Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, June 17

Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, June 17

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Chicago Cubs at St. Louis
The Cubs look to take advantage of a St. Louis team that is 1-5 in its last 6 home games versus a left-handed starter. Chicago is the pick (+170) according to Dunkel, which has the Cubs favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (+170)

Game 951-952: Washington at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Haren) 13.090; Philadelphia (Lannan) 14.649
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-115); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (-115); Under

Game 953-954: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Wood) 15.420; St. Louis (Miller) 14.570
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 1; 8
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-200); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (+170); Over

Game 955-956: Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Liriano) 15.123; Cincinnati (Leake) 16.515
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-125); 8
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (-125); Under

Game 957-958: NY Mets at Atlanta (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Gee) 15.797; Atlanta (Hudson) 14.921
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-200); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (+170); Over

Game 959-960: Miami at Arizona (9:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami (Turner) 15.368; Arizona (Corbin) 14.454
Dunkel Line: Miami by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Arizona (-220); 8
Dunkel Pick: Miami (+190); Over

Game 961-962: San Diego at San Francisco (10:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Volquez) 14.376; San Francisco 15.480
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 1; 7
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-125); 8
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (-125); Under

Game 963-964: Baltimore at Detroit (7:08 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Arrieta) 15.573; Detroit (Scherzer) 16.978
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 965-966: Kansas City at Cleveland (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Shields) 17.887; Cleveland (Carrasco) 15.433
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 2 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-130); 8
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (-130); Over

Game 967-968: Oakland at Texas (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oakland (Straily) 15.889; Texas (Tepesch) 14.265
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Texas (-120); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (+100); Under

Game 969-970: Chicago White Sox at Houston (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Quintana) 14.796; Houston (Norris) 15.167
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Chicago White Sox (-125); 8
Dunkel Pick: Houston (+105); Over

Game 971-972: Seattle at LA Angels (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Harang) 15.487; LA Angels (Vargas) 14.457
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 1; 9
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-170); 8
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (+150); Over

Game 973-974: Colorado at Toronto (7:07 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (De La Rosa) 15.366; Toronto (Johnson) 17.637
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 2 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Toronto (-140); 9
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (-140); Under

NHL

Chicago at Boston
The Bruins look to take advantage of a Chicago team that is 2-5 in its last 7 games in Boston. Boston is the pick (-130) according to Dunkel, which has the Bruins favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Boston (-130)

Game 55-56: Chicago at Boston (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Chicago 12.666; Boston 14.261
Dunkel Line & Total: Boston by 1 1/2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Boston (-130); 5
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-130); Under

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JEFF BENTON

Your Monday freebie is the Oakland A's over the Texas Rangers.

Big chance for the Athletics to put some distance between themselves and the Rangers in the A.L. West standings, as Oakland comes to Arlington having won 17 of their last 23 games, and they have opened a 3-game lead on the sliding Rangers who have now lost 6 in a row, and 9 of their last 11 overall.

During their current 6 game skid, Texas has been able to plate just 8 total runs.

Dan Straily is on a 3-0 run with a 2.20 ERA over his last 5 starts, and he will work against the struggling Nick Tepesch who has allowed 11 runs to score in his last 12 innings of work.

Dating back to last season, Oakland has won 6 of the last 9 series meetings versus Texas.

Have to back the A's until I see some evidence that Texas can bust out of their offensive slump.

4* OAKLAND

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SCOTT DELANEY

My free pick is a frozen one, as I look to the Stanley Cup Finals to improve on this complimentary pick winning streak, which is now at 15-4. If you've watched both Games 1 and 2, you've seen just how competitive the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins are going to be in this series.

That's from a fan's standpoint. Looking deeper, like an analyst, it's not hard to see the Bruins appear to be the better-suited team for this matchup, than the Blackhawks. The Eastern Conference champs are just inches from a 2-0 lead in this series, as they had plenty of opportunities but couldn't get the puck in the net.

Nathan Horton hit the post in the first extra session, then Zdeno Chara’s slap shot deflected off Jaromir Jagr and then the inside of the right post just before the second overtime came to a close. And midway through the third overtime period, Boston forward Kaspars Daugavins had the puck in Chicago's goal crease, but couldn't gain control of the puck to stuff it in the half-empty goal.

