Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 8

Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 8

DUNKEL INDEX

NCAAB

Michigan vs. Louisville
The Wolverines look to take advantage of a Louisville team that is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games against Big Ten opponents. Michigan is the pick (+4) according to Dunkel, which has the Cardinals favored by only 2. Dunkel Pick: Michigan (+4).

Game 601-602: Michigan vs. Louisville (9:23 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Michigan 76.987; Louisville 78.815
Dunkel Line: Louisville by 2; 142
Vegas Line: Louisville by 4; 138
Dunkel Pick: Michigan (+4); Over

MLB

NY Yankees at Cleveland
The Yankees look to build on their 11-0 record in Hiroki Kuroda's last 11 starts with 4 days rest. New York is the pick (+100) according to Dunkel, which has the Yankees favored by 1/2 a run. Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (+100)

Game 951-952: Milwaukee at Chicago Cubs (2:20 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Estrada) 13.285; Cubs (Jackson) 14.273
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Chicago Cubs (-125); No Total
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (-125); N/A

Game 953-954: Cincinnati at St. Louis (4:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Latos) 15.728; St. Louis (Garcia) 15.350
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-110); 8
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (-110); Over

Game 955-956: NY Mets at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Harvey) 15.268; Philadelphia (Halladay) 14.578
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-130); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (+110); Over

Game 957-958: Atlanta at Miami (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Maholm) 15.369; Miami (Slowey) 15.854
Dunkel Line: Miami by 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-165); 8
Dunkel Pick: Miami (+145); Under

Game 959-960: Pittsburgh at Arizona (9:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Rodriguez) 15.576; Arizona (Cahill) 14.970
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Arizona (-150); 9
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (+130); Over

Game 961-962: Colorado at San Francisco (10:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (De La Rosa) 15.634; San Francisco (Bumgarner) 18.470
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 3; 6 1/2
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-170); 7
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (-170); Under

Game 963-964: Baltimore at Boston (2:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Chen) 16.182; Boston (Buchholz) 15.592
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Boston (-135); 9
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (+115); Under

Game 965-966: NY Yankees at Cleveland (4:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Kuroda) 14.809; Cleveland (Jimenez) 14.443
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-120); 8
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (+100); Over

Game 967-968: Minnesota at Kansas City (4:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota (Correia) 15.987; Kansas City (Santana) 15.363
Dunkel Line: Minnesota by 1/2; 9 1/2
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-140); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+120); Over

Game 969-970: Tampa Bay at Texas (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Hellickson) 15.309; Texas (Ogando) 15.788
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Texas (-165); 9
Dunkel Pick: Texas (-165); Under

Game 971-972: Houston at Seattle (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Humber) 13.230; Seattle (Saunders) 15.639
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 2 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Seattle (-165); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (-165); Under

NHL

NY Rangers at Toronto
The Rangers look to build on their 4-0 record in their last 4 games in Toronto. New York is the pick (-110) according to Dunkel, which has the Rangers favored by 1/2 a goal. Dunkel Pick: NY Rangers (-110)

Game 51-52: NY Rangers at Toronto (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Rangers 11.488; Toronto 11.292
Dunkel Line & Total: NY Rangers by 1/2; 5 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Toronto (-110); 5
Dunkel Pick: NY Rangers (-110); Over

Game 53-54: Carolina at Boston (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Carolina 9.109; Boston 11.932
Dunkel Line & Total: Boston by 3; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Boston (-220); 5
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-220); Under

Game 55-56: Calgary at Colorado (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Calgary 10.485; Colorado 10.294
Dunkel Line & Total: Calgary by 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Colorado (-155); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Calgary (+135); Over

Game 57-58: Edmonton at Anaheim (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Edmonton 11.364; Anaheim 11.996
Dunkel Line & Total: Anaheim by 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Anaheim (-160); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Anaheim (-160); Under

Game 59-60: Phoenix at Vancouver (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Phoenix 12.283; Vancouver 12.720
Dunkel Line & Total: Vancouver by 1/2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Vancouver (-175); 5
Dunkel Pick: Vancouver (-175); Under

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Art AronsonFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Calgary vs. ColoradoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: ColoradoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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These teams have played three times this year: Colorado won 6-3 in Calgary on January 31st. The Avs won 5-4 in Colorado on February 28th. The Flames then won 4-3 at home on March 27th. Calgary is 13-20-4 overall, and 3-13-2 on the road. It's lost five straight and is coming off a listless 5-2 setback at Vancouver on Saturday. The Avalanche are 12-21-5 overall, but they've clearly been a "different" team when playing at home, going 10-6-2 in Colorado this year. The Avs have lost four straight, most recently a 4-0 setback at Phoenix on Saturday. A couple of cellar dwellers going head to head, with nothing to play for but pride. So where's the value? I think that Colorado does in fact enjoy a significant home ice advantage, and that's more than enough to tip the scales in its favor between these two inept teams. Consider laying the price here.

