Thursday Service Plays

Thursday Service Plays

SPORTS ADVISORS

Philadelphia (8-2) at Tampa Bay (7-5)

After riding their ace pitcher to a one-run victory in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday, the Phillies hand the ball to Brett Myers (12-13, 4.59 ERA in 32 regular-season and postseason starts) in Game 2 at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay will counter with James Shields (15-10, 3.57 in 36 starts).

Philadelphia got a first-inning, two-run home run from Chase Utley, and left-hander Cole Hamels made it stand up, pitching seven innings for the fourth straight time in the playoffs en route to a 3-2 victory, running his postseason numbers to 4-0 with a 1.55 ERA. The Phillies, who have won three in a row going back to the NLCS, prevailed despite leaving 11 runners on base.

Not only are they riding a three-game winning streak, but the Phillies are on runs of 36-16 overall, 9-3 on the road, 4-0 on Thursdays, 6-1 in Game 2 of a series, 23-8 against winning teams and 25-9 versus right-handed starters. However, they’re still 18-36 in their last 54 games against the American League, including 7-17 in their last 24 interleague road contests and 2-4 in their last six versus the A.L. East.

Tampa Bay has lost three of its last four overall, but still sports positive runs of 57-20 at home, 12-5 versus right-handed starters, 5-2 in interleague games, 8-4 in interleague home games and 7-2 versus the N.L. East.

The Rays are 10-6 all time against the Phillies, including 5-2 in the last seven overall and 4-1 in the last five at Tropicana Field. Also, Tampa Bay is 12-7 against the National League in 2008, while the Phillies are 4-15 in interleague action.

Myers hasn’t pitched since Oct. 10, when he got rocked for five runs on six hits and four walks in five innings in Game 2 of the NLCS against the Dodgers. However, Philadelphia staked the right-hander to an 8-1 lead and held on for an 8-5 victory, making Myers 2-0 in two playoff starts despite a 5.25 ERA. The Phillies are 10-4 in Myers’ last 14 trips to the hill, but they’re 5-14 in his last 19 road starts and 1-5 in his last six interleague outings.

Myers last pitched on the road at Florida on Sept. 19, and he got destroyed, surrendering 10 runs (all earned) in just four innings of a 14-8 loss. He’s 3-8 with a 6.21 ERA in 16 road outings, compared with 9-4 with a 3.25 ERA in 16 home starts.

Tampa Bay has walked off a winner in 15 of Shields’ last 22 starts overall and 20 of his last 27 at home. However, the right-hander was a tough-luck loser in both of his ALCS starts at home against the Red Sox, giving up a combined six runs (five earned) on 15 hits in 13 innings (4.15 ERA). The Rays got outscored 6-2 in those two defeats. Shields has surrendered three earned runs or fewer in 18 of his last 22 outings, including the last five in a row.

Including a 6-4 victory over the White Sox in the divisional series round on Oct. 2, Shields is 1-2 with a 3.72 ERA in his first three playoff starts. He’s also 10-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 20 starts at Tropicana Field.

Myers has never faced Tampa Bay, while Shields’ lone start against the Phillies came on June 16, 2006, when he yielded three runs in six innings en route to a 10-4 upset road victory.

The under is 9-4-1 in Myers’ last 14 starts overall and 4-1-1 in his past six as a visitor. Meanwhile, the over is 5-0 in Shields’ last five interleague outings and 4-0 in his last four efforts on Thursday.

For the Phillies, the under is on streaks of 8-3 in the playoffs, 6-2 on the road, 8-2 in interleague play and 12-3 on Thursdays. For the Rays, the under is on runs of 5-1 at home and 21-8-1 in interleague home games. However, the over is 6-3-1 in Tampa Bay’s last 10 against the N.L. East and 5-0 in its last five on Thursdays.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Auburn (4-3, 1-6 ATS) at West Virginia (4-2, 1-4 ATS)

Auburn takes a one-week hiatus from its bruising Southeastern Conference schedule when it travels to Morgantown for a non-conference, nationally televised battle with West Virginia of the Big East.

