Saturday Service Plays

Saturday Service Plays

SPORTS ADVISORS

NBA PLAYOFFS

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(7) Chicago (3-3, 3-2-1 ATS) at (2) Boston (3-3, 2-3-1 ATS)

Arguably the most thrilling first-round series in NBA playoffs history comes down to a winner-takes-all Game 7, as the defending-champion Celtics host the upstart Bulls at TD Banknorth Garden.

Chicago needed three overtimes to stay alive in Game 6 on Thursday, winning 128-127 but failing to cover as a three-point home favorite. It was the fourth time in six games – and the third time in a row – that these teams failed to finish in regulation. Two of the four overtime games have required multiple sessions, and with the exception of Boston’s 107-86 blowout victory in Game 3 in Chicago, the other five contests have been decided by a total of 11 points – all by three points or less.

John Salmons (35 points), rookie Derrick Rose (28 points, eight rebounds, seven assists) and Game 5 goat Brad Miller (23 points, 10 rebounds) led the way for the Bulls in Game 6, with Rose blocking Rajon Rondo’s game-winning attempt in the waning seconds of the third overtime to seal it. Chicago shot 49.5 percent from the field, going 9-for-17 from three-point land, and it survived despite an off night from injured shooting guard Ben Gordon, who had 12 points and fouled out after 31 minutes.

Boston was pushed to this Game 7 despite the heroic play of Ray Allen, who had a career-playoff high 51 points and tied a postseason record with nine three-pointers (on 18 attempts). Glen Davis added 23 points and seven rebounds, while Paul Pierce chipped in 22 points and nine boards, but both fouled out in overtime. The Celtics shot just 43.4 percent, going 11-for-31 from three-point land, and although Rondo had 19 assists and nine rebounds, the talented point guard was limited to a series-low eight points.

The winning team has scored at least 105 points in every game of this series, and both teams have topped the century mark in five of the six contests. Boston is averaging 117.2 points per game in this series, while Chicago is netting 113.7 ppg. The Celtics have scored 100 or more in 14 of their last 15 games, and the Bulls have accomplished that feat in 21 of their last 27 contests, averaging 108 ppg during this stretch.

Boston is now 15-5 SU in its last 20 games overall, but just 6-6-1 ATS in its last 12. Chicago is on a 15-7 SU roll, going 7-5-1 ATS in its last 13.

Boston is now 9-4 SU in the last 13 meetings with the Bulls and 9-4-1 ATS in the last 14. However, Chicago is 4-2-1 ATS in the six clashes since March 17. Also, the underdog is 6-0-1 ATS during this seven-meeting stretch after the favorite had cashed in each of the previous nine in this rivalry.

Prior to the start of this series, the Celtics had won and covered four straight at home against Chicago over the past two seasons, winning by margins of 18, 16, 23 and 25 points. However, the Bulls easily got the money in the first three games of this series in Boston, twice cashing as an 8½-point underdog and then as a 7½-point pup in Game 5.

Despite the non-cover in Game 6, the Bulls are still in the midst of pointspread streaks that include 5-0 on the road (all as an underdog), 16-5-1 as an underdog regardless of venue, 7-1-1 when catching between five and 10½ points, 4-0-1 after a non-cover, 6-2-1 in first-round postseason games and 5-2-1 versus winning teams,

The Celtics are 22-10 ATS in their last 32 games on Saturday and they’ve cashed in seven of their last 10 playing on one day of rest. Aside from that, though, it’s all negative pointspread trends for Doc Rivers’ squad, including 5-14 at home (all as a chalk), 7-15 as a favorite, 2-5 when laying points in the playoffs, 2-8 after a SU loss, 1-4-1 after an ATS win and 1-11 when favored by five to 10½ points in the playoffs.

The over is 7-1 in the last eight meetings between these teams, including 5-1 in this series and 3-0 in the three games played in Boston. Additionally, for the Celtics, the over is on streaks of 7-1 overall, 20-7 against the Eastern Conference, 9-2 in first-round postseason games and 6-1 when playing on one day of rest. Finally, the Bulls are on “over” stretches of 16-6 as an underdog, 6-0 when catching points in the playoffs, 9-2 in first-round playoff action, 11-4 against the Atlantic Division, 7-1 against winning teams and 4-1 on Saturday.

