Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, April 18

Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, April 18

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Tampa Bay at Baltimore
The Orioles look to bounce back from yesterday's loss to the Rays and build on their 4-0 record in Miguel Gonzalez' last 4 starts following a team defeat in their previous game. Baltimore is the pick (+105) according to Dunkel, which has the Orioles favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (+105)

Game 951-952: San Francisco at Milwaukee (1:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Cain) 15.555; Milwaukee (Gallardo) 15.903
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-130); 8
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (+110); Over

Game 953-954: NY Mets at Colorado (3:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Niese) 15.393; Colorado (Garland) 16.544
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1; 9
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 955-956: St. Louis at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Wainwright) 15.401; Philadelphia (Hamels) 15.741
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-110); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (-110); Under

Game 957-958: Atlanta at Pittsburgh (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Teheran) 16.680; Pittsburgh (Locke) 16.135
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-125); 8
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-125); Over

Game 959-960: Miami at Cincinnati (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami (Fernandez) 13.405; Cincinnati (Cingrani) 15.937
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 2 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-160); 8
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (-160); Over

Game 961-962: Detroit at Seattle (3:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Verlander) 16.261; Seattle (Iwakuma) 16.920
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 1/2; 5 1/2
Vegas Line: Detroit (-160); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (+140); Under

Game 963-964: Chicago White Sox at Toronto (7:07 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Sale) 15.334; Toronto (Dickey) 14.391
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Toronto (-130); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+110); Over

Game 965-966: Tampa Bay at Baltimore (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Price) 15.319; Baltimore (Gonzalez) 16.610
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1 1/2; 6 1/2
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-125); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (+105); Under

Game 967-968: Boston at Cleveland (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Lester) 14.890; Cleveland (McAllister) 15.110
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Boston (-135); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (+115); Under

Game 969-970: Texas at Chicago Cubs (2:20 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (Ogando) 15.102; Cubs (Villanueva) 14.737
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 971-972: Arizona at NY Yankees (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Corbin) 15.830; NY Yankees (Hughes) 15.405
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-115); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (-105); Under

NHL

NY Islanders at Toronto
The Islanders look to follow up their 5-2 win over Florida on Tuesday and build on their 9-2 record in their last 11 games after allowing 2 goals or less in the previous game. New York is the pick (+110) according to Dunkel, which has the Islanders favored by 1/2 a goal. Dunkel Pick: NY Islanders (+110)

Game 51-52: Florida at NY Rangers (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Florida 10.167; NY Rangers 12.163
Dunkel Line & Total: NY Rangers by 2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: NY Rangers (-260); 5
Dunkel Pick: NY Rangers (-260); Under

Game 53-54: NY Islanders at Toronto (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Islanders 12.322; Toronto 12.167
Dunkel Line & Total: NY Islanders by 1/2; 6 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Toronto (-130); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Islanders (+110); Over

Game 55-56: New Jersey at Philadelphia (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: New Jersey 10.620; Philadelphia 10.461
Dunkel Line & Total: New Jersey by 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Philadelphia (-140); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: New Jersey (+120); Under

Game 57-58: Washington at Ottawa (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington 12.806; Ottawa 11.937
Dunkel Line & Total: Washington by 1; 6 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Ottawa (-120); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (+100); Over

Game 59-60: Tampa Bay at Montreal (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay 10.411; Montreal 10.632
Dunkel Line & Total: Montreal by 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Montreal (-175); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Montreal (-175); Under

Game 61-62: Carolina at Winnipeg (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Carolina 11.027; Winnipeg 10.452
Dunkel Line & Total: Carolina by 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Winnipeg (-170); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Carolina (+150); Over

Game 63-64: Phoenix at St. Louis (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Phoenix 10.465; St. Louis 12.097
Dunkel Line & Total: St. Louis by 1 1/2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: St. Louis (-185); 5
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-185); Under

Game 65-66: Vancouver at Dallas (8:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Vancouver 12.706; Dallas 12.359
Dunkel Line & Total: Vancouver by 1/2; 6 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Vancouver (-145); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Vancouver (-145); Over

Game 67-68: Minnesota at San Jose (10:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 11.618; San Jose 11.220
Dunkel Line & Total: Minnesota by 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: San Jose (-160); 5
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+140); Over

