Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, October 3

Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, October 3

DUNKEL INDEX

NFL

Buffalo at Cleveland
The Browns look to follow up their 17-6 win over the Bengals last weekend and build on their 6-2 ATS record in their last 8 games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game. Cleveland is the pick (-3 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Browns favored by 7. Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-3 1/2)

Game 301-302: Buffalo at Cleveland (8:25 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Buffalo 128.637; Cleveland 135.701
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 7; 44
Vegas Line: Cleveland by 3 1/2; 40 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-3 1/2); Over

NCAAF

Texas at Iowa State
The Cyclones look to take advantage of a Texas team that is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games against a team with a losing SU record. Iowa State is the pick (+9) according to Dunkel, which has the game Even. Dunkel Pick: Iowa State (+9)

Game 303-304: Texas at Iowa State (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas 90.794; Iowa State 90.431
Dunkel Line: Even; 60
Vegas Line: Texas by 9; 56 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Iowa State (+9); Over

Game 305-306: Western Kentucky at UL-Monroe (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Western Kentucky 78.331; UL-Monroe 68.886
Dunkel Line: Western Kentucky by 9 1/2; 44
Vegas Line: Western Kentucky by 7; 48 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Western Kentucky (-7); Under

Game 307-308: UCLA at Utah (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: UCLA 106.916 Utah 97.147
Dunkel Line: UCLA by 10; 64
Vegas Line: UCLA by 5 1/2; 60 1/2
Dunkel Pick: UCLA (-5 1/2); Over

MLB

LA Dodgers at Atlanta
The Braves open the NLDS against the Dodgers and look to build on their 14-1 record in Kris Medlen's last 15 starts in Game 1 of a series.Atlanta is the pick (+125) according to Dunkel, which has the Braves favored by 1/2 a run. Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (+125)

Game 905-906: Pittsburgh at St. Louis (5:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Burnett) 15.466; St. Louis (Wainwright) 16.989
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1 1/2; 5
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-155); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-155); Under

Game 907-908: LA Dodgers at Atlanta (8:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Kershaw) 14.503; Atlanta (Medlen) 15.021
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-145); 6
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (+125); Over
NHL

Los Angeles at Minnesota
The Kings look to open the season and take advantage of a Minnesota team that is 2-7 in its last 9 home games. Los Angeles is the pick (-110) according to Dunkel, which has the Kings favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Los Angeles (-110)

Game 1-2: Calgary at Washington (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Calgary 10.842; Washington 12.338
Dunkel Line & Total: Washington by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Washington (-210); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-210); Over

Game 3-4: New Jersey at Pittsburgh (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: New Jersey 12.200; Pittsburgh 11.061
Dunkel Line & Total: New Jersey by 1; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Pittsburgh (-180); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: New Jersey (+160); Under

Game 5-6: Tampa Bay at Boston (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay 9.736; Boston 12.666
Dunkel Line & Total: Boston by 3; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Boston (-200); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-200); Over

Game 7-8: Nashville at St. Louis (8:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Nashville 11.405; St. Louis 10.426
Dunkel Line & Total: Nashville by 1; 4
Vegas Line & Total: St. Louis (-200); 5
Dunkel Pick: Nashville (+170); Under

Game 9-10: Los Angeles at Minnesota (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Los Angeles 11.813; Minnesota 10.138
Dunkel Line & Total: Los Angeles by 1 1/2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Minnesota (-110); 5
Dunkel Pick: Los Angeles (-110); Under

Game 11-12: Florida at Dallas (8:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Florida 10.411; Dallas 11.866
Dunkel Line & Total: Dallas by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Dallas (-170); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Dallas (-170); Over

Game 13-14: NY Rangers at Phoenix (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Rangers 11.700; Phoenix 11.440
Dunkel Line & Total: NY Rangers by 1/2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Phoenix (-110); 5
Dunkel Pick: NY Rangers (-110); Under

Game 15-16: Vancouver at San Jose (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Vancouver 10.062; San Jose 11.716
Dunkel Line & Total: San Jose by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: San Jose (-130); 5
Dunkel Pick: San Jose (-130); Over

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Marc Lawrence

Buffalo at Cleveland
Prediction: Under

The suddenly resurgent Cleveland Browns host the equally resurgent Buffalo Bills on the North coast Thursday evening, the Dawg Pound will be rocking while the Rock-n-Roll Hall of fame across the street from Cleveland Browns Stadium will be howling. Inside the stadium points should be at a premium with Cleveland owning the league's No. 3 ranked overall defense, while both teams rank in bottom half of the loop in scoring defense. With the Browns having played UNDER in 11 of their last 16 games against teams from the AFC East, and the Bills going UNDER in each of the last three meetings in this series, look for more of the same this evening. We recommend a 1-unit play on the UNDER.

