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Friday Service Plays

Friday Service Plays




(2) Boston (5-4, 4-4-1 ATS) at (3) Orlando (5-2 SU, 3-4 ATS)

After stealing the home-court advantage in Boston, the Magic return home to Amway Arena tonight looking to go up 2-1 on the Celtics when this best-of 7 Eastern Conference semifinal series resumes.

Orlando got Game 1 in Boston on Monday 95-90 as a 1½-point underdog, then got crushed in Game 2 on Wednesday, falling 112-94 as a four-point pup. In the Game 2 rout, the Celtics got 31 points from reserve Eddie House who shot 11-for-14 from the field, including 4-for-4 from behind the three-point line. Boston shot 51.2 percent from the floor and also got 22 points from Ray Allen, winning easily despite superstar Paul Pierce managing just three points on 1 of 4 shooting.

Despite Wednesday’s setback, the Magic have won four of their last five (3-2 ATS) and six of their last nine (4-5 ATS) overall. They won two of their first three home playoff games in the opening round against the 76ers, including a big Game 5 win 91-78 as 8½-point favorites in their most recent home contest. On the opposite side, Boston has alternated wins and losses in its last seven outings (4-2-1 ATS), but it did manage to steal Game 3 in its opening-round series against the Bulls in Chicago, winning 107-86 as a 3½-point ‘dog.

Orlando has still won three of the last four (2-2 ATS) against the Celtics this season, but failed to cover both regular season meetings in Florida, losing 90-80 on Jan. 22 as a 4½-point home chalk followed by an 84-82 victory as a 3½-point favorite on March 25. The host has won nine of the last 12 in this series and covered the number in 22 of the last 32, even though the road team is currently on a 4-1 ATS run. Finally, Boston has gotten the cash in seven of the last 11 overall.

The Celtics are just 1-6 ATS in their last seven conference semifinal games and 2-5-1 ATS in their last 13 after a spread-cover, but they are on positive streaks of 44-17-1 ATS as road ‘dogs, 7-1-1 on the road, 4-0 on Fridays and 7-0-1 as a playoff pup. Orlando is on ATS slides of 4-10 overall, 3-11 against the Atlantic Division, 1-4 as a favorite and 5-15 as a home chalk of up to 4 1/2-points, but the Magic are 48-20-1 ATS following a straight-up loss.

Wednesday’s game soared over the posted total, but the under is 4-1 in the last five series clashes and 6-1 in the last seven meetings in Florida.

Boston has stayed under the total in 15 of 22 as a road ‘dog and  four of five against teams with winning records, but it is on “over” streaks of 13-3 overall, 37-18 against Eastern Conference teams, 5-1 on Fridays and 6-1 after getting one day off. Orlando is on a plethora of “under” streaks that include 11-4 overall, 24-9 as a home favorite, 5-1 at home, 3-0 as a chalk, 11-4 against the Atlantic Division, 6-2 after getting a day off and 4-0 after a straight-up loss.



(1) L.A. Lakers (5-2, 3-4 ATS) at (5) Houston (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS)

After knotting up their best-of-7 Western Conference semifinal series in a physical Game 2, the Lakers travel to the Toyota Center in Houston for Game 3 against the Rockets.

Los Angeles dominated the second half of Game 2 on Wednesday and pulled away for a 111-98 victory, covering as a 10-point favorite. Only three Lakers reached double-digits in scoring and one of those was Derek Fisher, who was ejected from the game for a flagrant foul on the Rockets Luis Scola, with Fisher subsequently being suspended for this contest. Kobe Bryant scored 40 points and Pau Gasol added 22 for Los Angeles, who shot 50 percent from the floor as a team. Houston’s Ron Artest scored 25 points before being tossed in the fourth quarter after getting two technical fouls when he got tangled up with Bryant on a rebound.

Houston has won 10 of its last 14 overall (8-6 ATS) while the Lakers have won 12 of their last 15 (8-7 ATS).

