Friday Service Plays
Re: Friday Service Plays
Tigers / White Sox Over 9
We expect a high-scoring game as the Detroit Tigers face-off against the Chicago White Sox in Friday's MLB contest. The Detroit Tigers will use starting pitcher Justin Verlander. Justin Verlander has been having huge pitching problems as of late. In fact, Justin Verlander has a 9.45 ERA in his last 3 starts. We see Justin Verlander giving up many runs once again today. The Chicago White Sox will use starting pitcher John Danks. John Danks has also been having huge pitching problems as of late. In fact, John Danks has a 6.75 ERA in his last 3 starts. We also see John Danks giving up many runs once again today. The Over is 4-1-1 in the last 6 meetings between these teams, and we see another high-scoring game today! Take the Detroit Tigers / Chicago White Sox Over 9!
Re: Friday Service Plays
Texas at Oakland
The Rangers look to follow up last night's 6-1 win over Oakland and pick up their sixth victory in eight games. Texas is the underdog pick (+115) according to Dunkel, which has the Rangers favored straight up by 1. Dunkel Pick: Texas (+115). Here are all of today's games
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
Game 901-902: St. Louis at Pittsburgh
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Thompson) 14.541; Pittsburgh (Maholm) 13.494
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1; 8
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A
Game 903-904: Milwaukee at Philadelphia
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Parra) 15.090; Philadelphia (Hamels) 14.050
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-200); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (+190); Under
Game 905-906: Atlanta at NY Mets
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Hampton) 15.262; NY Mets (Santana) 17.499
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: NY Mets (-275); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (-275); Under
Game 907-908: Washington at Florida
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Martis) 15.490; Florida (Olsen) 14.547
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Florida (-200); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (+190); Under
Game 909-910: Chicago Cubs at Houston
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Marquis) 15.015; Houston (Arias) 16.549
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A
Game 911-912: LA Dodgers at Colorado
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Billingsley) 14.534; Colorado (Francis) 14.745
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-125); 9
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (+115); Under
Game 913-914: Cincinnati at Arizona
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Cueto) 13.571; Arizona (Webb) 13.913
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Arizona (-215); 8
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (-215); Over
Game 915-916: San Francisco at San Diego
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Sanchez) 14.352; San Diego (Peavy) 16.593
Dunkel Line: San Diego by 2; 6
Vegas Line: San Diego (-175); 7
Dunkel Pick: San Diego (-175); Under
Game 917-918: Toronto at Boston
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Purcey) 16.138; Boston (Wakefield) 17.464
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1 1/2; 11
Vegas Line: Boston (-155); 10
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-155); Over
Game 919-920: Minnesota at Baltimore
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota (Baker) 14.024; Baltimore (Cabrera) 15.109
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1; 11
Vegas Line: Minnesota (-160); 10
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (+150); Over
Game 921-922: Tampa Bay at NY Yankees
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Garza) 17.466; NY Yankees (Ponson) 15.986
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1 1/2; 11
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-135); 10
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-135); Over
Game 923-924: Kansas City at Cleveland
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Meche) 14.143; Cleveland (Lee) 16.005
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 2; 8
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-210); 7
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-210); Over
Game 925-926: Detroit at Chicago White Sox
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Verlander) 14.225; White Sox (Danks) 15.464
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1; 10
Vegas Line: Chicago White Sox (-155); 9
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (-155); Over
Game 927-928: Texas at Oakland
