Thursday Service Plays

Thursday Service Plays

Wunderdog

Orlando at Los Angeles Lakers
Pick: Orlando +6

The Magic did the unthinkable in beating the Cavaliers, the top team in the league all season and nearly unbeatable at home, in six games. In that series the Magic had many mismatch advantages and to their credit, they took advantage of it. We called a series win for Orlando (and banked at +250 on that) after game one after seeing the mismatches and noting that the Magic have been atop my NBA power rankings for a while now. While they won't have the mismatches in this series, they have the skill set and confidence to stay close with Los Angeles in game one. The Lakers play best when their backs are against the wall. When the pressure is off, they tend to leave their "A" game in the locker room. They lost to Houston at home in game one of the second round and followed that up with an ATS loss to Denver in game one at home (a game they really should have lost straight-up). The Lakers put together back-to-back excellent games vs. Denver to close them out but prior to that, this team had really underperformed in the playoffs. Can they win this game by more than three baskets? I don't think they do. While they don't have the matchup advantages they did vs. Cleveland, this Magic team still won both games vs. the Lakers twice in the regular season so we know they are not, at a minimum, at a big matchup disadvantage. Orlando is now 31-18 ATS this season vs. winning teams. That includes a 25-10 ATS mark vs. the elite teams that outscore opponents by 3+ points per game. They are also 16-4 ATS on the road this season vs. teams that average 103+ points per game. They are 14-6 ATS this season vs. up-tempo teams like the Lakers (those averaging 83+ shots per game) and 18-7 ATS as an underdog. Want evidence of the Lakers’ propensity to under perform when the pressure is off? They are just 7-18 ATS this season at home after having won three of their last four games. Orlando should keep this one close enough to cover. Take Orlando plus the points here.

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SPORTS ADVISORS

Orlando (12-7 SU, 10-9 ATS) at L.A. Lakers (12-6 SU, 10-8 ATS)

The Lakers return to the NBA Finals for the second straight year, hosting Game 1 at Staples Center against the upstart Magic, who were seeded third in the Eastern Conference and are in just their second championship series in franchise history.

Top-seeded Los Angeles pushed past Denver in six games, rumbling to a 119-92 rout Friday as a 5½-point road underdog to clinch the Western Conference finals in what was an otherwise very tightly played series. Kobe Bryant led the way in Game 6 with 35 points, 10 assists and six rebounds, Lamar Odom had 20 points and eight rebounds, and Pau Gasol finished with 20 points and 12 boards.

The Lakers, who won and cashed in Games 5 and 6 against Denver, shot a whopping 57.3 percent from the floor in the clincher and hit 9 of 16 from three-point land (56.2 percent), while holding the Nuggets to just 43.8 percent shooting. Bryant leads the Lakers in the playoffs, averaging 29.6 ppg, and Gasol is averaging a double-double of 18.2 points and 11.3 rebounds in the postseason.

Orlando shocked No. 1 overall seed Cleveland and LeBron James, posting a 103-90 victory Saturday as a two-point home favorite for a 4-2 series win as a massive series underdog.. Dwight Howard came up huge with 40 points (12 of 16 from the line) and 14 rebounds, and Rashard Lewis (18 points), Mickael Pietrus (14 points) and Rafer Alston (13 points) combined to go 10 of 21 from three-point range. The Magic held James to 25 points in the clincher, 10 below his playoffs-leading average, and they outrebounded the Cavs 47-34.

Howard has paced the Magic throughout the postseason, averaging 21.7 ppg and 15.4 rebounds per contest. Three other Orlando players are averaging double digits in scoring, with Lewis putting up 19.4 ppg, Hedo Turkoglu at 15.2 ppg and Alston at 12.7 ppg. Also, it appears the Magic will get a boost to their roster with the expected return of All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson. Nelson (16.7 ppg, 5.4 assists per game) has been out since early February with what was expected to be a season-ending shoulder injury.

