Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Kansas City +118 over PHILADELPHIAFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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John Lannan makes the switch from Washington’s Nationals Park and a great infield defense to Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park and a much lesser infield defense. Neither will work in Lannan’s favor. Lannan spent the majority of 2012 sputtering in Triple-A Syracuse, where he posted a 4.30 ERA in 24 starts with an ugly 86/50 K/BB. Lannan's only plus skill is his groundball tendency, which, combined with dashes of hit % and strand % fortune, have allowed him to out-pitch his xERA in each of his six major league seasons. There's nothing in his skill set that suggests long-term success but there’s plenty that suggests he’s going to implode at this park. Despite his good fortunes, Lannan still sports an ugly 1.51 WHIP in 64 starts over the past three years. This past spring, Lannan posted a 7.71 ERA in 21 innings over five starts. Those hard hit groundballs that were not finding holes in Washington will surely find them at this unforgiving park. The Phillies are 1-3 and the only reason they have one win is because Cliff Lee was able to shut down the Braves when the Phillies scored just two runs. They couldn’t win with Roy Halliday, Kyle Kendrick or Cole Hamels starting and with that awful pen, chances are they’re not going to win with this stiff going.
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The Royals have evened their record to 2-2 and have to be feeling pretty good after pounding out 19 hits yesterday in a 13-4 bashing of these Phillies. K.C. had just 17 hits in its previous three games in Chicago. It’s also worth noting that the Royals bullpen didn’t allow a single hit after Wade Davis gave up nine hits and four runs in the first four innings. Should this game be decided by the pens, one has to give a significant edge to the Royals. Luis Mendoza wasn’t terrible last season and that's saying a lot when you look at his history. 2H is where it all clicked, but even then he was only marginal. We’re not going to sugarcoat this and say Mendoza has breakout potential because he does not. His skills are mediocre and while his GB tendency offers a building block, it didn't help him all that much in '08 when he posted similar skills. It’s hard to see a path out of mediocrity for Mendoza but this isn’t about wagering on him. This wager is all about fading John Lannan, the Phillies bullpen and a struggling club that looks completely out of sync. The Royals bats woke up yesterday and Lannan is not likely to put them back to sleep.
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Arizona +115 over MILWAUKEEFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Diamondbacks are 3-1 and while it’s still early, we’d much rather be playing a team that’s won three of four and taking back a price than spotting a tag with a club that’s 1-3 and that has lost three straight. Losing is not easy to shake off, especially early in the year when losing can dig a hole that’s difficult to get out of. Mike Fiers (RHP - MIL) emerged as one of the NL's surprises in 2012 due to his quality off-speed stuff and deception in his delivery, but there are two things that make a repeat highly unlikely. His 88 mph fastball gives him very little wiggle room, especially as NL hitters adjust to his off-speed pitches. Second, his below average 8.3% swinging strike rate is correlated with the Aug-Sept beating he took (6.12 ERA, 1.6 hr/9). Fiers 2012 groundball/line-drive/fly-ball rate of 33%/28%/39% screams disaster. Fiers had a horrible spring too, pitching 19 frames and allowing 29 hits, 15 earned runs and walking eight for a spring ERA of 6.98. To suggest that Fiers is unappealing as the chalk would be an understatement.
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Patrick Corbin has earned the No. 5 spot in the Diamondbacks starting rotation and ended up claiming the job in convincing fashion, leading the staff in IP and averaging more than a strikeout an inning while compiling a 2.81 ERA in seven spring games. Corbin went 6-8 with a 4.54 ERA in 107 IP last year but don’t put too much emphasis on those numbers. There are some very good signs underneath the hood. Corbin’s control, strikeout rate and groundball % all improved in concert. His 2012 xERA of 3.72 combined with other skills confirm his readiness. Corbin is underrated with profit potential and in this spot against Fiers and the struggling Crew, that profit potential is likely to pay off right away.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

