Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 12

Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 12

DUNKEL INDEX

NBA

Memphis at Houston
The Rockets look to take advantage of a Memphis team that is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games against teams with a winning record. Houston is the pick (-2 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Rockets favored by 5. Dunkel Pick: Houston (-2 1/2)

Game 710-702: Brooklyn at Indiana (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Brooklyn 118.749; Indiana 129.336
Dunkel Line & Total: Indiana by 10 1/2; 190
Vegas Line & Total: Indiana by 5 1/2; 186 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Indiana (-5 1/2); Over

Game 703-704: Philadelphia at Washington (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia 111.122; Washington 119.071
Dunkel Line & Total: Washington by 8; 190
Vegas Line & Total: Washington by 5 1/2; 193 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-5 1/2); Under

Game 705-706: Chicago at Toronto (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Chicago 111.789; Toronto 116.358
Dunkel Line & Total: Toronto by 4 1/2; 193
Vegas Line & Total: Toronto by 3; 188 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (-3); Over

Game 707-708: Milwaukee at Atlanta (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee 114.096; Atlanta 121.488
Dunkel Line & Total: Atlanta by 7 1/2; 195
Vegas Line & Total: Atlanta by 6 1/2; 201
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-6 1/2); Under

Game 709-710: Boston at Miami (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston 114.938; Miami 126.471
Dunkel Line & Total: Miami by 11 1/2; 206
Vegas Line & Total: Miami by 12 1/2; 194
Dunkel Pick: Boston (+12 1/2); Over

Game 711-712: New York at Cleveland (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: New York 125.336; Cleveland 114.519
Dunkel Line & Total: New York by 11; 202
Vegas Line & Total: New York by 4 1/2; 205 1/2
Dunkel Pick: New York (-4 1/2); Under

Game 713-714: Charlotte at Detroit (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Charlotte 105.721; Detroit 116.388
Dunkel Line & Total: Detroit by 10 1/2; 192
Vegas Line & Total: Detroit by 7 1/2; 197 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-7 1/2); Under

Game 715-716: Memphis at Houston (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Memphis 121.365; Houston 126.437
Dunkel Line & Total: Houston by 5; 204
Vegas Line & Total: Houston by 2 1/2; 194
Dunkel Pick: Houston (-2 1/2); Over

Game 717-718: LA Clippers at New Orleans (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Clippers 123.686; New Orleans 113.552
Dunkel Line & Total: LA Clippers by 10; 199
Vegas Line & Total: LA Clippers by 8; 193 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Clippers (-8); Over

Game 719-720: Denver at Dallas (8:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Denver 127.308; Dallas 118.734
Dunkel Line & Total: Denver by 8 1/2; 202
Vegas Line & Total: Denver by 2 1/2; 206
Dunkel Pick: Denver (-2 1/2); Under

Game 721-722: Sacramento at San Antonio (8:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Sacramento 115.442; San Antonio 129.424
Dunkel Line & Total: San Antonio by 14; 202
Vegas Line & Total: San Antonio by 12 1/2; 207
Dunkel Pick: San Antonio (-12 1/2); Under

Game 723-724: Minnesota at Utah (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 114.440; Utah 124.713
Dunkel Line & Total: Utah by 10 1/2; 199
Vegas Line & Total: Utah by 8 1/2; 196
Dunkel Pick: Utah (-8 1/2); Over

Game 725-726: Oklahoma City at Portland (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oklahoma City 128.860; Portland 115.175
Dunkel Line & Total: Oklahoma City by 13 1/2; 209
Vegas Line & Total: Oklahoma City by 9 1/2; 204 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Oklahoma City (-9 1/2); Over

Game 727-728: Golden State at LA Lakers (10:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Golden State 116.905; LA Lakers 125.209
Dunkel Line & Total: LA Lakers by 8 1/2; 202
Vegas Line & Total: LA Lakers by 7; 206
Dunkel Pick: LA Lakers (-7); Under

