Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 1

Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 1

DUNKEL INDEX

NBA

Indiana at Miami
The Pacers look to stay alive in the series and build on their 7-1 ATS record in their last 8 home games. Indiana is the pick (+2 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Pacers favored by 2. Dunkel Pick: Indiana (+2 1/2)

Game 523-524: Miami at Indiana (8:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami 123.526; Indiana 125.393
Dunkel Line & Total: Indiana by 2; 187
Vegas Line & Total: Miami by 2 1/2; 182 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Indiana (+2 1/2); Over

NHL

Los Angeles at Chicago 
The Blackhawks look to take advantage of a Los Angeles team that is 1-11 in its last 12 road games. Chicago is the pick (-150) according to Dunkel, which has the Blackhawks favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Chicago (-150)

Game 1-2: Boston at Pittsburgh (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston 13.174; Pittsburgh 12.277
Dunkel Line & Total: Boston by 1; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Pittsburgh (-175); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (+155); Over

Game 3-4: Los Angeles at Chicago (5:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Los Angeles 11.731; Chicago 13.221
Dunkel Line & Total: Chicago by 1 1/2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Chicago (-150); 5
Dunkel Pick: Chicago (-150); Under

WNBA

Connecticut at Minnesota
The Lynx look to take advantage of a Connecticut team that is 4-11 ATS in its last 15 games versus Western Conference opponents. Minnesota is the pick (-9 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Lynx favored by 11 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (-9 1/2)

Game 651-652: Connecticut at Minnesota (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Connecticut 110.533; Minnesota 121.959
Dunkel Line & Total: Minnesota by 11 1/2; 161
Vegas Line & Total: Minnesota by 9 1/2; 166 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (-9 1/2); Under

Game 653-654: Los Angeles at San Antonio (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Los Angeles 119.017; San Antonio 115.512
Dunkel Line & Total: Los Angeles by 3 1/2; 167
Vegas Line & Total: Los Angeles by 9; 161
Dunkel Pick: San Antonio (+9); Over

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DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Washington at Atlanta
The Nationals look to build on their 4-0 record in Gio Gonzalez' last 4 starts as an underdog of +110 to +150. Washington is the pick (+120) according to Dunkel, which has the Nationals favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Washington (+120)

Game 951-952: NY Mets at Miami (4:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (McHugh) 15.101; Miami (Fernandez) 14.073
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Miami (-110); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (-110); Over

Game 953-954: Milwaukee at Philadelphia (4:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Peralta) 13.711; Philadelphia (Cloyd) 14.695
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1; 8
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 955-956: LA Dodgers at Colorado (4:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Greinke) 14.677; Colorado (Chacin) 15.988
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Colorado (-130); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (-130); Under

Game 957-958: Arizona at Chicago Cubs (7:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Kennedy) 15.542; Cubs (Samardzija) 14.725
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1; 10
Vegas Line: Chicago Cubs (-135); No Run Total
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (+115); N/A

Game 959-960: San Francisco at St. Louis (7:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Bumgarner) 15.237; St. Louis (Wainwright) 16.305
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1; 6
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-140); 7
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-140); Under

Game 961-962: Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (7:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Leake) 16.181; Pittsburgh (Liriano) 15.026
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh (-120); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (+100); Over

Game 963-964: Washington at Atlanta (7:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Gonzalez) 16.466; Atlanta (Hudson) 15.560
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-140); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (+120); Over

Game 965-966: Tampa Bay at Cleveland (1:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Archer) 15.699; Cleveland (Jimenez) 16.571
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-130); 9
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-130); Under

Game 967-968: Seattle at Minnesota (1:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Harang) 15.229; Minnesota (Correia) 14.124
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Minnesota (-140); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (+120); Over

Game 969-970: Chicago White Sox at Oakland (4:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Quintana) 13.238; Oakland (Straily) 16.010
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 3; 7
Vegas Line: Oakland (-155); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-155); Under

Game 971-972: Kansas City at Texas (4:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Shields) 14.110; Texas (Tepesch) 16.101
Dunkel Line: Texas by 2; 8
Vegas Line: Texas (-135); 9
Dunkel Pick: Texas (-135); Under

Game 973-974: Detroit at Baltimore (4:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Verlander) 16.773; Baltimore (Hammel) 15.251
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Detroit (-135); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-135); Over