Orlando swept the home-and-home series with Los Angeles this year SU and ATS, winning 106-103 as a 1½-point home pup in December and 109-103 as a 4½-point road ‘dog in January. Nelson was the catalyst in both victories, with 27 points in the home win, and 28 points and eight assists at Staples. Bryant had 41 and 28 points, respectively, in the losses for Los Angeles.

The Magic are 4-1 ATS (3-2 SU) in the last five clashes in this rivalry. Additionally, the underdog is on a 6-0 ATS tear, and the road team has cashed in five of those six meetings.

Los Angeles is 44-7 SU (25-26 ATS) at home this season, including 8-2 SU (5-5 ATS) in the postseason. Orlando is 32-19 SU (31-19-1 ATS) on the road for the year, going 5-5 SU and ATS in the postseason. However, the Magic come into Game 1 having cashed in three of their last four on the highway.

The Lakers are on ATS upticks of 6-2 after three or more days off and 5-2 against teams with a winning road record. However, the pointspread trends turn downward from there for Los Angeles, including 1-10-1 in the NBA Finals – including 0-6 ATS in their championship series loss to Boston last year – 2-10 against the Southeast Division, 1-5 after a SU win, 1-4 after a spread-cover and 1-4 as a playoff chalk of five to 10½ points.

The Magic, meanwhile, are on 6-2 SU (7-1 ATS) run, dispatching second-seeded Boston and top-seeded Cleveland, and they carry impressive positive ATS streaks of 17-7 as a road pup, 19-7-1 against the Pacific Division, 20-7 versus Western Conference opponents, 5-1 after a spread-cover and 4-1 after a SU win. The lone negative: a 1-5 ATS slide after three or more days off.

For Los Angeles, the under is on tears of 8-2 overall, 5-0 at home, 27-9 when favored, 7-0 with the Lakers as a playoff chalk and 5-0 against Eastern Conference foes. Also, in this rivalry, the total has stayed low in four of the last five meetings at Staples Center. On the flip side, the over for Orlando is on stretches of 5-1 overall, 4-0 after a SU win and 4-0 when installed as a playoff ‘dog.

ATS ADVANTAGE:  ORLANDO


Cincinnati (28-24) at St. Louis (30-23)

The Cardinals send revitalized right-hander Chris Carpenter (3-0, 0.62 ERA) to the mound at Busch Stadium to wrap up a four-game series with the N.L. Central Division rival Reds, who are  scheduled to start right-hander Aaron Harang (5-5, 4.19).

The teams have alternated wins in the first three games of this set, with Cincinnati pounding out a 9-3 victory on Wednesday. Despite taking two of the first three against St. Louis, the Reds are still mired in funks of 2-4 overall, 2-7 on the highway (all against righties) and 2-5 versus winning teams.

The Cardinals remain on streaks of 9-6 overall, 24-11 at home, 6-3 against divisional rivals, 10-1 on Thursday, 8-3 versus winning teams. Also, even though Cincinnati now leads the season series 4-2, the host has still won nine of the last 13 clashes dating to last summer. Additionally, the Reds are just 17-37 in their last 54 games in St. Louis.

Carpenter appears to be fully recovered from elbow surgery that disrupted the bulk of the past two seasons. In his last outing Saturday, he allowed his first two earned runs of the year, but the Cards still won 6-2 at San Francisco. Carpenter scattered six hits, struck out five and walked one in six innings, and he now has 28 strikeouts against just five walks in his five starts.

Carpenter is 2-0 with a perfect 0.00 ERA in two home starts, most recently coming out on top in a 2-1 win over the Cubs on May 20, when he allowed just three hits and two walks in five innings. The 34-year-old is 3-3 with a 2.47 ERA in nine career starts against the Reds. Also, St. Louis is -30 in Carpenter’s last 107 starts overall and 41-13 in his last 54 home outings.

Harang got tagged for eight runs (all earned) Saturday in a 9-5 loss at Milwaukee, giving up 12 hits (three home runs) in just 4 1/3 innings. He’s yielded five or more earned runs in four of his 11 starts. The Reds are 0-3 in Harang’s last three road efforts, with the 31-year old going 0-2 and allowing 15 runs (all earned) in 17 2/3 innings (7.64 ERA). For the season, Harang is 1-3 with a 5.87 ERA in five starts on the highway, and Cincy is 3-14 in his last 17 starts as a visitor.

