THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

Bob Harvey

St. Louis Cardinals -113

It’s an old sports cliché but I’ll use it again. The Arizona Diamondbacks are TOAST. As in “Put a fork in them, they’re done”. After winning Monday’s series opener at Busch Stadium the D-Backs have lost two straight. Coupled with the Dodgers back-to-back wins, Arizona is now one loss away or an LA victory away from being eliminated from playoff contention. The Snakes will look to stay alive when they send Doug Davis to the mound in the series finale against the Cardinals. Davis is 6-8 with a 3.25 ERA but hasn’t factored in the decision in his last four starts. Lifetime vs. the Redbirds, Davis is 4-5 with a 4.79 ERA in 13 starts against St. Louis and allowed three runs in six innings of a 4-3 win over Cardinals on Sept. 3. Davis is a cancer survivor. He pitched only weeks AFTER having surgery earlier this season. I always pull for a guy like that. However his team is running on fumes and facing the reality that they need to win out and have the Dodgers lose all four. Neither one of those things will happen. St. Louis rested three starters last night: Albert Pujols, Ryan Ludwick and Troy Glaus. All three will be back in today’s line-up. Pujols, hitting .350 is batting .323 (10-for-31) with five doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs against Davis. Joel Pinero has lost two straight but has pitched well. The Cardinals are playing for pride and with their rested starters back in the line-up; I say this is where Arizona’s road comes to an end. IF the Cardinals win, as expected, go against the Dodgers tonight. LA will be resting their regulars especially against Jake Peavy.

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Nelly

San Diego (Peavy) + over Los Angeles (Maddux)

The Dodgers appear to be on their way to the NL West title but the acquisition of Greg Maddux has made little positive impact. Maddux has just one quality start since joining the team and his ERA is 5.71 this season with Los Angeles. The Dodgers are just 1-5 in his six starts and he has allowed nine runs in just over ten innings at Dodger stadium this season as the home starter.

Jake Peavy is just 9-11 on the season but his numbers have not taken that dramatic of a fall in other categories since his Cy Young season in 2007. Peavy owns a 2.77 ERA, just a shade higher than last season and he has registered a nearly 3 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio. The Padres are 3-0 this season when Peavy has started against the Dodgers and San Diego is 13-3 in his last 16 starts in this series.

San Diego does not have reason to be playing hard but the Padres have actually shown some life, winning three of the last four games. These teams actually have similar offensive numbers over the past ten games and catching solid underdog value in a division rivalry with a far superior pitcher looks like a good situation.

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Marc Lawrence

Play: San Diego

The Padres send ace right hander Jake Peavey up against Greg Maddux and the Dodgers in Los Angeles tonight with a boatload of good numbers on Peavy's side. Included are 8 straight team starts wins for Peavy, with 12 walks and 42 strikeouts in those efforts. In addition, Maddux is 1-6 in his last 7 team starts and just 3-7 in his last 10 home starts during the month of September. With all the pressure squarely on the Dodgers, look for Peavy and the Padres to come up big tonight.

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Jimmy The Moose

Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins
Prediction: Minnesota Twins

Chicago has lost 3 of their last 4 games while the Twins have now won 3 straight. The White Sox are 7-22 in their last 29 games played on turf. In their last 25 road games vs. a team with a winning record the White Sox are 6-19. Chicago's Gavin Floyd has been very good this season but he faces a Twins team the Sox always struggle against. Minnesota is 22-6 in their last 28 home games vs. a team with a winning record. They are 36-16 in their last 52 home games vs. a team with a losing road record. Twins have won 7 of Slowey's lsat 8 home starts. The Twins have won 5 of the last 6 meetings overall and the White Sox are 1-8 in their last 9 trips to Minnesota. Play on the Twins -.

