Thursday Service Plays

Thursday Service Plays

SPORTS ADVISORS

NBA FINALS

L.A. Lakers (14-7 SU, 12-9 ATS) at Orlando (13-9 SU, 11-11 ATS)

After climbing back into the series with a victory in Game 3, the Magic aim to tie up the best-of-7 NBA Finals when they host Game 4 against the Lakers at Amway Arena.

Orlando shot an NBA Finals-record 62.5 percent from the field Tuesday night – including a whopping 75 percent in the first half – and hung on for a 108-104 victory, pushing as a four-point home chalk. Five Magic players scored at least 18 points, paced by Dwight Howard (21 points, 14 rebounds) and Rashard Lewis (21 points). Rafer Alston added 20 points, and Mickael Pietrus and Hedo Turkoglu chipped in 18 apiece, with Turkoglu also contributing seven assists.

Kobe Bryant paced Los Angeles with 31 points and eight assists, but he went just 5 of 10 from the free-throw line, and the Lakers finished 16 of 26 from the charity stripe (61.5 percent), well off Orlando’s 23-for-30 foul-line effort (76.7 percent). Pau Gasol added 23 points but had just three rebounds in a battle of two hot-shooting teams – L.A. hit a respectable 51.3 percent from the floor. However, the Lakers lost the rebounding battle for the first time in this series.

Including this series, Orlando is 3-2 SU and 3-1-1 ATS this season against Los Angeles and 5-2-1 ATS (4-4 SU) in the last eight clashes in this rivalry. In addition, the underdog is 7-1-1 ATS in the last nine meetings, with the road team 6-2-1 ATS during this span. The Lakers are 3-1-1 ATS in their last five outings at Amway Arena.

Orlando is 40-11 SU (29-21-1 ATS) at home this season, including 8-2 SU (6-3-1 ATS) in the postseason. Los Angeles is 33-17 SU (27-22-1 ATS) on the highway, but just 4-5 SU (4-4-1 ATS) in road playoff games.

The Magic are 1-3-1 ATS in their last five starts against the Western Conference, but they remain on several ATS upswings, including 8-2-1 overall, 4-0-1 at home, 21-8-1 against the Western Conference and 5-1-1 as a playoff chalk.

The Lakers are 3-1-1 ATS in their last five and sport additional pointspread streaks of 7-0 following a SU loss, 22-8-3 as road underdog, 16-7-1 catching less than five points and 4-1 after a day off. On the flip side, L.A. still carries negative ATS streaks of 2-11-2 in the Finals and 3-11-1 against the Southeast Division.

The last six meetings between these squads in Orlando have cleared the posted price, with Tuesday’s game soaring over the 198-point total. The over is also on a 5-1 run with the Lakers as a road pup and is also on rolls for Orlando of 4-0 after a day off and 4-1 following a SU win.

On the flip side, Orlando sports “under” trends of 6-1 against the West and 7-3 as a playoff chalk, and the under for Los Angeles is on surges of 10-3 overall, 7-1 against the Eastern Conference, 5-1 against the Southeast Division and 17-4 after a SU loss.

ATS ADVANTAGE: L.A. LAKERS


NATIONAL LEAGUE

Philadelphia (34-23) at N.Y. Mets (31-26)

The Phillies finally conclude a 10-game, three-city road trip tonight when they send veteran lefty Jamie Moyer (4-5, 6.27 ERA) to the Citi Field mound, while the Mets are scheduled to counter with Tim Redding (0-2, 6.97) in the rubber match of a three-game series.

Philadelphia rallied from a 4-1 deficit last night and got a 10th-inning home run from Chase Utley – his second of the game – to pull out a 5-4 victory while moving to 6-3 on its current road swing. The Phillies 14-5 in their last 19 on the highway and they continue to sport baseball’s best road record at 22-9. Furthermore, the defending World Series champions are on lengthy hot streaks of 58-29 overall, 36-16 as a visitor, 24-9 on the road against right-handed starters, 39-17 against winning teams and 9-3 versus N.L. East rivals.

The Mets are just 4-6 in their last 10 contests, but they’re on positive upticks of 8-3 in divisional games, 6-2 at home, 11-4 on Thursday and 22-9 at home against southpaw starters.

Dating to last season, the Mets are still on an 11-6 overall run in this rivalry (4-2 this season), winning six of the last nine clashes in New York (3-1 at Citi Field this year).