NHL

St. Louis at Columbus
The Blue Jackets look to build on their 5-1 record in their last 6 home games. Columbus is the pick (+100) according to Dunkel, which has the Blue Jackets favored by 1/2 a goal. Dunkel Pick: Columbus (+100)

Game 51-52: St. Louis at Columbus (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis 11.901; Columbus 12.301
Dunkel Line & Total: Columbus by 1/2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: St. Louis (-120); 5
Dunkel Pick: Columbus (+100); Under

Game 53-54: Ottawa at New Jersey (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Ottawa 11.329; New Jersey 11.154
Dunkel Line & Total: Ottawa by 1/2; 5 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: New Jersey (-150); 5
Dunkel Pick: Ottawa (+130); Over

Game 55-56: Dallas at Nashville (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Dallas 12.395; Nashville 11.013
Dunkel Line & Total: Dallas by 1 1/2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 57-58: Detroit at Chicago (8:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit 11.600; Chicago 11.376
Dunkel Line & Total: Detroit by 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Chicago (-200); 5
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (+170); Over

Game 59-60: Phoenix at Calgary (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Phoenix 12.102; Calgary 10.761
Dunkel Line & Total: Phoenix by 1 1/2; 4 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 12

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Texas at Seattle
The Mariners look to build on their 6-1 record in Hisashi Iwakuma's last 7 home starts. Seattle is the pick (+130) according to Dunkel, which has the Mariners favored by 1/2 a run. Dunkel Pick: Seattle (+130)

Game 951-952: San Francisco at Chicago Cubs (2:20 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Cain) 14.935; Cubs (Villanueva) 15.432
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-150); No Total
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (+130); N/A

Game 953-954: Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Leake) 15.515; Pittsburgh (Burnett) 14.802
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh (-110); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (-110); Over

Game 955-956: Atlanta at Washington (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Teheran) 15.658; Washington (Detwiler) 16.256
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Washington (-135); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-135); Under

Game 957-958: Philadelphia at Miami (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia (Lannan) 14.162; Miami (Nolasco) 14.876
Dunkel Line: Miami by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-125); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Miami (+105); Over

Game 959-960: Milwaukee at St. Louis (8:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Lohse) 13.377; St. Louis (Miller) 17.931
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 4 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-140); 8
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-140); Under

Game 961-962: LA Dodgers at Arizona (9:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Kershaw) 15.128; Arizona (Corbin) 15.822
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-160); 8
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (+140); Over

Game 963-964: Colorado at San Diego (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (Garland) 15.362; San Diego (Ross) 15.928
Dunkel Line: San Diego by 1/2; 6 1/2
Vegas Line: San Diego (-110); 7
Dunkel Pick: San Diego (-110); Under

Game 965-966: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Quintana) 14.665; Cleveland (Masterson) 14.169
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-145); 8
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+125); Over

Game 967-968: Baltimore at NY Yankees (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Gonzalez) 16.088; NY Yankees (Sabathia) 14.415
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-150); 8
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (+130); Over

Game 969-970: Tampa Bay at Boston (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Cobb) 15.362; Boston (Doubront) 15.686
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Boston (-125); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-125); Under

Game 971-972: Toronto at Kansas City (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Happ) 15.024; Kansas City (Mendoza) 14.740
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-125); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+105); Under

Game 973-974: Detroit at Oakland (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Scherzer) 15.550; Oakland (Colon) 18.414
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 3; 8
Vegas Line: Detroit (-115); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-105); Over

Game 975-976: Houston at LA Angels (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Norris) 14.801; LA Angels (Hanson) 14.232
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-200); 8
Dunkel Pick: Houston (+170); Under

Game 977-978: Texas at Seattle (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (Darvish) 14.402; Seattle (Iwakuma) 15.161
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Texas (-150); 7
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (+130); Over

Game 979-980: NY Mets at Minnesota (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Niese) 15.479; Minnesota (Worley) 15.111
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: NY Mets (-115); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (-115); Under