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Sam MartinFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Michigan at LouisvilleFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: OverFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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We expect a ton of offense in this Championship Game between two very good offensive clubs, but more importantly we look for this game pace to be sped up with more possessions than usual. Louisville likes to press, which will lead to quick possessions by the Wolverines, while Louisville loves to score in transition and avoid having to go up against Michigan's half-court defense. Both teams averaged in the mid-70's over the course of the regular season, and with the exception of Saturday's game against Syracuse, both teams have scored at least 70 points in every game in this tournament. Offense rules as this one sails over the total as Louisville moves to 11-1 Over in tournament games!

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Carlo CampanellaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Michigan vs. LouisvilleFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: MichiganFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Both teams have rolled over their first 3 tourney opponents to advance into Monday's NCAA Tourney Championship game. Louisville has won by 4, 8 and 22 points while Michigan has cruised to 2, 5 & 20 point victories over very tough foes that included Kansas, Florida and Syracuse! Michigan has proven they can beat the best teams in College Basketball, and even though they faced 3 tough opponents to get to Monday's Championship game, they're still one of the most accurate offensive shooting teams in the country, making an incredible 48.3% from the field this season! With the pressure of the March Tourney, Michigan still shot 49.3% against Kansas, 46.2% against Florida and 40% against Syracuse. While Louisville has looked great during March Madness, we're expecting another solid offensive effort by Michigan against a Louisville squad that's a MONEY BURNING 0-6 ATS against teams that are averaging 48% or better shooting this year!

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Jim FeistFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Baltimore at BostonFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: OverFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Baltimore Orioles finally saw their five game over streak to start the season go under on Sunday. While a good majority of the teams are seeing unders early in the year, it hasn't been such for the O's. In the O's first five games they saw total runs of 11, 14, 9, 15 and 11, all five overs. Sunday saw the club's first under as they lost at home to Minnesota, 4-3. Meanwhile, Boston has also been one of the few good over bets thus far, with four of its first six games getting over the number. That included Sunday's blowout win at Toronto, 13-0. The pitching hasn't been stellar, but it hasn't had to be great with the run support they have generated. Moreover, when Clay Buchholz has started, you can count on decent overs, evidenced by the 7-3 OVER/UNDER mark in his last 10 starts as a home favorite. I expect a big scoring game here on Monday with two of the better over clubs matching up. Have to look for the OVERs a bit harder to start the season and this is one such spot.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Michigan -1½ over SyracuseFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Orange has beaten every offense they’ve seen into submission but this isn’t Marquette or California they’ll be playing. Sure, Syracuse held the potent offense of the Hoosiers to 50 points but when you watch that game, and we’ve watched it over and over, the truth is, Indiana just missed their shots. The Hoosiers were cold that day but had plenty of open looks the entire game. That’s not to take anything away from the Orange, as this teams’ defense has been nothing short of a stone wall, holding opponents in this tournament to a remarkable 39% on their 2s, and 15 % on their 3s. The Wolverines will not be as offensively inept and we’re not convinced that the Orange can keep pace.
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The Wolverines have what Syracuse doesn’t and that’s an NBA talent point guard that makes smart decisions. Mitch McGary becomes more beastly with each passing game and there should be opportunities available on the offensive glass for McGary and his teammates, where the Orange defense has been statistically normal in the tournament. Syracuse may control where they put their defenders in the zone but the Orange don't control where John Beilein's team gets its shots or whether they shoot contested shots. In Syracuse's 53-51 win over Michigan in the 2010 Legends Classic, the Wolverines moved the ball well and got good shots versus the zone. Michigan didn’t have the at least four future NBA players on the floor at the time as they do now. This Wolverines team shoots 38 percent behind the arc and now has Mitch McGary dominating inside. They’ve had time to prepare for this defense and Beilein has proved in the past that he can beat it with the right personnel. This time around he has precisely that.

