Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 1

Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 1

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

San Diego at Miami
The Marlins look to build on their 6-1 record in Jose Fernandez' last 7 starts against teams with a losing record. Miami is the pick (-125) according to Dunkel, which has the Marlins favored by 2. Dunkel Pick: Miami (-125)

Game 951-952: Milwaukee at Washington (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Gallardo) 15.084; Washington (Zimmermann) 14.512
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Washington (-200); 7
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (+170); Over

Game 953-954: San Francisco at Cincinnati (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Kickham) 13.752; Cincinnati (Arroyo) 15.127
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-175); 9
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (-175); Under

Game 955-956: Arizona at NY Mets (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Miley) 14.897; NY Mets (Marcum) 13.497
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: NY Mets (-110); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (-110); Over

Game 957-958: San Diego at Miami (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Marquis) 14.171; Miami (Fernandez) 15.997
Dunkel Line: Miami by 2; 7
Vegas Line: Miami (-125); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Miami (-125); Under

Game 959-960: Detroit at Toronto (1:07 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Alvarez) 16.578; Toronto (Dickey) 15.618
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Toronto (-140); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (+120); Under

Game 961-962: Tampa Bay at Houston (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Moore) 14.532; Houston (Keuchel) 14.803
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-175); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (+155); Over

Game 963-964: NY Yankees at Minnesota (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Pettitte) 15.021; Minnesota (Diamond) 15.138
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1; 9
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

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Jimmy Boyd

Cincinnati Reds -170

Mike Kickham has had a horrible start to his Major League career. He is 0-2 with a 10.57 ERA and has averaged just 3.8 innings per game. It should be another very short night when he faces a Cincinnati Reds team that is 26-14 at home scoring 4.7 runs per game. The Giants have lost six of their last seven games and they are scoring just 2.4 runs per game during that span.

The hitting woes for the Giants will not get any easier tonight when they are up against Bronson Arroyo. In his 10 home starts Arroyo has a 5-1 record with a 2.50 ERA. As a team the Reds are 8-2 in those games. In his career against the Giants, Arroyo has posted a 2.67 ERA. The Giants did manage to score five runs last night, but they were playing in the most hitter friendly ballpark in baseball. I don't think that success will carry over to today's game against the Reds.

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GamePlan

Toronto Blue Jays -143

Toronto has not played well since their 11-game winning streak (2-5 last 7) and the Tigers are 1-5 their last six games. R.A. Dickey goes for Toronto and needs to put a string of quality starts together for this team to make a run at the playoffs.

Tigers are 27-55 in their last 82 games on turf field. Blue Jays are 4-1 in Dickey's last 5 starts. Blue Jays are 16-5 in their last 21 home games.
Take Toronto today

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Jack Jones

San Diego Padres +123

The San Diego Padres are highly motivated for a victory after losing six of their last eight coming into this one. They don't want to to drop this series to one of the worst teams in baseball after losing in walk-off fashion last night.

Jason Marquis is consistently underrated, which is why he has been one of the most profitable pitchers in baseball to back this year. He has gone 9-3 with a 3.99 ERA in 16 starts, including 3-1 with a 3.49 ERA in five road starts.

The Padres are 11-5 in Marquis' 16 starts this season. If you would have bet $1,000 on San Diego in those 16 games, you would be up $8,800 to this point. Marquis is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA in his last three starts against Miami, allowing just 4 earned runs over 21 innings.

San Diego is 10-2 in Marquis' last 12 starts overall. The Padres are 8-1 in Marquis' last 9 starts with the total set at 7.0-8.5. San Diego is 7-1 in Marquis' last 8 starts vs. a team with a losing record. The Marlins are 19-41 in their last 60 after scoring 5 runs or more in their previous game. Bet the Padres Monday.

