Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 24

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Dave PriceFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Yankees/Rays Under 7FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Look for a pitcher's duel between Pettitte and Cobb to result in this one coming in under the number. Pettitte is 3-0 with a 2.02 ERA through three starts and has a good track record against the Rays. He's 17-6 with a 4.01 ERA in 31 starts against Tampa Bay. Nine of his last 12 starts against the Rays have gone under. The under is also 4-0 in his last 4 road starts versus the Rays. Cobb has been rock solid this season and has especially been good at home where he's 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA. He's 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts against the Yankees and has held them to three earned runs total in his two home starts against them. The under is 21-7-1 in Cobb's last 29 starts overall and 9-2 in his last 11 home starts. The Yankees are 8-2-1 under in their last 11 games, and the under is 3-1-2 in the last 6 meetings between these two in Tampa Bay.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 24

Bryan LeonardFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Pirates / Phillies Under 7FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Wandy Rodriguez and Roy Halladay meet in the third game of a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night. The Phillies have been downright terrible against left handed pitching this season with a .520 OPS, which ranks 29th in all of baseball. They are batting just .182 as a team against southpaws. Overall, the Phillies offense is struggling, managing just 3.47 runs per game. The first two games in this series have already easily flown under the total, with seven combined runs. Rodriguez has issued just one walk in 16 innings of work and has allowed just one earned run on five hits over that span.
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Roy Halladay has made adjustments, as most good pitchers do. His pitching coach told reporters after the game that Halladay threw 50 sinkers in his last start, the most he's thrown in any start since 2009. He's going to combat his velocity loss by making a concerted effort to pitch down in the zone with sinkers and mix his cutter and his breaking balls more. Halladay has been excellent in his career against the Pirates with a 0.98 ERA over 46 innings. Like the Phillies, the Pirates are struggling offensively with just 3.6 runs per game. They're also allowing just 3.45 runs per game.
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With the Phillies struggling badly against left handed pitching and the Pirates not having an explosive offense, the under shows value in this game with a favorable pitching matchup.

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Greg ShakerFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Dodgers / Mets Over 6.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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I am well aware how good this Met's Starter can be but I am also aware of some other things with this game that are too much to overlook. The first is of course this park which is a hitter's venue and a better than average weather pattern for tonight's game. I am also aware that the Dodger starter is off rehab starts at Minor League Ball where in 2 starts he posted a 6.55 ERA. That's not very promising especially considering the fact that the Mets are in their best hitting posture facing a southpaw. We also have a Mets Pen that is not performing well and a Dodger squad that is finally scoring runs. 6.5 is always a bargain here at this park. My number is 7.6 and I am playing 1%.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 24

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

PHILADELPHIA -120 over Pittsburgh: I normally don't plays the Phils as a top play allot, but I have felt that these spots have been warranted. I did lose on them last night, but I feel they will bounce back today. Roy Halladay had a rough start to his year, but he is starting to turn it around. He does have a 6.04 ERA on the year, but in his last 2 starts he is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA. Pittsburgh is also a team that Roy has thrived against of late as he is 3-1 with an 0.95 ERA in his last 5 starts vs them and he comes in having not allowed an ER in his last 2 starts vs them. Wandy Rodriguez is off to a very nice start, but really how long can he carry an 0.56 ERA. In his career Wandy is 37-50 with a 4.65 ERA on the road, and in his lone road start this year he did give up 1 ER on 2 hits in just 2.1 innings of work. He was pulled early for injury in that game, but his road start was the only start in which he allowed an ER. The Phils have struggled vs left handed pitching this year, but I feel the bats will wake up vs Rodriguez, who has a 4.70 ERA in 4 starts vs the Phils. Look for Philadelphia to bounceback tonight behind another big outing for Halladay.