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Bob Balfe

Louisville -3.5

One word. Leadership. Michigan is the youngest team in the tournament and here they are. Coach Beilein pretty much made turned water into wine with this group this year and is one of the best coaches in all of basketball. This team is made up mostly of freshman that probably will bolt to the NBA next year. Its not good for a program to have one and done type players. Louisville does it right with guys that stay all four years. If ever there was a game that the Cardinals would slip up it would have been the game against Wichita State. Everyone was so focused on Kevin Ware. The media was all over Louisville that whole week and it showed in their slow start against Wichita State. This team was down 12 late and willed their way to a big win. Nothing rattles this team. Michigan has lived by the three pointer this entire tournament. I am not knocking it because it takes tremendous skill, but you can only launch and connect on so many 30 ft prayers. This Cardinal Defense is going to be like nothing Michigan has seen this entire tournament. This is the best team in the nation and its time for them to go finish the season off as champion. There is no secret into who should win this game. As a fan I would love to see Michigan because they are a bunch of young hungry players, but I see a team that wont be able to get easy buckets. Syracuse pretty much did everything they could to lose that game against Michigan. Credit the Wolverines, but I just don’t see them having any answers against all of the talent on this Louisville team. I really hope that this dome setting doesn’t ruin a good game. I know the NCAA is all about packing as many fans into the stadium as possible to make more money, but something about this type of arena just does not sit well with me as a fan to the game. The under in this game is probably not a bad option, but lets stick winning or losing with having to pick the winner tonight. Take the Cardinals.


Astros / Mariners Over 7

The Astros are off to an expected slow start in their switch to the AL this year, but they are a little bit better against left handed pitching and this is not the same boring Seattle team that we are used to year after year. Seattle will be able to put up runs this year with their new lineup. If they get decent pitching they could make a run to the playoffs. Saunders struggled in his first start this year and I expect the Astros to put up a couple runs on him. I think 7 is a soft line based on Seattle’s past history. Both teams batters should be on base today and send this over the number. Houston has a weak bullpen so I expect Seattle to also score some late runs. Take the Over.

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Marc LawrenceFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Colorado Rockies at San FranciscoFFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: San Francisco GiantsFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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When Madison Bumgarner and the Giants take on the Rockies in San Francisco in the opener of this 3-game series Monday night they will do so knowing they are 13-3 the last 16 games in this series, including 6-0 the last six games. In addition, Bumgarner is 6-0 with a 1.92 ERA in his last six team starts against Colorado, and 5-0 with a 1.28 ERA in his last five teams starts during the month of April. With that there is only one way to look here this evening. We recommend a 1-unit play on San Francisco.

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Rob Vinciletti

New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians    
Play: New York Yankees

This game fits a solid system here that plays against home teams, when both teams come in to start a series off road dogs wins of 5 or more runs. These home teams are winless since 2004. Both teams, the Indians and the Yankees sprung major upsets on Sunday. The Yankees knocked Off Justin Verlander as a big dog in Detroit and Cleveland Smoked Tampa and David Price 13-0. The Yankees are 5-0 straight up as a road dog off a road dog win where they scored 5 or more runs and 78-39 in day games. Cleveland has a mediocre 42-63 day time record. Ubaldo Jimenez goes for Cleveland and he has lost his last 4 home April starts allowing 15 earned runs in 24 innings. Last season he was 0-2 vs the Yankees allowing 7 earned runs in 11 innings. The Yankees have Kuroda pitching today and he went a strong 8 innings here last season allowing 3 runs. In his road April starts he has surrendered just 14 runs in 51 innings, much better than Jimenez numbers. Look for the Yankees to take this one.

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Jesse Schule

Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners    
Play: Houston Astros +1½

After winning on opening day, the Astros have now lost five straight. They will be in Seattle on Monday night to take on the Mariners in their home opener.

Seattle will send Joe Saunders to the mound, and he's coming off a terrible outing in his first start of the season. Saunders only made it through four innings, allowing four runs on seven hits while giving out four free passes.

He had a pretty poor year in 2012, and he didn't impress much this spring. He allowed 13 runs in just over eight innings in his final two appearances in spring training.

Saunders had better numbers in the day than he had under the lights last year, as he was just 5-10 with a 4.38 ERA in night games.

