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SPORTS ADVISORS

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Arizona (55-52) at L.A. Dodgers (54-53)

The Diamondbacks give the ball to right-hander Brandon Webb (14-4, 3.14 ERA) to open a four-game weekend set on the road against the Dodgers and Derek Lowe (8-8, 3.74) in a battle between the N.L. West’s top two teams.

Arizona closed out a three-game series at San Diego on Wednesday with a 7-3 victory. The DBacks have won five of their last six games, all on the highway, and they are 26-11 in Webb’s last 37 starts overall and 13-6 in Webb’s last 19 road outings. Meanwhile, the Dodgers topped the Giants 4-0 last night to remain one game behind Arizona in the N.L. West standings. Los Angeles has won five of its last six and is on runs of 6-1 at home and 7-1 with Lowe facing an N.L. West opponent.

Arizona has won five of eight meetings with L.A. this season, and the DBacks are 7-1 in Webb’s last eight starts against the Dodgers.

The Diamondbacks have won in four of Webb’s last six starts, with the 29-year-old going 3-0 with three no-decisions. On Saturday at San Francisco, he got the win after allowing three runs on four hits in seven innings of a 5-3 victory.

The Dodgers have won four in a row behind Lowe, including a 6-0 rout of Washington on Saturday in which he threw eight innings of one-hit ball. Prior to that, on July 20, Lowe and Webb faced off in Arizona, with neither pitcher getting the decision in a 6-5 Los Angeles win.

Webb is 8-3 with a solid 2.59 ERA in 13 road starts this year, and he’s 9-3 with a 2.65 ERA in 15 career starts against Los Angeles. Lowe is 6-4 with a 2.71 ERA in 11 home starts this season, but he’s 4-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 14 career outings against the DBacks.

The over has cashed in four of the last five in this rivalry, and for Arizona, the over is on runs of 9-1 on the road and 7-1 overall. On the flip side, L.A. sports under streaks of 6-1 overall, 4-0 when Lowe pitches at home and 15-5 against winning teams.

ATS ADVANTAGE: ARIZONA


AMERICAN LEAGUE

L.A. Angels (67-40) at N.Y. Yankees (59-48)

Fresh off a three-game sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway Pak, the red-hot Angels head south to Yankee Stadium, where Jon Garland (9-6, 4.30 ERA) is set to oppose veteran New York southpaw Andy Pettitte (12-7, 3.76) in the opener of a three-game weekend series.

Los Angeles capped its sweep in Boston with Wednesday’s 9-2 rout, improving to 12-2 in its last 14 games. The Halos are also 42-20 in their last 62 overall, 14-3 in their last 17 games against the A.L. East, and their 36-19 road record is the best in baseball.

New York wrapped up a three-game home series against Baltimore with Wednesday’s 13-3 victory, snapping a three-game slide that came on the heels of an eight-game winning streak that began after the All-Star break. Still, the Yankees remain on runs of 11-2 at home, 14-3 against the A.L. West and 8-2 in Pettitte’s last 10 starts.

These two teams haven’t met since last August, when L.A. took two out of three at home. However, New York is 5-1 in Pettitte’s last six home starts against the Angels.

The Angels have won their last two behind Garland, though he got beat up a bit Saturday at Baltimore, allowing five runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings in an 11-6 victory. In fact, in his last three starts, Garland has surrendered 14 earned runs in just 14 2/3 innings (9.00 ERA).

Pettitte is 9-2 with a 3.34 ERA in his last 11 starts, going at least six innings in all but one of those outings. On Saturday at Boston, he yielded three runs (one earned) on five hits in six innings of a 10-3 Yankees rout.

Garland is 6-2 with a 4.58 ERA in nine road starts this year, and he’s 3-5 with a 4.26 ERA in nine career starts against New York. Pettitte, meanwhile, is 12-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 22 career starts against Los Angeles.