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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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Jim Feist

Texas vs. Iowa State
Play: Under 56½

The weather in Iowa is not great for offensive football for this night game, 60% chance of rain, 12 MPH winds. Iowa State is about running the football with their new read option attack with mobile QB Sam Richardson. Running the pigskin eats up yards and the clock and the under is 20-8 in the Cyclones last 28 home games, plus 27-10 under the total on grass. Texas can also run the football and has had QB problems with David Ash battling a concussion. The under is 5-1 in the Longhorns last 6 conference games, as well as 14-5 under the total after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game. And when these Big 12 rivals meet the under is 5-2 the last 7 meetings. Play Texas/Iowa State under the total.

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Justin BayFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Western Kentucky vs. Louisiana-MonroeSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Western Kentucky -7FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Western Kentucky is on a two game win streak after beating Navy last week. In the last two seasons, the Hilltoppers are 6-2 SU & 7-1 ATS in the month of October. They played very good defense last week, holding Navy to just 107 yards on the ground.
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Louisiana Monroe lost their star QB Kolton Browning last week to a torn quad muscle. Sophomore Brayle Brown will be under center making his first collegiate start. This is a disaster waiting to happen for ULM.
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Take the Hilltoppers in this game as they will not have to worry about Browning under center. W. Kentucky should concentrate on stopping the run which will force Brayce Brown to make some bad decisions through the air.

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Bruce MarshallFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Western Kentucky vs. Louisiana-MonroeSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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An already-disappointing 2013 for ULM (just 10.5 ppg vs. FBS foes TY) got worse last week when sr. QB Browning was lost for the season with a torn quad, and little-used jr backup Brown tossed 2 picks in relief vs. Tulane. Bobby Petrino's WKU ball-control offense featuring QB Doughy's short passes and RB Andrews' powerful runs will keep the chains and clock moving and hold the score down in Monroe.

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Jimmy Boyd

Western Kentucky vs. Louisiana-Monroe    
Play: Western Kentucky -7

Western Kentucky is definitely the play in this game. Their offense has scored an average of 31.2 points per game this season, compared to just 18 points per game from Louisiana-Monroe. The Hilltoppers have impressive wins over Kentucky and Navy, while ULM's only wins have come against Grambling, and a struggling Wake Forest team. Western Kentucky is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games against a team with a losing record.

In the the Warhawks two games against decent opponents they have scored an average of 3.5 points. They were shutout in the season opener against Oklahoma, and found the endzone just once against Baylor two weeks ago. The Hilltoppers have won two straight games coming into this matchup so they have momentum on their side. The Warhawks are 0-4 ATS in their last four games against a team with a winning record.

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Big Al McMordie


Take BOSTON BRUINS over Tampa Bay Lightning.


Free play run:   37-21 last 58 plays.

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Stephen Nover

LA Dodgers vs. Atlanta
Play: Atlanta

I'm not going to pass up this price on the Braves, who had the best home record in baseball at 56-25, scored more runs than the Dodgers and have the best closer in baseball, Craig Kimbrel.

So why are the Dodgers such a heavy road favorite? Clayton Kershaw that's why. The guy's a monster. He's probably the best pitcher in baseball. Kershaw has a road ERA of 2.14, which is tremendous but is still more than his 1.56 home ERA.

But as good as Kershaw is, he wasn't hotter down the stretch than Atlanta starter Kris Medlen, who was named NL Pitcher of the Month for September going 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in five September starts. He has not surrendered a run during his last 22 innings.

Medlen is 3-0 career-wise versus the Dodgers with a 1.23 ERA in eight appearances.

