Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, August 26

Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, August 26

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Cincinnati at St. Louis
The Reds look to build on their 8-3 record in Mike Leake's last 11 road starts. Cincinnati is the pick (-110) according to Dunkel, which has the Reds favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (-110)

Game 951-952: Cincinnati at St. Louis (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Leake) 15.774; St. Louis (Lyons) 14.782
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1; 9
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-110); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (-110); Over

Game 953-954: Philadelphia at NY Mets (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia (Lee) 15.837; NY Mets (Wheeler) 14.140
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-130); 7
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (-130); Under

Game 955-956: San Francisco at Colorado (8:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Zito) 14.965; Colorado (Nicasio) 14.408
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 1/2; 12
Vegas Line: Colorado (-160); 10 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (+140); Over

Game 957-958: San Diego at Arizona (9:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Ross) 14.019; Arizona (McCarthy) 15.552
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Arizona (-140); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (-140); Under

Game 959-960: Chicago Cubs at LA Dodgers (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Arrieta) 13.484; LA Dodgers (Greinke) 15.838
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 2 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-260); 7
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-260); Under

Game 961-962: Oakland at Detroit (7:08 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oakland (Griffin) 15.995; Detroit (Sanchez) 15.466
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Detroit (-170); 8
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (+150); Over

Game 963-964: NY Yankees at Toronto (7:07 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Hughes) 15.301; Toronto (Dickey) 13.925
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Toronto (-110); 9
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (-110); Over

Game 965-966: Houston at Chicago White Sox (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Oberholtzer) 14.674; White Sox (Rienzo) 16.476
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 2; 8
Vegas Line: Chicago White Sox (-150); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (-150); Under

Game 967-968: Texas at Seattle (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (Blackley) 15.877; Seattle (Saunders) 13.167
Dunkel Line: Texas by 2 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Texas (-135); 8
Dunkel Pick: Texas (-135); Under

Game 969-970: Tampa Bay at Kansas City (2:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Hellickson) 15.383; Kansas City (Guthrie) 16.342
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-120); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (+100); Over

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, August 26

Marc Lawrence

San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks
Prediction: San Diego Padres

When Tyson Ross and the Padres take on Brandon McCarthy and the Diamondbacks in Arizona Monday evening, San Diego will take the field knowing Ross' 4-1 mark with a 1.52 ERA on the road is diametrically opposed to his 0-4 record with a 3.65 ERA at home this season. With McCarthy 7-12 in his career team starts during August, including 0-4 his last four, look for the Padres to capture the opener there tonight. We recommend a 1-unit play on San Diego.

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Matt Fargo

Houston Astros vs. Chicago White Sox    
Play: Houston Astros

The hottest team in baseball may surprise many as it is the Chicago White Sox which have won eight of their last 10 games including two of three against the Rangers over the weekend. The pitching has been the key as Chicago has allowed three runs or less in seven of those eight victories including giving up just two runs on Saturday and Sunday against Texas. They have been great in the role of the underdog but the White Sox are 7-19 in their last 26 games as a favorite. The offense remains an inconsistent issue though and I see it struggling again tonight. Andre Rienzo takes the hill for his sixth career start and so far, he has been very solid in his first MLB season. He has a 3.59 ERA through those five starts with four of those being quality performances. All four of those were on the road however where he has a 2.88 ERA in those four games while his lone home start resulted in a 6.75 ERA as he allowed four runs in 5.1 innings against the Twins. Overall, Rienzo has a 1.32 WHIP which is not very good. After taking the first two games against Toronto, the Astros lost on Sunday as they were handcuffed by Mark Buehrle who has suddenly been pitching outstanding. Since suffering through a six-game losing streak, Houston is 6-6 over its last 12 games which is certainly average but a .500 record as big underdogs means profits and we will be backing the Astros again behind Brett Oberholtzer. He is coming off the worst start in his short career but when that worst start was a quality outing, you know things have been good. He allowed three runs in six innings against the Angels and his ERA actually went up where it is now 2.91 through four starts to go along with a 1.09 WHIP. Houston is 3-1 in those games including a perfect 2-0 on the road where it has scored 18 runs in the process.

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Jimmy Boyd

Toronto Blue Jays -110

Phil Hughes has been horrible for the Yankees. He has a 4-12 record in 24 starts and he is getting worse as the season progresses. In his last three starts Hughes has a 4.96 ERA, a 1.408 WHIP and a 0-2 record. While New York has been on a bit of a run, the reality is they are a team batting .239 on the road and scoring four runs per game.

