Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, April 28

Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, April 28

DUNKEL INDEX

NBA

San Antonio at LA Lakers
The Spurs look to follow up their 120-89 win in Game 3 and take advantage of a Lakers team that is 2-7 ATS in its last 9 games after allowing 100 points or more in the previous game. San Antonio is the pick (-11) according to Dunkel, which has the Spurs favored by 13 1/2. Dunkel Pick: San Antonio (-11)

Game 509-510: New York at Boston (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: New York 123.172; Boston 116.992
Dunkel Line & Total: New York by 6; 184
Vegas Line & Total: New York by 1 1/2; 181 1/2
Dunkel Pick: New York (-1 1/2); Over

Game 511-512: Miami at Milwaukee (3:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami 124.567; Milwaukee 113.993
Dunkel Line & Total: Miami by 10 1/2; 191
Vegas Line & Total: Miami by 8 1/2; 195 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Miami (-8 1/2); Under

Game 513-514: San Antonio at LA Lakers (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Antonio 127.282; LA Lakers 113.798
Dunkel Line & Total: San Antonio by 13 1/2; 185
Vegas Line & Total: San Antonio by 11; 189 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Antonio (-11); Under

Game 515-516: Denver at Golden State (9:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Denver 121.392; Golden State 127.619
Dunkel Line & Total: Golden State by 6; 217
Vegas Line & Total: Denver by 1 1/2; 212
Dunkel Pick: Golden State (+1 1/2); Over

MLB

Cincinnati at Washington
The Reds look to salvage a game in the series and build on their 4-1 record against the Nationals in Ross Detwiler's last 5 starts. Cincinnati is the pick (+110) according to Dunkel, which has the Reds favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (+110)

Game 951-952: Philadelphia at NY Mets (1:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia (Hamels) 14.238; NY Mets (Niese) 14.779
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-115); 7
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (-105); Over

Game 953-954: Chicago Cubs at Miami (1:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Villanueva) 15.020; Miami (Nolasco) 14.057
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 1; 6
Vegas Line: Chicago Cubs (-135); 7
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (-135); Under

Game 955-956: Cincinnati at Washington (1:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Cingrani) 15.135; Washington (Detwiler) 14.288
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Washington (-130); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (+110); Over

Game 957-958: Pittsburgh at St. Louis (2:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Locke) 15.236; St. Louis (Miller) 17.893
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 2 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-185); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-185); Under

Game 959-960: Milwaukee at LA Dodgers (4:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Lohse) 14.864; LA Dodgers (Kershaw) 16.981
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-170); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-170); Over

Game 961-962: San Francisco at San Diego (4:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Vogelsong) 15.376; San Diego (Marquis) 16.203
Dunkel Line: San Diego by 1; 6 1/2
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-120); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Diego (+100); Under

Game 963-964: Colorado at Arizona (4:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (Garland) 17.161; Arizona (Corbin) 16.643
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Arizona (-150); 9
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (+130); Over

Game 965-966: Toronto at NY Yankees (1:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Dickey) 14.504; NY Yankees (Hughes) 15.511
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1; 8
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-110); 9
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (-110); Under

Game 967-968: Houston at Boston (1:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Norris) 14.569; Boston (Lackey) 14.003
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Boston (-180); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (+160); Under

Game 969-970: Texas at Minnesota (2:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (Ogando) 15.405; Minnesota (Correia) 15.176
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Texas (-140); 8
Dunkel Pick: Texas (-140); Over

Game 971-972: Tampa Bay at Chicago White Sox (2:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Price) 16.073; White Sox (Axelrod) 14.831
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-140); 8
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-140); Over

Game 973-974: Cleveland at Kansas City (2:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland (Masterson) 15.527; Kansas City (Guthrie) 14.475
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-115); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-105); Under

Game 975-976: Baltimore at Oakland (4:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Gonzalez) 15.182; Oakland (Colon) 15.506
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Oakland (-135); 8
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-135); Under

