Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 20

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 20

Jack Jones

Tampa Bay Rays -125

The Tampa Rays are showing solid value as a small home favorite over the Oakland A's today. I'll gladly take advantage and back them at this generous price considering the edge they have on the mouse in this one.

Jarrod Parker has been getting lit up this season. He's 0-2 with a 10.81 ERA and 2.659 WHIP through three starts this year, allowing 14 earned runs and 31 base runners over 11 2/3 innings.

Jeremy Hellickson has been much sharper, going 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA and 1.146 WHIP through three starts. He has given up just 5 earned runs over 12 innings in his last two starts, which were road outings against Texas and Boston.

The Rays are 7-0 in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600. Tampa Bay is 11-4 in its last 15 home games. Bet the Rays Saturday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 20

Dave Price

San Diego Padres +155

The Padres are showing value as a nice-sized dog considering how much Tim Lincecum has struggled. The Giants have won all 3 of his starts, but he's given up 10 runs in 11 innings over his last 2. It's only a matter of time before his suspect dealing catches up with him, and I believe it happens here. The Giants have lost 2 of his last 3 starts versus the Padres, during which he's allowed 14 runs in 16 2/3 innings. San Diego's Clayton Richard has settled in after a poor first outing and has given up only 2 runs in 11 innings over his last 2 starts. The Padres have won 7 of his last 11 starts versus the Giants, and he's given up 3 runs or fewer in 8 of those. Take the Padres.

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Larry Ness

Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox
Pick: Chicago White Sox

The White Sox were held to a season-low four hits in Thursday's 3-1 loss at Toronto (I had the Jays as a 10* Las Vegas Insider), settling for a split in the four-game series with the Blue Jays. It wrapped up a tough 10-game road trip for Chicago (3-7) and the team should be very happy to return home. Chicago opened 2013 by winning four of six home games vs the Royals and Mariners and were set to open a three-game weekend series Friday against the Twins. Minnesota is 6-7 to open 2013 but have lost FOUR straight and seven of eight against the White Sox, who beat the Twins in 14 of 18 during last year's season series.

Friday’s game was postponed and I believe that makes things even worse for Minnesota. The Twins had last Sunday's matchup against the Mets postponed and then after back-to-back wins over the Angels Monday and Tuesday, saw Wednesday's series finale canceled due to weather (Thursday was a scheduled day off). That’s FOUR postponements in less than a week and now THREE days since their last game for the Twins. "It's never really good to have that many off days, especially when you bang a game this time -- you're going to play a lot of games in a row later," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Somewhere you're going to pay. But you can't fight this weather. It is what it is. But you'll be playing in better weather, which is a good thing. But the pitching gets a little out of whack here." The Twins have decided to push all their starters back, so Vance Worley will get the nod (he was supposed to start Wednesday and then again, last night). Acquired from Philadelphia this offseason, Worley has been a disappointment thus far, to say the least. I played Wednesday’s LAA/Min game over (it never started) and stated the following, regarding Worley and the Twins.

”The Minnesota Twins are in position for their first three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels in four seasons, after winning 8-2 on Monday and 8-6 last night. However, the key question for Minnesota on Wednesday is, ‘can Vance Worley can get anybody out?’ Worley is 0-2 with a 10.50 ERA after three starts, while allowing opponents to bat .410 against him. That's the worst mark among qualifying pitchers and his ERA is the 2nd-highest among all starters in MLB (how about that for a ‘daily double?’). “

I want NO part of Worley, while Chicago’s Jake Peavy is coming off a dominant performance against Cleveland in which he struck out 11 and allowed one run over seven innings. The veteran has compiled 24 strikeouts and only one walk through his first three starts (2-1, 3.93). Peavy is 6-3 with a 3.03 ERA in 11 starts against the Twins (teams are 6-5), which includes winning FOUR of five starts against them last season, posting quality starts in all five outings! Peavy lost his first 2012 start vs Minnesota 4-1 (6 IP / 3 ERs) but then won his next four, compiling a 1.73 ERA and striking out 23 in 26 innings. I’m on the White Sox in this one.

