Thursday Service Plays

Thursday Service Plays

Yankee Capper

3 Units - Dodgers/Phillies Over 7.5

3 Units - Clemson/Wake Forest Over 44



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Big Al McMordie

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies   
Play: Los Angeles Dodgers +127     

If the regular season were to dictate the outcome of this NLCS, then the Phillies would be heading to the World Series to face the winner of the Tampa-Boston series, and they would need all four of their home games to do it. That's because during the month of August, these two teams met in their only eight contests of the season, with the Dodgers taking four straight games in LA from August 8-11, and then Philadelphia returning the favor in four straight at Citizens Bank Park from August 22-25. But as we've seen in the American League with the Anaheim-Boston series, the postseason does not always go according to plan, so don't expect the Dodgers to roll over and play dead in Thursday's opener in Philly. After all, in Philly's first game against Milwaukee with lefty Cole Hamels on the mound, Philly was very lucky to escape with a 3-1 win which most observers would say it didn't deserve. It's somewhat amazing that Philly and Milwaukee made it to the playoffs when you consider their team batting averages for the year were .255 and .253 respectively. By contrast, the Dodgers and Cubs had team BAs of .264 and .278, with the Dodgers' average improving significantly later in the season after the acquisition of Mr. Clutch, Manny Ramirez. Clearly, Philly will have to deal with some much more potent bats than it did in its series with Milwaukee, and also a much better opening starter in Derek Lowe than it had to face in the last series' first game. Take the Dodgers. 

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SPORTS ADVISORS

L.A. Dodgers (3-0) at Philadelphia (3-1)

Two storied franchises battle for the National League pennant for the third time in history and the first time in 25 years, with the Dodgers sending ace Derek Lowe to the mound at Citizens Bank Park opposite the Phillies’ Cole Hamels in Game 1 of a best-of-7 series.

Los Angeles shocked the Cubs last week, sweeping a series from the team that had the National League’s best regular-season record. The Dodgers, who are back in the NLCS for the first time since winning it all in 1988, outscored Chicago 20-6 and finished things off with Saturday’s 3-1 home victory.

Philadelphia needed four games to eliminate the Brewers and earn a berth in the NLCS for the first time since winning the pennant in 1993. The Phillies, who capped off the best-of-5 series with Sunday’s 6-2 victory in Milwaukee, held the Brewers’ potent lineup to just nine runs in the four contests.

The home team won all eight regular-season meetings between these teams, with the Phillies outscoring the Dodgers 27-5 in their four victories at Citizens Bank in late August. Going back several years, the Dodgers are 8-20 in their last 28 visits to Philly. Also, these clubs squared off in the NLCS in 1977, 1978 and 1983, with the Dodgers winning the first two and Philadelphia prevailing in the most recent meeting.

The Dodgers come into this contest on runs of 22-8 overall, 10-4 on the road, 8-2 against left-handed starters and 5-0 following an off day. However, Joe Torre’s troops have dropped seven straight games to N.L. East foes, including the four in Philadelphia in August. Meanwhile, the Phillies are on hot streaks of 19-7 overall, 20-6 at Citizens Bank Park, 21-8 versus right-handed starters, 5-0 against the N.L. West and 36-15 in the opening game of a series.

Lowe pitched the Dodgers to a 7-2 Game 1 victory in Chicago on Oct. 1, scattering two runs on seven hits and a walk over six innings, improving to 5-4 with a 3.39 ERA in 17 career playoff appearances (eight starts). The veteran right-hander has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 10 consecutive starts, going 6-1 with a 1.13 ERA during this stretch. Including the outing at Wrigley Field, Lowe is 6-6 with a 4.33 ERA in 18 road starts this year.

Hamels was magnificent in Game 1 against the Brewers on Oct. 1, allowing just two hits and a walk with nine strikeouts in eight scoreless innings en route to a 3-1 home win. The southpaw has surrendered two earned runs or fewer in 10 of his last 11 outings, and he’s now 8-7 with a 2.80 ERA at Citizens Bank this season and 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in two career postseason starts (both at home).

Lowe is 4-1 with a 3.02 ERA in 11 career games (seven starts) against the Phillies, including an 8-6 home victory on Aug. 11 when he allowed three runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings. Meanwhile, Hamels’ two career starts against the Dodgers came 11 days apart in August, and he went 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA, the victory coming in a 9-2 triumph at home.

