Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, September 30

Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, September 30

DUNKEL INDEX

NFL

Miami at New Orleans
The Saints look to build on their 4-0 ATS record in their last 4 Monday night games. New Orleans is the pick (-6 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Saints favored by 9 1/2. Dunkel Pick: New Orleans (-6 1/2)

Game 225-226: Miami at New Orleans (8:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami 132.193; New Orleans 141.914
Dunkel Line: New Orleans by 9 1/2; 45
Vegas Line: New Orleans by 6 1/2; 48
Dunkel Pick: New Orleans (-6 1/2); Under

MLB

Tampa Bay at Texas
The Rays look to take today's tiebreaker against the Rangers and build on their 20-6 record in David Price's last 26 starts as a road favorite of -110 to -150. Tampa Bay is the pick (-135) according to Dunkel, which has the Rays favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-135)

Game 981-982: Tampa Bay at Texas (8:07 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Price) 16.842; Texas (Perez) 15.433
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-135); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-135); Under

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Hollywood Sports

Miami at New Orleans
Prediction: Over

New Orleans (3-0) enters Monday Night Football undefeated after their 31-7 victory over Arizona last week. The Saints have played 23 of their last 29 games Over the Total after a win by at least fourteen points. Much credit has been given to new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan for jumpstarting this defense -- but New Orleans has played 23 of their last 31 games Over the Total after holding their last opponent to 14 or fewer points. Additionally, the Saints have played 8 of their last 9 games Over the Total against teams with a winning record. And in their last 10 appearances on Monday Night Football, New Orleans has seen 7 of these games finish Over the Total. Miami (3-0) is also undefeated after their come-from-behind 27-23 win against Atlanta last week. The Total was set at 45.5 for that contest which means that the Dolphin have played 5 of their last 6 games Over the Total in the month of September. Additionally, Miami has played 4 of their last 5 games Over the Total on Monday Night Football. Take the Over in this one.

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Leonard Stratton

Tampa Bay Rays -129

Texas survived a tough road to force game # 163.

Ron Washington has decided to stick to his guns (pun intended) and send left handed rookie Martin Perez to the hill to face the Rays.

Perez is 10-5 with a 3.55 ERA this season.

He will pitch well but expect the lack of a playoff atmosphere to come in to play.


Joe Maddon and the Rays will go with left hander David Price to face the Rangers.

Price is 9-8 with a 3.89 ERA.

Price has the experience factor going for him even though this game is going to be played in Texas.

Considering the Rays are 9-3 in Prices last 12 starts and they are 6-1 in their last 7 games on grass…

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Jim Feist

Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers
Pick: Texas Rangers

The Rangers had to hold off the LA Angels on Sunday and win seven in a row to force today's Wild Card tie-breaker. For one of these clubs, this is just the first of two single elimination games as the victor will have to travel to Cleveland on Tuesday for another Win-and-your-in game against the Indians. Still, it's one game at a time and that means the Rays are going with their ace, David Price. It hasn't been a great year for Price, posting just a 9-8 record with a 3.39 ERA and 1.11 whip. Rather surprsing is the fact that the over is 15-9 in Price's starts this season. Martin Perez looks to start here for the Rangers. Perez has 19 starts this season with a 10-5 record, 3.55 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. Perez had a great August, going 5-0 but struggled a bit in September posting a 2-3 mark. One bit of bright news for the Rangers is that big-hitting Nelson Cruz can be activated on Monday after serving his 50-game suspension. The Rangers are a home dog here and with Cruz possibly back in the starting lineup and a more than decent Perez on the mound, I'll take them here at home.

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Jimmy Boyd

Rays / Rangers Over 7½

There should be no shortage of runs scored in today's game between the Rays and Rangers. Texas will have a rookie on the mound in the first playoff performance of his career. I don't think 22 year old Martin Perez will be pitching his best game with the pressure of playing in a win-or-go-home situation. Perez did not get an opportunity to face the Rays this season, and they are hot right now scoring 5.1 runs per game with a .273 batting average over their past seven games.

