Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday September, 28

Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday September, 28

DUNKEL INDEX

NCAA

Hawaii at BYU
The Warriors look to bounce back from last week's 69-24 loss to Nevada and build on their 5-0 ATS record in their last 5 games following a double-digit loss at home. Hawaii is the pick (+27 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Cougars favored by only 26. Dunkel Pick: Hawaii (+27 1/2)

Game 105-106: Hawaii at BYU (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Hawaii 72.559; BYU 98.346
Dunkel Line: BYU by 26; 46 1/2
Vegas Line: BYU by 27 1/2; 50 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Hawaii (+27 1/2); Under

MLB

LA Angels at Texas
The Angels look to build on their 8-1 record in Jered Weaver's last 9 road starts. LA is the pick (+100) according to Dunkel, which has the Angels favored by 1/2 a run. Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (+100)

Game 901-902: Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Bailey) 14.658; Pittsburgh (Burnett) 14.019
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1/2; 6 1/2
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-125); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (-125); Under

Game 903-904: Philadelphia at Miami (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia (Lee) 13.955; Miami (Buehrle) 15.174
Dunkel Line: Miami by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-155); 7
Dunkel Pick: Miami (+135); Over

Game 905-906: NY Mets at Atlanta (7:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Niese) 16.036; Atlanta (Hudson) 15.649
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-180); 7
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (+160); Over

Game 907-908: Houston at Milwaukee (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Gonzalez) 14.020; Milwaukee (Gallardo) 15.379
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Milwaukee (-270); 8
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (-270); Under

Game 909-910: Washington at St. Louis (8:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Jackson) 15.506; St. Louis (Wainwright) 16.337
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-145); 8
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-145); Under

Game 911-912: Chicago Cubs at Arizona (9:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Wood) 15.145; Arizona (Kennedy) 14.517
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Arizona (-215); 9
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (+185); Over

Game 913-914: San Francisco at San Diego (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Vogelsong) 16.708; San Diego (Werner) 14.492
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 2 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: San Diego (-120); 7
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (+100); Over

Game 915-916: Colorado at LA Dodgers (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (Francis) 15.300; LA Dodgers (Kershaw) 15.652
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 1/2; 6 1/2
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-270); 7
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-270); Under

Game 917-918: NY Yankees at Toronto (7:07 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Kuroda) 15.552; Toronto (Jenkins) 15.265
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-200); 9
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (-200); Under

Game 919-920: Boston at Baltimore (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Cook) 14.351; Baltimore (Tillman) 15.318
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1; 9 1/2
Vegas Line: Baltimore (-205); 9
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (-205); Over

Game 921-922: Kansas City at Cleveland (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Smith) 14.688; Cleveland (Huff) 15.161
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-110); 9
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-110); Over

Game 923-924: LA Angels at Texas (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Weaver) 15.635; Texas (Dempster) 15.263
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Texas (-120); 9
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (+100); Under

Game 925-926: Detroit at Minnesota (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Smyly) 15.542; Minnesota (Diamond) 14.321
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1; 10
Vegas Line: Detroit (-155); 9
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-155); Over

Game 927-928: Tampa Bay at Chicago White Sox (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Hellickson) 15.189; White Sox (Floyd) 15.586
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-120); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+100); Under

Game 929-930: Seattle at Oakland (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Beavan) 15.796; Oakland (Griffin) 16.853
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Oakland (-210); 7
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-210); Over

WNBA

Atlanta at Indiana
The Dream look to take advantage of an Indiana team that is 1-8 ATS in its last 9 games against a team with a winning record. Atlanta is the pick (+4 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Fever favored by only 2. Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (+4 1/2)

Game 655-656: Atlanta at Indiana (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta 115.718; Indiana 117.660
Dunkel Line & Total: Indiana by 2; 157
Vegas Line & Total: Indiana by 4 1/2; 154
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (+4 1/2); Over

Game 657-658: Seattle at Minnesota (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle 106.611; Minnesota 122.752
Dunkel Line & Total: Minnesota by 16; 145
Vegas Line & Total: Minnesota by 11; 150
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (-11); Under

