Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

Bryan Power

Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh
Pick: Pittsburgh

According to research, the Eagles are the first team in NFL history to post three wins by two points or less in the first four weeks of the season.  Despite their 3-1 record, they have a point differential of -17.  After beating the Giants last Sunday Night, Philly is in for a bit of a letdown this week as they get set to visit Pittsburgh where they' find an angry (and rested) Steelers team.

Surprisingly, Pittsburgh finds itself at 1-2. With both the Ravens and Bengals off to strong starts in the division, the Steelers MUST have this game.  They are off a bye, meaning they've had two weeks to stew over a head-scratching loss to a bad Oakland Raiders team they had a double digit lead against.   Over the last three seasons, Pittsburgh is a perfect 9-0 ATS when coming off a straight up loss.  This is a very strong home team with QB Ben Roethlisberger now 25-5 straight up his last 30 starts at Heinz Field with a 45-15 TD-INT ratio!  As an added bonus, safety Troy Polamalu is expected back while RB Rashard Mendenhall and LB James Harrison are expected to make their respective season debuts.

The Steelers dominated their first home game, beating the Jets 27-10. They have held second half leads in both losses.  Despite the records, Pittsburgh is the better team here.  The Eagles have been trailing at the two minute warning in all four games this season.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

David Chan

Atlanta vs. Washington
Pick: Washington

The Falcons are 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS; last week they beat Carolina 30-28, unable to cover the 7-point spread.

Atlanta has matched its best start in franchise history, guided by QB Matt Ryan, who has the league's highest NFL passer rating at 112.1.

The win over Carolina wasn't pretty though, as Ryan was sacked seven times.

Defensively the team looks sound, giving up just 19 points per game.

However take note, already 0-1 ATS this season vs. conference opponents, the Falcons are just 13-14 ATS in the same position over the last two.

The Redskins are 2-2 SU/ATS; last week they won at Tampa Bay 24-22 as 1.5-point underdogs.

This is a big game for Washington as it looks to snap a seven-game home losing streak.

QB Robert Griffin III has been superb this year, with a 103.2 passer rating, throwing just one INT in 124 attempts.

Washington is averaging 30.8 points per game.

The Falcons thrive off of turnovers, but the Redskins are tied with Atlanta and Houston for the fewest, just two.

RB Alfred Morris leads a unit which produces a league-best 175.5 yards per game on the ground.

Defensively the team has been pretty stalwart, especially against the run.

The Falcons rely on RB Michael Turner to keep teams honest, to set up the play action for Ryan. However, the Redskins are yielding just 89 yards per game on the ground.

Note, already 2-0 ATS this year as an underdog, Washington is 15-11 ATS in the same position over the last two.

So will Atlanta come in overconfident and overlook this underrated Redskins team?

I believe the answer is: yes!

Washington has many motivational factors working in its favor here, and I expect its secondary to do just enough for it to come away with at least the ATS cover.

Consider a second look at the home side in this matchup!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

Sean Murphy

Denver vs. New England
Pick: Over

Neither team has been the dominant 'over' bet that most expected them to be coming into this season, with the both the Broncos and Patriots sitting at 2-2 from an o/u perspective.

However, it's clear that both offenses are getting stronger with each passing week, and anytime you have Peyton Manning going up against Tom Brady, even if the former's arm strength is in question, and the latter doesn't have quite as many weapons around him, you have to give a long, hard look to the 'over'.

The biggest question mark entering this contest is whether or not Peyton Manning can still go toe-to-toe with Tom Brady. Even if his arm strength isn't 100%, Manning is still finding a way to make it work, most recently completing 30-of-38 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns in last week's rout of the Raiders. Even if the Broncos offense has been inconsistent, they've still managed to produce at least three touchdowns in all four games this season. There's little reason to expect that trend to reverse against an uneven Patriots defense on Sunday.

