Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, June 10

Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, June 10

DUNKEL INDEX

Detroit at Kansas City
The Royals look to build on their 11-1 record in Jeremy Guthrie's last 12 home starts. Kansas City is the pick (+120) according to Dunkel, which has the Royals favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (+120)

Game 901-902: Milwaukee at Miami (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Gallardo) 15.518; Miami (Nolasco) 13.804
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Milwaukee (-125); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (-125); Under

Game 903-904: Cincinnati at Chicago Cubs (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Bailey) 14.380; Cubs (Feldman) 15.468
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-130); No Run Total
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (+110); N/A

Game 905-906: Atlanta at San Diego (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Teheran) 17.293; San Diego (Marquis) 15.593
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-140); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-140); Under

Game 907-908: Arizona at LA Dodgers (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Miley) 13.826; LA Dodgers (Kershaw) 15.521
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-200); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-200); Over

Game 909-910: LA Angels at Baltimore (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Weaver) 15.579; Baltimore (Garcia) 14.017
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-140); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (-140); Under

Game 911-912: Boston at Tampa Bay (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Lackey) 15.552; Tampa Bay (Cobb) 16.883
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-135); 8
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-135); Over

Game 913-914: Cleveland at Texas (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland (Kazmir) 14.974; Texas (Lindblom) 14.347
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Texas (-150); 10 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (+130); Under

Game 915-916: Detroit at Kansas City (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Fister) 15.444; Kansas City (Guthrie) 16.205
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Detroit (-140); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (+120); Over

Game 917-918: Toronto at Chicago White Sox (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Dickey) 14.629; White Sox (Axelrod) 15.558
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Toronto (-130); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+110); Under

Game 919-920: Houston at Seattle (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Keuchel) 14.758; Seattle (Iwakuma) 14.052
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Seattle (-240); 7
Dunkel Pick: Houston (+200); Over

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Bryan Power

Arizona vs. LA Dodgers
Pick: LA Dodgers

The D'backs have managed a 5-1 record head to head against the division rival Dodgers so far in 2013, but don't look for them to improve that record Monday as they go up against Clayton Kershaw in the opener of a three-game set. I'm willing to lay the juice w/ the home team in this one.

Kershaw has had a fabulous year w/ a 1.93 ERA and 0.964 WHIP in 13 starts. Unfortunately, he's only 5-4 (7-6 TSR). But look for him to break through today against an Arizona lineup averaging just 3.7 runs per game vs. lefties. For his career, Kershaw has 2.29 ERA and 1.098 WHIP in 16 starts vs. the D'backs.  He is in this price range for a reason. He has an 8-2 TSR as a home favorite in the -175 to -250 range.

Like LA, Arizona was beaten at home Sunday. In their case, it was 6-2 by the Giants as their lead in the NL West is now down to 1.5 games. Poor pitching has hurt them recently with the staff posting a 10.98 ERA in the team's last three losses. Worse yet, there's been a heavy burden placed on the bullpen, who has had to go at least four innings in each of those games.  Look for more of the same tonight as Wade Miley (8.82 ERA L3 starts) toes the rubber.  He'd given up 7 ER in B2B outings prior to winning last time out.

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Matt Fargo

Atlanta vs. San Diego
Pick: San Diego

That pushed Atlanta to a game over .500 on the road and after two great pitching performances from Kris Medlen and Mike Minor, it expects to get a third straight on Monday but this is a spot that I like to go against. Julio Teheran is coming off a no-hit bid as he went 7.2 innings before allowing a hit against the Pirates. He struck out a career-high 11 batters and it resulted in his sixth consecutive quality outing. A game like that could provide a big letdown while also adding value to the other side. San Diego lost its first two games of its roadtrip before going 3-2 in its final five games. The Padres head home looking to add to their 16-14 record at Petco Park and more recently, they are 15-7 over their last 22 home games. Jason Marquis has played a big part in this as San Diego has won his last five starts while he has posted a 2.53 ERA over those games. He has a 3.73 ERA overall and he has allowed three runs or fewer in seven of his last eight starts. Atlanta is hitting just .241 on the road and over its last 10 games, it is hitting a mere .236 against right-handed pitching.

