TUESDAY SERVICE PLAYS

TUESDAY SERVICE PLAYS

SPORTS ADVISORS

Tampa Bay (5-2) at Boston (4-3)

The Red Sox will try to bounce back from Monday’s stunning home loss to the Rays when they send veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (10-11, 4.13 ERA) to the mound for his first start of this postseason as the ALCS resumes with Game 4 at Fenway Park. Tampa Bay is set to hand the ball to Andy Sonnanstine (14-9, 4.34).

Tampa Bay roughed up the previously untouchable Jon Lester for five early runs in Game 3 Monday and rolled to a 9-1 victory to take a 2-1 lead in this best-of-7 series. The Rays are now 11-9 against the Red Sox this season, including 9-3 in the last 12 meetings. Also, after losing their first six games at Fenway Park in 2008, they’ve won three of the last four.

Tampa Bay enters this contest on runs of 6-2 overall, 8-1 against A.L. East foes, 35-16 versus right-handed starters and 4-0 on Tuesdays. Meanwhile, the Red Sox are still 23-9 in their last 32 postseason games and 12-4 in their last 16 home playoff games, and they sport additional positive streaks of 64-28 at Fenway, 19-7 on Tuesdays, 17-5 following a defeat and 36-16 when Wakefield pitches in Beantown.

Prior to their recent 3-1 run at Fenway, Tampa had lost 45 of its previous 54 games in Boston. Also, the home team won the first 12 meetings between these clubs this season, but the visitor is now 5-3 in the last eight.

Wakefield has not pitched in a game since Sept. 28, when he held the Yankees scoreless over five innings, allowing two hits and no walks as he got a no-decision in his team’s 4-3 home win. Prior to that outing, the veteran right-hander had gotten rocked in consecutive starts against Tampa Bay and Cleveland, allowing a combined 10 runs (all earned) on 12 hits in 8 1/3 innings. That includes a 10-3 road loss to the Rays on Sept. 17, allowing six runs in 2 1/3 innings.

Boston is 0-4 in Wakefield’s last four starts against Tampa Bay dating to last September, with the pitcher going 0-2 with a 5.87 ERA in three outings this year. For his career, Wakefield is 19-5 with a 3.32 ERA and three saves in 41 appearances (31 starts) against the Rays. On the bright side, he went 7-4 in 14 home starts in 2008, with Boston winning 10 of those contests.

Sonnanstine was very impressive in his first-ever playoff outing eight days go, yielding just two runs on three hits in 5 2/3 innings, getting the victory as the Rays beat the White Sox 6-2 to clinch their A.L. Divisional Series. The right-hander has given up two earned runs or fewer in four of his last five trips to the hill, but he’s still only 7-5 with a 4.29 ERA in 12 road starts this year.

Sonnanstine was brilliant in two starts against Boston this year, even though he failed to get a decision in either game, both of which Tampa Bay won by scores of 2-1 at home and 4-2 at Fenway Park six days apart in mid-September. Sonnanstine allowed a single unearned run in each contest, scattering seven hits and two walks with 12 strikeouts in 13 innings. Last year as a rookie, he faced Boston four times, going 1-1 with an 8.85 ERA.

While this is just the second career postseason start for Sonnanstine, Wakefield is October-tested, having appeared in 17 games (10 starts). But he’s just 5-6 with a 6.36 ERA over 69 1/3 postseason innings (5-2 with a 4.50 ERA in League Championship Series action).

The under is 4-1 in Sonnanstine’s last five starts overall and both of his starts against the Red Sox this season stayed low, however, the over is 7-1 in his last eight on Tuesday. Meanwhile, four of Wakefield’s last five starts at home have stayed low, and the under is 6-2 in his last eight outings against Tampa Bay.

For Boston, the over is on streaks of 6-2-1 at home in the playoffs, 6-2-2 in League Championship Series games, 5-0 in LCS home games and 6-1-1 on Tuesdays. Also, Tampa has topped the total in 20 of its last 27 games against right-handed starters.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE

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Brandon Lang

5 Dime Red Sox

FREE - Rays/Red Sox Over

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Jimmy The Moose

Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins
Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins

The Flyers are off to a 0-2 start to the season and come into this game having played last night. The Flyers have allowed 10 goals in their first two games. Having played last night expect a tired Philly team to face a Penguins team that will be well-rested. The Penguins are 1-1-1 to start the season and their one loss was their last game against the Devils where they lost late. The Flyers are 1-11 in their last 12 trips to Pittsburgh. The Penguins will have an easier time offensively vs. a struggling Flyers team. Play on the Pittsburgh Penguins -.

