Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, September 5

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

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Denver/ Baltimore Over 48: I have to feel this will be an uptempo game on both sides, which should lead to plenty of points. The Broncos have some injury woes on the OL, but still Peyton is behind center and he has plenty of weapons to get the ball to, including newly acquired Wes Welker. The bigger problem for Denver comes on defense, where they lost Von Miller (suspension) and Champ Bailey (Foot), so I expect the Raven to put up some points on them. The Ravens defense is banged up as well, plus Reed and Lewis are gone from this unit this year. I see some early season growing pains from the Raven defense this year. Both teams are hurting on the defensive side of the ball and with two very good offenses attack those units I expect plenty of points in this one.

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

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Boston vs. New YorkFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Over 8½FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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On Thursday, PLAY OVER on teams like Boston when the total is 8.5 to 10, with a team batting average between .265 to .279, against a very good AL starting pitcher (Ivan Nova) whose ERA is 3.50 or lower, in September games. This MLB system is 42-13 since 2009, 76.4 percent. The average score of these games has been 11 runs.

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

Dave Price

New York Yankees -105

The Red Sox are a slight underdog Thursday, and that doesn't bode well for them. In fact, they are just 24-54 in their last 78 games as an underdog, including 2-5 in their last 7 games as a road underdog. In addition, The Red Sox are 17-35 in their last 52 road games versus a team with a winning record and 7-15 in their last 22 road games versus a team with a home winning percentage of greater than .600. The Yankees are playing their best ball of the season. They've won 5 of their last 6 overall and 15 of their last 18 at home. They are also 8-0 in their last 8 home games versus a right-handed starter. I expect this trend to continue as Peavy is 0-4 in 4 starts against the Yanks. New York is 6-0 in Nova's last 6 starts and 4-0 in his last 4 home starts. He's been brilliant in winning his last 2 starts against the Red Sox. Take New York.

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

Jack Jones

Baltimore Orioles -147

The Baltimore Orioles get the nod Thursday against the reeling Chicago White Sox. Baltimore (73-65) need to put the foot on the gas as it trails Tampa Bay by 4 games for the final Wild Card spot in the American League.

Chicago (56-82) has had the foot off the gas over the last week. In fact, it has lost six straight and currently sits in second-to-last place in the American League standings. The White Sox have essentially packed it in at this point.

Miguel Gonzalez has been solid this season at 8-7 with a 4.11 ERA in 23 starts. Gonzalez is also 5-2 with a 4.09 ERA in 10 home starts. In his lone career start at Baltimore, Jose Quintana allowed five earned runs and two homers over 3 2/3 innings of a 3-5 loss.

The White Sox are 12-41 in their last 53 road games vs. a team with a winning record. The Orioles are 12-2 in Gonzalez's last 14 home starts. Baltimore is 8-1 in Gonzalez's last nine starts as a home favorite. Chicago is 2-8 in Quintana's last 10 road starts vs. a team with a winning record. Bet the Orioles Thursday.

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

Jeff Alexander

St. Louis Cardinals +130

The Cards are a nice value play here with Lynn getting the ball because he has had Cincy's number. The Cards are 5-0 in Lynn's 5 starts against the Reds, during which he's posted a 3.72 ERA. The Cards have scored an average of 8.6 runs in these games while winning by an average of 5.8 runs. I'll back the Redbirds with the more proven starter on the mound.

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

Tony Bucca

Rays vs. Angels
Play: Over 7½

You would think with Price pitching that this would be a slam dunk under. At 7' it implies an over. Yet 11 out of 19 starts have gone over in his games. Same thing for Williams where 11 out of 20 have gone over, 2 of his L3 starts. Both teams, Rays road games and Angels home games, average close to or more than a combined 9 runs per game.


Seattle Mariners vs. Kansas City Royals    
Play: Kansas City Royals

Saunders is 6-7 on the road with a eye-popping 5.30 ERA, 1.75 WHIP and astronomical .335 batters against. Guthrie is 9-4 at home with a more manageable 4.16 ERA and 1.26 WHIP.

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

Craig Davis

Your free play for Thursday is the NY Yankees over the Boston Red Sox with Peavy and Nova on the hill.

While I fully understand this game is the biggest rivalry in baseball, the Yankees are on fire recently (especially at home) and they don't care who is in front of them... they need every win they can get to try and catch Tampa Bay as the last Wild Card team in baseball.

And with Ivan Nova on the hill tonight, I really like their chances at home.

Nothing against Jake Peavy, but Nova has pitched very well of late including a complete game shutout of the Baltimore Orioles in his last start.

Nova, today, faces a Boston team that he's had mixed reviews against... winning twice at home and losing twice on the road. Good thing this game is at home. He's allowed only seven earned runs in his last four home starts, winning three of them and pitching better with each game.

Jake Peavy has been fairly solid this year, as well, but is 0-4 in his career against the Yanks despite a decent ERA. Why? Because for whatever reason he doesn't get a lot of run support when he faces New York.