New England has been lights out offensively in three of four games this season, putting up at least 30 points on all three occasions. They've taken things to a whole new level, with some help from an opportunistic defense, scoring a whopping 82 points in the last two weeks. The Broncos do boast a tremendous pass rush, but I question whether their linebacking corps and secondary can hold up against Brady and company on Sunday. Remember, a very similar Broncos defense gave up 41 and 45 points in two meetings with the Patriots last season.

This one isn't just about Manning and Brady. The two offenses have found nice rhythm lately thanks in large part to the emergence of explosive ground games. Broncos RB Willis McGahee is running as well as he has at any point in his career, while the Patriots are getting steady production from rookie RB Stevan Ridley, and if last week was any indication, Brandon Bolden is capable of playing a big part in the offense as well.

There's a lot going on in this matchup, and when it's all said and done on Sunday evening, I'm confident we'll be left talking about one of Sunday's most entertaining games.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

Chris Elliott

Buffalo vs. San Francisco
Pick: Buffalo

The Buffalo Bills (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS) travel to Candlestick Park to take on the San Francisco Giants (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS) in week 5 Sunday afternoon.

The Bills are stinging after getting hammered at home last week 52-28 to a determined New England Patriots club. They had won their previous two contests 24-14 at Cleveland and 35-17 at home vs. K.C. after a week 1 loss 48-28 at NYJ.

QB Fitzpatrick has put up decent numbers with an 89.8 QB rating, 57.6% completion, 931 yards throwing, 12 TDs, 7 INTs and 66 yards on the ground. Of note, all of his 7 INTs were in the teams 2 losses to the Jets and NE. Keep it simple Fitzy and your team will keep it close.

Neither RB Jackson (knee) or Spiller (shoulder) are at 100% however both are expected to play Sunday. The duel when healthy are as good as any RB combo in the league. In 2011 they combined for 2,206 total yards from scrimmage with 12 TDs.

The offense has been excellent overall ranking 6th with 28.75 PPG. Their rushing attack has been stellar ranking 4th overall with a massive 632 yards through week 4.

The Bills focus in the offseason was on improving the team defense. They landed big name free agents DE Mario Williams and DE Mark Anderson to solidify a front line that includes 2011 third overall pick DT Marcell Dareus out of Alabama. The defense has struggled so far ranking 30th allowing 32.7 PPG and ranking 25th giving up 406.5 YPG. LB Nick Barnett has been awesome with 38 tackles while DT Kyle Williams leads with 3.5 sacks.

San Francisco is known for hard nose football with a strong defensive presence. Patrick Willis is arguably the best linebacker in the game right now with 5 years in the league and 5 pro bowls including 4 first team all pros (2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011).

QB Alex Smith is an efficient passer with a 98.1 QB rating and 67.3% completion. He does not have a big play offensive weapon at WR however TE Vernon Davis is considered one of the most athletic players in the game and is the fastest of the 49er receivers.

RB Frank Gore continues an impressive career with 326 yards rushing in 4 games this season and 7,951 in his career in 104 games.

The offense ranks 12th in the NFL scoring 26 PPG and 19th with 346.3 YPG. The defense ranks 3rd in the NFL giving up a mere 16.3 PPG and 5th in the NFL allowing 277.3 YPG.

LB Navorro Bowman (arm) is probable for this game while CB Carlos Rogers (ankle), DT Isaac Sopoaga (knee/ankle) and RB Brandon Jacobs are all questionable.

These two teams haven't met since 2008 therefore the head to head matchup is irrelevant. I expect both teams to supply a heavy dose of the run game in this one which will eat up time on the clock. If Buffalo can avoid turning the ball over they can keep this game close. With Buffalo currently getting 11 points, take the Bills to do enough to cover the spread.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

Jesse Schule

Green Bay vs. Indianapolis
Pick: Over

The Packers will be in Indy to take on the Colts in Week 5, coming off a barn burner with the Saints. The Colts will have their hands full with this high flying Packers offense, and you can expect to see plenty of points in this game.

