Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

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Cleveland Indians -156FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Zach McAllister has been great for the Indians at home this season. In his six home starts he has a 2.87 ERA and the Indians are 4-2 in those games. They are facing a White Sox team that is 1-5 in John Danks' six road starts this season. Danks has a 6.03 ERA in those games with a 1.427 WHIP.
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With Danks struggling right now I expect to see the Indians put up a lot of early runs. They have a .271 batting average against left-handed starters and they are scoring 5.3 runs per game in those matchups. It is no secret the White Sox have had trouble at the plate this year. It has been really bad in their last seven games, putting up a .232 batting average and scoring just 2.6 runs per game.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

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Toronto +145 over OAKLANDFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Aside from an 11-game winning streak back in June, the Blue Jays have underachieved the entire season and for the most part they’ve also been overvalued most of the year. That changes here, as they now offer up some very good value against the over-achieving A’s. Esmil Rogers is pitching well. He’s 0-1 over his past five starts but over that span he has a strong 7/25 – BB/K rate over 30 innings. He also has a 51% groundball rate over that same span. When we take a closer look, we see that Rogers’ last nine starts have come against the Dodgers, Tampa, Cleveland, Detroit, Boston, Tampa again, Colorado and back-to-back against Texas. You would be hard-pressed to find a pitcher in baseball that has had a more difficult slate of games since the beginning of June than Rogers and the Blue Jays.
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Oakland rallied from a 5-0 deficit yesterday to beat the Angels for the third straight time after losing the opener. That was a huge series that pretty much put away the Angels for good in the AL West. The A’s could have a bit of a letdown here after playing their in-state rivals. Regardless if that comes to pass or not, Oakland is far too risky spotting a price like this because their offense is one the weakest in the league. We’re not big supporters of A.J. Griffin either. Griffin has a 3.84 ERA and 1.12 WHIP after 134 IP and he’s accomplished that with a very average skill set. Griffin has an uninspiring 33%/18%/48% groundball/line-drive/fly-ball split. With an average fastball velocity of 89.3 mph, it would seem that Griffin succeeds using means other than velocity. An analysis of his pitch selection confirms this assertion. Griffin is throwing his curve, slider or change 40% of the time, meaning he’s keeping hitters guessing but only 11 of his 21 starts have been of the pure quality variety. Griffin has a 4.80 ERA over his past five starts and has been tagged for four runs or more in half of his past eight starts. Griffin is very capable of throwing a gem, especially at this pitcher’s park but we get the better offense and better starter with a pretty sweet tag on our side. It’s also worth noting that the Jays embark on a 10-game trip beginning here and they figure to be extra motivated in an attempt to set the tone in this crucial first game.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Season win Total Washington Redskins Under 8 +116
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If you shop around you will find some 8½’s out there but you’re going to have to lay -140 or so to play it under that number. That said, you might want to wait until very late in the pre-season to make this wager because Redskins coach Mike Shanahan hates to lose preseason games. The Redskins could easily turn up the heat and go 4-0 in the preseason and should that come to pass, you could get a better number. However, if Robert Griffin III happens to injure himself in the preseason, this number will drop dramatically. We choose to play it now because that leaves nothing to chance before the preseason.
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We’ll apply our buy low, sell high philosophy here. The Redskins won the division last season. They are high on most people’s radar and they have become a very sexy choice to make a deep run this season. RG3 made quite a splash in his rookie season. He certainly lived up to all the hype and there’s no question that he’s an impact player. However, we have concerns about his health and this number is based on RG3 being healthy. Running QB’s in this league rarely play 16 games. They are huge targets and an injury is inevitable. The Redskins rode the hype of RG3 last year and turned it into a terrific season but teams will be better prepped this season to face him and he’s not 100% yet. The Washington Redskins almost placed Robert Griffin III on the Physically Unable to Perform list when training camp began. They avoided that and Griffin did not participate in team drills at the start of camp and there is no timetable for that to happen. Griffin is expected take part in seven-on-seven drills and to throw to all of the receivers. Exactly one week ago on the 22nd of July, Griffin tweeted that doctors have cleared him to practice but the coaches will ease him in.
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We have to turn our attentions back to Mike Shanahan. Shanahan is unfit to coach in this league. Shanahan risked RGIII's career in an attempt to win a Wild Card game. Shanahan does not care about his players, they are a means to an end, and that end is Mike Shanahan's further employment. He has done more brow-beating and tearing down than any other coach. The man is unprofessional for calling out players in the media. This doesn't build repoire or team spirit, it tears down the locker room. Shanahan is a bad coach who got lucky he had Steve Young and John Elway to bail him out for his bad decisions in the past and RG3 last year. There were many close games his team should have won. Terrible fourth quarter play-calling, throwing players under the bus in public, creation of multiple scapegoats to shift criticism away from the coaching staff is nothing new for Shanahan. Owner Daniel Snyder and Mike Shanahan is the absolute worst owner/coach combo in professional football. Now in his second year, the players are not going to respond to his terrorism like they did a year ago.
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In terms of talent and outside of RG3, the Redskins lack talented players at the skilled positions. Let’s also not ignore that they gave up the right for a first round pick until 2015 when they acquired the rights to RGIII. Once again that was orchestrated by Shanahan, whose goal is not to win Super Bowls but to simply stay in charge of an NFL team by any means necessary. That means the Redskins roster will be filled with aging vets, castoffs and no impact rookies.
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The most serious issue, however, is the Redskins schedule. Winning the division a year ago has Washington playing other division winners. The Redskins play at Denver, at Green Bay and at Atlanta. They also have to play the Giants, Cowboys and Eagles twice each. In fact, aside from Oakland in Week 4, the ‘’Skins do not have an easy game the entire year. There is no Tennessee, Arizona, Jets, Brownies, or Jacksonville on the slate. Instead, the Redskins have to play San Fran, San Diego, Detroit, Chicago, San Diego, K.C., and Minnesota besides the aforementioned nine games. We’ve put their schedule in easy to read form here:
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Week 1 - Mon, Sep 9 Philadelphia