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SPORTS WAGERS

L.A. ANGELS -109 over Detroit

With just five wins in their first 15 games, the Angels stock is probably the lowest it’s going to be the rest of the way. That allows us to step in and buy low here. The Angels are too loaded to be losing at this clip and last night’s 8-1 win in the opener of this series could certainly springboard them. With so few Ks and BBs, Rick Porcello is at the mercy of the Detroit defense, which isn’t likely to garner much Gold Glove discussion. As a result, it’s not too surprising that Porcello’s hit % is high, adversely affecting his ERA. Last season, lefties battered him to the tune of .325/.381/.503. In two starts and one relief appearance against the A’s in which Porcello entered with a 9-1 lead, Porcello has struck out three batters in 12.1 innings. In Porcello’s two starts against the Blue Jays and Twins, he surrendered 14 hits and seven earned runs and barely made it into the fifth inning in both games. Porcello is a pitcher that puts the ball in play. He has a good groundball profile (51%) and normally GBs would be a decent proxy for Ks but he had Detroit’s horrible defensive infield behind him. They caused Porcello’s hit % punishment and without personnel changes we can't count on regression. Porcello’s strikeout rate has dipped, he was skipped in his last scheduled start and he could be a pitcher in trouble.

Garrett Richards’ command can be inconsistent but he has mid-90s, GB-generating stuff, which makes him worth keeping an eye on. He was solid in spring training and out of the pen early, so a breakthrough wouldn't surprise.  There is little question that Richards has the pure stuff to pitch effectively in the big leagues. Against the Tigers last year he had his best major-league start of 7 IP, 1 ER, 8 K’s. In 11 innings this year that includes one start, Richards has an elite groundball rate of 55% and a WHIP of 0.94. It’s a small sample size but it could continue because his strong profile says so. The Angels erupted for eight runs last night, which matched their highest output of the season so far. They’ve now scored 14 runs in their past two games. The Angels bats are heating up and now we get them at a cheap price at home with a favorable pitching matchup. That works.


N.Y. Yankees -107 over TORONTO

The Yankees have won eight of their past 10 games with a series sweep over Cleveland and series wins over both Baltimore and Arizona. The Blue Jays have one series win in five so far. Over their last 10 games, the Yanks are hitting .294 and have scored 62 runs while the Blue Jays are batting .227 and have scored 36 runs over that same span. The Bronx Bombers lead the majors with 19 jacks. The Blue Jays have gone yard eight times. Last night, New York belted out 13 hits and nine runs while the Blue Jays had five hits going to the bottom of the ninth and had two meaningless hits in that final half frame. The Yankees have something to prove and they’re doing so by playing aggressive baseball and playing with a chip on their shoulder. The Blue Jays are playing passive, they have an idiot manager who is completely clueless in his decisions, they seldom hit with men on base and they are without question the most overvalued team in the big leagues.

Now we get the Yanks, spotting less than a dime, with the ever reliable Huroki Kuroda going with his 2.87 ERA and 61% groundball rate against Mark Buehrle’s 7.31 ERA, 40% groundball rate and 1.75 WHIP. Are you kidding? Yanks should be -150 here, not -107. 


Cleveland -½ +115 over HOUSTON

1st 5 innings. The Indians have dropped five straight and Scott Kazmir gets his first start of the year and his first start since 2011. That combination has set up this huge underlay on the Tribe. This past spring, Kazmir was outstanding before an abdominal strain landed him on the DL before the season started. At one point in the spring, Kazmir threw 11 scoreless innings in succession and led the staff with 13 K’s in those 11 frames. “I had time to take a step back and go back to the drawing board and kind of figure out what came naturally to me,” said Kazmir. “With time off, it really helped me out. I was able to correct myself.” Kazmir made undisclosed mechanical adjustments and has gained 10 mph on his fastball. Manager Terry Francona, who has seen his fair share of dominating pitchers, had this to say about Kazmir, “The way he's throwing scares me. I wish we could bottle it and start the season already”. The Indians will come into this game a little extra jacked up in support of Kazmir because every player is rooting for him to succeed. This is the perfect opponent for Kazmir to get started against. The reports are that he feels great. Chances are that Kazmir won’t go much past five innings so that’s the way we’ll play it.