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Edmonton +162 over LOS ANGELESFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Kings are still the champs and they just might be as difficult to defeat in this year’s playoffs as they were in last year’s. From our perspective, they are still the team to beat. That said, the Kings are just not winning enough games and Jonathan Quick has been too shaky for them to be in this price range over this dangerous guest. Los Angeles is just 4-4 over its past eight games. Returning home from a five-game road trip in their last game, the Kings beat Minnesota 3-0 but managed just 14 shots on net. L.A. has the Ducks on deck in Anaheim tomorrow and after taking three out of a possible four points from the Oil this season, there are no scores to settle here. The Kings are in the middle of the pack in the NHL standings. In that regard, they are in the same place as many other teams including Detroit, Toronto, Ottawa, Minnesota and St. Louis. The Kings are not in playoff mode yet and until that switch is turned on, a tag like this one against them is worth taking.
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The Oilers are three points back of the Blues for the final playoff spot in the West. They can’t afford to take a shift off, let alone a game. This young and talented group is determined to make the playoffs, meaning a strong effort from every player is very likely. There is more to like about the Oilers also. Edmonton is 4-0 in their last four games playing on one day’s rest and that applies here. The Oilers also scored four goals or more in four straight games, totaling 22 goals over that span before being shutout in Vancouver on Thursday. They’ve also allowed two goals or less in four of their past six. Frankly, the Oilers are playing too well to ignore taking back a tag like the one offered here in a game they most certainly are capable of winning.
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Tampa Bay +112 over N.Y. ISLANDERSFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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What a difference a goaltender makes. You can break down all the X’s and O’s you want in the NHL but when it comes right down to it, the club that receives the better goaltending is going to win way more times than not when only four to six goals are scored on a regular basis. Not only does goaltending impact the outcome more than any other factor, it also affects the mindset of the entire team. A soft goal will deflate a team while great goaltending lifts a team and instills confidence in everyone else. Case in point is the Tampa Bay Lightning. Here’s a team that has had awful goaltending for two years running. At the trade deadline, Steve Yzerman goes out and picks up Ben Bishop for Cory Conacher and the Bolts promptly respond by going into Carolina and beating the ’Canes 5-0. Carolina fired away 45 shots on Bishop and the outstanding young netminder threw a shutout. It lifted the entire team and that momentum and new found life is very likely to carry over to Bishop’s second start.
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The Islanders are in a serious playoff race. They are in eighth place right now with 40 points but there are four teams right behind them in striking distance. Should the Bolts win this one, they will be in striking distance too. The Islanders are playing well but this is a team that has proved over and over that they can’t be trusted when they’re expected to win. The Isles have defeated the Lightning twice in two games this season but the feeling this time around in the Bolts locker room is entirely different and it starts with confidence in their new goaltender and new found hope. The Bolts no longer will be required to score five goals to win a hockey game and that’s huge.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

Brett Atkins

The defending World Series champs are off and running, as they've won three straight now, and don't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. The Giants raised their second World Series banner in three seasons Friday afternoon, and now they can celebrate with the home crowd by treating them to a Saturday afternoon win.

There's a bit of pride to this series, too, as the Giants (2010, 2012) and Cardinals (2011) have won the last three World Series.

I'm not going to list the pitchers in this one, cause I just think San Fran is the better value in its own field. But I will note Giants' starter Ryan Vogelsong threw seven scoreless innings against the Cardinals in his lone regular-season appearance against them last season, and then went 2-0 with 1.29 ERA with 13 strikeouts against them in last season's NLCS.

That should provide the confidence he'll need.

Take the Giants.

3♦ SAN FRANCISCO

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

Brad Wilton

Your comp play for Saturday is the Over in this afternoon's Yankees-Tigers contest at Comerica Park.

Detroit slugged their way to a home-opener 8-3 win and Over versus the Yankees on Friday afternoon.

The Over put the Tigers at 2 in a row Over the total after opening the new season with a pair of Unders. Chances of a third straight Over appear pretty good, as Detroit will get to face Phil Hughes who had been sidelined with his most recent back injury, but will give it a go for the Yankees this afternoon.

Not so sure Hughes is going to work more than 5 frames in this one, and the New York bullpen has been used plenty this spring already.