The Packers came into last week ranking first overall in the NFL against the pass, however they allowed Drew Brees to gain more yards in last week's game than they had allowed in all three previous games. Brees threw for 446 yards and three TDs against the Green Bay secondary.

The last four times these two teams have faced each other head to head, they have seen the total go OVER the listed number in all four contests. Of Course the last time the Colts played the Packers, they had Peyton Manning at quarterback. Andrew Luck hasn't had a real breakout game yet this year, however he showed plenty of promise in the pre-season. This week he may have an opportunity to put up some big numbers against this Packers secondary.

If the Colts are going to have any chance of winning this game, they are gonna need all the points they can get. After being blown out by the Bears in Chicago in their season opener, the Colts have played a couple of close games, winning at home over the Vikes and losing last week to the Jags. This will be their first test against one of the premier offensive teams in the NFL, and you can expect them to struggle to keep the Packers from scoring.

The Indy defense has been one of the worst in the NFL at containing the run, allowing an average of over 130 yards rushing per game so far. The Packers will use the run to set up the pass, and if their running game gets going, they will put up a lot of points.

It's gonna be a shootout in Indy on Sunday ..

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

Teddy Covers

Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh
Pick: Pittsburgh

The reigning #1 defense in the NFL (Pittsburgh) was torched by Peyton Manning and the Broncos passing game in their opener.  They got torched at Oakland prior to the bye as well, allowing the modest Raiders offense to score on each of their last five drives of the game.

That being said, this spot clearly favors the Steelers, hungry and angry off their bye week.  Linebacker Larry Foote: “I think we need the time to evaluate ourselves mentally. We need to get away and individually we need some soul searching, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Guys need to pick it up, look at themselves in the mirror and see what we can do.”  Of course the expected return to the lineup of formerly injured defensive stars James Harrison and Troy Polamalu should help matters significantly.

The Eagles continued to find ways to win tight games last Sunday Night against the Giants, when a fortuitous offensive pass interference penalty and subsequent missed Lawrence Tynes field goal allowed Philly to escape with a 3-1 record.  That being said, their next pointspread cover will be their first of the season – much like last year’s team that started the campaign 4-8 ATS, the 2012 version has been an overvalued commodity from Day 1 this year.

That’s not likely to change.  Philly’s overall stats look impressive.  They’ve outgained their opponents by a whopping 0.9 yards per play (third best margin in the league, behind only San Francisco and Baltimore) and that hasn’t come against weaklings either – they’ve faced the Giants, Cardinals and Ravens over the last three weeks.  The markets look at Philly’s -5 turnover differential and see a team primed to improve.

But after three barnburners in four weeks, facing a rested and determined foe, it’s not going to be an easy task for the Eagles to hang around for 60 minutes this week.  It’s worth noting how badly Philly looked in their lone previous road tilt, and how good the Steelers looked in their lone previous home game.  And with Ben Roethlisberger making fewer mistakes than Michael Vick these days, don’t be shocked if the Eagles fail to bounce back off a their miscues here – exactly what happened at Arizona.  Take Pittsburgh.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

Spartan

Denver +7

Last week we cashed in easily on the Patriots as our big Game of the Month in the NFL, but with that being said I'm going against Brady and company this sunday against the Broncos. Not sure just how many more times we'll have the opportunity to sit back and enjoy a battle of arms and wits between two of the absolute greatest to ever get under center. Brady & Manning have staged some epic battles in the past and this has at least the potential to be yet another. Here is a hard, cold stubborn fact to consider here guys. The last half dozen times these two have squared off the thing was decided by a touchdown or less. And here we have Peyton and his Broncos catching that key number of seven. Manning throughout his career has usually been pure money when taking the field as a dog. The public will be drooling over the Patriots here but I suspect this game will be competitive to the end. Denver will be looking to serve up some payback after a pair of convincing losses to the Patriots last year. I'm not calling for an outright but I do feel taking Manning and the generous points is the sharp side for us. We cashed last week on the free release with Miami getting the cash at Arizona, let's get another one here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

