Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 29

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 29

Jeff Alexander

New York Mets -150

The Mets hold the advantage on the pitcher's mound with Matt Harvey, who is 4-0 (5-0 on the money line) with an ERA of 1.54 and a WHIP of 0.686. Miami's Jose Fernandez is 0-2 (1-3 on the ML) with an ERA of 4.50 and a WHIP of 1.250. The Mets have won 10 of the last 13 meetings and should enjoy continued success tonight behind Harvey.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 29

Greg Shaker

Arizona -105

Great value here with the DBacks who are getting great Pen work here at home and actually just about every outing regardless of the venue. The Giants are struggling and Cain is as well. They have beat the Giants the last 8 times that Kennedy has thrown against SF and the bottom line is that AZ loves to beat the Giants and are always highly motivated to do so. This is a Great price considering the circumstances and I am going to play it.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 29

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

New York/ Houston Under 8: To me this just has pitcher's duel written all over it. Lucas Harrell may have a 4.22 ERA on the road, but all the damage done vs him was in his 2nd start of the year. In that game vs Oakland he allowed 8 ER's in just 4.1 innings of work, while in his other 4 starts this year he has a 1.89 ERA and hasn't allowed more than 2 runs in any of those starts. Tonight Lucas will face a Yanks team that is 9th in hitting (.255) and 9th in scoring (4.67 rpg), but their lack of big name offensive starts may be starting to catch up with them as they have hit just .234 and scored 4.2 rpg in their last 10 games. Offensively the Astros are 20th in scoring (3.92 rpg) and 14th in hitting (.248) and they really have struggled to hit lefties on the road, posting a .226 BA nd scoring just 2.61 rp/9 off of them away from home. Not likely that those numbers will go up much tonight vs Andy Pettitte, who has been solid out the gate with a 3-1 mark and a 2.22 ERA. This game features some very good pitching on the mound, and some struggling offenses. The Yanks have given Pettitte some great run support, but I feel that wont happen in this one as Lucas is pitching very well and should keep them form putting up a bunch of runs in this one. Look for 5 or 6 runs at the most here.


Washington/ Atlanta Over 7: Stephen Strasburg is one the mound, but he hasn't been as unhittable as was expected of him this year, especially on the road, where he has a 6.35 ERA in 2 starts. Stephen also hasn't pitched all that well in this park, posting a 6.28 ERA in 3 career starts here. Tonight he will face angry Atlanta Offense that struggled some at Detroit. The Braves are home now, where they have scored 4.62 rpg overall and 5.51 rp/9 off of righties on the year. This Braves offense shoud get back on track vs Strasburg tonight. The Nats offense has struggled this year, but they still average 4 rpg on the road and should be able to tag Teheran for at least that much. Julio comes in with a 1-0 mark and his team is 4-0 in his starts, but he still has a 5.48 ERA on the year. All 4 of his starts have gone over the total and his games have averaged 10.8 rpg. Now let's note that behind him is a struggling bullpen that has a 5.74 ERA in their last 5 games. Both of these offenses should have good showings vs the pitching that's on the mound, giving us at the very least 4 runs from each team.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 29

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

Brooklyn/ Chicago Over 180: The Nets need this one in the worst way and i expect them to dictate pace and make this an uptempo game. Chicago doesn't really like that pace, but they have shown this year that they can adapt, just like they did in game 3. Net home games this year have 191.2 ppg, while Chicago's road games have put up 188.1 ppg. Let's also note that the Over is 9-1 in Brooklyn's last 10 off a loss and the Over is 5-1 in Chicago's last 6 games on days rest, while the Over is also 12-5 the last 17 meetings here. Should be a bit of an uptempo game as the Nets look to stave off elimination and that should get us at least 190 points here.


Oklahoma City/ Houston Over 206: The Thunder showed they can score even without Westbrook, especially vs this porous Houston defense. I look for the Thunder to go all out offensively in this one as a win here would give them a few days off before the next round starts. Houston also needs to go all out offensively here, as for them there is no tomorrow if the lose. The Rockets average 108.1 ppg at home and they have scored 103 ppg on this tough Thunder defense the last 2 games. I feel that in desperation mode they will push tempo and the Thunder will run right along with them. Both teams should be able to notch at least 103 points in this one.   

