Friday Service Plays

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TOM FREESE

10* PITCHING MISMATCH!

DIAMONDBACKS

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SCOTT SPREITZER

ROAD WARRIOR WIPEOUT

DIAMONDBACKS

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MARC LAWRENCE

Never Lost MLB Game Of The Month

DIAMONDBACKS

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Wunderdog

Los Angeles Angels at Cleveland
Pick: Game Total OVER 8

The Cleveland Indians did almost nothing for most of the season, but they certainly have come alive over the last 19 games where they have averaged 5.6 runs a game. The Indians seem like a team really swinging the bats, and they are, but not compared to what this Angels' offense has been producing over their last 19 games. The Angels have scored 133 runs or seven per game, so combined these teams have been scoring at the rate of 12.6 runs a game for the last three weeks. We have two of the hottest offenses in baseball right now playing to a total of eight runs. It is quite possible to see one of these teams reach that total on their own, so we will play the OVER in this one.

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Greg Shaker

Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers
Play:Rangers -106

Playing Major League Baseball games is not all about who is stepping onto the mound first and if it were, this would be an easy sport to handicap. Sometimes it is just like buying real estate. Location, location, location. We are in Arlington Texas tonight where some houses sell for one million dollars and we are at a place where the Texas Rangers like to play. This team is money here at this park and has been so for a very long time. In fact, over the last 12 years, they are Best Money Team in the American League when playing at home. This year, they have have been very competitive again and you will not get the Rays Thrower tonight to argue about that. While he has had some success verses the Rangers, he did not fair well earlier this year at this park. This Texas Team is Taylormade for this Park and they are especially terror verses righthanded throwers. They have maintained a .309 batting average verses righties here and they can score a lot of runs. They have to be super happy to be back in a situation that they love to be in. While they have no chance to go playoffing, they will like being in the limelight tonight, and eating some of the best beef brisket in the world. As good at Tampa Bay is, they are just soso when they travel at 2 games below .500 and this is one of the places where travel to the poorest. Matt Garza was a Homer at Minnesota, and he is a Homer this year as well. His Road numbers are well below par with an ERA of 5.37 and poor Innings/Hits Ratios. He has allowed 12 Dingers while flying across this country and the last time I checked, this is a very friendly park for those type of happenings. I am certainly not here to say that TB will not plate some runs tonight against the team that has the worst Pitching Staff in all of Baseball. We could easily see a ton of runs scored tonight. The Rays are hearing some VERY LOUD Hoofs coming at them from up East. The Rangers are just having fun and I think they will tonight, as TB continues to travel to strange places. The recent play of Texas gives us a nice betting line here, and I will grab it hard with my Texas BBQ stained fingers..

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Jeff Alexander Sports

1 Unit on Detroit Tigers -153

The Orioles are 1-5 in the last 6 meetings in Detroit and 2-7 in the last 9 meetings and they have shown very little ability against lefty pitching this season.  The Orioles are just 17-35 in their last 52 games vs. a left-handed starter.  That gives the Tigers a big edge with Robertson on the hill.  The Tigers are 23-9 in their last 32 vs. a team with a losing record, 6-1 in Robertson's last 7 starts vs. a team with a losing record, and 13-4 in Robertson's last 17 home starts vs. a team with a losing record.  Detroit has been a much better home team this season and I like the Tigers to take care of business tonight.

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Re: Friday Service Plays

Matty O'Shea

BOS (-105) vs TOR

Toronto's Roy Halladay hasn't struggled against many teams during his career, but the Red Sox are certainly one of them.  Halladay is 10-11 lifetime vs. Boston with a 4.66 ERA, and the Blue Jays have also lost two of his last three starts overall.  Meanwhile, newly acquired Red Sox starter Paul Byrd is 4-3 lifetime vs. Toronto with an impressive 2.86 ERA, including a complete-game victory last time out on Saturday with Cleveland.  The Indians had won Byrd's last four starts before he was dealt, as he allowed only four runs in a combined 29 innings.  Look for the Red Sox to back their new teammate in this one and bet them as my Single Dime AL Underdog Play O' the Day.