ATS ADVANTAGE: CHICAGO and OVER


NATIONAL LEAGUE

N.Y. Mets (10-12) at Philadelphia (11-10)

The defending World Series champion Phillies will trot out ageless left-hander Jamie Moyer (3-1, 5.09 ERA) for Game 2 of their three-game set at Citizens Bank Park against the Mets, who will counter with southpaw Oliver Perez (1-2, 9.31).

In Friday’s opener, New York jumped out to a 5-0 lead and held off Philadelphia 7-4, with starter Mike Pelfrey (three runs, seven hits, 5 1/3 innings) getting the win and contributing two RBIs to the cause. Despite the victory, the Mets remain on a 4-7 skid in their last 11 starts, and they are on further slides of 1-4 on the road and 2-6 against winning teams, though they’ve won their last four Saturday contests.

Friday’s setback aside, the Phillies are 5-2 in their last seven and are on additional upticks of 35-17 overall (playoffs included), 9-1 against lefties, 5-2 in the N.L. East, 37-19 at home and 35-18 against losing teams.

This is the first series of the season between these rivals. With Friday’s victory, the Mets have won five of their last six outings in Philadelphia, and they are 12-7 overall in 19 meetings with the Phillies dating to the beginning of last season.

Moyer has won his last three starts, including Sunday’s 13-2 road wipeout of Florida in which he allowed one run on seven hits and a walk in six innings, with six strikeouts. The 46-year-old, making his fifth start of the season, is 1-1 with an inflated 6.55 ERA in two home starts.

Moyer has been solid against the Mets, going 7-4 with a 2.91 ERA in 17 career appearances, including 2-1 with a 3.53 ERA and three no-decisions in six starts last year. The Phillies are on a handful of runs with Moyer on the hill, including 4-1 overall, 5-1 at home, 9-3 at home against losing teams and 26-8 against the N.L. East.

The Mets have lost in three of Perez’s four starts this season, including an 8-1 rout last Sunday at Washington, with Perez getting tagged for seven runs (all earned) on nine hits in just 4 1/3 innings. He yielded a pair of homers, walked three and struck out three. Perez is 0-1 with an eye-popping 12.00 ERA in two road starts this year.

Perez is 2-3 despite a solid 3.15 ERA in 12 career starts against the Phillies, going 1-0 last year with a minuscule 0.35 ERA in four starts, with the Mets going 3-1 in those contests. Philly is just 1-5 in Perez’s last five starts, but backing Perez, they remain on runs of 10-4 against winning teams, 5-1 on the road against winning teams and 10-3 in division play.

The under is 8-2 in Moyer’s last 10 starts against the Mets and 4-0 in Perez’s last four outings against the Phillies.

The over for Philadelphia is on runs of 12-5-2 overall, 6-2-2 inside the division, 4-1-1 in Moyer’s last six starts and 9-4 with Moyer facing losing teams, and the over for New York is on streaks of 10-2-2 behind Perez and 5-0-1 with Perez throwing on the road. However, the under is on rolls of 4-1-1 in Philly’s last six home games, 4-1-2 overall for the Mets and 5-1-2 for New York against the N.L. East.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


AMERICAN LEAGUE

Boston (14-9) at Tampa Bay (10-14)

Right-handed knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (2-1, 1.86 ERA) takes the mound for the Red Sox in Game 3 of a four-game set at Tropicana Field against the defending A.L. champion Rays, who will start 6-foot-9-inch rookie Jeff Niemann (2-2, 4.43).

For the second straight night, Tampa Bay breezed past Boston, scoring all six of its runs in the fifth inning to overcome a 2-0 deficit and post a 6-2 victory. The Sox have dropped two in a row and three of four, but are still on runs of 12-3 overall, 4-0 on Saturday, 7-2 against the A.L. East and 8-3 against right-handers. On the downside, they are 9-24 in their last 33 starts on artificial turf, and they’ve been outscored 19-2 in the first two games of this series.

The Rays are on rolls of 62-25 at home (4-5 this year) and 47-15 at Tropicana against right-handers, but they’ve gone just 6-11 in their last 17 games overall (playoffs included) and are on additional skids of 0-5 on Saturday and 4-7 on artificial turf.