Harang is 7-9 with a 4.62 ERA in 19 career starts against St. Louis, though he did get the win in an 8-3 home victory last month, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out seven.

With Carpenter pitching, the Cardinals are on “under” streaks of 36-17-1 at Busch Stadium, 6-2 against divisional foes, 4-1 when facing the Reds and 5-0 when playing the Reds at home. Meanwhile, the under is 5-2-1 in Harang’s last eight road starts and 11-4-1 in his last 16 Thursday outings.

St. Louis carries “under” streaks of 11-4 overall, 8-1 at home, 7-2 versus divisional rivals and 8-2 against right-handed starters. Meanwhile, the under is 16-7-1 in the Reds’ last 24 road games and 5-2 in their last six against divisional foes. Conversely, with last night’s game topping the posted total, the over is now 8-2 in the last 10 clashes in this rivalry.

ATS ADVANTAGE: ST. LOUIS and UNDER


Philadelphia (31-20) at L.A. Dodgers (37-18)

The World Series champion Phillies trot out ace left-hander Cole Hamels (3-2, 5.21 ERA) to open a four-game series against fellow southpaw Clayton Kershaw (3-3, 4.34) and the Dodgers, who have the best record in baseball.

Philadelphia wrapped up a three-game sweep in San Diego with Wednesday’s 5-1 victory over the Padres. The Phillies have won six in a row and lead the major leagues with a 19-6 road record this year, and they are on additional upswings of 16-6 against the N.L. West, 50-22 in series openers and 39-19 against left-handers.

The Dodgers finished a three-game home series against Arizona last night, eking out a 1-0 victory to improve to 20-6 at Dodger Stadium this season. Although Los Angeles has split its last six contests, it is on positive runs 36-17 overall, 21-8 against lefties and 8-3 versus winning teams.

Los Angeles took two of three games at Philadelphia last month in the first meeting of the season between these two, which snapped an 8-1 Phillies run in this rivalry that included winning last year’s best-of-7 National League Championship Series in five games. Philly is still 9-3 in the last 12 clashes overall but is just 2-6 on its last eight trips to Hollywood.

The Phillies have won three in a row and five of six behind Hamels, after coming up empty in his first three starts of the season. However, Hamels got beat up a bit Saturday against visiting Washington, allowing six runs (all earned) on eight hits and a walk in six innings, but he still picked up a 9-6 victory.

Hamels is 1-1 with an inflated 6.89 ERA in three road starts this season, though the high ERA is mostly because of a poor effort in his season debut, when he allowed seven earned runs in a 10-7 loss at Colorado. In fact, Philadelphia is 5-1 in his last six on the road. Hamels is 1-0 with a 2.14 ERA in three career regular-season starts against Los Angeles, getting a no-decision in last month’s 5-3 home loss. He also beat the Dodgers twice in last year’s NLCS, giving up a combined three runs in 14 innings (1.93 ERA) en route to winning the series MVP honor.

The Dodgers have won in four of Kershaw’s last six starts, including an 8-6 victory at Colorado on May 27 in which the 21-year-old lefty allowed three runs on four hits and four walks in six innings. In those six starts, Kershaw has allowed 10 earned runs in 35 innings, for a 2.57 ERA.

Kershaw is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in four home starts this year, yielding just two earned runs in 24 innings, and the Dodgers are 8-1 in his last nine home outings. However, Kershaw is 0-2 with a bloated 7.80 ERA in three career starts against Philadelphia, including allowing four runs in five innings of a 5-3 road loss last month.