Philip Humber has a 2.89 ERA after three starts and 18.1 innings. He deserves better than a 0-3 record but if he can’t win games with that ERA, how is he going to win when his ERA skyrockets to match his skills? At the age of 30, Humber has one good year to his credit.  He has a career ERA of 4.76 in 355 career innings, covering six seasons. In seven career starts against the Indians, Humber has an 8.74 ERA and current Indians are hitting .302 against him. Humber has a low strikeout rate, his control is on a three-year decline and he barely made the Astros roster as the fifth starter. Being Houston’s fifth starter is as close to being a minor-league pitcher as it gets. Philip Humber is fill-in fodder right now and we get to take advantage of a bad line because not many people know just how good Scott Kazmir might be this season.

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SPORTS WAGERS

N.Y. Islanders +106 over WINNIPEG

OT included. The Islanders are on a serious run at the moment but they still have a ways to go to lock up a playoff spot. The Isles are in seventh place, just two points ahead of the eighth place Rangers and just three points ahead of the ninth place Jets. It goes without saying that this game is huge and we simply can’t ignore the outstanding form that this visitor is displaying. Against the Maple Leafs on Thursday night, the Islanders dominated play, outshot the Leafs 38-21 and scored five straight goals en route to a convincing win. The Islanders have been dominating opponents for the better part of their last 13 games. On the road, the Islanders are 13-5-2 and overall, they are 10-1-2 over its past 13 games. The Islanders have scored 10 times over their past two games. They’ve allowed two or less in nine of their past 10. Simply put, the Islanders are playing too well to ignore as a pooch.

The Jets are playing well too with five straight wins. However, all five of those victories came against teams (Carolina, Tampa, Florida, Buffalo and Philadelphia) that will be watching the playoffs from the rail. The Jets have dropped seven in a row to teams heading to the playoffs and have not defeated a club in a playoff position since March 19 when they knocked off the Bruins 3-1. That was 15 games ago and now the Jets will play the hottest team in the league. The Jets have proven that they can’t win the big games against strong teams and chances are that will continue here.


Detroit +142 over VANCOUVER

OT included. It’s been a long time since the Red Wings have been on the outside looking in with just a handful of games remaining. Detroit is in ninth place in the West, just two points back of the Jackets but Detroit has two games in hand. This is one of those. Detroit is not the same team as seasons past but they still have some outstanding talent that has been in pressure filled situations before. The Red Wings figure to give it their all here and that alone makes them worthy of taking back this tag.

The Canucks are a team we just can’t get on board with. When the Canucks win, it’s often ugly, lucky or both. Vancouver has lost three of four with only win over that span occurring against the Predators. Vancouver is coming off a 5-1 loss to the Stars. The Canucks also return home from a five-game road trip with two wins on said trip. The two victories came against Calgary and Nashville in which Vancouver was outshot by a combined 79-53. The Canucks win more than they lose because they have one of the top 3 netminders in the league in Cory Schneider. Without him, they would have fewer wins than Florida. We don’t care what the standings say. The Vancouver Canucks are not a good hockey team, especially without Kevin Bieska. Vancouver plays with a sense that their window for winning the Cup has closed. This is not the team you want to be spotting significant juice with, especially against a Detroit team with its backs against the wall.

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Ben Burns

Detroit vs. Vancouver
Pick: Vancouver

I successfully played against the Canucks recently, when they lost at St. Louis.

Back on home ice and hungry for a win, I like their chances a lot better tonight.

Its true that the Wings have long been a thorn in Vancouver's side and that they've had their way with the Canucks this season.

Its also true that the Wings are in "desperation mode," as they're in real danger of missing the playoffs. That hasn't happened in more than two decades.