The Yankees have played Over the total in 3 of their 4 games already this season, and while their offense is certainly lacking without their injured sticks (ARod, Jeter, Granderson, and Teixeira), they have been able to come up with just enough to help aid their totals plays and tip them into the Over column.

I will stick with the percentages, and play the Yanks to make it 4 of 5 Over to start the season.

3♦ N.Y. YANKEES-DETROIT OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

Jeff Benton

Saturday freebie is the Washington Wizards to upend the Indiana Pacers at the Verizon Center.

Bad spot for the Pacers who just played last night in a "marquee" game versus the Oklahoma City Thunder, and got beat like a drum.

They may not win on the road, but Washington has won their last 8 games at home, and that includes wins over playoff-bound Chicago, Memphis and Milwaukee.

The Pacers have been playing some streaking basketball - 5 of 6, and still 8 of 10 overall wins after last night's dud - and they have also won 9 in a row over the Wizards coming into this Saturday night showdown, but Washington had proven a challenge with the points, covering 2 of the last 3 meetings, and 4 of the last 6 overall versus Indy.

Upset alert here as Washington looks to protect their house and move to 9 in a row on their home hardwood.

1♦ WASHINGTON

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

Craig Davis

Today's free play is on the NY Yankees at plus money with Phil Hughes on the mound.

This free play is nothing more than a value play, because getting the Yankees at this price, even though they've dropped three of their first four games of the season.

The only pitcher who has earned his money thus far is the oldest guy on the roster... lefty Andy Pettitte.

He pithced the Yanks to a 4-2 the other night vs. Boston... New York's one and only win of the season thus far.

I expect Hughes to get his first win of the year and the Yankees second as they battle without half their starting lineup.

No Jeter, no A-Rod, no Teixeira, no Granderson. What you've seen from the Yankees over the past week is NOT what we'll see, but there's still enough talent on this roster to get the job done... as long as Hughes does his job.

New York is losing games every way possible, but that stops today. Detroit is a great team and probably better, overall, at this point in the season, but even the good teams lose now and then.

Today is just as good as any for the Tigers to slip up with an erratic Max Scherzer on the mound.

Take Hughes and the Yankees as your free play of the day.

2♦ N.Y. YANKEES

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

Scott Delaney

My free winner is on the Cincinnati Reds laying a cheap price to the Washington Nationals, as I think the National League favorites may still be hungover after being pummeled in the series opener last night. I was pretty shocked to the see the Nationals get manhandled like that, and well, now the Reds have won three in a row and are hosting a matinee that plays into their favor.

I won't list the pitchers in this one, but you have to be confident with right-hander Mike Leake on the bump, as I think is the better pitcher in this clash, with the Nats handing the ball to Ross Detwiler.

Leake will be out to prove something, since he started last season 0-5 with a 7.71 ERA. His 3-2 lifetime mark against the Nationals should help raise the confidence level. With Detwiler, the Reds will take a crack at a southpaw who was 2-6 with 4.38 ERA on the road last season. And even though he sports a a respectable 3.13 ERA vs. Cincinnati, he's also 0-3 against it.

But again, I'm not listing the pitchers cause I think the momentum is in Cincinnati's favor. Remember, this is a team that won 97 games last season on its way to a National League Central title.

And with the Nationals stealing the preseason headlines this year, the Reds will be out to silence most of those raving, by trying to sweep their first series of the season.

Take the Reds.

2♦ CINCINNATI

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

Chris Jordan

I've read every article you could possibly imagine, and I've listened to Louisville coach Rick Pitino spout off about Wichita State's defense over and over. But the fact remains, the Cardinals are the predominate team here, and it'll be the one to push the pace and force the Shockers into a shootout.

But I'm not ready to lay double digits in this game, so I'm going to play the Over in this one, and look for the total to land on at least 137 points.

It's so hard to keep up with Louisville's speed, and it's not only with the guard play, but how quick to its bigs move to the ball. The Cardinals utilize stellar foot movement in the paint, and they're able to utilize a strong drive-and-kick offense with any lineup on the floor.