Toronto has averaged 4.9 runs per game at home this season. They are coming off a much needed win against Houston as they return home to take on the Yankees. New York lost two of their last three games in the series at Tampa, and now they have to travel for another road series against Toronto. Dickey has 74 strikeouts in 82 innings pitched at home this season and in his last three starts he has posted a 1.091 WHIP. I like Toronto to pick up back-to-back wins by beating the Yankees today.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, August 26

Jeffrey Brandes

Reds vs. Cardinals
Play: Over 8

Mike Leake was cruising in his last start on Wednesday, retiring the first 10 D-backs he faced. A four-run fifth made things interesting, though, as Leake went on to give up six hits in six innings of work. In his last 3 starts he has a 4.50 ERA.

Tyler Lyons will start Monday in place of the injured Jake Westbrook. The rookie southpaw was recalled last week and pitched two scoreless innings of relief Tuesday. He is 2-4 with a 5.35 ERA in seven big league starts this year. He has a 6.52 ERA in his last 3 starts.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, August 26

Rob Vinciletti

Giants vs. Rockies
Play: Over 10½

This game fits a solid system that plays on home favorites with a total that is 10 or higher if they are off a road favored win, and are taking on an opponent like the Giants that are off a home dog win. Colorado has won 5 of 6 at home vs San Francisco and 12 of 16 as a home favorite in this range. The Giants are 0-3 on the road with a total that is 10 to 10.5 and 1-4 as a road dog in this range. They have B. Zitio going and He has lost 9 of 10 on the road with a 9.50 road era. In his last 3 starts Zito has an era over 10. He will face Colorado right J. Nicasio who has a 3.11 era in his last 3 starts and 3.95 at Coors this year. Loom for Colorado to take the opener here tonight.

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Ray Monohan

Reds vs. Cardinals
Play: Over 8½

In this critical series between NL Central contenders there should be a lot of runs scored in the opener. This is because Reds starter Mike Leake has been hit hard by St. Louis throughout his career (ERA over 5) while Cardinals starter Tyler Lyons has given up 4 runs or more in six straight starts (and doesn't pitch deep). These are two good hitting teams and neither have their ace on the hill tonight so I don’t know why the totals isn’t higher. This is a great chance to steal some value on a Monday where there isn’t a ton of action to choose from.

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Doug Upstone

New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays    
Play: Toronto Blue Jays

This is a pitching play tonight in Toronto. The Yankees Phil Hughes has been brutal this year and appears to be getting worse. Opposite Jays starter R.A. Dickey is much better when the Rogers Centre is closed which it should be tonight with so much rain in the forecast. Blue Jays have lots of offense even without Jose Bautista in the lineup and will club Hughes to victory.

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Art Aronson

Yankees vs. Blue Jays
Play: Under 9

Phil Hughes (4-12, 4.88 ERA) gets the call for the visitors; Hughes went six frames vs. the Jays on Tuesday, earning a no-decision for his effort, allowing two earned runs off seven hits with two walks. Despite the decent start, Hughes for the most part has been a disappointment this year, having not won an outing since July 2nd and going 0-5 in the process. That said, the one place where he's shown to be the most adept this season has been on the road, bringing his respectable 3-3, 3.67 ERA record into Toronto to throw opposite RA Dickey (9-12, 4.49 ERA) who was unfortunate to get saddled with a loss vs. the Yanks on Wednesday despite going the distance. The veteran would allow four earned runs off six hits with two walks in the complete game, striking out nine in the process. Dickey has shown flashes of his old brilliance at times this year and with a revenge-rematch on deck tonight, has a big opportunity to pad his stats. Five of these teams last seven in the series have indeed stayed below the posted number and I expect the opener of this three-game set to follow suit; consider a second look at the "under" in this matchup.

