Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, May 15

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, May 15

Joe Gavazzi

Pittsburgh -120

In this game, we are looking to reverse a lot of negative history for Pittsburgh. Milwaukee is 30-9 in this series including 14-4 at this site. But after winning 9 straight games against the Pirates, Pittsburgh has now captured 2 of the last 3 meetings. Consider it to be a changing of the guard between these Division rivals. As one might expect, the starters history favors Milwaukee. In 8 recent starts against Pittsburgh, Gallardo has a 2.05 ERA including 17 2/3 scoreless innings in going 3-0 from this mound. In Rodriquez last 3 starts vs. Milwaukee, he has posted an 8.79 ERA. Just as the series history, those numbers are about to change based on the current form of these teams and pitchers. After last night's 4-3 Pittsburgh victory, Milwaukee limps in at 2-10 in May being outscored 69-43. For the season, Gallardo has a 4.70 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and a 6.30 ERA in his last 2 starts. Rodriquez has always been among the best home pitchers in baseball. As he takes the mound tonight, he does so with a record of 4-1 and 1.90 ERA in his last 7 trips to this hill. History continues to reverse with the Pirate win tonight.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, May 15

Big Kat Sports

Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Take: Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals will look to win their series with the Los Angeles Dodgers when the two teams meet in a rubber match tonight at Dodger Stadium. Washington won Game 1 6-2 behind a strong pitching performance by Jordan Zimmermann on Monday night but were shut down by Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday in a 2-0 loss. Ross Detwiler, who broke a small losing streak in a win over the Cubs on Friday, has been pretty good for the Nationals this season, posting a 2-3 record with a 2.53 ERA. He has 5 quality starts in his 7 games this season and has had some success against the Dodgers in his career, going 1-1 with a 1.08 WHIP while holding Los Angeles to just a .208 batting average. Detwiler will be opposed by Zack Greinke, who will be making his first start since retuning from a broken collarbone he suffered in a fight with Carlos Quentin of the Padres, Greinke made one pain free rehab start but was hit around a bit by the High A kids, allowing 8 runs and 6 hits in 4.2 innings pitched. We’re not putting much stock in this pitching line but it may show that Zack isn’t quite 100%. The Nationals, who trail the Braves by 1 game for first place in the NL East have been playing good ball after getting off to a slow start to their season. They are 7-2 in their last 9 road games against teams with a losing record at home and have won 5 of their last 6 games on the road when the oddsmakers have set a total of 7-8½ in that contest. They have also been excellent over the past two seasons on Wednesday’s for whatever reason, winning 28 of 36 games. The Dodgers, who have one of the highest payrolls in the league, have really struggled out of the gate this season and manager Don Mattingly may be the one that pays for it. He wasn’t hired by this ownership group and the team is really underachieving under him. They are just 3-9 in their last 12 games overall and have won just 1 of their last 9 games against teams with a winning record. They are also riding a 4 game losing streak in games when they have been listed as a favorite of -150 or less. Pair those numbers with the fact that the Nats are 8-0 in Detwiler’s last 8 starts against a team with a losing record and we’ll take the plus money on Washington tonight as the numbers would indicate that we have a very live dog on our hands here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, May 15

Bryan Power

Kansas City vs. LA Angels
Pick: Over

I won with the Angels last night in an easy 6-2 win, but I'm not as sold on them here in Wednesday's rubber match with the Royals.  That being said, I do expect them to be effective offensively once again.  The only issue is starter Barry Enright keeping Kansas City in check.  I expect plenty of runs to be scored in this one and for the game to fly past the number......

Last night marked the first time all year that Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton all homered in the same game. This after the Royals scored 11 runs in Monday's series opener.  The Angels are 19-9 Over in night games this season.

This starting pitching matchup lends itself to an Over play.  Royals starter Wade Davis has a 9.19 ERA his last three starts (2.042 WHIP). He's allowed 7 ER or more in two of those starts, neither time going more than five innings. Sadly, Angels starter Enright has been even worse in his three appearances this season.  He made his first start last Friday and allowed five runs in 3.3 IP.  Including a pair of stints coming out of the bullpen, his ERA is 11.57 as he's allowed 8 ER in 6.3 IP.  This game should feature plenty of runs.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, May 15

Teddy Covers

NY Mets vs. St. Louis
Pick: Over

"It's definitely the best game I've thrown in my life.”  That was Cardinals rookie Shelby Miller’s quote following his truly dominant 13 strikeout, one hit complete game shutout over the Rockies in his last outing.