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Art Aronson

Rays vs. Astros
Play: Under 8½

Matt Moore (10-3, 3.95 ERA) gets the call for the visitors; Moore struck out 11 batters over six innings to earn a victory over the hard-hitting Jays on Tuesday. While he did walk six, Moore was able to manage the damage and ended up allowing just one earned run on four hits. After winning back-to-back starts, it's safe to say that Moore is back on track and comes into Houston with 83 strikeouts over his 86 2/3's innings of work so far this season. The southpaw will be opposed by Dallas Keuchel (4-4, 4.34 ERA) who's last start was skipped after he pitched 2 2/3's innings in relief vs. the Cards on Tuesday. On June 21st Keuchel suffered a loss to the Cubs, striking out a career-high nine batters while tossing his fifth straight quality start in the process, giving up three runs off nine scattered hits over six innings of work (note that Keuchel is 3-2 with a 3.73 ERA in all "night games" this season). Two competent starters facing off in the opener of this four-game set; I believe all signs point to a tight pitchers-duel.

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Dave Price

San Diego Padres +123

The Padres have dropped the last two games of this series while scoring a total of three runs. However, they are 14-6 since the start of last season when out for revenge for two consecutive losses where they were held to two runs or less. Jose Fernandez has been great, but Miami has won just eight of his 15 starts, largely because it is batting .232 and scoring 3.2 runs per game. Jason Marquis has been good for the Padres, who have won 10 of his last 12 starts overall and six of his last seven in the underdog role. San Diego provides more support to Marquis as it is hitting .248 and scoring 4.1 runs per game. It should also be noted that Marquis has been downright tough on the road versus teams averaging 2.75 or less extra-base hits per game since the start of last season. He's 5-0 on the money line in this spot with his teams winning by an average of 4.0 runs. Take San Diego.

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Rob Vinciletti

Cincinnati Reds -172

The Reds return home off a loss in Texas and we see that they have won 8 of 9 as a home favorite off a road dog loss where they scored 2 or less runs, if they are playing an opponent off a road win. The Giants avoided the sweep in Colorado taking the finale 5-2 and snapping a 6 game skid that has seen them average just 2 runs and hit .223 the past week. Things do not figure to get an easier for San Francisco as they take on a Reds team that is 9-2 on Monday and 27-12 vs teams under .500. The Giants have Lefty Kickham making the start and he has a 10.57 era in 2 starts this season. He will oppose B. Arroyo who has a solid 2.50 home era this season and has a career 2.67 era vs the Giants including just 3 runs allowed in his last 3 starts spanning 18 innings against them. Look for the Reds to take the opener.

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Steve Janus

Milwaukee Brewers +170

I like the Brewers chances of pulling off the big upset on the road Monday night in Washington. The Nationals will have the Brewers full attention, as Milwaukee looks to put an end to their 5-game losing streak with their ace Yovani Gallardo on the mound. Gallardo is just 6-7 with a 4.20 ERA over 17 starts in 2013, but he's been pitching like an ace here of late. Gallardo has allowed a total of 3 earned runs over his last 4 starts (25 innings) and is currently working on a streak of 21 innings without allowing an earned run on the road. That alone makes the Brewers worth a look at this price.

The other key here is that Milwaukee figures to have a decent shot at getting to Nationals starter Jordan Zimmerman. While Zimmerman has been lights out in 2013 with an 11-3 record and 2.28 ERA, he could struggle tonight with the wind expected to be blowing straight out at close to 15 mph. Zimmerman is fly-ball pitcher. Routine outs could turn into extra base hits and a short outing for the likely All-Star.

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Jeffrey Brandes

incinnati Reds -1½ +124

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS at CINCINNATI REDS

Pitchers:
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: MIKE KICKHAM (L) ERA: 10.57 W/L: 0-2
CINCINNATI REDS: BRONSON ARROYO (R) ERA: 3.61 W/L: 6-6

MIKE KICKHAM will be making his third major league start today as he faces the Reds. In his first two starts, he's lasted a total of just 7 2/3 innings combined and has an inflated ERA of 10.57. In his last start he gave up six runs (five earned) on eight hits against the Dodgers on Tuesday. The young lefthander may have promise, but he is still in the learning process and is starting today only because of an injury to Chad Gaudin, who is expected to be activated on Saturday.