Wichita State has a lineup of good athletes to challenge the Cardinals, I know that. But as much as the Shockers use their talented guards to attack their opposition, but at some point their athleticism will induce the confidence this team plays with, and you watch what happens when they start draining 3s against Louisville.

Wichita checks in on Over runs of 10-4 after a straight-up win, 5-1 in non-conference play and 4-1 in neutral-site game. With Louisville, the high road is on winning runs of 10-1 on neutral courts, 7-0 after an ATS cover, 8-0 after a straight-up win and an identical 8-0 overall.

This one goes high.

4♦ OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

Jeff Scott SportsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Louisville -10 over Wichita State: I feel that Cinderella is done here. Wichita has had a nice run and really pulled some shockers (Pun intended) along the way, but this Louisville team is the best team in all of basketball and they will prove it here. Louisville is 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games and they should have covered vs Oregon. They have outscored their opponents by 21.8 ppg in the tourney and 8 of their last 9 wins overall have been by at least 12 points. This is a dominating team with very few flaws, if any. Wichita State comes from the Missouri Valley conference and just havent played may games of this caliber through the year. Yes the beat Pitt, Georgetown and Ohio State in the tourney so far, but how much does this team have left. I also give a big coaching edge to Pitino. He has had 5 days to breakdown game film of this team and you give him that much time and he will have his team more than ready. We also have to look at the Ware situation. This game is in his home town and you can bet that his mates will be going all out for him, just like the 2nd half of the Duke game. Not just the talent gap is working against the shockers, but the coaching gap and emotional gaps as well. Look for the Cardinals to win by 17 + here.
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Michigan/ Syracuse Over 130.5: The Wolverines may just be one of those teams that can solve the Syracuse zone. One of the was they will look to do that is by pushing temp, so that the Orange don't have a chance to set up defensively. Michigan had that same game plan vs Florida and in their uptempo style they were able to put 79 points on the board vs that tough Gator defense. The Wolverines are also one of the best shooting teams in the Nation (6th) and they are 18th in 3pt shooting and that means they should be able to shoot over that Zone. The Cuse have allowed 45.8 ppg in the tourney, but no team they faced is as good a shooting team as the Wolverines. Defensively Michigan has been tough this year, but they have allowed 70.3 ppg away from home and 66.7 ppg in their last 10 games overall, so a good Syracuse offense in an uptempo game should be good for at least the high 60 in this one. I do expect an uptempo pace here. I also expect the wolverine to shoot well vs this zone, while their defense also gives up plenty vs a good scoring Syracuse offense. Look for his one to be played in the upper 130's.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

MLB Predictions

Chicago / Atlanta Braves Under 8

Since sending this out last night the total seems to have dropped to 7.5 runs. The Braves took the first game last night by a score of 4-1. There were only 11 hits in the game combined form both teams. The Cubs have dropped to 2-2 on the season, and so far they’ve scored just 7 runs over 4 games (1.75 runs per game). The Braves are 3-1 now and scored 16 runs in their first two games, but just 5 runs over their past two. The Cubs will be sending Carlos Villanueva to the mound to make his Chicago debut. The ex Blue Jay went 7-7 last year in 38 appearances (16 starts) with a 4.16 ERA. He had a great first 11 or so starts before falling off in September. In Spring Training he had a 3.57 ERA over 22.2 innings pitched. The Braves will go with Julio Teheran as their 5th starter tonight, and there are high hopes for him after a terrific spring training. Teheran went 3-1 with a 1.04 ERA, .082 OBA, and 0.62 WHIP in 26 innings of work. Although it is just spring training allowing just 3 earned runs over 26 innings of work and striking out 35 batters is very impressive. He has had limited big league action, but in AAA in 2011 he went 15-3 with a 2.55 ERA. He followed that up last year with a very rough season going 7-9 with a 5.08 ERA. He has shown potential but it will be interesting to see how he does this year. With his first start coming at home vs a Cubs team that hasn’t had much success offensively after the spring he had I think we will see him get off to a good start. The UNDER is 4-0 for the Cubs this season, and dating back to last season the UNDER is 42-20-2 in the Braves last 64 overall. The UNDER is also 8-3 in these two teams last 11 meetings. I’m on the UNDER 8 here tonight.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

