Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 17

Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 17

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

NY Yankees at Toronto
The Yankees look to build on their 6-2 record in Andy Pettitte's last 8 road starts against the Blue Jays. New York is the pick (+100) according to Dunkel, which has the Yankees favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (+100)

Game 951-952: Atlanta at Washington (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Garcia) 15.442; Washington (Roark) 14.398
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Washington (-125); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (+105); Over

Game 953-954: Miami at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami (Flynn) 13.167; Philadelphia (Halladay) 15.215
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 2; 7
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-170); 8
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (-170); Under

Game 955-956: San Diego at Pittsburgh (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Stults) 14.553; Pittsburgh (Locke) 15.988
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh (-170); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (-170); Over

Game 957-958: San Francisco at NY Mets (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Petit) 14.597; NY Mets (Wheeler) 15.578
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1; 6
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-125); 7
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (+105); Under

Game 959-960: Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Samardzija) 15.566; Milwaukee (Estrada) 14.656
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Milwaukee (-140); 8
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (+120); Under

Game 961-962: St. Louis at Colorado (8:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Kelly) 15.896; Colorado (Nicasio) 14.306
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1 1/2; 11
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-140); 10
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-140); Over

Game 963-964: LA Dodgers at Arizona (9:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Greinke) 15.316; Arizona (Corbin) 14.437
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Arizona (-120); 8
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (+100); Over

Game 965-966: Seattle at Detroit (7:08 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Maurer) 13.753; Detroit (Sanchez) 16.106
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 2 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Detroit (-270); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-270); Under

Game 967-968: NY Yankees at Toronto (7:07 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Pettitte) 15.705; Toronto (Dickey) 14.827
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1; 10
Vegas Line: Toronto (-120); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (+100); Over

Game 969-970: Baltimore at Boston (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Feldman) 15.319; Boston (Dempster) 17.788
Dunkel Line: Boston by 2 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Boston (-140); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-140); Under

Game 971-972: Texas at Tampa Bay (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (Ogando) 13.836; Tampa Bay (Hellickson) 15.604
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 2; 9
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-140); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-140); Over

Game 973-974: Minnesota at Chicago White Sox (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota (Pelfrey) 14.813; White Sox (Quintana) 13.914
Dunkel Line: Minnesota by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Chicago White Sox (-140); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+120); Under

Game 975-976: Cleveland at Kansas City (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland (Kluber) 16.933; Kansas City (Ventura) 15.727
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-125); 8
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (+105); Over

Game 977-978: LA Angels at Oakland (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Richards) 15.056; Oakland (Gray) 16.733
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 979-980: Cincinnati at Houston (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Leake) 15.935; Houston (Lyles) 14.390
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-170); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (-170); Over

Game 981-982: Atlanta at Washington (1:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Minor) 15.717; Washington (Haren) 14.888
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1; 8
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

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Will Rogers

Cincinnati vs. Houston
Pick: Cincinnati

I'll recommend a play on the Reds tonight as they look to make in two in a row against their old division rival, Houston. Certainly, Cincinnati & the rest of the NL Central miss having the Astros around. Houston has the worst record in all of MLB (by four games) and the worst run differential (-192). Tonight will be their 100th loss.

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Mike Leake - The Reds starter was a perfect 3-0 last season at Minute Maid Park & is 4-1 here in Houston all-time with a 2.62 ERA.  He comes into tonight off back to back victories & has a 3.05 ERA in 15 road starts, going 7-2. In his last start, he tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings of four-hit ball against the Chicago Cubs.

2. Astros Futility - Houston is just a bad baseball team, plain and simple.  Coming into the year, everyone expected this to be a 100+ loss team and they will be as their current record is 51-99.  Yesterday was their third loss in a row, a stretch which has seen them score just four runs total.  No team has given up more runs in all of baseball this season.  As a result, their run differential is over 60 runs worse than every other team.   They are 15-42 as a home dog of +125 or more this season.

3. X-Factor - Houston starter Jordan Lyles has a 1-11 TSR in his career in Interleague Play.

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Bryan Power

San Diego vs. Pittsburgh
Pick: Pittsburgh

It was a winning weekend in BOTH NCAAF & NFL this weekend for "The Real Deal" Bryan Power! He's now off to a HUGE 17-7-1 Start in NCAAF & NFL saw him cash 10* plays on Thurs (Under Pats), Sunday (Seattle) & Monday (Bengals) Night! What are you waiting for? Subscribe today.....

