Wednesday Service Plays

Re: Wednesday Service Plays

Gina

Philadelphia Phillies at Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays will host the Philadelphia Phillies and their ace lefthander Cole Hamels, who is 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA with a 0.86 WHIP in his three playoff starts. Tampa Bay counters with Scott Kazmir. The lefthander is 1-0 this postseason and is 9-2 with a 3.30 ERA in 16 starts at home.Go with the Rays in Game 1 at Tropicana Field. The Phillies are 1-5 in the last 6 meetings and 0-4 in the last 4 in Tampa Bay. The Rays are 61-26 at home this season and won 14 of lefty Scott Kazmir last 16 home starts. Tough assignment going against Phillies' Cole Hamels, but so was beating the defending champion Boston Red Sox.

Tampa Bay Rays -105

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Re: Wednesday Service Plays

JB's Computer Picks

Tampa Bay Rays -105

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Re: Wednesday Service Plays

Tony Karpinski

Dallas Stars vs. New Jersey Devils
Play: New Jersey Devils   

The Dallas Stars struggling big time defensively to start the season having already given up 25 goals in 6 games. They are coming off a rare win over the Rangers 2 night also and I smell a letdown tonight against a dominant goalie. 

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Re: Wednesday Service Plays

Wunderdog

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay
Pick: 3 units OVER 7.5

The World Series opens in Tampa tonight as the Rays host the Phillies. Cole Hamels goes for the Phillies and Scott Kazmir gets the call for the Rays. Hamels has had a good season, and has been solid of late, but his regular season road numbers vs winning teams shows something different. He has a 4.58 ERA on the road vs. top teams during the regular season. Scott Kazmir has pitched well at home with the Rays going 12-2, but his problem is too many pitches and he has exited before completing six innings more times than not. The Rays pen has been guilty of an additional 1.95 runs per game after his departure. The last 11 times Kazmir has taken the ball for the Rays an average of 12.36 runs have been scored! The last 11 times Kazmir has taken the mound, a bettor would be 11-0 playing the OVER to a total of 7.5. While both of these guys are very ogod, there's just too much here saying this one is set too low, and I'll play the OVER 7.5 which is actually an underdog line, showing great value.

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Nite Owl Sports

Game: Philadelphia Phillies @ Tampa Bay Rays
Pick: 3 units Philadelphia Phillies -106

While we’re not so sure that Philly will end up as the new World Series Champs, for reasons pointed out in our preview article in this newsletter, we are more confident about them victorious this game 1, as they have a number of factors in their favor. First, we’ll start with Philly SP (starting pitcher) Cole Hamels, who is a lefty “power” pitcher, which is a bad match-up for Rays because Tampa scores a full run less vs LHPs (4.1 RPG ) than against RHPs (5.2 RPG), including just 4.4 RPG at home vs LHPs, and also has trouble with power pitchers (just 3.9 RPG, compared to their overall average of 4.8 RPG). And Hamels not only has good overall #s (17-10 with a 2.9 ERA), but also very good road #s (8-3 with a 3.1 road ERA), but he has also pitched very well so far in TY’s playoffs, with a 3-0 record and just 3 ER yielded in 22 IP. And that includes holding hot hitting LA Dodgers to just one run in 7 IP in decisive game 5 of that series in LA, and Dodgers hit lefties much better (at 5.1 RPG) than Tampa does. Hamels has just one career start against Rays, in which he did not pitch very well (5 ER in just 3.2 IP), but that was in 2006, his rookie year, when he was nowhere near as good as he is now, so we disregard that, but had to mention it.

Rays counter with a lefty ace of their own, Scott Kazmir, who has had good #s TY (13-8 with a 3.55 ERA), but not as good as Hamels. However, tonite he pitches in his best pitching “mode” (home/night) – he is 9-2 in home starts with a 3.3 ERA (1-1 in home playoff starts, with a good start vs White Sox and a bad one vs Boston), and 11-3 in night starts, with a 3.0 ERA. However, he has been inconsistent “down the stretch,” with 3 recent bad starts (9 ER in just 3 IP at home vs Boston on 9/15, 4 ER in 5 IP in loss at Detroit in key game on 9/25, and 5 ER in just 4 IP in ALCS game 2  “no decision” at home against Boston). On the other hand, he has pitched a few “gems” lately as well, such as his wasted 6 innings of shut out pitching in his last start (ALCS game 5 Tampa loss at Boston blown by Rays’ bullpen) and a 5-0 shut out of Minny Twins on Sept. 20 at home. Kaz has one start vs Philly in last 3 years, a 7-2 win at Philly in which he gave up just 2 ER in 5 IP. But that was also in 2006, against a Philly team not nearly as good as this one. And Philly has been devouring LHPs TY with a 33-22 record and average of 5.4 RPG scored against “southpaws,” including 15-10 away vs LHPs for 5.2 RPG and 12-6 away at night vs LHPs. Kaz is a power/flyball pitcher, against which Philly does OK (4.5 RPG vs both), although not as good as their overall average of 4.9 RPG.