New York Yanks/ Tampa Bay Under 7: Andy Pettitte may be in the twilight off his career, but he is not pitching that way. Andy comes in with a solid 2.01 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP and he has a 2.51 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP on the road. Andy has struggled with the Rays of late as his ERA is 5.04 vs them in the last 5 meetings, but he has faced them just once since 2010 and that was last year in a game in which he allowed 0 ER's in 7.1 innings of work. Still, the Under is 9-3 in his last 12 starts vs the Rays. He will be facing a Rays team that is starting to hit, but they still hit .226 and score just 3.8 rpg on the year and I feel that Andy will keep them down in this one. Alex Cobb has also pitched well in the early going, with a 2.56 ERA so far, while at home his ERA is 1.84 in 2 starts. Alex has pitched well vs the Yanks, posting a 3.15 ERA in his 3 career starts vs them, while in 2 career home starts vs them he has a  2.07 ERA. The Yankee offense was rolling right along, but in the first 2 games of this series they have scored just 5 total runs. With the way both starters are pitching this year thus has the makings of a pitcher's duel, especially in a park that doesn't yield allot of runs. Look for a 3-2 type game in this one.


Baltimore/ Toronto Over 8.5: Neither offense has gotten it going in this series, but there has been better pitching in the first two games, while today's pitching is a bit weaker. Brandon Morrow comes in with a 5.57 ERA and a very high 1.71 WHIP in his 3 starts this year and he has a career 4.25 ERA as a starter. Bradon also has a 5.09 EA in 9 career starts vs the O's, including a 4.43 ERA in 4 career starts in this park. Brandon will be taking on an O's team that has averaged 5.18 rpg in their home games, plus they have hit .271 and have scored 6.20 rp/9 off of righties at home this year. The Jays offense has not been as good as they thought it would be this year, but this is still a team with plenty of pop. Today they will face Josh Stinson, who is making his 2nd ever start in the majors. His 1st start occurred last year and he while he allowed just 1 ER to the Padres, he did give up 3 hist 2 walks and 1 HR in his 4 innings of work. Josh was in the pen back in 2011 and in his 14 relief appearances he posted a 6.92 ERA. He can be hit and I feel that the Jays offense will get their fair share of runs off of him in this one. Look for the offenses to wake up in this one.

