Thursday Service Plays

Thursday Service Plays

SPORTS ADVISORS

NBA PLAYOFFS

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(3) Orlando (11-6 SU, 9-8 ATS) at (1) Cleveland (9-3 SU, 7-5 ATS)

The Cavaliers, the No. 1 overall seed, return home to Quicken Loans Arena trying to avoid elimination in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the surprising Magic, who are one win away from returning to the NBA Finals for the second time in franchise history.

Cleveland rallied from an eight-point fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime in Game 4 Tuesday night, but fell 116-114 as a 1½-point road favorite. The Cavs have now failed to cash in all four games of this series and their last five overall after starting the playoffs 7-0 ATS. LeBron James had a huge night of 44 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, but he also committed eight turnovers and his 30-foot shot at the buzzer in overtime was just offline. Mo Williams scored 18 points but shot just 5-for-15 (0-for-3 from three-point range), and Delonte West (17 points) also missed all three of his three-pointers as Cleveland finished 6 of 22 from long distance (27.3 percent).

On the flip side, Orlando went a superb 17 of 38 (44.7 percent) from beyond the arc, including a 6-for-12 effort from Rafer Alston as he rolled up 26 points. Dwight Howard scored 10 points in overtime and finished with 27 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Mickael Pietrus and Rashard Lewis (17 points apiece) each drained five shots from long distance, including a Lewis 3-ball in the waning seconds that put the Magic up 100-98, after which James hit two free throws to force overtime.

The Magic are on a 14-1 ATS firestorm in this rivalry, including cashing in seven straight meetings in Cleveland. This year, Orlando is 7-0 ATS (5-2 SU) against the Cavaliers. Also, the underdog is 11-4 ATS in the last 15 clashes in this rivalry.

History is on the Magic’s side heading into this contest, as teams with a 3-1 lead in the NBA playoffs own a staggering 182-8 series record dating to 1947.

Prior to Game 1 of this series, Cleveland had lost just one meaningful home game all season, and the Cavs remain 44-3 SU (32-15 ATS) at Quicken Loans Arena this year, including 5-1 SU (4-2 ATS) in the playoffs. However, the one playoff loss came in Game 1 of this series to the Magic. Orlando is 32-18 SU (31-18-1 ATS) on the road for the season (5-3 SU, 5-4 ATS in the postseason).

The Cavaliers, despite dropping three of four games in this series, are still 32-6 SU in their last 38 starts. They also remain on several positive ATS runs, including 11-5 overall, 37-16 at home, 14-5 as a playoff chalk and 20-6 after a SU loss. However, Mike Brown’s troops are just 6-17 ATS in their last 23 outings against Southeast Division opponents, dropping the last five in a row dating to their second-round series with Atlanta.

The Magic have cashed in their last six games (5-1 SU), going 3-0 ATS on the highway. They are on further ATS upswings of 10-3 overall, 9-1 against the Central Division, 7-2 after a spread-cover and 7-2 following a SU win. Plus, as an underdog, they are on ATS rolls of 37-15-1 overall, 7-2 in playoff action and 6-0 against Cleveland.

The over for Cleveland is on streaks of 6-1 in conference finals, 4-0-1 after a SU loss and 5-2 at home, but the under is on runs of 14-6-1 with the Cavaliers favored at home and 8-2 with the Cavs laying five to 10½ points in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the under for Orlando is on rolls of 23-11 overall, 16-7 against teams with a winning percentage above .600 and 18-8 after a day off, but the Magic also sport “over” trends of 4-1 as a playoff pup of five to 10½ points and 5-2 against the Central Division.

Finally, the total has gone high in three of four games in this series and four of the last five clashes overall.

ATS ADVANTAGE: ORLANDO


NATIONAL LEAGUE

L.A. Dodgers (33-15) at Chicago Cubs (23-22)

Fresh off a three-game sweep of the Rockies in Colorado, the Dodgers take baseball’s best record to Wrigley Field for a four-game weekend series versus the Cubs, with veteran lefty Randy Wolf (2-1, 3.05 ERA) slated to oppose rookie Randy Wells (0-1, 1.50) in the opener.

After losing two of three at home to the Angels in interleague play last weekend, the Dodgers went to Coors Field and took their frustrations out on the lowly Rockies, sweeping the three-game set by the combined tally of 31-13, capped by Thursday afternoon’s 8-6 come-from-behind victory. Los Angeles has won 11 of its last 14 overall, including seven of eight on the road, averaging 8.3 runs during those eight on the highway.