Tampa Bay has won four in a row in this rivalry and 15 of the last 21 overall, and the Rays have topped the Sox in 13 of the last 16 clashes in Tampa Bay.

The Red Sox have won three in a row behind Wakefield, including a 3-1 road victory over Cleveland on Monday in which the 42-year-old got a no-decision but threw seven shutout innings, allowing just one hit and four walks, with five strikeouts. During the three-game run, Wakefield has allowed just three earned runs in 23 innings (1.18 ERA), including a complete-game 8-2 win at Oakland in which he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. He is 1-1 with a 2.05 ERA in three road outings this season.

In 41 career appearances (31 starts) against Tampa, Wakefield is 19-5 with a 3.32 ERA, though he went 0-2 with a 5.87 ERA in three starts last year, including a 13-4 blitzing in the American League Championship Series. In that contest in Boston, he allowed five runs on six hits (three homers) in just 2 2/3 innings. With Wakefield on the hill, the Red Sox are on a 24-9 against a losing team, but they are on slides of 0-6 on field turf, 3-11 in the A.L. East and 7-15 on the road.

Nieman lost his first two starts of the 2009 campaign but has come back with a pair of wins. On Monday at Minnesota, he gave up one run on a solo homer and allowed just two more hits and four walks, with four strikeouts, in 5 2/3 innings of a 7-1 rout. The 26-year-old is 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA in two road starts this season. The right-hander, who had just five career appearances prior to this season, is facing the Red Sox for the first time.

The under is 5-2 in the last five Red Sox-Rays battles. Otherwise, though, the over for Boston is on streaks of 14-5 overall, 8-2 on the road, 16-5-1 on Saturday, 5-1-1 with Wakefield throwing, 5-1-1 on the road behind Wakefield and 5-1 with Wakefield facing an A.L. East foe. Similarly, the over for Tampa is on stretches of 4-1 at home, 36-17 against right-handed starters and 20-7 at home against right-handers.

ATS ADVANTAGE: OVER

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DAVE COKIN

NEW YORK METS / PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Take PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Oliver Perez has been awful for the Mets. Even though he's been outstanding in his visits to this venue, there's no way to feel confident about Perez right now. Jamie Moyer goes for the home team, and the amazing Moyer is pure money in day games. He's a phenomenal 30-9 in his last 39 day game decisions. Look for the Phillies to even up the series with the Mets with the win today.

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JIM FEIST

BOSTON RED SOX / TAMPA BAY RAYS
Take BOSTON RED SOX

Amazing that with all of the preseason ravings of the red Sox starting staff depth, everyone has struggled with the exception of 44-year old knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. And Wake has been brilliant, at 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA. He is 19-5 in his career against the Rays, with a 3.32 ERA. Boston plays terrific defense and has a deep pen, as well. The Red Sox have a patient offense, drawing walks, and Tampa Bay starter Jeff Niemann has allowed 11 free passes in 22 innings, a poor ratio. A great spot for the red-hot visitors. Play the Red Sox.

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Cajun Sports

Florida Marlins vs. Chicago Cubs
Play: Florida Marlins   

The Marlins and Cubs are set to play game three of this four-game set at Wrigley Field on Saturday with the first pitch at 1:05PM Eastern Time. The Cubs had lost seven of their last nine games heading into Friday’s game with the Marlins and were starring at number eight trailing 5 to 2 in the bottom of the sixth when Ryan Theriot hit a grand slam and the Cubs hung on to win 8 to 6. The Marlins had several opportunities to score more runs leaving twelve runners on base which matched a season high for the fish. On Saturday the Cubs will send Ted Lilly to the bump with his 2-2 record and ERA of 3.80. His last trip to the hill Lilly gave up five runs, six hits and four walks in just five innings of work in a 7 to 2 loss to the Diamondbacks. Lilly will be trying to avoid losing three straight for the first time since May 31 2006, when he pitched for the Blue Jays. He would have picked another opponent I’m sure since the left-hander has never defeated the Fish, going 0-4 W/L with an ERA of 5.53 in five starts versus the Marlins. Lilly is 6-14 W/L (-14.0 Units) versus an NL team with a team batting average of .250 or worse the last 3 seasons and 3-11 W/L (-11.5 Units) versus an NL team with a team batting average of .255 or worse the last 2 seasons.