The Rockets are 36-8 at home this season and won all three first-round playoff home games over Portland (1-2 ATS) at the Toyota Center, including a series-clinching 92-76 rout on April 30 as a five-point favorite. Los Angeles is 30-13 on the road (24-19 ATS) and took Game 4 in Utah in its opening-round series, winning 108-94 as a five-point chalk.

The Lakers have won five of six against Houston this season and they are 2-0 SU and ATS in Houston, winning 102-96 on March 11 as 3½-point pups and winning 105-100 on Jan. 13 as four-point favorites. Los Angeles is 8-4 ATS in the last 12 meetings with the Rockets and 8-2 ATS in its last 10 visits to Houston.

Phil Jackson’s squad is on ATS slides of 2-5 on the road, 3-8 as a playoff favorite, 1-5 on the road against teams with winning home records and 0-4 following a straight-up win, but it is 8-3-1 ATS in conference semifinal action and 5-2 against the Southwest Division. Rick Adelman’s Rockets are on ATS slumps of 4-10 against Pacific Division teams, 7-16 as a home ‘dog, 3-9 on Fridays and 1-4 after playing after one day off, but they are on positive ATS runs of 39-19-1 after a non-cover, 6-2 at home and 14-6 as a ‘dog of up to 4 ½-points.

Wednesday’s Game 2 went well over the total after Game 1 barely stayed below the posted number. The under is 3-1 in the last four clashes.

The Lakers have topped the total in five of six after a spread-cover and four of their last five conference semifinal games, but they are on “under” runs of 8-2 on the road, 20-8 as a favorite, 4-1 on Fridays, 4-1 overall and 14-6 after getting a days off. It’s all “unders” for the Rockets, including 5-1 overall, 5-0 at home, 9-3 on Fridays, 10-4 following a straight-up loss, 5-1 against Western Conference teams, 7-2 as a home ‘dog and 6-0 at home against teams with winning road marks.



Chicago (16-12) at Milwaukee (16-13)

The Cubs make their second trek of the season to nearby Milwaukee as they open a weekend series against the Brewers, with rookie Randy Wells scheduled to make his big-league debut against Milwaukee’s Dave Bush (1-0, 4.36 ERA).

Chicago is coming off a two-game sweep of the Astros in Houston, winning 6-3 on Wednesday and 8-5 on Thursday. The Cubs have won six of their last seven games, a run that comes on the heels of a 2-7 slump. However, they’re 2-5 in their last seven Friday contests and they’ve lost five straight games as an underdog.

Milwaukee lost 6-5 at Cincinnati on Wednesday, ending a four-game winning streak. Still, the Brewers have won eight of their last 11 and 12 of their last 16 overall. Additionally, they’re on runs of 6-2 at home, 6-1 against N.L. Central rivals, 7-2 as a favorite and 9-4 against right-handed starters.

Chicago took two of three in Milwaukee a month ago, and the Cubs have won nine of the last 13 meetings overall and eight of the last 11 at Miller Park.

Wells was 3-0 with a 2.77 ERA in five games (26 innings) at Triple-A Iowa, with the right-hander walking seven and striking out 21.

Bush has allowed three earned runs or fewer in four of his first five starts this season and 10 of his last 11 going back to 2008. On Sunday, he yielded three runs in seven innings against Arizona, getting a no-decision in the Brewers’ 4-3 home victory. The right-hander’s lone victory came on the road, where he’s 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA in three games (two starts).

With Bush on the mound, Milwaukee is on hot streaks of 5-2 overall, 20-8 at home and 4-0 when favored. However, the Brew Crew have dropped 11 of Bush’s last 12 starts against the Cubs, including four straight at home. For his career, Bush is 1-7 with a 4.80 ERA in 13 career games (12 starts) against Chicago, including a no-decision on April 11 when he gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings with the Brewers losing 6-5.

For Chicago, the “over” is on runs of 9-2-1 overall, 5-0-1 on the road, 11-4-1 as an underdog and 8-3-2 against divisional rivals. The over is also 6-1 in the Brewers’ last seven against N.L. Central foes and 17-5-1 in Bush’s last 23 home starts, but the under has been the play in each of the Milwaukee’s last five home games and each of its last five Friday outings.