David Price will start for Tampa Bay, and the over is 5-1 in his last six starts overall. Price has struggled in the past against the Rangers so I expect to see him give up some early runs before settling in. In head-to-head games between these teams the over is 3-0-1 in the last four meetings. The over is also 15-5-1 in Tampa Bay's last 21 games when listed as a favorite of -110 to -150.

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SPORTS WAGERS

Miami +7 over NEW ORLEANS

Little did we know when we read the schedule that this Monday night game would be a battle of the unbeatens. The Dolphins have not always won by much, but they do win and taking down the Falcons and Colts is impressive. The Saints also beat the Falcons and are showing a defense that has been exponentially better than the 2012 version but let’s not forget that New Orleans has faced two offenses, the Cardinals and Bucs, that can’t move five yards.

The Dolphins have taken a big step up this season and not because one facet of the team is suddenly working better. The Fins have been better in almost every way. The defense has allowed just five offensive touchdowns over three games and has been at home only once. Every time the Dolphins need a stop or a score they’ve been able to get it and that’s a huge step forward, as that is exactly what good teams manage to do.

There are not many flaws in this edition of the Saints so far. This is a very different Saints team than we saw in 2012. The offense has contracted to little more than pitch and catch with Jimmy Graham, who so far no one can stop. The defense that was doling out 300 yard games and scads of scores has turned around to only giving up around 13 points per game. The shoot-outs are not happening but the 3-0 Saints are bringing a very balanced team each week. Winning or staying close in New Orleans on a Monday is a daunting task to be sure for any visitor. However, Ryan Tannehill is proving that he is more than capable of delivering. The Dolphins have answered the bell every week so far and while they are not as dazzling or appealing as the Saints, they are an all-around solid outfit that is receiving a generous spot here. Until the Dolphins show us something else, we’re glad to accept these points. 


TEXAS +109 over Tampa Bay

David Price probably deserves to be favored over Martin Perez is a one-game showdown but we’re not buying that on the whole, the Rays deserve to be the chalk here. This is a lefty-lefty match-up and Texas went 31-19 this season against southpaws while the Rays went 29-23 but on the road, Tampa was under .500 at 11-13. Furthermore, the Rangers have so much more momentum coming into this single game with seven straight wins and they’ve been at home for all of them. As it turns out, Texas needed to win all seven to force this one-game playoff and that's precisely what they did. Tampa went into Toronto this past weekend needing to win two of three to clinch and failed to do so. The Rays ended up losing the first two before hanging on for dear life in yesterday’s finale. They now have to travel again.

Price has been near flawless on paper down the stretch with a 3.79 ERA over his last six starts, covering 40 innings. Over that span, Price has whiffed 36 batters while walking just six. However, he has just one win over that span. He also has a rather alarming 28% line-drive rate and a 42%/30% groundball/fly-ball rate split. The percentages on those hit balls over Price’s last six starts are very average and it’s also worth noting that current Rangers have not had much difficulty against him with 41 hits in 129 combined AB’s for a BA of .318. Lastly, Price has a horrible history at this park with a 6.97 ERA and a .348 BAA over the past three years covering just two starts.

Martin Perez was a one-time top prospect that has seen his star diminish, along with his strikeout rate over the past two years with initial trial in Texas going about as poorly as you'd expect from a kid with shaky command. He began the year in the minors after failing to make the roster out of spring training but in Late May he was called up after dominating in the minors. That minor-league stint served him well and as the weather heated up so did Perez. Over his last 11 starts, Perez has allowed two earned runs or less in six of them and three earned runs or less in nine. Perez’s overall command is much improved from a year ago and it complements his elite groundball profile well. Over his last five starts, Perez has seen his groundball rate soar from 48% to 61%. He also has a low 18% line-drive rate, which suggests hitters are having a difficult time squaring up on him. At home this season, Perez has an outstanding, skills supported 3.18 ERA. Martin Perez is a pitcher on the rise and he has the skills and pedigree to back it up. Of course anything can happen in one game but just like we always do, we’re playing the value and letting the chips fall where they may.

