Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday September, 27

Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday September, 27

DUNKEL INDEX

NFL

Cleveland at Baltimore
The Browns look to bounce back from their 24-14 loss to Buffalo last week and build on their 6-0 ATS record in their last 6 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game. Cleveland is the pick (+12) according to Dunkel, which has the Ravens favored by only 10. Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (+12)

Game 101-102: Cleveland at Baltimore (8:20 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland 130.690; Baltimore 140.806
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 10; 48
Vegas Line: Baltimore by 12; 44
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (+12); Over

NCAA

Stanford at Washington
The Huskies look to build on their 5-0 ATS record in their last 5 games following a bye week. Washington is the pick (+6 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Cardinal favored by only 4 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Washington (+6 1/2)

Game 103-104: Stanford at Washington (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Stanford 101.213; Washington 96.672
Dunkel Line: Stanford by 4 1/2; 54
Vegas Line: Stanford by 6 1/2; 49
Dunkel Pick: Washington (+6 1/2); Over

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Colorado
The Cubs look to build on their 5-1 record in Chris Volstad's last 6 starts. Chicago is the pick (+140) according to Dunkel, which has the Cubs favored by 1/2 a run. Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (+140)

Game 951-952: Milwaukee at Cincinnati (12:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Peralta) 14.692; Cincinnati (Latos) 15.345
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-150); 8
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (-150); Under

Game 953-954: Pittsburgh at NY Mets (1:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Correia) 15.016; NY Mets (Dickey) 14.039
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 1; 8
Vegas Line: NY Mets (-210); 7
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (+180); Over

Game 955-956: Chicago Cubs at Colorado (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Volstad) 14.722; Colorado (Chacin) 14.322
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 1/2; 12
Vegas Line: Colorado (-160); 11
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (+140); Over

Game 957-958: Arizona at San Francisco (3:45 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Corbin) 15.868; San Francisco (Zito) 16.356
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 1/2; 6 1/2
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-125); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (-125); Under

Game 959-960: Washington at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Gonzalez) 16.156; Philadelphia (Cloyd) 15.304
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Washington (-130); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-130); Under

Game 961-962: Miami at Atlanta (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami (Turner) 14.364; Atlanta (Hanson) 16.458
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 2; 9
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-180); 8
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-180); Over

Game 963-964: LA Dodgers at San Diego (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Capuano) 15.247; San Diego (Kelly) 14.898
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-120); 7
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-120); Over

Game 965-966: Kansas City at Detroit (1:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Mendoza) 14.707; Detroit (Fister) 15.523
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Detroit (-220); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-220); Under

Game 967-968: Oakland at Texas (2:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oakland (Blackley) 15.324; Texas (Harrison) 15.792
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Texas (-220); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Texas (-220); Under

Game 969-970: Seattle at LA Angels (3:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Iwakuma) 15.961; LA Angels (Haren) 15.469
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-215); 8
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (+185); Over

Game 971-972: NY Yankees at Toronto (7:07 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Nova) 16.223; Toronto (Morrow) 14.594
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-145); 9
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (-145); Under

Game 973-974: Tampa Bay at Chicago White Sox (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Shields) 15.264; White Sox (Peavy) 15.511
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-115); 8
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (-105); Over

WNBA

San Antonio at Los Angeles
The Silver Stars look to build on their 5-1 ATS record in their last 6 games between the two teams. San Antonio is the pick (+7) according to Dunkel, which has the Sparks favored by only 5. Dunkel Pick: San Antonio (+7)

Game 651-652: New York at Connecticut (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: New York 105.657; Connecticut 118.945
Dunkel Line & Total: Connecticut by 13 1/2; 150
Vegas Line & Total: Connecticut by 9 1/2; 154 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Connecticut (-9 1/2); Under

Game 653-654: San Antonio at Los Angeles (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Antonio 114.624; Los Angeles 119.447
Dunkel Line & Total: Los Angeles by 5; 168
Vegas Line & Total: Los Angeles by 7; 164
Dunkel Pick: San Antonio (+7); Over

