Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, August 16

Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, August 16

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Cleveland at Oakland
The A's look to build on their 11-2 record in A.J. Griffin's last 13 home starts against teams with a winning record. Oakland is the pick (-130) according to Dunkel, which has the A's favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-130)

Game 951-952: St. Louis at Chicago Cubs (4:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Westbrook) 14.971; Cubs (Arrieta) 13.435
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-145); No Run Total
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-145); N/A

Game 953-954: Arizona at Pittsburgh (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (McCarthy) 16.088; Pittsburgh (Cole) 14.984
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh (-145); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (+125); Under

Game 955-956: LA Dodgers at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Greinke) 15.342; Philadelphia (Lee) 16.425
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1; 6
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-120); 7
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (+100); Under

Game 957-958: San Francisco at Miami (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Gaudin) 15.450; Miami (Eovaldi) 13.952
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-115); 7
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (-115); Over

Game 959-960: Washington at Atlanta (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Jordan) 15.345; Atlanta (Wood) 16.781
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-160); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-160); Under

Game 961-962: Cincinnati at Milwaukee (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Leake) 15.807; Milwaukee (Gorzelanny) 16.674
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-135); 8
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (+115); Over

Game 963-964: NY Mets at San Diego (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Niese) 15.941; San Diego (Kennedy) 13.982
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 2; 6
Vegas Line: San Diego (-150); 7
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (+130); Under

Game 965-966: Kansas City at Detroit (1:08 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Duffy) 15.399; Detroit (Verlander) 16.929
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Detroit (-155); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-155); Over

Game 967-968: Kansas City at Detroit (7:08 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Shields) 16.807; Detroit (Alvarez) 15.762
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1; 7
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 969-970: NY Yankees at Boston (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Pettitte) 14.954; Boston (Doubront) 16.249
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Boston (-175); 9
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-175); Over

Game 971-972: Toronto at Tampa Bay (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Dickey) 15.354; Tampa Bay (Hellickson) 14.267
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-140); 8
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+120); Over

Game 973-974: Seattle at Texas (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Iwakuma) 13.171; Texas (Holland) 16.077
Dunkel Line: Texas by 3; 7
Vegas Line: Texas (-165); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Texas (-165); Under

Game 975-976: Chicago White Sox at Minnesota (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Quintana) 16.269; Minnesota (Correia) 15.173
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Minnesota (-130); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+110); Over

Game 977-978: Cleveland at Oakland (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland (Masterson) 15.181; Oakland (Griffin) 16.602
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Oakland (-130); 7
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-130); Under

Game 979-980: Houston at LA Angels (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Peacock) 14.985; LA Angels (Williams) 13.898
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1; 8
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-170); 9
Dunkel Pick: Houston (+150); Under

Game 981-982: Colorado at Baltimore (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (Nicasio) 14.667; Baltimore (Chen) 16.167
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Baltimore (-180); 9
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (-180); Over

NFL

Tampa Bay at New England
The Patriots look to follow up their 31-22 win over the Eagles in the preseason opener as they host Tampa Bay on Friday night. New England is the pick (-3) according to Dunkel, which has the Patriots favored by 11. Dunkel Pick: New England (-3)

Game 409-410: Minnesota at Buffalo (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 122.461; Buffalo 115.162
Dunkel Line: Minnesota by 7 1/2; 46
Vegas Line: Buffalo by 3 1/2; 42 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+3 1/2); Over

Game 411-412: Tampa Bay at New England (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay 117.501; New England 128.440
Dunkel Line: New England by 11; 38
Vegas Line: New England by 3; 41 1/2
Dunkel Pick: New England (-3); Under

Game 413-414: Oakland at New Orleans (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oakland 118.209; New Orleans 127.283
Dunkel Line: New Orleans by 9; 38
Vegas Line: New Orleans by 6; 41 1/2
Dunkel Pick: New Orleans (-6); Under

Game 415-416: San Francisco at Kansas City (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco 123.951; Kansas City 114.441
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 9 1/2; 44
Vegas Line: Kansas City by 1 1/2; 40
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (+1 1/2); Over