The Tigers, who had a bye last weekend, are looking to rebound from a shocking 25-22 home loss to Arkansas on Oct. 11 as an overwhelming 16½-point home chalk. Auburn, which fell 14-13 at Vanderbilt the previous week, has now dumped six straight ATS decisions (3-3 SU) since winning and covering in its season opener against Louisiana-Monroe. Against Arkansas, the Tigers somehow led 20-16 entering the fourth quarter, though they finished the game with three turnovers and a paltry 193 total yards, while the Razorbacks racked up 416 yards (188 on the ground).

The Mountaineers, who also had a bye last week, topped Syracuse 17-6 back on Oct. 11 for their third consecutive win, but they failed to cash as a huge 22-point home favorite, their second straight ATS setback. With star QB Pat White on the sidelines with an injury, West Virginia was outgained 346-268, but it finished with 216 rushing yards on 32 attempts (6.8 ypc), paced by RB Curtis Brinkley’s 144 yards on 28 carries. The Mountaineers also had no turnovers.

This is the first-ever meeting between these two programs.

Despite their current 0-6 ATS slide, the Tigers are 18-7 ATS in their last 25 October contests and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games as an underdog, including 6-1 ATS as a road pup since 2004. They’re also 6-1 SU in their last seven Thursday games. Meanwhile, the Mountaineers have been favored in all five of their lined games this season, cashing just once, and they are on additional pointspread skids of 0-4 after a bye, 0-4 after a SU win and 2-5 at home.

Both teams are paced by their defenses, with Auburn giving up just 13.1 points and 272.7 yards per game (108 rushing ypg), while the Mountaineers yield 14.7 points and 320.8 total yards per outing (118.8 rushing ypg). Offensively, West Virginia has a slight edge (22.2 ppg, 342.2 total ypg) over the Tigers (19.1 ppg, 262.6 ypg).

The under for Auburn is on runs of 7-2 overall, 4-1 against winning teams, 6-2 on the highway and 5-2 in non-conference play. The under also has been the play in all five of West Virginia’s lined games this season and is on further streaks of 4-0 at home and 6-1 in non-conference action.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


New Mexico (4-4, 5-3 ATS) at Air Force (5-2, 4-2 ATS)

New Mexico, coming off a huge offensive outburst, looks to keep that momentum going when it heads to Colorado Springs to take on Air Force’s triple-option attack in a Mountain West Conference matchup.

The Lobos throttled San Diego State 70-7 Saturday to cover nearly four times over as a 16½-point home chalk, their fourth straight spread-cover (3-1 SU). New Mexico, which led 49-0 at the half, rolled up a 565-227 total yardage edge, including an eye-popping 419 rushing yards, with RB Rodney Ferguson (25 carries, 144 yards, 4 TDs) leading the way.

Air Forced edged UNLV 29-28 as a 3½-point favorite Saturday night for its second consecutive SU win – both on the road. Like New Mexico against San Diego State, the Falcons also cracked 500 total yards, finishing with a 508-404 edge against the Rebels, and their vaunted running attack netted 346 yards on a whopping 68 carries (5.1 ypc). Air Force attempted just seven passes, but two of QB Tim Jefferson’s attempts went for TDs.

New Mexico edged Air Force 34-31 last year – snapping a three-game losing skid to the Academy – but the Falcons cashed as a 6½-point road underdog, improving to 4-0 ATS (3-1 SU) in this series. The host is on runs of 8-2 SU and 8-3 ATS in this rivalry, with Air Force going 4-1 ATS in the last five in Colorado Springs. Finally, the winner had cashed in nine consecutive Air Force-New Mexico clashes prior to last year.

The Lobos are on ATS runs of 5-0 on grass, 4-1 in conference play, 19-9-2 on the highway and 18-8 as a visiting ‘dog. The Falcons have failed to cash in seven of their last 10 when coming off a non-cover, but they are on positive ATS streaks of 11-3 overall, 8-1 in the MWC, 6-1 at home and 8-2 after a SU win.

