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Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 8

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 8

Dave Cokin

San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks
Pick: San Francisco Giants

The Giants cost me a sweep on Friday night when they let a lead get away in the bottom of the eighth inning. Nevertheless, I like their chances of evening their series with the Diamondbacks tonight. At first glance, the pitching matchup between Madison Bumgarner and Trevor Cahill looks pretty even. But upon closer examination, Bumgarner grades out approximately one half run better than Cahill. Moreover, Cahill just isn't missing any bats lately. The Giants are obviously not an offensive juggernaut. But when a team can count on making contact in almost every AB, good things are bound to happen. Surprisingly, the offensive splits here also favor the road team. The Giants have been pretty productive facing righties on the road. What's a little more eye opening is Arizona's struggles against lefties at Chase. The Diamondbacks are only generating about 3.5 runs for every nine innings at home against lefties. The defending champs should be determined to atone for the Friday beat here. They have the better hurler on the numbers, the offensive situational stats are better, and the price is certainly not an obstacle. I'll out that all together and make the case for the Giants to get the win tonight.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 8

Don Best ConsensusFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Philadelphia Phillies at Milwaukee BrewersSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Philadelphia PhilliesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Phillies, who are starting RHP Kyle Kendrick against the Brewers on Satruday, are 7-2 in Kendrick's last 9 starts. The Brewers are 1-8 in their last 9 games following a win & 2-7 in their last 9 home games. The Phillies are 10-4 in their last 14 contests in Milwaukee. Play the Phillies.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 8

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LA Angels vs. BostonFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: BostonFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Red Sox are a really hot team right now as they've won five of seven, including Thursday in walk-off fashion as David Ortiz hit a three-run homer to beat the Rangers 6-3.  Few would have expected at this (or any other) point in the season that Boston would have the best record in the American League, but they do having just taken two of three from the Rangers to surge to 37-24 (now percentage points ahead of Oakland).  With a hot offense and a hot pitcher and matched up against a struggling Angels team, I really like the home team at Fenway Park tonight.  Only two teams - St. Louis and Detroit - have a better Y-T-D run differential than the Red Sox right now.
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Over the past seven games, Boston is averaging seven runs per game.  They opened the Texas series by scoring a season-high 17 runs on 19 hits, 13 of which went for extra bases.  They scored in every inning but the 8th and had their most hits in any game this year, topping the previous high that was set just two days prior.  They had 13 hits in Thursday's win.  In the month of June, the team is batting a whopping .360 as they've outscored opponents 39-12.  I don't really see the Angels' Tommy Hanson and his pedestrian 4.19 ERA being able to slow down the Boston bats in this one.  Hanson just allowed five runs, four of them earned, in his last start.
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The Red Sox have also been getting good pitching recently (2.63 ERA in June) & looking to continue that stretch tonight will be southpaw Felix Doubront, who allowed just one run in his most recent outing, an 11-1 win over the Yankees.  The Angels come in averaging 3.7 runs per game vs. lefties this year and have averaged just three runs per game overall during a 1-5 stretch that includes an extra-innings loss to the Cubs Wednesday night.  While Los Angeles has beaten Boston eight consecutive times, there's no doubt who the hotter team is this go around and I'm expecting a big weekend here from the Red Sox.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 8

Jeffrey Brandes

Detroit Tigers -131

Pitchers:
CLEVELAND INDIANS: JUSTIN MASTERSON (R) ERA: 3.57 W/L: 8-4
DETROIT TIGERS: RICK PORCELLO (R) ERA: 5.40 W/L: 2-3

In his last 3 starts, Cleveland's JUSTIN MASTERSON is 1-2 with a 6.38 ERA. In his last start, which was against the Yankees on Monday, he gave up seven runs on nine hits (two HRs) and three walks.

The Tigers' RICK PORCELLO has been improving lately. He had pitched 16 consecutive scoreless innings before the Orioles got to him in the seventh inning on Sunday.

The Tigers took game one of this series last night improving their lead in the AL Central to 3 1/2 games. The Indians fell to .500 losing their fifth in a row.

Considering the direction each team is going, I have to give the nod to the Tigers today.