Lastly, in this rivalry, the over is on runs of 12-4-2 overall, 14-4-2 in Milwaukee, 4-1-2 when Bush faces Chicago and 4-0-1 when Bush takes on the Cubs at home.



Tampa Bay (14-16) at Boston (18-11)

The Rays and Red Sox get together for the third time this season and second straight weekend, with Tampa Bay ace James Shields (3-2, 3.51) scheduled to take the mound at Fenway Park for the second time in a month. Boston will counter with Brad Penny (2-1, 7.61).

The Rays are coming off a two-game series sweep of the Yankees in New York, including Thursday’s 8-6 victory. Tampa Bay has followed up a 4-11 slump by going 6-2 in its last eight. The Rays have also won 20 of their last 26 Friday contests and six of their last eight against the A.L. East. But otherwise Joe Maddon’s club is in funks of 6-8 on the road, 2-5 as a favorite and 0-4 as a road chalk.

Boston used a 12-run sixth-inning to obliterate the Indians 13-3 on Thursday. The Red Sox are on impressive streaks of 16-5 overall, 75-32 at Fenway Park, 10-3 against division rivals, 49-21 at home against right-handed starters, 9-2 on Friday, 19-7 in series openers and 15-2 when playing on grass.

The Red Sox beat Tampa Bay on Opening Day in Boston, but the Rays have taken five of the last six clashes, including two of three in Florida last weekend. However, Tampa Bay is still just 15-48 in its last 63 games at Fenway Park (playoffs included).

Shields has given up just six runs in his last three starts covering 21 1/3 innings (2.53 ERA), but he’s just 1-1. The victory came against the Red Sox on Sunday, when he gave up two runs in 7 1/3 innings en route to a 5-3 triumph. That made up for a poor Opening Day start at Fenway on April 7, when Shields gave up five runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, losing 5-3. The right-hander is 3-7 with a 4.84 ERA in 12 career starts (regular season and playoffs) against the Red Sox, including 0-4 with a 9.56 ERA in four games at Fenway Park.

Penny went against Shields in Tampa Bay on Sunday and gave up three runs in six innings, but still took the loss, the second time in a row Boston has lost behind Penny after winning his first three starts. The burly right-hander is 1-0 in two home starts – both Red Sox victories – despite giving up 11 runs (10 earned) in nine innings (10.00 ERA). Including Sunday’s loss, Penny is 1-3 with a 5.26 ERA in five career appearances (four starts) against the Rays.

With Shields on the hill, the “under” is on runs of 7-2 overall, 6-2 as a favorite, 6-1 on Friday, 6-1 against the A.L. East and 4-0 when facing the Red Sox. Meanwhile, Boston has topped the total in four of Penny’s five starts this season.

Tampa Bay has stayed under the total in five of its last seven on the road, but Boston carries “over” trends of 7-2-1 overall, 8-2-1 versus right-handed starters, 6-2 at home and 11-3-1 against losing teams. Finally, the over/under has alternated in the seven head-to-head meetings this series.


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Boston at Orlando   
The Celtics are 7-0-1 ATS in their last 8 playoff games as an underdog, while the Magic are just 5-15 ATS in their last 20 games as a home favorite between 1 and 4 1/2 points.  Boston is the underdog pick (+4 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has Orlando favored by only 3 1/2.  Dunkel Pick: Boston (+4 1/2). 

Game 717-718: Boston at Orlando
Dunkel Ratings: Boston 120.308; Orlando 123.815
Dunkel Line & Total: Orlando by 3 1/2; 192
Vegas Line & Total: Orlando by 4 1/2; 189
Dunkel Pick: Boston (+4 1/2); Over

Game 719-720: LA Lakers at Houston
Dunkel Ratings: LA Lakers 125.973; Houston 128.367
Dunkel Line & Total: Houston by 2 1/2; 190
Vegas Line & Total: LA Lakers by 1 1/2; 195
Dunkel Pick: Houston (+1 1/2); Under


Florida at Colorado
The Marlins are 7-0 in Ricky Nolasco's last 7 starts against the NL West, while the Rockies are 1-5 in their last 6 against the NL East.  Florida is the underdog pick (+125) according to Dunkel, which has the Marlins favored straight up by 1/2 a run.  Dunkel Pick: Florida (+125). 