With Hamels starting, the under is on rolls of 11-4-1 overall, 6-0 with the lefty going on four days’ rest and 5-1 on the road, and the under is 7-2-1 in Kershaw’s last 10 starts against winning teams and 5-1-1 in his last seven when facing winning teams. Furthermore, the under for Philly is on streaks of 9-2-1 overall and 5-0 against left-handers, and the under has hit in five of L.A.’s last seven games overall and four of its last five series openers.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER

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Vernon Croy

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Florida Marlins     
Play: Milwaukee Brewers   

We are getting solid value here with the Brewers Thursday night who have Dave Bush (3-1, 4.38 ERA) on the mound. Bush has pitched solid on the road this season with an ERA of just 3.42 over 4 starts and the Brewers are 7-1 in his last 8 starts. The Brewers are 13-3 in Bush's last 16 starts against a team with a losing record and they are a perfect 7-0 in Bush's last 7 starts on a grass field. The Marlins are just 1-11 in their last 12 games in game 4 of a series and they are just 7-21 in their last 28 games against a right hand starter. Josh Johnson (4-1, 2.66 ERA) struggled to find the strike zone in his last start against the Brewers back on May.14 walking 5 batters while lasting just 4 innings and I look for the Brewers bats to stay hot after scoring 9 last night. Take the Milwaukee Brewers

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Frank Jordan

Boston Red Sox vs. Detroit Tigers    
Play: Detroit Tigers     

Boston got a great pitching performance from Josh Beckett as he took a no-hitter into the 7th inning as the Red Sox doubled up Detroit 10-5. Detroit, with that loss, fall to 28-23 over all and 15-9 at home as they are sending Dontrelle Willis to the mound as he looks to get to .500 on the year. In this match up look for Detroit to win the finale as Willis has his pitches moving to keep the Sox guessing and Wakefield's knuckle ball to be flat and smacked. Play Detroit

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Steve Merril

New York Mets vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Play: New York Mets   

The Mets have lost two straight and may benefit from the rainout on Wednesday as they wrap up their series in Pittsburgh with the Pirates this afternoon. New York figures to have Carlos Beltran in the lineup after dealing with an illness that may have affected John Maine too. Beltran will help a Mets lineup that has struggled to score. Mike Pelfrey goes for New York and he's 4-1 with a 3.88 ERA this season. Pelfrey is 0-1 with a 2.18 ERA in his last three starts and is going against a Pirates team that he beat 2-1 last season in Pittsburgh. In that game he gave up seven hits in seven innings and no earned runs. He managed to hold Freddy Sanchez (0-3), Ryan Doumit (0-3) and Jack Wilson (0-2) hitless in that one and will not have to deal with Nate McLouth who is now an Atlanta Brave. Pittsburgh sends Ross Ohlendorf to the hill where he's 5-5 with a 4.45 ERA on the season. In his last 3 starts he is 1-2 with a 6.11 ERA, getting touched up by the Astros, White Sox, and Nationals for at least four runs in each outing. He has never started against the Mets, but they’ve managed to hit .727 against him in 11 at-bats. Luis Castillo (2-2) and David Wright (2-2) remain perfect versus the righthander.