The under is 4-1-1 in Hamels’ last six starts overall and 7-1 in his last eight outings on Thursday. Conversely, with Lowe on the mound, the over is on steaks of 4-1 on the road and 5-1 when he faces the Phillies.

The under is 4-1 in the last five clashes between these teams and 9-2 in the last 11 battles in Philadelphia. Also, the under for the Phillies is on runs of 5-0 in the playoffs, 6-0 against winning teams, 6-1 versus right-handed starters and 11-3 on Thursdays. However, the Dodgers sport over streaks of 5-1 in road playoff games, 4-0-1 in series-openers, 8-2-3 against lefty starters and 6-2-1 versus winning teams.

ATS ADVANTAGE: PHILADELPHIA and UNDER


COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Clemson (3-2, 0-3 ATS) at (21) Wake Forest (3-1, 2-2 ATS)

Wake Forest plays host to Clemson in Winston-Salem, N.C., with both ACC teams coming off bye weeks – and both aiming to get over upset losses.

The Demon Deacons were dealt a stunning 24-17 home loss two weeks ago against Navy as an overwhelming 17-point chalk, halting a six-game SU winning streak dating to last season (5-1 ATS). Wake Forest trailed 17-0 at halftime and couldn’t draw closer than a touchdown in the second half, and though the Deacons didn’t lose the total-yardage battle by much (343-313), they allowed 292 rushing yards, leading to a time-of-possession deficit of more than 13 minutes.

The Tigers also stumbled at home in their last outing, losing 20-17 to Maryland as an 11-point favorite, ending a three-game win streak. Clemson dominated much of the stat sheet, posting a 372-295 yardage edge – including 221-123 on the ground – and a more than five-minute edge in time of possession. But the Tigers lost the turnover battle 3-0 and blew a 17-6 halftime lead, getting outscored 14-0 in the second half.

Wake Forest is on a 4-1 ATS run in this series (2-3 SU), all as an underdog, though Clemson rolled 44-10 at home last year laying nine points. The home team is 5-1-2 ATS in the last eight meetings.

The Demon Deacons are 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 games following a bye, but they sport ATS streaks of 9-3 overall, 5-2 at home, 8-0 after a non-cover, 5-1 in ACC play and 14-4 against winning teams. Conversely, the Tigers have failed to cover in six consecutive games and are on further pointspread slides of 0-4 against winning teams, 1-7 after a non-cover, 1-5 after a SU loss and 3-7-1 coming off a bye.

The over is on a 6-1 roll in this rivalry. However, the under is 10-4 in Wake’s last 14 home games, and the under for Clemson is on stretches of 6-0 overall, 5-2 on the road and 11-4 inside the conference.

ATS ADVANTAGE: WAKE FOREST


UAB (1-5, 2-2-1 ATS) at Houston (2-3, 1-3 ATS)

Houston will look to build on an upset victory when it welcomes Alabama-Birmingham to town for a Conference USA matchup.

The Cougars, coming off a bye week, rolled over East Carolina 41-24 two weeks ago as a 10½-point road underdog. QB Case Keenum (36 of 44, 399 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT) was terrific, and Houston added another 222 yards on the ground to post a whopping 621-275 advantage in total offense.

The Blazers, who are set to play their second straight Thursday contest, lost to Memphis 33-30 a week ago on a last-second field goal, pushing as a three-point road pup. It was a nearly even game, with UAB outgained by just 20 yards (456-336) but finishing with a slight rushing edge (221-192).

Houston is 2-1 SU and ATS in the last three meetings between these two, posting a 49-10 road blowout last year giving 13 points. The favorite is on a 4-0 ATS run in this rivalry, and the straight-up winner has covered the pointspread in each of the last six meetings dating to 1999.

Despite the Cougars’ upset at East Carolina, they are still on pointspread dips of 1-8 overall, 0-6 at home, 0-5 after a SU win, 1-5 following a spread-cover and 1-4 in conference play. On the flip side, the Blazers are on positive ATS runs of 4-1-1 against losing teams and 7-3 coming off a bye, but they remain just 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight C-USA tilts.

