Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 7

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 7

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Oklahoma City Thunder --2½FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Rarely will you find this much value in a line for the Thunder playing at home. Regardless of the injury to Westbrook the Thunder are the easy call in this game. You should always play against underdogs like Memphis when they are coming off a straight up loss where they covered the spread and playing in a game involving two teams winning 60% to 75% of their games on the season. This system is 50-14 (78%) ATS.
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With all the talent this Oklahoma City team has they should have had no problems replacing the production that Westbrook used to bring. In fact, I would argue that their opponents have a harder time making defensive adjustments to Westbrook being out than the Thunder do. Memphis has made it this far into the postseason because of their defense, but even a great defense like the Grizzlies have cannot stop the Thunder. Memphis simply doesn't have the scoring ability to takes to keep pace and that should allow the Thunder to pick up a big win tonight.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Indiana +6 -109 over NEW YORKFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Indiana outmuscled and outworked the Knicks to take Game 1 of this best-of-7 series. They stole Game 1 in what had been the Knicks first second-round appearance in over 13 years. Now the Pacers are going to go for the jugular in Game 2. The Knicks struggle to matchup with the Pacers. Although the Knicks have gotten away with using Carmelo Anthony at the PF spot for most of the season, against the Pacers, Melo will get beaten up down low by one of the toughest men in the game – David West. Additionally, Anthony who is already dealing with a sore left shoulder, will be hard-pressed to stop West in the paint. Having to expend all that energy to play against West in the post, takes away from Carmelo’s effectiveness on the offensive end. In the first game, Carmelo made only 10 of 28 shots from the field. His running mate, 6th Man of the Year award winner J.R. Smith, actually shot worse by making only 4 of his 15 shots.
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This game is not an outlier either as Carmelo and J.R. have struggled to hit their shots at only a 37.8% and 36.4% clip in these playoffs so far. Indiana employed the number #1 ranked team in the regular season in terms of  opponent’s shooting percentage, allowing teams to shoot a league-worst 42% from the field and 32.7% from 3-point land against them. This largely negates the Knicks biggest weapon which is their offensive fire-power from beyond the arc. If the Knicks can’t correct their shooting woes, then the Pacers have an excellent opportunity to steal another game in New York. We like the Pacers to win outright but the six points being offered gives us enough wiggle room to lean that way.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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N.Y. ISLANDERS +146 over PittsburghFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Updated Series +594FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Penguins are up 2-1 but of all the series, this one is by far the most misleading in terms of results. The Islanders have clearly been the better team in two of the three games and even in that 5-0 loss in Game 1, they played nose to nose with the Penguins. The Isles have already rallied from two goals down twice in this series, including being down two goals entering the third period on Saturday. The Islanders have made some mistakes. They’ve taken some costly penalties, especially in the last game when a two-man advantage set off a three-goal spurt by Pittsburgh to give the Pens a 3-2 lead. In fact, of all the series so far and that includes Vancouver/San Jose and Chicago/Minnesota, no team has been outplayed more than the Penguins.
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The perception is that the Penguins are the far superior team and that’s why they are so heavily favored. We’re not buying that for a second. The Islanders inexperience in the playoffs has been a liability and so has the sometimes erratic goaltending of Evgeni Nabokov. However, they are gaining experience with each passing period and they’re looking stronger with each passing period as well. Additionally, Marc Andre Fleury is just as erratic as Nabokov and it’s not going to take much to completely change the momentum of this series. The Islanders are extremely close to doing just that. The Penguins scored three power-play goals in the last game but 5 on 5, the Penguins have been completely dominated in this series and that’s the key here. If the Islanders can limit their penalties, avoid 5 on 3 situations and keep playing the way they have been, they have an outstanding shot of winning this series. The price tonight is a big overlay, the updated series price is an even bigger overlay and so we’ll play them both.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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CLEVELAND -107 over OaklandFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Indians are red hot. They’ve won eight of their past nine, they lead the majors in HR’s with 44 and over their past 15 games, Cleveland leads the majors with a team batting average of .312 and 95 runs scored. They have quietly gone over .500 and are now 15-14 on the year. After taking the opener in this series, 7-3 last night, they face Tommy Milone here. A control artist in the minors, Tommy Milone's ability to maintain similar accuracy at this level has carried over. Big deal, the dude can throw strikes but you need more than one skill to last at this level and it's hard to overlook a few glaring negatives in Milone’s profile. He allows far too many fly balls and line drives but pitching home games at O.co Coliseum (-12% RHB HR, -31% LHB HR) worked to his benefit (2.63 home ERA). On the road, Milone has a 6.17 ERA. Righties gave him nothing but trouble and we’ll look to last year’s much larger sample size, especially in the 2H for proof (.316 Opp BA) although a 36% hit rate vs. RHP didn't do him any favors, either. Milone is hittable and he has a disturbing groundball/line-drive/fly-ball profile of 34%/22%/43%. Furthermore, of his six starts, four have been at home. His two road starts were against the Rays and Angels, where Milone allowed 15 hits and 10 runs in 11.1 frames. His train ticket back to the minors is on the horizon and at this park against this strong hitting club, he’s likely to get rocked again.
