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Saturday Service Plays

Saturday Service Plays

Tony George

Indianapolis Colts vs. Atlanta Falcons    
Play: Atlanta Falcons   

Look for QB Chris Redman to get the start this weekend against the Colts and plenty of playing time. We all know the Colts take the pre-season very lightly with Dungy as head coach,(0-2 this year) and with QB issues with Manning still out, a potential for no preseason looming for him, I doubt Sorgi will see much more than 4 or 5 series until the role at QB is turned over. Atlanta is trying to establish a winning attitude with numerous young players with depth at QB in terms of the preseason is better on the Falcons side of the ball, with Redman, top draft pick Matt Ryan and Joey Harrington, all vieing still for the job.

The Falcons had 23 first downs in their preseason opener against Jacksonville and threw for 228 yards, while allowing just 129 yards through the air on defense. The red zone numbers were 1 for 3 in missed opportunties, and they suffered a 3 point loss. I look for them at home to get it at home going against the 0-2, injury hampered Colts. Having 10 penalties for 80 yards and 4 turnovers had the Falcons coaching staff in a bad mood after a loss to Carolina, but that is somewhat expected in a week 1 preseason game with a new staff in place and lots of young players. This is also the Colts thrid straight road game, opening up in the Hall of Fame game on an nuetral site, which does play inot the mix here as a grueling camp has wound down and they take to the road again. I look for a supreme effort from Atlanta and QB Redman as well as Matt Ryan in this one, and with both potential starters in there, the first teamers for Atlanta will get more work.

Play Atlanta

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Joe Gaffney

Miami Dolphins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Play: Jacksonville Jaguars ML     

Washington Redskins vs. New York Jets    
Play: Washington Redskins   

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Fast Eddie Sports

Indianapolis Colts vs. Atlanta Falcons    
Play: Indianapolis Colts

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Ross Benjamin

Minnesota @ Baltimore
Pick: Minnesota +3.0

Any NFL preseason home favorite that is off an away underdog SU win, and is playing an opponent off a home favorite SU loss is 7-20 ATS since 1980. Play on the Minnesota Vikings plus the points.

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MLB Saturday:  Play Against MLB (NL) teams with a money line of -100 to -150 with a team batting average of <=.255 against a starting pitcher whose ERA=4.20 to 5.20, with a starting pitcher who gives up 5.5 or less hits per start, 48-19 SU the last 5 years (71.6%)

PLAY: Houston Astros -105

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Marc Lawrence

Play On: LA Angels

Halos take on the Tribe at Progressive Field in game Two of this weekend series when John Lackey takes on Fausto Carmona in a matchups of right handers. Lackey owns a shapr 2.73 ERA on the road this season and is 4-1 in his day team starts. On the flip side, Carmona's 5.44 ERA a home this season is a run and a half worse than his 3.95 road ERA. Back Johnny Angle here today as the Halos improve to 9-1 on Saturdays.

Philadelphia Phillies at San Diego Padres
Prediction: San Diego Padres

Kendrick's road ERA (5.45) is more than a run and a half higher than his home ERA (3.90).Phillies are 5-10 their last 15 games on Saturdays.

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Jimmy The Moose

Indianapolis Colts at Atlanta Falcons
Prediction: over

Even with the Colts resting Peyton Manning as he recoperates their offense hasn't looked to bad. In their last game Lorenzen passed for 117 yards and two TD's. Their D has given up a total of 53 points in two preseason games and both games have easily played over the total. The Falcons lost their preseason opener but played over the tota. Matt Ryan looked good leading the offense in their first game and expect him to get more playing time tonight. Look for a high scoring game. Play the over.

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Scott Ferrall

Philly and Kendrick -140 over San Diego--The Padres blow and the Phils can't afford to lose--it's going to happen

Duke +150 with the UPSET SPECIAL over the Mets at PNC and Pedro

Colorado +120 at Washington--Hernandez over Lannan in DC--Lannan's the Nats best, but they still can't stop anyone

Cincy -120 over the Cards in the Queen City--Harang beats Piniero

Sanchez (even odds) and the Marlins over the Cubs and Marshall in South Fla

Oakland +120 and Greg Smith knock off the White Sox in the East Bay

Harrison +105 and the Rangers over the Rays in Arlington

Toronto stuns the Red Sox at Fenway with marcum getting the nod at +190--I like the pay out baby !

Baltimore +190 at Detroit--Sarfate says hello to Verlander, who's 8-13 and looks like he doesn't matter anymore--The Tigers have had a nightmare season and it's not getting any better soon
















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Scott Ferrall Comps

Jets -3 to Skins in New York--It's going to be a Brett Favre party and Clemens and Ratliff are battling for the #2 spot, so I say they put up numbers and beat Washington--OVER 35.5

Minnesota +2.5 from Baltimore--Jared Allen and company get it done on the road--UNDER 33.5

Jax -4 to Miami--Easy money here with the Jags laying out the Phins--UNDER 34.5

Atlanta -3 to Indy--Falcons get lucky at home against the Colts, who look miserable without Peyton Manning--OVER 37.5

San Diego +3 from St.Louis--The Chargers are simply better than the Rams--UNDER 37

Saints -3.5 to Texans in New Orleans--OVER 36.5--Bush and company roll it up on Bourbon Street

Arizona +3 at Kansas City--I say the Cardinals Matt Leinaert puts on a show as does Kurt Warner on the road at Arrowhead--OVER 35

Green Bay +3 from San Francisco--UNDER 34.5--Pack get it right after losing to the Bengals on Monday night--49er's still suck !