Florida will send Anibal Sanchez to the hill with a record of 1-2 and an ERA of 4.13 on the season. Sanchez allowed five runs in eighteen innings of work over his first three starts but he gave up six runs, four hits and two walks in the first inning of a 7 to 1 loss to the Mets on Monday. He actually settled down after that and held the Mets scoreless over the next five innings before being taken out. The one big inning killed any shot he had at getting the win but he was able to overcome that terrible start and keep his composure which should help him here. He has one career start versus the Cubs back on August 16 he pitched 5 1-3 innings allowing one run, three hits and five walks of a 2 to 1 victory. Florida is 7-0 W/L (+8.4 Units) in road games vs. a bullpen whose ERA is 4.50 or worse this season, 7-0 W/L (+8.4 Units) in road games vs. a bullpen that blows 38% or more of their save opportunities this season and 6-0 W/L (+7.6 Units) versus a bullpen whose WHIP is 1.550 or worse this season. The Fish are 36-19 W/L (+21.2 Units) versus an NL team with a team batting average of .255 or worse the last 2 seasons and 40-18 W/L (+25.1 Units) versus an NL team with an on base percentage .325 or worse the last 2 seasons. We are getting decent value with the underdog Fish here so take the chalk as the Marlins end both one game streaks for each team and get back to their winning ways.

Graded Selection: 2* Florida Marlins 5 Chicago Cubs 4

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Marc Lawrence

Play On: LA Dodgers w/Wolf vs Young

The Dodgers host the Padres when Randy Wolf matches serves with Cur Young in this neighborhood NL West Division rivalry tonight. The key to this contest is that Wolf is in commanding KW form with 3 walks and 19 strikeouts in his last three starts while Young can't seem to find the plate, issuing 11 walks against 8 strikeouts in his last three efforts. With that, look for the Dodgers to make it 10 wins in a row on Saturdays here this evening.

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James Patrick Sports

A's vs. Mariners

It will be a fun night in the Emerald City as the Mariners entertain their fans with a turn back the clock night. Don't expect the A's to ruin the fun and our Saturday complimentary selection in Major League Baseball action is Seattle Mariners.

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Mike Anthony

Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics    
Play: Chicago Bulls +6.5       

Both of these 2 teams are tired and who knows how Ben Gordons hanstring will hold up. The Bulls are a very young team, but 5 of the 6 games in this series have been decided by 3 points or less. I am backing the Underdog Bulls as a small free pick play on Saturday night!

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Red Dog Sports

Houston and Atlanta under 8

Houston has played under 35-16-1 in their last 52 overall and the Braves have played under 6-2-1 in their last 9 games. Roy Oswalt has an ERA of 3.94 and Jurrgens has an ERA of 1.72. These two have combined to pitch 3 overs and 7 unders.Look for under 8 on Saturday between Atlanta and Houston.

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Jeff Scott Sports 

3 UNIT PLAYS

NY Yanks/ LA Angels Over 10

The Over is 6-0 in Angels last 5 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30, while the Over is 4-1 in Yankees last 5 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400. The last 7 games played in NY have averaged 13.1 rpg, with 6 of the 7 going over the total. CC Sabathia has struggled in his first year with the Yanks thus far with a 4.73 ERA and his games have averaged 11.2 rpg. CC also has 2 home starts, with a 5.11 ERA and those 2 starts have averaged 14 rpg, plus he owns a 7.02 ERA in 3 day starts, with those games averaging 14.33. Matt Palmer has just 1 start on the year with a 6.00 ERA and that start put up 15 total runs. Overall Matt has just 4 career starts, with a 7.71 ERA in those starts. The Angels have averaged 6.9 rpg in their last 9 games, while the Yanks have averaged 9 rpg in their last 4 games and they have averaged 6 rpg at home. Yankee home games are the highest scoring in the league at 13.8 rpg, while their days games have averaged 13.8 rpg. Here we have some hot hitting, some struggling pitching & two of the worst pens in the league in the top scoring park in baseball. No brainer here. Easy Over. 