Medlen has been pitching well the entire second half of the season compiling a 9-3 mark with a 2.38 ERA following the All-Star break. The Braves have won 74 percent of Medlen's last 55 starts.

The Dodgers have lost five of their last seven in Atlanta and will be without Matt Kemp. Andre Ethier is reduced to being just a pinch-hitter due to an ankle injury.

Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen have been terrific for the Dodgers in the eighth and ninth innings. But the Braves had two setup men with ERA's under 2.00 while compiling the league's lowest bullpen ERA. Kimbrel has been the best closer for the last two years. He saved 50 of 54 games this year striking out 98 in 67 innings.

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Rob Vinciletti

Pittsburgh vs. St. Louis
Play: St. Louis

The Cardinals are rested and ready for a Pirates team they know well. St. Louis has won 6 of the 9 meetings here this seasons and has their ace in Adam, Wainwright on the mound. Wainwright has won 4 of his last 5 here vs the Pirates and has allowed just 3 runs in 14 innings here this year against them. He has won his last 2 October starts, has a 2.53 home era and an 11-6 home start record this year. He will Oppose AJ. Burnett who has struggled in his last 2 here this year allowing 10 runs in 7 innings and has lost 11 of 16 on the road with a 4.22 era. He has lost 3 of his last 4 October starts. The Pirates are 1-5 as a road dog off a home favored win where they scored 5 or more runs. Look for the Cardinals to soar past the Cardinals.

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Raphael Esparza

Buffalo / Cleveland Over 40.5

The Bills offense must be able to score against this tough hard-hitting Cleveland Browns. Buffalo is averaging 22ppg in their last 4 games and the Browns offense at times looks lost. Cleveland needs to play like they did against the Vikings in Week 3 and run their offense like they did in Week 3. This total is dropping as we speak and I believe the Browns offense plays well at home and this total goes over Thursday night. Football in October usually means over games for the Bills going 8-3 O/U in the month of October. Cleveland must score first against to put the pressure off the young Cleveland quarterback and again I see Cleveland making some big plays down the field. This one should see some points.Play the 'Over' here and get your weekend started with a winner.

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Bruce Marshall

Western Kentucky vs. UL Monroe
Pick: Under

An already-disappointing 2013 for ULM (just 10.5 ppg vs. FBS foes TY) got worse last week when sr. QB Browning was lost for the season with a torn quad and little-used jr backup Brayle Brown tossed 2 picks in relief vs. Tulane. Bobby Petrino's WKU ball-control offense featuring QB Doughy's short passes and RB Andrews' powerful runs will keep the chains and clock moving and hold the score down in Monroe.

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Red Dog Sports

New Jersey vs. Pittsburgh
Play: Under 5½

Take under 5.5 on Thursday night. Pittsburgh is a good offensive team while the New Jersey Devils will concentrate on defense. Look for a 3-2 game and hope we don't see an empty net goal.

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CLEVELAND -3½ over BuffaloFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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How quickly we forget. The Browns were on a lot of people’s radar to begin the season but two straight losses to open the year, followed by an injury to Brandon Weeden, followed by the trading of Trent Richardson to Indy and the Brownies suddenly become the forgotten team, despite two wins in a row. Not only have the Brownies won two straight in impressive fashion but they held the Bengals to six points last week. Additionally, Cleveland could easily be 4-0 instead of 2-2 after they held leads in the second half in both of their games. The Browns have played far better defense than most realize and now that their offense has worked better with Brian Hoyer, they are winning games. Joe Haden has been shutting down every opponent's #1 receiver and his natural match is on Robert Woods unless they specifically want him on Stevie Johnson. Either way, rookie E.J. Manuel is figures to have a tough go of it here. In his only road game thus far, Manuel was sacked eight times and now he has to travel on a short week.
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The Bills are the walking wounded. Both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are banged up with little time to heal. Spiller has been mostly a disappointment anyway with minimal role as a receiver, no touchdowns and marginal rushing yardage. E.J. Manuel has thrown five TD’s against three picks and he’s certainly on the right track but he also makes a lot of bad decisions that has not hurt him too badly yet but that could change in a real hurry. Let’s not forget that the Bills allowed 27 points in their only road game so far to a lousy Jets offense. Buffalo’s win last week over Baltimore looks pretty good on paper but Joe Flacco threw five picks and the Bills won by a FG. Buffalo also fumbled the ball four times but only one of those fumbles landed in the hands of the Ravens. In summarizing, the Bills have been sloppy and lucky while the Brownies offense has woken up and their defense is among the best or maybe the best in the NFL. Throw in the short week and travel angle for a rookie QB and we’ll gladly lay the points.