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Scott Ferrall

ZITO -120 and Giants at home over Colorado

PEAVY +115 at LA--The Padres will jump on Greg Maddux and knock off the Dodgers at the Revine

Cincy and Cueto +180 over the Astros and Roy Oswalt at Minute Maid

Florida -110 at Washington--A.Sanchez over Balester in DC

NO EARLY LINES ON THESE TWO GAMES:

Take the TRIBE over the Red Sox--Sowers over Lester

Milwaukee over Pittsburgh at Miller Park-Gallardo over Duke

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Frank Jordan

USC vs. Oregon State
Play: USC -24.5

USC is 2-0 after 52-7 and 35-3 wins at Virginia and home over Ohio State respectfully. Oregon State is 1-2 but is coming off a 45-7 win over Hawaii. Even though they are coming off a win look for Oregon State to be too over matched as USC rolls to another easy win and staying at #1 in the country. Play USC

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Karl Garrett

Florida -115 at WASHINGTON

The G-Man has been getting the job done with his free plays, as last night it was the underdog Yankees coming through to make it a 9-3 comp play run the last 12 days.

Another baseball winner tonight as I load up on the Marlins over the Nationals.

Florida snapped a 4- game losing streak last night with the 9-4 win over Washington. The Marlins are now an impressive 7-1 this year at Washington, and 14-3 overall in the season series.

The Nationals have now dropped 6 of their last 7, and starter Colin Balester is just 3-6 in his first season up with the big club.

I like Florida to continue their domination of their divison rival with another easy win tonight.

4♦ FLORIDA

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Bobby Maxwell

Southern Methodist at TULANE -18

The Green Wave have dominated this series lately and even dating back to 1992. In the last three years they have gone 2-1 (SU and ATS) and Tulane is 6-1 (SU and ATS) against Southern Methodist dating back to 1992.

Last year Tulane went to SMU and narrowly cashed as a 6 1/2-point favorite, scoring a 41-34 OT victory. But prior to that, the Green Wave had dominated the Mustangs, with an average margin of victory of about 14 points.

Tulane has cashed in all three this season, including matchups with ranked teams Alabama and East Carolina. SMU is implementing a new offense but the Mustangs need to work on the defense, having given up 36 points or more in all four outings this season.

SMU got hammered by TCU 48-7 last week as a 24 1/2-point home 'dog. The Mustangs were outgained 498-210 and had minus-8 yards rushing. The West Coast offense is taking time to develop with SMU.

Tulane is on positive ATS streaks of 5-1 overall, 4-0 in September kickoffs and 4-1 when they get a poke at a losing team. We'll gladly lay the chalk and play the Green Wave tonight. Tulane will get the job done big.

3♦ TULANE

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Sports Gambling Hotline,

SMU at TULANE

SMU may come into this game having only scored 14 points in their last 2 losses, but we feel we are going to see them combine with Tulane tonight to take this OVER the posted total.

The Mustangs leaky defense has allowed 56, 36, 43, and 48 points thus far this year, and over the last 3 series meetings with the Green Wave they have allowed 41, 28, and 31 points the last 3 years!

Tulane comes into this one off a pair of 24 point efforts in a loss to East Carolina, and a win over UL Monroe last Saturday.

The Green Wave will have to contend with June Jones' multiple offensive sets, and while they should be able to outscore the Mustangs for sure, we also feel they may give up a few points in this one.

Take the OVER in this high-scoring Conference USA battle this Thursday night.

2♦ OVER

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Sports Advisors

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

(1) USC (2-0 SU and ATS) at Oregon State (1-2 SU and ATS)

Southern Cal, which took a week off after flattening then-fifth-ranked Ohio State, opens up Pac-10 Conference play by heading north to Corvallis, Ore., to take on Oregon State at Reser Stadium.

The Trojans proved they deserved to be a 10½-point home chalk, and then some, with a 35-3 bashing of the Buckeyes on Sept. 13. USC racked up 348 total yards while allowing just 207, and won the turnover battle 3-1. QB Mark Sanchez (17 of 28, 178 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT) was efficient and effective, and RB Joe McKnight ripped off 105 yards on just 12 carries.