Johnny Detroit

NY Giants -8.5

The Browns kept it close with the Ravens as Brandon Weeden put up 300+ yards in the air, but Trent Richardson only managed 47 yards on the ground as Cleveland fell to 0-4. The loss of Josh Cribbs early in the game hurt the Browns, but it was the running game that was an utter disaster. Prior to the loss to the Eagles, the Giants piled up 41 points on Tampa Bay and 36 on the Panthers. Eli Manning made a poor decision in the red zone and now leads the league in red zone interceptions. The Giants should roll here and we feel they win by a couple TDs as Manning gets the job done this week.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

King Creole

Philadelphia +3.5

We talked about it on this week's Marc Lawrence radio show. And it's been tweeted out by numerous sharp handicappers. So what is 'it'?
It's the unreal winning percentage for all UNDERDOGS from the NFC Conference this season. With Thursday's outright WIN by the St Louis Rams.... all NFC underdogs have now gone 24-3-1 ATS so far this season. It could be in division games... or non-division conference games... or in NON-conference games (like OUR play). But any way you slice it, DOGS in this conference have hit at 89% so far this season. There's only three such dogs going on Sunday  (EAGLES / SEAHAWKS / and REDSKINS).

For this contest between two teams from the state of Pennsylvania, a bias is building against a 3-1 Eagles team that the public faded big since an opening week nail-biter at Cleveland. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is likely gaining an important hook (the half of a point in addition to the standard three point line given to the home team in a presumed otherwise even game) here as it comes off of a bye week the healthiest it has been since last December.

Philadelphia, which finished last season with a top three defense overall and against the pass, yet again has a strong defense. The Eagles are only giving up 5.8 yards-per-pass and lead the league by allowing just 52.4% completions (this is in a league where 12 teams average 65%+). More specifically, in games against Philadelphia, quarterbacks are 75-for-143 for 827 yards with five touchdowns and six interceptions. In all other games played by those teams, quarterbacks are 301-for-480 (62.7%) for 3,453 yards (7.2 yards-per-pass), 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Offensively, the Eagles are a top ten team as well. On the season, Philadelphia is averaging almost a full yard (0.84) more per play than its opponents (despite running the ball significantly more often).

Pittsburgh anticipates the return in this game of James Harrison, Troy Polamalu and Rashard Mendenhall. NONE of these guys will help in their 'achilles heel' however. The Steelers, who have only covered the spread in three of their last ten games, have some obvious flaws that the Eagles should be able to exploit. Chief among these is an offensive line that we would rank as one of the five weakest in the NFL. Furthermore, their age and depth concerns on defense have led to a below average (#20) ranking in our efficiency metrics - and that's assuming Polamalu and Harrison are healthy.

Ultimately, this is another case of a top five team in the NFL heading on the road to a fringe top 15 team. The fringe top 15 team does not deserve to be favored - especially not by more than a field goal. The door is likely closing for the Pittsburgh Steelers in this era. Philadelphia may shut it completely with a win that catapults the Eagles back into serious Super Bowl contending conversations.

In the last 4 seasons, ALL home teams playing off their BYE Week... and off a SUATS road loss (Pitt) have gone a PERFECT 0-7 ATS...

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

Andy Iskoe

Jacksonville +5.5

Prior to their Monday night win in Dallas, Chicago was expected to be about a 4 point favorite in this game but the line was bet up on Tuesday following the impressive Monday night win.  The Jags remain one of the weakest teams in the league and will face a defense capable of frustrating J'ville QB Blaine Gabbert.  Yet at the same time can Jay Cutler really be expected to have another solid game, especially off a short week and playing a second straight road game?  Chicago has a below average offense which may not be as able to exploit the Jaguars' defense as easily as have other foes.  This is as much a play against Chicago as it is on Jacksonville as the Bears, clearly the better team, should not be favored by more than a FG on the in interconference play.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

