Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 3

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 3

SPORTS WAGERS

Montreal +5 over TORONTO

This is seemingly a tough game to call because there are so many injuries to the Als and the Argos are without their starting QB, Ricky Ray. Both teams have had extra time to prepare and the Als are coming off a huge upset win over B.C. while the Argos are coming off an embarrassing home loss to the Stamps. A Montreal letdown is quite possible and so is an Argonauts rebound but we can’t feel comfortable spotting points with an Argonauts team that lost 35-14 without Ray last week against a Calgary team that was just as banged up as this Alouettes’ team is this week. Instead of Ray against Anthony Calvillo, it’ll be backups Tanner Marsh for the Als against Zach Collaros of the Argos. Both offenses lose experienced starters but their young replacements certainly bring a different dynamic to the table. Collaros and Marsh are very athletic and more than capable of using their arms and legs to make big plays downfield.

It’s a wild guess to try and predict which rookie QB will be better this week but here’s what we like about Montreal: Since making a coaching change to a more familiar offense, Montreal has looked a whole lot sharper and they’re also playing with a more positive attitude. It may also surprise you to learn that Montreal’s defense is ranked second in fewest yards allowed (316.1 per game) and sacks (27) and tied for third in most interceptions (eight). The Als are playing an aggressive brand of defense and you know for sure they are going apply the heat against Colloros. Montreal has played tough in three of the past four weeks and it sure doesn’t hurt that the Als get some healthy bodies back this week in RB Brandon Whitaker and tackles Josh Bourke and Michael Ola.

The Argos three losses have come against Saskatchewan, B.C. and Calgary. The Double Blue has feasted on the weaker teams from the East and one of those wins came against Montreal by a 38-13 count. Certainly, the Argos could continue to feast but we can’t recommend spotting points with a rookie QB against a team on the rise that’s looking better each week. Losing Anthony Calvillo could be a blessing in disguise for Montreal while the same can’t be said for the Argos losing Ray. With that, we’ll take the points because this is an underrated Montreal defense that could really dictate the outcome.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 3

Teddy Covers

Rays vs. Angels
Pick: Under

It’s not hard to make a case for the Under when the Angels face a tough lefty.  The Angels have won only 12 games against opposing southpaws all year – only the Astros have won fewer.  They hit .27 points lower against lefties than righties, and average nearly a full run per game less. 

Tampa’s Matt Moore has no recurring problem with his elbow following a stint on the DL, primed to deliver a solid performance in one of the more pitcher friendly parks in baseball this evening.  But  Tampa’s lineup is so cold right now, they can’t hit their way out of wet paper bag. They’ve scored a grand total of seven runs while losing each of their last five games and haven’t scored more than five runs in any of their last ten contests.

That’s bad news against LA’s Jason Vargas, who allowed two hits in seven scoreless innings when he saw these same Rays hitters last week; his second consecutive gem.  Look for the pitchers to rule in this pitcher’s duel!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 3

Will Rogers

Seattle vs. Kansas City
Pick: Kansas City

I won with the Royals Monday & I'll come back here with them today. Yesterday it was a 3-1 win over Felix Hernandez, their 7th win in the last 9 games.  After beating Hernandez, facing Erasmo Ramirez should be "a walk in the park."  Kansas City's own pitching has been outstanding of late, and that should continue today with Bruce Chen today.

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Chen - The Royals southpaw has had a strong year with a 3.04 ERA and 0.975 WHIP in nine starts. He allowed just one run in 5 2/3 innings his last start, a win at Minnesota.  Seattle is hitting only .226 against lefties this season, averaging 3.6 runs per game.  They are 20-27 vs lefties and over the last 11 games have scored just 26 runs with a .209 team batting average.   Chen has given up two runs or less in seven of his nine starts. Opponents are batting just .200 against him.  He is 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA in nine career starts vs. the Mariners.

2.  KC Bullpen - A big reason why over the last seven games opponents are averaging just 1.6 runs/game vs. Kansas City has been their bullpen.  Royals relievers lead the American League with a 2.51 ERA and have allowed just one earned run during the last 10 games, a span of 26 innings that at the same time has seen them record 37 strikeouts.