Moyer seems to have turned his season around, delivering three quality starts in his last four trips to the hill, including Friday in Los Angeles when he limited the Dodgers to two runs on four hits and no walks in seven innings. However, Phillies closer Brad Lidge blew Moyer’s win and Philadelphia lost 4-3, dropping to 1-5 in Moyer’s last six starts overall and 2-5 in his last seven road outings. On the bright side, the Phillies are 31-11 when Moyer faces N.L. East competition.

Moyer is 2-2 with a 5.60 ERA in five road starts and 1-5 with a 7.61 ERA in seven night games. He’s also 7-5 with a 3.62 ERA in 19 career starts against the Mets, including 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA in two contests this year (12 runs allowed in eight total innings), with the Phillies winning 6-5 at home and losing 7-5 at Citi Field.

Redding is coming off his best start of the season, as he gave up just a run in six innings at Washington on Friday, failing to get a decision as the Mets prevailed 3-1 in 10 innings. In his two previous outings, Redding surrendered 13 runs (all earned) in 8 2/3 innings, losing to Boston and Florida by respective scores of 12-5 and 7-3. The veteran right-hander has faced the Phillies 11 times in his career, going 5-3 with a 3.29 ERA.

The under is 4-0 in Moyer’s last four starts overall, 13-6 in his last 19 on the highway, 8-3 in his last 11 on Thursday and 14-6-1 in his last 21 against winning teams. Also, six of Moyer’s last seven starts in New York have stayed low. Conversely, going back to last year when he pitched for Washington, Redding has topped the total in seven of his last 10 starts.

Philadelphia carries “under” trends of 12-5-1 overall, 7-4-1 on the road, 15-5-2 on Thursday and 5-0 in the third game of a series. Likewise, the Mets are on “under” runs of 13-7-2 overall, 4-2 versus the N.L. East and 5-2 versus lefty starters. However, the over is 24-7-1 in New York’s last 32 Thursday tilts and 5-1-1 in the last six Mets-Phillies clashes in the Big Apple.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


AMERICAN LEAGUE

N.Y. Yankees (34-25) at Boston (35-24)

CC Sabathia (5-3, 3.56) makes his first start at Fenway Park in a Yankees uniform, and he’ll try to get New York its first victory this season against the Red Sox, who will counter with Brad Penny (5-2, 5.85) in the finale of a three-game series.

One night after blanking the Yankees 7-0, the Red Sox held on for a 6-5 victory Tuesday to take over sole possession of first place in the A.L. East while improving to 7-0 against their hated rivals this season. The BoSox are on upticks of 85-37 at home, 18-6 against the A.L. East and 40-14 on Thursday.

Despite losing the last two games, New York is still on runs of 19-8 overall, 7-4 on the highway, 7-3 against divisional foes, 11-6 versus right-handed starters and 4-1 on Thursday.

Not only are the Red Sox are a perfect 7-0 against the Bronx Bombers this season, but they’ve won eight straight meetings dating to last year, going 6-0 at Fenway Park. The Red Sox have scored a total of 51 runs in seven contests against Yankee pitching this season.

Sabathia’s streak of five consecutive quality starts (2.08 ERA) ended with Saturday’s 9-7 home loss to Tampa Bay, in which he gave up five runs (four earned) on five hits (two home runs) in eight innings. The portly lefty had pitched at least seven innings in six straight starts, with New York winning four of those contests. Sabathia has been solid on the highway this season, going 4-2 with a 3.07 ERA, and he’s been dominant under the lights (5-1, 1.93 ERA at night as opposed to 0-2, 5.49 ERA in day games).

During his time with the Indians, Sabathia made seven regular-season starts against the Red Sox, going 2-4 with a 3.91 ERA. However, the last time he saw Boston was in the 2007 American League Championship Series, and he went 0-2 with a 10.45 ERA as the Indians got drubbed 10-3 at Fenway and 7-1 at home in a decisive Game 7.

Penny suffered his first Fenway Park setback Saturday against Texas, falling 5-1 after giving up all five runs in 7 2/3 innings. Boston is 3-5 in the veteran right-hander’s last eight trips to the mound, with Penny posting a 5.20 ERA during this stretch. He’s now 3-1 in four home outings despite a beefy 6.51 ERA, and he’s 3-1 with a 7.12 ERA in six night starts.

