATS ADVANTAGE: L.A. ANGELS and UNDER

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DUNKEL

NY Yankees at Pittsburgh   
The Yankees play an interleague makeup game in Pittsburgh where the Pirates will look to take advantage of New York's 3-6 record as a road favorite between -125 and -150.  Pittsburgh is the underdog pick (+125) according to Dunkel, which has the Pirates favored straight up by 1/2 a run.  Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (+125).   Here are all of today's games.

THURSDAY, JULY 10

Game 951-952: St. Louis at Philadelphia
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Looper) 15.449; Philadelphia (Moyer) 14.005
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-140); 10
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (+130); Under

Game 953-954: San Francisco at NY Mets
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Zito) 14.741; NY Mets (Maine) 17.233
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 2 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: NY Mets (-205); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (-205); Under

Game 955-956: Colorado at Milwaukee
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (De La Rosa) 14.311; Milwaukee (Bush) 15.747
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1 1/2; 11
Vegas Line: Milwaukee (-150); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (-150); Over

Game 957-958: Cincinnati at Chicago Cubs
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Arroyo) 14.048; Cubs (Lilly) 16.116
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 2; 10 1/2
Vegas Line: Chicago Cubs (-175); No Run Line
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (-175); N/A

Game 959-960: Arizona at Washington
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Haren) 14.195; Washington (Bergmann)  13.386
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1; 6
Vegas Line: Arizona (-150); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (-150); Under

Game 961-962: Florida at LA Dodgers
Dunkel Ratings: Florida (Johnson) 13.695; LA Dodgers (Park) 15.984
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 2 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-155); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-155); Under

Game 963-964: Minnesota at Detroit
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota (Slowey) 16.772; Detroit (Rogers) 15.133
Dunkel Line: Minnesota by 1 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Detroit (-115); 9
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+105); Over

Game 965-966: Seattle at Oakland
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Dickey) 14.499; Oakland (Smith) 16.084
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 1 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Oakland (-175); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-175); Under

Game 967-968: Baltimore at Toronto
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Guthrie) 15.633; Toronto (Parrish) 13.907
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 969-970: Tampa Bay at Cleveland
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Sonnanstine) 14.636; Cleveland (Laffey) 14.861
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-115); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-115); Under

Game 971-972: LA Angels at Texas
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Lackey) 14.428; Texas (Feldman) 16.140
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-145); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Texas (+135); Under

Game 973-974: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Buehrle) 14.570; Kansas City 16.182
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-105); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (-105); Under

Game 975-976: NY Yankees at Pittsburgh
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Mussina) 14.952; Pittsburgh (Maholm) 15.231
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-135); 9
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (+125); Under

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Big Al Mcmordie

Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs
Prediction: Chicago Cubs

At 2:20pm our member selection is on the Chicago Cubs over the Cincinnati Reds. Two days after their NL Central division rivals, the Milwaukee Brewers pulled off the biggest trade of the season so far by acquiring ace CC Sabathia from the Cleveland Indians, the first-place Cubs answered with a pitching acquisition of their own by nabbing 26-year-old righthander Rich Harden (along with Chad Gaudin) from Oakland in a six player deal with the Athletics. Admittedly, although Chicago probably gave up more in terms of talent than Milwaukee did, this could be a more significant trade - if Harden can stay healthy. And that's been a big IF the past few years. But since coming off the DL in early May (Harden spent most of April out-of-commission), he has been nearly unhittable, and there is no reason that he shouldn't be able to continue that level of performance, especially with a much more potent offense behind him than he had in Oakland. Harden won't get his first start with Chicago until Friday or Saturday, and this afternoon it will be Ted Lilly, who is another former American-Leaguer who has found considerable success on this team. Lilly will be going for his 10th win in this one, and it would be significant for him if he can do it before the break. Lilly seems to have his biggest problem - too many walks - under control in his last few starts and he's only surrendered five free passes in his last three trips to the mound. Lilly was cruising in his last start against the Cards, only to have closer Kerry Wood blow it for him, a rare poor outing for Wood this season as he's been solid in just about every other opportunity. Righthander Bronson Arroyo goes for Cincy and he comes off one of his worst outings ever on June 24 with two very strong starts since, but those were against two of the most anemic offenses in the Majors in the Indians and Nationals. Don't expect the Cubs to cooperate like that this afternoon. Take Chicago.