The Beavers also took last weekend off after routing Hawaii 45-7 as a 14-point home favorite Sept. 13, winning and cashing for the first time this season. Oregon State racked up 485 total yards – including 217 on the ground – while yielding just 211 yards (57 rushing). QB Lyle Moevao completed 20 of 34 passes for 268 yards and three TDs against the outmatched Rainbows.

USC has won eight of the last 10 clashes in this rivalry, but Oregon State has split the cash in those meetings. Last year, the Trojans rolled 24-3 as a 15½-point home favorite, but two years ago at Reser Stadium, the Beavers pulled off a 33-31 home upset as a 10½-point pup to end USC’s 27-game conference winning streak. In fact, the home team is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings, and Oregon State has gone 3-0 ATS (2-1 SU) in its last three home contests against the Trojans.

The Trojans are just 1-4 ATS in their last five on artificial turf, but their ATS trends are all positive from there, including 6-1 overall, 4-1 on the road, 7-1 after a bye and 9-4 against losing teams. The Beavers are also on a bevy of positive pointspread streaks, including 8-3 overall, 5-0 at home, 5-0 after a bye, 5-1 after a SU win and 6-2 in conference play, though they are in a 2-6 ATS rut against winning teams.

The under for Southern Cal is on a 10-3 overall tear and is on further runs of 5-0 against losing teams, 7-1 after an ATS win, 8-2 after a SU win and 20-7 in Pac-10 play. Also, Oregon State sports under streaks of 8-2-1 after a bye week and 4-1 at home.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


SMU (1-3, 1-2 ATS) at Tulane (1-2, 3-0 ATS

Southern Methodist, already set for its fifth game of the season, travels to the Superdome in New Orleans for a Conference USA matchup against Tulane.

The Mustangs have little time to regroup after getting bounced 48-7 by Texas Christian on Saturday, failing to cash despite being a 24½-point home underdog. That came on the heels of a 43-7 blowout road loss at the hands of Texas Tech – though SMU barely cashed as a 36½-point underdog. Against TCU, the Mustangs were outgained 498-210, going backward on the ground with minus-8 net rushing yards.

Tulane also suited up Saturday, beating Louisiana-Monroe 24-10 as a five-point home chalk to maintain its perfect 2008 ATS mark, which includes spread-covers against ranked foes Alabama and East Carolina. Against Louisiana-Monroe, the Green Wave finished with impressive advantages of 454-182 in total yards and 24-9 in first downs.

Tulane has gone 2-1 SU and ATS in the last three years of this rivalry, narrowly cashing last year in a 41-34 overtime victory as a 6½-point road favorite. In fact, the road team has cashed in each of the last three meetings.

The Mustangs are mired in ATS funks of 2-4 overall, 1-5 against losing teams, 3-7 in CUSA contests and 18-35 in September. Likewise, the Green Wave are only 6-17-1 ATS in their last 24 conference matchups, but they sport positive ATS streaks of 5-1 overall, 4-0 in September and 4-1 against losing teams.

The over is 13-6 in SMU’s last 19 conference tilts, but the under has cashed in five of SMU’s last seven games on the highway. For Tulane, the under is on tears of 12-5 overall, 5-2 at home, 4-1 after a SU win and 6-2 against losing teams.

ATS ADVANTAGE: TULANE

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Matt Rivers

For Thursday take the Reds in Houston.

Sure Roy Oswalt has been great for the last six or so weeks and sure the Astros are the far more talented overall team but the Reds are playing their best ball of the season and are as loose as can be right now. The names like Griffey and Dunn are gone leaving far less talent but things have been great for the past month plus now for Dusty Baker's squad.