Game 977-978: LA Angels at Seattle (4:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Vargas) 14.083; Seattle (Iwakuma) 13.668
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Seattle (-120); 7
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (+100); Over

Game 979-980: Atlanta at Detroit (8:08 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Minor) 15.448; Detroit (Fister) 16.072
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Detroit (-135); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-135); Over

Game 981-982: Cleveland at Kansas City (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland (Kluber) 15.305; Kansas City (Smith) 14.822
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 1/2; 7 1/2
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

NHL

Ottawa at Boston
The Bruins look to take advantage of an Ottawa team that is 1-6 in its last 7 games in Boston. Boston is the pick (-240) according to Dunkel, which has the Bruins favored by 2 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Boston (-220)

Game 31-32: Ottawa at Boston (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Ottawa 10.505; Boston 12.988
Dunkel Line & Total: Boston by 2 1/2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Boston (-210); 5
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-210); Under

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, April 28

Marc LawrenceFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Milwaukee Brewers at Los Angeles DodgersSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: Milwaukee BrewersFOR  FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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When the Brewers wrap up a three-game visit with the Dodgers in Los Angeles Sunday afternoon they will send the steady serves of Kyle Lohse to the mound knowing he is 11-2 in his last thirteen team starts in April, including 7-1 his last eight away. With Lohse in commanding KW form with 17 strikeouts and 2 walks this season, and his counterpart Clayton Kershaw 0-3 with a sky-high 12.28 ERA in his last three home starts against the Brew Crew we'll side up with the live dog here today. We recommend a 1-unit play on Milwaukee.

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Steve MerrilFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Atlanta vs. DetroitFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Under 8FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Sunday Night Baseball in Detroit as the Tigers host the Braves. Atlanta has lost three straight games and they are playing terrible baseball on their long road trip. They lost a series in Pittsburgh before taking two of three games in Colorado. Mike Minor is 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA in four starts for the Braves. He has allowed 5 runs and 20 hits in those contests. The Tigers are hitting right around .240 in their last eight games and they should struggle with the Atlanta starter. The Braves’ bullpen has an ERA under 2.00 on the year.
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Doug Fister has allowed just 6 runs and 17 hits in his last three starts while picking up victories over Seattle and Toronto. The Braves are hitting right around .223 in their last eight games. The offense just hasn't had the same spark on the road that they have at home this season. Both of these teams have not really seen the opposing starter so there will be some adjustments to be made throughout this game. We’ll recommend playing the Braves and Tigers Under the total in this game on Sunday night.

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Jesse SchuleFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Antonio Spurs -11FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Spurs came into L.A. and opened up a can of "you know what" on the Lakers in Game 3, and with an injury riddled lineup, it's unlikely to get any easier for the Lakers in Game 4.
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L.A.'s D-League backcourt featuring the likes of Duhon and Morris wasn't able to keep them in the game on Friday, and it just goes from bad to worse for the Lakers. Now Ron Artest (Yes some people call him World Peace) is sidelined with an injury.
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Pau Gasol is badly banged up, and probably shouldn't be playing. If it was Dwight in a similar spot, he's be sitting for sure. Howard will play, but at this point he's gotta be thinking about his future (likely not with the Lakers).
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Some teams might sit back with a comfortable 3-0 series lead, and ease up a little, but this is San Antonio. Do you honestly think Pop is gonna let his team take the foot off the gas, giving the Lakers a gasp of air? I don't think so.
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The Spurs aren't spring chickens anymore, and they would really benefit from a 4-0 series sweep, allowing them to come into the second round well rested.
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I'm expecting Sunday's game to be just as big a blowout as Game 3, perhaps even bigger.

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Rob VincilettiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York MetsFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: New York MetsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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This game fits a system that has cashed over 85% the last 10 years. Stay with me here. Play on home favorites with a total of 8 or less that are off a home favored loss by 5 or more runs and scored 4 or less runs on 5 or more hits with an error in a game where the total was 8 or less, vs an opponent that is off a road dog win by 5 or more runs an had 10 or more hits with no errors. The Mets will look to avoid the sweep here today with J. Niese on the Mound. Niese has won 3 of his last 4 April starts and has quality starts in 7 of his last 8 April home starts. He has won 3 of 4 at home vs the Phillies and has allowed 6 earned runs in 26 innings at home vs Philadelphia. Hamels has been shaky on the road allowing 6 runs in 11 innings and will take on a solid Mets lineup that is 2nd in the league in scoring. Look for the Mets to take the finale here today.