The under for Los Angeles is on runs of 27-14-2 on the highway, 11-2-1 on the road against lefties, 7-1 in Garland’s last eight starts against the A.L. East and 10-3-2 in his last 15 starts overall. Meanwhile, the total has gone high in five straight for the Yanks, but the under is on runs for New York of 14-7-2 at home, 14-3 when Pettitte works at Yankee Stadium and 7-1 with Pettitte facing a winning team.

ATS ADVANTAGE:N.Y. YANKEES and UNDER


Chicago White Sox (60-46) at Minnesota (59-48)

The Twins and Scott Baker (7-3, 3.37 ERA) close out a four-game home series against left-hander John Danks (8-4, 3.18) and the White Sox at the Metrodome. Minnesota beat the White Sox on Monday and Tuesday, but Chicago bounced back with an 8-3 victory last night to snap a three-game losing streak and boost their A.L. Central lead to 1½ games over the Twins. Despite the win, the White Sox are still 8-16 in their last 24 road contests, but they’re on a 5-1 run overall behind Danks.

The Twins saw a four-game winning streak come to a halt Wednesday, but they remain on runs of 35-17 at home, 12-3 in A.L. Central play and 6-0 against lefties.

The host is on an 11-3 tear in this rivalry in 2008, with the Twins going 5-1 in their last six home games versus the ChiSox going back to 2007.

Minnesota is 5-2 in Baker’s last seven starts, including an 11-4 rout at Cleveland on Saturday, in which Baker allowed three runs on five hits in five innings. Meanwhile, Chicago has won five of Danks’ last six road starts, including a 7-6 victory at Detroit on Saturday. In that outing, Danks allowed five runs on eight hits in six innings, but still got the victory.

Baker is 3-1 with a 2.38 ERA in seven home starts this year, but he’s posted a hefty 8.44 ERA in six career starts against Chicago, going 2-2. Similarly, Danks is 5-1 with a strong 2.31 ERA in 10 road starts this year, but he’s 2-3 with an inflated 7.06 ERA in six career efforts against Minnesota.

The over has cashed in six of the last seven in this rivalry and is on additional runs of 11-2-1 for the White Sox overall, 6-1-1 for the White Sox on the road and 5-0 with Baker starting against the Chicago.

ATS ADVANTAGE:MINNESOTA and OVER

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IndianCowboy Comp

Braves +106

Braves continue to spiral in losses as they look to turn it around at home today again. Hampton continues to make his comeback for the Braves and remember, the Braves have simply gotten their butts handed to them by the Cardinals at home in this series. It seems that 65% of the public are taking the road fave here in the Cardinals. However, are they really siding with Joel Pineiro? I know the Braves are struggling, but Damn, Pineiro has given up the following hits of late:

6/27: 10 hits @ KC (8.22 era)
7/02: 11 hits (H) against Mets (7.2era)
7/08: 5 hits @ Philly (0 era)
7/13: 10 hits @ Pitt (9.54 era)
7/21: 10 hits (H) Milwaukee (4.5 era)
7/26: 10 hits @ Mets (11.25 era)

Pineiro has not faced the Braves this year. Hampton in his first start back in 4 innings gave up 8 hits and 6 runs to the Phillies at home for a 13.5 era. Horrible, yes. But, at least he is pitching again for the Braves and actually attempting to earn a paycheck. A bit surprised the total is just 10 here, if anything a lean on the Braves as well as an over. Given the Braves have stunk it up the last 2 ballgames, I think this game is likely to go the Braves and over here.

Write-up:

The Cardinals are just 1-6 when Pineiro is favored by this margin and the home team is 18-7 when Nelson is behind the plate. I believe the Braves losing streak ends today.