The Astros meanwhile shot their wad with the great six or so week stretch right before Hurricane Ike as they got themselves back into the Wild Card race. But moving those games against the Cubs to Miller Park obviously disturbed Cecil Cooper's team and it has shown as these guys have not been close to the same. Berkman, Pence, Tejada and the home 'Stros do win this game more than they don't behind their ace but the price is fairly steep and I have some confidence in Johnny Cueto as the righty is pretty solid.

If you look at this game strictly from personnel then we are badly outmatched. But this should have been the case for awhile now and hasn't leading me to believe that Cincinnati has a shot to pull one more rabbit from their hats and at this price why the heck not!

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Dave Cokin

LA Angels / SEA Mariners
Take SEA Mariners

The Mariners are obviously going to be pretty happy to put the equipment away for the winter. They're beyond terrible. But they've played the Angels really tough the last couple of nights, so perhaps they're treating this as their personal playoff series. I like what I've seen out of rookie Cesar Jimenez and the M's get to face the weak link of the Halos staff tonight in Dustin Moseley. A rare call on Seattle to win in the series finale.

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Jim Feist

COL Rockies / SF Giants
Take SF Giants

The Giants didn't play that badly on a brutal 11-game road trip, winning 4 games (3 as a big dog), plus losing 3 games by 2 runs or less. They even beat the Dodgers, 1-0 and 7-1. Starter Barry Zito has had a better second half of the season, and sports a 3.93 ERA his last three starts, fanning 16 in 18 innings. He faces a team he's already beaten this season (2.2o ERA) and lifteim he's 2-1 against Colorado with a 2.63 ERA. San Fran is home for the final 6 games of the season, while the Rockies are on a 6-game trip. Starter Jorge De La Rosa (5.20 ERA) has not had a good season and has been wild down the stretch, walking 10 batters in his last 16 innings. The home team has the better pitcher and is more interested. Play the Giants.

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Pointwise

TULANE 37 - Smu 17 - (8:00 - CBSC) -- Wave as this solid a chalk certainly a rarity, but have allowed only 40 FDs in 3 games, & are 5-1 ATS by 67½ of late,with Anderson & Moore providing the "O". Pony "D": 44 ppg last 10 contests,including 55, 56, & 43 pts in last 3 RGs. Mitchell: 7 INTs last 2 games. Greenies.

So California 45 - OREGON STATE 13 - (9:00 - ESPN) -- Sanchez latest USC Heisman candidate: 4 TDs in rout of OhioSt. Troy has a 1,149-523 yd edge in the early going, with an 87-10 pt advantage. Now +78½ pts ATS in last 5 tilts.Beavs off the schneid with 38-pt rout of hapless Hawaii, & Moevao has thrown for 923 yds, but still no overland game, & chalk is 17-7 ATS in OregSt contests.


THE GOLD SHEET

*TULANE 37 - Smu 13—Although substantial favorite an exceedingly strange pointspread role for long-suffering Tulane, inclined to support resurgent host following last week’s satisfying win over La.-Monroe. Squalid SMU “stop” unit (nation’s-worst 531 ypg) can’t stop anyone, and Mustangs have scored just 2 TDs in last 2 games behind misfiring true frosh QB Mitchell (10 ints. TY).Green Wave has enough rushing and defense (only 223 ypg—No. 8 in country!)to bludgeon visitor into submission.(07-Tulane 41-SMU 34 (OT)...S.23-21 T.50/361 S.32/84 S.28/37/1/354 T.13/24/0/160 T.1 S.1) (07-Tulane +6 41-34 (OT) 06-Smu -3 33-28 05-Tulane -3' 31-10...SR: Tulane 11-5)