Fact is, while Chicago goalie Corey Crawford is the No. 1 ranked goalie in the NHL, I've been just as impressed by Boston's Tuukka Rask - the No. 2 goalie in the league. As the Stanley Cup Final shifts to Boston for Game 3, Rask’s numbers aren't too shabby, as he's 13-5 with a 1.73 goals against average and a .944 save percentage and two shutouts.

Quite frankly, I've been saying this since the end of Game 1, but if one of those close calls went into the net, I'm not sure the Blackhawks would be able to answer the call once the series shifted to Beantown. I think Boston is more resilient, as we saw in Game 2, and now it's time for the Bruins to take advantage of home ice.

I like the value I'm getting with the price on the Bruins.

1* BOSTON

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Jimmy BoydFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Francisco Giants -122FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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We will continue to ride Zito at home since he has given us no reason not to. The Giants are 7-1 in Zito's 8 starts at home this season and he has posted a 1.94 ERA during that span. While Andrew Cashner may be one of the better pitchers in the Padres lineup, his numbers do not even compare to Zito's. Cashner has a 4.45 ERA on the road and a 1-2 record in 5 starts.
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Run support will be a major issue for the Padres. Not only are they facing one of the best pitchers in the league, they will have to do it in the middle of a horrible hitting slump. The Padres have a .239 team batting average over their past 7 games. The Giants offense is rolling right now, scoring 6.7 runs per game with a .338 batting average over their past 7 games.

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Jeffrey Brandes

Chicago vs. St. Louis
Play: Under 7½

Pitchers:
CHICAGO CUBS: TRAVIS WOOD (L) ERA: 2.65 W/L: 5-5
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: SHELBY MILLER (R) ERA: 2.21 W/L: 7-4

For the Cubs, TRAVIS WOOD has 12 quality starts in his 13 outings this season, but has won only five of those games. One of those came May 7 when he beat the Cardinals, giving up one run over 6 2/3 innings at Wrigley Field. In his last 3 starts he's 1-2 with a 2.37 ERA and has 16K's in 19.0 innings.

For the Cardinals, SHELBY MILLER is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA in his last 3 starts. He has 26 K's in 19.0 innings in that time.

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Rob Vinciletti

Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Angels    
Play: Los Angeles Angels

The Angels furious rally came up one run short of a 4 game sweep of the NY, Yankees. Now Seattle comes in after getting pasted by Oakland 10-2. The Mariners are 4-27 as a road dog off a road dog loss by 5 or more runs if they scored 2 or less runs. They have dropped 6 of 8 as a road dog in this range this season and Catch a hot LA. Team scoring over 5 runs per game the past week. Seattle has Aaron Harang and is 7.96 road era and he is 0-3 with an Era above 8 vs the Angels and he opposing J. Vargas who has won 5 of 7 at home with a 3.27 era and turned in a solid 8 inning 2 run gem here back in April vs Seattle. The Angels have won 14 of the past 21 here in the series and are the choice to take game one of the series tonight.

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Brad Diamond

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds
Play: Cincinnati Reds

Overall Lefty Francisco Liriano of Pittsburgh has pitched well since returning to the majors. However, in his last outing in a win over San Francisco, the hurler allowed 8 hits and 4 earned runs and 3 walks in 6 2/3 innings of work. It appears there is a new book on the veteran as lineups are starting to run deeper in the count. This does not bode well for the Pirates as the Reds have won 4 straight versus LHP. In addition, the Pirates have had tough luck in Cincinnati with a 1-5 mark L6. RHP Leake of the Reds is coming off a one-run outing against the Cubs on Wednesday and seems to be on consistent bend at this time. He has put together a solid season with a 6-3 record and a very solid 2.76 ERA. The Reds have been super in game #1 of a series with a 19-7 record. Take Cincinnati on Monday.

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Dave Price

Philadelphia Phillies +100

I'm fading the Nationals with Haren on the hill as they are 0-6 in his last 6 starts, and he's been rocked for a total of 10 earned runs in his last 2 starts. The road has given Haren problems all year as he's just 1-6 with an ERA of 5.76 in 7 road starts. Haren is also yet to solve the Phillies. He's 0-3 (0-5 on the money line) with an ERA of 5.79 in 5 starts against them. The Phillies have won their last 4 at home and are 38-18 in their last 56 home meetings against Washington. Lannan will relish the opportunity to beat his former team so I'm expecting a nice outing from him. Take Philly.