Wunderdog

Seattle at Chicago White Sox
Pick: Chicago White Sox

Felix Hernandez gets the ball for Seattle in this one, and he has been locked-up by the Mariners with a nice long term contract. He always generates interest from gamblers, so he is quite frequently over-priced. He has been a marginal pitcher on the road, where he is just 62-59 in his career. The Mariners are also negative money when he pitches on the road as a favorite. Dylan Axelrod will face the Mariners for the first time, and the pitcher usually has the advantage as the hitters have not seen him yet. The Mariners have not been good vs. a winning team at just 7-20 in their last 27, and are just 1-6 in Hernandez' last 7 starts on the road vs. a winning team. Go with the White Sox.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

Harry Bondi

ARIZONA (+125) over Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Brewers may be without their two best hitters tonight against Arizona. Even if they play, Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez are really banged up and a long way from 100%. Braun did not play Friday because of spasms on the right side of his neck and Ramirez left last nights game with a sprained left knee in the fourth inning. Mike Fiers takes the hill for the Brewers and after a good start last year the right hander was 3-6 with a 6.99 ERA over his final 10 outings. Fiers was not even suppossed to be in the Brewers' rotation but Chris Narveson was a disaster this spring forcing Milwaukee to go with Fiers. Arizona sends out lefty Patrick Corbin who has looked great in the spring. Diamondbacks make it two in a row over the Brew Crew tonight!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

Jeff Scott Sports

4 UNIT PLAY

Dodgers/ Pittsburgh Under 6:  With Clayton Kershaw on the mound I only see one team having any shot at at putting more than 1 run on the board. This Pittsburgh offense has struggled out the gate, ranking last in rpg (1.50) and last in BA (.127). Now they take on Clayton Kershaw, who threw 9 shutout innings at the Giants in his opener.  Clayton now has an 0.90 ERA in his last 7 starts dating back to last year and he has a career 2.32 ERA in this park. Let's also note that the Dodgers are huge favorites in this game and Clayton has a 1.19 ERA in his 62 career wins. Pittsburgh may have horrible offense, but their pitching has been solid, ranking 4th in ERA and 1st in WHIP. AJ Burnett did allow 3 ER's in his first start and he has allowed 6 ER's in each of his last 2 starts vs the Dodgers, but he will be taking on a team that is 25th in runs scored and 27th in hitting. In a pitcher's park with with two bad offenses and one of the best pitchers on the planet you can expect no more than 4 runs in this one.

3 UNIT PLAYS

Washington/ Cincinnati Over 8.5: Boy the Reds really put a hurtin on the Nats last night, winning by a 15-0 count. Well I feel that this Washington offense will look to come alive and put some runs on the board vs Mike Leake who struggles in this park. Mike Leake has an 18-12 mark in this park, but with a high 4.66 ERA, which would indicate allot of high scoring games. Mike also has a 7.59 ERA in his last 4 starts vs the Nationals and in his last 5 starts vs them there has been 9+ runs scored in each. The Nats do have a solid offense and should do some damage. The Reds showed last night that they have some good offense as well, even without Ryan Ludwick. The Reds pounded out 19 hits and 15 runs in the game. They also showed that the Nats pitching staff may have problems beyond the top three. Now Detwiler did have a good year last year, but he is facing a very good Reds offense and I expect him to have some problems today, plus he does have a career 4.34 ERA on the road. Not saying 15 runs will be scored in this one again, but I do expect the Reds offense to continue to hit well, while the Nats offense puts some runs on the board as well.