Dallas +2 from Denver in the Mile High City--Cowboys finally get it together--OVER 37 (it will be wild)

Seattle -2.5 to Chicago--The Bears aren't winning out in the Pacific Northwest--UNDER 36

Minnesota -220 and Baker over the Mariners at the Homerdome in the Twin Cities

Lackey -135 at Cleveland over Carmona and the Tribe--The Angels are so much better than the Indians--it's not even funny

Ponson -170 in the Bronx over the Royals and Zach Greinke--The Bombers always bitch-slap KC every time they come to Yankee Stadium--Plus, I'm going to the game with TR (thanx to ARTIE)

Milwaukee and Bush +120 at Dodger Stadium over Derek Lowe and the Dodgers--I think the Brewers can dance with LA, even on the road

Atlanta -135 over the Giants at Turner Field--Dirty Sanchez loses to Mike Hampton in the Dirty South

Houston -105 and Brandon Backe over the Diamondbacks and Petit in Minute Maid--The Stros have been cooking lately--winning 8 straight at one point heading into Friday night's action--stick with the HOT TEAMS--it makes you money usually

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2 Unit Play. Take Under 34 in Green Bay @ San Francisco NFLX Game of the Year.

1 Unit Play. Take Arizona +3 over Kansas City

1 Unit Play. Take Seattle +1 over Chicago

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1 STAR SELECTION (2% of Bankroll)

DENVER -2 1/2 over Dallas

Two teams out for win #1 of the 2008 NLFX will meet up Saturday night, when the Broncos host the Cowboys in the second August warm-up outing for each squad.

Denver lost 19-16 at Houston in their preseason opener last week, while Dallas was upended 31-17 at San Diego.

Both starting QBs played well last week, although Tony Romo only threw 3 passes against the Chargers. The majority of the Dallas starters will play the first half of this preseason game against the Broncos; however, Romo, tight end Jason Witten, running back Marion Barber and wide receiver Terrell Owens will all take a seat after 1 quarter. This should turn the offense sluggish for the Cowpokes, as backup QB Brad Johnson, pushing 40, was an ugly 5-15 last week. Johnson's outing was so weak, Dallas owner Jerry Jones is wondering why he didn't grab another veteran QB in the offseason. Now, Dallas is sitting Romo down early to get some playing time for Johnson with the first-string offensive line.

One of our NFLX Handicapping strategies is to play AGAINST a team that is ignoring its strength to work on a weakness. During exhibition season it's common for a polished team to work on a weak spot, which is what the Cowboys are doing here with Johnson. A team such as Dallas simply doesn't need to work its strongest stuff while ignoring its weaknesses, which means we can expect the 'Boys to be much less less productive than usual.

This relates to another NFLX Handicapping Strategy of ours, which is:

Play AGAINST a team off a playoff season and/or with established veterans at most positions and few position battles going on, and that figures to be playoff bound again with basically the same team, especially early in the preseason.

Teams with most of their roster spots already filled usually lack quality free agent rookies. There simply aren't a lot of positions open on those type of teams, making them unattractive to the better free agents - the ones with options to go to more than one training camp. Vets hate preseason games. And teams that have established players in certain positions or roles will often see those guys mail it in during the preseason because they know the games are "meaningless".

The Broncos, on other hand, have a lot to prove in the preseason off another season without a playoff appearance. Denver is relishing the opportunity to go up against the vaunted "America's Team" as was shown this week when the 2 teams scrimmaged together. The team that went 7-9 last season loved matching up against a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

"I don't think Dallas was used to that type of practice," Broncos cornerback Dre Bly said.

"Those guys finished 13-3 last year, so they probably can afford to relax in practice and coast their way through certain drills. Us, we were 7-9, so we're on the ground right now and we're trying to get back up that hill."

A year ago, the Cowboys physically dominated the Broncos in their preseason game at Dallas. The Broncos got so frustrated, some vented afterward that the 'Boys had broken unwritten NFL rules by blitzing too much for a relatively meaningless exhibition. Denver hasn't forgotten about that treatment and will be quite motivated here. Another NFLX Handicapping Strategy we use is: Play ON a team looking to prove themselves against a conference champion or Super Bowl favorite. Teams looking for a confidence-building victory will have extra incentive to play well and beat a Super Bowl caliber team.

It's never easy for a team to come into Denver and leave with a win, especially during the exhausting preseason. This is why we look to play AGAINST a sea-level visiting favorite or very small underdog at a stadium one mile or more above sea level when all factors indicate a close game. The air is considerably thinner at 4000+ feet in elevation than those below 1000 feet. With the oxygen level greatly reduced at higher elevations, the heart and breathing rates increase to compensate. This is experienced as shortness of breath and early fatigue. It takes about 10 days for the body to completely acclimate to altitude, so low-altitude teams making road trips to the Rocky Mountains simply don't have enough time to fully adjust.