CFL

Edmonton at Calgary
The Eskimos look to take advantage of a Calgary team that is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 home games. Edmonton is the pick (+4 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Stampeders favored by only 3. Dunkel Pick: Edmonton (+4 1/2)

Game 291-292: Montreal at Hamilton (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Montreal 113.178; Hamilton 114.456
Dunkel Line: Hamilton by 1 1/2; 61
Vegas Line: Montreal by 1; 58
Dunkel Pick: Hamilton (+1); Over

Game 293-294: Edmonton at Calgary (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Edmonton 113.670; Calgary 116.584
Dunkel Line: Calgary by 3; 45
Vegas Line: Calgary by 4 1/2; 48 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Edmonton (+4 1/2); Under

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday September, 28

Tom FreeseFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Kansas City Royals vs. Cleveland Indians    
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The 65-91 Indians are at Home in Cleveland to Host the 70-86 Royals on Friday for game 1 of their 3 game series with Kansas City. Kansas City gives the rock to 6-8 Smith while 1-0 Huff gets the nod for Cleveland. Smith starts things off with a 4.88 ERA Overall giving up 47 earned runs in 86.7 innings pitched allowing 31 BB and recording 57 K's. On the other side of the diamond, Huff begins the night with a 2.25 ERA giving up 4 earned runs in 16 innings pitched allowing 3 BB and recording 12 K's. The Indians are 15-42 in their last 57 Overall games and 10-27 in Their last 37 Home Games against Left Handed Starters. Also, 3-11 in their last 14 Home games. The Royals are 8-2 in Their last 10 Games against Starters with a WHIP of less than 1.15 and 5-2 in his last 7 games against teams with losing records. I see NO way that Cleveland wins this game.

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Rob VincilettiFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Mariners vs. A'sFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Under 7FOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Home favorites like Oakland off a road dog loss and scored 5 or more runs with 4 or less men left on base have gone under all 8 times the last 9 years, vs an opponent off a road win. This system has not lost the last 9 years. Had the total been 8 instead of 7 this would be rated at four units. With the total at 7 we will make it the free play tonight. Seattle is scoring just 2.7 runs per game the past week. Oakland has gone under 62 of 97 vs right handed pitching. Seattle has Beavan on the mound tonight and he has a 2.75 era the last 3. Griffin for Oakland has a 2.67 home era this season. Look for this game to stay under the total tonight.

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Jim FeistFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Los Angeles Angels vs. Texas Rangers    
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Ryan Dempster has cooled off for Texas with a 4.76 ERA his last three starts. He has an ERA over 10 against the Angels, as well! The Rangers are 4-10 in their last 14 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15 and they face one of the best in LA ace Jered Weaver (19-4, 2.74 ERA). The Angels are 20-7 in their last 27 overall and 8-1 in Weaver's last 9 road starts. You need an ace when facing this Texas team in this park and the Angels have it. And the Angels are 9-3 in Weaver's last 12 starts against the Rangers. Play the LA Angels.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday September, 28

Dave CoinFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Los Angeles Angels vs Texas Rangers
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Very costly loss by the Halos on Thursday. They badly need this game, and should get it. Jered Weaver is their best, and Ryan Dempster has been savaged by this lineup. I'll back the Angels tonight.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday September, 28

Ross KingFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Hawaii vs. BYUFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: HawaiiFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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If anyone knows this Byu Organization it is Norm Chow who was there between 1973 until 1999.Byu is only 4-8 the last 3 seasons in September and 32-45 since 1992.Byu has beaten Hawaii 8 straight times at home but all by only an average of 16 points.Take almost the generous 4 touchdowns and get your weekend started with a freeplay winner.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday September, 28