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Sports Experts 17

Rays at Royals
Pick Under 8.5

Most of the times when 2 GREAT pitchers with a high era like today's matchup between Jeremy Hellickson ERA 5.01 (last 3 games) 7.42 and Jeremy Guthrie ERA 4.27 (last 3 games) 6.63 they come out STRONG with a very good pitching and they just get 2 or 3 earn RUNS in the entire game. This situation apply in 8 of 10 matchups like the one we have today, don't expect a high scoring game, both guys will give their best to win this one and make it a low scoring game.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, August 26

Bruce Marshall

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

We wonder if the Yankees might have been denied entry into Canada at Lester Pearson Airport after beating up the Blue Jays so badly. It's 10 wins in a row and 12 of 13 for New York over Toronto, including a 4-game sweep last week in The Bronx. And even after losing two of three over the weekend in St. Pete vs. the Rays, the Yanks lost no ground in the AL wild card race, with the A's still just 3 1/2 games ahead. Yankee starter Phil Hughes hasn't received much support lately, but he had one of his better performances Tuesday against Toronto, allowing two runs over 6 IP. Meanwhile, Toronto's R.A. Dickey is 0-2 with a 5.14 ERA in his last three starts against the Yankees, losing both matchups this season. Dickey has also lost his last three starts (including last Wednesday vs. the Yanks) while posting a mediocre 4.50 ERA in those games.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, August 26

Jim Feist

San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks
Pick: San Diego Padres

The Diamondbacks are home from a trip to the East Coast and haven't had a good week. Starter Brandon McCarthy (2-8, 5.44 ERA) has been awful and is getting worse, with an 0-3 record and a 7.80 ERA his last three starts. McCarthy lasted just 2 1/3 innings in his team's 10-7 loss to the Reds, giving up seven earned runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out two to fall to 2-8. San Diego has a fine arm in Tyson Ross (2.85 ERA), with a 76-33 strikeout to walk ratio in 85 innings. He has faced Arizona once and shut them out allowing only 4 hits.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, August 26

Ben Burns

NY Yankees vs. Toronto
Pick: Toronto

I won with the Jays yesterday and I like their chances again here. While they eked out a 3-2 win at Tampa yesterday, the Yankees haven't hit well on the road all season. In fact, the Jays average nearly an extra run per game at home than the Yankees do on the road.

While they didn't oppose each other, both starters just faced this team last time out. Dickey and Hughes did go head-to-head back in the spring, Hughes finishing on top of a 3-2 game. Dickey does have slightly better overall stats though, as he's got a 4.49 ERA and 1.27 WHIP compared to a 4.88 ERA and 1.389 WHIP for Hughes. Note that Dickey has a 1.091 WHIP his last three, compared to a 1.408 mark for Hughes.

The Yankees have beaten up on Toronto this season. I believe the Jays are hungry for some revenge and I like the positive momentum that they bring to the table, from yesterday's comeback win.  Consider Toronto

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Will Rogers

San Diego vs. Arizona
Pick: Arizona

I like Arizona tonight against division rival San Diego.  The chances are slim of them making it, but the Diamondbacks are still alive in the National League Wild Card chase.  The same cannot be said for the Padres though as they are 12 games under .500 even after yesterday's win, which required 15 innings.

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Fatigue - San Diego just played more than a game and a half Sunday while Arizona wrapped their game up around 1 PM local time in Philadelphia.  Granted, the Diamondbacks lost in Philly, but they still have the edge.  The Padres are 23-39 on the road.

2. Revenge - Arizona dropped two of three games to San Diego last month here at home and is just 4-8 overall this season against their division rival. But they are also 19-12 in double revenge situations.

3.  X-Factor - San Diego has scored three runs or less in five of its last six games.

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Bryan Power

Houston vs. Chi. White Sox
Pick: Houston

I simply cannot buy into this meaningless late season resurgence from the White Sox. Inexplicably, they have won eight of nine games after beating Texas yesterday 5-2.  I feel this has caused them to be overvalued for Monday's opener with the Houston Astros and the underdog is worth a shot here.....

There are two reasons that the typically odious Astros appear attractive tonight.  One is that they just took two of three from Toronto over the weekend. But the primary reason would be the fact Brett Oberholtzer is starting.  In four starts so far, he has an ERA of 1.69 and a WHIP of 0.975.  The team has won three of those four starts.  His only loss was by a score of 2-1 to Texas.  In 26+ innings, he's allowed just five runs.  He's a southpaw and that's even better because Chicago is just 12-19 vs. lefties while averaging 3.8 runs per game.

Earlier this season, Houston took three of four from the White Sox, who will turn to Andre Rienzo this evening.  Rienzo has pitched fairly well in his five starts so far, with one exception, that being his lone start here at home.  There he allowed four runs in just five innings and also walked five batters.  The White Sox are way overvalued here considering they have a losing record this season as a home favorite, dropping nearly 10 units.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, August 26

Jack Jones

Texas Rangers -133

The Texas Rangers (75-55) are showing solid value as a small road favorite over the Seattle Mariners Monday. Texas sits in first place in the AL West by 2.5 games and has a lot more to play for than Seattle (59-70) at this time of the year.