Being "desperate" hasn't helped Detroit lately though. The Wings couldn't even beat lowly Calgary last time out and have now dropped four of their last five.

Needless to say, Vancouver is much better than Calgary.

While the Canucks may not need this game as much as their guests, they know this is a chance to really "put a nail in Detroit's coffin." They're 30-11 (+16.6) the last 41 times that they attempted to avenge a home loss and I expect a highly motivated effort this evening. Consider laying the wood.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, April 20

Wunderdog

Miami at Cincinnati
Pick: Under 8.5

The Miami Marlins brought a lot of pricey free agents in to open their new park a year ago, but success just never materialized. They have since parted with most of them, leaving a roster full of inexperienced players. The offense has been dead, and the Marlins have scored 3 runs or less in 15 of their 17 games. The pitching has been pretty good for the most part with over half their games showing opponents scoring 3 or less. Cincinnati managed just 1 run last night. It was the sixth time this season that the Reds have been held to 1 run or less. Cincinnati has played just 18 of Arroyo's last 70 starts to the over, so I look for a low-scoring game here. Play on the UNDER.

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Stephen Nover

Twins / White Sox Under 8.5

Jake Peavy was dominant in his last start a 3-1 win against the Indians this past Sunday holding Cleveland to five hits in seven innings. Peavy struck out 11 matching his season high from last season.

Not only is Peavy in great early form, but he's been tremendous against Minnesota winning four in a row versus the Twins. Peavy has a 1.73 ERA in his last four starts against Minnesota with 23 strikeouts in 26 innings.

The Twins have just nine homers on the season, which ranks 26th. Minnesota's hitters figure to be rusty, too, having been idle the last two days.

I also see Twins starter righty Vance Worley holding up his end of this under. Worley has struggled in the American League since coming from the Phillies. But he was underrated with Philadelphia and is experienced enough to make the necessary adjustments. The Twins' bullpen is underrated ranking third in ERA with a 2.23 ERA. The under has cashed seven of the last eight times the White Sox have faced a right-hander at home.

The Twins catch a break, too, as the White Sox are not likely to have injured Dayan Viciedo in the lineup. Viciedo was batting .333 with 13 RBIs in his last 11 games against the Twins.

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Freddy Wills

Boston Red Sox -140

There will be a ton of energy at Fenway today and I think the Red Sox will ride that to victory. Clay Bucholz has been dominating this year allowing just 1 ER in 3 starts. KC has just 28 AB vs. him collectively and Bucholz is holding lefties to a .128 average and nighties to a .171 average this year which in one word is dominating. James Shields is coming off a complete game so I think he's due for a let down and against Boston he has struggled against Pedroia and Ortiz who returns to the line up today in ironic fashion fresh off the DL. Boston also has scored 6.17 runs per 9 vs. RHP this year compared to KC who has a .247 average and just 3.43 runs per 9.

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Jeff Alexander

New York Yankees -106

The Yankees are worth a small wager at this price. Buehrle is off to a slow start with a 7.32 ERA through 3 starts. Plus, he is 1-8 (1-11 on the money line) lifetime with an ERA of 6.38 in 12 career starts versus the Yankees. He is 0-8 on the ML in his last 8 starts against them. Kuroda is 6-1 with a 3.68 ERA over his last 11 road starts dating to last year and has posted a 1.46 ERA in winning his last two starts versus Toronto.

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Frank Jordan

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Play: Los Angeles Clippers 

Memphis and LA Clippers finished with the same record of 56-26, but the Clippers gained home-court advantage as they won three of the four meetings against Memphis and had a slightly better conference record. Both teams are entering the playoffs playing well with Memphis winning eight out of their last 10 and the Clippers won seven of their last 10. The Clippers were winners of 32 of their 41 home games while the road wasn't too bad to the Grizzlies with a 24-17. These two teams couldn't play a more different style as Memphis is plays more of an Eastern Conference style scoring just 93 points and allowing 89 with a slow, drown out, and half court style. LA on the other hand scores 101 per game and allows 94 and run and gun style. Look for lob city to keep the tempo up and blow Memphis out of the gym. Play LA Clippers

