Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, May 9

Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, May 9

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Toronto at Tampa Bay
The Blue Jays look to take advantage of a Tampa Bay team that is 1-5 in David Price's last 6 starts as a home favorite. Toronto is the pick (+135) according to Dunkel, which has the Blue Jays favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+135)

Game 901-902: Pittsburgh at NY Mets (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Locke) 15.133; NY Mets (Gee) 13.738
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: NY Mets (-115); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (-105); Under

Game 903-904: Philadelphia at Arizona (9:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia (Hamels) 15.281; Arizona (Corbin) 16.368
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Arizona (-120); 8
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (-120); Under

Game 905-906: Atlanta at San Francisco (10:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Teheran) 15.720; San Francisco (Vogelsong) 14.807
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1; 8
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-125); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (+105); Over

Game 907-908: Oakland at Cleveland (12:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oakland (Colon) 15.693; Cleveland (Kazmir) 15.208
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Oakland (-125); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-125); Under

Game 909-910: Kansas City at Baltimore (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Guthrie) 16.674; Baltimore (Garcia) 15.522
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1; 7
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 911-912: Minnesota at Boston (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota (Correia) 14.916; Boston (Lackey) 15.200
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Boston (-170); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-170); Over

Game 913-914: Toronto at Tampa Bay (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Dickey) 15.710; Tampa Bay (Price) 14.845
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-155); 7
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+135); Over

Game 915-916: LA Angels at Houston (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Vargas) 14.087; Houston (Harrell) 13.124
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1; 8
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-160); 9
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (-160); Under

Game 917-918: NY Yankees at Colorado (3:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Sabathia) 16.213; Colorado (Francis) 15.195
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-135); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (-135); Under

Game 919-920: Detroit at Washington (4:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Fister) 16.787; Washington (Haren) 17.702
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Detroit (-135); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (+115); Under

NHL

Ottawa at Montreal
The Senators look to close out the series and build on their 5-1 record in their last 6 road games. Ottawa is the pick (+110) according to Dunkel, which has the Senators favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Ottawa (+110)

Game 33-34: Ottawa at Montreal (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Ottawa 12.076; Montreal 11.093
Dunkel Line & Total: Ottawa by 1; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Montreal (-130); 5
Dunkel Pick: Ottawa (+110); Under

Game 35-36: NY Islanders at Pittsburgh (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Islanders 11.763; Pittsburgh 12.699
Dunkel Line & Total: Pittsburgh by 1; 7
Vegas Line & Total: Pittsburgh (-220); 6
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (-220); Over

Game 37-38: Minnesota at Chicago (9:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 10.448; Chicago 11.652
Dunkel Line & Total: Chicago by 1; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Chicago (-275); 5
Dunkel Pick: Chicago (-275); Under

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, May 9

Marc LawrenceFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Oakland Athletics at Cleveland IndiansSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: Oakland AthleticsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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When Bartolo Colon returns to Cleveland to face his ex-mates Thursday afternoon at Progressive Field he will take the hill knowing he is in outstanding KW form this season with 23 strikeouts while issuing only one walk. He is also 7-3 in his career team starts against the tribe. With sore-armed Scott Kazmir just 2-6 his last eight team starts during May, we'll back the visiting A's here today. We recommend a 1-unit play on Oakland.

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Hollywood SportsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Atlanta Braves at San Francisco GiantsSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: San Francisco GiantsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Francisco (20-14) is very reliable at home where they have won 16 of their last 22 games. They send out Vogelsong who has struggled this season with a 1-2 record along with a 7.20 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP so far this season. But Vogelsong was much better at home last year where he enjoyed a 2.86 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and .228 opponent's batting average as compared to a 3.87 ERA, 1.26 WHO and .256 opponent's batting average when on the road. The Giants have won a decisive 13 of their last 18 home games when Vogelsong was pitching as a favorite. The right-hander has a great opportunity for a strong outing against this Atlanta team that has lost 6 of their last 7 games against starting pitchers with a WHIP over 1.30. Furthermore, the Braves have lost 8 of their last 11 games against a right-handed starting pitcher. San Fran is 12-6 at home this season -- and Atlanta (20-13) has lost 5 of their last 7 road games against teams with a winning percentage over 60% at home. They counter with Teheran who is 1-0 but with a 5.08 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP this season. He will likely struggle against this Giants' team that feasts on struggling pitchers. San Francisco has won a decisive 63 of their last 87 games when facing a starting pitcher with a WHIP of 1.30 or higher.