Chicago has followed up an eight-game slide with back-to-back wins over Pittsburgh, topping the Pirates 6-1 in Tuesday’s rain-shortened contest at Wrigley Field then rolling to a 5-2 victory Wednesday. Chicago is on a 10-3 run at Wrigley Field and has scored 19 runs through three games of this homestand after tallying a total of five runs during last week’s six-game road trip to St. Louis and San Diego. In fact, the Cubs have scored at least five runs in eight consecutive home games and 11 of the last 13.

In addition to streaks of 11-3 overall and 7-1 as a visitor, the Dodgers are on upticks of 7-2 against right-handed starters, 8-3 against the N.L. Central and 4-1 on Thursday. Going back to last season, Joe Torre’s troops are on a 55-27 overall roll. Meanwhile, Chicago is in funks of 2-5 as a favorite and 2-6 on Thursday, but the Cubs are 17-8 in their last 25 against southpaw starters and they’ve won 68 of their last 101 games at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs won the first four meetings with Los Angeles last season, including a three-game sweep at Wrigley Field in which the Dodgers were held to a single run in every game. However, L.A. went 5-1 against Chicago from there, including a three-game sweep in the best-of-5 divisional playoffs in October that ended the Cubs’ season.

Wolf’s streak of five consecutive starts allowing two earned runs or fewer ended in Saturday’s home outing against the Angels, when he gave up four runs on 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings. However, his offense bailed him out en route to a 5-4, walk-off victory. The Dodgers are 4-1 in Wolf’s last five starts and 6-1 in his last seven against N.L. Central clubs.

Wolf, who hasn’t allowed more than four runs in any of his 10 trips to the mound this season, is 2-1 with a 2.87 ERA in five road starts, with L.A. going 2-3. However, he’s 3-7 with a 4.71 ERA in 15 career starts against the Cubs, including 2-4 with a 4.38 ERA in eight outings at Wrigley Field.

Wells didn’t allow a single run in his first two starts, surrendering a combined nine hits with nine strikeouts and five walks in 11 innings. However, in Saturday’s outing in San Diego, he got dinged for three runs on five hits in seven innings of a 3-1 loss, but he still walked only one and struck out seven. Chicago’s only victory so far with Wells pitching came at Wrigley Field on May 16, when the right-hander scattered four hits in six scoreless innings and got a no-decision in his team’s 5-4, walk-off win over Houston

The under is 7-1-2 in Wolf’s last 10 starts against the Cubs (4-1-1 at Wrigley) dating to 2000, while all three of Wells’ big-league starts have stayed low.

For Los Angeles, the over is on streaks of 4-1 overall, 5-1-1 on the road, 8-2-2 as an underdog and 17-7-2 against right-handed starters. Also, the over is 7-3-1 in Chicago’s last 11 versus lefty starters and 20-8-1 in its last 29 Thursday games, but otherwise the team is on “under” rolls of 7-2 overall and 6-1-1 in a series opener.

ATS ADVANTAGE:  L.A. DODGERS and UNDER

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DUNKEL

Denver at LA Lakers   
Needing a win to stay alive after dropping Game Four in OT (116-114), the Cavs look to build on their 6-1 ATS record in their last 7 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.  Cleveland is the pick (-7 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Cavaliers favored by 10.  Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-7 1/2).   

Game 519-520: Orlando at Cleveland
Dunkel Ratings: Orlando 123.705; Cleveland 133.582
Dunkel Line & Total: Cleveland by 10; 191 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Cleveland by 7 1/2; 190
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-7 1/2); Over


MLB

Detroit at Baltimore
The Orioles are 5-1 in their last 6 games and face a Detroit team that is 1-6 in Armando Galarraga's last 7 starts as an underdog.  Baltimore is the pick (-110) according to Dunkel, which has the Orioles favored by 1/2 a run.  Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (-110).   

