Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, October 2

Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, October 2

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Tampa Bay at Cleveland
The Rays look to follow up their 5-2 win over Texas in the tiebreaker on Monday and build on their 13-3 record in Alex Cobb's last 16 starts after scoring 5 runs or more in the previous game. Tampa Bay is the pick (-115) according to Dunkel, which has the Rays favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-115)

Game 903-904: Tampa Bay at Cleveland (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Cobb) 16.700; Cleveland (Salazar) 15.316
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-115); 7
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-115); Under

NHL

Buffalo at Detroit
The Red Wings look to build on their 9-1 record in the last 10 game versus the Sabres in Detroit. Detroit is the pick (-185) according to Dunkel, which has the Red Wings favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-185)

Game 51-52: Toronto at Philadelphia (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto 11.853; Philadelphia 10.827
Dunkel Line & Total: Toronto by 1; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Philadelphia (-135); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+115); Over

Game 53-54: Buffalo at Detroit (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Buffalo 11.207; Detroit 12.698
Dunkel Line & Total: Detroit by 1 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Detroit (-185); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-185); Under

Game 55-56: Anaheim at Colorado (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Anaheim 11.542; Colorado 10.187
Dunkel Line & Total: Anaheim by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Colorado (-120); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Anaheim (+100); Over

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Rob Vinciletti

Maple Leafs vs. Flyers
Play: Over 5½

The Total has flown over in 6 of the last 7 in the series, and 4 of the last 5 here in Philadelphia. All but one those games had 6 or more goals scored. The Flyers had the #1 ranked Power play at home last season. Toronto started off with a 4-3 road win last night in Montreal. Now they travel in to Philly for the Flyers home opener. Both teams play at an up tempo pace as opposed to the trap or dump and bump systems many of the teams use. Look for this game to fly over the total tonight.

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Red Dog Sports

Maple Leafs vs. Flyers    
Play: Over 5½

Go with the over 5.5 on Wednesday night as all three games easily went over on Tuesday night and we saw at least 7 goals in each one. The Flyers were a solid over team last year. Look for 6 or 7 goals to be scored tonight. Take over 5.5.

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Doug Upstone

Philadelphia Flyers -131

Play the Flyers Wednesday night at home. They look to open the 2013 campaign with a bang and host Toronto, who are in Montreal Tuesday night for their season opener. Two evenly matched teams and the price is right for the Flyers, with home ice and off Tuesday.

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Jim Feist

Philadelphia Flyers -131

Home opener for Philly while Toronto had to play last night, so this is the second of a back to back road spot. The Flyers are 6-2 in their last 8 home games. Philadelphia is in a bounce back campaign, dealing with injuries last year, especially on the back end, and the Flyers missed the playoffs despite a decent finish. The Flyers are also 4-0 in their last 4 vs. Eastern Conference. Toronto has not matched up well with the Flyers, 3-13 the last 16 meetings, plus the Maple Leafs are 2-7 in the last 9 meetings in Philadelphia. And the Maple Leafs are 16-35 in their last 51 games playing on no days rest. Play the Flyers.

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LT Profits

Tampa Bay Vs Cleveland
Pick : Under 7

The Tampa Bay Rays had to use David Price to reach this Wild Card Playoff vs. the Cleveland Indians, but Wednesday starter Alex Cobb is just as likely to silence the Tribe bats while rookie Danny Salazar can keep the Rays quiet in the early stages. Cobb went 11-3 during the season with a spiffy 2.76 ERA, 1.15 WHIP with 134 strikeouts against 45 walks in 143.1 innings. He was also brilliant in his only start vs. Cleveland allowing just four hits over seven shutout innings. He should cool off an Indian lineup that is batting .286 over the last 10 games while feasting on the teams with the three worst records in the American League. Salazar has a 3.12 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 10 starts since his recall with 65 strikeouts vs. 15 walks in 52 innings. The ‘under’ is 21-8-2 in the Rays’ last 31 games after scoring five runs or more in their previous game.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, October 2