Week 2 - Sun, Sep 15 @ Green Bay
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Week 3 - Sun, Sep 22 Detroit

Week 4 - Sun, Sep 29 @ Oakland
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Week 5 - Bye

Week 6 - Sun, Oct 13 @ Dallas**
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Week 7 - Sun, Oct 20 Chicago

Week 8 - Sun, Oct 27 @ Denver
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Week 9 - Sun, Nov 3 San Diego

Week 10 - Thu, Nov 7 @ Minnesota
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Week 11 - Sun, Nov 17 @ Philadelphia

Week 12 - Mon, Nov 25 San Francisco
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Week 13 - Sun, Dec 1 NY Giants**

Week 14 - Sun, Dec 8 Kansas City
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Week 15 - Sun, Dec 15 @ Atlanta

Week 16 - Sun, Dec 22 Dallas
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Week 17 - Sun, Dec 29 @ NY Giants
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The two stars** denotes Sunday night, prime timers in which the ‘Skins have two of those. They also travel to Minnesota on three days’ rest on Thanksgiving Thursday on November 7, which means their November 3rd home game against the Chargers is in a “look ahead” spot. The ‘Skins also have two Monday night games, meaning almost a third of their games (5 in total) are prime time games. The Redskins close the season with games against Atlanta, Dallas and the Giants, meaning that Week 14 game against K.C is another “difficult” spot. This is one of the league’s toughest schedules.     
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Can you see nine wins here? If things go swimmingly for the Redskins, they’ll be hard-pressed to win eight games. A couple of key injuries, the inevitable locker room tensions that accompany Shanahan wherever he goes and a lack of talent at the skilled positions will all contribute to this overvalued squad having a very mediocre year and certainly not nine wins.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

Steve Janus

Milwaukee Brewers +112

This is a good spot to fade the Cubs at home. Chicago is fresh off a 3-game sweep at San Francisco and have won 5 of their last seven overall. This may seem like the time to jump on the Cubs, but they are a miserable 1-12 against the money line after a stretch where they have won 5 or 6 of their last seven.

