Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 17

Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 17

DUNKEL INDEX

NBA

Utah at Memphis
The Grizzlies look to follow up their 103-97 win over Dallas on Monday and build on their 4-1 ATS record in their last 5 games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game. Memphis is the pick (-5) according to Dunkel, which has the Grizzlies favored by 7. Dunkel Pick: Memphis (-5)

Game 501-502: Philadelphia at Indiana (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia 114.752; Indiana 117.851
Dunkel Line & Total: Indiana by 3; 192
Vegas Line & Total: Indiana by 5 1/2; 186
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (+5 1/2); Over

Game 503-504: Orlando at Miami (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Orlando 107.785; Miami 126.530
Dunkel Line & Total: Miami by 18 1/2; 184
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 505-506: Boston at Toronto (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston 117.623; Toronto 114.044
Dunkel Line & Total: Boston by 3 1/2; 183
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 507-508: Washington at Chicago (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington 112.814; Chicago 119.349
Dunkel Line & Total: Chicago by 6 1/2; 190
Vegas Line & Total: Chicago by 8 1/2; 186
Dunkel Pick: Washington (+8 1/2); Over

Game 509-510: Milwaukee at Oklahoma City (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee 116.616; Oklahoma City 130.970
Dunkel Line & Total: Oklahoma City by 14 1/2; 210
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 511-512: Atlanta at New York (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta 115.021; New York 125.846
Dunkel Line & Total: New York by 11; 188
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 513-514: Detroit at Brooklyn (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit 115.118; Brooklyn 123.340
Dunkel Line & Total: Brooklyn by 8; 187
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 515-516: Cleveland at Charlotte (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland 111.801; Charlotte 110.386
Dunkel Line & Total: Cleveland by 1 1/2; 208
Vegas Line & Total: Charlotte by 3; 203
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (+3); Over

Game 517-518: New Orleans at Dallas (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: New Orleans 114.912; Dallas 118.734
Dunkel Line & Total: Dallas by 4; 202
Vegas Line & Total: Dallas by 7 1/2; 197 1/2
Dunkel Pick: New Orleans (+7 1/2); Over

Game 519-520: Minnesota at San Antonio (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 114.182; San Antonio 122.424
Dunkel Line & Total: San Antonio by 8; 190
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 521-522: Utah at Memphis (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Utah 120.034; Memphis 127.225
Dunkel Line & Total: Memphis by 7; 185
Vegas Line & Total: Memphis by 5; 180
Dunkel Pick: Memphis (-5); Over

Game 523-524: Phoenix at Denver (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Phoenix 114.164; Denver 127.450
Dunkel Line & Total: Denver by 13; 208
Vegas Line & Total: Denver by 11 1/2; 212 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Denver (-11 1/2); Under

Game 525-526: LA Clippers at Sacramento (10:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Clippers 123.811; Sacramento 115.301
Dunkel Line & Total: LA Clippers by 8 1/2; 202
Vegas Line & Total: LA Clippers by 6 1/2; 209
Dunkel Pick: LA Clippers (-6 1/2); Under

Game 527-528: Golden State at Portland (10:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Golden State 120.226; Portland 115.462
Dunkel Line & Total: Golden State by 5; 216
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 529-530: Houston at LA Lakers (10:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston 119.232; LA Lakers 124.230
Dunkel Line & Total: LA Lakers by 5; 197
Vegas Line & Total: LA Lakers by 2 1/2; 203
Dunkel Pick: LA Lakers (-2 1/2); Under

NHL

Montreal at Pittsburgh 
The Canadiens look to bounce back from their 7-3 loss to Philadelphia on Monday and build on their 7-1 record in their last 8 games after allowing 5 goals or more in their previous game. Montreal is the pick (+120) according to Dunkel, which has the Canadiens favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Montreal (+120)

Game 1-2: Montreal at Pittsburgh (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Montreal 12.213; Pittsburgh 11.304
Dunkel Line & Total: Montreal by 1; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Pittsburgh (-140); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Montreal (+120); Over

Game 3-4: Buffalo at Boston (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Buffalo 10.955; Boston 11.268
Dunkel Line & Total: Boston by 1/2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Boston (-210); 5
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-210); Under

Game 5-6: Detroit at Calgary (9:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit 11.027; Calgary 10.527
Dunkel Line & Total: Detroit by 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Detroit (-160); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-160); Under