Please note: Line movement has made the Sox a slight favorite here, but that doesn't change my mind on the play.  In fact, I believe this is just another indicator that we're on the right side.


TEX (-110) vs TAM

The Rays have been one of the hottest teams in baseball, winning 12 of their last 15 games.  However, all three of their losses during that stretch came in series openers.  That obviously is the scenario here at Texas following a thrilling 7-6 victory in 12 innings on Thursday.  Meanwhile, the Rangers have dropped seven of their last eight games but return home with an opportunity to bust their slump and get back over the .500 mark.  They will be hoping to take advantage of Tampa's Matt Garza, who has surrendered nine runs in 10.2 innings over his last two starts.  Garza is 3-5 in 11 road starts with a 5.37 ERA, so I'll continue to fade him again away from home here.  Bet the Rangers as my Single Dime AL Favorite Play O' the Day.

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Black Magic Sports

1 Unit on St. Louis Cardinals -108

I’ll take the Cardinals over the Reds at nearly even money every time in this spot with the NL Central and Wild Card races on the line.  The Cards just took 3 out of 4 games from the Marlins, and they’re not about to have a letdown against the Reds Friday.  Cincinnati is 2-7 in their last 9 games overall.  Brad Thompson has been solid for the Cardinals with a 2.87 ERA through three starts this season.  The Reds are scoring 3.9 runs/game against righty starters while the Cards are scoring 5.1 runs/game against right-handers this season.  Cincinnati is 4-14 in home games after batting .240 or worse over a 15 game span this season.  The Reds are 1-10 in home games with an on base percentage of .300 or worse over their last 15 games this season.  St. Louis is playing for much more than pride tonight, which is more than the Reds can say.  Cash in with the Cardinals as the favorite.

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Charlies Sports

Raiders / Titans Under 35 (500*)

Titans -4 (30*)

Boston -115 (20*)

Reds -150 (20*)

Cubs +115 (10*)

Texas -110 (10*) free play

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Re: Friday Service Plays

Lenny Del Genio

Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans
Prediction: Oakland Raiders

With all the positive things we're hearing out of Raiders camp, it makes taking the points that much more attractive in tonight's preseason tilt in Tennessee. The Silver and Black boast quite possibly the deepest RB corps in the AFC with #4 DC Darren McFadden, last year's starter Justin Fargas and Michael Bush, the former Louisville standout, who if not for injury, would have been a Top 10 Pick in the draft two years ago. Bush is drawing rave reviews in camp and from last week's opponent, San Francisco, whom they beat 18-6. Lots of folks might be on the Titans bandwagon following a 34-point outburst in the opener vs. St. Louis, but Oakland can match them in terms of rushing yards (see above). Take note that these two teams combined for 588 yards rushing in their respective preseason openers. Tennessee wants to try and open up the playbook more with Vince Young after he threw just six passes last week. We don?t like the sound of that. Take Oakland.

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Ben Burns

Arizona Diamondbacks at Houston Astros
Prediction: Arizona Diamondbacks

With all due respect to Wandy Rodriguez, who has been quite good to me in recent seasons, this is a pitching mismatch. While Rodriguez is certainly capable, Webb has been one of the best in game for several years now. That's certainly been the case again this season. Looking at Webb's last three starts and we find that he's gone 3-0 with an awesome 1.17 ERA. He averaged nearly eight innings per start in those games and didn't allow more than any a single earned run in any of them. Looking back further and we find that he's now allowed three earned runs or less in seven straight starts and that's pitched a minimum of six complete innings in 10 straight starts. Oh yeah, his 17 wins (17-4 record) are the most in the majors. For the season, Webb has a 2.46 ERA on the road and a 2.63 ERA when pitching underneath the lights.

