Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, September 5

Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, September 5

DUNKEL INDEX

NFL

Baltimore at Denver
The Broncos are seeking revenge from last years playoff loss to the Ravens and look to build on their 4-0 ATS record in their last 4 Thursday games. Denver is the pick (-8) according to Dunkel, which has the Broncos favored by 11. Dunkel Pick: Denver (-8)

Game 451-452: Baltimore at Denver (8:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore 131.325; Denver 142.477
Dunkel Line: Denver by 11; 44
Vegas Line: Denver by 8; 48
Dunkel Pick: Denver (-8); Under

NCAAF

Florida Atlantic at East Carolina
The Owls look to build on their 7-0 ATS record in their last 7 road games.  Florida Atlantic is the pick (+20 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Pirates favored by only 10 1/2.  Dunkel Pick: Florida Atlantic (+20 1/2)

Game 301-302: Florida Atlantic at East Carolina (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Florida Atlantic 71.149; East Carolina 81.509
Dunkel Line: East Carolina by 10 1/2; 48
Vegas Line: East Carolina by 20 1/2; 54 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Florida Atlantic (+20 1/2); Under

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DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Boston at NY Yankees
The Red Sox look to take advantage of a New York team that is 2-6 in Ivan Nova's last 8 starts as an underdog. Boston is the pick (-115) according to Dunkel, which has the Red Sox favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Boston (-115)

Game 951-952: St. Louis at Cincinnati (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Lynn) 16.407; Cincinnati (Cingrani) 15.519
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-145); 8
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (+125); Over

Game 953-954: Arizona at San Francisco (10:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Cahill) 13.558; San Francisco (Vogelsong) 15.550
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 2; 6
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-115); 7
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (-115); Under

Game 955-956: Seattle at Kansas City (2:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Saunders) 15.675; Kansas City (Guthrie) 14.547
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 1; 10
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-160); 9
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (+140); Over

Game 957-958: Boston at NY Yankees (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Peavy) 17.065; NY Yankees (Nova) 15.509
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Boston (-115); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-115); Under

Game 959-960: Chicago White Sox at Baltimore (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Quintana) 14.981; Baltimore (Gonzalez) 16.387
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Baltimore (-165); 9
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (-165); Under

Game 961-962: Tampa Bay at LA Angels (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Price) 15.362; LA Angels (Williams) 16.359
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-175); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (+155); Over

Game 963-964: Houston at Oakland (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Peacock) 13.688; Oakland (Gray) 16.049
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 2 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Oakland (-260); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-260); Under

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Terron ChapmanFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Baltimore Ravens vs. Denver BroncosFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Baltimore Ravens +9FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The last time the defending Super Champion opened the season on the road was 1996 when the Dallas Cowboys (winners of Super Bowl XXX over the Pittsburgh Steelers) visited the Chicago Bears. The Cowboys lost 22-6. The Baltimore Ravens will look to avoid a similar fate when they travel to the Mile High city to kick off the 2013-14 NFL season against the Denver Broncos.
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The last meeting between these two was an epic, 38-35 Ravens victory in overtime of last year’s divisional round matchup. Many – particularly Broncos fans – will remember the Broncos on the verge of victory until Joe Flacco found Jacoby Jones on a 70-yard scoring strike with just 31 seconds left. Lost is the fact the visiting Ravens hung around as a 9-point underdog by being more physical than the host Broncos. The Ravens dominated the line of scrimmage, pressuring Peyton Manning into three turnovers (two int's and one fumble) while outrushing the Broncos by thirty yards. Offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell fed Ray Rice early and often and Rice responded by rushing for 130 yards and one touchdown on 31 attempts. Joe Flacco put to rest any doubt of his ability to lead a team by going 18-for-34 for 331 yards, three td’s and no int’s.
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The Broncos return a talented group that sports betting experts and NFL pundits alike believe will represent the AFC in Super Bowl XLVIII. Peyton Manning returns as signal-caller with plenty of weapons on both sides of the ball. However, the loss of Von Miller (suspension) and Elvis Dumervil (free agency) will be something to watch as the Broncos struggled to get pressure on Flacco in the last meeting. The backend of the defense is still a concern and the availability of cornerback Champ Bailey (questionable) is vital.
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The Ravens had to say goodbye to an impressive list of veteran players that included Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Dannell Ellerbe, and Paul Kruger on the defense alone this past offseason, not to mention the loss of Anquan Boldin on offense. However, Ozzie Newsome is one of the best GM’s in the game and he and his staff did a great job of filling those voids in the offseason. Some believe this version of the Ravens defense can be better than last year’s.
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Just like the last meeting, we believe this game will be decided in the trenches. Joe Flacco has already shown his ability to match Peyton Manning throw for throw but can the Broncos be as physical as the Ravens. The Ravens defensive front is deep and scary with the likes of: Haloti Ngata, Arthur Jones, Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Chris Canty, Courtney Upshaw and Daryl Smith. Look for defensive coordinator Dean Pees to dial up plenty of pressure on Manning. The Broncos will be anxious to avenge last year’s bitter defeat but expect the Ravens to be just as ornery having to play their first game on the road. This should be a competitive game and we don’t expect much of a learning curve for the defending champs and their new pieces. Take the Ravens and the points at your sportsbook.