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Alex SmartFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Miami -8½FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Miami has toyed with the Milwaukee Bucks in the first three games of this series. The explosive Heat may have lost focus at times during this series, but when they are paying attention the contests have really been very uneven, with all games ending DD margins of victory. With a chance to rap this opening round up with a sweep Im betting LeBron James and company will be well prepared to put the pedal to the metal and finish off their opponents with a complete effort and a subsequent cover.

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Jim FeistFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Houston Astros at Boston Red SoxFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Boston Red Sox -1.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Red Sox have been feasting on Astros pitching so far in this series. But that isn't a big surprise considering the Astros have the AL's worst ERA at 5.41. The Astros have also been giving up the long ball, surrendering 35 round trips this year (2nd most in the AL). Meanwhile, Boston's pitching staff has improved greatly this season, posting a league's fourth best 3.47 ERA. Bud Norris starts today for the Astros with a 2-1 mark and 4.97 ERA. He will be opposed by John Lackey who is 0-1 this season with a 4.15 ERA. Norris is about the best the Astros have. Still, the Boston hitting attack was bolstered by the return of David Ortiz who has been red-hot, hitting over .500 since his return. Don't expect much to change today, lay the 1 1/2 runs with the Red Sox in what should be another blowout win.

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Bruce MarshallFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals
Pick: Washington NationalsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cross-sport references are sometimes appropriate, and we suggest they are applicable in regard to the Cincinnati Reds on the road and, say, the visiting team thus far in the Hawks-Pacers NBA playoff series. That's because the Reds are doing not much better away from home than Atlanta or Indiana are performing on the road in their current series in which the host team has won resoundingly in the first three playoff games (and all four regular-season meetings, too). In Cincy's case, it's now eight losses on the trot away from Great American Ballpark after Saturday's 6-3 loss in D.C. And now the Nats can complete the 4-game sweep this weekend behind starter Ross Detwiler, who has spun a 1.38 ERA in April and pitched six near-flawless innings against the Reds on April 6, allowing only 6 hits and no earned runs. Moreover, in the last several days, Cincy's offense has stalled, scoring only 7 runs in the last five games, and expect the NL batters to soon get familiar with young Reds starter Tony Cingrani, who has pitched well but only has two MLB starts to his credit. If the Reds don't provide more run support than they have the past few days, Cingrani's learning curve gets a lot steeper on Sunday.

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Don Best ConsensusFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Atlanta at DetroitFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: UnderFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Although the over is 7-3 in the Tigers last 10 games, and they are currently on a 4-game over run, this game has UNDER written all over it. Both ball clubs have outstanding pitchers on the mound on Sunday. The Braves are starting LHP Mike Minor, who is 3-1 this season with a 1.80 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. In the 4 games he's started, 3 of them have gone under the total. Meanwhile, RHP Doug Fister will be on the bump for the Tigers at home, who is 3-0 in 4 starts this season with a 2.00 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.