Game 69-70: Columbus at Los Angeles (10:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Columbus 11.926; Los Angeles 11.704
Dunkel Line & Total: Columbus by 1/2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Los Angeles (-185); 5
Dunkel Pick: Columbus (+165); Under

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Columbus Blue at Los AngelesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: UnderFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Columbus (20-16-3-4) has won four games in a row after their 4-3 win in overtime in Colorado on Monday. The Blue Jackets stay on the road for this one. The Kings are 16-4-1 on their home ice this season -- and the Under is 4-1-1 in their last 6 road games against teams with a winning percentage over 60% at home this year. Additionally, the Under is 9-1-2 in Columbus' last 12 games against teams with a winning record. Furthermore, this will be the Blue Jackets' fourth game since Saturday -- and they have played 4 straight games Under the Total in their last 4-in-6 situations. Los Angeles (24-14-1-4) looks to rebound from a 3-2 loss at San Jose on Tuesday. The Kings have sent the Under go a decisive 36-13-13 in their last 62 games against teams with a losing record. Additionally, the Under is 5-0-3 in Los Angeles' last 8 games on their home ice. Lastly, the Under is 4-1-1 in the last 6 meetings between these two teams. Take the Under in this one.

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Jimmy BoydFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Toronto Blue Jays -123FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Chicago White Sox are struggling on the road this season sitting on a 3-6 record. They average just 3.4 runs per game with a .248 batting average and .282 on base percentage. The White Sox have not only struggled on the road, but they are also struggling against right handed starters. They had had a dramatic drop in production from their already abysmal numbers in the 12 games they have faced a righty starter. Today they will go up against R.A. Dickey who is 12-2 in his career against when playing against an American League team with an on base percentage .320 or worse. Dickey is coming off a confidence boosting win over the Royals giving up just 1 earned run in 6.3 innings. For Chicago Chris Sale will take the mound. Sale coming off an embarrassing loss to Cleveland where he went just 4.3 innings and gave up 8 earned runs.

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San Francisco Giants vs. Milwaukee BrewersSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Milwaukee BrewersFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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After an embarrassing arrest on a drunk-driving charge earlier this week, there's nothing Yovani Gallardo wants to do more than take the mound at Miller Park and redeem himself. The combination of Gallardo's slow start and Matt Cain being the opposing hurler has convinced the oddsmaker to open the Giants as solid road favorites. I don't see it that way. Gallardo is an ace. He's off a terrible game against the Cardinals this past Saturday. That's the one team, though, he really has trouble against. Gallardo is 4-2 with a 1.91 ERA in six starts against San Francisco since 2009. Gallardo is Milwaukee's ace and one of the best pitchers in the National League. He has recorded four consecutive 200-strikeout seasons, ranking fourth in the majors last year with an average of 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Gallardo is quality and I see him bouncing back strong here against a San Francisco lineup that won't be starting Buster Posey and Marco Scutaro, both of whom are being given days off. Milwaukee is a great hitting team and is regaining its confidence and swagger by defeating San Francisco during the first two games of this series. Cain is an elite pitcher, too, but his dominance comes more at home. Cain has struggled at hitter-friendly Miller Park with a 5.94 ERA in five starts. The Giants are 2-8 during Cain's last 10 road starts when favored between $1.10 and $1.50. The Brewers are 37-15 (71%) in Gallardo's last 52 home starts.

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Rob VincilettiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Arizona Diamondbacks vs. New York Yankees
Play: New York YankeesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Yankees are a solid 15-2 vs NL. West division teams at home after last night win over Arizona. Road dogs like Arizona have lost 14 of the last 15 times off a 1 run road dog loss if they scored 4 or less runs, and are taking on an opponent off a 1 run home favored win at -140 or higher also scoring 4 or less runs. Phil Hughes has been terrible of late but the feeling is he will turn it around tonight against Arizona a team that has never faced him. Arizona counters with Corbin making his first start here at the stadium against a Yankees team that is 5-0 vs winning teams, 6-1 at night and averaging over 6 runs the past week. Look for New York to Bring out the brooms as the American league teams continue to dominate the National league teams in these inter league games.