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Joe GavazziFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Boston Red Sox -1.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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In this afternoon contest at Fenway, the Red Sox will bounce back from the embarrassing 13-0 home loss last night. That ran Oakland’s record in the series to 9-1 by a score of 73-24. But all that changes with this pitching matchup today. After a solid start, Anderson is in terrible current form. In his last 2 starts, Anderson has gone 0-2 allowing 11 runs in 6 2/3 IP. In this outing, he will still be bothered by his sprained ankle. Lester has been dynamite for Boston. Lester is 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 23/4 KBB in 26 IP. Look for Boston to bounce back from last night’s loss riding the dichotomous form of today’s starters.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Chicago +144 over CINCINNATIFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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1st 5 innings. The Cubbies six wins are the same number of wins as the Astros and one more than Miami and San Diego. How can that be? Chicago’s starting pitching has been nothing short of brilliant and when you get pitching like that, regardless of whether you are scoring runs or not, (the Dodgers won games for years with great pitching and no offense), you are supposed to win games. Chicago’s 6-13 record has this fairly decent team grossly undervalued and we’ll look to take advantage beginning here. The Cubs had a lead going to the sixth inning in both games of this series so we’ll look to take the pens out of the equation here by playing the Cubs in the first five innings. After making just a few spot starts for the Cubs in previous years, Jeff Samardzija became a rotation mainstay last season where he thrived in the second half with a 2.58 ERA, fanning almost 10 batters a game. Samardzija's skills are not only holding up as a regular starter, they’re improving. Samardzija has whiffed 31 batters in 27 frames. His groundball is at an elite 58% and perhaps most importantly, his walks are down with just 7 in 27 IP. Not often to you get to take back a tag like this on a pitcher of this quality. Win or lose, the value is fantastic.
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Mat Latos moved from the best pitcher's park in San Diego to this hitter's park with ERA and WHIP virtually unchanged. Latos reminds us that elite skills don’t care about a park’s dimensions. Latos’s strikeout rate is at an elite level this season but there is one somewhat disturbing stat in his profile. Latos has a 39%/24%/37% groundball/line-drive/fly-ball ratio after four starts. He’s already been tagged for three bombs with two of those occurring at this park in his season debut against the Angels. His other start at Great American came against the Marlins so we’re not even going to count that one. Fact is, with that profile, Latos is sure to give up some long balls at this park and if the Cubbies can go deep one time and score a couple of runs, this ticket will be very cashable. Big overlay here.
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St. Louis +134 over WASHINGTONFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Everyone knows Stephen Strasburg can pitch. However, the Nationals have won just one of the four games he’s thrown in and lefties are hitting .268 against him. Trouble versus lefties is the only blip on his résumé and the Cardinals can pencil in at least four and possibly five left-handed hitters. Additionally, the Nationals have lost three in a row and they’re just 10-10 on the season. This isn’t about fading Strasburg though. This wager is all about backing the potential profit combination of St. Louis and Jaime Garcia. 
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A consistent strikeout rate and a consistently good ERA came into question 18 months ago when doctors discovered damage in Jaime Garcia’s left shoulder. On the shelf for two months in the middle of the 2012 season, Garcia rebounded with solid skills over the final two months of the campaign. Walks are up so far through four starts this year but there’s a lot to like in the similarity of Garcia’s numbers to the salad days of 2010-11. Garcia is a pure GB pitcher (62%) and continues to keep the ball on the playable side of the fence. One could throw a blanket over the similar xERA figures of the last three years-plus, and Garcia has also been consistent with those years, from month to month. Garcia owns a very good strikeout rate in each of his last four full months of action. In 2012 Garcia’s velocity was down a bit. It has rebounded a little thus far in 2013 but more importantly, his ability to move the ball and induce grounders continues to be a talent his backers can rely on, making this price on Garcia and the Cardinals too good to ignore.
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Milwaukee -116 over SAN DIEGOFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Brewers have won nine straight and this pitching matchup favors Milwaukee more than all of those previous nine. The best pitch in baseball is still strike one but Edinson Volquez is not capable of throwing strikes consistently and that’s the main reason that the Padres are winless in four starts with Volquez going. The right-hander has walked 10 batters in 18 innings and six batters over his past nine innings. He’s given up 29 hits in those 18 frames (BAA of .354) because batters are sitting on those 2-0 and 3-1 fastballs that are inevitably on the way. Volquez has a 2.13 WHIP after four starts with an 8.84 ERA and now he has to face a team that is seeing beach balls. This can’t end well for this volatile chucker.
