Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, July 25

Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, July 25

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

LA Angels at Oakland
The Angels look to follow up yesterday's 1-0 win over Minnesota and build on their 9-2 record in C.J. Wilson's last 11 starts after scoring 2 runs or less in the previous game. LA is the pick (-105) according to Dunkel, which has the Angels favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (-105)

Game 951-952: Atlanta at NY Mets (12:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Wood) 14.713; NY Mets (Wheeler) 15.652
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-125); 8
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (+125); Over

Game 953-954: Pittsburgh at Washington (12:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Burnett) 14.120; Washington (Gonzalez) 15.769
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Washington (-135); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-135); Under

Game 955-956: San Diego at Milwaukee (2:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Volquez) 15.548; Milwaukee (Gallardo) 14.499
Dunkel Line: San Diego by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Milwaukee (-150); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Diego (+130); Over

Game 957-958: Miami at Colorado (3:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami (Eovaldi) 14.231; Colorado (Nicasio) 15.812
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Colorado (-170); 10
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (-170); Under

Game 959-960: Philadelphia at St. Louis (7:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia (Kendrick) 15.784; St. Louis (Lynn) 15.155
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-170); 8
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (+150); Over

Game 961-962: Chicago Cubs at Arizona (9:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Villanueva) 14.391; Arizona (Miley) 15.870
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Arizona (-175); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (-175); Under

Game 963-964: Cincinnati at LA Dodgers (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Latos) 17.325; LA Dodgers (Greinke) 16.306
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1; 8
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-135); 7
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (+115); Over

Game 965-966: NY Yankees at Texas (2:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Kuroda) 14.171; Texas (Holland) 15.554
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Texas (-155); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Texas (-155); Under

Game 967-968: Detroit at Chicago White Sox (2:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Verlander) 14.755; White Sox (Peavy) 15.690
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Detroit (-145); 8
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+125); Over

Game 969-970: Houston at Toronto (7:07 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Bedard) 14.269; Toronto (Buehrle) 15.752
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Toronto (-200); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (-200); Under

Game 971-972: Tampa Bay at Boston (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Hellickson) 16.103; Boston (Lackey) 15.132
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Boston (-135); 9
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (+115); Under

Game 973-974: Baltimore at Kansas City (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Gonzalez) 16.365; Kansas City (Guthrie) 14.756
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Baltimore (-135); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (-135); Over

Game 975-976: LA Angels at Oakland (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Wilson) 15.384; Oakland (Straily) 14.298
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Oakland (-115); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (-105); Under

Game 977-978: Minnesota at Seattle (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota (Correia) 15.349; Seattle (Iwakuma) 16.956
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Seattle (-170); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (-170); Over

WNBA

Indiana at Tulsa
The Shock look to build on their 6-2 ATS record in their last 8 home games. Tulsa is the pick (-2 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Shock favored by 5. Dunkel Pick: Tulsa (-2 1/2)

Game 651-652: Indiana at Tulsa (12:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Indiana 109.676; Tulsa 114.708
Dunkel Line & Total: Tulsa by 5; 149
Vegas Line & Total: Tulsa by 2 1/2; 145 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Tulsa (-2 1/2); Over

Game 653-654: New York at San Antonio (12:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: New York 104.003; San Antonio 109.613
Dunkel Line & Total: San Antonio by 5 1/2; 142
Vegas Line & Total: San Antonio by 3 1/2; 147 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Antonio (-3 1/2); Under

Game 655-656: Seattle at Los Angeles (3:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle 108.790; Los Angeles 118.146
Dunkel Line & Total: Los Angeles by 9 1/2; 153
Vegas Line & Total: Los Angeles by 13; 147 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (+13); Over

CFL

Edmonton at Montreal
The Eskimos look to take advantage of a Montreal team that is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 home games. Edmonton is the pick (+5 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Alouettes favored by only 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Edmonton (+5 1/2)

Game 121-122: Edmonton at Montreal (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Edmonton 110.064; Montreal 111.772
Dunkel Line: Montreal by 1 1/2; 52
Vegas Line: Montreal by 5 1/2; 48 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Edmonton (+5 1/2); Over