Penny’s experience against the Yankees has been limited to three starts when he was with the Marlins – one interleague game in 2000 and two World Series starts in 2003 – and he gave up a total of six earned runs in 17 1/3 innings (3.12 ERA), with New York losing all three contests.

The Yankees are on “under” stretches of 11-5-2 overall, 5-1-2 on the road, 9-3-2 against winning clubs and 4-1 in Sabathia’s last five road starts. Also, the Red Sox are on “under” runs of 20-6-2 overall, 7-1-1 at home (4-0-1 last four) and 6-2-1 versus divisional opponents. Lastly, the under is now 5-1-1 in the last seven Yanks-Sox at Fenway and 5-2-2 in the last nine head-to-head meetings overall.

ATS ADVANTAGE: BOSTON and UNDER

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DUNKEL

LA Lakers at Orlando     
The Magic look to follow up their Game Three win and take advantage of LA's 2-11-1 ATS record in its last 14 championship games.  Orlando is the pick (-3) according to Dunkel, which has the Magic favored by 4 1/2.  Dunkel Pick: Orlando (-3).   

Game 707-708: LA Lakers at Orlando
Dunkel Ratings: LA Lakers 127.320; Orlando 131.783
Dunkel Line & Total: Orlando by 4 1/2; 211
Vegas Line & Total: Orlando by 3; 201 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Orlando (-3); Over


MLB

Cincinnati at Washington
The Nationals look to avoid the sweep today and take advantage of Cincinnati's 1-4 record in Micah Owings' last 5 starts as a road underdog.  Washington is the pick (-130) according to Dunkel, which has the Nats favored by 1/2 a run.  Dunkel Pick: Washington (-130).   

Game 901-902: St. Louis at Florida
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Wellemeyer) 15.674; Florida (Miller) 14.173
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Florida (-120); 9
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (+110); Under

Game 903-904: Pittsburgh at Atlanta
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Maholm) 14.530; Atlanta (Vazquez) 15.541
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1; 9 1/2
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-185); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-185); Over

Game 905-906: Chicago Cubs at Houston
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Dempster) 14.408; Houston (Ortiz) 15.392
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Chicago Cubs (-160); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (+150); Under

Game 907-908: Colorado at Milwaukee
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (Cook) 15.680; Milwaukee (Gallardo) 16.622
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1; 6 1/2
Vegas Line: Milwaukee (-185); 8
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (-185); Under

Game 909-910: San Francisco at Arizona
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Sanchez) 14.731; Arizona (Scherzer) 14.875
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Arizona (-150); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (-150); Under

Game 911-912: Cincinnati at Washington
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Owings) 14.134; Washington (Lannan) 14.518
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Washington (-130); 9
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-130); Under

Game 913-914: Philadelphia at NY Mets
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia (Moyer) 15.098; NY Mets (Redding) 15.611
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-115); 10
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (+105); Under

Game 915-916: Detroit at Chicago White Sox
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Jackson) 15.890; White Sox (Floyd) 14.612
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Detroit (-125); 9
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-125); Under

Game 917-918: Minnesota at Oakland
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota (Blackburn) 15.618; Oakland (Cahill) 16.514
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 1; 9 1/2
Vegas Line: Oakland (-110); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-110); Over

Game 919-920: Kansas City at Cleveland
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Greinke) 14.878; Cleveland (Sowers) 14.282
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1/2; 9 1/2
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-140); 8
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (-140); Over

Game 921-922: LA Angels at Tampa Bay
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Santana) 15.681; Tampa Bay (Price) 15.039
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-150); 9
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (+140); Under

Game 923-924: Seattle at Baltimore
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Olson) 14.588; Baltimore (Uehara) 15.192
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Baltimore (-155); 9
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (-155); Under

Game 925-926: NY Yankees at Boston
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Sabathia) 16.161; Boston (Penny) 16.974
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-155); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (+145); Under

Game 927-928: Toronto at Texas
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Romero) 14.911; Texas (Millwood) 15.830
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1; 10 1/2
Vegas Line: Texas (-160); 10
Dunkel Pick: Texas (-160); Over