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Cajun Sports

Boston Red Sox vs. Detroit Tigers    
Play: Detroit Tigers   

Detroit will look to rebound from a 2-0 deficit in this series versus the Red Sox who got a solid performance from Josh Beckett as he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning getting the 10 to 5 win on Wednesday night at Comerica Park. That came on the heels of Daisuke Matsuzaka’s first win of the season on Tuesday as the Sox defeated the Tigers 5 to 1. The Red Sox will send Tim Wakefield to the bump with a record of 6-3 W/L an ERA of 4.55 and a WHIP of 1.421. Wakefield has struggled on the highway with a record of 3-3 W/L an ERA of 5.70 and a WHIP of 1.596. Boston is 8-17 W/L their last 25 when Wakefield starts on the road, 3-7 W/L his last 10 when he is a road favorite, 6-17 W/L their last 23 when facing a team with a winning record and 8-20 W/L when he faces a winning team on the highway. The Tigers will hang their hopes of one win in this series on Dontrelle Willis who is 1-2 W/L on the year with an ERA of 5.56 and a WHIP of 1.588. Willis has pitched well when starting at home although he is only 1-1 W/L on the season but has an ERA of 2.08 and a WHIP of 1.077. In 13 innings of work at Comerica Park he has given up only 3 earned runs on eight hits. His most recent start came in a loss to Colorado where he pitched 6.7 innings giving up three earned runs on seven hits in a 3 to 1 loss. Willis’s only other home start came against Texas and he got the win pitching 6.3 innings giving up no runs on one hit in a 4 to 0 win back on May 19th. Our Pitcher Performance Index projects we will see that Dontrelle Willis in today’s game and that is one of the reasons we are backing the host in an afternoon start in the Motor City. Detroit is 14-4 W/L +9.4 units in day games this season. Boston is 30-42 (-15.0 Units) in road games vs. AL teams allowing 4.7 or less runs per game the last 2 seasons. The Red Sox are also active in a play against system that tells us to Play AGAINST MLB road teams averaging 3.5 or more extra base hits per game on the year versus an opponent whose starting pitcher is working on at least five days rest, 60-40 W/L the last three years for +15.6 units of profit when playing against these teams. We are backing the host as the Tigers steal one game in this series and cash the winning ticket for us on Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park.

Graded Selection: 2* Detroit Tigers 2 Boston Red Sox 1

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Craig Trapp

Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves    
Play: Chicago Cubs     

Records

Chicago Cubs 26-25, 10-15 away (Zambrano 3-2, 4.22 ERA)

Atlanta Braves

Betting Trends

-Cubs are 11-3 in Zambranos last 14 starts as a road underdog.

-Cubs are 5-2 in their last 7 during game 3 of a series.

-Braves are 0-6 in Jurrjens' last 6 starts vs. National League Central.

-Cubs are 6-1 in the last 7 meetings.

Its not often that the Cubs are underdogs and even less often when Zambrano is an underdog. That is too good of value to pass up. Zambrano has got better in every outing in his last 5 starts. Before being ejected from last start Zambrano had only allowed one run in 6 innings. Today he pitches very motivated and shuts out the Braves. Jurrjens has been good this year overall but last game was smacked around for 5 runs in 5 innings to a very sorry ARI team. Today the CUBS show why they were picked to win there division PITCHING!! SCORE CHI 4 - ATL 0

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Marc Lawrence

Play On: Chicago Cubs w/Zambrano

The Cubs send Carlos Zambrano to the mound against the Braves in the finale of this 3-game series in Atlanta tonight knowing they have come up winners in eight of Zambrano's last nine road starts. With Zambrano 6-2 in his last eight road starts in June, look for Atlanta to fall to 1-5 on Thursdays here tonight.

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Jimmy The Moose

Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins
Prediction: Over

The over is 12-4 in the Indians last 16 road games. The over is 11-1 in their last 12 road games vs. a team with a winning home % better than 600. The over is 6-2 in their last 8 divisional games. Carmona's on the mound and he takes his 6.60 ERA with him. Over his last 3 starts his ERA is 10.32 and all 3 games have played the over. The over is 7-0 in his alst starts as a dog. The over is 8-1 in the Twins last 9 games as a favorite between -150-200. Baker's ERA on the season is 6.32. The over is 8-3 in Baker's last 11 home starts. The over is 10-2 in his last 12 starts vs. divsional opponents. Play the over.

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John Fisher

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Florida Marlins    
Play: Florida Marlins   

JJ of the Marlins has rally settled in this year as the Marlin starter. Take this generous line at home against Bush who did not go past 5 innings in last outing. Should be a decent matchup but Johnson will conquer BUSH. Marlin's 5 Brew 3


Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves    
Play: Under 8.5   

Both the teams bats are strugging. Expect this duo to quiet the even further. Hope the pitch counts wont gobble up the innings. IF not, expect a 6 or less run game.UNDER the TOTAL


Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins     
Play: Over 9.5   

Both of these pitchers have struggled as of late wth a combined avg. 7+ERA. Indians are starting to click on offense. Morneau will have a bomb against Carmona. Baker has had tough time as of late with long innings.