BRONSON ARROYO will be looking to bounce back from a 7-3 loss at Oakland on Tuesday in which he lasted a season-low four innings and gave up a season-high seven earned runs. It was the first time he did not complete five innings since pitching three innings on July 16, 2012. Earlier this year he went seven scoreless innings and gave up just one hit and a walk in a win over these Giants. Before his last start Arroyo had been pitching well. He had a 1.57 ERA in his previous four starts.

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Jesse Schule

Rays at Astros
Pick: Under

This is a Free play on TB@HOU to go UNDER the total. First off, congrats to all those who got in on yesterday's winner on the Red Sox, that brings us to a SIZZLIN' 9-3 with the last 21, and +$27,540 for 2013. On top of my success with Free plays, I'm also +100 games over .500 with paid plays since January (394-294 +$12,120). The Rays head out on the road after winning 4-of-6 in a recent home stand, including back to back wins over the Detroit Tigers. Five of those six contests saw the total go UNDER. The Astros were just swept at home by the Angels, and two of those three games saw the total finish below the number. Matt Moore will toe the rubber for the visitors on Monday, and he appears to be back on track after losing three straight at the beginning of June. Moore (10-3, 3.95 ERA) allowed just one run on four hits while striking out 11 over six innings in a 5-1 win over Toronto his last time out. Prior to that he allowed three runs on just four hits over 6 1/3 inning in a win over the Yankees in the Bronx. He'll look to make it three straight wins tonight, against a Houston team that's put just five runs on the board in their last three games, and ranks near the bottom of the league in most offensive categories. Dallas Keuchel will get the nod for the Astros, returning to the rotation after missing his last start. Keuchel (4-4, 4.34 ERA) allowed a pair of runs on three hits over 2 2/3 innings of relief against the Cardinals his last time out. He's given the Astros five consecutive quality starts, earning three wins in those five games. He might be fortunate enough to avoid facing Evan Longoria, who is nursing a sore foot. The Astros will also miss Justin Maxwell and Carlos Pena, making it even more difficult to break out of their offensive slump.

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Bruce Marshall

Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets
Pick: New York Mets

We have to pick our spots very carefully if backing the Mets, who have lost 8 of their last 11 and seem to once again be going nowhere this season. But there are a few reasons to give them a look on Monday vs. the visiting D-backs. New York will be the latest test of our humiliation bounce-back theory after being routed 13-2 by the Nats on Sunday. That effort was uncharacteristic of most Mets' outings lately, as they have usually been getting decent pitching in the past few weeks, posing a 2.94 ERA over those last 11 games. Starter Shaun Marcum also can't wait to get back on the mound after finally notching a long-awaited win in his last start when shackling the White Sox, as Marcum held the Pale Hose to no runs and just 4 hits in 8 IP in last Wednesday's 3-0 win. Moreover, Arizona has been no bargain lately, dropping 6 of its last 7overall and 8 of its last 9 on the road, while the rotation is 0-10 with a 5.15 ERA in the last 22 games. The D-backs have also scored just 2.4 runs per game in their last 24 outings, which could mean little support for beleaguered starter Wade Miley.

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Jim Feist

New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins
Pick: New York Yankees

It's not often lately that I'm backing the light hitting Yankees. In fact I played against them on Sunday and won. But Monday is one of the exception since I do like Andy Pettitte. Pettitte is the crafty veteran and while he's struggled of late, he still has the skills to win games. And today, they go up against Minnesota. The Twins are just 36-42 on the season and 4-6 in their last 10 games. Scott Diamond will pitch for the Twins. Diamond has struggled, posting a 1-2 record in his last three games with a 6.19 ERA. Diamond is 5-7 overall with a 5.40 ERA. This is one spot I like the Yankees.

