Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, May 25

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Jesse SchuleFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Atlanta vs. NY MetsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: AtlantaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Braves came into Game 1 of this series with the Mets off consecutive sweeps over the Dodgers and the Twins. Last night's result was affected by rain, but the offensive surge continued with home runs from Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman.
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Atlanta will turn to Mike Minor Saturday night, and he's been pitching well of late. Minor (5-2, 2.78 ERA) allowed a pair of runs on just three hits, striking out nine in a 5-2 win over the Dodgers in his last start. He's allowed just four runs in his last three starts, and the Braves have won all three of those games.
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He has been successful against the Mets, with a record of 3-1 in seven career starts versus New York.
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The Mets hand the ball to Dillon Gee, and he hasn't been sharp at all this season. Gee (2-5, 6.04 ERA) allowed three runs on eight hits, including a pair of home runs over five innings, not factoring in the decision in a 4-3 win over the Cubs in his last start.
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Jason Heyward is back in the lineup for the Braves, after recovering from having his appendix removed. Prior to his stint on the DL, he had more than one hit just once in 17 games. Since his return, he has multiple hits in 3-of-6 games. He's 6-for-12 with a home run versus Gee in his career.
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The Braves are the better team, with a superior pitcher on the mound, and the price is fairly reasonable.

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Bryan PowerFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Chi. Cubs vs. CincinnatiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: CincinnatiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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I won my free play yesterday on the Reds.  Given what I've seen lately from both clubs involved here, I see no reason why I shouldn't come right back with them Saturday afternoon.
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With Friday's 7-4 win, Cincinnati has now won 11 of 13, including four in a row.  The Cubs, on the other hand, have dropped five straight.  They are also 1-6 head to head w/ the Reds this season. Going back even further, Cincy has dominated the Cubs to the tune of 18 wins in 23 games the last two seasons.  That includes 15-2 L17.  Now even ahead of last year's pace when they won 97 games and the NL Central, the Reds are at their high point of the season (12 games over .500).  The Cubs, meanwhile, are at their low point; 11 games under the Mendoza Line.
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The Cubs have been getting good starting pitching lately, but it hasn't mattered.  Thus, I'll side with Homer Bailey over Travis Wood today.  Bailey has a 4-0 TSR and 2.16 ERA at Great American Ballpark this season and will be facing a Cubs lineup averaging less than three runs per game at home this season.  Reds continue to get it done.

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Jeff Alexander

Cincinnati Reds -166

The Cubs are 0-5 in their last 5 while the Reds are 4-0 in their last 4. The Reds are also 17-5 in their last 22 at home while the Cubs are 15-38 in their last 53 on the road. The Reds are 4-0 in Bailey's home starts on the season and 6-0 in his last 6 starts versus the Cubs. Wood is 0-3 on the money line in 3 cracks against his former team. The Cubs are 14-39 in the last 53 meetings, including 7-19 in the last 26 meetings in Cincinnati.

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Jeff Scott SportsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Antonio/ Memphis Under 178: This game just screams ugly and low scoring. Memphis at home has allowed just 87.8 ppg on the year, while in the playoffs at home they have allowed just 89.6 ppg. Not only do they play great defense at home, but they also pay it at a very slow pace and i see them getting that pace in this one. It's their only shot of winning. The Spurs do like an uptempo game, but they will get down and dirty and play that slow game as well. Usually overlooked is the Spurs defense and they come in hot, having allowed just 88.4 ppg in their last 5 games, while allowing just 86 ppg to Memphis in the first two games of the series. Both teams will come out with allot of defensive intensity and that will make for an ugly, low scoring game.

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Bayern Munich / Broussia Dortmund Over 2.5FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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These two teams played twice during the regular season in the German League with both games ending in a 1-1 draw. Bayern has been an offensive machine here in the Champions League, scoring 29 goals in their 6 group stage and 6 knockout round games. Dortmund has also been an offensive team throughout the tournament, scoring 23 times in their 12 games. Bayern is coming in off the best season in German League history with 91 points, besting the previous record that was set last season by Dortmund with 81. These two teams are very familiar with each other which should lead to more of a wide open game without the “feeling out” period that sometimes happens in these games that usually pair teams from different leagues. We expect a wide open, up and down game with final score easily going over the posted total of 2½ Goals this afternoon at Wembley Stadium in London.