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Jimmy BoydFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Braves/Giants OVER 7.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The total on this game was set at 7.5 points which would be about right if the Giant’s had any other pitcher in their rotation on the mounts and if the Braves were not averaging 4.9 runs per game in their past seven games. Julio Teheran has 5 starts and a 5.08 ERA on the season. He has allowed 39 hits in just 28.3 innings pitched. Things get even uglier for the Giant’s Ryan Vogelsong. Vogelsong has posted a 7.20 ERA in 6 starts and has given up 8 home runs and 46 hits in just 35 innings pitched.
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The Giant’s have had no problem scoring runs this season. They average 4.4 runs per game and have a .270 batting average when playing at home. They face an Atlanta team that is scoring 4.4 runs per game. Both of these teams have favored the over this season as they have each posted an 18 games going over the total to just 14 games going under. Both of these teams have very capable and dangerous hitters and they are slumming it at the bottom end of their respective pitching rotations. With Teheran and Vogelsong on the mound this game should have no problem going over the total.

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Rob VincilettiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Minnesota Twins vs. Boston Red SoxFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Boston Red SoxFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Sox were blitzed early by Minnesota on Wednesday falling behind 11-6 after 2 innings. Look for them to bounce back here. They are too heavy a favorite for unit rating but for a free play they fit the criteria of a nice play. Certain home favorites off a home favored loss by 5 or more runs while scoring 5 or more runs have won 31 of 41 times since 2004 vs an opponent off a +140 or higher road dog win by 5 or more runs if they scored 10 or more runs. Minnesota has Correia going and he has a 5.10 road era and may struggle here with this vaunted Boston lineup. Lackey goes for the Sox and he has allowed 5 earned runs in his last 3 starts vs the Twins spanning 22+ innings. Boston is 15-5 vs losing teams and the Twins have lost 10 of 15 at night. Look for Boston to bounce back here tonight.

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Jesse SchuleFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Minnesota Twins +1.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Twins have taken two of three so far in Boston, and they will wrap up the series Thursday at Fenway. Boston's bullpen continues to struggle, and that's not good news for the Red Sox since they send John Lackey to the mound coming off a poor outing his last time out.
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Lackey (1-2, 3.52 ERA) saw his first pitch hit out of the park by Ian Kinsler, and ended up allowing three runs on six hits, while walking three over five innings in a 5-1 loss to Texas in his last start. He put together two quality starts prior to that, but those came against Houston and Toronto. Lackey hasn't gone deeper than the sixth inning in any of his starts this year, so you can expect Boston's bullpen to be a factor once again.
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Joe Mauer has seen plenty of Lackey, and he hasn't been fooled. Mauer is batting .435 with a pair of home runs in 23 at bats versus the veteran right-hander.
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The Twins will hand the ball to Kevin Correia, who's transition over to the American League has been a smooth one. Correia (3-2, 2.83) isn't what you would call an intimidating pitcher, there is nothing fancy about his pitching, he simply gets the job done.
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He's coming off a loss, allowing four runs on six hits over five innings in a 7-3 game at Cleveland. Prior to that he tossed eight scoreless innings in a 5-0 shutout win at home versus Texas.
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We aren't looking for Correia to toss a shutout here, and the way Minnesota is swinging the bats, going up against Lackey, he likely won't need to.
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The Price is right for a play on Minnesota +1.5.