FRIDAY, JULY 26

Game 123-124: Calgary at Winnipeg (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Calgary 115.532; Winnipeg 115.035
Dunkel Line: Calgary by 1; 50
Vegas Line: Calgary by 5 1/2; 53 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Winnipeg (+5 1/2); Under

SATURDAY, JULY 27

Game 125-126: Saskatchewan at Hamilton (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Saskatchewan 114.623; Hamilton 112.135
Dunkel Line: Saskatchewan by 2 1/2; 59
Vegas Line: Saskatchewan by 4 1/2; 56 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Hamilton (+4 1/2); Over

Game 127-128: BC at Toronto (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: BC 117.398; Toronto 113.894
Dunkel Line: BC 3 1/2; 46
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

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MLB

Marc Lawrence

Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics
Prediction: Los Angeles Angels

The Angels and A's switch sites this weekend for a four-game series in Oakland where C. J. Wilson takes the hill for the Halos knowing he is 7-1 with a 1.67 ERA in his last eight overall team starts. In addition, Wilson is 5-1 his last six-team starts in this park and 7-3 against the AL West this season. With Wilson in crafty KW form with 19 strikeouts and 4 walks his last three starts, look for more of the same this evening. We recommend a 1-unit play in the Angels.

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Rocketman

NY Yankees @ Texas
Play: NY Yankees

The NY Yankees travel to Texas to take on the Rangers on Thursday afternoon. The Yankees are 98-51 the past 3 years when playing in day games. Texas is scoring only 3 runs per game their past seven games overall and only 3.7 runs per game in day games this season. Hiroki Kuroda takes the mound for the Yankees where he has been solid this year. Kuroda is 9-6 with a 2.65 ERA overall this year, has a 3.53 ERA on the road this season and 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA his last 3 starts. Derek Holland toes the rubber for Texas where he has pitched well this year but has lacked run support at home with only a 2-4 record this season. Kuroda has a 2.60 ERA in his four starts vs Texas in his career. Holland is 1-5 with a 7.03 ERA in his eight starts vs the Yankees in his career. We'll recommend a small play on the NY Yankees today!

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Jimmy Boyd

Texas Rangers -153

The New York Yankees offense has been struggling at the plate all season long. They are scoring a mere 3.9 runs per game with a .243 batting average. When facing a left-handed pitcher their batting average drops to .227 and they are scoring just 3.3 runs per game. The Rangers offense has had no problems scoring runs. They average 4.4 runs per game at home with a .266 batting average.

Rangers lefty, Derek Holland is getting the start today. Holland has pitched some spectacular games this year and posted a 3.10 ERA in the process. In his last three starts Holland has a 2.91 ERA and has averaged 7.2 innings per game. The Yankees will have Hiroki Kuroda on the mound and he has not had a lot of success in his career against Texas. He has a 1-2 record when facing the Rangers.

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Jeffrey Brandes

Los Angeles Dodgers -117

Pitchers:
CINCINATTI REDS: MAT LATOS (R) ERA: 3.53 W/L: 9-3
LA DODGERS: ZACK GREINKE (R) ERA: 3.36 W/L: 8-2

MAT LATOS gets the ball today for the Reds. While he's 9-3 with a 3.53 ERA for the season, he has not pitched nearly that well lately. In his last 3 starts he's 2-1 but has a Hammels like ERA of 7.20. While he has a 2.48 ERA in 9 starts lifetime against the Dodgers, he has yet to win at Dodger Stadium. He has a lifetime record of 2-6 in nine starts facing the Dodgers.

ZACH GREINKE has been absolutely lights out lately. In his last 3 outings, he's given up just 1 run in 22 innings. He has a 5-0 record and a 2.36 ERA in his last six starts. I guess the fact that he is batting over .400 doesn't figure in the equation but it is worth mentioning as an aside.

The Reds went just 5-10 on their previous two road trips, which included dropping two of three against the last-place Brewers. The Dodgers are back home following their first 6-0 road trip since 2010.