Game 975-976: Boston at NY Yankees (7:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Doubront) 15.342; NY Yankees (Hughes) 14.418
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1; 10
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-120); 9
Dunkel Pick: Boston (+100); Over

Game 977-978: Houston at LA Angels (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Norris) 15.398; LA Angels (Williams) 16.897
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-220); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (-220); Under

Game 979-980: Toronto at San Diego (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Buehrle) 16.276; San Diego (Erlin) 14.975
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Toronto (-115); 8
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (-115); Under

Game 981-982: San Francisco at St. Louis (1:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Cain) 15.402; St. Louis (Miller) 16.371
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1; 7
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

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Marc LawrenceFOR  FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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New York Mets at Miami MarlinsFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: New York MetsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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When the Mets meet the struggling Marlins in Game Two of this three-game set in Miami Saturday afternoon, New York will send Collin McHugh to the hill in a spot start against Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez. With the Fish floundering at 3-13 is day starts this campaign, including 0-3 behind Fernandez, look for Miami's losing ways to continue this afternoon as New York improves to 12-6 the last eighteen games in this series. We recommend a 1-unit play on the Mets.

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Sam MartinFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Miami Heat at Indiana PacersFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: OverFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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A poor second half by the Pacers cost us our fourth straight win backing the Over here in our member plays, but despite that loss we're going to stick with the Over at least one more time tonight. Indiana was held to 13 points in the third quarter in Game Five, and 35 points in the second half. Pacers finished with 79 points for the game which is well below their previous low score of 96 points in this series. Now this series shifts back to Indiana where the first two games played here easily sailed over the total. Miami scored 208 points in those two games combined, and with the Pacers needing a win to avoid elimination we look for a much better effort offensively. Pacers are 19-8 Over playing with same-season revenge while the Heat are 18-6 Over with a total between 180 and 189.5 points, including 4-1 Over in this series. Both teams reach 90 points easily tonight as this one easily sails over the posted total.

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Art AronsonFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Toronto vs. San DiegoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Mark Buehrle (2-3, 5.51 ERA) gets the call for the visitors; Buehrle gave up one run over six frames off five hits with two walks in a 9-3 win over the Braves on Monday. Buehrle will be opposed by Clayton Richard (0-5, 8.35 ERA) who returned from the disabled list to get shelled for five runs over six frames in a 9-0 loss to the soft-hitting M's on Monday. So far the beleaguered southpaw has given up 10 long-balls over his 32 1/3's innings of work. The Jays have struggled on the road but enter this series with some of their biggest boppers finally hitting their stride, including Jose Bautista who is batting .439 with three home runs over his past ten games. While the Friars bats have cooled of late, here's the perfect opportunity to get untracked vs. the inconsistent Buehrle. I believe these starters get chased early and this one sneaks above the number as the game comes down the stretch.

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Jim FeistFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta BravesSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM   
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Tim Hudson is struggling, with a 5.27 ERA his last three starts. He has allowed five runs or more in three of his last four starts and has a 5.37 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP in 11 starts. In his last three starts he's been worse with an 0-2 record and a 7.31 ERA and the Braves are 1-5 in Hudson's last 6 starts with 4 days of rest. Washington has plenty of pitching depth and goes with lefty Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.90 ERA), allowing just 51 hits in 64+ innings. The Nationals are 17-4 in Gonzalez's last 21 road starts and 32-13 in his last 45 starts overall.

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Jesse SchuleFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Arizona vs. ChicagoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: ChicagoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Cubs are on a roll, winners of five straight. They have been very handy with the bats during that span, averaging over seven runs per game.
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That's good news for Jeff Samardzija, as he get's set to make the start against Arizona tonight. Samardzija (3-6, 3.85 ERA) has pitched very well this season, and would have a much better win/loss record if he was getting any decent run support. He didn't need any support his last time out, tossing a complete game (two hit) shutout against the White Sox.
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Arizona sends Ian Kennedy to the mound, and he's coming off a loss his last time out. Kennedy (2-3, 4.70 ERA) allowed four runs on seven hits over six innings in a 5-4 loss to Colorado his last time out. He's 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA in five starts on the road this year, and he just hasn't been very sharp overall.
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He's struggled at Wrigley in the past, posting an ERA of 6.92 while going 1-1 since 2010.
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With the Cubs swinging the bats well, it could spell trouble for Kennedy, and if Samardzija is anything like he was in his last start, Chicago will be in good shape.