The under for Houston is on streaks of 7-3 overall, 5-1 in conference play and 6-2 coming off the bye, and for UAB, the under is on runs of 9-4-1 overall, 6-2 in roadies and 7-3 after a bye. Finally, the last two meetings between these squads have stayed under the total.

ATS ADVANTAGE:  UNDER

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Jimmy The Moose

Toronto Maple Leafs at Detroit Red Wings
Prediction: Over

The Leafs are rebuilding and this team won't make the playoffs. They are a youthful team that will try hard but come up short on most night. Toronto's inexpereince will see them short-handed a lot and that means trouble vs. a powerful offensive Red Wings team. The Leafs allowed 39 goals in the preseason and their game plan was D, not very good result. Detroit will raise their Stanley Cup Banner to the rafters tonight and will come out with the energy and determination to beat up on their opponents. The team's have played over the total in 6 of their last 8 meetings. Expect a high-scoring game tonight. Play the over.

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Jeff Scott Sports

4 UNIT PLAY

Clemson +2.5 over WAKE FOREST

The Tigers are 10-1 ATS as a road dog of 7 or less and 19-8 ATS as dogs off a SU & ATS loss, while the Demon Deacons are 7-16-1 ATS as conference home favs and 1-6 ATS their last 7 games with rest, plus we also note that home favs off a home fav SU loss, in which they were 14 or more point favs, are 2-12 ATS since 2005. Clemson is off a tough home loss to Maryland as they blew a 17-6 halftime lead and really never showed up in the 2nd half. The Tiger offense has been average at best this year, as they are ranked 51st overall and 42nd in points scored. The rushing game hasn't gotten on track the way they would have liked, but 13 of the 17 TD's the offense has scored has come on the ground and they will be facing a Wake defense that is ranked 72nd in rushing. Clemson will need that running game to work as Wake brings the 4th rated pass defense in th nation to this game. The Wake offense has struggled as they are 86th overall, 72nd in scoring and 115th in rushing. The Clemson defense has been solid as they are 21st in scoring and 37th overall, plus they are 40th in rushing, allowing just 115 ypg and 3.5 ypc.  Not good news for a Wake Forest offense theis is averaging just 85 ypg on the ground and a measley 2.4 ypc. I feel that Clemson will be able to hold down the Wake passing offense, while Davis and Spiller will have a big day on the ground for the Cats. Clemson has the talent edge here and they should walk a way with a huge road win.

2 UNIT PLAY

3 Team 6 Point Teaser--- Clemson +8.5, Clemson/ Wake Under 49.5, Houston/ UAB Under 73

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Marc Lawrence's Playbook

Clemson over WAKE FOREST by 1

Wonder when Clemson and Wake last teed it off with BOTH teams riding an embarrassing SU loss as double-digit home chalk? Not quite two weeks ago, the Deacons laid 17 points to Navy and got torpedoed, 24-17, while the timid Tigers were performing a Vegas-worthy disappearing act in the second half of their huge 20-17 failure against Maryland. When choosing between two such red-faced participants, our database weighs in on the visitors’ side: home chalk off an outright home favorite loss laying 14 or more points will never pay the bills, going just 18-30 ATS lately – including 2-12 since 2005. Throw the Tigers’ 19-8 spread mark as dogs off a SUATS defeat into the mix with Jim Grobe’s 1-6 ATS record playing with rest and the Clemson cats start to look downright lean and hungry. We’re hip to the fact that Wake Forest has cashed in fi ve of the last six get-togethers but ol’ reliable, our SMART BOX on page 3, tells us to trust in the Tigers here. Who are we to argue!

HOUSTON over Uab by 21
Houston is another group of cats playing off a bye week but the Cougars get to ride the momentum of their stunning 41-24 smackdown of East Carolina into Robertson Stadium today. That dominating win snapped an 18-game losing streak against ranked foes and elevated Houston’s 2008 passing attack to a mind-bending 400 yards per game under fi rst-year coach Kevin Sumlin. Don’t let the Coogs’ 2-3 SU record scare you away. UH is 4-1 ‘In The Stats’ this year and has dealt itself a 13-1 ATS winning hand in games they win SU as a favorite off one win exact, a number that warrants further attention when compared to the Blazers’ woeful 0-17 SU record in their last 17 roadies. UAB played their most complete game of the season last week in a narrow 3-point loss to Memphis (outyarded the Tigers) but the Cougars look primed to pounce today