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 12

Marc LawrenceFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh PiratesFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: Pittsburgh PiratesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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When the Pirates send A. J. Burnett to the mound against Mike Leake and the Reds Friday night at PNC Park, Pittsburgh will do so knowing Burnett is 4-1 at home with a 2.12 ERA in his career teams starts against Cincinnati. On the flip side Leake enters with a dismal 1-5 career team start mark in the Steel City. With that look for Burnett to improve to 14-4 in his last 18 home teams starts during the month of April here tonight. We recommend a 1-unit play on Pittsburgh.

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Bryan LeonardFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland A'sFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Detroit TigersFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Max Scherzer faces off against Bartolo Colon in the series opener between the Tigers and Athletics. The Oakland lineup is a great matchup for Scherzer. Since the start of 2012, the Athletics have struck out in 22% of their at bats and Scherzer had the highest K/9 of any qualified pitcher last season. Scherzer also issued less than three walks per nine innings. He induces a below average amount of ground balls, so any fly ball tendencies he has will not hurt him in Oakland at night.
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The Tigers lineup has been scoring runs without much difficulty of late and they should be salivating for a look at Bartolo Colon. Colon threw nearly 90% fastballs last season and 91.6% of his pitches in his first start were fastballs. The Tigers were the seventh-most productive team offensively last season on fastballs put in play. With the same core lineup back, and the additions of Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter, that number is likely to go up this season. Tigers hitters are very aggressive, so a guy constantly around the plate like Colon will have a very high percentage of balls put in play.
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The Tigers played a getaway day game and will have had part of Thursday and most of Friday to adjust to the time change and get their rest, while the Athletics played a night game in Anaheim. Scherzer is definitely the better pitcher and as a small favorite, with the momentum that the Tigers lineup has, the Tigers appear to be a strong play.

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Jim Feist

Charlotte at Detroit
Pick: Over

A pair of teams going nowhere, and that means no one will care about defense as the lost seasons wind down. Charlotte is 29th in the NBA in points allowed giving up 102.9 ppg. The over is 5-1 in the Bobcats last 6 vs. a team with a losing record. They've had 2 full days off and face a Detroit team that is on a 3-2 run over the total. The Pistons don't play any defense, either, 17th in points allowed and 19th in field goal shooting allowing 46%. The over is is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings, including 6-1 over the total in the last 7 meetings in Detroit. Play the Bobcats/Pistons over the total.

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Dave CokinFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Baltimore Orioles at New York YankeesFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Baltimore OriolesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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I'm going against both the Yankees and Sabathia here. The Yanks have murdered the ball in their last last three outings, putting up 32 runs. Unfortunately for them, they have now been rained out on back to back days, and that's a potential momentum stuffer for a team that was swinging the bats so well. They're also facing a guy who has given them fits in Miguel Gonzalez. Small sample to be sure, but Gonzalez has been outstanding in his prior Yankee Stadium visits. The Orioles righty had some impressive notes out of his first start. Zero line drives, 71% ground balls. I can't expect Gonzalez to be quite that efficient here, but that's still a very positive indicator going in. It means he's locating his pitches well, and if he can keep the Yankees from hitting it in the air tonight, he'll be in good shape. Sabathia was much better in his second start as he shut down Detroit, but there was still some troubling data. The velocity is still down significantly. Sabathia at 90 with the heat is just not as imposing, and his BB/K ratio is still nowhere near where he needs it to be. I have to give Gonzalez the edge on the mound at the present time. Baltimore has the better bullpen, and at this point in the campaign, give me the team that's been playing every day against a team that had to sit around and do nothing for two days. Nice price on the Orioles to boot. The weather might well prevent this from ever getting started, but I'll hope they can get around Mother Nature and I'll grab the plus sign with the Orioles.

