Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, August 20

Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, August 20

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Pittsburgh at San Diego
The Padres look to take advantage of a Pittsburgh team that is 0-5 in A.J. Burnett's last 5 road starts. San Diego is the pick (+100) according to Dunkel, which has the Padres favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: San Diego (+100)

Game 951-952: Colorado at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (De La Rosa) 14.040; Philadelphia (Cloyd) 15.145
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Colorado (-115); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (-105); Over

Game 953-954: LA Dodgers at Miami (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Capuano) 17.240; Miami (Turner) 15.803
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-140); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-140); Under

Game 955-956: Atlanta at NY Mets (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Beachy) 17.032; NY Mets (Wheeler) 15.617
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-140); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-140); Under

Game 957-958: Arizona at Cincinnati (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Corbin) 16.411; Cincinnati (Cingrani) 15.434
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-140); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (+120); Over

Game 959-960: Washington at Chicago Cubs (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Haren) 13.925; Cubs (Rusin) 14.851
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Washington (-140); No Run Total
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (+120); N/A

Game 961-962: St. Louis at Milwaukee (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Lynn) 15.948; Milwaukee (Lohse) 14.645
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-140); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-140); Under

Game 963-964: Pittsburgh at San Diego (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Burnett) 14.914; San Diego (Ross) 15.814
Dunkel Line: San Diego by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh (-120); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Diego (+100); Over

Game 965-966: Toronto at NY Yankees (1:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Rogers) 14.752; NY Yankees (Nova) 16.262
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 967-968: Toronto at NY Yankees (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Buehrle) 15.348; NY Yankees (Hughes) 14.403
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1; 9
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 969-970: Minnesota at Detroit (7:08 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota (Pelfrey) 14.000; Detroit (Porcello) 16.516
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 2 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Detroit (-200); 9
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-200); Under

Game 971-972: Tampa Bay at Baltimore (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Cobb) 15.510; Baltimore (Gonzalez) 14.475
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Baltimore (-120); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (+100); Over

Game 973-974: Houston at Texas (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Cosart) 14.255; Texas (Blackley) 15.714
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 975-976: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Danks) 15.258; Kansas City (Santana) 16.812
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-170); 8
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (-170); Under

Game 977-978: Cleveland at LA Angels (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland (Salazar) 15.471; LA Angels (Wilson) 13.833
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-130); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (+110); Over

Game 979-980: Seattle at Oakland (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Saunders) 15.653; Oakland (Gray) 14.688
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Oakland (-200); 8
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (+170); Over

Game 981-982: Boston at San Francisco (2:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Peavy) 15.981; San Francisco (Vogelsong) 14.438
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Boston (-150); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-150); Under

WNBA

Los Angeles at Seattle
The Sparks look to build on their 7-3 ATS record in their last 10 games versus the Storm. Los Angeles is the pick (-5 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Sparks favored by 9. Dunkel Pick: Los Angeles (-5 1/2)

Game 601-602: Minnesota at Atlanta (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 120.127; Atlanta 109.800
Dunkel Line & Total: Minnesota by 10 1/2; 151
Vegas Line & Total: Minnesota by 3; 156 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (-3); Under

Game 603-604: Chicago at Washington (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Chicago 114.774; Washington 109.184
Dunkel Line & Total: Chicago by 5 1/2; 157
Vegas Line & Total: Chicago by 1 1/2; 154
Dunkel Pick: Chicago (-1 1/2); Over

Game 605-606: Phoenix at Tulsa (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Phoenix 107.495; Tulsa 114.500
Dunkel Line & Total: Tulsa by 7; 158
Vegas Line & Total: Phoenix by 2 1/2; 153 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Tulsa (+2 1/2); Over

Game 607-608: Los Angeles at Seattle (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Los Angeles 116.541; Seattle 107.492
Dunkel Line & Total: Los Angeles by 9; 143
Vegas Line & Total: Los Angeles by 5 1/2; 147
Dunkel Pick: Los Angeles (-5 1/2); Under

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Will Rogers

Arizona vs. Cincinnati
Pick: Cincinnati

The Reds aren't your average third-place team.  They have 71 wins and a run differential of +89, which is actually double that of the first place Pittsburgh Pirates. Last night saw them down the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3. I think they make it two in a row tonight (three straight overall) and 8 of 10.

