Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, July 30

Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, July 30

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

NY Yankees at LA Dodgers
The Dodgers look to build on their 7-1 record in Zack Greinke's last 8 home starts. LA is the pick (-180) according to Dunkel, which has the Dodgers favored by 2 1/2. Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-180)

Game 901-902: Milwaukee at Chicago Cubs (2:20 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Gallardo) 13.814; Cubs (Villanueva) 15.194
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Chicago Cubs (-115); No Run Total
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (-115); N/A

Game 903-904: Milwaukee at Chicago Cubs (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Thornburg) 14.662; Cubs (Arrieta) 13.738
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1; 10
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 905-906: St. Louis at Pittsburgh (7:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Lyons) 14.721; Pittsburgh (No Starter) N/A
Dunkel Line: No Line
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 907-908: San Francisco at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Zito) 13.181; Philadelphia (Lannan) 14.521
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-140); 9
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (-140); Over

Game 909-910: Colorado at Atlanta (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (Nicasio) 16.177; Atlanta (Wood) 15.140
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-160); 8
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (+140); Over

Game 911-912: NY Mets at Miami (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Wheeler) 14.353; Miami (Eovaldi) 15.924
Dunkel Line: Miami by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Miami (-120); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Miami (-120); Under

Game 913-914: Cincinnati at San Diego (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Latos) 15.978; San Diego (Volquez) 16.290
Dunkel Line: San Diego by 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-160); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Diego (+140); Under

Game 915-916: Houston at Baltimore (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Norris) 13.818; Baltimore (Chen) 15.376
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Baltimore (-250); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (-250); Over

Game 917-918: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Peavy) 16.829; Cleveland (Kazmir) 16.049
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1; 6
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-155); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+135); Under

Game 919-920: Seattle at Boston (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Saunders) 15.611; Boston (Workman) 16.957
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1 1/2; 11
Vegas Line: Boston (-170); 10
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-170); Over

Game 921-922: LA Angels at Texas (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Wilson) 15.196; Texas (Holland) 14.197
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Texas (-130); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (+110); Under

Game 923-924: Kansas City at Minnesota (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Santana) 16.933; Minnesota (Pelfrey) 15.594
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-130); 8
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (-130); Over

Game 925-926: Toronto at Oakland (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Buehrle) 14.103; Oakland (Straily) 15.905
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 2; 9
Vegas Line: Oakland (-160); 8
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-160); Over

Game 927-928: Washington at Detroit (7:08 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Strasburg) 16.911; Detroit (Sanchez) 16.010
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1; 6
Vegas Line: Detroit (-130); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (+110); Under

Game 929-930: Arizona at Tampa Bay (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Kennedy) 15.834; Tampa Bay (Hernandez) 14.983
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-160); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (+140); Over

Game 931-932: NY Yankees at LA Dodgers (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Pettitte) 14.785; LA Dodgers (Greinke) 17.046
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 2 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-180); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-180); Under

Game 933-934: St. Louis at Pittsburgh (4:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Lynn) 15.420; Pittsburgh (Burnett) 14.369
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1; 6
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

CFL

BC at Toronto
The Argonauts look to take advantage of a BC team that is 2-6 ATS in its last 8 road games. Toronto is the pick (+5 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Lions favored by only 3 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+5 1/2)

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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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, July 30

Marc Lawrence

New York Mets at Miami Marlins
Prediction: New York Mets

When the Mets send Zack Wheeler to the mound against Nathan Eovaldi and the Marlins in Miami Tuesday evening, New York will do so knowing Wheeler's road ERA (2.31) is nearly 3 runs per game lower than his home ERA (5.07) this season. On the flip side, Eovaldi stands 0-2 in his home career team starts against the Mets, while the host team in his starts versus New York is 0-4 in his MLB career. Look for more of the same this evening. We recommend a 1-unit play on the Mets.