On the other hand, Rodriguez has an ugly 7.71 ERA his last three starts. While he's been well known as someone who thrives when pitching at home, he got rocked in his last start here. In that outing (vs. Cincinnati on 7/30) he gave up nine hits and six earned runs in 4 2/3 innings. Rodriguez took the loss in that game as the Astros fell by a score of 9-6. While Rodriguez has a 4.50 ERA in four career appearances vs. the Diamondbacks, Webb is 4-1 with a 1.75 ERA in seven starts against the Astros. Webb pitched a minimum of six innings in all seven of those starts and didn't allow more than two runs in any of them. Despite the pitching mismatch, the Diamondbacks, who won six of those games, remain reasonably priced, due to this game being played at Houston. Consider ARIZONA

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LARRY NESS

Chicago White Sox @ Oakland Athletics
PICK: Chicago White Sox

The White Sox and A's have met six times this year and despite the fact that all six games have been played in Chicago, the White Sox have only managed to split the six contests. Considering that the White Sox are a rather pathetic 6-24 in Oakland since the start of the 2002 season, should the play here be on the A's? I think not. The A's are in a complete "free-fall" these days, having lost 23 of their last 27 games, to fall a staggering 20 1/2 games behind the Angels in the AL West. Meanwhile, the White Sox enter this game 68-52, one game up on the Twins in the AL Central and an impressive 9 1/2 games up on the Tigers, who were the division-favorites at the start of the season. Of course, Chicago has been a much better home team (42-19) than road one (26-33) in '08 but then again, the White Sox are playing the A's. Gavin Floyd (12-6, 3.84 ERA) has been one of the team's most consistent starters in '08 and despite struggling in his last four outings (23 IP / 29 hits / 14 ERs / 5.48 ERA), the White Sox have gone 4-0. He'll be opposed by lefty Dallas Braden, who hasn't seen much work in '08. He made just nine relief appearances prior to his first start of '08 (July 22) and has sandwiched two excellent outings around two poor ones. Braden is 3-2 with a 4.62 ERA in his 13 appearances this year and don't forget, was 1-8 with a 6.72 ERA in 20 appearances (14 starts) last year as a rookie (A's were 5-9 in those starts). No real reason to take the A's, so I'll stick with Floyd and the White Sox on Friday night.

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Re: Friday Service Plays

Stephen Nover

Tampa Bay Rays @ Texas Rangers 
PICK: Over

Despite a nine-run second inning, last night's Rangers-Red Sox game did not go 'over' 10 1/2 runs. It's just another reminder that the Texas Rangers are the most bizarre team in baseball.

The reason the game didn't go 'over' was because Texas failed to score a run. Don't look for that to happen tonight at the launching pad known as the Ballpark in Arlington.

The Rangers are the No. 1 scoring team in the majors, averaging 5.64 runs. They are facing a Rays squad that is without injured closer Troy Percival and is starting Matt Garza.

Garza is not a good road pitcher as evidenced by his 5.37 away ERA. He's not in good form either, allowing nine runs in his last 10 2/3 innings.

The Rangers, though, give away whatever they score. They have the worst ERA in the majors at 5.45. Their bullpen, extremely weak to begin with, just got destroyed at Boston. The Red Sox torched the Rangers for 37 runs in sweeping three games.

The Rays should score their share of runs off Texas even without injured Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria. Kevin Millwood is due to come off the DL to start for Texas.

He had an 8.78 ERA in his three previous starts before going on the DL because of a groin injury. His ERA on the season is right in line with the other Texas pitchers at 5.40. The Rangers wanted to give Millwood another minor league rehab stint, but were unable to do so because of injuries to their other big-league pitchers. This tells me Millwood probably isn't fully ready yet and could be on a pitch count.

That means the Texas bullpen - and another high-scoring affair. 