CFL

Hamilton at Winnipeg
The Tiger-Cats look to take advantage of a Winnipeg team that is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 home games. Hamilton is the pick (-3) according to Dunkel, which has the Tiger-Cats favored by 5. Dunkel Pick: Hamilton (-3)

Game 121-122: Hamilton at Winnipeg (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Hamilton 112.659; Winnipeg 107.507
Dunkel Line: Hamilton by 5; 55
Vegas Line: Hamilton by 3; 51 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Hamilton (-3); Over

WNBA

Tulsa at Minnesota
The Lynx look to build on their 6-1 ATS record in their last 7 games against teams with a losing SU record. Minnesota is the pick (-15 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Lynx favored by 18 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (-15 1/2)

Game 651-652: Connecticut at Atlanta (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Connecticut 109.625; Atlanta 109.800
Dunkel Line & Total: Even; 149
Vegas Line & Total: Atlanta by 8; 153
Dunkel Pick: Connecticut (+8); Under

Game 653-654: Washington at New York (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington 109.390; New York 107.446
Dunkel Line & Total: Washington by 2; 157
Vegas Line & Total: New York by 3 1/2; 152
Dunkel Pick: Washington (+3 1/2); Over

Game 655-656: Tulsa at Minnesota (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tulsa 105.800; Minnesota 124.164
Dunkel Line & Total: Minnesota by 18 1/2; 152
Vegas Line & Total: Minnesota by 15 1/2; 156 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (-15 1/2); Under

Game 657-658: Indiana at Los Angeles (11:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Indiana 110.683; Los Angeles 118.747
Dunkel Line & Total: Los Angeles by 8; 146
Vegas Line & Total: Los Angeles by 6 1/2; 142
Dunkel Pick: Los Angeles (-6 1/2); Over

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WunderdogFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Minnesota at BuffaloFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Minnesota +3½FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Buffalo Bills scored 44 points in their NFL preseason opener, which is obviously highly unusual. When you look at how they got most of it, the picture is clear. Buffalo scored on a 107-yard kickoff return, a 72-yard fumble recovery and a 17-yard interception return for a touchdown. This was a 21-20 game otherwise. No one likes losing even in these preseason games. Minnesota starts 0-1 with a 27-13 loss against Houston thanks in part to a decisive -2 in turnover margin. I expect a more spirited effort here for this one with a focus on taking care of the football. I think Doug Marrone wanted his team to get a win to take some of the potential heat off in his first game on the sidelines. While he said that the Bills were going to work on the running game, they came out passing. With that big win under his belt, the pressure is off and I expect them to revert back to experimentation in this one. This game is getting a spike in the line due to the 44-point Bills uprising in Game 1, combined with the Minnesota loss. Losers usually shine when facing winners in Week 2, so take the points and play on Minnesota here.

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Sam MartinFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Francisco at Kansas CityFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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High total in this game, especially considering these two teams combined to score only 19 points between the two of them in a pair of preseason losses last week. We have a strong opinion on the side of this game which you can pick up with our 20* NFLX Vegas Inferno Winner, but we also have a good feeling about the Under in this game. 49ers only allowed three points on defense last week, holding Denver to 220 total yards on offense. This total of 40.5 points along with a 1.5-point spread suggests a final score of 20-19 or 21-19. We don't think either side will reach their expected point totals and with Jim Harbough going under the total to the tune of 6-2-1 in his nine games at the helm of San Francisco, we look for another low-scoring game Friday night.

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FezzikFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Tampa Bay +3.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Pats offensive design for the season is a mystery with Hernandez in jail and most of their other receivers hurt or departing. It is assumed they'll be more ground oriented but who knows? New England certainly doesn't want to tip their hand to the Bucs in this one, as these teams play again in Week 3. Safe to say that it will be a vanilla performance by a Pats team that doesn't care, and even if they did, wouldn't who wouldn't show any thing.
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While off their big win in Philly, New England won't have much interest in this contest, Tampa Bay feels differently.  This is a make or break year for Tampa Bay and they were run off the field by the Ravens. Adam Weber, a practice squad player last year, threw INT's on his first two passes, and veteran 3rd stringer Dan Orlovsky, who didn't play Saturday, should be effective in the second half against a Patriots team lacking cornerback depth. Seven projected starters didn't play last week for the Bucs, and several will be in the game for this one.     
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Ryan Mallett, the Pats backup QB, is no great shakes.  Tebow is only accurate to about 6 yards or so. The Patriots are placing a lot of emphasis on their Tues/Wed practice sessions with the Bucs. With a big win under their belt, they shouldn't be all that interested in the game itself, while Greg Schiano knows this is a pivotal year for his club to bounce back from last season's disappointment, and the confidence garnered from a win here would help his cause. Go with Tampa Bay.