Key Trends:
Detroit is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
Detroit is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games at home
Detroit is 7-3 SU in its last 10 games when playing Cleveland
Detroit is 18-7 SU in its last 25 games when playing at home against Cleveland
Cleveland is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games
Cleveland is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games on the road

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 8

Harry Bondi

SAN FRANCISCO (+110) over Arizona

Our free pick record is now 7-3 the last 10 days, including four underdog winners. Any time we can get San Fran's Madison Bumgarner at this price, we're looking to play the Giants. The left-hander has a career 3.24 ERA and always has his team in the game. He lost his last three outings, but hasn't got much support from his teammates, who scored a single run in each of those games. Arizona's offense has been subpar this season at home against southpaws and the Giants have the better bullpen. Lots of value here in taking the Giants as the slight dog.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 8

Steven Kane

Phillies +110

Milwaukee (23-37) has dropped 26 of 35 to fall into last place, while the Phillies have won 5 of 6. They will send Kyle Kendrick (6-3, 3.12 ERA) to the mound Saturday. The right-hander has won his last two starts, yielding four runs in 15 innings. Milwaukee's Tom Gorzelanny has made one start in 69 games over the last two seasons with Washington and Milwaukee. All 24 of the left-hander's appearances in 2013 have been in relief, and he hasn't thrown more than 30 pitches in any of them.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 8

Rob Vinciletti

LA Angels +140 

The Angels take to the road off dismal home stand and may just need to clear their heads and get back on a roll. The have beat Boston 8 straight in the series and the RedSox apply to a system where home favorites historically go down in flames. We want to play against home favorites off a home favored win and scored 5 or more runs on 10+ hits, vs an opponent off a home favored loss and scored 5 or more runs on 10+ hits. The Angels road era is over 2 runs lower on the road then Boston is at home. Doubront goes for Boston and his home era is higher than T.Hanson road era. Hanson is an incredible 9-1 in his last 10 road starts made in the month of June. Look for the Angels to take down the Sox in game one of the series.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 8

MLB Predictions

Detroit Tigers -1 -133

The Tigers are one of the hottest hitting teams right now and they face Carrasco making an emergency start. He has a lifetime 8.36 ERA vs Detroit, and I don't think it will be a good afternoon for him. Take the Tigers -1 on the alternate run line. If you can't bet Detroit -1 I would take them -1.5 at +105 or better. For those new to this type of bet it means that Detroit has to win by 2 or more for us to cash in the bet, but if they win by just 1 it is a "push" and the bet is cancelled and we get our money back.


Oakland Athletics -125

Another victory for the A's last night as they beat Chicago 4-3 and have now won 3 straight and 7 of their last 8 games to improve to 38-25 on the season and 20-15 on the road. The White Sox struggles continue as they've dropped 10 of their last 11 games and have fallen to last place in the AL Central at 25-34 and 13-13 at home. Two southpaws face off tonight as Tommy Milone takes the mound for Oakland looking to improve on his 6-5 record and 3.91 ERA. Lefty John Danks will make his 4th start for the White Sox and he is 0-2 with a 5.63 ERA. Oakland is 10th in the Majors in team batting average vs lefties at .261, while the White Sox are 21st batting .240 against lefties as a team. Take note that the A's are 20-6 in their last 26 games overall, 8-2 in their last 10 road games, and 4-0 in Milone's last 4 starts. The White Sox are 15-36 in their last 51 games as an underdog, 1-10 in their last 11 overall, and 1-4 in Danks' last 5 starts vs a team with a winning record dating back to last season's starts. Oakland has won all 5 meetings between these two teams this year and I don't see that stopping today.


Philadelphia Phillies +115

It is tough to come right back on Philadelphia tonight after they blew the lead and the game on our 5 star pick, but we've got to move right along and forget about that. Philadelphia has still won 5 of their last 6 games and have scored 36 runs over that stretch. On the other hand the Brewers have been one of the worst teams in the NL going 9-26 in their last 35 overall. Philadelphia has Kyle Kendrick on the mound who has been great with a 6-3 record and 3.12 ERA. He has allowed more than 2 earned runs against in a start this season just twice, and actually pitches better on the road with a 2-1 record and 2.31 ERA. Milwaukee goes with Tom Gorzelanny making a spot start and so far this year in 24 relief appearances he has been solid with a 1-0 record and 2.01 ERA. He is expected to pitch about 4 innings and then the Brewers will have to go to their bullpen which has had a lot of work lately. Note that the Phillies are 7-2 in their last 9 games as an underdog of +110 to +150, 7-3 in their last 10 games following a loss, 7-2 in Kendrick's last 9 starts overall and 8-0 in his last 8 starts with 4 days rest. The Brewers are 2-7 in their last 9 home games, and just 1-12 in their last 13 games as a home favorite. Despite the loss last night the Phillies are still 10-4 in their last 14 meetings in Milwaukee. Getting plus money here on Philly I've got to take them again tonight expecting another solid start from Kendrick.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 8

