Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, April 11

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, April 11

Bob Balfe

Orioles +105

Both teams have struggling bullpens at this point in the season which leads to some pretty entertaining late innings. Last night the Red Sox failed to sellout for the first time in over 800 games and treated their fans by giving up 5 runs in the 9th blowing the game. Tides turn in all sports. The buzz is still bigger in Boston then it is in most other cities, but the shift of power is slowly starting to happen in MLB. You can’t stay on top forever. Baltimore is clearly on the rise and I look for them to build off of yesterdays momentum. Take the O’s.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, April 11

NHL Predictions

Penguins / Lightning Over 5.5

The Pens and Lightning will meet for the third time this year. Their first two meetings were in Pittsburgh, with the Penguins winning 5-3 and 4-3. The last 5 meetings between these two teams dating back to last season have seen totals of 7, 8, 9 , 6, and 9 with the OVER going 5-0. The OVER is 7-2 in their last 9 meetings overall. Although two of Pittsburgh's best goal scorer will be out of the lineup they still pack a very offensive lineup, and it looks like Letang will be back on the blue line to add to that. The Penguins lead the league with 3.22 goals per game, while Tampa Bay isn't far behind in 3rd with 3.15 goals per game. Pittsburgh has been playing to the under lately, but 2 of their last 3 games have gone OVER the total, including their latest game where they scored 5 goals in Carolina. The OVER is 24-9-2 in the Penguins last 35 road games, and 23-10-2 in their last 35 vs a team with a losing record. The OVER is 20-7-1 in the Lightning last 28 vs a team with a winning % above .600 and 37-17-5 in their last 59 vs Atlantic division opponents. When these two teams meet we often see high scoring games and I don't think that changes tonight despite a few injuries. I'll take the OVER 5.5 at a good price.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, April 11

Sam Martin

Chicago White Sox at Washington Nationals
Prediction: Chicago White Sox

Solid line value backing the White Sox with this potential +140 return as we note Washington starter Dan Haren has not been good in the home favorite role. He was crushed in his first start of the season for six runs in four innings of work against the Reds in Cincinnati - a game Washington lost 15-0. That was the third straight loss for Haren dating back to last season, but more importantly is his numbers in the home favorite role. Haren owns a poor 4-10 team start record as a home favorite, losing 13 units in this situation. Chicago's Dylan Axelrod certainly didn't do anything to make us fear backing him here after his first start saw him pitch 5 2/3 innings where he allowed just one unearned run on three hits against Seattle - a game the White Sox won as a +125 home underdog. Chicago has 20 hits in the first two games of this series, so they have the potential offensively to stay in this game and we look for Axelrod to out-pitch Haren as he cashes his second straight underdog ticket!


New York Knicks at Chicago Bulls
Prediction: New York Knicks

While were not completely sold on New York (at least not as much as others), we can't deny how well they've been playing of late, and with Chicago struggling on the defensive end of the court we'll back the Knicks as a small road favorite to continue their winning ways here. Chicago has allowed 50% or higher shooting in five of their last nine games overall, while on the offensive end of the court they have failed to score 100 points in seven straight. Those are bad numbers against this New York offense that is on fire, scoring in the triple-digits in nine of their last ten games overall, including 125 and 120 in each of their last two games. That's too much offensive firepower for these Bulls to handle, and the home court advantage hasn't meant much to Chicago this year as they are just 12-27 on this court this season. Knicks offense the difference as they pull away late for an easy win!

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Joe Gavazzi

NY Knicks -4

Each of these teams has a lengthy injury list. Though Hamilton and Belinelli have returned for Chicago, they will still be without Rose, Deng, Noah and Gibson. The Bulls have not handled their absence well. Chicago is a recent 14-18 SU and comes off back-to-back losses to non-Playoff teams Toronto and Detroit. The NY injury list continues to grow. It includes interior players Chandler, Camby, Martin, Thomas, Amare and Wallace. But they still have Carmelo Anthony who has put up 35 or more in each of the last 5 games to help NY clinch the Division Crown. In so doing, the Knicks enter tonight on a run of 13-0 SU and 12-1 ATS. There is a strand of contrary thinking in the NBA which finds home dogs following a 1-4 ATS slide to be 37-7 ATS against road favorites who have covered 6 plus of their last 8 games. With Chicago HC Thibodeau 32-13 ATS following a favorite loss and the Bulls 19-3 SU in the series at this site, a case can be made for the Bulls. But there will be no letdown by the Knicks tonight who earlier in the season were defeated 3 times by Chicago by margins of 7, 4 and 8 points. NY HC Woodson is 19-6 ATS playing with revenge for a loss in which he allowed 100 or more points. Favor the Knicks to get their triple revenge and extend their recent records of 14-0 SU, 13-1 ATS.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, April 11