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Matt Fargo

New York Mets vs. Miami Marlins    
Play: New York Mets

The Mets snapped their three-game losing streak with a win last night in this series opener as underdogs and we are again catching them as underdogs against the team with the worst record in the National League. New York moved to .500 on the road and it is the only team in baseball that has a losing record at home and a .500 record on the road. Despite being 2-3 on this current roadtrip, the Mets are 15-9 over their last 24 road games and they send Zack Wheeler to the hill tonight. After tossing six shutout innings in his Major League debut, he had a couple rough outings but has rebounded nicely as over his last four starts, he has a 2.78 ERA with the Mets winning all four of those starts. New York is 3-1 in his four road outings this season with Wheelers putting up a solid 2.31 ERA in those games. Miami has put together a solid run, going 5-3 over its last eight games following a four-game skid. It is rare to see the Marlins as favorites when Jose Fernandez is not on the hill as this is just the fourth such occasion with them going 1-2 the previous three times. The Marlins are 18-37 in their last 55 games after allowing five runs or more in their previous game and they turn to Nathan Eovaldi tonight. He has been very solid since entering the rotation as six of his seven starts have been quality outings including both at home so getting to him has been tough. The problem is that he has been solid during the day, posting a 1.82 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in four starts but it has been a different story under the lights as he has a 6.19 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in three starts. I expect that trend to continue tonight.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, July 30

Jimmy Boyd

Detroit Tigers -128

There is no denying that Stephen Strasburg is one of the best pitchers in the Nationals rotation. However, his numbers this season do not even come close to matching those of Anibal Sanchez for Detroit. Sanchez has a 2.19 ERA in his 7 starts at home with a 5-2 record. Strasburg on the other hand has a 5.29 ERA over his last three starts.

The Tigers will also have a huge advantage at the plate in this game. Over their past seven games they are scoring 6.7 runs per game with a .281 batting average. At home this year their batting average improves to .301. The Nationals have a .219 batting average on the road and they are scoring a mere 3.4 runs per game. The Tigers are an easy call as such small favorites today.

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Steve Janus

Diamondbacks/Rays Over 8

With Ian Kennedy and Roberto Hernandez scheduled to take the mound in tonight's matchup between the Diamondbacks and Rays, I expect to see the total score reach double-digits.

Kennedy has been a complete disappointment in 2013, he's just 3-7 with a 5.22 ERA and 1.403 WHIP over 20 starts and it's been just as bad on the road, where he's 1-4 with a 5.25 ERA. Considering the Rays are average 4.6 runs/game at home and are hitting a solid .266 as a team over their last 7 games, I like their chances of scoring at least 4 runs with the potential to cover the total on their own. Not to mention, Kennedy is 1-3 with a 6.66 ERA in 5 career starts against the Rays. Each of his last three starts have come at Tampa Bay and he's allowed 12 runs on 15 hits in just 16 and 1/3 innings of work over the three.

As for Hernandez, he's arguably the worst starter in an otherwise stacked rotation in Tampa Bay. He's 5-11 with a 4.92 ERA and 1.323 WHIP over 19 starts and hasn't been a whole lot better at home, where he has a 4.25 ERA and 1.321 WHIP. He goes up against a hot Arizona offense that is average 4.9 runs/game and hitting 2.63 over their last 7 games.

The OVER is 5-1-1 in the Diamondbacks last 7 road games vs a team with home winning percentage greater than 60% and 27-13-2 in their last 42 road games with a total between 7 and 8.5. It's also 4-0 in the Rays last 4 interleague home games vs a RHP and 12-4-1 in their last 17 games as a home favorite of -151 to -200.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, July 30

Jeffrey Brandes

Royals / Twins Over 8

Pitchers:
KANSAS CITY ROYALS: ERVIN SANTANA (R) ERA: 3.06 W/L: 6-6
MINNESOTA TWINS: MICHAEL PELFREY (R) ERA: 5.15 W/L: 4-8

ERVIN SANTANA is 1-1 with a 3.98 ERA in his last 3 starts. He went eight innings on Wednesday, holding the O's to three runs (one earned) on seven hits. In his last start, MICHAEL PELFREY gave up just one run on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts. He's lowered his ERA in 8 straight starts. He's 0-2 with a 3.06 ERA in his last 3 starts.