Game 901-902: Atlanta at Philadelphia
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Reyes) 14.530; Philadelphia (Hamels) 16.180
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-175); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (-175); Under

Game 903-904: Pittsburgh at NY Mets
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Karstens) 14.747; NY Mets (Niese) 14.447
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 1/2; 10 1/2
Vegas Line: NY Mets (-170); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (+160); Over

Game 905-906: St. Louis at Cincinnati
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Pineiro) 15.986; Cincinnati (Cueto) 14.315
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-145); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (+135); Over

Game 907-908: Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Wells) 16.378; Milwaukee (Bush) 15.232
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 1; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Milwaukee (-115); 9
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (+105); Under

Game 909-910: San Diego at Houston
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Gaudin) 13.742; Houston (Rodriguez) 15.364
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Houston (-180); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (-180); Over

Game 911-912: Florida at Colorado
Dunkel Ratings: Florida (Nolasco) 14.421; Colorado (Hammel) 13.824
Dunkel Line: Florida by 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Colorado (-135); 11
Dunkel Pick: Florida (+125); Under

Game 913-914: Washington at Arizona
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Martis) 14.501; Arizona (Petit) 15.430
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1; 11 1/2
Vegas Line: Arizona (-135); 10
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (-135); Over

Game 915-916: San Francisco at LA Dodgers
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Zito) 15.485; LA Dodgers (Billingsley) 16.635
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 1; 7
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-205); 8
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-205); Under

Game 917-918: NY Yankees at Baltimore
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Sabathia) 15.679; Baltimore (Guthrie) 14.369
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-175); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (-175); Under

Game 919-920: Tampa Bay at Boston
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Shields) 16.676; Boston (Penny) 15.104
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1 1/2; 11
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-130); 10
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-130); Over

Game 921-922: Detroit at Cleveland
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Verlander) 15.676; Cleveland (Lee) 14.071
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-130); 9
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (+120); Under

Game 923-924: Seattle at Minnesota
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Jakubauskus) 14.906; Minnesota (Baker) 16.023
Dunkel Line: Minnesota by 1; 10 1/2
Vegas Line: Minnesota (-145); 9
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (-145); Over

Game 925-926: Texas at Chicago White Sox
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (Harrison) 15.209; White Sox (Contreras) 16.341
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1; 12
Vegas Line: Chicago White Sox (-115); 10 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (-115); Over

Game 927-928: Kansas City at LA Angels
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Greinke) 17.616; LA Angels (Palmer) 16.147
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-120); 9
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (+110); Under

Game 929-930: Toronto at Oakland
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Richmond) 16.994; Oakland (Outman) 15.851
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1; 10
Vegas Line: Toronto (-130); 9
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (-130); Over


Boston at Carolina
The Bruins need a win to get back to even in the series and look to build on their 20-6 record in their last 26 games as a road favorite.  Boston is the pick (-130) according to Dunkel, which has the Bruins favored by 1.  Dunkel Pick: Boston (-130).   