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Jim FeistFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Milwaukee Brewers vs Cincinnati Reds
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Milwaukee made a great run the last month, but time is running out on them. They are a bad road team and take on first place Cincinnati, a tough park to pitch in. Milwaukee goes with Wily Peralta. Peralta struggled Saturday in Washington. He took his first career loss in the worst outing he's had over four starts this year. The Nationals jumped all over him as Peralta gave up three earned runs on five hits and four walks over just 2 2/3 innings. The are 48-23 in their last 71 overall and 19-7 in their last 26 home games vs. a team with a winning record. Ace Mat Latos (13-4, 3.60 ERA) has been a key addition and has a 1.13 ERA against the Brewers this season in 16 innings, with 3 walks, 21 Ks. And the Brewers are 7-19 in the last 26 meetings in Cincinnati. Play the Reds.

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Stanford vs. WashingtonFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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When the home total is between 42.5-49 points since 1992 Washington is 1-10.Washington is 1-6 straight up versus Stanford including losing the last 4 by an average of 28 points per game.Take #9 Stanford and start the college football weekend with a touchdown freeplay winner.

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Matt FargoFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Tampa Bay vs. Chi. White Sox
Pick: Chi. White Sox
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We will be going contrarian in this matchup as the White Sox are starting to get into must win mode and they are catching Tampa Bay at the wrong time for sure. After its defeat last night against Cleveland, Chicago fell into second place in the Central for the first time since July 23rd, dropping the final two games in the three-game set. The White Sox are struggling on offense right now as they have averaged just 2.5 rpg over their last eight games and it comes as no surprise they are 1-7 in those games. The good news is that they have stepped it up in these similar spots as the White Sox are 14-3 in their last 17 home games against teams with a winning road record. Chicago's pitching has been adequate during the recent eight-game stretch and it will need its horses to finish strong and that includes Jake Peavy. He has had a very strong season despite a couple bad outings of late. Those were against the Tigers and Angels, two of the best offenses in baseball, and both of those were on the road where Peavy has a 3.62 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. While those numbers are good, they are better at home where he has a 3.15 RA and 1.04 WHIP in 14 starts and he has gone nine straight home starts without allowing more than three runs with eight of those being quality outings and the ninth missing by just a third of an inning. He has not faced Tampa Bay since 2010 and the White Sox are 5-1 in his last six home starts against teams with a winning record. Tampa Bay will not go away as it has won seven straight games but it still might be too little, too late as it is three games back in the Wild Card standings with the Angels a half-game ahead on top of it. After erupting for 43 runs in the first four wins of the streak, the Rays bats cooled down the last three games but the pitching made up for it by allowing just four runs total. The Rays are 1-5 in their last six road games against teams with a winning home record. James Shields has been outstanding as he has a 2.98 post-All Star break ERA over 13 starts and he has tossed quality starts in nine of his last 10 games. Tampa Bay has dropped his last two road starts, both of which came against playoff contenders.

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Rob VincilettiFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Chicago Cubs vs. Colorado Rockies    
Play: Colorado Rockies
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The Rockies apply to a solid 18-3 system that plays on certain home favorites with a total of 10 or higher off a home favored win by 5 or more runs with a total that was 10 or higher, vs an opponent off a road dog loss by 5 or more runs and scored 2 or less runs provided both teams stranded 5 or more runners. Volstad for the Cubs is 1-7 in road starts and has a 6.15 road era. Chacin for Colorado shut the Cubs down in a complete game shut out the last time he faced them here. Colorado is 7-1 at home vs the Cubs and they are averaging 6 runs per game on .305 hitting here at home. The Cubs are 7-20 as a road dog in this range. Look for Colorado to get the win this afternoon.