This game features two of the top rushing attacks in college football. The Falcons rank third nationally at 300 rushing ypg and New Mexico (224 rushing ypg) ranks 15th, but the Lobos average more yards per carry (5.8) than Air Force (4.6). On the defensive end, New Mexico allows 341 total ypg (100.4 rushing ypg), while the Falcons yield 304.7 ypg (130 rushing ypg).

New Mexico is on a 5-2 “over” streak, but the under is 7-1 in its last eight conference games and 5-2 in its last seven on the road. The over for Air Force is on runs of 4-1 overall and 7-1 after a SU win, and the over is 5-2 in the last seven meetings between these two teams.

ATS ADVANTAGE: AIR FORCE

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Dave Cokin

EDM Oilers / COL Avalanche
Take COL Avalanche

The Edmonton Oilers have surged out of the NHL gate and they're a better team than Colorado. But the Avs still maintain one of the better built-in home ice edges in the league under the right circumstances. That high altitude in Denver has always been tough for visiting teams playing the second of back to back road games when the Avalanche had the prior night off. That's definitely in the price here, as there's about a dime adjustement. But with this being the early portion of the schedule and teams still trying to find their legs, it's a decent spot for Colorado, so I'll spot the number for my Thursday free play.

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Jim Feist

WAS Capitals / PHX Coyotes
Take PHX Coyotes

The Phoenix Coyotes aren't as bad as the 3-game skid might have you think. All were on the road. In fact, they are 1-0 at home this season and begin a 4-game home stand here. The Coyotes are going to have their moments, both good and bad. They are not completely there yet in terms of jelling, but the pieces are in place - goalie Ilya Bryzgalov is much better than his past three games; center Olli Jokinen's goal-scoring will begin to pick up; the four rookies will get better, and the defense should improve. The nice thing about sports is that redemption can be just around the corner. The first big test is Washington, and with a packed house expected to get a first-hand look at the Capitals' Alex Ovechkin on Thursday night, it would be an opportune time for the Coyotes to get things moving in the right direction. Washington is a LONG way from home, and has a losing road record. Phoenix has had a full 4 days off for this one, making it a great spot for the home team. Play Phoenix.

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Bob Harvey

Auburn @ West Virginia Under 38.5

This is a play that I probably, no scratch that, definitely wouldn’t have made a year ago. But with Rich Rodriguez gone to Michigan, the Mountaineers look lost offensively. I don’t think Auburn HAS an offense so if you’re looking for a” score-a-thon” this won’t be it.

Speaking of Rich Rodriguez, (I know I’m off “message”) his leaving for Michigan is a classic example of this being a move that’s BAD for both teams. Rodriguez would disagree given the nice, fat contract. But West Virginia is not as good and I don’t think Michigan is good at all. That’s just an opinion I felt compelled to drop in. Now back to tonight’s game.

WV QB Pat White was a Heisman favorite before the season. His numbers are okay, but not great. On the year, White has thrown for 590 yards with nine touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 428 yards and two touchdowns. But he isn’t the game changer under Bill Stewart that he was under Rodriguez. In fact the Mountaineers are averaging just 22 PPG and 342 yard per game this season compared to 456 yards per game under Rodriguez last season. And lost in all the negative talk about the offense and the dissapointing start, the Mountaineers defense has been a huge surprise. West Virginia is first in the Big East and 14th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 14.7 points per game.

Thru the years Auburn has been one of those “screw you” teams. They’ve cost me more money than I care to add up. But after seeing them play every week this season, maybe it’s my turn to “screw you” Tommy Tuberville!