ATLANTA -165 over Chicago: Last night I won with Atlanta on the run-line, but today I will go with a straight ML play. The Atlanta offense didn't tee-off on Feldman like I thought they would, but I expect a better showing from them today. Carlos Villanueva had a good start to last year for the Jays, but in his last 7 starts he went 1-4 with a 6.59 ERA. He is also just 16-21 with a 4.36 ERA on the road in his career. The Braves offense had a very good spring and have continued that as they rank 7th in runs scored (5 rpg) and should be able to get to Carlos in this one, after their lackluster showing last night. Offensively the Cubs are one of the worst, scoring just 1.75 rpg (29th), while hitting just .133 (29th) and will have troubles putting up run on Julio Teheran, who had just 1 starts last year, but looked very good in the spring, posting a 3-1 mark with a 1.04 ERA. I just don't see Chicago coming up with enough offense to win this one.

TOP 5 TRENDS FOR TODAY

The Miami Marlins are 2-10 in their last 12 games vs a left-handed starter.

The Giants are 18-4 in Ryan Vogelsong's last 22 starts vs a team that scored 2 runs or less in their last game.

The Under is 40-18-2 in the Braves last 60 games with the OU line set at 7-8.5

The Rays are 13-2-1 UNDER in Cobbs last 16 starts as a favorite

The Royals are 5-17 with Clark Kellogg behind home plate

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

Minnesota/ Detroit Under 197: These teams met once this year and 187 points were scored in that game. I don't expect much more in this one. The Detroit offense has really been struggling of late as they have averaged just 90.3 ppg in their last 8 games. On the road the Pistons have struggled to score all year long, averaging just 93.1 ppg on just 43.3% shooting. Not sure that Detoit will put more than 93 on the board vs a Minnesota team that plays good defense at home, allowing just 95.1 ppg there. The Minnesota offense has been playing better of late, but still the average just 95.9 ppg at home and Detroit has allowed 97.9 ppg in their last 6 games. Should not really be an uptempo game and feel with 2 week offenses we should have no more than 190 scored here.

Brooklyn/ Charlotte Under 196: This is a very big game for the nets and I really expect them to bring the defensive intensity here. It hasn't bee hard for the Nets to play defense against Charlotte anyway of late. In the two meeting this year Charlotte has scored just 78 and 81 points vs the Nets, while dating back to last year they have averaged just 80 ppg in their last 4 meetings in this series. Overall this year Charlotte has averaged just 90.6 ppg on the road, while the Nets have allowed just 95 ppg at home.  The Bobcats don't play much defense on the road, but the Nets only score 96.8 ppg a home. Brooklyn should have a huge lead in the 4th quarter, which should have them taking it esay down the stretch. I see a 102-84 type of game here.


2 UNIT PLAY

BROOKLYN -14.5 over Charlotte:  Charlotte is not in a good spot, coming off the Miami game at home last night and now traveling to take on the Nets the next day. This Charlotte offense has struggled to score for much of the year and have put up just 78 and 81 points in their two meetings with the Nets this year. The Nets won those games by 21 and 16 points. Brooklyn is off a loss to the Bulls, but that home loss was on the Heels of a very long trip and teams usually do much better in their 2nd game back than their first. Brooklyn still has playoff seeding to fight for so they should be fully focused here and coming off a loss should have them even more focused. Nets by 17+ here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

Michael Alexander

Detroit Pistons vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Play: Minnesota Timberwolves     

Minnesota has won the last five straight against the Pistons by an average of 12.6 points, including a 105-82 victory at Detroit 11 days ago. That began a relatively impressive 4-2 stretch for the Timberwolves. Minnesota HC Adelman is 25-16 lifetime against the Pistons, who are 1-2 thus far on a four-game road trip.

Timberwolves are 8-0 ATS in their last 8 games following a S.U. loss, 8-0 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400, and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

Ross Benjamin

San Antonio -7.5

Atlanta is a dismal 0-9 ATS this season with a -11.8 point per game differential versus opponents averaging 103 or more points per game. This will be the Hawks 3rd game in 4 days, their 8th game in 12 days, and come off a humiliating home loss to Philadelphia last night. In spite of not having stars Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker tonight the Spurs are still a very deep team that will expose a very tired opponent.