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Zach McAllister has the skills support of his 3.30 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. While he doesn't have overpowering stuff, McAllister’s slider has the second-most vertical movement in the game. McAllister features a rising strikeout rate along with solid control and remains on our radar as a breakout candidate. That said, this one is all about fading Milone and riding the Indians red-hot sticks.
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Minnesota +165 over BOSTONFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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1st 5 innings. After six starts covering 36 innings, Ryan Dempster is 2-2 with an ERA of 3.00, a BAA of .189 and he’s also struck out 47 batters. Dempster has always been serviceable and even great during many stretches of his long career but he’s NOT this good. Dempster will go for his seventh consecutive pure quality start here and it’s rare to see pitchers at this level, even the best ones, to keep throwing gems game after game after game.  Dempster’s 15.2% swinging strike rate trails only that of Yu Darvish. While Dempster's fastball velocity has dipped to 89 mph, his third straight year of fastball decline, he is using his splitter more to generate swings-and-misses. It's a pitch that hitters have a .037 BA against. However, Dempster has been aided by an unsustainable 86% strand rate and his strikeout rate is far above anything he’s ever posted. The Twins batting lineup features a group of hitters that don’t strike out often and Dempster could get caught here with a little less intensity after all those successive quality starts.
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To say Scott Diamond's 2012 success was a surprise would be an understatement. He lost 19 games between Triple-A and a brief stint in the majors in 2011, with a 6.28 ERA. Then something clicked, Diamond cut his walks in half and anchored the Minnesota rotation for the majority of 2012. He’s carried that over to this year and he’ll now face a Red Sox team that is hitting just .231 against southpaws. Diamond has walked just three batters in 23 frames while striking out 13. He has an elite groundball rate of 51% and an xERA of 3.06 over his past three starts. Scott Diamond isn’t going to attract much attention but what he will do is give the Twinkies a chance to win and at this price, he’s definitely worth a wager to have the lead after five innings.
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Arizona +107 over LOS ANGELESFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Brandon McCarthy has turned himself into a good buy low target. He has a horrible 7.22 ERA and 1.72 WHIP after 34 IP, but his peripherals have been quite good: 5 BB, 24 K’s and a 41% groundball rate. A 40% hit rate and 58% strand rate have done him in. McCarthy is far from the 3.25 ERA pitcher he was in '11-'12 but he still has the goods to post a near-4.00 ERA and now gets the benefit of pitching at Chavez Ravine against a Dodgers squad that had dropped five in a row.
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Josh Beckett is hanging on for dear life. Beckett has an ugly 5.24 ERA and 1.43 WHIP after 34 IP. Unlike McCarthy, there is no end in sight for Beckett, as he has the profile of a minor-league long relief pitcher. Beckett’s line-drive rate over his last three starts has been 50%. Beckett’s sinker vs. LH bats is generating swings-and-misses only 6.5% of the time, and lefties are hitting bombs 4% of the time he throws that pitch, four times a higher rate than in 2012. At Dodger Stadium, Beckett is 0-2 with an ERA of 5.87. Beckett has been dogged by nagging shoulder and back injuries for almost two years now and his paltry win total and declining kills over that span screams out to avoid him at all costs. Pitching for the Dodgers certainly doesn’t add to Beckett’s low appeal.
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N.Y. Yankees/COLORADO Over 9FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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This total at Coors Field is low because Hiroki Kuroda is 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA. Kuroda is a hot pitcher faced with a very tough matchup. As a member of the Dodgers, Kuroda made four trips to Coors Field, going 1-2 with a 6.85 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in 22.1 IP. Psychologically, that’s a battle that Kuroda isn’t likely to win and these Rockies will be waiting. Should Kuroda throw a decent game and allow three runs or fewer, there’s always the Yankees erratic pen not fall behind. Then there’s Jorge De La Rosa.
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The Yankees hitters make pitchers work and they make them throw strikes. They will step out of the box constantly to further disrupt a pitchers rhythm and rhythm is something De La Rosa lacks. De La Rosa never looks quite comfortable on the hill. He is constantly battling control issues and falling behind hitters. In his last two starts covering 10 innings, De La Rosa has struck out a measly two batters while walking five. He’s only pitched one of his six starts at Coors this year and he’s getting progressively worse with each start. De La Rosa’s high strikeout rate and good groundball rate of previous years would be plenty to at least get us interested if he was healthy and entering his prime but he’s not. The fact that he's 32 with declining skills and coming off elbow surgery make him all the less appealing. Yanks may score eight or more on their own here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 7