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SPORTS WAGERS

Detroit +125 over TORONTO

R.A. Dickey is coming off his best game of the year, a complete game, two-hit shutout in Tampa. The Blue Jays have now won Dickey’s last three starts and they’ve won four of his last five but don’t believe that he’s regained the form that earned him a Cy Young Award last season. Dickey's 4.30 xERA over his last five starts and 4.45 xERA on the year is indicative of his volatility and also supports his 4.72 ERA, making him the poster boy of the risk/reward play. Detroit hitters have 39 hits in 105 career AB’s versus Dickey for a BA of .371 and overall this season, the Tigers own an excellent .282 BA and .781 OPS on the road. Lastly, at home, Dickey has been torched with a 6.02 ERA and it’s mostly because he can’t keep the ball in the park, as his 12 jacks allowed in 49 home innings will attest to.

Jose Alvarez is Anibal Sanchez’s replacement and in three starts the kid has gone 1-1 with a respectable 3.78 ERA and an xERA of 3.79. He’s shown both good control (4 walks) and a good strikeout rate (13) in 17 innings so far. He also has a strong 46%/18%/36% groundball/line-drive/fly-ball profile. It’s a small sample size and you can’t put much emphasis on what Alvarez has done but know this. Alvarez has his feet wet. He’s survived and he’s passed with flying colors his introduction into the big leagues. That’s something, and he has the talent to continue. Alvarez has thrown 288 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system in 2013, and it reveals that he has five pitches he’ll throw at any time, with his best attribute being that he’ll change speeds constantly. Alvarez uses a four-seam fastball (88-92mph), a change (76mph), a sinker (89mph), a slider (83mph) and a curve (74mph). The Jays have always had trouble with these types of pitchers so Alvarez has a good chance for a very decent game. This play is all about value in a toss-up game that the Tigers have as good a chance of winning as the Blue Jays.


WASHINGTON -1½ +123 over Milwaukee

Jordan Zimmerman has been untouchable in nine home starts this season, going 8-0 with a 1.09 ERA and 0.83 WHIP in 66 IP. Eight of those nine home starts have been pure quality. Zimmerman has been consistent all season long, evidenced by his 69%/0% dominant start/disaster start split. Enjoying his career best groundball percentage, control, and xERA, Zimmerman continues to build upon an already dynamic skill set. As July opens up, the Nationals are not in bad shape at all. They’re in second place just 6½ games back of the Braves and that’s after a first half of poor hitting but things are starting to fall into place. The Nats went off for 13 runs yesterday at Citi Field and scored six on Friday there as well. Last week in consecutive home games, the Nats scored six and seven runs respectively and over their last seven games they’re hitting .290 while scoring 38 runs. Today, Bryce Harper returns and his presence makes these Nationals instantly more dangerous.

Milwaukee was just swept in Pittsburgh for its fifth straight loss. Over that span the Brewers scored 11 times and their frustration carried into yesterday’s 14-inning loss. Can’t imagine the plane ride to Washington was a festive one. The entire team is pressing at the plate and that’s not a good situation to be in when facing Zimmerman. Yovani Gallardo has posted a 1.59 ERA over his past three starts and that may have you believing he’s found “it” again after a tough start. Not so. Gallardo’s hit%, strand% and hr/f% are all pretty normal so it’s not been a case of bad luck. Those three key factors have combined to work against him, resulting in his 5.50 ERA. In retrospect, he’s never had elite-starter control except for the outlier of 2011 and 2013 has been no different with 36 walks in 99 frames. Gallardo’s velocity has declined in 2013, prompting a corresponding strikeout loss and he’s no longer getting swings and misses or fooling hitters within the strike zone. Few pitchers can be successful with a 29% line-drive rate. Gallardo isn’t as bad as his ERA indicates but with his skills slip and pitching for this unmotivated guest, he’s not a good rebound candidate. Let someone else believe the “buy low” hype.