Key Trends:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kansas City's last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kansas City's last 6 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Minnesota's last 16 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Minnesota's last 5 games at home

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Art Aronson

Royals / Twins Over 8

Ervin Santana (6-6, 3.06 ERA) gets the call for the visitors; Santana was decent in going eight frames vs. the Orioles on Wednesday, giving up three runs off seven hits with two walks in the no-decision. Santana has been solid all year, but if he's had one weakness it's been his play on the road, coming into Minnesota with a 2-3, 3.53 ERA record away from friendly confines thus far. He'll be throwing opposite Mike Pelfrey (4-8, 5.15 ERA) who gave up one run off five hits with a walk over six frames in a loss to the Angels on Wednesday. Pelfrey has looked brilliant at times this season and pretty horrible in others; take note that he's just 2-3 with an extremely pedestrian 5.33 ERA home record this season. Three of these teams last five in the series have flown above the number and with these two streaky starters facing off in the opener of this three-game set, all signs do indeed once again point to a higher-scoring affair. Consider a second look at the "over" in this one.

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Dave Price

Cleveland Indians -146

The White Sox have lost five straight to Cleveland, and I expect their struggles with the Tribe to continue with Peavy on the mound. The Sox have dropped 14 of his last 19 road starts and are 0-8 in his last 8 starts as a road underdog. He has a 6.10 road ERA on the season. The Indians have won five in a row and are 32-13 in their last 45 home games. Kazmir has a 0.89 ERA over his last three starts and has been rock solid at home all season where he's 5-0 with a 3.92 ERA in eight starts. The Indians are 4-0 in his last 4 starts as a home favorite. Take the Tribe.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, July 30

Alex Smart

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Oakland A's    
Play: Oakland A's

These are two teams performing at the proverbial opposite end of the performance spectrum. Oakland has won four straight, while Toronto has lost 11 of its last 15 overall. The A's boast the AL's best home record (34-16) and pounded the Jays yesterday by a 9-4 count. Athletics are 44-13 in their last 57 games as a home favorite and Im betting on them cashing again here today.

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Sports Experts 17

Washington Nationals at Detroit Tigers
Pick: Washington Nationals

We can´t say that Stephen Strasburg is losing his control with his 5-8 record compared to the one he had on 2012 15-6¡¡, most of Strasburg´s loses came from games decided by 3 or less runs against good teams: @ CIN L 3-6, ATL L 1-3, STL L 2-4, @ CLE L 0-2 and his last one PIT L 2-4, what this numbers are saying, that hitters from the Nationals didn´t help Strasburg in all this loses, but tonight things will change with a great opportunity to have Stephen as underdog (not to many times we will see this again in 2013 season) because Washington came back to the winning road taken 3 out of 4 to the NY Mets. People might say that guys from Sports Experts 17 are crazy on saying this, but we have a great argument to make clear this: it doesn´t matters who they won to or if the NY Mets is a good team or not, Nationals knows again what´s the feeling of winning after drop 6 in a row. For the Tigers is coming out tonight Anibal Sanchez that it is not the pitcher all people think, his numbers are bad: 2011 (8-9), 2012 Miami(5-7) Detroit (4-6) and 2013 (8-7), what is the support for such high lines having Anibal this season? the answer is THE TEAM HE PITCHES FOR, but tonight he is facing Stephen Strasburg that will be with less pressure after his team 3 winning streak and well motivated to bring his winning record back.

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Bruce Marshall

Cincinnati Reds at San Diego Padres
Pick: San Diego Padres

The Reds have sunk into a mini-funk with four straight losses, and team psyche was bruised further when the Padres rallied for two runs in the ninth off of Cincy closer Aroldis Chapman to score a 2-1 win on Monday night. Although Reds starter Mat Latos pitched well in his last start on Thursday vs. the Dodgers, the Cincy offense has gone on the blink during the current losing streak, scoring just three times over a four-game span, and San Diego's ex-Rred starter Edinson Volquez has delivered the occasional quality effort this season. Serviceable in his last two starts, Volquez has recorded a pair of wins on the trot. And with Latos posting a 5.16 ERA over his last four outings (even with that win over the Dodgers last Thursday). can't count on a Cincy side that isn't scoring any runs at the moment.