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Art AronsonFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay RaysFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Tampa Bay RaysFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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RA Dickey (2-5, 5.36 ERA) gets the call for the visitors; Dickey was booed off the mound in his last start at home vs. the Mariners on Saturday, giving up three long-balls and seven earned runs off six hits and two walks over six frames of work. The veteran has now lost three straight and in those 19 innings of work he's given up 15 runs, five homers and eight walks. To make matters worse, Dickey continues to pitch through back and neck issues. Dickey will be opposed by David Price (1-3, 6.25 ERA) who is coming off an outing to forget in which he gave up nine runs off 10 hits over 6 2/3's frames of work in his team's 9-3 setback to the Rockies on Saturday. A grand slam by Nolan Arenado in the seventh was the nail in the coffin. No need to hit the panic button yet for Price. Here's a big opportunity for the underachiever to get untracked; while past success guarantees nothing in the future, it's still significant to note that Price was 3-0 with a 3.26 ERA in three starts vs. the Blue Jays last season (he was also 7-2 with a sparkling 1.81 ERA in front of the home town crowd a year ago). While Price stumbled in his last start, it was in fact just a single pitch which completely ruined his day. Dickey's issues are much greater; velocity, control and now confidence and health. I believe the talent discrepancy on the mound in this matchup definitely justifies in laying the mid-sized price.

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Jim Feist

Minnesota Twins at Boston Red Sox
Pick: Minnesota Twins

You need to throw strikes in a small park like Fenway and Minnesota has Kevin Correia on the hill, walking 7 in 41 innings while allowing fewer hits than innings pitched. Boston knows little about him having only thrown one inning against the Red Sox. Boston goes with wacky John Lackey, the Red Sox whipping boy, as big a non-fan favorite as you can find. The road team is 6-2 in umpire Ed Hickox's last 8 Wednesday games behind home plate, as well as road team being 9-4 in his last 13 games behind home plate vs. Boston. Play the Twins.

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Dave CokinFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Kansas City Royals at Baltimore Orioles
Pick: Kansas City RoyalsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Freddy Garcia made his return to the majors over the weekend, and it couldn't have gone much better for the old pro. But a look behind the numbers actually tells a different story. First off, for whatever reason, he's always put up great stats when pitching in Anaheim. Secondly, he did against a team that is simply horrible right now. Finally, the truth is Garcia got lucky. He sure didn't miss many bats, and virtually everything that got hit was at someone. When you see a BABIP of .105, it means Lady Luck was not only smiling, she was downright giddy. Look for a rapid correction, and expect Garcia to start getting hit hard in a hurry.
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As for Jeremy Guthrie, things could not be any better. Ever since donning the Royals uniform, Guthrie has been a different pitcher and he's simply not a guy you want to be fading right now. I'm not going to try and sell Guthrie as a high level starter, and I'm convinced he'll eventually regress to what has been his career norm. But for the present, Guthrie is a guy on a major roll, and even with decidedly average peripherals he's a money in the bank starting pitcher for the time being.
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The Royals have dropped the first two in this series to the Orioles, and the one season total O/U bet I've got that's in trouble right now is my Orioles Under. But this is not a bad spot for the visitors and they've got the hot hurler throwing tonight, so I'm siding with the Royals to salvage the series finale.

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Bruce MarshallFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Minnesota Twins at Boston Red SoxSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Minnesota TwinsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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A brief pause or course correction? Or an indicator of some real problems on the horizon? That depends upon one's interpretation of the recent meltdown of the Red Sox pitching staff that has posted a 7.98 ERA over the past six games, five of those being losses. The latest was an ugly 15-8 beatdown administed by Minnesota last night, a game in which the Twins already had 11 runs by the 2nd inning and had chased rookie Bosox starter Allen Webster after 1 2/3 IP. Tonight at Fenway, John Farrell figures to get a bit more work out of starter John Lackey, but his most recent start last Saturday at Arlington vs. the Rangers was shaky (3 runs, 6 hits and 3 walks in just 5 IP) in a 5-1 loss. Shaky, too, was Twins starter Kevin Correia last Saturday at Cleveland when 4 runs and 6 hits in just 5 IP of an eventual 7-3 loss, but Correia's previous efforts were stellar, with a 2.33 ERA in his first five outings and pitching at least seven innings in each start. Considering those pitching dynamics, and Boston's current slump, this hefty price looks too good to bypass. Play Twins on Money Line