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Marc Lawrence

New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
Prediction: New York Yankees

When Andy Pettitte takes the hill against the Red Sox in the opener of this key AL East division duel at Fenway Park Friday evening, Pettitte will do so knowing he is 11-5 in his career team starts in this park, including 6-2 the last eight. In addition, Pettitte is 9-3 in his last twelve team starts during August, including 5-1 his last six away. With the Red Sox 2-4 against southpaws behind Felix Doubront this season, look for the Pinstripes to improve to 10-4 their last fourteen games in this park here tonight. We recommend a 1-unit play on the NY Yankees.

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Freddy Wills

Detroit Tigers -155 Game 1

Justin Verlander has had a weird season highlighted by control problems, but he's posted a 2.57 ERA over his last three starts and 2 of those came on 5 days rest which means he's plenty rested for this day start on Thursday. Verlander has actually flat out dominated during day starts this season posting a 2.46 ERA this season and looking back further he has a 2.41 ERA over the last three years. He's pitched well on 4 days rest with 12 of 14 quality starts and has a 2.77 ERA at home on 4 days rest. Tigers are 40-16 in his last 56 overall on 4 days rest. He's had plenty of success dominating the Royals too especially at home where he posts a 1.74 ERA since 2011.

Royals on the other hand start Danny Duffy who had a 5 IP and 5 ER performance in his only start at Detroit. Duffy has not been very good int he minors over 9 AAA starts he is walking 4.13 guys per 9 and that is just not going to cut it on the road against the Tigers who are scoring 5.85 runs per 9 vs. LHP at home. These are great for the Tigers if you can grab these odds early as they are 39-12 in their last 51 as a favorite -151-200.

Notable Hot Starters L3 GS:
Zack Greinke (3-0, 19.2 IP, 1.07 WHIP, 1.83 ERA)
Chad Gaudin (3-0, 18.1 IP, 0.98 WHIP, 0.98 ERA)
Nathan Eovaldi (1-2, 20 IP, 1.05 WHIP, 1.35 ERA)
Alex Wood (2-1, 19 IP, 0.74 WHIP, 1.89 ERA)
R.A. Dickey (2-1, 20.2 IP, 1.21 WHIP, 1.74 ERA)

Notable Cold Starters L3 GS:
Jake Westbrook (1-2, 17 IP, 1.47 WHIP, 6.35 ERA)
Brandon McCarthy (0-3, 14 IP, 1.71 WHIP, 6.43 ERA)
Jose Alvarez (1-2, 13.2 IP, 1.76 WHIP, 6.59 ERA)
Andy Pettitte (1-2, 14 IP, 2.21 WHIP, 6.43 ERA)
Jeremy Hellickson (0-3, 12 IP, 2.06 WHIP, 9.75 ERA)
Juan Nicasio (1-2, 14 IP, 2.14 WHIP, 9.64 ERA)

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Jim Feist

Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels    
Play: Houston Astros

So who is playing better baseball the last 3 nights? That would be underdog Houston. This is a tough situational spot for the Angels, playing yesterday on the East Coast at Yankee stadium, flying 3,000 miles and having to play tonight. And this underachieving group has had all kinds of problems, worst in baseball in fielding and struggling on the mound. Starter Jerome Williams (5-8, 4.85 ERA) is no ace and is 1-3 against Houston. The Angels are 6-14 in their last 20 games vs. a team with a winning percentage below .400 and 2-10 in Williams' last 12 home starts. And the Astros are 4-0 in the last 4 meetings in Los Angeles.