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Jeff Scott SportsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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3 UNIT PLAYFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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East Carolina/ FAU Over 54: Last year the Pirates were involved in many high scoring games, and it started out the same way this year as well. Ruffin McNeill is not the kind of coach that worries too much about defense as his first 3 years have shown. The Pirates allowed 44 ppg back in 2010 and still made a bowl game. They did miss out on a bowl in 2011 and allowed 32.3 ppg that year. Last year they allowed 31.6 ppg and went 8-5 on the year. ECU has actually been outscored in each of those 3 years, and those last 3 years have averaged 80.8 ppg, 58.5 ppg and 63.1 ppg respectively. This is not a team that cares about defense as they have been able to win without it. The ECU offense will be fine once again as they have 9 starters back from a group that put up 31.5 ppg last year, while in their opener vs ODU they put up 52 points and allowed 38 points. Same philosophy as in year's past. Just out score the other team. FAU does not have an offense that can scare many people, but they're playing a team that will give up points. Even if they score just 20 points in this one, their defense won't be able to stop ECU from putting up at least 40. FAU does have 9 starters back on defense, but still started out by allowing 34 points and 503 yards to a Miami offense that didn't show a whole lot. This is a nationally televised game and I really see ECU looking to put on a show, so putting up 40+ should be easy from them here, while FAU Should grab no lee than 17 points of their own vs a team that really could care less about playing defense. This game should hit the high 50 at the very least.

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Alex SmartFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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CS Sacramento vs. Arizona StateSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: CS Sacramento +37FOR  FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Sacramento State lost 24-0 at San José State team that garnered 34.8 ppg last season on offense in its season opener . The Hornets had two early interceptions and a blocked field goal attempt which directly led to 17 first-half points for SJSU. Sacramento State outgained the Spartans in the second half and dominated time of possession during the game (36:08-23:52) but were unable to score, messing up in close on 4 separate occasions , because of miscues and bad play calling It must be noted, however, that Sacramento State has garnered national attention the last two seasons with victories over Football Bowl Subdivision teams. The Hornets defeated Oregon State, 31-30, in overtime to start the 2011 season. Last year, the team rallied for a 30-28 win at Colorado with the help of a field goal as time expired. This current version of the Hornets is capable of staying within 5+ TDs, despite of being overwhelmingly out gunned on paper by a far superior ASU side. Im betting the underdog Hornets find a way to cover the number vs a Arizona State team.... that despite of what their coach Todd Graham says, may very well be looking ahead to consecutive games against Wisconsin, Stanford, USC and Notre Dame .

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Jimmy BoydFOR  SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Arizona Diamondbacks +104FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Diamondbacks are coming off a confidence boosting win over the Blue Jays last night and I expect that momentum to carry into today's game. San Francisco has looked horrible recently, averaging 3.4 runs per game. They have a .256 batting average at home and I don't think they can provide enough run support for Ryan Vogelsong to win this game. Vogelsong has a 5.49 ERA this season and a 3-4 record in his 14 starts.
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Trevor Cahill has been pitching really well lately. In his last three starts the Diamondbacks are 2-1 and Cahill has a 3.93 ERA. Run support should not be an issue for this Arizona team that is batting .262 on the road and averaging 4.4 runs per game. The Diamondbacks are also 19-8 in their last 27 road games against a team with a losing home record.