The Astros will counter with Phillip Humber, and he pitched well in a losing effort in his previous start this season. Humber went 5.2 innings allowing a single run on five hits in a 4-0 loss to Texas.

Humber won his only start against the M's last season, allowing a pair of runs on one hit. There is no doubt he can pitch, he tossed a perfect game last April. After a quality start against Texas, it should only get easier against the M's.

Take the Astros +1.5 runs.

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Dave Cokin

Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals
Pick: Cincinnati Reds

I had a winner on Tuesday with Jaime Garcia and the Cardinals as they snared a 6-1 win over the Diamondbacks. But in watching that game, I was not sold on what I saw out of Garcia. He managed to get through his frames without much damage. But he gassed all at once, and in summation, this was one of those better to be lucky than good performances. Garcia has great stats at home, he's a huge April winner and he's 8-2 lifetime against the Reds. But once again, I put way more emphasis on what I'm seeing now as opposed to what took place in the past. I think Garcia is a blow up waiting to happen.

Mat Latos is the polar opposite of Garcia. His numbers against the Cardinals are terrible, and if you scan his first start box score, there's nothing that stands out as more than ordinary. But looking beyond those base numbers, Latos was actually quite solid.

I'm all about isolating value off what I believe are misleading base stats, and this game falls into that realm. The old school stats will convince bettors that the Cardinals are a good bet, considering Garcia's "impressive" 2012 debut and his superb history against the Reds as well as those gaudy home and April stats. I'll trust the new school data that points to a fast regression in the works for Garcia. So I'll side with Mat Latos and the Reds as a small underdog this time.

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Bruce MarshallFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Tampa Bay Rays at Texas RangersFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Tampa Bay RaysFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Here's another chance to play the "humiliation" angle that worked well for Washington on Saturday, the day after it absorbed a 15-0 beating vs. the Reds. Now, it's Tampa Bay's turn as it looks to recover from a 13-0 home loss to the Indians on Sunday. The Rays were scoring 5 runs per game prior to Sunday's disappointment, but expect a bounce-back effort tonight in Arlington against a Rangers side they beat 5 of 9 times last season. Starter Jeremy Hellickson should recover from a shaky opening outing last week vs. the Orioles; he's posted a decent 3.38 career ERA vs. Texas. We also still need to see a bit more evidence than one win vs. the woeful Astros to be convinced about Rangers starter Alexi Ogando in his new role in the rotation after being moved from the bullpen. Play Rays on Money Line

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Stephen NoverFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Houston +160FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said the Astros were going to lose 100 games. Given their lineup that's almost a given. But this is one of the games they can win. Certainly they are worth a shot at this price with a pitching matchup of Philip Humber against Joe Saunders.
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Saunders hasn't been good for years. Humber is the better pitcher. In fact, the last time Humber visited Safeco Field he threw a perfect game against the Mariners last April 21. Humber couldn't come close to maintaining that pace the rest of the season, but he pitched a decent game in his first start this season allowing one run on five hits in 5 2/3 innings this past Wednesday against a much better hitting team, Texas.
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Saunders' last good year was 2009 when he was with the Angels. Since then he's gone 30-44. Saunders had a bad spring giving up 20 hits and 15 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings and he wasn't sharp in his first start allowing four runs on seven hits and four walks in four innings this past Wednesday against the weak-hitting A's at pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum.
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The Mariners are more than capable of losing to bad teams. They are 2-7 the past nine times when facing an opponent with a winning percentage below .400. Seatte's home field advantage is somewhat negated by the Mariners making a long flight Sunday night coming in from Chicago while the Astros already are on the West Coast having been in Oakland.

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Tampa Bay at TexasFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Texas -155FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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It is no secret that the Tampa Bay Rays are going to have issues scoring runs on a consistent basis. They have other issues now too, as the pitching staff and bullpen have allowed six runs or more in four of their six games. The Rangers bats are getting it done and have to be feeling good after pounding Angels ace Jered Weaver last night. The Rangers have allowed three runs or less in four of six, including a pair of shutouts. Aleki Ogando struck out ten, allowed no runs in 6.1 innings in his first start and should certainly limit the Rays pedestrian attack here at home. The Rangers have also produced a 62-29 mark in their last 91 at home vs. a righthander. The Rays, however, have dropped four straight behind Hellickson on the road. Play on Texas.

