Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, October 4

Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, October 4

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Detroit at Oakland
The Tigers look to open the series and build on their 8-2 record in Max Scherzer's last 10 starts as a road favorite. Detroit is the pick (-125) according to Dunkel, which has the Tigers favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-125)

Game 909-910: Pittsburgh at St. Louis (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Cole) 15.966; St. Louis (Lynn) 15.089
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 1; 8
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-135); 7
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (+115); Over

Game 911-912: LA Dodgers at Atlanta (6:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Greinke) 15.640; Atlanta (Minor) 14.185
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-115); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-115); Under

Game 913-914: Tampa Bay at Boston (3:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Moore) 16.036; Boston (Lester) 17.591
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Boston (-140); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-140); Over

Game 915-916: Detroit at Oakland (9:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Scherzer) 16.587; Oakland (Colon) 15.088
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Detroit (-125); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-125); Under

NCAAF

BYU at Utah State
The Cougars look to build on their 10-1 ATS record in their last 11 games versus Mountain West Conference opponents. BYU is the pick (+6 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Aggies favored by only 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: BYU (+6 1/2)

Game 309-310: BYU at Utah State (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: BYU 98.105; Utah State 99.591
Dunkel Line: Utah State by 1 1/2; 54
Vegas Line: Utah State by 6 1/2; 57 1/2
Dunkel Pick: BYU (+6 1/2); Under

Game 311-312: Nevada at San Diego State (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Nevada 78.912; San Diego State 75.208
Dunkel Line: Nevada by 3 1/2; 62
Vegas Line: San Diego State by 5; 57
Dunkel Pick: Nevada (+5); Over

NHL

Detroit at Carolina
The Red Wings look to take advantage of a Carolina team that is 2-10 in its last 12 home games. Detroit is the pick (-120) according to Dunkel, which has the Red Wings favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-120)

Game 51-52: Ottawa at Buffalo (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Ottawa 12.995; Buffalo 11.524
Dunkel Line & Total: Ottawa by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Ottawa (-125); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Ottawa (-125); Over

Game 53-54: NY Islanders at New Jersey (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Islanders 11.969; New Jersey 10.962
Dunkel Line & Total: NY Islanders by 1; 5
Vegas Line & Total: New Jersey (-120); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Islanders (+100); Under

Game 55-56: Calgary at Columbus (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Calgary 12.286; Columbus 11.382
Dunkel Line & Total: Calgary by 1; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Columbus (-180); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Calgary (+160); Over

Game 57-58: Detroit at Carolina (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit 11.882; Carolina 10.337
Dunkel Line & Total: Detroit by 1 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Detroit (-120); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-120); Under

Game 59-60: Los Angeles at Winnipeg (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Los Angeles 12.338; Winnipeg 11.292
Dunkel Line & Total: Los Angeles by 1; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Los Angeles (-120); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Los Angeles (-120); Under

Game 61-62: Nashville at Colorado (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Nashville 11.296; Colorado 10.106
Dunkel Line & Total: Nashville by 1; 6
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

CFL

Hamilton at Toronto
The Argonauts look to build on their 18-7-1 ATS record in their last 26 games versus the Tiger-Cats at home. Toronto is the pick (-4) according to Dunkel, which has the Argonauts favored by 11. Dunkel Pick: Toronto (-4)

Game 491-492: Hamilton at Toronto (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Hamilton 110.543; Toronto 121.728
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 11; 60
Vegas Line: Toronto by 4; 56
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (-4); Over

Game 493-494: Saskatchewan at BC (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Saskatchewan 115.353; BC 115.343
Dunkel Line: Even; 48
Vegas Line: BC by 3; 53
Dunkel Pick: Saskatchewan (+3); Under

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, October 4

Chris Jordan

I read two headlines over night:

"Dodgers hurting, but confident entering NLDS," and, "Favored or not, Braves confident facing Dodgers."

Good to know both teams have confidence going into the postseason, right? Question is, whose talent rises above the confidence level and has the makings of a seven-game run if it gets that far? Personally, knowing the Los Angeles Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke available for Games 1 and 2, and potentially games 5, make ME confident the Dodgers are the right side in this series.

