Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday October, 18

Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday October, 18

DUNKEL INDEX

Seattle at San Francisco
The Niners look to bounce back from their 26-3 loss to the Giants and build on their 15-4-3 in their last 22 games following an ATS defeat. San Francisco is the pick (-7) according to Dunkel, which has the Niners favored by 14 1/2. Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (-7)

Game 303-304: Seattle at San Francisco (8:20 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle 131.001; San Francisco 145.350
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 14 1/2; 35
Vegas Line: San Francisco by 7; 37 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (-7); Under

NCAAF

Oregon at Arizona State
The Sun Devils look to take advantage of an Oregon team that is coming off a 52-21 win over Washington and is 2-5-1 ATS in its last 8 games following a win by more than 20 points. Arizona State is the pick (+10) according to Dunkel, which has the Ducks favored by only 7 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Arizona State (+10)

Game 305-306: Oregon at Arizona State (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oregon 111.865; Arizona State 104.395
Dunkel Line: Oregon by 7 1/2; 72
Vegas Line: Oregon by 10; 68 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Arizona State (+10); Over

Game 307-308: Houston at SMU (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston 87.221; SMU 78.715
Dunkel Line: Houston by 8 1/2; 64
Vegas Line: Houston by 5 1/2; 60
Dunkel Pick: Houston (-5 1/2); Over

MLB

NY Yankees at Detroit
The Tigers look to build on their 9-3 record in Max Scherzer's last 12 starts. Detroit is the pick (-105) according to Dunkel, which has the Tigers favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-105)

Game 917-918: NY Yankees at Detroit (4:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Sabathia) 16.007; Detroit (Scherzer) 17.047
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1; 6
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-115); 7
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-105); Under

Game 919-920: San Francisco at St. Louis (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Lincecum) 17.364; St. Louis (Wainwright) 16.596
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 1; 8
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday October, 18

Rob Vinciletti

Houston vs. SMU    
Play: Houston

The Cougars have won 3 straight and have rebounded off a tough start. They are a solid 9-1 straight up and to the spread vs losing teams, 7-2 in October and 9-4 ats off a win vs a conference rival. SMU is a lousy 0-10 ats at home when the posted total is 56.5 to 63 and has lost 9 of the last 11 in the series. Look for Houston to get the win and cover here in Conference USA play. Take Houston.

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Jack Jones

SMU Mustangs +5

The SMU Mustangs are the right play as Thursday's free pick over the Houston Cougars. Houston has taken a big step back this season, and it is simply getting too much respect from oddsmakers on the road here.

The Cougars opened 0-3, but have responded by winning three straight. However, those three wins came against Rice, North Texas and UAB, and not one was a true road game. This will only be Houston's second true road game of the season. It lost at UCLA 6-37 in the other.

SMU has played an extremely difficult schedule this season with the likes of Baylor, Texas A&M and TCU on its resume. It has also played two road games at UTEP and Tulane, and it's lone cupcake game resulted in a 52-0 blowout over Stephen F Austin.

The Mustangs are certainly battle-tested coming into this one. They did lose at Tulane 26-27 on a last-second touchdown last week, but there's a very good chance they were looking ahead to this contest with Houston. They are hungry to put an end to their six-game losing streak in this series.

This play falls into a system that is 47-18 (72.3%) ATS since 1992. It tells us to bet on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (SMU) - in conference games, off an upset loss to a conference rival as a favorite of 10 or more. Bet SMU Thursday.

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Dave Cokin

Houston at SMU
Pick: Houston

Houston has come on strong of late. Not much value here with SMU off the shocking upset loss to hapless Tulane, and the Cougars will get public money. But Mustangs QB Gilbert is a turnover machine and his propensity for mistakes is the key for me. Houston minus the points.

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Jim Feist

Oregon at Arizona State
Pick: Under

This is a high total because uptempo Oregon takes the field, but the under is 4-1 in the Ducks last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. And this is a very good Arizona State (5-1) team, losing only to Missouri of the SEC, 24-20. This Sun Devil defense is tough, 14.2 points per game allowed (9th in the nation). The Arizona State offense has a strong ground game, like Oregon, that can chew up yards and the clock. The under is 4-1 in the Sun Devils last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. Play Oregon/Arizona State under the total.