The Mariners are hitting just .242 and scoring 3.9 runs/game this season. They really struggled at the dish over the weekend, scoring a combined two runs while getting swept by the Angels, being outscored 14-2 for the series.

I'll gladly fade Seattle's Joe Saunders, who is 10-12 with a 4.91 ERA and 1.570 WHIP in 26 starts this year. Saunders has really struggled of late, going 0-2 with a 7.98 ERA and 2.183 WHIP in his last three starts. The left-hander is 5-9 with a 5.87 ERA and 1.511 WHIP in 16 career starts against Texas.

The Rangers are hitting .278 and scoring 5.0 runs/game against left-handed starters in 2013. Texas is 41-16 (+16.6 Units) against the money line against division opponents this season. The Rangers are 8-2 in their last 10 games vs. a left-handed starter. The Mariners are 1-7 in Saunders' last 8 starts with 5 days of rest. Bet the Rangers Monday.

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Dave Price

Chicago White Sox -152

The White Sox, winners of eight of their last nine, are playing their best ball of the season. Look for them to continue their surge against the lowly Astros, losers of 39 of their last 53 overall and 134 of their last 185 on the road. Houston's Oberholtzer has pitched well with a 2.91 ERA and 1.088 WHIP, but the White Sox are 4-0 in their last four games versus a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15. Chicago's Rienzo actually has a lower ERA (2.67) and should find success against a club that's batting just .239. The White Sox are 10-4 in their last 14 games as a home favorite of -151 to -200. Take Chicago.

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SPORTS WAGERS

San Diego +117 over ARIZONA

The Diamondbacks are coming off an exhausting series against the Phillies that left the rotation in shambles and that took a toll on every player in that dugout. Saturday’s marathon 19-inning game that lasted close to seven hours was followed up by an early afternoon game yesterday in which the D-Backs lost 9-5. Yesterday ended a 10-game road swing for the Snakes and they figure to be just as exhausted today as they were yesterday after Saturday’s grueling marathon. Since coming off the DL, Brandon McCarthy has started four games and the D-Backs have lost them all by scores of 10-7, 6-2, 4-1 and 4-0. McCarthy’s longest outing over that span was 5.2 innings and his ERA over that same stretch is 6.98. In two of those starts he didn’t make it out of the fifth inning. McCarthy’s strikeout rate is weak with just 55 K’s in 86 innings. At home he has one win in seven starts with a BAA of .297. McCarthy took a scary line drive off his head last September that ended his season. He was average then and he’s been worse since. The impact of three DL stints in two years for the same shoulder may afford McCarthy less margin for error. This is a guy to avoid, especially when spotting a tag.

You would be hard pressed to find a pitcher in the majors that has pitched better than San Diego’s Tyson Ross over the past month. Since re-joining the starting rotation on July 23, Ross has pitched 40 innings and has 42 K’s with just 12 walks issued, a 0.90 WHIP, a 2.10 ERA and an elite groundball rate of 58%. As a prospect in the Oakland system and even as a starter with the A's, Tyson Ross had the fastball and heavy sinker to excel as a big leaguer. What always seemed to be his downfall was a lack of control and shaky command but Ross has finally appeared to figure things out. He has emerged with his top-tier strikeout groundball levels. As a pooch against an exhausted Arizona squad and a struggling Brandon McCarthy, Ross is as live as they come.


COLORADO -1½ +132 over San Francisco

Barry Zito had a respectable first month of the season in terms of results but his skills were brutal then, just like they are now. He survived on luck in April but it’s been all downhill from there. In August, Zito's been working primarily out of the bullpen but now he's back in the rotation and we can only be thankful, as it allows us to fade this stiff a few more times before his contract runs out at the end of this year. He’ll never pitch again in the majors after this season because his skills are a train wreck out there. Zito's last start was a predictable disaster against the Red Sox in which he lasted 3.2 innings and allowed six earned runs. That was at pitcher friendly AT&T Park. On the road this season, Barry Zito is 0-7 with an ERA of 9.45 and that’s over nine starts and 11 road appearances. The Rockies are a different team at home, where they are first in the NL in several key offensive categories that include team batting average (.282), runs scored (329) and OPS (.790). Zito’s BAA on the road is .404 and there is only one way this outing can turn out for him and it’s not good.