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UTAH +6 over UCLAFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Outside of the first half in Nebraska, the Bruins have looked unstoppable in every other quarter they’ve played. Something woke them up in Nebraska, as the Bruins rallied from a big deficit to outscore the Huskers in the second half, 31-0 and defeat them, 41-21. That was three weeks ago. UCLA played two weeks ago against one of the worst teams in college football, New Mexico State, and they wer3e off last week. The Bruins other win was also a blowout, in Week 1 against an ill-equipped Nevada outfit, 58-20. UCLA’s offense has put up some gaudy numbers indeed but they are completely skewed. In the Bruins only real test of the year, they got a real scare from the fading Cornhuskers. UCLA comes in as the 12th ranked team in the country and we’re often warning you about backing ranked teams on the road when spotting points in prime time games. They are a low percentage play because in most cases the line is inflated. UCLA has looked great but they’ve also had a very easy schedule.   
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The Utes have played four games, one more than the Bruins and they come into this one with a 3-1 record. Utah’s only loss came three weeks in OT against Oklahoma State. Its three wins have come against Utah State, Weber State and BYU. The Utes whacked Weber St., 70-3 and won two close ones against BYU and USU. Utah needs more from its tailback but the marriage of new offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson and sophomore triggerman Travis Wilson is working well and will absolutely text UCLA’s green secondary. Wilson has completed 75 passes in 115 attempts for over 1100 yards so far to go along with nine TD’s. No offense in the nation is as improved as Utah's. Last year, the Utes averaged 324 yards and 26.7 points per game. This year, they are averaging 505 yards and 42 points per game and they’ve played a more difficult schedule than the Bruins. UCLA has yet to face an offense like the one they’ll see here and will likely pay the price of scheduling games against two horrible football teams in Nevada and New Mexico State. Upset possibility.

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Pittsburgh +143 over ST. LOUISFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Adam Wainwright needs no introductions. Much like the team he plays for, Wainwright is a true in every sense of the word. He just goes out there every fifth day like he has been doing for years and gives the Cardinals a great chance to win every time he takes the mound. Wainwright had Tommy John Surgery in 2011 and missed the entire year but it didn’t slow him down. Wainwright’s ERA in 2012 says he took a half-season to shake off TJS rust, but skills say he was sharp all year. His strikeout rate held up and luck corrected in 2H to restore his ace status. This year, Wainwright has been lights out with 219 K’s, just 35 walks and an elite 2.94 ERA over 242 innings. Wainwright is all the way back from surgery and is the Cardinals best option to open this best of five. Of course the Cardinals can win here and to think otherwise would be foolish.
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However, the Pirates can win too. They’ve been a resilient bunch the entire season and had just three less wins than the Cardinals. The Pirates made a couple of key acquisitions at the trading deadline, picking up Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd. Pittsburgh finished the season by sweeping the Reds in Cincinnati in a crucial three-game series and subsequently finished the Reds off with ease in the Wild-Card game. In the four games at Cincinnati, the Pirates dominating every aspect and outscored the Reds by a count of 22-8. If there were any doubt that this team was going to be fold under pressure when it counted most, they’ve been removed. The Pirates are as good and as ready as the Cardinals. After posting a 4.79 ERA from 2009-2011 with the Yankees, it was reasonable to think A.J. Burnett was in the twilight of his career when he was traded to Pittsburgh heading into 2012. Burnett responded with a skill-supported 3.51 ERA last season, his lowest since 2005 and has been even better this year. Burnett’s strikeout rate growth has come without giving back much control. A 10% swinging strike rate says the spike is legitimate. Burnett has also transformed into an extreme groundballer with a rate of 57% this season. Regression in hr/9 has also helped him keep the ball in the yard. Burnett is posting the best skills of his career that match Adam Wainwright and even surpass him. With that, the tag on Burnett and the Pirates is simply too good to pass up on in a game that probably has a 50/50 chance of cashing.