Kershaw is 0-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four career starts against the Braves, and in his only start at Turner Field, he struck out 10 and allowed two runs in seven innings. Greinke, on the other hand, is 1-1 with a 3.50 ERA lifetime against Atlanta. Though he is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA in one Turner Field start, he did turn in seven scoreless innings to beat the Braves in Los Angeles.

And even though L.A. went 2-5 against Braves in 2013, that was long before the Dodgers' second-half surge that included that incredible run from late June into September, before things started leveling out. And quick disclaimer, yeah I know the Dodgers struggled even more (12-15) in September than did Atlanta (13-14).

The East-champion Braves watched the National League’s best record end up in St. Louis over the final weekend, so now the Braves get the West-champion Dodgers and their aces, Kershaw and Greinke. If the Dodgers can split these first two out in Atlanta, they wrap it up in Los Angeles. If they sweep - it's all over. I think one or both situations is possible.

I'm putting my money on the men in blue, who I believe are on a mission to get to the Fall Classic, where they fully expect to meet the Boston Red Sox. One step at a time, though, as we get past the first round with the Dodgers.

3♦ L.A. DODGERS SERIES

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Scott Delaney

Was Sunday's season-finale a postseason preview of what we can expect from the Oakland Athletics? I don't know if a 9-0 romp over the Seattle Mariners tells the tale, but it certainly doesn't hurt knowing a team out for revenge comes in off a huge win.

The Athletics have to still be stinging from last season's postseason exit, which came at the hands of the Detroit Tigers, in a fifth and decisive game. The A's lost the first two in Detroit, won the next two in Oakland and then lost 6-0 to Justin Veralander and the eventual American League champion.

Here comes the revenge.

This postseason Detroit manager Jim Leyland doesn't have as easy a decision who his staff ace, as there's Max Scherzer - the leading candidate for the Cy Young Award, Anibal Sanchez - the A.L. ERA leader this season, and, former MVP Justin Verlander. And make note, yes, in that order, as Verlander could very well be his No. 3 guy.

And while you're thinking depth, I'm thinking this could be a problem for the Tigers, as the Athletics is arguably the grittiest team in the league heading into the postseason.

Not only does Oakland have pitching, it can also hit the ball out of the park, too. This is a team that can hurt you from both angles - offense and defense - and other than Scherzer, I don't know if Verlander and Sanchez are locks necessarily.

The first time these two faced the A's was in Oakland back in April, when the A's weren't even considered a contender. Verlander threw on April 13, and got the win after throwing six innings, scattering three hits and allowing one earned run. Sanchez fired seven innings of three-hit ball over seven innings the next night and got the win after allowing just one earned run.

Fast forward to August, when the A's got better. Sanchez lasted just five innings on Aug. 26, after giving up four earned runs on five hits an took a no-decision. The next night Verlander was dealt a loss after getting tagged for four hits and allowing three earned runs over five innings pitched. And with Sanchez he hasn't necessarily been all that since mid-July, going 3-6 with a 3.41 ERA.

Sorry, but since that win over Detroit on Aug. 26, the A's are on a 24-9 run coming into the playoffs. And since losing that game on the 26th, the Tigers are just 13-16.

I think Oakland is the right side in this series, revenge and all!!!

3♦ OAKLAND SERIES

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Brett Atkins

Nobody has the Boston Red Sox penciled in for the postseason.

First it was the Toronto Blue Jays, then maybe the Baltimore Orioles. Most certainly there was to be a changing of the guard in the American League East. But for most of the season, there were the Red Sox, getting it done and leading the charge. And, with all due respect, the New York Yankees made a run as well. So the old-standbys were right there, and the Red Sox, well they only finished tied for the league's best record overall.

And while I know they have until Thursday to submit their Division Series roster to Major League Baseball, I'm not too concerned who makes the final cut - this team is going to the World Series. The Sox (97-65) will play Game 1 of the Division Series on Friday at Fenway Park, and no matter who it is against - the Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers or Cleveland Indians, the Crimson Hose are moving on.