Jeff Scott Sports

5 UNIT PLAY

NEW ENGLAND -6.5 over Denver: The way the Pats played last week, I see them going on a serious run and the Broncos will not stand in their  way here. The Pats offense was in high gear last week, especially once they were down 21-7 ad that showed me the fire this team has when the play well. From that point on they outscored Buffalo 42-7. I know the Denver defense is tougher than that of the Bills, but when Brady is on their isn't a defense in the league that can stop him. Last year in the playoffs the Broncos were crushed by this team and I while Manning is an upgrade at QB for this team, I just don't feel that Denver has closed the gap enough to keep this one close. Denver has played two good offenses this year (Houston and Atlanta) and they allowed 58 combined points in the 2 games, so this defense can be exposed vs some good offenses and New England will expose them. The Pats allowed 28 points last week to Buffalo, but just 7 after they were down 21-7 and they have generally done well vs Peyton as he is 6-10 vs them and he had many more weapons at Indy than he has now. New England will look to make a statement with a big 14+ point win over a  Denver team that just doesn't have enough defense to contain this offense.

4 UNIT PLAY

Tennessee +6 over MINNESOTA: I like the Titans in this spot. Jake Locker will be a good QB, but I feel the fact that Hasselbeck will be in there gives Tennessee a better chance of winning this one. Last week vs Houston Matt threw for 193 yards and a pair of TD’s in relief of the injured locker and he should have a good showing in this one vs a Minnesota defense that has really overachieved this year in facing pathetic offenses in Jacksonville and Indianapolis. Tennessee’s offense has not been great, but I feel that with Matt back there they have a better chance of putting up some points. The Titan’s weakness has been their pass defense that has allowed 285 ypg passing, but this Vikings are not a passing team and Minnesota Tennessee has limited the damage on the ground, allowing just 3.9 yards per carry, despite 136 ypg. I feel the titans should be able to Slow down Petersen enough to make Ponder try an beat them and that is not a role he is accustomed to. Minnesota is off BB wins vs San Fran and Detroit and have a road date with Washington and RG# on deck, so this could be a flat spot for them. Look for the Titans to have their best game of the year and keep this one very close, if not win outright.

3 UNIT PLAYS

POWER ANGLE PLAY

Kansas City/ Baltimore Over 47: The Baltimore offense has been very good this year, putting up 424 ypg and 30 ppg, plus they are 2nd in the league in yards per play at 6.4. Very impressive numbers for this offense and they will be taking on a Chiefs defense that comes in allowing 34 ppg and 6.1 yards per play (28th). This chiefs defense will not be able to keep up with the no huddle attack of the Ravens. On the other side when have a Chiefs offense that has been very good this year. Kansas City comes in averaging 420 ypg overall and 174 ypg on the ground. The Ravens do allow just 3.2 yards per carry, but KC is top in the league, gaining 5.6 yards per rushing attempt. That ground attack should suck in the Baltimore defense, giving Matt Cassell an excellent shot at exploiting a Baltimore defense that  is 29th in the league vs the pass, allowing 296 ypg. Baltimore also allows 7.3 ypa (23rd), while Kansas City is a bit worse, allowing 7.9 per pass attempt, which is 28th in the league. Both of these offenses has been very good this year, and they should have good showings vs a couple of defenses that are struggling this year. Look for this one in the 50's. POWER ANGLE FOR THIS PLAY--- The last 4 years from game 5 on out all road favs of 4 or more that are off a Thursday night game have seen the Over go 15-2.

Buffalo/ San Francisco Under 45: Gotta like the Under here. the Bills just gave up 52 points last week so you know they will be looking hard to improve on that side of the ball this week. It also helps that they will be playing a bit more conservative of an offense in the Niners. San Fran likes to pound the ball, play field position and then rely on their defense to do the rest, especially at home. The Bills offense has been good at times this year, but they have yet to face a defense this good. The Niners come in 3rd in total defense and 4th in points allowed and last week they they a shutout at the Jets after struggling in their loss at Minnesota.  The Niners allow just 4.7 yards per play and that will not allow the Bills some easy scores. On the other side the Bills defense has been torched, but mostly threw the air and the Niners are a rushing team, so I don't see a lot of up and down the field from the Niners in this one. Both teams will run the ball more than throw it in this one and that will eat a lot of clock. San Fran does play more of a conservative game at home and I feel that will keep the score in the 30's and not the 40's

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

Jack Jones

Buffalo Bills +10

The Buffalo Bills are showing great value Sunday as a double-digit underdog to the San Francisco 49ers. This line has been inflated due to last week's results, and I'll gladly take advantage Sunday.

