Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 13

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 13

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NY Mets at MinnesotaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: New YorkFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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So the word is out on New York's Matt Harvey being one of the premier young arms in the game. In two starts, the big right hander racked up 19 strikeouts and allowed only four hits. I wasn't big fan of the Mets extending him last time out – they were up 7-1 and Harvey was at 95 pitches prior to sending him out for the seventh inning. This is not the type of arm you want to mess with. But for the time being we have a premium arm that in a few more starts will be commanding a premium price. Minnesota sends Scott Diamond to the hill. He had off-season surgery and was brought along slowly during spring training. With cold weather and a pitch count I'm not expecting a top notch performance from Diamond. Also note that shadows have a big impact on early season mid-afternoon games at Target Field. It is expected to be partly cloudy but if the sun peaks in, hitting Harvey could be damn near impossible. Harvey’s studness certainly reflected in the line but a month from now it'll seem cheap.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 13

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New York Mets at MinnesotaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Minnesota +120FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The New York Mets' offense ignited for 16 runs last night vs. the Twins in a game that was never in jeopardy. The disturbing part for Mets fans is the fact that the Mets' staff has now allowed 5 or more runs in each of the last three games, and 20 in all. The Twins have their best option on the mound today in Scott Diamond. Diamond was 12-9 with a 3.54 ERA a year ago for the Twins, and considering how bad Minnesota was, those numbers were superb. The Mets' offense has been held in check vs. left-handed pitching where they are 5-17 in their last 22, and have dropped four straight on the road against them. The Twins have always been impressive at home in interleague play, and carry the value in this one. Go with Minnesota.

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Sam MartinFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Los Angeles Clippers at Memphis GrizzliesFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: Los Angeles ClippersFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Memphis was able to squeak out a tough win in Houston last night, but now have to go back home and play unrested against a Clippers team that has played then very well this season. LA won the first meeting this year by nine (as a 4.5-point favorite), then won here in Memphis in a 99-73 blowout (as a 4.5-point underdog). Memphis won the previous game at the Staples Center in a 96-85 final score, however the Grizzlies shot 54% in that game and we don't look for another strong offensive effort tonight - especially after the hard-fought win yesterday. Clippers have won four straight and are shooting the lights out with field goal percentages of 50%, 56% and 57% among those four victories. It's tough to shoot 50% against this defense, but a score in the mid-90's is more than enough to earn an outright win here.

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Tony KarpinskiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Los Angeles Clippers vs. Memphis GrizzliesFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Los Angeles ClippersFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Grizzlies guard the opponents shot very well behind Mike Conley and his defensive partner, Tony Allen, but LA is no slouch either. And beyond that also the Grizz protect the dangerous 3pt shot very well, so it will make things that much harder for Jamal Crawford to open up the deep ball. The 3 pt shooting of Clippers has been anything but vulnerable on the year, and I expect them to drop them again and win this game outright.

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Jesse SchuleFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Diego Padres +1½FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Padres will be without Carlos Quentin for eight games after he was suspended for charging the mound and injuring Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke. This takes a little power out of the lineup for San Diego, but Quentin wasn't exactly banging them out of the park this year anyway.
He's hitting .182 with no home runs and three RBIs.
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San Diego looks to bounce back from three consecutive losses, as they face the Rockies in Game 2 of a three game series on Saturday. Note that two of those three losses came by a one-run margin.
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The Padres send Edinson Volquez to the mound tonight, and he was rocked by the Rockies in Colorado in his last start. He allowed four runs on nine hits, including a home run over six innings. It's important to keep in mind that any numbers we see for a pitcher at Coors Field have to be taken with a grain of salt.
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Volquez will make his first start of the season at Petco tonight, and he was much better at home in 2012 than he was on the road. He had a record of 6-5 with a respectable 2.93 ERA at home, in comparison to a rather ugly 5.60 ERA on the road.
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The Rockies will counter with Jhoulys Chacin, who has had a pretty solid start to the season. They will still be concerned with Chacin though, as he's been plagued with control problems his entire career. He did issue three walks in his debut, with the Rockies losing 5-4 to the Brewers.
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Petco is known to be a friendly environment for pitchers, so a close ballgame would be no surprise here. I like the Padres to win outright, but a play on the RL appears to be an even better bet.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 13

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Texas Rangers -139FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Rangers went down yesterday but are a fantastic 63-24 in their last 87 games following a loss. Look for them to bounce back here behind a strong outing from Alexi Ogando. The Rangers are 5-0 in Ogando's last 5 starts, during which he has given up only 1 run. Also, Ogando is 1-0 (3-1 on the money line) with an ERA of 3.78 in 4 career starts versus Seattle. He gave up 1 run or none in 3 of those starts. Joe Saunders, on the other hand, is 4-7 (5-7 on the ML) with an ERA of 6.05 in 12 starts versus Texas, and he is 1-4 on the ML in his last 5 starts versus the Rangers. The Rangers are 8-2 in their last 10 games as a road favorite of -110 to -150. Take Texas.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 13