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Greg ShakerFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cardinals / Phillies Under 7.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Cardinal thrower is on his game this year and Hamels finally is on his after a couple of shaky starts. The Cardinals have not been very good verses lefty hitting and they have had little success verses the Philly thrower career-wise. That is also true of Philly verses Wainwright. The entire Cardinal staff have performed very well this year and currently ranked #3 in the NL with ERA. I have right at 6.5 here and playing 1%.

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Bryan LeonardFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cincinnati Reds -168FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Young right hander Jose Fernandez gets his first taste of a hitter's park when the Marlins open a four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds. Tony Cingrani, the highly touted southpaw, will make his Major League starting debut for the Redlegs. Fernandez has been impressive in his first two starts, but he's facing a far more capable lineup in the Reds and he's still a kid who went from Single-A to the big leagues. His first two starts came against the Mets and the Phillies, two teams not exactly known for their offensive prowess. It'll be interesting to see how he handles a packed house eager for the debut of his opponent, Tony Cingrani. We're betting that he struggles in that environment and some of his numbers do need to level off. He's gotten lucky on balls in play, allowing just five hits on 23 balls in play. That's unlikely to continue. Furthermore, he'll be pitching in a park where the ball actually carries pretty well.
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Tony Cingrani makes his first Major League start after downright dominating Triple-A hitters. In 14.1 innings, Cingrani struck out 26 batters and allowed just three hits. Lefties tend to have a lot of success during their first trip around the league and a guy with Cingrani's talent should be no different. He appeared in three games last season, so the nerves should be tempered a little by already having Major League experience.
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The Marlins have scored just 32 runs in 15 games. They're not scoring off of anybody and it seems unlikely that they would score off a guy with Cingrani's talent. He may not need many runs to win, but the Reds certainly have an offense capable of scoring.

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Jim Feist

Giants at Brewers
Pick: Over

Milwaukee is a small park, tough on pitchers, and a pair of struggling aces go. San Fran has Matt Cain, but he's 0-1 with a 5.94 ERA. And he's never like facing the Brewers with a 3-5 record and a 4.50 ERA against them. The over is 15-6 in the Giants last 21 vs. the National League Central. Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo (6.61 ERA) hasn't been on his game, either. Milwaukee is on a 10-3 run over the total and the over is 7-1-2 in Gallardo's last 10 starts vs. a team with a winning record. And when they meet the over is 5-1-1 in the last 7 meetings. Play the Giants/Brewers over the total.

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Dave CokinFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore OriolesFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Tampa Bay RaysFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The struggling Rays got a win they really needed on Wednesday night, and they're hoping that's the springboard to get them back in a groove in the AL East. I like Tampa Bay's chances of getting a second straight win tonight. David Price looked more like himself last start, and now he gets to face a lineup he's fairly well dominated. Probable Baltimore starters are a feeble 37/159 with just one HR against the Rays southpaw, and Price is 6-2 vs. the O's, including 3-0 in six starts at this site. I'm not particularly high on Miguel Gonzalez and his 2.92 ERA is misleading. The analytics are not nearly as impressive. Gonzalez does have very good stats against the lineup he's likely to see tonight. But the new season BB/K ratio is not good at all, and that's usually a sign that bad times might be coming. I think we're getting Price at a relatively cheap price here, so I'll back the Rays to win the series rubber match.

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Bruce MarshallFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia FlyersSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: New Jersey DevilsFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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We admit to sticking our necks out on this one with the Devils, who have hardly been a ball of fire lately with ten straight losses that have jeopardized playoff participation for last season's Stanley Cup finalists. Moreover, New Jersey has scored only 16 goals during that stretch. But there's a good chance the Devils have star winger Ilya Kovalchuk available for the first time since he injured a shoulder back on March 23 vs. the Panthers; the 10-game slump began immediately thereafter. Sooner or later, however, New Jersey is going to start scoring some goals, having outshot its last two foes Ottawa and Toronto by a combined 65-24 but losing 2-0 on both occasions. The presence of Kovalchuk could help tonight at Wells Fargo Center; he's recorded two goals and four assists as the Devils have gone 3-0-1 vs. the Flyers this season. Kovalchuk also has 10 goals and 20 assists in 28 games vs. Philly since being traded to New Jersey in February 2010. As for the Flyers, they've won two straight and scored 11 goals in the process, but their erratic form has them on the wrong side of the playoff cut line, and not sure if it's a good thing that Peter Laviolette is likely to turn back to up-and-down GK Ilya Bryzgalov, who has a 3.01 GAA in his last seven outings. Play Devils on Money Line

