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Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 2

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 2

Dave EsslerFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Miami Marlins +1.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Yes, I do know how good Harvey is. But, the Mets do have a bullpen. Slowey has been much better than his 1-5 record would indicate. He's only really been torched by the D-Backs, and his 1.24 WHIP is well below "acceptable" for me to bet on. Since the Mets are hitting a robust .217 over the last week, averaging barely three runs a game, there's just way too much value in what figures to be a low scoring game not to take the Fish RL.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 2

Wunderdog

Atlanta at Washington
Pick: Atlanta -6

The Atlanta Dream (2-0) has been a powerhouse on offense in the young season, scoring 98 and 86 points. They were a +5 dog at Indiana the last, but rolled 86-77. This team started clicking late last season and continues to roll, with the Dream on a 10-4 ATS run, plus 9-4 ATS against the Eastern Conference. Angel McCoughtry had 29 points and nine rebounds in the 86-77 upset at defending champion Indiana on Friday. The Dream shot 50.0 percent while spoiling the Fever's title celebration. The Dream is 5-2 ATS playing on one days rest. Atlanta likes playing Washington, having won five straight in the series (4-1 ATS).  The Washington Mystics (1-0) have one win, but they are rebuilding as Washington has finished last in the Eastern Conference in each of the past two seasons while posting a combined 11-57 record. The Mystics are 1-5 ATS in their last six games playing on three or more days rest and 0-10 ATS after a win. Play the Atlanta Dream.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 2

Andrew Lange 

Chicago at Oakland
Play: Under

Despite having a start skipped and another cut short due to rain, all indications point towards Chicago's Chris Sale being good to go for this afternoon's start in Oakland. And so long as he's close to being 100 – I doubt the White Sox would risk their prized possession – we're talking about one of the top left-handed arms in all of baseball. He faces an Oakland offense that after leading the AL in runs for the month of April (by 20) has come crashing down to earth with .235/.318/.696 splits for the month of May. Oakland's Jarrod Parker has pitched much better of late with four straight quality starts. If you look at his seasonal starts, it was tough sledding against offenses like Cleveland, Baltimore, and Detroit. But against more modest competition, he's been effective. And the reason I bring that up is today's opponent may be the weakest offense Parker has faced all season. Kansas City hasn't hit the ball in weeks and has still scored 23 more runs this season than the Chicago White Sox. Two solid bullpens assist in this game going under the total.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 2

John Ryan

Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels
Prediction: Houston Astros

There are tons of public bettors believing that Houston can?t win back-to-back games over the Angels and match their 2-0 shutout performance Saturday. I can tell you this that if you wager the dog in games where the favorite is -250 or higher, you will make money over the course a season. That fact is one thing, but when I get these big time dogs graded by the SIM as solid opportunities, the profits soar over the course of the season. Houston is a not a strong team to state the obvious. However, Angels are just 2-10 (-13.7 Units) against the money line vs. teams outscored by opponents by 1 or more runs per game on the season.; 1-6 (-10.0 Units) against the money line when facing AL teams allowing 5.2 or more runs/game this season. Take Houston.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 2

Steve Merril

Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh
Play: Under 7½

The Pirates and Reds wrap up an important series in Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon. Jeanmar Gomez has been good as a starter for the Pirates giving up just 9 runs and 19 hits in six starts with four games going Under the total. Gomez allowed 2 runs and six hits in five innings pitched against the Reds on the road last season. Cincinnati's offense hasn't been as strong on the road hitting right only .242 as a unit. They are currently on a nice stretch of Unders as well. The Pirates’ bullpen has a strong 2.20 ERA and 1.08 WHIP at home this season where they have only three losses and three blown saves.

Mat Latos has not lost for the Reds in his 11 starts going 5-0 with a 3.01 ERA. He took a no-decision in Pittsburgh earlier this season after giving up 3 runs and nine hits in just over six innings. Pedro Alvarez (3-15), Garrett Jones (3-18), Starling Marte (1-7), and Andrew McCutchen (2-9) have poor numbers against Latos. Pittsburgh is hitting only .229 and averaging just 2.4 runs in their past seven games and they have been shutout in their past two games with 1 run or less scored in four of their past five outings. They are 21-9 Under at home this season. Cincinnati's bullpen has a solid 3.27 ERA and 1.18 WHIP on the year. This should be a low-scoring affair between the Reds and Pirates this afternoon.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 2

Jeff Alexander

Phillies -157

Brewers have won the first two games of the series, but they're still only 1-6 in their last 7 games following a win and 3-15 in their last 18 during game 3 of a series. They are also 0-4 in Fiers' last 4 starts, and he's given up 14 runs in 19 1-3 innings during this stretch. Milwaukee is only 5-18 against lefty starters on the season and figures to have its work cut out for itself against Lee. The Phillies are 5-0 in his last 5 starts, and he's given up just 5 runs in 39 innings during this span. The Brewers are 13-30 in the last 43 meetings in Philadelphia. Bet Philly.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 2

Jack Jones

Chicago White Sox +100

The Chicago White Sox are showing solid value as a road underdog to the Oakland A's Sunday afternoon. They should not be the dog in this contest given the edge they have on the mound.