This is why it's no surprise that Denver is a powerful 10-0-1 ATS at home in NFLX play when not favored by more than 4 points. We look for the Broncos starters to be very competitive with the Cowboys starters and for the home team to have the edge from there with a better QB rotation and stamina, leading to a SU & ATS win.


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John Fina

Selection: Baltimore/Detroit Over 10

Put us down on the Baltimore Orioles/Detroit Tigers Over 10 for our Free MLB Selection on Saturday. Today we expect a high-scoring game as the Baltimore Orioles do battle with the Detroit Tigers. One reason why we expect a high-scoring game is because both these teams will send to the mound struggling starting pitchers. This says it all... The Baltimore Orioles Starting Pitcher (Dennis Sarfate) has a 11.45 ERA in his last 3 starts, while the Detroit Tigers Starting Pitcher (Justin Verlander) has a 8.66 ERA in his last 3 starts. As you can see, both these starting pitchers will most likely give up many runs today. The Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings between these teams, and we expect to see another high-scoring game today! Take the Baltimore Orioles/Detroit Tigers Over 10!

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Black Widow Sports

1* on Tampa Bay Rays -120

Edwin Jackson will look to match Matt Garza’s brilliant start against the Rangers last night.  Jackson is 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA in 3 career starts against Texas.  Jackson is 5-2 with a 3.44 ERA on the road this year.  He’s up against Matt Harrison, who owns a terrible 7.06 ERA this year.  Harrison is no match for Jackson tonight.  The Rays are 39-19 (+17.1 Units) against the money line after having won 4 or 5 of their last 6 games this season.  Don’t be surprised if the Rays shut out the Rangers again tonight.  Texas hasn’t scored a single run in 2 consecutive games now.  Take Tampa Bay on the Money Line.

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Info Plays

3* on Toronto Blue Jays +108

Road underdogs with a money line of +100 or higher (TORONTO) - with a starting pitcher whose WHIP is 1.100 or better on the season-AL, with a hot starting pitcher- WHIP <= 1.100 over his last 10 games.  This is a 40-17 ML System hitting 70.2% (+30.4 Units) since 1997.  Roy Halladay is 13-9 with a  2.72 ERA and a 1.049 WHIP on the season.  The Red Sox will struggle against Halladay after facing the wish-wash pitchers the Texas Rangers had to offer in their last series.  Bet Toronto on the road.

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Dwayne Bryant

Chicago White Sox at Oakland A's
Play : Chicago White Sox -131

Oakland took the series opener last night, 6-4, but it looks to me like the ChiSox will even things up tonight behind John Danks. Danks owns a 2.63 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and .285 OOBP in his 11 road starts this season. He is also in excellent current form, posting a 3.20 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and .260 OOBP in his last three starts (19/5 K/BB ratio). Danks has won all three of his career starts vs. Oakland (two in '08), with a 1.35 ERA and 1.10 WHIP.

Oakland's Greg Smith has solid home numbers and decent numbers recently, but his 11/11 K/BB ratio in his last three starts is a bit concerning if you're an A's backer. Smith faced the White Sox for the first two times in his career this season. His first start vs. Chicago: 7 IP, 1 R, 6 H (0 HR), 1 BB, 4 K. His last start vs. Chicago: 5 IP, 4 R, 5 H (2 HR), 6 BB, 2 K. It would appear Chicago has Smith figured out now that they've seen him twice.

The White Sox are 9-2 in their last 11 games vs. a left-handed starter, 4-0 in Danks' last 4 starts during game 2 of a series, and 6-2 in Danks' last 8 starts vs. a team with a losing record. The A's are 3-13 in their last 16 during game 2 of a series, 4-23 in their last 27 overall, and 1-6 in Smith's last 7 starts vs. a team with a winning record.

Take White Sox.

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Black Magic Sports

1 Unit on Cards/Reds Under 9.5

This is a huge total for the starter going for both the Cards and Reds Saturday.  Joel Pineiro is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA lifetime against the Reds.  The UNDER is 10-4 in Aaron Harang’s 14 lifetime starts against the Cardinals.  Both teams struggle to score runs, especially with starters Harang and Pineiro going tonight.  The Cards are allowing just 3.1 runs/game over their last 7 games while the Reds are scoring just 3.4 runs/game their last 7 contests.  The UNDER is 10-5 in the last 15 meetings at Cincinnati.  The Reds are 9-1 UNDER at home with a money line of -100 to -125 this season.  The Cards are 9-1 UNDERin road games vs. a good bullpen whose ERA is 3.75 or better this season.  St. Louis is 34-14 UNDER vs. a starting pitcher who gives up 7 or more hits/start over the last 3 seasons.  Cash in with the UNDER 9.5 runs.