Should be another typical New York/Boston matchup, but today's game belongs to Nova and the Yanks as your free play of the day.

2♦ N.Y. YANKEES

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

Jeff Benton

Your Thursday freebie is the Under in the Red Sox-Yankees series opener.

Boston put up 20 big runs last night in their home rout of Detroit, but prior to that outburst, the Red Sox had been 5-1-1 Under the total in their previous 7 games.

Look for them to return to lower-scoring form as they face Ivan Nova tonight.

Nova was just named the A.L. pitcher of the month as he went 4-0 in his 6 starts with an ERA of 2.08.

6 of Nova's last 8 season starts have ended up playing Under the total.

Boston will send Jake Peavy to the hill, and Peavy is 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA the last 3 times he has taken the ball to the mound. The Red Sox are on an 8-2-1 Under run their last 11 on the road.

Have to believe we are looking at a pitcher's duel tonight in the first of four big games from the Bronx.

Boston-New York stay low.

3♦ BOSTON-N.Y. YANKEES UNDER

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

Brad Wilton

Thursday comp play winner will be to take the Under as the Cardinals and Reds wrap up their series from Cincy.

Last night it took a rather lengthy 16 innings to decide the outcome, as the teams did combine for an Over - but just barely - in the third of four from Great American Ball Park.

The series numbers have shown the Over to be the play lately, as the Over is on an 8-2 run, but my thinking is both sides have to be fatigued after last night's marathon, and we will see the pitchers take control tonight.

Lance Lynn is due for a solid outing, as Lynn has been hit hard in each of his last 4 starts. Lynn did turn in a solid performance back on August 4th versus Cincy, working 8 innings while allowing just 2 runs to score.

Tony Cingrani returns to the rotation after a lower-back strain removed him from his last start on August 20th. Cingrani was on a 3-2 run with a 1.91 ERA in his previous 7 outings, and he does own a 2.76 ERA for the season.

Tired bats and bodies tonight yield to a low-scoring game in the series finale between the Cards and Reds.

2♦ ST. LOUIS-CINCINNATI UNDER

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

Brett Atkins

My free winner for tonight is on the Baltimore Orioles, as they host the struggling Chicago White Sox. The line is on that precarious 160, but I'm willing to lay it, and not bother with the run line in this game.

I know the O's have slipped in the playoff chase after a rough 3-6 road trip, but if there were ever a perfect opportunity to claw their way back into the standings with this series here.

While the O's have lost two of three in Cleveland to fall one-half game behind the Indians and into fifth place in the American League wild-card standings, four games back of Tampa Bay, and despite them losing 14 of their last 23 games, the White Sox stumble into Baltimore having lost six straight.

Point blank, Baltimore is the better team, has more to play for and the White Sox are an abysmal mess right now. Take the O's

5♦ BALTIMORE

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

Chris Jordan

My free winner for Thursday night is the Cincinnati Reds over the St. Louis Cardinals, and I want you listing both Tony Cingrani and Lance Lynn with this game.

In an all-important game for the National League playoff race, I like the left-handed Italian to get it done for the Reds, in his first start since Aug. 20, when he left early with a lower back strain after just 3-2/3 innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He did throw a successful bullpen session Tuesday and told the Reds website he was ready to return to the mound.

Cingrani is 6-3 on the year with a 2.76, and barring another back injury, he has the stamina and durability to keep the Reds in a position to win. Besides, after last night's marathon loss, I think this is the Reds' game to win and he is catching the Cardinals' lineup in the right spot, possibly a bit overzealous.

As for Lynn, he steps to the hill after a rough August, winning just once and posting a 5.84 ERA in six starts. The right-hander has allowed at least three runs in a big inning for the opposing team, in four of his last five outings. The Reds can hit the ball, and I think the bats will be on fire to make up for missed opportunities last night.

Take the Reds, and list both.

3♦ CINCINNATI

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

Scott Delaney

My free winner for tonight is on an MLB total, as I like the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics going Over the posted number, based on the pitchers who are going in this game. All Total plays automatically list pitchers with the starters who are scheduled to go at the time of the wager, and I want you to be sure the following pitchers are the starters of record on your ticket when making your play: Brad Peacock and Sonny Gray. If one or both of these pitchers is not going, this is a no-play.

Starting with the Astros, Peacock has been sketchy in his last two trips to the hill. Though he's 1-1 in those games, he has a rather sky-high 7.84 ERA, as he's allowed nine earned runs on 13 hits and six walks in 10-1/3 innings. Big difference from his three starts prior to, as he was 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA in those games, after giving up four earned runs on 11 hits and eight walks in 19-1/3 frames. And he is 0-1 with a 5.19 ERA lifetime against the contending A's, who desperately need to pick up a win, and will be swinging for the fences on this kid.

I'm not convinced I can trust the A's, though. I know right-hander Sonny Gray is in after throwing 6-2/3 innings of shutout ball against the Rays in his last start, and yes both of the rookie's wins have come at home, where he's allowed just two earned runs over 21-2/3 innings. But ever heard of the due theory? Something tells me this boy is about to get rocked.