Game 7-8: Columbus at Anaheim (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Columbus 10.318; Anaheim 12.092
Dunkel Line & Total: Anaheim by 2; 5 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Anaheim (-160); 5
Dunkel Pick: Anaheim (-160); Over

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DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Chicago White Sox at Toronto
The White Sox look to build on their 4-1 record in their last 5 games in Toronto. Chicago is the pick (+115) according to Dunkel, which has the White Sox favored by 1/2 a run. Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+115)

Game 901-902: St. Louis at Pittsburgh (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Miller) 15.797; Pittsburgh (Burnett) 16.239
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-130); 7
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (+110); Over

Game 903-904: Philadelphia at Cincinnati (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia (Lannan) 14.504; Cincinnati (Leake) 15.374
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-135); 8
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (-135); Under

Game 905-906: Washington at Miami (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Detwiler) 14.776; Miami (Nolasco) 14.358
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Washington (-165); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-165); Over

Game 907-908: San Francisco at Milwaukee (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Vogelsong) 14.856; Milwaukee (Lohse) 15.103
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Milwaukee (-115); 8
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (-115); Under

Game 909-910: NY Mets at Colorado (8:40 a.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Hefner) 14.891; Colorado (Garland) 16.544
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 911-912: San Diego at LA Dodgers (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Ross) 13.995; LA Dodgers (Kershaw) 16.489
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 2 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-260); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-260); Over

Game 913-914: Houston at Oakland (3:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Norris) 13.989; Oakland (Colon) 16.876
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 3; 9
Vegas Line: Oakland (-170); 8
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-170); Over

Game 915-916: Chicago White Sox at Toronto (7:07 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Quintana) 14.495; Toronto (Happ) 13.730
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Toronto (-135); 9
Dunkel Pick: White Sox (+115); Under

Game 917-918: Boston at Cleveland (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Aceves) 16.186; Cleveland (Masterson) 14.161
Dunkel Line: Boston by 2; 9
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-140); 8
Dunkel Pick: Boston (+120); Over

Game 919-920: Tampa Bay at Baltimore (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Moore) 15.726; Baltimore (Tillman) 15.186
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-120); 8
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-120); Under

Game 921-922: LA Angels at Minnesota (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Hanson) 14.242; Minnesota (Worley) 13.880
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-130); 9
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (-130); Under

Game 923-924: Detroit at Seattle (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Scherzer) 17.491; Seattle (Hernandez) 14.690
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 3; 7
Vegas Line: Seattle (-120); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (+100); Over

Game 925-926: Kansas City at Atlanta (12:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Davis) 15.127; Atlanta (Minor) 17.691
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 2 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-180); 8
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-180); Over

Game 927-928: Arizona at NY Yankees (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Miley) 16.531; NY Yankees (Sabathia) 15.957
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-150); 8
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (+130); Under

Game 929-930: Texas at Chicago Cubs (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (Grimm) 14.956; Cubs (Villanueva) 14.737
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

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Marc LawrenceFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Detroit Tigers at Seattle MarinersFORFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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When the Mariners send Felix Hernandez to the mound against the defending World Series champion Tigers Wednesday night they will do so knowing the King is 9-3 in his career team starts in this series, including 4-0 his last four at home. With Hernandez off a loss in his last start and his opponent, Max Scherzer, just 1-4 in his last five road team starts in April, look for the M's to come up big here tonight. We recommend a 1-unit play on Seattle.

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Rob VincilettiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Tigers vs. MarinersFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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This game looks to be a real pitchers duel with Felix Hernandez making the home start for the Mariners against Max Scherzer and the Tigers. Hernandez has gone under the last 4 April home starts he has made and has allowed 6 runs in 19 innings in home starts more recently vs the Tigers. Sherzer for the Tigers was solid in his lone road start this season allowing just 2 runs in 6 innings. In his last start here he allowed just a deuce over 6 innings. He has also had his last 4 road April starts go under the total and has won both starts here allowing just 4 runs in 14 innings. Seattle has gone under in 29 of the last 39 as a home favorite from -100 to -125 and 3 of 4 vs winning teams Season. They are scoring just a shade over 3 runs and hitting .224 vs right handers. The Tigers have done most of their damage in day games, as they are scoring just 3 runs per game at night. With two top tier pitchers, look for a low scoring game.