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Red Dog Sports

Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros    
Play: Houston Astros

Our free play is on Houston +112 as a home underdog. The Astros start Bud Norris and his ERA is 2.70 in his last 3 starts while Quintana's ERA is 4.19 in that same three game span. Houston has been competitive recently and we suggest a one unit pick on the home team on Monday night.

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Art Aronson

Mariners vs. Angels
Play: Over 8

Aaron Harang (3-6, 5.60 ERA) gets the call for the visitors; Harang is coming off a good outing vs. the soft-hitting Friars on Tuesday, but I'll caution in reading too much into that start. For the most part the "Harang-atang" has been a gas-can this season and especially on the road going 0-3 with a deplorable 7.97 ERA thus far. And while past failures don't necessarily mean one will falter again in the future, there's no question that this is a team which Harang has struggled with, going 0-2 with a monstrous 16.20 ERA in two 2013 matchups. The veteran will be opposed by Jason Vargas (5-4, 3.74 ERA) who gave up three runs off seven hits with a walk over 6 2/3's innings of work vs. the Orioles on Tuesday, striking out just one in the loss. Vargas has for the most part been solid this year, but note that he sports a 4.14 ERA in all "night games" to date. Harang is a mess and an early exit is guaranteed; Vargas has been good at times and pretty pedestrian in others. I think this number is a little low.

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Bryan PowerFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Oakland vs. TexasFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: UnderFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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What is going on in Arlington these days? The Rangers have gone ice cold at the plate lately.  Last week was not a good one for the club as they lost six straight games - all at home - and are now just 2-9 their last 11 games. The culprit has been a lack of run production.  They scored a total of four runs while being swept by Toronto over the weekend.
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Oakland was able to avoid a sweep Sunday by exploding for 10 runs in a rare defeat for Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma. Making things more strange is that the A's had been held to just two runs total in the first 21 innings of the series.
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I like the Under in Monday's opener of a four-game set between the 1st and 2nd place teams in the American League West. Not only has Texas been struggling to score late (just 8 runs scored L6 games), but they didn't get many runners across the plate the last time they faced their division rivals. Hosting the A's back on May 20th to 22nd, the Rangers managed just five runs total for the series. They should struggle again here against Dan Straily, who came in and pitched seven scoreless innings in this ballpark last month. Including that outing, Straily has allowed 2 ER or less four of the last five times he's started. For the Rangers, Nick Tepesch has seen the Under cash in 9 of his 11 starts.

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Will RogersFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Diego vs. San FranciscoFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: UnderFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Giants were shutout Sunday night by the Braves, a game where I cashed the Under.  I'm sticking with that same mentality Monday as the reigning World Series Champs take on the suddenly red-hot Padres.
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Here are my keys to the game:FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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1. Barry Zito - Zito will keep San Francisco in this game. I say that not because of Zito's recent efforts, but rather what he's done all season at home. The veteran southpaw is a completely different pitcher at AT&T Park compared to on the road.  At home, he's 4-1 (7-1 TSR) in eight starts and more importantly here, has a 1.94 ERA.  On April 21st, he shut these Padres out 5-0, going seven strong innings while giving up just five hits.  The Under is 6-2 in his eight home starts.
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2. Padres - Though they have now won six in a row, San Diego was actually batting just .239 over their last seven games going into yesterday.  I'm not sure if they will be able to sustain that same success on the road.  All six wins were at home.  Starter Andrew Cashner did look good in his most recent start though and will keep his team in this one tonight.
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3. X-Factor - In three of the Giants' last four games, either they or the other team has been shutout.

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Bruce MarshallFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Miami vs. ArizonaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: MiamiFOR  FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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We've fallen into a trap a few times already with Miami, and we certainly have to pick our spots carefully with a team that has lost 47 of 68 games. But now there seem to be some legitimate signs of life from the Marlins, who over the weekend became the first team to win a series from the St. Louis Cardinals since late April.  Specifically, Miami's offense has started to stir, good for 19 runs and a .308 BA over the weekend against the Redbirds.  The availability of Giancarlo Stanton, on a 6-game hitting streak since his return from the DL, has been a plus.  And Mike Redmond has gotten some good work lately from starting pitcher Jacob Turner, with a 1.80 ERA in three starts since being recalled from AAA.  Granted, Arizona starter Patrick Corbin is 9-0, and the D-backs are 13-0 in his starts, but Corbin hasn't been especially sharp in recent games with a 4.44 ERA in his last four outings, and Arizona is reeling after being swept over the weekend in San Diego.  In an already wacky season, it would be fitting for Corbin to lose his first decision of the year to Miami. And at this hefty price, the Marlins are worth a look tonight in Phoenix.