Game 29-30: Washington at Pittsburgh
Dunkel Ratings: Washington 12.475; Pittsburgh 13.482
Dunkel Line & Total: Pittsburgh by 1; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Pittsburgh (-170); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (-170); Under

Game 31-32: Boston at Carolina
Dunkel Ratings: Boston 12.852; Carolina 11.798
Dunkel Line & Total: Boston by 1; 5 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Boston (-130); 5
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-130); Over

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Cajun Sports

Florida Marlins vs. Colorado Rockies    
Play: Florida Marlins     

Coors Field will be the site of tonight’s clash between the host Colorado Rockies and the visiting Florida Marlins. This will be the first of a three-game set between these two this weekend and the Marlins are hoping to rebound from their 1-3 home-stand which concluded with a 4 to 2 loss at the hands of the Atlanta Braves on Thursday. The Marlins will send Ricky Nolasco to the bump with his 1-3 W/L record and ERA of 6.75 which includes a 2-0 record on the road this season. The key for the fish and Nolasco tonight is he has been money when facing the Rockies going 2-0 W/L with an ERA of 1.69 and a WHIP of 0.813. The Marlins are 7-0 W/L when Nolasco takes the hill versus teams from the NL West, 6-1 W/L facing a team with a losing record, 12-4 W/L when Nolasco is installed as an underdog and 21-10 W/L in his last 31 starts overall. Colorado will send Jason Hammel to the hill with his 0-0 W/L record and ERA of 3.45. Hammel’s home ERA is 12.00 and he has a WHIP of 3.333 at Coors Field this season. Colorado’s bullpen has struggled at home as well posting an ERA of 5.06 with a WHIP of 1.562. The Rockies are 2-5 W/L their last seven at home versus right-handed starters and 1-5 W/L their last six when facing teams from the NL East. The Marlins are active in a MLB System that tells us to Play On MLB (NL) teams with a batting average of.255 or less facing a team with a bullpen ERA 4.50 or higher with a starting pitcher whose ERA is 5.70 or higher on the year, 35-17 W/L the last five seasons. Our TPR (Team Performance Ratings) Index projects a Marlins win by the score of 7 to 5. Our Math Model Index also signals a Florida win by 2.2 runs over the Colorado Rockies. Take the chalk with the Marlins as they get the money over the Rockies on Friday night in the Mile High City.

Graded Selection: 2* Florida Marlins 7 Colorado Rockies 5

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Craig Trapp

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Oakland Athletics
Play: Toronto Blue Jays     

Can't think of a better free pick in MLB today than a feel good story Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays travel to Oakland today to face a struggling A's team. Craig's free pick lost yesterday as LAD gave up a 6 run lead late in the game being let down by the Dodgers bullpen. Friday Craig free play is a definite winner as Craig put his premium pick for all today to have for free. Lets look at the records, trends, and breakdown from Craig!


Toronto Blue Jays 20-11, 9-7 away (Richmond 4-0, 2.67 ERA)

Oakland Athletics 10-16, 5-8 home (Outman 0-0, 4.41 ERA)

Betting Trends

Blue Jays are 8-1 in the last 9 meetings

Blue Jays are 5-2 in the last 7 meetings in Oakland.

Blue Jays are 5-1 in their last 6 overall.

Athletics are 2-5 in their last 7 home games.

Athletics are 0-4 in their last 4 games vs. a right-handed starter.

Richmond has been a welcome surprise for Toronto and has not lost this year and in fact has only given up 3 runs or more once this season. Outman is going for his first win in his only third start of the season for the A's. Richmond is definatley the better pitcher and will dominate and A's team that can really stuggle against right hand starters lately. A's bullpen will be tested as Outman won't get into the 6th inning and TOR will blow this game up in the late innings. TOR will keep there great pitching going with another great quality start from Richmond!! SCORE TOR 6 - OAK 2

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Jimmy The Moose

Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox
Prediction: Boston Red Sox

Tampa's playing better of late winning 3 straight but they face a Red Sox team that has been very good at home so far this season. The Rays send Shields to the mound tonight and he struggles vs. Boston. Tampa is 3-9 in his last 12 starts vs. Boston. The Red Sox are 16-5 in their last 21 games. In their last 17 games on grass they are 15-2. Look for the Red Sox to win another one at home. Play on the Boston Red Sox -.

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Marc Lawrence

Tampa Bay Rays @ Boston Red Sox
PICK: Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox send Brad Penny to the hill against James Shields and the Rays tonight in a right back revenge rematch favoring Penny from a 5-3 loss he suffered against Shields in Tampa last Sunday. Despite the victory, Shields is only 2-8 in his career team starts in this series. With Penny 12-6 in his last 18 team starts in May, look for Boston to improve to 10-3 on Fridays here tonight.