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Jim FeistFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco GiantsPLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Arizona DiamondbacksFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Arizona is in town with a very good offense, 14th in baseball in runs scored and 10th in on base percentage. The Giants have packed it in, swinging at too many pitches with an offense that is 28th in runs scored with no power. The Diamondbacks are 19-8 in their last 27 road games vs. a team with a losing home record. Arizona righty Trevor Cahill has a 3.93 ERA his last three starts and a winning record against the Giants along with a 3.68 ERA. San Fran goes with with erratic Ryan Vogelsong, who has a 5.49 ERA in 77 innings allowing 91 hits. He also has a losing record against Arizona with a 4.25 ERA. The Giants are 6-15 in their last 21 home games and 8-21 in their last 29 during game 1 of a series.

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Bruce MarshallFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Astros at AthleticsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: OverFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Oakland's recent uptick, which has seen it win 8 of 10, is even more impressive considering the caliber of opponents, including the Tigers, Rays, and Rangers. Oakland has won 12 of 15 this season against Houston and Thursday starter Sonny Gray, the Vanderbilt rookie, had his best game of the season on August 15 when he struck out a career-high nine over eight innings in a 5-0 win and heads into this matchup after another superb outing after pitching 6 2/3 innings of scoreless ball and fanning seven in a 2-1 win over Tampa Bay on Saturday. He's also 2-0 with a 0.83 ERA in three career home starts. But with the Astros scoring more runs lately and the bullpen very shaky behind starter Brad Peacock, "over" 7 1/2 runs looks a proper call.

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Rob VincilettiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Chicago White Sox vs. Baltimore OriolesSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Baltimore OriolesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Baltimore has won 8 of the last 10 here at home and Chicago qualifies in a solid league wide system that has won 11 of 12 times and plays on home favorites at -140 or higher that are off a road dog loss by 2 or more runs and scored 4 or less runs, vs an opponent off a road dog loss and scored 5 or more runs. Baltimore starter Gonazelz is 8-2 at home and Chicago starter Quintana allowed 5 runs in 3+ innings in his lone start here in Baltimore. The Orioles are 6-1 at home off a road loss and scored 4 or less runs and 12-4 on Thursday. Chicago is 7-18 as a road dog from +125 to +150 and have lost 7 of the last 8 on the road off a 1 run road loss. Look for Baltimore to win this one.

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Nick Parsons

Boston vs. New York
Pick: New York

Forget about what happened last month between these clubs (Ryan Dempster drilling A-Fraud), and focus on the situation and starting pitching.

New York is coming off a three-game sweep of the White Sox and sits 2 1/2 back for the AL's second wild card, winning 11 of its last 16 overall.

I believe the momentum the home side has created for itself over the last month is real and behind what I deem to be the superior starter in this matchup, look for it to find a way to get the job done at the end of the night.

Jake Peavy (11-5, 3.91 ERA)

Peavy gave up two runs off five hits and one walk while striking out four over seven frames in his team's 7-2 victory over the punchless White Sox on Saturday.

Peavy has given up three earned runs combined over his last two starts.

The veteran for the most part has been as solid as you could expect this season, but if he's had one weakness it's definitely been his play on the road, just 4-5 with a poor 5.06 ERA in opposing ballparks thus far.

Ivan Nova (8-4, 2.88 ERA)

Nova is coming off a complete game shutout of the Orioles on Saturday, walking one and scattering five hits and striking out five.

Nova has won four straight decisions and has been particularly awesome at home this year going 6-2 with a very respectable 2.49 ERA.

The Bottom Line

Peavy has lost his last four starts vs. the Yankees.

A superior starter. A motivated and red hot home side. An extremely favorable line.

There are overwhelming factors that all point to the Yanks as being the prudent wager in this matchup.

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Big Kat SportsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Boston Red Sox vs. New York YankeesFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Take: New York Yankees -115FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Here are a few trends that have us on the home team in tonight’s AL East showdown:
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Yankees are 7-0 in their last 7 home games vs. a right-handed starter.
Yankees are 12-2 in their last 14 games as a home favorite.
Yankees are 14-3 in their last 17 home games.
Yankees are 6-0 in Nova’s last 6 starts.
Yankees are 20-7 in Novas last 27 starts as a home favorite.
Red Sox are 17-35 in their last 52 road games vs. a team with a winning record.
Red Sox are 24-54 in their last 78 games as an underdog.
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Pair those numbers with the fact that we like to fade any team who had the kind of offensive output that the Sox had last night and we’ll lay the small price with the Yankees at home to get the win and continue their push towards the playoffs.

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Steve Janus

Cincinnati Reds -129

The Reds lost a heartbreaker at home to the Cardinals last night in extra innings and that sets up a very profitable situation to back Cincinnati. The Reds are a perfect 9-0 ATS this season revenging a home loss as a favorite and 15-1 in this spot over the last two years. Even without revenge, Cincinnati is 21-2 against the money line in home games following a loss.

