Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 21

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 21

Steve Merril

Detroit vs. Cleveland
Play: Over 8.5

The Tigers come to Cleveland having lost a series in Arlington against the Rangers. It's a rematch of a game from May 10th when Detroit won 10-4. Corey Kluber is 2-2 with a 6.17 ERA in four starts for Cleveland. He allowed 8 runs and 11 hits in that game in just over four innings of work. Kluber has allowed 14 runs and 25 hits in three starts over two seasons against the Tigers. Detroit is hitting .282 at night and scoring over 5 runs per game this season. They have gone Over the total in 7 of their last 11 games overall. Max Scherzer took the win back on May 10th despite giving up 4 runs and five hits over eight innings pitched to the Indians. Scherzer has a 3.98 ERA in eight starts with five of those games going Over the total. The Tigers’ starter is 6-4 with a 5.17 ERA in 12 career starts against Cleveland. The Indians walked off with a win on Monday afternoon and they are scoring over 5 runs per game this season. Cleveland has gone Over in three of their last five games. Detroit's bullpen is 3-8 with six blown saves on the season. These two teams played two Overs in three meetings earlier this month, and tonight’s game will be another slugfest.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 21

Greg Shaker

Houston +115

Nice number here to work with despite how awful these Astros can be. The Royals starter has been very inconsistent this year and Norris has as well. But Davis has performed very poorly on the road and batters as well have knocked him around for a .349 average this year. Over his last 4 starts this guy has managed to allow opponents to score 20 times in 21 innings thrown. He has struggled with control and his K/BB Ratio is very poor indeed.  The thing about Norris is that he is a Homer and has been for a long time. This year a 2.30 ERA at this park and similar results in previous years with these Astros. Low pitch count for Norris last game and he should be as fresh as a starter can be. KC has just mediocre road stats and 3 games below .500. Good spot here for Houston and I have them winning at 55.1% of the time. I'm playing it.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 21

Jeff Scott Sports

4 UNIT PLAY

Philadelphia/ Miami Under 7: Gonna look for a low scoring game in Miami tonight. The Phils offense just can't get it together as they continue to struggle. last night the Phils put up just 1 run and they have now scored a total of 4 runs in their last 3 games. They will be without Ruiz tonight and Howard is doubtful so that will hurt their offense even more. Jose Hernandez will also be a reason that the Phils offense could struggle tonight as he comes in with a solid 2.12 ERA in 3 home starts this year. His home starts have averaged 6 rpg. Oh and let's also note that Jose has faced the Phils twice this year and has not allowed an ER in 13 innings of work. Tyler Cloyd will be making just his 2nd start of the year and he looked very good in his first start, allowing just 2 ER's on 2 hits in 6.1 innings at Arizona, which has a much better offense then he will face tonight. The Miami offense is the worst in the league in hitting (.222) scoring (2.71) and homers (23), while at home they are even worse, scoring just 2.48 rpg and hitting a mere .211. Miami has scored just 14 total runs in their first 7 games of this home stand, so this offense is not getting any better at all. Miami home games have gone 8-14-1 to the under this year, averaging just 6.38 rpg, while Philly road games have gone 7-15 Under, with those games averaging just 6.68 rpg. I expect a pitcher's duel in Miami tonight. 

3 UNIT PLAYS

Toronto/ Tampa Bay Over 9.5:  The Over is 20-5-2 in Tampa's last 27 games overall and 12-1-3 in their last 16 road games. For the Jays the Over is 13-3 in their last 16 games on Astro Turf. Lets also note that the Over is 5-0 in Toronto's last 5 home games, with 12 or more runs being scored in their last 4 home games. The Jays have really been scoring well at home of late, putting up 9.5 rpg in their last 4 at home, while their pitching has been terrible at home all year, allowing 5.23 rpg. Ramon Ortiz gets the ball for the Jays tonight and he has pitched very well, with a 1.50 ERA in his 2 starts this year, but how long can that really last, as he has an ERA of 4.99 in 216 career starts. Ramon will be taking on a tough offensive team in the Rays tonight as they come in averaging 4.91 rpg on the road and 5.8 rpg in their last 10 games overall. Like the Jays at home, Rays pitching has been bad on the road, with a 4.87 ERA, while allowing 5.09 rpg. Alex Cobb has been a big part of that road ERA, as his ERA away from home is 4.74, while his WHIP is 1.47 in those games. Two hot offenses vs two bad staffs should get us at least 12 runs in this one.