STATFOX / PLATINUM SHEET

CLEMSON at WAKE FOREST
The best teams in college football, or those you should be looking to back as favorites in big games, are those with offensive balance.Wake Forest doesn’t have it. The Demon Deacons are struggling to get anything going on the ground this year, averaging just 85 YPG and 2.4 YPR. This is a big sore spot for a team with BCS aspirations, and has a lot to do with why they are only putting up 8.2 PPG in the first half of their first five contests. Here they will be playing as a favorite against Clemson for the first time since prior to at least ’92, a span of 16 games or more. Furthermore, in the last two seasons when Wake should have been more competitive with Clemson, it has resulted in wins by Clemson of 34 and 10 points. The Tigers DO have that key balanced attack, averaging 5 YPR and 7.6 PYA. That balance will be enough for HC Tommy Bowden’s team to get out of Wake with a crucial win on Thursday night.Play: Clemson +2.5


WINNING POINTS

Wake Forest*over Clemson by 3
With each team having extra prep team that means we have to look to the coaching staff that is more efficient at using that time, which means Jim Grobe gets the call over a Tiger squad playing their first true road game. WAKE FOREST 23-20.

Houston* over U.A.B. by 21
In the first home game since August, have to expect a little more fire than usual from the Cougars here, which is bad news for a Blazer defense that lacks the depth to match up for he full 60 minutes, like last year’s 49-10 home loss, when they were scorched for 540 yards. HOUSTON 41-20.


GOLD SHEET

WAKE FOREST 23 - Clemson 16—Each team had last week off to try to shake any lingering effects from discouraging home losses in previous game.Edge to Clemson’s speedy cast of offensive skill performers, as Wake RB Josh Adams (953 YR & 12 TDs in 2007, just 151 & 2 TY) mired in soph slump so far.Still, rebuilt Tiger OL keeping sr. QB Harper (just 3 TDP) from recapturing LY’s form, too. Deacons’ opportunistic defense & special teams (nation-leading 52 takeaways last 1+ seasons!) tip scales in favor of host. CABLE TV—ESPN
(07-CLEM. 44-W. For. 10...C.25-21 C.34/145 W.37/83 C.27/36/0/266 W.24/35/1/204 C.0 W.0)
(07-CLEM. -9' 44-10 06-Clem. -16 27-17 05-WFU +6' 31-27...SR: Clemson 56-16-1)

*HOUSTON 45 - Uab 32—Scary matchup for depth-shy UAB defense (allowing 466 ypg), as there’s little doubt prolific Houston’s quick-trigger soph QB Keenum (68%, 19 TDP & only 5 ints.) will shred poor-covering Blazer secondary. Cougs (no covers last 6 as favorite) also frequently find it hard to get stops, however, so visitor should have enough weapons to hang if versatile but TO-prone jr. QB Webb avoids giveaways.
(07-Houston 49-UAB 10...H.33-12 H.59/335 U.18/26 H.21/34/0/205 U.12/34/4/198 H.1 U.0)
(07-Houston -13 49-10...SR: UAB 4-2)


POINTWISE

Clemson 24 - WAKE FOREST 20 - (7:45 - ESPN) -- Both rested off wrenching losses. Normally dependable Wake QB Skinner tossed 4 picks in loss to Navy,& Deacs can't run (61 RYpg last 3). First RG for Tigers who are 0-6 ATS by 60 pts, & Harper only 3/5. But Davis & Spiller are rolling, so a mild Clemson call.

HOUSTON 34 - Uab 27 - (8:00 - CBSC) -- Blazers must regroup off last-second loss to Memphis. Webb's 93 RYs & 235 PYs (4 TDs) were a pleasant change for formerly 116th "O". Coog QB Keenum now 19/5, & note piling up >620 yds vs ECaro. But UH just 1-8 ATS, with upsets in last 3 affairs. Points the play.