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Randall The Handle

Dolphins at Saints

Football folks are impressed by the Saints and we understand that. After all, New Orleans, led by QB Drew Brees, is undefeated and it looks like the team that Sean Payton mentored prior to his 2012 season suspension. Add to the mix that the Saints have won and covered their past 11 in the Superdome and the attraction is even greater. Despite having the same 3-0 mark, the jury is still out on the Dolphins. However, while the résumés to this point are short, they are worth looking at. Both teams defeated the Falcons. The Saints’ other two wins came against the Cardinals and Bucs. Miami won at Cleveland (okay, but it was a road win) and then went into Indianapolis and manhandled Andrew Luck and the Colts. That latter win is impressive after witnessing the Colts shred the 49ers last week. Miami is sound. They have the fourth fewest penalties in the league and they aren’t turning the ball over. That combo gives them a chance to win each week and with a near touchdown to play with, we’ll gladly back that side. TAKING: DOLPHINS +6½

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Mike O'Connor

NEW ORLEANS (-6.5) 28 Miami 18

Miami enters this contest with a 3-0 record after rallying late to beat the Falcons 27-23 in a game where they were outplayed for most of the day. Final stats show that they lost the total yardage battle (377 at 5.5 YPPL for Atlanta to 286 at 5.3 YPPL for Miami), were -5 in sack differential, and the Falcons had a decisive advantage in time of possession (37:09 to 22:51). However, with a shot to win it late, Ryan Tannehill came through for the Dolphins. Overall on the season the Dolphins are averaging a -47 total yardage differential while giving up 374 yards per game.

The Saints are also 3-0 but have a much better statistical profile with a +110 average yardage advantage per game while gaining 5.97 YPPL against opponents that allow an average of 5.54 YPPL. The concern with the Saints is always their defense and so far this season overall defensive numbers are much improved as they are allowing 296 total yards and 5.4 YPPL per game. New Orleans is a very difficult venue to play in as the Saints are 11-2 SU and 10-3 ATS in Sunday or Monday night games since 2006 winning by an average of 15.84 points per game. The Saints also qualify in a 26-6 Monday night situation and my line on this game is Saints -8 so I do see some value here. I like the Saints minus the points.

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Dave Mathews

Saints vs. Dolphins
Play: Over 48

Miami gave up 23 points to Atlanta last week at home and now they face a team that just scored 31 at home the previous game. Drew Brees has a strong offensive line and one of the best tight ends in the game in Jimmy Graham. The problem for the Dolphins is that they will likely be without their best pass rusher in outside linebacker Cameron Wake. Expect Brees to be on target tonight, while Ryan Tannehill will have success getting the ball to Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline.

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John Ryan

Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers
Prediction: Texas Rangers

This is the AL Wild Card Tie Breaker, so basically a play-in game to get to the MLB play-in game. The simulator shows a high probability that Texas will win this game. The Rays have the luxury of turning to reigning Cy Young award winner David Price. He is 9-8, 3.39 ERA for the season, but is 1-7 with a 5.57 ERA in 11 starts against Texas, including the postseason. He will face a Rangers team that won seven straight by a 46-19 margin to keep its playoff hopes alive. Nelson Cruz will be back in action as well after serving his 50-game suspensions for his involvement in the Biogenesis investigation.

Supporting this graded play is a proven system posting a 78-33 mark for 70% winners since 2008. Play against road teams when the money line is +125 to -125 (TAMPA BAY) that is a below average AL offensive team <=4.5 runs/game and is now facing a team with a solid bullpen posting an ERA<=3.75 and after 2 straight games with no home runs. Texas starter Perez is 9-2 (+8.0 Units) against the money line after a win this season. (Team's Record); 8-0 (+9.0 Units) against the money line after 2 or more consecutive wins this season. (Team's Record); Texas is a solid 11-3 (+8.9 Units) against the money line as a home underdog of +100 to +125 over the last 3 seasons. Take the Rangers.