Chris Sale remains one of the most underrated starters in the league. Chicago's ace has gone 5-2 with a 2.53 ERA and 0.922 WHIP through nine starts this season. Sale is 2-0 with a 0.37 ERA and 0.542 WHIP in his last three starts, allowing one earned run and 13 base runners over 24 innings.

Oakland's Jarrod Parker is getting way too much respect from oddsmakers in this one. The right-hander has been atrocious this year, going 3-6 with a 5.40 ERA and 1.525 WHIP in 11 starts. That includes a 2-3 record and 6.42 ERA through six home starts.

Sale is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA and 0.818 WHIP in two career starts against Oakland. Chicago is 5-0 in Sale's last 5 starts overall. The White Sox are 10-1 in Sale's last 11 starts vs. American League West opponents. Bet the White Sox Sunday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 2

Dave Price

Cleveland Indians -122

The Indians are 16-5 in their last 21 home games and should continue their home-field dominance here behind a gem from McAllister. The right-hander has a 2.16 home ERA on the season and a 1.53 ERA against the Rays. The Indians are 5-1 in McAllister's last 6 home starts. It's been a tough start for Tampa Bay's Hellickson, who has a 5.61 ERA on the season. Going back to last year, the Rays are 1-9 in Hellickson's last 10 road starts. They are 0-4 in his last 4 starts as a road underdog of +110 to +150 and 1-11 in their last 12 games overall as a road underdog of +110 to +150. The Rays are 18-37 in their last 55 meetings in Cleveland. Take the Tribe.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 2

GamePlan

Cincinnati -121

Reds are 4-1 in Latos' last 5 starts as a favorite of -110 to -150. Reds are 24-6 in Latos' last 30 starts with the total set at 7.0-8.5. Cincinnati is 75-36 in their last 111 games as a favorite. Latos is 19-2 (+15.3 Units) against the money line vs teams who strand 6.9 or less runners on base per game over the last 2 seasons.

Cinci falls into a great system that allows us to play against home underdogs with a money line of +100 or higher (PITTSBURGH) - a good team (54% to 62%) playing a team with a winning record, in June games. (54-18 over the last 5 seasons, 75%, +31.2 units).

Tough to go against a hot Reds team in this one. Take Cincinnati.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 2

Freddy Wills

Seattle Mariners vs. Minnesota Twins    
Play: Minnesota Twins

Scott Diamond is actually one of today's cold pitchers as he has posted a 7.98 ERA in his last 3 starts, but I feel there is some value here against the Mariners who are starting to slide while the Twins have won 5 of 6 games including last night's game in dramatic fashion. Seattle's closer blew his 3rd save opportunity in his last 4 tries and the Twins will have a major advantage in the bullpen which is important because I don't think Diamond is going to ask to pitch more than 6 innings. People also forget Diamond has a good pitcher and should be able to handle the Mariners line up. In 17 previous home starts before this year he had a 3.58 ERA and also posted a 3.23 Day ERA and a 2.90 ERA in June. The Mariners line up is a little banged up right now as it looks like Morse and Smoak will not play while the Mariners have are desperate enough to bring up Jeremy Bonderman who has a 4.52 ERA in AAA this year.

Notable Hot Starters:
Clay Bucholz (2-1, 22 IP, 1.09 WHIP, 2.05 ERA)
Matt Harvey (2-1, 21.2 IP, 1.06 WHIP, 2.91 ERA)
Cliff Lee (3-0, 24 IP, 0.71 WHIP, 1.12 ERA)
Mat Latos (3-0, 21.1 IP, 1.08 WHIP, 2.95 ERA)
Jeanmar Gomez (3-0, 15.1 IP, 0.91 WHIP, 2.35 ERA)
Rick Porcello (2-1, 18.2 IP, 1.12 WHIP, 2.89 ERA)
Patrick Corbin (3-0, 22 IP, 0.95 WHIP, 1.64 ERA)
Jordan Lyles (1-2, 18 IP, 1.22 WHIP, 1.50 ERA)
Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-1, 21.1 IP, 0.94 WHIP, 1.69 ERA)
Chirs Sale (3-0, 24 IP, 0.54 WHIP, 0.38 ERA)
Jarrod Parker (2-1, 21 IP, 0.90 WHIP, 2.57 ERA)
Hiroki Kuroda (1-2, 17 IP, 0.88 WHIP, 2.65 ERA)