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (Harrison) 16.525; Oakland (Smith) 15.668
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1; 10
Vegas Line: Oakland (-125); 9
Dunkel Pick: Texas (+115); Over
Game 929-930: Seattle at LA Angels
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Rowland-Smith) 15.345; LA Angels (Saunders) 16.802
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1 1/2; 9 1/2
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-155); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (-155); Over
Game 103-104: Kansas at South Florida
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas 97.349; South Florida 104.472
Dunkel Line: South Florida by 7; 44
Vegas Line: South Florida by 3 1/2; No Total
Dunkel Pick: South Florida (-3 1/2); N/A
Game 151-152: Washington State at Baylor
Dunkel Ratings: Washington State 75.410; Baylor 78.075
Dunkel Line: Baylor by 2 1/2; 54
Vegas Line: Baylor by 1; 46 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Baylor (-1); Over
Re: Friday Service Plays
Jayhawks at South Florida Bulls -3.5
The Jayhawks come into this game after laying a beat-down on Louisiana Tech 29-0, while the Bulls had a tougher time having to go to overtime to beat Central Florida 31-24. This will be the first big test for Kansas, as they began the season against 2 cream puff teams. South Florida was tested last week by a good Central Florida team and now will have a stiffer test facing a tough Kansas team. Kansas is led by QB Todd Reesing (668 yds 6 TD 1 INT), and his two main targets are Dezmon Briscoe (16 rec 201 yds 4 TD) and Daymond Patterson (11 rec 152 yds 2 TD). The Jayhawks rushing attack is led by Angus Quigley (131 yds). Kansas is 12th in the nation in total defense. The Bulls are led by QB Matt Grothe (442 yds 5 TD 2 INT) and his main target is Taurus Johnson (7 rec 153 yds 1 TD). The Bulls rushing attack is led by Moise Plancher (115 yds 3 TD). The Bulls rank 28th in total defense.
Staff Pick: Kansas has played well in their first 2 games and have defeated their opponents by a combined score of 70-10. The Jayhawks rank 12th in the nation in passing yards and QB Reesing is spreading the wealth, as there have been 11 Jayhawks that that have receptions so far this season. Kansas has the edge on defense in this game and they will be tested by a dynamic offense of the Bulls. Bulls QB Grothe can air it out, but he can also run with the ball, as he has 73 yards rushing in the first 2 games. These two teams played each other in 2006, where Kansas beat South Florida 13-7. The Bulls are looking for their 4th straight win over a ranked opponent. The weather may be a factor in this game, as storms are looming and may hit the South Florida area on Friday evening, which would give the Bulls an advantage. The Jayhawks allowed an average of only 16.4 points per game and held eight opponents to fewer than 20 points. The Jayhawks up front D is solid and their secondary returns 3 starters. Neither team features a great rushing attack and if either team can run the ball they will have a major advantage. Look for the Jayhawks to pass their first test, as they will win this game in a shootout and cover the spread.
Jayhawks 37 South Florida 31
Re: Friday Service Plays
Minnesota @ Baltimore
Play 1* Minnesota -150
Minnesota is 18-5 this year when playing on Friday. Baker is 8-4 with a 3.66 ERA overall this year, 5-3 with a 3.92 ERA on the road and a 3.15 ERA his last 3 starts. Cabrera has a 5.26 ERA overall, 6.37 ERA at home and 0-2 with a 12.27 ERA his last 3 starts. Minnesota is 14-5 overall vs Baltimore last 3 years including 8-2 at Baltimore during that time. Minnesota is sitting only one game behind the Chicago White Sox for the AL Central lead. Every game is very meaningful for the Twins from here out. Baltimore has already packed up. We'll recommend a small play on Minnesota.
Re: Friday Service Plays
The Red Sox lead the wildcard race by five games over Minnesota and look like they have a lock on a postseason position again. they are one of the league's best home teams and we're going to take them tonight at home against the Blue Jays.
Boston is 11-5 overall, 56-22 at home, 7-0 in series openers, 25-12 agaisnt left-handed starters and 17-5 when Tim Wakefield pitches in front of the home fans.
Wakefield (8-10, 4.11 ERA) is 15-11 with a 3.87 ERA in his career agaisnt Toronto and he's got a 3.42 ERA at home this season. The veteran knuckleballer has allowed three runs or less in 20 of his 26 starts this season.
Toronto has David Purcey (3-5, 5.23) on the mound tonight who is just 1-3 with a 5.73 ERA in four road starts. He's never faced the Red Sox in his career and he gets his first look at Fenway.
Play Boston to get enough offense to carry Wakefield to a win.