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Tony Cingrani - In 15 starts, the Reds lefty is 6-2 with a 2.60 ERA and 1.004 WHIP. He is coming off a strong performance where he allowed just one run on four hits over 6 1/3 innings at Milwaukee. That improved his team start record to 10-5.  He has 100 strikeouts in 86+ innings. Over his last eight starts, his ERA is 2.12.

2. Red-Hot Reds - Cincinnati has won seven of nine & is now a season-best 17 games over .500.  They have also won seven of the last nine matchups with Arizona.

3. X-Factor - It's been a great season for Pat Corbin, but he has a 5.40 ERA his last five road starts.

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Sean Murphy

Atlanta vs. New York
Pick: Atlanta

The Braves enter this series in New York riding a six-game road winning streak. Interestingly enough, their last loss came right here at Citi Field, against tonight's opposing starter, Zack Wheeler, no less. I fully expect them to make amends in this rematch.

Atlanta has quite simply been one of the hottest and most consistent teams in baseball over the last month, going 19-3 over its last 22 games since July 26th.

For their part, the Mets have been playing some of their best baseball as well, even as slugger David Wright remains sidelined on the D.L. The problem is, the Mets are in a brutal spot on Tuesday, returning home off an 11-game road trip that included stops in four different cities thanks to yesterday's make-up game in Minnesota. Without a day off in-between, they have to be a little road weary entering this series, and I'm not convinced their focus will be at the proper level to upset the Braves.

Brandon Beachy has been quietly effective since returning to the Braves rotation at the end of July. He struggled in his first start back, but that was to be expected after being idle for more than a year. Since that tough start in Colorado, Beachy has turned things around, allowing just five earned runs on 14 hits in 20 1/3 innings of work.

Zack Wheeler is coming off a phenomenal start against the Padres last week, in which he struck out a career high 12 over six strong innings. The Mets have won seven of his last eight starts, including that aforementioned victory over the Braves back in late July. However, Atlanta will be getting its third look at the right-hander this season, and I expect it to fare well at the dish. Note that Wheeler was on the wrong end of a 6-2 loss to the Royals in his last home outing.

The Braves bullpen continues to churn along, having posted a collective 2.25 ERA over their last 10 games. Contrast that with the Mets 'pen, which has recorded a 4.60 ERA over that same stretch. This one won't be a walk in the park, but I expect the Braves to get the job done nonetheless.

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Marc Lawrence

Pittsburgh Pirates at San Diego Padres
Prediction: San Diego Padres

When the Padres send Tyler Ross to the mound against A. J. Burnett and the Pirates in San Diego Tuesday evening, Ross will toe the slab in solid KW form with 30 strikeouts and 8 walks his last four starts. On the other side of the coin, Burnett enters just 3-13 his last fifteen away team starts during August and 5-16 his last twenty-one overall away team starts. With that look for the visiting team to slip to 6-17 in Burnett's team starts this season. We recommend a 1-unit play on San Diego.

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John Ryan

Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals
Prediction: Chicago White Sox

The simulator shows a high probability that the CWS will win this game and we will benefit from a nice inflated DOG playing line. Supporting this graded play is a proven system posting a 32-15 mark for 68% winners making 32.2 units/unit wagered since 1997. Play on all underdogs with a money line of +125 to +175 (CHI WHITE SOX) revenging 4 or more straight losses when facing an opponent in last 2 years of play and is off an upset win over a division rival installed as an underdog. Here is a second supporting system that ahs gone 72-58 for 55.4% winners, BUT has made 46 units/unit wagered since 2007. Play on all AL underdogs in the month of August with a money line of +125 to +175 (CHI WHITE SOX) with a team on base percentage .310 or worse on the season. Santana starts for KC and he did allow just 1 ER in his last start against Miami. However, he was in trouble nearly every inning allowing 8 hits and 2 walks and struckout only 3 batters. In the start prior to Miami, he was hammered by the Red Sox allowing 6 ER, 9 hits, and one HR in just 3 2/3 innings of work. Although CWS are not a strong offensive team, neither is KC, and I strongly believe CWS will score enough off of Santana to get the win tonight.