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Matt Fargo

Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals

Something has to give for John Lannan. He is arguably one of the better pitchers in baseball that no one has heard of and the reason is that he plays for the worst team in baseball. He started the season with a rough outing against Florida but his ERA has basically come down almost every game since and that ERA is a solid 3.04 over his last 11 starts. He has one of the bigger home/road disparities in baseball as his ERA is 6.30 in six road starts and 1.76 in six home starts. He has not lost at home, going 2-0 but Washington is 0-4 in his non-decisions. The good news is that he is coming off his best performance of the season while pitching nine innings but he tossed only 96 pitches meaning he can go a long way again without needing help from the bullpen. Although that same bullpen has been solid of late, posting a 2.92 ERA over its last 10 games. In 49 career starts, Lannan has a 3.88 ERA which is extremely solid. The Reds are hitting only .214 on the road against left-handed pitching. Micah Owings gets the call for the Reds and there is a reason why he is the underdog. He is coming off a quality start in his last outing which was only his third this season in 10 starts. The last two quality performances were followed up with horrible games as he allowed five runs in each and both resulted in Cincinnati losses. His 4.90 ERA on the season may not seem horrible but that is accompanied with a WHIP of 1.55 and that is in fact horrible. His ERA and WHIP both improve very slightly on the road but he is 1-4 in his five road outings with the Reds averaging only 3.21 rpg in those contests. Before the sun goes down is where Owings has struggled the most, posting a 6.32 ERA and 1.85 WHIP in three starts. Washington has been successful against the lower echelon pitchers in baseball, going a successful 18-11 against pitchers that possess a WHIP between 1.50 and 1.60. There is no doubt that the Nationals are the worst team in baseball but we need to pick their spots to play and this line screams out a play on Washington. 3* Washington Nationals

Play on: Washington

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Craig Trapp

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Orlando Magic     
Play: Los Angeles Lakers +121       

Going to make this easy. The last game Orlando played nearly the perfect game and shot nearly 68 percent from the field. The Lakers shot poorly and missed a ton of FT's.

Game 4 will be a Lakers run away as the Magic can't repeat a perfect performance. Also Kobe will not miss 5 ft's or run out of steam in the 4th qtr. Kobe and company throwdown the gauntlet early and Orlando will be playing from behind the whole game. This one should be a very nice value money line winner by the LA LAKERS!!

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Marc Lawrence

Play On: NY Yankees with Sabathia

The Yankees and Red Sox wrap up their three-game series in Boston tonight when the Pinstripes send C.C. Sabathia to the mound in Fenway. The big lefty has been in sharp KW form on the road lately where he has issued 8 walks against 34 strikeouts in his last five away starts. Look for Sabathia to improve to 8-2 in his last ten road outings in June here tonight.

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cott Rickenbach

Texas vs Toronto

Kevin Millwood has impressive numbers so far this season but much of that was compiled early on. Note that recently, the Rangers right-hander has slowed down some. Hes walked four batters in three of his last four starts. Hes allowed 11 homers in his last 9 starts. Millwood has allowed 61 hits in his last 55 innings on the mound. Now he must deal with a Toronto team that has roughed him up in his career. Millwood has a 1-4 record with a 6.25 ERA in his career against the Blue Jays. Also, he certainly seems to be facing the Jays at the wrong time. Theyve averaged about 5.5 runs per game in their last dozen games and theyve already feasted on Rangers pitching so far in this series. The Rangers have a 4.67 ERA at home this season and thats among the worst in the league. As for the Blue Jays, they have a 4.74 ERA on the road and thats among the worst in the league too. While Toronto stays hot at the plate against Millwood and the Texas pen, the Rangers should stay close in this game thanks to their own offensive prowess.

While Texas has, surprisingly, struggled at the plate so far in this series, the Rangers should have no problems with the offerings of Ricky Romero of the Blue Jays. The rookie Toronto southpaw is still trying to recover from an injury and, although his last start was better it should be noted that it came at home against the struggling Royals. Now he must deal with the powerful Rangers and hes on the road where hes struggled so far. Romero has given up eight homers in his last 16.1 innings on the mound. Yes, that averages out to a homer every two innings. Also, before enjoying some success against Kansas City, the left-hander struggled with his command against the Red Sox as he walked five in just four innings of work. He also gave up some big hits in that match-up. Speaking of big hits, Romero was throttled by the Orioles in his start prior to facing the Red Sox. The Rangers are 47-35 to the over after getting shutout. Look for the Rangers offense to bounce back from Tuesdays shutout while the Blue Jays offense remains red hot. Consider a play on OVER the total in Texas on Thursday night.