Rob Vinciletti

San Francisco Giants vs. Chicago Cubs
Play: San Francisco Giants   

We want to play on certain road teams that are off a home favored win that scored 10 or more in their last game, vs an opponent like the Cubs that are off a home favored win and scored 5 or more runs. These road warriors are winning at an 80% clip since 2004. The Giants smoked the Rockies as our free play on Wednesday and we will back them again here today as they are 37 games over .500 vs losing teams the last 2+ seasons. The Cubs are 0-3 vs teams with a winning record and are hitting .173 in day games. They have S. Feldman on the mound and he is 0-12 after a start where he lasted less than 5 innings and 0-5 in his last 5 home starts. He has also dropped his last decisions to the Giants and has a 5.56 era against them. San Francisco counters with B.Vogelsong and he has won 3 of the last 4 vs the Cubs and 2 of his last 3 April road starts. The Giants are also a solid 11-0 in the 1st game of a series if he allowed 1-7 runs in his last start. Look for the Giants to get the win. On Thursday the lead play is the 6* NHL Total of the Year. We also have the 5* 100% NBA Totals system play and the Knicks at Bulls Side, both are on TNT. MLB System Play Of the day up too. Jump on and Cash out tonight. For the free play take San Francisco.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, April 11

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

San Francisco -138 Over CHICAGO: The Cubs game got rained out yesterday so we get the luxury of having Scott Feldman pitch today. Scott Feldman is off a rough opening start as he allowed 4 ER's in 4.2 innings of work vs Atlanta, and this after he finished last year going 0-5 with a with a 6.92 ERA in his lat 8 starts last year. Oh yeah and inbetween that he had a bad spring as well. He is just not pitching well at all. Now he faces a San Fran team that he is 0-2 with a 5.56 ERA vs in 2 career starts. He also takes on a San Fran team that has put up 19 runs in their last 2 games, so his task will not be easy today. Ryan Vogelsong also had a rough opening start, but he is 3-2 with a 3.10 ERA in his last 5 starts vs the Cubs. Even if he were to struggle slightly in this one I feel that the Giants have the better offense to compensate and they will put up enough runs to get the win here. KEY TREND--- The Giants are 7-1 the last 8 meetings.   


LA ANGELS -128 over Oakland: The Halos will be out to avoid the home sweep here and I feel they can do that. The halos have had some issues with their pitching in this series, but I feel that a very steady Jason Vargas will come up with a big outing and stop the bleeding. Jason started out with a solid outing this year, allowing just 1 ER in 5.2 innings at Texas, which is not a pitcher's park. Jason is also 2-1 with a 2.31 ERA in his last 5 starts vs Oakland. AJ Griffin had a nice start this year also, allowing just 2 ER's in 6 innings vs Seattle, but this is a powerful Angels offense that is ready to explode and will look to do so, especially since their pen is so bad. Jason Vagas is pitching in his first home game as an Angel and he will look to have a good showing. I don't see the A's offense keeping up the pace they are on and that should mean a big win for the Halos here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, April 11

Jack Jones

Baltimore Orioles +111

The Baltimore Orioles are showing excellent value as an underdog to the Boston Red Sox tonight. This is a team that won 90-plus games last year to make the postseason, and it wants to prove that it was no fluke.

Baltimore is off to a respectable 4-4 start this year after an impressive come from behind 8-5 victory over the Red Sox last night. I believe they get Game 3 and take this series due to the edge they have on the mound tonight.

Chris Tillman is one of the most underrated starters in the league, while Alfredo Aceves has been nothing more than a reliever almost his entire career. Tillman is 1-1 with a 2.88 ERA in five career starts against the Red Sox.

In his last two starts against Boston last season, Tillman only allowed one earned run and 10 base runners over 14 innings. This is certainly one team that he gets excited to face because of his past successes against them.