Notable Cold Starters:
Kevin Slowey (0-3, 13.1 IP, 1.65 WHIP, 7.42 ERA)
Jeremy Hellickson (2-1, 1.14 WHIP, 6.43 ERA)

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 2

SPORTS WAGERS

Chicago -101 over OAKLAND (1st 5 innings)

1st 5 innings. The Oakland A’s are an amazing baseball team. With a line-up that is batting .247 and without a true #1 starter, the A’s have rolled out to a 33-24 record. Manager Bob Melvin (nicknamed the “Mad Scientist”) should be mayor of that town because of the job he has done, not only this year but last year too. The White Sox are the polar opposites. The South Side has two true #1 starters in Chris Sale and Jake Peavy. Their other starters are performing well also. The problem is a lack of execution and an offense that ranks dead last in several key categories. The South Side are truly a frustrating team to wager on because of that pathetic offense. However, they may wake up today against Jarrod Parker. Current White Sox hitters have nine hits in 25 AB’s versus Parker for a BA of .360. It’s a small sample size but at least it gives hope. Parker has a troublesome 1.52 WHIP and at home he has a 2-3 record with a 6.42 ERA. He has been pitching better of late, as Tuesday marked Parker's third-consecutive start in which he has lasted 7.0 innings. He appears to have rebounded from a rough April (7.36 ERA), allowing a total of 11 earned runs in his last five starts (3.91 ERA in May) but it’s still difficult to ignore a .285 BAA, 11 jacks he’s surrendered and that unacceptable WHIP.

Chris Sale has a chance to dominate this team at this park or any park for that matter. Sale has looked every bit the part of a Cy Young candidate so far in May with 15 walks issued, 61 K’s, a 17% line-drive rate and a 48% groundball rate. His 92.3 mph average fastball velocity already is higher than it was in 2012. He has outstanding numbers against both LH and RH bats. A tweak with his slider might explain some of these gains. Sale has added three inches of horizontal movement to his slider while reducing its vertical movement by three inches. Hitters have managed a measly .148 BA against it so far this season. His changeup also has become even more of an unhittable pitch. Batters had a .197 BA and .274 SLG against it in 2012. In 2013, they have managed only a .114 BA and .136 SLG when facing that pitch. All signs point to Sale continuing to become one of the game's best starters and with that, we’ll take the pens out of the equation and play this one in five innings.


Los Angeles +123 over COLORADO (1st 5 innings)

1st 5 innings. Jorge De La Rosa is 6-3 with a 3.16 ERA and at Coors Field he is 4-0 with an incredible 2.42 ERA. How can that be? De La Rosa has 38 K’s and 22 walks in 63 frames to go along with a 25% line-drive rate. His WHIP of 1.28 is bordering on just being acceptable. This is not the profile of a dominating pitcher but it is the surface stats of one. De La Rosa used to average a K per inning and that allowed him to get out of trouble but that’s no longer the case. He does have a strong 51% groundball rate but that’s not enough to justify the numbers he’s put up. De La Rosa has been aided by a high strand rate and plenty of balls in play right at folks. If De La Rosa’s strikeout rate were higher and his walk rate lower, combined with that good GB%, it would be plenty to at least get us interested if he was entering his prime, The fact that he's 31, he’s coming off elbow surgery and has had a ton of fortune so far, make him all the less appealing. Regression in De La Rosa’s surface stats is forthcoming, especially at home.

Hyun-Jin Ryu surface stats have merit. In 11 starts, eight of them have been of the pure quality variety. Ryu has a 6-2 record, a 2.89 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP and those numbers come with full skills support. Ryu throws strikes. He always seems to be ahead in the count and has 67 K’s in 72 frames while issuing 22 walks. His groundball rate is also trending the right way. Ryu’s GB% has increased over time from 42% to 47% and up to 53% over his past five starts. He’s maintained a strong 17% line-drive rate the entire season so far. Ryu has made a seamless transition from Korea to this level so far and he may just have the league’s best changeup. The Dodgers bullpen is one that is hard to trust and because this wager is based on the starters, we’re going to play it in the first five innings only.