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Bruce MarshallFOR REE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Baltimore Orioles at New York YankeesFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Baltimore OriolesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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After romping to three wins in a row earlier this week, the Yankees found someone they couldn't beat...the weatherman! Rainouts the last two days sidelined the Yanks after they rolled to a win on Sunday in Detroit and blasted the Indians in the first two of their midweek set in Cleveland. But the dynamics are now different back at Yankee Stadium where a very confident and capable Baltimore enters tonight. The O's straightened out the past two days with gut-check wins in Boston just when it seemed as if things might begn to unravel after losing three of their previous four, with the bullpen once again delivering for Buck Showalter. Now the Orioles look to continue the momentum in the The bBonx with hot-hitting CF Adam Jones, who has hit safely in all nine games this season and is batting .462 (18 of 39). Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez has been quietly effective, too, dispatching the Rays last Thursday in his first 2013 start while allowing only 2 runs in 6 2/3 IP, and remember he fared well vs. New York last year, with a 2-0 mark and 2.63 ERA in the regular season and then yielding only one run over 7 IP in Game Three of the ALCS. Meanwhile, note that Yankee starter CC Sabathia posted a 6.3 ERA in the regular season vs. Baltimore a year ago before faring better in the playoffs. Looks like a tempting dog price on the O's tonight. Play Orioles

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Matt FargoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Colorado Rockies vs. San Diego PadresFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: San Diego PadresFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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After opening the season 5-1, the Rockies went to San Francisco and got swept by the Giants in their three-game series. They should come in with some confidence having already swept San Diego once this season but that was a home and going back to last season, Colorado is 6-21 in its last 27 road games. The Rockies hand the ball over to Jon Garland who is coming off a solid start in his opener, his first outing since June 2011. He allowed two runs on five hits in six innings in his start against the Padres and while he looks to repeat that San Diego has the advantage of facing him a second time in a week. The Padres are off to a very slow start with a 2-7 record including losses in the final two games against the Dodgers. Last night's brawl overshadowed another solid pitching performance as the Padres allowed just 10 runs in the three-game set and they hope Tyler Ross can carry over into that. He is coming off an inconsistent first outing where he allowed three runs on three hits but issued four walks against Colorado. The Rockies also have the edge of seeing him for a second time but this time, it takes place at pitcher friendly Petco Park. San Diego has won seven of the last 10 meetings at home.

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Jimmy BoydFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cleveland Cavaliers +4½FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Cavaliers are getting too many points against a Knicks team that is playing on back to back nights and coming off a loss against Chicago. New York was on the road against the Bulls and they are on the road against when they face Cleveland tonight. New York’s defense has not been great on the road allowing 97.4 points per game while the offense averages only 97.2 per game offensively.
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The Cavaliers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game and they are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games following an ATS loss. They face a Knicks team that is trending in the wrong direction. In the heart of their 13 game win streak the Knicks were averaging over 50% shooting. They have gone over 50% only one time in their last four games coming into this matchup against the Cavaliers.

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Don Best ConsensusFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Brooklyn Nets at Indiana PacersFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Brooklyn NetsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Nets are 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings. Road team is 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings. Nets are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a S.U. win.

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Vegas ConnectionFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Dodgers at DiamondbacksFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: UnderFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Arizona Kershaw vs Corbin Any time you put to Kershaw out there there is always a chance you could not only see a shutout but a no hitter Low scoring game inside Chase Field Low scoring game.