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Greg ShakerFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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St Louis Cardinals -105FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Ted Lilly is going to try it again. But is Ted Lilly ready to try it again? There is plenty of speculation that he just is not in the kind of shape that he needs to be to be a Major League Starter again. He is off the DL with a strained rib cage injury and that's the kind of hurt that requires no throwing while on the DL. He certainly has not been sharp this year to date in just 8 innings thrown over his 2 games and the liklihood of him going deep into this one is not good. There is a lot of talk about how poorly the Cardinals hit lefties but they certainly did last night and this team has scored 4.5 Per 9 verses these Southpaws over their last 10 played. I have seen the Cardinal Pitcher in action and he can be wicked good. He has made a few mistakes in his 2 starts but an Overall solid WHIP of 1.15 for the lefty. The Cardinal Relief core is doing the job of late. The Cardinals are winning games. The Dodgers are not. Lilly's last 8 starts have produced a 6-0-2 OVER Mark. That tells us something. He's just not ready to perform.

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Jimmy BoydFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Francisco Giants -123FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Barry Zito has been unstoppable at home for the Giants this season. In his 5 home starts he has posted a 0.55 ERA and a perfect 3-0 record. The Giants have a .278 team batting average when playing at home so run support should not be an issue today. They are facing a Colorado team that has a losing record on the road at 11-12 this season.
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Zito has had a very successful career against Colorado going 8-3 with a 2.74 ERA and a 1.181 WHIP. His team’s record is 14-6 against Colorado when Zito is on the mound. For Colorado’s Juan Nicasio the numbers are nowhere near that good. Nicasio’s team is 1-2 in his 3 career starts against San Francisco. Zito did not have a great outing in his last start at Colorado and I expect him to rebound with a solid game today.

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Bob Balfe

San Francisco Giants -130

The Giants are a great home team. Colorado hits the ball well but their starter gives up a lot of walks which I think is the difference today. You can't walk people in this league and get away with it. Take the Giants.

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NellyFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Marlins / White Sox UnderFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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This game features a very low total but Jake Peavy has been one of the best pitchers in the American League and he will be ready to go after a frustrating loss in his last start. Against a tight strike zone Peavy allowed four runs with five walks playing a big role last week, snapping a run of five consecutive quality starts. Peavy owns a 2.29 ERA at home with a 1.07 WHIP and even with a few recent tough outings the Chicago bullpen has mostly been excellent this season. U.S. Cellular Field has been one of the  lowest scoring ballparks in baseball this season, averaging only 7.24 runs per game and featuring the second lowest ballpark OPS in MLB. U.S. Cellular Field has shown a decline in scoring of almost 2.6 runs per game vs. the average from last season yet this total has to be kept at a reasonable number even with the worst hitting team in baseball in town. The 'under' is 12-6 in Chicago home games this season and these have been two of the best 'under' teams in baseball this season. Miami is batting .217 on the season with just 2.6 runs scored per game. In 48 games Miami has hit just 24 home runs and this lineup is filled with unproven players that likely would not make most rosters as injuries are still keeping out the few veterans in the organization, notably Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison, and Austin Kearns. Miami is getting mostly strong performances from Ricky Nolasco on the mound however as he has allowed four or fewer runs in all but one start this season. Nolasco has allowed just 14 walks in over 61 innings and he has actually pitched better on the road than at home.

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WunderdogFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Detroit at ChicagoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Detroit +175FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Detroit Red Wings were not supposed to be here, but they closed the season with four straight wins, and clinched a playoffs berth with a win on the last day of the season. Then they went on to shock Anaheim in their opening round playoffs series, and now have an unthinkable 3-1 lead against Chicago. The Red Wings are in their 19th straight playoffs series, and are playing like a playoffs savvy team. They were beaten soundly in Game One by Chicago 4-1, and could have easily folded up shop and moved on, but this team has responded with three straight wins. The three straight losses by Chicago is a first this season, and the last time they dropped three straight was February of last year. The three losses haven't been squeakers either, as they have been outscored 9-2. Chicago simply has not played well, having gone 7-7 in their last 14 games. The Red Wings are 9-2 in their last 11 on one day of rest, and have it all going now. Take Detroit.