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Jim Feist

Timberwolves at Spurs
Pick: Under

Minnesota is 20th in the NBA in points scored and the under is 18-7-1 in the Timberwolves last 26 games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600. They take on a banged up San Antonio team that will be resting everyone after losing the No. 1 seed in the West to Oklahoma City. Point guard Tony Parker (sore neck) is ailing, along with Tim Duncan (sore knee) and small forward Kawhi Leonard (sore knee). The Spurs also will be without reserve guard Manu Ginobili, who has been out since straining his right hamstring March 29. The under is 10-4 in the Spurs last 14 vs. the Western Conference and when these teams meet the under is 6-2-1 in the last 9 meetings. Play the Timberwolves/Spurs under the total.

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Dave CokinFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Chicago White Sox at Toronto Blue JaysSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Don Cooper is widely regarded as one of the true pitching gurus in the game, and one of his success stories in the making might well be Jose Quintana. Regarded as little more than a fringe prospect by just about all the scouts, Quintana was a major surprise for a good part of his rookie campaign before wearing down as the IP piled up. The 2013 version of Quintana looks terrific. His control has been excellent, the K rate is way up, and he simply looks like he's in command on the mound right now. Don't get fooled by the so-so 4.09 ERA Quintana is sporting through his first couple of starts. He's pitching much better than that, and he'll have a good chance to contain a Toronto lineup that isn't exactly tearing the cover off the ball. As for the Blue Jays, J.A. Happ has been okay but the high BB rate he's exhibiting so far is a concern. Happ is doing a nice job inducing more grounders than in the past, so there are some things to like about him right now. But Quintana is he sharper guy right now, and with the White Sox getting the Tuesday win, they look playable here at a decent plus money price.

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Bruce MarshallFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Columbus Blue Jackets at Anaheim DucksSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Blue Jackets are definitely in the West playoff mix as they look to qualify for the postseason for just the second time in their 12-year existence and enter Anaheim having won four in a row. But Columbus has been cutting it pretty close most nights recently, having survived in overtime and in a shootout in its last two games, relying heavily upon GK Sergei Bobrovsky, who has recorded a 1.58 GAA in a current 9-game stretch in which he has started eight times. We suspect the Blue Jackets get their comeuppance from an Anaheim side that lost in OT at Nationwide Arena on March 31. Look for the well-rested Ducks, led by hot C Ryan Getzlaf (who scored the only Anaheim goal in Saturday's 2-1 loss vs. the Kings), to bounce back refreshed after three off days following the loss vs. LA. Play Ducks

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 17

Bob Balfe

Kings +6.5 over Clippers

The Clippers are going to watch the Nuggets beat the Suns and will have nothing to play for. This Kings organization might be playing in their final home game in this city. This happened two years ago as they were not sure the team would return to Sacramento and let me tell you it was as electric and as emotional as a building could ever get. This team stinks, but they have A+ fans. I think this will be their final game here and they will go out with a bang against a Clippers team that rest its starters. Take the Kings


Pistons +5.5 over Nets

I give this Pistons team a lot of credit. They have won 4 in a row and are not packing it in like most of the other non playoff teams. The Nets have struggled a bit and will be resting starters for the playoffs. This Pistons team is known to get aggressive so there is no need to have a starter get hurt playing in a meaningless game. Take the Pistons.


Bulls -8 over Wizards

Chicago has not been playing their best basketball and its imperative that they win today to get a more favorable playoff matchup and at home they need to beat the Wizards which are a horrible road team, This is a statement game more than anything to get this team in the right mind set for the playoffs. Take the Bulls.


Mavs -7.5 over Hornets

It was really a bad effort the other night by the Mavs as they blew a 12 pt lead to the Grizzles Bench. The Hornets have packed it in for the season and cannot be compared to Memphis in any way. Dallas has a demanding owner and great fans. This game will get them back to .500 ball and leave the fans with someone to feel good about. Take Dallas.


Rockets +3 over Lakers

With Kobe out of the lineup the Lakers have no guidance and no chance in the playoffs. Houston has a lot to play for because they could fall a spot with a loss. I just don’t see the Lakers winning this game. I don’t know how they beat the Spurs the other night, but I don’t think this team is good enough to win with all the injuries they have. I could see the Lakers and the Jazz both losing tonight. I don’t trust the Lakers with Kobe and now without the best player of the last two decades I don’t like their chances. Take Houston.