Power Sweep

Clemson at WAKE FOREST - LY CU’s Harper threw for 3 TD & ran for a 4th in a 44-10 win (scored on 1st 4 poss). Prior to ‘07 WF HC Grobe was 4-0-2 ATS vs Clemson with his biggest SU loss by 10 and two outright upsets. Clem’s L/3 trips here have been a comeback win and SU losses by 28 and 4. CU was the preseason favorite to win the ACC but are 1-1 in conf play so they need this win here to stay in the race while WF got their conf win at FSU, a team CU will also face on the road. This could be the ACC Atlantic Title game

Uab at HOUSTON - These two have avg 60 ppg in their previous matchups. LY UH jumped out to a 35-10 HT lead in ‘07 outgaining an undermanned UAB squad 540-224 in a 49-10 win (-13’) as a 4H Key Selection winner. UAB journeys to Houston after dropping a heartbreaker vs Memphis last Thur and is now playing for a 7th str wk riding a 6-11-1 ATS record vs the CUSA. After a big win at #23 EC a few wks back, UH returns from a bye where they have struggled as a DD HF going just 4-13 ATS (0-4 LY).

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DCI Pro Hockey

DETROIT 4, Toronto 2
COLORADO 3, Boston 2
VANCOUVER 3, Calgary 2
Anaheim vs. SAN JOSE: TOO CLOSE TO CALL

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Dave Cokin

UAB / Houston
Take Houston

Houston is only 2-3 through their first five games, but they're better than their record shows. They gave Oklahoma State a decent battle before getting run over. Their loss to Air Force was easy to forgive due to the distractions of the hurricane and the same holds true for their follow up effort against Colorado State. I thought the Cougars showed what they're made of in an impressive upset of East Carolina. Now Houston plays with extra rest against a weak UAB entry that's really pathetic defensively. Look for Houston to roll in this game, and I believe laying the points is the way to play.

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Jim Feist

LA Dodgers / PHI Phillies
Take Over

The Dodgers have peaked at the right time and they swept right through the Cubs to the NLCS. The addition of Casey Blake and Manny Ramirez has been the catalyst to a stagnant Dodgers' offense. Manny has more post season home runs than anyone and they continued against the Cubs. But most unexpected has been the return of Rafael Furcal, who missed 122 games with a back injury. He has been the spark plug who has led the Dodgers top of the lineup and his return could be the final piece to the puzzle. Both Lowe and Hamels have been very good this year, but with these lineups and power for both clubs we look for an offensive series. The Cubs had some of the best starters in the league this year and they couldn't keep the Dodgers bats down - so we don't see the Phillies fairing much better. Both teams will get their runs here, take the OVER in game one!!

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Sports Gambling Hotline

Los Angeles at PHILADELPHIA

All 4 games of the Milwaukee-Philly series stayed UNDER the posted total, and the Phillies are on a 3-7 UNDER clip their last 10 games dating back to the regular season.

The Dodgers have been UNDER in 3 of their last 5 dating back to the regular season, and in this series, the UNDER has cashed in 8 of the last 10 games played at Citizens Bank Park.

Throw in the fact Derek Lowe, and Cole Hamels have been about as stingy as you can get, and this game has all the makings of an easy UNDER in the City of Brotherly Love on Thursday.

Lowe has allowed just 4 earned runs over his last 28-plus innings of work, while Hamels has allowed just 6 earned runs over his last 27-plus innings of work.

Pitchers in control in Game One, as this one stays UNDER.

3♦ UNDER

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Karl Garrett

Los Angeles at PHILADELPHIA 

After a couple of days of rust, look for the Dodgers, and the Phillies to get out of the gates a little slow in Game One of the NLCS, and for the UNDER to be the way to go.

Derek Lowe has been dominant for quite some time now, and his counterpart Cole Hamels has been pretty tough to score on as well.

Lowe is 3-0 his last 4 starts against Philadelphia, allowing just 8 runs over 25 innings of work. Lowe also sports a season ERA of 3.24.

Hamels is 1-0 in 2 starts against the Dodgers this season, working 14 innings of 4 run ball.

In 4 meetings in Philly this year, 3 of them played LOW. In fact over the last 10 meetings in Philadelphia since the '06 season, 8 have stayed UNDER the posted price.

The G-Man expects this opening game to stay UNDER as well.

4♦ UNDER

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Michael Cannon

UAB at HOUSTON

Take the under tonight between Uab and Houston.

I know Houston has an explosive offense and can probably name the score tonight against Uab.

But this total is too high in my opinion and I think what you’ll see is the Cougars letting off the throttle in the second half once they build up a big lead.

That’s what happened last year when Houston throttled the Blazers, 49-10 on the road as a 13-point chalk.