While the Brewers haven't been playing their best baseball of late, which likely has something to do with the distraction created by the suspension to Ryan Braun, they are going to be motivated to play well against a division rival.

The key here is that Milwaukee has the edge on the mound in this one. The Brewers Kyle Lohse has a 2.79 ERA over his last three starts and has now allowed 3 earned runs or fewer in 10 of his last 11 starts. The Cubs will counter with a struggling Jeff Samardzija, who has a 6.62 ERA and 1.641 WHIP over his last three starts. Samardzija has also had a difficult time throwing well at home. He's just 2-4 with a 5.46 ERA and 1.607 WHIP at Wrigley this season. In his last four home starts vs the Angels, Pirates, Astros and Reds he's allowed 23 runs on 37 hits and 11 walks in just 23 and 2/3 innings of work.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

Steve Rosen

Tampa Bay Rays -113

The scorching Rays have won 8 of their last 10 games. We have David Price who is 4-1 on the road going up against Felix Doubront who is 3-2 at home. David Price seeks his fifth win in six starts and the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays look to move ahead of the host Boston Red Sox in the American League East on Monday in the makeup of Thursday's rained-out contest.

Tampa Bay won two of the three games in last week’s series, and its Sunday loss to the New York Yankees was only its fourth in 25 games. Boston is one-half game ahead in the division after defeating Baltimore on Sunday.

Price defeated Boston in his last turn as he allowed one run and five hits in his third complete game in four starts. Rays ace David Price is 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA in his five starts since returning from the DL. He has three complete games in that span.

Cold batting stat: Sox DH David Ortiz is 7-for-31 (.226) with no homers and seven strikeouts in his career versus the lefty Price.

Hot batting statTampa Bay’s Luke Scott has two homers in 13 career at-bats versus Doubront.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

John Ryan

San Diego Padres +145

The simulator shows a high probability that SD will win this game. SD has struggled over the course of the season, BUT they have been great investments when playing the elite teams. They are a resounding 11-4 (+8.0 Units) against the money line in home games when playing against a strong team winning between 54% to 62% of their games this season. The Padres are also a solid 11-4 (+11.8 Units) against the money line off an upset win vs. a division rival as an underdog of +130 or higher over the last 2 seasons. Reds have had a power outage on offense and are coming off a 1-0 loss at Los Angeles. Not good news for a bounce back win tonight as they are just 3-11 (-9.1 Units) against the money line in road games after scoring 1 run or less this season. Take the Padres.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

Jeff Alexander

Cleveland Indians -165

The White Sox have lost 38 of their last 54 overall and 22 of their last 29 on the road. I don't see them doing much damage tonight in Cleveland where the Indians have won seven straight. The Tribe has won its last four versus Chicago and should extend this run given the advantage it has on the mound with McAllister, who is carrying a 2.87 ERA at home. Danks has been awful on the road where he's 0-5 with a 6.03 ERA. Cleveland gets the call.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

Dave Price

Colorado Rockies +130

The Braves are getting a little too much respect from odds makers as Brandon Beachy makes his first big-league start in more than a year. Colorado's Jorge De La Rosa has been dealing, and I expect him to have plenty of success against an Atlanta club that has dropped six of its last seven when facing a southpaw starter. The Rockies are 11-4 in De La Rosa's last 15 starts and 5-2 in his last seven starts as an underdog. We'll make the value play on Colorado.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

Jason Sharpe

San Diego +140

Big fat underdog selection here with San Diego in this one. The Padres are playing some very good baseball right now and none of this is unexpected either as they are finally healthy again. San Diego returns home in this one after going 6-4 on their post All-Star break road trip. Even more impressive than a winning record on the trip was the fact each one of their six wins came as an underdog. In fact the Padres won their backers a healthy +4 units of profit in the ten games. The San Diego offense has been good now that they have all their pieces back in place.