And mark my words, they're not losing to the Detroit Tigers or Oakland A's in the championship series. The only team with a shot at beating the Sox is the Indians. And I don't see it happening in five games.

The Red Sox, who will have to wait until Wednesday to learn who they are playing in the American League Divisional Series, are in the playoffs for the first time since 2009, and they've looked good getting here, posting their best record since 2004.

Boston has the second-best batting average in the bigs, behind Detroit, as the Red Sox finished the season hitting .277. For the month of September, though, they're hitting .291, two points worse than league-leading Colorado (.293), and 21 points better than the Tigers (.270). Boston also ranks No. 2 in the bigs this month with 39 home runs, behind the A's.

Boston is a grind-it-out kind of team, which knows how to manufacture runs and win ball games. The Sox have a lot of experience and can seriously do some damage in their run toward their third World Series title in 10 years.

My money is on the Red Sox to win the A.L. pennant.

2♦ BOSTON

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Brad Wilton

My free play winner will be the Dodgers to win their best-of-five series against the Braves.

At this time of the year, the pitching tends to overshadow the hitting, and while the Atlanta pitching has been good this season, I feel the Los Angeles pitching - especially the starters - is just a little better than that of the Braves.

At the end of the day, there are just too many holes in the Atlanta lineup and certainly not enough on the bench to see the Bravos advance in this five game set.

I am not saying the Dodgers are going to sweep, but for my money the Dodgers bats are a little more reliable than those of the Braves, and that is going to be the difference in who advances to the N.L.C.S.

Donny Baseball has got himself a team, and they will get by Atlanta in this opening round division league series.

Gotta lay it with L.A.

2♦ L.A. DODGERS -155

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Teddy CoversFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Nevada vs. San Diego StateFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: San Diego StateFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Nevada is showing signs of a fairly significant home/road dichotomy.  They’ve won all three home games, with an offense that has hung 36, 31 and 45 points in those three contests.  But in two road tilts, the Wolfpack have been completely non-competitive, losing by a combined final score of 120-27.
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The trend line for this Nevada program is heading down.  With Colin Kaepernick at quarterback and Chris Ault’s Pistol offense giving opposing defensive coordinators fits, the Wolfpack went 13-1 back in 2010.  They haven’t beaten an opponent with a winning record since!
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QB Cody Fajardo certainly doesn’t have Kaepernick’s NFL upside. The Wolfpack stop unit has been consistently awful.  And first year, first time head coach Brian Polian got this job because of who his dad is more than any other factor.  Quite frankly, I’m expecting Polian to run this program into the ground.
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San Diego State beat a better Wolfpack team than this one on the road in Reno last year.  They’ve played much better in their last two games, nearly pulling the outright upset over Oregon State two weeks ago (losing with two minutes to play on an ill-advised pick six), then dominating New Mexico State on the road in the second half last week following a sluggish start.
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Rocky Long’s teams have a long history of getting better and better as the season progresses, and San Diego State is an undervalued commodity following their disappointing pointspread results early in the season.  That gives us a bargain price to support the superior team with the vastly superior defense at home against an opponent with an ugly track record on the highway.

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Doug UpstoneFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Diego St vs. NevadaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: UnderFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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On Friday, PLAY UNDER on teams like Nevada, when the total is between 56.5 and 63, who are an average offensive team (4.8 to 5.6 yards per play), against a team with a poor defense (5.6 to 6.2 YPP), after allowing 475 or more total yards a game in their last three contests. In the last 20 years, this college football system is 23-4, 85.2 percent and the average total score of these games has been 48.1.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, October 4

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

BYU/ Utah State Under 58: Both of these teams can put points on the board, but both teams also play very sound defense, with BYU ranking 23rd in total defense, while the Aggies come in ranked 22. The Aggies do like to throw the ball allot, but they also run it plenty as well, while BYU is a power running team and all that running should eat up some clock. The Under is 11-1 in BYU's last 12 Friday Night games, while the Under is 12-3 in Utah State's last 15 games following a straight up win. These teams put up just 9 total points in last years game, while each one of the last 6 in this series has failed to put up more than 52 points. This one should stay under that numbers.