NHL Predictions

Maple Leafs / Flyers Over 5½

The Maple Leafs were 4-3 winners last night, and face a brutal schedule as they have to start the season with back to back road games playing against teams in their home openers. It didn't seem to bother them last night, and I expect another good showing from them tonight in Philadelphia. The Leafs will go with newly acquired Jonathan Bernier tonight in net on a back to back after Reimer started last night. Bernier has good career numbers in Los Angeles, although he didn't perform too well in preseason with a 3.75 GAA and .891 SV%. Toronto gave up 37 shots last night and if they do the same tonight we can expect Philadelphia to find the back of the net at least a couple of times. On the other hand the Leafs looked solid offensively with 38 shots themselves that led to 4 goals on Carey Price who played excellent. Steve Mason will be in net for Philadelphia and he also didn't look too solid between the pipes in preseason with a 3.67 GAA and .859 SV%. In the shortened season last year these two teams faced each other three times with totals of 7, 6, and 8. The OVER is 4-0 in their last 4 meetings and 4-1 in their last 5 meetings in Philadelphia. Take the OVER tonight.

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Bob Balfe

Tampa Bay Rays -115

Yet another stupid one game playoff. Tampa just won an elimination game which took the pressure off them. Both teams have great pitchers on the mound today. The Rays have a better baseball team and if you look at who the Indians played down the stretch you will understand why they appear to be such a hot baseball team. Tampa is more prepared as a ball club to play in this game. Take the Rays.

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Line Catchers

Indians/Rays Under 7

Both the Indians and the Rays come into tonight’s match up red hot!. Cleveland has won 10 straight, in fact the Indians went 15-2 to end their season while the Rays are 8-2 in their last 10 and have gone 14-5 since September 12th. Tonight match up is all about the starting pitching. Alex Cobb takes the mound tonight for Tampa who has been outstanding all year. Cobb comes into tonight as one of the most underrated starting pitchers in the league. Cobb posted an 11-3 record with a 2.76 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in 22 starts this year. He loves pitching in big spots and what gets bigger then today! On the other side of the mound the Cleveland Indians send Danny Salazar to the mound who has been lights out since being called up to the major leagues. Salazar is a 23 year old who throws per heat. The Rays have not seen Salazar this year so there is one clear advantage right there as he should sail through this lineup the 1st time around without any real problems. Both starting pitchers should be able to dominate the opposing teams lineups and they are not overpowering. If they do hit a speed bump expect the bullpen to be ready as tonight will be treated like a game 7! We are going with under 7 tonight and expect a very low scoring intense game!

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Craig Davis

Free play of the day on the Indians and Rays to go UNDER the posted total.

Two very good pitchers going head to head tonight with two very good bullpens supporting them in the late innings.

I don't expect either Alex Cobb or Danny Salazar to go much past the 6th inning (Salazar hasn't gone past six innings all season), but I'm fully confident in both of these bullpens to keep the bats quiet.

Tampa faced a very tough Texas offense the other night and David Price was able to keep them at bay much of the night, limiting a high-scoring offense to just two runs through nine innings.

Alex Cobb, though he might not be considere the ace, should be able to keep Cleveland's bats rather quiet (for the most part) unless he falls flat on his face.

As for the youngster Salazar, all I need for him to do is to keep Tampa off balance for six innings before turning it over to some other flamethrowers in that well-rested pen.

Take the UNDER in tonight's Wild Card showdown.

