Thursday Service Plays

Thursday Service Plays

SPORTS ADVISORS

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(2) Boston (63-21, 43-41 ATS) at (7) Chicago (42-42, 44-39-1 ATS)

After barely escaping with a split at home, the Celtics head to the United Center in the Windy City looking to regain control of this best-of-7 opening-round playoff series against the upstart Bulls.

Ray Allen, who missed a game-tying shot at the buzzer in overtime in Game 1, redeemed himself with a three-pointer in the waning seconds Monday to push Boston to a 118-115 Game 2 victory. However, the Celtics once again failed to cover as an 8½-point home favorite. Allen, who missed 11 of his 12 shot attempts in Game 1, had a team-high 30 points Monday as all five Boston starters scored in double figures. That includes point guard Rajon Rondo, who contributed a triple-double with 19 points, 12 rebounds and 16 assists.

Chicago, which scored a 105-103 upset victory in Game 1 to steal home-court advantage in this series, came up short in Game 2 despite shooting 50 percent from the field, going 9-for-20 from three-point range and making 26 of 29 foul shots. After rookie point guard Derrick Rose poured in a game-high 36 points in the series opener, shooting guard Ben Gordon went for 42 points on 14-for-24 shooting. The difference for the Bulls in Game 2 was they got outrebounded 50-36, including 21-8 on the offensive glass, after having a 53-46 rebounding edge in Game 1.

The Bulls shot 46 percent in the two games in Boston, compared with 44.1 percent for the Celtics. Boston has topped the century mark in four straight and 10 of its last 11 games, while the Bulls have done so in 18 of their last 23 contests, putting up 107.4 ppg during this stretch.

Chicago is 28-13 at home this year (22-19 ATS), while the Celtics were 27-14 as a visitor in the regular season (also 22-19 ATS).

Boston is still 7-2 SU in the last nine meetings with Chicago, but the Celtics have failed to cash in the last three battles after going 7-0 ATS in the previous seven. The squads have split their last four clashes at the United Center in Chicago, including the Bulls’ 127-121 victory as a 1½-point home underdog on March 17. Also, even though Chicago got the cash as an underdog in the first two games of this series, the favorite is still on a 9-4 ATS run in this rivalry.

The Celtics are now mired in ATS funks of 0-5 against the Central Division, 2-5 in first-round playoff action and 0-4 when coming off two days’ rest. On the bright side, Doc Rivers’ squad carries pointspread hot streaks of 5-1 on the road, 12-5 on Thursday, 39-17 as an underdog overall, 42-17 as a road pup and 5-0 when catching points in the playoffs.

Chicago has cashed in five straight first-round postseason games and is on additional ATS runs of 11-5 at home, 5-1 on Thursday, 13-3 after a SU loss and 5-2 when laying less than five points.

The last four meetings in this rivalry – including both games in this series – have easily gone over the total. However, prior to Chicago’s 127-121 home win over Boston last month, the under had hit in five straight clashes at the United Center.

For the Celtics, the over is on runs of 4-0 overall, 17-5 against the Eastern Conference, 5-2 against the Central Division, 6-1 in first-round postseason games, 6-1 after a SU win and 16-5 after a non-cover. Also, the Bulls are on “over” stretches of 8-3 against the Atlantic Division, 6-1 in first-round playoff action, 4-1 after two days off and 5-2 as a favorite.

ATS ADVANTAGE: CHICAGO and OVER


(3) San Antonio (55-29, 41-41-2 ATS) vs. Dallas (51-33, 41-43 ATS)

Having salvaged Game 2 in San Antonio, the Spurs travel to American Airlines Arena for Game 3 against the Mavericks in this best-of-7 Western Conference opening-round series.

San Antonio jumped up 30-19 after one quarter in Game 2 on Monday and carried that to a 105-84 victory, covering as a six-point home favorite. The Spurs got a huge game from point guard Tony Parker, who finished with 38 points and eight assists and led five teammates with double-figures in points, including Tim Duncan (13 points, 11 rebounds). San Antonio dominated the boards, outrebounding Dallas 44-28, and held the Mavs to 40.3 percent shooting.

The Spurs, who have won five of their last six overall (3-3 ATS), are in the playoffs for the 12th straight year and gotten out of the first round in eight of those seasons. They ousted Phoenix in five games in last year’s opening round (2-2-1 ATS).