We recommend a 1-unit play on Boston with Penny versus Shields.

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LT Profits

Washington Nationals +120

The Washington Nationals posted just their third road win of the season last night, but they have been hitting surprisingly well and we look for them to win consecutive road games for the first time this season when they visit the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks tonight.

The Nationals won 11-9 vs. the Dodgers in Los Angeles last night, and they now have a very respectable team batting average of .275 while averaging a hefty 5.00 runs per game. Comparatively, the Diamondbacks are hitting a woeful .220 as a team and averaging just 3.62 runs per contest.

Arizona has four of their last five games while failing to score more than three runs in any of them. That is bad news for their starting pitcher tonight, Yusmeiro Petit, as he needs all the run support he can get. Petit has an ugly 7.84 ERA and 1.74 WHIP, and he has yet to get credit for a Quality Start in four starts this season.

Washington starter has a 4.60 ERA and decent 1.36 WHIP, and those numbers are skewed by one bad start. He has allowed three earned runs or less in four of his five starts, and he is coming off of his best outing yet where he allowed one run and five hits while tossing a Complete Game vs. the St. Louis Cardinals.

So the bottom line here is that the Nationals have the better offensive numbers and the better starting pitcher tonight, making them a very live underdog even on the road.

Pick: Nationals +120

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Tom Freese

Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels
Prediction: Kansas City Royals

Kansas City is 18-8 in the last 26 starts made by Gil Meche and they are 20-7 their last 27 games vs. losing teams. The Royals are 17-5 their last 22 games vs. AL West teams and they are 15-6 their last 21 road games. Los Angeles is 5-11 off a win and they are 3-7 vs. an opponent that allowed two or less runs in their last game. The Angels are 1-5 on Friday and they are 1-4 their last 5 home games with the Royals. PLAY ON KANAS CITY w/Meche

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MTi Sports

New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles
Prediction: Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles are 18-10 as a 140+ dog the first game of the series when they are off a win and the Yankees are 6-12 as a 140+ road favorite in the first game of the series when they are off a loss. Orioles are the play here.

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Nick Parsons

Boston Bruins @ Carolina Hurricanes +110

The Hurricanes like the way they played the last two games. Now they'll be doing it from a different perspective. For the first time this postseason, they hold the lead in a series. By winning two consecutive games, they take a 2-1 lead into Game 4 on Friday night in Raleigh. "I don't know if it's a confidence boost because of the way we've been playing the last couple of months," left wing Sergei Samsonov said. The Hurricanes continue to make good use of a forechecking system that hasn't been regularly solved by opponents in the postseason. It has directly resulted into goals and I expect them to continue this style of play tonight as I believe we are getting great value on the home team in this situation. Look for CAROLINA to improve to 18-9 (+13.5 units) when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season!

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Dave Bush has been okay for the Brewers and he's generally not too bad at home. But he sure has trouble with the Cubs, who've blown him up over the years. Bush is 1-7 against the Cubbies. He's opposed tonight by Randy Wells, who was outstanding in a brief '08 trial and has been sharp at AAA Iowa. I'll side with the Cubs tonight.

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Washington isn't going to lose them all! Far from it. In fact, they started this month 2-2, great for a team that is almost always the dog. Starter Shairon Martis has been very good, at 3-0 in 5 starts. Punchless Arizona is just awful offensively and they've never faced Shairon Martis before. The D-Backs have a losing record despite playing mostly home games. Starter Yusmeiro Petit is favored, yet is no stopper at 0-2 with a 7.84 ERA. Play the Nationals.