The Orioles are 7-1 in Tillman's last 8 starts vs. a team with a winning record. Baltimore is 6-1 in Tillman's last 7 starts as an underdog. Better yet, the Orioles are 4-0 in Tillman's last 4 starts as a road underdog. Bet Baltimore Thursday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, April 11

Dave Price

Cleveland Indians +100

The Yankees rolled in the first two games of the series but yesterday's postponement should slow down their momentum. Besides, you want to back home teams that are out for revenge for two straight losses to an opponent that scored 8 runs or more in each as long as the team you are backing is starting a pitcher who didn't walk a batter last time out. Doing so has produced a 73-41 mark since 1997. Also, the Indians are 5-0 in their last 5 games after losing the first 2 games of a series. The Yankees have dropped each of Phil Hughes' last 3 starts and are 3-8 in his last 11 road starts. They have also lost his last 2 starts at Cleveland. Take the Indians.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, April 11

Nelly

Dodgers / Padres Over

The fences have been moved in at Petco Park and it has had an impact with 19 runs scored in the first two games in San Diego this season. There have been five home runs in two games so there has been an immediate impact as Petco Park had just 109 home runs in 81 games last season for just 1.3 home runs per game. The Dodgers have had low scoring numbers so far this season but the first six games of the year were at home in low scoring conditions. San Diego's shaky pitching staff has been a big cause for concern as well as the Padres have allowed at least four runs in all but two games, surrendering almost six runs per game. Veteran Jason Marquis had a nice run for the Padres last season but he is prone to semi-regular rough outings as he allows a lot of hits. Marquis allowed two home runs and five runs in six innings in his first start of the season though only two of the runs were earned. Zack Greinke is considered one of the top pitchers in baseball but he has been trending in the wrong direction and has particularly struggled in road starts. Greinke was sharp in his 2013 debut but that was at home against a Pirates team that has really struggled to produce so far this season. This could be a tougher match-up even though the Padres lack star power in the lineup. Totals have been set low in San Diego but we expect an eventual adjustment higher and value will be with the 'over' early in the year.

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MLB Predictions

San Francisco Giants -151

Yesterday we had Milwaukee over Chicago as our 5 Star pick, but the game was rained out. The Cubs go with Feldman again so I will copy and past some of the stats I had in the 5 Star write up. The Cubs are 3-5 on the season and 1-1 at home. Scott Feldman will make his second start for the Cubs after coming over from Texas. In his first start he went just 4.2 innings giving up 5 hits and 4 earned runs with 1 strikeout and 4 walks. Last year with Texas he went 6-11 with a 5.09 ERA, .279 OBA, and 1.38 WHIP. He has had three other seasons with 20+ starts and his ERA in those seasons were 5.29, 4.08, and 5.48. Even though Texas is a tough place to pitch Feldman hasn't put up good numbers in his career and had a rough first start this year. The Giants are 6-3 on the season and 2-1 on the road. They are coming off a three game sweep of Colorado which included a 10-0 win yesterday and overall outscoring the Rockies 23-8. Ryan Vogelsong will be on the mound for San Fran this afternoon and although he had a rough first start giving up 9 hits and 5 earned runs in 5.1 innings of work, he is a solid starting pitcher. Last year he went 14-9 with a 3.37 ERA, .242 OBA, and 1.23 WHIP. His road ERA of 3.87 wasn't as good as at home, but still a solid road ERA. The Giants are hitting .274 as a team with a .331 on base percentage (OBP), while the Cubs are hitting just .198 as a team with a .248 OBP. San Francisco has their bats going right now and have the advantage on the mound. I will lay the chalk here on the Giants this afternoon.


Cleveland Indians +100

Last night's game was rained out between these two, and that was probably a good thing for Cleveland. The Indians dropped the first two games 14-1 and 11-6 to fall to 3-5 on the season. The Yankees moved to 4-4 with the wins and 3-2 on the road. New York sends Phil Hughes to the mound. He pitched just 4 innings of work in his first start giving up 8 hits and 4 runs (3 earned) getting the loss. Last year he had an up and down year going 16-13 with a 4.19 ERA, .259 OBA and 1.26 WHIP. His road ERA was 4.66 where he was 5-9 on the year. In April he had a 7.88 ERA over 4 starts. The Indians go with Zach McAllister who went 6 innings in Tampa Bay giving up 6 hits and 4 runs (just 2 earned) with 3 strike outs and no walks. Last year he went 6-8 with a 4.24 ERA, 2.68 OBA, and 1.36 WHIP. He pitched excellent at the start of last season from May through July before struggling in the final two months which really brought his numbers up. The Indians have struggled against good pitching so far this year, but they've put up 8, 13, and 6 runs in three of their first 8 games. Hughes really struggled in his first start, while McAllister looked pretty solid. Take note that the Indians are 5-0 in their last 5 games after losing the first 2 games of a series. The day off should help Cleveland re-group and grab their first home victory.

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