Wunderdog

Baltimore at Tampa Bay
Pick: Tampa Bay -120

Probably the biggest surprise for Tampa Bay this season has been the offense which is producing 5 runs per game. The Rays have seven players with 23 or more RBI, and it has been a team effort. Baltimore is not getting the same level of pitching they did a year ago. Over their last 21 games, they have allowed 10 runs or more in five of them, and 5 or more in 12 of them. Kevin Gausman for the most part has not lived up to the billing as he owns a 7.20 ERA in three starts, and Tampa Bay has been getting it done vs. right-handed pithing at 17-5 over their last 22. The Rays have won the last four vs. the Birds, and are 5-2 at home vs. the O's at home behind Hellickson. Go with the Rays.

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Wunderdog

Baltimore at Tampa Bay
Pick: Tampa Bay -120

Probably the biggest surprise for Tampa Bay this season has been the offense which is producing 5 runs per game. The Rays have seven players with 23 or more RBI, and it has been a team effort. Baltimore is not getting the same level of pitching they did a year ago. Over their last 21 games, they have allowed 10 runs or more in five of them, and 5 or more in 12 of them. Kevin Gausman for the most part has not lived up to the billing as he owns a 7.20 ERA in three starts, and Tampa Bay has been getting it done vs. right-handed pithing at 17-5 over their last 22. The Rays have won the last four vs. the Birds, and are 5-2 at home vs. the O's at home behind Hellickson. Go with the Rays.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 8

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BOSTON -1½ +117 over L.A. Angels (Game 1)SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Hanson v. Doubront must go. The Angels had a mini-spurt a couple of weeks ago but other than that they’ve been a complete mess. The Halos have three wins in their past 10 games. Over that span they were swept by the Astros in a four-game set and subsequently split a two-game set with the Cubbies. That aforementioned mini-spurt occurred against the White Sox, Seattle and K.C. Now L.A. has to go into Fenway and do battle with a team that is confident, in good spirits and in first place in the AL East with a 37-24 record and they have to do it with Tommy Hanson on the hill. A partially torn rotator cuff led to a new delivery for Hanson a year ago, which led to his worst MLB results. A high second-half hit rate was only the beginning of Hanson’s problems. The velocity issues that manifested early in 2012 (89.8 mph in April 2012) have gotten worse this April and May (88.2 mph). And he's not missing many bats (6.7% swinging strike rate). Hanson's 5.31 xERA gives an indication of his ERA downside.  Hanson has just 18 K’s in 34 innings to go along with 10 walks issued. He also has an ugly 35%/47% GB/FB split. You may have made money with Hanson when he spent time with the Braves. He was good then but he’s not anymore because of some serious health issues. A resurrection is not forthcoming so cut the bait now, as he’s prime fade material and the Red Sox are likely to feast off him.
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Felix Doubront is similar to Sam Deduno of the Twins in that he has nasty stuff but his lack of control prevents him from dominating. However, when you’re facing a team that is going bad and pressing, they often swing at pitches out of the zone and help you dominate. Doubront has 59 K’s in 55 innings and a 51% groundball rate. Over his last three starts, Doubront has pitched six full in all of them and allowed two runs or less in each versus the White Sox, Indians and Yankees. Doubront is one to watch while the Angels and Hanson are a combination that has zero appeal.
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Baltimore +105 over TAMPA BAYFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Kevin Gausman, a product of Louisiana State, pitched just 15 innings after signing last summer but made the jump to Double-A for his first full pro season. He had no trouble there, going 2-4 with a 3.11 ERA and an outstanding 49 strikeouts and 5 walks in 46.1 innings over eight starts. He made his big-league debut on May 23against the Blue Jays. He showed off his two best pitches in his first inning of work, striking out Edwin Encarnacion with a 97 mph fastball and Adam Lind on an 85 mph changeup. Gausman, who usually works in the mid-90s with his four-seam fastball, reached 99 mph with his heater against the Jays and in subsequent starts against Washington and Detroit. The knock on him as an amateur was that he lacks a quality breaking ball, but he has made significant strides with his slider, and it should be at least an average pitch for him. His command and control are two more assets, although he was a little too pumped up against Toronto and took the loss after giving up seven hits, two walks and four runs in five innings. His second start wasn’t much better but then he faced the Tigers and put it all together with a brilliant six-inning, five-hit, one run performance. Gausman has ace potential. No one in Baltimore's rotation can match his stuff and while he might have ups and downs, like all rookie pitchers, he has plenty of profit potential the rest of the season.
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Current Orioles have seen plenty of Jeremy Hellickson with 237 career AB’s against him so he’s not going to deliver anything they haven’t already seen. Hellickson has had moderate success against Baltimore but many hitters have crushed him. The O’s have taken Hellickson deep eight times,. Chris Davis has 10 hits in 22 AB’s against him, Nate McClouth has five hits in 15 AB’s and Nick Markakis has eight hits in 32 AB’s. Hellickson has a 5.64 ERA at home and he’s allowed three runs or more in eight straight starts and four runs or more in five of those eight. Hellickson is serviceable but he’s no ace and he’s eventually going to become one of those inning eater types along the same path as guys like Mark Buehrle. The Orioles offense is one of the best in the game and they offer up too much value here against Hellickson to overlook.
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St. Louis +142 over CINCINNATIFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Cardinals may not have an edge on the hill today but they win far more games than they lose and they catch the Reds struggling. Cinci has dropped four of its last five games. The Reds were whacked in the opener of this series, 9-2 and have now been torched for 26 runs against in their last three. Mat Latos is being counted on to give the bullpen some rest but these Cardinals have had no trouble with Latos in the past and St. Louis owns the best road record in the league with 21 wins in 30 road games. Current Cardinals batters have 47 hits in 151 career AB’s against Latos for a BA of .311. 
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Tyler Lyons has made just three starts since his call-up but he comes in with a nifty 0.89 WHIP to go along with a 2.66 ERA after striking out 12 batters and walking four in 20 frames. On the road, Lyons is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA. The best part of his profile, however, is his 53% groundball rate. Lyons does not have the greatest of arsenals but the Cardinals continue to give him good support and the kid has responded. This one, however, isn’t about the pitching matchup. St. Louis is capable of scoring off anyone. The Cards are capable of holding a lead or rallying to win if they’re down late. This intruder has proven to be too dangerous to ignore, especially on the road and the take-back makes them all the more appealing