Even Sonny Corleone had the due theory kick in; I say Sonny Gray will have his.

I don't know who wins, but it's going Over.

3♦ Houston/Oakland OVER

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

The Real Animal

Florida Atlantic / East Carolina Over 55

East Carolina last week beat Old Dominion 52-38 with a 481-460 narrow edge in total yards. ECU QB Shane Garden (formally at Texas Tech) was 46-of-54 with no picks for 447 yards. The Pirates threw it 54 times and only attempted 22 rushes. Meanwhile Monarchs QB Taylor Heinicke went 38-of-51 for 338 yards with three touchdowns also ran another in. He certainly had no trouble moving the ball on the ECU defense. East Carolina runs a no-huddle offense with a 2-1 ratio of passes to rushes. I like any total with ECU ‘OVER’ providing it’s 56 or less. The Pirates lost last year’s New Orleans Bowl to Louisiana-Lafayette 43-34. Their final six games resulted in total points of 77, 124, 51, 76, 84, and 77 points. This team averaged 31.5 a game and allowed 31.6. You know with the ESPN cameras around, the Pirates are going to want to score points. I know Florida Atlantic didn’t show much on offense last week at Miami. But it’s a different athlete on defense that plays for the Hurricanes compared to East Carolina. FAU allowed 30.8 points per game last year. They should have allowed many more points at Miami. The Hurricanes dropped several easy touchdown passes early and then also fumbled at the 1-yard line. Miami had 503 total yards scoring 34 points. They could have easily had 50. I do expect ECU to run more tonight given the fact Miami had 303 yards on the ground at nearly eight yards per carry. Last week the two-QB system for FAU was a no-go after Greg Hankerson left the Hurricane game with bruised ribs. But he’s been cleared to play tonight. I expect the Owls to put significantly more points on the board tonight. “We had a lot of big sets against Miami, played a lot of base defense,” FAU Coach Carl Pelini said. “This week we will see a lot more three wides, four wides, five wides, sometimes empty, spread the field a lot more. Very, very different offense than Miami.” My sharp house had a bump at 2:18PM ET raising the ECU total from 53 to 56! That is some serious steam! FYI: ECU is 6-0 ATS the week before facing Virginia Tech.

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

Dr. Bob

EAST CAROLINA (-20½) 33 Florida Atlantic 17

My ratings using last year’s stats would have favored East Carolina by only 9 points and even though Florida Atlantic figures to be worse with a new starting quarterback and ECU should be better with improved defense I simply can’t justify a line this big. East Carolina beat Old Dominion 52-38 and outgained the Monarchs 488 yards at 6.7 yards per play to 460 yard at 6.1 yppl and those numbers are pretty close to what I had projected (a 10 point win and 6.8 yppl to 5.9 yppl). So, I’m pretty solid in my rating of East Carolina, which I rate at average offensively and 0.2 yppl worse than average defensively. Florida Atlantic covered the spread in their 6-34 loss at Miami but they were out gained 250 yards at 3.4 yppl while allowing 505 yards at 7.4 yppl. The Owls’ new quarterbacks look terrible and my ratings have the FAU pass attack among the worst in the nation at 1.6 yards per pass play worse than average while the rushing attack is 0.7 yards per rushing play worse than average. My ratings project 305 yards and 17 points, which is actually what the odds makers predict given the line is 20.5 and the total is 55 points (that would be a predicted score of 17.25 to 37.75.

Where I see things differentially is in ECU’s production. I rate the Pirates’ attack as just average on a yards per play basis after being 0.2 yppl worse than average last season (5.8 yppl against teams that would combine to allow 6.0 yppl to an average team) and I rate the FAU defense at 0.5 yppl worse than average with 8 starters returning from a unit that was 0.6 yppl worse than average last season. The Owls couldn’t stop the strong Miami rushing attack last week (315 yards allowed at 8.8 yprp) but they held future NFL quarterback Stephen Morris to just 5.9 yards per pass play (although it would have been a bit higher if not for a couple of dropped passes). East Carolina only ran the ball 17 times while running 56 pass plays last week so the fact that Florida Atlantic isn’t good defending the run may not be much of an issue and the Owls’ secondary could be better than I rate them (0.5 yppp worse than average) given how well they played last week at Miami. The line looks too high and I’ll lean with Florida Atlantic plus the points.

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

Harry Bondi

East Carolina / Florida Atlantic Over 55

Both of these squads can score but don't play a lick of defense! East Carolina has averaged 46 points a game in their last 8 games but are giving up 34 points per game in the same time period. Last week, the Pirates put up 52 points versus Old Dominion but allowed the Monarchs to score 38. Florida Atlantic should be able to score at least that and after facing Miami's tough defense last week they should be able to torch the Pirates weak secondary. Take the OVER 55 in tonight's East Carolina - Florida Atlantic shootout.

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