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Bryan LeonardFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Milwaukee / Chicago Over 9FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The wind will be blowing out for the Cubs' Home Opener on Monday afternoon with Marco Estrada taking on Edwin Jackson. Estrada is reliant on the fly ball, registering just ground ball percentages well below league average each of the last four seasons. For his career, Estrada has allowed 1.31 HR per nine innings and the long ball got to him in his first start when he gave up two to the Rockies at Miller Park. Over the last two seasons, Estrada has a 5.02 ERA away from Miller Park. He benefits from a pretty spacious outfield in the gaps at Miller Park, something that won't help him at Wrigley, especially with the winds forecasted to blow out during the game.
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Edwin Jackson seems to be having a little bit of difficulty rounding into form this season, getting tagged in his final Spring Training start, and needing 92 pitches to get through five innings against the poor Pirates lineup in his first start. His average fastball velocity in that start was under 92, though weather may have played a factor. It'll be something to watch with Jackson, a guy who averaged 93.5-94.9 over the last seven years. Jackson can have control problems at times and saw a spike in HR/9 last season.
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Games are always an adventure on the North Side when the wind is blowing out, which the weather is forecasting. Estrada's fly ball tendencies won't play well with those conditions and the Brewers lineup should be plenty motivated with the team's 1-5 home start to ruin somebody else's home opener.

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Jimmy BoydFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cleveland Indians -118FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Cleveland Indians avoided a sweep by Tampa Bay with a 13-0 beat down in their last game. This matchup falls into a system to play on the home team when the money line is +125 to -125 with a team batting average of .265 or less on the season in the American League and coming off a win by 8 runs or more. This system is 30-10 (75%) over the last five seasons.
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The Yankees are plagued by injuries right now with three players on the 60 day disabled list and three more players on the 15 day disabled list. Right now the Yankees are batting an abysmal .242 on the season. Their bullpen is not doing much to help as they have a 6.95 ERA. They will face Cleveland’s Ubaldo Jimenez who started the season with a 1.50 ERA and a 0.833 WHIP.

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Tony GeorgeFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Michigan / Louisville Under 138FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Buckets will be hard to come by, The Cards defense will be able to disrupt the guard play from Michigan and both defenses are solid.  I have this number power rated at 132 - That is a 6 point overlay.  I am playing the under here in what should be a great title game tonight. Pucker Factor x10 for both teams, that always holds the score down in the opening 15 minutes as well, both will approach cautiously with anything crazy on offense as to control the clock and take good shots.

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Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Play: Arizona DiamondbacksFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Diamondbacks have been on fire to start the season and I see no reason why that should stop against the Pirates who are hitting .139 vs. RHP to start the season. Trevor Cahill is backed by one of the best bullpens this year in my opinion and the Pirates were 25th in OPS vs RHP while the Diamondbacks were 8th in OPS vs. LHP. Pirates hitters have just 37 AB with only 6 hits against Cahill in their career while the Diamondbacks have hit Wandy Rodriguez hard with a .800 OPS in 72 AB. He has 3 starts with a 5.17 ERA over the last 3 years against the Diamondbacks and traditionally he has not been a great pitcher on the road.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 8

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Michigan +171 over LouisvilleFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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These aren’t the Fab 5 but the Wolverines are still not getting the credit they deserve from the oddsmakers. The Wolverines are 37-18-1 ATS over their past 56 games versus teams with a winning percentage above .600. Michigan has excelled on neutral courts, having gone 9-1 SU and ATS this season in neutral-court games. Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. take care of the ball, which should neutralize the Louisville press, much like the Wolverines did against the VCU press (they made that team look silly). 6-foot-10 freshman forward Mitch McGary has made them an even more complete team with his inside play. McGary’s season stats (7.5 points per game, 3.6 rebounds per game) don't tell the tale, as he's averaged a double-double (16 PPG and 11.6 RPG) in the Wolverines' five tournament games and added six assists against Syracuse. His play helps Michigan narrow the gap on what could have been a concern in this matchup with the way Louisville can pound the ball inside.
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Meanwhile, the Cardinals have failed to cover two of their past three games (against Oregon and Wichita State), and the Cardinals' only cover was against Duke, when they pulled away in the second half after looking like they were in a dogfight until the Kevin Ware injury. They were also lucky to beat Wichita State. That jump ball call in the final seconds when Wichita State grabbed a rebound on a missed free throw with seconds remaining down three was a complete farce but nobody talks about that. We’re not saying the fix was in but we are suggesting that the refs were instructed to give the benefit of calls to the Cardinals should the game be close down the stretch. A Louisville/Michigan final has huge TV ratings implications as oppose to a Michigan/Wichita State final and it’s always about the money. In any event, the Wolverines have been the better team in this tournament. They have better guard play, they have better shooters and a more proficient offense. The Cardinals have an Achilles' heel that should not be overlooked in that teams’ that can fill up the basket give them fits. When facing teams that hit more than 48 percent from the field (Michigan hits 48.3 percent), the Cardinals are 0-6 ATS this season. In a game that should be a pick-em, the Wolverines offer up all the value here and that’s all there is to it.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 8