In the interest of full disclosure, I lost w/ the Pirates last night.  They were one-hit by Padres starter Andrew Cashner, losing 2-0. I have raised concerns many times this season about Pittsburgh's lack of hitting, but figured that the homefield edge would be enough to carry them Monday.  Thankfully, Cashner won't be on the mound again tonight and I think the Bucs will be able to find more success against struggling southpaw Eric Stults.  Take Pittsburgh here.

The Pirates enter Tuesday tied with the Cardinals for first place in the National League Central.  Both teams lost yesterday.  I understand that San Diego is now an incredible 17-3 their last 20 games at PNC Park, including 6-1 last seven.  But, until yesterday, they had not played the Pirates in Pittsburgh this season.  Given San Diego's overall road numbers this year (27-47) overall & the Pirates' home prowess (48-27), there's no reason to believe that the Padres success here in Pittsburgh will continue.  The Padres are 11-27 as a road underdog in the +125 to +175 price range. The Pirates are 35-16 as a home favorite.

The Bucs are 17-12 vs. lefties in 2013 and will be facing struggling southpaw Eric Stults, who has a 7.31 ERA his L3 starts, all losses for San Diego. Pittsburgh goes w/ its own lefty, Jeff Locke, who has a 3.14 ERA for the year and is coming off a strong outing where he went seven innings, allowing only one run on three hits.  This lefty vs. lefty pitching matchup will favor the Pirates, who won't lose for a 2nd straight day at home.

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Jimmy Boyd

Tampa Bay Rays -140

Tampa Bay should have no problem picking up a win against this struggling Texas team. The Rangers have now lost seven consecutive games after dropping Monday's game against the Rays. They have averaged just 3.1 runs per game with a .249 batting average during this slump.

Tampa Bay is trending in the right direction, winning four of their last five games. Jeremy Hellickson has been a stud at home, with Tampa Bay posting an 11-3 record in his 14 starts. Hellickson's 4.52 ERA at home starts looking pretty good when you compare it to Nick Tepesch's 6.57 ERA over his last three starts.

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Justin Bay

Boston Red Sox -140

Scott Feldman
- Season vs. BOS: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, .286 OBA
- Away: 3.45 ERA, .234 OBA
- September: 1.62 ERA, .143 OBA
- Last Start: 7.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, .115 OBA
- Post All Star: 2.93 ERA, .207 OBA
- Boston hitters vs. Feldman in his career: .379 BA

Ryan Dempster
- Season vs. BAL: 2.50 ERA, .206 OBA
- Home: 4.99 ERA, .253 OBA
- September: 4.09 ERA, .238 OBA
- Last Start: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, .222 OBA
- Post All Star: 5.68 ERA, .272 OBA
- Orioles hitters vs. Dempster in his career: .203 BA

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Jim Feist

Texas Rangers +129

Texas is glad to get out on the road as the Rangers are 14-6 in their last 20 road games. The Rangers are also 8-3 in their last 11 road games vs. a right-handed starter and face erratic Jeremy Hellickson (5.04 ERA), who has a 5.40 ERA his last three starts. The Rays are 3-8 in their last 11 vs. American League West and 1-7 against a team with a winning record. Hellickson is 0-2 against Texas, while Texas righty Nick Tepesch is 1- with a 1.23 ERA against Tampa Bay.

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Nick Parsons

Cincinnati Reds -1½

Yesterday I gave out a run-line play on the Philadelphia Phillies and they'd go on to destroy the hapless Miami Marlins 12-2.

With a clearly superior starter on the bump, with a hard-hitting lineup backing him up and with playoff positioning on the line, I look for the visitors to win big in this matchup tonight.

Mike Leake (13-6, 3.35 ERA)

Leake scattered four hits with four walks over 5 2/3's shutout innings vs. the Cubs on Wednesday, his team winning 6-0 in the end. He struck out six.

The hard-throwing right-hander has now won back-to-back starts with just two runs allowed over 13 1/3's innings.

Note that he's 7-2 with a very respectable 3.05 ERA on the road this year.

Jordan Lyles (7-7, 4.92 ERA)

Lyles up-and-down season continued on Tuesday at Seattle, coming off a decent start in which he gave up two runs off four hits and two walks over six frames for the victory.

Home field has been anything but an advantage for Lyles though who is 4-5 with a ballooned 6.04 ERA in front of the home town crowd thus far.

The Bottom Line

The Reds' Joey Votto was 2 for 4 in yesterday's 6-1 win over the Astros, his seventh multi-hit game in his last 10 contests. Votto is batting .494 during a 22-game hitting streak at Minute Maid Park.