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John Fina

Baltimore/Detroit Over 10 (-110)

Today we expect a high-scoring game as the Baltimore Orioles do battle with the Detroit Tigers. One reason why we expect a high-scoring game is because both these teams will send to the mound struggling starting pitchers. This says it all... The Baltimore Orioles Starting Pitcher (Dennis Sarfate) has a 11.45 ERA in his last 3 starts, while the Detroit Tigers Starting Pitcher (Justin Verlander) has a 8.66 ERA in his last 3 starts. As you can see, both these starting pitchers will most likely give up many runs today. The Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings between these teams, and we expect to see another high-scoring game today! Take the Baltimore Orioles/Detroit Tigers Over 10!

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Washington (2-0, 1-1 ATS) at N.Y. Jets (1-0 SU and ATS)

The Brett Favre-era begins for the Jets as they host the Redskins at Giants Stadium in New Jersey.

On the same day they announced the acquisition of Favre, the Jets went out and upset the Browns 24-20 as five-point road underdogs, winning despite allowing 382 total yards and getting outrushed 107-59. New York is on a 12-5 roll in August (10-7 ATS), including 4-1 SU and ATS in the last five. Also, the Jets have won six of their last eight preseason games in Giants Stadium (4-4 ATS).

After whipping the Colts in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 3, Washington came home last week and held off the Bills 17-14, coming up short as a 5½-point favorite. Despite winning their first two games this summer, the Redskins are still only 4-9 SU and ATS since the start of the 2005 exhibition season. They’ve also lost eight of their last 10 non-neutral-site road games in the preseason (3-7 ATS), and they’re 0-3 in this week of the preseason the last three years (1-2 ATS).

Favre has been with New York for just about a week and will take his first live snaps since the NFC Championship game last season when the Giants upset the Packers in Green Bay. Jets’ coach Eric Mangini said the future Hall-of-Famer will start and take between eight and 12 snaps in his New York debut.

There is a backup QB controversy brewing in New York as Brett Ratliff is pushing Kellen Clemens for the No. 2 spot. Ratliff completed 14-of-20 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns in Cleveland on August 7 while Clemens was just 4-of-6 for 31 yards. Mangini said Ratliff will see “significant” playing time against the Redskins.

Washington’s QB rotation is set with Jason Campbell and the first-team offense getting a couple of series, followed by veteran Todd Collins the rest of the first half. Derek Devine will play the third quarter and rookie Colt Brennan is slated for the fourth quarter, according to new coach Jim Zorn. Campbell has completed 80 percent of his throws in limited action this season for 132 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.

These two squads met in the preseason in 2006 when the Jets got a 27-14 road win, easily covering as a four-point underdog.

The under is 4-1 in Washington’s last five in August. Conversely, the Jets, who topped the total at Cleveland, have gone over the number in each of their last three preseason home games, excluding neutral-site games against the Giants.


Minnesota (0-1 SU and ATS) at Baltimore (1-0 SU and ATS)

After getting outgained by 121 yards in the opening week of the preseason, the Vikings will be taking a long look at the starting offense tonight when they travel to M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore to take on the Ravens.

Minnesota coach Brad Childress said his starting offense will play the first half with QB Tarvaris Jackson under center. Jackson went 8-of-11 for 118 yards and a touchdown a week ago at home against the Seahawks, but backups John David Booty (9-of-18 for 82 yards and an INT), Gus Frerotte (4-of-7 for 60 yards) and Brooks Bollinger (1-of-2 for eight yards) didn’t do much. Expect to see Booty and Frerotte for about a quarter each, with Bollinger the odd man out.

Minnesota’s highly-touted defense was nowhere to be found in last Friday’s 34-17 loss to the Seahawks as a three-point home favorite. The Vikes are now 4-4-1 SU and 5-4 ATS in August since Childress took over as coach, but they have cashed in three of four preseason road games, all as an underdog. Additionally, they’re 4-1 ATS in their last five following a SU exhibition defeat and 2-0 SU and ATS in Week 2 since Childress took over.

Baltimore went to New England in Week 1 and surprised the Patriots 16-15 as a 4½-point road underdog, making a winner of new coach John Harbaugh in his debut. The Ravens have been a picture of mediocrity in the preseason the last five years, going 10-10 SU and ATS overall, 5-5 SU and ATS at home and 6-6 ATS as a favorite.

Harbaugh has anointed former Ohio State and Heisman Trophy-winning QB Troy Smith as the starter for this one with Kyle Boller getting about a quarter of work and rookie Joe Flacco cleaning up the fourth quarter. Harbaugh said there is no clear-cut leader for the starting QB position, as all three have spent time with the first-team offense. Smith went 5-of-12 for 74 yards in New England a week ago with Boller having a good night at 11-of-15 for 102 yards and an INT.

These two met in the 2006 preseason with the Vikings scoring a 30-7 home win and cover as 2½-point favorites.

The Vikings have topped the total in eight of their last 13 preseason games dating to 2005, including the last four in a row. On the flip side, during that same time frame, the under is 9-3 for Baltimore, including 4-2 at home.


Miami (0-1 SU and ATS) at Jacksonville (1-0, 0-1 ATS)

One result of the Brett Favre-saga is the arrival of former Jets’ QB Chad Pennington in Miami, and the veteran passer will get plenty of time under center when the Dolphins travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars.