San Francisco beat the New York Jets 34-0 last week. Obviously, public perception is very high on the 49ers right now. Buffalo lost to New England 28-52, so public perception is not very high on the Bills right now. This has provided us with excellent line value.

This play falls into a system that is 34-12 (73.9%) ATS over the last 5 seasons. It tells us to bet against home teams (SAN FRANCISCO) - good offensive team (335 to 370 YPG) against a team with a terrible defense (>=370 YPG).

The 49ers are 4-18 ATS after allowing 200 or less total yards in their previous game since 1992. The Bills are 16-4 ATS in road games after allowing 35 points or more last game since 1992. The 49ers are 8-24-4 ATS in their last 36 games following a SU win of more than 14 points. Bet the Bills Sunday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

Jimmy Boyd

Cleveland Browns +8.5

The Browns are 0-4 but have been very competitive. In fact, they have been at their best against their best competition. They have played the Eagles, Bengals and Ravens - all playoff caliber opponents - to 7 points or less.

The defending Super Bowl champs are just 2-2 and only one of their wins have come by more than the posted number for this game. This is a lot of points for the Giants to be laying considering how many yards they've been giving up. They rank 22nd in the NFL with 372.2 yards allowed per game.

The Browns have consistently been disrespected by odds makers recently, and they have consistently played their opponents tougher than the books thought they would. As a result, they are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games. They are also 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 road games.

The fact Cleveland is on the road and yet to win this season is of no concern. Consider that it is 6-0 ATS in road games following 2 or more consecutive losses over the last 3 seasons. It has only lost by an average of 3.5 points in this situation.

It is also worth noting that the Giants are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games versus a team with a losing record and 2-12 ATS in their last 14 home games versus a team with a losing road record.

In addition, teams coached by Tom Coughlin are just 11-24 ATS as a home favorite of 7.5 to 14 points. His teams have only won by an average of 4.9 points. in this situation.

The Browns have had a few extra days to prepare as they played the Thursday game last week. That only helps their cause. They likely won't be able to get the "W" but should keep this one within the number. Take the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

Joseph D'Amico

Chicago Bears vs. Jacksonville Jaguars    
Play: Chicago Bears

Jacksonville has the worst offense in the NFL. Blaine Gabbert has been sacked 12 times this season. The QB tends to hold on to the ball too long. This combined with the fact that Maurice Jones-Drew has been held under 100 YR in three of the four games this season. WR, Laurent Robinson is most likely out due to a concussion. The rest of the Jaguars receiving corps do not match up well against a Bears secondary and overall "D" that held a solid Cowboys offense to just 18 points LW. Chicago is steadily improving, combining for 77 points in their L2 outings. QB, Jay Cutler is becoming more confident with each game while the legs of Forte (check status) and Bush have combined for 343 YR and 4 TDs. The tandem will face a Jacksonville run defense that allows 150.3 YPG on the ground. The Bears are 4-1 ATS their L5 games played overall while the Jaguars are 5-16-1 ATS their L22 games played vs. teams with a winning record. Take Chicago.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

Jim Feist

Dolphins vs. Bengals
Play: Over

Miami has found a running game with Reggie Bush, ranked 5th in the NFL in rushing, and have now found a QB. Miami rookie Ryan Tannehill threw for 431 yards last week in a tough loss at Arizona. But this Miami secondary is terrible, 30th in the NFL against the pass allowing 297.8 yds per game. The over is 5-2 in the Dolphins last 7 games overall. Cincinnati is far more uptempo on offense this season, and the over is 7-1 in Bengals last 8 home games. They have plenty of passing weapons to attack Miami and the over is 13-3 in the Bengals last 16 against the AFC, as well as 10-1 over the total in their last 11 games on fieldturf. Play the Dolphins/Bengals Over the total.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