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Joseph D'AmicoFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Kansas City  vs. Detroit
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Detroit has played some great baseball lately, as the Tigers lead the Central by 1 game over the White Sox. Detroit has taken the 1st three contests of this series over KC, by a combined score of 13-6. Dirks, Jackson, and Young have been crushing the ball and leading a lineup that is averaging 5.2 RPG in their L10 contests. Doug Fister gets the nod here. The RH is 9-3 since July 2nd with 2 CGs. Fister faces a Royals team that has dropped 4 in a row and 8 of their L13 overall, averaging 3 runs or less in 7 of those 13 outings. KC is done for the season. They have Luis Mendoza throwing today. The RH is 8-9 with a 4.44 record this season. The Tigers are 8-2 their L10 games played vs. RH starters and 37-15 their L52 games played at home. The Royals are 0-6 their L6 games played at the Tigers and 0-4 their L4 games played on the road. Take Detroit on the RUN LINE.

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Dave CokinFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Washington Nationals vs Philadelphia Phillies
Pick: Washington Nationals
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Phillies rookie Cloyd has done okay since arriving, but his stuff is marginal and I can see him getting hit by this Washington lineup. The Nats will play hard as they seek to enhance the Cy Young chances of very popular teammate Gio Gonzales. Road chalk call on the Nationals.

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Bryan LeonardFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Washington -130
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Gio Gonzalez heads to the hill for the Nats, who still have a lot to play for with the NL East crown and homefield advantage yet to be clinched.. The Nats have just a two-game lead for homefield advantage in the NL playoffs. Gonzalez has been excellent in his first season in the National League, winning 20 games with an ERA below 3. Two of those wins are against the Phillies and Gonzalez has allowed just four runs in 19 innings of work, holding the Phillies to a .176 batting average. Gonzalez is rolling right now, allowing just 14 runs in his last nine starts, with 54 strikeouts against just 45 hits.
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Youngster Tyler Cloyd goes to the mound for the Phillies, trying to keep their exceptionally slim playoff hopes alive. The Phillies are 5.5 games out with six to play, so they are effectively eliminated. Except for Cloyd's last start, where he was staked to an 8-0 first inning lead, he has had some growing pains, giving up 11 runs in 20 innings. The Phillies gave it a valiant effort to climb back into the race and could definitely be ready to hit the wall and mail it in for the rest of the year.
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The Nats are sending their ace to the hill with a division title and homefield on the line. The Phillies are trying to hold on to a longshot and they're sending a 25-year-old with five games of experience to do that.

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COLORADO -1½ +129 over Chicago
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We mentioned yesterday how the Cubs will have no motivation to close out the year after a set of relevant series against the Pirates, Reds and Cardinals. They dropped the opener of this set 10-5 and followed that up with a 6-0 loss last night. Let’s head back to the well once again.
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The Rockies will face one of the weaker major leaguers in Chris Volstad. Volstad has made 19 starts and has three wins. In 101 innings, he’s walked 43 and struck out 55. He’s walked more batters than struck out in each of his past six starts. In his last outing, he didn’t strike out anyone. It gets worse. Volstad has a 1.63 WHIP, a 6.22 ERA with a .6.04 xERA and a disturbing 27% line-drive rate over his last six starts. Volstad has been a MLB punching bag and at this park and it’s not about to stop.
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Jhoulys Chacin goes for the Rocks. He’s made just 12 starts after spending most of the year on the DL and the results have been mixed. Taking a wait-and-see approach would be wise in most instances with Chacin but not in this one, as the opposing pitcher is similar to NFL replacement refs whereas they can don the uniform but lack the qualifications for the job at hand.
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Arizona/SAN FRAN over 7½ +103
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Someone likes us. That’s the only reason we can find for this repeated opportunity to go over the total when Barry Zito starts a day game. It’s like a broken slot machine that keeps paying off. And now, the number is lower than usual with a 7½ plus a little juice our way. The weather forecast for AT&T Park this afternoon calls for a gentle breeze out to right center at 8 mph.
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Zito has started five matinée games at AT&T since the All-Star break. The last one came a week ago in which the Giants beat the Rockies 9-2. There were 26 hits in that game. The four other scores were 9-8, 9-6, 9-1 and 10-0 with the Giants winning three of them but losing the 9-1 and 10-0 games. The winning team has scored at least nine runs in each game because contrary to public perception, this venue is a strong hitter’s park in day games with no damp air altering the flight of the baseball. 
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The D-Backs bats are alive and well with 68 runs scored over their past 10 games. Patrick Corbin will face a San Fran offense that has been on fire since the All Star break (.281 BA, 5.2 runs per game). Corbin has a 5.46 ERA in September with a 4.71 xERA. Two hot-hitting teams, two struggling pitchers and favorable conditions all point to this one sailing over the number.
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Tampa Bay -104 over CHICAGO
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The White Sox are dropping quicker than Eric Gagne’s list of friends. They’ve been sitting in first place since July 23 but after another loss last night, their seventh in eight games, they wake up in second place today and having to face the hottest team in the majors with one of the best starters in the AL taking the hill today.
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Tampa is on a seven-game winning streak. James Shields has a 1.93 ERA over his last five starts, which should come as no surprise as his xERA since July 1 is 2.94. Shields has 202 K’s in 212 innings to go along with an elite 53% groundball rate. You can count on his skills, reliability and consistency. The man is the straight goods.
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The South Side has lost six of Jake Peavy’s last nine starts. Peavy’s last start was moved back because of fatigue and at the age of 31, with 203 innings under his belt this year, with a history of injuries, he’s too big a risk for our liking. Peavy’s batted ball profile of 37%/43% GB/FB doesn’t exactly instil confidence either. He’s posted a 5.33 ERA over his past five starts with an almost identical 5.04 xERA over that same span. Big edge to the Rays with small price to spot has us at the betting window.