TEXAS -1.5 (-110) over Oakland: Yu Darvish is having a super year and he is on a roll, having won his last 5 decisions, while 6 of his 8 teams wins this year have been by 4 or more runs. At home this year the Rangers have go 5-0 in his starts and they have outscored their opponents by a 45-10 count in his home starts. The Rangers offense has been hot, scoring 6.4 rpg in their last 10 games and the average 5.4 rpg at home. Those kind of numbers should continue vs Daniel Stailey, who has struggled this year. Daniel has made 5 starts on the year and is 1-2 with a 7.27 ERA in those starts, while in his last 3 starts he is 0-2 with a 7.98 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP. His two team losses have come by 3 and 4 runs. Oakland's offense put up 9 runs last night, but still they have scored just 3.7 rpg in their last 10 games and I just don't see the A's coming up with enough offenses vs Darvish to keep this close.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 21

Steve Janus

Red Sox/White Sox Over 9

Chicago and Boston should have no trouble finishing over the total tonight. Boston will start lefty Felix Doubront against the Chicago's lefty Jose Quintana. The fact that both pitchers are left-handed is a big reason why I think we will see a lot of runs. Both of these teams have hit left-handed pitching extremely well so far this season and both come in swinging a hot bat.

Doubront is 3-1 with a 5.34 ERA and 1.718 WHIP over six starts, but he's got a 6.27 ERA and 2.089 WHIP over four road starts. Quintana is 2-1 with a respectable 3.97 ERA in 8 starts, but has a 5.40 ERA and 1.467 WHIP in three starts at home.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 21

Jeff Alexander

Oakland A's +187

The A's are showing value at this price. They've won 4 straight and are 5-2 in the last 7 versus the Rangers. Straily has been hit hard in his last couple starts, but the A's are still 8-4 in his 12 career starts. Darvish hasn't been quite as sharp lately and has lost his last 2 starts versus Oakland, giving 9 runs in 12 1-3 innings. Oakland is 16-9 since the start of last season when up against a top-level team with a winning percentage greater than 62%.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 21

Dave Price

Baltimore Orioles -114

I like Baltimore to bring its six-game skid to an end tonight. New York's Phil Hughes has been absolutely rocked in his last two starts, giving up 13 runs in just 6 2-3 innings. He was also rocked in an earlier start against Baltimore, giving up 5 runs in only 3 innings of work. He has a 5.36 ERA in 16 starts versus Baltimore. Miguel Gonzalez has an ERA of 2.36 in 4 starts versus the Yankees. This statistic is even more impressive when considering that each of those came at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are 3-14 in Hughes' last 17 road starts versus a team with a winning record. The Orioles are 6-0 in Gonzalez's last 6 home starts. Bet Baltimore.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 21

Jack Jones

Detroit Tigers -125

The Detroit Tigers should be a heavier road favorite over the Cleveland Indians tonight. Given the advantage the Tigers have on the mound in this one, I like their chances of a blowout victory.

Detroit will give the ball to the electric Max Scherzer. The right-hander has gone 5-0 with a 3.98 ERA and 0.994 WHIP with 68 strikeouts over 54 1/3 innings this season. Scherzer is a superb 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 0.818 WHIP in three road starts this year.

Corey Kluber is no match for Scherzer. The right-hander is 3-2 with a 5.40 ERA and 1.4143 WHIP in four starts and two relief appearances. Kluber is also 1-2 with a 7.71 ERA and 1.714 WHIP in his last three starts, and 1-2 with an 8.04 ERA and 1.914 WHIP in three career starts against Detroit.

The Tigers are 5-0 in Scherzer's last 5 starts with the total set at 7.0-8.5. Detroit is 20-8 in Scherzer's last 28 starts overall. The Indians are 1-7 in Kluber's last 8 home starts, and 0-5 in his last 5 starts as a home underdog. Bet the Tigers Tuesday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 21

Red Dog Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates -141

Take the Pirates tonight as our free pick with Wandy Rodriguez starting for the home team. He beat the Cubs 3-0 earlier and is 4-2 with a 3.25 ERA. In 44 innings he has allowed 9 walks with 32 whiffs. He has given up only 1, 1, and 3 runs in his last three starts.

Andrew McCutcheon looks to return for the Pirates and should do damage along with Garrett Jones and Gabby Sanchez. Matt Garza returns from an injury to pitch for the Cubs.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 21

SPORTS WAGERS

Los Angeles +116 over SAN JOSE

OT included. Now that the refs ”evened” things up by leaving the Kings two-men short to begin OT in Game 3, expect tonight’s contest to be played on an even playing field. That’s not to say the Sharks have been outclassed in this series because they have skated with Los Angeles in every game and could easily be up 2-1 instead of down 2-1. That said, this one is all about playing the Kings as a dog in a game they have every bit as good a chance of winning as San Jose and maybe more so. The Kings are a proven playoff team. They always seem to make the necessary adjustments to correct any wrongs and they will apply that here. Los Angeles is also very likely to get Kyle Clifford back for this game and that’s a huge plus, as Clifford’s physical play is well-suited for playoff hockey and gives the entire club an emotional boost as well.