Both Pittsburgh and St. Louis lost yesterday, meaning the Reds are just 2 1/2 games behind.

Note that Votto is not the only one that's dominated in Houston, as Leake is 4-1 with a 2.62 ERA in five starts there (Leake in fact won all three starts at Minute Maid Park last year, posting a tiny 2.14 ERA in the process).

And that's bad news for an Astros club which has tallied just four runs while dropping three straight.

This is a big opportunity for the Reds to continue to gain ground and I expect them to make the most of it; consider laying the 1.5 runs for the near pick-em price.

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Rob Vinciletti

Boston Red Sox -140

Boston has won 5 of the last 6 at home when playing off a home win by 5 or more runs. They were last seen blowing out the Yankees 9-2. Now they take on a Baltimore. They apply to a solid 14-3 system direct from the database that plays on certain home favorites off a home favored win by 5 or more runs if the are playing an opponent that is off a road favored win and scored 4 or less runs. Boston has R. Dempster making the start and he has a career 2.01 era vs Baltimore. S. Feldman for the Orioles has lost 9 of his last September team starts and has a 6.75 era vs Boston. With the Redsox rolling through September at 11-3 we will look their way in the opener. Take Boston tonight.

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Art Aronson

Marlins vs. Phillies    
Play: Over 8

The visiting Marlins who have now lost nine of 11 will send rookie Brian Flynn (0-1, 10.13 ERA) to the hill in Philadelphia. The 23 year-old struggled again Thursday, surrendering six runs while issuing six walks in four innings of a 6-1 loss to Atlanta. He has now failed to record more than four innings of work in two starts. The Phillies will send Roy Halladay (3-4, 7.28 ERA) to try and build off yesterday’s huge win. Halladay struggled again in his last start against San Diego on Thursday, surrendering five runs in 4 1/3 innings of a 10-5 win, while issuing five walks for a second straight start. Halladay is 1-0 with a 5.06 ERA and 14 walks while hitting five batters in 21 1/3 innings over four starts since missing 3 1/2 months due to shoulder surgery. This is not the same Halladay we are all used to seeing but still we are seeing a line here at most sports books giving him the credit the former “ace” once had. Take a strong look at the “over.”

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Bruce Marshall

Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks
Pick: Arizona Diamondbacks

The Dodgers continue to more resemble the team that stumbled to a 30-42 break from the gate this season than the team that won an astounding 53 of 66 thereafter, now losing 9 of their last 12 as the offense remains stuck in neutral. The return to active duty of Matt Kemp could turn out to be a double-edged sword as someone will eventually have to sit (and not be happy about it) in a crowded Dodger outfield, and rookie Cuban phenom Yasiel Puig has cooled significantly in recent weeks. Although Zack Greinke continues to pitch well for the Blue, he is in danger of getting little run support, and D-backs counterpart Patrick Corbin improved to 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last four matchups vs. the Dodgers in a 4-1 win last Wednesday.

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Ken Thomson

Houston Astros +1.5 -110

Jordan Lyles has been consistent in his last several games, home or road.  Mike Leake has pitched well his last two games in Cincy but has struggled on the road his last three starts.  I'll take the +1 1/2   -110 thinking Houston will be in the game with a good shot to beat Leake......it's great value!!

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Bryan Leonard

LA Dodgers +110

Zack Greinke has been outstanding since the start of June and he'll look to push the Dodgers closer to clinching the NL West crown. He'll have to do it against Patrick Corbin and the Diamondbacks. Greinke is 12-2 with a 2.45 ERA over the last 3.5 months. Greinke has been particularly dominant over his last eight starts, going 6-0 with a 1.46 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, and a 3.9 K/BB ratio. Greinke has fared well against the Diamondbacks this season with a 1.29 ERA, a 0.57 WHIP, and a .093 batting average against.

Patrick Corbin got a bit lucky when these teams met last week. He allowed only one run, but gave up eight hits and walked two over 6.1 innings of work. Corbin has given up 29 runs over his last eight starts. He has shown some signs of fatigue later in the season, as his home run rate and batting average against have spiked from pitching up in the zone more frequently.

Greinke has been dynamite this season and there's too much value on he and the Dodgers to let an opportunity go by to play them in an underdog role as they attempt to get closer to the division title and continue to try and fight for home-field advantage.

