Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, April 9

Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, April 9

DUNKEL INDEX

NBA

Philadelphia at Brooklyn
The Sixers look to take advantage of a Brooklyn team that is 3-11 ATS in its last 14 home games. Philadelphia is the pick (+7 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Nets favored by only 6. Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (+7 1/2)

Game 651-652: Cleveland at Indiana (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland 111.478; Indiana 123.227
Dunkel Line & Total: Indiana by 11 1/2; 194
Vegas Line & Total: Indiana by 13; 189 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (+13); Over

Game 653-654: Milwaukee at Miami (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee 117.143; Miami 126.471
Dunkel Line & Total: Miami by 9 1/2; 191
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 655-656: Philadelphia at Brooklyn (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia 116.921; Brooklyn 122.749
Dunkel Line & Total: Brooklyn by 6; 198
Vegas Line & Total: Brooklyn by 7 1/2; 192 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (+7 1/2); Over

Game 657-658: Washington at New York (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington 117.653; New York 126.256
Dunkel Line & Total: New York by 8 1/2; 190
Vegas Line & Total: New York by 10 1/2; 194 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (+10 1/2); Under

Game 659-660: Toronto at Chicago (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto 111.348; Chicago 117.938
Dunkel Line & Total: Chicago by 6 1/2; 198
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 661-662: Phoenix at Houston (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Phoenix 108.785; Houston 124.935
Dunkel Line & Total: Houston by 16; 209
Vegas Line & Total: Houston by 14; 212
Dunkel Pick: Houston (-14); Under

Game 663-664: Charlotte at Memphis (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Charlotte 108.559; Memphis 125.391
Dunkel Line & Total: Memphis by 17; 192
Vegas Line & Total: Memphis by 14; 186
Dunkel Pick: Memphis (-14); Over

Game 665-666: Oklahoma City at Utah (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oklahoma City 128.104; Utah 123.125
Dunkel Line & Total: Oklahoma City by 5; 194
Vegas Line & Total: Oklahoma City by 3; 200 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Oklahoma City (-3); Under

Game 667-668: Minnesota at Golden State (10:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 116.658; Golden State 125.064
Dunkel Line & Total: Golden State by 8 1/2; 197
Vegas Line & Total: Golden State by 6 1/2; 201
Dunkel Pick: Golden State (-6 1/2); Under

Game 669-670: New Orleans at LA Lakers (10:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: New Orleans 114.912; LA Lakers 124.204
Dunkel Line & Total: LA Lakers by 9 1/2;  206
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

NHL

San Jose at Columbus 
The Blue Jackets look to take advantage of a San Jose team that is 2-9 in its last 11 road games against a team with a winning home record. Columbus is the pick (+105) according to Dunkel, which has the Blue Jackets favored by 1/2 a goal. Dunkel Pick: Columbus (+105)

Game 1-2: San Jose at Columbus (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Jose 11.655; Columbus 11.901
Dunkel Line & Total: Columbus by 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: San Jose (-125); 5
Dunkel Pick: Columbus (+105); Over

Game 3-4: Philadelphia at NY Islanders (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia 11.620; NY Islanders 12.478
Dunkel Line & Total: NY Islanders by 1; 5
Vegas Line & Total: NY Islanders (-130); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Islanders (-130); Under

Game 5-6: Pittsburgh at Carolina (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh 11.150; Carolina 9.423
Dunkel Line & Total: Pittsburgh by 1 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Pittsburgh (-155); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (-155); Under

Game 7-8: Washington at Montreal (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington 12.183; Montreal 11.660
Dunkel Line & Total: Washington by 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Montreal (-150); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (+130); Over

Game 9-10: Ottawa at Tampa Bay (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Ottawa 12.183; Tampa Bay 11.314
Dunkel Line & Total: Ottawa by 1; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Tampa Bay (-135); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Ottawa (+115); Under

Game 11-12: Buffalo at Winnipeg (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Buffalo 11.861; Winnipeg 10.807
Dunkel Line & Total: Buffalo by 1; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Winnipeg (-165); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Buffalo (+145); Over

Game 13-14: St. Louis at Nashville (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis 10.310; Nashville 10.946
Dunkel Line & Total: Nashville by 1/2; 5 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: St. Louis (-130); 5
Dunkel Pick: Nashville (+110); Over