Seriously you pretty much know what to expect from a Tuberville coached team. You’ll get a great defensive effort and (usually) just enough offense to get the job done. The Tigers are 103rd in the country in scoring, 104th in total offense and 103rd in pass offense. Far be it for me to explain this scoring challenged team. Not when Coach T can boil it down for you:

'We just have to find a way to make plays. It is pretty obvious. You can run passing plays, and you can run running plays and you can do all of those things but unless you execute and get it done, it is not a mystery. It is 11 guys executing. I thought for a couple of weeks back a few weeks ago we looked pretty good. For the last three weeks now, we just don't have any consistency at all.

Thank goodness there’s the defense which is an absolutely holy terror. The Tigers are third in the SEC in scoring defense (13.7 ppg) and first in third down conversion percentage (22.7 percent).

Unlike Auburn, though, West Virginia has at least some cause for optimism on the offensive side of the ball. Besides White, there’s running back Noel Devine who ran for 188 yards against Syracuse (I could run for 188 against the ‘Cuse”). He is second in Big East rushing and is averaging 6.6 yards per carry.

Here are some other TASTY morsels for tonight’s game:

WVU hasn't lost on a Thursday night at home in 82 years! ( I think John McCain was beginning his career in the senate about then). Auburn is 6-1 all-time in Thursday night games, including a 3-0 mark under Tuberville. And did I mention that the two teams are a combined 2-10 to the UNDER? Auburn is also 7-2 to the low side in their last nine games, 6-2 to the UNDER in their last eight road games while West Virginia is 5-0 to the UNDER at home this season.

So forget Joe the plumber. Let’s enjoy Tommy the football coach and Pat the Quarterback. No Hockey mom’s allowed here. This is going to be smash mouth football at it’s finest. Just don’t expect a lot of points.

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Jimmy The Moose

Dallas Stars at New York Islanders
Prediction: New York Islanders

The Dallas Stars are having trouble on the road and after last night's loss in New Jersey they are off to a 1-3 start away from home. The Stars are 0-6 in their last 6 games played with 0 day rest between games. In their last 8 games, dating back to last season, vs. a team with a losing record the Stars are 2-6. New York is 1-1 on home ice and is the more rested team and that will be a difference in this one. The Islanders are 5-1-1 in the last 7 meetings with Dallas and they'll take this one. Play on the New York Islanders +.

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Jorge Gonzalez

Auburn vs. West Virginia    
Play: Under 38.5

When the Auburn Tigers step outside of the Southeastern conference to take on West Virginia from the Big East, we will see two teams that have not lived up to their expectations this season. The Tigers brought in Tony Franklin in the offense coordinator and already fired him after the offense has sputtered over the first six games of the season. The Mountaineers are in the post-Rodriguez era and the expectations were high for incoming head coach Bill Stewart. Both teams have struggled offensively. the tigers are averaging 22.2 points a game while the Tigers have generated just 19.1 points per game. Both defenses have been solid all season long. The Tigers are allowing just 13.1 points per game while the Mountaineers are permitting just 14.7. The last five games have gone under for West Virginia while the under has prevailed in the five games that Auburn has failed to rush for a 100 yards in the previous game. Overall, Auburn has the under prevail in seven of their last nine games. Take the under.

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Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

New Mexico +5 over AIR FORCE

The Lobos are 16-3-1 ATS as road dogs off back-to-back point spread wins and 19-9-2 ATS in their last 30 road games, while the Falcons are 3-7 ATS off an ATS loss and 2-7 ATS as WAC home favs vs. .500 or better opposition. The Lobos had gotten off to a rough start this year, but they have turned around of late going 3-1 in their last 3 games, which includes a 70-7 destruction of San Diego State and a game where they trailed powerful BYU just 7-3 at the half before losing 21-3. The defense has been the biggest turnaround for Rocky Long's club as they allowed 32.4 ppg in their first 5 games, but in their last 3 games they have allowed just 9.3 ppg. The Lobo offense hasn't been great this year, but they woke up last week with 70 points and are facing a Falcon defense that has allowed 28 points or more in 4 of their last 5 games. Air Force has 3 blowout wins on their resume this year, but that was vs. an FCS opponent, Wyoming and SD State. Not very impressive. Their other two wins vs. Houston and UNLV (Better competition) were by a combined 4 points. The Lobo's are rolling right now especially on the defensive side of the ball and that defense should hold the Falcs down enough for the offense to get the cover, if not outright upset.