3. X-Factor - After scoring and allowing five runs or less in four consecutive games and playing at home, the Royals are 9-1 the last two seasons.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 3

Ross Benjamin

Minnesota @ Houston
Play: Houston -120

The Houston starter Cosart has been one of the better kept secrets in baseball since arriving from the minors earlier this season. In 8 starts in 2013 Cosart has posted a stellar 1.59 ERA in spite of having a less than desirable strikeout to walk ratio. In his 1 career start versus the Twins on 8/2/2013 the Houston rookie allowed 1 earned run on 5 hits in 7.0 innings of work. The Minnesota starter Hernandez has struggled in 4 starts on the road this season posting a large 8.31 ERA and 2.07 WHIP in those outings. The Twins are a abysmal 14-40 the last 2 seasons when facing a starting pitcher who allows an average of 0.5 or less home runs per start.

Any money line favorite of -110 or more that's facing a starting pitcher who averages 3 or less strikeouts per start, and the bullpen threw 7.0 or more innings in their previous game is 41-10 (80.4%) since the start of the 2009 season. Play on the Houston Astros as my free selection of the night.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 3

Rocketman

Pittsburgh @ Milwaukee
Play: Milwaukee +106

The Pittsburgh Pirates travel to Milwaukee to take on the Brewers on Tuesday night. Pittsburgh is 55-72 last 3 years when playing against a team with a losing record in the 2nd half of the season. Pittsburgh is 18-38 last 3 years when playing in September. Will they falter down the stretch this year? Pittsburgh don't score a lot of runs averaging only 3.9 runs per game overall this year. Yovanni Gallardo is 2-0 with a 0.93 ERA his last 3 starts so it appears he is finally getting it together. Milwaukee is 17-8 at home vs Pittsburgh the past 3 years. Gallardo has had a lot of success against Pittsburgh going 11-3 with a 2.41 ERA in his 18 starts against them and his team has won 15 of those 18 starts. We'll recommend a small play on Milwaukee tonight!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 3

Vegas Connection

Giants at Padres
Pick: Under

This is game 2 of the series yesterday at PETCO Friars won 4-1. Tonight Giants Ace Bumgarner 11-9 will take on Erlin 2-2. Low scoring game in San Diego.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 3

Craig Davis

Today's free play is on the SF Giants to destroy the San Diego Padres in baseball.

While he doesn't get a ton of run support all the time (as evidenced by his 11-9 record), I have to believe his overall career record vs. San Diego combined with who they are throwing is going to be enough for the G-men to win this game by at least two runs.

Madison Bumgarner might be only 11-9 on the season, but his 2.91 for a reason. Not only that, but he's 6-3 in his career vs. San Diego in 15 starts with a 3.22 ERA. Yes, I realize his starts in August weren't his greatest, but he's much better in September and it's a good thing the calendar has turned over.

Another bit of good news for San Francisco tonight is the fact they get to face Robbie Erlin... a 5-11 lefty who pitched well in his last start but hasn't been good (and has been hurt or down in the minors) much of the season.

Erlin is 2-2 with a 5.97 ERA so far this year and barely goes six innings in any of his starts. Prior to his last solid outing vs. Arizona, he allowed nine earned runs on six hits over four innings in an 11-7 loss to Washington.

Take the Giants on the run line as your free play of the day.

2♦ SAN FRANCISCO -1.5

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 3

Jeff Benton

Your Tuesday freebie is for Gerrit Cole and the Pirates to get revenge on Yovani Gallardo and this Milwaukee Brewers.

Gallardo just outpitched Cole in the last meeting between the teams last week at PNC park, as Gallardo worked 7 scoreless for the win over Cole and the Bucs.

That win turns out to be a pretty rare win in this series for Milwaukee, as the Pirates 5-2 win on Monday bumped the series record to 7-2 in favor of Pittsbrugh the last 9 times the teams have played.

Milwaukee's losing streak now stands at 4 in a row, and with the Pirates vying for their first division title since the early 1990's, have to side with the visitors as this cheap of a price.

Pittsburgh sends Milwaukee to loss #5 in a row tonight.

3♦ PITTSBURGH

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 3

Brad Wilton

Tuesday's free play is the Rays over the Angels.

Things are getting kind of dicey for the Rays, as Tampa was once again on the wrong side of things last night, losing 11-2 in the series opener in Los Angeles to make it a 5 game losing streak, and an overall 1-8 slide their last 9 games!

The Angels meanwhile, have won their last 5 and 9 of their last 10 overall.