Jack JonesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Orlando Magic +4½FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Boston Celtics simply do not have much to play for with only three games left in the regular season. They are three games behind the Chicago Bulls for the No. 6 seed, and three games ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks for the No. 8 seed.
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That means they are essentially locked into the No. 7 seed in the East. While Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are expected to return from injury tonight, I do not expect the Celtics to give the kind of effort it takes to beat the Magic given this scenario.
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Orlando has been playing out its season, going a very profitable 5-1-1 ATS in its last 7 games overall. That includes a 113-103 home victory over Milwaukee last time out on Wednesday. The Magic have plenty of reason to be motivated tonight thanks to Jason Terry.
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"Orlando is a team that, obviously, you see them. I don't want to give them any fuel, but they're terrible," Terry said. "So we must go in there with whoever we have and scrap for the win."
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Coming in on two days' rest, and playing just their 2nd game in 6 days, the Magic will be the much fresher team in this one. Boston will be playing the second of a back-to-back and its 3rd game in 4 days after losing to Miami (101-109) last night, and Brooklyn (93-101) on Wednesday.
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The Celtics are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of less than .400. Orlando is 4-0-1 ATS in its last 5 vs. Eastern Conference opponents. Boston is 2-7 ATS in its last 9 road games overall. Bet the Magic Saturday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 13

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NY ISLANDERS -108 over N.Y. RangersFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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OT included. The Rangers continue to be the most overvalued team in the NHL and it has no merit. The Blue Shirts have two road wins in their past 10 games away from MSG. Those two wins came at New Jersey and Carolina, Combined, that pair has one win in its past 25 games. That’s all the info we need to fade this group when the price is this short on a team that playing as well as the Islanders.
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The Islanders are going to the playoffs because they’re playing with more determination than any Islander team has since the days of Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, John Tonelli and Denis Potvin to name a few. The Islanders have picked up 17 out of a possible 20 points over their past 10 games. The Isles are coming off a road win in Boston and they have not allowed more than two goals against in seven straight games and that includes a 2-0 loss to the Penguins. The Rangers get credit for no reason. The Islanders should be getting credit for stepping up their game when it counts most but this line is not reflective of either. The quest continues for the Islanders and it’s highly doubtful this pathetic Rangers group gets in their way. 
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DALLAS +124 over San JoseFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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OT Included. San Jose has talent and lots of it but when push comes to shove, this Sharks team remains one of the softest and underachieving in the league. After a hugely successful home stand that saw the Sharkies pick up 13 out of a possible 14 points, the club hit the road with a chance to really make life difficult for the Jackets. Instead, the team lost 4-0 in the first game back on the road and they followed that up with a 3-2 OT win in Detroit. San Jose now has four wins in its past 12 road games. Three of those four road wins occurred in OT Conceivably, this San Jose squad could easily be 1-11 over its past 12 road games. Perceived as an elite team with a chance to go deep into the playoffs, the Sharks are overpriced on the road, where they have been horrible since the first two weeks of the year when every team was a little disorganized.
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The Stars have really come to life. In that aforementioned San Jose seven-game home stand, the Stars were the only team to go in there and come out victorious. Dallas has now won four in a row and they’ve scored five goals in three consecutive games. The Stars are determined to make the playoffs and they’re almost there. Dallas has a real bounce in its step. Ray Whitney is playing like an 80-point scorer again, Vern Fiddler and Eric Nystrom are playing like veteran leaders and Alex Chiasson is sneaky smart in everything he does on the ice. Dallas has goal scorers, they have a great mix of vets and youth and they have elite talent in Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn. Dallas isn’t likely to lose to these Sharks simply because any team that wants it more than San Jose usually gets it. It’s been that way for years against the Sharkies and there’s nothing suggesting this one will be any different.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 13

Don Best ConsensusFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Los Angeles Clippers at Memphis GrizzliesFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Memphis GrizzliesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Grizzlies are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall, 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 games following a SU win, and 41-16-1 ATS in their last 58 games as a ½-4½ point favorite. Clippers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Saturday games, 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games following a SU win, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600, and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games. Play Memphis.