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Jim Feist

San Francisco Giants at Philadelphia Phillies
Pick: Philadelphia Phillies

San Fran is a long way from home and lefty Barry Zito (4-7, 4.92 ERA) is back to his bad ways of walking too many batters, allowing 9 walks his last 12+ innings. That has resulted in an 8.59 ERA - and no wins. Zito has allowed three runs or more in four of his last five starts. The 35-year-old veteran owns a whopping 9.39 ERA in nine starts on the road. The Giants are 7-19 in their last 26 vs. a team with a losing record. Philadelphia lefty John Lannan is on a roll with a 2.25 ERA his last three starts and has a 1.74 ERA in 20 career innings against the Giants.

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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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Will Rogers

San Francisco vs. Philadelphia
Pick: Philadelphia

Nobody will deny that the Phillies have been a major letdown this year, but they get a favorable draw Tuesday night in Barry Zito as they open up a three-game set with the equally disappointing San Francisco Giants.  These teams have combined to drop 15 of their last 16 games. But I say the edge goes to the home team.

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Zito - The eccentric lefty has been a disaster on the road with an 0-6 record (1-8 TSR) in nine starts.  His ERA is 9.39 and his WHIP is a horrible 2.373.  He has failed to make it past the fifth inning in either of his last two starts, both of which were on the road.  Overall, he's gone 0-4 his last nine starts, posting a 9.89 ERA and hasn't delivered a quality outing since May 30th.

2. Trends - Despite being on their longest losing skid of the millenium and having been outscored 52-14, the Phils can rest easy that they are a money-making 17-6 after allowing nine or more runs in back to back games.  Meanwhile, the Giants are just 9-25 as a money line underdog and 3-11 when taking the field with a day off this season.  They are just 7-16 in July and are 2-13 off a one-run loss this year.  They lost their last game 2-1 to the Cubs on Sunday.

3. X-Factor - Lefty John Lannan could be the savior that Philadelphia is looking for as his home ERA is a very respectable 2.73 this season.  San Francisco is just 14-20 vs. southpaws this year.

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Bryan Power

Kansas City vs. Minnesota
Pick: Minnesota

The Kansas City Royals are on a real roll right now, winning a season-high six straight, but I feel the hometown Twins are the better value Tuesday night.  Both teams were off Monday and while that usually works to a team's advantage this time of year, days off have not been kind to the Royals in 2013....

Kansas City is just 1-8 when playing w/ a day off this season. They are certainly sky high after sweeping the White Sox on the road and taking three straight against a good Orioles team before that.  A win here would put them over .500, something that hasn't happened this late in a season in a decade.  But I feel it's a letdown spot and the day off could kill their momentum.

The Twins are expected to get catcher Joe Mauer back from paternity leave.  That's key as Mauer's hitting .324 for the year and the Twins have somewhat struggled to hit in his absence, despite going 4-3 during that stretch. Overall, Minnesota has been pretty hot too; winning 8 of their last 12.  Starter Mike Pelfrey has looked good this month, posting a 2.28 ERA.  Look for the Twins to surprise here.

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Jesse Schule

White Sox vs. Indians
Pick: Indians

Jake Peavy is most likely on the way out of town, but for the moment he's scheduled to start Tuesday's game in Cleveland. The Indians are in hot pursuit of the Tigers for the lead in the American League Central, sitting just 2.5 games back.

Peavy (8-4, 4.28 ERA) allowed four runs on four hits (three home runs) in a 7-4 win over the Tigers his last time out. Prior to that he allowed four runs on seven hits over six innings in a 10-6 win over the Braves. He was fortunate his team was able to put some runs on the board in those two games, both home victories. He hasn't had the same luck on the road, and he's allowed a dozen runs in just 6 1/3 innings in losses to the Mariners and Cubs in his last two road outings.

The Indians hand the ball to Scott Kazmir, who is 3-0 over his last eight appearances. Kazmir (6-4, 3.96 ERA) tossed eight strong innings allowing a single run (unearned) on just one hit in a 10-1 win over the Mariners his last time out. He boasts a very impressive record of 5-0 with a 3.92 ERA in eight starts at Progressive Field this year.