Key Trends:
Cincinnati is 1-4 SU in their last 5 games when playing LA Dodgers
Cincinnati is 6-15 SU in their last 21 games when playing on the road against LA Dodgers
LA Dodgers are 5-0 SU in their last 5 games
LA Dodgers are 8-3 SU in their last 11 games at home

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Brad Diamond

St. Louis Cardinals -168

The St. Louis Cardinals look to close out the three game series with the Phillies (23-30 visitor) on a positive note. Going into Wednesday night action the Cardinals still fostered a lead over second place Pittsburgh in the Central. St. Louis has been a solid money move at home with a 60-37 record. Tonight St. Louis will start lefty Lynn who has been stellar this season, and the Cards back him at home with a 8-2 record. With Lynn the Cardinals have taken 5 straight versus the National League East. Further, St. Louis is 40-16 versus RHP to-date. Philadelphia will try and pick up this important get away game with hard throwing Kyle Kendrick. In the series with St. Louis the Phillies have gone 6-1 with the hurler hitting the bump. However, they are just 4-9 overall in game #3 of a series and 1-5 with Kendrick versus the NLC.

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Red Dog Sports

Baltimore Orioles -128

The Orioles lost last night. I expect them to bounce back On Thursday with Gonzalez facing Guthrie. Gonzalez has an ERA of 1.40 in his last 3 while Guthrie's is 5.03. I expect the O's to play well led by Chris Davis, Manny Machado, Nate McLouth and Matt Wieters.

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Alex Smart

Houston Astros +1½ -105

How bad can things get for the Toronto Blue Jays. Im betting probably alot worse. The Jays lost again last night, after taking a 3-2 lead late in the game against the Dodgers before imploding and losing 8-3 in extra innings. Tonight Canadian Eric Bedard a native of Ontario takes to the hill in Toronto for the Astros, having come off a strong outing in which he struck out 10 in 6 1/3 hitless innings Saturday. The coaching staff made sure, he did not go over a 110 pitch count, and is now rested enough for another quality effort.Bedard has allowed two runs or fewer in nine of his last 13 starts and will give his lowly Astros a chance at an underdog win vs a downtrodden Blue Jays side, that has lost 9 of their L/12 home games. We are getting exeptional value on the runline , betting against a Blue Jays team that is struggling mightly.

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Rob Vinciletti

Detroit Tigers -127

The Tigers will look to finish off the Chicago Whitesox today. The Tigers fit a nice road warrior system here today that has won 9 of 11 times the past few seasons and plays on road favorites of 140 or more with a total that is 8 or less that are off a road favored win by 2 or more runs, scored 5+ runs and had 10 or more hits, vs an opponent like Chicago that scored 2 or less runs in a home dog loss. Detroit has Justin Verlander on the mound and he has won 5 straight here in Chicago. Jake Peavy for Chicago has lost 4 of his last 5 at home vs Detroit. Look fro Detroit to take the final game of this series today.

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Jim Feist

Tampa Bay at Boston
Pick: Under

Both teams are outstanding defensively, which has helped them rise to the top of the AL East. The under is 7-2 in the Rays last nine road games vs. a team with a winning record and the team is on a 21-8-2 run under the total. Tampa Bay has young righty Jeremy Hellickson (9-3), who has been on a tear with a 2-0 record and a 3.00 ERA his last three starts. Hellickson is 7-1 with a 3.35 ERA in 53 2/3 innings over nine starts since June 1. The under is 8-2 in Red Sox last 10 home games. And when these division rivals meet the under is 12-2 in the last 14 meetings in Boston. Play the Rays/Red Sox under the total.