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Steve Janus

Tampa Bay Rays -116

I'll take the veteran David Price and the Rays over the Rangers and rookie starter Martin Perez tonight when Tampa Bay and Texas do battle for the right for the final Wild Card spot. Price has gone 7-3 with a 3.21 ERA and 1.122 WHIP in 14 road starts this season and comes in with a 2.95 ERA over his last three starts. Price hasn't allowed more than 2 earned runs in each of his last four outings and is a dominant 20-6 over his last 26 road starts as a favorite of -110 to -150. Perez has pitched well of late himself, but he's allowed 3 runs or more in three of his of his last four.

The Rangers come in having won seven straight at home, but those have come against a couple of poor teams in the Astros and Angels who both finished the season under .500. Texas is just 1-9 against the money line in home games when playing against a good team (Win Pct. 54% to 62%) in the second half of the season this season. Tampa Bay on the other hand is 7-0 in their last 7 vs a team with a winning record.

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Jack Jones

Texas Rangers +107

The Texas Rangers won seven straight games to close out the season just to finish in a tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for the final Wild Card spot in the American League. With that kind of momentum heading into this play-in game, I don't believe they will be denied Monday.

Martin Perez is one of the most underrated starters in baseball. The left-hander is 10-5 with a 3.55 ERA in 19 starts this season, including 3-3 with a 3.18 ERA in eight home starts. He has never faced the Rays, giving him a huge advantage.

David Price has faced Texas 11 times and has not fared well at all. Price is 1-7 with a 5.57 ERA and 1.429 WHIP in those 11 career starts against the Rangers. In his last start at Texas, the left-hander gave up 6 earned runs and 10 hits over 4 innings.

Texas is 11-3 (+8.9 Units) against the money line as a home underdog of +100 to +125 over the last three seasons. Perez is 8-0 (+9.0 Units) against the money line after two or more consecutive wins this season. The Rays are 0-7 in their last 7 playoff games as a favorite. The Rangers are 4-1 in Perez's last 5 starts as an underdog. Bet Texas Monday.

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Dave Price

Rays/Rangers Under 7.5

Oddsmakers have set the bar too high for this matchup. This line is inflated because Tampa Bay has played to the over in each of its last three games and Texas is on a 4-0-1 overs run. The under is actually 3-1-1 the last 5 times these teams have met in Texas. Both Price and Perez are capable of gems. They enter in top form with Price allowing just two earned runs in four consecutive starts and Perez giving up three earned runs or less in five of his last six starts. The under is 5-2 in Price's last 7 starts versus the Rangers and 9-3 in Perez's last 12 starts versus a team with a winning record. Take the Under.

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Joe Gavazzi

Texas +105

Each of these teams nearly gave it away in early September. Since that time, they have super-surged to reach this Playoff Game. After the Rays went 3-10, they had to finish 13-5 and 8-2. For Texas, it was a bit more dramatic. A 6-16 early September slide brought visions of last year's late season collapse. This year, they still lost the division crown to Oakland but have played best when it mattered most finishing on a 7-0 kick. Now, instead of visiting Baltimore for a 1 game playoff appearance, they have the advantage of being at home. This line is based on the perception that last year's AL Cy Young winner Price will come up big. Following mid-season injury, he did return for a solid second half, but he has faded a bit down the stretch. Strong preference for Texas and Perez, who was 10-5 for the season with a 3.18 ERA from this mound, at this value home underdog price.

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Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