Andrew LangeFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Texas at MilwaukeeFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: OverFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Despite the fact that 14 of 19 games have gone over the total at Miller Marker this season, only once has a game closed with a total of 9. Oddsmakers and the betting markets just haven't caught on that everything about these games screams offense. For starters, Milwaukee doesn't have any elite level starting pitchers. Yovani Gallardo has a decent pedigree but has struggled. Kyle Lohse is the only pitcher has performed up to his capabilities but he's obviously not involved this evening. And Marco Estrada and tonight's starter Wily Peralta have proved to be quite hittable with ERA's currently hovering around 6. Then of course there is Milwaukee's bullpen which statistically hasn't been as bad as it seems but still sports a group ERA north of 4.00. Finally, Milwaukee’s offense has been solid, especially at home where they average over five runs per game with .280/.811 splits. Tonight, Peralta is on the hill, and while I think he has decent stuff, the fact that he's allowed 41 hits and struck out 18 batters with 14 walks in 33 innings suggests that he's very hittable – and facing a solid American League lineup as oppose to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the Chicago Cubs which account for four of his starts. Texas counters with Justin Grimm who has produced some pretty strong numbers. However, despite pithing in the AL, he's had an extremely favorable slate having faced Seattle twice, Minnesota (at Target Field) and the woeful hitting White Sox. Yes, Milwaukee is better suited for lefties but it's not like the Brewers can't score against righties. In their last nine games at Miller Park vs. right-handed starters, they've scored 6, 1, 5, 4, 12, 4, 5, 5, 7, and 4. No matter what the matchup, the baseline total at Miller Park should be 9, and with an AL team coming to town and at least one mediocre arm on the hill, it makes perfect sense to play over 8.5.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 7

Bob BalfeFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Thunder -2.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Memphis out played the Thunder in Game 1, but showed they did not have what it takes to close out a big playoff game on the road.  I am still high on this team and think they can get it done back in Memphis, but I think this series is probably over because of that win they gave away the other day.  Memphis played flawless for 46 minutes.  All the pressure in the world is on Memphis tonight and I believe it will work against them.  The Thunder will play loose at home and I think these past 48 hours have been tough on this Memphis team.  I know its hard to win without Westbrook, but I just don't see Memphis playing flawless defense and then on top of that scoring close to 100 points to be able to win the game.  Take the Thunder.
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Tigers -110FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Anibal Sanchez has 50 strikeouts this year with the most impressive number being no home runs allowed.  The Nationals have yet to really find their bats against right handed pitching while the Tigers are crushing the ball putting up on average two more runs per game then the Nats.  This is going to be a great pitchers duel, but the srikeouts and that ability not to give up runs on one pitch have me really liking Detroit tonight.  Take the Tigers.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 7