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Dave EsslerFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Oakland -120FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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I would probably bet on Oakland today just because they're pissed. Reddick being on the DL is not a huge deal, because he's having a bad year and can't hit LHP anyways. I don't trust Colon as much as some might, but given the choice between he and Kazmir, it's Colon. I do think this game goes over, but don't like the weather pattern nor the fact that Cleveland has gone from beastmode against RHP to below .500 this season. Clearly the Indians bullpen has been used, and Oakland already has the late inning confidence and the Indians pen may have the late inning questions in their head. This is totally as much of an instinct bet than a statistical one. That's why I'll play it a little smaller. Day games without lineups are always tough, but I doubt this number gets better no matter who plays. There's a chance I end up playing the over as well, but may not be around mid-day to see lineups. In the end, one would think that Colon may get the benefit (make up calls) that Kazmir may not, factoring in human elements.

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Bryan PowerFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Toronto vs. Tampa BayFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: OverFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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I've already won 2 of the 3 games in this series. Monday I had Toronto while last night saw me cash Tampa Bay in easy fashion.  Tonight, I will look at the total as we have a matchup of arguably the two most disappointing pitchers in the baseball - David Price and RA Dickey (both reigning Cy Young winners). Given how both have pitched so far this season, I expect this game to go Over a low number...
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The Rays are shockingly 1-6 in David Price's seven starts this year.  He is coming off a disastrous outing that saw him allow nine runs and 11 hits in a loss at Colorado.  His ERA is 6.25 for the season. He's allowed 31 ER on 54 hits in just 44 innings of work so far. In three night time starts, his ERA jumps to an even worse 7.40.  When Price turns it over to the bullpen, that hardly inspires any confidence as their relievers have a 6.54 ERA at Tropicana Field. Offensively, Tampa Bay seems fine considering they just scored 10 runs last night and are averaging nearly seven per game over the last seven games.
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RA Dickey has similarly been a major disappointment for Toronto.  The team has lost each of his last three starts and his last start went very poorly as well.  He allowed seven runs in six innings as the team was beaten 8-1 at home by Seattle. The Over has cashed 13 of 16 Dickey starts when he is an underdog of +150 or less on the money line.  Dickey's ERA over those last three starts is 6.63.  Like Tampa Bay, Toronto seems fine offensively as they are averaging six runs per game in the series.

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BRAD WILTON

Thursday's comp play is the Over in Toronto-Tampa Bay.

This is an awfully low total considering the fact both teams and both team's starters have been giving them up of late, and for the season for that matter.

Toronto comes into this finale with Overs in 5 straight and 7 of their last 9 overall, while Tampa has played Overs in 11 in a row!

R.A. Dickey's season ERA stands at 5.36, while David Price's ERA stands at 6.25 with 5 of his 6 starts this year ending up playing Over the total.

Like I said, this is a low total considering the offense damage that has been incurred with these 2 pitchers on the hill.

Toronto and Tampa Bay Over the total.

5* TORONTO-TAMPA BAY OVER

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SCOTT DELANEY

My free play for Thursday is going to be on the New York Yankees with C.C. Sabathia, getting it done in Denver against the Colorado Rockies and Jeff Francis.

Call me a sentimentalist, but I still think the power left-hander is one of the best in the business, despite a rather mediocre 4-3 record and 3.31 ERA. And I also believe he'll step to the hill in Denver a bit pissed off, after his last start.