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Bruce Marshall

LA Angels vs. Baltimore
Pick: Baltimore

In two games since returning from the DL following his broken elbow, Angels ace Jered Weaver has looked pretty good, allowing just 2 ER in 12 IP (1.50 ERA), Weaver, however, remains on a tight pitch count, and hasn't pitched beyond six innings since his return, which means we likely get more of the raggedy Halos bullpen tonight at Camden Yards.  Moreover, Mike Scioscia's team is in full-scale retreat, having lost 7 of 9, and now must face an old nemesis, O's starter Freddy Garcia, who is 6-0 in his last six vs. the Angels and 16-3 with a 2.66 ERA in his career vs. the Halos.  The Angels also continue to hurt themselves with shoddy defense, ontributing to their poor 27-36 overall mark.  And note the Brids' solid 12-7 mark in their last 19 games. Can't trust Halos until further notice...even with Weaver on the mound.

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Jesse Schule

LA Angels vs. Baltimore
Pick:  LA Angels

The Angels lost back to back games in Boston, and they will look to get back on track tonight at Camden Yards in the series opener against the Orioles.

Jered Weaver will be on the mound for L.A., making his third start since coming off the DL. Weaver (1-1, 3.13 ERA) didn't have his best stuff, allowing three runs on six hits over six innings in a no decision against the Cubs his last time out. Prior to that he allowed a single run on six hits over six innings in a win over the Dodgers.

He's dominated the Orioles in previous meetings, with a record of 4-1, 1.67 ERA in his last five starts.

Freddy Garcia will toe the rubber for the home team, and he was torched for four home runs in a loss to Houston his last time out. Garcia (2-3, 4.70 ERA) has been plagued by the longball all year, allowing an average of 2.58 home runs per nine innings. That's a scary though facing an Angels lineup with plenty of power from top to bottom.

The Angels have roughed him up in the past. Erick Aybar is 6-for-11, Josh Hamilton is 4-of-12 with three home runs, and Howie Kendrick is 5-for-12 with a home run against Garcia.

Given the history, the Angels should be able to give Weaver plenty of support tonight, and he might not need much.

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Art Aronson

Houston vs. Seattle
Pick: Under

Dallas Keuchel (3-2, 4.70 ERA) gets the call for the visitors; Keuchel dominated the Orioles on Wednesday, giving up one earned run over six frames off five hits with two walks and three K's. The 25-year old continues to shine having won back-to-back outings for the first time this year, giving up a total of three combined runs over a span of 13 frames to go along with seven strikeouts (note that Keuchel is 1-0 with a very respectable 3.06 ERA away from friendly confines this season). Keuchel will be opposed by Hisashi Iwakuma (6-1, 1.94 ERA) who went eight shutout frames vs. the White Sox last Wednesday, allowing only three hits, unfortunately getting saddled with a no-decision for his effort. The 32-year old phenom walked no one and finished with five K's. As I've stated in other write-ups, "recent performance" plays a part in my handicapping repertoire and there's no question that both of these hurlers come into this contest with considerable momentum. Neither of these lineups instil fear whatsoever; in the opener of this three game set I believe the starters will be the main story line once the smoke clears at the end of the night.

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Marc Lawrence

Milwaukee vs. Miami
Pick: Milwaukee

When the Fish return to Marlins Stadium to host the Brewers in the opener of this three game set Monday evening, Miami will take the field knowing they are 1-7 at night behind Ricky Nolasco this season.  Complicating matters, Nolasco has dropped 13 of his last 17 overall starts in June, including each of his last seven home team starts in a row during the month of June. With the Brewers 4-1 behind Yovanni Gallardo in his MLB career against the Marlins, including 2-0 in Miami, look for the Fish to continue their floundering ways here tonight.  We recommend a 1-unit play on Milwaukee.

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Jimmy Boyd

Texas Rangers -150

The Cleveland Indians have now lost 7 consecutive games and dropped below .500 overall after being swept by the Yankees and Detroit in back to back series. They are in a horrible hitting slump posting a .227 batting average over their past 7 games. They are facing a Rangers team that has performed extremely well at home this season going 18-8 with a .282 batting average and scoring 5 runs per game.

Scott Kazmir has not been throwing at his best this season. He has a 3-3 record in 9 starts with a 5.24 ERA. When playing on the road he is 0-3 in 5 starts with a 6.66 ERA and 1.808 WHIP. He has allowed 6 home runs in those 5 games and those are numbers that are simply unacceptable, especially for a team in a hitting slump like the Indians. Even the Indians bullpen has been horrible. They have blown 50% of their save opportunities posting a 4.28 ERA. With the Rangers playing so well at home and the Indians in a major slump we are getting a lot of value with this line on Texas today.