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The Hitman Guaranteed Selections

5000 LARGE PERFECT DIAMOND BLOWOUT WINNER
Philadelphia w/Kendrick -125

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Locksmith Sports

1 Unit on D-backs/Dodgers OVER 6.5

I know we have a couple solid pitchers on the mound here but oddsmakers have dipped too low with this line.  The Over is 6-0 in Diamondbacks last 6 games as a favorite, 8-1 in Diamondbacks last 9 road games, and 6-1 in Diamondbacks last 7 overall.  The Over is also 4-1 in Webb's last 5 starts overall.  The Over is 5-1 in Lowe's last 6 starts vs. National League West and 4-1 in Dodgers last 5 series openers.  Take the OVER.

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Stephen Nover

Chicago Cubs @ Milwaukee Brewers 
PICK: Chicago Cubs

It's bad enough for the Milwaukee Brewers that they have been outscored 20-7 in dropping the first three games at home in their big series against the Cubs.

But what also isn't good for the Brewers is the Cubs have exposed Milwaukee's middle of the lineup vulnerability. The Brewers are batting .239 with runners in scoring in position on the season. They are three-for-60 during the last eight games with men in scoring position.

A big part of the problem are the No. 5, 6 and 7 hitters - Corey Hart, Bill Hall and Mike Cameron. Hart is overrated, while Hall and Cameron are unclutch free swingers, who strike out a lot and don't do the necessary things to win games.

These guys are OK when facing mediocre pitching. They have power. But they can be stopped cold by good pitchers. The Brewers couldn't score on Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster. Now they draw Rich Harden, the best of the bunch.

Harden has allowed two runs and eight hits in three starts for the Cubs, spanning 17 1/3 innings. He has 10 strikeouts and a 1.04 ERA. He's difficult to back, however, unless you like to lay huge chalk, which I don't. Backing an overpriced pitcher is not the way to make money long-term.

In this matchup, though, Harden isn't being priced unfairly. This isn't too high of a price to get such a premier pitcher, especially when his mound opponent is David Bush and the Brewers are reeling.

Bush is a No. 5 type pitcher, which he is with the Brewers. Actually he's a 5 1/2 since the Brewers are rotating him in the fifth spot with Seth McClung. Bush is 1-6 lifetime against the Cubs with a 4.88 ERA in nine career starts.

Bush is going to have to deal with a resurgent Alfonso Soriano, who is nine-for-17 in his last four games with seven runs scored and five RBI's. The Cubs are the best team in the National League when Soriano, a streak player, is hot like he is now. 

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Lee Kostroski

Chicago White Sox @ Minnesota Twins
PICK: Minnesota Twins

The Twins are 9-2 in the last eleven games against left-handed starters and the two games they lost were a tough game against the AL’s best pitcher so far this season Cliff Lee, and a game against Boston that they led until the late innings. Even though the Twins have much better numbers overall against right-handers the recent lineup adjustments have proved effective against southpaws and Minnesota won the first two games of this series against the White Sox facing left-handed pitchers.

Although he has just seven wins Scott Baker has emerged as the top pitcher in the rotation for Minnesota. Baker has allowed more than three runs just twice this season and in home games he is featuring a 2.38 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. Baker has an over 5:1 strikeout to walk ratio and opposing batters are hitting just .214 against him at the Metrodome. Baker also beat the White Sox with a solid performance in his lone outing against them this season.

John Danks started the season with incredible numbers for the White Sox but he has allowed 15 runs in his last three starts. Chicago is just 7-16 in the last 23 road games and Minnesota features an outstanding home field advantage, winning 35 of the past 51 games. Chicago is hitting just .247 in the last ten games against right-handed pitching while the Twins have seen a great increase in recent results against lefties, hitting .284 over the last ten games.

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FRANKS ROSENTHAL

951 CUBS-135 SB
UNDER 7.5 SB
953 ROCKIES OVER 9.5 SB
956 BRAVES OVER 9.5 SB
959 AZ-105 SB
961 TIGERS-140 SB+
967 CWS+110 SB

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Dwayne Bryant

Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins -116

I'm giving the Twins a chance to redeem themselves after last night's loss. Last night's loss was Minnesota's first loss in five home meetings with Chicago this season.