But Miller matched his career high in pitches thrown in that contest; and it’s only the second time all season he’s averaged less than 16 pitches per inning. Coming off the ‘best game of his life’, I’m expecting significant ‘regression to the mean’ from Miller this evening.

Mets starter Shaun Marcum is an even stronger ‘bet against’ candidate this evening.  Since starting the season on the DL, Marcum has failed to make it out of the fifth inning in any of his starts, with an 8.59 ERA and a whopping .400 batting average against.  Mets manager Terry Collins: “I think Shaun tried to hurry through the rehab and get up here because he knew we needed help.  I think we've got to run him out there again because, as I said the last start, he's basically towards the end of spring training.”

It’s surely worth noting that Marcum has a miserable recent track record against the Cardinals, including two ugly losses in the 2011 NLCS and another poor showing against them at Busch Stadium last year.  St Louis flew Over the total all by themselves yesterday, their third straight ‘Over’ cash, while the Mets are 24-11-1 to the Over so far in 2013, the second strongest Over team (behind Oakland) in all of baseball.

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Dave Price

Milwaukee Brewers +113

Yovani Gallaro has had Pittsburgh's number. The right-hander is 10-1 with an ERA of 2.27 in 15 starts versus the Pirates. The Brewers have won 14 of those, including 9 straight. The Brewers are 21-8 in Gallardo's last 29 starts overall, including 6-2 in his last 8 road starts. Wandy Rodriguez is 8-10 with a 4.17 ERA in 24 starts versus Milwaukee. He is 0-3 on the money line in his last 3 starts versus the Brewers and gave up 7 earned runs in 3 2-3 innings against them earlier this season. Bet the Brew Crew.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, May 15

Steve Janus

St Louis Cardinals -1.5

The Cardinals are one of the hottest teams in baseball right now. They have won 11 of 13 overall and have completely dominated the first two games of their 4-game series with the Mets. New York on the other hand has lost 5 straight. The Mets offense is in a complete funk right now. They have scored 4 or fewer runs in 9 straight games. With St Louis sending out Shelby Miller, the Mets will be lucky to score 2 runs tonight. Miller is coming off a complete game shutout against a very good Rockies offense. He's now 5-2 with an impressive 1.58 ERA and 0.876 WHIP.

While the Mets offense figures to stay in their slump, the Cardinals should be able to pile on several runs against Shaun Marcum. In three starts this season, Marcum is 0-2 with a 8.31 ERA and 1.923 WHIP. Adding even more value here is the fact that Marcum is 1-3 with a 6.25 ERA in 7 career starts vs St Louis.

It's easy to see why the Cardinals are such massive money line favorites. Instead of laying heavy juice, I feel the better play is on the -1.5 run line. St Louis has won by 2+ runs in 4 of their last 5 games, while the Mets have lost by 2+ runs in 4 of their last 5.

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Jeff Alexander

Cardinals -1.5 +101

Mets have dropped 5 straight with 4 of those losses coming by at least 3 runs. They'll have trouble getting off the snide tonight with St. Louis marching Shelby Miller to the mound. The righty is 5-2 with a 1.58 ERA. I like his chances of outdueling Shawn Marcum, who is 0-3 with an 8.59 ERA. Marcum hasn't had much luck against the Cards. He has a 6.25 ERA in 7 starts against them and his teams have lost his last 4 starts versus the Redbirds by an average of 4.25 runs.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, May 15

Jack Jones

Chicago Cubs -132

The Chicago Cubs have a big edge on the mound Wednesday with Jeff Samardzija over Jon Garland. I'll back the Cubs at home at an excellent price as a result.

Samardzija is one of the best young starters in the game. He has posted a 3.70 ERA and 1.253 WHIP with 57 strikeouts over 48 2/3 innings in eight starts in 2013. He was the team's opening day starter for good reason.

Jon Garland is washed up and far past his prime. The veteran right-hander has gone 3-3 with a 4.83 ERA and 1.488 WHIP in seven starts this season, including 1-2 with a 5.06 ERA and 1.750 WHIP in his last three.

