Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, October 3

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

LT Profits

Texas vs Iowa State
Pick : Iowa State +8

The big news surrounding the Texas Longhorns tonight is that quarterback David Ash is out with a concussion, meaning Chase McCoy gets the start on the road vs. the Iowa State Cyclones. The Longhorns finally looked like a different football team in their last game en route to a 31-21 win over Kansas State with Ash under center after failing miserably with McCoy at the helm the previous weeks, but now Ash’s injury means Texas is forced to go back to a quarterback seemingly afraid to force the issue downfield, as McCoy is averaging only 5.8 yards per attempt. Iowa State comes off of a 38-21 win over Tulsa last week where it ran for 179 yards led by Aaron Wimberly’s 137 yards on 19 carries, and he now gets to run on Texas’s 119th ranked rushing defense. Texas is 5-11 ATS in its last 16 games following an ATS win.


Dodgers vs Braves
Pick : Under 6

If you like pitching duels, you will probably love the matchup in Game 1 of the NLDS with probable Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers visiting September Pitcher of the Month Kris Medlen and the Atlanta Braves. Kershaw’s greatness goes without saying, and believe it or not, he was actually better than his 16-9 record because he often received no run support. For the record, he finished with a spectacular 1.83 ERA and 0.92 WHIP with 232 strikeouts vs. 52 walks. Now, Medlen finished 15-12 with a 3.42 ERA, but that does not tell the full story as he went 4-0 in five September starts with a 1.00 ERA and 0.92 WHIP while surrendering just a .197 batting average. That left him 9-3 with a 2.38 ERA since the All-Star break. The ‘under’ is 10-2 in the last 12 head-to-head meetings between these teams.

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

Dave Essler

Pittsburgh Pirates +140

Honestly, with the total finally going to 7 at CRIS and staying there, I like the Pirates chances here. They've hit Wainright better than St. Louis has hit Burnett, and IMO have the better bullpen to boot. I do think the biggest thing here is that the Pirates, although on the road, have far less pressure. Typically I prefer experience in the playoffs, and that edge clearly goes to the Cardinals, but I have never been super-high on Wainright, the Pirates have been hitting everything, and to me there is more value in Pittsburgh at this price than Wainright -150 or whatever. And, lastly, how much did the rest help the Indians last night.

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

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

Buffalo/ Cleveland Under 41: I see the OU line going up a bit, but I don't understand why. This should be a classic defensive battle. Neither QB is really good enough to lead many scoring drives vs these defenses. The Bills have some injury problems at RB, but they will still continue to pound the rock, while will eat up plenty of clock. It will also be tough for this average Bills offense to put up much on this very stout Cleveland defense that ranks in the top 9 in the league in all major categories. On the other side we have a weak and conservative Cleveland offense that averages just 16 ppg. They can really afford to be Conservative as they have that excellent defense to fall back on. They still can't run the ball very well, but I expect them to work on that as it will take the pressure off of Hoyer. This has the feel of a 17-13 type of game.

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

Steve Janus

Atlanta Braves +135

It's never easy going against a starter like the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw, but Atlanta's Kris Medlen has been just as dominant down the stretch. Medlen posted a ridiculous 0.40 ERA and 0.794 WHIP over his last three starts and has an impressive 2.24 ERA over 16 home starts this season. Medlen faced the Dodgers twice this season and didn't allow a single earned run over 13 and 2/3 innings of work, both resulting in wins for the Braves. Atlanta's high-powered offense is more than capable of scoring just enough to get the win and there's more than enough value here with the home dog.

Dodgers are just 1-5 over their last 6 playoff road games and just 2-5 over their last 7 road games vs a team with a winning record. Atlanta is 10-2 over their last 12 vs the NL West, 10-4 in their last 14 vs a left-handed starter, 13-3 in their last 16 home games vs a team with a winning road record and 20-3 in Medlen's last 21 starts when he's pitching with at least 5 days rest.

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

GamePlan

Utah +6.5

The Utes play solid defense and catch the Bruins as a 'public' team to play on. We will go against the Bruins this week and take a motivated Utes team playing at home.

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

Jack Jones

Texas Longhorns -7

The Texas Longhorns still have their entire season ahead despite losing two early games to BYU and Ole Miss. They realized that last time out in their Big 12 opener against Kansas State, winning 31-21 at home to save their season. They still have the whole conference schedule left and can compete for a Big 12 title, so you can bet that Mack Brown hasn’t let his team pack it in.

The offense has really been quite impressive all season. Texas is averaging 32.7 points and 483.0 total yards per game to rank 32nd in the country in total offense. This unit should have its way with an Iowa State defense that is giving up 25.3 points and 403.0 total yards per game despite playing a very soft schedule against Northern Iowa, Iowa and Tulsa to this point.

Plus, the Longhorns have had nearly two full weeks of rest having last played on on September 21. Iowa State just played last Thursday against Tulsa, giving Texas the edge in rest and preparation. It’s not like they’ll really need it considering how much they have dominated the Cyclones in the past. Texas has won eight of the last nine meetings in this series, and it is 4-0 in its last four visits to Ames with an average score of 44-19.