Larry NessFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Washington vs. St. Louis
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The Cardinals took advantage of a schedule which had them playing six games against baseball's two worst teams. The Cards have won FIVE of six against the Astros and two of three against the Cubs since September 18 and now, with just six games left in the regular season, have put themselves in prime position to secure the NL's second wild card spot. The Cards lead the Dodgers by three games and the Brewers by four. St Louis must finish against the NL’s two-best teams (Nats and Reds) but all six games are at Busch Stadium. St Louis' magic number to clinch a playoff spot and defend its World Series championship is FOUR over the Dodgers. Now the Nats are surely not looking to ‘lay down,’ as they still haven’t clinched the NL East (lead the Braves by four games with six to go) and also would love to get the NL’s No. 1 seed (lead the Reds by one game in that race). The Nationals have gotten to this point with their pitching. They lead the NL with a 3.29 ERA (only the Rays are better in all of MLB) and Gio Gonzalez became the majors' first 21-game winner with Thursday's 7-3 victory over Philadelphia. However, tonight’s starter is Edwin Jackson. There are some who talk highly of Jackson but I’m not one of them. An argument in his favor is that he’s been part of the rotation all season and is making his 30th start of 2012 in this game. His ERA is a solid 3.77 on the year and both of those facts are good points. However, he comes in struggling somewhat, winless in his last three starts (he’s 0-1 and the team is 0-3 with a 5.00 ERA). Let me also note that the Nats are 11-18 in his 29 starts (5-10 on the road) and mention how poorly that compares to Washington’s ML-best 95-61 record. Look closer and you’ll realize that the Nats are playing .380 baseball with Jackson starting (11-18) but .660 baseball (84-43) with ANY other pitcher taking the mound. That’s a HUGE difference! I’d be ‘higher’ on the Cards if Adam Wainwright was in better form. He had an excellent six-start stretch just after the All Star break, going 5-0 with a 1.80 ERA from July 24-August 26, but he’s 0-3 over his last five starts (team has won his last two outings, with him posting a 4.15 ERA). All that said, the the Nats have the luxury of KNOWING they are in the playoffs and a four-game lead over the Braves with just six to play, is a comfortable one. Meanwhile, the LAST thing the Cards need is a couple of losses to open this six-game homestand. How does one avoid that? Win the FIRST game right here! It helps that Jackson is the mound opponent. Take the Cards.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday September, 28

Steve MerrilFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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NY Yankees vs. Toronto
Pick: Toronto +1.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Yankees’ woes in Toronto continued on Thursday night as they were shut out 6-0.  Now they have to contend with rookie Chad Jenkins on Friday.  He made a solid starting debut allowing just 1 run and two hits in five innings of work.  Jenkins struck out four while walking only one.  He'll face a Yankees squad that has had their offensive problems in Toronto hitting right around .220 in six games there.  Toronto's bullpen did the job on Thursday and they have some arms that can back Jenkins up.
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Hiroki Kuroda is 2-1 with a 5.63 ERA in four September starts; he has gone no further than 6 1/3 innings in a game this month.  The Yankees’ starter is 4-5 with a 4.28 ERA in 13 road starts.  One of those awful road starts came in Toronto back in May when he allowed 7 runs and eight hits in five innings of work.  Toronto is hitting almost .280 in their last eight games.  They are now just one game under .500 at home (37-38) where they are putting up nearly 5 runs per game.  The Yankees’ bullpen gave up a few runs yesterday and they’ve been a bit leaky as of late.  Toronto has now won 15 of their last 24 games at home against New York, including four of six games this season.  We like the value once again so we’ll take Toronto on the run line in this game on Friday night.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday September, 28

Jimmy BoydFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Tampa Bay Rays -115
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The red-hot Rays, who have won eight in a row, are showing value at this price against a Chicago club that has dropped eight of nine.
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The Rays have the edge on the mound with Hellickson, who has a 3.20 ERA on the season, a 2.93 ERA on the road and a 1.84 ERA over his last 3 starts. Chicago's Floyd, on the other hand, has an ERA of 4.56 on the season, a 4.74 home ERA and a 4.58 ERA over his last 3 starts.
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Floyd has been fool's gold in the underdog role. In fact, the White Sox are 0-6 in his last 6 starts as an underdog. The Sox themselves are 0-5 in their last 5 games as an underdog. Take Tampa Bay.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday September, 28