Despite limiting Oakland to two runs on eight hits over six innings, New York's ace suffered his third loss of the season last Friday, when he threw 74 of his 118 pitches for strikes. Now I believe he will be out to avenge that loss.

And if there is anywhere he can do it, it could very well be here, as he has shined against National League opponents since signing with the Yankees. In 16 starts since 2009, the southpaw has a sterling 2.83 ERA, while his 11 Interleague wins are tied with Justin Verlander for the most in the Majors over that span.

Let's play the pinstripes in their matinee in Denver, and list both.

3* N.Y. YANKEES

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BRETT ATKINS

I like the Washington Nationals to keep this little win streak alive, by getting to Detroit's Doug Fister and toppling the Tigers.

We have the makings of a pretty darned good pitching showdown, as Washington's Danny Haren is on the bump to oppose Fister, and again, I like my chances with the home pup.

Aside from the fact Haren - who has allowed three runs or fewer in his last five starts, with a 1.92 ERA in his last two starts, both wins - was an American League pitcher for so long and knows what to expect here, the Nationals are looking more and more like the contender they're supposed to be, and need to keep the pressure on the Atlanta Braves.

With last night's 3-1 win, the Nats made if five of six overall, while snapping Detroit's four-game win streak. This, for Washington, is being done without the services of Jayson Werth, who will have an MRI done on his right hamstring. There is plenty of firepower left on this team, led by Bryce Harper, who stroked his 10th home run of the season last night.

Harper's homer extended Washington's streak of homering in a series to 67, tops in the National League and second in the majors (Texas, 76).

This could come down to the hurlers, yes, but I'm not listing either since I really wouldn't mind if Fister was scratched. I just like Washington's momentum right now. Take the home underdog here.