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BRYAN LEONARD

Tampa Bay Rays @ Texas Rangers
PICK: Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are short handed right now with two key starters on the DL, but the Rangers will be without starting outfielder Josh Hamilton who is attending to his pregnant wife. Considering that Texas needs to score in bunches to compete, Tampa Bay has the edge tonight.

The Rangers will be sending veteran Kevin Millwood to the hill. Needless to say he has been terrible in his last six starts. The journeyman has allowed 24 earned runs in his last 28.1 innings of work. That's not good news for this atrocious Texas bullpen, especially when you consider how bad they have been overworked as of late. The last six games Rangers starters have gone 1.2, 4, 2.2, 5, 4 and 3 innings. That's way to much to ask of any bullpen let along one with this many problems.

The Rangers have dropped seven of eight going into tonight and they have to face off against Matt Garza. Garza has gone 11 straight starts of five innings or better, and it's the third time he has faced Texas this season. The Ray's starting rotation has gone at least five full innings in seven straight games. The bullpen is in fine shape despite the injury to Percival last night. In a game where the bullpens will likely hold the key Tampa has a huge edge in tonight's matchup.

PLAY TAMPA BAY

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Re: Friday Service Plays

Jeff Scott Sports

4 UNIT PLAY 

Phialdelphia -129 over SAN DIEGO

The Phillies are 7-1 in Moyers last 8 starts when their opponent allows 2 runs or less in their previous game and 5-1 in his last 6 starts vs. a team with a losing record, while the Padres are 2-9 in their last 11 home games vs. a left-handed starter and 14-40 in their last 54 vs. a team with a winning record. The Phillies have really played well in this ballpark, going 12-3 in their last 15 at Petco. Jamie Moyer looks to keep the dominance in this series going and hes has been good for the Phils this year, going 10-7 with a 3.41 ERA overall, including a 6-3 mark with a 3.05 ERA on the road. Jamie is also 2-0 with a 3.95 ERA in 2 career starts at Petco. Greg Maddux gets the ball for the Pads and he is 6-8 with a 4.12 ERA overall, including a 3-3 mark with a 2.73 ERA at home. The Philly offense has been struggling a bit lately as they come in scoring 3.7 rpg in their last 7 games, but they still score 4.9 rpg on the road and they like hitting at Petco as they have scored 6.7 rpg in their last 9 games there. The Padres have scored 5.1 rpg in their last 7 games, but that number is still a bit inflated due to the Series in Colorado. Since that road trip the Pads have come home to score just 2 rpg in their 3 home games, plus in their last 9 at home this team has put up just 1.2 rpg. The Pads have been horrible at home lately, going 5-18 in their last 23 at Petco and I feel the Phils offense will come alive enough to avoid losing their 5th in a row for the 1st time in over 8 weeks. Go Phils.

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Re: Friday Service Plays

Info Plays

3* on Dbacks/Astros OVER 8

Play Over - Road teams against the total (ARIZONA) - with a starting pitcher whose winning percentage is better than 70%, with a hot starting pitcher- ERA less than 2.00 over his last 3 starts.  This is a 68-29 OVER System hitting 70.1% (+37.0 Units) over the last 5 seasons.  Both of these offenses are improved, with the Diamondbacks adding Adam Dunn and the Astros winning 8 straight games heading into action tonight.  This one will easily climb OVER the 8-run total by the end of the 7th inning.  Bet the OVER 8 runs Friday.