Game 15-16: Chicago at Minnesota (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Chicago 11.775; Minnesota 11.984
Dunkel Line & Total: Minnesota by 1/2; 4 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Chicago (-115); 5
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (-105); Under

Game 17-18: Los Angeles at Dallas (8:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Los Angeles 11.919; Dallas 12.112
Dunkel Line & Total: Dallas by 1/2; 5 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Los Angeles (-140); 5
Dunkel Pick: Dallas (+120); Over

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DUNKEL INDEX

Toronto at Detroit
The Blue Jays look to build on their 14-2 record in  Brandon Morrow's last 16 road starts with the total set at 7 to 8 1/2. Toronto is the pick (+105) according to Dunkel, which has the Blue Jays favored by 1/2 a run. Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+105)

Game 901-902: LA Dodgers at San Diego (6:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Beckett) 16.996; San Diego (Richard) 14.060
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 3; 7
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-140); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-140); Over

Game 903-904: NY Mets at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Gee) 14.652; Philadelphia 14.928
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-175); 7
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (-175); Under

Game 905-906: Atlanta at Miami (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Medlen) 14.749; Miami (LeBlanc) 15.341
Dunkel Line: Miami by 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-180); 7
Dunkel Pick: Miami (+160); Over

Game 907-908: Milwaukee at Chicago Cubs (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Peralta) 13.867; Cubs (Wood) 13.692
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Chicago Cubs (-115); No Total
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (+115); N/A

Game 909-910: Cincinnati at St. Louis (8:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Arroyo) 16.576; St. Louis (Lynn) 16.030
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-120); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (+100); Over

Game 911-912: Pittsburgh at Arizona (9:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (McDonald) 14.801; Arizona (McCarthy) 15.324
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Arizona (-150); 9
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (-150); Under

Game 913-914: Colorado at San Francisco (10:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (Nicasio) 16.134; San Francisco (Lincecum) 16.914
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 1; 6 1/2
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-155); 7
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (-155); Under

Game 915-916: Toronto at Detroit (1:08 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Morrow) 15.169; Detroit (Sanchez) 14.905
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Detroit (-125); 8
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+105); Over

Game 917-918: NY Yankees at Cleveland (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Pettitte) 13.960; Cleveland (Carrasco) 15.276
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-120); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (+100); Over

Game 919-920: Tampa Bay at Texas (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Hernandez) 15.501; Texas (Tepesch) 15.856
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1/2; 9 1/2
Vegas Line: Texas (-150); 10 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Texas (-150); Under

Game 921-922: Minnesota at Kansas City (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota (Pelfrey) 15.637; Kansas City (Guthrie) 16.213
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-150); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (-150); Under

Game 923-924: Oakland at LA Angels (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oakland (Parker) 15.942; LA Angels (Wilson) 16.205
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-155); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (-155); Over

Game 925-926: Houston at Seattle (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Bedard) 14.121; Seattle (Maurer) 13.748
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Seattle (-145); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (+125); Over

Game 927-928: Chicago White Sox at Washington (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Peavy) 15.381; Washington (Gonzalez) 15.541
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Washington (-165); 7
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-165); Under

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Rob VincilettiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Toronto Blue Jays vs. Detroit TigersFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM   
Play: Detroit TigersFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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This game fits the nice system below that plays on home teams off a home favored loss at -140 or higher by 5 or more runs, while scoring 4 or less runs in the loss and taking on an opponent off a home loss. These game one home teams bounce back 12 of 15 times since 2004. Detroit comes off the shut out loss to the Yankees with Verlander taking the loss and Toronto is also off an upset home loss to the Red Sox in a game where they lost 13-0. Detroit has won 4 of the last 5 here in the series with Toronto. The Jays are off to a sluggish start and now take to the road in a tough Venue. B. Morrow makes his first start here and opposes Annibal Sanchez who allowed 1 run in 6+ innings here vs Toronto. With The Jays 0-3 with a total of 8 to 8.5 we will back Detroit in day action.