The Mavericks, who have still won eight of their last 11 (6-5 ATS), are trying to get out of the first round after going one-and-done in the playoffs each of the last two years, losing to Golden State in six games (1-5 ATS) in 2007 and then falling to New Orleans in five games (2-3 ATS) last season.

Despite San Antonio’s Game 2 victory, the road team has still dominated this Texas-sized rivalry, going 15-7 ATS in the last 22 meetings, with the underdog posting a 16-6 ATS mark in those 22 games. Dallas is also 18-9 ATS in the last 27 series clashes.

San Antonio is 7-3-1 ATS in its last 11 conference quarterfinal games and 4-1 ATS in its last five Thursday outings, but the Spurs are on pointspread slides of 0-5 after a spread-cover, 1-6 after a straight-up win, 2-6 as a playoff ‘dog and 2-5 after getting two days off

Dallas is on ATS slides of 1-5 as a postseason favorite, 5-21 on Thursdays and 3-8 in first-round playoff games, but the Mavs are on positive ATS runs of 12-4 after a straight-up loss, 14-6 as a home chalk and 8-1 after getting two days off.

Both games in this series have gone over the total, with Monday’s contest barely getting over the 188½-point line. Going back to the regular season, the over is on a 4-1 streak in this rivalry.

Rhe under has been the play in each of the Spurs’ last five as a playoff ‘dog, but they’re otherwise on “over” streaks of 10-4-1 overall, 6-2-1 when installed as a road ‘dog, 5-2 in first-round postseason action and 11-5-1 as a ‘dog of less than five points. Dallas is on “over” runs of 13-5 as a home favorite, 16-7 as a favorite, 5-1 after two days off and 4-1 against teams with winning records, however the under is 5-2 in the Mavericks last seven at home and 13-3 in their last 16 as a playoff favorite.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE


(1) L.A. Lakers (66-18, 44-40 ATS) at (8) Utah (48-36, 40-44 ATS)

The Lakers, who opened this best-of-7 set with a pair of double-digit home wins, now trek to Salt Lake City looking to grab a commanding 3-0 series lead with a victory over the Jazz at Energy Solutions Arena.

Los Angeles mimicked its Game 1 effort in Game 2, building a big first-half lead before letting off the gas in the second half and eventually winning, this time taking a 119-109 decision Tuesday but coming up short as an 11½-point home favorite. The Lakers, who have won nine of their last 10 games (6-4 ATS), led by more than 20 points late in the first half, but Utah chipped the deficit to three late in the fourth quarter. L.A. shot a blistering 60 percent from the field in Game 2, including going 11-for-20 from three-point range, but it committed 21 turnovers to allow the Jazz to stay in the game.

Deron Williams (35 points, nine assists) led six players in double figures in Game 2, but it wasn’t enough for the Jazz, who lost their third straight game, all in Los Angeles, including a 125-112 setback in the regular-season finale. Additionally, Utah has now dropped six of its last seven and nine of its last 11 overall, and despite getting the money Tuesday, the Jazz are still stuck in a 5-15 ATS funk (2-5 ATS in their last seven at home).

Including the two wins in this series, the Lakers are now 5-1 against the Jazz this season (4-2 ATS). Also, they’re 11-5-1 ATS in the last 17 meetings with Utah overall. However, the Jazz have won seven of the last 10 clashes with Los Angeles in Salt Lake City, including a 113-109 victory as a one-point home chalk on Feb. 11. Finally, the host has won 10 of the last 11 in this rivalry and is 14-5-1 ATS in the past 20 series battles (4-1 ATS in the last four).

Utah, which has played eight of its last 11 games on the road, won 16 of its last 18 regular-season contests at Energy Solutions Arena, finishing 33-8 at home (22-19 ATS). Los Angeles went 29-12 on the road in the regular season (23-18 ATS), including 8-3 in the last 11 (7-4 ATS).

The Lakers are still on ATS streaks of 5-2 overall, 6-1 in first-round playoff action, 5-1 as a favorite, 13-3 when playing on Thursday, 9-4 after a SU win and 4-1 when playing on one day of rest. However, Phil Jackson’s squad has failed to cover in four of its last five on the road and five of its last six as a playoff chalk.