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Jimmy Boyd

White Sox/Royals Over 8

The over is an easy call in this game as both teams have starting pitchers that have seen their share of struggles recently. Chicago's John Danks has a 5.13 ERA on the road. Things are not a whole lot prettier for Kansas City's Ervin Santana. In his last three starts Santana has a 4.59 ERA and has allowed 22 hits in just 15.7 innings pitched.

The White Sox offense has been on fire, batting .307 as a team over their past seven games and scoring 5.0 runs per game during that time. The Royals are also trending towards the over. They have an 18-9 record in favor of the over when coming off three consecutive games against a division rival this season. Kansas City should have a big game against Danks, and the White Sox offense is too hot for a struggling Santana to slow down.

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Jeffrey Brandes

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers    
Play: St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals will send Lance Lynn to the mound as the right-hander tries to keep pace with teammate Adam Wainwright and Washington's Jordan Zimmermann, who lead the NL in wins with 14. Lynn had a string of four consecutive quality starts snapped on Thursday when he allowed four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. With six strikeouts, Lynn surpassed the 150-K mark for the second straight season.

Kyle Lohse had 55 wins in five seasons with the Cardinals, but he has yet to come out on the winning end against them since the team let him walk in free agency this offseason.

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Brad Diamond

Braves vs. Mets
Play: Under 7½

Hurler Brandon Beachy of Atlanta has had decent run of late, but still overall he surrendered 12 earned runs in 24 innings of work. His last three outings have been against light hitting Philadelphia and Florida. His enemy tonight the Mets are hitting just .239 as a team. RHP Zack Wheeler of the Mets is coming off back-to-back splendid performances against San Diego and Arizona on the road. In fact, in his last outing vs. San Diego Wheeler stroke out 12 in only 6 innings of work. Back on July 25th Wheeler threw 6 innings vs. Atlanta surrendering 3 earned runs. Atlanta has gone UNDER in 4 straight games and 7/10 UNDER when listed as a chalk on the ML. The New York legend indicates a 15-6-1 UNDER mark when facing a pitcher with a WHIP of 1.15 or less.

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Dave Price

Arizona Diamondbacks +136

This is a big series for Arizona, which fell six games behind the Reds for the league's second wild-card spot with Monday's loss. Winning the next three games will go a long way toward improving its chances of reaching the playoffs. While winning three straight in Cincinnati might be asking too much, the Diamondbacks have a great shot to get this one with Corbin on the bump. They have won 20 of his 24 starts this season. Plus, the Reds have struggled against southpaw starters, batting just .241 against them on the year. Corbin gave up just one run on three hits in a 4-3 D-backs victory over the Reds in his previous start against them in 2013. The Diamondbacks are 10-1 in Corbin's last 11 starts versus a team with a winning record. Take the Snakes.

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Doug Upstone

Washington Nationals vs. Chicago Cubs    
Play: Washington Nationals

Dan Haren is finally pitching as expected but it might be too little too late for the Nats this season. It is definitely too last for the Cubs to accomplish anything of note this year and they go with lefty Christopher Rusin. You may not know who he is but he has been respectable. The problem is that he gets hammered at home - 0 wins with an ERA approaching 5. Washington is the play today.

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Rob Vinciletti

Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals    
Play: Kansas City Royals

The Royals fit a nice 12-3 League Wide system here that pertains to home teams off a road loss vs an opponent like Chicago that are off a road win, but are too high a favorite to unit rate. For a free play though they will do fine. KC has won 8 of 10 as a home favorite in this range and 11 pf 15 vs losing teams of late. Chicago has lost 6 of 7 off 3+ wins. E. Santans goes for the Royals and he has been solid this season with a 3.12 home era. He will take on Chicago lefty J. Danks. Chicago has lost 7 of his 8 road starts and Danks has an elevated 5.13 road era this season. Look for the Royals to take the opener.