Despite the fact that Peavy is considered a top major league pitcher, the numbers suggest the Indians still have an advantage with Kazmir on the mound at home. There is still a good chance Peavy is traded prior to game time, and a lesser starter or a relief pitcher comes out of the bullpen to make a spot start.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, July 30

Jeff Alexander

Detroit Tigers -135

Strasburg isn't getting help from an offense that is batting only .219 on the road. The Nats have dropped five of his last six starts overall and seven of his last 10 on the road. Strasburg hasn't pitched since the 24th, which isn't a good sign considering the Nats are 0-6 this season when he works on 5 or 6 days' rest. Washington has lost these by an average score of 5.0 to 1.8. Sanchez has been reliable for the Tigers all season, especially at home where he has a 2.19 ERA. He has a terrific track record against the Nats at 8-1 with a 2.02 ERA in 20 starts. Bet the Tigers.

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SPORTS WAGERS

B.C. Lions -6½ over TORONTO

The favorites continue to take the money this season. They went 4-0 last week and they’re off to a 3-0 start this week. Overall, the chalk is 15-4 this season and they are 5-0 on the road. What that suggests is that there is little parity in this league right now and the Argonauts without Ricky Ray have little hope of changing that. With Ray, the Argos are just 2-2 with a win over Winnipeg and a fluke win in the season opener against Hamilton. Combined, the Tiger-Cats and Bombers are 2-8. With starting quarterback Ricky Ray sidelined by injury, the Argonauts are placing their offense in the hands of a second-year backup who was never offered a scholarship by a school outside his home state of Ohio. Zach Collaros showed flickers of promise at the University of Cincinnati, but not enough to spark serious interest from the NFL. The Argos saw something in him, signed him, and left him to learn the game from deep on the depth chart last season. No question, Collaros will be jazzed up and he’s definitely more mobile than Ray. However, the Argos are not deep in talented receivers and Toronto will also be playing without running back Chad Kackert, the reigning Grey Cup MVP. In Week 2, the Lions held Toronto’s healthy roster to 16 points. The Argos will be hard-pressed to match that mark here.

The Lions have won three straight, they boast one of the stingiest defenses in the league and although they are 3-1, they have not come close to playing their best football yet. B.C. has a strong running game and Travis Lulay is close to 1000 yards passing already. Defensively, B.C. is first in the league in yards allowed at 288.0 per game and they remain the only CFL team that is allowing fewer than 300 yards per game. The disparity between these two defenses is astounding, with the Argos allowing a massive 418 yards per game. The Lions always play well against Toronto with six straight wins and 16 wins in the past 17 games. This one might be the worst beating of them all. The chalk rolls on.

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SPORTS WAGERS

N.Y. Mets +111 over MIAMI

The lone chip of the 2011 Carlos Beltran trade to the Giants, Zack Wheeler was brought up out of necessity last month. While a bit wild, he generated optimism with 6 innings of shutout ball in his debut. It's been up and down for the 23-year-old since then. Mirroring concerns about his game at Triple-A, Wheeler has been a little erratic with his control and prone to surrendering HR’s but the Marlins are not a home-run hitting team (last in the majors with just 62) and this is not a home-run hitting park. Wheeler displayed a strong strikeout rate while keeping the ball down at the minor league level and he’s getting progressively tougher after each start. More importantly, the Mets win when he starts. New York has won Wheeler’s last four starts and overall, they’re 5-2 in his starts. Wheeler has an ace-level ceiling and he and the Mets are certainly worth a wager taking back a price.

Nathan Eovaldi is attempting to re-live 2012’s September magic. Eovaldi appeared on several breakout lists for 2013, largely on his September performance in 2012. However, a spring training shoulder injury shut him down and since his recall in June, the early results have been mixed. In just seven starts, Eovaldi’s results have been better than his skills. His 3.54 ERA looks pretty on the surface, but a 24% hit rate is keeping it out of the 4.50 range, where it belongs. Eovaldi's strikeout rate is still below what one would expect for someone pumping a 96.9 mph four-seamer (as he’s done in 2013) and his control has gone a bit worse, leaving his command at a barely acceptable level. Overall, though, it’s still a raw package. It’s difficult to teach that velocity and he’s still green at 23 years old. But without the swings and misses, the fastball is pretty much an empty skill. Look for your 2013 second half, poor-team sleeper elsewhere.