You have to wonder how much is left in the tank with the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds play in their fourth city in the last days here tonight. They have all been big games of late also as they played the Pirates, Giants and Dodgers after the break. This may be a spot where they come in sleeping a little bit in this one versus San Diego. Cincinnati will go with Mile Leake on the hill. Leake is having a good season for a guy with very average skills. His xFIP sits well over a run higher than his ERA on the season meaning Leake comes in a little overvalued. His last start was an odd one as the Giants put up 12 hits against him but scored just one run in his six innings pitched.

The Padres are playing well and at home here offer some very nice value. Take San Diego. Starting to heat up with a perfect 3-0 day on Sunday in big league baseball betting action. I come back here on Monday with my big MLB Game of the Week. I won my big MLB Game of the Month last week and love this game just as much. The pitcher and the team in this contest are both at the tops of their games right now and offer tons of solid value betting them here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

Dave Essler

Miami -115

I think people are going to want to fade the Fish, and I get that, actually. It does give me pause. But, there is, right now, a huge discrepancy in the way these teams are playing and probably a reasonably starting pitching advantage for Miami. Some of Hefner's numbers are decent, but the ERA simply is not, and Turner has only given up more than three earned runs once in ten starts. Now, I will be annoyed of Stanton rests or something, but I cannot wait for lineups this afternoon like I usually can. If Miami were a contending team with some intensity I would think that the first game of a new series might be a bigger issue. But, the Fish are, to a man, just happy to be playing and have no expectations. Conversely, there are always expectations in New York, regardless of whether it's the Mets or the Yankees.

The Mets are 24-42 against right handed pitching, as opposed to 22-14 against lefties. That's an insane difference. The Fish bullpen has been outstanding, and in games against the contending Pirates as well as games at Coors Field recently. This is, I believe, only the 7th time they've been favored this season, and are 4-2 in the previous six, which means it's usually for good reason. Honestly, I was so going to take the RL at about +185 here, but no reason to be greedy. Perhaps split it?

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

Teddy Covers

Chicago vs. Cleveland
Pick: Cleveland

My clients and I cashed a pair of winners supporting Kansas City against the White Sox over the weekend.  And there’s absolutely no reason to think that Robin Ventura’s slumping squad is going to break out of their extended funk in Cleveland tonight.

Here’s an excerpt from my last write-up against the White Sox, with the numbers adjusted to reflect current realities:

“In the ‘bottom feeder’ pecking order in MLB this year, Houston and Miami are clearly at the top.  After those two, the next worst team in baseball has been the Chicago White Sox, sitting 22 games under .500 right now.  The ChiSox are open to dealing nearly every key veteran on the team before the trading deadline, a major clubhouse distraction.  And for a team that expected to compete this year; a team that was sitting at .500, only four games out of first place just two months ago; this complete collapse and roster shake-up to come doesn’t portend an immediate turnaround.”

Cleveland, on the other hand, has a boatload of positive momentum after sweeping the Rangers at home over the weekend.  They’ve been mashing lefties like Chicago’s John Danks all year; averaging more than a half run per game higher while going 20-14 against opposing southpaws.  Starter Zack McAllister has only allowed four earned runs in two previous starts against the White Sox this year, and he’s allowed three earned runs or less in all five previous career starts against them.  This is chalk worth laying!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

Larry Ness

Cincinnati vs. San Diego
Pick: Cincinnati

Mike Leake and Sean O’Sullivan were both San Diego prep stars and the two square off tonight at Petco Park. Leake (Cincinnati’s first-round pick in 2009) pitches at Petco Park for the first time in his career on Monday,. As for O’Sullivan (Angels’ third round pick of the June 2005 draft), he’s making a second straight start for the Padres with Jason Marquis scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery and Clayton Richard having season-ending shoulder surgery, as well. O’Sullivan made 17 appearances (11 starts) for the Angels back in 2009-10, going 5-2 but with a 5.15 ERA. He was traded to KC in 2010 and through the 2011 season, made 26 appearances (23 starts), going 5-12 with a 6.63 ERA.