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Jeff Scott Sports

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Arizona State Oregon Under 68.5: This has been a high scoring series of late, but I feel this one will be a bit lower than the norm. Oregon is an explosive offense, but they are mainly a running team that has averaged 302.3 ypg and 5.8 ypc on the ground this year. That will chew up some time on the clock. They will also be taking on an Arizona State defense that has allowed just 128.5 ypg and 3.2 ypg on the ground this year. Overall this ASU defense has allowed just 272 ypg and 3.9 yards per play and they will make Oregon move the ball down the field a little at a time rather than a bunch of big strikes. That will also eat clock.  On the other side of the ball this Oregon defense is not all that bad, allowing just 358 ypg and 20 ppg on the year. ASU will likely look to run the ball and try and shorten the game, keeping that explosive Oregon offense on the sidelines. ASU does average 187.8 ypg on the ground and the Ducks stop the run pretty well, allowing 126 ypg and 3.5 ypc on the ground this year. Overall the Sun Devils average 6.4 yards per play, while the Ducks allow just 4.6 ypp, so I don't look for too many big plays from ASU either. There will be allot of running in this game from both teams and I feel  that will help keep this one around 60 points and no higher.

SAN FRANCISCO -7 over Seattle: 18-3-2 in my last 23 NFL Night games. Tough spot for the Seahawks here as they are off an emotional come from behind win over the the Patriots and must now take on a San Fran team that is very angry after getting blown out at home last night and is 3-0 ATS in their last 3 at home vs Seattle, winning all 3 by at least 13 points. The Seahawks come in 0-7 as a road dog of 9 or less off a SU win and their opponents is off a SU loss as a fav, plus Seattle is 1-11 ATS in games 5-8 vs an opponent off a SU fav loss. A couple of strong numbers for Seattle to overcome, but they still have to overcome the talent gap on the field as well and I don't see that happening here. Both teams have very solid defenses in this game, but Seattle did struggle with the Pats last week and before that   they really hadn't faced a solid offense. The Niners defense struggled last week, but will be taking on a Seattle offense that averages just 15 ppg on the road, while San Fran does average a very solid 25 ppg at home. Seattle is in their 3rd road game in 4 weeks, they are not a good road team and the Niners are pissed after last weeks home loss. I expect the Niners to take this one by DD.

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Frank JordanFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Yankees vs. TigersFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Over 7FOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Neither team has hit that much in this series. The Yankee woes have been some what historic and the Tigers have hit just enough to get the three wins through the first three games. With the extra day off that will help clear the minds of the Yankee players. Max Scherzer has an era over 5.75 against the Yankees this season and look for the Yankees to raise that as they bat him around and push the total over the seven mark as the Yankees get six or seven and the Tigers will scratch out one or two so expect at least eight runs in this one. Play the Over

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Tony GeorgeFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Houston -4.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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2nd Place versus 3rd place in Conference USA Western Division tonight and I am siding with Houston in this one.  SMU's transfer QB Gilbert from Texas  has struggled all year and June Jone's offense is inconsistent.  The Cougars are rolling covering their last 3 games by 34.5 points over the spread.
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SMU lost to the worst offensive team in all of the NCAA last weeek at Tulane as a 18 point fav, I do not see them hanging tight in this one. Hostons offense putting up over 500 yards a game and Tulane beat SMU averaging 9 ppg on offense for the season?  Forget about it!!   SMU at home in this series is just 4-7 ATS, and Cougs have won 9 out of 10 SU in this series, I am laying it.

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Jeff Scott SportsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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St LOUIS -132 over San Francisco: Since 1985, 17 of the 21 teams to take a 2-1 lead in the NLCS have gone on to advance to the World Series and I feel that the Cardinals will take another step towards returning to the WS with a big win tonight. Tim Lincecum is starting for the Giants and while he has looked good in relief in the Postseason he has still struggled as a starter on the year. Time may have been 7-6 on the road this year, but with a 6.22 ERA. and will be taking on a St Louis offense that has averaged 4.9 rpg in their last 10 games and 5.04 rpg at home. The Giant offense comes in averaging 5.06 rpg on the road, but have struggled lately, averaging just 3.5 rpg in their last 10 games. This is a big night for Adam Wainright as he missed last years postseason run and will be making his first ever post season start in his 7 year career. Adam is 10-6 with a 3.62 ERA at home and he has allowed 2 ER's or less in each of his last 4 starts vs the Giants. St Louis has played well at home all year and I believe it will continue here as they look to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the NLCS. 
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Yanks/ Detroit Under 7: Neither offense has been scoring a whole lot of late as the Yanks have averaged just 1.8 rpg in their last 5 games, while the Tigers have averaged just 3.1 rpg in their last 10 games. Now we add a couple of hot pitchers to the mix and I really don't expect allot of scoring in this one. CC Sabathia comes in with a 1.51 ERA in his last 5 starts, going at least 8 innings and not allowing more than 2 ER's in each of those starts. Max Scherzer comes in pitching very well allowing more than 2 ER's just once in his last 10 starts, while posting a skinny 1.36 ERA over that stretch. Max also has a 1.44 ERA in his last 3 starts vs the Yanks, while CC has a 3.32 ERA in his 3 starts vs the Cats this year. This will be a classic pitchers duel with at most 4 or 5 runs being scored.