2 UNIT PLAY

3 Team 6 Point Teaser--- Auburn +9, West Virginia/ Auburn Under 44.5  &  New Mexico +11


1 UNIT PLAY

Auburn +3 over WEST VIRGINA

The Tigers are 8-1 ATS before playing Ole Miss and 18-7 ATS in their last 25 games in October, while WVU is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games on turf. The Moutaineers get back Pat White for this game but they are still going up against a defense that is 14thoverall and 9th in points allowed. That Tigers defense is also mad and looking for redemption after allowing Arkansas to pile up 25 points and 416 yards in their last game. The Auburn offense hasn't been good at al this year, but they have had two weeks to work on their offense and should be more productive tonight. West Virginia?s offense has not taken off under the guidance of Bill Stewart as they averaged 40 ppg vs. FBS teams last year, but just 21.8 vs. them this year. That's a huge dropoff and not what you want when facing this tough SEC defense. Overall Auburn has the better talent in this one and has faced the tougher schedule, which should have them primed for the minor upset tonight.

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Karl Garrett

Philadelphia at TAMPA BAY

After a nail-biter UNDER in Game One, the G-Man expects a few more runs, and an OVER in Game Two.

Let's take a look at the facts, both teams did their fair share of stranding base runners last night, in fact, the Phillies left 11 of them on base in their 3-2 win. A few hits here or there, and last night's game would have gone OVER the total.

Philly starter Brett Myers is not immune to the big inning, and Tampa Bay knows full well they do not want to head back to Philadelphia down 0-2 in this best-of-seven set.

Expect the Rays to be a little more focused tonight, as I have a feeling Tampa still had the memory of their escape job in the ALCS on their minds when they hit the field last night.

3 of Philadelphia's last 5 post season games have gone HIGH, while 4 of Tampa Bay's last 7 playoff contests have laned OVER.

Game Two goes OVER the total!

2♦ OVER

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Sports Gambling Hotline

New Mexico at AIR FORCE -5

Tonight, we must look OVER the total in Colorado Springs, as we feel the linesmakers have the total on this New Mexico-Air Force contest a little under-priced.

New Mexico comes into this one fresh off a 70-point outburst against San Diego State, and while it appears highly unlikely the Lobos are going to put up 70 points tonight, they should be able to get their fair share against a Falcons defense that has allowed 28 or more in 4 of their last 5 games.

Air Force can counter with the fact they are averaging close to 30 points per game through their 7 games this season.

Finally, 3 of the last 4 series meetings have seen a combined total of 51 points or better between the schools.

We have to believe the points will come fast, and furious this Thursday night at Falcon Stadium.

Play on the OVER between New Mexico and Air Force.

2♦ OVER

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Bobby Maxwell

New Mexico +5 at AIR FORCE 

How can we go against an offense that just put up 70 points? New Mexico beat the crap out of San Diego State 70-7 Saturday as a 16 1/2-point home favorite and today they head to Colorado Springs to take on Air Force and the Falcons' triple option rushing game.

The Lobos led 49-0 at halftime against the Aztecs and piled up 565 yards as compared to 227 yards for San Diego State, and they rushed for 419 yards with RB Rodney Ferguson going for 144 yards and four TDs. New Mexico is on ATS runs of 4-1 in Mountain West Conference play, 19-9-2 on the highway and 18-8 as a visiting underdog.

New Mexico is 15th in the country at 224 rushing yards per game while Air Force is third in the country, averaging 300 rushing yards per contest. But the Lobos average 5.8 yards per carry, more than a yard better than Air Force averages.

The Lobos beat Air Force 34-31 last year and ended a three-game losing streak to the Falcons.