Game 901-902: LA Dodgers at Chicago Cubs
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Wolf) 15.605; Cubs (Wells) 15.517
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 1/2; 10 1/2
Vegas Line: Chicago Cubs (-120); No Run Line
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (+110); N/A

Game 903-904: Atlanta at Arizona
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Lowe) 13.977; Arizona (Haren) 15.540
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Arizona (-120); 8
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (-120); Over

Game 905-906: Tampa Bay at Cleveland
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Niemann) 15.636; Cleveland (Huff) 15.294
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1/2; 12 1/2
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-120); 11
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-120); Over

Game 907-908: Boston at Minnesota
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Beckett) 17.025; Minnesota (Swarzak) 15.933
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Boston (-115); 9
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-115); Under

Game 909-910: Detroit at Baltimore
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Galarraga) 14.857; Baltimore (Hernandez) 15.545
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1/2; 10 1/2
Vegas Line: Baltimore (-110); 10
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (-110); Over

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BIG AL

Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs

At 8:05pm our member selection is on the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Chicago Cubs. It's the battle of the Randys in this first of a four-game set for the Dodgers visiting Wrigley Field. In addition to this being a match-up of two starters both named Randy (Wolf for the Dodgers and Wells for the Cubs), it's also a match-up of starters who are no stranger to the "no-decision." Although Wells has only three starts (with two no-decisions), Wolf is tied for the league lead in that statistic with seven no-decisions in his ten starts. Wolf has pitched very well this season, but has very little to show for it. After a month of April that saw the veteran lefthander finish with a mediocre ERA of 4.31, the month of May has seen Wolf excel and in five starts this month he has gone 1-0 and has lowered his ERA to 3.02. Despite not having the services of outfielder Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers have not missed a beat and since May 13 they are 11-3 and 11 of those games have been against the likes of the Phillies, Mets, Marlins and an inter-league set against the Angels (the only team to take a series against the Dodgers during this time). Although Wells, a righthander who is in his second Major League season, has pitched admirably, two of his three starts this season have been against the Padres and Astros, two of the weakest offenses in the league.

Play on: Chicago Cubs

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Vernon Croy

Boston Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins    
Play: Boston Red Sox     

This pick falls into one of my top MLB systems and the Twins are just 4-10 in their last 14 day games. The Red Sox are 13-4 in Josh Beckett's (4-2, 5.01 ERA) last 17 road games as a favorite of -110 to -150 and the Red Sox are 6-2 in their last 8 games against the Twins. Beckett has pitched solid over his last 3 starts with an ERA of just 2.14 and he allowed 0 earned runs his last outing which was against the Mets. The Red Sox bullpen has pitched solid with an ERA of just 2.99 this season while the Twins bullpen has been inconsistent with an ERA of 5.44 at home. The Red Sox are 6-1 in Beckett's last 7 starts against an AL Central opponent and they are 12-3 in their last 15 games as a favorite of -110 to -150. Take the Red Sox are my MLB Free Play for Thursday as they avoid the sweep with Beckett on the mound.

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Cajun Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs    
Play: Los Angeles Dodgers

Wrigley Field will be the site of tonight’s National League battle between the host Chicago Cubs and the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers. Both teams enter tonight’s contest off of wins on Wednesday, the Cubs won at home 5 to 2 over the Pirates while the Dodgers were in the Mile High City and came away with an 8 to 6 win over the Rockies. Tonight’s pitching matchup will be a battle of the Randy’s as the Cubs will send Randy Wells to the bump with his 0-1 W/L record and ERA of 1.50. In his last start on Saturday he allowed three runs on five hits over seven innings in a 3 to 1 loss at San Diego. The Dodgers will send Randy Wolf to the hill with his 2-1 W/L record and ERA of 3.02. Wolf’s last start was also on Saturday he faced the LA Angels in interleague play going 6.3 innings allowing four earned runs on ten hits as the Dodgers pulled out the win 5 to 4 although Wolf was not involved in the decision. LA is perfect over his last three starts and Wolf has an ERA of 3.15 with a WHIP of 1.20 striking out 14 batters and only giving five a free pass during that span. In the Dodgers win over Colorado on Wednesday they had 12 hits, left 15 runners on base and scored 8 runs. This qualifies the Dodgers in a Play ON situation that tells us to play on road underdogs off a win in which they had at least ten hits and left ten runners on base and their opponent is also coming in off a win in their last game, these teams are 13-4 W/L +1740 their last 17 qualifying games. The Cubs scored five runs, had twelve hits and left fourteen runners on base in their win on Wednesday over the Pirates. Those numbers qualify Chicago in a Play AGAINST situation that tells us to play against home favorites who are coming off a home win in which they had at least ten hits and left at least ten runners on base versus an opponent who is coming off a road win in which they left at least ten on base, these teams are a perfect 0-5 W/L -810 in this situation. Our TPR (Team Performance Ratings) Index projects a Dodgers win by 1.8 runs over the Cubs on Thursday night in the Second City so play the underdog here as the Dodgers get the win and cash the ticket for us on Thursday night.