I become even more confident with this play when breaking down the starting pitchers for this one. The Reds will send out youngster Tony Cingrani, who is 6-3 with a 2.59 ERA and 0.996 WHIP in 16 starts. St Louis counters with Lance Lynn, who has been going through a rough stretch here of late. Lynn is 0-3 with a 7.94 ERA and 2.059 WHIP in his last three starts and just 5-6 with a 5.49 ERA and 1.451 WHIP in 14 starts on the road.

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Vegas Sports Informer

Baltimore (+7.5) over Denver

The NFL 2013-14 season kicks off Thursday night in Denver, and the Broncos host the defending Super Bowl Champs, the Baltimore Ravens. The Broncos have big expectations this season, and just coming from Denver over the holiday weekend it sounds like a Super Bowl visit or bust for the Broncos. The Ravens, on the other hand, have lost 'Key' players from their Super Bowl run last season. However, watching them in Preseason, they still look explosive on defense. The oddsmakers are telling us that this game is getting really good 2-way action as the number has been moving back and forth for weeks, but I still believe this number is a bit high. Yes, I see Denver coming out on top, but covering this number could be difficult. Baltimore will hang around in this game, and their defense will give the Broncos offense trouble all game long. On offense Joe Flacco will be safe, and I see the Ravens running game being the key to cov! ering this road number. Take the plus points in this game, and I see Denver winning this game by a field goal late in the 4th quarter.