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PHOENIX -½ +143 over N.Y. RangersFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Regulation only. You can lay 10 cents if you like but we prefer the price on spotting a half puck because it eliminates the coin-flip of an OT session. If the Coyotes win it in OT, so be it but in the long run, we like this option on the favorite more than laying juice.
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A much needed coaching change in New York sees John Tortorella’s gritty, shot-blocking style that never worked, out the door in favor of Alain Vigneault’s more offensive style. That’s great news for guys like Rick Nash and Derek Stepan. Rangers will be looser and guys like Brad Richards could thrive under new regime. However, the Rangers in-your-face defensive style was an identity. That’s gone to Vancouver and many of those gritty types have also departed for greener pastures. The switch from a defense-minded coach to a more offensive-minded one like Alain Vigneault is not something that happens over a summer and there are other concerns for the Blue Shirts as well. New York starts the season without two of their top six forwards in Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin. Last season's leading scorer, Derek Stepan, did not play in a preseason game because he didn't sign his new two-year contract until last Thursday. The Rangers start the season with nine straight road games because of ongoing renovations at Madison Square Garden and won't play a home game until Oct. 28. The Rangers just went on a long Western road trip that included four days of training camp and golfing in Banff, Alberta, followed by four games in five nights in four different cities last week. They went 0-4 and were outscored 18-5. Granted, results in the preseason usually don't mean all that much. Lineups are usually mixed with veterans and prospects and coaches are tinkering with all kinds of line combinations, defensive pairs and special teams systems. But with significant players missing from the lineup and an entirely new system in place to begin a nine game trip, the Rangers figure to be ripe for the pickings.
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Last year’s listless performance by the Coyotes was an aberration. Some teams responded well to the shortened, grueling schedule while others did not, thus, we’re not going to put a lot of emphasis on that unusual season. This is a Dave Tippett coached team and Dave Tippett could make lemonade out of stones. Mike Ribeiro more than replaces Ray Whitney’s offense and the hiring of former Canucks assistant and power-play X’s and O’s master Newell Brown will help. Good goaltending, solid defense, and just enough offense is the Coyotes way. Phoenix is deep right through the line-up. Just look at their centers: you start with Ribeiro, have a couple of two-way aces in Antoine Vermette and Martin Hanzal on your second and third lines, and have Kyle Chipchurra holding down fourth-line duty. That’s a strong, well balanced group. Shane Doan is pretty much ageless, Radim Vrbata is perpetually productive and underrated, Mikkel Boedkker is coming into his own, and Lauri Korpikoski and David Moss are the quintessential useful third line wingers. And for that matter, fourth-line winger Rob Klinkhammer is looking increasingly like a player. Phoenix also has a ridiculously loaded blue-line group. It starts with Oliver Ekman-Larsson who is already a top-5 NHL defenseman. Rookie defenseman David Rundblad has been a revelation in the preseason and will help on the power-play at the very least. Keith Yandle is arguably the single best offensive defenseman in the league not named Erik Karlsson. Beyond that there’s a nice mix of veterans like Derek Morris, and young guys with upside like Michael Stone and David Schlemko. The Coyotes might just be the most undervalued team in the league to start the season and that allows us to play them at a reduced price. Dave Tippett will have this talented bunch raring and ready to go.   
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Tampa Bay +168 over BOSTONFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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OT included. Of course the Bruins are going to be good. You cannot physically be a bad hockey team when you start with a spine of Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask. All the guys that made the Bruins the Bruins like Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton are still there. You’re taking out Tyler Seguin and replacing his “promise” with “proven” in Loui Eriksson, pushing their depth down the middle to “amazing” with Eriksson, Bergeron, Krejci and Chris Kelly. They have one of the best goalies in the league. They’re top D pair is one of the best in the league, and they have a couple bright prospects back there too. However, the subtracted list is worrisome Think about the key roles played by Tyler Seguin, Nathan Horton, Rich Peverly, Jaromir Jagr and Andrew Ference. You can’t take a team that failed to win the Cup, remove five important Jenga blocks and expect the tower to stay standing by replacing one key guy and adding an aging Jarome Iginla. The once reliable D-corps now includes names like Matt Bartowski and unprovens Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton, who’s shown flashes of really bad. Don’t get us wrong, the B’s have too much talent to be bad but this is still a team not nearly guaranteed the success they were in past years.
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We’re not in the business of predicting the outcome of sporting events. We’re in the business of finding value, or strong situational spots, playing it and letting the chips fall where they may. The Tampa Bay Lightning may not win this game but in no way are we passing them up at this price. The Lightning are poised to be seriously good. This is home to last year’s Art Ross winner (his second title) in Martin St. Louis, and the man doesn’t age. This is home to the NHL’s undisputed best goal scorer in Steven Stamkos. Ryan Malone is a 20-goal scoring power forward who’s healthy again, new additional Valtteri Filppula had 66 points in his last full season, and Teddy Purcell is probably the most underrated offensive player in the NHL. In the past three seasons (one shortened), he’s racked up 152 points, which gives him a higher point-per-game average than guys like Paul Stastny, Mike Richards, Blake Wheeler, Dany Heatley, or Jeff Skinner. The point is, this team has the horses on offense. Their D-corps is stacked – Victor Hedman is a stud, Matt Carle is too, and guys like Sami Salo, Mattias Ohlund and Eric Brewer aren’t exactly duds. The best part is, they have two gigantic goaltenders dying for the chance to break out as starters (they’ve been buried in the past, but they’re on the verge), meaning they’re all-but guaranteed that at least one of them gives them quality goaltending. This is a huge take-back and a definite overlay on the Bolts.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, October 3