Graded Selection: 2* Los Angeles Dodgers 2 Chicago Cubs 0

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Craig Trapp

Orlando Magic vs. Cleveland Cavaliers     
Play: Over 190 

Great day yesterday for Craig going 3-0 yesterday. Top 5 star plays were 2-0 for his MLB plays. Today Craig has huge Underdog 5 star Winner that will win guaranteed! Today's free play will win just as easy as yesterdays NBA free play. Lets look at the trends and the winning pick for today!

Betting Trends

-Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.

-Over is 5-2 in Cavaliers last 7 home games.

-Over is 6-1 in Cavaliers last 7 Conference Finals games.

-Over is 5-2 in Magic last 7 vs. NBA Central.

This series has been very one sided with ORL out scoring CLE in every game but one. ORL is up 3-1 and the over is also 3-1. The only under game was under by one point. Also these teams are averaging over 100 pts each in the series. ORL is shooting lights out from the three point line. CLE must shoot better if they are going to have a chance. CLE can't stop ORL and tonight they will outscore them. The surprising ORL Magic will continue to play well and really push CLE in a close game. OVER will be TOO EASY HERE!!Score CLE 102 - ORL 98

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James Patrick Sports

Braves vs. Diamondbacks
.
These National League rivals put up some impressive numbers when they hook-up as evidenced by the series averaging 12.1 rpg. James Patrick's Major League complimentary selection in Thursday action is Atlanta - Arizona Over the Total.

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MTi Sports

Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles
Prediction: Baltimore Orioles

The Tigers are 2-18 in the first game of a series when they are of a 5+ run win and the Orioles are 15-3 as a favorite after allowing 6+ runs and winning. Consider backing Baltimore.

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Red Dog Sports

Tampa Bay at Cleveland
Play: Over 11

This afternoon game matches pitchers that have been involved in 8 overs and 3 unders and teams that have combined for 55 overs and 37 unders (with 3 pushes). Huff has given up 6 and 7 runs in his two appearances with an ERA of 17.55. Niemann starts against Huff and his numbers are decent but look for plenty of runs on Thursday.

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Jeff Benton

Finally got back on track in the free-play department with Wednesday’s winner on the Twins over Boston. For Thursday’s, we’ll stay on the diamond and back the Braves as an underdog at Arizona.

Atlanta heads south to the desert after last night’s 6-3 loss at the Giants, as it was swept in the three-game series, managing just five runs in the process. However, prior to going to San Francisco, the Braves had won three in a row, five out of six and 12 out of 17. Also, before this week, the Braves had been 12-8 on the road this year.

Meanwhile, the DBacks just dropped two of three at home to the Padres and are 1-3 in their last four games. They’ve also now lost seven of their last nine home games and are just 7-10 as a host this year. On top of that, Arizona continues to struggle with the bats, and that doesn’t figure to change tonight against Braves starter Derek Lowe, who has owned the Snakes lately. In his last 10 starts against Arizona while with the Dodgers from 2006-09, he gave up two runs or fewer eight times and posted an overall ERA of 2.10 … and L.A. won seven of those 10 contests.

Coming into this contest, the Braves have won five of Lowe’s last six starts, with the right-hander giving up exactly two runs and pitching at least 6 2/3 innings in all five victories. Yes, DBacks starter Dan Haren is a bona fide stud, but the inconsistent Diamondbacks are just 4-5 in Haren’s nine starts this year. Also, the right-hander has a 6.88 ERA in three career starts against Atlanta, including an 11-4 home loss last year. Throw in the Braves’ superior bullpen, and I’ll take the underdog money here.

3♦ ATLANTA

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Karl Garrett

Olrando at CLEVELAND

Wednesday afternoon comp play winner on the LA Dodgers in the underdog role, as the G-Man is now 7-2 the last 9 days for free.

NBA this Thursday night, and I am looking for another OVER between the Magic-Cavs.

The last pair, and 3 of the 4 in this series have all played HIGH, and with 3 of these games being decided by a basket or less, there is a strong chance we could see another overtime tonight, making the OVER that much more attractive.