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Dave EsslerFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Brewers / Dodgers Over 6.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Going to the well again. The Brewers have had some success against Kerhsaw (I may take them, too) and they are hitting .305 against LHP this season. If they can score w/o Lucroy and with that shit lineup they put out last night, they can get three off of Kerhsaw. I actually look to play overs in his games, because these totals are usually lower than perhaps they should be BECAUSE it's Kerhsaw. Plus, Kershaw is perhaps one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball, so there's usually a great deal of value to that as well. Lohse is coming in having had a dislocated finger, so perhaps he's a bit tentative. I doubt it because they wouldn't let him pitch, but seriously, the Dodgers have had some success against him as well. And of course we don't need to tell you, again, what can happen w/bullpens. John Tumpane is the home plate umpire, and he's relatively new to the bigs, but having gone to the Harry Wendelstedt school of umpires (seriously) he's more than likely a bit tight. The weather is obviously warm in SoCal with a some helping breeze, and even the Dodgers managed four last night without Adrian Gonzalez in the lineup. He is listed as probable for this afternoon. I see where overnight the line went to "6" for about a minute before coming back up. Not that I am overly concerned with line moves (in baseball) but I do look at them. So, barring Kershaw being Kerhsaw, this is a 3-3 game with the next run making us money. If Kerhsaw is on, the Dodgers CAN get them all, and certainly so can the Brewers, so we're got, as we like, more than one or two ways to win this bet.

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Bob Balfe

Knicks -1.5

Sadly today will mark the end of a great era if the Knicks do win. Pierce is done, KG is probably gone and this Celtics team will have to rebuild. With a healthy Rondo the will be fine, but their championship runs are over for a while. The Knicks simply are a better basketball team and can score from any where on the court. Boston just cannot find offense and over 4 quarters I see them having that one big stretch where they don't score and that will be the difference. This Boston team is beat up and old and I believe their season ends today. Take the Knicks


Spurs -11

I don't think people realize how beat up this Lakers team is. For starters this team was not even that great with a healthy Kobe Bryant. It took the final day of the season for them to get into the playoffs. Its not like this is a 1 or 2 seed that got hit with the injury bug. This current team now is missing their top 4 guards. They are about as good as the Bobcats maybe worst with this current lineup. I am not even joking. The Spurs are just too talented and I guess they could toy with the Lakers and not win double digits, but I think its going to be hard for them not to win by 20-30 points again. Take the Spurs.


Mets -110

Cole Hamels in getting no run support this year and the Phillies are just not good against left handed pitching. The Mets have been pounded by the Phillies so far this year and are trying to avoid the sweep today. Look for the Mets to come out swinging while the Philly bats will struggle. Take the Mets.

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Jimmy BoydFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cleveland Indians -105FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Justin Masterson is getting the start for Cleveland today. He is off to a phenomenal start to the season at 4-1 in his 5 starts. His ERA is among the best in the league at 1.85 and he has given up just one home run on the year. Masterson will face a Royals team that averaging just 3.6 runs per game at home.
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The Indians have done a great job of of scoring runs on the road this year. They have averaged 5.1 runs per game in their 12 games played on the road. They have a .267 batting average in those 12 games. With the Indians being one of the few teams in the league that plays better on the road than they do at home, we have to give them the nod in game 1 of this double header.

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Jack JonesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Tampa Bay Rays -134FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Tampa Bay Rays should be a much heavier favorite over the Chicago White Sox Sunday given the edge they have on the mound. I'll gladly take advantage and back them at this generous price with the 2012 AL Cy Young winner on the mound.
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Price is off to somewhat of a slow start in 2013 which is why he is undervalued in the early going. He has posted a 3.46 ERA and 1.282 WHIP in six career starts against the White Sox.
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This play falls into a system that is 51-13 (79.7%) since 1997. It tells us to bet against home underdogs with a money line of +100 or higher (CHI WHITE SOX) - with a good bullpen whose WHIP is 1.350 or better on the season against opponent with a starting pitcher whose ERA is 5.20 to 5.70 on the season (AL).
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The Rays are 6-0 in their last 6 during game 4 of a series. Tampa Bay is 7-0 in Price's last 7 starts during game 4 of a series. The White Sox are 1-5 in their last 6 during game 4 of a series. Bet the Rays Sunday.