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Jimmy Boyd

Detroit Tigers -121

There is an incredible amount of value on the Detroit Tigers in this matchup against the Oakland A's. Max Scherzer has been a stud this season, earning a 21-3 record in 32 starts. In his 16 road starts Scherzer has a 9-2 record with a 2.28 ERA. He had a strong finished to the regular season as the Tigers went 3-0 in his last three starts and Scherzer posted a 1.80 ERA in those games.

Run support should be a non-issue for the Tigers as they have a .289 batting average against right-handed starters, scoring five runs per game. Their overall numbers on the season are not far behind, posting a .283 batting average and scoring 4.9 runs per game. Oakland has had their share of troubles at home this season. They have a .247 batting average in home games, and they should struggle to match that number against an elite pitcher like Scherzer.

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Rob Vinciletti

Rays at Red Sox
Play: Under 7½

In the series here 14 straight between these two have played under here in Boston. M. Moore for Tampa Bay is 14-2 on the road and has a superb 2.74 road era. Lester for Boston has a solid 3.09 home era and has pitched under in 6 of here vs Tampa Bay allowing just 3 runs in 13 innings. Tampa Bay has pled under in 15 of 19 as a road dog from +100 to +125 and Boston has played under in 22 of 31 as a home favorite from -125 to -150. Boston has not faced live hitting in 5 days and to face Moore in this situation can be very tough. Look for a low scoring game here this afternoon. Take the Under.

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Jack Jones

Nevada +6

With Cody Fajardo back at quarterback, the Nevada Wolf Pack certainly have a chance to beat almost anyone they face. Fajardo completed 67.0 percent of his passes for 2,786 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions last year, while also rushing for 1,121 yards and 12 scores. He has picked up right where he left off, completing 70.1 percent of his passes for 792 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions, while also rushing for 223 yards and five scores in 2013.

Fajardo leads a Wolf Pack offense that is putting up 27.8 points and 408.2 total yards per game. They are much better off on this side of the ball than San Diego State, which is only averaging 20.5 points and 371.5 total yards per game. Fajardo is in line for a big day against a San Diego State defense that ranks 106th in the country against the pass. The Aztecs are allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 68.1 percent of their passes for 284.5 yards per game.

Nevada wants revenge from its 39-38 home loss to the Aztecs last season. That’s especially the case when they come in knowing that they should have won that game, but simply gave it away. The Wolf Pack outgained the Aztecs 480-353 for the game last year, converting on 10-of-17 third-down attempts. Fajardo had a monster game in the loss, throwing for 304 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 66 yards and a score.

This is an SDSU team that has certainly taken a step back in 2013. It is 1-3, which included a 19-40 home loss to Eastern Illinois in the opener in a game in which it allowed 533 total yards. It also trailed lowly New Mexico State 5-16 at halftime last week before reeling off 21 unanswered points in the second half to pull away for an unimpressive 26-16 victory as a 16-point favorite. The Aztecs have no business being a 6-point favorite in this contest from what I've seen so far.

Plays on a road team (NEVADA) – after going over the total by more than 28 points in their previous game, with a winning record on the season playing a losing team are 23-3 (88.5%) ATS over the last five seasons. San Diego State is 0-6 against the spread after outrushing opponent by 150 or more yards last game over the last three seasons. Nevada is 10-2 against the number off a win by 3 points or less since 1992. Bet Nevada Friday.

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Justin Bay

Rays at Red Sox
Play: Rays +127

Matt Moore will be taking the mound for the Rays facing a Boston lineup that led the league in just about every statistic. He has had a very good season against the Red Sox going 15 innings and allowing only three earned runs. His ERA on the road has been near perfection with a 2.74 ERA. Moore finished the regular season a very good note with a 2.79 ERA in September.

Jon Lester will be on the mound for the Red Sox and unlike Matt Moore he has struggled against the Rays during the regular season with a 4.32 ERA through 25 innings. Lester has had a solid ERA at home during the regular season with a 3.09 ERA.