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Larry NessFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Minnesota Twins at Seattle MarinersFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick Seattle MarinersFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Seattle had posted eight consecutive victories by a 50-24 margin before managing just two singles in Wednesday's 10-1 loss to Cleveland. The Mariners bats may have been ‘quiet’ last night but even before the team’s winning streak (which began back on July 12), Seattle had been hitting the ball well. Going into last night’s game, Seattle was averaging 6.67 RPG over its previous 12 contests. That bodes well here, as Minnesota’s Kevin Correia has struggled this season away from home.
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Correia’s career began with the Giants (2003) and through 2008, he made 170 appearances for San Francisco (just 46 starts), going 14-22 with a 4.58 ERA. He was a starter for San Diego in 2009 (12-11, 3.91 ERA) and 2010 (10-11, 5.4), then for Pittsburgh in 2011 (12-11, 4.79) and 2012 (12-11, 4.21). He enters this game having gone 7-6 with a 4.17 ERA in 19 starts for the Twins (team is 10-9) in 2013. He’s had success at home (5-1 with a 3.31 ERA / team is 7-3) but not on the road (2-5 with a 5.26 ERA / team is 3-6). Hard to imagine Seattle’s bats NOT reaching him in this one.
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Seattle will send Hisashi Iwakuma (9-4, 2.99 ERA) to the mound, who leads the AL with a 5.71 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The right-hander is looking to win a season high-tying third consecutive start after yielding two runs in seven innings Saturday in a 4-2 victory at Houston. "I was able to stay within myself and made pitches when I needed to," he said through a translator. Iwakuma opened 7-1 with a 1.79 ERA, allowing just 64 hits in 95.1 innings over his first 14 starts of 2013 (Mariners were 10-4). However, in five consecutive starts from June 16 through July 19, he went 0-3 (team was 1-4), allowing 22 ERs over 29 innings for a 6.83 ERA.
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He has rebounded from that poor stretch to win back-to-back starts (seven innings and seven strikeouts in each game with a 3.21 ERA) and has been sensational in winning each of his three career starts against Minnesota, allowing two unearned runs in 20.2 innings. Yes, he’s proven to be ‘human’ after a blistering-hot start but he should have some margin of error here vs Correia. I’m still willing to lay the 1 1/2 runs with those Seattle bats up against Correia.

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Sports Experts 17FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cincinnati Reds at Los Angeles DodgersSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Cincinnati RedsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The run is over.....Yesterday we gave as our Free Pick of the day Los Angeles Dodgers and they had a tremendous run in the Top of the 10th inning, but they were so close of losing this game if they don't tied it in the top of the 9th inning. Tonight they have in front a great team with a great pitcher, they are not facing Toronto anymore. We know Zack Greinke can be his top starter but all good pitchers always have a bad day and Greinke had 5 amazing wins and last game he came out with ND but also with a great performance against Washington Nationals. All people might think this Sports Experts are crazy, but last 5 winner games of Zack Greinke were against bad teams: 6-1 Padres, 6-4 Phillies, 10-8 Rockies, 6-1 Diamondbacks and 1-0 Rockies so the reason that we assure Dodgers will lose tonight is because they go against a powerful batting team and Greinke will have no weapons to beat them.

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Bruce MarshallFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Miami Marlins at Colorado RockiesFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Miami MarlinsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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We could understandably be a bit reluctant to recommend a Miami team that has scored just 12 runs in its last 8 games. But the Marlins are one key hit last night from having wn their first three games of this series vs. a sluggish Rockies side that has been held to 2 runs or fewer in 13 of its last 21 games. We also have our doubts that Colorado starter Juan Nicasio can match his recent efforts that include an 0.75 ERA over his last two starts since his recall from a brief demotion to AAA Colorado Springs. Note that Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi had five straight quality efforts before getting hit hard last Saturday at Milwaukee, and is hardly facing the hottest offense in the league this afternoon in Denver.

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Jesse SchuleFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Chicago vs. ArizonaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: ArizonaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Cubs held on to win last night's game at Chase Field, despite a furious rally by the home team that forced extra-innings. It figures to be a little tougher for the Cubbies tonight, as the departure of Matt Garza allows Carlos Villaneuva to step into the rotation. Villaneuva (2-6, 4.16 ERA) is winless in eight starts this year, and he's coming off his worst outing of the season.
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He allowed a season high seven runs on nine hits over just four innings in a loss to Colorado his last time out.
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The D'backs hand the ball to Wade Miley, who has allowed three runs or fewer in nine straight starts. Miley (6-8, 4.03 ERA) allowed three runs on eight hits over eight innings in a win over Milwaukee in his last home start, and he's won each of his last three starts in Arizona. He beat the Cubs the last time he faced them at home, allowing just one run on three hits over eight innings.
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Paul Goldschmidt hit a home run yesterday, and he's batting .500 in the series so far. Arizona should be able to handle the Cubs here in the series finale.