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Marc LawrenceFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Washington vs. PhiladelphiaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: PhiladelphiaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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In his first start this season since April 17th, John Lannan takes the mound for the Phillies against Dan Haren and the Nationals Monday night in Philadelphia.  When Lannan faces his ex-mates he’ll take the mound sporting a 6-2 mark in his last eight team starts during the month of June.  On the other side of the coin, Haren is 0-5 with a 5.78 ERA In his career tame starts against the Phillies.  With Haren 2-8 at night this season and 1-7 in his last eight away team starts, we'll back Lannan and the Phils here this evening.  We recommend a 1-unit play on Philadelphia.

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Dave Cokin

Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies
Pick: Philadelphia Phillies

Emotion and motivation are key variables in handicapping football, and in basketball as well to some extent. In baseball those intangibles carry far less weight. It's really just a matter of numbers. One out of handful of games is going to be more significant that one out of 162. But there is the occasional spot where these aspects come into play in baseball, and I think there's one such spot tonight.

John Lannan will be on the mound for the Phillies as they return home to open a series with the Nationals. This will be Lannan's first start against his former team, and in his case, I'm attaching a little extra importance to this fact than might normally be the case.

Lannan raised a bit of a stink in the spring of 2012 when he found out he was being optioned to AAA. This was following a 2011 campaign that had seen him lead the Nats is starts, wins and innings. The veteran lefty asked to be traded, and Nationals GM responded by stating that interest in Lannan was "mild", and the southpaw ended up spending most of the season in the minors. He was eventually recalled and went 4-1 for the Nats, but spent the post-season in a strictly observational post. Not surprisingly, Lannan was non-tendered in the off-season, and now he's with the Phillies.

Lannan is strictly a back of the rotation guy, but if there's a team he really wants to beat, it has to be the Nationals. He's drawing the right opponent as Dan Haren is getting lit up on a regular basis, and Haren's home run vulnerability has a real chance of being a key tonight.

I'm not altogether sold on Lannan in spite of the circumstances. It's his first start back in the bigs off the DL and he will need to avoid getting hammered by Jayson Werth, who has crushed him in the past. But I like the situation quite a bit, and I sure don't have a problem trying to beat the fast fading Haren. I'll make the Phillies tonight's comp opinion.

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Jim Feist

Mariners at Angels
Pick: Over

The over is 12-5 in the Mariners last 17 road games vs. a team with a losing record as they head to Anaheim. The Angels go with Jason Vargas, who used to pitch with the Mariners so they know all about him. After a great May Vargas has cooled off with a 4.82 ERA his last three starts. He's allowed 90 hits and 29 walks in 84 innings, so he puts guys on base. And speaking of putting guys on base that's all Seattle aging righty Aaron Harang (3-6, 5.60 ERA) does, allowing 10 homers in 54+ innings. He is 0-2 with a whopping 16.20 ERA in two starts against the Angels this season. The over is 25-10-2 whe the Angels play the AL West.

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Bryan LeonardFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cubs / Cardinals Under 7.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Travis Wood and Shelby Miller square off in the series opener at Busch Stadium when the Cubs and Cardinals renew their storied rivalry. Wood is holding opposing batters to a .191 average this season, something that should benefit him when he takes on a Cardinals lineup that is hitting just .233 against left handed pitching. Wood continues to do a great job of keeping hitters off balance and changing speeds. He pitched well against the Cardinals in May, striking out a season-high eight batters over 6.2 innings of work. He has thrown quality starts in 12 of his 13 outings this season. Even if he gets nicked for a few runs, he doesn't really get shelled and is able to keep his team in the game.
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The Cubs will get their first look at Shelby Miller as a starter. He is in the driver's seat for National League Rookie of the Year right now with some really impressive numbers. Miller is striking out nearly 29% of the batters he has faced and has a 2.21 ERA with a 2.52 WHIP. Along with 91 strikeouts in 81.1 innings, Miller has only allowed 79 baserunners. He's in command of the game and throws a lot of strikes. The Cubs have averaged just 3.1 runs per game over the last 10 meetings between these teams and the last eight matchups have come at Wrigley Field. Busch Stadium is a pretty decent pitcher's park and Miller should be able to throw another quality outing.