After showing some promise last season, Juan Nicasio has taken a step back this year. He's brought his ERA down, but his skills are worse. That said, he is a different pitcher at home where he has thrown 54 innings with 48/18 K/BB, 6 HR allowed and 3.95 ERA. However, this wager has nothing to do with backing Nicasio and everything to do with fading the worst starting pitcher in the major leagues. If Zito were in the minors, he’d be the worst starting pitcher there too.


TORONTO/N.Y. Yankees Over 9

Phil Hughes is an interesting subject. Here’s a guy that has a rough 5.79 ERA and 1.36 WHIP at Yankee Stadium compared to a nifty 3.67 ERA and 1.21 WHIP on the road. What’s so interesting about that is Hughes’ skills at Yankee Stadium have actually been better than they’ve been on the road. Those home and away numbers, according to his xERA, which is a true measure of skills, should actually be reversed. What we can expect from Hughes down the stretch is regression on the road to match his numbers at home. Over his last five starts covering 23 innings, Hughes has a 1.87 WHIP and a 7.43 ERA. Hughes has also allowed an alarming 23 jacks over 131 innings this season and that spells trouble at this venue. In two starts here since 2012, Hughes has posted an ERA of 12.46.

The Blue Jays are playing for nothing. They’ve had a miserable year and were just swept in a four-game set in New York for their 12th loss of the season versus the Yankees in 13 attempts. The Blue Jays are sick of losing to this visitor. The only gratification they can get from this lost season is a strong showing in this series in an attempt to make life just as miserable for the Yankees. The Blue Jays will leave nothing on the table in this series and they have the bats to do some serious damage, even without Jose Bautista. They will score some runs in this series and they are not likely to be fooled by Phil Hughes. Then there’s R.A. Dickey. Dickey cannot keep the ball in the yard at the Rogers Center. In just 82.1 innings at home, Dickey has allowed 19 bombs. The Yankees are sure to go deep once or twice in this game, just like every other opponent has against Dickey this year. The Blue Jays are actually a tempting proposition today, spotting 1½-runs and taking back +180. However, one, three run jack by the Yanks and that makes the 1½-runs difficult to overcome. These two pitchers today both can’t keep the ball in the park. Both also have an atrocious history here and nothing suggests this one will be any different.

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Wunderdog

San Francisco at Colorado
Pick: San Francisco +138

Barry Zito is back in the rotation, and he worked seven scoreless innings here earlier in the season, and has proven he can hold down this Rockies' attack. Nicasio owns a 3.38 ERA vs. the Giants in three starts this season. The Rockies have been brutal facing left handed pitching, where they are just 25-54 in their last 79, and they have failed to win six straight times behind Nicasio on regular four days rest. Zito has gotten redemption following an ugly start where he failed to last four innings, as the Giants are 7-1 in his last eight in this spot. The Giants add to their 38-16 mark in the last 54 meetings. Play on San Francisco.

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MLB Predictions

Colorado Rockies -147

The Giants enter this game 58-72 on the season and 25-37 on the road. Colorado is 61-71 on the year and 36-27 on the season. Southpaw veteran Barry Zito will get the start tonight for the Giants and he is having a very rough season. He is 4-9 on the year with a 5.63 ERA, .318 OBA and 1.72 WHIP. On the road he is an awful 0-7 with a 9.45 ERA, .404 OBA, and 2.30 WHIP. In 7 appearances (3 starts) since the All Star break he is 0-2 with a 10.26 ERA, and in his latest start he went just 3.2 innings giving up 7 hits and 6 earned runs at home vs Boston. The Rockies will counter with Juan Nicasio who is 7-6 on the season with a 4.79 ERA. Despite being a hitters friendly park, Nicasio has excelled at home going 3-1 with a 3.95 ERA over 10 starts this year, with batters hitting just .212 against him. Take note that the Giants are just 8-22 in their last 30 games as a road underdog, 1-6 in Zito's last 7 starts, and 1-9 in his last 10 road starts. The Rockies are 6-1 in their last 7 home games, and 5-1 in Nicasio's last 6 starts vs divisional opponents. Colorado has won 5 of their last 6 meetings with the Giants at home. We will lay the chalk here on Colorado at home vs the Giants with Zito on the mound, who has been just awful on the road this year and overall as of late.

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