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KANSAS CITY/Minnesota over 8½FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Royals bats woke up in a big way in Philadelphia on the weekend by scoring 26 runs in the three-game set and taking two out of three games. It should’ve been a sweep after Greg Holland blew a two run lead in the ninth after walking the first three batters he faced. The Royals are now 3-3 after going off for 38 hits and 27 runs scored in Philadelphia. It’s unlikely that Kevin Correia will slow them down. Correia was with the Pirates last season and his story wasn’t a good one. It reads as follows: journeyman starting pitcher with a strikeout rate barely higher than his xERA moans about being replaced with his team 15 games over .500 in July for the first time in eons. Good karma is ruined, chaos ensues, team limps to a 21-40 finish and the medicore SP escapes into free agency. The bottom line is that he may not be an upgrade on what the Twins already had on hand, and he isn't likely to be of much value. Correia has a career ERA of 4.53 after pitching 10 years in hitter-friendly venues in San Francisco, San Diego and Pittsburgh.
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Current Minnesota batters have 25 hits in 77 career AB’s (.325) against Ervin Santana. In Santana’s first game of the year he surrendered three bombs to the White Sox and that wasn’t something unusual. Last season, 19% of his fly-balls left the yard. That’s freakish and those bombs plus some poor command caused a 1H mess last year that doesn’t appear to be rectified. Santana’s opening game split was 20% groundballs, 20% line drives and 60% fly-balls. Santana is a pitcher in trouble. The move to Kauffman Stadium won’t affect Santana much since it plays similar to Angel Stadium. He’s not a cold weather pitcher, he can’t keep the ball in the yard and his xERA string shows that this is not an elite skill set. The potential to score mega runs here is large and we can't envision either starter from preventing it.
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ARIZONA -1½ +150 over PittsburghFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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We hate to kick a team when they’re down but have no problem taking advantage of the Pirates awful start. Pittsburgh has hit one jack this year and it came in the first inning against the Dodgers yesterday. The Pirates never scored again. In six games, Pittsburgh has scored eight runs while striking out 54 times and drawing 14 walks. Combined, the Pirates are batting .119 and that’s after opening the season at home with three games against the Cubbies. These Pirates are seeing BB’s right now and it puts a lot of pressure on the starter to be near perfect, knowing that run support is scarce. Wandy Rodriguez has somewhat stable skills but a four-year trend of declining strikeouts is getting disconcerting with the effects seen in his quality starts/poor starts trend. Rodriguez did a reasonable job of compensating with better control but that's a more tenuous path to success. His swinging strike rate the last four years was 9.2%, 8.8%, 8.5% and finally 7.0% last year. Don’t let Rodriguez’s first start fool you either. He threw 6.2 innings of two hit, shutout ball against the Cubbies, who are hitting a combined .175. His groundball/fly-ball split in that start was 20%/73%. At age 34, the luster on Rodriguez is fading fast.
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By contrast, the Diamondbacks have scored 37 runs in six games, they’re hitting a combined .293 and they’ve gone yard nine times. Arizona is now 5-1 and sweeping the Brewers in Milwaukee over the weekend and they’re playing with fire in their eyes. Trevor Cahill took the loss in his first start of the year against St. Louis. In that contest his groundball rate was 57% but an unlucky strand rate of 67% did him in. Not to worry. Cahill saw his groundball rate increase to an elite 61% in 2012. His fastball velocity jumped +1.2 mph in 2012 and his swinging strike rate jumped from 7.6% in 2011 to 9.3% in 2012. Cahill is so close to emerging as one of the league’s finest pitchers. The Pirates woes continue here and it’s likely to get ugly.

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