Both teams have trended to the under overall, with Houston going 7-3 overall, 5-1 in conference play and 6-2 coming off a bye.  The under is on runs of 9-4-1 overall, 6-2 in road games and 7-3 after a bye for Uab.

The last two meetings between these two have also stayed under the posted total.

Play on the under tonight between Houston and Uab.

2♦ UNDER

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Bobby Maxwell

UAB at HOUSTON -18½

Houston is definitely the play in this one as the Cougars realized they are a pretty good team with a 41-24 upset of East Carolina two weeks ago as a 10 1/2-point road 'dog.

The Cougars got great play from QB Case Keenum who threw for 399 yards and three TDs and the running game produced another 222 yards as they dominated the yardage states, outgaining the Pirates 621-275.

Houston is 2-1 SU and ATS in the last three matchups with UAB and went to Birmingham last year and crushed the Blazers 49-10 as a 13-point favorite. The favorite has gotten the cash in the last four meetings in this rivalry.

The Blazers lost to Memphis last Thursday 33-30 as a three-point road 'dog. UAB is just 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight Conference USA matchups.

We think the Cougars have found the recipe for success as they let Keenum have free reign with the offense. Play Houston to win this one in a blowout.

2♦ HOUSTON

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Steve Merril

UAB vs. Houston U     
Play:Over 67

UAB is a terrible defensive squad as they allow 33.0 points per game and 6.9 yards per play (versus opponents that average just 25.1 ppg and 5.8 yppl). The Blazers will struggle to stop a strong Houston offense that is averaging 37.2 points per game and 6.6 yards per play this season (versus opponents that allow just 30.6 ppg and 5.7 yppl). Houston is also a weak defensive club as they permit 28.4 ppg and 5.8 yards per play (versus opponents that average just 26.6 ppg and 5.5 yppl), so UAB should also have plenty of success on offense tonight.

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DUNKEL

MLB

LA Dodgers at Philadelphia
The Phillies come into Game One of the NLCS having won 16 of their last 20 and were a perfect 4-0 against the Dodgers at home this season.  Philadelphia is the pick (-130) according to Dunkel, which has the Phillies favored by 1 1/2.  Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (-130).

Game 901-902: LA Dodgers at Philadelphia
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Lowe) 15.380; Philadelphia (Hamels) 16.622
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-130); 7 1/2;
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (-130); Under


NCAAF

UAB at Houston
The Blazers try to bounce back from their last-second loss to conference-rival Memphis, but come into the contest with an 0-16 record straight up and 5-11 ATS after playing a conference game over the last three seasons.  Houston is the pick (-18) according to Dunkel, which has the Cougars favored by 24.  Dunkel Pick: Houston (-18). 

Game 103-104: Clemson at Wake Forest
Dunkel Ratings: Clemson 94.615; Wake Forest 93.466
Dunkel Line: Clemson by 1; 47
Vegas Line: Wake Forest by 2 1/2; 43 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Clemson (+2 1/2); Over

Game 105-106: UAB at Houston
Dunkel Ratings: UAB 69.620; Houston 93.708
Dunkel Line: Houston by 24; 69
Vegas Line: Houston by 18; 66 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (-18); Over


NHL

Calgary at Vancouver
The Flames will look for more offensive production behind off-season acquisitions Todd Bertuzzi and Michael Cammalleri as they open against a Vancouver team that has missed the playoffs in two of its last three seasons.  Calgary is the underdog pick (+125) according to Dunkel, which has the Flames favored straight up by 1.  Dunkel Pick: Calgary (+125).  Here are all of today's games.

Game 1-2: Toronto at Detroit
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto 10.988; Detroit 13.028
Dunkel Line & Total: Detroit by 2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Detroit (-295); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-295); Under

Game 3-4: Boston at Colorado
Dunkel Ratings: Boston 11.136; Colorado 12.565
Dunkel Line & Total: Colorado by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Colorado (-135); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (-135); Over

Game 5-6: Calgary at Vancouver
Dunkel Ratings: Calgary 12.419; Vancouver 11.361
Dunkel Line & Total: Calgary by 1; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Vancouver (-135); 5
Dunkel Pick: Calgary (+125); Over

Game 7-8: Anaheim at San Jose
Dunkel Ratings: Anaheim 11.482; San Jose 12.563
Dunkel Line & Total: San Jose by 1; 5 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: San Jose (-145); 5
Dunkel Pick: San Jose (-145); Over

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Jeff Benton

For Thursday’s selection, go ahead and play Game 1 of the NLCS between the Dodgers and Phillies UNDER the posted total.