2 UNIT PLAY

Indiana/ Atlanta Under 186: Despite winning the last game by 21 points, the Hawks scored just 90 points in that game and that means they have now scored just 93 ppg in the last 4 in this series and they have scored just 93.2 ppg in their last 5 games overall. Indiana has scored just 92.8 ppg in their last 5 games overall and they average just 91.2 ppg in the road. Atlanta got back into the series by playing tough defense in a slower paced game. They have struggled some on defense at home, but the Pacers can't score on the road. Indiana allows just 91.5 ppg on the road and their defense will step it up once again in this one. I look for a slower paced game again as this one struggles to hit 180 points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 29

SPORTS WAGERS

Baltimore -111 over SEATTLE

The Orioles are not getting the respect they deserve and we’ll keep riding them until they do. The O’s are coming off a four-game set in Oakland in which they were taking back a tag in each game. Baltimore was on the verge of a sweep until the A’s scored two in the ninth yesterday to tie it and eventually go on to win it in the 10th. Still, the Orioles scored 28 runs in four games at that pitcher-friendly venue. Now, as a small favorite in Seattle, the Orioles will face Joe Saunders. Saunders has one of the worst skills set in baseball. It was marginal for years but it can’t even be considered that anymore. Saunders has always had difficulty with righties. Last season, he had a staggering OPS split (.451 vL, .849 vR) and this year it’s even more staggering at .426 vL and 1.072 vR. In 27 innings this year, Saunders has walked 12 batters and struck out 12 batters. He has a WHIP of 1.78 an ERA of 6.33 and over his past two games, Saunders has been tagged for 20 hits, 15 runs and three bombs over 9.2 frames. Joe Saunders can’t get righties out and he can’t throw strikes this season.

Zach Britton makes his first start of the year. He went 5-3 with a 5.07 ERA in 60 innings for the Orioles last year.  Remnant of 2011, a shoulder injury shelved Britton until July and then he pitched brilliantly or dreadfully depending on how you perceive it. A sinkerballer, Britton induces tons of groundballs, strikes out some and walks too many. But has he ever been pain free? Health will define his value but the good news is that Britton possesses big league stuff and will have every opportunity to win a rotation spot. In three minor league starts this season, Britton went 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA and he doesn’t need to be flawless here. Five adequate innings by Britton gives us a great chance to cash this ticket because Joe Saunders can’t get folks out.


DETROIT team total over 5 -104 over Minnesota

The Tigers are seeing BB’s right now. They’re coming off a three-game sweep against the tough pitching of the Braves in which they scored seven runs or more in all three games. In total, Detroit scored 25 runs and now they’ll face the AL’s worst starting pitcher. Twins SP Mike Pelfrey has been a disappointment to start the season with a 7.94 ERA in 17 innings. Pelfrey has one or two starts left before he’s taken completely out of the rotation and relegated to the clean-up role. Pelfrey has seen a slight drop in velocity since the 2011 season but he's struggled to command the ball more than anything. Pitchers often have command as the last thing that returns when coming back from Tommy John surgery and Pelfrey has returned in less than 12 months. He has thrown only 39.8 percent of his pitches in the zone, which is the sixth-lowest in baseball. Pelfrey's sinker is not staying down in the zone, either, which has resulted in solid contact by opponents. Pelfrey's release point is also lower than it was back in 2011. The lower release point makes it unable for him to create downward movement on his pitches, with his sinker and slider flattening out when they reach the strike zone. Pelfrey is always constantly tweaking his mechanics in order to create more movement on his pitches and he recently shifted to the first base side of the pitching rubber this year. A very slow tempo on the mound for Pelfrey is a sure sign that he doesn't have confidence in his stuff. He’s walked five batters while striking out just six and even the Marlins got to him in his last start when Pelfrey lasted just 4.2 innings after surrendering nine hits and five runs. Pelfrey somehow managed to shut down the Tigers in his first start of the season. Lightning won’t strike twice. 


Pittsburgh +112 over MILWAUKEE

Yovani Gallardo posted a 6.08 ERA and 1.65 WHIP one week into May last year and he’s near duplicating that this year with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP. Gallardo is a slow starter but there are even more warning signs this time around. Gallardo’s strikeout rate is way down with just 17 in 29 frames. His groundball rate is dropping, his line-drive rate has increased to an unsightly 30% and in his last start at San Diego he walked five batters while striking out just a pair. Gallardo has an outstanding career record against the Pirates, as he and the Brewers are 14-1 against Pittsburgh over Gallardo’s career starts. However, this year’s Pirates are not the same team and the Brewers bullpen has trouble holding leads. 