Texas beat Iowa State 33-7 at home last year in a game that was an even bigger blowout than the final score would indicate. The Longhorns outgained the Cyclones 609-277 or by 332 total yards. They also won 37-14 in their last visit to Ames in 2011. This is one of those program dominance situations where Texas simply has better talent across the board year in and year out, therefore it dominates Iowa State on a consistent basis.

Iowa State is 0-6 against the spread versus good rushing teams that average 4.75 yards per carry or more over the last two seasons. The Cyclones are 4-14 against the number in their last 18 games against teams who commit one or less turnovers per game on the season. The Longhorns are 5-1 against the spread in their last six road games vs. a team with a losing home record. The Cyclones are 0-4 against the number in their last four home games. Bet Texas Thursday.

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Dave Mathews

Cleveland vs. Buffalo
Play: Under 41

The Cleveland Browns held Cincinnati to just six points last week. With some rainy weather expected, Cleveland will have to run the ball more with Willis McGahee, which is never a great thing. Buffalo has issues at running back with Fred Jackson (knee) and C.J. Spiller (ankle) both hampered by injuries. The running game is the strength of the Bills, who don't want to put too much pressure on E.J. Manuel to win the game with his arm. This will be a low-scoring game.

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

Joe Gavazzi

UCLA -6

Each of these teams is off to phenomenal offensive starts as members of our Super 200 Club. QB Wilson has led the Utes to a 3-1 SU ATS start in which they have covered by a net 52 AFP. QB Wilson is getting the job done leading Utah to a 20-13 upset of rival BYU 12 days ago. UCLA is also playing with extra rest. Behind QB Hundley, the Bruins are perfect 3-0 SU ATS also covering by 52 pts. But traveling to the altitude of SLC as road chalk, is rarely the formula for profit. In fact, in their last visit UCLA was outscored 31-6. In a battle of teams with positive momentum, the Utes are a value side in a game that figures to see plenty of points. This is the first of a highly-profitable situation that finds us following 500 or better home teams when priced as the inferior team and playing with rest, off a win, and with revenge.

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

Rocketman

Los Angeles @ Minnesota 
Play: Minnesota -106

The Los Angeles Kings travel to Minnesota to take on the Wild on Thursday night. This is both teams season opener for this season. Los Angeles is 7-21 last 28 road games. Los Angeles is 1-4 last 5 games overall dating back to last season.  Minnesota is 4-1 last 5 games when playing on 3 days rest of more. Home team is 4-0 last 4 meetings in this series. Los Angeles is 1-4 last 5 meetings in Minnesota. We'll recommend a small play on Minnesota tonight!

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Carlos Salazar

Cleveland vs. Buffalo
Play: Under 41

The NFL week starts in Cleveland tonight as the Bills take on the Browns in a battle of 2-2 teams. Both teams are coming up upset victories last Sunday as the Browns beat the Bengals 17-6 and the Bills top the Ravens 23-20. All systems say this one will be another low scoring Thursday night game on the NFL Network. Go with the UNDER 41 tonight.

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Wunderdog

Florida at Dallas
Pick: Florida

The Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars both look to improve upon very poor showings from a year ago. The only way to go for each is up, after both finished last in their respective divisions a year ago. There have been a lot of changes made to both rosters in an effort to find more opportunities to win. I am not sure if this line for game one of the season represents where it should be as each are going to need time to gel. The Panthers addressed their most glaring issue after allowing 3.54 goals per game a year ago by signing Tim Thomas. He should definitely be an improvement over a year ago - an improvement that can show itself in game one. Dallas closed last season with five straight losses, and Florida has had a lot of success in Dallas where they are 5-1 in their last six here. Play on Florida.

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

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

Bob Balfe

St. Louis Cardinals -155

The postseason is a whole new season that differs from the regular season. The Cardinals are the much better team here. Pittsburgh will need to win their home games to make this a competitive series, but talent from top to bottom favors the Cardinals. This is a tough place to play as the Cardinals have a huge home field advantage. Take St. Louis

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

Dave Price

Texas -7

Texas has a big edge in talent, and that has meant one blowout win after another in the series. The Longhorns are 8-1 in the last nine meetings with seven of the wins coming by 11 points or more. They are 4-0 at Iowa State during this stretch with the last three of these coming by margin of 21, 53 and 23. Iowa State was dominated at the line of scrimmage in its first two games versus FCS Northern Iowa and Iowa, and Texas has the beef to bully the Cyclones as well. The Longhorns are averaging 5.1 yards per carry, and that's significant because Iowa State is 0-6 ATS dating back to last season versus teams that average 4.75 yards or more per carry. The Cyclones have lost to these teams by an average score of 30.3 to 16.0. Texas has had a bye week to prepare. Plus, Mack Brown can't afford a subpar performance with as hot as his seat is getting. I believe he coaxes a strong effort out of his troops here. Lay the points.