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SAN FRANCISCO -7 -110 over Seattle
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The standings tell us one thing but the point-spread tells us another. Despite equal 4-2 records and the Niners getting smoked at home to the Giants while Seattle was defeating the Patriots, this line sits at a full touchdown. Yes, the Seahawks are off to a decent start and Pete Carroll likely has balloons strewn throughout his home after defeating New England. However, Seattle’s passing offense remains one of the league’s weakest units while its highly touted defense was shredded for 475 yards by Brady & Co.
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The 49ers will be steaming. This was their worst loss since Jim Harbaugh’s arrival and under Harbaugh, they have not lost back to back games. After their last loss to the Vikings, they regrouped and responded by whacking the Jets, 34-0. Seattle has lost its two previous division road games in Arizona and St. Louis while covering just 5 of past 15 away. The Seahawks are a much different road team, having failed to score more than one touchdown and 16 total points in an away game. On a short week with travel, this figures to be their toughest road test yet.
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ARIZONA STATE +8½ -110 over Oregon
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Here are some numbers to consider; 57, 42, 63, 49, 51 and 52. In six games and with a record of 6-0, those are the scores the Ducks hung on their opponents. They’re the #3 ranked team in the nation. With that comes a premium to wager on them and once again we find a solid home pooch on a Thursday night featured ESPN game. The Ducks’ six opponents have been Arkansas State, Fresno State, Tennessee Tech, Arizona, Washington State and Washington. Five of those six were at home while the other was on a neutral field, making this Oregon’s first true road game. They also allowed 34 and 25 points respectively to Arkansas State and Fresno State.
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The Sun Devils come in with a 5-1 record with only loss coming at Missouri, 24-20. In their other five games, they allowed 17 points or less in all of them. ASU’s offense is a well balanced attack with an average of 187 yards rushing per game and 291 passing yards per game while leading the conference in pass efficiency and ranking second in scoring (40.5 PPG).
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Although OU is once again an offensive machine under Chip Kelly, its defense is once again well behind the offense. At some point, it always catches up to these Ducks. We don’t have a true sense of how strong this Oregon team is as a whole yet because of some weak scheduling. We do know that to wager on them, you’re paying an inflated price and that is something we can’t endorse doing. The Sun Devils are always tough at home. As a home conference pooch, they’ve covered 80% of the time since 2003. When you add up all these high percentage angles that work in ASU’s favor, there is only one way to go here.

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DETROIT +106 over N.Y. YankeesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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In this series against the Tigers, the Yanks are hitting .112. Throw out the four runs they scored in the ninth inning in the opener and the New York Yankees would have one run in the series. The lineup changes on Tuesday night didn’t change a thing. The Yanks are striking out often and now they’ll face perhaps the best strikeout pitcher in the game in Max Scherzer. Scherzer struck out 231 batters in 187 frames. He went 7-3 at Comerica with 106 K’s in 82 innings. Current Yanks have hit .214 off him and that’s when the bats were working.
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C.C. Sabathia always gives the Yanks a great chance of winning.  However, with the added pressure of having to throw a gem because the offense is stuck in neutral, it makes pitching much more difficult than knowing you have three or four runs to work with.
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It’s hard to imagine the Yanks getting swept in the playoffs and perhaps that’s why they’ve taken quite a bit of money for this game (Tigers opened as favorite’s yesterday morning). Fact is, New York is a tight group under heavy scrutiny and pressure right now while the Tigers are loose, confident and under no pressure. Yanks favored here is bordering on ludicrous.