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Art Aronson

Dodgers vs. Phillies
Play: Under 7

Zack Greinke (10-3, 3.21 ERA) gets the call for the visitors; Greinke is coming off a 5-0 win over the Rays on Saturday, scattering six hits over 6 2/3's innings of work, walking one and striking out seven. Greinke is now 7-1 over his last 10 starts with a sparkling 2.49 ERA; he'll take his respectable 4-2 road record into Philadelphia to throw opposite Cliff Lee (10-5, 3.18 ERA) who gave up three earned runs off seven hits and two walks while striking out six over six innings in a no-decision vs. the Nationals on Saturday. Lee will be looking to improve upon his 4-3, 4.09 ERA home record. This is the fifth time in 2013 that these teams have faced off against each other, with the O/U currently sitting at 3-1. But this is however the first time these two starters have been matched up and as such, I'm expecting runs to be at a premium between these two competent hurlers; consider a second look at the "under" in this one.

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Will Rogers

Seattle vs. Texas
Pick: Under

What happened to Hisashi Iwakuma last time out?  In the midst of a successful year, he allowed six runs in a 10-0 loss at Milwaukee.  He'd previously allowed two earned runs or less in four straight starts, something he's done in 15 of 25 starts overall this year. Friday night, I expect a much lower-scoring game as he faces off against Texas.

Here are my keys to the game:

1.  Iwakuma - It should be pointed out that the Mariners didn't score the last time he started. They scored only one run in his start before that one. However, Iwakuma's stats remain impressive. He is 10-6 in 25 starts with a 2.96 ERA and 0.994 WHIP.  In six career starts vs. the Rangers, he has a 1.079 WHIP.

2. Derek Holland - The Rangers lefty has seen the Under cash in 9 of his last 11 starts at home. For the season, he has a 3.05 ERA and 1.255 WHIP.  After throwing eight scoreless innings two starts ago (10 strikeouts), he allowed just three runs last time out. Seattle averages just 3.9 runs/game vs. lefties.

3.  X-Factor - As I've stated many times, the Rangers are an Under team. They are 38-18 Under in all home games.

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Rob Vinciletti

Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves    
Play: Atlanta Braves

The Braves fit a 15-0 Dominator that plays on certain home favorites that are off a home favorite win and scored 5 or more runs, and are taking on an opponent, like Washington that lost their last game as a home favorite at -140 or higher and scored 4 or less runs and the total in this game is less than 10. Washington comes into Atlanta off a tough 1 run loss to the Giants. They have lost 10 of 13 to the Braves already this season. The Nationals have struggled against winning teams of late losing 10 of the last 11 games. The Braves are coming in with rest and have won 11 of 13 in that role. Atlanta is 12-3 as a home favorite in this range and have started the month of August hot winning 11 of 13. They have A. Wood on the mound and he has a stellar 2.25 home era. They follow up Wood with a superb bullpen that has a 2.03 home era. Washington has young T. Jordan on the mound and he has lost 3 of his first 4 road starts. Look for Atlanta to take the opener here tonight.

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Doug Upstone

Cincinnati Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers    
Play: Cincinnati Reds

Take the Reds tonight in Milwaukee. They have won their last 5 and Joey Votto has reached base in 16 straight. Milwaukee will be without CF Carlos Gomez who suffered a knee injury earlier in the week. Mike Leake is 1-0 with a 4.05 ERA in four career starts against the Brewers.

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Bruce Marshall

Arizona Diamondbacks at Pittsburgh Pirates
Pick: Arizona Diamondbacks

After looking almost hopelessly out of the playoff chase last week, a dramatic midweek sweep over the visiting Orioles has convinced the D-backs they can get back into the NL postseason picture. Winning all of those games vs. the Birds in walk-off fashion means Arizona brings some momentum into PNC Park, something the Bucs lack at the moment after losing five of six. Which renders their five-game win streak at home in serious jeopardy, especially with UCLA rookie Gerrit Cole struggling in his recent starts (5.29 ERA last three) and the bullpen showing some signs of wear and tear. Encouraging for the D-backs was the improved form of starter Brendan McCarthy in his last start over the weekend vs. the Mets, allowing just 2 runs in 7 IP.