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Rob Vinciletti

Detroit vs. Kansas City
Play: Under 8½

This game features a solid Pitching Match between Guthrie for KC and Fister for Detroit. Guthrie has a solid 2.78 home era and Fister a 3.37 road era. In Guthries last 2 home starts vs the Tigers both have played under the total and he has been impressive in both of those games allowing just a pair of runs in 13+ innings. The Tigers have played under 6 of 8 times as a road favorite off a home win and The Royal have gone under in 21 of 30 at home off a home win vs an opponent who also played at home in their last game. The Royals have played under in 14 of 20 this season vs Winning teams and in the series here 11 of the last 13 have stayed under the total. Its not broke so we wont fix it. Take the Under here tonight.

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Jeffrey Brandes

Toronto / Chicago Under 8½

Pitchers:
TORONTO BLUE JAYS: R.A. DICKEY (R) ERA: 4.66 W/L: 5-7
CHICAGO WHITE SOX: DYLAN AXELROD (R) ERA: 3.73 W/L: 3-4

The Blue Jays' R.A. DICKEY is coming off off his best start of the year. In his last start against the Giants, last year's NL Cy Young award winner came within two outs of a shutout before being pulled with one out in the ninth. He allowed just two hits and two walks over his 8 1/3 innings.

For the White Sox, DYLAN AXELROD is 1-1 in his last 3 starts with a 2.44 ERA.

Key Trends:
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Toronto's last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Toronto's last 5 games when playing Chi White Sox
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Toronto's last 5 games when playing on the road against Chi White Sox
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Chi White Sox's last 10 games

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Jim Feist

Angels at Orioles
Pick: Over

The Angels continue to flounder in the AL West, both by a combination of high priced talent not hitting and some injuries to their staff. However, the return of Jered Weaver could be a start to this club getting back on track. Weaver spent six weeks on the disabled list and now has to be the catalyst to get this club going. The Angels pitching staff has been in the bottom five of the AL with a 4.68 runs/game average and 4.32 ERA. Weaver looked good in his first game back against the Dodgers. Good news is that Freddy Garcia hasn't been doing much for Baltimore. Garcia has just a 2-3 mark on the year with a 4.70 ERA. Both these clubs give up lots of runs, LA allowing 300 on the season (3rd most in the AL) and Baltimore 299 (4th most in the AL). Neither of these staffs is going to instill fear in opposing hitters. The safe play in tonight's contest is go with the OVER.

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Will Rogers

Cleveland vs. Texas
Pick: Texas

Both teams here aren't playing well right now, but at home, the Rangers are far more likely to turn things around. I'm taking them Monday agianst the Indians.

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Indians In Tailspin - The Rangers may have lost four of six on their road trip last week, but that's nothing compared to what the Indians are going through right now. The Tribe have lost seven in a row, the last six of which have come on the road, and they are just 4-15 their last 19 games. They have lost 11 straight on the road.  The long-term numbers against the Rangers aren't pretty either with the team losing 26 of the last 34 matchups, including 12 of 15 here in Arlington. Remember when people were discussing Cleveland as a possible playoff contender?

2. Homefield Advantage - Texas, on the other hand, will be ecstatic to return to the Ballpark in Arlington where they are 18-8 for the year and averaging five runs per game. They have beaten Cleveland seven of nine times here, and have won four of the last five home games overall.

3. X-Factor - Indians starter Scott Kazmir is winless on the road in five starts with a 6.66 ERA.

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Jeff Alexander

Miami Marlins +110

The Marlins are showing value at home at this price against a Milwaukee club that has dropped 26 of 37 overall and 12 of 16 on the road. Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo is having a rough go of it. The Brewers are 1-6 in his last 7 starts, and he's carrying an ERA of 8.04 over his last 3 starts. The Marlins have won their last 3 at home and are 7-3 in their last 10 home games versus a team with a losing record. Plus, Ricky Nolasco enters in good form with an ERA of 2.57 over his last 3 starts.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, June 10

Steve Janus

Indians/Rangers Over 10.5

There should be plenty of offense in tonight's showdown between the Indians and Rangers. Cleveland will send out Scott Kazmir, who is a miserable 0-3 with a 6.66 ERA and 1.808 WHIP in three road starts. Texas will counter with Josh Lindblom, who will be making just his second career start. In his first big league start he allowed 4 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks over just 4 and 2/3 innings of work. Cleveland hasn't been hitting all that well of late, but this is the kind of starter who can get them out of their funk.