Obviously, we’re dealing with a very low number here, especially when you consider the Phillies’ tiny ballpark and the sluggers on both teams. However, the two starting pitchers in Game 1 – L.A.’s Derek Lowe and Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels – have been on top of their games for weeks, and both are backed by sensational bullpens.

Lowe is 6-1 with a ridiculous 1.13 ERA during his last 10 starts, including a playoff win at the Cubs last week, and he’s given up two earned runs or fewer in each of those 10 outings. As for Hamels, he’s allowed two earned runs or less in 10 of his last 11 starts, and he was dynamite in his Game 1 win over the Brewers, pitching eight scoreless innings and finishing with three times as many strikeouts (nine) as total walks and hits allowed (three).

Also, Hamels has a 2.99 ERA at home this year, with opponents batting .227 against him, and a 2.84 ERA in two starts this year against the Dodgers, who are batting .192 against Hamels. Meanwhile, the Phillies went 5-for-24 (.208 average) when they faced Lowe this year in Los Angeles, and the sinkerballer has a 2.25 ERA and .216 batting-average against in three career starts at Citizens Bank Park.

Throw in the fact that nine of the last 11 meetings between these teams in Philly have stayed under the total, and I’ll play this one low, as neither team scores more than three runs.

5♦ Dodgers-Phillies UNDER the total

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VEGAS EXPERTS

Los Angeles Dodgers at Philadelphia Phillies

Both Game One starters have been lights out as of late, particularly the Dogders' Derek Lowe, who has posted a 1.12 ERA over his last three starts, two of which he allowed no runs. In fact, looking back further, Lowe hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in any single outing since August 11th! Cole Hamels certainly isn't chopped liver by any means as the southpaw threw eight scorless innings in his lone LDS start vs. the Brewers. He has a 1.71 ERA his L3 starts.

Play on: Under

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Re: Thursday Service Plays

Gregg Price

Clemson vs. Wake Forest    
Play:Clemson +2.5

Here is a chance for Clemson to back on the radar. They are 3-2 with 2 cupcake wins. They were pre-season #9 and after losing to Maryland have basically disappeared. As of right now, this might be their last game against a ranked team. So a win here helps big time, and they know they can run the table and finish 10-2 with 1 conference loss. That will get them a good bowl game. W.F. tends to play down to their competition, as we saw against Navy. Take Clemson tonight on ESPN as they win outright.

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ROCKBOXSPORTS.COM

NLCS: SERIES PRICE: DODGERS -115/PHILLIES -105

We were all over the Dodgers in round one against a Cubs team that was the darling of the media and the betting public but just didn't match up well against Joe Torre's crew. Rock Box Sports cashed a 2 STAR series bet play on LA and also had the Dodgers in games 1 and 2. First instinct was to like Dodgers once again in round two. However, we find ourselves suddenly cramped for room on the Dodger bandwagon as the aforementioned media and public are all piling on board. All those pundits who didn't have the guts to pick LA over the Cubs are now taking them over the Phils with a zeal that we find downright alarming. Meanwhile, the betting public has come on so strong that they've flipped the series price from its original Phils -125/Dodgers +105 to its current Dodgers -115/Phils -105. All of this sudden Dodger hype had us flipping back through our scouting reports and giving the Phillies a second look. One thing we noticed in doing so is that both of these teams, Phils and Dodgers alike, are prone to being offensively neutralized by quality left-handed pitching. Howard and Utley murder righties but are rather pedestrian against southpaws. Meanwhile, some of the key Dodger bats that have been backing up Manny are known to struggle against lefties themselves. This wasn't a factor for LA against a Cubs team that ran three righties out there before lefty #4 starter Ted Lilly ever saw the mound. However, the Phillies have a lefty ace in Cole Hamels, one who is easily capable of beating the Dodgers twice in this series. And while it is very easy to dismiss a guy like Jamie Moyer - the Dodgers are precisely the type of team that he may have a chance to frustrate, particularly in a pitcher's park such as Dodger stadium. In contrast to the Phils, the Dodgers have only one lefty starter, and he is not their ace but rather their fourth starter Kershaw, assumimg Torre goes with him over Maddux. Thus, the strength of the Dodger rotation - rightes Lowe and Billingsley - will be going up against the strength of a Phillies lineup that mashes righties. Meanwhile, the strength of the Phillies rotation - Hamels - will match up against Dodger vulnerability. If there is one built-in advantage that the Phillies have, this may be it. Actually, now that we take a closer look, Phillies have the better lineup from top to bottom, the better defense, and better bullpen (Lidge lights out for Philly/ Saito may be just plain out altogether for LA). Dodgers have better depth of starting pitching and the far better mananger in Torre. But the Phillies have the lefties. Ultimately, this series breaks down as a tight one, a bit of a toss-up. As stated, we originally liked the Dodgers, but after getting great value (+180) in the Cubs series we are finding none this time around. If anything the value lies with Philly, particularly if the line continues to move. We'll predict PHILLIES IN SEVEN but are uncertain enough to lay off series bet and take this one game at a time- starting off with Hamels and the under in game 1…