In addition to pointspread slumps of 3-11 overall and 2-8 at home, Utah is in ATS funks of 3-15 as an underdog, 3-13 against winning teams, 3-9 after a SU defeat and 2-5 against the Pacific Division. However, the Jazz are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 first-round playoff contests.

The first two games in this series have gone over the total, making the over 19-6 in the last 25 head-to-head clashes and 8-0 in the last eight (including 5-0 in playoff meetings over the past two seasons). Additionally, Utah is on “over” runs of 10-2 overall, 8-0 against winning teams, 9-2 versus the Western Conference, 35-17 versus the Pacific Division, 41-19-2 as an underdog, 6-2 as a home ‘dog and 5-0 as a playoff pup. For the Lakers, the over is on streaks of 6-1 overall, 6-1 against the Northwest Division and 5-0 against the Northwest Division.

Conversely, the under is 11-2 in Utah’s last 13 home games, 6-2 in L.A.’s last eight on the highway and 14-5 in L.A.’s last 19 on Thursday.

ATS ADVANTAGE: OVER


AMERICAN LEAGUE

Tampa Bay (6-9) at Seattle (9-6)

Two of the best young pitchers in baseball are set to square off at Safeco Field, where the Rays’ James Shields (2-1, 4.58) opposes Felix Hernandez (2-0, 4.26) and the Mariners in the finale of a three-game series.

Tampa Bay snapped a three-game losing skid in emphatic fashion with Wednesday’s 9-3 victory over Seattle. The defending American League champs are still just 2-6 in their last eight games, scoring two or three runs in all six defeats. Going back to last year’s playoffs, the Rays have lost eight of their last 12 on the road and they’re 2-6 in their last eight as an underdog, but they’ve now won 10 of their last 14 against the A.L. West.

Seattle has followed up a six-game winning streak by going 2-4 in its last six. Also, although they’re still 7-4 in their last 11 home games, the Mariners have dropped seven of their last 10 as a chalk and five of their last six on Thursday.

Tampa is now 6-2 in the last eight meetings between these squads.

Despite giving up five runs on seven hits (two home runs) in seven innings on Friday against the White Sox, Shields escaped with a 6-5 victory. The shaky outing was in contrast to his 2009 debut at Baltimore, where he scattered three hits and a walk over seven scoreless innings in an 11-3 road win. Last year, Shields was just 5-6 with a 4.82 ERA in 16 road starts (compared with 9-2, 2.59 ERA at home).

Shields is 1-1 despite a sterling 2.12 ERA in four career starts against the Mariners (1-1, 2.38 ERA in three games at Safeco). He’s given up three earned runs or fewer and pitched into the seventh inning in all four contests. With Shields toeing the rubber, the Rays are on streaks of 18-8 overall, 4-1 on the road and 13-3 versus the A.L. West, but they are 6-14 in the right-hander’s last 20 outings as an underdog (playoffs included).

The Mariners are a perfect 3-0 with their ace on the hill, including Friday’s 6-3 home win over Detroit, with Hernandez allowing all three runs in six innings in his first home start of the season. The hard-throwing right-hander went 5-5 with a 3.88 ERA in 16 outings at Safeco last season.

Although Hernandez is only 1-1 with a 2.54 ERA in five career starts against the Rays, the Mariners have won four of those contests, all in Seattle.

For Tampa Bay, the under is on streaks of 4-2 on the road, 4-0 as an underdog, 12-2 when Shields takes the mound as a ‘dog and 4-0 in Shields’ four career starts versus Seattle. Also, Seattle sports “under” trends of 20-10 against A.L. East opponents, 6-0 when Hernandez pitches on Tuesday and 10-1 when Hernandez faces the A.L. East.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER

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DUNKEL

Boston at Chicago   
The Bulls look to rebound from their loss in Game Two and build on their 13-3 ATS record in their last 16 games following a SU loss.  Chicago is the pick (-2 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Bulls favored by 6 1/2.  Dunkel Pick: Chicago (-2 1/2).   