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John RyanFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cleveland Indians at Boston Red SoxFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: Cleveland IndiansFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The simulator shows a high probability that Cleveland will win this game. Supporting this graded play is a proven system posting a 139-129 mark for just 52% winners, but has made a small fortune earning 50 units/unit made since 2007. Play on all dogs with a money line of +100 or higher (CLEVELAND) that is an excellent fielding team averaging <=0.5 errors/game on the season and after two straight games with no home runs. Boston is not in a good spot for this game noting they are just 19-41 (-26.0 Units) against the money line vs. teams outscoring opponents by 0.5 or more runs/game on the season over the last 2 seasons. Although Lester is off to a terrific start to the season, he is 3-10 (-11.5 Units) against the money line in home games vs. teams outscoring opponents by 0.5 or more runs/game on the season over the last 3 seasons. Most eye-popping is the fact that he is 1-7 (-12.0 Units) against the money line as a home favorite of -175 to -200 over the last 3 seasons. Take the Indians.

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Jack JonesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Los Angeles Dodgers -105FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Los Angeles Dodgers are showing great value as only a small home favorite over the St. Louis Cardinals tonight. Rarely will you get them at this kind of price at home, and we'll take advantage Saturday.
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John Gast is no more than a spot starter in this league for St. Louis, and he should not be getting this much respect from oddsmakers. Gast hast posted a 4.77 ERA over two spot starts this season for the Cardinals.
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While Ted Lilly has also struggled in his two starts this year, he has a great chance to get on track against a team he has dominated in the past. In fact, Lilly is 7-3 with a 2.66 ERA and 0.962 WHIP in 15 career starts against St. Louis.
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Los Angeles is 19-7 (+13.3 Units) against the money line vs. NL teams allowing 3.8 or less runs/game on the season over the last 2 seasons. The Cardinals are 1-4 in their last 5 games vs. a left-handed starter. The Dodgers are 5-1 in Lilly's last 6 starts as a favorite. Los Angeles is 12-5 in Lilly's last 17 starts overall. Bet the Dodgers Saturday.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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TORONTO -1½ +145 over BaltimoreFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Despite losing 10-6 last night, the Blue Jays went off for another 17 hits. Toronto has scored 67 runs over the past 10 games to lead the majors over that stretch and they should have little trouble putting up another crooked number here against Freddy Garcia. Garcia is a completely washed up two-pitch pitcher, one of which is an 87-mph fastball. In four starts covering 22 frames, Garcia has walked six and struck out eight. He’s also been taken yard six times in those 22 frames and that’s because almost every ball is hit deep in the air. Garcia has a 29% groundball rate, a 25% line-drive rate and a 41% fly-ball rate. Whatever surface stats you see on Garcia that are appealing, wipe it from your mind because Freddy Garcia is a disaster waiting to happen. At age 38 he has zero upside.
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The Orioles have been swinging some hot bats too but R.A. Dickey is finding his groove again. Dickey has a 2.70 ERA over his past 20 innings. He’s allowed two runs in three straight starts and has 20 K’s over his past 20 innings. In 62 innings overall, Dickey has allowed just 53 hits but has been hurt by a 13% HR/f rate. However, he’s only been taken yard once over his past three starts and two of those starts occurred at the Rogers Center, where Dickey is becoming more comfortable. The roof will be open for this matinée affair and the wind is rather brisk in Toronto today, which should also greatly benefit Dickey’s knuckler.
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Pittsburgh +113 over MILWAUKEEFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Mike Fiers is getting the start at home against the Pirates as an injury replacement for Kyle Lohse. Fiers started the year in the rotation, lost his spot to Lohse, was sent to the minors and has been pitching out of the bullpen since being recalled. Fiers of course had a promising run as a starter last year but he was drilled in August and September and this year, he looks like the same pitcher that got rocked last year in the final two months. In 14 innings of relief, Fiers has just five K’s. He also has an ugly line-drive rate of 27% and a GB/FB split of 33%/39%. Fiers is being forced into starting because the Brewers are out of healthy bodies and there is nothing in his skill set that suggests success. Incidentally, the Brewers have just five wins in 15 days games this season while the Pirates are 10-7 in day games.
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Jeff Locke has been a pleasant surprise so far in 2013 (2.73 ERA, 1.16 WHIP). A 24% hit % and 78% strand % have teamed to help him and some regression is coming but in this spot opposing Fiers, Locke is worthy of a wager. While Locke has below-average fastball velocity (90 mph), he has been able to keep hitters off balance due to his pitch movement. His four-seam fastball averages seven inches of horizontal movement and nine inches of vertical movement. Batters have managed only a .222 BA against that pitch. In five May starts, Locke’s groundball rate has increased from 49% to 52% and on the road he’s 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA. Pitching with confidence against a pitcher that is not, Locke and the Pirates have enough appeal here to make a wager.
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San Diego +112 over ARIZONAFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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1st 5 innings. Despite losing three in a row, the Padres remain one of the most undervalued clubs in baseball. The Padres have won 16 of their past 25 games and that includes taking two of three from these Snakes at the beginning of the month. In that three-game set at Petco Park, the Padres got to Wade Miley for nine hits and four runs in five frames. Now they get the benefit of seeing him again at a more hitter friendly venue. Miley paced the Diamondbacks starters in victories and ERA in 2012, easily out-earning vets like Ian Kennedy and Trevor Cahill. A lot of his success last year was in large part due to great improvement in his control. In fact, it was such a dramatic improvement that it almost looks suspicious. Miley is not looking sharper and it appears to us that the league has caught up to him. He’s walked 20 batters in 54 frames. The Diamondbacks have dropped five of Miley’s last seven starts and he’s walked 13 batters over his last 27 frames. In May, covering five starts, Miley’s xERA is 4.97 and that’s almost 1½ runs higher than his actual ERA. Expect regression.
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Andrew Cashner is pitching under the radar and now would be a great time to step in on him because he’s going to get some recognition soon if he keeps throwing the way he has been so far. Last season, Cashner transitioned from relief to starter then lost 60 days to a lat strain (after rotator cuff injury washed out 2011). Cashner has always been a tantalizing pitcher. Armed with impressive stuff, he’s already shown flashes of brilliance in the rotation but due to injuries, we haven’t been able to see Cashner dominate over a long period of time. With Cashner getting his seventh start of the season here, he’s already passed his previous career high and comes into this one with a 3.02 ERA, a groundball bias profile (48%) and a very impressive line-drive rate of just 16%. The D-Backs missed seeing Cashner in that aforementioned three games at the beginning of May and that also benefits the Padres. With that, we’ll play the Padres in the first five innings because we’re counting on them to get to Wade Miley.