SERIES BET: NONE
GAME ONE: 2 STARS: PHILLIES -130; UNDER 7.5


ALCS: SERIES PRICE: RED SOX -125/RAYS +105

As with the Dodgers, we were very strong on the Red Sox in the DS round, cashing our second 2 STAR series bet on Boston. Much like the Dodgers-Cubs series, all the pundits and the majority of the betting public were high on the Angels. However, we are glad to see that these same pundits and public bettors are not flocking to the Red Sox in the CS round as decisively as they are to the Dodgers. The attitude towards Sox-Rays appears much more divided, with plenty jumping on the Tampa wagon. At the Rock Box we've never had a doubt that the Rays are the real deal and did not expect a sudden collapse as so many seemed to in the regular season. However, we do believe the Red sox are the better team here. Then again, this is neutralized somewhat by the considerable homefield advantage of the Rays, with 4 of the 7 being played at Tropicana Field. Red Sox will have to steal one in Tampa, no easy task to be sure. But this is where we have to talk about Jon Lester. Lester was the reason the Sox came out on top against Anaheim and he's the reason we like them here. Quite simply, Jon Lester is the single most dominant pitcher in the American League and probably all of baseball that is still pitching at this moment. Much has been made of the fact that Beckett is no longer Beckett for Boston, but that's okay, because Lester is filling that role quite nicely. Let Lester be Beckett and then Beckett can be something else, a #2 or #3 guy who you don't neccessarily rely on but who's capable of a great performance if it all suddenly clicks. Anyway, back to Lester. The brilliance of the Red Sox starting Lester in game three is that they will then have him available in game seven in Tampa. If the Sox don't manage to win one on the road before then, they'll win behind Lester in the last one. Let it further be said that we are not sold on the Tampa Bay offense. Of course they have great speed, but they lack the offensive balance and power that a team like Boston presents. We'll also give the Sox a slight edge in starting pitching strictly due to the fact that have Lester and Tampa does not. Maybe a slight edge to the Sox bullpen as well. These bullpens are in many ways reverse images of one another- Red Sox with a great closer but uncertainty in the middle innings/ Rays with great middle relief but uncertainty at closer. We'll go with the great closer Papelbon and hope that Masterson, Okajima, and Delcarmen can step up against a Rays offense that doesn't quite scare us. Red Sox could struggle early in this series in Tampa. Edge goes to the Rays in game one with Shields against Matsuzaka. Shields has been a true ace at home this year, much less effective on the road. He can beat Dice-k in game one, particularly if Dice insists walking people as he usually does and putting the speedy Rays on base. Shields will have a much harder time pitching in Fenway if he is called upon to do so as expected in game 5. Even if Boston comes home down 2-0 in this series we still like their chances. Jonny Lester is making postseason magic right now and we're more than happy to be on his side. RED SOX IN SEVEN. Series and game 1 bets listed below.

SERIES BET: 2 STARS: RED SOX -125
GAME ONE: 2 STARS: TAMPA BAY -110

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Re: Thursday Service Plays

WINNERS EDGE

MLB

Dodgers / Phillies over 7.5 (-110) , 3 units

CFB

Clemson + 3 (-120) , 2 units

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