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Dave PriceFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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NY Mets +107FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Mets are showing value at this price given the struggles of Cole Hamels. The Phillies are 0-5 in Hamels' starts this season, during which he has posted an ERA of 5.40. He doesn't have a very good track record against the Mets either at 5-10 with an ERA of 4.33 in 21 starts. Niese is carrying an ERA of 3.81 on the season, and that number is down to 2.40 in his 3 home starts. The Mets are 6-2 in his last 8 starts overall and 5-2 in his last 7 starts as an underdog. Niese is 5-5 with a 3.63 ERA in 13 starts against the Phillies. The Mets have won 5 of his last 8 starts against Philadelphia. Bet the Mets.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Francisco -117 over SAN DIEGOFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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There is certainly value in playing favorites when said favorite is underpriced and that’s precisely the case here. Jason Marquis went 8-11 with a 5.22 ERA in 127 innings last season pitching for the Twins and Padres. Think the home park doesn't matter? In his games with San Diego, Marquis’ four worst earned runs outings were at Colorado, at Cincinnati, at Arizona and at Atlanta. With the dimension changes at Petco this year that has turned this venue from an extreme pitchers park to a hitter’s park, Marquis can no longer hide behind those previously spacious dimensions. In two home starts this season, Marquis has been tagged for nine runs, 11 hits and three bombs in 9.2 innings for an ERA of 8.38. Current Giants have 38 hits off Marquis in 109 career AB’s for a combined BA of .349. Overall, Marquis has 10 walks and 15 K’s in 23 frames. If you hate money, bet on him.
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Ryan Vogelsong’s first year as a starter (2004) netted an ERA of 6.50. Two years later he posted a mark of 6.38 in 38 relief innings. That led to a trip across the Pacific to play three years in Japan. A 2011 minor league contract with a spring training invite led to a break-through 180-inning, 139-strikeout, 2.71 ERA season for the Giants. Vogelsong backed that up with a 190-inning, 3.37 ERA last year. The now-35-year-old has reinvented his game and has developed base skills that pay off frequently. Vogelsong is on top of every part of the control-strikeout rate-command equation. Early returns in 2013 are showing solid consistency. A big 2012 postseason (1.09 ERA in 24.2 IP) was a confirmation of sorts for the 6-foot-4 right-hander who keeps hitters off balance with a wide assortment of pitches. An ability to mitigate damage against LHB make for consistent production. He also does a credible job in shutting down the run (base-stealers 10-of-19 off of him in 2012). Not an elite talent, Vogelsong is nonetheless a profitable pitcher on a contending team. Baseline numbers in starts this season show more of the same and he and the Giants are certainly worthy of a wager here spotting a cheap price against Jason Marquis.
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Chicago -1½ +149 over MIAMIFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Marlins played a double-header on Tuesday against Minnesota and Ricky Nolasco was scheduled to start the early game. 2½ hours prior to game time, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria personally mandated the lineup card change that flip-flopped starting pitchers Jose Fernandez and Nolasco. Loria insisted Fernandez, the team's prized 20-year-old rookie, pitch in the first half of the doubleheader at frigid Target Field instead of the scheduled Nolasco because the day game was expected to be warmer. Rookie manager Mike Redmond delivered the news to Nolasco about 2 hours before the first game and it did not go over well with him or his teammates. Standard protocol for doubleheaders is that veterans choose which game they want to pitch. Not only did Loria ignore that and further alienate Nolasco, he sabotaged Redmond less than 20 games into his managerial career. The Marlins have not won since. They have five wins in 26 games and they are out of this thing before the end of April. Players that are eligible for free-agency next season are calling it “being paroled”. By listening to Loria, manager Mike Redmond has lost the respect of his players. "He was embarrassed," one source said of Redmond. The Marlins are a mess three weeks into the season. Mentally, they are being grinded down to the bone, as losing takes its toll and every player hates being here. It sure doesn’t help that the Fish are playing to a practically empty stadium on a nightly basis.
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With the losses piling up and resentment burning in his belly, Ricky Nolasco will once again take the hill. This can’t end well. Nolasco earned a reputation as a pitcher who could never quite deliver on the solid skills he displayed year after year. Now at age 30 and aching to get out of Miami (he’s already requested a trade), Nolasco brings a few more red flags with him to the mound. Nolasco’s ERA is very much in line with previous years but his xERA is up more than a half run per game and his other skills are on a four-year decline. The trajectory on Nolasco's career has been headed the wrong direction for several years and now his strikeout rate is at a barely acceptable level as well.
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Carlos Villanueva has faced Atlanta, Texas, San Fran and Cincinnati, the latter at Great American Ballpark. He’s allowed 16 hits in 29 frames against that solid group of batters for a BAA of .167. Villanueva has a 56% groundball rate and an elite 16% line-drive rate. He also has a BB/K rate of 6/21 to go along with a 0.75 WHIP. Villanueva’s skills surge is not all of a sudden either. He saw his swinging strike rate dramatically increase in 2012 from 6.5% to 9.9%, the largest increase of any pitcher besides Jason Hammel. That swinging strike rate is up to 10.2% this season. The move from the extremely tough AL East to the NL has also benefitted Villanueva and now he gets his easiest assignment in years. Momentum, state of mind, desire, focus and everything else hugely favors Villanueva and the Cubbies, allowing us another good opportunity to capitalize.
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Baltimore +131 over OAKLANDFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Orioles have won the first three games of this series by belting out 32 hits and scoring 20 runs. The A’s have scored five times in the three games so far and two of those runs were unearned. Bartolo Colon has walked just one batter in 26 innings this season and that has helped him get off to a 3-0 start with a strong 2.42 ERA. You really have to admire and respect a guy who shows such pinpoint control (and decent other skills) at an advanced age. That said, Buck Showalter and the Orioles always have a game plan. The O’s outstanding offense is going to come out swinging knowing that Colon throws strikes. Colon has an average groundball/line-drive/fly-ball profile and his early season numbers are unsustainable. He’s a solid part of the A’s rotation but you can count on Colon delivering his fair share of implosions that could begin here.
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Miguel Gonzalez is a late bloomer that made his MLB debut last year and thrived in the pennant race. Journeyman Gonzalez has earned his shot in the Show, but his skills did not fully support his strong performance a year ago. Gonzalez’s ERA last year was fed by unsustainable hit and strand percentages. His more pedestrian xERA of 4.61 is an indication of Gonzalez' true talent. At age 28, the perseverance Gonzalez has showed to get to the big leagues is commendable and he has demonstrated that he has enough talent to stick in the Oriole rotation. He has been pitching over his head to this point, however, and there is some regression coming down the road. That said, Gonzalez is still giving Baltimore quality innings. He may not be the best pitcher on the hill today but if the better pitcher won every game, we’d all be rich. This wager is not about the starters. It’s about taking back a tag on an Orioles club that is winning games, swinging some hot bats, and that is thriving in this series. No reason they can’t compete the sweep here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, April 28

SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Antonio -11 over LOS ANGELESFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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It’s not customary to see us spotting double digits on the road in the NBA playoffs or anytime for that matter, however, this opportunity is the perfect example of when it is acceptable to do so. This season has been abysmal for the proud Lakers franchise. A team that came in carrying championship aspirations had to resort to settling for the 7th seed that they only locked up on the last day of the regular season. The Lakers have been crippled with injuries to not only their superstar Kobe Bryant, but will also not have Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, nor Metta World Peace available for Game 4. The Lakers backcourt is depleted and they will start a backcourt of Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock. The only other option off the bench is sparingly used point guard Chris Duhon, who has failed to see any meaningful action for the past three months.
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The Spurs meanwhile are clicking offensively and Coach Greg Popovich has this team in sync as they attempt to win their 5th championship of the Tim Duncan/Greg Popovich era. Duncan has been rejuvenated this season and has played some of the most efficient basketball of his career. Tony Parker has put up an MVP-type season so far and should be able to exploit the Lakers backcourt at will here. While the Spurs may not duplicate the 31 point beatdown that they handed the Lakers on Friday evening, they should easily win this game by double digits and get us to the cashier’s booth. Call it Spurs 107, Lakers 91.
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New York -2 over BOSTONFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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On Sunday afternoon the New York Knicks will provide the deathblow to this latest era of the Boston Celtics. The Celtics have had a great run since Danny Ainge brought Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and the already-departed Ray Allen together in 2008. As this past season and this series has shown, the Celtics are too old and slow to compete. Their best player so far has been Jeff Green, and that won’t get it done against a Knicks team that believes it can challenge Miami’s dominance in the East. While the Celtics initially thrived in the absence of Rajon Rondo after his torn ACL, his playmaking abilities are sorely missed in these playoffs. The Celtics have averaged a paltry 15.3 assists per game in the first three games of this series, which ranks dead last out of all playoff teams.
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There is also the matter of stopping the NBA’s scoring leader, Carmelo Anthony, who has been on an absolute tear in the past month. He is arguably playing the greatest basketball of his career at the moment and is on the verge of accomplishing his first ever NBA playoff sweep. He has paced the Knicks averaging a playoff-high 32 points per game through the first three games. With Paul Pierce and Jeff Green shouldering the offensive load, they haven’t had the energy to slow down the hot-shooting Carmelo Anthony. Look for Anthony and the Knicks to finish off this series and the Celtics as we know them in Game 4.
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GOLDEN STATE +239 over DenverFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Series pick. The Warriors victory in Game 2 was no fluke. They should’ve won Game 1 and this series could be turning out to be one of those nightmare matchups in Golden State’s favor that the Nuggets can’t do a thing about. The Nuggets have a weak three-point defense and that is allowing for this Warrior team, with some of the best shooters in the game, to get very comfortable from beyond the arc. Now at home for the next two games,  it could get even worse for the Nuggets. Confidence and/or state of mind plays a big role in the outcome of these games and Denver has to be feeling a little anxious about being outplayed on their home floor in the first two games of this series. Stephen Curry, the best pure shooter in the game, is in the Nuggets head and so are a few others.
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The Nuggets are banged up. Many players are not looking sharp and it could be due to some nagging injuries.  Kenneth Faried, the Nuggets' rugged rebounder went down with a nasty looking left ankle injury on April 14 and missed the final two games of the regular season. Faried is Denver's motor, a high-energy player who often occupies multiple defenders because of his ability to crash the offensive glass. Faried missed Game 1 and had just two boards and four points in Game 2. Without Faried at his best, the Nuggets are far more easily defended. Remember, the Nuggets won just 19 of 41 road games while Golden State went 28-13 at home. Now the Warriors come into Game 3 with home court advantage in this series and come in more confident and playing its best basketball of the season. With that, we’re going to play Golden State in the series with a take-back of +239.