Game 507-508: Boston at Chicago
Dunkel Ratings: Boston 118.496; Chicago 124.795
Dunkel Line & Total: Chicago by 6 1/2; 204
Vegas Line & Total: Chicago by 2 1/2; 201
Dunkel Pick: Chicago (-2 1/2); Over

Game 509-510: San Antonio at Dallas
Dunkel Ratings: San Antonio 119.347; Dallas 125.135
Dunkel Line & Total: Dallas by 6; 192
Vegas Line & Total: Dallas by 4 1/2; 190
Dunkel Pick: Dallas (-4 1/2); Over

Game 511-512: LA Lakers at Utah
Dunkel Ratings: LA Lakers 122.841; Utah 119.445
Dunkel Line & Total: LA Lakers by 3 1/2; 209 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: LA Lakers by 1 1/2; 214 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Lakers (-1 1/2); Under


MLB

Texas at Toronto
The Blue Jays are 7-3 in their last 10 home games and face a Texas team that is 1-5 in Kevin Millwood's last 6 starts as a road favorite between -110 and -150.  Toronto is the underdog pick (+115) according to Dunkel, which has the Blue Jays favored by 1.  Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+115). 

Game 951-952: Milwaukee at Philadelphia
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Bush) 14.882; Philadelphia (Hamels) 15.964
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-175); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (-175); Under

Game 953-954: NY Mets at St. Louis
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Hernandez) 15.607; St. Louis (Lohse) 14.982
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-155); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (+145); Under

Game 955-956: Cincinnati at Chicago Cubs
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Harang) 15.058; Cubs (Zambrano) 16.249
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 1; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Chicago Cubs (-165); No Total
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (-165); N/A

Game 957-958: LA Dodgers at Houston
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Billingsley) 16.478; Houston (Rodriguez) 15.281
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 1; 9 1/2
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-125); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-125); Over

Game 959-960: Kansas City at Cleveland
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Meche) 15.387; Cleveland (Reyes) 16.780
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 1 1/2; 9 1/2
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-115); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-115); Over

Game 961-962: Tampa Bay at Seattle
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Shields) 15.426; Seattle (Hernandez) 14.222
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Seattle (-115); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (+105); Over

Game 963-964: Chicago White Sox at Baltimore
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Colon) 15.219; Baltimore (Eaton) 15.762
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1/2; 11 1/2
Vegas Line: Chicago White Sox (-125); 10 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (+115); Over

Game 965-966: Texas at Toronto
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (Millwood) 15.431; Toronto (Richmond) 16.501
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Texas (-125); 9
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+115); Under

Game 967-968: Detroit at LA Angels
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Jackson) 15.045; LA Angels (Palmer) 15.559
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1/2; 10 1/2
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A


NHL

Carolina at New Jersey
The Devils look to go up in the series and take advantage of a Carolina team that is 3-12 in its last 15 games as a road underdog between +110 and +150.  New Jersey is the pick (-150) according to Dunkel, which has the Devils favored by 1.  Dunkel Pick: New Jersey (-150).   

Game 23-24: Philadelphia at Pittsburgh
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia 11.671; Pittsburgh 13.054
Dunkel Line & Total: Pittsburgh by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Pittsburgh (-215); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (-215); Over

Game 25-26: Detroit at Columbus
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit 11.960; Columbus 10.197
Dunkel Line & Total: Detroit by 2; 5 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Detroit (-215); 5
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-215); Over

Game 27-28: Carolina at New Jersey
Dunkel Ratings: Carolina 11.496; New Jersey 12.315
Dunkel Line & Total: New Jersey by 1; 5 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: New Jersey (-150); 5
Dunkel Pick: New Jersey (-150); Over

Game 29-30: San Jose at Anaheim
Dunkel Ratings: San Jose 10.863; Anaheim 11.520
Dunkel Line & Total: Anaheim by 1; 4
Vegas Line & Total: San Jose (-145); 5
Dunkel Pick: Anaheim (+125); Under

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Cajun Sports

Chicago White Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles     
Play: Chicago White Sox