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Bryan Leonard

Oakland A's -121

AJ Griffin and Justin Masterson meet in a crucial series for both teams with wild card implications. The A's should feel confident handing the ball to Griffin, who has great numbers at O.co Coliseum. In 19 starts at home, Griffin is 8-3 with a 3.48 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP, and a .224 batting average against. The A's are 8-3 in Griffin's 11 home starts this season and were 8-1 in eight regular season starts and one postseason start when Griffin started at home last season. Over Griffin's 18 career regular season home starts, a 15-4 mark would be .789 winning percentage. The line currently around -130 implies a 56.52% probability of winning, so on that alone, there's value on the A's. The Indians are scoring less than four runs per game in August and will be facing Griffin for just the second time.

Justin Masterson has to be very sharp to have success against the A's. One of the most patient teams in baseball, Masterson will have to exhibit good control in order to be successful. He has rarely been successful against the A's. In 11 appearances, seven starts, Masterson has a 7.42 ERA with a 1.65 WHIP against the A's. Take away Masterson's last quality start of seven innings and three runs allowed, and his ERA entering that start was 8.10. In Masterson's five starts with the lowest chase rate, his start against Oakland included, he is 1-2 with a 4.98 ERA. When Masterson isn't getting swings and misses on pitches outside of the zone, he becomes very hittable. That makes the A's a bad matchup for Masterson and the Indians don't appear likely to give him a lot of run support.

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Jesse Schule

Cincinnati vs. Milwaukee
Pick: Under

The ‪Cincinnati Reds‬ have won five straight on the road, and they have seen the total go under the number in 10 of their last 11 away games.

The Reds eked out a 2-1 victory at Miller Park last night in the series opener versus the ‪#‎BrewCrew‬.

Game 2 will feature a pair of capable pitchers that have both been sharp recently. Mike Leake will toe the slab for the visitors while Tom Gorzelanny will get the nod for Milwaukee.

Gorzelanny (3-4, 2.51 ERA) was dealing in his last start, tossing seven scoreless innings allowing just three hits in a shutout win over the Mariners. The southpaw has been very effective since coming out of the bullpen to join the rotation. He's put up zeros in the earned run column in four of his last six starts.

Joey Votto is just 3-for-20 with seven strikeouts lifetime versus the veteran lefty.

Mike Leake (10-5, 2.86 ERA) allowed a pair of runs (one earned) over seven innings in a 3-2 win over the Padres his last time out. He's been almost unstoppable on the road this year, posting a record of 7-1, 1.94 ERA.

One of those victories came at Miller Park, when he went 8 1/3 innings allowing a pair of runs on just four hits in a 6-2 ballgame.

Given the pitching matchup, I don't expect to see a slugfest in Milwaukee tonight, and I wouldn't be surprised to see another tight game.

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MLB Predictions

Los Angeles Dodgers -102

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the talk of baseball right now as they've won 41 of their last 51 games, including 8 straight heading into tonight's game. Yesterday was an off day for the Dodgers who are coming off a sweep of the Mets at home. The Dodgers are 70-50 on the season and 33-25 on the road. They are averaging 6.38 runs per game over their 8 game winning streak. The Phillies on the other hand have lost two straight and 5 of their last 6 games overall. They are just 7-20 over their last 27 games and they've dropped to 53-67 on the season and are 29-27 at home. The Dodgers are 1st in the Majors in team batting average in August at .298, while the Phillies are 27th at .225. Overall on the season the Dodgers rank 4th while the Phillies are 17th. Tonight the Dodgers will send Zack Grienke to the mound who is 10-3 on the year with a 3.21 ERA, .256 OBA and 1.23 WHIP. Over his last three starts he is 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA and 1.07 WHIP, and he has allowed 2 earned runs or fewer in 6 of his last 7 starts. Cliff Lee will take the mound for Philadelphia and he is 10-5 on the season with a 3.18 ERA, .238 OBA and 1.06 WHIP. After posting a 6.05 ERA in 3 July starts he is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in his first two August starts. He faced the Dodgers on June 29th giving up 4 hits and 3 earned runs over 7 innings. Since that game he has allowed 7+ hits in each start and 3+ ER against. Take note that the Dodgers are 8-0 in their last 8 games vs a left handed starter, 12-2 in their last 14 vs a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15, and 22-4 in their last 26 road games. They are also 9-1 in Grienke's last 10 starts, 5-0 in his last 5 road starts, and 4-0 in his last 4 starts with 5 days of rest. The Phillies are 2-6 in their last 8 home games, 1-11 in their last 12 vs a team with a winning record and 0-4 in Lee's last 4 starts. Los Angeles is 4-1 in their last 5 meetings overall and 4-0 in their last 4 meetings in Philadelphia. The Dodgers are finding ways to win right now and I expect that to continue in Philadelphia tonight vs a struggling Phillies team.