New Mexico certainly knows how to put points on the board and we're counting on the Lobos' defense being to stop the Air Force offense a few times. It might turn out to be a shootout, but we like New Mexico in this one.

4♦ NEW MEXICO

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Jeff Benton

For Thursday we’ll take West Virginia minus the points against Auburn.

Honestly, the only thing that kept me from issuing the Mountaineers as a premium play is that I think their head coach, Bill Stewart, is in way over his head and I can’t trust him to not screw this game up. (I still can’t shake the image of Stewart looking totally clueless and botching the clock in a 17-14 overtime loss at Colorado five weeks ago – and thankfully so, as I had Colorado). But other than the Stewart issue, there’s absolutely no reason why the Mountaineers shouldn’t win and cover this short number tonight.

Auburn has been exposed as a flat-out fraud, losing three of its last four to LSU (26-21 at home), Vanderbilt (14-13 on the road) and god-awful Arkansas (25-22 at home). And that’s just the half of it … literally. The Tigers have failed to cover in six straight games, and in their two road contests this season they’ve scored a total of one touchdown and 16 points!

Auburn has no offense whatsoever, averaging just 14.6 points in their last five games. And in their last three, the Tigers have produced a disgusting 209 total yards per contest, including getting outgained 416-193 against Arkansas … and, again, that game was at home!

West Virginia is supposed to get explosive and versatile star QB Pat White back tonight after he missed the Mountaineers’ last game against Syracuse because of an injury. And West Virginia comes into this one having won three straight, all at home, by an average of 14 points per game (23-9) while rushing for an average of 236.7 ypg. Yes, Auburn has a stout defense, but unless they hold West Virginia under 14 points tonight, I don’t see any way that the Tigers – with that pathetic offense – hang in this game. Lay the points with the home team.

4♦ WEST VIRGINIA

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DUNKEL

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay

The Rays look to bounce back from last night's loss behind starter James Shields, who was 9-2 with a 2.59 ERA at home this season.  Tampa Bay is the pick (-145) according to Dunkel, which has the Rays favored by 1 1/2.  Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-145). 

Game 951-952: Philadelphia at Tampa Bay
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia (Myers) 15.529; Tampa Bay (Shields) 17.266
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-145); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-145); Under

NCAAF

Auburn at West Virginia

The Tigers limp into West Virginia with a 1-6 ATS record this season and face a Mountaineer team that is 3-0 SU against the SEC over the last three seasons.  West Virginia is the pick (-2 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Mountaineers favored by 6.  Dunkel Pick: West Virginia (-2 1/2).   

Game 103-104: Auburn at West Virginia
Dunkel Ratings: Auburn 90.382; West Virginia 96.321
Dunkel Line: West Virginia by 6; 32 1/2
Vegas Line: West Virginia by 2 1/2; 38
Dunkel Pick: West Virginia (-2 1/2); Under

Game 105-106: New Mexico at Air Force
Dunkel Ratings: New Mexico 83.785; Air Force 91.359
Dunkel Line: Air Force by 7 1/2; 42
Vegas Line: Air Force by 5; 46
Dunkel Pick: Air Force (-5); Under


NHL

Carolina at Pittsburgh

The Hurricanes look to follow up their win at Anaheim and build on their 5-3-0 record against the Penguins over the last three seasons.  Carolina is the underdog pick (+135) according to Dunkel, which has the Hurricanes favored straight up by 1.  Dunkel Pick: Carolina (+135).   Here are all of today's games.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23

Game 1-2: Toronto at Boston
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto 11.076; Boston 10.548
Dunkel Line & Total: Toronto by 1/2; 4 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Boston (-200); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+170); Under

Game 3-4: Dallas at NY Islanders
Dunkel Ratings: Dallas 11.470; NY Islanders 9.593
Dunkel Line & Total: Dallas by 2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Dallas (-120); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Dallas (-120); Over