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Art AronsonFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Philadelphia vs. MiamiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: PhiladelphiaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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John Lannan (0-0, 3.86 ERA) gets the call for the visitors. Lannan looked good in his debut, giving up three runs off five hits over seven frames vs. the Royals on Saturday. Lannan would finish with five K's in the no decision (note that Lannan was 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA on the road last year). Ricky Nolasco (0-1, 3.97 ERA) toes the rubber for the home side. Nolasco gave up three runs and six hits over 5 1/3's frames of work in his team's eventual 7-3 setback to the Mets last Saturday (note that Nolasco was a very pedestrian 6-6 with a 4.52 ERA at home last season). These lineups are clearly moving in opposite directions. The Phillies took two-straight from the Mets over the weekend, led by Ryan Howard who homered in Tuesday's 8-3 victory, and who was 2 for 4 in his team's 7-3 win over New York on Wednesday: "It's not about how you start, it's about how you finish," Howard said yesterday. "I'd rather have a slow start and finish up strong and be in the playoffs and go deep in the playoffs in October. As long as we get going, that's all that matters." Philadelphia has now plated 25 runs over its last four outings, while going yard three times in each of the last two. The Fish are off to a dismal 1-8 start, which represents the team's worst since 1998. Their most recent series vs. the Braves saw them outscored 13-2 and shutout twice. In fact, the Marlins' 16 runs are the fewest in all of MLB, and their .217 average is among the worst in the league. I'm going to give the slight nod to Lannan on the mound, and with a clear advantage at the plate, in my opinion the prudent wager in this one is indeed on Philadelphia. What do you think?

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Ben BurnsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Phoenix vs. CalgaryFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: CalgaryFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Flames delivered a spirited effort against Vancouver at home on Wednesday but came out on the wrong side of a 4-1 game. It was a lot closer than the score indicates though, as they were level at 1-1 midway through the third period. The Canucks broke the game open in the final eight minutes.
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The Phoenix Coyotes are in town Friday, a team which doesn't have the firepower that the Flames were forced to deal with Wednesday. Phoenix really struggles with special teams. The Coyotes only convert 15 percent of their power play chances this season.
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The Coyotes are a solid team on home ice, where they have earned 13 of their 18 victories this season. They are just 5-9-1 on the road though. Playing the final leg of a West Coast road trip, I feel that they're potentially in a tough spot here.
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Note that the Coyotes, who won 3-1 at Edmonton on Wednesday, are only 26-35 (-11.8) the past few seasons, when off a win by two or more goals.
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While the Coyotes are still holding on to a slim hope that they can advance to the post-season, I believe that the Flames also still have something to play for.
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Since trading away Jarome Iginla and Jay Bowmeester, the Flames are officially rebuilding. That means that their lineup is currently made up of a lot of young talent and players on the cusp. They're fighting for a job with an NHL club and want to make a good impression. With some recent losses on home ice, the young Flames also really want to win one for the home fans.
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There is no question this team still has a lot of fight, the Flames have averaged 38 shots, while out-shooting their opponent in each of their last three games.
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Coach Bob Hartley noted: "I like my entire team's effort. ... The young players are coming in and giving us some great minutes. They're contributing, they're skating hard, I think we're seeing some great chemistry."
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I expect the Flames to continue playing with purpose and I won't be at all surprised to see them score the upset here. Consider Calgary.

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Will RogersFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Minnesota vs. UtahFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: UtahFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Despite being one game back of the Lakers for the 8th & final playoff spot in the West, the Jazz still have the advantage of owning the head to head tiebreak, so they only need to finish the regular season tied with LA.  They clearly have the easier schedule down the stretch, mainly because of a home & home with the Minnesota T'wolves. They are big favorites to win the front end at home Friday night & I see them covering.
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Here are my keys to the game.FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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1. Homecourt Advantage - Though they lost their last home game, Tuesday vs. Oklahoma City, this is a significant step down in class for the Jazz, who are 29-11 straight up this season in Salt Lake City.  Minnesota is just 10-29 SU on the road.  This includes a loss in their only prior visit to EnergySolutions Arena, 106-84 as 3-pt dogs back on January 2nd.  That was the Timberwolves fifth loss in a row here, a streak that has also seen them go 0-5 against the spread.
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2. Defense - Minnesota is not a good defensive team to begin with, allowing 101 pts/game on the road.  They allowed more than that in their previous visit to Utah and have in fact allowed more than 100 points in three straight games.  Most recently, they allowed the Clippers to score 111 on 57% shooting Wednesday.
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3. X-Factor - Ultimately, this comes down to the fact Utah is in a playoff chase and playing its final home game, while Minnesota is playing its third road game in four nights, will host Phoenix tomorrow night and then complete the home and home with the Jazz two days later.