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The Gold Medal Club

Colorado / Calgary
PLAY: Colorado +

Two 0-2 teams face off tonight, but if not for some tough luck on Colorado's part they could very well be 2-0. Colorado has out shot its opposition 72-39 in its first two games. Calgary has given up 11 goals in two games. If form hold true here the Aves will breakthrough tonight against a leaky defense in Calgary.

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Jim Feist

PHI Flyers / PIT Penguins
Take Over

Pittsburgh hasn't had a good start defensively to the season, possibly the result of a long trip to Sweden 10 days ago. The Devils ran up a 49-15 advantage in shots on the Penguins, including a 39-7 margin after the opening period. Philadelphia gave up 8 goals the first 3 games, including 3 in back to back games to open the season. Already in an injury bind, the Flyers traded for an experienced defenseman, bringing in 27-year-old Andrew Alberts from the Boston Bruins in exchange for Phantoms forward Ned Lukacevic and a conditional pick in the 2009 entry draft. Randy Jones is worse than the Flyers expected: He will be out 12 to 16 weeks. Early last season these teams met three times and the over was 3-0 in all three, scoring 6, 7 and 7 goals. Look for another offensive show here. Play the Flyers/Penguins over the total.

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Dave Cokin

ANA Ducks / LA Kings
Take ANA Ducks

Both SoCal entries are off to rough starts as the NHL season gets underway. The Ducks and Kings are 0-4 between them, so something has to give tonight as they meet at Staples Center. This "road trip" has been one Anaheim has generall enjoyed, as they've won five of seven at LA. I also have to think there's a sense of urgency here for the Ducks. They stumbled out of the gate last season, and while that was attributed to a Stanley Cup hangover plus the absence of Selanne and Niedermayer, it's something they don't want to repeat. The Kings appear to be pretty awful again this season. They've only got one decent line and goaltender LaBarbera is already seeing too much rubber. The Ducks sure didn't impress me in Sunday's loss at home to Phoenix, but I'll go with them to rebound here and grab their initial win as road chalk.

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Tom Freese

Columbus Blue Jackets at San Jose Sharks
Prediction: Under

Columbus is 40-17-6 UNDER their 63 games vs. winning teams and they are 9-4-1 UNDER when playing with two days rest. The Blue Jackets are 9-3-1 UNDER their last 13 road games. San Jose is 4-1-1 UNDER their last 6 games vs. Columbus and they are 5-0-1 UNDER when playing their third game in four nights. The Sharks are 4-0-2 UNDER off a win. PLAY ON 'UNDER'

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DUNKEL

Tampa Bay at Boston
The Rays look to make it three straight over the Red Sox and starter Tim Wakefield, who is 0-2 with a 9.22 ERA in his last three postseason starts.  Tampa Bay is the underdog pick (+135) according to Dunkel, which has the Rays favored straight up by 2 1/2.  Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (+135). 

Game 915-916: Tampa Bay at Boston
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Sonnanstine) 17.846; Boston (Wakefield) 15.213
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 2 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Boston (-145); 9
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (+135); Under


NHL 


Minnesota at Atlanta
The Wild hit the road against an Atlanta team that put up 7 goals against Washington it its home opener.  The Thrashers are the underdog pick (+115) according to Dunkel, which has Atlanta favored straight up by 1 1/2.  Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (+115). 

Game 51-52: Minnesota at Atlanta
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 10.569; Atlanta 12.016
Dunkel Line & Total: Atlanta by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Minnesota (-125); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (+115); Over

Game 53-54: Philadelphia at Pittsburgh
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia 11.106; Pittsburgh 12.222
Dunkel Line & Total: Pittsburgh by 1; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Pittsburgh (-140); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (-140); Under

Game 55-56: Colorado at Calgary
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado 12.111; Calgary 10.736
Dunkel Line & Total: Colorado by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Calgary (-135); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (+115); Over

Game 57-58: Columbus at San Jose
Dunkel Ratings: Columbus 11.258; San Jose 12.963
Dunkel Line & Total: San Jose by 2; 5 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: San Jose (-220); 5
Dunkel Pick: San Jose (-220); Over

Game 59-60: Anaheim at Los Angeles
Dunkel Ratings: Anaheim 12.024; Los Angeles 10.906
Dunkel Line & Total: Anaheim by 1; 5 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Anaheim (-135); 5
Dunkel Pick: Anaheim (-135); Over

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LT Profits

Philadelphia Flyers @ Pittsburgh Penguins Under 5.5 

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been sluggish offensively the last couple of games, but their defense has been just as good as it was last year, so the Philadelphia Flyers will probably not match the three goals they scored in each of their first two games here. Thus, the Under looks like a solid play in this spot.