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Bruce MarshallFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cincinnati vs. PittsburghFOR  FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Pittsburgh -1.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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True, Reds starter Mike Leake has been lights-out in recent starts, especially his last three when allowing just one earned run in 21 IP. But Leake was also roughed up the last time he saw the Bucs on April 12 when allowing 5 runs and 10 hits in 6 IP of a 6-5 loss.  And Pirates starter Francisco Liriano has been reliving some of his glory days with Twins by posting a 2.35 ERA in his first four starts off of the DL, including an 0.99 ERA in two starts at PNC Park.  Pittsburgh has bounced back from losses in openers in four of it last six series and won all of those series; last night's 6-0 loss just might be the first step in a continuation of that pattern this weekend.  Let's also remember that the Bucs closed May on a 16-5 rush.

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Red Dog SportsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Detroit Tigers vs. Baltimore OriolesFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Justin Verlander has an ERA of 9.82 in his last three starts. The Orioles have a dangerous lineup led by Nate McLouth, Manny Machado, Nik Markakis, Matt Wieters, Chris Davis and Adam Jones. Detroit is around .500 on the road. I won't be shocked if the Tigers bounce back with a win today but I like Baltimore's chances. Take the home underdog for one unit.

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Jeffrey Brandes

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Chicago Cubs    
Play; Chicago Cubs

Pitchers:
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: IAN KENNEDY (R) ERA: 4.70 W/L: 2-3
CHICAGO CUBS: JEFF SAMARDZIJA (R) ERA: 2.85 W/L: 3-6

Arizona's IAN KENNEDY missed his last start due to a "kitchen incident" in which he cut his finger on his throwing hand. He has a 6.92 ERA in his two starts at Wrigly field.

The Cubs are red hot now. They have won 5 in a row which is their longest
winning streak in almost 2 years. Cubs' Pitcher JEFF SAMARDZIJA is coming off of his first major league shutout. He's 2-1 with a 1.13 ERA in his last 3 starts.

Key Trends:
Chi Cubs are 5-0 SU in their last 5 games
Chi Cubs are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games at home
Chi Cubs are 5-2 SU in their last 7 games when playing Arizona
Chi Cubs are 9-1 SU in their last 10 games when playing at home against Arizona
Arizona is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games on the road

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Rob VincilettiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Kansas City Royals vs. Texas RangersFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Texas fits a nice system that plays on home favorites that are off a home win by 5 or more runs if they were favored at -200 or higher in the win and are taking on an opponent that scored 2 or less runs on 5 or more hits. KC is struggling right now and has plummeted to the bottom of the A.L. Central. The Royals have not hit, averaging 2 runs per game the past week and they have lost 6 of 8 on Saturday. Texas is rolling right along and has won 6 of 8 on Saturday and they are 9-0 at home when the total is 9 to 9.5. Over the past week the Rangers are averaging over 5 runs per game. Today they have Tepesch on the mound and he has improved of late allowing less than 3 runs in 3 straight starts. He will oppose J. Shields today. Shields has lost his last 3 starts after a hot start and has also lost 6 of his last 9 Road Starts in June. Look for Texas take another.

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Dave CokinFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
Pick: Boston Red SoxFOR  FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Yankees took round one of their weekend set with the rival Red Sox, but I'm looking for Boston to even things up tonight. Felix Doubront will throw for the Bosox, and lefties have given the Yanks some problems this year. On the flip side, erratic Phil Hughes starts for the New Yorkers.
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Hughes is a tough guy to figure. There are times when you watch him and wonder why he isn't a big winner. Then then next time out you'll wonder why he's even wearing a big league uniform. Fittingly, Hughes has been a better pitcher on the road than at home over his career, but has a better record at Yankee Stadium.
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As for Doubront, it's all about whether or not he's finding the strike zone. He's been mostly okay this season, save for one disastrous two-game stretch where Doubront got lit up. The lefty has had success against the Yankees, and his overall numbers are inflated only because of those two rotten outings at the start of May.
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I like this Boston lineup considerably more against righty pitchers than southpaws. The likely Red Sox starters have bludgeoned Hughes to the tune of 30/98 with eight HR. If the wrong Doubront shows up, this could be a really wild affair. But I'm going to bank on the good version of Doubront appearing, and I'll back the Red Sox to square the series with a win tonight.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 1

Jeff Benton

Your Saturday freebie is the Under in the Diamondbacks-Cubs game from Wrigley Field.