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Jeff AlexanderFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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NY Mets +180FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Mets are a nice value play with Gee on the hill. He's been flat out dealing, going 3-0 with an ERA of 1.29 over his last 3 starts. The wins came against the Yankees, Nationals and Cardinals with two of them on the road. In addition, Gee has enjoyed pitching in Atlanta where the Mets are 4-0 in his 4 starts. He gave up 1 run or none in 3 of those. Also, the Braves are just 2-5 in Hudson's last 7 starts and 1-5 in their last 6 series openers. Bet the Mets.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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PHILADELPHIA +100 over WashingtonFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Nationals have lost each of Dan Haren’s last six starts. On the road, Haren is 1-6 with a 5.75 ERA and that’s because he can’t keep the ball in the yard. Haren has allowed 17 jacks in 72.2 innings and he’s been taken deep five times over his last two starts, which includes giving up three bombs to the Mets in Washington. That’s the risk of wagering on a fly-ball pitcher. Dan Haren’s 32%/47% groundball/fly-ball split is not likely to play well at this venue. The Nationals do not have the offense to compensate for the amount of hits (91 in 72.2 IP) and jacks that Haren surrenders. Haren’s fastball velocity has also dipped from 92 MPH to barely 88 MPH this season. 
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By contrast, John Lannan has always maintained an elite groundball profile. Lannan’s groundball rate over the past four years beginning in ’09 was 53%, 52%, 54% and 57% last season. This year in three starts, Lannan’s groundball rate is 58%. Lannan is not overpowering by any means but he’s consistent, he keeps the ball down and always gives his team a chance to win. As a dog against the struggling Nationals and a fly-ball pitcher in this park, Lannan and the Phillies are wrongly being billed as the underdog here.     
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TORONTO -1½ +141 over ColoradoFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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We may have missed a chance to capitalize on the Blues Jays over the weekend in Texas but unfavorable pitching matchups that included Wang and Dickey pitching in Arlington made the Jays a difficult choice. That’s not the case here. First, most of these Rockies players have never played in Toronto and it’s not an easy park to deal with for those unfamiliar. The Rockies have not played a single game on turf the entire season, making it even more uncomfortable for the visitor. Jorge De La Rosa was a power arm capable of piling up big strikeout totals before being derailed by Tommy John surgery in 2011. And when he finally took the mound again last September, the results weren't pretty. This year has been a bit better but there signs of trouble to be sure. De La Rosa has allowed a line drive on 27% of the balls righties have put in play this season, second highest among pitchers with at least 12 starts. His walk totals are increasing and his strikeout totals are decreasing. De La Rosa’s health is in question and he’s been hammered in six of his 14 starts. At this park, where line-drives rule, De La Rosa could be in serious trouble.
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Josh Johnson has made just six starts this season. As is usually the case with so few starts, one terrible start (six ER in 1.3 IP) is skewing his results and so is some bad luck. Johnson’s hit% and hr/f are out of whack but his xERA says he’s not been this bad. As these normalize, his ERA will come down. In two starts since coming off the DL, Johnson has whiffed 10 batters in 12 innings and has induced an elite 62% groundballs with an even more elite 11% line-drive rate. It’s the health not the skills that are a concern. With 164 DL days the past three years, Johnson has earned his “F” health grade. Assuming he remains healthy, you can expect Johnson to turn around his slow start and post the strong numbers he’s capable of. Jays are rolling and feeling much better these days and we expect that trend to continue here.
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San Diego +112 over SAN FRANCISCOFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The “fade Barry Zito” theory is still on. Zito was hammered for eight earned runs on 11 hits over just 4.2 innings Wednesday against the Pirates. In five road starts, Zito’s ERA is 11.84. In eight home starts, Zito’s ERA is 1.94, a difference of almost 10 runs. AT&T Park plays friendly to pitchers but that discrepancy is nothing short of remarkable and it strongly insists that Zito’s home numbers are in for a big correction. Trust us when we tell you that Zito has not pitched better at home than on the road. He’s the same garbage pitcher no matter where he pitches but his luck at home has been off the charts. Almost every ball that is hit off Zito is hit hard or deep with the difference being at home they’ve been hit right at people. Zito is a bad play no matter where he pitches and fading him offers nothing but value.