The Kings have an edge in net and a big edge on defense. Where the Sharkies have excelled is on the power-play, where they are an incredible 8 for 20 at home in the post-season this year. The Kings must stay out of the box here and we’re suggesting that the refs will be a little less whistle-happy against the Kings after they screwed them in the last game. The Sharkies have been down this road many times before. They have never been able to get over that proverbial hump in the playoffs when the chips are down. Well, the chips are down tonight because a loss here pretty much assures the Sharks of another second-round exit. Until they prove otherwise, San Jose is not to be trusted in big games with their Stanley Cup hopes on the line. The Kings will step it up tonight and they offer up some great value taking back a tag.

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SPORTS WAGERS

Memphis+5 over SAN ANTONIO

Game 1 line of this series opened with San Antonio as a 5-point choice. By game time, that number was bet down to -4½ and the Spurs went out and buried the Grizzlies in the opener by 22 points while scoring 105 points in the process. As a result of that first game, the Grizzlies are being offered an inflated line here and we’re happy to accept it. A similar scenario occurred in the Grizzlies opening round match against the Clippers. In Game 1 of that series, the Clip Joint opened as a 5-point choice and went on to blow out Memphis by 21 points. The Grizz responded with a two-point loss in Game 2 and then went on to win four straight to eliminate the Clippers for good. A response here is also forthcoming.

The Spurs are well-coached, they have a ton of experience in these situations and they’re also very talented. However, they are not superior to these Grizzlies. The Spurs defense and rebounding is inferior to the Grizzlies and in playoff basketball, the team that excels in those two areas usually comes out on top. Simply put, Memphis had a horrible first half in Game 1 and could not recover. The most rugged team in the league, the Grizzlies epitomize true grit. Memphis always plays like it's out to prove it's better than people think. If you weren't impressed already by the league's top defense, take into account that the Grizz had won 14 of 15 games at one point late in the year and didn’t lose a game to any team not named the Heat for 1½-months. They lost Game 1 to the Clippers and stormed back. They lost Game 1 to the Thunder and responded to win that series in five games. Memphis has shown the ability to make the necessary adjustments and they will do the same here. This is a classic case of a market over-reaction to the results in the first game. Now we get a strong, buy low, sell high opportunity and we intend to take full advantage.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 21

SPORTS WAGERS

Tampa Bay -1½ +120 over TORONTO

Ramon Ortiz has a 2.35 ERA after two starts and 15 innings. Of all the pitchers in MLB, Ortiz has less chance than any of them of maintaining a low ERA because his skills are awful. He’s been nothing but pure, unsustainable luck so far. Ortiz has walked seven batters and struck out four in 15 frames. His xERA is 5.88. Ramon Ortiz is 40-years old and the last time he was an effective major-league pitcher was way back in 2002. Not even Chris Angel could make this illusion work so expect the Rays to put up a crooked number here.

Alex Cobb is on his way to elite status. Cobb has 52 K’s in 53 frames, a 1.17 WHIP and an elite groundball rate of 52%. Current Jays have four hits in 24 AB’s against Cobb (.167) and that’s when he wasn’t as good as he is now. Cobb has improved his game due to his sinker. Batters had a .333 BA and .523 SLG% against it in 2012. They have a .143 BA and .179 SLG % against it so far in 2013. Cobb is Cy Young material. He’s getting better with each passing month and he recently struck out 13 batters in 4.2 innings. This is the biggest pitching mismatch on today’s board and perhaps the entire year so far. The line doesn’t reflect that and that’s why there is so much value on the Rays here.


Chicago +125 over PITTSBURGH

1st 5 innings. Wandy Rodriguez has started the season with a splash, posting a 3.25 ERA and 1.06 WHIP after his first eight starts. His skills have been really good due to elite command (9/32 BB/K’s) and a 46% groundball rate but there are reasons for concern. His annual strikeout rate trend coming into this season is on a four year decline.  His strikeout rate this season does not come with underlying support, as his early swinging strike rate is an extremely low 5.4%. A 22% hit rate and 83% strand rate could inflict plenty of damage once they regress. Now is the time to sell high on Rodriguez because regression is forthcoming.