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For the Kansas City Royals, Meche looks to win his seventh straight road start against the Angels. AL Central-leading Kansas City (18-11) has won eight of nine giving up only one run or none in three of their last four games. Meche (2-2, 4.14 ERA) has beaten the Angels six straight times and is 8-2 with a 5.01 ERA in 18 starts overall but is 1-2 with a 6.35 ERA in his last three starts. Matt Palmer (2-0, 3.65), will take the mound for the Angeles. The right-hander was impressive in his second start of the season, allowing one run and three hits in 6 1-3 innings as the Angeles beat the New York Yankees 8-4 on Saturday.Palmer had an 11.74 ERA in two Triple-A starts this season before beating Detroit 10-5 in his Angels debut April 23. The Angels have won four of five, averaging 6.0 runs in the victories. Both of these starting pitchers are shaky and have the potential to give up a lot of runs while the Angels bullpen has had trouble closing games after Rodriguez signed with the Mets in the offseason. These good hitting teams will put pressure on these starting pitchers, get to the bullpen and need a lot of runs to get the win tonight.


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Sports Gambling Hotline

LA Lakers at HOUSTON

Wednesday night was a rare OVER in the Lakers-Rockets series, as that HIGH-SCORING game stopped a 3-game series UNDER clip.

We like the OVER to once again come through, as we feel now that these teams have a pair of games under their belts, it is going to be hard to stop the offense as the series wears on.

Keep in mind Game One only stayed UNDER the total by a point, so in reality, we should be coming back to Houston with a pair of series OVERS instead of a 1-1 totals split.

Kobe netted 40 on Wednesday night, and there is a strong chance he will get another 40 in this game. On the flip side, we feel Aaron Brooks will feel a little more comfortable shooting at home, and the big man in the middle will not be held to a lowly dozen points this time around.

We expect this game to make its way OVER the posted total in the closing minutes of play, making it 2 of 3 in the series on the HIGH side.

Play on the OVER on Friday night.


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Bobby Maxwell

Tampa Bay at BOSTON

We've hit three of our last four FREE plays and we'll make it four of five as we give out the Red Sox at home tonight hosting the Rays.

Look for a little extra motivation from the Red Sox during this series as they have already dropped five of seven to the Rays this season after letting the young squad eliminate them from the postseason last year in the ALCS.

Otherwish, Boston has been dominating the league, including Thursday night when they clobbered the Indians 13-3 thanks to a 12-run sixth inning. The Red Sox had all kinds of problems in Tampa last weekend, losing three of four. They want to pay them back for that big hiccup in their otherwise successful start to the season.

Boston starts Brad Penny (2-1, 7.61 ERA) tonight against the Rays' James Shields (3-2, 3.51). Tampa has lost three of Shields' last four starts against Boston, including a 5-3 loss at Fenway back on April 7 when he allowed five runs on nine hits in 5.1 innings. Tampa has lost three of his four road outings this season, including losses in Minnesota and Seattle in late April.

Penny faced these Rays on Sunday and allowed three runs in six innings but Boston dropped a 5-3 decision even though he struck out eight.

Boston is on runs of 15-5 overall, 10-3 against the A.L. East and 48-21 against right-handed hitters. The Rays are 0-4 as a road favorite and 2-4 as a favorite anywhere. We like Penny and the Sox to come out and deliver a winning performance. Play Boston.


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Re: Friday Service Plays

Jeff Benton

San Francisco (+180) at L.A. DODGERS

Now on a 25-15 roll with free plays after Thursday’s easy winner on the White Sox over the Tigers. We’ll stay in baseball Friday and take a shot with the Giants as a big underdog at the Dodgers.

Los Angeles began life without Manny Ramirez on Thursday, and while the offense did put up a six spot in the first inning and finished with nine runs against the Nationals, the Dodgers still blew the game and fell 11-9. That ended the team’s seven-game overall winning streak and was the first time in 14 games that L.A. lost at Dodger Stadium. That the Blue Crew lost on the day that Manny’s 50-game suspension came down wasn’t a surprise, even against Washington.

But to jump out to a 6-0 lead in the first inning and not put that game away has to hurt and have the entire team questioning if this is the prelude of things to come without their big slugger. Now the archrival Giants come to Dodger Stadium to start a three-game series, and while San Francisco can’t match L.A.’s everyday talent – even with no Manny in the lineup – it is definitely catching the Dodgers in the perfect situation.