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Red Dog Sports

Oakland at Chicago White Sox
Play: Under

Mark Buehrle has an ERA of 2.11 in his last 3 starts and has 2 overs and 8 unders this season. The two teams have combined for 46 overs and 55 unders and 9 of the last 11 meetings have gone under the total. Oakland has 9 overs and 1 under in their last 10 games and the White Sox have played under in 20 of their last 27 at home. Look for the under to prevail on Thursday afternoon.

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Jeff Benton

For Thursday’s free play in baseball, we’ll back the Blue Jays in a virtual pick-em spot in early action at home against the Angels.

I never thought we’d see the day when Angels ace John Lackey would be priced so cheaply against a journeyman pitcher like Toronto’s Brian Tallet. However, this price is deserved because Lackey has really struggled since rejoining L.A.’s rotation after missing the first six weeks of the season with an arm injury. In four starts (three Angels losses), Lackey has lasted a total of just 19 1/3 innings, giving up 13 runs (12 earned) on 24 hits with just 10 strikeouts. His ERA sits at a very un-Lackey-like 6.05.

And it’s not like the veteran right-hander has faced powerful offenses, as he’s matched up against the Mariners twice (giving up nine earned runs in 12 1/3 innings) and the Manny-less Dodgers in his last three outings. What’s more, going back to last season, the Angels are 2-8 in Lackey’s last 10 trips to the mound (including two playoff defeats), and they’re also 3-6 in his last nine starts against the Blue Jays (2-4 in Toronto). And remember – that’s when Lackey was on his game, which he’s clearly not right now.

As for Tallet, all the guy has done is produce six consecutive quality starts, pitching six innings in three of those games and seven in the other three while registering a 3.00 ERA. The left-hander also has a 2.96 ERA in four home starts.

Finally, despite the Angels’ 8-1 win over the Blue Jays last night, the Halos have still lost 10 of their last 15 games north of the border, while the Jays are 20-9 in their last 29 at home. In fact, Toronto has lost consecutive home games just once all season. Lot to like about the host in this one.

2♦ TORONTO

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Jake Timlin

Earning a road sweep I like the Phillies tonight at Petco Field.

Winners of now their last 5 games, 10 of their last 12 on the road and 17 of their 25 games on the road this season I feel good about a Philadelphia sweep tonight in Southern California.  Even better it’s the Phillies who have won 23 of the last 34 overall meeting, including 20 of the last 28 meeting in San Diego.

Now helping the Phillies earn the sweep will be Happ and his perfect 3-0 record this season in two starts.

The Padres will counter with Young who was roughed up by the Phillies in April as the righty give up 7 runs on nine hits in just 3 2/3 innings.

Easy call… Take the Phillies for the three game sweep!

PICK: Philadelphia Phillies

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Sports Gambling Hotline

Orlando at LA LAKERS

NBA Finals tonight, and we will play the opening game of this best-of-seven series UNDER the posted total.

Our feeling is the down time the last few days for both teams will see both the Magic, and the Lakers get out of the gate a little slow in this game, helping limit the early points - thus making the OVER that much harder to get to.

The Lakers are on an 8-2 UNDER roll their last 10 postseason games, including their last 5 played at the Staples Center, and LA is also 27-9 UNDER the posted price their last 36 games when laying points.

Finally, 4 of the last 5 series meetings played in Tinsel Town have held LOW.

We will ride the trends, and play the UNDER in Game One of the NBA Finals.

Play on the UNDER.

4♦ UNDER

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Karl Garrett

NY Mets -130 at PITTSBURGH 

The G-Man banged home another comp play winner on Tuesday, as Colorado-Houston held UNDER the posted total to make it 11-4 the last 15 days for FREE!

After a rain out last night, I will come right back and back the Mets today in the series wrap up with the Pirates this Thursday.

New York may be depleted offensively, but I have a feeling that Mike Pelfrey may only need 2 runs tonight to pitch the Metropolitans to the victory.