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Alex Smart

Cleveland Indians vs. Oakland Athletics    
Play: Oakland Athletics   

Masterson the Indians all star starter today vs the As has been roughed up of late. In his last outing he lasted a season-low 4 1/3 innings , surrendering five runs (four of them earned) against the LA Angels. It was the second straight trip to the hill that saw the veteran allow five-runs. Masterson has not faired well vs the Athletics in the past as is evident by a sub par 2-5 record along with a nasty looking 7.42 lifetime ERA.It must be noted that the Indians are 0-5 in Mastersons last 5 road starts vs. a team with a winning record. I know the As have not played that well of late , but today vs Masterson I expect their bats will come to life. The Athletics are 15-4 in their last 19 home games vs. a team with an above .500 record. Im betting they add another W to that positive trend. Oakland As on the moneyline

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Jimmy BoydFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Pittsburgh Pirates -148FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Pirates have a .260 batting average over their past seven games which is substantially better than their overall numbers this season. The biggest problem they have run into lately, is the fact that those extra hits are not translating into additional runs. They have a 71-49 overall record, making them one of the best teams in the National League, so I expect to see them start turning those additional hits into more runs than they have been.
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Arizona has performed poorly on the rod this year, sitting five games below .500, and picking up a win with Brandon McCarthy getting the start has proved difficult all season. McCarthy has a 6.43 ERA in his last three starts and the Diamondbacks are 0-3 in those games. Gerrit Cole has a 3.96 ERA this season so the advantage on the mound is heavily in favor of the Pirates today.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, August 16

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WINNIPEG +4 over HamiltonFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Buy-low, sell high is a philosophy we use often and it certainly applies here. The Tigercats are coming off a win two weeks ago in Edmonton (they had a bye last week). They probably should’ve defeated the Argos in the season opener and had that come to pass, they would be 3-3. Hamilton also tops the league in passing with 1,842 yards. They’re coming on and it’s also worth noting that they get Andy Fantuz back this week, perhaps the best receiver in the game. Hamilton coach, Kent Austin is widely regarded as one of the best because he’s won wherever he’s been in the past. However, Austin had the talent to succeed in the past and we’re here to tell you that he’s an idiot.
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With a 30-29 lead in Edmonton and with 32 seconds left in the game, Hamilton had a second down and 10 at their own 50-yard line. Instead of running the ball and running the clock (Edmonton had no timeouts left), Austin goes to the air and the pass is incomplete. Clock stops and the Ti-Cats punt. As it turns out Edmonton marches down field and they miss a 48-yard FG with one second remaining. Austin got lucky that they missed because he deserved to lose that game with the most idiotic 2nd and 10 call of the year. He runs the ball and the game is over. It’s not rocket science. That’s just one example of Austin's incompetence but there have been several others. Hamilton has just one more win that than the Blue Bombers. Its two wins have come against Edmonton and Winnipeg, the latter at home by five points. The ‘Cats own the league’s worst defense. They’ve allowed a league high 31.2 points per game and a league high 135.2 rushing yards against per game. With an idiot coach and a defense that can’t stop the marching band, spotting points on the road cannot be recommended.
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The Blue Bombers stock has hit bottom. Their one victory this season came against the reeling Alouettes. As a result of losing so many games, Winnipeg made several changes heading into this one. President and chief executive officer Garth Buchko and general manager Joe Mack were fired last Friday, followed by a switch at starting quarterback, the signing of a new kicker and the hiring of an offensive consultant. Out on the field, head coach Tim Burke went with his offensive staff's decision to use their third starting quarterback this season, handing the reins to CFL rookie Max Hall for this game in place of Justin Goltz. However, Goltz drops to No. 3 on the depth chart and veteran ex-starter Buck Pierce is Hall's backup. Hall got into six games for the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL back in 2010 and started three, winning only his first start, 30-20 over the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. He was later injured and only played in some pre-season games the following season. Last year, he was a grad assistant and helped out his alma mater Brigham Young's football team. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for a guy making his first CFL start but the reports are that he’s been sharp and one can never ignore a QB that made the NFL.
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Additionally, Winnipeg has perhaps the best defensive line in the game. They sacked Henry Burris seven times in the last meeting and they’re likely to apply as much pressure here. Winnipeg's defense leads the CFL in sacks with 24 and it’s not like they don’t have offensive talent. These Blue Bombers are a good QB game away from being seriously dangerous. Winnipeg's defense is out on the field far too long because of so many two-and outs that the numbers against that overused defense are skewed. Winnipeg has had two weeks to prepare and every player on that team comes into this one with a positive and new-found attitude after the changes. The reports are that the practices have been intense and tonight’s intensity level will be sky-high. Winnipeg has yet to win at its new home field but these players are determined to give their passionate fan base something to cheer about. Don’t be surprised if it occurs here against this very beatable guest.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, August 16