We're playing the Dodgers in Colorado, as the men in blue continue this torrid run through the NL West. I know normally reliable Jeff Francis is stepping on the hill tonight, but the fact is he's struggled at home this season, and these Dodgers come into the rarified air of Denver in the nick of time. Francis is 2-6 at Coors Field with a 5.21 ERA, and though he's 2-1 in his last five meetings against the Dodgers, his lone home start against L.A. this season wasn?t exactly something to brag about.
On May 2, he gave up four earned runs over five innings for the lone loss in that span of games. Instead, we side with Chad Billingsley, whose last two starts were rock solid against the Diamondbacks, as the right-hander gave up just two earned runs over 13 innings of work. In his lone start against the Rox this season he lasted six innings, gave up two earned runs and ended up with a no-decision. Tonight he gets the win he'll deserve.
3 DIMES DODGERS
Let's back another pup on Friday as we play the Blue Jays at Boston.
Essentially, this is one of those must plays, especially given the generous odds. After holding off the first-place White Sox 6-4 last night to take three of four in Chicago, the Blue Jays have now won 11 of their last 12 games and 20 of their last 28. During the 11-1 run, Toronto has scored at least five runs 10 times, including tallying 19 runs in the last three games in Chicago. They're also 5-1 in their last six road affairs.
What's more, Toronto has had Boston's number, no ifs, ands or buts about it. The Jays are 11-4 in the last 15 head-to-head meetings since last September, including three straight wins by the combined score of 22-5 in the last three games at Fenway Park. Tonight, they send rookie David Purcey to the mound, and Purcey is coming off his first complete-game, a 1-0 home shutout of the first-place Rays. I expect Boston, which has never seen the young lefty, to struggle with the bats in this one.
At the same time, there's no reason to believe why the torrid Jays hitters won't get to Tim Wakefield. For one thing, Wakefield is coming off consecutive losses to the White Sox and Rangers, giving up a combined 10 runs in 7 2/3 innings. For another thing, Toronto is 3-0 the last three times it has faced the knuckleballer, including a 6-3 road win and a 3-0 home win this year. Add it all up, and the surging Jays are a strong dog play tonight!
3♦ TORONTO BLUE JAYS
For Friday take back this number with the Braves
I may be pushing it a bit too far here as this pitching matchup is total night and day against us as Johan Santana is insanely great and Mike Hampton is borderline bad, if not awful, but at this price I can't help but make a small play on the clearly inferior Braves.
Sure Bobby Cox's squad is a semi dead team that I have been against a ton of late but if I can still get Chipper, McCann, Escobar and at least some capable bats at this price why the heck not! Sure Delgado is ridiculous right now and Reyes, Wright and Beltran form a great team that never seems to lose but the Mets did not look all that great against Washington as they allowed a ton of runs in that series to a weak hitting Nats squad and with a bullpen that cannot be trusted thanks to Billy Wagner's injury what the hey!
Playing the Bravos here at Shea is asking a ton but Hampton is a former Met who should be motivated and if he can just be alright and give the Braves a chance then I am fine with the situation. The lefty has been there and done that and mentially is as tough as they come. The stuff isn't there anymore but if Hampton can hurl six innings and allow three or four runs I will take my chances. No doubt if the Mets are banging away then we are probably all done.
Santana could be lights out anytime he takes the mound and that is why the price is obviously what it is but in this rivalry spot where the Braves have certainly won their share of games I can't help but believe that the visitors have at least a punchers' chance here and with this takeback I will take my chances..
Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies
Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers return from an off day after taking the three-game series in San Diego. Los Angeles is 3.5 games ahead of Arizona in the National League West and looks to be poised to take this division. The Dodgers have won 10 of their last 11 games, scoring five runs or more in all of those wins and averaging 5.9 rpg in those 12 games. The real story is the pitching as Los Angeles had allowed three runs or fewer in eight of those. The Dodgers have a 3.71 ERA on the season, best in the National League.