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, June 8

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CHICAGO -½ -108 over Los AngelesFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Regulation only. The Kings are finished. The Stanley Cup run from a year ago, followed by a grueling 48-game schedule, followed by two, back-to-back bruising and exhausting seven game-series against St. Louis and San Jose and then having to play these talented Blackhawks has finally taken its toll. For the Kings, it was a nice run but it’s over. They have taken their best shot at the Blackhawks and now down 3-1 and running on fumes, the Kings are probably looking more forward to some time off than the thought of having to suit up again after this one. Mindset plays a big factor in these games, as we saw with the Penguins and in the Kings’ collective minds, they know that home-ice nor Jonathan Quick is going to bail them out here. The Kings have one win in their past 15 road games dating back to the regular season and in these playoffs.
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The Blackhawks have won six of seven playoff games since falling behind 3-1 to the Red Wings. They won in Los Angeles last game without the services of Duncan Keith and now they get Keith back to finish off the Kings. Without Keith, L.A. had two third-period shots in a must-win game. An effort like that suggests even more that the Kings are ready to be finished off. Chicago can smell a trip to the Finals. There will be no let-up here or taking anything for granted. That 3-1 series deficit to Detroit may have been the best lesson the Blackhawks had this entire year. Chicago is primed and ready to go in for the kill and play its best game of the series. Resistance from the road-challenged Kings, 1-7 in the playoffs and completely out of gas is not going to happen. Play this one with confidence.

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NHL Predictions

Kings / Blackhawks Over 4.5

So far we've seen totals of 3, 6, 4, and 5 in this series. The last time the Blackhawks had a Game 5 opportunity to win a series they beat the Minnesota Wild 5-1. They had a Game 7 at home vs Detroit winning 2-1, but the difference between a Game 5 at home to win a series and a Game 7 at home to win a series is pretty big. Being just the 5th game of the series I think the Blackhawks will very loose and that should let their offensive players get a little more creative and hopefully lead to more scoring opportunities. Jonathan Quick has allowed 2 or more goals in each game on the road in these playoffs while Chicago has scored 2 or more in 7 of their 8 home games (including 5 games with 4+ goals). The great thing about this being an elimination game as well is the Kings would pull the goalie pretty early if we had something like a 3-1 Chicago lead late, which could lead to an empty goal putting it OVER the total. I'm not banking on that, but I do think we have value here getting the total at 4.5 instead of 5. Take the OVER for 2 units.

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