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Jeff AlexanderFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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New York Yankees -114
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The Yankees are down but not out. They of all teams know that because Boston came back from a 0-3 deficit against them. Down 0-3 your mentality changes. The Yankees will be much looser tonight as they are playing with nothing to lose. One thing you can't afford to do is pass up Sabathia at this price. The Yankees are 84-35 in his last 119 starts. More recently, they are 5-0 in his last 5 starts and 3-0 in his starts against Detroit this season. Sabathia went the distance his last time out while throwing a lot of pitches but has shown no ill effects in his following performances. In fact, the Yankees are 4-0 in his last 4 starts after throwing more than 120 pitches in his last appearance. Last night's rainout also assures us his arm will be fresh. Bet New York on the money line.

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Dave PriceFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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1 Unit on SF Giants +125
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The Giants are 25-10 in their last 35 road games, 7-1 in their last 8 playoff games as an underdog of +110 to +150, 13-4 in their last 17 games as an underdog and 15-5 in their last 20 games following a loss. The Giants are also 5-1 in Lincecum's last 6 starts, 6-0 in his last 6 road starts, 4-1 in his last 5 starts as an underdog and 6-1 in his 7 career starts vs. the Cardinals. The two-time NL Cy Young winner hasn't looked like himself much of the season, but I expect him to deliver tonight versus a team he has had a great deal of success against.

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Jimmy BoydFOR THE LARGEST SELECTION OF FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Francisco Giants +125
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Look for the Giants to even the series tonight behind a strong outing from Tim Lincecum. It was a rough season for the two-time NL Cy Young winner, but he's regained his form in the playoffs. In three appearances out of the bullpen, he's given up just one run on three hits with nine strikeouts in 8 1-3 innings. He worked two innings in Game 1 of this series without giving up a single hit.
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St. Louis hasn't seen much of Lincecum lately as he hasn't started against them since June 1, 2011. That plays to his benefit as the Cardinals haven't had much success against him. Lincecum is 5-1 (6-1 on the money line) with an ERA of 2.89 in seven career starts against the Cardinals.
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We also can't forget about the success he had in the 2010 MLB Playoffs when he went 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA in five starts to help the Giants capture the World Series.
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I expect Lincecum's confidence to be up because of the success he's had out of the pen, and that spells trouble for St. Louis tonight. Take the Giants.

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SMU Mustangs +5
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The SMU Mustangs are the right play as Thursday's free pick over the Houston Cougars. Houston has taken a big step back this season, and it is simply getting too much respect from oddsmakers on the road here.
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The Cougars opened 0-3, but have responded by winning three straight. However, those three wins came against Rice, North Texas and UAB, and not one was a true road game. This will only be Houston's second true road game of the season. It lost at UCLA 6-37 in the other.
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SMU has played an extremely difficult schedule this season with the likes of Baylor, Texas A&M and TCU on its resume. It has also played two road games at UTEP and Tulane, and it's lone cupcake game resulted in a 52-0 blowout over Stephen F Austin.
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The Mustangs are certainly battle-tested coming into this one. They did lose at Tulane 26-27 on a last-second touchdown last week, but there's a very good chance they were looking ahead to this contest with Houston. They are hungry to put an end to their six-game losing streak in this series.
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This play falls into a system that is 47-18 (72.3%) ATS since 1992. It tells us to bet on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (SMU) - in conference games, off an upset loss to a conference rival as a favorite of 10 or more. Bet SMU Thursday.

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MLB Predictions

Giants / Cardinals Under 7

We will come right back with a play on the UNDER tonight. I will keep this write up short as not much has changed. Today we have Tim Lincecum on the mound for San Francisco. He has been pitching out of the bullpen in the postseason until tonight, with two relief appearances. He has worked 8.1 innings and given up just 3 hits and 1 earned run while striking out 9 and walking just 1. That includes 2 innings of no hit shutout relief vs the Cardinals. It seems as if he has found his stuff and is doing better with his control, which is dangerous for opponents - when he is on he is one of the better pitchers in baseball. I expect a solid outing from his tonight. Adam Wainright on the other hand is coming off a game in which he struggled going just 2.1 innings giving up 7 hits and 6 earned runs against the Nationals in Game 5 (in Washington). In Game 1 he was solid going 5.2 innings giving up 6 hits and 1 earned run while striking out 10 (at home). Wainwright has pitched better at home all season going 10-6 with a 3.37 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and .259 opponents batting average at home. Take note that while Lincecum struggled during the regular season, he owns a 5-1 record and 2.18 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, and .176 opponents batting average all time in the post season. The UNDER is 5-2 in the Giants last 7 road games, and 6-2-1 in their last 9 playoff road games. If both pitchers pitch as they are capable of we should be in for a very low scoring game. Take the UNDER for 1 unit.