The Rockies lost again, making it five straight. The offense has averaged only 3.6 rpg over that span and despite a .281 average at home on the season, the bats have cooled down there as well. Colorado has averaged only 4.3 rpg over its last 19 games at home. However, it is the pitching that is the real problem. The Rockies have allowed 5.7 rpg over that 19-game span at home as the ERA is up to 4.85 which is third worst in all of baseball and worst in the National League.
Chad Billingsley has been spectacular for the Dodgers. He is Los Angeles' leader in wins, ERA and strikeouts and he has now gone 11 straight outings without allowing more than three runs. He is 6-2 with a 2.48 ERA over this span and his ERA has dropped to 2.99 on the road. He has not been getting a lot of run support away from home as Los Angeles has averaged only 3.9 rpg in his 14 road start but that changes here as the offense is hitting its stride at the right time.
He will be opposed by Jeff Francis who has been pitching well also but for not nearly as long as Billingsley has been going. He has tossed five straight quality outings but even that has not done much to improve his numbers as his ERA sits at 5.03 on the season. That jumps to 5.21 in 11 starts at Coors Field where he is 2-6 and the Rockies are 4-7. The Rockies have averaged only 3.7 rpg in those starts and they have scored a total of one runs in his last two outings overall. Play Los Angeles Dodgers 1.5 Units
NYM -1.5 (-130) vs ATL
I took the Mets on the runline in their last two games against the Nationals and I succeeded in both games, as this team is clearly showing that they don't want to repeat the terrible run at the end of the last year's regular season and they have been avoiding letdowns. With the Phillies losing games, the Mets are closer and closer from the postseason and they have the momentum on their side. Today they will begin a series against the Braves and they have an excellent spot for today.
The Mets will send Johan Santana and that's immediately good news for them, as Santana has been onfire lately, with a 7-3 and 2.24 ERA record in home games and he was the one who avoided the Mets to be swept by the Phillies in a very important series. His consistence has been notable, allowing just 2-2-3-0-0 runs on his last 5 outings!
The same can't be said about Hampton, who will start for the Braves today. On his last outing against the Nationals, Hampton allowed 5 runs and 8 hits and he comes from a sequence of non-quality starts, where the Braves are 1-5 on his last 6 outings , with Hampton allowing 5-3-3-3-2-6 runs on these 6 games.
I clearly think we will have a pitching mismatch in here, but that's not all. This will be the 5th game in a row the Mets will play vs LHP and the team has been improving game by game (BA: .194, .286, .400 and .406). In fact the Mets are 5-1 in their last 6 games vs LHP. Santana has faced the Braves this season twice, losing both games, but they were games played early in the season, when Santana was still far from the great form he currently has, which makes the Mets being 7-0 on Santana's last 7 starts. The Braves are 1-4 on their last 5 games vs LHP and they were swept by the Mets last month. The team is coming from a sweep against Colorado in their last series, but the Mets are a much better club. Take the Mets on the runline in here
Jeff Alexander Sports
Boston Red Sox -152
We like Boston to cool the Jays down tonight. The Red Sox are a perfect 7-0 in their last 7 during game 1 of a series, 44-14 in their last 58 home games vs. a team with a losing road record, and an impressive 17-5 in Wakefield's last 22 home starts. The A.L. East title is still very much within reach and Boston wants it badly. The Red Sox come into this one off a days rest while the Jays played on the road in Chicago last night and had to travel. Boston will be ready to deal the Jays a loss.
Atlanta Braves + 240 , 1 unit
S.F Giants + 160 , 1 unit
K.C Royals + 180 , 1 unit
Kansas + 3.5 , 2 units
Kansas +3.5 over South Florida
The Jayhawks are coming off a spectacular 2007 season and seemed to get the kinks worked out last week in a romp over Louisiana Tech. This team is loaded on both sides of the ball and should be tough to beat anywhere. With the experience of travelling to Florida and winning the last Orange Bowl, Kansas is unlikely to be intimidated by playing in Tampa. South Florida is a talented team, but they had to go OT last week just to get past Central Florida. Good chance for an upset.