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Art Aronson

Twins vs. Tigers
Play: Over 9

Mike Pelfrey (4-10, 5.26 ERA) gets the call for the visitors; Pelfrey was unfortunate to get saddled with a no-decision vs. the White Sox on Thursday after giving up three runs off seven hits with one walk while striking out four over 7 1/3's innings in his team's eventual 4-3 victory. Despite that though, Pelfrey has been the very definition of "inconsistent" this year and has not won a start since July 6th, having allowed three runs or more in three of his last four starts. While past failures don't necessarily mean one will falter again in the future, Pelfrey can't be too happy to see the hard-hitting Tigers tonight, having already gone 1-2 with a pedestrian 4.96 ERA in three starts vs. them this season. The big right-hander will take his horrid 2-6, 5.19 ERA road record into Detroit to throw opposite Rick Porcello (9-6, 4.33 ERA) who received a victory despite not being at his sharpest vs. Chicago on Wednesday, allowing three earned runs off 11 hits with a walk over six innings of work. Porcello has been getting consistently "better" as the season has progressed, but as evidenced in his last outing, he's definitely been the beneficiary of a great offense backing him; while he does have a 4-2 home record, note that his ERA is an unremarkable 4.75 in friendly confines. These teams have played each other 13 times in 2013 and the O/U is a lop-sided 3-10. However, I believe the "over" definitely becomes a legitimate investment opportunity tonight in the opener of this three-game set between these two "suspect" hurlers.

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Steve Janus

Cincinnati Reds -144

The Reds are the play at home tonight. Cincinnati's Tony Cingrani has quietly put together an impressive rookie season, going 6-2 with a 2.60 ERA and 1.004 WHIP in 15 starts. He's been dominant at home with a 2.84 ERA and red-hot of late with a 2.20 ERA over his last three. The same can't be said for Arizona starter Pat Corbin, who has not looked sharp at all over his last three starts. Corbin has a 4.26 ERA and a poor 1.421 WHIP during his last three appearances and I have a hard time seeing him snapping out of his funk against a Reds offense that is averaging a solid 4.7 runs/game over their last seven games.

Cincinnati is a respectable 38-21 at home this season, but are a dominant 24-8 at home when they are listed as a favorite of -125 to -175. They are also a strong 7-3 in their last 10 home games vs a left-handed starter and 23-10 in their last 33 home games vs a team with a losing road record.

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Jesse Schule

Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
Pick: Toronto Blue Jays +1.5

The Jays will send Mark Buehrle to the mound in the second game of Tuesday's double-header, and the veteran southpaw has been very sharp of late. Buehrle (9-7, 4.29 ERA) allowed a single run despite surrendering 10 hits over seven innings in a 2-1 win over Boston his last time out. The Jays have won five straight with Buerhle on the mound, and he's 4-0 with a 2.36 ERA during that span. He's never had much success against the Yankees, but given his recent form, and the fact that Phil Hughes will be on the mound for New York, he might be catching them at the right time. Hughes (4-12, 4.97 ERA) lost his last start at home to the Angels, and I bet against him in that spot. Here is what I had to say prior to that game: "The Yankees hand the ball to Phil Hughes, who's struggles at home have been so prolific, it seems almost cruel to send him back to the mound in the Bronx in a day game. Hughes lasted just 4 1/3 innings in a 9-3 loss to at home Detroit his last time out, giving up four runs on seven hits, including a pair of home runs. His numbers at home are dreadful, 1-8, 6.18 in a dozen starts" He actually pitched as well as I've ever seen him that day, but once again the long ball was his downfall. Chris Nelson homered in the 4th, driving in a pair of runs and putting the Angels up 3-1. They went on to win 8-4. He's given up 17 home runs in 13 starts in the Bronx this year, and there's no shortage of power in the Jay's lineup. This has the potential to be a rough night for Hughes and the Yankees.