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Marco Estrada has a 4.50 ERA after four starts and that has him undervalued. Estrada emerged last season as a dominant starter in spite of not having elite raw stuff. His pitch movement gives an explanation for how he was able to deceive batters. The vertical pitch movement on his four-seam fastball was one of the best in MLB among SP with at least 100 IP. This allowed him to generate strikeouts on that pitch even though he had a pedestrian 90 mph average fastball velocity. With surging skill trends and a mid-3.00s xERA, Estrada has the profile to post another sub-4.00 ERA in 2013 and so far everything looks even better than last season. In 24 innings, Estrada has whiffed 25 batters while walking just four. In 11 frames against the Rockies and Cardinals in two of his four starts, Estrada whiffed 15 batters and walked just one. If Mat Latos is -165 over Jeff Samardzija, how in the world can Marco Estrada be just -120 over Edinson Volquez and the Padres? Serious underlay offers up nothing but value.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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BALTIMORE +124 over TorontoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Blue Jays are favored here because they will be facing Josh Stinson, a 25-year-old who was claimed off of waivers from Oakland on April 4th after the A’s had claimed him off waivers from the Brewers the previous week. The Brewers acquired the 24-year-old off waivers from the Mets organization in April ’12. Stinson pitched 13 innings with New York in ’11. He relies on spotting his 87-93 mph sinking fastball low in the zone and getting hitters to bury it into the ground. He can throw his four-seamer a little quicker but he’s at his best when he mixes his sinker, hard curveball, slider, and change-up. Stinson posted a 3.16 ERA, 5.6 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, and 0.43 HR/9 in 145 1/3 Triple-A innings. Frankly, we couldn’t give a rat’s ass on who is pitching for the Orioles. The Jays have made just about every average pitcher they’ve faced this year look like Sandy Koufax. The Blue Jays dropped the first two games of this series and had it not been for a blowup by the Yankees pen in the finale of a three-game series in Toronto this past weekend, the Blue Jays would be on a five-game losing streak. Only the Miami Marlins team batting average of .226 is lower than the Blue Jays team BA of .229.
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Then there’s Brandon Morrow. We’re not sure why this guy gets so much credit. At one time, Morrow had as much or more promise than just about any pitcher in the big leagues but he has never lived up to expectations. This year his skills are the worst of his career and there are plenty of warning signs that support his high ERA. Morrow is striking out less batters and he has a disturbing 32%/47% groundball/fly-ball ratio. He comes into this one with a 1.71 WHIP, a BAA of .333, an ERA of 5.57 and a road ERA of 6.52. Morrow has been taken yard four times in 21 frames. Some pitchers have a fierce competitive spirit that makes them hate losing more than anything. Morrow has never shown that. He’s a guy with little emotion that is happy to pitch every fifth day while making a ton of money. Now his confidence is low and these Orioles are very capable of sniffing a wounded animal. Should we even mention the huge managerial edge the Orioles have? Nah, forget it. Jays favored here is incorrect. 
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Cleveland +115 over CHICAGOFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The White Sox continue to struggle at the plate and with that comes added pressure on both the defense and the starters. Over their past four games the South Side has scored seven times. Overall, Chicago is batting .229 and its 63 runs scored ranks them last in the AL. Lefty Jose Quintana followed up a poor season debut with two quality starts but there is no single hallmark skill in his profile. Quintana does have 17’s in 18 frames but with just 98 K’s in 154 career innings, we’re going to have to see a larger sample this year before trusting that Quintana will be able to maintain that strikeout pace. Quintana is just 24-years old and he has growth potential but his batted ball profile of 40%/20%/40% (GB/LD/FB) says he’s walking a tight rope.
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The Indians have seen plenty of southpaws this year. Cleveland’s 286 AB’s against lefties is tops in the league by a wide margin (Cincinnati is second with 237 AB’s). The Indians have hit a solid .267 against lefties with a just as solid .342 OBP, .469 SLG % and .810 OPS. Zach McAllister went 6-8 with a 4.24 ERA with 110 Ks in 125 IP last season. There is a foundation here for something interesting. McAllister’s rising strikeout rate and solid control is promising. He has 16 K’s and just three walks in 17 frames. Additionally, McAllister dominated righties in the second half of last season and he’s carried that over to this season with a .206 BAA versus right-handed batters. The White Sox are loaded on the right side with seven of the nine starters batting right including the entire infield. McAllister is a pitcher on our radar and we’ll gladly step in on him here.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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SAN ANTONIO -9 over L.A. LakersFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Lakers hung around somewhat in Game 1 but every time they narrowed the gap to four or six points, the Spurs turned it on and increased the lead by 10 or 12. It was almost as if the Spurs were playing with them. Down 1-0 and looking like they virtually have no chance, the Lakers come into Game 2 in worse shape than in the opener. Remember, the Lakers closed the season on a hot streak so they didn’t have to come up with a new style in Game 1 to compensate for the loss of Kobe. After looking like a second-rate club in the opener, the Lakers are now forced to make adjustments. Meanwhile, the Spurs will continue to run their system to near perfection. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have recovered from late-season injuries and are back in the rotation, while Duncan had a better year than either Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol. Duncan, Parker and Ginobili don't need to elevate their games to beat the Lakers but these guys are so intent on winning and making quick work of the Lakers, that they can’t help but elevate their game.
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The real kicker, however, is this laughable coaching mismatch. Greg Popovich is a master of his craft. He’ll break down games frame by frame in the film room and make every right decision and adjustment. Mike D’Antoni is not capable of doing the same. D’Antoni blames everyone but himself. D’Antoni fails to realize that the Lakers do not have the personnel to run his goofy system that doesn’t include rebounding and defending. D’Antoni can’t coach at the end of games, he’s an awful communicator and he tries to do things that this Lakers team is incapable of. The Lakers aren’t going to “hang around” like they did in Game 1 for three quarters. This is one of the biggest coaching mismatches in playoff history and in terms of focus, heart, confidence, talent and every other intangible, it’s an even bigger mismatch. With a chance to go up 2-0 in the series and put even more doubt in the collective minds of the Lakers, look for the vastly superior Spurs to bury this opponent early and never let them back in it.
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Will Rogers