The Rockies are 16-36 in their last 52 games as an underdog. Colorado is 0-8 in its last 8 games following a win. The Cubs are 4-0 in Samardzija's last 4 starts as a home favorite. Bet the Cubs Wednesday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, May 15

Joseph D'Amico

Memphis +4½

Think back to when LeBron James was with Cleveland. Now you know how Kevin Durant feels. The Thunder averaged 105.7 PPG during the regular season and are posting a mere 91 PPG in this series. In the absence of Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson is putting up 13.3 PPG this round. Westbrook accounted for 23.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 7.4 APG, and shot 80% from the line in the regular season. But more than that, the standout Guard was the jab in 1-2 punch that made OKC so successful. The Thunder are 2-7 ATS their L9 overall, including an 0-4 ATS mark their L4 games played at home. Memphis has covered 9 straight contests. Five players are averaging 9 or more PPG in the Playoff's as super-stars, Gasol, Randolph, and Conley are combining for 56.1 PPG, 21.4 RPG, and 12.4 APG. The key reason why giving this squad this many points is a mistake isn't because they have covered all 4 games in this series, not because they are 7-2 ATS the L9 vs. OKC, but it is because they have been outrebounded 3 of the 4 meetings and still lead 3-1. The Road Team is 8-3 ATS the L11 meetings. The Grizzlies are 5-1 ATS the L6 games played at the Thunder and 16-4-1 ATS their L21 games played overall. The Thunder are 1-6 ATS their L7 games played on 1 days rest and 0-5 ATS their L5 games vs. teams with a winning percentage of over .600.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, May 15

NHL Predictions

Blackhawks Team Total Over 2.5

The Chicago Blackhawks are 40-7-6 on the year including their first round series against Minnesota which they won in 5 games. The Red Wings beat Anaheim in 7 games and are 28-18-9 on the season. Chicago has been dominant at home with a 21-3-3 record overall, while the Red Wings are just 13-10-5 on the road. These two teams met 4 times this season with the Blackhawks winning all 4 meetings (two in shootout and one in OT). They scored 3, 7, 2, and 2 goals in those games. The Blackhawks have scored 5, 3 2, 5, and 2 goals in these playoffs. Detroit allowed 3+ goals in 5 of their 7 games vs Anaheim. Chicago was 5th in the NHL with 74 goals in 24 home games this regular season. Chicago is rested and ready to go against one of their Western Conference rivals and I think they will pile the shots on Howard tonight and get 3+ goals. Take the OVER 2.5 goals at a good price.

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MLB Predictions

Seattle Mariners +113

Last night was the first meeting between these two teams and the Yankees managed to score 3 runs in the 7th inning to take a 4-3 lead and then hung on to win. The Mariners had won 3 of 4 before last night and are 18-21 on the season and 7-12 on the road. New York has won two straight and 6 of 7 to improve to 25-14 on the year and 13-7 at home. While New York has been winning games lately it is more so due to good pitching. New York has scored 4 or fewer runs in 10 of their past 12 games. Tonight they will be in tough against one of the American League's best starters in Hisashi Iwakuma. Someone replied to my pick on the Mariners today noting that I loved betting on Iwakuma this year, and it is true. Iwakuma has been consistently good. He is 4-1 on the season with a 1.74 ERA, .167 OBA and 0.74 WHIP. Those numbers are incredibly good through 8 American League starts. He is third in OBA amongst starting pitchers (2nd in AL), 2nd in WHIP (1st in AL), 9th in ERA (3rd in AL). Over his 8 starts he has only allowed more than 2 earned runs against once, and that was 3 earned runs and 4 hits over 8 innings of work in his 2nd start of the season. His last time out he went 7 innings giving up just 4 hits and 2 earned runs with 9 strike outs and 0 walks. His strikeout to walk ratio is great at 51 strikeouts and just 8 walks. He will up against Phil Hughes who gets the ball for the Yankees. Hughes is 2-2 with a 4.43 ERA, .292 OBA and 1.38 WHIP. His last time out was his worst start of the season as he gave up 7 hits and 6 earned runs over 5.2 innings. Note that the Mariners are 6-2 in games that Iwakuma has started in, and the Yankees are 4-3 in games that Hughes has started in. The Mariners are 5-2 in Iwakuma's last 7 starts as a road underdog. Iwakuma gives Seattle a chance to win every game he starts and tonight with an underdog price against Hughes who is coming off a rough outing I think the Mariners get it done again with him on the mound. Take Seattle as underdogs.

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