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Texas Rangers over Minnesota TwinsFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Alexi Ogando has filled in nicely in the Texas rotation, featuring a 3.12 ERA in five starts this season, striking out 24 while walking just 10 batters. He had one rocky start in Chicago but has allowed a total of four earned runs in his other four starts this season. The Twins managed to claw out a win yesterday, padding the score late with a couple of strange scoring plays. The Twins are batting just .232 this season against right-handed pitching and the Twins are scoring just 3.7 runs per game in those match-ups this season. As expected Minnesota has some of the lowest home run numbers in baseball so far this season. Texas has statistically dominated this series but they have been burned by several defensive assists and double plays in this series to limit the scoring to just eight runs in the first three games of this series. Texas has 31 hits despite the low scoring as Minnesota has been fortunate to limit the damage. The Rangers have looked like one of the best teams in baseball in the early going and there will be opportunities against veteran Kevin Correia today. Correia has made four quality starts this season but he has surrendered 28 hits in 28 innings while striking out just 13. He won't walk many batters but he has been prone to surrendering home runs in his career. Both teams have good bullpens but this is a Rangers team scoring nearly five runs per game against right-handed pitching and Texas has not lost consecutive games all season long.

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WASHINGTON (-110) over CincinnatiFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cinci has now lost eight-straight games on the road and those woes will continue today as they go up against Nats starter Ross Detwiler, who has a 1.38 ERA in April, including a masterful performance over these same Reds back on April 6. The Reds offense is in a major funk, scoring just seven runs in five games. Washington is heating up and gets the home sweep today.

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