It is hard to look past the success that Matt Moore has had against Boston. During his career, Moore has held the Red Sox lineup to a .165 batting average. If he can keep his composure in Boston tonight, he will give his Ray's lineup a chance to continue their success against Jon Lester. Back the Rays in this game and look for Lester to struggle against Tampa Bay.

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Jim Feist

Nevada vs. San Diego State    
Play: Nevada +6

Nevada's offense is clicking behind QB Cody Fajardo, striking for 31 and 45 the last two games. They are off a 45-42 comeback victory over Air Force with 599 yards (210 rushing). San Diego State is allowing 34 ppg (99th in the nation), giving up 40 twice and 34 in another contest. They lost two starters on the O-Line early, and MLB Jake Fely (broken foot) is done, a key loss. And SDSU's defense has been porous against the pass this year. The Aztecs average 253.5 yards passing on offense. The Aztecs are 2-11 ATS in their last 13 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game. Play Nevada!

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Nick Parsons

Boston Red Sox -134

Boston took 12 of 19 off of Tampa Bay this year and after all of the crazy travelling and do or die games that the Rays have been through over the last week and a half, I look for the home side to take advantage and to continue its dominance in this series, finding a way to get the job done at the end of the night.

Matt Moore (17-4, 3.29 ERA)

Moore gave up three runs off six hits and three walks, good enough to earn a 7-6 win over the Blue Jays in his final start of the year.

Jon Lester (15-8, 3.75 ERA)

Lester would also finish the regular season with a lacklustre start, allowing four runs off nine hits and two walks while striking out four over five innings in his team's 6-5 loss to the Orioles on Saturday.

He was decent down the stretch though, allowing nine combined runs over his final 28 innings of work, finishing September 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA in five September starts.

Lester was 2-1 with a 4.32 ERA in four starts vs. the Rays this year and was particularly dominant in front of the home town crowd all season finishing a near-perfect 7-1 with a highly respectable 3.09 ERA.

The Bottom Line

This is a perfect letdown spot to exploit; the Rays have had to win nine straight to make it here.

The Red Sox are rested and focused and ready to roll. A bunch of different factors working in Boston's favor combined with this reasonable line make the home side a very legitimate investment option in Game 1 of this ALDS.

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DB Consensus

Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves
Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers easily won Thursday 6-1 behind staff ace Clayton Kershaw. No rest for the wicked on Friday as LA sends out Zack Greinke (15-4, 2.63) to face Atlanta's Mike Minor (13-9. 3.21). This Dodgers lineup is just too much to handle, 7 out of 8 starters got a hit Thursday.

