Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August 1

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August 1

Wunderdog

Indiana at Connecticut
Pick: Connecticut +107

It may look like the lights are out on this season for Connecticut, but when you consider that a win in this game will leave them just 2.5 games from a playoffs spot, it is far from over. This Connecticut team has under-achieved all season long, and this may be their final call, so I would expect them to come out and play up to their ability which is certainly capable of beating Indiana at home this season. Indiana has played a lot better of late, but they have to be eyeing their next four games which are vs. Chicago (home and home), Los Angeles, and Atlanta. They can easily dismiss this game vs. a 4-12 Connecticut team that is likely going to bring it here. The Fever have not been good on extended rest at 2-6 ATS in their last eight on three days of rest. Play Connecticut on the moneyline.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August 1

Larry Ness

Seattle vs. Boston
Pick: Seattle

Beating the Mariners here in Fenway has become a habit, as the Red Sox have won eight straight home games over the Mariners...

The Red Sox lost a make-up game to the Rays on Monday falling a half-game back of Tampa in the AL East. However, Boston has taken the first two of a three-game home series with the Mariners and when the Rays lost 7-0 at home last night to the D’backs (after beating Arizona on Tuesday), the Red Sox were able to move back into first-place ahead of the Rays. It’s been quite a turnaround in 2013 for Boston, a team which went just 69-93 last season. At 65-44, Boston needs only four wins to match its win total from the entire 2012 season.

Boston’s 5-4 win last night (in 15 innings) gave them a major league-leading 10th walk-off victory in 2013. Beating the Mariners here in Fenway has become a habit, as the Red Sox have won eight straight home games over the Mariners, batting .304 as a team with nine HRs while averaging 6.1 runs during their winning run. However, Thursday night the Red Sox will have to face Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, who hasn’t lost since May 25 against Texas,. He’s posted a 6-0 record (2.18 ERA) during his 11-start unbeaten streak (team is 7-4), one which includes six straight outings in which he has allowed two ERs or less (owns a 1.43 ERA in that six-game stretch).

Opposing “King Felix” will be Ryan Dempster. Dempster was picked up by Texas at last year’s trading deadline (from the Cubs) and went 7-3 with a 5.09 ERA (team was 8-4). He chose to sign with Boston after the season (as a free agent) and has been a major disappointment. He enters 6-8 with a 4.24 ERA over 21 starts (team is 11-10). Dempster ended a streak of four straight no-decisions by winning in Baltimore in his last start this past Saturday, giving up two runs over 5.1 innings of a 7-3 Boston win. He has pitched more than six innings only ONCE in his last six starts but the Red Sox have scored 46 runs during that span, winning FIVE of those six games.

Boston’s home win streak over Seattle ends here, as I’ll back “King Felix” over Ryan Dempster.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August 1

Alex Smart

Los Angeles Angels -110

Josh Johnson the Blue Jays starter tonight vs the Halos is 0-4 on the road along with a bloated 7.66 ERA this season. Over his last three starts (all losses) Johnson has compiled a 12.51 ERA. The opposition has compiled a hefty .344 average and 1.092 OPS against him during that span.

His Angels pitching opponent Garrett Richards has looked consistent of late, allowing a total of five hits over eight scoreless innings in his last three trips to the hill.Angels are 6-1 in Richards' last 7 starts as a home favorite.

The Angels after losing three consecutive games to Texas via walkoff home runs have alot to proove to themselves , their fans and their bosses. Im expecting a top tier effort from a under achieving but tough group of Halos.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August 1

Jeff Alexander

LA Dodgers -147

The Dodgers went down for the second time in 12 games Wednesday, but they are 7-0 in their last 7 games following a loss. They have been unbelievable on the road where they have won their last 10. The Cubs got the job done yesterday to end a 3-game skid, but they are 2-7 in their last 9 games following a win and 1-4 in their last 5 home games. The Dodgers have won 4 of their last 5 against the Cubs and have the more proven starter on the hill. Backing Nolasco has resulted in 6 winning tickets in his last 8 starts. Nolasco has also won his last 2 starts against the Cubs. Bet the Dodgers.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August 1

Jeff Benton

Your Thursday freebie will be to play the Astros-Orioles game to sail Over the total.