DUNKEL INDEX

NY Yankees at Baltimore
The Orioles look to build on their 6-0 record in their last 6 games as a home underdog. Baltimore is the pick (+140) according to Dunkel, which has the Orioles favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (+140)

Game 909-910: Washington at St. Louis (3:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Gonzalez) 16.882; St. Louis (Wainwright) 15.266
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-110); 7
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-110); Over

Game 911-912: Cincinnati at San Francisco (9:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Arroyo) 14.759; San Francisco (Bumgarner) 16.320
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-140); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (-140); Under

Game 913-914: Oakland at Detroit (12:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oakland (Milone) 16.537; Detroit (Fister) 15.656
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Detroit (-160); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (+140); Under

Game 915-916: NY Yankees at Baltimore (6:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Sabathia) 15.385; Baltimore (Hammel) 17.050
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-160); 8
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (+140); Over

WNBA

Minnesota at Los Angeles
The Sparks look to build on their 9-1-1 ATS record in their last 11 home games. Los Angeles is the pick (-2 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Sparks favored by 11. Dunkel Pick: Los Angeles (-2 1/2)

Game 605-606: Minnesota at Los Angeles (3:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 113.024; Los Angeles 124.147
Dunkel Line & Total: Los Angeles by 11; 163
Vegas Line & Total: Los Angeles by 2 1/2; 167 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Los Angeles (-2 1/2); Under

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

Harry Bondi

Baltimore / Kansas City Over 46.5

As we noted in last week's Handicapper's Notebook, the Ravens defense is overrated and as a result Baltimore which has gone over in eight of its last 11 road games has become a team that depends on its offense to win games. Believe it or not, the Chiefs have one of the top-ranked offenses in the NFL and will be able to score points today at home. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, they've allowed 27 points or more in all four games this year and the Ravens will easily top that mark. It's a shootout at Arrowhead. Go over.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

SPORTS WAGERS

Baltimore +195 over N.Y. YANKEES

Incredibly, since 1995, the Yanks have missed the playoffs just one time. They have been knocked out in the first round eight of those 15 years. Most recently, the Yanks were knocked out in round one in four straight years from 2004 to 2007 and were also beaten last season by the Tigers. This is a team that was built to make the playoffs but a lack of pitching once they get here has been their downfall. The same could hold true this year. Outside of C.C. Sabathia, every other starter in the Yanks rotation is a potential liability. Of course the same can be said for the Orioles but they have an outstanding bullpen and closer and they’re not the team taking back close to 2-1 odds.

The Orioles just won’t go away. They’re not just happy to be here. They come to the park expecting to win and they usually do. Every time you expect the “magic” to end, it doesn’t. This is a young and dangerous team that is playing with house money under no pressure whatsoever.

We could take the Orioles in game one today at +144. However, +195 in a five game series sure looks better should they win game one. Should they go onto win game 2, they become a big favorite and we could hedge. If they lose the first game, our bet is still alive. The tag on the Orioles is simply too big to ignore.   


ST. LOUIS +100 over Washington

Props to all the great pitchers that won 20 games, nearly won 20 games or that were consistently good all season long. Adam Wainwright didn’t win 20 games. In fact, he lost 13. However, he’s as good as any pitcher in the league and should never be a dog in his own yard.

Although he had a high ERA in early May, Wainwright's skills showed no effect from his 2011 Tommy John surgery. Now in early October, Wainwright's season is even more impressive. Wainwright has 184 K’s in 199 innings, an elite 51% groundball rate an xERA that is within a couple of points of his previous lofty perches.  While strand rate and 1H hr/f have done in Wainwright's ERA, everything else screams "elite." The fact that his 2H has been even better means that, tough as it is to imagine, he even has more upside. This guy is as elite as any in the business.