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Dave CokinFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Athletics at AngelsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: OverFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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I don't put too much weight on exhibition stats, but when they carry over to the regular season, that mindset changes in a hurry. Jarrod Parker got cuffed around in the spring games, but those stats were at least excused to some extent as he was working to improve his off speed stuff. But Parker was extremely ineffective in his first real start of the season, so maybe there was something to the rough spring after all. The Angels have to be very concerned about the top of their rotation. Weaver has not been good, and CJ Wilson was also shaky in his opening effort. In both cases, velocity drops have to be at least a bit of a worry. Wilson averaged 91.7 with his fastball, and in fact there was a reduction across the board on all of his pitches. In some cases, a sluggish start in this area is no big thing. But Wilson has never displayed this April tendency, so for me it's a red flag. The totals are never high at Anaheim, and this will never be a haven for hitters at night. But given the fact that both pitchers are coming off shabby starts and there's loads of power available in both lineups, I expect some scoring tonight. I'll go Over the 7.5 with the A's and Angels for the free play today.

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Jim FeistFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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New Orleans at Los AngelesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: New OrleansFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The aging Lakers are just off a showdown game with the rival Clippers and have a game on deck tomorrow at uptempo Portland. This is a game they need, but are more likely to just get the win and prepare for the bigger challenge on deck on the road. New Orleans has gotten healthy and had a better second half of the season, even beating the Celtics, Grizzlies and Nuggets recently as a dog each time. The Lakers are 8-17-1 ATS in their last 26 games vs. a team with a winning percentage below .400. The road team is 21-7 ATS in the last 28 meetings between these teams and the Hornets are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings in Los Angeles. Play the Hornets.

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Frank JordanFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Philadelphia 76ers vs. Brooklyn NetsFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Brooklyn NetsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Brooklyn is sitting in the fourth spot in the East and playing well with a 6-4 record in their last 10 games. With just six games left to play they are only three back in the loss column of Indiana for their all important third spot. The Nets are 23-15 at home and 9-4 in their division as they take on division rival Philadelphia. The Sixers are in the 9th spot in the East, but have been eliminated from playoff contention as a 7-8 division record and 9-28 road record really did them in this year. Look for the Nets to power through the struggling Sixers. Play Brooklyn

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Matt FargoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Atlanta Braves vs. Miami MarlinsFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Miami MarlinsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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It is no secret that Miami is not a good team but I bet value where I see it and there is plenty of it here. The Marlins were shutout last night and have now scored three runs or fewer in six of their seven games so offense remains a big problem which we knew coming into the season. The bats won't be held down forever though and good pitching can keep them hanging around. We saw it last night behind Kevin Slowey and I expect to see it again tonight behind Wade LeBlanc. He is coming off a pretty solid season debut as he allowed two earned runs on five hits in five innings at Washington while followed up a good season a year ago where he allowed three runs or fewer in seven of nine starts. The Braves are expected to contend with Washington in the National League East and they are off to a 6-1 start which is the best record in the Majors. That is adding value to this number and the Marlins look to add a loss to Kris Medlen who is coming off a defeat in his first outing this year. The Braves won 23 straight regular season games Medlen started prior to that last outing so we could start to see a streak going the other way. He posted a 2.00 WHIP in that first start which came after a horrific spring where he posted a 7.23 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 23.2 innings.

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Bruce MarshallFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Chicago vs. WashingtonFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: ChicagoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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We're probably not going to make a habit of going against the Nationals. But we do believe they remain a bit overvalued by the oddsmakers.  And while starter Gio Gonzalez seemed to pick up where he left off a season ago when putting the clamps on Miami in the opener, remember that was just the Marlins.   At 4-2, the visiting White Sox are a lot more formidable than Miami, and Pale Hose starter Jake Peavy has flourished in past during interleague play, with a 6-2 mark and 1.63 ERA in his last eight such outings.

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Sean MurphyFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Jose vs. ColumbusFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: ColumbusFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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It's not difficult to make a case for fading the Sharks on the road this season. They're just 6-12 on the highway, including a 6-2 loss to these same Blue Jackets in Columbus back in the second week of February. In fact, San Jose has dropped back-to-back trips to Columbus - by a combined 12-5 score.
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Yes, San Jose has been playing well, but the majority of its recent success has come at home, where it has posted a stellar 14-6 record this season. I just question how easy it will be for the Sharks to get up for a Tuesday night matchup with the Blue Jackets, after seeing their seven-game winning streak come to an end on Sunday.
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The Blue Jackets are in the playoff hunt, but you wouldn't know it by their performance over their last two games. They've suffered back-to-back losses at the hands of the Blues and Wild, scoring just one goal in the process. The Sharks style of play should suit them a lot better. Note that San Jose is giving up an even three goals per game on the road this season. While Columbus isn't known for its defensive prowess, it has held its own at home this season, giving up just under 2.2 goals per contest.
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While the Jackets are just 11-10 at home this season, they've certainly been playing their best hockey in this building of late, going 8-3 in their last 11 games at Nationwide Arena. Off a shutout loss, and sitting four points back of the eighth and final playoff spot, with a number of teams to leap-frog, we should see Columbus play with some desperation on Tuesday. I'm not convinced that the Sharks will match their intensity.