Doug Upstone

UCLA vs. Utah    
Play: Under 62

On Thursday, Play UNDER on teams like Utah, when the total is between 56.5 and 63, after going under the total by more than 21 points in their previous game, now playing in October. In the past four years, this college football system is 27-6, 81.8 percent and the average final score has been 58.8 points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, October 3

Nick Parsons

Dodgers/Braves Under 6

Both teams were able to "coast" into the postseason, but must now get geared up to play a game which actually means something.

A couple of the best down the stretch go head to head in the opener of the NLDS and when the smoke clears at the end of the night, I believe the starting pitchers will in fact be the main headline in tomorrow's summaries.

Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83 ERA)

Kershaw gave up four hits and no walks while striking out eight over six innings in an 11-0 win over the Rockies on Friday.

The southpaw has not given up a run over his last 13 innings of work.

With a sub 2.00 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP, Kershaw is primed for the postseason.

Kershaw would finish the regular season with 232 K's to just 52 walks. It was also the fourth consecutive year that he had 200-plus innings and 200-plus strikeouts.

Note that he was 8-3 with a tiny 2.14 ERA on the road this year.

Kris Medlen (15-12, 3.11 ERA)

Medlen gave up two hits and two walks while striking out seven over eight innings in his team's 1-0 victory over the Phillies on Friday.

The hard-throwing right-hander has allowed only one earned run over his last 22 2/3's frames of work.

Note that Medlen posted a highly respectable 2.26 ERA in front of the home town crowd this season.

The Bottom Line

LA is already without the services of slugger Matt Kemp because of an ankle injury, while Andre Ethier will be relegated to pinch-hitting to start because of an ankle issue as well.

The Braves dealt with injury issues all season and players like Evan Gattis and Elliot Johnson fortunately picked up the slack. However, there were some definite setbacks as well this year, as Dan Uggla batted just .179, while BJ Upton hit only .184 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs.

Will these lineups come in with a bit of rust? Likely not. But neither will these starters.

I believe the "under" is definitely worth a second look.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, October 3

Chase Diamond

UCLA vs. Utah
Play: Utah +7

This game features the 3-0 UCLA and the 3-1 Utah. First play of our football season we won taking Utah over Utah State. This game is Utah's biggest test all season. Luckily UCLA head coach Jim Mora Jr. is 1-9 ats as a conference favorite of 7 points or less. Also are 2-7 with a bye week ats. Utah is 9-3 ats coming off the bye week and a awesome 7-2 as home underdogs ats. The public is all over road UCLA here at a rate of 86%. That is a crazy number and usually when a public side has that much action it normally loses. Try to wait close to game time to get a plus 7 points if not take what you can get as I think Utah pulls a upset tonight or at least keeps to within 3 points.

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