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Indian CowboyFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Minnesota +9FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Let's be honest. The league wants the Lakers in the playoffs, and the Jazz face the Timberwolves twice while the Lakers face very good teams down the stretch, including the Warriors and a couple above-.500 teams. You think Minnesota likes being told they are horrible on ESPN? Trust me when I tell you, they will show up to this game as they will show some pride and will not be thought of as an afterthought. This is a team that is not going to the playoffs, so this is as relevant as they will be this late in the season, and they likely show up in this spot. This team has not quit on the season as they are 5-5 going into the Clippers game Wednesday, and I like them to do well as decent sized underdog at Utah.

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MLB Predictions

Baltimore Orioles +142

The Orioles have started the season 5-4 with a 4-2 road record. They are coming off 2 straight wins in Boston. The Yankees are 4-4 on the season and 1-2 at home. They opened the season losing 2 of 3 to Boston at home and then Detroit on the road, but they've won 3 straight games to get back to .500 on the year. The Orioles will send Miguel Gonzalez to the mound. He has one start in Tampa Bay where he went 6.1 innings giving up 5 hits and 2 earned runs while striking out 4 and walking 2. Last year he was 9-4 with a 3.25 ERA, .235 OBA and 1.21 WHIP. He was actually better on the road with a 6-2 record, 2.74 ERA, .214 OBA and 1.05 WHIP. New York sends their ace CC Sabathia to the mound. Sabathia has two starts and two different results. In his first start he gave up 8 hits in 5 innings of work with 5 strikeouts and 4 walks vs the Red Sox. In his last time out he allowed just 4 hits in 7 innings of work with 4 strikeouts and 3 walks. Last year Sabathia was 15-6 with a 3.38 ERA, .238 OBA, and 1.14 WHIP. CC is always solid at home and that shows with his 2.69 ERA, 1.99 OBA, and 0.95 WHIP at Yankee Stadium last year. Last April Sabathia had a 4.58 ERA. Take note that the Orioles are 5-1 in Gonzalez's last 6 starts and 8-3 in his last 11 road starts. Although the Yankees have been hitting well they are coming off two days of being rained out in Cleveland. The Orioles have scored 5+ runs in 6 of their 9 games this season and with Gonzalez on the mound I think we are getting a good underdog price on them tonight.


Rangers / Mariners Under 7

Texas took the first game of this series 4-3 last night. Tonight we will see two very good pitchers on the mound in a pitchers friendly park. The Rangers send Yu Darvish to the mound who is 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA to start the year. After going 8.2 innings in his first start being one out away from a perfect game with 14 strikeouts and 0 walks Darvish went just 5 innings giving up 6 hits and 3 earned runs against the Angels. Darvish may have been a little taxed from his long first outing, but after a shorter outing where he didn't reach 90 pitches I think we will see another solid outing from him. Last year he was 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA, .220 OBA and 1.28 WHIP. On the road last year batters hit just .209 against Darvish. The Mariners have Hisashi Iwakuma getting the start today He is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA, to start the year. He has been amazing giving up just 6 hits in 14 innings of work with 0 walks and 10 strikeouts. Last year he was 9-5 with a 3.16 ERA, .248 OBA, and 1.28 WHIP. At home he was even better with a 2.49 ERA, .229 OBA, and 1.18 WHIP. In their 9 meetings last year in Seattle there was a total of 7 or fewer runs in 7 of those games. Including last night's game 8 of their last 10 meetings in Seattle have had 7 or fewer runs. Note that the Mariners have scored 3 or fewer runs in 8 of their 11 games this year. Take the UNDER here with Darvish and Iwakuma on the mound.