Any favorite with a winning record on the season versus an opponent that comes off a home favorite of 6.0 or more straight up loss by 10 points or more, and that opponent has a winning percentage of between .510 to .600 is 24-5 ATS (82.8%) since the start of the 1996 season. Play on the San Antonio Spurs minus the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

Teddy Covers

Arizona vs. Milwaukee
Pick: Arizona

The Milwaukee Brewers have opened up the new season the same way they closed out the 2012 campaign – losing games at home in large part due to a dismal bullpen that can’t close out games without trouble.  The results don’t lie.  Milwaukee is 1-3 through their first four games of the season here at Miller Field. Their bullpen has been lit up, allowing runs in all four games.

And to make matters even worse for Milwaukee, their lineup is ice cold and banged up already.  They’re playing without Corey Hart, who opened the season on the DL.  Slugging third baseman Aramis Ramirez hurt his knee last night, downgraded to ‘Out’ for this game.  And former MVP Ryan Braun has a very stiff neck, a question mark to play this evening as well.  For a squad that has scored only 13 runs through their first four games, the injury situation certainly isn’t going to help.

Arizona is finding ways to win, just as they did under Kirk Gibson two years ago when they shocked the baseball world by winning the NL West title.  Last night, it was two runs scoring on a wild pitch, snapping a tie game late.  The previous night, the Diamondbacks overcame four separate deficits to beat St Louis in 16 innings.  Look for a strong season debut from promising D-backs southpaw Patrick Corbin tonight, leading to another Arizona victory.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

Sean Murphy

Atlanta vs. San Antonio
Pick: San Antonio

The Spurs are coming off a disappointing double-digit loss in Oklahoma City on Thursday, but I fully expect to see them bounce back against a soft road team in the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

Tony Parker is expected to miss tonight's game, and of course, the Spurs are already without Manu Ginobili, but this is an extremely deep team, and one that has done just fine in that duo's absence this season.

San Antonio did enjoy an off day on Friday, while the Hawks were crushed by the 76ers on their home floor. This doesn't look like an ideal bounce-back spot for Atlanta, playing on the second of back-to-back nights, on the road against a team that has had their number over the years.

Note that the Spurs have won six of the last seven meetings in this series, both SU and ATS. The last three matchups here in San Antonio have gone the Spurs way by 15, 16, and 23-point margins.

The Spurs are outscoring the opposition by more than 11 points per game at home this season, and enter this game playing some of their best defensive basketball of the year, having held seven of their last nine opponents under 100 points. The Hawks might hang around for a while tonight, but I'm confident we'll see the Spurs eventually impose their will, pulling away for a comfortable victory in the second half.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

John Ryan

Boston vs. Montreal
Play: Over

The simulator shows a high probability that more than five goals will be scored in this game. A sub-projection shows that one of these teams has a chance at scoring 4 goals on their own merit. Montreal is 14-5 OVER (+9.9 Units) against good possession teams-averaging 3+ more shots on goal than opp over the last 2 seasons; 14-7 OVER (+7.9 Units) when playing their 4th game in 7 days this season. Boston is 18-9 OVER (+9.7 Units) after playing a home game over the last 2 seasons; 13-5 OVER (+8.1 Units) after playing a game where 3 or fewer total goals were scored over the last 2 seasons. Take the OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 6

Jimmy Boyd

Syracuse/Michigan Under 130½

Both of these teams have impressive defenses with Syracuse getting the slight edge in points allowed. This matchup falls into a system to play the under on neutral court games when one of the team has beat the spread by 30 or more points in their last five games, in this matchup it is Syracuse, and they are playing against an opponent that has gone over the total by 48 or more points in their last 10 games. This system is 64-31 (67%) to the under.

You should also play the under on neutral court games when the total is between 130 to 139.5 points and one team, in this matchup it is Michigan, is forcing 14 or less turnovers per game and coming off three straight games where they also committed 14 or less turnovers. This system is 170-117 (59%) to the under over the last five seasons. When teams are not committing or forcing turnovers there are fewer fast break points which takes more time off the clock leading to the under.

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