The Penguins opened the year with a 4-3 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators on the road, but the have disappointed in two home games since them, losing by scores of 2-1 and 3-1. It has not helped that Petr Sykora has been out with a groin injury, but the underrated Pittsburgh defense have prevented them from getting blown out despite the struggles of the offense.

Now granted, the Flyers have been terrible defensively and that could potentially blow up this Under. However, the problems for the Pittsburgh offense do not stop with Sykora, as Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney remain out after early season injuries, and the Pens have not adequately filled the voids left by losing Marian Hossa and Ryan Maolne to free agency.

So in a nutshell, it is not surprising that Pittsburgh is off to a slow start offensively, and we do not expect much improvement tonight.

Pick: Flyers, Penguins Under 5.5


Tampa Bay Rays @ Boston Red Sox Over 9.0

The Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox have gone Over in each of the last two games, and we are looking for a repeat performance tonight.

The Red Sox are turning to Tim Wakefield for Game 4 after it was questionable whether or not he would even be on the playoff roster. After all, Wakefield was just 10-11 this season despite pitched for a team that has won 99 games, and his 4.13 ERA is hardly noteworthy.

Most distressing though is the way the knuckleballer finished the season, as he had a 6.75 ERA in his last three starts, including what may have been his worst outing ever vs. a Tampa Bay team that he had dominated in the past. That start came on September 17, when these Rays reached him for six earned runs in just 2.1 innings of a 10-3 Boston loss.

Now Andy Sonnanstine is actually in good form for the Rays, but do not forget that he still has a modest 4.34 ERA over the entire year. Besides, if Tampa Bay gets to Wakefield as we expect, Sonnanstine may not even need to give up that many runs for the contest to reach double-digits.

The Over is now 6-2-1 in the last nine Red Sox playoff home games after last night, and we look for them to extend this streak tonight.

Pick: Rays, Red Sox Over 9

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WUNDERDOG

Minnesota at Atlanta
Pick:UNDER 5.5

Two unbeaten teams clash in Atlanta tonight as the Wild try to reach the playoffs again, while the hopeful Thrashers (OT loss) try to find their way back. These teams don't meet that often, but last year Atlanta broke a six-game slide against the Wild as they won in a shootout 3-2. That has been the story when these teams meet as four of the last five have gone UNDER the total. The Thrashers have also played five of six UNDER after scoring two goals or less, and the Wild is 5-0 to the UNDER against the Southeast. I will back the UNDER in this one.

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MADDUX SPORTS - Baseball

#916 - MLB - 3 units on Boston -144

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Andre Gomes

TAMPA BAY at BOSTON

The value of a pick is essential in a handicapping analysis and today we have a typical example of how a bet has value, whatever the result the game ends at the end of the day.

I think the Rays have great value today and there is no way I would take -140 on the Red Sox with their spot for today. I understand the Red Sox are a very strong team at home and they are 27-7 at home revenging a loss against an opponent as a home favorite of -150 or more over the last two seasons or that Wakefield is the pitcher with most success against the Rays in the history of the league, with 17-5 and 3.47 ERA.

Most of success a team achieves on the Playoffs comes from the momentum the teams build and when that happens, it's almost impossible to stop it. Yesterday the Rays created an huge momentum and defeated the Red Sox in Boston by 9-1, in a spot which seemed to be very favorable to the home team. They were playing at home, where they were 7-2 against the Rays this season, they had the best pitcher in the last two months on the field (Lester) and the Rays had just a 26-25 record with 4.0 runs/game vs LHP this season (75-42 and 5.1 runs/game vs RHP). Still Tampa Bay won and humiliated the Red Sox by 9-1.

Today Boston will send the veteran Wakefield to the field and even though, he is experienced, the spot will be terrible. He hasn't played since 09/29 and he is going to face a team who has scored 18 runs and 25 hits in the last two games! I remember the Red Sox are 1-4 in Wakefield's last 5 starts with 15 or more days of rest. And even though Wakefield has the best record against the Rays ever, the truth is that the Rays aren't the same Rays from the previous seasons and the proof of that is that Wakefield has already faced them 3 times this season and in 3 different moments of the season (April, July and September) and he couldn't win a single game. Actually he had two losses, while allowing 6, 2 and 4 runs in the process.

On the other side, Tampa will send Sonnanstine and unlike Wakefield, he has already played a game in the Postseason, where he did quite well and got a win, which was a very important one, as it was on the road against the White Sox with that game being the clinching game on the series. Sonnanstine allowed just 2 runs and 4 hits in that game. Naturally his confidence will be huge for today and he has all the motives to feel like that, as he has dominated the Red Sox in the two games he has already played against them this season, allowing just 1 run in a total of 13 innings. But the good news for him don't stop here, as the two batters who had more success against him, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek, won't play today. The two Red Sox to have had some success against Sonnanstine won't be in the lineup on Tuesday. Third baseman Mike Lowell (6-for-14) isn't on the team's ALCS roster after suffering a hip injury, and catcher Jason Varitek (5-for-10, four RBIs) will be on the bench in favor of Kevin Cash, Wakefield's personal catcher.

