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THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

Re: THURSDAY SERVICE PLAYS

Jimmy Boyd

Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants    
Play: San Francisco Giants   

Zito continues to be undervalued despite the turnaround he's made and we'll take advantage of that tonight. Zito is 10-4 against the money line when playing against a team with a losing record this season and 8-1 against the money line when playing against a team with a losing record in the second half of the season this season. Zito is also an impressive 70-39 against the money line against division opponents since 1997. It has not taken much to make Colorado road weary this season. The Rocks are just 20-41 against the money line after 2 or more consecutive road games this season. Take the Giants.

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Tom Freese

Chicago at Ny Mets

This is a must win game for the Mets and I don't feel that Pedro Martinez is up to the task. Pedro has allowed 14 runs in his last 16 innings of work in his last 3 starts all of which were losses. The Mets as a whole looked like they saw a ghost last night after blowing a lead after already knowing that the Phillies had lost to Atlanta. Rich Harden has made 11 starts since joining the Cubs. He has allowed 2 or less runs in 10 of his 11 starts and Chicago is 9-2 in his starts. PLAY ON CHICAGO -

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Sean Higgs

SMU vs. Tulane
Play: SMU +17.5

June Jones takes over this SMU club, and though they have been brutal, too many points here coming from a Tulane team that doesn't have that much fire-power. SMU won't get many prime-time week-night attention, but tonight, they will play their hearts out and not be embarressed for a change.

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Lang
10 Dime USC/Oregon State Over
5 Dime Tulane

Free Pick Oregon State

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Larry Ness

SDP +110 vs LOS

Jake Peavy posted a 2.54 ERA in '07 and went 19-6 to win the NL's Cy Young award. His ERA is 2.77 in '08 but what a difference a year makes. Peavy is just 9-11 this year and the Padres have struggled to an 11-15 mark in his 26 starts. San Diego went 89-73 last year, before losing a one-game playoff to the Rockies for the NL wild card. However, the Padres enter this game 61-97 on the year (27-53 on the road) and 22 games back of the NL West-leading Dodgers. San Diego owns a .251 team BA (ranks 27th of 30 teams) and has scored a ML-low 3.94 RPG. No wonder Peavy's record is so bad. Despite a spectacular 1.77 home ERA, the Padres are only 7-7 in his home starts and on the road (where Peavy's ERA is 4.20), they are 4-8. However, one thing HAS remained constant in '08 and that's his ability to beat the Dodgers. Peavy is a perfect 3-0 vs LA in '08 with a 1.71 ERA, which ups his career mark against the Dodgers to 12-1 with a 2.21 ERA in 21 starts (team is 15-6). Wednesday's 12-4 rout of the Padres gives LA 18 wins in its last 23 games. The Dodgers were 65-70 and trailed the D'backs by 4 1/2 games heading into August 30 action but last night's win (coupled with Arizona's loss) clinched at least a share of the NL West title for Joe Torre's team (think Manny has helped?). LA could already have the division clinched before taking the field tonight, if Arizona loses at St Louis this afternoon. That makes this game a little tougher to bet, as if the D'backs lose, the Dodgers may sit many of their regulars. With that in mind, I've made this a small play. However, I like the Padres in both scenarios (Arizona winning or losing this afternoon). Greg Maddux was acquired by the Dodgers (from the Padres) in mid-August. He allowed nine hits and seven ERs (5.2 IP) in his first start for LA (at Philly on Aug 22) and in his most recent start, allowed nine hits and seven ERs (5 IP) vs San Fran on Sep 22. In between, he's been better but not by all that much. Maddux owns a 6.23 ERA in six starts with LA, going 1-4 (team is 1-5). I'm taking Peavy and the Padres regardless of the outcome of the Arz/StL game this afternoon.

