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FRIDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
Re: FRIDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
Orlando at Cleveland
PICK: Orlando +9
When are the oddsmakers going to give the Magic their due? It should be obvious by now that the Magic are a tough matchup for the Cavaliers. Orlando has defeated Cleveland in nine of the past 12 meetings.In four head-to-head games this season, Orlando has out-scored Cleveland by 37 points, The only time the Magic lost to the Cavs, the Magic had the lead on this court in the final minute.Sure LeBron James is a tough matchup for Orlando. But Dwight Howard inside is a tough matchup for Cleveland.It's hard enough for the Cavaliers to win, let alone cover a spread this large.
Pittsburgh at Chicago
The White Sox should be fired-up after allowing an embarrassing 20 runs yesterday in a thrashing to the Twins.The White Sox have a lot of power when they play at U.S. Cellular Field. The Pirates can't match that power.I'm not a fan of Pirates starter Zach Duke. He has pitched well so far this season, but I don't like him in this setting. He has a 6.75 career ERA versus the White Sox.White Sox starter Gavin Floyd is having a rough year. I'm looking for him to turn things around quickly, though. He has a 1.46 lifetime ERA against the Pirates in two starts.
Re: FRIDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
I'm playing on Cleveland and Orlando to finish UNDER the total. As a result of the high-scoring (107-106) Game 1, we're getting a few extra points to work with this evening. Additionally, we should be getting a very determined effort from the Cleveland defense. The Cavaliers learned that Lebron scoring 49 points wasn't enough and that they're going to need to win by elevating their defensive level of play. Keep in mind that the Cavs had the best defense in the league this season. Orlando wasn't too shabby on the defensive side of the ball either. Led by the Defensive Player of the Year (Howard) they ranked third in the Eastern Conference. Even with Game 1 finishing above the total, the Cavs have still seen the UNDER go 14-6 their last 20 home games. Note that the Cavs have also seen the UNDER go 10-5 the last 15 times that they were trailing in a playoff series and 18-11 this season, after scoring 105 or more points in their previous game. Even with Game 1 finishing above the total, the Magic have still seen the UNDER go 11-5 their last 16 road games. They've allowed 92 points or less in five of The Magic have also seen the UNDER go a profitable 60-32-1 the past few seasons after scoring 105 or more in their previous game. That includes a 24-13 record in that situation this season. Even with Game 1 finishing above the total, eight of the last 12 meetings between these teams have fallen below the total. I expect a much different style of game from the opener and look for this evening's game to do the same. *Main Event
I'm playing on CHICAGO. The White Sox got embarrassed yesterday, losing by a lopsided 20-1 score. Adding insult to injury, they were spurned by San Diego ace Jake Peavy, who refused to be traded to Chicago. The White Sox are a perfect 3-0 this season after allowing their previous opponent to score double-digits though and I expect them to bounce back and start their Interleague campaign with a victory. Let's take a look at the three other times that the Sox allowed opponents to reach double-digits and how they responded. On 4/10, they were beaten 12-5 by the Twins. The following day, they won by a score of 8-0. On 4/21, the Sox were beaten 10-2 by the Orioles. The following day, they responded with a 8-2 win. A few days later, they were beaten by a score of 14-0? How did they answer? With a 10-2 victory the next day! It's true that Duke brings the better stats (from this season) to the table. However, it's also true that Floyd has been much better against today's opponent. Duke has a poor 6.75 ERA in two starts against the sox, giving up 18 hits and nine runs in 12 innings. Floyd, on the other hand, is 2-0 with an outstanding 1.46 ERA against the Pirates. Like the Sox, the Pirates lost yesterday. However, while the Sox were getting destroyed, the Pirates blew a 9th inning lead. That's often more difficult to "bounce back" from. The Pirates are now an awful 67-116 (-21) on the road the past few seasons. During the same stretch, the Sox are 103-80 (+9.7) here at home. That includes a 7-2 against NL opponents here at U.S. Cellular Field last year, including a sweep of the Pirates. Look for the Sox to show some pride and bounce back with a much-needed victory. *Personal Favorite
I'm playing on WASHINGTON. The Nationals finally were on the right side of a comeback win yesterday, coming back in the ninth inning and avoiding the sweep against the Pirates. That victory was especially sweet given that the bullpen came through with a few scoreless innings of work. I expect the Nats to carry that positive momentum into tonight's game against the "rival" Orioles, a team they match up well against. Note that Orioles' road record is even worse than Washington's home record and that they bring a 4-game losing streak into tonight's game. Their bullpen is every bit as bad as Washington's. It's true that Zimmerman's ERA is pretty ugly. That's been due to some problems in the 1st inning. After getting out of the 1st inning, he's actually pitched well. I expect him to get those "issues" worked out and look for him to deliver a quality effort here. Note that the Orioles have only scored one first inning run in their last four games. The fact that Zimmerman, who has a 2-1 record, has 32 K's (with only 11 walks) in 34 innings, shows the type of solid stuff that he's got. Naturally, he'll have the advantage of facing Baltimore for the first time. On the other hand, some of the Nationals have seen Hill before. He last pitched here on July 4th, 2007 and was rocked for 10 hits and six runs in six innings, a 9.00 ERA and 1.83 WHIP. The Nationals, who have won three of their last five against southpaws, have won seven of the last 10 meetings with the Orioles. I look for them to start this series off with a victory. *MLB Annihilator
I'm playing on Toronto and Atlanta to finish UNDER the total. The Braves have been fortunate to avoid Roy Halladay over the years. In fact, this will be the first time that the Jays' ace has started against Atlanta. He did make a relief appearance against the Braves back in 1999. Overall, Halladay is 17-8 with a solid 3.12 ERA in 29 starts and four relief appearances against teams from the "Senior Circuit." Halladay remains one of the very best in the business and he's clearly on top of his game right now. Indeed, he's 8-1 on the season including a perfect 4-0 record with an outstanding 1.86 ERA and 1.103 WHIP on the road. Over his last three starts, he has a remarkable 1.12 ERA and 0.833 WHIP. Kawakami goes for the Braves and he'll also have the advantage of starting against the Jays for the first time. While he doesn't bring the type of numbers to the table as Halladay, he has allowed three earned runs or less in three straight starts and he's allowed four earned runs or less in six of his seven starts overall. Five of those seven games stayed below the total. Two of three 2008 meetings between these teams stayed below the total with those games averaging 6.33 combined runs. Two of those games were shutouts, most recently a 1-0 pitcher's duel. I expect another well-pitched affair. *Blue Chip