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MLB Predictions

Pittsburgh Pirates +114

The Pirates dropped the first of this series 2-1 last night but are still 8-2 in their last 10 games overall and an impressive 29-19 on the season (11-10 on the road). Milwaukee is an awful 5-16 in their last 21 games overall which has dropped them to 19-27 on the season and 12-13 at home. The Brewers are just 3-8 in their last 11 home games. The Pirates will send lefty Jeff Locke to the mound who is a solid 4-1 on the season with a 2.73 ERA, .215 OBA and 1.16 WHIP. He went 7 shutout innings vs Houston his last time out giving up just 3 hits. Locke faced the Brewers on May 14th giving up 7 hits and 3 earned runs over 6 innings with 6 strikeouts and just 1 walk in a 4-3 Pittsburgh victory. Mike Fiers will make a spot start for the Brewers, which is his second start of the season. In his first start he went 5 innings giving up 9 hits and 6 earned runs. He is 1-2 with a 5.93 ERA, .286 OBA and 1.39 WHIP this season. He has struck out just 5 over 13.2 innings of work this season with 3 walks and has given up 4 homeruns. Note that the Pirates are 5-2 in Locke's last 7 starts as an underdog of +110 to +150, and the team overall is 10-4 in their last 14 games as an underdog between +110 and +150. Not only are the Brewers just 5-16 in their last 21 overall they are just 1-7 in their last 8 as a favorite, and 0-5 following a win. Locke should do enough this afternoon to hand the league's best bullpen the ball with a lead and I think the Pirates win this one. Take Pittsburgh as underdogs.

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Andrew LangeFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Angels at RoyalsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Angels are finally starting to click offensively with 47 runs over their last six games (all victories). Note that five of those six games were against right-handed starters which they'll see today in Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie's regression is already in full swing after getting pounded by Houston and these same Angels his last two starts. His numbers suggest more struggles are coming: .264 BABIP, 90.9% LOB, 5.88 FIP, 4.75 FIP. Not to mention 4.85 Ks and 3.03 BBs per 9 innings – rates you typically associate with a mid-4 or higher ERA in the American League. LA will send former KC 2nd round pick Billy Buckner to the hill. Buckner hasn't thrown in the bigs since 2010 and his career numbers (138.1 IP, 173 hits, 6.25 ERA) give us a good indication why. He was at one point traded for Dontrelle Willis! Even though KC's offense is nothing to get excited about, when they do score runs, it typically comes against below average pitching of which they'll face today. Wind blowing out to left-center and warm temps assist in this one going over the total.