Believe it or not, Cleveland actually comes in averaging more runs/game. The Indians sit at 4.8 runs/game, while the Rangers average 4.5. Given the lack of starting pitching that we will see in this game, there's no reason not to expect both of these teams to put up big numbers.

The Over is 23-12 in the Indians last 35 road games after scoring 2 runs or less in their last game and an even better 12-4 in their last 16 following a 10-game span where they hit .240 or worse. The OVER is also 30-19 after two straight games where the bullpen gave up no runs and 12-2 over their last 14 games when they enter with a bullpen that has thrown 13+ innings over the last 3 games.

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Dave Price

Atlanta Braves -128

The Braves enter this contest with a great deal of momentum following an 8-1 win over the Dodgers. Since the start of last season, they are 25-9 after scoring 8 runs or more in their previous game and 23-10 in road games following a win of 4 runs or more. San Diego has been a solid investment with Jason Marquis on the mound, but I trust Atlanta's Julio Teheran more. He has an ERA of 3.30 on the season, which is lower than the 3.73 ERA Marquis has posted. Also, Teheran's 3.58 road ERA is lower than Marquis' 3.89 home ERA. Teheran has an ERA of just 1.69 over his last 3 starts while Marquis has posted a 5.40 ERA over his last 3. In addition, Marquis has had issues with the Braves. He's 3-5 with a 7.69 ERA in 9 starts against them. The Padres are 8-21 in their last 29 games versus a team with a winning percentage above .600 and 3-8 in their last 11 games as a home underdog of +110 to +150. Take Atlanta.

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SPORTS WAGERS

Atlanta -1½ +131 over SAN DIEGO

No matter how often you've told yourself to avoid Jason Marquis, something happens when a pitcher strings together five consecutive wins that makes him more appealing. So is there anything more to his recent performance than simple luck? Absolutely not. Marquis' skills are just as ugly, or uglier, than in previous years. A decent control rate used to be Marquis' hallmark. So far, even that has abandoned him with 38 walks in 70 frames. Marquis is maintaining his usual weak strikeout rate and his success so far has hinged purely on an unsustainable 80% strand rate. That won't last. Everything in Marquis' skill set screams "Stay away!" He hasn't managed more than 130 innings over the past four seasons, he logs relatively few strikeouts and while he does get a lot of groundballs, he also gives up too many bombs. The combination of more walks and home runs spells some huge disasters down the road and it’s probably sooner than later. Marquis is a pitcher to watch and fade and he’ll be facing a Braves squad that usually destroys pitchers with a low K rate.

Julio Teheran is showing more regular flashes of the rotation anchor upside in his arm. Digging deeper, his skills have been fantastic vs. RH bats and overall he’s been progressing nicely with his other skills as well. Teheran has walked just 15 batters in 71 frames while whiffing 55. He has 20 K’s and three walks over his last two starts covering 14.2 innings. His groundball rate has gone from 39% in April up to 45% since his last April start. Teheran’s WHIP over his last five starts is 0.90. Julio Teheran is a blossoming ace and he’ll face a Padre team that may need a breather after a four-day slugfest at Coors Field. An overused Padres bullpen will get more work tonight and that also works in our favor. 


Cleveland +125 over TEXAS (5 innings)

1st 5 innings. Josh Lindblom appeared in 74 games for the Phillies and Dodgers last season. A change of scenery did nothing for his skills, as negative control trend came to a head in the second half. Lindblom has always had trouble with lefties and along with a fly-ball%/gopheritis combo, this park makes him a huge risk spotting a tag. Lindblom had some moderate success in 2011 but that now looks like a fortuitous confluence. Strikeout ability is there but his career groundball/fly-ball split of 31%/53% screams danger and he was absolutely torched here in his first start against the A’s on May 20. He gets this start only because Alexi Ogando is out and as soon as Ogando returns, Lindblom will be headed back down to the minors.