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Jeff Alexander Sports

1 Unit on Blue Jays -174

The juice is worth the squeeze here behind Mr. Halladay.  The Yanks have kicked things in high gear down the home stretch (for nothing) while the Jays have trailed off a little bit the last week.  However, Halladay is a Yankee killer.  The Blue Jays are 8-0 in Halladay's last 8 home starts vs. the Yankees and Blue Jays are 19-7 in Halladay's last 26 starts vs. the Yankees period.  The Blue Jays are an impressive 25-4 in their last 29 after allowing 5 runs or more in their previous game and 42-16 in Halladay's last 58 starts vs. the American League East.  Take the Jays.

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Yankee Capper

2 Units Reds +170
2 Units Padres +110

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WILD BILL

Detroit Tigers +130  vs Kazmir (5 units)
Yankees vs Halladay +170 (5 units)
Chicago Cubs w/Harden -115 (5 units)
Florida Marlins vs Balester  -115 (5 units)
Pittsburgh Pirates vs Gallardo +205 (5 units)
Cincinnati Reds  vs Oswalt +175 (5 units)
Chicago White Sox +140 (5 units)
San Diego Padres w/Peavy +110 (5 units)
Seattle Mariners +105 (5 units)
Colorado Rockies -110 (5 units)
Twins-Chicago White Sox Over 8 1/2 (5 units)

NCAAF

Tulane-Smu Over 49 (5 units)

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BIG AL

Reds at Astros
Play: Under

After a very poor start to the 2008 season which saw him try to pitch through injuries, nobody has had a stronger performance in the second half than 31-year-old Houston right-hander Roy Oswalt. A win tonight would give Oswalt 10 victories since the break to go with his 2.29 ERA, the type of numbers we're used to seeing from him throughout the course of an entire season. In 22-year-old right-hander Johnny Cueto, the Reds see a young budding star who could possibly one day put up numbers consistently like Oswalt has for years. But like Oswalt, Cueto has a slight frame (only about 180 lbs) and pitchers built like that who throw hard (as Cueto does) are susceptible to injury. In fact, the Reds have already experienced that with the talented youngster as he missed some time already this season. Now that he appears healthy again, he is pitching very well and the Reds are certainly going to keep his innings to a minimum in this, his last start before a well-deserved offseason. There is no doubt that a healthy Cueto is in the Reds' rotation plans for years to come. The 'under' is 19-5-3 in Cincy's last 27 road games and 11-3 in Houston's last 14 home games. Take the under. 

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Wunderdog

Chicago at Minnesota
Pick: Minnesota -144

The noose is tightening around the necks of the White Sox as their lead is down to just a half game over the Twins. The Twins have taken the first two games and are playing loose and free. This is the pivotal game. If the Twins lose they are two back with three to play. The White Sox are 10 games under .500 on the road while the Twins are 25 over at home, but barely over .500 against right hand pitching. Kevin Slowey has been a full 1.5 runs better at home, 3.04 vs. his road ERA of 4.52, and the Twins are now 7-1 in his last eight home starts. Gavin Floyd has a road ERA of over four, and the Pale Hose are just 7-7 in his last 14 road starts. Minnesota has been 32-10 over their last 42 at home, and I like them to take over first place in the AL Central with the win here.

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Black Magic Sports

1 Unit on Houston Astros -1.5 +116

Houston and Roy Oswalt will keep fighting until they are mathematically eliminated from the postseason.  Beating up on the Reds by at least 2 runs won’t be a problem for Oswalt and company.  Get this, Roy Oswalt is 21-1 with a 2.58 ERA in 25 lifetime starts against Cincinnati.  He has only suffered one loss in 25 outings against the Reds.  If that’s not domination then I don’t know what is.  The Astros have won his last 2 starts against Cincinnati by 3 runs each.  Johnny Cueto is 0-2 with a 6.50 ERA lifetime against Houston.  Oswalt is 17-4 vs. an NL team with a team batting average of .255 or worse over the last 2 seasons.  The Astros are winning his starts against these teams by an average of 1.6 runs/game.  Cash in with the Astros on the -1.5 Run Line as Oswalt shuts down the Reds once again.