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Ben BurnsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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St. Louis vs. PhiladelphiaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: PhiladelphiaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Phillies didn't fare too well at Cincinnati. Returning home and with Hamels on the mound, I feel that they've got a solid shot at bouncing back with a much-needed victory.
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Admittedly, Hamels has not gotten off to a good start. He's 0-2 with a 7.56 ERA. However, those stats don't show that he really put it together in his last start ...
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Despite failing to factor in the decision, Hamels took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, last time out. He'd eventually allow only three hits and one run, through six complete innings. That's certainly the type of performance he should be able to build from.
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Hamels has enjoyed success against St. Louis. In 10 career starts against the Cards, he's got a 2.95 ERA and 1.033 WHIP. The Phillies were 7-3 in those games.
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Wainwright is obviously no slouch either. He's off to a strong start and he's also pitched well against the Phillies. That said, he's been matched up twice against Hamels in recent years and both times he was on the wrong side of a pitcher's duel .The Phillies won those two games (both in 2010) by scores of 2-0 and 2-1.
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I believe that getting the Phillies, who are 96-75 at home the past 2+ years, as a slight underdog, or at "pick'em" price, is providing us with very fair value. Consider Philadelphia

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Art AronsonFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Washington vs. OttawaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: UnderFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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These teams played on January 29th and Ottawa won 3-2 in front of the home town crowd. Three of these teams last five in the series have gone "under" the number and because of the situation that each finds itself in coming into this contest, I believe tonight's game will follow suit. Washington is 24-17-2 overall and 11-9-2 on the road. It's won eight straight, most recently 5-1 over Toronto on Tuesday. Ottawa is 22-14-6 overall and 14-3-3 at home. It's won three straight, most recently a 3-2 victory over Carolina on Tuesday. Two teams with plenty of momentum and looking to parlay that success into a winning run to end the season. Goaltending is going to be a serious factor tonight, as the Sens' Craig Anderson owns a league-best 1.55 GAA and is 4-1-1 with a 2.17 GAA in his last six starts vs. Washington. The Caps' Braden Holtby has won six straight starts while posting a very respectable 2.28 GAA. I believe when the smoke clears at the end of this game, that the story line will be all about the two men duelling it out between the pipes. Consider a second look at the "under" in this one.

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WunderdogFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Francisco at MilwaukeeFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Milwaukee -105FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Yovani Gallardo suffered a tough week when he was stopped for a DUI earlier this week. He has a chance to make those headlines move to the back burner with a good outing this afternoon. The Giants have had problems on offense with an injured Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Braun in a deep slump, and the lineup has suddenly become short. Matt Cain is off to a poor start winless, and pitching to a 5.94 ERA. Gallardo has always been strong at home, and his career numbers vs. the Giants are strong at 5-3 with a 2.96 ERA. Cain has bad numbers vs. the Brew Crew at 3-5 and a 4.50 ERA over his career. Play on the home dog here, and back Milwaukee.

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Chicago vs. TorontoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Over 7.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Tonight in Toronto we have a pitching match-up of two guys that haven’t really put it all together yet this season. Chicago will send Chris Sale to the hill while the Blue Jays will counter with their top off-season pickup, R.A. Dickey. Sale was excellent for the Sox last season, posting a 17-8 record with a 3.05 ERA in 29 starts. He kept the ball in the yard, allwoing just 0.9 HR per 9 innings but so far this season, he has really struggled out of the gate with an ERA of 5.21. He has a 1.4 WHIP and has gotten the ball up in the zone, which has accounted for him allowing 4 HR in just 19 innings pitched. R.A. Dickey has actually been worse that Sale in his 3 starts this season despite the fact that he actually has a win. His knuckleball has been flat in 2 of his 3 starts, which has led to an ERA of 5.82. His control has also been suspect as he has walked 8 batters in only 17 IP. Pair those numbers with the fact that the lineups that Sale and Dickey will be facing are littered with power bats (Konerko/Rios/Dunn for Chicago and Encarnacion/Bautista/Rasmus for Toronto) and we think this number is a tad on the low side.