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Cajun Sports

Kansas City vs. Boston Red Sox
Play: Under 8

We do not expect a lot of scoring in today’s matchup between the Royals and Red Sox. We know when right-hander Clay Buchholz starts for the Sox they are an almost perfect 0-11-1 Under after his last trip to the mound produced more strike outs than hits allowed as long as he was at home for that particular start. Under is 16-33-3 in Buchholzs last 52 starts following a Quality Start in his last appearance and the Sox are 5-15-1 Under their last twenty-one home games versus a right-handed starter. The Royals are 5-11-1 Under their last seventeen overall and 3-8-1 Under their last twelve games versus a right-handed starter. Take the Under

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SPORTS WAGERS

Boston +7 over NEW YORK

The Knicks closed the season as the hottest team in the league. Combine that with their popularity and playing a #7 seed and the result is an inflated game one tag. The Knicks' season has come in three acts: Act 1, where they went 21-8, unveiled the good Anthony Carmelo (quicker decisions, shooting the ball or moving it rather than holding it) and assaulted the league with torrid 3-point shooting; Act 2, where they went 17-18, witnessed the return of bad Melo and saw the 3-point well run dry; Act 3, where they finished 16-2 and played their best basketball of the season. So this game and series is likely going to depend on whether the Knicks' perimeter shooters are on their game and these Celtics are too savvy and experienced to get buried from downtown.

C’s coach, Doc Rivers was clear in his statements early in the year when he said, “We’re not going to knock ourselves out in the regular season. The goal is to get to the playoffs and be fresher than last season”. While we’re not 100% sure that the Celtics are “fresher”, we are sure that the playoffs are going to bring out a different look and it’s not just Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Jeff Green closed the season playing his best ball and will look to test Anthony's defensive commitment. Avery Bradley has the ability to break out in this series also. No question the Knicks are a dangerous squad but this is the playoffs, where defense matters most. If Garnett and Pierce can move without limitations, the Celtics can take this series. The ageless duo always seems to flip the switch come playoff time and at the very least, Boston should be able to stay well within this range.

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SPORTS WAGERS

Henderson/Melendez won't go 5-round distance +175

This price is available at 5Dimes right now but is likely to also be available at other shops too. The UFC Lightweight Championship is on the line this Saturday night as the champ, Ben Henderson, goes up against Gilbert Melendez. This will be Melendez’ first fight in the UFC and he is about a 2½-1 underdog going in, which seems about right. Five of Melendez’s last nine fights have gone to a decision while Ben has had to wait to hear from the judges in seven out of his last nine. Actually, his last seven have all gone to the scorecards. This one has distance-fight written all over it, or so it would appear. Melendez has never been stopped, which is yet another reason why so many sharpies are forecasting that this one goes the full 25 minutes. It should be noted that there are a slew of fighters (incl. recent) who have never been stopped until they got stopped!

There’s an old adage in the “hurt business” that styles make fights, and this one is no exception. For example, when Henderson fought Frankie Edgar in his second and third last, it was more of a cat-and-mouse affair than a fight. You can be sure that unlike those, this one will be a fight. Melendez will be moving straight ahead and so will Henderson. The intensity level will be sky-high and Gilbert will want to make a statement that Strikeforce fighters (and champions) belong in the UFC while Ben will want to silence that notion in a big way and also make his own statement by getting a huge stoppage win. This one is for all the marbles with two trains that are about to collide.

Henderson is constantly evolving and changing/mixing up his fight plans and he figures to put forth a supreme effort and performance in this one. Of course, Melendez is no slouch and there’s always the possibility that he could catch Ben. Both these guys are about as good, skilled and tough as they come. If we made this bet 10 times, we’d make money if we got it right only three times out of the 10. We will risk a little to hopefully get close to 250% return on our investment by going against the grain. This is an easy call and a play we heartily endorse. One simply doesn’t find value like this too often but when we do we’ll gladly accept it. This is going to be one heck of a fight and it’s going to be a “real” fight that is unlikely to go the full 25 minutes.