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Baltimore/ Cleveland Under 44: The Ravens defense has not been as special as in years past, but they should be able to hold down this Browns offense that is not explosive at all. Brandon Weedon has struggled so far in the early going as he has just a 60.7 QB rating. He doesn't have a lot of weapons to throw to and they will need to rely on their run game in this one and that should eat clock. The Ravens defense has to be angry after allowing 401.3 ypg so far in the early going. That is not Ravens football. They have allowed just 11.4 ppg and 232.8 ypg in the last 8 meetings between these teams, so I look for them to get back on track in this one. Offensively the Ravens use the no-huddle, but on a short week and off an emotional win vs the Patriots on national TV, I expect them to slow there pace down just a bit. Cleveland has allowed 269 ypg through the Air, but just 6.6 ypa, which is 15th in the league, so Baltimore will have to work the ball down the field, instead of getting quick strikes. On a short week this game should be slowed down a bit. Baltimore will get their points, just not sure that Cleveland will counter with much. Last year the Browns scored 20+ points just once and they did that this year as well in 1 of their 3 games, but that one was vs a horrible Cincinnati defense. 36 ppg have been scored between these teams in the last 8 meeting and I look for at most 40 points in this one.  KEY TREND--- The UNDER is 12-2 in the Ravens last 14 home games after scoring 24 or more points.

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Wunderdog

New York at Connecticut
Pick: New York +9.5

While the general public consensus is in the Connecticut camp, the line is moving the other way in this opening round of the WNBA Playoffs. The Sun has a lot of talent, but it seemed as if this team lost something in the second half of the season. Connecticut won five games or more in the first half of the season by 12 points or more, but just twice in the last 16 games. I think this team is vulnerable to a sizeable number in this one. New York managed to slip into the playoffs despite a losing record on the season. They were at one point an afterthought at 9-16, but they played their best basketball down the stretch at 6-3. The Liberty has a good track record in the Conference semifinals at 9-3 ATS in their last 12, while the Sun is just 1-6 ATS in their last seven in this round. Play on New York.