Tigers +105 over Mariners

Felix Hernandez is a great pitcher, but the poor guy just never gets run support. Max Scherzer is a strikeout machine this year and he doesn’t walk many batters. Seattle just does not generate enough offense when facing pitchers like this. The Mariners need to get men on base by walks in order to generate runs. If not they are going to hover around 3 runs a game and most of the time its just not enough to win in this league. Take Detroit.

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Jimmy Boyd

Seattle Mariners -108

Felix Hernandez will get the start for the Mariners today when they face off against the Detroit Tigers. Hernandez has had a successful career against Detroit posting a 9-2 record and a 2.65 ERA. Hernandez always plays well against American League Central teams and the Mariners a 4-1 in his last 5 starts against the Central division.

Max Scherzer will get the start for Detroit and this should be a repeat of his last game against Seattle. Last April he was lit up for five runs in five innings with Detroit losing 7-4 against the Mariners. Seattle’s Kendrys Morales is 3 for 9 against Scherzer with two doubles and a triple while Franklin Gutierrez has a double and a home run in his six at bats against him. These matchup advantages are just the spark Seattle needs to get the offense rolling again.

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Larry Ness

San Francisco Giants at Milwaukee Brewers
Pick: Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee broke out for its most runs of the season last night by beating the Giants 10-8, in the first of a three-game series. Tonight’s pitching matchup features San Fran’s Ryan Vogelsong and Milwaukee’s newly-acquired Kyle Lohse. Vogelsong’s journey "back to the majors" has been well-documented and after being away since 2006, his 2011 season resulted in an All Star game appearance plus a 13-7 record with a 2,71 ERA. He followed by going 14-9 (3.37 ERA) in 2012 and then was "lights out" in San Francisco's playoff run to a second World series title in three years, last season. Vogelsong went 3-0 in four postseason starts last year (team was 4-0), allowing just three ERs while striking out 21 in 24.2 innings (1.09 ERA). Lohse went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 33 starts for St Louis last season but sat around all winter without a job until Milwaukee called and gave him a three-year, $33 million contract in the last week of spring training. "I did everything in my control to get ready for this," he said. "I went out there and threw to college kids, and I know it's not the same as big league competition, but I was out there doing the same thing I always do to get ready." The two couldn’t have opened 2013 much differently. Vogelsong owns 7.15 ERA while allowing 17 hits in 11.1 innings in his first two starts of 2013, while Lohse has allowed just three ERs over 13 innings (2.08 ERA) in his first two, plus owns a 7-0 KW ratio. However, while Vogelsong has benefited from an offense that's scored 13 runs during his two starts, Lohse has “nothing to show” (0-1 / team is 0-2) for his two strong 2013 starts. "It's a shame you get those kind of outings and sometimes you just don't score," said Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke of Lohse. "But if he keeps throwing like that, we're going to have a nice year with him." How about starting right here? Vogelsong is 2-2 with a 6.18 ERA in six career starts against the Brewers (teams are 4-2) but did not face them last season and has not made a start at Miller Park since 2004 for Pittsburgh. However, he’s really struggling right now and I expect that to continue here. Back Lohse, who finally gets some support and his first win as a Brewer.

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SPORTS WAGERS

Houston +151 over OAKLAND

1st 5 innings. Frankly, this line is ridiculous. Bartolo Colon is 40 years old. With few walks and strikeouts, Colon relies on his defense. Any negative deviations to hit % or strand % will affect his bottom line. Colon has an ERA of 4.15 and a BAA of .302. Colon is an innings eater that will likely maintain those numbers until another injury land him on the DL. He’s serviceable but he’s not worth the price put on him here.

With all the upheaval in Houston, it's easy to forget there are some keeper-level players on the team and Bud Norris is one of them. Through three starts this season, Norris is 2-1 with a 1.94 ERA and 14/6 K/BB ratio. Is this moderate hot streak a sign of an even bigger step forward for Norris? Notable during this time has been a sudden stop to the gopheritis that has been keeping his ERA from dropping to elite levels. There has not been any meaningful change in his groundball/line-drive/fly-ball splits so everything points to Norris finally putting it all together.  Norris has been absolutely dominant against RH batters this season with a BAA of .143 and that’s not an aberration because he’s always been dominating against righties. That’s really the key here. Oakland is 4-0 against lefties this year but they are just 2-4 against right-handers at home and will send a heavy right-handed lineup to face Norris. With Norris dominating right-handers, this ticket has a great chance of cashing after five frames.