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Bryan PowerFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Miami vs. CincinnatiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: CincinnatiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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It appears as if the Marlins are indeed headed for the dreadful season most anticipated as they are 3-12 out of the box and I see no reason why their fortunes would turn around this weekend in Cincinnati as the Reds are coming off a sweep of the Phillies, including an 11-2 win yesterday.  I'll recommend a small wager on Cincy this evening. Miami is just 5-16 its last 21 games played at Great American Ballpark.  Not only that, but tonight they are running into a hot hitting Reds team, which has scored 53 times in its last eight home games.  Seven of those games have resulted in wins as they have outscored opponents by 31 runs during that time. With RISP, Reds' hitters are batting .342 during this same time frame.  Meanwhile, no team has scored fewer runs (32) or hit fewer home runs (three!) than the Marlins this season.
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We do have an interesting pitching matchup here.  For Miami, Jose Fernandez has been one of the few bright spots.  In two starts, he's allowed just 1 ER over 11 IP, though the Marlins have split those games.  They did win his last start, 2-0 over Philadelphia as Fernandez threw six scoreless innings and allowed just two hits.  But by all accounts, the opposing pitcher may be even better in this matchup as Cincinnati turns to Tony Cingrani to fill the void in the rotation left by Johnny Cueto being put on the DL.  In three minor league starts, Cingrani struck out 26 batters in just a little over 14 innings and did not allow a single run.  A southpaw in what has been an all-righty Reds rotation for some time, Cingrani faces a Marlins lineup that is scoring just 1.2 runs per game vs. lefties so far this season.

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Matt FargoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Arizona vs. NY YankeesFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: ArizonaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Yankees have heated up as they are riding a three-game winning streak while going 7-1 over their last eight games. Pitching has been the key but that should take a big step backwards tonight.  Right now, Phil Hughes is a fade as he has not looked even close to being back to full health. He is coming off a back injury and his numbers show it as he is 0-2 with a 10.29 ERA and 2.71 WHIP in his two starts. This is a huge disappointment so far for the Yankees as they were hoping to have him back at full strength to potent up the rotation.  The Yankees are 1-5 in Hughes' last six starts against teams with a winning record while the Diamondbacks are 8-2 in their last 10 games against right-handed starters. Arizona looks to salvage a game and avoid the sweep before going back to National League play. The Diamondbacks are now 3-2 on the road following a season opening sweep at Milwaukee and they are hoping for another solid start from Patrick Corbin. He has tossed two straight quality starts to open the season including six shutout innings in last start against the Dodgers while he picked up the victory against Clayton Kershaw. Going back to last season, the Diamondbacks are 6-1 in Corbin's last seven starts following a quality outing in his last start.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, April 18

Dave PriceFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Pittsburgh Pirates +107FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Pirates are showing value at this price at home given the advantage they have on the mound with Jeff Locke, who shut down Cincinnati in a 3-1 victory his last time out. The Pirates have won 2 of his last 3 starts dating back to last season, and one of those wins came against the Braves. He held them to 1 run on 2 hits in 6 innings. He'll have a good opportunity to silence Atlanta again considering it is batting only .238 in 5 games against southpaw starters this season. Atlanta's Julio Teheran has really struggled out of the gate, as evidenced by his 7.36 ERA through 2 starts. He's given up 9 runs on 14 hits in 11 innings this season. The Pirates have been at their best against righty starters, hitting .258 in 10 games against them. They are 6-1 in their last 7 games versus a right-handed starter and 5-2 in their last 7 games as an underdog. Bet the Bucs.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, April 18

Jack JonesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Boston Red Sox -128FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Boston Red Sox (10-4) are making a statement in the early going. They are showing everyone that they are back as an AL East contender after a disastrous 2012 campaign. Pitching has been a big reason for their resurgence, especially from ace Jon Lester.
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The left-hander had his first bad season in 2012, but he has come back as strong as ever in 2013. Lester is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA and 0.947 WHIP through three starts this season. He has allowed just 3 earned runs over 19 innings in victories over the Yankees, Blue Jays and Rays.
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The Cleveland Indians (5-8) are in rebuilding mode once again this season. This is one team that Lester certainly loves facing. That's evident by the fact that he is 5-1 with a 3.34 ERA and 1.191 WHIP in 11 career starts against Cleveland. Lester has only allowed one earned run over 19 innings in his last three starts against the Indians.
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Boston is 9-1 (+8.8 Units) against the money line when the total is 7 to 8.5 this season. Cleveland is 8-27 (-16.0 Units) against the money line after batting .225 or worse over a 5 game span over the last 2 seasons. The Red Sox are 57-26 in Lester's last 83 starts vs. a team with a losing record. The Indians are 2-7 in Zach McAllister's last 9 starts as an underdog. Bet Boston Thursday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, April 18