Chicago's John Danks is 2-3 with 7.06 ERA in six career starts versus the Twins and 1-1 with an 8.78 ERA in three outings in 2008 - all at home. Justin Morneau, who's 4-for-10 with seven RBIs in the series, is 6-for-13 with two doubles, two homers and five RBIs lifetime versus Danks. Fellow Minnesota All-Star Joe Mauer is 6-for-10 against Danks.

Minnesota's Scott Baker is 5-1 with a 3.00 ERA over his last seven starts. Baker owns a solid 2.38 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and .239 OOBP in seven home starts this season. Baker has received 6.1 runs per game in support during his night starts this season.

The White Sox are 6-20 in their last 26 road games vs. a team with a home winning percentage of greater than .600. The Twins are 6-0 in their last 6 home games vs. a left-handed starter. The Twins are also 17-4 in their last 21 games at The Metrodome. The Twins are also 10-4 in Baker's last 14 starts as a favorite of -110 to -150.

Take Minnesota

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Black Widow Sports

1* on L.A. Angels +155

The Angels continue their east coast trip tonight into New York after sweeping the Red Sox in three games. The Angels are a resilient team that still has something to prove in this series. Adding Mark Teixeira to their lineup will only enhance a lineup that is already one of the best in baseball. John Garland is 3-0 in his last 3 starts against the Yankees dating back to last year. He won’t be phased tonight. Garland is 6-2 with a solid 4.58 ERA in nine road starts this year. The Angels have won 10 of their last 12 ball games overall. Garland is 13-3 (+12.2 Units) against the money line against AL East opponents over the last 2 seasons. The Angels are 23-6 (+19.5 Units) against the money line on the road when the total is 8.5 to 10 this season. There’s no way in hell the Angels should be this hefty of an underdog tonight. Take the Angels on the Money Line.

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Craig Trapp

Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Play: Chicago Cubs   

Really like the Cubs today! Harden since coming over from Oakland has pitched wonderfully unfortunately he has not got the results to show for it. Harden (0-1, 1.04 ERA) has allowed two earned runs and eight hits in 17 1-3 innings over three starts since being traded to Chicago from Oakland on July 8. He's struck out 10 in each contest, and gave up a run and two hits in five innings of a 3-2, 12-inning loss to Florida on Saturday. The Cubs have dominated MIL at there own place going back for year now. In this series the Cubs have outscored the Brewers 20-7 and look for their first four-game sweep in Milwaukee since May 12-15, 2003. Look for them to give Harden his first win as a CUB take CHI. 

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MICHAEL CANNON

Chicago White Sox at MINNESOTA -125 

Take the Minnesota Twins for the home win tonight over the White Sox.

There's bound to be some degree of distraction for the White Sox tonight after news that they obtained Ken Griffey Jr. in a trade

Plus the Twins are playing pretty good baseball and I like what Scott Baker has done so far this year.

The right-hander is 7-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 16 games, including a 2-1 mark with a 3.60 ERA in his last three.  Baker beat the White Sox in his only start against them this season.

John Danks will take the mound for the ChiSox and he's been the beneficiary of some good offense.  The left-hander is 2-0 in his last three starts despite a 7.13 ERA.

Danks has started three games against the Twins this year going 1-1 with an 8.78 ERA.

Take the Twins as they grab the home win.

3♦ MINNESOTA

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Tom Freese

Chicago at Minnesota

Chicago starter John Danks is in awesome KW form with a 8-1 strikeout to strikeout to walk ratio in his last 3 starts. The White Sox are 38-15-3 UNDER as road dogs of +110 to +150 and they are 21-10 UNDER their last 31 road games vs. righty starters. The Pale Hose are 9-2 UNDER with John Danks vs. winning teams. Minnesota starter Scott Baker is in excellent KW form with a better than 4 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio in his last 3 starts. The Twins are 5-2 UNDER in the last 7 home starts made by Baker. PLAY ON 'UNDER' Chicago at Minnesota

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King Creole

3 KEY Home Plate Umpire O/U Tendencies

Last night's play on the Diamonds from King Creole was "UNDER" 8.5 runs in the Cubs-Brewers game. We looked pretty good all game until a meaningless solo HOME RUN in the bottom of the 9th inning turned our winner into a 1/2 run LOSER.