San Francisco +110 over MILWAUKEE

Anytime we can get the Giants at a price against the Brewers it’s worth a close look because in terms of talent and bullpen, this one is a mismatch in the Giants favor. Milwaukee went off for eight runs in the third inning off Barry Zito last night but subsequently scored just one more the rest of the way and had to hang on for a 10-8 victory. It was Milwaukee’s fourth win in 12 games and at least two of those wins were of the fortunate variety. The Brewers are full of holes, they strike out too often and that bullpen might just be the league’s worst. Kyle Lohse significantly outperformed his xERA again last season. Lohse’s control is legit but his history says not to trust is strikeout rate spike in the second half last year. Lohse’s sterling W-L record will not repeat and neither will his strand lucky 80% strand percentage. Sure, he's been an effective starter but all the signs say it’s been a lot of luck. In 13 innings this year, Lohse has a groundball/line-drive/fly-ball split 0f 36%/31%/33% and that’s a disturbing profile that isn’t far off from his career splits. Kyle Lohse has been living a charmed life with unsustainable results.

The Giants are probably the least flawed team in baseball. They are in the top five in the majors in just about every key category that includes team batting average, runs scored and on base percentage among others. The Giants also don’t strike out much, as their 87 K’s are the second fewest in the NL. Ryan Vogelsong has a horrible 7.15 ERA and 1.76 WHIP, but the prudent move is not to jump ship just yet. Vogelsong’s base skills have been very good, which includes 11 K’s in 11 innings. A 43% hit rate and 58% strand rate have teamed to torpedo his surface stats. What we have here is a buy low (on Vogelsong) and sell high (on Lohse) opportunity and one we are not going to miss because the Giants chances of winning are greater than Milwaukee’s chances.


Boston +130 over CLEVELAND

The Indians have scored two runs or fewer in four of their past five games and that alone makes them too big a risk spotting a tag against the inspired Red Sox, who feel they are representing a nation right now. Cleveland’s troubles go deep. The Indians have run into some early season injury issues resulting in some lineup and roster adjustments. Reports now say Michael Bourn will head to the DL later this week due to stitches in his right hand after a head-first slide into first base on Sunday. While he's out the Indians could move Drew Stubbs to center and Nick Swisher or Ryan Raburn to right. If Swisher moves to right, then Mark Reynolds could play 1B while Jason Giambi would DH. Backup catcher Lou Marson was placed on the DL and Carlos Santana has been slowed by a bruised left hand. The Indians called up two catchers from Triple-A: Omir Santos and Yan Gomes. With an awful pen and a depleted lineup, the Indians offer up no appeal as the chalk. Justin Masterson has gained 2.1 mph on his fastball from April 2012 to so far in April 2013, the biggest jump of any SP. His base skills over his first few starts are near-elite. As has been the norm with Masterson, he is dominating RH bats but isn't nearly as good against LH bats (the Red Sox can load up with left-handed bats) meaning his long-term outlook remains hazy. Masterson has faced three light-hitting teams so far in the White Sox, Rays and Jays and this is without question his toughest test to date.

Alfredo Aceves is a wild card. Despite a shaky start, Aceves has displayed skills well-suited to stick in the rotation for the time being. Aceves has appeared in three games this season but started just one. He looked most comfortable in the starting role his last time out (his first start since June of 2011) against the Orioles in which he left after the fifth inning with the game tied 2-2. He’s missing more bats this year (9 k’s in 9.1 innings) so retaining the uptick in his strikeouts will be critical to Aceves' success. He's always been conditioned to longer outings so this role is something he has always aspired to. His surface numbers remain less than shiny, which means we get him at a discount.  Against the troubled Indians, that works for us.

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Art Aronson

Detroit vs. Calgary
Pick: Detroit

These teams have played twice this year and Calgary has won both: 4-1 in Detroit on February 5th and 5-2 at home on March 13th. The Wings are 20-15-7 overall and 10-8-3 on the road. They're coming off a 3-0 win at Nashville on Sunday. Calgary is 16-22-4 overall and 11-9-2 at home. It's coming off a 4-3 loss vs. Minnesota on Monday. This is an important game for the Wings, as they sit tied with Columbus for the final Western Conference playoff spot and just two ahead of Dallas. "You should know it's a fairly urgent situation for us, but I think it's been like that all year," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said Tuesday. "I heard lots of times we've been inconsistent, but that's not true. We've been the most consistent Red Wings' team I ever coached. We've been in the grinder since the start." The wheels finally came off the bus for the Flames last time out, having to dress a lot of young players because of injuries and trades. Calgary's normally unflappable goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff is sputtering down the stretch, posting a 4.12 GAA while losing his last six starts. Wings' goaltender Jimmy Howard had 22 saves for his third shutout of the year vs. Nashville and has a big opportunity to build off that performance against this inconsistent home side. With two whole days off after tonight's game to prepare for the final week of the regular season, I believe the Wings play with an extreme sense of desperation, taking advantage of this situation and avenging the earlier setbacks in the process. Consider laying the price in this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 17