Steve JanusFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Toronto Blue Jays -115FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Blue Jays will be motivated to get a split at home in this 4-game series against the White Sox and I like their chances in what might appear to be a pitchers duel between Chicago's Chris Sale and Toronto's R.A. Dickey.
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After a closer look, I think Dickey and the Blue Jays have the edge on the mound. Sale looked great in his first two starts of the season, allowing just 3 earned runs on 12 hits with 14 strike outs over 14.7 innings. However, both of those starts came at home, where Sale has been a completely different pitcher. In his most recent start at Cleveland, he allowed 8 runs on 8 hits with just 3 strike outs in 4.3 innings of work. Sale just doesn't seem to be comfortable away from home. Dating back to last season, he's 2-6 with a 6.32 ERA in his last 8 road starts.
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Dickey had a disappointing first two starts with the Blue Jays, but he rallied in his most recent outing against the Royals. Dickey allowed just 1 run on 5 hits over 6.3 innings of work and I'm confident that's just the beginning of several strong starts to come. I mean the guy is 14-5 against the money line in the first half of the season over the last two years.
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It's also worth noting that the White Sox have won the last two games in this series. Toronto is a dominant 31-19 against the money line when playing at home off double-revenge against an opponent over the last three seasons.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, April 18

SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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N.Y. Mets team total over 4½FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Jon Garland has a couple of decent starts but both came against the Padres. He now faces a tough opponent in the Mets, who lead the NL with 6.3 runs scored per game. It will not help Garland either that this game is at Coors Field, annually the friendliest hitting environment in baseball (+43% runs scored). Let’s also not forget that Garland didn’t pitch in 2012. The 33-year-old Garland's physical woes were obviously contributing to a skills deterioration that saw his GB% plunge to 39% and his strikeout rate, control and xERA (4.68) all at the low-end of a five-year range. Once a marginal rotation option at best, Jon Garland has not returned from the dead and will be exposed sooner rather than later as the true stiff that he is.
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Chicago +110 over TORONTOFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Colby Rasmus is not having a good year. However, on Tuesday he looked sharp when he drew a walk, hit a bomb, stole a base and got another base hit. At that point he was 2-2 and in the ninth with the score tied 2-2, Jays manager John Gibbons lifted him for a pinch hitter. The pinch hitter was Rajai Davis, who has hit .240 the past two years and who promptly struck out. Here’s a guy (Rasmus) that is having his best game of the year and looking to get out of a funk and that idiot Gibbons removes him in favor of Rajai Davis. Jays went on to lose 4-3 and Rasmus went 0-4 with 4 K’s in last night’s 7-0 loss. It may seem like a small thing but it wasn’t and neither was walking Adam Dunn and his .120 batting average to lead off the 9th inning followed by another walk to Paul Konerko. Incidentally, those two walks came in to score in the ninth. The point is, the Blue Jays are a mess. Toronto’s manager makes every wrong decision and the players are not responding to his “I’m one of the boys” philosophy. Jose Reyes' absence may affect more than just the lineup, too. Emilio Bonifacio's struggles in the field have been well-documented and now the Blue Jays' pitchers are facing the prospect of taking the mound with an up-the-middle combo of Maicier Izturis and Bonifacio behind them for the foreseeable future. The Blue Jays aren’t going to turn this thing around until they dump Gibbons and add some useful everyday players to their roster. They are a weak team with weak hitting, a weak defense and perhaps the worst manager in baseball.
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Chris Sale has the skills of CC Sabathia but he’s eight years younger and 110 pounds fewer. Sabathia-like durability is now the last hurdle to true stardom for Sale. Sale’s horizontal pitch movement was one of the best in the game. His horizontal slider movement last season was the highest of any LHP SP with at least 60 IP. Only Matt Moore got more horizontal movement on his changeup than Sale among LHP. Sale is a true Cy Young candidate and the fact that we get a tag on him against this reeling team make him and the South Side an automatic play. Get out the brooms.

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