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Art AronsonFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Colorado vs. San FranciscoFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: San FranciscoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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For this play I'm going to concentrate solely on the starting pitching. Juan Nicasio gets the call for the Rockies. Nicasio looked decent in his first start in the Majors since 2012 vs. the Brewers on Wednesday, giving up two runs off seven hits over six frames in his team's 7-3 victory. I'm not convinced in Nicasio though, as it was in fact his first win since last April. It's not easy to win in the Majors. Just ask Nicasio's counterpart Tim Lincecum. Lincecum gave up a career-worst seven walks, but overcame the adversity to gut out a hard-fought victory over the Dodgers on Wednesday, giving up just two unearned runs off three hits over five frames in the eventual 5-3 finale. He'd finish with four K's (note that Lincecum posted a 4.15 ERA at home last year). There are two camps when it comes to Lincecum. Either you believe his best days are behind him, or you feel that the polarizing right-hander still has some gas left in the tank. I guess I'm in the middle. While I certainly wouldn't bet on Lincecum every night, I do think this is a very favorable matchup and situation for the beleaguered hurler, and believe the talent discrepancy on the mound today justifies laying this mid-sized price. What do you think?

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SPORTS WAGERSFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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DETROIT -116 over TorontoFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Blue Jays go out and spend millions on high end talent and then decide to hire a low-end manager in John Gibbons. That was a big mistake. Gibbons is more interested in being one of the guys than being the boss of the clubhouse. He’s a laid back manager that made poor baseball decisions in his previous stint with the Blue Jays and nothing has changed. There are more problems too. Jose Bautista has already missed time and Brett Lawrie still hasn't seen time. What's worse is that their replacements are unsuited for full-time play. Rajai Davis is a career sub and should remain as one. Mark DeRosa is a complete stiff that isn’t even an average hitter against righties or lefties. Melky Cabrera has been the worst full-time position player on the team thus far and Adam Lind can’t hit lefties and against righties, Lind has reached base in three of 18 plate appearances. The Blue Jays infield defense has been atrocious and now they’re about to face perhaps the toughest pitcher of the one’s they’ve faced already.
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Detroit acquired Anibal Sanchez when Miami decided its fans were unworthy of watching competitive baseball. Sanchez gained 1.5 mph on his fastball between the 1H of 2012 and the 2H, more than all but one SP (Justin Masterson +2.0 mph). He posted elite skills right across the board last year and could be even better this year. Sanchez will be overshadowed due to the depth of the Detroit rotation but he hasn't reached his ceiling yet.
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Brandon Morrow had the breakout in 2012 that we were all waiting for but there are reasons to be concerned heading into 2013. His swinging strike rate dipped from an elite 11.5% in 2011 to 9.0% in 2012. He also was helped by a fortunate 26% hit % in 2012. An oblique strain in 2012 might have contributed to some of his skill decline. Morrow’s first start of the year looks pretty on paper (6 IP, 6H, 1 ER 2 BB 8 K’s) but it was mostly pure luck, as his line-drive rate in that opening game was 40% and his GB/FB split was 33%/27%. Morrow has never lived up to expectations and with the Blue Jays reeling he’ll be feeling more pressure than ever. The Blue Jays could be in trouble and we get the benefit of all the hype once again in this short price.
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Oakland +141 over L.A. ANGELSFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Angels and Blue Jays were the AL’s most hyped up teams in the off-season and neither has impressed so far. The Angels come in with a 2-4 record after losing two of three at both Cincinnati and Texas, two of the best hitter’s parks in the majors. The Angels scored four runs or less in five of those six games while batting a combined .250 and striking out 56 times. The evolution of C. J. Wilson from late inning reliever into a 200+ inning a year work horse has been remarkable to behold and his success the past three seasons is an endorsement of the unique blend of skills he possesses. However the atrophy of these skills, particularly his control and strikeout rate are worrisome given Wilson's limited track record as a starter. If he can continue to elude the powers of regression, Wilson has shown that he can be a very effective arm but the trends here are heading in the wrong direction and he’s coming off October elbow surgery. In his first start of the year, Wilson walked four and struck out four in six innings.