Texas vs. LA Angels
Pick: Texas

While the Angels have been playing better of late (won four of five following Tuesday's 5-4 win over the Angels), they are running into a hot pitcher tonight in the form of Yu Darvish and I see them losing the rubber match of this series.

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Yu Darvish - Darvish has already beaten the Angels once this season, outdueling their ace Jered Weaver in a 7-3 Sunday night win a couple of weeks ago.  That's part of a 3-1 start to the season for Darvish (2.02 ERA, 0.787 WHIP) that has included a near perfect game. Last time out, he threw seven scoreless innings in a 7-0 win over Seattle where he allowed only three hits and struck out 10 batters.  Darvish has a 4-1 record in seven career starts vs the Angels (5-2 TSR).

2. Texas off a loss - The Rangers are 51-24 in that situation the last two-plus seasons.

3. X-Factor - The Angels are going with a first-time starter in Michael Roth. He actually just pitched out of the pen on Monday and allowed a run facing just one batter.  Not a good sign here.

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Larry Ness

NY Yankees vs. Tampa Bay
Pick: NY Yankees

David Price became the fifth straight Tampa Bay starter to turn in a quality start last night (8 IP / 3 ERs) but he allowed one 9th-inning run and a reliever allowed another, which gave they Yanks a 4-2 lead they would hold onto in a 4-3 victory. It ended Tampa Bay’s four-game winning streak. The Rays will try to bounce back and earn a series win when they host the Yankees in the finale of a three-game set Wednesday but will face Andy Pettitte. Pettitte took 10 days off between starts because of back spasms but returned with a win at Toronto on Friday, allowing three runs and six hits in 7.1 innings. This 40-year-old continues to amaze, as he’s opened 2013 at 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA. He returned last year after “retiring” in 2011, to go 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 12 starts (team was 8-4). His 2012 season didn’t begin until May and then he missed all of July and August on the DL, before returning in September. Pettitte will square off against Tampa's Alex Cobb, who is 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA in 2013, after a solid season last year in which he went 11-9 with a 4.03 ERA in 23 starts (team was 13-10). The Rays are counting on Cobb this season and so far, so good. That said, I’ll back the veteran Pettitte, who is 17-6 with a 3.95 ERA in 32 career games against Tampa Bay (31 starts in which the team is 21-10). However, the reason I’m making it a “small play” is that almost all of Pettitte’s success vs the Rays came during the time when Tampa was among the worst teams in baseball.