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Scott Spreitzer

Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets
Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies

The defending champs are crushing opposing pitchers in the situation they're in tonight. Phily is 10-3 in road night games against righthanders, scoring an average of 5.8 rpg. They're 14-5 in road games against righties anytime of day, scoring 6.12 rpg. The team takes care of business as a small road favorite, going 9-1 when priced Even money up to a -1.25 favorite, which is the range they fall into tonight. I expect the Philly bats to tee-off on Tim Redding, who owns a 6.97 ERA and 1.74 WHIP in four starts. Look for Jamie Moyer to get plenty of support leading to a winning road ticket on the Phillies.

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Red Dog Sports

Minnesota vs. Oakland
Play: Under 8

These two have combined for 53 overs and 62 unders this year. The Twins have 20 unders, 7 overs and 2 pushes in their last 29 on the road. Nik Blackburn has an ERA of 1.80 in his last 33 and has 4 overs and 7 unders this season. Cahill of Oakland has an ERA of 3.06 in his last 3 with 1 over and 2 unders. Look for the under to prevail on Thursday.

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JIM FEIST

CINCINNATI REDS / WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Take WASHINGTON NATIONALS

This isn't a bad Washington offense, one ranked 7th in the NL in scoring and 3rd in on base percentage. It's the pitching that is the problem, though for this game they have a good one going in John Lannan (3.68 ERA). Cincy is weak in all offensive categories, plus starter Micah Owings (3-7, 4.90 ERA) walks too many batters (30 in 60 innings). A good spot for the home team. Play the Nationals.

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DAVE COKIN

CINCINNATI REDS / WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Take CINCINNATI REDS

Tonight's free play isn't exactly rocket science. The Nationals are awful, and they've been absolutely horrendous as chalk this season. John Lannan is a decent pitcher and he's been okay lately, but the Nationals simply don't rate being this much chalk against anyone. I'll go with the Reds to complete the series sweep.

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Jeff Benton

Colorado +165 at MILWAUKEE 

Now 4-1 with free plays over the past five days, as the Red Sox got the job done against the Yankees last night. Let’s continue this roll Thursday by backing the Rockies as a huge underdog in afternoon action at Milwaukee.

First off, let me reiterate that I love, absolutely LOVE, young Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo. And his numbers this season (6-2, 2.84 ERA overall, 3-1, 2.87 ERA at home) justify that love. That said, how do you pass up the line value with the scalding-hot Rockies and improving veteran pitcher Aaron Cook, who over his last four starts has pitched six innings twice, eight innings once and nine innings once, and who hasn’t given up more than four earned runs in nine straight starts, allowing three or fewer in six of those nine contest?

More on Cook shortly. Let’s get back to Colorado’s hot streak. By posting wins of 4-2 and 3-2 over the Brewers the last two nights, the Rockies have now won a season-high seven in a row … all on the road and all against N.L. Central clubs! Remarkable, considering the fact that prior to this run, Colorado’s longest winning streak of the season was three in a row, and that came back in the first week of the season!

Here’s what else is remarkable: During the winning streak, Colorado has surrendered a total of 16 runs, including run totals of 2, 2, 2, 2 and 1 over the past five games. Here’s where Cook comes in: Not only has he been more than respectable lately, but he’s allowed exactly two earned runs in each of his last four starts against Milwaukee over a combined 26 innings (2.77 ERA) . Tonight, Cook faces a scuffling Brewers lineup that’s scored three rusn or fewer in 12 of the last 18 games. Not coincidentally, Milwaukee is just 7-11 during this stretch.

Bottom line: Gallardo has the kind of stuff that can stymie any lineup. But to get a quality pitcher like Cook at this big of an underdog price against a team that’s struggling to score runs … well, that’s enough for me.

2♦ COLORADO

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Bobby Maxwell

Philadelphia at N.Y. METS 

Tonight we've got a FREE winner for you from the Big Apple as we play the Mets to get the rubber match of their series with the Phillies.

Love the Mets in this one as they get a Phillies team on the last night of their 10-game, three-city road trip that started on the West Coast and is wrapping up in New York. Philadelphia players are anxious to get back home and rest comfortably. This one is going to be a blowout.

On the mound for the Mets is Tim Redding (0-2, 6.97 ERA) and he'll oppose veteran Jamie Moyer (4-5, 6.27). These teams have split the first two games of this series with Philly rallying for a 5-4 win on Wednesday night.