Bud Norris gets traded from Houston, and will now pitch against Houston, as he takes on the Astros and Jordan Lyles.

Neither pitcher has turned in anything special of late, as both have been hit hard in the month of July. Lyles with a 9.98 ERA the last 3 times he has starter, Norris not far behind with an 8.47 ERA for his last 3 trips to the hill.

The Over has cashed in 2 of the last 3 times Norris has started, while the Over has scored each of the last 4 times Lyles has gotten the call, and is 6-0-1 overall the last 7 times Lyles has started.

Houston blanked Baltimore 11-0 last night, look for a similar amount of total runs tonight, as the Astros and O's play it Over the total.

2♦ HOUSTON-BALTIMORE OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August 1

Brad Wilton

Your Thursday comp play winner is the Over in the Rockies-Braves finale.

While Colorado's bats have gone south the last 2 games (just 3 total runs), the Atlanta bats have been scorching in this series, plating 29 runs so far.

Look for the Braves bats to continue to smoke against rookie pitcher Chad Bettis who will be making his major league debut in tonight's finale.

Each of the last 5 series meetings played between the teams this season have landed Over the total, and there is a strong chance the way the Braves have been knocking the stuffing out of the ball, they could take this game Over the total all by themselves once again tonight.

Play Colorado and Atlanta to head Over for a 6th straight time this year.

3♦ COLORADO-ATLANTA OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August 1

Chris Jordan

My free play for tonight is on the Seattle Mariners over the Boston Red Sox, and in this game I want you listing both Felix Hernandez and Ryan Dempster.

What's not to like with the Seattle ace, who is seemingly peaking right now, and looking every bit like a Cy Young candidate. Hernandez is a perfect 6-0 with a stifling 2.18 ERA over his last 11 starts, and he hasn't tasted defeat since May 25, when he fell to the Texas Rangers.

He comes into Beantown for a clash with the American League East leaders after thrwoing nine innings of one-run ball last Friday, but is going to be out to win this one since he took a no-decision against the Twins in a 13-inning loss.

As for Dempster, well, I just don't think he can outpitch Hernandez, and the M's have the better shot at winning this game. Boston's veteran right-hander won his most recent start, yes, but he is 4-6 with a 4.14 ERA at Fenway Park.

Take the Mariners and list both.

4♦ SEATTLE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August 1

Scott Delaney

Free play for tonight is on the Atlanta Braves Run Line over the visiting Colorado Rockies, as the National League tribe are in a great spot to wrap up this series sweep.

Alright, so first and foremost, let's get this disclaimer out of the way... I'm playing this game on the run line, but I don't care the pitchers who are automatically listed. The ones scheduled to go at the time of the wager will be on your ticket, but since I am not concerned with who goes for either team tonight, I want you playing this game regardless. Thus, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to be sure you have action even if one of the pitchers scheduled to start is scratched, and re-wager the game.

Alright, so since seeing the Atlanta Braves win Sunday night the way they did, while completing a series sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals, it's easy to see they're right up there in the conversation as one of the best in baseball.

Atlanta has won six straight, and after completing its eighth sweep of the season with Sunday's win over the Cardinals its sights are most definitely set on its ninth sweep of the season. The Braves come in with an 11-game lead over the Washington Nationals in the National League East and are playing as good as anyone else - even the Major League-leading Pittsburgh Pirates.

I actually feel bad for the struggling Rockies, who have slipped to seven games under .500. They opened the second half of the season struggling at home against some of the worst teams on the senior circuit, and now they're trying to avoid suffocation on the road against one of Major League's best.

Point blank, this is very weary Rockies team that hasn't had a day off since the second half started. You add in having to be on the road across the country - they're mentally exhausted. This is a good spot for another series sweep for the National League East-leading Braves. Lay the Run Line with them.

5♦ ATLANTA -1.5

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