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NellyFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Oakland Athletics + over Texas Rangers
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Oakland is just three games behind Texas in the AL West standings after a big win last night. The A's have to keep winning to hold off a surging Angels team for the final wild card spot, while also chasing Baltimore in the wild card race. Oakland has been a very good hitting team against left-handed pitching including scoring 5.3 runs per game vs. southpaws over the last 10 games. Matt Harrison has great season numbers for Texas but he has battled in recent starts with 16 runs allowed in his last five outings. Texas is only 8-5 behind Harrison at home and his ERA and WHIP are far worse in home games. Texas has cooled off offensively, batting just .240 and scoring barely 3.0 runs per game over the last 10 games. Travis Blackley has bounced between the bullpen and the rotation but he has good numbers with a 3.75 ERA on the season. Oakland is 7-3 in his last 10 starts and he has allowed just four runs in over 12 innings in his last two starts vs. the Rangers. Oakland has won four of the last six games in this series and Texas is just 2-4 in the last six games overall, scoring only 16 runs.

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Hollywood Sports

Rays at White Sox
Prediction: Under

Chicago (82-73) comes off a 6-4 loss to Cleveland yesterday -- and they have played 5 of their last 7 games Under the Total after allowing at least five runs i their last game. The White Sox have also played 5 of their last 7 games Under the Total with the number in the 7-8.5 range. They send out Peavy who is 11-12 with a 3.40 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP this season. The veteran right-hander has been even better at home where he owns a 3.15 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and .214 opponent's batting average as compared to his 3.62 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and .262 opponent's batting average when on the road. The Under is 5-2-1 in Chicago's last 8 home games with Peavy on the mound. Tampa Bay (85-70) has played 4 straight road games Over the Total when favored. They counter with Shields who is 15-9 with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP this season. Shields has been effective on the road where he sports a 1.18 WHIP and .237 opponent's batting average as opposed to his 1.21 WHIP and .252 opponent's batting average when at home. The Rays have played 13 of their last 19 road games with Peavy facing a team with a winning record. Shields comes off a great outing where he scattered six hits and no runs in 7 innings of work against the Blue Jays -- and the Under is 3-0-1 in Tampa Bay's last 4 games when Shields was looking to follow up a Quality Start. Take the Under in this one while listing both starting pitchers.

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SPORTS WAGERS

Cleveland +12½ -103 over BALTIMORE

We won’t insult your intelligence by making a strong case for Cleveland. The Browns remain offensively inept, as their next to last 57 points scored would attest to. The Cleveland defense is decent but it certainly is a lesser unit without suspended CB Joe Haden. However, we do find some subtleties that support Cleveland’s cause. Baltimore comes off an emotional and nationally televised win over the Patriots, exacting revenge from last year’s playoff exiting game. On a short week, they figure to be the more spent squad. The posted total of 43 indicates a conservative affair. That bodes well for the doggy. Despite being a weaker team, the Browns are constantly undervalued having covered seven of past 10 games. Cleveland gets a rare chance to show a national audience that they’re not as bad as perceived. There is plenty of room allotted for them to do so. No bets.

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Jack Jones

Tampa Bay Rays -105

The Tampa Bay Rays (85-70) are making an amazing push to try and get into the postseason. This is a team that never quits as evidenced by the last few seasons. Tampa has won seven straight to get within three games of the final wild-card spot in the American League.

While the Rays come into this series with a ton of confidence, the Chicago White Sox are a nervous wreck right now having lost seven of their last eight games overall. They now trail the Detroit Tigers by one game in the AL Central as the wheels have completely fallen off.

James Shields is 15-9 with a 3.65 ERA and 1.196 WHIP over 31 starts this season, including 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA and 0.717 WHIP in his last three against the Rangers, Yankees and Blue Jays. He has really stepped up his game when it has mattered most.

Jake Peavy is having a solid season for Chicago at 11-12 with a 3.40 ERA and 1.134 WHIP. However, he has not been sharp when it matters here of late, going 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA and 1.380 WHIP in his last three starts. In his last two starts against Tampa, Peavy has allowed 12 earned runs and 24 base runners over 10 2/3 innings.

The Rays are 7-0 in their last 7 games as a favorite. Tampa is 6-0 in Shields' last 6 starts as a favorite. The White Sox are 0-6 in Peavy's last 6 starts as an underdog. Chicago is 0-4 in Peavy's last 4 starts vs. a team with a winning record. Bet the Rays Thursday.

