FRIDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
Re: FRIDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
LA Lakers at Denver
Play: Over 209
Although most trends point to the under I think this game will be played at a high pace and we have seen both teams lack effort on defense. If this game gets physical we will have both teams going to the line and that should add to the point total. The over is 11-5 in the Nuggets last 16 home games.
Re: FRIDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
LA Lakers at Denver
Play: LA Lakers +5.5
Denver has a team capable of knocking out the Lakers but the opportunity was missed. Losing narrowly in games 1 and 3 will prove costly as the Lakers are back in control of this series and delivered an impressive game 5 win. Los Angeles did not shoot particularly well in game 5 including going 3-16 from 3-point range and with 16 turnovers it was far from a clean game. The Lakers delivered when it counted however and the favorite has some swagger back while catching great underdog value in game 6 at Denver. This spread has been adjusted several points from just earlier in this series and is way off the regular season numbers. The Nuggets have been a tough home team but the Lakers have been able to win in this venue. The pressure is completely back on Denver and the Nuggets have proven they are not a team that will deliver in crunch time with several costly late game mistakes already in this series. Phil Jackson also has a huge advantage over George Karl in this coaching match-up as Jackson has had many teams in this situation and Karl is best known for some of his blunders in postseason games. This has been a very evenly matched series and another close game should be expected with the underdog Lakers in a much better position to take the cash tonight.
Re: FRIDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
I'm playing on COLORADO. The Padres are red hot. However, the majority of their success has come at Petco Park as they're still a dismal 7-17 on the road. I expect them to come back to earth this evening. Like the Padres, Young has been terrible on the road. In five road starts, he's gone 0-2 (SD is 1-4) with an awful 8.03 ERA and 1.865 WHIP. The Padres are 0-4 his last four road starts and are now a money-burning 6-14 his last 20 road starts, dating back to the summer of 2007. He already started here at Coors Field once this season and he got rocked. In that 4/9 outing, he allowed eight runs in just three innings. In his previous start here, he allowed seven runs in four innings. That's a 19.29 ERA in his last two starts here! While the Rockies have already seen Young this season, the Padres have yet to see Marquis since last year. For his career, Marquis has faced the Rockies eight times. His teams were 5-3 in those games and he allowed four earned runs or less in ALL eight of them, including two or less in four of them. For the season, Marquis is 6-3 (Rockies are +4.2!) in nine starts. After a slow start, Marquis has been excellent of late. In fact, the Rockies are 2-0 over his last two starts and he's allowed a mere three earned runs in 15 2/3 innings, during that stretch. That's a 1.72 ERA! The Rockies have won 13 of 20 home meetings with the Padres, including two of three this season. I expect them to get back on track and continue that homefield series dominance this evening.
I'm laying the price with TAMPA BAY. The Rays are struggling. After getting swept by the Indians, they badly need a victory. This should be the perfect opportunity to earn one. It's true that the Rays haven't been nearly as dominant here at home as they were last season. However, they're still above 500 (11-10) here on the season, which is a whole lot better than Minnesota's terrible 5-14 mark on the road. Shields admittedly wasn't that sharp last time out. He gave up four runs (12 hits) through 6 2/3 innings. However, that was on the road. His previous start came at home and he tossed eight shutout innings, allowing only four hits. For the season, he's 2-1 with a stellar 2.89 ERA and 1.215 WHIP at home, averaging a healthy seven complete innings in those games. You may recall that Shields was a commanding 9-2 with a 2.59 ERA here at home last season. While Shields tends to dominate at home, Baker has really struggled on the road. Indeed, he's 0-2 with a terrible 9.31 ERA and 2.068 WHIP away from Minnesota this season. He's averaged less than five innings in those games. Note that Baker's road ERA was more than a full run higher than his home ERA last season, too. The Rays are 14-6 in Shield's last 20 home starts. They've been solid as home favorites in this range and I look for them to earn a much-needed victory this evening. *Personal Favorite
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. Off a 4-game sweep of Tampa and having won seven of their last nine, the Indians are playing their best ball of the season. This evening, with their best pitcher to the mound, they've got an excellent shot at another victory. Cliff Lee goes for the Tribe and he's been outstanding of late, showing the kind of form that led to him winning last year's Cy Young Award. Indeed, Lee has now allowed three earned runs or less in eight straight starts. He's gone a minimum of six complete innings in each of those games, too, averaging greater than seven. Over that stretch, he has a 1.86 ERA. In his last home start, Lee allowed six hits through seven shutout innings, recording nine K's while walking just a single batter. For the season, he has a 1.75 ERA at home. Note that Lee has been dominant his last two starts against New York. He beat the Yankees 10-2 earlier this season and 3-0 in last year's lone start against them. In those two games, Lee allowed just a single run through 13 combined innings. Veteran Andy Pettitte is still more than capable for the Yankees. That said, he's not in Lee's class. For the season, he's got a 4.30 ERA and 1.398 WHIP. Last time out, he allowed two home runs - Lee hasn't allowed a HR yet at home all season. Note that Pettitte has had some trouble with the Indians over his career and he was 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA in two starts against them last season - both resulted in New York losses. Note that the Yankee relievers have a combined 5.40 ERA at home while the Indian relievers have a combined 3.82 ERA here at home. Additionally, note that while the Yankees are averaging a respectable 5.6 runs per game vs. southpaws, the Indians are whopping 6.8 runs per game, when they've been matched up against a left-hander. They're 7-2 their last nine home games vs. southpaws, dating back to last season. Behind another strong effort from their ace, I expect them to keep rolling for another day.
I'm taking the points with LA. The Nuggets have enjoyed a great run in this year's playoffs and I won with them in their last game here at Denver. That said, I expect their season to come to an end this evening. While the Nuggets are certainly tough, the Lakers earned the #1 seed because they were the "best in the West" over the course of an entire season. That was due in large part to their excellent (29-12) road record, which was the best in the entire NBA. While many will choose to remember their blowout loss here in Game 4, let's not forget that the Lakers won outright here in Game 3. Tonight, as the Nuggets are in "must win" mode, we're getting an even higher line to work with than we were for either of those games. Including the split in the two earlier games here, the Lakers are still a solid 5-2 SU their last seven visits to Denver. They're also still a profitable 13-5-1 ATS the last 19 times that they were getting points including an impressive 8-2 ATS in the underdog role this season. Seven of those 10 pointspread victories also resulted in outright wins. The Lakers put it all together in the fourth quarter last game, outscoring the Nuggets by a 27-18 margin. In addition to playing excellent defense in that game, the Lakers got less points from Kobe Bryant (22) than they had in previous games and more from everyone else. In fact, five Lakers reached double-digits in points (Odom had 19 points to go along with 14 rebounds) and a sixth (Bynum) had nine. That type of balanced scoring makes the Lakers a more complete (better) team and I expect them to build off that effort tonight. As Derek Fisher commented: "...something clicked for us as a group last night against this team. We may have found some things we can do that allows us to attack them from everywhere. We feel we can't be beat when everybody's getting a chance to play." Much has been made of the Lakers' "fatigue factor." Some will argue that is a reason to back the Nuggets. However, I feel that it's another reason that the Lakers will desperately want to close out this series tonight, in order to get some extra rest, rather than playing another Game 7. The Lakers are 21-9-2 ATS the last 32 times that they played a road game with an over/under line in the 205 to 209.5 range. I expect them to improve on those stats here. *Main Event