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Jim Feist

Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs
Pick: Washington Nationals

Chicago has cooled off with the Cubs 3-14 in their last 17 home games. Washington has a hot starter going in Dan Haren, who is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA his last three starts. He faces a bad Chicago offense, one ranked 25th in runs, 28th in on base percentage and 27th in batting average. Cubs are 1-7 in their last 8 home games vs. a right-handed starter. Haren has allowed two earned runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts. And when these teams meet the Nationals are 5-2 in the last 7 meetings.

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Bryan LeonardFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Seattle / Oakland Under 8.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Lefty Joe Saunders will take the mound for the Mariners against one of the A's promising young arms, Sonny Gray. Saunders has had a lot of career success in Oakland, posting a 2.94 ERA over 10 starts covering 64.1 innings of work. Over the last two seasons, Saunders has allowed just 10 earned runs in 29.1 innings of work against the A's. Saunders has allowed six runs in 17.1 innings so far against Oakland this season. The A's are struggling a bit offensively, scoring just slightly over four runs per game since the All-Star Break and they were struggling again on Monday night. Saunders is a pitch-to-contact guy and the A's entering Monday batting just .244 as a team. If they don't walk, they have trouble scoring.
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Sonny Gray has come as advertised for the A's in his first two starts. He has a 14/4 K/BB ratio and has allowed just two earned runs. Gray has a plus fastball and a plus curveball, which the Mariners hitters have not seen much of, facing only Triple-A Tacoma one time in the minors. Gray gets ahead of hitters and has the ability to throw it past them inside the zone, which is a big asset to a young pitcher. He should continue to have success in a pitcher's park like Oakland and should baffle the Mariners during his first start against them.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Tampa Bay +100 over BALTIMOREFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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This is a good match-up for the Rays. They always seem to give the Orioles fits and it starts to get into the collective heads of the losing squad. Tampa took the opener last night and has now defeated the O’s in six of the past seven games. The scores in those Rays’ wins were 4-3, 8-0, 2-1, 3-1, 10-6 and 12-6. Back in April, Tampa Bay faced Miguel Gonzalez and got to him for six runs in 5.2 frames and they also took Gonzalez yard three times. That was early in the year when pitchers have plenty in the tank and now Gonzalez appears to be running on fumes. Gonzalez has been tagged for four bombs over his past three starts. Since the All-Star break he has made five starts and over that span covering 28 innings, Gonzalez has allowed 36 hits and 21 runs for an ERA of 5.14 and a BAA of .313. There are more signs of fatigue as well. Over his past five starts, Gonzalez has seen a significant decrease in his groundball rate from 42% to 34% and an increase in his line-drive rate from 21% to 26%. His WHIP since the break is at a troubling 1.46 and the Orioles have lost three of his last four starts. One of those losses came against Houston in which Gonzalez was knocked out in the fourth inning after allowing nine hits and nine runs (4 earned). Gonzalez is 29-years old and is in just his second year at this level. He’s battled injuries and he’s been bouncing around the minors since 2005. He threw 105 innings last season for the O’s and averaged just 69 innings per season as a minor-league reliever/starter over six seasons. He missed the entire 2008 and 2009 seasons. This season, Gonzalez is up to 129 innings already so it should come as no surprise that this guy is exhausted and hanging on for dear life. His chances for success here are slim at best.
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By contrast, Alex Cobb is fresh. Cobb just spent two months on the DL and came back to throw a five-inning, three-hit gem against the Mariners in his first start back last Thursday. Prior to getting injured, Cobb had faced in succession, Colorado at Coors Field, San Diego, Toronto, the Yanks, Detroit, Boston and K.C. In three of those games in succession against Toronto, New York and Detroit, Cobb faced 84 batters and induced 45 groundballs against 17 fly-outs. He allowed one run or less in four of those starts and three runs or less in all but one. Overall, the Rays have won seven of Cobb’s last nine starts and he comes in with a 2.94 ERA in 14 starts this season, not to mention an elite groundball rate of 56%. Talk about value and you need not look any further than this game because it’s a pitching mismatch in our favor, the Rays own the Orioles and not many people are going to realize that Miguel Gonzalez is completely out of gas. 