A stress reaction in Matt Garza’s elbow last August ended another strong season, skills-wise. Garza not only pulled off an impressive league switch to the NL in 2011, but in 2012, he more or less thumbed his nose at the notion that 2011 was a fluke. Garza's run the past couple of years has been impressive. His strikeout rate was reaching an elite level, his groundball rate held steady at 47% over his last 50 starts and at the time of his injury, Garza was making a run at being in the league's top tier of starting pitchers. Garza will throw his first pitch of his 2013 season here after throwing six scoreless innings (75 pitches) at Triple-A Thursday. If he goes back to being Matt Garza of the past 2+ years, well, he could ascend to become the most-sought-after pitcher of the summer. He’s eligible for free agency this fall. That’s the interesting part here. Garza is in line for a huge pay day next fall. There is no chance that he would risk losing that if he didn’t feel great. He could easily sit another month if he wasn’t feeling 100% ready. Free agency and millions of dollars is staring Garza in the face and we guarantee you, he’s ready to deliver the goods. Chances are, Garza will be on a strict pitch-count here and it’s for that reason we’ll play this one in five innings.


ATLANTA -1½ +118 over Minnesota

The Twins have dropped six in a row and to fall five games under .500 and they will remain under .500 because they do not have a proven and consistent starter that they can turn to when they need to snap a losing streak. Mike Pelfrey certainly isn’t that guy. Pelfrey faces a familiar foe in a visiting park where he has started eight times. He is 2-5 in those eight starts at Turner Field, with a 6.75 ERA and 1.73 WHIP in 42.2 IP. In his first season as a member of the Twins, he hasn't been any better, throwing disasters in five of his eight starts thus far with just 18 K’s in 42 frames. Mike Pelfrey is batting practice and the Braves should rip him apart.

Atlanta has won five straight at Turner Field where they’ve scored five runs or more in four of them. Tim Hudson finds himself with an ERA over 5 through nine starts, despite improved skills. Hudson’s strikeout rate, 3.71 xERA, and 55% groundball rate are all improved over last season but his ERA is up largely due to an unlucky 62% strand rate. Hudson is pitching better than he has in years but the surface stats don’t reflect that. They time to step in is here because he receives a very favorable matchup here against the Twins at home. Minnesota has only a .238 road BA and will be without the services of the DH. This one has blowout written all over it.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 21

Ian Cameron

Los Angeles at San Jose
Play: San Jose

San Jose has received new life in the Western Conference Semifinals after their enormous Game 3 OT win at home on Saturday night. I expect that momentum to carry over to tonight's Game 4 as the Sharks look to even up this series against the Kings. I'm not quite sold on LA being the better team in this series just yet. LA leads the series 2-1 but have been outshot in two of the first three games by a significant margin and are being outshot 106-78 overall in the series by the San Jose Sharks. San Jose's biggest issues in the first two games were finding ways to score against Jonathan Quick who has been the difference maker to this point but San Jose got two goals past him in Game 3. He was venting a ton of anger and frustration at the referees following a questionable call in OT which led to San Jose's game winning goal and I have a feeling San Jose will have more success against Quick moving forward in this series after we saw him visibly rattled. San Jose's power play came to life going 2-for-5 with the man advantage in Game 3 after not scoring in seven opportunities in the first two games of the series and when their power play is in good form, the Sharks are a much more dangerous team. San Jose has been every bit as good and dominant at home (22-2-5) as the LA Kings have been on their home ice. Los Angeles has struggled mightily away from home as of late which is a stark contrast from their road dominance en route to their Stanley Cup championship last year. The Kings are just 1-9 in their last 10 road games dating back to April. The price is just about right but San Jose is still worth a wager tonight as home favorites as they look to send this series back to LA tied 2-2.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 21

Nelly

Mariners / Angels Over

Seattle has allowed 27 runs over the last four games and Aaron Harang may not be the answer to stop the bleeding as the veteran owns a 7.30 ERA through five starts with the Mariners this season. Harang allowed five runs in three innings facing the Mariners earlier this season and his road ERA is 8.44 on the year. The Angels have struggled offensively this season but they have horrible numbers against left-handed pitching and have actually posted respectable production vs. right-handers. In the last 10 games the Angels have hit .269 with 5.8 runs per game against right-handers and Harang is prone to allowing a lot of hits. Pitching for the Angels is Jerome Williams who is coming off back-to-back excellent starts, both coming against a White Sox lineup that has some of the worst offensive numbers in baseball. Nothing in his track record suggests his current 3.05 ERA is sustainable and a 4.50 xFIP presents that same conclusion. Over the last 10 games this Seattle lineup has scored 4.8 runs per game and on the road Seattle games have averaged 8.4 runs per game. Home games for the Angels have averaged almost 10 runs per game with the 'over' going 16-7 and there is little suggest a break from that trend tonight.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 21

Bob Balfe

Kansas City Royals -130

Houston got a nice win last night, but I think the Royals come back tonight with Wade Davis on the mound. Houston has actually won a few games this year and have been impressive, but with a payroll like the one they have its almost certain this will be the worst team in baseball this year. Take the Royals.

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