Game 5-6: Carolina at Pittsburgh
Dunkel Ratings: Carolina 12.756; Pittsburgh 11.889
Dunkel Line & Total: Carolina by 1; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Pittsburgh (-155); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Carolina (+135); Over

Game 7-8: Buffalo at Minnesota
Dunkel Ratings: Buffalo 11.281; Minnesota 12.098
Dunkel Line & Total: Minnesota by 1; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Buffalo (-120); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+100); Under

Game 9-10: Calgary at Nashville
Dunkel Ratings: Calgary 12.105; Nashville 11.261
Dunkel Line & Total: Calgary by 1; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Nashville (-130); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Calgary (+110); Under

Game 11-12: Edmonton at Colorado
Dunkel Ratings: Edmonton 11.109; Colorado12.701
Dunkel Line & Total: Colorado by 1 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Colorado (-145); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (-145); Under

Game 13-14: Washington at Phoenix
Dunkel Ratings: Washington 10.244; Phoenix 11.555
Dunkel Line & Total: Phoenix by 1 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Phoenix (-115); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Phoenix (-115); Under

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Gina

Philadelphia Phillies at Tampa Bay Rays

Philadelphia will send right-hander Brett Myers to the mound for Game 2. The Phillies are just 5-14 in Myers' last 19 road starts. Tampa Bay counters with right-hander James Shields. The Rays are 20-7 in Shields' last 27 home starts.Go with the Rays at home to tie up the series. Going against 24-year-old Phillies pitching ace Cole Hamels in Game 1 was a tough task. The Rays are 61-27 at home this season and are now 4-1 in the last 5 meetings versus the Phillies at the Tropicana Field.

Tampa Bay Rays -150

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Rocketman

Philadelphia @ Tampa Bay 
Play:1* Tampa Bay -150

Philadelphia is 4-12 on the road this year when the total is 8 to 8 1/2.  Tampa Bay is 61-27 at home this year.  Tampa Bay is 61-28 this year in games played in a dome.  Tampa Bay is 65-33 this year in games played on artificial turf.  Tampa Bay is 76-44 against right handed starters this season.  Tampa Bay bullpen has a 3.51 ERA overall this year and a 2.85 ERA at home this season.  Brett Myers is 3-8 with a 6.21 ERA on the road this season.  Shields is 15-10 with a 3.57 ERA overall and 10-4 with a 2.75 ERA at home this season.  I look for Tampa Bay to bounce back with a win at home tonight and we'll recommend a small play on them! 

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Priceless Picks

1 Unit on New Mexico/Air Force OVER 45

New Mexico has gone over the number in 5 of its last 7 games and Air Force has gone over in 4 of its last 5 as these two offenses continue to defy the odds.  Air Force is 7-0 OVER after gaining 6.25 or more yards/play in their previous game over the last 3 seasons, with the score totaling 60.3 ppg in these spots.  The OVER is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings between these two teams and we'll take it tonight as the bar has been set too low.

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Big Al

The Phillies grabbed a 1-0 lead with a tight 3-2 win over the Rays in Game 1.  Look for Game 2 to be another low-scoring contest between Philadelphia and Tampa Bay. Our Thursday night World Series selection is on the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies under the total at the Trop in St. Pete.

The last time Brett Myers took the mound for the Phillies was October 10, and Myers turned out to be not only the winning pitcher in that game, beating the Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLCS, but he was also an offensive juggernaut going 3-for-3 with three RBI in helping his team crush L.A. by an 8-5 score.  The problem tonight of course is that Philadelphia won't have the benefit of Myers' bat as the game being played in Tampa means that there will be a designated hitter.

Tampa will counter with young righthander James Shields who, although only 1-2 in the postseason so far, has not given up more than three earned runs in any of his playoff starts (one against the White Sox and two against the Red Sox).  Including his three postseason appearances, Shields is now 10-4 with a 2.74 ERA and 1.09 WHIP at home in 2008.

Fortunately for Tampa, the Rays were able to have Shields start at home in both of his ALCS starts (although he lost both games) and now are in the position to start the Tropicana Field specialist in both of his World Series starts as well (if the series goes at least six games, of course).  Take the Under.