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KANSAS CITY -1½ +120 over ChicagoFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The White Sox are scoring some runs lately and as a result of that, they’ve been winning some games but we’re not buying any of it. You see, the South Side has faced the brutal pitching staff of the Twins in seven of their past 10 games. A minor-league team could put up numbers against that staff. In between those seven games against the Twinkies, Chicago faced the Tigers for three games and they also were the first team to have a crack at the Yankees upon the return of the most hated man in America, Alex Rodriguez. With a day off yesterday to stop whatever momentum they had, the White Sox figure to get back to their losing ways here. Prior to the Yankees series, Chicago had lost 16 of 19 games and let’s not forget that they cleaned house over the past couple of weeks and own the second worst road record in baseball with 20 lousy wins in 61 games. After starting this season on the DL, John Danks made his season debut in late May. With a 2-10 record, Danks’s season mimics the season of the struggling White Sox. Danks’s 4.54 ERA is getting whacked by a high hr/f and fewer strikeouts than ever. His fastball velocity continues to slide. While it was 91.6 mph in 2010/11, it dropped to 90 mph in limited action last year and sits at 89 mph this year. Danks rarely wins. When he pitches on the road, he never wins, as his 0-6 road record with a 5-13 ERA can attest to.
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The Royals faced the Chicago back at U.S. Cellular in late July and all they did was sweep the White Sox and hold them to three runs in three games. That was with Wade Davis and Bruce Chen starting in two of those games. Things get much tougher here for the White Sox in facing Ervin Santana. Kansas City rebuilt their rotation in the offseason with the big acquisition being James Shields but Santana has more than held his own. While his record is only 8-6, the rest of his numbers have been impressive. Santana’s xERA shows that there is real skills growth here. He’s walking fewer batters and his walks allowed haven’t been this low since 2008. Santana’s groundball % is also creeping up and now sits at a career high 48%. He’s also dominating lefties. While his career OPS against them is .772, he’s holding them to .603 in 2013. The 30-year-old Santana is peaking at the right time, which is often the case when a player is a free agent at the end of the year and that’s precisely Santana’s situation. Santana’s 3.19 ERA comes with full skills support and he figures to do a number on this extremely beatable guest
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PHILADELPHIA +101 over ColoradoFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Rockies are a small favorite here but they are incorrectly billed as such and we’re all over it. Colorado has one of the league’s worst road records at 24-41. The Rockies have dropped three in a row and 11 of their past 13 road games. Colorado is favored here because Jorge De La Rosa comes in with a 12-6 record and a 3.22 ERA but it’s all smoke and mirrors. De La Rosa’s low ERA is a direct result of a high strand rate of 79%. Truth be told, De La Rosa has one of the worst batting averages against (.270) among all starting pitchers. With a low strikeout rate, a high line-drive rate of 29% and that high strand percentage, De La Rosa’s luck and ERA is unsustainable. He’s also had a string of soft batting line-ups recently (San Diego, Pittsburgh twice, the Cubbies, Miami and San Fran) and that, too, has helped to mask his poor skills. He’ll now face a Phillies team that is waking up and that has hit .302 against him. The Phillies snapped an ugly losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Dodgers on Sunday and followed that up with a 5-4 win in the opener of this series. A couple of wins does wonders for a teams’ psyche and the Phillies figure to unleash it all here.
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Tyler Cloyd began the season in the Phillies rotation but too many walks after six starts led to a 1.51 WHIP, which led to a one-way ticket back to the minors. Cloyd is a soft-tosser with a history of excellent control so his walks allowed was somewhat puzzling. He was lights-out at AAA before his call-up last season with a 12-1 record and 2.35 ERA. In his six starts before being sent down, four of them were quality. Cloyd went down, worked on his mechanics and it has paid off. Over his past 10 starts, Cloyd has a 3.09 ERA with 11 walks versus 49 strikeouts in 64 innings. Cloyd locates his 87-90 fastball extremely well to both sides of the plate. To complement the plus command of his fastball, he mixes in a quality curveball and changeup, keeping hitters honest. While Cloyd will never overpower anyone, his ability to change speeds and command his arsenal have allowed him to succeed in the minors and throw many quality innings at this level too. He’s also been given a vote of confidence by new manager Ryne Sandberg, who has told Cloyd that he’s going to pitch every fifth day for the remainder of the year. Expect Cloyd to respond.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, August 20