1♦ TAMPA BAY-CLEVELAND UNDER

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Tampa Bay -1 +110 over CLEVELANDFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Danny Salazar owns some of the best raw stuff of any starter in MLB, including a 96 mph four-seam fastball and a dominant splitter. Those pitches have helped him post these elite skills in a small 52 IP sample with Cleveland so far in 2013: 65 K’s, 15 walks and a 2.52 ERA. He also dominates both lefty and righty bats. However, this is a raw rookie that has been taken deep seven times in 52 innings and that has allowed six runs in his last 11.1 innings over two starts. Salazar has great skills but he also gets into extremely high pitch counts by the fifth inning and is highly unlikely to make it out of the sixth. Salazar has run into trouble with gopheritis because he throws his hard stuff high in the strike zone, which has led to a very pedestrian 34%/26%/40% groundball/line-drive/fly-ball rates. With film out on him, Salazar’s batted ball profile over his last five starts is at an even worse 33%/30%38% GB/LD/FB rate. No question this kid is going to be a little too jacked up tonight, resulting in him overthrowing and these Rays will be ready. Incidentally, Salazar relies heavily on strikeouts and the Rays collectively had the 10th fewest strikeouts in the majors.
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You would be hard pressed to find a starter that has improved his game in 2013 more than Alex Cobb. Batters had a .333 BA and .523 SLG% against Cobb’s sinker in 2012. They have a .143 BA and .179 SLG% against it so far in 2013. Cobb has outstanding control (45 BB), a high strikeout rate 134 K’s) over 143 innings and he also brings an elite groundball rate of 56%. Over his last six starts, Cobb has posted a skills supported 2.51 ERA and may just be the most talented pitcher in this outstanding rotation. Give us the steady and poised Cobb in a one-game winner take all against a rookie that overthrows and that is just not ready for this stage yet.

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Toronto +120 over PHILADELPHIAFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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OT included. The Maple Leafs will go back-to-back today after winning in Montreal last night and that first win right out of the gate in a hostile environment really puts a team in a good frame of mind. The Leafs drew many penalties, created a lot of scoring opportunities and cashed in on four of them while building a 4-2 lead late in the third. The Maple Leafs got stronger as the game wore in and they figure to be even better tonight with a game under their belt. The Leafs had flaws, especially in the defensive end but overall they looked good and played hard.
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The Flyers could be in real trouble this season after missing the playoffs last year and some ugly preseason games this year. Now, usually preseason means nothing but there was not a team in the NHL that looked more out of sync and lost than the Flyers and it could play on their minds to start the year. Philadelphia has plenty of goal scorers but once again they are weak defensively and they’re weaker in net with Steve Mason and Ray Emery. They might be good you say? We say the Flyers haven’t had a goaltender play well in about 40 years so why should these two career stiffs be any different? Both Emery and Mason have one good year each on their résumés. This is basically the same lousy team from a year ago minus Daniel Briere, plus Vincent LeCavalier and Mark Streit. Streit will certainly be that puck-moving d-man the Flyers have craved for a while now but he’s a big liability on defense and his plus/minus rating of -18 from a year ago will attest to that. Watching the Flyers press conferences and player interviews over the past couple of weeks gives us a sense that of all the teams in the NHL, Philadelphia appears to be the least prepared of them all. Too many question marks and not a lot of confidence has us fading these Flyers right out of the gate.
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COLORADO -½ +142 over AnaheimFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Regulation only. In baseball, we’re big supporters of sabermetrics, a tool that looks under the surface of pitchers performances and reveals the hidden truth of their skill set or in many cases, lack thereof. We mention this because there is a similar tool in hockey or what many like to refer to as advanced stats. So much of what happens on the ice is luck driven, much like a batted ball in baseball that can be scorched right at someone for an out while the next guy hits a blooper for a base hit. That brings us to the Anaheim Ducks. According to PDO, a stat that essentially measures shooting luck, (PDO is nothing more than shooting percentage plus save percentage) the Ducks were the luckiest team in the NHL last season and that sort of thing isn’t sustainable. Some of their success will be tough to replicate: they kicked ass on the road (14-5-5 record), owned in coinflips shootouts, and had the fourth best power-play in the league (21.5%). The Ducks also traded away consistent 30-goal-scorer Bobby Ryan for an unproven commodity, lost Sheldon Souray (who led the d-corps in goals last year), and they rely on Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne to provide supplemental offense, who are currently a combined 81 years old in a young man’s league. Defensively, the Ducks are one-pair deep and they were also just above .500 in the second half of the last season. This year, Anaheim is not better.
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The return of two Avalanche legends to prominent operations positions, have combined to revive talk of hockey in Denver for the first time in a long time. Most point to the Edmonton Oilers as the team to watch in terms of its collection of future offensive stars but we would argue that the Avalanche boast a young arsenal that is every bit as impressive. Start with Nathan MacKinnon, who is penciled into the opening-day lineup for the Avalanche and was considered by Colorado to be the optimum pick from a draft that was extremely top-heavy in high-end talent. MacKinnon will join Matt Duchene, young captain Gabriel Landeskog, P.A. Parenteau, Steve Downie, Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn as part of a group of young forwards who should make life miserable for opposing goalies. Throw in Paul Statsny and LW David Van der Gulik and the makings for an offensive explosion are there. Semyon Varlamov is not nearly as bad as the press would have you believe. This guy was bombarded with shots and scoring opportunities against last season and Colorado figures to improve greatly in that department this season under the guidance of Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic, two guys that know a thing or two about winning and defense. The Avs have missed the playoffs in four of the past five seasons. They were not relevant last season and all of that has this hugely talented group somewhat under the radar to open the season. That provides us with a good step in opportunity
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Yesterday we talked about the dimension changes to NHL nets and suggested it was an attempt by the NHL to increase scoring. What we failed to mention was that there was another subtle change and it comes in the equipment of NHL goaltenders. The goalie pads combined are now 2 inches smaller in width than last season and that, too, is another attempt to increase scoring. In three games last night, 26 goals were scored. Last season the average number of goals per game were 5.3 and if the opening night was any indication, that number figures to increase significantly this year but oddsmakers have not made the adjustments in the totals yet. Until they do or we see something different, we’ll continue to side with the NHL committee that is doing everything possible to increase scoring. Once again, we’re going over the number in all three games.
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Anaheim/COLORADO Over 5½FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Buffalo/DETROIT Over 5½FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Toronto/PHILADELPHIA Over 5½FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, October 2