Redding looked great on Friday in Washington as he held the Nationals to one run in six innings of work but got a no-decision in New York's 3-1 10-inning win. He's got good numbers against the Phillies in his career, posting a 5-3 mark with a 3.29 ERA.

Philadelphia is 1-5 in Moyer's last six starts and 2-5 in his last seven roadies. He pitched well in his last outing but against the Mets this year he is 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA.

New York is on runs of 11-6 in this rivalry and 6-3 in the last nine played in the Big Apple. The Mets have won eight of their last 11 against divisional foes, six of eight at home and 22 of 31 against left-handed starters.

Lack of focus will keep the Phillies offense from exploding tonight and Moyer just doesn't fare well in New York. Play the Mets tonight.

3♦ N.Y. METS

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Michael Cannon

Kansas City -135 at CLEVELAND 

Take the Royals for the road win over the Indians tonight.

This is a pretty fair price considering Kansas City is starting Zack Greinke.  I’ll admit the right-hander has looked mortal over his last few starts, but you have to think he’s ready to bounce back after his worst start of the season.

Greinke went up against a good-hitting Blue Jays team at the Rogers Centre and I’m willing to write that start off as just a bad game.  He’ll have an easier time against an Indians team that doesn’t possess the hitters that Toronto does.  Greinke has faced the Tribe twice already this season and is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA.

Cleveland will counter with Jeremy Sowers, who is 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in five starts this year.  The left-hander is 0-2 with a 4.80 ERA in his last three starts.

Take the Royals as they grab the road win.

2♦ KANSAS CITY

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Matt Rivers

For Thursday take the Tigers on the South Side.

Ozzie Guillen had it all right the other day ripping his team because frankly his White Sox squad is flat out not very good. Yes Chicago does have some talent and an upside with guys like Thome, Konerko, Ramirez, Pierzynski and a few others but collectively this team is underachieving and well below average. We have already seen this in the first four games of this series and there is no reason to expect anything but another Chicago loss today.

Detroit is obviously not an overachieving winning club right now themsleves but they are alright and the mush factor is much less with Jim Leyland's boys and with Cabrera, Ordonez, Granderson and a few others I see the Tigers taking care of business today.

I like Gavin Floyd as the Chicago righthander can be very good. But the righty also implodes at times and right now with the way Edwin Jackson has been pitching I will gladly take my chances with the former Dodger/Ray hurler. All Jackson has done this season is go deep into games and hurl quality start after quality start.

I'm not saying that the Sox can't win this game at home but "the good guys" really do not have much going for themselves in this thing too favorable when compared with the Tigers and I'll take my chances with the visitors.

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Craig Davis

The Yankees send CC Sabathia to the hill in an attempt to salvage what's left of this series with their rival. The Red Sox have taken the first two games of this current series and have taken seven in a row to start the season. As a Yankees fan, this disgusts me and I'm quite certain it disgusts members of the Yankees too. Who better to end this skid than the ace of the staff? Sabathia has seven career starts vs. Boston, touting a 3.91 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP, striking out 35 while walking just 8. Brad Penny gets the call for the Red Sox, and it's really tough to tell which Brad Penny will show up tonight. After starting the month of April very poorly, Penny settled down in May and pitched rather well. However, his first start in June was less than exceptable... 5 innings and 5 ERs in a loss to the Texas Rangers. I think it's too much of a pitching mismatch here in favor of the Yankees and I'll take my chances backing the road team tonight.

2♦ NY YANKEES

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MTi Sports

Los Angeles Angels at Tampa Bay Rays
Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays

The Angels are 1-11 when Ervin Santana starts as a dog after throwing more than 100 pitches and the Rays are 17-2 as a home 140+ favorite after a win in which they had fewer team-left-on-base than their opponent. Consider Tampa.

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Jimmy Boyd

1 Unit on Tampa Bay Rays -136

I'll back the Rays at home in this one against the struggling Santana, who brings in an ERA of 9.60 over his last 3 starts. Price has been brilliant for the Rays since getting called up, boasting a 2.45 ERA in 3 starts. As you saw in the postseason last fall, this youngster has amazing stuff and I expect his success to continue until teams become more familiar with him. Tampa Bay has taken 8 of the last 11 in this series at home and the Rays are 8-1 in their last 9 games as a home favorite of -110 to -150. The Angels are 0-4 in Santana's last 4 starts as an underdog of +110 to +150 and 0-4 in Santana's last 4 road starts vs. the Rays.