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Sam MartinFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Antonio at MemphisFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: OverFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The first two games of this series managed to finish over the posted total despite Memphis contributing very little offensively, scoring 83 points in Game One and then 89 points with an extra overtime period in Game 2. We look for a better offensive effort from Memphis on their home floor, especially coming off a very poor 34% shooting effort in that Game Two overtime loss. Memphis is known for their defense but they have seen three of their five home playoff games go over the total and this number is very low. San Antonio also looking for a bounce-back effort offensively after shooting lights out in the series opener (53%). Spurs are 29-15 Over as a road underdog of 6 points or less and we think this turns out to be the highest-scoring game so far this series.

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Jeff Scott SportsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cleveland/ Boston Over 9: Ok Let's get the bad out of the way first. the Red Sox are not really good vs lefties this year, averaging just 3.96 rp/9 vs them overall and 3.98 rp/9 vs them at home. Ok got that out the way. Now I feel this Sox offense can put up some solid runs today vs Scott Kazmir, who has struggled on the year, with a 6.35 ERA overall and an 8.10 ERA on the road. Scott also hasn't pitched well vs the Sox, as he has a 7.71 EA in his last 8 starts vs them, including an 8.41 ERA in his last 4 starts here. I can see the Sox tagging him for a bunch today. On the other side we have John Lester, who is pitching really well, especially at home where he has a 1.66 ERA, but this Cleveland team absolutely tags left-handed pitching. Overall this year the Tribe hits lefties at a .276 clip and scored 6.08 rp/9 off of them, while on the road they hit .292 and score 7.36 rp/9 off of southpaws. Looking at numbers like that I do expect them to get to Lester for a few. The Sox have averaged 5 rpg in their last 10 games, while Cleveland has put up 5.9 rpg over that stretch, and the pitching for both teams have been pretty weak of late as well.
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St Louis +103 over LA DODGERS:  Gonna ride the hot Cardinals in this one. They are starting a rookie pitcher, but he does have an edge as an already weak Dodgers has never faced him. John is 2-0 with a 4.76 ERA in 2 starts this year for the Card, while in AAA Memphis he was 3-1 with a 1.16 ERA in 7 starts. He can pitch and should have no trouble keeping an LA offense, that has scored just 3.12 rpg at home, down. In contrast the Cards score 5.16 rpg on the road. I know they have trouble vs lefties, but they did get to Capuano last night and Ted Lilly has struggled in his two starts this year, posting an 0-1 mark, with a 5.62 ERA and a 2.25 WHIP in those two starts. The Cards are hot, while LA just seems to be playing out the string til a new coach is brought in. Look for St Louis to take another one in this series tonight.   
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DETROIT -1.5 (-115) over Minnesota: The Twins are just over matched in this series. Last night Anibel Sanchez pitched a complete game shutout vs them and today they have to face Doug Fister, who is 4-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 4 home starts this year. Not only is he 4-0 in his home starts, but the Tigers outscored those opponents by 6 rpg, with each run coming by at least 4 runs. The Tigers offense scores 6.23 rpg at home, including 8.25 rpg for Doug and this offense now gets to face PJ Walters, who will be making his first start of the year, but has really struggled as a starter in his career. In his career PJ is 4-5 with a 5.40 ERA as a starter, but in his last 7 starts (from last year) he is 0-4 with a 7.80 ERA. He has decent numbers vs the Tigers, at 1-1 with a 3.09 ERA in 4 starts vs them, but this Tiger offense is playing too well right now to think he will have much success in this one. Overall the Twins staff has allowed 5 runs of more in 7 straight games and they have been outscored by 2 or more runs in 7 of their last 10 games. The Tigers just have too much offense and pitching to think that Minnesota can keep this one close. 
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SAN FRANCISCO -125 over Colorado: Home and away stats for Zito tell a big story in this one. On the road he is 0-3 with a 10-19 ERA in 4 starts, while in 5 home starts he is 3-0 with an 0.55 ERA, with the Giants winning all 5 starts, plus they have have won 7 of his last 8 home starts vs the Rockies. Colorado has struggled vs lefties, especially on the road, where they score just 2.8 rp/9 off of them, compared to putting up 5.16 rp/9 off of righties on the road. I don't see the Rockies getting much off of Zito in this one and that is bad news for Juan Nicasio, who may be 2-1 on the road, but with a high 5.19 ERA. He has used the 5.40 rpg that the Rockies have given on the road to his advantage, but they won't put that up here. Juan is 0-1 with a 5.72 ERA in his 2 career starts here, while in his career overall he has gone 2-5 with a 5.18 ERA in 15 road starts, compared to going 8-3 with a 4.13 ERA in 18 career home starts. The Giants lost last night's game 1 of this series and they have now lost 4 in a row to Colorado, but they are still 17-9 at home and have the better starter on the mound, so they should bounce back with a solid win in this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, May 25