The Pirates rolled to a 9-0 victory at St. Louis on Sunday for their ninth win in 12 games. Over the past 15 games, the Pirates lead the majors with a team batting average of .283. Over that span they are second in runs scored in the NL with 71, just two behind the Rockies 73. Wandy Rodriguez has started the season with a splash, posting a 1.66 ERA and 0.78 WHIP after his first four starts. His skills have been really good due to elite command (3 walks, 16 K’s in 22 innings) and an elite groundball rate of 52%. The Brewers have lost three of four games at Miller Park against southpaws and they struck out 12 times yesterday in Los Angeles against lefty, Clayton Kershaw. The Bucs are red-hot while the Brewers are cooling down and returning home from a West Coast swing. That sets this pooch up very nicely.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 29

SPORTS WAGERS

Chicago+5½ over BROOKLYN

The Bulls lead the Nets 3-1 as the series shifts back to Brooklyn, yet Chicago is not getting any love from the oddsmakers. Not only can the Bulls win this one, at worst they should be able to stay well within this range. The Bulls won both games in Chicago behind the inspired play of Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng. In Game 4, defensive anchor Joakim Noah and the sparkplug off the bench, Nate Robinson, gave the Bulls a much needed boost in the 4th quarter and three subsequent overtimes. Without a doubt the epic three-overtime Game 4 was the most riveting playoff basketball yet. The Bulls came away with the tough, hard-fought victory, which could mentally crush the Nets.

This Bulls squad led by Boozer, Deng, and Noah has gone through multiple playoff battles together and know what it takes to win when series-turning games are up in the air. The Nets meanwhile have not gone through these same battles and playoff experiences together that the Bulls have gone through. Coach Tom Thibodeau is one of the best in the game, and will certainly have the Bulls ready to compete here in Brooklyn as they look to close out this first round series. With the Bulls having won the last three games of this series, including Game 2 in Brooklyn, they can now smell a wounded animal and we fully expect them to go in for the kill here. 


Indiana +104 over ATLANTA

The Atlanta Hawks put the clamps down defensively on the Pacers as the series shifted back to Atlanta for Game 3. The Hawks blitzed out to 54-30 halftime lead and never looked back, as they allowed Indiana to shoot a revolting 27% in Game 3. The Hawks were embarrassed after getting destroyed in Indiana and came out with great intensity and passion that they lacked in Indiana. With that said, look for the more talented Pacers squad to come out and revenge their dismal performance in Game 4. In the first two games of the series, the Pacers starting backcourt of George Hill and Lance Stephenson combined to make 23 of 35 shots from the field. However, in Game 3, the Pacers offense vanished as they made only two of 15 shots combined. Expect Hill and Stephenson to find their shooting stroke again and have a strong bounce back performance in Game 4. 

While the Pacers struggled offensively throughout the game, their defense was quite good as they allowed the Hawks to shoot only 42.7% from the field and a brutal 26.7% from beyond the arc. This is the type of defensive output that this Pacers squad has exhibited all year. Don’t let the blowout in Game 4 fool you; the Pacers are the more talented squad and they will not allow the inferior Hawks to get back into this series. Anything close to a decent shooting percentage above 40% in Game 4 and the Pacers will go back to Indiana with a commanding 3-1 series lead.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 29

Harry Bondi

HICAGO (+5.5) over Brooklyn

After a tremendous performance in Game 1, the Nets have let this series slip out of their hands. Deron Williams has disappeared at key times and the whole team has been disappointing on defense and has made several key turnovers and missed easy shots. Bulls are 5-1 ATS their last six visits to Brooklyn and make it 6 out of 7 tonight. Back the Bulls!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 29

Ian Cameron

LA Angels at Oakland
Play: Oakland

I’ve been actively fading Tommy Hanson in the month of April. He has struggled in nearly every start and even though his last outing against Detroit looked good on paper, don’t be fooled for a second! Hanson labored immensely allowing six hits in six innings along with just two strikeouts and four walks on 102 pitches. He didn’t allow a run because the Tigers offense was inept that night. They had runners on base in nearly every inning but failed to get that one big, clutch hit with RISP to knock Hanson out of the game early. For the season Hanson has a 4.24 ERA and a porous 1.53 WHIP with a mediocre 8-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He could be in trouble tonight against an Oakland lineup that pounded out nine runs on 12 hits in a confidence boosting come from behind 9-8 win against Baltimore on Sunday. It’s worth noting that Hanson is coming off the bereavement list after the recent death of his 24-year-old stepbrother and hasn’t pitched in 10 days which could throw him completely off his rhythm.