Will Rogers

Tampa Bay vs. Baltimore
Pick: Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are in Baltimore on Wednesday, taking on the Orioles in Game 2 of a three game series. The Rays lost Game 1 last night, and they have lost four straight overall. Tampa looks to avoid dropping five straight tonight, and they will like their chances with Matt Moore on the mound, after all, it was Moore who was on the hill the last time the Rays earned a "W".

Here are my keys to the game:

1: Recent History - Tampa's starting pitcher Matt Moore has excellent numbers against Baltimore, with an ERA of 1.83 in four starts against the Orioles last year. The Orioles starter doesn't have particularly good numbers at home in his career, and Tampa slugger Evan Longoria has battered him in previous meetings, hitting .500 with three homers in just 12 at bats lifetime.

2: 2013 Stats - Matt Moore has yet to surrender any runs in two starts this season, while Orioles pitcher Chris Tillman was rocked for five runs in his only start at home this year.

3: X-Factor - The Tampa Bay bats have been awful quiet of late, but it's only a matter of time before we see an offensive outburst from the Rays.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 17

Wunderdog

Boston at Toronto
Pick: Boston +5.5

The wake of the horrible terrorist attack in Boston caused postponement of the Celtics last home game with Indiana. It would not surprise me if Boston played this game with a lot of heart to create a much needed feel good for fans back in Boston. The one thing that Boston has is a lot of depth, which has helped them overcome a lot of injuries. Even the role players, who will get extended minutes here, should be playing well and focused. Toronto has had another season that has ended in disappointment, as they have won just 33 games, and were not even a marginal playoffs team. The Rudy Gay trade gave them a brief lift as they went 6-4 in his first 10 games, but just 10-15 in the last 25 - not much different than where they were before. Take the Celtics.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 17

Steve Merril

Arizona vs. New York
Play: Under 

The Yankees look for another win against Arizona on Wednesday after a 4-2 victory last night. C.C. Sabathia is in the groove after a rough first start versus Boston. The hefty lefty has since allowed just one earned run in his last two starts (15 innings) while striking out 13 and walking only three in back-to-back victories. Sabathia normally pitches deep into the game which means less pressure on the Yankee's bullpen. Eric Chavez (3-20), Cliff Pennington (1-14), Martin Prado (3-12), Cody Ross (1-7), and Josh Wilson (2-17) have struggled against the southpaw. Arizona is batting just .105 on the road versus left-handed pitchers this season. Wade Miley goes for Arizona and he has pitched well this season with a perfect 2-0 record and a 2.13 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in his two starts, allowing just 3 runs and only 10 hits in 12.2 innings of work with a 13/4 strikeout/walk ratio. The Bronx Bombers are a predominantly left-handed lineup with Robinson Cano, Travis Hafner, Lyle Overbay, Ichiro, Brett Gardner, and Brennan Boesch all coming from that side. The Yankees are batting just .202 versus left-handed pitchers this season, compared to .299 versus right-handers. Miley is backed by a strong bullpen that has yet to lose with a solid 2.25 ERA and 1.10 WHIP this season. Look for a low-scoring pitcher's duel in New York tonight.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 17

Ben Burns

Detroit vs. Seattle
Pick: Seattle

With another painless win (Blues/Canucks "under") yesterday, Ben Burns is now 17-8 (+856 at 1 unit per game) with his 2013 free plays.

Those stats aren't included in his overall records.

Today, Ben tests that 68% YTD record with a play from the Seattle/Detroit contest.

The Mariners are a profitable 27-17 (+8) over the past couple of seasons, when playing at home with a line in the +100 to -125 range.

During that strech, the Tigers are only 22-31 (-14.4) when playing on the road with a line in the +100 to -125 range.