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Bryan Power

Milwaukee vs. Washington
Pick: Washington

Each of the last 3 days, my free play was on the Pittsburgh Pirates. I wound up a perfect 3-0 w/ those selections (this is in addition to my HUGE 107-56-2 MLB Run w/ "premium plays" by the way) and a big reason why was the team they were playing, the Milwaukee Brewers. Monday sees the Brew Crew starting the week in the Nation's Capital. I see no reason why I shouldn't be going against them here as well.

The Nationals look good here for a variety of reasons.  They just beat up on the Mets yesterday 13-2 as they beat both Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler over the weekend. Now, it's all about who they have pitching Monday as Jordan Zimmerman looks for win #12 of the season tonight.  He is a perfect 8-0 at home this season with a 1.09 ERA, the lowest ERA at home of any pitcher in MLB. Zimmerman won both starts against Milwaukee last year, allowing just 2 ER in 12+ IP.

Then there's the fact the Brewers are still the Brewers.  What I mean there is that they are an atrocious road team.  They are now 13-25 this season outside of Miller Park and going back to the start of last season, they are 18-45 as a road underdog. They have lost five games in a row overall and scored only 11 runs during the skid.  Keep going against Milwaukee until further notice.

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Will Rogers

NY Yankees vs. Minnesota
Pick: Minnesota

Of all the teams in baseball with a winning record right now, the Yankees are clearly the worst.  Given what happened over the weekend in Baltimore, you have to wonder just how much longer they can "float above water" (i.e stay above .500).  They are definitely the worst team in the American League East and Monday night I see them even struggling with the Twins.

Here are my keys to the game:

1.  Struggling Yankees - I talked about the Yankees' woes in my winning play Sunday night on the Under.  NY scored just twice in a loss to Baltimore as they were swept right out of Camden Yards.  It was their fifth loss in a row overall as their offense continues to sink to the bottom of the league statistically.  They have now lost 13 of 18 and are averaging less than three runs per game over the last week.

2. Yankees vs. Lefties - Here's another issue.  The Yankees are averaging just 3.1 runs per game vs. southpaws this year.  Tonight, they must deal with Twins lefty Scott Diamond, who I'll call for to have a quality start against this slumping offense.

3.  X-Factor - The Yankees are at a bit of a disadvantage as they had to play Sunday night, on the road no less. Minnesota lost to Kansas City, but at least was here at home.  Andy Pettitte has lost three starts in a row, allowing four runs or more each time.

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Larry Ness

Milwaukee vs. Washington
Pick: Washington

Milwaukee ‘limps’ into Washington for this four-game series on a five-game losing, which has dropped them to the bottom of MLB’s moneyline standings.

Jordan Zimmermann went 12-8 with a 2.94 ERA in 32 starts last year (that’s 12 no decisions). However, the Nats were 21-11 (plus-$946) in his starts, giving him MLB’s 9th-best moneyline mark in 2012. This year, he earned a decision in each of his first 11 starts and will enter this game 11-3 with a 2.28 ERA in 16 starts (team is 13-3 and his moneyline mark of plus-$967 ranks 4th among all starters). He’s allowed just 88 hits in his 114.2 innings plus owns a solid 80-17 KW ratio. Zimmermann takes the mound tonight, looking to tie for the major league lead with his 12th victory (Detroit’s Max Scherzer is 12-0).

He should like his chances. Milwaukee ‘limps’ into Washington for this four-game series on a five-game losing, which has dropped them to the bottom of MLB’s moneyline standings, at minus-$1,846. The Brewers have scored a measly 11 runs during their five-game slide and are still missing injured star Ryan Braun. Milwaukee has scored just twice in its last 31 innings and was held to four hits Sunday in a 2-1, 14-inning loss at Pittsburgh.

That hardly bodes well against Zimmermann, who in his only two career starts against the Brewers, has allowed two ERs over 12.2 innings with 13 Ks (2-0, 1.42 ERA). What’s more, Zimmermann is 8-0 with a 1.09 ERA in nine starts home starts in 2013 (team is 9-0). He's won 13 consecutive decisions at Nationals Park dating back to May 17, 2012, a span of 20 starts (Washington is 17-3 in all games).