Sam Martin

Memphis at Oklahoma
Prediction: Over

Game One between the Grizzlies and Thunder stayed under the total by 2.5 points in the Thunder's comeback 93-91 win, but we look for both teams to up the scoring tonight and for this game to easily sail over the total. These teams are both averaging over 100 points scored per game over their last five, and the Thunder average 108 points per game at home on the season. Obviously the injury to Westbrook makes it difficult for OKC to match that type of scoring, but Memphis has showed they don't mind playing an uptempo pace as they did against the Clippers, and truth be told they excelled in that faster game tempo. Thunder are 11-2 Over after a win by six points or less and 11-1 Over at home after a win by three points or less. Game Two sees much more offense than the series opener as this one sails over the total easily.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 7

Alex Smart

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders
Play: New York Islanders

The NY Islanders were under rated all season long , but unknown to so called analysts this team was stacked full of maturing talent, which includes super star John Tavares, who has yet to fully mature. Add to that some very tough character players and defensive core that is vastly under appreciated and playoff proven goalie in Nabakov and you have a team that most not be overlooked. I know the Pens are highly rated, but in my opinion very vulnerable to being upset by a speedy-extremely tough Islanders team, that will not be out skated, out scored or pushed around by the Pens. Pittsburgh had alot of bounces and penalty calls go their way last time and while, you have to be good to be lucky, its obvious to by standers that the Pens are very fortunate to be up 2-1 in this series. Play on NY Islanders

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 7

Steve Janus

Cincinnati Reds -115

The Reds are poised to bounce back from Monday's 4-7 loss to Atlanta. Cincinnati will send out Homer Bailey, who has been lights out at home in 2013. Bailey is 1-0 with a 0.90 ERA and 0.850 WHIP in his three starts at Great American Ballpark. Most importantly, the Reds are 3-0 in each of those starts. The Reds also happen to be a perfect 3-0 when Bailey takes the rubber against the Braves, two of which have came at home.

Atlanta will counter with Kris Medlen, who has struggled to the tune of a 5.40 ERA and 1.637 WHIP in his last three starts. All of which have resulted in losses for Atlanta. Medlen simply hasn't found his groove early on and it's hard to expect him to find it against a potent Cincinnati offense that is hitting .264 and averaging 5.4 runs/game at home this season.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 7

Jack Jones

New York Yankees +109

The New York Yankees are showing excellent value Tuesday as a road underdog to the Colorado Rockies in Game 1 of this interleague series. That's especially the case considering the edge they have on the mound in this one.

Hiroki Kuroda remains one of the most underrated starters in the league year in and year out. The Yankees certainly got a steal when they signed this guy. The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.056 WHIP through six starts this season.

Jorge De La Rosa has never been a consistent starter in this league. He's been off his game once again in 2013, going 2-3 with a 4.18 ERA and 1.423 WHIP through six starts. He gave up 6 earned runs and 13 base runners over 4 innings of a 2-6 loss to the Dodgers last time out.

The Yankees are 5-0 in their last 5 games vs. a left-handed starter. New York is 26-9 in its last 35 interleague road games. The Yankees are 5-0 in Kuroda's last 5 starts as an underdog.

The Rockies are 6-20 in their last 26 interleague games. Colorado is 0-8 in its last 8 interleague games as a favorite. The Rockies are 21-51 in their last 72 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15. Bet the Yankees Tuesday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 7

Jeff Alexander

Astros +1.5 +105

The Astros are showing value catching runs at an underdog price considering how much the Angels have struggled on the road. They have lost 11 of 15 road games this season. The Halos won 2 of 3 in LA in the first series of the season between these clubs but one of the wins came by a single run. The Angels have lost their last 4 series openers, are 1-7 in their last 8 games as a road favorite and 1-10 in their last 11 road games versus a right-handed starter. We'll grab the runs with Houston.

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