Gio Gonzalez is also elite, making this a pretty sweet pitcher’s duel. However, this is a first for many of the Nats, including Gonzalez’s first appearance in the playoffs. It’s also worth noting that 10 of Wainwright’s 14 wins came at home and the combination of the Cardinals and Wainwright in their own backyard is too strong to pass up on without having to spot anything.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

Scott Delaney

On a free pick run of 18-8, I look to improve on that with a free play on the Atlanta Falcons-Washington Redskins going Over the posted number. I've been holding on to this play all week, listening to everyone talk about the weather and how these two fast-paced offensive units won't be able to move the ball.

But one intangible has kept my head in the game, and kept me thinking the same thing as obviously the oddsmakers.- the line hasn't budged off of 51 points. Why do you think that is?

Perhaps it's cause of RGIII, maybe it's because of Matt Ryan, it could be because of the two offenses we're talking about. Fact is, the oddsmakers believe this one is capable of hitting the 50-point plateau.

Last week RGIII looked spectacular, throwing for 323 yards, running for another 36 and leading his Redskins on a 56-yard winning drive that culminated with a game-winning field goal.

I know this is a huge test for Griffin, whose two wins have come against teams that are a combined 1-7, but with this one being played home, I suspect he'll feed off the frenzied crowd and will be fired up against one of the best offensess in the league.

The Falcons are putting up 31 points per game, third best in the NFL, and will be the stiffest test for the Redskins thus far. That doesn't necessarily bode well for the 'Skins, who has allowed 1,305 passing yards (31st in the league) and 13 passing touchdowns (a league-high).

That's not something you can just fix, so the 'Skins have no choice but to put points on the board in this one, as you better believe Mall hit Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Michael Turner.Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Michael Turner.atty Ice will utilize his more-than capable weapons, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Michael Turner.

Besides, if the Redskins' second-most potent rushing attack in the league, which averages 171 yards a game, you're going to see them keep pace behind RGIII. He's given his team a chance to win every game thus far, and though this is arguably the best secondary he has seen to this point, he'll be ready.

Play this one over, as it'll be a shootout.

5♦ OVER Falcons/Redskins

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday October, 7

Craig Davis

Free play winner yesterday on Ohio State.

Free play run is 83-68.

Sunday's free play is the San Diego Chargers.

If this were last year, the Saints would easily be at least a six- or seven-point favorite. Today, it's barely 3 1/2.

Is it really possible the Saints could actually open a season 0-5 for the first time in 16 years? Yeah, it's possible... and I think it might happen.

What's being overshadowed in this misery is the fact that QB Drew Brees tied Johnny Unitas record, set in 1960, of consecutive games throwing at least one TD pass. He'll break that record today, but that's the furthest thing from Brees's mind as he just wants to get a win.

But it's clearly not all on the shoulders of Brees... as the offense has done a decent job so far and has definitely put this team in position to win some games. The problem is... the defense is horrible.

I don't believe it's as horrible as it has looked. I truly believe they have the Bounty-Gate scandal on their minds and it has them playing tentatively. No, I'm not saying that's the only reason... but it's obviously playing a small factor. You don't go from decent to that horrible in one season. Granted, they did lose a few players from that squad, but there's still no way you end up being that bad!!

The Saints have allowed a league-worst 463 yards per game... and that's 40 more than the next-closest team. Yikes. They also allow almost 33 points per game and opposing QBs have a sick 107 QB rating against this porous unit.

No, Philip Rivers hasn't been as good as we know he can be this year, but he's consistent and he's not turning the ball over as much as he did last year. He's still getting used to a few new receivers and not having Vincent Jackson, but this defense can make any QB look like a beast.

Even though the the Chargers have some injury issues up front and at RB, but overall they are a better football team than New Orleans and I think they win SU.

Take the Chargers as your free play of the day.

3♦ SAN DIEGO

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