Pelfrey has allowed just 5 runs over his last 21 innings, but is 0-1 to show for his solid work. For the year, the right-hander is 4-1 with a decent 3.88 ERA. His lone start last year against the Bucs was 7 scoreless frames in a win, and I can see him doing it again today.

Russ Ohlendorf looks like he has hit a bump in the road, as he is 0-2 his last 2 trips to the hill, allowing 7 runs over his last 13 innings of work.

The Mets were 5-2 the previous 2 seasons at PNC Park before this surprising Pirates uprising, look for New York to right the ship today with the win.

2♦ NY METS

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Bobby Maxwell

Philadelphia at L.A. DODGERS

Still 4-1 with our last five FREE selections after the Giants-Nationals game got rained out on Wednesday. Today we're out west with a comp selection on the Dodgers as they play host to the Phillies.

It's a battle between a couple of southpaws tonight in Los Angeles as the Phillies put Cole Hamels (3-2, 5.21 ERA) on the hill against the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw (3-3, 4.34). We'll play the home team in this one with Kershaw outdueling the Phils in a low-scoring contest.

Kershaw has a 1.12 ERA at home this season in 24 innings and he's allowed one run or less in each of his four home outings this year. Last time he threw in front of the home fans he held the Angels to one run on four hits in five innings.

Hamels got hammered in his last start, giving up six runs on eight hits in six innings on Saturday in Philadelphia against the Nationals.

The Dodgers took two of three from the Phillies in mid-May and they will get the opener of this four-game set. Los Angeles has won six of the last eight played between these two in California and the Dodgers continue to be red-hot at home. They beat the D'Backs 1-0 on Thursday and have now gone 40-14 in their last 54 at home.

Los Angeles is on further streaks of 36-17 overall, 4-0 against N.L. East teams, 21-8 against southpaws and 43-13 as a home favorite.

The home team has won 12 of the last 16 matchups between these two and you can expect the host to get another here tonight. Play the Dodgers.

2♦ L.A. DODGERS

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Michael Cannon

Texas +140 at NEW YORK YANKEES 

Take the Rangers as the big road dog this afternoon over the Yankees.

I know the Yankees lineup is one of the most formidable in all of baseball, and it’s even more amplified playing in the sandbox that is the new Yankees Stadium.  But Brandon McCarthy and the Rangers are doing pretty well themselves and this price is way too high with Chien-Ming Wang going for the pinstripes.

McCarthy is 5-2 on the year with a 4.35 ERA.  The right-hander is 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA over his last three starts.

Wang started the year by getting lit up like a Christmas Tree.  His recent return to the roster included a three-inning scoreless stint out of the bullpen, but until I see something more I’m not going to back him at this steep of a price.

The Rangers have enough bats in the lineup to make things miserable for Wang, so I’m not worried about their offensive production at all.

Take the Rangers as the live dog as they grab the road win.

3♦ TEXAS

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DAVE COKIN

BOSTON RED SOX/ DETROIT TIGERS
Take BOSTON RED SOX

Tim Wakefield has come back to earth a bit in his last two starts, but I like the venerable knuckleballer's chances of getting back on track here. Wakefield should garner plenty of run support here as Tigers lefty Dontrelle Willis is heading back in the wrong direction after a very brief glimpse of what he used to be. Fact is, that D-Train has left the tracks and is not likely coming back. Boston has won the last two nights and I like them to nail the Tigers again here.
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JIM FEIST

MILWAUKEE BREWERS / FLORIDA MARLINS
Take OVER

A pair of teams that can crush the baseball meet here, and the first two games of this series sailed over the total. Milwaukee is 5th in the NL in runs scored and starter Dave Bush has been struggling, with a 5.94 ERA his last three starts. The brewers have had little trouble with starter Josh Johnson, who has a 4.50 ERA against them this season. The Brewers have shaken up the bullpen this week, releasing struggling Jorge Julio. Brewers manager Ken Macha said his bullpen was too thin to bridge the gap between the sixth inning and the setup relievers in front of closer Trevor Hoffman. Reliable reliever Mark DiFelice is also out with stiffness in his elbow and right-hander David Riske underwent reconstructive surgery on his right elbow. Looks like an offensive game, play the Brewers/Marlins over the total.