Going to side with Tampa to end their skid behind Matt Moore who is making his first start in over a month. Moore was placed on the DL to prevent elbow soreness. He went 2-0 last season versus the Angels, with a 1.96 ERA. He will work against Jason Vargas who just beat the Rays in his last start last week at the Trop.

Vargas worked 7 innings of 2 hit shutout ball in that start, and while the Rays struggles at the plate have really sidetracked their playoff bid, I will look for Tampa to put things together just enough tonight to get them past the sizzling Halos.

Take Tampa to stop their skid at 5.

1♦ TAMPA BAY

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 3

Brett Atkins

My free winner is on the Angels against the Rays.

It's no wonder the Angels are catching money, what with the Rays handing the ball to Matt Moore, who is 14-3 with a 3.41 ERA this season. But make note, he is making his first start since going on the disabled list with left elbow soreness, and has to play an Angels team that is playing well.

Moore hasn't pitched since July 28, when he allowed five runs in five innings against the New York Yankees. So evens though he is won his past six decisions, the Angels have won five straight while the Rays have lost five in a row.

The Angels came home to Anaheim after an 8-1 road trip and are at an advantage in hosting the struggling Rays in their first series since the junket. The Halos won two of three at Tampa Bay last week, and the Rays have lost eight of their last nine games.

Take the Angels tonight, and don't worry about listing pitchers.

3♦ ANGELS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 3

Chris Jordan

Based on the pitchers who will be automatically listed in this game - Miami's Tom Koehler and Chicago's Edwin Jackson - I have to side with the Over in this game, as I think these two are going to tank and we're going to see a double-digit game.

Miami's right-hander steps to the hill after struggling against the Nationals, allowing six earned runs and walking four batters over five-plus innings to pick up his ninth loss of the year. He is 3-9 with a 4.72 ERA, and in his last three starts is 0-1 with a 5.29 ERA.

With the Cubbies, the journeyman right-hander is 7-14 this season with a 4.90 ERA and comes off a dismal August. Jackson is winless in his last five starts (0-3, 5.75 ERA), over which he's been tagged for 19 earned runs on 38 hits over 28-2/3 innings for a 5.96 ERA in the month.

This one being in windy Chicago, I like the total to soar.

1♦ Marlins/Cubs OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 3

Scott Delaney

My free winner for Tuesday night is on the surging Oakland Athletics, who take on division-rival Texas, and I see the home team getting it done over the visiting Rangers.

I'm not going to list the pitchers in this one, cause I think this is all about the momentum, and get caught up in how well Texas' Martin Perez has pitched. I know the left-hander was 5-0 in five August starts with a 3.06 ERA, and I know four of those five starts were on the road. But this also marks his first outing against the A's this season, and I don't think he's catching at an opportune time.

Besides, if I were listing pitchers, I'd be happy with my man Bartolo Colon, who is 14-5 on the year with a stellar 2.94 ERA.

But it's not, it's about an A's team that can clinch its third straight series against a potential October opponent, while claiming sole possession of first place in the American League West.

Oakland made it four straight with Monday's 4-2 win over Texas, while it has also won seven of eight - against the Tigers, Rays and Rangers, who have lost 5 of 9. Take the A's today.

1♦ OAKLAND

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 3

Bob Balfe

Pittsburgh Pirates -115

The Pirates, Cardinals and Reds are all in a division battle down the stretch. I personally think St. Louis will win out, but Pittsburgh showed they are in this by going out and making trades for big named players. This team believes they have a shot to make a world series run. I still think they are lacking another big named batter, but they need to win against bad baseball teams when it is clutch time. Take Pittsburgh.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 3

Big Kat Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies
Take: Los Angeles Dodgers -110

Here are a few trends that have us on the road team tonight in this NL West showdown:

Dodgers are 23-3 in their last 26 road games.
Dodgers are 20-6 in their last 26 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Dodgers are 7-1 in Nolasco’s last 8 starts.
Dodgers are 19-7 in their last 26 vs. National League West.
Rockies are 1-5 in their last 6 after scoring 5 runs or more in their previous game.
Rockies are 14-37 in their last 51 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15.
Rockies are 5-16 in their last 21 during game 2 of a series.

Pair those numbers with the fact that Ricky Nolasco hasn’t allowed a run in his last two starts (16 innings) and that he has a 6-3 career record against Colorado and we’ll take the better team here on the road in the Dodgers at a pick price to get the win at Coors Field.

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