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Will RogersFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Indiana vs. TulsaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: IndianaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Here's an early freebie out of the WNBA for Thursday.  Quite frankly, I'm pretty surprised that Indiana is getting points here.  Granted, they lost outright Tuesday at home to the New York Liberty (who I took!) and Tulsa has won three straight. But the Fever are the reigning league champs & are by far the better team.
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Here are my keys to the game:FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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1. Head to Head History - The Fever have had the Shock's number in recent seasons, taking each of the last six matchups.  This includes a win and cover earlier this year, 80-69 as three-point favorites.  At the time, Indiana came in on a seven-game losing streak.  They are a lot healthier now and obviously playing much better. Three of their previous five wins over Tulsa came by 20 or more points.
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2. Defense - Indiana still leads the league in points allowed at 69.4 PPG.   Tulsa has amped up its defense lately, but also is still third to last in the league in points allowed, giving up more than 80 per game.
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3.  X-Factor - Indiana is going to be angry coming off that outright loss at home Tuesday.  They had previously won and covered six of their previous seven games.

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Bryan PowerFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Cincinnati vs. Los AngelesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Los AngelesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Dodgers won AGAIN yesterday. (I had them as my free play).  This should come as no surprise given that they've now won 23 of 28 including six straight.  After sweeping both Washington and Toronto to start the second half, LA returns home Thursday to Chavez Ravine to take on fellow playoff contender Cincinnati.
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Given how they've played over the last month, I feel this price range is a real bargain on the Dodgers, at home no less.  Even better is that Zach Grienke gets the start.  He has yet to lose at Dodgers Stadium this season w/ a 5-0 record in seven starts (7-0 TSR).  He has a 2.17 ERA and 0.986 here at home. Incredibly, going back to his days in Milwaukee, Greinke owns a 33-3 team start record as a home favorite the last three seasons. Lately, he's been sizzling w/ a 0.41 ERA his last three starts.  Overall, the team has won his last six starts. His TSR in night games this season is 10-1.  Again, what am I missing here?  Greinke has also NEVER lost to the Reds in six career starts, going 4-0 w/ a 2.57 ERA.
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Cincinnati starter Mat Latos has been trending in the other directon lately w/ a 7.20 ERA and 1.933 WHIP his last three starts. The Reds too have been playing well of late, but not as well as the Dodgers.