The Rays have already showed yesterday that don't fear anyone and there have no motives to fear Wakefield, after taking out Lester yesterday. Typically the spot of the momentum is extremely powerful: Underdogs with a money line of +100 to +150, in a Playoff game, after 2 or more consecutive wins are 52-30 since 1997 and having in account the price today of the Rays, they become a valuable bet in today's game. Take Tampa Bay to win.

Play on Tampa Bay Rays ML

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Mike Rose

5* TBY/BOS OVER 9

3* TBY +135

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Wunderdog

Tampa Bay at Boston
3 units Boston -144
3 units UNDER 9 +100

The Red Sox have now dropped two straight games and trail the series to the Rays 2-1. This is a huge game for Boston, especially at home and a loss would be devastating. They will send Tampa killer Tim Wakefield to the mound who owns a 19-5 lifetime record over the Rays. He will backed by the best postseason closer this side of Mariano Rivera in Jonathon Papelbon, who if need be will be summoned for a two-inning close, considering the magnitude and significance of this game. The Rays will counter with Andy Sonnanstine who has pitched well this season, but his career numbers against the Boston are not very good. Boston is 31-11 this season as a home favorite of -125 to -175. I will back the BoSox here and also play the UNDER, as the UNDER is backed by an LCS situation that has produced 67% UNDERS that is live for this game.

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Mr A

Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox hope to avoid another lost tonight at Fenway Park. Boston sends Tim Wakefield to the mound. The right-hander is 19-5 with a 3.32 ERA in 41 career games, including 31 starts against Tampa Bay, but the veteran has not been successful against them this season. Wakefield went 0-2 with a 5.87 ERA in three starts against Tampa this season and struggle against them in his last start, allowing six runs in 2 1/3 innings in a 10-3 loss at Tampa on September 17. Tampa Bay counters with Andy Sonnanstine. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in six career starts against the Red Sox and pitched solid in his two starts against them this year. Take the Rays to rattle knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. The Red Sox are 0-4 in Wakefield’s last four starts against the Rays and 3-8 in the last 11 meetings versus Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay Rays +130


Gina

Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox

Boston's Tim Wakefield is 0-2 with a 5.87 ERA against Tampa Bay in three starts this season and the Red Sox have lost the right-hander’s last four starts against them. Go with the Rays to give Boston another blow at Fenway. Right-hander Andy Sonnanstine pitched superbly against Boston in two starts this season and Tampa Bay won both.

Tampa Bay Rays +135


JB's Computer Picks

Tampa Bay Rays  +135

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Yankee Capper

2 Units - Red Sox/Rays Over 9

3 Units - Pittsburgh Penguins -150

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Lee Kostroski

Colorado Avalanche @ Calgary
PICK: Over

Desperate times bring desperate measures and while Game Three of the NHL season may seem to be a little bit too early for truly “desperate” measures, the fact is that neither one of these teams expected to be 0-2 to begin their seasons. Both teams were in the playoffs last season and yet both times are showing some concerning signs of struggling in the foreseeable future…at least when it comes to defense. Miikka Kiprusoff is normally a rock solid netminder for the Flames but Calgary lost their season opener 6-0 in Vancouver. Of course things would improve at home, right? After all, Kiprusoff has always fared better at home in comparison with on the road. Well, it certainly didn’t work out that way! The Flames allowed four goals in regulation against the Canucks and then an overtime winner for Vancouver to put the explanation point on the home loss for Calgary.

The good news for the Flames was that their offense looked much better in their home opener and it is that offense that they’re going to have to rely on Tuesday night as well. That’s because the defense of the Flames is showing plenty of weakness early this season and the high-powered Avs offense is up next in Calgary. Indeed, Colorado has been moving the puck well in the offensive end and generating a lot of offensive chances. However, this hasn’t stopped the Avalanche from beginning their season with an 0-2 mark as their defense has left much to be desired. The Avs have already allowed seven goals in their first two games and it appears that Peter Budaj may not be as “ready” for this season as many projected. Of course, it’s not all Budaj’s fault either as the Avalanche have been making a lot of mistakes in their defensive zone and this has given some point-blank opportunities to the opposition.

For the Flames defense, it’s been the same story. That said, the play here is the over as both offenses come into this match-up in high gear while each club’s defense is still trying to smooth out the rough spots that have absolutely been evident early this season!

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