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Red Dog SportsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Chicago at BaltimoreFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Play: ChicagoFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Miguel Gonzalez is 0-3 with a 5.94 ERA for the Orioles in his last 3 starts while Jose Quintana has a solid 3.69 ERA this year with 139 k's in 165 innings. He pitched well in a 3-2 win earlier at home vs. Baltimore as he went 7 innings, allowed no runs on 2 hits with 11 K's. Plenty of value on the White Sox +139.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Seattle +154 over KANSAS CITYFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Joe Saunders goes for the Mariners here and we’re not going to sugarcoat this and say that Saunders has a chance to thrive because he rarely does. Saunders will never be above average as long as he has to face righties because of a staggering OPS split against righties and lefties (.451 vL, .849 vR). Our interest level in Saunders remains tepid at best but this has nothing to do with him.
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The day we refuse a take-back of more than 7½-5 against Jeremy Guthrie versus anyone not named Houston or Miami, is the day we quit betting on baseball. No question the Royals can win this one but with Guthrie starting, so can the M’s. In 211 games started in his career, Guthrie has a 68-87 record with a BAA of .265. In other wins, he wins about once every three starts. That career BA against of .265 has been surpassed this season with a BAA of .282. Outside of Guthrie’s 4.08 ERA, his skills and numbers across the board are worse this year than they’ve ever been. So, yeah, Joe Saunders is a stiff but so is Guthrie and Saunders isn’t the one laying a ridiculous price. Overlay. 
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Arizona +100 over SAN FRANCISCOFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Trevor Cahill labored through five innings against the Pirates on August 17 but that was his first game back after spending nearly two months on the DL with a hip contusion. While on the mend, Cahill worked on his mechanics with particular focus on the location of his sinker and the results have been outstanding. In three games since his start against the Pirates, Cahill has faced the Philly and Cincinnati on the road and these same Giants back at Chase Field. That’s three games at three hitter’s park and all Cahill did was allow four earned runs in 17 innings for an ERA of 2.08. Was his new sinker working? Cahill already had an elite groundball rate of 55% before he was injured but since his return that GB rate has increased to 64% and in his last start it was 70%. Fresh and in the midst of a Wild Card chase, Cahill definitely offers up more than his counterpart here, Ryan Vogelsong.
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Vogelsong has made five starts now after missing a significant amount of time this season with a broken hand. Many will look at his 2.93 ERA and 1.27 WHIP since returning and think he may be rounding into shape, but a quick glance at his 4.44 xERA in that time suggests otherwise. Vogelsong’s batted ball profile of 38%/27%/35% groundball/line-drive/fly-ball since returning reveals some trouble and so does his 80% strand rate over those five starts. Additionally, Vogelsong has had trouble against the Diamondbacks, as current Snakes have 34 hits in 101 career AB’s for a BA of .301 against him. Vogelsong’s numbers since returning are misleading while Trevor Cahill’s are at the other end of that spectrum. That calls for a wager.
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St. Louis +125 over CINCINNATIFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Tony Cingrani is scheduled to return from the disabled list here after leaving his last start on August 20 with a lower back strain. He returns to face a tough challenge in the Cardinals, who have the best road offense in MLB, where they average 5.0 runs per game. Cingrani only lasted five inning against the Cardinals on August 3 after allowing three runs, walking five and needing 103 pitches to get through those five frames. The helpful combination of a 24% hit rate and 80% strand rate have helped his surface stats look very good but beware of overvaluing him based upon those percentages. Cingrani has a ton of upside but he’s still green and he’s not close to being as good as his 2.76 ERA suggests. Not yet anyway. That said, this one is more about backing Lance Lynn and the Cardinals at a price than it is about fading Cingrani.
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Lynn’s 6.83 ERA and 1.79 WHIP in August might leave bad taste in the mouths of most but don't follow suit. Interestingly enough, Lynn did the exact same thing last August when he posted a 6+ ERA and 1.92 ERA in August. Last year, Lynn rebounded with elite September and he figures to repeat that as well. Lynn’s strikeout rate and command trends confirm that there's plenty more growth on the horizon. He continues to be unhittable vs. righties and it's scary to think that Lynn has even more upside than he's currently showing, but it's true. His 50% August strand rate was on the extreme side of unlucky but an elite 61% groundball rate tells us that a ton of groundballs found holes in the infield. Lynn has 162 K’s in 172 innings and he’s not showing signs of fatigue. As a decent priced dog pitching for the always dangerous Cardinals, it’s a combo that is well worth a wager.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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DENVER -7½ over BaltimoreFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Almost every year there is a team of destiny which just wins in spite of what is expected and that gets the right calls, bouncing balls and a sense of chemistry that seems to just appear later in the season. Not that the Ravens were a bad team, but they ended the year as the best of all and that’s all that matters. Don’t expect lightning to strike twice. The Ravens get to re-assert themselves now with different personnel and show that it was no fluke and that the NFL is not just a reality show scripted by Ray Lewis. The Ravens went into 2012 wanting Joe Flacco to prove himself before re-upping him with a new contract. That merely cost them $120 million for six years. That was a King's ransom for a quarterback who never passed for more than 3817 yards or 25 touchdowns in a season. For whatever reason, Flacco had maybe the best four games of his career in the playoffs. Flacco threw for multiple touchdowns in only three of his first 13 games until catching fire at the right time. Of the Ravens three main receivers now, they combined for only one season over 1000 yards and that was Brandon Stokley when he had that freakish year as a Colt nine years ago. Rare is so much rebuilding on a team that won it all last year but that’s precisely the situation for Baltimore this year. Dennis Pitta became Flacco's security blanket last year and scored three times in the playoffs. But he suffered a badly dislocated hip in July that may force him to miss the entire season and in all cases a good chunk of the year to start. That leaves blocking tight end Ed Dickson and 34-year old Dallas Clark who has been a non-factor since 2009. The passing game no longer has Pitta or Anquan Boldin. That's a big chunk of the offense that someone has to fill. Again, not a positive development.
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The Broncos were the team to beat in the AFC last year and that is exactly what these Ravens did. Peyton Manning's first season back from neck surgery was a huge success and he brought along the entire offense with him. It was a bitter pill to swallow when the Ravens pulled out the win and don’t think the Broncos have forgotten that. Denver’s offense has even been upgraded with Wes Welker and Montee Ball in the backfield. The defense may not be quite as good for 2013, but that only means more Peyton Manning and that is always a good thing.After sitting out a year with a bad neck, Peyton Manning came back in pretty good form. His 4659 yards ranked second best in his career as did his 37 touchdowns. He never failed to throw at least one touchdown in every game and only four times did he not end up with multiple touchdown passes. He was vintage Manning while making Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker into his new version of Harrison/Wayne. And now he gets Wes Welker? And an easy schedule? Just hardly seems fair. Manning passed for 290 yards and three scores on the Ravens in the Divisional Round last year. He threw two interceptions and lost one fumble in a very uncharacteristic game. He might remember that day.
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While it is early to consider any obituary for the Ravens defense, the loss of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed will have some effect, perhaps not the profound negative that some believe but it’s worth noting that Bernard Pollard is also gone. That all said, the Broncos are at home here in front of the world against the team that derailed what was thought to be a certain Super Bowl bid. The Broncos make a big statement tonight and it comes at the expense of the Ravens. 7½-points may seem like a big number but that’s exactly what the oddsmakers want you to think.
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WEEK 1 Survivor PoolFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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DENVER over BaltimoreFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Once again this season we are going to attempt to pick one straight up winner each week while not being allowed to use the same team more than once in a season. Most people will look to the biggest favorites of the week and choose one of them and that’s a “safe” way to play but here’s the problem with that philosophy. In the unlikely event that you avoid a big upset each week and remain standing, at the end of the pool, you will end up splitting it with many others. Furthermore, when an upset occurs and you’re on that team, you will get eliminated along with 25%-35% of the remaining entrants. In other words, any favorites of seven points or more usually cover 90% of the entrants. Let’s say there are three teams that are favored by 7 points or more. Those 3 teams will be chosen by approximately 90% of the entrants in your pool or 30% each. In Week 1, Indianapolis, New England and Pittsburgh will likely be split up almost evenly by about 85% of your pool and that’s what we are trying to avoid.
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We also avoid playing road favorites because they simply don’t win enough and they are almost always in line for an upset. Road chalk like the Bucs, Chiefs, Seahawks and Chargers in Week 1 are far too risky for our liking and that brings us to our pick: DENVER.
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Yes, the Broncos are among that group of teams that are favored by 7 points or more but because it’s a Thursday night game and because they are playing the Super Bowl champs, only 20% or less of your pool entrants will be choosing them. Think you shouldn't be picking against the Super Bowl champions and their $120 million quarterback? Think again. Not only is the game at Mile High Stadium but Denver ranked as the second-most efficient team in 2012, behind only the Patriots. Denver owned the No. 2 defense in the NFL last season and although they are without Von Miller, they figure to play just as hard. The Ravens show up with less of a team than last year with notable defections/retirements on both sides of the ball. Because they are the ruling Super Bowl champs, they better get used to everyone bringing their A+ game against them. The extremely focused Broncos figure to do just that. Nobody wants to get eliminated in Week 1 and of all the “big favorites”, this one will be the least played among pool entrants and we’re suggesting it has the best chance of winning.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, September 5