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Hollywood Sports

New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays

Andy Pettitte and Alex Cobb. New York (11-8) gives the ball to their veteran left-hander Pettitte who missed his last start due to back spasms. So far for the season, Pettitte is 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. But there is certainly reasons to be wary about Pettitte pitching away from Yankees Stadium. Last year, Pettitte was saddled with a 4.26 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and .266 opponent's batting average on the road as compared to his sizzling 1.85 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and .205 opponent's batting average when at home. That is not a good sign when now facing this Rays' team that has won a decisive 21 of their last 26 games against left-handed starting pitchers. Additionally, New York has lost 5 of their last 6 road games as an underdog in the +110 to +150 price range. Tampa Bay (9-11) has won 7 of their last 8 home games against teams with a winning record. They counter with Cobb who is 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA and 1.27 WHIP so far this season. The right-hander comes off a nice victory where he allowed only three runs in 7 1/3 innings of work. The Rays have won 8 of their last 10 games when Cobb was following up a Quality Start. Cobb was outstanding at home last year where he enjoyed a 3.24 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and .220 opponent's batting average as opposed to his 4.92 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and .290 opponent's batting average when on the road. Tampa Bay has won 4 straight home games with Cobb pitching as a favorite in the -110 to -150 price range.

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Ross Benjamin

NY Yankees @ Tampa Bay
Play: Tampa Bay -120

The Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb has been very good in his 3 career starts versus the Yankees posting a solid 3.15 ERA and an excellent 0.90 WHIP. In 3 starts this season Cobb has been tough in posting a stellar 2.53 ERA. The Yankees starter Andy Pettite hasn’t had a great history when pitching at Tampa Bay posting a lofty 5.60 ERA and 1.68 WHIP. In spite of last night’s loss the Rays have won 6 of their last 8 at home. Tampa is a very profitable 5-1 this season versus southpaw starting pitchers. Play on the Tampa Bay Rays as my free selection of the night.

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Alex Smart

Kings / Red Wings Under 5

Detroit really needs to win this game for a chance at a play off appearance as they now sit in 9th place one point behind Columbus. LA would love to take care of their western conference rival and eliminate and extinguish another opponent and make sure that they don't face a team in the post season they have historically had problems with. With that said, look for a hard fought play off style affair that stays on the low side of the number. Under is 15-5-4 in Red Wings last 24 vs. Pacific, Under is 3-1-2 in Kings last 6 overall.Los Angeles allows the third least shots against in the league at 24.7 per game.The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Detroit's last 5 games. The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Detroit's last 10 games at home.

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Jeff Alexander

LA Dodgers +143

Harvey has looked good for New York, but the Mets have lost 5 of their last 7 games and haven't had much luck against the Dodgers. LA has won the last 5 meetings by an average of 3.8 runs. We also can't ignore how bad of an investment the Mets have been when laying this kind of chalk. They are 3-7 in their last 10 games as a favorite of -151 to -200.

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Ken Thomson

Atlanta +7.5

The Hawks played well offensively shooting 50% for the game in the fisrt game of the series.  Indiana covered this game at the Free Throw Line and the NBA office heard about the foul differential ( 34 attempts -Pacers to just 14 for ATL. ) ....this game should see the Hawks not called for as many fouls and if they can grab a first half lead they could possibly win this one straight up.  Josh Smith, Jeff Teague and Al Horford were solid in Game One but Kyle Korver was not a factor what so ever.  Look for Korver to nail several three's in this one and the Hawks to push Indiana and stay close.

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Fezzik

Atlanta +7.5

After Faves went 6-1-1 ATS round one, I said you likely could bet on ALL the dogs in game 2 and make money, as the markets have NOT priced in Zig Zag and instead actually inflated lines. Atl got bombed getting 6.5 game 1 (in a bad spot) but now in a GOOD spot  they are catching 7.5, too many!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 24