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CASH & PROFIT EXPERTS

NY YANKEES vs TORONTO BLUE JAYS 

PLAY: YANKEES/ BLUE JAYS OVER 8

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LT Profits

Cincinnati Reds +175

Roy Oswalt of the Houston Astros carries a 22-1 career record vs. the Cincinnati Reds into this contest tonight including 3-0 this year, and he is simultaneously trying to keep the slim Astros playoff hopes alive. Well, we feel that Houston supporters may be in line for a huge surprise.

First of all, Oswalt has not been as unhittable as usual vs. the Reds this year, as they have actually managed 21 hits plus five walks in 19 innings off of him. They have failed to get many key hits however, managing six runs in those three games with four coming in one game. Still, if they can get just three runs here, it just may be good enough to pull the upset.

This is due to a combination of Reds starter Johnny Cueto pitching well lately, Cincinnati having a good bullpen and the Houston offense going in the tank as of late. Cueto has now allowed three earned runs or less in seven of his last eight starts, and he has the support of a Reds pen that ranks third in the National League with a 3.78 ERA. They are facing an Astros lineup that is batting an anorexic .200 over the last 10 games while averaging just 2.60 runs per game.

We anticipate a very low scoring game here, and in what should be a tight game late, we see great value in having the better bullpen at this fat price.

Pick: Reds +175

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Drew Gordon

Southern Methodist at TULANE -18

Let's make one thing clear: June Jones has a LONG way to go at Southern Methodist. His pass-heavy offense requires more time than most to grasp, and anyone who's seen the Mustangs play will agree with me. Coach Jones has said it would take at least 4 games before his kids "get it," but after watching them get stomped two weeks in a row, its clear they're a at least a season away, and they'll be more proof of that tonight.

Biggest problem for SMU and freshman QB Bo Levi Mitchelll, is the Green Wave's surprsingly stout defense, which stood their ground against the likes of Alabama and East Carolina. With 13 sacks in their first 3 games, thier stop-unit is not only solid, but a young QBs nightmare. Mitchell has a pathetic 58% completion percentage and has already thrown 10 picks this season... Talk about a perfect storm for SMU-backers!

On the flip side, you can talk about June Jones offense until your red in the face, but what about the Mustange defense (or lackthereof)?! SMU is allowing a mind-boggling 45.8 ppg on 530 yards of total offense! Tulane's offense may not be a juggernaut, but fact remains, they have the weapons with QB Moore and RB Anderson to take advantage of paper mache Mustangs D. Tulane's offense struggled early because of tough match ups against Alabama and East Carolina, but looked solid last week against Louisiana Monroe... Look for more of the same tonight at home!

From a trend standpoint, the Green Wave are 5-1 ATS over their last 6 games, including 3-0 ATS this season. Also, they're 4-1 ATS in their last 5 match ups against losing teams, so you know they can put 'em away when they should. In the end, Tulane's sack happy defense makes all the difference, as once they break open the game, it goes from bad to worse for a terrible SMU squad forced to play from behind. Green Wave rolls!

Take Tulane BIG over Southern Methodist in this C-USA match up.

2♦ TULANE

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JEFF BENTON

Marlins-Nationals OVER

These teams have combined for 13 runs in each of the first two games of this series (both 9-4 finals), and they’ve now tallied double-digit runs in 11 of their 17 head-to-head meetings this season, including six of eight in Washington. As a result, the over is 10-5-2 in this rivalry in 2008, including 6-0-1 in D.C.

Tonight, we’ve got a recipe for another high-scoring affair, as two mediocre pitchers take the mound in Florida’s Anibal Sanchez (2-5, 5.57 ERA in 2008) and Washington’s Colin Balester (3-6, 4.83). Both right-hander’s have ERAs north of 5.00 in their last three starts, and the over has been the play in three of Sanchez’s last four outings, and each of Balester’s last four trips to the bump have gone high.