The Dolphins’ putrid offense picked up last week right where it left off at the end of a miserable 2007 season, managing just two field goals and 198 total yards in a 17-6 home loss to the Buccaneers as a two-point favorite. Miami is 9-13 SU and 8-12-2 ATS in preseason action since 2003, including 4-6 SU and ATS on the road. However, they have gone 2-0 SU and ATS in Week 2 the last two summers.

New Miami coach Tony Sparano has divided his first-string practice snaps this week between Pennington and rookie Chad Henne (5-of-10 for 67 yards in the preseason opener). Expect to see Pennington start and play into the second quarter before giving way to Henne, who will take it to the fourth period when it’s unknown if Sparano will go with second-year pro John Beck (5-of-9 for 45 yards last week) or veteran Josh McCown (5-of-8 for 35 yards).

Jacksonville got a fourth-quarter field goal to defeat the Falcons 20-17 in Week 1, falling just short as a four-point home favorite. Since coach Jack Del Rio took over the Jags in 2003, the team has dominated summer games, going 15-6 (13-8 ATS), including 9-2 at home (6-5 ATS).

Unlike in Miami, there are no QB questions for Del Rio, who said the starter is David Garrard who will go the first quarter, followed by Cleo Lemon for the middle two periods and third-stringer Todd Bouman mopping up the fourth quarter. The Jags’ quarterbacks managed just 129 net passing yards on 30 attempts last week. Jacksonville is thin at WR as starters Jerry Porter and Reggie Williams will sit out tonight.

These two have met each of the last five preseasons with the Jags leading 3-2 SU and ATS, including a 27-17 win as 2½-point chalk last time the teams met in Jacksonville in August 2005. Miami got an 18-17 win as a 1½-point home underdog last preseason.

The under is 5-0 in the Dolphins’ last five preseason road games. Conversely, Jacksonville is 10-3 “over” the last three-plus years in August.


Indianapolis (0-2, 1-1 ATS) at Atlanta (0-1, 1-0 ATS)

The Colts are on the road for the third straight week, hoping to snap an ugly preseason slump when they visit the new-look Falcons.

Indianapolis’ preseason woes continued with last Saturday’s 23-20 overtime loss at Carolina. The Colts, who lost to the Redskins 40-16 in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 3, have now dropped 13 of their last 15 exhibition contests since 2005, and even though they cashed as a four-point underdog in Carolina, they’re still only 4-11 ATS during this slump. Also, Indy is mired in additional preseason ATS funks of 3-5 on the road (1-7 SU), 2-7 as an underdog and 0-3 in Week 2.

Playing its first game under new coach Mike Smith, the Falcons went to Jacksonville last week and got a solid performance from rookie QB Matt Ryan (9-for-15, 113 yards, one TD), yet still came up a 20-17 loser, covering as a four-point underdog. Atlanta is 9-4-1 ATS since the start of the 2005 preseason, but it is just 3-4-1 ATS in its last seven as a chalk in August.

Career backup QB Jim Sorgi will start and play into the second quarter tonight, followed by Quinn Gray for a quarter and Jared Lorenzen finishing the game. With Peyton Manning on the shelf until the season opener, Sorgi will start each preseason game and see extended action, according to coach Tony Dungy.

The Falcons will start QB Joey Harrington but expect to see a lot of Ryan tonight as Smith takes a long look at the rookie. Chris Redman, who started last week’s game, and D.J. Shockley will split time in the second half. Smith said Ryan will start on Friday against the Titans as he tries to get each QB a preseason start.

These two met in the preseason back in 2005 with the Falcons getting a 27-21 win in Indianapolis as one-point ‘dogs. In last year’s regular-season matchup, the Colts got a 31-13 win in the Georgia Dome on Thanksgiving Night, cashing as a 13½-point chalk.

The Colts have topped the total in their first two preseason games, while the over is 4-1 in Atlanta’s last five summer contests in the Georgia Dome.


San Diego (1-0 SU and ATS) at St. Louis (0-1 SU and ATS)

The Rams look to bounce back from an awful Week 1 effort in Tennessee when they host the Chargers at the Edward Jones Dome.

St. Louis got outgained 495-241 in an ugly 34-21 loss at Tennessee last Saturday, never threatening to cover as a three-point road underdog. The Rams are just 3-6 SU and 2-7 ATS in August since coach Scott Linehan took over prior to the 2006 season, including 1-3 ATS at home and 1-3 ATS as a favorite. They’ve also lost three straight Week 2 games both SU and ATS.

San Diego opened up with an impressive 31-17 rout of the Cowboys, covering as a three-point home favorite. The Chargers are now 4-1 (3-2 ATS) in preseason play under second-year coach Norv Turner, including 2-0 on the road (1-1 ATS).

After allowing QB Philip Rivers and his starters to play longer than expected against Dallas, Turner said the first string will see very limited action today. When Rivers departs, backup Billy Volek will lead the offense, with third-stringer Charlie Whitehurst likely to see extended second-half action. Once again, though, the offense will be without star RB LaDainian Tomlinson, who hasn’t played in an exhibition game since 2005.

After getting whipped last week, Linehan said he expects to “play a significant amount of time with his starting unit.” He wasn’t specific beyond that, but Marc Bulger and the first-string probably will play at least the first half. Trent Green backs up Bulger, with Brock Berlin and Bruce Gradkowski possibly seeing action late.