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Art AronsonFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Reds vsDodgersFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: UnderFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Matt Latos (9-3, 3.53 ERA) gets the call for the visitors; Latos gave up three runs off four hits and four walks while striking out five over five frames in his team's eventual 5-4 win over the Pirates on Saturday. Latos hasn't been super sharp of late, but will take his very respectable 3-2, 3.52 ERA road record into LA to throw opposite Zack Greinke (8-2, 3.36 ERA) who was unfortunately saddled with a no-decision vs. the Nats on Saturday, giving up just one run by scattering seven hits and three walks while striking out three over six frames of work. Greinke has been exceptional of late, allowing just a single earned run over his last three starts spanning 22 frames of work; in fact, he's 5-0 with a tiny 2.36 ERA over his last six combined starts (note that Greinke is a perfect 5-0 with a minuscule 2.17 ERA in seven starts at Dodger Stadium this year). Two All-Stars battling it out in the opener of this four game set; this is the first time these teams have played against each other this season, but in 2012 they played six times and the O/U was 2-4. I believe the table is set for another classic pitchers duel; consider a second look at the "under" in this one.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Edmonton +6 over MONTREALFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Montreal stormed out to a 24-point, first quarter lead against Calgary last week and that outburst has many people trusting that the Als will snap out of it here with a solid 60 minutes of football. We’re not so sure. The Als caught the Stamps napping in the first quarter last week but they were outscored 38-3 the rest of the way en route to an 11-point defeat. The Alouettes defense is allowing more points per game than Edmonton and let’s not forget that the Als have played twice against Winnipeg while Edmonton has played B.C twice, Saskatchewan and Hamilton. Big contrast there is terms of strength of opposition and it’s not in Montreal’s favor. The Als have proven nothing so far to trust in this price range and remain a huge risk when spotting points.
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Edmonton is closer than Montreal in terms of being a relevant football team. Mike Reilly is far better than his numbers have shown. This kid is on the verge of a big game and this could be the week he puts it all together. Reilly gets to face a Montreal defense that is not only scrambling but that has had limited practice time this week because of the schedule that has the Als on a short week.
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Edmonton is also on a short week, however, its defense is rock solid and they figure to step up the pressure here against the rather immobile Anthony Calvillo. Edmonton is coming off back-to-back losses to the Lions but B.C. has not lost at home since early last season and the Eskies didn’t look a bit out of place in B.C. last week. Edmonton did a lot of good things in that game, eventually losing by 10 but they were in it the entire way up until very late in the fourth quarter. The Als have been outscored 42-2 in the third quarter of games this year, suggesting that the half time adjustments made by the opposition is killing the Als. Edmonton went on the road in Week 2 and destroyed the Tiger-Cats and played two decent games against B.C., one in the pouring rain. Montreal hasn’t come close to blowing out anyone. In fact, the Als have had the bounces go their way in terms of turnovers and penalties to the opposition, yet they’re 1-3 and have not been able to take advantage of anything. Edmonton is simply the better team here receiving points. We’re calling the upset.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, July 25