Chicago Cubs at Houston Astros
The Astros are playing incredible baseball right now, having won 14 of 15 to quietly move to 13 games over .500, but we think the Cubs got a huge reprieve last night by holding on against the Cards and that will carry them to a win streak of their own. Starter Jason Marquis has been very solid as of late (1.77 ERA L3 starts) and all season on the road (3.05 ERA away from home). Houston counters with relative unknown Alberton Arias, who will be in over his head here.
Play on: Chicago Cubs
Even with their pair of opponents thus far having talent levels capable of propellingthem to upper-tier bowl invitations, the numbers posted by Washington State at this point are beyond repulsive. The Cougars, in only the second week of September, already own the look of a squad whose mission is to be a national doormat. The newly implemented no-huddle spread offense has been a bust since the beginning of summer camp and the switch to a 4-3 defensive scheme hasn't been much better. New HC Paul Wulff's troops have run 124 plays for 363 yards (2.9 per play) this season while allowing 872 yards and 6.6 per snap. A non-conference travel spot for the Cougs on the heels of a demoralizing 66-3 conference loss last week figures to find them with their heads down. That's good news for a Baylor squad that is chomping at the bit to get another home shot at a BCS team. Last week's 51-3 win over I-AA Northwestern State has heightened morale and belief in new HC Art Briles systems. Expect the Bears to be as sky high emotionally as they were in week one but this time the opponent isn't nearly as seasoned and talented as Wake Forest
Minnesota at New York
Tampa Bay is 9-2 their last 11 road games vs. righty starters and they are 18-5 their last 23 Friday games. The Rays are 22-9 vs. an opponent that scored 2 or less runs in their last game and they are 7-3 following an off day. New York is 1-5 with Sidney Ponson vs. winning teams and they are 3-8 at home off 2 or more straight road games. Sidney Ponson is 3-14 his last 17 September starts. PLAY ON TAMPA BAY
Atlanta Braves at New York Mets
Atlanta has struggle away from home, just 24-48 on the road this season and have been unsuccessful against the Mets in New York. The Braves have dropped the last five meetings in the Big Apple and five of Mike Hampton’s last 7 starts at Shea Stadium. Go with the Mets at home with Johan Santana on the hill. New York has won Santana's last 7 starts and his last four at home.
New York Mets -270
Re: Friday Service Plays
Kansas vs South Florida
Kansas is coming off a dream 2007 season in which they went 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl. They’re off to a good start in 2008 with blowout wins over a pair of cupcakes. The Jayhawks have averaged 34.5 points per game in those two wins, down from the 42.8 they averaged last season. Kansas lost some key players along their offensive and defensive line, and this match up between two top 25 teams will be the first real test for the new starters. Kansas has a lot to prove if they want a return trip to the BCS.
South Florida was another surprise success in 2007. Head Coach Jim Leavitt built the Bulls into a top-25 program in a matter of 11 years, and looks to have a team capable of winning the Big East in 2008. South Florida returns 20 starters from last season including dual-threat and Mohawk-wearing QB Matt Grothe. The Bulls’ spread offense can give defenses fits and put up big numbers in the process. South Florida has started the season 2-0, including a big overtime win on the road last weekend against Central Florida.
Almost 705 of bettors are taking Kansas and the points, but the line at Pinnacle hasn’t moved from opening of South Florida -3.5 points. Its unusual to see the public backing an underdog like this, but the appeal of a top-25 team receiving points is drawing them in. We’ll take South Florida at home giving up the points.