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JEFFERSONSPORTS

MLB THURS
SEATTLE+170
CHICAGO CUBS-175
MILWAUKEE-156

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Jim Feist

MIN Twins and DET Tigers
Take Under

Kevin Slowey had been red hot before his last start in which he gave up five runs to the Indians in six innings. However, Slowey still got the win, his four in a row. Before that start, Slowey had given up just three earned runs in 29 innings! Moreover, he struck out 24 batters versus just two walks. Kenny Rogers gets the start for Detroit and he has been hot and cold all season. Rogers has pitched much better of late, allowing 17 earned runs his last seven starts (48 innings). We like this pitching matchup here on Thursday and therefore will go with the UNDER in what should be a very good pitchers duel.

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Dave Cokin

COL Rockies and MIL Brewers
Take MIL Brewers

The Brewers got run over by the Rockies Wednesday, but I like Milwaukee to rebound here. Dave Bush has been surprisingly effective at home of late. Over his last six games at Miller, he's a solid 3-1, 1.93. Jorge De La Rosa has done some decent work for Colorado, but not on the road, where he's still winless on the year. The Brewers usually mash lefties pretty well, so laying the spot with Milwaukee seems like a good risk.

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Ron Raymond

Stampeders at Alouettes History: Calgary is 5-7-0 (ATS), 4-8 (SU) and the OVER is 10-2-0 since 1996 when they travel to Montréal.

The Montreal Alouettes bolted to an early lead last week vs. Winnipeg, as they were up 31-7 at halftime and looked like they had this game in cruise control. However, a different Winnipeg Blue Bombers team showed up in the second half, as they were able to cut into the lead and before you can say “bob’s your uncle”, it was 31-24! Then the turning point of the game took place late in the fourth quarter, Anthony Calvillo scampered for 16 yards on a second and 15 and drove the team for a score which put the nail in the coffin for the Bombers on that night. Calgary on the other hand, fell to their provincial rivals, they lost 34-31 in an exciting 4th Quarter, as the Stamps trailed most of the game and just when you thought they protected the lead, Ricky Ray hit Jason Tucker on a 36-yards pass in the dying minutes to secure the win. Calgary is not a good betting position this Thursday night at Molson Percival Stadium, they are 5-10-1 ATS as a Road Underdog in July. Meanwhile, the Alouettes are 7-3-0 ATS as a favorite in July since ‘96, but get this; they are only 5-5 SU! Also, from a betting perspective, the Montreal Alouettes are 17-3 SU at home after playing the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Plus, this is a great QB matchup for Week 3; Henry Burris vs. Anthony Calvillo and keep in mind, Dave Dickenson is the back up in Calgary, while Montreal counters with Banks and McPherson. 

ATSDatabase.com Stat of the Game: When MONTREAL team played as Home team as a Favorite -Vs Non Division Opponent - Coming off a game scored 38 points or more; The OVER is 9-2-1 for the Montreal Alouettes in this role since ’96.

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Karl Garrett

St. Louis at PHILADELPHIA

Early action today, and the G-Man likes the UNDER in St. Louis-Philadelphia.

The first 2 of this 3 game set have held UNDER the posted price, as the Cardinals have stayed UNDER in 3 in a row, and 4 of their last 5, while the Phillies have stayed LOW in 5 of their last 7 games.

Jamie Moyer's last 12 innings against the Cards have seen just 1 earned run score, and Moyer has been solid ball in his last couple of turns in the rotation.

Braden Looper counters off a 7 inning, 2 run, hard-luck loss to the Cubs.

Pitching is the order of the day in this one, play the UNDER.

3♦ UNDER

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Chris Jordan

Arizona at WASHINGTON

We're playing the Snakes tonight, and we're laying the run line in Washington D.C. We want to make sure Danny Haren is toeing the rubber against Jason Bergmann.

While Washington's northpaw is 1-6 on the season with a 4.15 ERA, we have Haren, who was named to his second All-Star Game and named the National League Pitcher of the Month in June.

Last month the crafy right-hander was 3-0 with a 1.32 ERA in six starts. And fact of the matter is he pitched well enough to win in the games he ended up with no decisions, and just didn't get the run support he needed.

Haren leads starters on the senior circuit with a 5.15 strikeout-to-walk ratio and is tops in fewest walks per nine innings with 1.53. And in five no-decisions this season, he has a 2.81 ERA.

Lay the run and a half in this one, as the Snakes slither their way to a solid win.

2♦ DIAMONDBACKS RUN LINE

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Bobby Maxwell

L.A. Angels -145 at TEXAS 

The Angels are coming into this one a little bitter after losing Wednesday night on a walk-off homer from the Rangers' Josh Hamilton with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Los Angeles is still 12-6 in its last 18 on the road and they've got John Lackey (6-2, 1.93 ERA) on the hill in this one and really nobody has been better over the last couple months. Lackey is 4-1 on the road with a 1.40 ERA and the Angels had won six straight starts of his until Saturday when he got bombed by the Blue Jays, giving up six runs in six innings of a 7-5 loss.