4 of the past 5 series meetings dating back to the regular season have landed in the OVER column, and I just get the feeling that with Cleveland facing possible elimination, there will be more points on the Quicken Loans scoreboard than usual in this game.

G-Man going HIGH in Game 5 boys!

4♦ OVER

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Bobby Maxwell

L.A. Dodgers at CHICAGO CUBS -120 

Hit our second straight FREE winner from the diamond on Wednesday as the Giants got it done at home over the Braves. Tonight we'll make it three in a row as we play the Cubs at home over the Dodgers.

This should be a fun four-game set between two very good National League teams. But in the opener we're playing the home team Cubs behind rookie Randy Wells (0-1, 1.50 ERA).

The Cubs had lost eight straight games before getting healthy on the Pirates Tuesday and Wednesday. They won Wednesday 5-2 and they are 10-3 in their last 13 at Wrigley Field and they've plated 19 runs through the first three games of this homestand. The Cubs have scored at least five runs in eight straight home games and 11 of their last 13.

After an impressive two starts to start his career, not allowing a run on nine hits in 11 innings, Wells came back to Earth on Saturday when he allowed three runs on five hits in seven innigns of a 3-1 loss. This guy has pitched very well and we expect the same thing tonight when he welcomes the Dodgers.

Randy Wolf (2-1, 3.05 ERA) is on the mound for Los Angeles and he hasn't enjoyed facing Chicago in his career, posting a 3-7 career mark with a 4.71 ERA, including 2-4 with a 4.38 ERA at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs can score and the young hurler can pitch. That leads us to a nice winner tonight on Chicago. Lay the chalk and play the Cubs.

2♦ CHICAGO CUBS

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Sports Gambling Hotline

Atlanta at ARIZONA

We smell "pitchers duel" tonight in the desert.

Derek Lowe and Dan Haren will be mound-bound this Thursday night, and we fully expect plenty of goose eggs to be up on the scoreboard tonight.

Lowe faced Arizona 5 times last season as a member of the Dodgers, and he allowed 2 runs or less in 4 of the 5 outings. In fact, his last 14 frames of work saw zero earned runs cross the plate. Chances seem above average to us that he will be able to duplicate that feat.

Dan Haren is coming off a rough interleague start at Oakland (his former team), but we expect him to straighten things out tonight back at home where his ERA is a miniscule 2.00 for the season in 5 starts.

Atlanta played last night in San Francisco, and we expect their to be some tired Bravos when they hit the field tonight. Sluggish bats would tend to follow tired bodies, so let's play this weekend opener UNDER the posted total.

Play on the LOW.

1♦ UNDER

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JIM FEIST

LOS ANGELES DODGERS / CHICAGO CUBS
Take UNDER

The Dodgers are 10-7 since Manny Ramirez, their best hitter, was suspended May 7, leading the NL West by 7.5 games. Juan Pierre has replaced Ramirez in left field. He's hitting well, but he's no Manny. LA has a reliable starter here in Randy Wolf (3.02 ERA), with 50 Ks in 62 innings. The Chicago offense has struggled with injuries all season, 11th in the NL in runs and on base percentage. The Dodgers have never seen Cubs righty Randy Wells, who has been great with a 1.50 ERA. Look for fewer runs than oddsmakers expect. Play the Dodgers/Cubs under the total.

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LT Profits

Baltimore Orioles -110

Armando Galarraga was a godsend for the Detroit Tigers pitching staff last season, but he has been horrific in the month of May and he should be in auto-fade mode vs. the Baltimore Orioles here.

In fact, Galarraga looked to be continuing where he left off last year in April, but for some reason, he just totally lost it when the calendar flipped over for May. He has made five starts this month, and he has recorded an atrocious 9.93 ERA and 1.90 WHIP in 22.2 innings while failing to record even one Quality Starr. Furthermore, even in his sparkling season last year, he did not pitch well in his only start vs. the Orioles, allowing five runs and eight hits in 6.2 innings.

Baltimore has called up a top prospect in David Hernandez to take this start, filling the rotation spot of the disabled Koji Uehara. Hernandez did very little wrong in the minors this season, where he had a 2.91 ERA with 60 strikeouts vs. only 13 walks, and he struck out 14 batters in 7.1 scoreless innings in his last minor league start. Hernandez should be very tough in his first go-around in the American League, and he may end up sticking in the rotation sooner than expected.