Jimmy Boyd

Colorado Avalanche -115

With the addition of Patrick Roy, the once mediocre Avalanche should be serious playoff contenders. Playing at home will be the biggest advantage for this Colorado team. The atmosphere should be loaded with energy as the fan base is excited for their regular season home opener with Roy in town. That home energy should lead Roy to a big win in his first home game with Colorado.

The Ducks are a very overrated team. They went 14-2-6 in games decided by a single goal last year. That is far from typical, and is a sign that there will be some regression from Anaheim this season. The Ducks will struggle to reach the playoffs this year since they are playing in such a strong division. They lack a quality goalie, and lost their biggest playmaker, Bobby Ryan, on defense.

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Jordan Haimowitz

Tampa Bay Rays -113

Terry Francona has done a spectacular job this season with a team filled of good players. Tonight though it comes to an end as they face Joe Maddon's seasoned Rays team who always comes up big in these spots. Alex Cobb is far more talented and experienced even for his young age then Salazaar. Tampa is more complete and has a much better bullpen.

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Dave Mathews

Cleveland Indians vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Play: Tampa Bay Rays -108

Tampa Bay beat Texas on the road to get to the wild-card game. Another win gets them a trip to Fenway Park in Boston and they send one of their best pitchers in Alex Cobb. He's given up just three runs in his last three starts, including a seven-inning scoreless stint against the Yankees in his last start. He takes on Danny Salazar, a rookie, who is in a tough situation. Cobb gave up on runs in 7 1/3 innings in his only start against Cleveland on April 6. Expect another dominant start for Cobb and the Rays.

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Wunderdog

Buffalo at Detroit
Pick: Buffalo

The Detroit Red Wings will reduce their travel miles this season, as they switch to the Eastern Conference. Detroit needed wins in each of its final four games a year ago to keep a long playoffs streak in tact. This season, the talent level that once took the ice isn't quite the same as it used to be. A year ago the offense managed just 2.5 goals per game, and their margin for error was reduced dramatically. They did add Daniel Alfredsson but I think his best years are behind him. He has scored 40 goals in a season twice, but he's got 17 seasons of wear and tear on him and managed just 10 goals last season. The difference between these two teams is not that great, especially in game one, giving us line value on Buffalo. Take the Sabres.

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Greg Shaker

Anaheim / Colorado Over 5.5

Oddsmakers will finally adjust to the new rules regarding the Nets and the Goalie Gear but until they do I am going to take advantage of some good numbers. Probably the best on the board tonight is this game and between my Database Guy and me we have reach a fair number here of 6.4. That's good enough for 2%. Helping our cause here is the fact that the Ducks are not deep on D and Colorado is Top Heavy with scorers this year, young and aggressive. This team is going to like the new NHL Rules a lot.

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