South Florida –3.5
Re: Friday Service Plays
Phil Steele /Northcoast
Friday Night Marquee GOY
3* USF over Kansas
THIS IS OUR FRIDAY NIGHT MARQUEE GOY! USF has won 10 straight non conf HG’s (3-1 ATS) and beat #5 West Virginia 21-13 at home on a Friday night LY & had a huge win on the road over #17 Auburn. These two met in ‘06 as we won with a 4H LPS on Kansas (-3’), 13-7. Last year we won our College 5H GOY on USF as they dominated Syracuse 41-10 (-16’). KU won all 5 road games LY (4-1 ATS), has 15 starters back and is ranked #13. Kansas took on the #100 schedule LY and finished #7 while USF took on the #24 schedule and after their embarrassing bowl loss fell out of the polls. Kansas is 2-9 SU in road openers while USF is 50-11 at Raymond James Stadium. LW QB Reesing threw for a career high 412 yds leading Kansas to a 29-0 win over LA Tech. USF squandered (look-ahead) a 14 point lead with less than 3:00 minutes left, but pulled off the OT win over UCF LW. USF has upset the L/3 ranked tms it has faced and HC Leavitt is 6-2 ATS vs ranked teams. The Bulls are our #1 Surprise Team and a Darkhorse National Title Contender with something to prove here. Leavitt will have USF pumped for this nationally televised meeting and this Fri Marquee GOY is free as our thanks for purchasing Power Sweep. FORECAST: USF 34 Kansas 17
Re: Friday Service Plays
S. FLORIDA (-3.5) 26 Kansas 23
This ought to be a very revealing game, as I have questions about both teams. Kansas was an underrated squad last season and were better than most people gave them credit for. The loss of big play receiver Marcus Henry has greatly affected the Jayhawks’ pass attack, which has been just 0.3 yards per pass play better than average after two games so far, which is about where I had them rated coming into the season. The rushing attack has been a major disappointment so far, averaging just 3.9 yards per rushing play against Florida International and Louisiana Tech. I do the rushing attack to be at least average with Jake Sharp having run for 1001 career yards at 5.4 ypr (just 3.2 ypr this year) and Angus Quigley has averaged 6.0 ypr in his limited career action. South Florida is an outstanding defensive team, but the Bulls had to replace two very good cornerbacks and I think they can be beaten through the air if sack master George Selvie doesn’t put too much heat on KU quarterback Todd Reesing. South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe had a down year last season, but he looks like he’s back at his 2006 level, which was 1.1 yards per pass play better than average. The Bulls also have a solid rushing attack, but they’ll be tested by a very stingy Kansas defense that returned 9 starters from a unit that yielded just 4.5 yards per play last season (to teams that would combine to average 5.4 yppl against an average team). My ratings favor South Florida by 2 ½ points, so I’ll lean slightly with Kansas plus the points.
Re: Friday Service Plays
1. 400,000♦ South Florida
2. 50,000♦ Rays
3. 50,000♦ Rangers
1. South Florida- Love this match up for the Bulls, as they thrive in this setting (against a ranked opponent, at home, on national TV), and I expect they'll be in top form this Friday hosting Kansas. Remember guys, not only are the Bulls 50-11 SU over their last 61 games at Raymond James Stadium (9-2 ATS over their last 11 at home), but also 6-2 ATS against their last 8 against ranked opponents under coach Leavitt! But enough about the trends, let's get to the match ups...
I can understand why the public has fallen in love with Todd Reesing and this high-octane Jayhawks attack, but back-to-back blowout wins over cupcake opponents mean absolutely NOTHING in this contest. In fact, Kansas may come into this game riding a little high, and that's the last thing you want to do against a very talented Bulls stop-unit. Look for Reesing to run into trouble for the first time this season, as a speedy USF defense wrecks havoc on the timing-based Kansas passing attack.
I know plenty of people saw South Florida struggle to put away Central Florida, and all of a sudden, everyone loves the Jayhawks tonight. That's an overreaction for two reasons: A. It was their road opener, against a highly motivated rival (that game was super bowl for Central Florida players). And B. The Bulls dominated the game statistically, 504 total yards to 226 total yards, showing prowess on both sides of the ball. Look guys, the only thing the Bulls sub-par effort against Central Florida did was drive down the price on tonight's match up, which is just fine by me!
Finally, for all the talk about the Jayhawks at home, its no secret they are not the same team when they travel, especially early on, going 2-9 SU in road openers. With the public all over the Jayhawks in this one, don't buy into the hype, as the Bulls and dual-threat QB Matt Grothe are more than capable of defending their house. In the end, this is a HUGE game for South Florida, and much like they did last season against West Virginia, they'll deliver in spite of the public's love for the visitor! Bulls roll!