Mir/Cormier won't start round 2 +161

This looks like a coming out party for the undefeated and former Olympian Daniel Cormier, who is making his UFC debut against grizzled heavyweight veteran Frank Mir. Cormier is a big favorite at -445 and the line on the fight not going the distance is around the same. Well, there’s no value with either of those plays and the line says it’s highly unlikely to go the distance. That opens a door for us to step in and play this prop bet that the fight won’t start round two.

Mir doesn’t seem to have much punch resistance any more, as all the wars he’s been in seem to have taken their toll. When he was stopped in his last, it wasn’t pretty and his fighting spirit appears to have left him. Mir made it to round two in his last but he was tooth and nails to do so. Against Shane Carwin back in 2010, Mir got knocked out in one and Brock Lesnar got rid of him early in round two back in 2009. All of the advantages lie with Cormier in this matchup and 5 minutes is an awfully long way to go for heavyweights, especially when one is a rising star and the other is at the end of his career. Should Mir get ‘fluky’ and land a lottery punch or a miracle submission in the first round, we’d still cash our ticket. However, the more likely scenario is Cormier stopping an outgunned former legend by the midway point of the very first round. The price is right on this very cashable ticket.


Mein/Brown won't go 3-round distance +115

Rising Canadian UFC star Jordan Mein looks to keep his momentum going against veteran Matt Brown in this welterweight clash. Mein has been fighting since he was 11 years old and really can’t impress us more. His last fight was simply awesome, as he systematically broke down and annihilated the tough-as-nails Dan Miller in the very first round. What’s even more impressive is the fact that Miller was never stopped before. There was a close call early on, but Mein showed the poise and composure of a seasoned vet, as he escaped Dan’s submission attempt. From there on in, it was a mixed martial arts clinic, as he made Miller look like a punching bag. He let him get back up; which showed more poise and then it was “all she wrote” with brutal and scary efficiency. This young man is still only 23 years of age and looks to be the real deal. Mein is better and stronger than Brown in every department.

Give Brown his due. He’s coming off of four straight wins just when it looked like his UFC days were numbered. However, a closer look reveals that his opponents were nowhere in Mr. Mein’s league. Prior to Brown’s recent four-fight winning streak, he lost four of his previous five fights with four of those losses coming by way of submission. Mein is taking this fight on short notice, as Brown’s original opponent, Dan Hardy, couldn’t go because of a heart problem. Unfortunately for Brown, he is now stuck with facing one of the UFC’s brightest prospects that is a true monster and fighting machine. Brown accepted this fight on short notice because he’s a gallant warrior and company man. Mein is no flash in the pan. He’s making a name for himself by defeating anyone in his path and he’s doing it in impressive and convincing fashion. Nothing suggests this one will be any different and it says here that Mein finishes off this foe in much the same manner.   Note: We're also playing Mein to win it in the first round at +375


Nathan Cleverly wins Inside Distance -112

This is a very important fight for Nathan Cleverly, as monster paydays loom for the young champ if he can win impressively against the overmatched German, Robin Krasniqi, at Wembley Arena in London. Nathan is a really smart guy, in addition to being a rising star in the light heavyweight division, he’s a mathematician outside of the ring! Cleverly is undefeated at 25-0 with 12 KO’s but is just recently coming into his own and hitting his peak. A big win on Saturday and big fights/paydays await and there’s even possibly a unification fight, as the ol’ man, Bernard Hopkins, is still around. Robin Krasniqi is 39-2 with 15 KO’s, but he appears to be in over his head here. It doesn’t help that he’s tried to get under Nathan’s skin at the weigh in and previously, as well. Cleverly has vowed a destructive performance. Robin will likely move forward, which should suit Cleverly his backers just fine. This one should be exciting for as long as it lasts. There’s a gulf in class here and the 8-1 favorite should get the job done well inside the distance thus, that’s the way we’ll play it.