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Joe GavazziFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Baltimore Orioles vs. New York YankeesFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: New York YankeesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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It was just 6 short months ago that a hard charging Baltimore team was fended off by NYY for the Division Crown. Behind Sabathia, they survived to win the Division Series, 3 games to 2. That was highlighted by a Game #5 win behind Sabathia, 3-1, when the big left hander allowed just 4 hits while recording 9 Ks. In the regular season from this mound vs. Baltimore, Sabathia is 5-1 with a 2.84 ERA. Following a modest opening day performance, Sabathia out-dueled Verlander allowing just 4 hits in 7 IP of a 7-0 victory by NYY vs. Detroit. Tonight NYY enters on a 3-0 run outscoring Detroit and Cleveland by a count of 32-7. The Bombers will be well-rested following a pair of rainouts in Cleveland the last two nights. But the victory will not come easily against a Baltimore team who enters with solid momentum after winning a pair from Boston by a combined count of 11-7. Nor will the pickins be easy against Baltimore’s emerging starter Gonzalez. In his first start of the year, he allowed just 2 runs in 6 1/3 IP of a 6-3 win vs. Tampa Bay. In 3 outings against the Yankees at this site, Gonzalez is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA.

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Rob VincilettiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Oklahoma City vs. PortlandFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: OverFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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This one fits a solid totals system that plays to the over for road favorites of 5 or more with no rest, like OKC If the total is 180 or higher, vs an opponent like Portland that scored 100 or more as a home dog. These games fitting the criteria have played over in 10 straight. The Blazers have flown over in 12 of the last 16 vs teams who scored 99 or more and 5 of the last 7. The Blazers are chucking up shots and looking to score as they have thrown in the towel and are playing no defense. Look for this one to fly over the total here tonight. Play Portland and OKC Over the total here tonight.

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Jack JonesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Oklahoma City Thunder -10FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Oklahoma City Thunder have a lot to play for here down the stretch. If they go on to win their final three games, they would be assured of home-court advantage throughout the playoffs in the Western Conference.
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While the Thunder have every reason to be motivated, the Portland Trail Blazers have nothing to play for. That has been evident over the last several weeks as the Blazers have clearly packed it in.
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Portland is 0-9 SU & 0-8-1 ATS in its last nine games overall. The biggest indicator that this team has given up is the fact that seven of those nine losses during this skid have come by double-digits.
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Making matters worse for the Blazers is that they have been playing without three starters in Nicolas Batum (arm), Wesley Matthews (ankle) and J.J. Hickson (back) for much of this skid. Both Batum and Mathews are expected to miss tonight's game, while Hickson is listed as questionable. This team was already short-handed even when all three of these guys were playing.
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The Thunder are 6-0 SU & 5-0-1 ATS in their last six meetings with the Blazers. Four of those six victories have come by 14 points or more. The Thunder are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Bet Oklahoma City Friday.

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King CreoleFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Utah Jazz -8.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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EVERY GAME IS CRUCIAL for the Utah Jazz these days. And a DOUBLE-DIGIT 'whoop-ass' of the Minnesota Timberwolves is in the cards tonight. After all, the Jazz have DOMINATED these division opponents as of late. Utah has gone a PERFECT 6-0 ATS in the last 6 meetings against the Timberwolves. Average winning margin during that streak has been +12.3 points-per-game. And it certainly doesn't hurt us that we will be ON the team with the league's 4th BEST home ATS winning percentage on the season (Utah).
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10-2 ATS this season: All FRIDAY division home teams off a SU loss (JAZZ) vs any opponent also off a SU loss (T'Wolves).
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Minnesota SUCKS on the division road. The T'WOLVES are 7-18 ATS as division road dogs off a SU loss. They've gone a PERFECT 0-4 ATS this season in that role... and 1-9 ATs in the last two seasons.
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Utah is a great HOME team when playing off a home loss (got beat by Ok City in last home game). The JAZZ are 10-1 ATS as division home favorites of < 20 points playing off a SU home loss.

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