Hernandez hasn't been his usual dominant self over his past couple of starts. However, he's still got a solid 3.05 ERA and 1.161 WHIP on the season.

That's superior to Scherzer's 4.91 ERA and 1.182 WHIP.

Admittedly, Scherzer has been fairly tough against Seattle. In five starts vs. the M's, he's 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA and 1.250 WHIP.

Hernandez has him beat there too though. In 12 starts against Detroit, King Felix is 9-2 with a 2.65 ERA and 1.192 WHIP.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 17

King Creole

Pistons +5.5

There's a handful of NON-Playoff teams in the Eastern Conference who are finishing the 2012/2013 season with a big-time BANG. The Detroit Pistons are one of those teams (so is the Toronto Raptors... our WINNER from last night). Maybe we can kick out the #7 and #8 seeds in the Eastern Conference (Boston and Milwaukee) and ADD the Pistons and Raptors!

DETROIT is even hotter than the sunny weather down here in South Florida. The PISTONS come in on a PERFECT 7-0-1 ATS run in their last 8 games. And we'll be playing ON 'EM in their best role (road underdogs). Detroit has gone a PERFECT 7-0 ATs in the last 4 weeks as road underdogs. Meanwhile, we'll be playing AGAINST The Brooklyn Nets in their WORST role (home favs). The Nets have gone 4-12 ATS this season as home favorites vs any opponent off a SU win (like DETROIT). And that includes 1-9 ATS in Conference play. And besides, the Nets are already locked-in to their Playoff position (#4 seed in the East) and CANNOT improve.

We have been following (and mentioning) this 'Day of the Week' UNDERDOG system all season long... and PROFITING on the process! We'll climb back aboard on this last day of the regular season.
23-5 ATS this season: All WEDNESDAY Conference underdogs off a SUATS win (PISTON) versus any opponent also off a SUATS win (Nets).

Both teams last played on Monday... so they both come in on ONE day of rest.
1-9-1 ATS since February: All NBA home favorites in a '1/1 REST situation (Nets) versus any HOT opponent off 2 or more SU and ATS wins in a row (PISTONS).

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 17

Steve Janus

Seattle Mariners -104

The Mariners are showing some excellent value at home as a small favorite with their ace Felix Hernandez on the mound. Hernandez is one of the elite pitchers in the game and has had his way against the Tigers in his career. He's 9-2 with a 2.65 ERA over 12 starts against Detroit. The Tigers will counter with Max Scherzer, who is a mere 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA and 1.182 WHIP in his two starts this season. The last time Scherzer faced the Mariners, he was rocked for five runs on 10 hits in just five innings of work.

Detroit is the better team overall and the one likely headed to the playoffs, but Seattle is not getting enough respect at -104. The Tigers are just 8-19 against the money line in road games with a line of -100 to -125 over the last two season. Seattle on the other hand is 19-4 against the money line at home with a line of -100 to -125. Simply too much value to pass up.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 17

Jack Jones

Toronto Raptors -5.5

The Toronto Raptors have saved their best basketball for last. They have gone 6-1 SU & 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall as they have clearly made a point of finishing the season strong. This is a team that will be fighting for a playoff spot next year as long as they bring Rudy Gay back.

I look for the Raptors to cap off a great run to end the season with a blowout victory over the Boston Celtics tonight. With Boston locked into the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, it has nothing to play for in this one.

The Celtics' biggest concern is resting their players so that they are fresh heading into their first-round showdown with No. 2 New York. While some of their starters may get minutes tonight, the least of their worries is winning this game.

Boston is 5-16 ATS off a road win by 10 points or more over the last 3 seasons. The Celtics are 5-14 ATS in road games when playing against a team with a losing record this season. Toronto wants revenge from three earlier losses to Boston this season. Bet the Raptors Wednesday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 17

Dave Price

Tampa Bay Rays -115

The Rays get the call as our free play as they are showing value at this price with Matt Moore on the mound. The Rays are 4-0 in his last 4 starts, and he has given up no runs and only 3 hits in 11 1/3 innings this season. Moore has won 2 of his last 3 starts against the Orioles and has limited them to 2 earned runs or fewer in all 4 career meetings. Baltimore's Chris Tillman has struggled out of the gate, as evidence by his 7.00 ERA and 2.111 WHIP. It's significant that oddsmakers have listed Tampa Bay as the favorite because it is 13-5 in its last 18 games as a favorite and 4-1 in their last 5 games as a road favorite. Take the Rays.

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