The Orioles are now a respectable 14-11 at Camden Yards this season after completing a three-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays here yesterday, and they have won five of their last six games overall. Look for them to make it six out of seven tonight.

Pick: Orioles -110

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GINA

Orlando Magic at Cleveland Cavaliers

Go with the Magic in a close fight. The underdog has covered the spread in 11 of the last 15 contests in this rivalry and Orlando is 7-0 ATS in the last seven battles in Cleveland.

Orlando Magic +7½


Atlanta Braves at Arizona Diamondbacks

Go with the Braves with Derek Lowe on the hill. The right-hander is 5-1 with a 3.54 ERA in his last six starts and 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA in his last six starts against Arizona. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks have lost seven of its last nine home games and Arizona's right-hander Dan Haren has struggle in his last three starts.

Atlanta Braves +105

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Johnny Guild

Orlando Magic at Cleveland Cavaliers

Take the generous points! The Magic are 7-0 ATS in the last 7 clashes against the Cavaliers in Cleveland.

Orlando Magic +7.5


Mr A

Orlando Magic +7½

Boston Red Sox -120

Los Angeles Dodgers +110


MLB Computer Picks

Boston Red Sox -125

Baltimore Orioles -110

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Scott Delaney

Now on an 8-1 run with the complimentary releases, and today we're looking at the early game between the Red Sox and Twins, and we're playing this one Over the posted total.

Josh Beckett is toeing the slab for Boston, while Anthony Swarzak is on the hill for Minnesota.

And while the Sox-ace continued his recent string of sharp outings last Saturday, recording a season-high eight innings in a no-decision against the Mets at Fenway Park, and the Twins righty was spectacular in his MLB debut pitching seven scoreless innings against the Brewers on Saturday, I honestly believe both get shelled today.

Let's start with Beckett, who is 2-1 with a 4.74 ERA in three career starts against the Twins. The right-hander might have found his stride at home with that stunning performance at home, but he's still just 2-2 on the highway this season, and he's sporting a 6.08 ERA along with it. And prior to his last road start, that number was higher. So what if he went into Seattle and shut the M's down by allowing just two earned runs over seven frames, these Twins have guys like Mauer swinging hard and aiming for the bleachers. And this is a venue that is, ahem, affectionately known as the Homer Domer.

With Swarzak, well, I've said this many times that a Major League-debut is the most valuable play on a pitcher in his entire career. There is no scouting report, there's no clue what to expect, you don't know how his poise will be ... you get the point. But now the Sox have something to go on. And they too should be swinging sticks after losing two straight to Minnesota. They won't want to leave here on a three-game skid, and the same way they halted their two-game skid against the Mets last weekend, they'll be trying awfully hard to do the same here with plenty of offense.

Play this one high today.

Red Sox/Twins OVER

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Matt Rivers

For Thursday take the Cubs at home.

No doubt Lou's crew has been terrible over the past few weeks, save the last two days but that is creating a very cheap price here at Wrigley and therefore I'll back the Cubbies at home today.

Randy Wells has done nothing but put up goosegg after goosegg. The guy is not the most highly touted young kid out there but the way he has been hurling he's looking like a future phenom. Wells is up against a solid but far from great Randy Wolf who probably will be alright but being on the road and as shorthanded as the Dodgers are this number should be a bit higher.

Chicago has had a ton of trouble of late but let's face it, they are still a very capable club led by studs in Soriano and Lee and should be in the neighborhood of 90 wins when all is said and done.

Los Angeles is shorthanded without Manny and also have other guys that are banged up including their table setter and catalyst in Rafael Furcal.

Look for the Cubs to start winning some ballgames if for the Law of Averages alone. At this cheap price I'll take my chances with the lovable losers.

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Fast Cash Freddy

Rays /  Indians
Take Rays -105

Look for the Rays to end their 4 game losing streak today! They will send Niemann to the mound who is 2-0 in last 3 with a 1.26 WHIP/2.84ERA! Rays are 3-0 in his last 3 starts! He has pitched very well on the road going 3-1 with a 4.11 ERA 1.18 runs better than home. Pitching has been the Rays problem of late! Today I see them getting plenty of runs against Huff who has been a disaster thus far. The LHP has made 2 MLB Starts and has yet to get out of the third inning. He has a 17.55 ERA and with the Rays hitting well off the LHP 7.08 runs/9 last 5 I expect that to be the difference!

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