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Jimmy Boyd

Washington Nationals -132

The Nationals are showing value at this price with Gio Gonzalez on the hill. The southpaw will be looking to make one last case for why he should bring home the NL Cy Young. He leads the majors with 20 wins and is 6th in the NL with a 2.84 ERA. The Nats have won 23 of his 31 starts overall and 13 of his 17 on the road.

Tyler Cloyd is a nice looking young pitcher, but he's not to Gio's level yet. He looked good his last time out but gave up 7 runs in 7 innings in his previous two starts to the lowly Rockies and Astros.

The Phillies are 2-7 in their last 9 games as a home underdog of +110 to +150 while the Nationals are 8-2 in their last 10 games as a road favorite of -110 to -150. Take Washington.

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Dave Price

NY Yankees -130

The Yanks have won 9 of 11 while the Jays have dropped 8 of 10. The Yankees are 22-8 in Nova's last 30 road starts and 4-0 in his last 4 starts versus the Blue Jays. Nova hasn't allowed more than 3 runs in any of those 4 victories, and I expect him to shut down Toronto again here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday September, 27

Scott Delaney

My free pick for Thursday night is going to be the playoff-bound Atlanta Braves on the Run Line, over the visiting Miami Marlins, as I look to improve upon my 12-5 complimentary streak.

Though the Braves already clinched their playoff berth two nights back, last night was a clear indicator they're not going to let off the gas pedal just yet and is clearly looking to cement the No. 1 Wild Card seed for the one-game playoff. Realistically, the Braves could very well play three straight home games to start the postseason, provided they win their one-game Wild Card playoff against, most likely, the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Oh, and did I mention that while everyone has the Braves locked and loaded on a Wild Card spot, they're still thinking about a division crown. They're four games back of the Washington Nationals in the National League East, and as they say in baseball - anything's possible.

Riding a four-game win streak into tonight, the surging Braves will take advantage of a lowly Marlins team that has lost six in a row.

And make note, the Braves have won 13 of the 17 meetings this season. Take them on the run line tonight.

3♦ ATLANTA -1.5

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday September, 27

Jeff Benton

Winner for free last night on the Marlins-Braves Under the total.

That makes 5 straight freebie winners.

Your Thursday freebie is the Rays over the drooping White Sox.

It seems to happen every year in the closing week(s) of the season, and this season it is happening to the Chicago White Sox. I am talking about an epic collapse.

Chicago is now officially out of sole possession of first place in the Central for the first time in two months. The Pale Hose have lost seven of their last eight games and must now face a Tampa Bay team that is looking for some "deja vu".

The Rays are making another late-season charge - winners of seven in a row, Tampa does also play their final three at home against Baltimore, so it is very possible Tampa can find their way into the postseason once again.

First things first, and that is for James Shields who is 2-1 his last three starts with an ERA under 2, and 7-2 overall his last nine starts to take care of business against Jake Peavy.

Expect it to happen, as Peavy is a non-descript 1-2 with an ERA of 5.40 his last three starts.

I know Chicago has won all three series meetings this year, and four in a row overall versus Tampa Bay, but Robin Ventura's club is in a free-fall right now and they are most definitely a go-against.

Take Tampa Bay.

3♦ TAMPA BAY

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday September, 27

Matt Rivers

Free play winner last night on the underdog Oakland A's.

Now 23-13 with my comp play selections.

Your Thursday night free play is the Under in the NFL game between Cleveland and Baltimore.

While the Ravens have shown some early offensive prowess this season - nearly 33 points per game through their first three games - the same cannot be said for their opponent tonight. Cleveland is only averaging 19 points per game through their first three games, two of the three landing Under the posted price.

The Browns are on an overall 11-6-1 Under run since last season, so playing this game Over the total appears to be a good way to lose some cash.

Both series meetings last year held Under the total, and five of the last six meetings overall between these AFC North foes have also played Under the total.

No sense in trying to play the hero and look for points where points are scarce to be found. Play the Browns and Ravens Under the posted price this Thursday night.

1♦ CLEVELAND-BALTIMORE UNDER

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