Finally, although I haven’t been a Barry Zito fan the last few seasons – who has been? – you can’t argue with his results lately. Over his last three starts, Zito has posted a 1.33 ERA, giving up just 13 hits and four walks while striking out 11 in 20 1/3 innings. Although the veteran lefty didn’t get a decision in any of those three contests, the Giants won all three, including a 5-4 home victory over the Dodgers on April 27.

Going back to last season, the Giants are 7-3 behind Zito and 10-4 in their last 14 games against N.L. West foes. Throw in this massive underdog price we’re getting and I’ll take a shot with San Francisco, which is 11-5 in its last 16 games.


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Re: Friday Service Plays

Karl Garrett

St. Louis (+115) at CINCINNATI 

The G-Man is on a 6-3 comp play run the last 9 days.

Baseball winner tonight for you, as St. Louis comes to town having won their last pair of games, and their recent track record against the Reds and Johnny Cueto looks pretty good to me.

The Redbirds have bested the Redlegs in 10 of the last 15 meetings, and the last 2 times they have faced Cueto, they have tagged him for 12 runs in just 7 innings of work, handing him a pair of losses.

Joel Pineiro is coming into this one off his first loss of the season, but he only allowed 1 earned run in that loss over 7 innings, so it is not like he was hammered in that outing.

Pineiro went 2-0 in 3 starts against Cincy last season, allowing 5 runs over 18 innings of work.

With Cincy still trying to reach the .500 mark at home, I will take the Cards in the small road dog role.


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Re: Friday Service Plays

Matt Rivers

For Friday take the Rays at Fenway Park.

Last week Brad Penny and James Shields went at it and it was the home Rays who prevailed thanks to two runs in the fourth inning. More times than not I would back the losing team as revenge seems to occur a lot of the time. But Penny is not the same guy we have seen over the years as something is just not right and in the end today with Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury banged up I'll take my chances on Shields and the Rays. Yes Penny was better in that last quality start but I do not see that as a sign of things to come at all. If he hurls another solid six innings then maybe I'll start to change my tune but no way can I do that right now.

Tampa has had Boston's number for awhile now. Last season Joe Maddon's club continuosly beat Terry Francona's, including the ALCS and things have not really changed all that much this season.

Pena, Longoria, Crawford and today's visitors have not been that great early on this season but with the clear superior hurler and the healthier and possibly overall superior club makes me fine with the boys from the Trop.

I'm not calling this a total steal at all as the BoSox are still very good and could win this game but the way Penny has been, more times than not, I just do not see him able to muster enough to outpitch a borderline stud in Shields.

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Re: Friday Service Plays

Tony Weston

Today's Selection:

We take a loss last night as the Blue Jays and Angels don’t quite put up the offensive show they should have last night as the Over does not come in.

That’s fine because we’re getting a win tonight as we’re cashing in with some NBA postseason action as we’re taking the Under in the Lakers-Rockets matchup.

The number for this one is set at about 194 points and these two will fall short of that.

Consider that over their last 4 meetings, including two in the postseason, the Under has gone 3-1.

For Houston, the Under has come in 5 of its last 6 games overall and it is on a 5-0 run at home. When installed as a home underdog, the Rockets have seen the Under come in 7 of their last 9 games.

On the other side, the Lakers have seen the Under hit in 8 of their last 9 games when installed as a road favorite and have seen the Under go 20-8 their last 28 when installed as a favorite anywhere.

The Under will continue to be the smart play as it comes in easily in tonight’s playoff game.


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Re: Friday Service Plays

Red Dog Sports

San Francisco at Los Angeles
Play: Under 8

Look for an under on Friday night as Manny Ramirez has been suspended and both pitchers have pitched well. Zito has an ERA of 1.33 in his last 3 and Billingsley's ERA is 1.66 in the same time frame. These two are rivals and I think we see a 4-2 type of game.

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