Dan Straily will start for Oakland tonight in place of the injured Brett Anderson. Straily had a solid first start of the season limiting the Houston Astros to two runs and five hits in 6.2 innings of work back on April 5th. He didn’t walk a single batter and struck out 11 in that outing. Straily will have the opportunity to face an anemic Angels lineup and has yet to hit despite the likes of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo, Howie Kendrick and of course Josh Hamilton. The Angels have scored just 3, 0, 6, 2 and 1 runs in their last five games and the 6 run performance came against Aaron Harang. They are averaging just 4.04 runs per game which ranks 19th in the Majors. I expect Straily to do enough to keep the LA Angels struggling lineup quiet tonight.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 29

Andre Gomes

Brooklyn -6

The Game 4 of this series was brutal with the Nets wasting a lead in the final minutes of the fourth quarter due to an insane show by Nate Robinson. However, after an insane 4th quarter, Nate Robinson struggled in the following possessions with a lot of mistakes that culminated with a silly 6th foul and forced him to leave the game. Obviously, after a triple overtime game, both teams will be banged up physically for tonight. However, Brooklyn will have two key edges that are essential on this series and that will give them a huge edge tonight: PG position, with Deron Williams crushing Nate Robinson, as Kirk Hinrich is out for tonight and he has been phenomenal on the 1*1 defense to Deron. Center position with Brook Lopez outplaying everybody tonight. Joakim Noah has been limited to 20/25 minutes per game, but it was forced to play almost 40 minutes on Game 4. His recovery for today will be very tough and so, Nazr Mohammed will have to play a lot of minutes today and he will get outplayed by Lopez. Besides that, the Bulls will come for this game will the thought that they will have a home game in Game 6 to close out the series and so, we will have two teams in here with a completely different mindset. Therefore, I also give the mental edge to the Nets tonight and so, I'll be taking them in here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 29

Joe Gavazzi

Kansas City -140

Must take advantage of fading Jimenez as long as he remains in the rotation! This guy is on a downward trend ever since his remarkable 3 months in the first half of 2010. This year, the record for Jimenez is 0-2 with a 10.06 ERA and 1. 59 WHIP. Although Davis is off a busted start, he still has a 3.20 ERA. In a pair of outings vs. the Tribe, Davis has posted a 2.70 ERA.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 29

Alex Smart

New York Yankees -1½

The Astros are the ALs worst team, and should be handled easily by the NY Yankees in this series and tonight. Houston leads the majors with 248 strikeouts which is an average of 9.9 per game and are the easiest team to score on in the league, giving up 5.9 runs per game.. Astros are 0-7 in the last 7 meetings in this series. These two teams are currently operating at the opposite end of the performance spectrum as the Yankees enter into this matchup off a sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 29

Freddy Wills

Cardinals -125

I'll take Adam Wainwright over Mat Latos any day of the week in this spot. Wainwright has more days rest and he's pitching at home where he has an ERA under 3 combined over the last 4 seasons. He also has better xFIP numbers this year and against the Reds hitters in general holding them to .198 average and .565 OPS. Cinic has struggled vs RHP batting just .225 on the year, but on the road they are hitting just .192 and scoring 3.25 runs per 9 along with their 6.92 BULLPEN ERA.

Latos on the other hand has not pitched well at Busch Stadium. Over his last 5 starts here he's given up 25 ER in just 22 IP. Cards have a .321 average and a .878 OPS against Mat Latos and are scoring 5.92 runs per 9 vs RHP at home on the year. They also are 52-24 in their last 76 home meetings with the Reds.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, April 29

Big Kat Sports

Baltimore Orioles -114

The Baltimore Orioles will look to continue their dominance over the Mariners when the two teams meet tonight at Safeco Field in Seattle. The Orioles took eight of nine from the Mariners last season, including a 5-1 record at Safeco and will send Zach Britton to the mound for his first start of the season. Britton did not make the team out of spring training but posted a 1-0 record with a 1.98 ERA in 3 starts at Norfolk before earning the promotion to the big club. He has pitched sparingly over the past few seasons, going 5-3 last year and owns a 2.57 ERA in two career starts versus Seattle. The Mariners will counter with Joe Saunders, who signed a free agent deal with the team in the off-season. The soft throwing lefty has been hammered in his last two starts, going just 9.2 combined innings while giving up 20 hits and 15 runs over that stretch. He has also struggled against the Orioles in his career, posting a 4.73 ERA over 40 innings pitched. The Orioles, who blew a lead late in Oakland yesterday to take a 9-8 loss have actually been very good in the spot they are in here tonight. They are 22-4 in their last 26 games following a loss dating back to last season and have won 8 of their last 9 games against teams from the American League West. Seattle, who took three of four from the Angles over the weekend, have struggled a bit coming off a win, losing 8 of 9 and have just a 1-4 overall record in games that Saunders has started this season. Pair that with the fact that the Orioles have been good against teams with a losing record, going 23-9 in their last 32 games in that spot and we’ll take them at a pick tonight to get the win on the road.

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