WALLY BELL will be behind the dish in the CLEVELAND / DETROIT game on Thursday afternoon. His YTD record is very strong at 3-14-3 O/U overall. Average runs scored in his games for the year is only 7.3. He's gone 1-4 O/U in his last 5.... a PERFECT 0-4-2 O/U in American League games... 1-6 O/U in 'Righty vs Righty' pitching matchups.

Old Friend DOUG EDDINGS will be going in the MILWAUKEE / CHICAGO game on Thursday afternoon. Although only 8-13-1 O/U on the year, he is historically a top-notch "UNDER" Umpire. His best situations for low-scoring results throughout his career have been in National League games (23-46-5 O/U last 5 years).... and in "Righty vs Righty' pitching matchups (26-49-4 O/U last 5 years).

On Thursday night, JEFF NELSON will be behind the dish in the ST LOUIS / ATLANTA game. YTD record stands at a solid 7-15-1 O/U with an average of only 7.6 combined RPG. In the "what have you done for me lately" department, we note that he has gone 1-7 O/U in his last 8 games. His record in the last 1.5 seasons is 11-30-3 O/U and 5-13-1 O/U in "RH vs LH" pitching matchups. In the last 3 years, the record stands at 23-51-4 O/U and 12-23-2 O/U in "RH vs LH" pitching matchups.

Those are the three KEY Umpires who are going on Thursday from a TOTALS perspective. Now, there are OTHER factors when we handicap a Baseball game.... and they are going the other way. For instance,ALL 6 of these teams are on pretty solid "OVER" runs going into Thursday's action. And 4 of the starting pitchers going today are in pretty shaky current form (Pineiro / Hampton / Velander / and Carmona). Despite solid UNDER tendencies on Thursday, we're better off exercising some caution.

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Wise Guy Insider     

QUADRUPLE DIME BASEBALL WINNER
NY Yankees w/Pettitte -159

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Seabass

30* Det/Clev Under
50* ARI/LAD Over
100* Cubs/Brewers Over
100* Fla

Insider 100* Twins

CFL 50* Brit. Columbia

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LT Profits

Florida Marlins -120

The Florida Marlins just took two out of three games from the New York Mets, and we look for them to continue their winning ways at home tonight vs. a Colorado Rockies team that struggles on the road.

This game also marks the return of Anibal Sanchez, who was off to a great start last season before getting shut down and needing shoulder surgery. Sanchez was a highly regarded prospect that appeared to be fulfilling his potential, and if he is anywhere close to what he was, he would certainly be another boost to a rotation that also got the promising Josh Johnson back recently.

The Marlins sure picked a great spot for Sanchez to return, as the Rockies ate 18-38 on the road while averaging just 3.77 runs per game and hitting a modest .249 as a team, This is bad news for starter Jorge de la Rosa, who needs all the help he can get considering his poor 6.20 ERA and 1.56 WHIP for the season.

The Marlins are still in the thick of the National League East race despite having the lowest payroll in baseball, and they have to win winnable games like this if they want to continue to be taken seriously.

Pick: Marlins -120


Chicago White Sox +105

The Chicago White Sox maintained their first place lead over the Minnesota Twins with a big win here last night, and we look for them to open up a three-game lead in the loss column with another triumph tonight.