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Meanwhile, the A’s continue to go about their business and they do so under the radar. They’re off to another good start, having won five of their first seven games and belting out 12 bombs in the process. Oakland has scored six runs or more in five straight games. Jarrod Parker took one of Oakland’s losses when he was lit up in Seattle but we’re not concerned about one start. Parker went 13-8 with a 3.47 ERA in 181 IP for the A’s last season. His very successful rookie season was backed by worthy skills. Parker’s 2H skill gains (better control and higher groundball rate) show how he mastered on-the-job training and he put it all together with an elite September. Parker’s average fastball velocity increased from 92.0 mph in the 1H to 92.8 mph in the 2H. Another year removed from Tommy John surgery, Parker has the goods to become a rotation anchor in 2013 and he and the A’s offer up some pretty sweet value here. It’s also worth noting that Oakland has won seven of the past nine meetings at this venue.
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Los Angeles/SAN DIEGO over 6½ -116FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Did you know that the fences in San Diego have been moved in? If you didn’t, you know now and the oddsmakers have not adjusted. That provides us with a great opportunity. From the right-field porch to the right-center gap, the fence has been moved in from 402 feet to 391 feet and lowered to match the rest of the outfield wall. The out-of-town scoreboard on the right-field wall will be relocated to a new spot above right field as part of seating modifications. In left-center, the fence will be moved in from 402 feet to 390 feet. The dimensions will remain the same down the left-field line (336 feet), right-field line (322) and straightaway center (396). The vast outfield at Petco Park will no longer be a place where long fly balls go to die. No pitcher has benefited more from pitching at Petco than today’s starter, Clayton Richard. Richard has a career 4.12 ERA in 721 IP. Career at PETCO Park: 2.82 ERA in 284 IP. When the workers showed up to move the fences in this winter, they discovered that this guy has shackled himself to the fence somewhere around left-center field. And who could blame him? His non-PETCO career ERA is 5.05.
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Josh Beckett lost his first start of the year last Wednesday after giving up five runs over six innings while striking out four Giants' batters. He also surrendered two jacks. Beckett’s skills have been on the decline for four years. With runners on base, his skills erode even more, as hitter’s batted .313 against him runners on last year. Also with runners on, Beckett’s BB/9 were 4.64 and his K’s/9 were just 1.21. Overall, Beckett’s skills are a tick above the league average but this total is representative of the history of Petco Park and two elite starter’s matching up. One has to figure more runs will be scored at the new Petco. That’s precisely what the intention was when they moved the fences in and we should see immediate results of that here.
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N.Y. Mets +167 over PHILADELPHIAFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cliff Lee needs no introductions. He was brilliant in his first start against Atlanta and chances are he’ll be good again the entire season. Forget Lee’s win total from last season. This was virtually the same season as 2011. Philly averaged 4.2 runs per game last year yet scored less than that in 21 of Lee’s 30 starts. That's just horrible support. He may see some age-related decline but odds are he'll still be close to elite starter status. That said, we can’t get on board with these Phillies spotting a price like this. Philadelphia has two wins in seven games and one of those wins came in the ninth inning against K.C. when Greg Holland walked the bases loaded in the ninth with a 3-1 lead. The Phillies should be 1-6. Philadelphia is batting a combined .244 and they’ve hit just four jacks in seven games. This is a team that is not to be trusted when favored by this much, especially against a solid pitcher like the one they’ll face here.
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Dillon Gee piqued our interest a bit heading into 2012, but a blood clot shut him down for the season after just 17 starts. Several factors place Gee on our breakout list. First, the 4.10 ERA from 2012 was somewhat misleading.  As Gee’s xERA says (3.54) it was undeserved. Second, Gee vastly improved his walk rate in 2012, nearly shaving it in half against 2011 totals. Third, at the same time, Gee struck out more batters, nearing the strong strikeout rate of his minor-league days. Fourth, his ground-ball ways, which were already strong, improved in 2012. Like other half-year wonders, Gee will need to prove it over a whole season, and coming off an injury, no less. But so far reports are good, and if his control gains hold, he has high profit potential and it could certainly begin here.