Both bullpens have pretty equivalent numbers overall, with Tampa at 2.95 ERA at home and Philly a 3.25 away. But we believe Phils have a huge edge with closers, with “perfect” (45-0 TY in save opportunities) Brad Lidge in their pitching arsenal, and playing status (chronic back stiffness) of Tampa #1 closer Troy Percival still in doubt (did not pitch in either playoff series, and officially listed as “questionable” for World Series), and back-up Tampa closer Wheeler decent, but certainly no Lidge (and even a significant drop off from Percival, when Percy is healthy). Lidge also sports a 1.95 ERA, but it’s his microscopic 075 road ERA, in 37 IP that really gets our attention.

As far as team edges go, they cut both ways, but here are the ones we see:

Positives for Philly/negatives for Tampa
Philly is 47-39 away, including 37-25 away in night games, like this one.

The aforementioned discrepancy between the two teams vs LHPs (Philly very good, Tampa not so good, but not as bad at home)

In game one of a series, Phils have a big edge over Tampa, at 37-17 (incl 2-0 in playoffs) compared to Rays’ so-so 30-24 (and 1-1 in playoffs)

Positives for Tampa/negatives for Philly 
Tampa’s great home record (now 61-26 after Rays’ 4-2 home playoff record in rounds one and two vs both “Sox teams”), as well as a good 19-7 home record in one run games (compared to Philly’s 12-14 road record in one run games)

Managing edge of Tampa’s Joe Madden over Philly’s Charlie Manuel (see our series  preview article for more detail on that edge)

Tampa 12-6 TY vs NL, and Philly just 4-11 TY vs AL, but those games were all in May and June, when Philly was not playing nearly as well

The overall 60 % win percentage of AL over NL (80-53) in games played in last 24 World Series.

So there you have it, factors cutting both ways (no one said this was going to be easy), but we believe that Philly has enough edges to justify a 3 unit pick on them at this near even price.

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ROCKBOXSPORTS.COM

WORLD SERIES ANALYSIS - GAME ONE SELECTIONS

The Rays-Phillies matchup is an intriguing one and not an easy call in terms of series wagering. The public seems to be leaning towards the Rays, perhaps even expecting some type of easy win in 4 or 5 games. While we understand the enthusiasm for the Rays, particularly with the power surge they have shown in the playoffs, we're not sure it will be quite that easy. Phillies have a strong lineup, the best pitcher in the series in Cole Hamels, a solid defense and a very strong bullpen. Their obvious weakness is the depth of the rotation behind Hamels. Can they get strong starts from Brett Myers, Jamie Moyers, and/or Joe Blanton? That's the question you have to ask yourself here. Now that they're hitting homers at a rate greater than they did in the regular season, the Rays are extremely dangerous. They clearly have the greater depth in the rotation. However, their bullpen is shaky and showed signs of being seriously worn down in the Red Sox series. Enter rookie David Price. Price is a huge factor in this series. Although he projects as a starter in the future, his emergence in the ALCS is reminscent of a young Frankie Rodriguez who, after pitching in only 5 regular season games for the Angels as a 20 year-old rookie in 2002, became the centerpiece of their postseason bullpben, pitching in 11 game, picking up 5 saves, and damn near carrying the Angeles to the World Series title . Rays may have to use Price just as extensively as they are not likely to get by with the Dan Wheelers of the world when the game is on the line. Without Price on the roster, we might likely take the Phils on the expectation that the Rays bullpen was not capable of closing the deal. However, Price changes that dynamic. Then again, he's a rookie and not necessarily a sure thing- although close to it. He seems damn near unhittable at this point and will be a weapon against guys like Howard and Utley who can be neutralized by lefties. The only hope for the Phils would seem to be (1) control problems for Price and/or (2) underuse/misuse by Rays manager Joe Madden. Madden did badly misuse his bullpen in the Red Sox 8-7 comeback victory in the ALCS. Another thing for bettors to keep in mind here is the fact that series price on the Rays is clearly inflated due to the fact that Vegas is holding so much futures money on the team. Vegas stands to get hit hard if the Rays win and, as a result, they are skewing the line to even things out by encouraging Philly money. Under these circumstances, the value on the Rays is diminished and one might even consider a Philly series bet if the line goes much higher than its current status at +120. However, we just do not have enough faith in the back end of the Phils rotation to pull the trigger on the series bet. Hamels might well win two games in this series, but Brett Myers might have to win the other two himself because Moyer and Blanton are extremely shaky propositions. The fact that those two got smacked around by the light-hitting Dodgers does not bode well for them against a more potent AL squad. Can Myers win two games? Certainly he is capable of it- and if he does the Phils win the series. We say he wins one and the Rays fall just short. This could be a good series, much better than many expect. We'll lean slightly towards the Rays because of Price and say Rays in seven, but will lay off the series bet due to lack of value and take the series one game at a time. Looking towards game one, for example, we think the value lies with Hamels…

WORLD SERIES SELECTIONS - GAME ONE:

2 STARS: PHILLIES -107

1 STAR: UNDER 7.5

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