NEW ORLEANS -7 over Miami: Let's go over a few trends to kick this play off. First we note that the Dolphins are just 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games on MNF. For the Saints there are a few more trends that support them. The Saints are 11-1 ATS at home vs a non-division opponent that's off a SU win and 11-0 ATS in their last 11 home games under Sean Payton, plus 3-0 home favorites are 11-1 ATS if playing a non-division team that's off a SU win. Now that we have that out of the way. This New Orleans team is on a mission this year. They have they their leader back in Sean Payton and are looking to get back to the playoffs, after missing them last year. Each week the Saints have been looking better and better as they regain their footing with Payton back on the sidelines and this week they should look their best so far. The Miami Dolphins are 3-0 to start the year and yes they are improved, but they beat a Cleveland team that was bad before the QB change, a Indy team that was bad before the Richardson trade and last week they won their home opener vs an Atlanta team that isn't all that good this year. Tonight they step up big time in competition and I feel they will be exposed as a phony 3-0 team. Despite the rather weak schedule, the Dolphins are still 20th in the league vs the pass, while on offense they are 27th overall, putting up just 319.3 ppg. The Saint's come in very strong on both sides of the ball as they are 6th in total yards and 3rd in passing, while on defense they are very improved, ranking 4th overall, 2nd vs the pass and 4th in points allowed (12.7 ppg). The Dolphins get exposed as a phony 3-0 team this week as the Saints roll to a 10 point plus win.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, September 30

Craig Davis

As for your free play today, I'm taking the Texas Rangers over the Tampa Bay Rays as David Price is horrible in Texas.

Actually, he's horrible in general vs. the Rangers (1-4, 5.98 ERA) but he's even worse when pitching in the ballpark (1-2, 10.96 ERA).

Price was on quite a roll after he returned from injury, with the Rays winning nine of his first 11 starts... but since then it hasn't been quite as positive.

Price is only 9-8 on the season and his ERA is 3.39, but again, it's very suspect against the Rangers.

Texas somehow clawed their way back into the playoff race down the stretch, beating Anaheim 6-2 Sunday to earn this one-game playoff to get to a one-game playoff.

After a dominant August, youngster Martin Perez quieted in September but did win his last start of the season... a 7-3 decision over the Houston Astros.

He's 0-0 vs. the Rays in one career start, but pitched well allowing two earned runs in five innings of work. He's also 8-3 at home this season with a 3.18 ERA.

Take the Rangers as a home dog as your free play of the day.

2♦ TEXAS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, September 30

Brad Wilton

Monday night free play winner comes in baseball, as I will take the Rays and Rangers to combine for an Over in their tiebreaker contest from Arlington.

At this time of the year it all comes down to pitching, and Tampa hurler David Price will have a large amount of pressure resting on his shoulders. Price is just 1-7 with an ERA quite close to 6 in his 11 regular/postseason starts against the Rangers!

His counterpart Martin Perez has allowed 3 runs or more in 3 of his last 4 starts, and the Over has been the play in 5 of his last 8 starts to close the regular season.

Series meetings between the teams show a 3-0-1 Over run the last 4 times the teams have met, and the Over is 7-2-1 the Rays last 10 playoff road games.

Just enough offense tonight between the Rays and Rangers to go Over the total.

2♦ TAMPA BAY-TEXAS OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, September 30

Big Kat Sports

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers
Play: Over 7.5

We already have a side on tonight’s AL Play-In Game that was released to our clients so we’ll look to the total tonight in a game that will determine who will face the Indians in Wednesday’s AL Wild Card Game. Here are a few trends that have us on the OVER tonight in Texas:

Over is 5-1 in Rays last 6 games as a road favorite.
Over is 6-2 in Rays last 8 games as a road favorite of -110 to -150.
Over is 13-2-2 in Price’s last 17 starts after scoring 5 runs or more in their previous game.
Over is 4-0-1 in Rangers last 5 games following a win.
Over is 5-2 in Rangers last 7 games a home underdog.
Over is 5-1-1 in Rangers last 7 home games vs. a left-handed starter.

Pair those numbers with the fact that the ball flies out of the Ballpark at Arlington, Cruz and Rios are hitting a combined .475 with 4 homers vs. Price and that these two teams have gone over the posted total in their last four games and we’ll roll with that for our Monday Free Play as we look for an offensive explosion tonight in Texas.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, September 30

Bob Balfe

Texas Rangers -110

The Rays are just an average road team and that is why they are in this spot to begin with. In a winner take all setting I will go with the home team that has rocked Price and the team that is better at hitting left handed pitching. Texas is on a big winning streak and I don’t think they battled all the way back to lose a home game to move on to the next round. This team is hot. Take the Rangers.

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