Take South Florida over Kansas as your top-rated play of the day.
2. Rays- If the Rays want to cement their hold on the AL East crown, they can take a big step forward tonight at Yankee Stadium. After getting swept in Toronto, the Rays rebounded by taking 2 of 3 at Fenway in a critical series with the 2nd place Red Sox. Now as they move onto their next series in the Bronx, look for Tampa Bay to kick the Yankees while their down, adding to their 2.5 game lead over Boston.
The sputtering Yankees return home after a tough road trip, that ended with them losing 3 of their last 4 overall, as their offense was nowhere to be found. Herein lies the problem for New York, as reigniting their slumping bats will be tough work against the Rays Matt Garza, who was tremendous in a losing effort at Toronto in his last start, allowing 1 run over 7 strong innings. He's now posted a 2.29 ERA over his last 3 starts, including a tough loss to the Yankees September 2nd. Look for a much better effort this go-around, as the Yankees have clearly lost focus with the playoffs now a distant memory, and it showed in their series against the Angels.
Another big problem for the Yankees is the play of their starter Sidney Ponson, who after tempting Yankees-backers with some solid efforts, reverted back to his true self (just like I told you he would), posting a disgusting 11.29 ERA over his last 4 starts! Sure, he was decent against soft-hitting Seattle in his last start, but he won't be nearly as lucky tonight.
Finally, did you know Yankees are just 11-18 at Yankee Stadium against right-handed starters under the lights! Garza was damn good at Toronto in his last one, and after watching the Yankees struggle in Anaheim, look for another strong effort by the Rays righty here tonight. In the end, the Yankees are sputtering to the finish, and with Ponson getting the start, there's little hope for a turnaround tonight!
Take the Rays behind Garza over the NY Yankees and Ponson in this MLB match up.
3. Rangers- With the way the Rangers are hitting lately, coupled with a relatively even pitching match up, I see little hope for soft-hitting Oakland club in this match up.
First and foremost, you have to be impressed by the young southpaw Harrison, who after struggling to find his groove, is now pitching well, going 2-0 with a 4.42 ERA over his last 3 starts. He was especially strong in his last road start, at the Royals, allowing just 1 run over 6 2/3 innings, and I believe he can do much of the same against similarly sorry Athletics offense in this one. Let's not forget, he got the win at Oakland back on July 26th, allowing 1 earned over 5 innings!
Second, although his ERA is more than a run and half lower than Harrison's on the season (5.76 compared to 4.05), lefty Greg Smith has not been particularly effective of late, going 2-2 with a 4.88 ERA over his last 4 starts. True, he was great at Baltimore in his last one, tossing 7 scoreless. However, that came after getting torched by the Twins at home for 8 runs in 5 innings... So don't tell me Smith is pitching well, because he's been far too inconsistent. Not to mention, the last time he pitched a great game (at Seattle August 21st), he followed that up with two disgusting starts, including that home effort against Minnesota! Trust him in this spot if you like, but I simply can't against this high-powered Rangers offense.
Finally, speaking of the offenses, you have to give the nod to the Rangers. True, the one spot they do not particualry produce well is against lefties on the road (although batting .338 vs lefties L10 games), but fact of the matter is Oakland is just as anemic against lefties at home. With Hamilton red-hot, and rookies Arias and Davis delivering, look for Texas to power past the A's once again here tonight. Also note, a good start here by Harrison could guarantee his spot in the rotation next year, and that's excellent motivation for the young lefty... Look for him to pitch accordingly tonight!
Take the Rangers behind Harrison over the Athletics and Smith in late MLB action.
Re: Friday Service Plays
1 Unit on Florida Marlins -168
The Marlins have made it their job to destroy the Nats and that demolition continues tonight. The Nationals are a pathetic 2-12 in the last 14 meetings and just 1-4 in the last 5 meetings in Florida . The Nationals are a terrible 21-46 in their last 67 vs. a team with a winning record and 16-35 in their last 51 road games. The Marlins are 4-1 in Olsen's last 5 starts vs. the Nationals. Take Florida at home.