Oriole Park will be the site of tonight’s third and final game in this three-game set between the host Baltimore Orioles and the visiting Chicago White Sox. The Orioles took game one of the series but the Sox bounced back yesterday with an 8 to 2 win to even things up. Chicago will send right-hander Bartolo Colon to the bump with his 1-0 record, ERA of 3.86 and a WHIP of 1.03. The Sox average 6.50 runs per game when he takes the mound this season and they only allow 3.0 runs to be scored. He is coming off his worst outing of the season at Tampa Bay allowing five runs on six hits in 5.2 innings of work to take the loss 6 to 5. In his previous start he pitched six innings gave up three hits and no runs in the win over Minnesota 8 to 0. We expect Bartolo to rebound here and have a strong outing versus this Orioles team as they are 42-71 versus pitchers over .500. Colon qualifies as a contact and fly ball pitcher and the Orioles struggle against either style, going 27-39 versus contact pitchers and 25-36 versus fly ball hurlers. Chicago on the offensive side has performed extremely well against sub .500 pitchers posting a record of 49-26 in that situation and Baltimore is sending Adam Eaton to the hill with his 0-2 record and ERA of 11.25 on the year. The Orioles pitching overall is near the bottom in several key categories with their starters only averaging 4.55 innings per game and their overall pitching staff averaging 166.1 pitches per contest. The Orioles average 3.5 runs per game when Adam Eaton takes the mound and allow 8.5 runs per game. In his last start at Boston he allowed nine hits and six earned runs in just four innings of work averaging 23.2 pitches per inning in a 6 to 4 loss. High pitch counts have been a problem for Eaton in the past his last outing at home versus Tampa Bay saw him average 25.0 pitches per inning. In that game he lasted only four innings giving up eight hits and four earned runs in an 11 to 3 loss. If we go back to last season his last two starts show the same problem with high pitch counts versus Arizona he pitched 3.2 innings giving up eight earned runs and averaging 24.8 pitches per inning. In the game prior to Arizona he lasted 2.2 innings giving up ten hits, six earned runs and averaged 25.5 pitches per inning versus the Mets. Of course both of those games were losses for his team. He will face a White Sox team that is averaging more runs per game on the road than at home so far this season with an average of 5.20 on the highway. They are 4-3 W/L their last seven overall, batting .293 and have an OBP of .374 on the road. While Eaton’s team is 2-5 W/L their last seven overall and their bullpen is giving up 7.27 runs per game at home this season with a WHIP of 1.654, all bad signs for the O’s and Eaton on Thursday night. Our Team Efficiency numbers show the White Sox with a 75 percent average while the O’s come in with only a 40 percent average. These numbers make it even easier to back the better team and pitcher tonight as the Sox get win number two and take this series 2 games to 1.

Graded Selection: 2* Chicago White Sox 6 Baltimore Orioles 4

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Craig Trapp

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Houston Astros
Play: Los Angeles Dodgers 

Enough is enough two free play losses in a row have made Craig break out and give his PREMIUM PLAY for FREE TODAY! Take advantage of this yesterday Craig's MLB Premium Plays were undefeated. Today we go to Houston where the Dodgers are trying to avoid the sweep!! Lets look at records and trends on this game:

Records

LA Dodgers 10-5 Billingsley 3-0 (2.84 ERA)

Houston Astros 6-9 Rodriguez 1-1 (1.89 ERA)

Betting Trends

Dodgers are 5-2 in their last 7 road games vs. a left-handed starter.

Dodgers are 4-2 in their last 5 vs. National League Central.

Astros are 4-11 in their last 15 games as an underdog.

Astros are 5-1 in Rodriguezs last 6 home starts vs. a team with a winning record.

The Astros were really playing poorly before the LAD came into town but in the first two games they have looked like the favorite. Astros pitchers have allowed less than 5 runs in both games and Houston hitters have been tearing up a very good LAD pitching staff. Today that will all change as Billingsley is undefeated (3-0) and has been averaging over one strikeout per inning and is the best power pitcher in the National League. Rodriguez has been good for HOUSTON but for some reason when he pitches his team does not score much for him. EASY ROAD WIN FOR LAD TODAY!! SCORE LAD 5 - HOU 1

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Marc Lawrence

Play On: L.A. Dodgers w/Billingsley

When the Dodgers send Chad Billingsley to the hill in Houston against the Astros this evening they will do so knowing he is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA in his career team starts in this park. He's also riding a 4-game win streak during the opening month of April. Look for more of the same from Billingsley and the Dodgers here tonight.

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James Patrick Sports

Carolina vs. New Jersey

Goaltending at its best in this series as the Devils Martin Broduer has three Stanley Cup Titles and his young counterpart Cam Ward has won one himself. With these established cool & collective team leaders between the pipes we'll use our Thursday NHL Playoff complimentary selection on New Jersey - Carolina Under the Total

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Ben Burns

Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins
Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins worked hard to earn home ice advantage for this series while the Flyers squandered their chance to do so. Now, the Penguins can close things out at home and I expect them to make the most of their opportunity. The Pens are more talented and they've been the better team this series. Consider Pittsburgh.