He spent all of last year in the minors and made his 2013 debut on July 12 at home vs the Giants, allowing six hits and two ERs over five innings of a 10-1 loss. He was used in relief at St Louis on July 19 (2 IP / 5 hits / 3 ERs) and his third appearance of 2013 came last Wednesday at Milwaukee, when he allowed three runs (two earned) over n 6.1 innings of a 3-1 loss. San Diego has won five of seven games and climbed out of the National League West basement, moving past the ‘free-falling’  San Francisco Giants.

Cincinnati is 4-4 during an 11-game road trip which ends here in San Diego with three games. The Reds had averaged 6.2 runs while winning SEVEN of their previous nine, but after beating the Dodgers 5-2 on Thursday, come into this contest off three straight losses (scored just twice while dropping the final three of their four-game series with the Dodgers). However, Mike Leake may not need much help tonight. He has won three straight starts and is 8-2 with a 1.97 ERA over his last 13 (team is 10-3). Take the Reds.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

Jack Jones

Texas Rangers -125

The Los Angeles Angels are deflated after losing three out of four games to the Oakland A's over the weekend. They fell further behind the A's in the AL West standings due to that poor series.

Now, the Angels (48-55) have lost Albert Pujols to a foot injury, and he's going to miss an extended period of time. Texas (56-49) comes in hungry for a victory in Game 1 of this series as it tries to keep pace with the A's, trailing them by six games for the division lead.

Matt Garza has pitched very well this season in his time between the Cubs and Rangers. The right-hander has gone 7-1 with a 2.87 ERA and 1.098 WHIP in 12 starts this year, including 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA and 1.048 WHIP in his last three.

The Angels are 1-6 in their last 7 road games. Los Angeles is 0-5 in its last 5 games as an underdog of +110 to +150. The Rangers are 28-12 in their last 40 home games with the total set at 7.0-8.5. Texas is 11-4 in its last 15 home meetings with Los Angeles. Bet the Rangers Monday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

Tony Bucca

Milwaukee/Chicago Over 7

Lohse has unfavorable numbers vs Cubs lifetime: 5.07 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, .289 batting avg. Samardzija has unfavorable home numbers this year: 5.46 ERA, 1.61 WHIP and .294 batting avg against. Wind is NW at 10 right now. 7 out of their L9 games vs each other have gone over. Brewers road games average a combined 8' runs while the Cubs home games average a combined 9' runs.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

Don Best Consensus

Washington Nationals at Detroit Tigers
Pick: Detroit Tigers

The Tigers are 7-1 in their last 8 overall and 7-1 in their last 8 vs. a team with a losing record. The Nationals are 1-5 in Strasburg's last 6 starts and 1-5 in their last 6 interleague road games.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

Craig Davis

David Price, Tampa's starter, could enter the record books with a win today. With a win Price would be the first pitcher in over 80 years to go into Fenway Park and beat the Red Sox twice within a five-day span.

Price (5-5, 3.75 ERA) pitched a five-hitter in last week's 5-1 win over the Red Sox and, in my opinion, should be able to overpower them again today.

His career ERA pitching in Fenway Park is 1.96 with a 5-1 overall record in nine starts. I'd say that's dominating and I just can't see enough from the Boston offense to scare me away from this one.

He's also 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA since coming back from the DL (five starts) and unless things completely fall apart... he should be able to duplicate those efforts tonight.

Felix Doubront (7-4, 3.78 ERA) counters for Boston and he's hardly in the same class as Price.

While Doubront is a respectable pitcher, he's not the same as Price and while I expect this to be a low-scoring game, I find the Rays the better of the two teams with the better starter on the hill.