The Angels are 7-3 in his last 10 starts against Texas. They are on other runs of 10-4 as a road favorite, 8-2 against teams with a winning record and 36-16 in Lackey's last 52 starts overall, including 16-5 when Lackey starts on the highway.

Scott Feldman (3-3, 4.39) starts for the Rangers, his first career outing against the Angels.

Don't fear the chalk, play the Angels and Lackey to score an easy win tonight.

4♦ L.A. ANGELS

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Sports Gambling Hotline

NY Yankees at PITTSBURGH 

Tonight we like the Yankees and Pirates to play a LOW scoring make-up game, and stay UNDER the posted total.

The Yankees are fresh off 4 straight wins over the Red Sox and Rays, but the runs have still been hard to come by, as 3 of their last 4 games, and 8 of their last 11 overall have played UNDER the total.

Pittsburgh has played OVER the posted total in 3 of their last 4, but starter Paul Maholm has been on fire, throwing 22 innings of 6 run ball over his last 3 starts, and sports a home ERA just over 3.

Mike Mussina counters, and the Moose has worked 12 innings of 2 run ball over his last pair of starts.

We like the pitchers to contain the hitters in this one, and this interleague matchup to hold UNDER the posted total.

2♦ UNDER

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JEFF BENTON

Diamondbacks-Nationals game UNDER the total

The first two games of this series have easily gone under the total with final scores of 5-0 and 2-0. In fact, the last four meetings between these teams have stayed low, with the losing team getting shutout each time. Then again, these are two of the weakest hitting teams in baseball, so it's hardly a surprise Arizona is batting .246 on the season (including .215 on the road), while Washington has a .239 season average (.231 at home).

Then there's the two starting pitchers going in this one: Arizona's Dan Haren (8-5, 2.83 ERA) and the Nats Jason Bergmann (1-6, 4.15). Haren has the better numbers, obviously, and he's been tremendous in his last seven starts, going seven innings in six of them in six innings in the other, posting a 1.50 ERA during this stretch. But Bergmann has been damn good himself recently, giving up just five earned runs in his last four starts covering 26 innings, good for a 1.73 ERA. Bergmann's problem is his team never gives him any run support the Nats are averaging just 2.3 runs per game with Bergmann on the mound, including 2.2 in six home starts and 1.7 in the last three outings.

At the same time, Arizona has averaged less than three runs per game in Haren's eight road starts, and they've scored a total of six runs in his last three outings.

Finally, get a load of these trends: The under 15-6 in the last 21 meetings between these teams, 14-3-2 in Arizona's last 19 overall (including 5-0 in the last five), 8-0-2 in Arizona's last 10 on the road, 10-1-1 in Arizona's last 12 against right-handed starters, 10-3 in Haren's last 13 starts overall, 6-1 in Washington's last six overall, 36-17 in Washington's last 53 against a right-handed starter and 7-3 in Bergmann's last 10 overall (4-1 at home). You get the picture. Play this one UNDER.

5♦ DBacks-Nationals UNDER the total

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SCOTT DELANEY

Off an easy winner with the Dodgers, we're on a solid winning streak and will play the Brewers on the Run Line against the Rockies. And we're listing both hurlers in this one, banking on Dave Bush to outduel Jorge De La Rosa.

Bush comes in off one his best starts of the 2008 campaign, as he tossed eight solid innings and allowed just one run on four hits while fanning a season-high seven batters.

Nonetheless, he ended up with a no-decision, and there's no doubt he'll be looking to get the win here ... especially since his future role in this rotation is up in the air.

With southpaw CC Sabathia teaming with Ben Sheets to form the 1-2 punch for Milwaukee, the team also has six legit starters in the rotation, and needs only five.

Someone has to go. There's no doubt Manny Parra has a slot locked up, so that leaves two spots for three others.

Thus, Bush is ultimately playing for his spot. And he is 3-2 with a 2.87 ERA in eight starts at home, so let's play the Crew in this matinee affair, as it will support him with plenty of runs against De La Rosa who has a 4.90 ERA since returning to the starting rotation on June 14.

3♦ BREWERS RUN LINE

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Carlo Campanella

Milwaukee is a solid favorite as they host Colorado in this Thursday afternoon affair. This is one of the Brewer's STRONGEST situations, as we find them at 35-11 in the Favorite role of -150 or higher. Lay the lumber again as Milwaukee has won 4 of their last 5 games and are 6-2 at home during the last 8 played in this series.

7* Play On Milwaukee

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