CWS (-150) vs DET
Detroit Tigers travel to Chicago White Sox in an evening game. John Danks is scheduled starter for Sox going against Justin Verlander for Tiger.
Sox are 24-5 last 29 games against teams with a losing record. This season Danks is 2-0 in 12.2 innings with 3.55 ERA against Tigers while Verlander is 1-4 in 34.0 innings with 6.09 ERA against Sox.
This is a very important game for Sox to maintain slim lead in AL Central. Take Sox to prevail !
Kansas / S.Florida UNDER 48.5
Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox
Prediction: Boston Red Sox
The Jays enter this critical series on a major roll. This is a tough matchup for them though. For starters, the Red Sox are 49-21 at home on the season. That includes a 7-4 mark in Wakefield's 11 starts here. The veteran knuckleballer has a very solid 3.42 ERA and a 1.155 WHIP in those games. Purcey goes for the Jays and he's coming off a great start. However, that was at home. On the road, he's gone 1-3 with a 5.71 ERA. He'll face a Red Sox lineup which averages 5.4 runs per game vs. southpaws and 5.8 runs per game here at home. The Sox know they can put away the pesky Jays once and for all with a big series here. Look for them to start it off with a victory. Consider Boston
Lenny Del Genio
Game: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox
Prediction: Boston Red Sox
Rare chance to grab the Red Sox at a decent price at home. Boston is 22-4 as home favorite of -150 to -200 and maybe more impressive is the fact that they are 42-16 at Fenway off a loss. Toronto has won 11 of 12 and has a winning record vs. the Red Sox this year, but when they are on a winning streak of 6-2 or 7-1, they are just 9-23 in their next game over the last two seasons. Take Boston.
Sammy Jankus, the Reverse Barometer!
Always play the OTHER SIDE of my game writeup.
Tampa Bay at NY Yankees 7:05 PM ET
3* NY YANKEES (+107)
No doubt about it... the Yankees are TOAST. If big, bad Boston can't slow down the streaking Rays, how are the Bronx Bunglers going to pull it off? The fact that New York has been made the home dog here tells me the linemaker has total confidence in Tampa Bay's ability to ring the register. I'll gladly lay the small price with the superior Rays – so your play is on the NY YANKEES.
Cincinnati + over Arizona
Something is clearly wrong with Brandon Webb and the Diamondbacks are on a great free fall. Webb has an ERA of 12.51 in his last three starts and he has thrown away his Cy Young candidacy as well as his team’s playoff chances. Arizona has lost six straight games and the offense has not scored more than four runs in any of the last eight games.
Cincinnati has won five of the last seven games and the Reds are averaging six runs per game in the past ten contests. In the last ten games the Reds are hitting .279 compared with just .224 for Arizona. The Reds have also won six of the past seven meetings between these teams including beating Brandon Webb last season.
Johnny Cueto has been a forgotten pitcher after falling off his incredible early start but he has been effective for the Reds. Cueto has allowed three or fewer runs in six of his last eight starts and he has very low walk totals for a hard-throwing young pitcher. Cincinnati has had great success in series openers and given that Arizona is just 3-13 in the last 16 games the Reds are worth a shot as a nearly 2 to 1 underdog.
3 Units - Pittsburgh Pirates (-110)
2 Units - Royals/Indians Over 7 (-120)
2 Units - Kansas/USF Over 48
LOCK OF THE DAY
Today's Lock: Kansas Jayhawks +3.5
Kansas has a very good chance of winning this game. They finished ranked #7 in the country last year. They return 9 starters on defense! They have a very good quarterback in Todd Reesing. They have looked strong in their first two games so far this year. Kansas is solid! South Florida needed overtime to win their game last week. They were huge favorites in that game - this team might not be as good as advertised. The Big 12 is a much stronger conference. We like Kansas plus the points tonight.