Wunderdog

Los Angeles at Seattle
Pick: Seattle +6

Despite key losses of top players Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird, the Seattle Storm is in position to make the playoffs. They now are in charge of their destiny, holding down the fourth spot in the WNBA West. This team has grown since a 6-10 start on the season, as they have now gone 5-3 over their last eight games. They have vindicated themselves well in the role of a dog on the season where they own a 10-5 ATS mark. They also beat LA on the road the last meeting, and lost here by just a single point, so they will certainly take the floor with confidence tonight. Despite Los Angeles winning six straight games, this team is just 4-7 ATS in their last 11, dropping each of their last four to the number vs. conference opponents. The Storm have stepped up vs. the better teams where they own a 10-3 ATS mark in their last 13 vs. a winning club. Make the play on Seattle.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, August 20

Larry Ness

St. Louis vs. Milwaukee
Pick: Milwaukee

The St Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-5 last night, making in NINE wins in 11 tries in 2013 over their division rivals, including going a PERFECT 5-0 here at Miller Park. The Cards have won SIX of eight overall and have two more games remaining in this series with the lowly 54-71 Brewers before a 17-game stretch stretch in which they play four against the Braves and 13 more against NL Central rivals Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

Lance Lynn gets the start for the Cards and he’ll take a 13-6 record into this game, posting a 3.89 ERA in his 25 starts (Cards are 16-9). Let’s note however, that while the Cards are 10-3 in Lynn’s home starts, they are just 6-6 in his rtoad starts, as his ERA is almost two runs higher away from home (4.88) than it is in St Louis (3.04). Lynn is 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA in seven career games versus Milwaukee, including three starts (team is 2-1 and his ERA is 2.89 in the starts).

Kyle Lohse takes the mound for the Brewers and he's been terrific since a poor start to the 2013 season. Here's a guy who went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 33 starts for St Louis last season but sat around all winter without a job until Milwaukee called and gave him a three-year, $33 million contract in the last week of spring training. Lohse went 1-6 over his first 10 starts with a 4.37 ERA (Milwaukee was 3-7), picking up his only victory April 22. However, he’s 7-2 record with a 2.40 ERA over his last 15 starts (his 2.40 ERA is the fourth-best in the NL since June 1).

Milwaukee’s gone 11-4 (73% winning rate) over those last 15 starts, including 7-1 here at Miller Park. Brewers are no bargain but with Lynn’s road struggles and Lohse’s excellent pitching for almost three months, Milwaukee is worth a small play.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, August 20

Jack Jones

St. Louis Cardinals -139

After stringing together six straight hits with two outs last night to win late 8-5, the St. Louis Cardinals have a ton of momentum and confidence heading into this showdown with the hapless Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday.

Lance Lynn is having a tremendous season at 13-6 with a 3.89 ERA and 1.245 WHIP over 25 starts for St. Louis. Lynn is 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA and 1.018 WHIP in three career starts against Milwaukee.

Kyle Lohse is in the midst of a solid season for Milwaukee as well, but he has struggled of late against tonight's opposition. Lohse is 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA and 1.818 WHIP in his last two starts against the Cardinals this season, giving up eight earned runs and 20 base runners over 11 innings.

Lynn is 21-6 (+12.2 Units) against the money line against division opponents over the last 2 seasons. Lynn is 24-6 (+15.0 Units) against the money line vs. an NL team with a team batting average of .255 or worse over the last 2 seasons. Bet the Cardinals Tuesday.

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