4* WASHINGTON

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Dave PriceFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Tampa Bay Rays -144FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Tampa Bay ace David Price has struggled to start the season. He's pitched well in 4 starts but has been rocked in the other 3. However, I expect a gem from him this evening. He will be lacking no confidence against a club he's owned. Price is 12-2 (13-2 on the money line) with an ERA of 2.29 in 15 career starts versus the Blue Jays. Toronto's R.A. Dickey has really struggled of late. He's 0-3 with an ERA of 6.63 over his last 3 starts. The Rays are 7-0 in their last 7 Game 4s of a series and 8-0 in Price's last 8 starts when he gets the ball in the during 4th game of a series. The Rays have won 15 of their last 21 at home versus the Jays. Take Tampa.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Oakland/CLEVELAND Over 8½FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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You may have noticed a large number of low scoring games over the past couple of days and it’s no coincidence that it coincides with a high pressure (barometric) system in the Midwest and the East Coast. You may also notice on some days an unusually high amount of scoring and it’s something that has really caught our interest. A barometer is an instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure. It can measure the pressure exerted by the atmosphere by using water, air, or mercury and a rising barometer means the air is getting “heavier” and a falling barometer means the air is getting lighter. We’re going to apply that to this game in Cleveland, where the barometric pressure is dropping and then we’re going to factor in the two pitchers.
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Oakland has been better against lefties all season with a BA of .280 and will face one here in Scott Kazmir. Kazmir has one of the highest fly-ball rates in the majors at 57% and he also has a disturbing 1.63 WHIP. Once coveted as a hard-throwing lefty with game-changing stuff, Kazmir is in the midst of a four-year slide. Kazmir’s xERA is on a steady rise and now has been more than 5.00 two years running. Low strand % is the partial cause, but there are many other culprits here. HR’s allowed are a consistent problem for Kazmir and he’s already allowed four in 14 frames. Falling behind hitters is another Achilles Heel for Kazmir and that has not been corrected either. Kazmir comes in with a BAA of .305 and an ERA of 6.28 and that’s with a high strand rate of 80%. There’s a reason the A’s are favored over the red hot Indians.
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Bartolo Colon comes in with a 3-1 record to go along with a very respectable 3.62 ERA. Colon throws strikes. He’s walked just one batter all season in 37.1 innings.  One can’t help but marvel at how well Bartolo Colon is doing. How does this old guy (he turns 40 in a couple of weeks) do it? That question was answered when he was suspended for 50 games last season for PED use but a supposedly drug-free Colon continues to impress this year. Colon seems to be the poster child for guile. He relies primarily on his fastball, which doesn’t get much above 90 mph these days. His success is not likely to last. MLB hitters make adjustments. They all know that he comes out and throws strikes. The Indians are an outstanding fastball hitting team and they’ll come out swinging today. Colon has shown signs of trouble over his past two games with 15 hits allowed in 11.1 innings while allowing two of those hits to leave the park. He also has a fly-ball bias profile. One or both of these pitchers is likely going to get lit up today. This is a beatable total in a hitter’s park with two very average pitchers going and the barometric pressure falling. 
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Pittsburgh +104 over N.Y. METSFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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After a hot start the Mets are playing as projected, that being a below average team that will be hard pressed to play .500 ball. New York has dropped seven of its past 10 games. Over that stretch, the Mets own the lowest batting average in the majors at .195 and they’re also dead last in runs scored with 31. With Dillon Gee on the hill, chances are the cold bats of the Mets are going to have to score a bunch here because Gee is getting progressively worse with each start. Gee’s walks are up and his strikeouts are down. That’s the first sign of trouble. Gee’s season ended last year with a blood clot in his shoulder and now his health is in question and his results so far suggest it’s also an issue. Gee has a WHIP of 1.63, an ERA of 6.16 and a BAA of .312. He was rocked in his last two starts against the light-hitting Phillies and Marlins. Against Miami, Gee struck out one batter and walked two. Gee’s fastball velocity has also dropped from 90.4 in May of 2012 to 88.6 in his last start. Everything in Gee’s pitching profile says he’s a pitcher in peril.
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Meanwhile, Jeff Locke is getting progressively better with each start. His 16 walks in 33.2 innings will be of major concern for most but not us. Locke has always had good control. He has clean arm action that produces a solid 88-92 mph fastball that features nice sink and movement. He can spot it to both sides of the plate effectively and it sets up his curveball and solid-average change-up. Locke won’t dominate or post high strikeout totals but pitch location is a strength and he can even vary his arm angles to keep hitters off-guard. Over his past three starts, his walk totals are down and over that span, he shut out both the Phillies and Cardinals on the road. Locke is now 2-1 on the road with a 1.89 ERA and 2-0 over his past three starts with an ERA of 1.50. Locke and the Pirates are a much better option taking back a tag than the struggling duo of the Mets hitters and Dillon Gee spotting a price. Wrong side favored.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, May 9

SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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N.Y. Islanders +194 over PITTSBURGHFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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OT included. The team that has been dominated the most in the first round continues to be the highest price (besides Chicago) and that makes the New York Islanders an automatic play. Look, the Penguins are dangerous. When Pittsburgh is on the power-play it looks like they are going to score every time and they’ve scored plenty of goals in this series. That said, the Penguins have to be feeling a little uneasy. They were ousted in last year’s first round by the Flyers and this series is taking on that same feel. For every goal the Penguins score, they allow one or two against. Now they have officially named Tomas Vokoun as the Game 5 starter. Vokoun hasn’t started a playoff game since 2007. He has a career playoff mark of 3 wins and 8 losses and hasn’t played in a game since April 22. The playoffs are not like the regular season. Every team that does well has one goalie they stick with. The switch in the middle of a series when not forced to is a sign that says the team is in trouble.
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The Islanders have outplayed the Penguins in three of the four games so far. Five on five, the Isles have completed dominated. The Islanders are gaining more confidence with each passing period and now know that they belong and should probably be up 3-1. That’s not to say the Penguins can’t win. Of course they can but the Penguins may not be built for playoff hockey. Pittsburgh thrived during the regular season but without solid goaltending and with a shaky defense, you can’t keep relying on your offense to score six a game. These goals allowed are becoming more and more deflating for the Penguins. The Islanders are allowing a lot of goals too but the difference is that the Islanders are sticking with Evgeni Nabokov and they have the momentum coming into this pivotal Game 5. The other difference is that the Islanders are not laying 2-1 and at this price they offer too much value to skip over.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, May 9