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The Padres have reeled off six in a row and the only reason they’re being offered a price here is because the erratic Edinson Volquez is pitching. Last season, Volquez crossed the 10-win and 180-inning plateaus for just the second time in his career and first time since 2008. Unfortunately, Volquez has maintained his ridiculously high walk rate. Last year, his 13.1% BB% was the worst in the majors among 85 qualified starters. That led to a 1.45 WHIP, a mark that only five pitchers managed to "top." This year his walk rate isn’t much better but that doesn’t mean he can’t be tough to hit against. Volquez uses four pitches that he throws at least 21% of the time and he’ll throw any one of them at any time in any count. He throws a 93 MPH fastball 22½% of the time, a slider 31%, a change 21.1% and a curve 24.4% of the time. He also has a 50% fly-ball rate and this park is a lot more forgiving to pitchers that issue walks than any other. Volquez allowed just one run on six hits and three walks while striking out a season-high nine batters over seven innings in a win over the Braves on Wednesday. Ask 30 GM’s and 30 managers who they would rather have pitching for them and 60 answers would be Volquez. We’re 61.
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Miami +190 over ARIZONAFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Patrick Corbin has started 13 games for the D-Backs this season. Incredibly, the Snakes have won them all. Corbin became the first hurler to throw at least six innings and allow two runs or fewer in his first nine starts of the season since Ubaldo Jimenez had 12 straight such outings with the Colorado Rockies in 2010. Corbin is good but he was the least hyped of the prospect trio that included himself along with Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs and there are signs that his amazing run is about to end. Corbin gave up four runs on eight hits Wednesday while striking out two over five innings against the Dodgers. He’s now been hit hard in three of his past four starts against the aforementioned Dodgers, the Cubbies and San Diego. Corbin’s groundball rate is trending the wrong way, which is another strong sign of fatigue. In fact, that rate has gone from 44% in April down to 40 % in June, down to 32% in his last four starts. Guys like Sandy Koufax, Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson and Ron Guidry put together runs like the one that Patrick Corbin is on. He’s not close to being in that same category and his run is unsustainable. This has nothing to do with the “due to lose” angle, one we do not subscribe to. It’s about taking back a huge tag against the struggling Diamondbacks with an overvalued Patrick Corbin on the mound.
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The Marlins are playing some pretty good ball right now. They’re coming off a series win over the Cardinals and they’ve now won five of their past eight games. Miami scored 19 runs in the three-game set off a tough Cardinals pitching staff in a pitcher-friendly venue and now that offense moves to a much more hitter friendly environment. Then there’s Jacob Turner, one of the most unnoticed and undervalued throwers in the game. Acquired by the Marlins in July, the top pitching prospect had a mediocre debut in his second taste of the Majors. At age 22 and with only 100 IP of experience at Triple-A, Turner needed some more seasoning in the minors and it appears to have served him well. While his top prospect pedigree hasn't surfaced yet, he did post a nice 9.6% swinging strike rate between Detroit and Miami in 2012, an indication that he's got more strikeouts coming. With an elite 56% groundball rate over 20 innings this season, all three of Turner’s starts this year have been of the pure quality variety. His surface stats (1.80 ERA -1.05 WHIP) come with full skills support and he has yet to be taken yard. In summarizing, we get the team and pitcher in better form right now with a huge tag on their backs in a game in which their chances of winning are just as good as the opposition’s chances. That’s value. 
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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, June 17

Wunderdog

Chicago White Sox at Houston
Pick: Houston -105

The Houston Astros have lost 213 games over the last two seasons, and are 26-44 through 70 games this season. That gives the odds makers trouble, as it is difficult to get a line on them to draw attention. And almost always, regardless of the situation, they are a dog. Houston, however, is in their best stretch in three years, as they are 22-7 over their last 18 games, and that includes three straight as an underdog vs. a struggling White Sox team. The White Sox are just 4-14 in their last 18 games, where they have scored four or less runs in 14 of them. Houston has gotten great pitching over their 18 game run, allowing a total of 59 runs or 3.3 a contest. Teams heading in opposite directions right now, value goes to the home dog, play on Houston.

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