Jack JonesFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Detroit Tigers -142
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The Detroit Tigers have risen to the occasion when it matters most here down the stretch. They have won four straight to take a two-game lead on the Chicago White Sox for the AL Central division lead. I like them to carry that momentum into a fifth straight victory over the Minnesota Twins in Game 1 of this series tonight.
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Rookie Drew Smyly has pitched like a seasoned veteran this season, going 4-3 with a 4.01 ERA and 1.249 WHIP in 17 starts. He has been even sharper as the season has wore on, going 1-0 with a 1.65 ERA and 1.041 WHIP in his last three starts. He is 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA in two starts against the Twins this season.
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The Twins have nothing to play for right now. Scott Diamond is 12-8 with a 3.64 ERA and 1.264 WHIP for Minnesota, so he has pitched pretty well for the most part this year. However, he has shown signs of wearing down of late, going 1-2 with a 5.89 ERA and 1.528 WHIP in his last three starts.
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The Twins are 23-54 in their last 77 games as a home underdog. Minnesota is 16-39 in its last 55 home games vs. a team with a winning record. The Twins are 0-5 in their last 5 home games vs. a left-handed starter. Minnesota is 0-5 in Diamond's last 5 home starts. The Tigers are 13-3 in the last 16 meetings in Minnesota. Bet Detroit Friday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday September, 28

SPORTS WAGERSFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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TORONTO +183 over N.Y. Yankees
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Our job is not always to predict the outcome of games. It’s to find value in the numbers and let the chips fall where they may. We find another example of that here in fading the overpriced Yankees.
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The toll of pitching at Yankee Stadium and on the road against AL competition could be catching up to Hiroki Kuroda, who has had the luxury of throwing at pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium prior to this year. Kuroda is just 4-5 on the road this season with a 4.28 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. He allowed seven earned runs in five innings in his only trip to Toronto earlier this season. He’s also allowed four runs or more in four of his past five starts. He’s not pitching well enough to be favored in this range.   
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Chad Jenkins is an unknown, which adds to the Yankees billing here. Jenkins is a big, strong dude that may not be ready to front a rotation but he has the arm strength and bulldog mentality to be an asset at the back end. The 6’4” 230 pound righty consistently generates ground balls by keeping the ball down with his heavy and lively 88-93 mph fastball. Jenkins can drop a hard slider in for strikes or use it as a chase pitch. Jenkins is an efficient pitcher who throws strikes and pitches to contact and could have a nice career as a #4-5 type starter. We all know where these two are at but at this price, we can’t pass up the value offered.
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N.Y. Mets +156 over ATLANTA
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Playing the role of the spoiler is almost as much fun as being in a pennant race but sans the pressure. The Mets find themselves in that role again and with six wins in their past seven games, they could certainly make things difficult for the Braves.
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Atlanta is just 13-16 at home against southpaws and will face a solid one here in Jonathon Niese. Niese has been consistently good all season with a 3.54 ERA and an xERA of 3.49. He has 152 K’s with just 46 walks in 183 frames. He also owns a strong groundball bias profile. These are all the elements of strong starter. With a take-back of +156, surely Niese warrants consideration.
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Atlanta has reeled off five in a row to remain tied with the Cardinals in the Wild Card race. Tim Hudson rebounded nicely in his last start vs. PHI (7 IP, 2 H, 4 Ks) after two poor outings. Still, with a mere 37% of his starts this year being quality , it's hard to trust this 37-year-old. Hudson skills have slipped noticeably in the second half with his strikeout rate way down and his xERA rising from 3.56 to 4.42. His age and second-half fade suggest he’s far too risky in this price range.
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CHICAGO +108 over Tampa Bay
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Not sure the Rays should be chalk here with this unfavourable pitching matchup.
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Big-time prospect Jeremy Hellickson has put up big-time ERA and WHIP since arriving to the bigs. So what's the problem with that? Well, a closer looks finds that his strikeout rate and control issues leave him with a soft skills set that has been masked by low hit rate and high strand rate. Note the ERA/xERA discrepancy of 2.34/4.21 before wagering on this guy. His batted ball profile of 40%-GB/39%-FB is not impressive either.
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Gavin Floyd has back to back strong starts for the first time since June. He is 4-1 in five career starts against the Rays, with a 2.57 ERA, 0.86 WHIP with 30 K’s in 35 IP. The South Side was very unfortunate to lose the opener last night after numerous scoring opportunities against James Shields. They’re still a strong team at home and should capitalize on those chances tonight.