The Brewers will send  Yovani Gallardo to the mound and in 2013, he hasn’t been the same pitcher who has gone 14-7, 17-10 and 16-9 the last three years. Instead, he’s 6-7 with a 4.20 ERA in 17 starts (Brewers are 7-10). Gallardo lasted only four innings in his last outing (five runs allowed, three earned) and  it marked the third time in 10 starts that Gallardo has failed to pitch more than four innings. He is 3-2 with a 4.89 ERA in eight career appearances (seven starts) against Washington (Brewers are 4-3 in his seven starts, in which he’s posted a 5.13 ERA). The price is high but it’s justified.

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Jeff Alexander

Tampa Bay Rays -159

The Rays have won their last five versus Houston and are in good position to extend this streak with Matt Moore on the pitcher's mound. He's been a reliable investment considering the Rays are 14-4 in his last 18 starts, 8-1 in his last 9 road starts and 4-0 in his last 4 starts as a road favorite. Moore has given up 3 earned runs or fewer in 13 of his last 17 starts. The Astros have had their share of problems with left-handed starters. They are hitting .243 and scoring 4.0 runs per game against them this season. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, is batting .264 and scoring 5.0 runs per game off them so I like their chances of getting to Dallas Keuchel, who has an ERA of 4.35 at home.

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Wunderdog

Tampa Bay at Houston
Pick: Houston +1.5

There isn't a lot of positive things to say about a Houston team that dropped 213 games over the last two years, and enter this contest at 30-52. That is until their last 30 games, where Houston has played .500 baseball at 15-15. The pitching has really come around for this team as they have held 16 of their last 19 opponents to four runs or less, so the plus side of the run line certainly takes on some value here, especially facing a Tampa team off a big emotional home series vs. Detroit. Tampa's offense has struggled over their last 16 games where they have produced just 3.16 runs a contest. That puts them in a troublesome spot facing the negative side of the run line as well. Make the play on Houston on the run line.

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Bob Balfe

New York Mets -110

There has not been much going right for either team, but the Diamondbacks are really slumping. This team probably has more on their mind with the wildfires going on in their home state. You would think this would be a perfect place to get a winning streak started, but I just don't see the energy level being there tonight. Marcum is 1-9 for the Mets and he in his own right is hoping for his team to take advantage of a slumping team to post a win. I however don't put too much into win/losses for starting pitchers. Marcum is the better starter in my opinion and New York should have their way tonight. Take the Mets.

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Rob Veno 

San Francisco at Cincinnati
Play: Under

Each of these teams is in an extensive offensive drought right now which should lend a helping hand to starters Michael Kickham and Bronson Arroyo. Over their last 10 games, San Francisco has gone ice cold at the plate hitting just .234 while averaging 2.3 runs per game. Cincinnati’s slump has lasted even longer as they’re now in the midst of a 17 game stretch where they’ve hit just .220 and averaged 2.8 runs per contest. Kickham made one stride in his second MLB outing last Tuesday by striking out five and walking none during his 5.2 inning stint but he was hurt by a pair of two-run homers which accounted for four of the five ER he allowed. Here against a more LH oriented Cincinnati lineup and in his third start overall, figure for a positive progression and somewhere between 5-6 solid innings from him. The Giants bullpen is rested, ready and deep enough to secure the back third here. For the Reds, Arroyo owns six consecutive quality outings at home and 11 total in 2013. Over his last six at home, Arroyo has thrown 41.3 innings with a 1.14 WHIP, 1.52 ERA and an efficient average of 13.59 pitches per inning. Like San Francisco, the Reds bullpen is completely available tonight and they have the arms to neutralize SFG late in the game. Giants’ games have totaled seven or less in seven of their last 10 while Cincinnati games have stayed below nine in 13 of their last 17. Signals point toward value in playing the total under in this game.

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