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Dr BobFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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UTAH STATE (-5½) 29 BYU 24FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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These teams are pretty even, as both are better than average offensively and very good defensively. Utah State is slightly better offensively, rating at 0.2 yards per play better than average (5.8 yppl against teams that would allow 5.6 yppl to an average team) while BYU’s attack has been just average (5.6 yppl against teams that would allow 5.6 yppl). The Cougars, however, make up that small difference on defense, as they rate at 1.3 yppl better than average (4.3 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.6 yppl against an average team) while Utah State’s defense is 1.1 yppl better than average (5.1 yppl allowed to teams that would average 6.2 yppl). This game is very even from a yards per play perspective but BYU is expected to run more plays from scrimmage while Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton gives the Aggies an advantage in projected turnovers (he’s thrown just 1 interception and only 12 in 757 career passes). Overall the math favors Utah State by just 3 points but BYU applies to a negative 8-32-2 ATS situation. I’d stay away from this one.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Pittsburgh +125 over ST. LOUISFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Lance Lynn is no Adam Wainwright but when he’s on his game, he’s damn close. No question that Lynn has a chance to throw a great game today but this isn’t about fading him, although current Pirates have hit .282 off Lynn in 174 career AB’s. This one is all about playing the Pirates plus a tag in a game they have a great chance of winning.
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What happened to the Pirates yesterday was a direct result of A.J. Burnett walking Adam Wainwright to lead off the third inning. That opened the floodgates to a seven-run inning and the game was over real fast. That’s not going to deter us from coming right back on the Pirates today with Gerrit Cole going. Cole has flashed his rotation-anchor upside since his recall with a 3.22 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and a 50% groundball rate. Cole’s 96 mph average four-seam fastball and 10% swinging strike rate give him more strikeout upside than he has shown, and his off-speed stuff has been dominant too. Cole has thrown his change-up and curveball 232 times; batters have managed only two extra-base hits against those pitches. Down the stretch, Cole went 4-0 in five starts with an ERA of 1.69 after whiffing 39 batters in 32 innings. This kid is absolutely the real deal and with his feet wet and his confidence soaring, he’s about as good as it gets when being offered a tag.
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Detroit -1 +107 over OAKLANDFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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If Bartolo Colon and the A’s beat us here, good for them but this isn’t the regular season anymore, where average pitchers get by from time to time. Both the A’s and Colon have had more luck than any combination in baseball and it figures to all come crashing down in this series. Oakland is an average team while Colon isn’t even an average pitcher. Last summer, we marveled at how well Bartolo Colon was doing. We couldn’t help but wonder, “wow, how does this old guy do it?” That question was answered when he was suspended for 50 games for PED use. But a supposedly drug-free Colon has continued to impress this year. Well, sort of. Colon's xERA by month this year: 3.60/3.73/4.20/4.64/6.46. So while his ERA looks spectacular, Colon is anything but with two pitches in his arsenal with one of those two being a straight 87 MPH fastball. Somehow, someway, the A’s thrived in the regular season but this is a collection of average hitters, a below average rotation and a 50 pound overweight pitcher with poor skills getting the call for the opener. They make fictional movies out of stuff like this and it would be of no surprise to see the A’s go quickly and quietly in this series.
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Max Scherzer and the Tigers are one of the baseball’s best combinations. Scherzer has 240 K’s in 214 innings to go along with a full skills supported ERA of 2.90. Overall, Scherzer went 21-3 and 25 of his 32 starts were of the pure quality variety. On the road, he was even better with 2.28 ERA over 16 starts with a BAA of .177. Need we say more? Tigers should win this series in three games and they should win each game convincingly.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, October 4

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N.Y. Islanders +103 over NEW JERSEYFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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OT included. Not to beat a dead horse, but what are the Devils going to do to fill the gaping void left by Ilya Kovalchuk? It was enough of a challenge to address the departure of Zach Parise last season and now the Devils must contend with the loss of their other offensive dynamo. In his first two full seasons with the Devils, Kovalchuk notched 68 goals. Oh, and did we mention that the Devils also lost their leading goal scorer to free agency? Yup, David Clarkson cashed in on another terrific season by inking a seven-year deal with Toronto this past summer. That lack of offense took flight right away last night when the Devils went into Pittsburgh against that poor defense and fragile goaltender and did not score a single goal. New Jersey is not as bad as people think and we’ll get into that a bit later. However, after not scoring last night and having that lack of offense drilled into their head some more by the media, the Devils are not an appealing favorite right now. With Martin Bro de, de de, (I can’t even finish because it’s too funny), in net, the Devils are an automatic fade as the chalk. Brodeur just doesn’t want to hang them up. He’s too old, he’s too slow and the only reason he’s playing is because he’s done so much for this franchise and city that Lou is doing him a courtesy. Brodeur has been a huge liability for two or three years now and has no chance of thriving in a game that has passed him by years ago.
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The Islanders 1 through 12 forwards might be the league’s best. If they are not the best they are in the top 3. John Tavares was always heralded as a special talent but his true potential was unveiled last season when his leadership, poise and production were on full display. This guy wills his team to victories. Tavares embodies everything the Islanders have going for them right now: youth, skill, energy, enthusiasm. The Islanders will score goals in bunches and against Brodeur, they may knock him out early. The Islanders goaltending is a big concern heading into the year but that’s something to fade another time. For this game, we’re fading a team that can’t score with a goalie that can’t stop pucks anymore. End of story.

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