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N.Y. ISLANDERS -½ +131 over PhiladelphiaSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Regulation only. The Islanders can’t let up. For the first time in years this group can smell the playoffs. They are sitting in eighth place, tied with the Rangers and just two points back of Ottawa for sixth place. The Isles are also two points up on the Devils and they come into this game as one of the healthiest teams in the league. The Nassau Coliseum will be packed and fully energized tonight and for the players, that’s huge, as this place has far too often been a quarter or half empty. The Islanders are hot with six wins in their past eight games. They’ve picked up points in all but one of those games and that occurred in Pittsburgh when they outshot the Pens 35-27 but lost 2-0. Additionally, the Islanders have held eight of their last nine opponents to 26 shots or less and that’s a ringing endorsement to just how much attention to detail this club is displaying. They figure to keep it rolling here.
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The Flyers somehow got hot for a string of games recently but we can’t buy into it. They’re coming off a big loss at Winnipeg in their most important game of the year and chances are the hangover carries into this one. Philadelphia is just not well-equipped to compete. They have more casualties than a Quentin Tarantino movie, they have serious flaws on defense and they take far too many penalties because they’re often running around in their own end. Momentum, form, desire and a packed house ensures us that the Islanders are in a much better position to win than the Flyers and that’s exactly how we’ll play it.
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St. Louis -½ +145 BEover NASHVILLEFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Regulation only. Brian Elliott has his swagger back. Elliott was the NHL’s top goaltender a year ago but a bad start coupled with some nagging injuries landed him second or third on the teams’ depth chart but that has all changed the past week. In his past three starts, Elliott has posted a 1.45 GAA and .952 SV% against Minnesota, Chicago and Detroit. It’s no coincidence that the Blues have won four straight while outscoring the opposition 12-5 over that span. The Blues are playing their best hockey of the year and it comes at the right time as they battle to secure a playoff spot. There will be no letdowns here, as the Blues are in seventh place, one point ahead of the Red Wings and four points ahead of the ninth place Coyotes. The Blues have two games in hand on both those teams so a win here will really solidify their position.
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The Predators are finished. Coming off back-to-back losses against Chicago, Nashville finds itself in 13th place in the West, six points behind these Blues with three more games played. That leaves Nashville with eight games remaining and having to climb over five other teams to reach the playoffs. It’s not going to happen and the reality of that figures to have set in. With no offense, with shaky goaltending from Pekka Rinne for weeks now and with its chances of making the playoffs remote at best, the Preds are in no position or state of mind to make life difficult for the Blue Notes.

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Wunderdog

Oklahoma City at Utah
Pick: Under 199.5

Oklahoma City ran into a freight train vs. the Knicks. But, overall, this team has really stepped up the defense. Prior to their game with the red-hot Knicks, Oklahoma City was allowing just over 88 points per game in their previous eight. The Jazz have run hot and cold. After five straight scoring less than 100, they went six straight scoring 100+, and now have failed to score 100 in each of their last three. The Thunder is 6-1 to the UNDER in their last seven vs. a winning team, and 6-0-2 to the UNDER in conference games over their last eight. The Jazz are also 6-1 to the UNDER in their last seven vs. a winning team, and yes, these teams also 6-1 to the UNDER vs. each other. Take the UNDER.

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St. Louis at NashvilleFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Blues come into Nashville tonight riding a four-game winning streak and are in sole possession of the seventh playoff spot in the Western Conference.  They’ve finally buckled down and played solid defensive hockey which was the key ingredient in last season’s success.  Forward Patrik Berglund said, "The way we're back winning these close games, we're back to playing the way we were last season."  That could spell major trouble for other Western Conference teams. St. Louis has given up just 20 goals in its last 12 games which led to an 8-4 record.  Nashville on the other hand has taken itself out of the playoff race by losing six of its last seven games.  Scoring has been a big problem for the Predators all season long, netting just 2.4 goals a game which ranks 27th in the NHL.  Big edge tonight to the Blues who should get plenty of offensive chances on their PP attempts as their #6th ranked power play looks to feast on the #27th ranked Nashville PK.  St. Louis has found a way to win these tight games, and I expect another one this evening.