*Southern Cal 37 - OREGON STATE 10—Granted, Corvallis has been a real minefield lately for SC, which has failed to cover last 3 trips to Reser Stadium and lost 2 of those outright (including 33-31 shocker in ‘06). But can’t envision erratic OSU QB Moevao doing too much business vs. Pete Carroll’s latest defensive monster that’s loaded with future NFL first-round draftees. And since rebuilt Beaver “D” not yet generating the pressure of recent OSU stop units, Mark Sanchez should again have plenty of time to locate his various weapons downfield. CABLE TV—ESPN(07-S. CAL 24-Ore. St. 3...S.16-12 S.36/100 O.37/91 S.20/34/0/187 O.11/28/1/85 S.1 O.0) (07-USC -16' 24-3 06-OSU +10' 33-31...SR: Southern Cal 58-9-4)


WINNING POINTS

Tulane* over S.M.U. by 17
We can not help but be impressed with the tremendous defensive performances of the Green Wave so far, although a short practice week for their first look at the June Jones playbook does create some new challenges. Of course, Jones can currently only use the most basic chapters of that book at this time. TULANE 34-17.

Southern Cal over Oregon State* by 26
A young Beaver defensive front has had to grow up in a hurry, and based on the Stanford/Penn State results, they are a long way from creating the kind of pressure to throw the Trojans off stride. SOUTHERN CAL 35-9.

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DUNKEL

Chicago Cubs at NY Mets
The Cubs look to further dampen the Mets playoff hopes and take advantage of Pedro Martinez' recent struggles (0-3, 7.87 ERA in last three starts).  The Cubs are the pick (-115) according to Dunkel, which has Chicago favored by 2.  Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (-115). 

Game 951-952: Arizona at St. Louis
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Davis) 14.312; St. Louis (Pineiro) 15.441
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1; 8
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-120); 9
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-120); Under

Game 953-954: Chicago Cubs at NY Mets
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Harden) 15.949; NY Mets (Martinez) 14.015
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 2; 9
Vegas Line: Chicago Cubs (-115); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (-115); Over

Game 955-956: Florida at Washington
Dunkel Ratings: Florida (Sanchez) 16.323; Washington (Balester) 13.899
Dunkel Line: Florida by 2 1/2; 10 1/2
Vegas Line: Florida (-115); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Florida (-115); Over

Game 957-958: Pittsburgh at Milwaukee
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Duke) 14.060; Milwaukee (Gallardo) 16.054
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 959-960: Cincinnati at Houston
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Cueto) 15.259; Houston (Oswalt) 14.447
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1; 6 1/2
Vegas Line: Houston (-210); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (+195); Under

Game 961-962: San Diego at LA Dodgers
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Peavy) 15.040; LA Dodgers (Maddux) 14.886
Dunkel Line: San Diego by 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-135); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Diego (+125); Under

Game 963-964: Colorado at San Francisco
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (De La Rosa) 16.229; San Francisco (Zito) 13.653
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 2 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-125); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (+115); Under

Game 965-966: Tampa Bay at Detroit
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Kazmir) 15.317; Detroit (Galarraga) 14.145
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1; 9 1/2
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 967-968: NY Yankees at Toronto
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Pavano) 17.011; Toronto (Halladay) 15.717
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Toronto (-185); 8
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (+175); Over

Game 969-970: Cleveland at Boston
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland (Sowers) 15.665; Boston (Lester) 17.210
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 971-972: Chicago White Sox at Minnesota
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Floyd) 16.531; Minnesota (Slowey) 14.971
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Minnesota (-145); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+135); Under

Game 973-974: LA Angels at Seattle
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Moseley) 14.790; Seattle (Jimenez) 15.760
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 1; 10
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-115); 9
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (+105); Over


NCAAF

USC at Oregon State
The Beavers look to build on their 8-4 ATS record in home games over the last three seasons and take advantage of USC's 5-10 ATS record after two or more consecutive straight up wins.  Oregon State is the underdog pick (+25 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Trojans favored by only 21.  Dunkel Pick: Oregon State (+25 1/2).   Here are all of this week's picks.