The Indians are reeling but there is too much talent on this squad to keep this offense in check much longer. Getting out of Detroit and going to hitter friendly Arlington may just be what the Indians need to get their offense clicking again. Thy name is Scott Kazmir. He's shown tantalizing flashes of dominance but he's also bottomed-out with disastrous outings. Kazmir can rarely be counted on to pitch past the sixth inning—he's completed seven innings just once this season and it’s for that reason that we’ll play the Tribe in the first five frames. Kazmir has 48 K’s in 46 frames and his strikeout rate is supported by a 10.2% swinging strike rate. Kazmir’s 5.24 ERA has been hurt by an unlucky 72% strand rate and once that normalizes, ERA improvement will follow. Kazmir’s chances for success are much greater than Lindblom’s and with a nice tag on the former, it’s the prudent choice.

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Wunderdog

Cincinnati at Chicago Cubs
Pick: Chicago Cubs +105

The Cincinnati Reds are off a big series at home vs. the St. Louis Cardinals, played last night, and now must travel to Chicago, where they could come in flat vs. a weak opponent in the first game of a four game series. The Reds have been great at home, but just a mediocre .500 club on the road.  Homer Bailey has a losing record on the season, and in 11 starts against the Cubs, has not fared very well, as he brings in a career 4.92 ERA. Scott Feldman has pitched exceptionally well, and over his last 10 starts has allowed two or fewer runs in nine of them. The Reds are just 1-6 in Bailey's last seven road starts, while the Cubs are winners of four straight behind Feldman at home. Play the home dog, back Chicago.

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Teddy Covers

Houston vs. Seattle
Pick: Under

Hisashi Iwakuma has been as dominant as any pitcher in baseball here at Safeco Field in 2013.  The numbers don’t lie.  In his starts, he’s lasted 41.2 innings (almost seven full innings per outing) with allowing a grand total of 21 hits and five earned runs.  His 38-2 strikeout to walk ratio is unheard of, as is his 1.08 ERA, 0.55 WHIP and .155 batting average against.

But because his name is Hisashi Iwakuma (a relative unknown) and because he plays in Seattle (a completely anonymous franchise for the last decade); he’s still not being priced like a Justin Verlander or a Clayton Kershaw.

The Astros lineup has gone ice cold again; held to two runs or less in six of their last seven ballgames, including all three in their just concluded set at Kansas City.  And the Mariners bullpen behind Iwakuma is in good shape following strong pitching performances from King Felix, Joe Saunders and Jeremy Bonderman over the past three days.  Don’t expect Houston to be scoring runs in bunches tonight!

But the Mariners aren’t scoring runs in bunches either, held to a single run or less through nine innings in four of their last five games and ranked 14th out of 15 AL teams in scoring this year.  Lefties like Houston’s Dallas Keuchel have dominated this lineup of late – they’ve been shut down by the likes of Andy Pettitte, John Danks, Scott Diamond and Eric Stults in their last four tries against lefties, producing a grand total of seven runs in those four games combined against second tier hurlers.

Meanwhile Keuchel is pitching his way out of trouble, throwing back-2-back gems in his last two outings against two solid offensive teams – the Orioles and Angels.  And the Astros spotty bullpen is in good shape tonight – three of their last four games have featured 7+ inning performances from their starters. I don’t bet many games Under 6.5, but this is one game where it’s hard to picture either squad breaking out offensively in any way.  Take the Under.

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Jack Jones

Kansas City Royals +130

The Kansas City Royals are playing with a ton of confidence right now heading into this huge series with the Detroit Tigers. They have won five straight overall, and they are showing excellent value as a home dog in Game 1 tonight.

Jeremy Guthrie remains one of the most underrated starters in the league. The right-hander is 6-3 with a 3.66 ERA in 12 starts this season, including 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA in five home starts.

Guthrie has held his own against the Tigers in the past, going 5-3 with a 3.89 ERA in 11 career starts against them. He is 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA in his last two home starts against Detroit. Meanwhile, Doug Fister is 1-3 with a 4.23 ERA in seven career starts against the Royals. He is 0-2 with a 6.35 ERA in his last two starts at Kansas City.

The Tigers are 1-10 in Fister's last 11 starts as a road favorite of -110 to -150. The Royals are 11-1 in Guthrie's last 12 home starts. Kansas City is 8-0 in Guthrie's last 8 home starts vs. a team with a winning record. The Royals are 14-2 in Guthrie's last 16 starts vs. a team with a winning record. Bet Kansas City Monday.

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Alex Smart

Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs    
Play: Cincinnati Reds

The Reds have played well as visitors of late as is evident by having won 14 of their last 21 away from home . The Reds are also 7-2 against the Cubs this season and are 7-0 L/7 in their starter Baileys last 7 starts vs. Cubs.

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