Gonna take a shot at Ian Kennedy and Jeff Samardzija hooking up in a pitcher's duel, as Kennedy comes into this road start with 3 earned runs or less allowed in each of his last 3 starts, and 5 of his last 7 overall.

The Under is on a 3-0-1 roll Kennedy's last 4 starts, and is 5-1-1 overall the last 7 times he has stepped on the hill to make a start.

As for Jeff Samardzija, he has quickly become one the the Cubs more reliable starters. Over his last 24 innings of work, only 3 earned runs have crossed, and the lanky righty is fresh off a 2-hit shutout over the White Sox.

The Under is 12-4 the last 16 times Samardzija has started at the Friendly Confines.

Friday afternoon's contest held Under the total to make it 2 in a row and 4 of the last 6 series meetings between the teams on the Lower side of things.

Go Under again on Saturday night.

3♦ ARIZONA-CUBS UNDER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 1

Brad Wilton

Comp play winner for Saturday comes on the lone interleague game on the schedule.

Go with Toronto and Buehrle to get the better of San Diego and Richard.

The Blue Jays had one tough trip to get out west, as they were in Atlanta on Thursday night, then made their way to the left coast for last night's series opener - a not surprising 17-inning loss.

Now that the Jays are "settled" in to the pacific time zone, look for them to get behind southpaw Mark Buehrle and pace him to his second win in a row. Buehrle picked up his first win since April 15th his last time out, as he fanned 6 in his 6 innings of 1 run ball versus the Braves at the Rogers Centre.

His counterpart Clayton Richard has nary a win in any of his 7 starts this season, and that 0-5 record with an 8.35 ERA looks very inviting for the Jays hitters.

Going to look for Buehrle to get some positive traction working, and for Richard's dismal season to continue.

Take Toronto over San Diego.

1♦ TORONTO

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Brett Atkins

I look at the previous meetings this season, and I see they were 2-0-1 with the totals this season, averaging 7 goals per game this year. But these two haven't met since March 25, and trust me when I tell you they're both a pair of improved teams that have gotten quite defensive of late.

The Blackhawks arrive after a bruising Western Conference semifinals with the Detroit Red Wings, including the pretentious Game 7, won in overtime by top-seeded Chicago, 2-1. The Hawks' rally in the series against Detroit marked the first time they came back to win a series it trailed 3-games-to-1 (1-11).

The Hawks are on a 1-3-1 run with totals, and in opening this series at home, will have the momentum to set the tone for the series-opener.

That, to me, means a low-scoring game. The defense is strengthened by netminder Corey Crawford, who posted a 2.00 goals-against average and .929 save percentage against Detroit. Overall in his 12 playoff games this year, Crawford is 8-4 with a sterling 1.70 GAA and .938 save percentage.

The defending Stanley Cup-champion Kings have a stellar goalie of their own, as Jonathan Quick has been making his case for a second-straight Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP. The seven-year veteran has stymied 362 of 382 shots against him in these playoffs and leads the NHL with a 1.50 goals-against average, .948 save percentage and three shutouts. Even further, the Kings have gone a league-record, 33 straight playoff games without allowing more than three goals.

Look for this one to be tight, as it should stay low.

2♦ Kings/Blackhawks UNDER

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Chris Jordan

Detroit at BALTIMORE (+125)

Yesterday my lone dog winner was on the Baltimore Orioles. Tonight I'm banking on them to win for us again, as I see an every more interesting dynamic taking place at Camden Yards in Baltimore, as the Tigers hand the ball to ace hurler Justin Verlander.

Now remember what I told you yesterday about this game? There was something about the series-opener I thought the Orioles would be up for this game in particular, as the Tigers went with undefeated Max Scherzer, and cause it was the opening game - not the middle or last game of the series - I thought it worked in Baltimore's favor.

See, now there is motivation after that Chris Dickerson's three-run walk-off home run set the tone for the weekend, and I believe Verlander is in trouble to some degree.