John Danks of the White Sox is 8-4 with a nice 3.18 ERA overall, and for whatever reason, he has done his best pitching on the road. Danks is a sparkling 5-1 with a 2.31 ERA in 10 road starts, with a stellar 1.09 WHIP in 62.1 innings. It also helps that he has the support of a White Sox bullpen that ranks sixth in the majors with a collective 3.34 ERA.

Now we love Twins starter Scott Baker, and he will be a stud in this league for a long time. However, he does not have a vast pitching edge over Danks here, nor does he have as good a bullpen behind him. It also hurts that we feel that the White Sox are the better overall team in general, and we expect them to continue their statement from last night here by preventing the Twins from closing the gap in the division again.

The White Sox are now 6-2 in the last eight head-to-head meetings, which has helped Chicago put themselves in the position they are in, and we expect them to make it 7-2 as small underdogs tonight.

Pick: White Sox +105

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John Ryan

St Louis Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves
 
Ai Simulator 3* graded play on Atlanta - Supporting this graded play is a system that has produced a record of 81-48 making 52.2 units since 2002. Play against road favorites with a money line of -110 or higher with an overused bullpen that pitches more than 3.2 innings per game and starting a pitcher who walked <=1 hitters each of his last 2 outings. The average play has been +123.7 and once again shows you a system that reinforces an AiS graded DOG. So far this week my plays have gone 6 wins and 7 losses, BUT have made 1.98 units in profits. As I always draw an analogy to Black Jack, my plays are like playing BJ and being paid +1.30 for every winning hand. Over the past several weeks I have made 12.64 units with 5* monster plays and 87% of them have been dogs. Not only is the methodology to make profits in MLB and NHL money line sports, but it also saves you a ton of dough on the days that the DOGS don?t win. So, this week you are paying just half the regular price and still making a nice tidy sum. Cardinals starter Pineiro has yielded 30 hits in his last 3 starts spanning 15.7 IP. His WHIP is a horrid 2.234 over this span. Mike Hampton has made just 1 start this season against Philadelphia and his first since the 2005 season. Pineiro has been getting leads, but not holding them. And that's a problem. He's been ahead at some point in 15 of his starts, and yet he has only picked up three wins. Take Atlanta to win and prevent a 4 game sweep.

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PRICELESS PICKS

1 Unit on St. Louis Cardinals -110

St. Louis is 12-3 against the money line when playing against a team with a losing record in the second half of the season this season and 9-1 against the money line vs. terrible speed teams - averaging 0.35 or less SB's/game in the second half of the season this season.  Atlanta is 1-9 against the money line in home games when playing against a good team (Win Pct. 54% to 62%) in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons and 4-17 (-17.6 Units) against the money line with a struggling bullpen whose ERA is over 6.00 the last 15 games over the last 3 seasons.  Dealing away Mark Teixeira is a big blow to this struggling team.  Take the Cards tonight.

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Jeff Benton

We will back the Cardinals to complete a four-game sweep at Atlanta.

Clearly, the Braves have packed it in for 2008. Not only did they just trade their best power hitter in Mark Teixeira, but their best pure hitter (Chipper Jones) is on the disabled list, and their No. 1 pitcher (Tim Hudson) is probably done for the year with an elbow injury. All the while, Atlanta has lost five straight games, giving up a whopping 49 runs during the skid.

Though the first three games of this series, the Cardinals have outscored Atlanta 27-8, as they?ve now beaten the Braves five straight times dating to last season. Tonight, St. Louis hands the ball to Joel Pineiro, who has really struggled of late, yet the Cardinals are still 4-1 in his last five starts, including 3-0 on the road. And no matter how much Pineiro?s been scuffling, I'll still take him over Mike Hampton, who is making just his second start in nearly three years.

How did Hampton's first outing go? He lasted just four innings on Sunday in Philadelphia, giving up six runs (all earned) on eight hits, with Atlanta losing 10-9.

In a nutshell, folks, we've got two teams going in completely opposite directions, and to get St. Louis at this kind of a cheap price is too good to pass up.

4&#9830; ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

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