Bob Balfe

Cincinnati Reds -135

What a great extra inning game last night won by the Cardinals as a backup player stole the show. The Reds are now in desperation mode and need to win this game with their left hander on the mound. Cingrani is the better pitcher this year and the Cardinals have not hit the ball that great as of late and really struggle against lefties. If the Reds lose this you can stick a fork in them. Take Cincinnati.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, September 5

Sam MartinFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Florida Atlantic at East CarolinaFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: UnderFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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If you read our College Football Article this past weekend, you know that games involving favorites have gone under the total 11 times in 17 chances in the opening week, including a perfect 5-0 Under in the non-Saturday games. We look for that trend to hold true tonight in the Florida Atlantic vs. East Carolina matchup, noting the visitor only scored six points last week at Miami FL. and while the Hurricanes won big (but did not cover as as 31-point favorite), the Hurricanes only amassed 200 yards passing and we think East Carolina will have a hard time duplicating their 447-yard passing outburst they had against ODU last weekend. East Carolina wins this game comfortably (no opinion on the ATS winner), but this one stays well under the high total.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, September 5

Tony StoffoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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St Louis Cardinals vs. Cincinnati RedsFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Cincinnati RedsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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With Lance Lynn matching up with Tony Cingrani here, and the Cardinals in a major slump right now having lost 5 of their last 7 - makes for a solid release on the Reds here this evening. In his last 3 starts Lynn has a 7.94 ERA with a 2.06 WHIP In his last 3 starts Cingrani has a 1.20 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP Cardinals are 1-10 in their last 11 games as a road underdog of +110 to +150. Reds are 5-1 in Cingrani's last 6 starts vs. National League Central. Cincinnati at this price the play here.

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Ken ThomsonFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Ravens / Broncos Over 48FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Taking a shot at this game to go over....Denver a depleted pass rush without Von Miller and Dumervil now on the Ravens plus no Champ Bailey in secondary.  Manning should still run everything from shot gun...use Welker & Thomas all night and force Flacco to air it out as well.  Baltimore may also uptempo their offense to take advantage of Denver's depth on Defensive side of the ball.  Look for Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and Baltimore's underrated receiving corp to surprise tonight.  Ray Rice will also catch some balls out of the backfield as a safety valve.  I think Manning will be on his game even with a depleted offensive line and I look for a 34-27 Bronco win.

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