Pick: Phillies-Rays Under 8 

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Re: Thursday Service Plays

John Ryan

Philadelphia Phillies at Tampa Bay Rays
Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies

Ai Simulator 3* graded play on Philadelphia - This is a simple way to look at this game. one team has won 3 of their last 4 and the other has lost 3 of four. Despite being 0-13 with RISP, the Phillies took game 1. What I was most impressed with was that they had the lead off batter on base in the first 5 innings. This Phillie team is mentally tough and it is for that reason they will win the series. The Philly bullpen is literally lights out with Madson and Lidge. Madson has undergone a weight and stretching program this season and it has paid off big time. He was once a 90MPH max pitcher and last night you saw him consistently at 96 MPH and topped off at 98 MPH. The combination of Madson's power and then Lidge is going to be too much for TB to overcome. AiS shows an 85% probability that Myers will complete 6 innings or more and should this happen the Phillies have a 90% probability of winning the game. The pressure is big time on TB and they are wearing the role of favorite - something new for them and something they are not comfortable with at all. Supporting this graded play is a strong system that has produced a record of 38-17 making 26.8 units since 2002. Play against home teams with a money line of -100 to -150 after 2 straight games where they stranded 5 or less runners on base and with the game being played on Thursday. Myers is an impressive 12-2 (+13.3 Units) against the money line in road games versus teams outscoring opposition by 0.5 or more runs/game in the second half of the season since 1997; 15-5 (+9.0 Units) against the money line when playing against a good team sporting a win percentage of 54% to 62% in the second half of the season this season. Manuel is a strong 43-21 making 24.2 units this season and 63-30 making 36.2 units over the past 3 seasons. Take the Phils to go up 2-0.

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Tom Freese

Game: Edmonton Oilers at Colorado Avalanche
Prediction: Colorado Avalanche

Colorado is 54-36 off a road game and they are 12-5 their last 17 home games. The Avalanche are 75-30-8 their last 113 games when playing with two days of rest. Edmonton is 13-26 their last 39 games vs. Colorado including going 0-4 their last 4 games in The Mile High City. PLAY ON COLORADO

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Mr A

Philadelphia Phillies at Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays were in this dilemma before, dropping Game 1 of the American League Championship Series to the Red Sox at Tropicana Field. Take the hard line Rays. Tampa Bay is 8-3 in their last 11 interleague home games. Philadelphia's right-hander Brett Myers is 2-1 with a 6.06 ERA in his last three starts and is 3-8 with a 6.21 ERA on the road this season, 2-0 in 2008 postseason. The Phillies are 5-14 in Myers' last 19 road starts Tampa Bay's right-hander James Shields is 1-2 with a 3.72 ERA in his last three starts and is 10-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 20 home starts this season, 0-2 in 2008 postseason. The Rays are 20-7 in Shields' last 27 home starts.

Tampa Bay Rays -150


Auburn at West Virginia

Going to be a hard fought ground battle, both teams passing offense has been awful. West Virginia has won all four of their games in Morgantown this season. Take the home team in a close outcome.

West Virginia Mountaineers -3


New Mexico at Air Force

Expect a high scoring battle, New Mexico won the last meeting, 34-31 on October 25 2007 and the Lobos are averaging 25.9 point per game. Boise State is averaging 32.5 point per game. The total has gone over in five of the last 7 meetings.

Over - 45

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Johnny Guild

Auburn Tigers at West Virginia Mountaineers

The Mountaineers have won their last three games and are 4-0 at home. Expect a close game in Morgantown. Auburn’s powerful defense is 9th in the country in scoring defense allowing just 13.1 points per game, but will be confronting West Virginia high power offense that is 14th in the nation in rushing at 224.8 yards per game, besides having a solid defense. The Tigers are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games, while the Mountaineers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 overall. Take the home team!

Play:West Virginia -3

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