Take Tampa as your free play of the day.

2♦ TAMPA BAY

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Jeff Benton

Your Monday freebie is the Under in the Rays-Red Sox make-up game tonight at Fenway Park.

It is deja-vu all over again, as David Price and Felix Doubront meet for the second time in less than a week, as last Thursday's series finale between Tampa Bay and Boston was rained out, so Price and Doubront have at it once again.

Price was the winner last Wednesday, as the southpaw worked all 9 and allowed just 1 run on 5 hits in a 5-1 Tampa win that did stay Under the total.

That makes 7 straight series meetings between these rivals having stayed Under the total.

Price is 5-1 in his 9 career starts in Beantown, and his ERA are Fenway stands at 1.96.

As for Doubront, he did give up 3 runs in last Wednesday's loss, but in his 6 prior starts, Doubront has allowed 2 runs or less to cross, with 6 of his last 7 starts overall having played Under the total.

Rays-Red Sox to play their 8th straight Under tonight early at Fenway Park.

4♦ TAMPA BAY-BOSTON UNDER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

Brad Wilton

Monday's comp play will be the underdog Cardinals as they begin a 5 game series from Pittsburgh.

St. Louis has lost their last 3, as the Cards were swept away this weekend in Atlanta. Look for them to stop the bleeding tonight as they play against a Pittsburgh team that has also had their issues of late.

Pittsburgh is back home after dropping 3 of their last 4 on the road.

Francisco Liriano is now 10-4 for the season after picking up a win over Washington his last time out. He will work against Jake Westbrook who is looking for his third straight winning start.

PNC Park should be packed as the Pirates look to track down the Cardinals for first place in the Central.

My money tonight is on the Redbirds to draw first blood.

2♦ ST. LOUIS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

Brett Atkins

Teams that play Sunday Night Baseball, then have to play the next night are better off if they won the night before and play at home on Monday. Enter the Atlanta Braves, who are laying what I think a cheap price against the Colorado Rockies.

Atlanta, which has won three straight, completed its eighth sweep of the season with last night's 5-2 win over National League Central-leading St. Louis and comes in with an 8-1/2-game lead over the Washington Nationals in the National League East. The Braves are getting it done efficiently, all around, and could very well make an argument for being the best team in baseball.

I know the Cardinals and Pirates have the best records in the National League, but the Braves are on their heels, and right now, Atlanta is playing as good as anyone else, even the Boston Red Sox, who have the best record in baseball. Now here come the Rockies, who didn't necessarily fare well against some of the National League's worst teams during a recent homestand, so I have to wonder what they hell they're going to do against one of Major League's best.

The Braves get a Rockies team that has been at home since the start of the second half, after hosting the Cubs, Miami and Milwaukee, it hasn't had a day off and now travels to the East coast and will be playing across the country. This is tailor-made to be a solid series for the National League East-leading Braves.

3♦ ATLANTA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, July 29

Chris Jordan

I'm not going to list the pitchers in this game because I obviously won't mind if Milwaukee's Kyle Lohse is scratched from this game.

Instead, I'm intrigued with the new-look Cubbies, who are riding a three-game win streak and they're getting it done without Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano. It certainly doesn't look like the team that won two of three games in Milwaukee in late June, and yet it's playing better than that squad.

The home team has won five of the eight meetings this season, and unfortunately for the Brewers, they're arriving from the Mile High City, where it's never easy to continue a road trip from, especially against a division rival. Colorado won two of the three-game set, concluding with yesterday's 6-5 win, so it's hard to see the Brew Crew arriving with any kind of momentum. Going back even further, to their last homestand, the Brewers have lost five of seven.

Chicago, meanwhile, has been gone since the All Star Break, and has won five of seven - including a three-game sweep over the weekend in San Francisco against the defending World Series champion Giants. The fans will be hyped, and the Cubbies should be ready to celebrate. Lay the cheap chalk and play it straight.

1♦ CHICAGO

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