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Re: Thursday Service Plays

DUNKEL

Orlando at LA Lakers     
The Magic open on the road looking to build on their 6-2 ATS mark in their last 8 games as a road underdog between 5 and 10 1/2 points.  Orlando is the pick (+6) according to Dunkel, which has the Lakers favored by only 2.  Dunkel Pick: Orlando (+6).   

Game 701-702: Orlando at LA Lakers
Dunkel Ratings: Orlando 127.611; LA Lakers 129.617
Dunkel Line & Total: LA Lakers by 2; 200 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: LA Lakers by 6; 206 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Orlando (+6); Under


MLB

Milwaukee at Florida
The Marlins look to rebound from their 9-6 loss last night and build on their 9-2 record in Josh Johnson's last 11 starts as a favorite.  Florida is the pick (-150) according to Dunkel, which has the Marlins favored by 1.  Dunkel Pick: Florida (-150).   

Game 951-952: NY Mets at Pittsburgh
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Pelfrey) 15.480; Pittsburgh (Ohlendorf) 14.465
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1; 9 1/2
Vegas Line: NY Mets (-120); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (-120); Over

Game 953-954: San Francisco at Washington
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Cain) 15.563; Washington (Detwiler) 14.502
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Washington (-110); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (+100); Over

Game 955-956: Chicago Cubs at Atlanta
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Zambrano) 15.931; Atlanta (Jurrjens) 14.773
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 1; 6 1/2
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-135); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (+125); Under

Game 957-958: Milwaukee at Florida
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Bush) 15.759; Florida (Johnson) 16.888
Dunkel Line: Florida by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Florida (-150); 8
Dunkel Pick: Florida (-150); Under

Game 959-960: Colorado at Houston
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (Hammel) 13.956; Houston (Rodriguez) 14.733
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Houston (-175); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (-175); Over

Game 961-962: Cincinnati at St. Louis
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Harang) 14.941; St. Louis (Carpenter) 15.799
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-175); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-175); Over

Game 963-964: Philadelphia at LA Dodgers
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia (Hamels) 16.378; LA Dodgers (Kershaw) 15.605
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-110); 8
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (+100); Over

Game 965-966: LA Angels at Toronto
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Lackey) 14.227; Toronto (Tallet) 14.824
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1/2; 9 1/2
Vegas Line: Toronto (-115); 9
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (-115); Over

Game 967-968: Boston at Detroit
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Wakefield) 15.605; Detroit (Willis) 15.756
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1/2; 9 1/2
Vegas Line: Boston (-135); 10
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (+125); Under

Game 969-970: Texas at NY Yankees
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (McCarthy) 17.338; NY Yankees (Wang) 16.240
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1; 9 1/2
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-155); 11 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Texas (+145); Under

Game 971-972: Cleveland at Minnesota
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland (Carmona) 15.620; Minnesota (Baker) 15.990
Dunkel Line: Minnesota by 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Minnesota (-145); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (-145); Over

Game 973-974: Oakland at Chicago White Sox
Dunkel Ratings: Oakland (Anderson) 14.509; White Sox (Buehrle) 15.915
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Chicago White Sox (-170); 9
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (-170); Under

Game 975-976: Kansas City at Tampa Bay
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Meche) 14.021; Tampa Bay (Shields) 14.954
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1; 6 1/2
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-165); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-165); Under


NHL

Detroit at Pittsburgh
The Red Wings look to rebound from their 4-2 loss on Tuesday and build on their 4-0 record in their last 4 games after scoring 2 goals or less in the previous game.  Detroit is the pick (+130) according to Dunkel, which has the Red Wings favored by 1/2 a goal.  Dunkel Pick: Detroit (+130).   

Game 7-8: Detroit at Pittsburgh
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit 14.343; Pittsburgh 13.770
Dunkel Line & Total: Detroit by 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Pittsburgh (-150); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (+130); Under

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