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Cleveland +117 over OAKLANDFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Athletics have one series win over their past five series and that came in Toronto against the worst starting pitching staff, statistically, in the league. The A’s just dropped two of three to the Astros and slowly but surely they are being exposed as a very ordinary baseball team. Ordinary baseball teams aren’t usually 16 games above .500 and in first place in mid-August so there are very likely more losses than wins forthcoming for the A’s for the remainder of the year. Not only does Oakland have one of the weakest hitting lineups in the entire league but they’re starting pitching isn’t as good as advertised either. A.J. Griffin is among them. Griffin had a mediocre 4.86 ERA in July, where he was hurt by a 2.7 HR/9. That’s no shock because Griffin is an extreme fly-ball pitcher with a groundball/fly-ball rate of 27%/54%. Griffin pitched just 82 innings last season. He’s almost doubled that this year already and in his last start he walked six batters while striking out two. He could be suffering from fatigue and whether that’s the case or not, he and the A’s are in no way superior to Justin Masterson and the Indians.   
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After a rough stretch against the Angels and Tigers, the Indians are back on track with three wins in four games. They scored 20 runs in those three wins and they’ve scored six runs or more in three of Masterson’s last four starts. Masterson has experienced a big strikeout rate surge from 2012 to 2013 (6.9 to 9.1 per nine IP), which is the highest increase among AL starters. Masterson’s aggregate skills are firmly among the AL's best with an elite 64% groundball rate and a 3.19 xERA. Win or lose, this is a must play because we get the better pitcher, the better offense and the team in better form too. Oh, yeah, we also get a tag.
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Chicago +113 over MINNESOTAFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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When Kevin Correia is favored, you can pencil us in on the dog almost every time and we certainly make no exception here. It's as if someone unplugged Correia's good luck machine on May 1st. In five April starts, he had a 2.23 ERA on a 27% hit rate, 81% strand rate, and 5% HR/F. Since then, on a month-to-month basis, he's had a hit rate no less than 32%, strand rates twice in the 60s, and 2 months of over 20% HR/F’s. Overall the Twins have lost seven of Correia’s last nine starts and over that span Correia has a brutal 1.68 WHIP. Pitching for the Twins, Kevin Correia has to be considered one of the riskiest and least appealing favorites in the entire league.
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The White Sox have split their last 10 games and they just took two out of three against the Tigers before losing the opener of this series last night, 5-4. While trade rumors were swirling on the south side of Chicago, a young, unheralded starter has quietly put up solid numbers. While not matching the star power of Chris Sale or Jake Peavy (before the trade), Jose Quintana has become a mainstay in the White Sox rotation. The 24-year old Quintana has stepped up this year. His K rate has gone up. Combine that with his fine control and his command is strongly heading to an elite level. Quintana is dominating righties. While he gave up a .284/.349/.426 line against them last year, he’s limiting them to .232/.288/.370 this year. His improved dominance is seen in his 52%/14% quality start/disaster start in 21 starts. He was at 32/32 in 2012. xERA shows that Quintana’s skills come with full support and his chances of winning this one are greater than Correia’s chances.
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MILWAUKEE +119 over CincinnatiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Brewers ran into a lefty that was dealing it last night but the same fate does not await them here. Mike Leake has put up some sick surface stats on the road (7-1 - 1.94 ERA) but the skills do not support that, meaning some serious regression in his road stats are forthcoming. Leake has just 97 K’s in 148 frames. Aside from a low strikeout rate, we’re also seeing other warning signs in his recent form. Since the beginning of July, Leake has a 38%/25%/37% groundball/line-drive/fly-ball ratio. Leake posted a 48% groundball rate in April, May and June and that 10% increase strongly suggests he’s having difficulty keeping the ball down, a sure sign of fatigue. Another sign of fatigue is an increase in walks and that’s precisely what Leake is suffering through right now. He’s walked almost as many as he’s struck out over his past four games and over that span he has posted an alarming 1.53 WHIP. When Leake struggled in 2012 his line-drive rate was 25% and that’s exactly where he’s been at over his past eight starts. Leake could be in trouble against this very good hitting line-up of the Brewers.