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Jeff Benton

How about that big underdog winner on the Royals yesterday, huh? That takes my free-play winning streaks to 19-8 in the last 27 days, 10-2 in the last 12 days and 3-0 in the last three days! For Thursday, we go right back to Kansas City in this early start in Cleveland.

What’s not to like about the Royals right now? They’re 8-6 on the season (including 5-3 on the road), while Cleveland is now 5-10 on the season (2-3 at home). Kansas City is also trotting out Opening Day starter Gil Meche, who has pitched like an ace so far (1-0, 2.25 ERA in three starts). By comparison, the Tribe are countering with Anthony Reyes (he of the 5.73 ERA).

Going back to the final three meetings of last season, the Royals have now taken six of eight from the Indians, including four of five in Cleveland. And it’s not just pitching that has done the damage for K.C. during this 6-2 run against the Indians – the offense has averaged nearly seven runs per game in the eight contests.

Some more numbers for you: Kansas City has won 13 of its last 17 on the road since last season; 21 of its last 30 overall; 12 of its last 14 against right-handed starters; and five of Meche’s last six starts overall. And that bullpen discrepancy I mentioned yesterday? It’s still there: The Royals’ relievers sport a 3.72 ERA on the season. Cleveland’s bullpen ERA? How about 7.23, including 9.20 at home. Oh yeah, I absolutely LOVE the Royals in this spot and at this ridiculous price!

5♦ KANSAS CITY

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Matt Rivers

For Thursday take the Jazz at home.

There is no team in any sport on the planet that is more Jekyl and Hyde when it comes to playing at home vs. the road. Jerry Sloan's squad is as good as they come when playing in Utah but for some strange reason they just do not travel well and lose more often than they win on the highway.

If the Jazz are going to win a game in this series against the high flying and top seeded Lakers then this is that spot. It is pretty apparent that winning at Staples is not going to happen and if Deron Williams and the fellas fall into an 0-3 hole then game four is probably not going to turn out that well either. This is thee spot for the Jazz as they are still in the series, somewhat.

Williams, Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko, possibly Mehmut Okur if he is healthy enough and the rest of the Jazz will come out tonight and lay it all on the line. Will that be enough against Kobe and what is the best team in the game in the Lakers? Maybe, maybe not but if there is ever a spot to back the Jazz and expect them to be successful in this series this is that spot.

It's a perfect letdown spot for LA and the only spot that Utah can probably win a  game in this series in so sign me up and I'll root for the Mormons against the Kobe's!

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Sports Gambling Hotline

Boston at CHICAGO 

On Monday night we were right on the pulse of this Boston-Chicago showdown, giving you a comp play winner on the OVER.

We will come right back this Thursday evening, and play another OVER between the teams. These teams have combined to go OVER the posted total in their last 4 meetings, and 6 of their last 8 overall have also played HIGH.

For Boston, they are on an OVER run of 4 in a row dating back to the regular season, and 8 of their last 9 dating back to the regular season have also gone HIGH.

Chicago meanwhile has been OVER the total in 4 of their last 6 games, and playing at home this year, the Bulls are on a 23-17-1 OVER clip in their 41 home games to date.

Expect another game played in the 100's for both teams, and expect it to be 5 in a row OVER in the Boston-Chicago series come the final buzzer.

Play the UP!

4♦ OVER

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Chris Jordan

Boston +2' at CHICAGO 

They say the oddsmakers can tell you everything with the line they put out there. When you see a line you don’t understand, you have to ask yourself: “What are they trying to tell you? Who is supposed to win that game?”

Thing is, that theory is better served with mysterious road chalk. Here tonight, with this line, I think we’re seeing a tad-bit of disrespect, and that we’re going to find out how much mettle the defending champs actually have.

If there is any one game this team must show up for – this is it. We already knew Kevin Garnett would be out for the entire postseason. Now we find out forward Leon Powe will miss the rest of the postseason because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee. So in the hell do we count on that loss of forward-presence … again?