Baltimore/ Toronto over 10.5

The Over is 22-8-3 in Orioles last 33 games as an underdog of +110 to +150, while the Over is 25-11 in Blue Jays last 36 during game 2 of a series. 10 of the last 12 played in toronto between these two have gone over the total, with an average of 10.9 rpg being scored in the last 10. Bradley Bergesen has just 2 starts on the year and has a 5.59 ERA in those starts and an average of 13 rpg being scored. Toropnto has averaged 6.1 rpg vs righty starters, while the O's have averaged 5.5 rpg vs righty starters. Toronto's last 9 games overall have averaged 11.4 rpg, while Oriole road games have avergaed 14 rpg. Neither pitcher has faced the opponent and that gives them the edge, but I still feel that both offenses will have a good afternoon and pu no less than 13 runs on the board in this one. 


2 UNIT PLAY

St louis -124 over WASHINGTON

The Cardinals are 12-1 in their last 13 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400 and 10-1 in their last 11 games as a favorite of -110 to -150, while the Nationals are 2-8 in their last 10 during game 3 of a series and 1-7 in their last 8 vs. National League Central. Joel Piniero has been solid out the gate, with a 4-0 record and a 3.76 ERA. Shairon Martis does have a 2-0 record overall, but with a high 6.21 ERA. The Nats are just 2-2 in his starts. The Cards havce one of the top offenses in the NL, they have their top pitcher on the mlound and are playing the worst team in the league. Easy call here.


1 UNIT PLAY

PHILADELPHIA -113 over NY Mets

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Jeff Benton

N.Y. Mets at PHILADELPHIA -115 

For Saturday’s free play in baseball, we’ll take the Phillies as a small home favorite against the Mets.

This is more a play against New York lefty Oliver Perez than anything else. Yes, Perez was outstanding against the Phillies last year, giving up just one run in four starts covering 26 innings, with the Mets winning three of those contests. But after signing a hefty free-agent contract in the offseason to remain with New York, he hasn’t exactly been earning his paycheck. In four starts in 2009 (three of which the Mets have lost), Perez has given up 20 runs and 23 hits (three home runs) in 19 1/3 innings (9.31 ERA). And in two road outings, he’s 0-1 with a 12.00 ERA (12 runs – 11 earned – allowed in nine innings).

Once again, Perez’s problem continues to be command. He’s walked 15 batters in 19 1/3 innings, and he’s allowed nearly two baserunners per inning (38 combined hits and walks). That is a recipe for disaster in the big leagues, and especially in a hitter’s ballpark like Citizens Bank in Philly.

As for Phillies starter Jamie Moyer, the ageless lefty got off to a rocky start but is coming off his best outing of the season, as he held the Marlins on Sunday to one run in six innings of a 13-2 rout. Philadelphia is 3-0 in Moyer’s last three starts, 5-1 in his last six at home and 26-8 in his last 34 against N.L. East rivals. Also, the Phillies have won six of Moyer’s last nine starts against the Mets, with the 46-year-old delivering nine quality starts (three earned runs or fewer allowed in at least six innings pitched) in nine of his last 10 games against New York.

Throw in the fact that Philadelphia is on streaks of 9-1 against lefty starters and this one’s a no-brainer. Back the home squad.

3♦ PHILADELPHIA

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Karl Garrett

LA Angels at NY YANKEES

The new stadium in the Bronx has proved to be a hitter's paradise, as the Yankees have played 8 games in their new stadium, and 6 of the 8 (last night included) have landed OVER the posted total.

Today we have the Angels giving the ball to Matt Palmer who has made one big league start, and while he did get the win, he allowed 4 runs over his 6 innings of work. The G-Man expects Palmer to give up his fair share of runs.

As for CC Sabathia, the New York fans probably can't wait to give him the "Bronx cheer", as CC has been a bit of a bust thus far, and his last 15 innings have seen 10 runs score. 3 of Sabathia's 5 New York starts have played OVER the total, and this one will as well.

Until the G-Man sees some solid evidence that the pitching is going to trump the hitting in the new ball park, stick with the OVER trend.

4♦ OVER

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Bobby Maxwell

Arizona at MILWAUKEE +105

These two teams have split the first two games of this series, but tonight we love the Brewers and we'll gladly play them at home to get this one. Milwaukee has Braden Looper (2-0, 2.45 ERA) on the hill and the Brewers are a perfect 4-0 in his outings this season.

