Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 23

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 23

Bryan PowerFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Colorado vs. WashingtonFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: ColoradoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Oddsmakers have been slow to react to just how disappointing the Nationals have been this year.  Colorado came to the Nation's Capital yesterday and beat up on the Nats early, prevailing 7-1.  That broke a five-game losing streak for the Rockies and a poor stretch that had seen them go 2-8 overall.  As an underdog, I see them coming through once against Sunday.
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Jorge De La Rosa is more known for his success at Coors Field, but he's actually pitched better on the road this year w/ a 3.04 ERA in eight starts.  Last time out, he was virtually flawless, tossing seven scoreless innings and allowing just one hit. Today, he'll be facing a Washington lineup that has scored just three times in the past two games.  The Nationals rank near the bottom of baseball in most key offensive categories, including 29th in runs scored, 28th in team batting average, 29th in OBP and 27th in slugging.
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Though both teams enter today's series finale with .500 records, the Y-T-D run differentials indicate that in fact the Rockies are the vastly superior team.  Colorado is at +34 while Washington is -29.   That's a really key metric to me.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 23

Jeff AlexanderFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Milwaukee Brewers +126FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Braves are playing losing baseball on the road where they've lost their last five. Look for their road struggles to continue in Milwaukee where they've dropped eight straight. Atlanta's Maholm, who has a 4.89 ERA on the road this season, has a terrible record against Milwaukee. He's 3-11 with an ERA of 5.12 in 22 starts, and his teams are 0-7 in his last 7 starts against the Brew Crew. The Brewers have won five in a row at home. Bet Milwaukee on the moneyline.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 23

Wunderdog

New York Mets at Philadelphia
Pick: Philadelphia +125

Hard throwing Matt Harvey is getting all the respect with this betting number, but what about the rest of the team? The Mets are mostly awful, 25th in runs scored, 27th in on-base percentage, with a losing record both home and away. The Mets are 2-9 in their last 11 against a team with a losing record, and 1-7 in the role of favorite. The Mets are also 2-5 in Harvey's last seven starts with four days of rest. The bullpen won't be able to help Harvey if he needs it, using five guys yesterday in an 8-7 loss here. Philadelphia has a winning record at home and has won three of its last five5 games. The Phillies are 7-2 in their last nine home games, and 7-2 in their last nine home games against a team with a losing road record. Starter John Lannan doesn't walk anyone (three free passes in 19+ innings), and the Phillies are 4-1 in their last five games as a home underdog of +110 to +150. And when these teams meet, the Mets are 1-6 in the last seven meetings. Play the Phillies.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 23

SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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TORONTO -1½ +124 over BaltimoreFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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You think the Blue Jays are looking forward to coming to the park today? Here’s a team that has won 10 in a row and will play in front of an expected crowd of 45,000 + today. The Jays are crushing just about every pitcher they see and will show little mercy or sympathy on Freddy Garcia. Garcia is a washed up, two-pitch pitcher, one of which is an 87-mph fastball. Adam Lind (7 for 11) and Jose Bautista (7 for 14) have 14 hits combined against Garcia in 25 career AB’s and right now those are two of the hottest bats in MLB. Garcia's average length of start this season is 4.1 innings. He strikes out one batter every two innings. He has a line-drive rate of 28% and he’s done all of that with luck on his side that includes a high strand rate of 81%. When that normalizes, as it likely will today. Garcia will deliver a pitching line that looks something like 3 IP – 8 hits 8R 8ER 2 BB 0 K’s.
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Josh Johnson has made just seven starts this season. As is usually the case with so few starts, one terrible start (6 ER in 1.3 IP) is skewing his 4.38 ERA.  In two starts since coming off the DL, Johnson has whiffed 20 batters in 19.1 innings and has induced an elite 58% groundballs with an even more elite 13% line-drive rate. Johnson is flashing the skills that made him one of the most dominate starters in the league a couple of years ago with the Marlins and assuming he’s healthy, he has a great chance to dominate again. Huge pitching mismatch here and it’s also worth noting that the Jays pen has allowed one earned run in the past 27.1 innings. The beat goes on. 
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CLEVELAND -1½ +141 over MinnesotaFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Pedro Hernandez is an emergency replacement for Mike Pelfrey today and that’s fine by us because Hernandez may even be worse than Pelfrey. Hernandez has been bouncing around the minors since 2007, having pitched at different levels for an incredibly high 11 different teams. This season he’s pitched at both Triple AAA Rochester and he’s also worked in relief out of the Twins bullpen as well as starting two games. Hernandez’s brief bouts everywhere he pitches keep confirming that he’s very hittable. A new bout occurred this year with Minnesota (12.2 H/9), and several of those hits turned into homers (6 HR in 32.1 IP), adding up to a 5.85 ERA (5.06 xERA). Add a 1.67 WHIP and an ugly 38%/26%/36% groundball/line-drive/fly-ball profile and one can understand why nobody has been able to give this guy a permanent home. With possibly the worst starting pitching staff in the history of MLB, Pedro Hernandez couldn’t even crack it. 
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If the Indians had any other pitcher going here besides Carlos Carrasco, they would be a much lower price spotting 1½ runs, probably somewhere in the -1½ +105 range. Carrasco’s surface stats are really ugly (0-2 - 8.40 ERA – 6/7 BB/K’s) but it’s a really small, 15 inning sample size that hides Carrasco’s profit potential.  Carrasco missed all of 2012 after recovering from Sept 2011 TJS surgery. Before that injury, he was building nicely on a 2010 surprise season with tightening command and a bolstering groundball profile. Not a soft-tosser (average fastball of 93 MPH), Carrasco went out and threw a 7.1 innings, four-hit, one run gem in his last start against the Royals but the Tribe lost 2-1. Before his call-up, Carrasco was dealing it at Triple AAA Columbus with a 2-0 record in nine starts covering 47 frames. He had a strong BB/K ratio of 14/50 and a nifty 1.13 WHIP and 3.21 ERA. Carrasco has the skills to thrive and is one of the best buy-low targets of the day.
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MILWAUKEE +122 over AtlantaFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Crew have won the first two games of this series by identical 2-0 scores, meaning the Braves have been shutout in 24 straight innings dating back to Thursday’s 4-3 loss to the Mets. Atlanta has dropped five of six and they have scored seven runs total in those five losses. It may also surprise you to learn that no team in the majors, besides the Astros has struck out more times than these Braves so when they face a strikeout pitcher, they are a team in trouble. Alfredo Figaro not only strikes out a lot of the batters he faces, he also has a solid groundball rate of 50%. Figaro has elite command and his 93.5 average fastball velocity is the third best in the league behind Stephen Strasburg and Matt Harvey. The window for buying low on Figaro is closing quickly and we’re not about to miss out on this opportunity.
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Paul Maholm is 7-6 with a 3.37 ERA and while he’s definitely raised some eyebrows this season, especially early on, his skills say that he’s exactly the same mediocre pitcher that he’s always been. Sure, you can add a little more guile and maturity to his profile but what you can’t add his velocity or movement to his pitches. Maholm has been aided by a fortunate 88% strand rate in his seven wins thus far. Prior to striking out 7 Mets in his last start, Maholm had whiffed four batters or less in seven straight and in nine of his past 10 starts. He’s also benefitted greatly from pitching at Turner Field, where he is 4-2 with a 1.80 ERA. However, this game is at Miller Park and Maholm’s road numbers tell a completely different story. In 53.1 innings on the road, Maholm has walked 21 batters, has a barely acceptable 1.30 WHIP and has a 4.89 ERA. This park is unforgiving to pitchers with average stuff and Paul Maholm has always had that. This year is no exception.
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Pittsburgh +122 over L.A. ANGELSFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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There have been a lot of impressive pitching performances this season but perhaps the most impressive of them all was Charlie Morton’s second start of the year at Great American Ballpark last week. Precisely a year removed from Tommy John surgery, Morton’s first start of the year came against the Giants in which he threw five innings of seven-hit ball and allowed two earned runs. Morton struck out five in that game and walked one. Then came his second start in which Morton shutout the Reds in 5.1 frames of three-hit ball. Morton maintained his elite groundball rate in those two starts by inducing 21 grounders against the 45 total batters he faced. That’s a 59% groundball rate when factoring in his seven K’s and just one walk. Morton was dominant and needed just 61 pitches to breeze through 5.1 frames at one of the best hitter parks in the league. Morton features a nasty sinker that he throws 82% of the time and hitters can’t do a thing with it. He’ll now face an Angels team that keeps losing a lot more games than they win and that has been outscored 11-3 in the first two games of this series.
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Joe Blanton isn’t as bad as his 1-10 record and 5.62 ERA suggests but it’s hard to ignore the fact that the Angels have lost 12 of Blanton’s 14 starts. It’s also hard to overlook the 15 bombs that Blanton has surrendered in 83 innings of work, not to mention a .325 BAA. At home Blanton is 0-4 with a 5.70 ERA. Overall, the Halos have lost with Blanton on the hill to the Astros twice, the Mariners twice, and to the Twins in Minnesota by a final score of 8-2. One game he didn’t lose was against the White Sox in which the Angels scored 12 times and won 12-9. The Angels have been a horrible favorite the entire season. With Blanton pitching, a horrible favorite is an understatement.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, June 23

Jack JonesFOR  FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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New York Yankees -110FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Rarely will you ever get the New York Yankees at home at this kind of price. I'll gladly take advantage Sunday and back them at an excellent price against the Tampa Bay Rays.
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Ivan Nova takes on Chris Archer in this one. Archer has gone 1-3 with a 5.03 ERA and 1.627 WHIP in four starts this season. He is getting too much respect here, especially considering he is 0-2 with an 8.30 ERA and 2.307 WHIP in two road starts this year.
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While Nova has posted a 5.16 ERA in limited action this season, he has owned the Rays in the past. Nova is 5-1 with a 3.22 ERA and 1.132 WHIP in eight career starts against Tampa Bay. The Yankees are 7-1 in those contests.
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Tampa Bay is 6-18 (-11.4 Units) against the money line as a road underdog of +100 or higher this season. Nova is 21-7 (+11.9 Units) against the money line when the money line is -100 to -150 over the last 3 seasons. Bet the Yankees Sunday.

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