These teams met last summer in San Diego in Week 2, and the Chargers rolled to a 30-13 victory as a 2½-point home chalk. Two summers earlier, San Diego cruised to 36-21 Week 2 road win as a five-point favorite.

The over is 6-1 in San Diego’s last seven exhibition outings, including 3-0 on the road, while the Rams have topped the total in each of their last three Week 2 preseason games, including the two games against the Chargers in 2005 and 2007.


Houston (1-0, 0-0-1 ATS) at New Orleans (1-0 SU and ATS)

The Texans and Saints, who had a series of joint practices this week, square off at the Superdome, with both teams looking to start the preseason 2-0.

Houston got a game-winning field goal as time expired to knock off the Broncos 19-16 a week ago, pushing as a three-point home chalk. The Texans are 6-3 (5-2-2 ATS) in the preseason under third-year coach Gary Kubiak after going 2-10 SU and ATS the previous three summers. Also, with Kubiak at the helm, Houston is 3-1 on the road in August (2-1-1 ATS) and 4-1 ATS as an underdog, and the team is 3-0 SU and ATS in Week 2 the last three preseasons.

The Saints’ offense looked in fine form in last Thursday’s 24-10 rout of Arizona as a three-point road underdog. New Orleans, which outgained the Cardinals 383-282, is 4-2 SU and ATS in its last six exhibition battles since the beginning of last year, but 2-8 SU and ATS at home and 1-7 ATS as a favorite going back to 2003.

New Orleans’ starters, who played two series last week, should get a longer look tonight, though Payton didn’t reveal specific plans. It’s likely that QB Drew Brees will start before giving way to backup Mark Brunell, who will then hand off to Tyler Palko. However, the Saints will once again be without TE Jeremy Shockey, and RB Reggie Bush also probably will sit this one out.

Kubiak said Matt Schaub and the first-string offense will be on the field for about 1½ quarters, but he added that the outing could be shorter depending on how they look. Whenever Schaub gets yanked, backup Sage Rosenfels will come in and play through the third quarter, with rookie Alex Brink mopping up. Fourth-string QB Shane Boyd will not play.

The under has cashed in six of New Orleans’ last eight preseason contests, including three straight at home, but Houston has topped the total in five straight preseason games going back to last year, and the over is 4-1 in the team’s last five August road affairs.


Arizona (0-1 SU and ATS) at Kansas City (1-0 SU and ATS)

After putting up 24 points in their exhibition debut against the Bears in Chicago last week, the Chiefs return home looking to keep their offense rolling when they host the Cardinals.

Kansas City jumped out to a 14-3 halftime lead at Chicago, but fell behind 17-14 going into the fourth quarter before rallying for a 24-20 victory as a three-point road underdog. It was a rare August win and cover for Herm Edwards’ group, which went 0-4 SU and ATS in the 2007 preseason and is still only 3-10 SU and ATS in its lat 13 exhibition contests. Also, K.C. is mired in preseason slumps of 2-4 SU and ATS at home, 0-3 SU and ATS in Week 2 and 1-4 ATS as a favorite going back to 2005.

Arizona’s defense looked shaky in last Friday’s 24-10 home loss to the Saints, yielding 383 total yards, including 285 through the air. The Cardinals have lost all five preseason games under second-year coach Ken Whisenhunt (1-4 ATS), including a pair of losses and non-covers on the highway in 2007.

Kansas City will use the same quarterback rotation as last week, with starter Brodie Croyle playing through at least the first quarter. Croyle will give way to Damon Huard, with Tyler Thigpen, who was solid in Chicago, finishing up.

After sitting out the entire Saints game, veteran QB Kurt Warner is getting the start in this one. He’s expected to play most of the entire first half, followed by Matt Leinart, who remains first on the team’s depth chart. Brian St. Pierre and rookie Anthony Morelli, who are battling for the third-string job and who both played last week, would finish up.

These squads last met in the preseason in 2005, with the Cardinals scoring a 24-17 upset victory as a four-point underdog.

For the Chiefs, the under is on preseason runs of 6-3 overall and 4-1-1 at home. Meanwhile, Arizona has followed up a 5-0 “over” streak in the preseason by staying low in its last two.


Green Bay (0-1 SU and ATS) at San Francisco (1-0, 0-1 ATS)

After a decent debut as the Packers’ new starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers leads Green Bay into San Francisco to face a 49ers team that looked dreadful in its preseason opener.

With all eyes glued to his every move, Rodgers acquitted himself well Monday night at home against Cincinnati, going 9-for-15 for 117 yards with one touchdown and one interception (which came on a deflection). However, even though Rodgers spotted the Packers a 10-0 lead, it didn’t hold up as Green Bay fell 20-17 as a three-point home favorite.

The Packers are now just 3-6 SU and ATS under coach Mike McCarthy since the 2006 preseason. They’re also 2-4 SU and ATS in their last six August road tilts and 1-4 ATS in their last five as a preseason ‘dog, but they are 2-0 SU and ATS in Week 2 with McCarthy at the helm.