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Joe Gavazzi

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres
Play: Los Angeles Dodgers     

Richard struggled out of the gate this season allowing 8 runs on 7 hits for a 14.54 ERA. Beckett wasn’t much better allowing 5 runs in 6 IP of a 5/3 loss to San Francisco. Neither of these teams is hitting the ball well with the Dodgers scoring just 17 runs in 6 games and the Padres just 14 runs in 6 games. But LA has translated this to a 4-2 start with a 3 game win streak while San Diego is 1-5 with a 3 game losing streak. The history of this park along with the slow offensive starts of these teams has this Total posted at 6 ½ total runs. But the fences moved in at Petco, the ball is flying far better in day games than at night and neither pitcher off a solid start. The real value here is to go OVER 6 ½ total runs.

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Andre Gomes

Washington / New York Over 194

The Knicks won't have Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin for tonight, so Coach Mike Woodson won't have other option that start the game immediately with a super small lineup, possibly with Chris Copeland. This will turn the Knicks into a very vulnerable team down low, not just in post up defense, but also on their rim defense. These are good news for Washington, who not only has Emeka Okafor and Nene Hilario in the frontcourt, as the Knicks won't be able to stop John Wall's dribble penetrations tonight.

Besides that, the Knicks are coming from a big win at Oklahoma City last Sunday afternoon and they will have a big game in Chicago in their following contest, so it's normal that they will suffer a letdown in terms of lack of defensive effort tonight. Washington will have a nice edge in transition offense tonight, with John Wall leading the way. The problem for the Wizards will be to defend the Knicks's offense. The NY team is on fire on offense thanks to Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, whose isolation plays have been amazing lately with 1.03 PPP with their last 10 games! The Knicks's floor spacing is excellent and the advantage of playing small ball is that Washington's frontcourt isn't used to be forced to have to defend away from the rim, something that will allow the Knicks to torch them with continuous treys. This will consequently turn this game into a high scoring one and so, I'll be taking the Over in here.


Phoenix / Houston Over 211.5

Houston is back to their regular level on offense, after some struggles on a four-game span where they faced four top teams: San Antonio, Indiana, Memphis and the LA Clippers. The team has also benefited from James Harden's return, who has already played his team's last three games. On the other hand, the pace factor of the Rockets has increased again on their last five games: 95.06, 93.56, 97.54, 94.06 and 101.43! Their number of fast break points scored and points in the paint have also improved as well. When the Rockets are playing well on offense, these two areas are where they do the most damage and they have averaged 21.5 fast break points and 54 points in the paint in their last four games!

The Rockets couldn't have asked for a better opponent tonight than the Suns's terrible defense. Phoenix has been also playing at a very fast pace, while showing absolutely no defense whatsoever. A good offensive team that likes to play fast and has a good transition offense like the Rockets can have huge offensive outcomes against them. This is why Sacramento scored 117 points against the Suns, while the LA Clippers scored 126 points and Golden State 111 points. The Suns's transition defense is non-existent and so, they are allowing 1.28 PPP (Points Per Possession) on transitions over their last 10 games! On the other side, Phoenix's offense may not be as consistent as their defense (in the bad sense of course), but Goran Dragic can definitely explore Houston's poor PG defense, while the Suns have decent athleticism to score a decent number of points tonight against a poor Rockets defense in a fast paced contest. Therefore, I expect this game to be a very high scoring affair and so, I'll be taking the Over in here.

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Tony George

NY Yankees -126

Andy Pettitte takes the hill for the Yankees and he should be able to slow down the Tribes offense tonight, and this is a team he has owned who starts a bad pitcher against him.  This is all about pitching in this game, and of course the better team laying a short number.

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Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

New York -121 over CLEVELAND: The Yankees are showing that their offense is not dead, even with all the injuries as they come in 9th in scoring and 10th in hitting and they have put up 18 runs in their last 2 games. With NY it has been their pitching, that ranks 27th in ERA, that has let them down. Not tonight though as Andy Pettitte looked very good in his opener and he should continue that in this one. Andy has had some recent success vs the Tribe, as the Yanks have wn each of his last 3 starts vs them, while he didn't allow more than 1 ER in each of those starts. Carlos Carrasco gets the call for the Indians and he hasn't made  a start since 2011 and in his last 6 starts of that year he was 0-6 in his team starts, with a 7.92 ERA. One of those starts were right here vs the Yanks and he allowed 6 ER's in just 4 innings of work in that starts. Cleveland's offense has put up 19 runs in their last 2 games, so it is starting to come around, but I don't see it happening tonight vs a tough Andy Pettitte. Look for the Yanks to take another from the Tribe here.