Dan Haren (2-3, 1.54) is on the hill for Arizona, coming off a complete-game win over the Cubs, allowing two runs on three hits in the 7-2 victory. But it's Looper who we're going with in this one as he's done all that's been asked of him this season. He allowed two earned runs in five innings of a 10-5 win over the Pirates back on Monday and prior to that he went to Philadelphia and shut out the Phillies on five hits over six innigns of a 3-1 Milwaukee win.

Arizona is just 5-12 in the last 17 meetings with the Brewers and the D'Backs are just 9-20 in their last 29 on the highway.

Milwaukee has won seven of its last nine at home against Arizona and they'll get it done today. it'll be a low-scoring affair, but look for the Brewers to win it. Play Milwaukee.

3♦ MILWAUKEE

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Sports Gambling Hotline

Chicago at BOSTON

Now it is on to the NBA for a 7th, and deciding game in Beantown.

We will play the OVER in this one, as the alarming regularity of extra hoops these teams have been playing - 3 in a row hitting overtime or better, and 4 of the 6 overall hitting OT or better - has us thinking we could be in for another high-scoring affair.

3 straight, and 7 of the last 8 games played between the teams have eclipsed the posted price, and Chicago has now played OVER the total to a 16-6 tune their last 22 when catching points.

Boston also has a pronounced OVER trend working, as they have been HIGH in 16 of their last 21 when laying points.

Stick with the trends, and play the OVER in Game 7 tonight in Boston.

5♦ OVER

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Matt Rivers

For Saturday take the Brew Crew at home.

Dan Haren is awesome and could win a Cy Young award at some point but his Arizona teammates just do not score runs for him and I see that trend continuing today. The righty has a miniscule ERA of 1.54 and a phenomenal 36:5 K to BB ration but yet is still somehow 2-3 on the young season.

Braden Looper is fairly mediocre and not on the same level as Haren but the former Met and Cardinal righty is alright and against a team in the Diamondbacks who are offensively challenged at times should fare just fine today. I can totally see the Arizona players once again squeeze the bat a little too tight trying to score some runs for their pseudo ace (with Brandon Webb out injured).

Milwaukee is a club that has an immense upside. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder are awesome and others like JJ Hardy, Ricky Weeks, Bill Hall and Corey Hart are no joke either. Sure it'll be hard to do a whole lot against a red hot Haren but at Miller Park I can see some runs cross the plate for the home squad.

Arizona is a team that the jury is still out on. They do boast some quality young talent with guys like Justin Upton, Mark Reynolds, Connor Jackson and others but all in all this offense has perenially had issues and on the road here I don't see much changing.

Haren could hurl another quality start but in the end at home with a capable enough starter in Looper I'll take my chances with the Brew Crew.

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Tony Weston

Today's Selection:

We come through yesterday again as the Giants take care of business to give us back-to-back Comp Play winners.

We’re nailing No. 3 in a row tonight as we’re taking the Seattle Mariners at home against the visiting Oakland Athletics in Game 2 of this series.

Last night the Mariners erased a 5-run deficit on their way to an 8-7 victory. Last night’s win gave Seattle four straight winners over the A’s this season and going back to last season puts them on a 7-game winning streak over their AL West rival.

Including last night’s win, the Mariners have now won 11 of their last 13 against the AL West and are 9-4 their last 13 home games.

The A’s, on the other hand, have won only 16 of their last 53 games on the road and are only 1-5 their last 6 games against the AL West.

Consider, too, that not only have the A’s struggled overall against the Mariners, but they’re 0-5 their last five games in Seattle.

The A’s will struggle once again in the Emerald City as the Mariners get over in this one. Take Seattle at home in this one.