San Francisco laid an egg in its debut last Friday, managing just two field goals and 269 total yards (70 rushing) in getting steamrolled 18-6 at Oakland as a one-point road underdog. The 49ers are 5-8 SU in preseason play under fourth-year coach Mike Nolan, but 8-5 ATS. Also, since Nolan took over, San Francisco is 5-1 SU and ATS at home in August and 2-0 ATS as a favorite.

Green Bay’s starters (including Rodgers) will get about 30 to 35 plays of action tonight. Rookie Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn will follow Rodgers, as was the case last week when Flynn (the listed third-stringer) easily outplayed Brohm. RB Ryan Grant and LB A.J. Hawk likely will not play for Green Bay.

Quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan, who opened camp as the third-stringer in San Francisco, will get the starting nod for the second straight week and play most, if not all, of the first half. Former No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith is slated to play the third quarter, with Shaun Hill leading the offense in the fourth.

The over is 6-2 in Green Bay’s last eight preseason games overall (2-1 on the road) and 3-1 in San Francisco’s last four August contests at home.


Dallas (0-1 SU and ATS) at Denver (0-1, 0-0-1 ATS)

After a week of testy scrimmages against one another, the Cowboys and Broncos get it on one more time under the lights at Invesco Field, with both teams looking to respond from Week 1 losses.

Denver was on the wrong end of a 19-16 loss in Houston last Saturday, pushing as a three-point road underdog when the Texans drilled a game-winning 25-yard field goal as time expired. The Broncos are still 20-10-2 ATS the last eight-plus preseasons under coach Mike Shanahan, including 5-2-1 ATS in the last eight following SU defeat.

Dallas limited the Chargers to just 213 yards of total offense, but committed two turnovers en route to a 31-17 opening-week loss in San Diego as a three-point underdog. Although the Cowboys are still 16-8-1 (16-9 ATS) in the preseason since 2002, they have lost all three road games (0-3 ATS) since coach Wade Phillips was hired before the 2007 campaign. They’re also 0-2 ATS as an underdog under Phillips after going 5-1 ATS as a preseason pup from 2002-06.

One positive for Dallas: It has won and covered in Week 2 each of the last three summers, including a 31-20 rout of the Broncos as a five-point home chalk in 2007.

Most of the Cowboys’ starters will play the entire first half tonight, with the exception of QB Tony Romo, WR Terrell Owens, RB Marion Barber and TE Jason Whitten, all of whom are likely to be on the field for just a quarter. Romo figures to be followed by veteran Brad Johnson, with third-stringer Richard Bartel finishing up.

Shanahan didn’t disclose his playing-time plans for this contest, but expect starting QB Jay Cutler to get a longer look than last week when he was on the field for just two series. Patrick Ramsey serves as Cutler’s backup, followed by Darrell Hackney.

In preseason action, the over is on runs of 4-0 for Dallas overall and 4-0 for Dallas on the road. However, the under is 3-0 in Denver’s last three summer games at Invesco Field.


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Chicago (0-1 SU and ATS) at Seattle (1-0 SU and ATS)

Two teams that experienced opposite results in Week 1 clash at Qwest Field in the Pacific Northwest, where the Seahawks, who will likely be without starting QB Matt Hasselbeck, host the Bears.

Seattle throttled the Vikings 34-17 as a three-point road underdog eight days ago, piling up 419 total yards while outrushing Minnesota 162-52. Since the beginning of last year’s exhibition slate, the Seahawks are 4-1 SU and ATS in August (2-0 SU and ATS at home), and the straight-up winner is 13-0 ATS in their past three-plus preseasons.

Chicago’s much-maligned offense produced 362 total yards last week against Kansas City, and the Bears outrushed the Chiefs 175-83, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a 24-20 setback as a three-point
home favorite. On the bright side, the Bears did go 2-0 SU and ATS on the road last August, and they’re 5-2 ATS as a preseason underdog under coach Lovie Smith, 3-1 ATS in their last four after a SU preseason loss and 3-0 SU and ATS in Week 2 going back to 2005.

Hasselbeck missed four days of practice with a back injury and probably will sit this one out. Third-stringer Charlie Frey, who took every snap with the first-team offense on Thursday, will probably start under center. Senaca Wallace would replace Frey, with Dalton Bell possibly finishing up.

The Bears’ quarterback battle resumes in this one, with Rex Grossman getting the starting nod after Kyle Orton led the No. 1 offense last week. Orton went 7-for-10 for just 56 yards against the Chiefs, while Grossman was 4-for-8 for 44 yards and one TD, but third-stringer Caleb Hanie (9 of 16, 101 yards, one TD) outdid both of them. Grossman and the starters should play the entire first half and possibly into the third quarter. Orton will follow under center, with Hanie once again finishing up.

The over is 9-4 in Seattle’s last 13 preseason games, but only 3-3 at home, while Chicago has topped the total four times in its last five summer affairs since the start of last season. The over is also 4-1 in the Bears’ last five exhibition road tilts.



Milwaukee (70-53) at L.A. Dodgers (63-59)

Two teams looking to enhance their playoff chances clash in the middle game of a weekend series at Dodger Stadium, with Los Angeles set to give the ball to Derek Lowe (9-10, 4.11 ERA) opposite the Brewers’ Dave Bush (7-9, 4.35).