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BOB AKMENS

20* TEXAS +100

10* WASHINGTON +105

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Sean Michaels

25 DIME PLAY

CLEVELAND INDIANS

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O.C. Dooley

“2 UNIT” FOOTBALL INTANGIBLE

Raiders +4

The “intangibles” actually go against a Tennessee team that on the scoreboard routed the Rams in week one (34-14 final score).  But my research indicates that there are several reasons why the Titans looked so good a week ago, which has caused them to be overpriced this evening.  I found out that Tennessee players were upset after being told that the Rams manhandled them in 2 days of “joint practice” sessions which gave the Titans some extra added energy.  In addition last week marked the return of long-time Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse to an organization where he ended up making 3 different trips to the Pro Bowl.  Kearse was actually the last player introduced and received a long ovation from the Tennessee fans who remember him at the peak of his career.  It remains to be seen as to whether Kearse can regain his former glory as he was recently cut from the Philadelphia roster.  As we saw last night in Philadelphia, the “scrubs” who frequent the second-half of these early preseason contests have a big say to the eventual outcome.  Even though the Titans won big on the scoreboard last week against a St. Louis team attempting to shake off a disastrous 3-13 campaign, it must be noted that there are still huge question marks about how this team can gain yards in the air.  During the late stages of last week’s contest, Tennessee’s reserve wideouts not only failed to distinguish themselves in what is a muddled situation, they kept DROPPING PASSES at an alarming rate.  That brings me to the subject of Tennessee INJURIES as starting wide receiver Justin McCareins continues to be slowed by a hamstring injury.  Meanwhile another wideout Roydell Williams is still trying to shake off the effects of offseason knee suregery, while tight end Dwayne Blakley (groin) is also not 100%.  I personally question the “lack” of depth that the Titans have with their receivers and tonight they have ot deal with a Raiders defense that allowed only SIX points in week one.  Not only did Oakland’s defense pitch a gem in week one, they did it against a San Francisco offense that right now has a three-way race going on for the starting quarterback position.  Getting back to Tennessee’s offense for a moment, they ranked dead LAST a year ago in the entire NFL in “red zone” efficiency as this team constantly had to settle for field goals.  Last weekend the Tennessee first-unit led by starting quarterback Vince Young ended up being STALLED in a drive that went down to the opponent’s FIVE yard line.  That is potentially bad news for the Titans tonight as the oddmsakers are asking them to lay more than a field goal.  Another of the many reasons why I am not going to overeact to Tennessee’s 34-14 home romp last week is because they were facing a Rams team that was without star running back Steven Jackson who is currently a contract holdout.  I was personally very impressed with Oakland’s opening week victory where the defense held an opponent to LESS than a touchdown.  What really caught my attention was the Raiders DEPTH at running back as the team ended up rambling for 248 yards on the ground.  As mentioned earlier in this analysis segment, what the “scrubs” do in the late stages of preseason games has a lot to do with the outcome.  I was very impressed by Michael Bush who ran for an Oakland touchdown in his initial appearance after more than 23 months of rehabilitation for a major knee injury.  This is the same Micheal Bush who led the NCAA back in 2005 with 23 touchdowns as a member of Louisville.  Due to that knee injury, he fell all the way to round #4 of the NFL dtaft.  Basically Bush knows that the only way he is going to make a professional roster is by doing the little things correctly.  Last week Bush successfully CONVERTED 4 of 5 short yardage attempts for first-downs  Not only did Bush run for 27 yards on the ground, he had 29 yards RECEIVING which tells me that Oakland has a late-game offensive threat that can help them cover the spread.  Of course the big news in Oakland is #1 round draft pick Darren McFadden who in his debut ran for 48 yards on 12 carries.  If Oakland can somehow generate an effective ground attack, that will take the pressure on another #1 round draft pick in JaMarcus Russell who a year ago at this time was holding out for a big contract.  In his rookie season Russell played in only 4 games, so I do not mind Oakland’s INTENSE head coach Lane Kiffin being a bit conservative in play calling for this kid.  Last week I was impressed by reserve quarterback Andrew Walter who completed 10-of-12 pass attempts and also threw for a touchdown.  To make a long story short, Walter is in the final year of his contract and needs to be impressive in what many call these meaningless preseason affairs.  Another factor that caught my attention last week for Oakland was undrafted free-agent Louis Rankin who ripped off a 72 YARD touchdown run and led all rushers  The bottom line is that the underdog Raiders have enough capable “late game” performers that can help cover tonight’s spread.

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