The good news is Ray Allen may have single-handedly kept the Celtics from being down 2-games-to-nil when he broke out of a slump to score 30 points - including the decisive 3-pointer with 2 seconds left – and led the defending NBA champions a 118-115 win over the Bulls on Monday night. Quite a change from Game 1, in which he scored just four points on 1-for-12 shooting and in which he missed the final shot in Chicago's 105-103 overtime win two nights earlier.

I know the hype is against us. I know the hype and crowd will be a solid foundation for recently named Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose. And I know these are the same Celtics who were pushed to the brink last season against an eerily similar team from Atlanta. But again, if there was ever one game that mattered to the Celtics, it’s this one, as home-court advantage could be back in their corner.

Take the points.

1♦ CELTICS

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Karl Garrett

San Antonio +5' at DALLAS 

Thus far neither game in this San Antonio-Dallas series has been very close, but tonight the G-Man feels we are going to get a close contest. That being the case, I am on the underdog Spurs plus the points to stay inside the number in Big "D" this Thursday night.

San Antonio has won 5 of their last 6 games dating back to the regular season, and they know the best chance to steal back home court advantage always comes in the first game played in a series on the enemy's hardwood.

Dallas finished the regular season just 19-22 against the spread on their home wood, while San Antonio was a positive 23-17-1 against the spread on the road this season.

Also note the Spurs are on a 6-3 straight up run in this series, 5-4 against the spread, and the road team is a profitable 15-7 against the spread the last 22 meetings.

This one has final possession written all over it.

G-Man taking the points with the Spurs.

3♦ SAN ANTONIO

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Bobby Maxwell

San Antonio +4' at DALLAS

Tonight's FREE winner on the hardwood comes from Dallas as we go with the visiting Spurs against the Mavericks in Game 3 of their opening-round Western Conference playoff series.

After getting beaten in the opener, the Spurs came out on Monday with a different look to them and they didn't let up the entire game. Tony Parker is showing he is the best player on the court and look for the Spurs to make life tough on the Mavs in Dallas tonight. Grab the points as this one could come down to a final possession.

Just like in Game 1, San Antonio jumped out to a big first-quarter lead, but this time they didn't blow it in the second half. They kept their foot on the gas pedal as Parker went for 38 points and eight assists. Five Spurs scored in double-digits and Tim Duncan came with 13 points and 11 rebounds and they outrebounded the Mavericks 44-28 and held Dallas to 40.3 percent shooting.

Dallas is on ATS slides of 1-5 as a postseason favorite, 5-21 on Thursdays and 3-8 in conference quarterfinal games. Remember, this team hasn't gotten out of the first round the last two years and we don't see them getting out of this series.

Play the Spurs in this one as they are 7-3-1 ATS in conference quarterfinal games and in this rivalry, the road team is 15-7 ATS and the 'dog is 16-6 in those 22 games. Grab the points and go with San Antonio tonight.

4♦ SAN ANTONIO

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Michael Cannon

Kansas City -105 at CLEVELAND 

Take the Royals for the road win this afternoon over the Indians.

Kansas City is a team that is on the rise and it’s because of a stellar pitching staff.

It was on display last night when Brian Bannister tossed a gem and the Royals beat last year’s Cy Young winner Cliff Lee and the Tribe, 2-0.

Now the Indians have to find some offense against Gil Meche, who has pitched better than his 1-0 record would indicate.  The right-hander has a 2.25 ERA in three starts and has walked only four batters while striking out 18 in 20 innings.  Meche has yet to allow a home run this year as well.

Cleveland will counter with Anthony Reyes, who is pitching better in the American League than he did when he was in St. Louis.

But I can’t see Reyes outperforming Meche in this setting, as the Cleveland starter will have little room for error going against a pitcher who seems to give the Royals a quality start just about every time out.

Reyes has pitched well against Kansas City in his brief stint with the Tribe, but I can’t overlook his 13-25 overall career record.

Take the Royals as they grab the road win.

2♦ KANSAS CITY

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Bobby Maxwell

L.A. Dodgers -120 at HOUSTON 

The Dodgers have dropped the first two games of this three-game set in Houston, but there's no way they're losing a third straight, especially with Chad Billingsley (3-0, 2,84 ERA) going to the mound. Lay the chalk and play the Dodgers tonight.

Los Angeles came into Houston having won eight straight, but losses Tuesday and Wednesday have them looking to salvage this one. The Dodgers certainly know how to score runs, having gotten five runs or more in eight straight.