Furthermore, the over is 3-0 in Sanchez’s three starts against the Nationals since the start of last season, and 2-0 in Balester’s two career efforts against Florida (both this year). Also, the over is 6-2 in Florida’s last eight games overall, 18-7-1 in the Nats’ last 26 overall and 12-4-1 in the last 17 Nats home games.

Throw in two shaky bullpens – Florida’s relievers have a 6.49 ERA over the last 10 games; Washington’s bully has a 5.27 ERA in its last 10 – and this has all the makings of another double-digit shootout.

5♦ Marlins-Nationals OVER the total

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Scott Delaney

Brewers on the Run Line is the play, as they continue to fight for a spot in the postseason. Bottom line is, with what the higher ups in MLB are forcing upon the Mets with projected weather for the weekend, Milwaukee has no choice but to close out the season doing its part - and that's to win big.

The Brewers are at home, they're facing a team that has a starting rotation that can be ripped up and down, and they're most certainly one of the best hitting teams on their own field.

To stay hot, and to stay in contention, the Brewers win big tonight and head into the weekend on a roll.

BREWERS RUN LINE

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Lenny Del Genio

Chicago Cubs at New York Mets
Prediction: Chicago Cubs

Things continue to get worse for the Metropolitans tonight as they are now an underdog against Rich Harden, who has seen his team win 30 of his last 39 starts (obviously going well back into his days in Oakland). We used to like Pedro Martinez a lot, but it?s not 1999 anymore, and the New York hurler is 0-3 with a 7.87 ERA in his last three starts. We went against him in his last outing, a 4-2 loss to a very subpar Braves team. Cubs have taken four of five meetings with the Mets this season. Way too much pressure on the home side tonight and they will crack as per usual. Take Chicago Cubs.

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John Ryan

SMU vs. Tulane 
Play: SMU +17.5   

Ai Simulator 3* graded play on SMU – AiS shows a 78% probability that SMU will lose this game by 17 or fewer points. Supporting this graded play is a system that has gone 65-29 ATS for 69% since 2002. Play on any team with a turnover margin of -1 /game or worse on the season and after 2 consecutive games with a turnover margin of -2 or worse. Take the Ponies. 

   
Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets
Play: Mets

Ai Simulator 3* graded play on the Mets – Mets literally in a must win situation now trailing Philadelphia by 1.5 games. A loss is devastating to their divisional championship aspirations, but they do own the tie-breaker should they end the season tied. Supporting this graded play is a system that has gone 37-14 making 30.3 units since 1997. Play against all teams with a money line of -100 to -150 that is a good offensive team scoring >=5.0 runs/game and is now facing a below NL average starter sporting an ERA= 5.20 to 5.70 after a combined score of 15 runs or more. Mets in a strong role noting that they are 14-5 (+10.0 Units) against the money line versus a NL starting pitcher whose ERA is 2.70 or better over the last 2 seasons.

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Priceless Picks

1 unit on Boston Red Sox -162

The Indians are just 1-7 in the last 8 meetings against the Red Sox and having Sowers on the hill does not give them a good chance to win tonight.  The Indians are 0-6 in Sowers' last 6 road starts vs. a team with a winning record, 2-9 in Sowers' last 11 starts vs. a team with a winning record, and just 3-8 in Sowers' last 11 road starts period.  The Red Sox are 41-12 in their last 53 home games vs. a team with a losing road record and a dominant 39-16 in their last 55 vs. the American League Central.  Take the Sox.

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Sammy Jankus, The Reverse Barometer!

Always play the OTHER SIDE of my game writeup.

Arizona at St. Louis
3* ARIZONA -101

Cards dropped the series opener with Arizona then proceeded to skin the Diamondbacks in consecutive decisions. With the desert reptiles still trying to chase down the Dodgers, the pressure will be too much for them to handle this afternoon at Busch Stadium. I look for affordably priced St. Louis to SMASH THE SNAKES one more time – so your play is on ARIZONA. 

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