Will RogersFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Philadelphia vs. ArizonaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: ArizonaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Diamondbacks are coming off a three game sweep of the Dodgers in L.A., and they will host Philadelphia in Game 1 of a four game series on Thursday night. The Phillies are coming off an extra-innings loss to the Giants yesterday afternoon. Philadelphia sends three-time All-Star and 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels to the mound, while Arizona counters with 23 year old Patrick Corbin.
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Here are my keys to the game:FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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1: Pitching - Hamels (1-4, 4.34 ERA) will be looking for just his second win of the season, despite pitching well of late. He went eight innings, allowing two runs on four hits in a 2-0 loss at Miami his last time out. The scary thing for Hamels is, both runs came on solo home runs, and that was in Miami against the Fish. It figures to be a lot tougher at Chase Field versus a much better hitting Arizona team.
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The Diamondbacks have won every one of Corbin's starts this season, and he's been pitching great all year. He allowed just one run on five hits over seven innings in an 8-1 win over the Dodgers his last time out. He's 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA, and he hasn't allowed more than two runs in any of his six starts.
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2: The Bullpen - Both teams are coming off one-run ballgames decided late. While Arizona's bullpen kept the Dodgers at bay, allowing them to get the winning run in the eighth inning, the Phillies saw their bullpen allow the Giant's the winning run in the 10th.
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3: X-Factor - Cody Ross has seen plenty of Hamels, with 37 career at bats under his belt, he has taken the left-hander deep five times during his career.

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Big Kat SportsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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New York Yankees vs. Colorado RockiesSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Take: New York YankeesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The New York Yankees will look to win their interleague series with the Colorado Rockies when the two teams meet this afternoon at Coors Field in Denver. Colorado took the first game of the series 2-0 on Tuesday while the Yanks were able to eek out a victory with a run in the top of the 9th last night for the 3-2 win. CC Sabathia, who has lost two of his last three starts, will be on the mound this afternoon for New York. He was good in his last start, allowing 2 runs over 6 innings to Oakland on Friday, but the Yanks didn’t give him any run support and he was saddled with the hard luck loss. Sabathia will be opposed by Jeff Francis, who is in danger of losing his starting spot in the Colorado rotation. He was excellent in his first start of the season, allowing just one run but has been hammered since, giving up 36 hits and 11 walks in 26 innings, leading to an awful 1.81 WHIP. He is just 1-2 on the season with a 7.27 ERA, opponents have posted a .330 batting average against him and he has had trouble keeping the ball in the yard, allowing 5 homers in those 26 innings pitched. New York, despite their injury depleted roster has been able to keep the ship afloat and are just 1 game out of first place in the AL East. They have been very good in the spot they are in here this afternoon, posting a 9-2 record in their last 11 games when listed as favorite of -110 to -150 and they have won 5 of their last 6 games against a left handed starter. New York also has had success in interleague play over the last few seasons, winning 26 of 36 on the road against National League teams. Colorado, who surprisingly are just ½ game behind the Giants for the lead in the NL West have actually struggled in the situation they are in here this afternoon with the Yankees. They are just 4-15 in their last 19 interleague games when listed as an underdog by the odds makers and have won just 2 of their last 9 games that Francis has started against teams with a winning record. Pair that with the fact that the Yankees are 10-1 in the last 11 interleague games started by Sabathia and we’ll lay the small price with them on the road to get the win and give us 4 out of 5 winning Free Plays here on the blog.

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