3♦ MARINERS

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Steve Merril

Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates    
Play: Pittsburgh Pirates   

Pittsburgh continues their series at PNC Park as they host the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday. Cincy sends righthander Micah Owings to the bump. He brings with him a 1-2 record and a 3.78 ERA, but Owings has been terrible on the road going 0-2 with a 5.58 ERA away from Cincinnati. Owings has faced the Pirates three times in his career and he is 1-1 with a 6.46 ERA and a WHIP of 1.500. Pittsburgh hits .375 against him with Jack Wilson (3-6) and Nate McLouth (2-5) among those who have succeeded against Owings. Pittsburgh sends Ross Ohlendorf to the hill. He is 2-2 with a 3.24 ERA so far this year. Two of his four starts have been at home where he is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA. Ohlendorf faced the Reds once last season as a starter, picking up a no-decision in a 6-5 Pittsburgh win. Ohlendorf went six innings, giving up four runs and seven hits. Ohlendorf has improved since the last time he faced Cincinnati and he remains an underrated pitcher as evident by this home underdog price tonight.

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Matt Fargo

Arizona Diamondbacks @ Milwaukee Brewers
PICK: Milwaukee Brewers

Arizona grabbed game two of this series on Friday as the Diamondbacks snapped the Brewers four-game winning streak but this is not the spot to jump on Arizona. The Diamondbacks are struggling to start the season and putting them in the favorite role on the road is simply too aggressive. This is just the sixth road game of the season for Arizona who has played a Major League-high 18 home games and yet is still three games under .500. Milwaukee is making a push in the National League Central as it has won eight of its last 10 games but that has only matched what division-leading St. Louis has done as it remains four and a half games out of the lead. The push is against every other team and the Brewers could very well be ready to extend this run much further before three huge series’ against the Cubs, Marlins and Cardinals beginning on May 8th. I was not on the Braden Looper bandwagon to start the season but I am slowly progressing that way. The St. Louis import has been solid in his debut season with the Brewers, posting a 2.45 ERA through four starts. His WHIP is questionable at 1.50 and that is the main reason for keeping this play rated lower than I would have liked. Milwaukee is 3-0 in his three home starts this season and that is not only due to good pitching but a potent offense behind Looper as Milwaukee has averaged 7.7 rpg in those three contests. Another reason for the Diamondbacks chalk here is that Danny Haren takes the hill and he is becoming a very public pitcher. He is 4-4 in quality starts this season and he is coming off a masterful performance at home against the Cubs, pitching a complete game while allowing just three hits. Arizona dropped his lone road start this season as it scored no runs, which is no surprise as it has scored four runs or fewer in nine of his last 17 starts dating back to last season. Milwaukee has won 12 of the last 17 meetings despite the setback last night and it gets it back tonight at a solid price. 3* Milwaukee Brewers

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Jimmy Boyd

1 Unit on Astros/Braves UNDER 8

I'll bet the under today with a pair of struggling offenses sending their aces to the hill. Oswalt brings in a ERA of just 2.37 over his last 3 starts and Jurrjens brings in an ERA of only 1.33 over his last 3 starts. The Astros are only averaging 3.0 runs per game on the road this season and the Braves are only scoring 3.7 runs per game at home. Houston is 14-4 UNDER in road games vs. an NL starting pitcher whose ERA is 3.50 or better over the last 2 seasons, 15-6 UNDER in all games this season, and 9-1 UNDER when the total is 8 to 8.5 this season. The UNDER is 6-1 in Jurrjens' last 7 starts overall and 11-3 in Oswalt's last 14 starts overall. Bet the UNDER.

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Tony Karpinski

New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies    
Play: Philadelphia Phillies     

This is more a play against New York lefty Oliver Perez than anything else. Yes, Perez was outstanding against the Phillies last year, giving up just one run in four starts covering 26 innings, with the Mets winning three of those contests. But after signing a hefty free-agent contract in the offseason to remain with New York, he hasn’t exactly been earning his paycheck. In four starts in 2009 (three of which the Mets have lost), Perez has given up 20 runs and 23 hits (three home runs) in 19 1/3 innings (9.31 ERA). He is over weight and looks awful and another bad outing and he'll be down in AAA.

Throw in the fact that Philadelphia is on streaks of 9-1 against lefty starters and this one’s a no-brainer. Back the home squad to bounce back with a win this afternoon.

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

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Los Angeles Angels at New York Yankees
Prediction: Los Angeles Angels

The Angels are 26-9 vs a team that has won at least their last four games and 41-16 after a one run loss. The Yankees are a money-burning 13-15 as a favorite of MORE than 200 when they are off a win in which they came back from a deficit and it is not the first game of a series. The Halos worth a shot at this price.

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