Baltimore comes in having won eight of its last 11, and get this, since basically the second half of the 2012 campaign, the Orioles have the most wins (72) in baseball (since July 29). Baltimore - which has gone deep 25 times in its last 12 games - leads the American League in runs, home runs, slugging percentage, extra-base hits and on-base-slugging percentage.

Last night Dickerson set the fire ablaze for Baltimore's offense, and now it's time to carry the momentum over to Verlander and jump on him quick. Look for the Orioles to score another key win over the American League Central-division leaders. Take the home underdog.

2♦ BALTIMORE


Boston Bruins vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (-200, Series)

No. 1 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (36-12-0) vs. No. 4 BOSTON BRUINS (28-14-6)

2013 SERIES RECORD: Pittsburgh 3-0.

HOW THE PENGUINS GOT HERE: Defeated No. 8 New York Islanders 4-2; Defeated No. 7 Ottawa Senators 4-1.

HOW THE BRUINS GOT HERE: Defeated No. 5 Toronto 4-3; Defeated No. 6 New York Rangers 4-1.

PITTSBURGH TIDBITS: It would appear the acquisition of forward Jarome Iginla has been beneficial for the Pens, as he's scored four goals and has eight assists in 11 postseason games for them. ... Goalie Tomas Vokoun is 6-1 with a 1.85 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in seven games since replacing former No. 1 netminder Marc-Andre Fleury during the team's first-round series against the New York Islanders. ... While defenseman Kris Letang and forward Evgeni Malkin are tied for the team lead with 16 points, Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis each have seven goals for Pittsburgh. ... Pittsburgh has scored 47 goals in 11 games and allowed only 28. ... Pittsburgh has spread its offense around as six players have already reached double figures in playoff points. ... Pittsburgh comes into this series on seven days rest since eliminating the Ottawa Senators.

BOSTON TIDBITS: David Krejci has been invaluable during the postseason for the Bruins' offense, tallying a team-high 17 points and 12 assists. He's tied with Nathan Horton for the club lead with five goals each. ... A key component for the Bruins will be forward Tyler Seguin who has only one goal and three assists in 12 games this postseason. ... The most dynamic player on the roster is Patrice Bergeron, and could prove to have a huge edge over Croscy in the faceoff circle, where he has a 63.5 winning percentage, compared to Crosby's 51.4 percent. ... Boston's young, spotty defense will need to step up, as it is sure to be well-tested by Pittsburgh's explosive offensive skill players. Head coach Claude Julien has announced new defensive lineups, as Andrew Ference has not been medically cleared to return. ... Goalie Tuukka Rask hasn't necessarily stood out in goal, but has contributed nicely with respectable play in Boston's first two rounds with a 2.22 goals-against average and .928 save percentage in all 12 playoff games. He is 8-4. ... Boston comes in after having six days off before this series against the top-seeded Penguins.

SERIES OUTLOOK: The Penguins won the three regular-season meetings by one goal each, and have won the last six meetings dating back to Feb. 4, 2012. And as well as the Bruins are playing right now, and have gotten further than some may have expected, I don't know if they can last in this best-of-7. There will be some close games - the ones in Boston - but the Pens will be out to send a message with at least - if not both - of the series-opening games.

Pittsburgh, which I fell has far too many offensive weapons for the Bruins to contend with, comes into this series on win streaks of 5-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals, 41-12 against Eastern Conference foes and 42-12 at home.

Look for the Penguins to win this series in 5 games.

4♦ PENGUINS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 1

Scott Delaney

Looking for my fifth-straight complimentary winner, as my free play for tonight is on the Washington Nationals over the Atlanta Braves, and I want you to list both scheduled starters: Gio Gonzalez and Tim Hudson. If either one of these pitchers is scratched - this is no play.

This is a rematch between two premier pitchers, and since it was Hudson on the winning end of an 8-1 Atlanta blowout. That was part of 5-0 run for the Braves in this series, as they won the first three meetings in Washington, then the first two at home in the A-T-L before the Nationals, as a team, got revenge in the last two.

Washington got this weekend set underway with a 3-2 win last night, and tonight it's Gonzalez's turn to take things personal.