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Jr Tips

YANKEES vs. RED SOX

After losing their first seven games against the Boston Red Sox(35-24) , the New York Yankees turn to their ace CC Sabathia who looks to lead New York to its first win over its archrivals tonight.. The Yankees (34-25) loss 6-5 last night with 11 hits, but went 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position. Mark Teixeira led New York with four hits - including his AL-leading 19th homer, and is 10 for 23 (.435) with three home runs and eight RBIs in his last six games. Sabathia, the 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner has gone 4-0 with a 2.49 ERA and is averaging nearly eight innings in his last six outings although Sabathia (5-3, 3.56 ERA) allowed five runs and five hits in eight innings of a 9-7 home loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday. Sabathia recorded a 10.45 ERA in losing both of his starts against Boston in the '07 playoffs and will be trying to slow down a Red Sox team that has won seven of its last nine overall and eight in a row over the Yankees dating to last season.Boston's third baseman Mike Lowell hit his 10th homer Wednesday and is 10 for 30 with three home runs and 10 RBIs against New York this year. Boston's Brad Penny (5-2, 5.85) will make his first appearance in the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.Penny hasn't been sharp with the Sox, but he's been helped by an offense that's backed him with an average of 7.2 runs of support. In his last outing, the right-hander gave up five runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings of Friday's 5-1 loss to Texas. The Yankees and the Soxs had 20 hits combined last night. Sabathia has never pitched well at Fennway and Penny has struggled all year. The hot bats for both teams continue tonight as you can count on plenty runs on the scoreboard.

TAKE OVER 9 1/2 RUNS

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Free Selection from Mike Wynn

Free Play: MLB Milwaukee w/Gallardo -180 Over Colorado

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Free Selection from Arthur Ralph Sports
277 - 179 run  60 %    21-8 run here
THURS:  Orlando Magic - 2  1/2

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Free Selection from Totals4U
Thursday's free selection: Toronto/Texas over 10 1/2

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Orlando Magic at Cleveland Cavaliers

Tonight the Cleveland Cavaliers host the Orlando Magic in game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavs have their backs against the wall, as they are down 3-1 in this series after losing in OT on Tuesday night in Orlando. The reasons the Cavs are down in this series are that they cannot figure out how to play D on the Magic and their supporting cast has let LeBron down. All Star Mo Williams has struggled all series and even though he did score 15 points in game 4 he was only 5/15 from the floor and he did not hit one of his 3 3-pt shots. The Magic have played great, as when the Cavs pack the lane to stop Dwight Howard the Magic are bombing away from downtown and when the Cavs leave the lane to stop the 3-point shot Howard dominates inside. Howard scored 10 points in the OT period and he dominated the glass in the game going for 14 boards. The Cavs have to find a way to defend the long ball, as in game 4 the Magic shot 17/38 from beyond the 3-pt line for a scorching 3-pt FG% of 44.7%. The Cavs are down to their last game, as they have to step up on defense and have another scorer besides LeBron or they will be watching the NBA finals from home.

The Magic won game 4 on Tuesday night in Orlando 116-114 in OT. For the game the Magic shot 40/80 for a FG% of 50% while the Cavs shot 39/87 from the floor for a FG% of 44.8%. This season the Magic ranked 4th in scoring (101 ppg) and the Cavaliers ranked 13th (100.3 ppg). On D the Cavaliers were the best in the league ranking 1st in points allowed (91.3 ppg) and the Magic ranked 6th (94.4 ppg).

Unlike the Cavs the supporting cast of the Magic are playing great and in game 4. Rafer Alston played great going for 26 points on 10/17 shooting including going 6/12 from beyond the 3-pt line and reserve Mickael Pietrus scored 17 points. The Cavs have to shoot better from downtown, as in game 4 they were only 6/22 for a 3-pt FG% of 27.3%. In game 4 the Cavs had had more rebounds, more offensive rebounds, twice as many steals, and fewer turnovers and they still lost the game. The Magic are one win away from the NBA finals and unless the Cavs can play like they did in the regular season Orlando will get there.

Staff Pick: The Cavs are in an unfamiliar position being on the brink of elimination, but they are at home tonight and they are too good a team to go quietly. Look for Mo Williams to snap out of his series-long slump, as he will help James out tonight and the Cavs will win this game, cover the spread, and get back into this series.

Cavs 98 Magic 90

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