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Larry NessFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Detroit Tigers at Oakland AthleticsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Detroit TigersFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The A’s won last night on a walk-off HR in the 12th (typical of LY’s team) and has now won NINE in a row since opening the season with back-to-back home losses to the Seattle Mariners. The Tigers. seemingly everyone’s preseason favorite to repeat as AL champs, fell to 5-5 with the loss. The Tigers’ bullpen woes reared its head again last night, as it was the THIRD blown save in five chances, as the team’s bullpen ERA now sits at 5.91. The good news for Detroit is, it may not need its bullpen with Justin Verlander on the mound. Verlander was a breakout rookie star in 2006 and except for a down year in 2008 (11-17 with a 4.84 ERA / actually finished with MLB’s worst moneyline mark that year at minus-$1351), has been nothing short of SPECTACULAR. I think all know his record, so I won’t waste space. Oakland’s Brett Anderson is an excellent young lefty but Verlander is a true “stopper” and that’s what I expect him to do today in Oakland. After all in five starts vs the A’s since the beginning of 2011, Verlander is 5-0 with a 0.49 ERA, including two wins in last year’s ALDS (pitched a four-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts in the deciding Game 5 at Oakland). Back Verlander and the Tigers.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 13

Harry Bondi

OAKLAND (+115) over Detroit

It took us three days to get them to finally play a game but it was worth it as we cashed in on the Indians as your free play last night. Today we will back the hottest team in baseball over one of baseball's best pitchers in what looks like a Vegas trap. The Oakland Athletics have won nine straight and face the ace Justin Verlander. Verlander allowed only one run in his two victories in the American League Division Series over Oakland last October and has owned the A's over his career. He’s coming off a strong effort against the Yankees last Sunday and has led the American League in strikeouts the last two seasons and has 11 through his first 12 innings in 2013. So why is Verlander only a -125 favorite here? Because Vegas is trying to suck you in on him and the Tigers! We will not take the bait but instead back the red-hot A's and their outstanding pitcher Brett Anderson who is off to an impressive start with 16 strikeouts over 13 innings in his first two outings.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 13

Nelly

Seattle Mariners + over Texas Rangers

Through over 10 innings Joe Saunders has allowed just four runs this season and he will face a Texas lineup that is not having success against left-handed pitching. The Rangers are batting just .247 vs. southpaws and scoring less than three runs per game in those match-ups. Seattle lacks great offensive numbers overall but the Mariners are scoring 4.6 runs per game vs. right-handed pitching. Alexi Ogando has brilliant numbers through two starts but he is overvalued on the road given his very limited track record. Ogando has faced the Astros and Rays so he has not pitched against great offensive teams and he has occasionally had control issues. Seattle has scored at least three runs in eight straight games as this offense looks improved even with a few key hitters off to slow starts. Texas has only scored five runs in the last three games and the bullpen has been worked hard in the last few days. Value is with the Mariners at home as an underdog with a veteran left-hander on the mound.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 13

NHL Predictions

Lightning / Capitals Under 6

These two teams have met three times this season, and although 2 of the 3 have gone over 6 goals I think we will see both teams tighten up defensively. The Lightning are all but out of the playoff race 8 points back of 8th place, but I still think their young coach will want to work on the defensive side of things after allowing 6 goals against Pittsburgh the last time out. The UNDER is 3-3 in the Lightning’s last 6 games, but if the total were set at 6 in those games the UNDER would be 3-1-2 with only one game getting over 6 total goals. Washington has really played well as of late putting them third in the Eastern Conference a top their division currently. Good defensive play and good goaltending has led them to 6 straight victories. Over those wins they’ve allowed 2 or fewer goals 4 times and 3 or fewer goals against in all 6. We had two good goalies in net tonight in Bishop and Holtby so I’ll go with the UNDER 6.


Calgary Flames +180

The Calgary Flames are far out of a playoff spot but that isn’t stopping them from playing the spoiler role. The Flames beat Phoenix 3-2 last night to keep the Coyotes 2 points back from 8th in the West. Calgary has won 2 of 3, but they’ve brought a lot of energy in all 4 of their past games. Aside from last night’s win they had gotten 34+ shots in their three previous games, although losing 2 to Vancouver. The Oilers have a very tough hill to climb as they’ve lost 4 straight games dropping them 6 points back of 8th. They sit in 12th place so it will be nearly impossible to jump over that many teams. The Oilers have scored just 3 goals over their past 4 games being outscored 13-3. Although Edmonton has won 2 of their 3 meetings this year the Flames are still 19-7 in their last 26 meetings overall and 7-3 in their last 10 meetings in Edmonton. Yes the Oilers are still technically alive in the playoff race, but I don’t know how much jump we will see from them after their four straight losses where they’ve managed only 3 goals. On the other hand the Flames have accepted they won’t make the playoffs and seem to be playing energized hockey lately as they try to knock off teams fighting for playoff positioning. Take note that the Oilers have just 1 more win than the Flames. The Oilers deserve to be favored here tonight, but not by this much. I think at +180 we have value on the Flames and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them come into Edmonton and even up the battle of Alberta for the year.

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