The Washington left-hander is just 3-3 this season, and he has a uncharacteristic high ERA of 3.90 this year. But make note that he's not the only one struggling, as Hudson finished the month of May with a 7.33 ERA after a much-better April, during which he had a 3.86 ERA.

The veteran right-hander allowed six runs on eight hits over six innings against the Toronto Blue Jays. Now he he's toeing the slab against a Nationals team that is 4-1/2 games back Atlanta in the National League East. Sorry, but I don't think this is a good spot for Hudson.

I like the Nationals tonight.

2♦ WASHINGTON

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 1

Bob Balfe

Houston Astros +200

The Angels are on of those teams that can struggle hitting on any given day. Houston is obviously not a good baseball team but with Norris on the mound they can hang. I like them at this nice price. Take Houston.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 1

Ben BurnsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cincinnati vs. PittsburghFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: PittsburghFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Off his third consecutive "sweep," a stretch which saw him go a perfect 10-0, Ben Burns certainly closed out the month of May "like a lion."
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Burns begins June by taking a look at Game 2 of the Reds (Leake) vs. Pirates (Liriano) series.
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The Reds easily took yesterday's opener. The Pirates may well be worth a look today though.
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Even factoring in yesterday's result, the Reds are still only 14-14 on the road. The Pirates 20-14 home record is considerably better. The Pirates have still won 10 of their last 12 here.
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Admittedly, Leake has been very stingy of late. He was also better than Liriano in his last start. However, lets keep in mind that Liriano was at Detroit, up against Justin Verlander. Leake was up against Cleveland, pitching in his own ballpark.
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Leake is 3-1 with a very solid 3.18 ERA in five road starts. However, a closer look shows that he's got a fairly high 1.588 WHIP in those five games, nearly 1.6 baserunners per inning.
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By comparison, Liriano has a 0.71 ERA and 0.947 WHIP in two home starts.
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While he's only thrown 23 innings, Liriano has already struck out 28 batters, walking only eight. He has yet to give up a home run
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Liriano will have the advantage of starting against Cincinnati for the first time. On the the other hand, the Pirates are very familiar with Leake. They've won eight of 12 against him, Leake going 2-3 in those games.
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Leake escaped with a no-decision against the Pirates on 4/12. However, he was lucky to do so. He gave up 10 hits and five runs.
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The Reds may have spoiled the party yesterday but the Pirates are still off their best May ever. At a near pick'em price, consider Pittsburgh

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 1

Sean MurphyFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Washington vs. AtlantaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: AtlantaFOR  FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Braves have proven to be an outstanding home team this season, and I certainly believe they're worth a look coming off a narrow loss in the opener of this series on Friday night.
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The pitching matchup certainly didn't favor Atlanta last night, with the Nats' sending Stephen Strasburg against Julio Teheran. Strasburg would last only two innings due to injury, but the rest of the Nats' seemed to rally around it.
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Here, I look for the Braves to do the rallying - around struggling starter Tim Hudson. He's just 4-4 on the season with an ERA well north of five, and things have gotten even worse lately, as he's been tagged for at least five earned runs in three of his last four starts.
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Keep in mind, those three ugly outings came in some pretty tough spots, all on the road against the Giants, D'Backs, and Blue Jays. Hudson has excelled against Washington this season, giving up just seven hits and two earned runs in 14 innings of work, with both of those starts resulting in Braves victories.
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Gio Gonzalez takes the ball for the Nats. He saw a tremendous run of four consecutive strong outings come to an end in his most recent start, as he was ripped for eight hits and four earned runs in 5 2/3 innings pitched against the Orioles. Gonzalez hasn't been good on the road this season, recording a 4.82 ERA and 1.54 WHIP in 28 innings of work.
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Note that the Nats are just 2-4 in Gonzalez's six starts against the Braves since the start of last season, including three straight losses. In two starts against Atlanta this year, he's given up a whopping 14 hits and 12 earned runs in only nine innings.
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The Braves bullpen is certainly undermanned right now, but that hasn't stopped them from posting a collective 2.08 ERA over their last five games. Washington's relief corps has really struggled on the road this year, recording a 4.66 ERA so last night's performance can be considered somewhat of an anomaly.
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For as well as the Braves have played for much of the season, they're still just 4.5 games ahead of the Nationals in the N.L. East standings. That makes tonight's game especially important as they look to bounce back from last night's setback. I look for them to come up big.

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