Game 101-102: SMU at Tulane
Dunkel Ratings: SMU 61.986; Tulane 83.257
Dunkel Line: Tulane by 21; 44
Vegas Line: Tulane by 18; 49
Dunkel Pick: Tulane (-18); Under

Game 103-104: USC at Oregon State
Dunkel Ratings: USC 118.215; Oregon State 97.088
Dunkel Line: USC by 21; 47
Vegas Line: USC by 25 1/2; 51
Dunkel Pick: Oregon State (+25 1/2); Under

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Ben Burns

Chicago Cubs at New York Mets
Prediction: Chicago Cubs

This would have been a great matchup when Martinez was in his prime. However, while Pedro is still capable of rising to the occasion, he's not the consistently dominant pitcher of the past. For the season, he's 1-3 with a 4.62 ERA in seven home starts. On the other hand, Harden is 6-2 with a 2.34 ERA on the road. Harden has also been much better recently. Over his last three starts, Harden is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA. The Cubs won all three of those games. Conversely, Martinez is 0-3 with a 7.87 ERA in his last three starts. Consider Chicago

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Craig Trapp

Chicago White Sox vs. Minnesota Twins    
Play: Minnesota Twins 

The Minnesota Twins are in position to sweep the Chicago White Sox right out of first place in the AL Central. After winning the first two games of their biggest series this season, the Twins will try to overtake the White Sox for the top spot in the division on Thursday night. Since July 27, these teams haven't been separated by more than 2 1/2 games -- exactly what Minnesota (86-72) trailed Chicago by coming into Tuesday's series opener. Minnesota looking for its fifth division title since 2002 under manager Ron Gardenhire -- is 7-1 at home against Chicago this year, and 12-5 there over the last two seasons. Minnesota's Kevin Slowey (12-11, 3.85 ERA) will try to dominate Chicago again at home as he looks to avoid losing his third consecutive start. Since June, Slowey has been nearly unbeatable at the Metrodome. He's gone 7-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his last eight starts there, including a six-hitter in a 7-0 victory over the White Sox on July 28. Gavin Floyd (16-8, 3.84), slated to start for Chicago, has lost two of his last three outings, including on Saturday against Kansas City. Floyd was tagged for five runs and eight hits -- including three homers in a 5-2 defeat. Enjoy the winner here MIN. SCORE MIN 6 - CHW 2

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Chris Jordan

Chicago at MINNESOTA -110 

Your free winner is on the Twins, as they'll continue to frustrate the South Siders and continue to piss off Ozzie Guillen. His interview last night was hilarious, in not giving Nate Blackburn any credit for the win.

He does nothing but incite his opponents every time he speaks, and I'll take advantage of his quick quips that irritate people.

Minnesota plays well at home, and in riding a three-game winning streak, we have to play the Magical 4th in the Homer Domer, as there's too much at stake to play the road team. Cheap price, and we play the hot team.

1♦ TWINS

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VEGAS EXPERTS

Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins

All of the momentum resides in the dugout of the home team as the Twins have taken the first two games of this series by a combined margin of of 12-5. That runs Chicago's record to 1-7 here at the Metrodome this season and overall they are a terrible 4-15 on artifical turf this season. Minnesota, meanwhile, has won 24 of its last 32 here at home and is 34-14 when favored in this building this season. This year, the choking in Chicago is taking place on the Northside.

Play on: Minnesota

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Rocketman Sports

1* San Diego +115

Jake Peavy is still his same old stud pitching self. The problem is the lack of run support. Maddux has been in the same boat lately except he has been getting hit pretty hard. San Diego has managed 28 runs their past 5 games which is 5.6 runs per game. Peavy has a very nice 2.77 ERA overall this year and despite an 0-2 record his last 3 starts he has a 2.35 ERA. Maddux is 0-2 with a 5.50 ERA his last 3 starts. Peavy is 12-1 with a 2.21 ERA overall vs LA Dodgers since 1997. I see Peavy shutting down the Dodgers here tonight and getting a little more run support against Maddux. I'll recommend a small play on San Diego tonight.

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