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

Lakers/ Spurs Over 187.5: I know how low scoring the last 2 in this series has been but game 2's of a playoff series do trend to the Over and I look for that here. The Lakers have had to slow the pace and play some defense with Kobe out of there and they scored just 79 points in the opener vs the Spurs, but they have to be a bit more uptempo in this one if they hope to avoid the 0-2 hole. The Lakers have had a few games to get used to playing without Kobe and I expect some of their role players to step up big in this one and put some points on the board. The Lakers have averaged 101.4 ppg on the road, while the Spurs have allowed 94 ppg at home, so expecting the mid 90's form the Lakers is not all that far fetched. Offensively the Spurs do get out an run and and they average 104.3 ppg, while the Lakers have allowed 104.4 ppg on the road and 98.8 pg in their last 5 games overall. Look for San Antonio to get at least 100 in this one. A 6-8 point lead from the Spurs should also get us plenty of FT's late. 101-95 Sounds about right.


Houston/ Oklahoma City Over 212: The Thunder has torn apart this Houston defense this year to the tune of 120.8 ppg and I expect more the same in this one. I also expect a closer game which means that Houston will put up a ton of points as well. The Thunder do play good defense at home, allowing just 95.4 ppg here, but Houston is the top scoring team in the league and they are in desperation mode here, so you can expect them to throw all the offense they can at the Thunder. The Houston defense has allowed 104.3 ppg on the road, while the thunder comes in having scored 108 ppg at home and they have scored 120 points in each of their two meetings with Houston in games played here this year. Both teams should get to triple figures in what will be a fast paced uptempo. Houston will stay with in reach for most of the game, which should also give us a FT show at the end of the game, as they just don't wanna go down 2-0 and even if OKC has a huge lead you will see them slac off a bit on defense, which should lead to some late scoring by Houston as well. I expect a game in the range of 115-107.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 24

Harry Bondi

MILWAUKEE (-120) over San Diego

The Milwaukee Brewers are the hottest team in baseball having won nine straight while the San Diego Padres can’t win almost anywhere having gone 5-15 to open the season and they have dropped seven straight at Petco Park. Milwaukee has won the first two games of this series outscoring the Padres 13-4 in the first two game and we look for the sweep tonight behind starter pitcher Marco Estrada who is 2-0 on the young season and has pitched well against San Diego going 7-3 lifetime in his starts against the Padres. Brew Crew keeps rolling.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 24

Nelly

Yankees / Rays Under

Andy Pettitte continues to defy his advanced age with a brilliant 3-0 start to the season. Pettitte has looked the part of one of the most successful postseason pitchers in MLB history with three starts going at least seven innings all leading to Yankee wins so far this season. He has allowed just five runs in over 22 innings and two of those outings have been on the road. Youngster Alex Cobb is on the other end of the experience spectrum but he has been impressive so far this season with a 2.53 ERA through three starts, coming off a very solid 2012 season. At home Cobb has allowed just three runs in nearly 15 innings. The Tropicana Dome has been a bit higher scoring than last year in the early going this season but batters are hitting just .243. A recent lower scoring trend appears to be emerging with seven or fewer runs in three of the last four games in St. Petersburg and after some early season woes both bullpens seem to be settling in. The 'under' is 8-2-1 in the last 11 New York games and 7-3-4 in the last 14 Rays games and while this is a low number a pitching duel looks likely.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 24

NHL Predictions

Sharks / Coyotes Over 5

These two teams have met 4 times this season, and most recently on April 15th where San Jose won 4-0 in Phoenix. Totals of their 4 meetings have been 4, 5, 1, and 8. Although only 1 game has gone OVER the 5 goals (with one push) we have seen some high tempo games with a lot of scoring opportunities. Combined shot totals have been 76, 63, 54, and 70 when these two teams meet. The Sharks have won 4 of their last 5 games and have scored 19 goals over those 5 games (3.8 goals per game). The Coyotes have struggled to score lately, but they've been giving up goals with 15 goals against in their last 5 games (3 per game). The Coyotes are scoring 3 goals per game at home on the year. With the total at 5 I think we have value on the OVER with these teams recent play and head to head high tempo games. Take OVER 5 goals tonight.

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