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N.Y. METS +115 over AtlantaFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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This is a battle between two rookie pitchers. Zack Wheeler has started just six games for the Mets since being called up on June 18 to face these same Braves. He won that that game and became just the third starting pitcher in franchise history to earn a win in his big league debut and first since Masato Yoshii in 1998. For whatever reason, the Mets bats come alive when Wheeler starts. They’ve won four of his six starts and have scored five runs or more in all four of those games. The Mets have won Wheelers last three starts while outscoring the opposition 24-11. Wheeler was ranked as the Mets top prospect before the season began. He throws two plus pitches: a 93-95 mph fastball (tops out 98) with good late movement and a tight slider. He’s a pooch here because he’s facing the higher ranked Braves and his numbers in his six starts have not been great with 18 walks, 26 K’s and an ERA of 3.58 in 33 frames. However, Wheeler has pure raw stuff and he’s only going to get better as he continues to learn.
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Alex Wood was ranked the seventh best prospect in the Braves system (not in the majors) prior to the season starting. Wood has appeared in 16 games for the Braves this season but only one of those was a start and wouldn’t you know it, that lone start came against these same Mets on June 18. Wood lasted just three innings against New York in that start after allowing just two hits and one run but he walked three batters, threw 73 pitches and struck out five. His longest outing this season is 3.2 innings so it would be unreasonable to expect him to go past five frames here. Wood, a second round pick (88th overall) in the 2012 draft, has risen quickly through the system, dominating at AA-Mississippi before getting the call-up in late May. Wood is a lefty that brings a three pitch arsenal to the mound, featuring a plus fastball that sits 90-94 up to 96, a solid, average change-up, and a below average slider. His unorthodox delivery creates a lot of deception, allowing him to give up lots of weak contact but makes his mechanics inconsistent at times, causing his command and control to suffer. Scouts have two concerns with Wood: his breaking ball and mechanics. He struggles to throw his below-average slider for strikes and may need a better third pitch in order to remain a starter. He also employs a high-effort delivery in which he hops backward on his right leg after landing on it, though he does throw strikes. This is really an emergency start for Wood. He’s only pitched a total of 9 innings over the past 31 days and starting is a completely different animal than coming out of the pen to face five or six batters. The Mets are 21-14 against southpaws this year, they’ve seen this kids’ act and they offer up some nice value.
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Tampa Bay +120 over BOSTONFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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John Lackey is getting plenty of press these days because of an outstanding first half. Lackey is 4th in the AL in ERA and top 10 in WHIP and strikeout to walk ratio (23/100 - BB/K -106.2 IP). Prior to the All-Star break, Lackey had gone six straight starts in which he allowed two runs or fewer. His current year-to-date command and 50% groundball rate both are the best levels of his career. All of this is very nice for Lackey and the Red Sox but it provides us with a great ”sell high” opportunity. Lackey is 34 years old with plenty of miles on his arm. Current Rays have 55 hits in 179 AB’s versus Lackey for a BA of .307. His BB/K rate against Tampa Bay (16/29 BB/K’s) is a fraction of what it is against other clubs. The Rays remain one of the hottest teams in the league and while Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers is getting all the press for being a stud rookie, there is also one in Tampa Bay that is quietly doing some serious damage of his own. Wil Myers is batting .322. He has two hits or more in eight of his past nine games and has five jacks and 21 RBI’s over his past 10 games. This kid has raw talent and has added as much spirit and pop to the Rays line-up as Puig has in L.A.
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Jeremy Hellickson is on a roll. He’s 4-0 in his last five starts with an ERA of 2.03. Over that span, covering 33 frames, Hellickson has whiffed 30 batters. Hellickson’s 4.62 ERA, which is due to some disastrous early starts and a low 65% strand rate, continues to keep him undervalued. Unlike Lackey, who has been torched by the Rays, Hellickson has thrived against Boston. In fact, current Red Sox have just 37 hits in 157 AB’s against Hellickson for a BA of .237. David Ortiz, who is out, is 8-22 off Hellickson (.364) and when you take away his bat, these Red Sox are batting a mere .196 off Hellickson. Yeah, we’d say the Rays have a shot here. 
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L.A. Angels +101 over OAKLANDFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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You’ll have to excuse us while we crap our pants in awe of the A’s series win over the Astros in Houston. Oakland won two of three games in Houston. On Monday, the A’s scored two in the 7th and one in the 8th to eke out a 4-3 win. They lost on Tuesday and yesterday they scored three in the 8th to win 4-3 again. Had you bet the A’s in the first five innings, you would have gone 0-2-1. Somehow, someway, these imposters from Oakland have found late inning magic almost daily but it cannot last. The A’s are hitting a major-league low .209 in July, where they barely averaged six hits per game. Dan Straily has been in-and-out of the A’s rotation in the first half but he's got the goods to have a strong second half. He has an elite 11.5% swinging strike rate, which suggests that his decent strikeout rate has even more upside. His ERA has been hurt by a low 63% strand rate but his skills with runners on base have been excellent. However, current Angels have 24 hits 82 AB’s versus Straily (.293) and he has a fly-ball bias profile (36%/42% - FB/GB). What we know for sure is that the Angels offense is vastly superior to that of the A’s and that makes L.A. a very live pup.
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C.J. Wilson threw 8.1 shutout innings against Oakland in his most recent start and all three of his starts against them this season have been dominant. Wilson has allowed one earned run or less in four straight starts and over that span, he’s allowed just two earned runs in 29 innings. Wilson’s skills have improved every month since the start of the year. He has 118 K’s in 129 frames and has a 1.85 ERA over his last seven starts. Wilson has allowed just one jack over his past eight starts and has thrown seven full innings or more in six of his past eight. C.J. Wilson may just be the hottest pitcher in the majors and the fact that he’s the underdog here against this meek hitting line-up is bordering on absurd.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, July 25

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Arizona Diamondbacks -158FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Cubs held on for an extra-innings win last night. However, they are 0-5 in their last five games following victory. They certainly haven't had much luck when Villanueva gets the ball, going 1-6 in his last seven starts. He's carrying a 5.04 ERA on the road and a 6.43 ERA over his last three starts. Arizona appears to be in better hands with Miley on the mound. The southpaw enters this contest with a 2.70 ERA over his last three starts. The D-backs have won five of his seven home starts this season. They're also 13-3 in his last 16 home starts versus losing clubs and 4-1 in his last five starts as a favorite of -151 to -200. The Cubs have fallen 37 times in their last 54 games in Arizona. Take the Snakes.

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