Washington +126 over DETROIT

Anibal Sanchez made a five-inning, solid return to the rotation on July 6. Two of his three games since then have also been of the pure-quality variety. Sanchez has posted the best strikeout rate of his career season-to-date with 119 K’s (33 walks) in 104 innings. That said, Sanchez does have one red-flag in his profile this year and it’s a significant one. His line-drive rate is 26% overall and 29% over his past five starts. That’s a high percentage that could result in some not so pretty stat lines. However, this has nothing to do with fading Sanchez and everything to do with taking back a tag on Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals.

Washington has nothing but talent on its roster but outside of the Blue Jays they have been this year’s biggest disappointment. However, they’ve won three in a row and they’re in second place now with a long way to go. Don’t be surprised to see a serious push from the Nats in the final two months. Then there’s Stephen Strasburg with just five wins in 20 starts. How can that be? Strasburg has allowed just 94 hits in 123.1 innings for a BAA of just .211 to go along with an elite 1.07 WHIP. He also has 127 K’s in his 123 frames, a 51% groundball rate and an elite level line-drive rate of just 17%. Over his last two starts, Strasburg has 18 K’s and 1 walk in 15 frames and the Nats are 0-2 in those games and 1-5 in his last six games. Strasburg is firmly among the game's best with a 2.85 ERA and a sick xERA over his last four starts of 1.55. He won’t win a Cy Young award this year but you would be hard pressed to find a single pitcher in baseball with better under the surface stats than Strasburg and few with better surface stats minus the W/L record. Anytime we’re offered a price on an elite profile like the one here, we’re quick to accept it and we absolutely make no exception here. If justice prevails, Strasburg may not lose another game for a while.


San Fran/PHILADELPHIA Over 9

It’s the same old story regarding John Lannan. He’s always waiting in the wings and he always makes his way into the rotation at some point due to inevitable injuries to other starters. This year is no different, as Lannan has started just 10 games and comes in with a 4.13 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. The ERA is somewhat respectable but the WHIP is not. His xERA of 5.36 over his last five starts reminds us that this is still John Lannan, a pitcher that has never had prolonged success, has a low strikeout rate of 31 K’s in 57 frames and sports an ugly 1.51 WHIP in 58 starts over the past two years. Current Giants have 28 hits in 74 career AB’s against Lannan for a BA of .374 and that’s because he’s never been able to get righties out consistently. The Giants may go off for a crooked number here and if they do, this one goes over early. If they don’t, that’s still ok because Lannan’s mound opponent is Barry Zito and he has almost no shot of throwing a good game.

Zito is in the rotation only because the Giants are playing him 20 million this season and they’ll keep sending him out there until his arm falls off. If he was making a normal salary, he would be nowhere near a pitching mound. After a lucky first month, Zito has progressively gone from bad to worse in May, June and July. On the road, Zito is 0-6 with an ERA of 9.39 after allowing 69 hits and 37 earned runs in 33.2 innings for a BAA of .426. The big-two overall metrics that wrap up the individual items - xERA and pure quality starts - are again far below desired levels. Zito’s xERA, in fact, is the worse of any pitcher in the big leagues since 2007. These are two frustrated teams and one or both of them is going to put up something crooked here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, July 30

Red Dog Sports

Colorado Rockies +152

The Braves won last night and move to 35-15 at home. Juan Nicosia starts for the Rockies and he has pitched well lately after being demoted to the minors. He has allowed just one run in his last 3 starts and won 3-0 at LA recently on the road.

Colorado is a good home team but has solid hitters like Fowler .270, Gonzalez .306 (5-5 last night), Tulowitzki .330, Cuddyer .329, Helton and Rosario.

Alex Wood pitches for the home team and he has mostly been a reliever and allowed 4 runs in 4 innings at the New York Mets. I think there is plenty of value on the road team.

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