Showtime Boxing

Austin Trout +178 over Saul Alvarez

The WBC Light Middleweight title is on the line at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. This is definitely a great value play, as Austin “No Doubt” Trout should really be the favorite in this one. Trout is coming off his biggest win yet when he beat Miguel Cotto. Now, he faces Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (which means “cinnamon” because of the Mexican’s red hair). The 22-year-old Alvarez has been fighting since he was a teenager and his record stands at 41-0-1. However, for Alvarez, there is some trouble in the air if you will. He was rocked badly by Cotto’s older brother, Jose Miguel Cotto, in 2010, who is a much smaller man and who is considered to basically be a trial horse who once fought at 122 pounds. Alvarez really hasn’t impressed much in his other fights either. He was getting hit too often for our liking against another journeyman nearing the end of his career, from ‘Contender’ fame, Alfonso Gomez, back in Sept. of 2011 before finally waking up and gaining the stoppage win with Gomez complaining about it. Alvarez has been fed hand-picked, smaller, and/or washed-up/over-the-hill opponents and now has to finally face a real live fighter that is not so much smaller than him.

To add to Alvarez’s misery, Trout is right in his prime at 27 and he’s a southpaw to boot. Did we forget to mention that our pick is also undefeated at 26-0?! Trout proved that he belongs and his confidence couldn’t be higher. He’s a cool customer and has made it the hard way. Alvarez usually likes to wear the Winning brand boxing gloves, known in the trade as pillows, which is another possible plus for us. Anyway, we’re going with the best of it here as we have ‘No Doubt’ that the wrong man is favored in this one.

NOTE: We're also playing Trout to win inside the distance with a takeback of +590 for a half unit.

Play: Trout to win inside distance (Risking 0.5 units to win 2.95 units).

This is a prop bet that can be found at 5Dimes in the props section under fights.

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Greg Shaker

Los Angeles Angels -108

I like our chances a lot in this contest and for a number of reasons, not limited to the fact that the Tigers thrower has not thrown very well this year today and the Tiger Bullpen has not performed either. Porcello has not thrown a started game in 10 days skipping a turn in the rotation because of a day off by Detroit. That does not bring a lot of confidence to the table and the fact is, he has not been a thorn in the Angels Ass very often with a career ERA nearing 6. Over the last few years his Aprils have been God Awful. His only start here at Angels Stadium was certainly not a good one. Richards has pitched in bad luck but maintains a strong WHIP this year so far. LAA struggling so far this year but a big win by Hanson might turn this talented team on. That win means that the Angels have beaten the Tigers 4 straight here over the last couple of years. My Model shows an LAA win at 56.4% of the time and with the light Vig that makes this play 2%..

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Andrew Lange

Cleveland at Houston
Play: Cleveland

I've watched enough of Philip Humber over the years to know that it's going to be extremely hard for him to have sustained success. When you are right-handed and your average fastball (which is down a tick or two from last season) hovers in the high 80's in becomes very difficult to turn over lineups in the American League. Humber also has a horrible track record vs. Cleveland (22.2 IP, 22 ERs, 8.74 ERA) in part because the Tribe has a ton of lefties and Humber has strong lefty/righty splits: 2013 - vs. L .387, vs. R .122; 2012 - vs. L .400, vs. R .238; 2011 - vs. L .266, vs. R .200. The Tribe hasn’t exactly been ripping the ball of late but this serves as a good opportunity to turn things around.

Cleveland's Scott Kazmir is getting one last chance to prove he can be a MLB pitcher. I've heard less than flattering stuff about Kazmir's off-the-field habits in the past but in reading about his return it sounds as if he's viewing this as his ninth life. He looked sharp in a recent rehab start in Triple-A (5 IP, 0 ER, 5 Ks, 0 BBs). He was born in Houston and gets a favorable matchup against a free swinging team. If he can show a little bit of command he should be able to get through 5 or 6 innings with relatively little damage. At this price I’m willing to step in and support the road side.

Blade
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