SEATTLE -148 over Houston: As Scott said yesterday on First Preview, the AL West will be decided by Houston. The teams that figure out that beating Houston is a must, will thrive in this division. Im not saying that Seattle will win the division, but they are a much improved team and if they have any hopes of staying in the rest then they must win these games. Seattle took their home opener last night over the Astros by a 3-0 count. Houston's offense is struggling having bee shut out 3 times, while not scoring more than 3 runs in any game during their 6 game losing skid. Coming to a pitcjhers park vs a starter they have never seen will not help this offense at all. Brandon Maurer has just 1 career starts and that was last week, but he was 9-2 with a 3.24 ERA in the Minors last year and facing the Houston offense is just like facing a minor league offense. Erik Bedard pitched well for the M's when he was here, but since leaving he has not fared very well vs his former team, going 1-3 with a 5.46 ERA in 5 career starts vs them. Seattle is not an offensive powerhouse, but they have upgraded their offense and just like last night they should put enough runs on the board to get the win here.


WASHINGTON -143 over Chicago It's true that Gio Gonzalez has struggled with the ChiSox, going 0-4 with a 5.86 ERA in 5 career starts vs them, but his last meeting with them was when he was an Oakland A, back in 2011. The Nationals are 25-8 with Gio on the hill, while he has gone 10-4 with a 2.24 ERA in this park in his career. The Nationals have struggled on offense thus far, but they should get back Laroche for this one, which will help immensely. Jake Peavy had a nice start to the year, but he is off a year in which he went 5-8 on the road and the Sox have lost 10 of his last 12 road starts overall, plus Jake is 2-12 following a quality start in his last outing. Washington is off a tough series with the Reds and would love to get back to winning and with Gio on the mound and Laroche back in the lineup the should have enough to come up with the win here. 


San Francisco/ Colorado Over 7: Tim Lincecum had a good showing in his 1st outing, but he will be taking on a Colorado offense that has looked very good in the early going. The Rockies are 3rd in scoring, 1st in hitting and 1st in HR's in the early going and after being held to just 2 runls last night I see them bouncing back vs a weaker pitcher tonight. Giant starters have a 6.65 ERA in their home games thus far and I clearly expect at the least 3 runs from Colorado in this one. I also expect no less than 3 runs from the giants, who will be facing Juan Nicasio and his career 4.91 ERA on the road. Look for both offenses to have good showing vs some weak pitching ton1ght as we get at least 9 runs here.  KEY TREND--- The Over is 6-1-1 in Tim's last 8 starts vs Colorado, with all 8 starts putting up at least 7 runs.

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Ryan James

Philadelphia 76ers +7½

The last matchup between these teams went in the favor of the 76ers by 9 points. A chance in venue is not enough to swing this line by those 9 points plus an additional 7.5 points for a combined total of 16.5 points. The 76ers average only 1.7 points per game less on the road than they do at home and their defense allows only .7 points per game more when playing on the road. Brooklyn has been getting to much credit on their home court which is why they have a 14-22 ATS record. The Nets are also 2-3 straight up and 1-4 ATS in their last five games and they are facing a 76ers team that is 9-6 ATS in division games.

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Jack Jones

Memphis Grizzlies -13.5

The Memphis Grizzlies still have a lot to play for as the season winds down. They would be the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference if the season were to end today, which means they would not have home-court advantage in the first round.

Memphis trails the Denver Nuggets by just one game for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. Los Angeles basically has the No. 4 seed locked up since it won the Pacific Division, but has a worse record than both Memphis and Denver.

What I'm saying is that the Grizzlies will not be taking the Bobcats lightly tonight, and I look for them to blow Charlotte out of the building because of it. The Bobcats currently own the worst record in the NBA at 18-59 for a second straight season.

Memphis has two of the best big men in the league in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. I look for these two to dominate a banged-up Charlotte front line that simply doesn't have the talent to match up. Making matters worse is that DeSagana Diop (knee) and Brendan Haywood (foot) are out for the season, while Byron Mullens (elbow) is doubtful tonight.

The Bobcats are 14-38-2 ATS in their last 54 games following a ATS win. Charlotte is 7-22-1 ATS in its last 30 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600. The Bobcats are 15-38 ATS in their last 53 vs. Western Conference opponents. Bet the Grizzlies Tuesday.

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