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The Reds scored two runs last night. Over their past 20 games, Cinci has the worst team batting average in baseball (.211). That’s lower than the Astros, White Sox, Marlins, Cubs and Giants. The Reds will now face an under the radar pitcher that they have not had much success against. Tom Gorzelanny tossed a gem Saturday night, striking out seven batters and holding the Mariners scoreless over seven innings. Recently shifted from the bullpen to the rotation, Gorzelanny has 33 K/7 BB in his six starts, spanning 35 IP. Over 71.2 innings overall, Gorzelanny has allowed just 51 hits. He is having his best overall season, with career-best 2.51 ERA, a career-best 3.45 xERA and an outstanding 48%/16% groundball/line-drive rate. It may also surprise you to learn that the Brewers have hit more jacks than the Reds and that over their past 10 games, the Brew Crew have gone deep 11 times. Milwaukee runs into trouble when they’re facing a strikeout pitcher but that is not the case here. Definite overlay.
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Toronto +135 over TAMPA BAYFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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R.A. Dickey has been awful at home this season because he can’t keep the ball in the park. However, on the road, Dickey has been as good as he was last year in his Cy Young award winning year. On the road this season, Dickey is just 5-5 but has a skills supported 3.08 ERA. The Blue Jays have won five of Dickey’s last six road starts. Over his last five starts, Dickey has struck out 30 batters in 33 innings with an elite line-drive rate of 14%. His knuckleball has also increased in velocity over that span and that could explain the much better results. More than all of that, however, is that the Rays simply can’t hit the knuckleball. Current Rays have 153 AB’s versus R.A. Dickey and they have an embarrassing 24 hits combined for a BA of .157. Dickey has already defeated the Rays twice this season and that includes a two-hit, complete game shutout at the Trop back on June 26.
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Over his last five starts covering just 23 frames, Jeremy Hellickson has walked 10 batters and struck out just 12. Over that same five-game span Helllickson has posted a 1.65/6.26 WHIP/ERA split. Hellickson has not made it out of the fifth inning in three straight starts and now one has to wonder about his health. Hellickson has struggled pitching with runners on base, as shown by his 59% strand rate the first time through lineups and his 35% strand rate the third time through lineups. Not only is Hellickson throwing like a pitcher with some undetected health issues, he’s also pitching with his confidence lower than it’s been in a long time. That has us confidently stepping in on this live pup.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, August 16

WunderdogFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Indiana at Los AngelesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Indiana +7FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The line in this game is certainly playing to the records of these teams. For Indiana, that doesn't quite represent what has happened after a hangover-type start off their Championship season from a year ago. The Fever got out of the gate at 1-7, but have played themselves back into contention for a playoffs spot in the East. The last 15 games would pit this matchup as a 10-5 Indiana team at a 12-3 Los Angeles team. With that in mind, the line certainly would look a bit different, so we have some value here on the dog. The Fever are a feisty 20-8 ATS off a single day of rest in their last 28 and have responded well lately off a loss at 5-0 ATS. The Sparks are just 9-19-1 ATS in their last 29 off of two days of rest. Take the points and play on Indiana.

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