Los Angeles ran its winning streak to five in a row with Friday’s 5-3 victory. The Dodgers are on surges of 7-2 overall, 12-3 at home (7-0 in their last seven) and 4-0 when Lowe hurls on Saturday. Also, L.A. is 42-20 in the last 62 meetings with Milwaukee (4-1 this year), including 21-8 against the Brew Crew in the past 29 battles at Dodger Stadium (11-3 in the last 14).

The Brewers have dropped two in a row following an eight-game winning streak. Despite that, they’re still on runs of 6-2 against the N.L. West, 20-9 on the highway and 4-0 on Saturdays.

Lowe bounced back from his worst outing of the season (eight runs, 13 hits allowed in 3 1/3 innings in St. Louis) with a quality effort against the Phillies on Monday, giving up three runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings, winning 8-6. The Dodgers are 5-2 in Lowe’s last seven trips to the hill, including 3-1 at home, where the veteran right-hander is only 7-5 despite a solid 2.83 ERA.

Bush has been dynamite in his last two starts, giving up one run on three hits over seven innings of an 8-1 win in Cincinnati on Aug. 5, then yielding a run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings en route to Monday’s 7-1 rout of Washington at home. Milwaukee is 7-2 in Bush’s last nine outings, with the right-hander giving up only one run in six of those outings. However, despite the performance in Cincinnati 11 days ago, Bush has struggled in a big way on the road, going 2-6 with a 6.19 ERA in 10 appearances (nine starts). Also, the Brewers are 8-22 in his last 30 starts as a visitor.

Lowe is 2-1 with a 3.82 ERA in seven lifetime appearances (five starts) versus the Brewers, including a no-decision on May 18 in Milwaukee, where he allowed four runs on six hits in six innings as L.A. prevailed, 6-4. Meanwhile, Bush faced the Dodgers twice back in 2006, going 1-1 with a 4.72 ERA, losing a 10-2 decision in the one start in Los Angeles.

The under is 8-3-2 in the Brewers’ last 13 games overall, 11-2-1 in their last 14 road tilts and 5-2-1 in Bush’s eight road efforts. For Los Angeles, the under is on streaks of 9-5-1 overall, 19-9-1 at Dodger Stadium, 4-0 on Saturdays, 16-7 against the N.L. Central and 5-1 when Lowe pitches at home.


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LA Angels at Cleveland   
The Angels look to bounce back from their loss in Cleveland last night and build on their 9-3 record as a road favorite between -125 and -150.  Los Angeles is the pick (-130) according to Dunkel, which has the Angels favored straight up by 1 1/2.  Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (-130).   Here are all of today's games.


Game 951-952: Philadelphia at San Diego
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia (Kendrick) 16.158; San Diego (Reineke) 14.952
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-140); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (-140); Under

Game 953-954: NY Mets at Pittsburgh
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Martinez) 14.065; Pittsburgh (Duke) 14.602
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: NY Mets (-170); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (+160); Under

Game 955-956: Arizona at Houston
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Petit) 14.881; Houston (Backe) 15.994
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Arizona (-115); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (+105); Under

Game 957-958: San Francisco at Atlanta
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Sanchez) 14.327; Atlanta (Hampton) 13.336
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 1; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-130); 9
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (+120); Under

Game 959-960: Colorado at Washington
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (Hernandez) 14.449; Washington (Lannan) 13.112
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Washington (-135); 9
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (+125); Over

Game 961-962: St. Louis at Cincinnati
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Pineiro) 15.252; Cincinnati (Harang) 14.859
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-115); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (+105); Over

Game 963-964: Chicago Cubs at Florida
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Marshall) 15.860; Florida (Sanchez) 16.304
Dunkel Line: Florida by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Chicago Cubs (-115); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Florida (+105); Under

Game 965-966: Milwaukee at LA Dodgers
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Bush) 16.024; LA Dodgers (Lowe) 17.217
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 1; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-140); 8
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-140); Over

Game 967-968: Kansas City at NY Yankees
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Greinke) 13.974; NY Yankees (Ponson) 14.949
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1; 10
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-170); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (-170); Over

Game 969-970: LA Angels at Cleveland
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Lackey) 16.739; Cleveland (Carmona) 15.225
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-130); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (-130); Under

Game 971-972: Seattle at Minnesota
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Rowland-Smith) 15.067; Minnesota (Baker) 16.674
Dunkel Line: Minnesota by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Minnesota (-210); 9
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (-210); Under

Game 973-974: Baltimore at Detroit
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Sarfate) 15.635; Detroit (Verlander) 15.392
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1/2; 11
Vegas Line: Detroit (-210); 10
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (+190); Over

Game 975-976: Toronto at Boston
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Halladay) 15.615; Boston (Byrd) 16.141
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 977-978: Tampa Bay at Texas
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Jackson) 15.181; Texas (Harrison) 15.441
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-120); 11 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Texas (+110); Under

Game 979-980: Chicago White Sox at Oakland
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Danks) 15.365; Oakland (Smith) 14.191
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Chicago White Sox (-135); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (-135); Under

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