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MLB Predictions

Cleveland Indians - 111

The Royals were swept in a 4 game series in Detroit during the week and have now lost 5 straight games. Over those 5 games the Royals have scored just 14 runs (2.8 per game). Cleveland went into Chicago looking to be spoilers against their division rivals, and ended up taking 2 of 3 against the White Sox to hurt their chances at winning the division. The Indians have really struggled over the second half of the season, but they've won 3 of 4 and scored 29 runs over those 4 games (7.25 runs per game). Will Smith will pitch for Kansas City and he is 6-8 on the year with a 4.88 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, and .302 opponents batting average. His last start was vs the Indians where he went 7 innings giving up 8 hits but just 2 earned runs. David Huff will get his 3rd start of the season and looks to improve on his 2-0 record, 2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and .220 opponents batting average. His last start was in Kansas City where he went 5.2 innings giving up just 3 hits and 1 earned run in a 15-4 win. Note that the Royals are 3-12 in their last 15 road games vs a team with a losing record, and 2-5 in Smith's last 7 starts vs a team with a losing record. Not much good can be said about Cleveland either, but they've won 3 of 4 and their bats are going. Huff beat Kansas City in his last start where he pitched well, and I expect another solid outing from him with some run support to give him another victory. Take the Indians.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday September, 28

Scott Delaney

My free winner for tonight is going to be the Cleveland Indians over the Kansas City Royals, as I'm going to lay the cheap price in a showdown of disappointing teams from this season, but certainly the better team.

Think about it, the Indians are closing out the season with six straight home games: three against the Kansas City Royals over the weekend and three against the American League Central division-contending Chicago White Sox next week. If there were ever a time the Indians are going to close the season playing their best baseball, it's going to be in this series - against a team it can dominate.

Southpaw David Huff is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in two September starts, so I think he'll be the catalyst for the Tribe, who will be out for revenge for it recent skid against Cleveland.

The Royals have won seven of the last eight meetings, but I'm not sold Kansas City is the better team. Cleveland puts it together and lays its pride on the line, Huff pitches his ass off to impress everyone for next year and the Indians open the series with an easy win.

3♦ CLEVELAND

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday September, 28

Chuck O'Brien

My free winner for Friday night is going to be the Arizona Diamondbacks, as they host the lowly Chicago Cubs, and should win big.

Aside from a mismatch of teams, we clearly have a pitching mismatch with Ian Kennedy over Travis Wood in Phoenix tonight.

Trust me, look past Kennedy's numbers, cause he's pitched much better than those figures would indicate, especially his last time out, against the Rockies at Coors Field. Kennedy was pelted for four runs on nine hits in six innings. But in his two starts before that, Kennedy allowed one run in 15-1/3 innings. And he's going to have revenge on the brain in this one, as he's 1-2 lifetime against the Cubbies with a lofty ERA of 7.34.

On the other hand, we have Wood, who is in after lasting a mere five innings in his previous start. He is 1-2 with a 5.51 ERA in his career against the D-backs, and ont he road in the last week knowing you're one of the worst teams in the league... I wouldn't be surprised if these guys are more interested in hitting up Christie's Cabaret after the game.

Take the Snakes on the Run Line.

5♦ ARIZONA -1.5

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday September, 28

Craig Davis

Friday's free play is the New York Yankees on the Run Line over the Toronto Blue Jays.

It's not often the Yankees get shut out... but that's exactly what happened to them last night in a 6-0 final behind Brandon Morrow. Ivan Nova continues to suck and it'll be surprising if he makes the post-season roster if the Yankees are fortunate enough to get that far.

Today's matchup is more favorable for the Yanks as they get Hiroki Kuroda against Chad Jenkins, and even though Kuroda has been struggling of late, I still have to believe the Yankees bats are going to come alive against this youngster.

Kuroda does have a 5.29 ERA in his last five starts after recording a 1.66 ERA in his previous eight, but we all know what he's capable of when his "stuff" is on... and he can't continue to struggle for this long without a dominant outing somewhere mixed in there.