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Freddy Wills

Texas vs. Iowa State
Play: Under 55

Iowa State is going to have to lean on the running game to stay in this game. Texas is vulnerable against the run, but I think with extra time they should shut Iowa State's offense down. Meanwhile Texas will lean on the running game for a boring win as they look toward the Red River Rivalry game next week against Oklahoma. I don't think Texas needs to worry about Iowa state who they beat 33-7 at home last year. Iowa State lost 3 of their 5 starters on the OL and return just 1 defensive linemen. Lucky for Iowa State McCoy makes the start at QB and they are less confident in him making plays or putting the game in his hands. That's why it will be ground and pound tonight as the clock ticks. Iowa State's LB's are good enough to come up with some third down stops and some red zone stops to keep this under the total. Both punters are good and the coverage units are very good so field position will be at a premium forcing long drives to get 7 points.

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

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

UCLA -6 over UTAH: The Utah Utes are an improved team for sure and they play well at home, but UCLA may be the most improved team in the entire Pac-12 this year. The Bruin offense comes in ranked 2nd in the nation, averaging 614.3 ypg and they are 3rd in points scored, putting up 52.7 ppg. They are very balanced on offense averaging 330 ypg passing and 284.3 ypg rushing, so stopping just one aspect of this offense is not easy at all. Stopping this offense is even harder with a defense that Utah has. The Utes comes in allowing 406.5 ypg (77th) overall and 288.2 ypg passing (113th) and I don't feel that they ave the defense to stop this powerful UCLA offense. The Utes do have an improved offense this year, but UCLA's defense is very solid, ranking 33rd in the nation in yards allowed (339 ypg) and 30th in points allowed (30.0 ppg). Both teams can score, but it comes down to defense here and that is where the Bruins have a big edge as they will come up with a few more stops than the Utes, on their way to a nice DD win. Key Trends--- The Utes are 2-9 ATS after allowing less than 20 points and 1-4 ATS their last 5 after BYU.

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

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

Pittsburgh St Louis Over 6.5: I like the over in this one. The Cardinals come in as the top scoring team in the National league and they average 4.67 rpg in their own park. Pittsburgh has some problems scoring at home, but they do put up 4.01 rpg on the road and I see them having a chance to get at least 3 runs over Wainright, who has allowed 3 ER's or more in 5 of his last 6 starts vs the Pirates. AJ Burnett comes in pitching well, but he was shelled in his last 2 starts here and he has a 4.22 ERA on the road, with his road starts averaging 8.56 rpg. The Over is 12-1-4 in Adam Wainright's last 17 games vs Pittsburg, while the Over is 16-4-2 the last 22 meetings in St Louis. 8+ runs in this one.

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

Craig Davis

Free play of the day on the St. Louis Cardinals on the run line over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

As much as this selection is about the starting pitching of Adam Wainwright over AJ Burnett, I just like the way the Cardinals finished the season and I feel like they are possibly headed back to the World Series.

Adam Wainwright (19-9, 2.94 ERA) absolutely dominated the Chicago Cubs in his last start of the year, scattering just two hits over six innings for his 19th victory of the season. He could have gone more, but Mike Matheny was making fully sure that his ace was ready for tonight's game.

There's no doubt Wainwright is back on his game like he was pre-surgery. His WHIP is 1.07 and he posted a remarkable 219/35 strikeout to walk ratio over 241+ innings. He was clearly on pace for another Cy Young run, but Clatyon Kershaw was simply too good this year.

But I guarantee he will take a World Series ring over a Cy Young Award any day... and I think the Cardinals have a better shot at getting there than the Dodgers do... so advantage Wainwright.

No disrespect to AJ Burnett, but he's not the same pitcher on the road as he is at home and today he's in St. Louis. Should be a good game, but in the end the Cardinals will prove too strong.

Take St. Louis on the run line over Pittsburgh as your free play of the day.

2♦ ST. LOUIS -1.5

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

Jeff Benton

Your Thursday freebie comes in the NFL. Go Under the total in tonight's Buffalo-Cleveland game.

This is a pretty low total I admit, but with Cleveland's game against Cincinnati seeing just 23 combined total points scored, that puts the Under in Browns home games on a 14-4 run.

Buffalo is also coming off an Under on Sunday in their game against Baltimore. This is just the second road start of rookie EJ Manuel's career, and his 5th start overall in the NFL. On the other side of the football you have former third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer making only the third start of his young career.

I really get the feeling that the defenses are going to be dictating play in this game, and that we will be seeing more field goals then touchdowns as the night progresses.

Let's go Under in the Bills-Browns game here on Thursday night.

3♦ BUFFALO-CLEVELAND UNDER

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

Brad Wilton

Your free play for Thursday is the home underdog Cyclones of Iowa State to keep Mack Brown's seat at Texas nice and hot.

Don't know if Paul Rhodes' team has enough to stun Texas outright, but State did just gain some confidence in the 38 point performance in their underdog win at Tulsa.

Texas was able to stop a two game slide with the win and cover over Kansas State their last time out, but the Longhorns are just 2-2 both straight up and against the spread when favored this season, and I certainly do not trust them to pull away from Iowa State in Ames under the lights this Thursday night.

The longer the Longhorns allow the Cyclones to hang around in this game, the more the crowd gets into it, and the more the doubt continues to fill the minds of the UT players.

I say the points are worth the play with the pooch at home tonight.

1♦ IOWA STATE

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