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Big Kat Sports

Baltimore Orioles vs. Boston Red Sox
Take: Boston Red Sox -140

The Boston Red Sox will look to lower their magic number to two tonight when they take on the Baltimore Orioles at FenwayPark. These two teams met in late August with the Sox holding a 5.5 game lead over the Orioles in the AL East. Now, just 2.5 weeks later, Boston has taken four of the last 5 from Baltimore, who now trails the Sox by 12 games in the standings. Here are a few trends that have us on the home team tonight in Boston:

Red Sox are 10-2 in their last 12 vs. a team with a winning record.
Red Sox are 8-0 in their last 8 after allowing 2 runs or less in their previous game.
Red Sox are 38-14 in their last 52 games as a home favorite.
Red Sox are 9-1 in Dempster’s last 10 starts as a favorite.
Orioles are 3-9 in their last 12 games as an underdog.
Orioles are 1-6 in their last 7 games vs. a right-handed starter.
Orioles are 1-5 in Feldman’s last 6 starts vs. a team with a winning record.

Pair those numbers with the fact that Red Sox are 23-8 in their last 31 home games vs. a right-handed starter and we’ll lay the price with them at Fenway tonight to inch closer to an AL East Division crown.

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Ray Monohan

Kansas City -123

The Indians are in the race but this team is not very good away from home with a losing record despite their position in the hunt. Starter Corey Kluber has been solid but I would rather put my money behind Royals starter Danny Duffy who looks like he has finally figured things out and is unleashing the talent he had shown in the minors. It's desperation time for K.C. as they really can’t afford too many losses and especially not to Cleveland which is ahead of them. That should make them highly motivated at home. I will take those odds.

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Steve Janus

Milwaukee Brewers -134

The Brewers took Game 1 of the series 6-1 and are now 20-5 at home vs the Cubs over the last three seasons. I look for the winning to continue for Milwaukee with a red-hot Marco Estrada taking the mound against a struggling Jeff Samardzija. Estrada is 1-0 with a 2.18 ERA over his last three starts and a dominant 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA in his last four starts vs the Cubs. Adding even more value is that Chicago is not hitting the ball right now. The Cubs are averaging 2.7 runs/game and hitting just .200 as team over their last 7 games.

Samardzija on the other hand comes in with a 8.35 ERA over his last three starts. Opponents have hit a ridiculous .321 during this stretch. Samardzija is uncharted territory, having already set a career-high in innings pitched by 20. He's simply wearing down at this point and there's little reason to think he's going to get it back.

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Doug Upstone

Yankees vs.Blue Jays
Play: Over 8

These two starting pitchers have shown signs of improvement in recent outings, however I'm not sold on either of them at this point in the 2013 season. Toronto is allowing nearly 5 runs a game, this deep into the season and Andy Pettitte isn't the ace he once was earlier in his brilliant career. I like the over 8 in this game tonight at the Rogers Centre.

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GamePlan

Baltimore Orioles +115

The Orioles are in a must win situation every night. The Red Sox will be in cruise control the rest of the way. After beating up the Yankees this past weekend we look for Boston to rest a lot of players starting tonight and start getting ready for the playoffs. Take the O's tonight

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SPORTS WAGERS

WASHINGTON -107 over Atlanta

The pitching matchup in Game 1 of this DH may favor the Braves a little bit but these Nationals are the league’s most dangerous team right now. Washington is just five games back in the Wild Card race and a DH sweep here would be absolutely huge after both St. Louis and Pittsburgh lost last night. The Nats have won eight of their past 10 games and 19 of their past 25 and every player is at the top of their game right now. Meanwhile, the Braves have a 10-game lead with 13 games remaining so they are on cruise control and will try to set up its starting pitching for the playoffs. The Braves have lost 8 of 12 and their only concern right now is to stay healthy and get some injured bodies back for the playoffs. The Nationals at home, spotting less than a dime is pure value and you can expect this Washington bunch to be extra jacked up here to bring back a little happiness to the good folks of DC after yesterday’s tragic events. Play:


WASHINGTON -1½ +165 over Atlanta

Game 2 features Freddy Garcia, a pitcher who is filling in until the playoffs begin. Once the post-season starts, the only time you will see Garcia is in a mop up roll with a huge lead (eight runs or more) or a huge deficit. Garcia’s mid-30s (37 to be exact) skill spike last season was hidden due to inflated hr/f. Not that it matters when you're a washed up two-pitch pitcher, one of which is an 87-mph fastball. Garcia has pitched well for Atlanta in three relief appearances, but as a starter with Baltimore, his ERA was a tick below six and he struck out 24 in 52 IP while serving up a HR every third inning. We’re not even going to count his last start against Miami because the Fish can make a lot of below average pitchers look good. Garcia is an implosion waiting to happen and chances are the Braves will rest some players in both games while the Nationals will not. Tanner Roark has pitched well in 11 appearances (two starts) for the Nationals so far, with 26 K and 8 BB in 35 IP. His 49% groundball rate has also been impressive. Roark is not the most dominant of pitchers but he focuses on his pinpoint, outstanding baseball IQ (reports are he spends hours studying hitters) and solid command to find success. Roark works down in the zone and he just seems to be getting better with each passing start. In his last 10 games in the minors prior to his call-up, Roark logged 52.2 innings with a 33-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s faced the Braves twice in relief in early August and they had a combined two hits in 16 AB’s against him for a BA of .125. That’s when the Braves were going good. Since being inserted into the starting rotation two starts ago, the Nationals won both of Roark’s starts by scores of 7-2 and 9-2. Facing Freddy Garcia, this one figures to be similar. Play:


COLORADO +123 over St. Louis

The Cardinals have scored three runs or less in four of their past five games. Going up against a rookie with poor results, Collin McHugh, St. Louis came in here last night and lost 6-2 with Lance Lynn starting. That was a favorable match-up for the Red Birds that they lost and this one is a lot less favorable. Joe Kelly has made 12 starts since July 1, where he is 8-1 and has a 2.34 ERA. These results would get the eye of most, but don't fall into that category, as his 4.78 xERA, low strikeout rate and poor command screams that regression is on the way. It would not be surprising if that is exactly what happens here, as he gets the start at Coors Field. The friendliest hitting environment in MLB is not a place where pitchers with marginal skill sets thrive. Juan Nicasio is an interesting case. Micro-fracture knee surgery in July of last year ended his season, curtailing his comeback from a fractured vertebrae that ended 2011. Between injuries, he has demonstrated a promising high K rate, a nice groundball-tilted profile that xERA likes. Poor results + injury history + latent skills = excellent profit potential. Nicasio is also one of the rare starting pitchers that thrive at Coors Field with a 3.86 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 8.1 K’s per nine and a 52% groundball rate. The Rockies are always tough at home and they certainly have the motivation to make life difficult for the Cardinals. They did so last night and they have a great chance to do the same here against a pitcher with misleading surface stats. Play:


Baltimore +115 over BOSTON

Boston’s magic number is down to four and with a nine game lead in the AL East over the Rays, the Red Sox are pretty much home free. It’s only a matter of time before they clinch but those last few wins are sometimes the most difficult to get. Baltimore is right in the thick of things, sitting just two games back in the Wild Card race and every game from here on in for them is huge. The O’s have a good chance to get off to a good start here with Scott Feldman going. Based on last season's xERA, we knew Scott Feldman had the ability to become a positive contributor on any staff and his ugly ERA made him a sneaky buy-low candidate. Now pitching for a contender, has he maintained the skills that made him a potential asset? For the most part, yes: A victim of a poor luck the past few seasons, Feldman’s hit%/strand% correction has allowed him to not only reach, but improve upon 2012's xERA. A return to a heavy groundball approach has also worked wonders. PITCHf/x reflects no major changes to his repertoire; he's just been more efficient at pounding the bottom of the zone. Feldman lost some of the strikeout gains he made last year but it remains in a respectable range. The increase in groundballs has offset his slight K decline. Feldman has settled down after a rough initiation to the AL East and actually sports a solid 3.39 ERA since being traded from Chicago in early July. On the whole, his value is reflected in his 50%/15% dominant start/disaster start split. Feldman almost always give the Orioles a chance to win and as a dog he always offers up value. While leaving Arlington would've assumedly been a respite for veteran Ryan Dempster, his first year in the AL East has been a disappointment. Upon further investigation, it's easy to see what went wrong.Dempster’s strikeout rate remains at a decent level but the rest of his game shows signs of deterioration. Dempster's never been one to paint the corners, but allowing extra base-runners (74 walks or 4 a game) has come back to bite him, especially when strand % and hit % are not working in his favor. Dempster’s strikeout rate was actually bolstered by a fluky April (12.9 K’s per nine), but hasn't come close to that since. And now his command is at a troubling level. Dempster’s status as a groundball pitcher has also been fading, albeit at a slow pace since 2008, while line-drives are creeping up as well. Add in a touch of hr/f% growth, and you have a recipe for a 4.50+ ERA.Dempster been nothing more than a borderline mixed-league starter since June, and has worked past the sixth inning only once since June 14, a sign that his arm strength might be waning. Plus, a move to the bullpen is a possibility with Clay Buchholz returning. If the Red Sox weren’t nine games up, Dempster would likely be skipped here but his $26M price tag ensures he'll be starting for Boston when its life isn’t on the line. Dempster’s declining skills and increasing xERA offers little reason to lay juice with him. Play:


Miami/PHILADELPHIA Over 7½

Are we missing something here? Is Roy Halladay’s past pedigree keeping this number from being where it should be at 9 or 9½? Whatever the case may be, this number is actually lower than Halladay’s last start at home against San Diego and Tyson Ross. The final score was 10-5 for the Phillies. It’s also lower than other recent home games in Philadelphia that featured Cliff Lee against Eric Stults, Cole Hamels against Paul Maholm and Tyler Cloyd against Jordan Zimmerman. If those totals were set at 8, than this one should be set at 10. Miami’s starter today, Brian Flynn has had an ugly introduction to the big leagues. In two starts, he has allowed nine earned runs in eight innings, while walking nine and only striking out six. He is a lanky pitcher at 6'7", which has caused him to have trouble repeating his mechanics. This is essentially a trial for Flynn, as the Marlins look to shut down Jose Fernandez and perhaps a couple other starters for the season. Flynn comes in with a 10.13 ERA and an xERA of 7.47. He has talent and could fight for a rotation spot next season but he’s also been whacked and his confidence at this level can’t be soaring right now. Pro hitters can sense that.Roy Halladay has been absolutely brutal this season, especially since returning from his shoulder injury in late August. He has made four starts since then, where he has yet to take a loss, yet has a 5.48 xERA with just five K’s per nine innings. Over his last 21 innings since coming off the DL, Halladay has walked 14 batters in 21 frames with a groundball rate of 34%, the lowest it’s ever been in his illustrious career. Halliday is not close to being the same pitcher he used to be, yet this total is priced like he is. If we get beat here, so be it but there is no question that we’re going with the best of it and it sure doesn’t hurt that Halladay has been receiving a ton of run support.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 17

John Ryan

Seattle Mariners at Detroit Tigers
Prediction: Seattle Mariners

The simulator shows a meaningful probability that Seattle will win this game. Currently lined at +225 at the majority of books, this offers an excellent opportunity to cash in on a big dog play. These huge dogs have better than 50% probability of winning based on the SIM. So, it is analogous to playing Black Jack at your casino and getting paid 2:1 odds instead of the 1:1 offered. So, if we steadily play these DOGS over the course of the season, the plays themselves will hit roughly 50%, but the payout will at about 2:1. Supporting this graded play is a proven system posting a 32-22 mark for 59.3% winners and has made 38 units/unit wagered since 1997. It has averaged a +186 DOG play making this a very strong reliable money making system. Play on all AL underdogs with a money line of +150 or more (SEATTLE) with a starting pitcher whose ERA is 6.70 or worse on the season and is not a speed team averaging 0.35 or less SB's/game on the season. Moreover, Detroit is just 7-15 (-14.3 Units) against the money line when facing terrible speed teams averaging 0.35 or less SB's/game over the last 2 seasons. Seattle is a solid 36-16 (+31.5 Units) against the money line after having lost 6 or 7 of their last 8 games over the last 2 seasons. Take the Mariners.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, September 17

Jack Jones

Cincinnati Reds -1.5

I'm backing the Cincinnati Reds (85-66) on the Run Line Tuesday against the lowly Houston Astros (51-99). Cincinnati currently holds the final NL Wild Card spot, leading the Nationals by 4.5 games for it. The Reds want to clinch a postseason spot as soon as possible.

Off a 6-1 victory at Houston in Game 1, I like their chances of another blowout victory with Mike Leake on the mound. The right-hander is 13-6 with a 3.35 ERA in 29 starts this season, including 7-2 with a 3.05 ERA in 15 road starts.

Jordan Lyles is 7-7 with a 4.92 ERA and 1.426 WHIP in 23 starts and two relief appearances for the Astros this year. The right-hander has been at his worst at home, going 4-5 with a 6.04 ERA and 1.507 WHIP in 13 starts.

Cincinnati is 15-3 against the run line (+12.6 Units) in road games when playing against a terrible team (Win Pct. less than 38%) over the last 2 seasons. Houston is 1-10 against the run line (-10.5 Units) in home games vs. excellent fielding teams - averaging less than 0.5 errors/game in the second half of the season this season. Bet the Reds on the Run Line Tuesday.

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