As mentioned, the Blue Jays counter with Chad Jenkins (0-2, 4.24) who got called up from AAA in August and appeared in 10 games in the Blue Jays pen before earning his first start last Sunday. Manager John Farrell said he's been impressed with Jenkins enough to give him a shot against a lineup like the Yankees have and doesn't believe it will shatter his confidence if New York pounds him early.

Either way you slice it, the Yanks need this game a whole heckuva lot more than Toronto and I believe we'll see a much better outing across the board.

Take the Yanks on the run line as your free play of the day.

3♦ N.Y. YANKEES -1.5

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday September, 28

Jeff Benton

The Rays last night for free, now 6 straight freebie winners!

Your Friday night freebie is the Under in the Nats-Cards game.

St. Louis still looking to secure their Wild Card ticket, and I think this game will have a playoff-like feel and will be a low-scoring pitcher's duel.

The Nationals are about due for a cool-down, as their bats have produced four straight Overs as they head to the Gateway City. As for the Cardinals, they have stayed Low in three in a row, and 10 of their last 14 overall.

Edwin Jackson and Adam Wainwright are in need of a quality start as they both get ready to twirl in the postseason.

Jackson did just steady himself with eight innings of one run ball pitched against Milwaukee, and he does own a 2.97 ERA when pitching under the lights this season.

Wainwright has worked his last three starts away from home, and five of his last six starts overall have also come on the road. I expect being back on a familiar mound will help in his cause to throw a solid game.

I like the Under in tonight's Nationals-Cardinals possible postseason series preview tonight at Busch.

2♦ WASHINGTON-ST. LOUIS UNDER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday September, 28

Chris Jordan

My free winner tonight takes us North of the border, where I find the American League East-leading Bronx Bombers taking on the Toronto Blue Jays inside the Rogers Centre.

We're on the run line, so we're going to end up with starting pitchers Hiroki Kuroda and Chad Jenkins for this game, and that's just fine with me. Though Kuroda has appeared to struggle of late, you can't take away the fact he was a force for the Yankees through the middle of the summer. He is 2-1 with a rather high 5.63 ERA in four September starts. And while I know he has gone no more than 6-1/3 innings in a game this month, I think he's going to get enough run support to spark a decent start tonight.

Jenkins is 0-2 with a 4.24 ERA this season and is having to rumble with a Yankees team that is now two games behind Texas for the best record on the junior circuit, and is seeing and hitting the ball well, save, of course, from last night's 6-0 loss to the Blue Jays.

The Yankees have a magic number of six for the A.L. East title, leading the Orioles by only one game with six to play. And despite Thursday's setback, the Bombers have won 11 of their last 15, while the Jays have lost 12 of 17.

My money tonight is on the revenge-minded Yankees, who win big behind a turnaround performance by Kuroda.

2♦ N.Y. YANKEES -1.5

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday September, 28

Matt Rivers

Free play winner last night on the Browns-Ravens Under the total.

24-13 comp play run coming into Friday.

For Friday night, take the M's-A's game to play Over the total.

Both teams have been on a bit of an offensive uptick as we head into the final weekend of the regular season, Seattle on a 2-0-1 Over clip their past three games, while Oakland is on an 8-2-1 Over run their last eleven games overall.

Blake Beavan is the owner of a 5.07 road ERA this year, while his counterpart A.J. Griffin has lost his way his last pair of starts, allowing a rather large nine runs his last nine innings pitched.

Six of Griffin's last eight season starts have wound up landing in the Over column, while three of the last five season series meetings between these division rivals have also landed high.

Seattle-Oakland to combine for the Over tonight.

4♦ SEATTLE-OAKLAND OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday September, 28

Harry Bondi

Hawaii / BYU Under 49

BYU has gone under the total in nearly 60% of its home games the last 10 years and we'll follow that trend tonight. The Cougars have been stellar on defense this season and they have held three out of four opponents to 13 points or under, led by a stingy run defense that is dominating the line and limiting opponents to 68 rushing yards per game. Expect similar results tonight against a very young and inexperienced Hawaii offensive line that starts three freshmen and two sophomores. Unfortunately for BYU, the offensive line has also struggled and it has received very average play at QB. Both offenses will struggle to score tonight in what should be an ugly game. Go under.

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