Boston +105 over N.Y. YANKEES

Everything was going peachy for the Yankees. They were sitting quietly in first place in the AL East and they were winning games at an alarming rate with Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis all on the DL. As soon as the team heard that they were getting some bodies back, they started losing. The guys that were filling in knew that their playing time would decrease dramatically and they came to the park with a different mind-set. The Yanks have dropped six of seven and have fallen two games back of these Red Sox. There’s an old saying that says, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and the Yanks may be paying the price. Hiroki Kuroda has been very consistent since coming over from the Dodgers and continues to put up strong numbers. However, his strikeout rate is low (46 K’s in 68 IP) and his groundball rate has dived from 47% at the start of the year to 42% over his last five starts, to 33% over his last two starts. Is this the sign of a tiring arm? Time will tell but this wager isn’t so much about fading Kuroka as it is about taking back a tag with the Red Sox and Clay Buchholz.

The Red Sox have won 10 of Buchholz’s 11 starts this season. He’s came close to throwing two no-hitters this season. Buchholz has a 1.73 ERA and 1.05 WHIP after 10 starts. His base skills have been elite with 73 K’s, 27 walks and a 48% groundball rate. Buchholz’s change-up draws the most horizontal movement in the game and his fastball has the most vertical movement. After dominating the second half of last season, Buchholz has maintained his dominating pace and there are no signs of him slowing down. As a dog, Buchholz and the Red Sox offer up too much value to ignore.

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SPORTS WAGERS

CHICAGO -½ +106 over Los Angeles

Regulation only. After a Stanley Cup run last year followed by a grueling 48-game schedule, followed by back-to-back seven-game series, the L.A. Kings may be out of gas. Playing the tail-end of back-to-backs for a team that has lost six of seven road games in the playoffs while never managing to score more than one goal in every loss, isn’t likely to tilt the ice in the Kings favor. Yesterday’s 2-1 loss was a flattering score. Had it not been for Jonathan Quick, especially in the first period when he was bombarded with shots, that score would have been 5-1 or 6-1. The Kings are simply not playing well enough to pull off this road upset with no rest. Kings coach Darryl Sutter mixed up his lines a lot, including the curious insertion of Brad Richardson at right wing on a line with Anze Kopitar at center and Kyle Clifford on the other side. Kopitar started the game with Brown and Justin Williams. No matter what he tries lately, Sutter just can’t seem to get Kopitar going. The Kings’ top center now has a paltry two goals in 14 postseason games. Worse, he’s not getting many good chances; entering Game 1, he had just 24 shots on net in the postseason.The Kings were too sloppy with the puck as well, as Chicago was credited with 18 takeaways to six for L.A. Drew Doughty, the Kings’ All-Star D-man was -2 yesterday. Quick has been outstanding the entire playoffs but not even his play has been able to bail his team out on the road and this one isn’t likely to be any different.

The Blackhawks are feeling it. After falling behind the Red Wings 3-1, they have now reeled off four in a row in dominating fashion. Not even a ridiculous disallowed goal in the final two minutes of Game 7 against the Red Wings has been able to slow down the momentum of this determined host. The Blackhawks are now 7-1 at home in the post-season. Corey Crawford has allowed one goal against in four of his last five playoff games. The Blackhawks defense is playing on an entirely different level than L.A’s or anyone else by making quick and efficient passes out of the zone and creating scoring opportunities. Chicago started to sit back in the third period and got into some bad habits as a result but those are things that will be addressed. In the end, the Blackhawks have too much energy, too much talent and too much determination to allow this series to go back to L.A. tied 1-1. The Kings are running on fumes.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 2

Harry Bondi

BOSTON (+110) over NY Yankees

We used the Red Sox as a slight underdog yesterday as a winner for our Baseball "Steam Team" and we'll go right back with them tonight on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. The Red Sox are simply the better team right now and if the season ended today, Clay Buchholz would probably be the AL Cy Young Award winner. The right-hander is 7-0 with a 1.73 ERA this season and we're getting some value here because he missed his last start. But there is nothing to be alarmed about. Buchholz went 10 straight starts with more than 100 pitches so the team decided to rest him, give him 11 days off and have him ready for a big game where he is in his preferred role at pitching at night. The day-night splits for Buchholz are drastic as he is 42-20 with a 3.46 ERA in his career at night and 11-12 with a 4.28 ERA during the day. We have the better team as a dog, with the better starting pitcher and the more rested bullpen. Sox win!

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