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BOSTON -½ +108 over New YorkFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Regulation only. It looked like the Bruins were home free in Game 4 after they built a 2-0 lead but somehow, someway, the Rangers rallied. We’ve seen this act before. We’ve seen the Rangers come up with a solid game after a dud plenty of times already in these playoffs (and the regular season) only to revert to being the most beatable team in this year’s field of 16. It’s rather unexplainable how the Rangers can dig down deep and pull out a win and then come up with so many lame efforts right afterward. Fact is, the Rangers have had one good game on the road in this year’s playoffs and it occurred in Game 7 in Washington. New York’s power-play has been atrocious these entire playoffs and when you can’t win the special teams battles, it makes winning so much more difficult.
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The Rangers were actually fortunate in Game 4 when Tuukka Rask allowed a soft goal to make it 2-1 and give the Rangers some life. Probably the ugliest goal I have ever seen turned it around for us, and that's hockey,'' Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. Subsequently, a rare turnover by Zdeno Chara resulted in the Rangers scoring again and the rest is history. However, the B’s were the more dominate team again. They were all over the Rangers in the first period, they were constantly applying pressure to the Rangers in New York’s end and they also peppered Lundqvist with 40 shots on net. So, while the Rangers claim they have some momentum and new life, we’re not buying that for a second. Boston has clearly been the better team in all areas. The Bruins were not gloating after building a 3-0 lead in the series and taking a 2-0 lead in Game 4. It was just one of those rare games in which the “wrong” side won because the puck was bouncing their way. Forget momentum, as New York has proven it means nothing. The Bruins have played great hockey in every game while the Rangers have not come close to matching Boston in any department. Good night New York. Have a nice off-season.

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MEMPHIS/San Antonio Over 179FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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We’ll look to take advantage of a beatable number here. To put it in simple terms, the Grizzlies were just awful offensively in the first two games in San Antonio. They couldn’t find any offensive rhythm for the better part of two games and there was not one single player on the roster that you could point to as having a standout offensive game. Granted, the Grizzlies are built entirely on their defense, but they will need to start scoring more if they want to have any chance of winning this series. Home cooking certainly seems to be the right recipe here to correct their offensive woes. The Grizzlies have been a much better offensive team on their home court then they have been on the road so far in these playoffs. In fact, the Grizzlies are undefeated in five home playoff contests, averaging 101.2 points. The Grizzlies have averaged nearly 10 more points when they are at home versus on the road and shot nearly 3% better to boot.
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The stats certainly indicate that the Grizzlies are destined to have a much better offensive output here. The Grizzlies haven’t won 19 of their past 20 home contests by accident, so expect a boost while playing in front of the home fans. Where it is all going to start with the Grizzlies, is a much better performance by their big men. In Game 2, the Grizzlies scored 85 points in regulation, even though Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol both had horrid shooting games, each finishing 33% from the field. In fact, the only Grizzlies players to hit at a 50% clip from the field in Game 2 were Quincy Pondexter (3 of 6) and Keyon Dooling (2 of 3). Even though the Grizz shot 34% from the field and 69% from the charity stripe, they still managed to put up 85 points in regulation. These chip shots that they missed will more than likely go down as they create easier opportunities. The key will be getting Zach Randolph some early baskets which will increase not only his confidence, but his teammates’ as well.
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For the Spurs, their offense is likely to find a middle ground between the 105 points they put up in Game 1 and the 85 they scored in regulation-time of Game 2. Expect the Spurs offense to keep churning out the points no matter where they play. The Spurs have been rather consistent scoring 103 points at home but also putting up equally good numbers on the road with 101 points per contest in their five road playoff games. The Grizzlies have allowed opposing teams to score 93.4 points on their home court and the Spurs have a much more efficient offense then the L.A. Clippers or OKC minus Westbrook.  In this one, we like the Grizzlies to finally hit their stride shooting the ball and putting forth a good offensive showing for the first time this series. The final result will reflect that.

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