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Harry Bondi

Oregon (-7.5) over Arizona State

The Sun Devils have been pointspread darlings this year under new head coach Todd Graham, going 5-0 SU and ATS. But this is still a relatively young team that won just six games last year and hasn't faced anywhere near the speed or talent of Oregon this season. Oregon is a veteran and road-tested team, going 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games away from home. The Ducks also had the benefit off a bye last week, so you can be sure they'll be ready and rested tonight to come out and prove they -- not Florida -- deserve that No. 2 spot in the BCS standings that were released earlier this week. After facing a schedule full of soft defenses, look for ASU sophomore QB Taylor Kelly to be flustered by the hard-charging, ball hawking Ducks defense. Arizona State has struggled when stepping up in class, losing 17 straight games to Top-10 teams, and that trend continues tonight.

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Joe Gavazzi

Detroit -105

Many will shy away from fading NYY ace Sabathia in an elimination game. After all, CC is 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA in this year's playoffs with a lifetime playoff record for NYY of 7-1 with a 3.09 ERA. That excellence is matched by Scherzer. In his lone playoff start this season, he worked 5 1/3 IP allowing no earned runs with 8 Ks vs. Detroit. In 5 appearances vs. NYY Scherzer is 4-0 with a 2.39 ERA. He will be motivated by pitching behind a number of successful starts by the Detroit staff. With Verlander allowing just 1 run last night, Detroit starters retain a sub 1.00 ERA in the playoffs. That fits nicely with the negative momentum of the Yankees who have a .200 BA in these playoffs including .158 BA in this series. Tigers get the sweep.

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Scott Delaney

My free baseball winner for Thursday afternoon will be on the Giants and Cardinals going over the posted 7, as I think these two are going to come out of the rain-delayed Game 3 firing out of the box.

The Cardinals are handing the ball to Adam Wainwright, who will be out for redemption after making the shortest start of his career in one of the biggest games he's pitched. Wainwright was chased from his second National League Divisional Series start in Game 5 after giving up six runs in 2-1/3 innings. He has an ERA of 7.88 this postseason and now he's looking to press against a Giants team that can stroke the long ball and will be out to avenge last night's loss.

The defending World Series champion Cardinals will be just as hungry, looking to send the Giants to the brink of elimination. I like them to get to Tim Lincecum, who might be 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA in the playoffs, but has been getting things done as a reliever. And while the two-time Cy Young Award winner has allowed just one run in 8-1/3 innings of relief this postseason, he's now taking the mound as a starter for Game 4, and lest we forget his regular-season struggles (5.18 ERA)? I just think he was better off coming in to shut things down, rather than opening himself up to get drilled over the long haul.

I'm playing this one high.

3♦ OVER Giants/Cardinals

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Craig Davis

86-75 free play run.

Wednesday's free play is Under the total in the Yankees-Tigers game.

I gave you the Tigers and Yankees under last night as a 20-dime winner, but tonight I don't feel quite as strongly about it, so I'm giving it to you as a free play.

Have you seen the games in this series?? Even counting Game 1, which ended up going over, these games are all pitching and defensive battles that don't excite the people that are expecting to see a lot of runs.

Granted, every once in a while someone puts a charge into a ball... usually a Tiger... but even then the rally is limited to a run (or two at the most). With CC Sabathia on the mound, you know the Tigers runs are going to be at a premium.

He dominated the Orioles in his last start and I look for him to pick up right where he left off against them.

As for Max Scherzer, the Yankees are hitting a combined (dismal) .177 against him for their careers. Both Sabathia and Scherzer have been filthy this post-season, and if Scherzer was healthy all year, one can only wonder how well he would have done, in terms of the Cy Young race.

This game will be like all the others... low scoring.

Take the UNDER as your free play of the day.

2♦ N.Y. YANKEES-DETROIT UNDER

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