Lefty Wandy Rodriguez (1-1, 1.89 ERA) is on the mound for Houston and he was tough at home on Saturday, blanking the Reds for seven innings, allowing just two hits and striking out 10. He hasn't been very good against the Dodgers in his career, including last year's home start when he gave up five run on six hits in five innings of a 7-6 loss. In his last 10 innings against Los Angeles he's allowed nine runs in 10 innings.

Going back to last season, Billingsley has kept the opposition to three runs or less in eight of his last 10 outings. Against Houston, he was nasty last year, allowing two runs (none earned) in eight innings of a 5-2 victory.

Look for the Dodgers offense to blow up in this one and deliver a big victory, plus Billingsley will keep the Astros in check. Play Los Angeles.

3♦ L.A. DODGERS

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DAVE COKIN

NEW YORK METS / ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Take ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Livan Hernandez has been better than expected so far for the Mets, but Kyle Lohse is in tremendous early form for the Cardinals. I don't give out big chalk on the service, but I definitely have to give the edge to the Cardinals in today's game.

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JIM FEIST

LOS ANGELES DODGERS / HOUSTON ASTROS
Take Under

A pair of hot hurlers on the hill. Houston lefty Wandy Rodriguez has a 2.96 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 29 starts at home, plus off to a sizzling start in 2009: 1.89 ERA with 18 Ks in 19 innings. Rodriguez has improved his ERA, WHIP, strikeout-to-walk ratio and OPS allowed in each of the past two seasons -- the latter two categories substantially so. Houston's offense, though, is 10th in the NL in batting and 15th in runs. They face a hot righty in Chad Billingsley (3-0, 2.84 ERA). He has fanned 21 in just 19 innings. Look for a lot of strikeouts and few runs, play the Dodgers/Astros under the total.

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Nick Parsons

Carolina Hurricanes @ New Jersey Devils -150

Enough is enough; I look for the home team to bounce back tonight in front of the home town crowd behind the play of star goaltender Martin Brodeur. The NHL's all-time winningest goaltender in the regular season had an outburst worthy of You Tube in the moments after the Devils dropped a 4-3 decision on a disputed goal by Jussi Jokinen with 0.2 of a second to play in regulation. To say this outburst is out of character would be an understatement; I believe it will have a profound effect on the rest of his team tonight though. Look for NEW JERSEY to improve to 16-7 (+8.2 units) after allowing 4 goals or more!

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LT Profits

Kansas City Royals @ Cleveland Indians

Gil Meche is pitching like the ace of the Kansas City Royals staff that he is supposed to be, and we look for him to key an Under here as the Royals visit the Cleveland Indians.

Sure, these teams had played eight consecutive Overs against each other here in Cleveland before last night, but that trend may have started to shift with that 2-0 Kansas City win over Cliff Lee, and today it is the Royals that have their best pitcher on the mound.

Meche has a 2.25 ERA and an excellent 1.15 WHIP in the early going, and he just tossed six scoreless innings while allowing only six hits vs. the hard-hitting Texas Rangers last Friday. Meche is also a proven commodity vs. the Indians, hold them to three runs or less in six of his last eight starts against them over the last two seasons, and he has the support of a fine Royals bullpen that owns a 3.72 ERA.

Now Anthony Reyes may be a bit of a question mark for the Indians, but he did not pitch badly in his last start vs. the New York Yankees in their new stadium that is playing like a bandbox, as he allowed a reasonable three runs and five hits in five innings. He is now facing a much weaker offense in a more pitcher-friendly park, and Reyes has allowed two runs or less in each of his three career starts vs. Kansas City.

Throw on some natural lethargy that usually exists in these 12 Noon starts following a night game, and look for the bats to be kept quiet today.

Pick: Royals / Indians Under 8.5

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Jimmy The Moose

San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks
Prediction: Over

The team's combined for 7 goals in their last game. The over is 5-2-4 in the Sharks last 11 games as a playoff favorite. The over is 6-2-1 in the Ducks last 9 games overall. In their last 10 games as home dog the over is 7-3. In their last 7 games overall as a dog the over is 5-1-1. The over is 4-0 in their last 4 games played with 1 day rest. This will be a high tempo game and should easily play over the total.

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