Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, May 23

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, May 23

Jeff Alexander

Detroit Tigers -163

The Twins are really struggling, having lost their last eight games. They haven't had much luck against the Tigers of late, dropping 31 of their last 46 in the series. Minnesota's Diamond has been rocked in his last two starts, giving up 12 runs in 10 innings. Detroit's Porcello, meanwhile, has pitched well in each of his last four starts with the Tigers winning three of them. He has allowed three runs or less in each of the four. The Tigers are also 7-3 in Porcello's last 10 starts versus the Twins.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, May 23

Dave Price

Minnesota Twins +1.5 -129

The Twins are struggling. However, they are still showing value catching 1.5 runs at this price. Minnesota's Scott Diamond has an ERA of 4.99 through seven starts, but Detroit starter Rick Porcello has an ERA of 6.25 through seven starts. Porcello hasn't been much better at home where his ERA is 4.67. Diamond, on the other hand, has thrived on the road, where he is 3-0 with an ERA of 1.42. The Twins have also won his last three starts versus the Tigers. He has held them to 2 earned runs or fewer in each while going at least 6 innings in each. Also, consider that the Twins are 5-0 this season as a road underdog of +150 to +175. Take Minnesota on the run line.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, May 23

Jack Jones

Angels/Royals OVER 8.5

I look for a slug fest tonight between the Los Angeles Angels and the Kansas City Royals. This is a battle between two of the best lineups in baseball from top to bottom.

The Royals may cover this OVER by themselves as they tee off against Los Angeles' Joe Blanton. The right-hander has been atrocious in 2013, going 0-7 with a 6.62 ERA and 1.967 WHIP through nine starts.

Blanton is also 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA and 2.106 WHIP in his last three starts. That includes a start against Kansas City on May 13th just 11 days ago. Blanton surrendered seven earned runs and 12 hits over 4 2/3 innings of a 4-11 home loss to the Royals.

While Ervin Santana has posted solid numbers this season, he's at a big disadvantage being a former Angel. Los Angeles has the perfect scouting report on him. Plus, Santana has struggled of late, going 0-2 with a 4.19 ERA in his last three starts.

Los Angeles is 37-16-2 to the OVER in its last 55 games overall. The Angels are 12-2 to the OVER vs. an excellent bullpen whose ERA is 3.00 or better this season. Kansas City is 59-39 to the OVER vs. an average bullpen whose ERA is 3.75 to 4.50 over the last 3 seasons. Bet the OVER in this game Thursday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, May 23

Andre Ramirez

LA Kings -144

The Kings are 24-5 when playing at home, and 4-0 at home when playing the Sharks. The Kings will be playing in front of a sellout home crowd, where the fans will be supporting their team. In the last game Sharks player, Martin Havla got a little banged up, and he is questioned for this game. My concern is that if he does play, he won't be at 100%. Take the Kings at home for the win.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, May 23

SPORTS WAGERS

Boston +100 over N.Y. RANGERS

OT included. In the Rangers series win over the Caps, one had to wonder how the Rangers could look so tough at home and so awful on the road until Game 7 when they went into Washington and beat the Caps 5-0. In this series against the Bruins, they’ve looked awful from the start and a turnaround here is not likely. Shame on the Rangers. They had one good run during the regular season to get them into the playoffs and have been outplayed during them in most periods. Against the Bruins, New York has looked completely outclassed, frustrated and out of sync. From defense, to forwards, to goaltending, to special teams, to all the intangibles, the New York Rangers are inferior to the Bruins and as a result, this gutless host is likely going to go away very quietly tonight. 

The Bruins are peaking. We underestimated them in this series because of their struggles against the Maple Leafs but that seventh game miracle win has propelled them to another level. Boston’s fourth line of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton has outplayed every line of the Rangers. The Bruins effective pinches and cycles have wreaked havoc on the confused Rangers and New York has no answer for any of it. In net, Henrik Lundqvist, who is rumored to be nursing a shoulder injury, has been just average while Turka Rask has been nothing short of brilliant in every game of these playoffs so far. In terms of heart, desire, momentum and current form, the Bruins have a big edge in all of them and they’re very likely going to put the Rangers out of their misery with a four-game sweep.


DETROIT +127 over Chicago

OT included. How can you not bet the Red Wings here? Up 2-1 in the series and completely dominating the Blackhawks in its only loss of this series, Detroit is fired up to get back on the ice tonight to take it to Chicago once again. Depth was supposed to provide a clear advantage for the Blackhawks, but it was Detroit’s unheralded third and fourth lines that have made things happen with their work along the boards and in front of the net. The pounding has taken a toll on the Hawks, whose frustration was made apparent when they took five consecutive penalties in a nasty third period in Game 3. If the Red Wings end up winning this series, a concept that seemed unimaginable just 72 hours ago, it won’t be because they have the better team. The Hawks are the more talented squad but Detroit has been the more disciplined team and the one that’s worked harder and smarter in all three zones during all three games.

The Blackhawks, after cruising through the regular season and the first round, are showing some panic and so is there coach. It was a garbage move by Joel Quenneville to throw Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell out there at the end of the game. There was still a chance for Chicago to cut into Detroit’s lead but he goes with guys who are frothing at the mouth. Bickell, who’d been running around for most of the third, was called for cross-checking Cleary repeatedly at 19:00, effectively ending any chance the Hawks had of mounting a comeback. Shaw then hopped over the boards and earned a misconduct 47 seconds later for general hooliganism. If there was a message being sent there, it wasn’t that the Hawks would battle to the end. It’s that the Red Wings are completely in their heads. Jimmy Howard has been delivering calm and measured efforts without a hint of any scrambling. When he blocks shots, he has maintained complete control of his rebounds. The Hawks generated just three second-chance shots in Game 3. Some nights that’s a sign that a team’s not battling. In Game 3, it indicated that there was nothing to battle for. Corey Crawford hasn’t been bad at the other end of the ice but he is not up to Howard’s standard. Crawford is not a difference-maker while Howard is. In the end, it’s the Red Wings that have showed poise, patience and a system that is working while the Blackhawks appear frustrated and mentally defeated. That’s not going to get it done in Game 4 at the Joe. Wrong side favored.

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