Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, October 7

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, October 7

Craig Davis

Free play of the day on the Tampa Bay Rays to get their first win of this post-season series... and they'll have to do it with one of their best pitchers on the mound.

For all the accolades David Price and Matt Moore have received this year, it's actually been Cobb who has been most consistent and able to keep opponents off balance deep into games.

But Joe Maddon isn't worried about that as much as he is his offense getting to Clay Buchholz in he early innings. Tampa's bats have clearly cooled a bit from where they were to end the season when they won 10 of 12. Now they are playing for their playoff lives.


But Cobb has been a big game pitcher all season and this game is no different. They called upon him to pitch the Wild Card game with Cleveland and though he got into some jams, Terry Francona showed enough faith in him to keep him in the game to get out of those jams.

Let's also not forget that Cobb hasn't personally tasted defeat in a long time, and if he wants to be mentioned in the same breath with David Price, he needs to deliver tonight.

It won't be pretty, but it'll be effective as the Rays get the much-needed win over the Red Sox in order to do that.

Take the Rays as your free play of the day.

2♦ TAMPA BAY

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, October 7

Jeff Benton

Your Monday freebie is the Over in tonight's Jets-Falcons game.

Cannot ignore the recent Over trends these teams have been logging, as the Jets fly south having played Over the total in each of their last two games, while the Atlanta Falcons have played their last three games Over the total, and Mike Smith's team has followed a string of 7 straight Unders at home with a string of 4 straight Overs at the Georgia Dome (including the postseason).

New York comes in at 2-2, and after losses by the Bills on Thursday, and the Dolphins and Patriots yesterday, can gain some ground within the division, and Atlanta's defense has been fairly yielding 26 points per game.

Atlanta on the other hand stands at 1-3 this season, and is desperate for the win. The Falcons have averaged just over 23 ppg on offense, so let's look for the points to add up to an Over under the Monday night lights for the third straight Monday.

3♦ N.Y. JETS-ATLANTA OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, October 7

Brad Wilton

Your free play winner for Monday is the Boston Red Sox to advance to the ALCS with the road win at Tampa Bay.

The Rays are down to their final bullet - nothing really new to them, as they have been playing elimination games for the better part of the past month and have been surviving. Not tonight!

Boston is 14-7 in the season series, and they have outslugged Tampa by a 16-9 in sweeping their pair of games in Beantown over the weekend.

Clay Buhholz takes on youngster Alex Cobb, and while Cobb has not lost a home decision this season, this is October and things tend to be a bit bigger this time of the year.

Buchholz has not allowed an earned run to Tampa in his 13 innings of worked versus them this season, and for his career against the Rays his ERA is in the low 2's.

Red Sox rolling right now, and the Rays appear to be just about out of gas.

Fear the Beard!

Boston to sweep Tampa Bay.

3♦ BOSTON

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, October 7

Chris Jordan

My free winner for tonight is on the Over in the Atlanta Braves/Los Angeles Dodgers contest at Dodger Stadium, as these two will get into another marathon of a game.

Atlanta hands the ball to right-handed Freddy Garcia, who is making his first playoff start in eight years. That's not a typo. The last time he stepped on the hill to start in the postseason he fired seven scoreless innings for the White Sox in the clinching fourth game of the 2005 World Series. And while I know the Braves are entrusting his experience and a stellar September for this start, but he won't be able to contain the Dodgers' bats.

On the flipside, the Dodgers are going with Ricky Nolasco, who yes, beat the Braves while he was still with Miami earlier this season. But down the stretch over his last three starts of the season, he was tagged for 17 earned runs over 12 innings. And even though he hasn't started since Sept. 25, he says he's healthy and ready to go.

Let's play the Over in this one, as the Dodgers look to blast their way to a series-clinching win, and the Braves look to stay alive.

3♦ L.A. DODGERS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, October 7

Scott Delaney

My free winner for Monday is on the St. Louis Cardinals to return the favor in Game 4 of the NLDS, and knot the series at 2 games apiece in a must-win situation, in Pittsburgh, against the series-leading Pirates. It's real simple, win or pack it in for the season, and I like the Redbirds to force a fifth and decisive game. This is very important, I want you to list Michael Wacha over Charlie Morton. If even one of these guys is scratched, this is a no-action play.

I like the way the Cardinals are thinking here, giving the nod to Wacha, over fellow rookie Shelby Miller, due to how dominant the young right-hander was in September. Wacha had a 1.72 ERA in five starts last month and took a no-hitter as far as 8-2/3 innings in his last one, a no-hit bid that fell short thanks to a bang-bang play at first base.

Morton, meanwhile, will be pitching on eight days' rest, as his last start was on Sept. 28. And while some might belive the extra rest might benefit him, after he yielded three runs in 4-1/3 innings, I think it could be trouble to see angry, hungry live hitters who are looking to stay alive in the playoffs.

Sorry, but I'm taking the road team in this one, as the Cardinals knot this series and force Game 5.

4♦ ST. LOUIS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, October 7

Big Kat Sports

New Jersey vs. Edmonton
Take; Over 5.5

It looks like the same old Edmonton Oilers through the first two games of the 2013-2014 season. They are having no trouble scoring goals (6) but are having issues keeping the puck out of the net (11). This was supposed to be the year the Oilers finally broke through and made the playoffs but if they don’t change their defensive ways, it’ll be back to the drawing board in Edmonton. They have 2 goalies (Dubnyk/LaBarbera) that could be decent with a good set of D-Men in front of them but the goalies in Edmonton face a ton of shots and neither of these guys is Martin Brodeur by any stretch of the imagination. Speaking of Mr. Brodeur, he will be between the pipes tonight for New Jersey. It’ll be interesting to see how many starts Marty gets this season in a back-up role after the team traded for Cory Schneider on draft day but tonight he gets the call as the Devils announced they will start Schneider against Vancouver, his old team on Tuesday. The Oilers will counter with Jason LaBarbera, who will be making his first start of the season after Devan Dubnyk was shelled for 10 goals on 59 shots in the first two games of the season. We can’t see the Oilers making any drastic defensive system changes over night and Marty looked a bit rusty in his only start (4-3 shoot-out loss to the Islanders) so we’ll tab the OVER tonight in Edmonton as the Free Play, looking for the goal judges to get a work-out at Rexall Place.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, October 7

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

ATLANTA -10 over New York Jets: This is a bad spot for the Jets and their rookie QB. Tha Falcons have been struggling this year and took a bad home loss last week to the Patriots, but still we note that Matty Ice is 16-1 SU and 12-5 ATS at home off a loss, while Mike Smith is an amazing 16-0 ATS off a loss of 6 or more points. The Jets have surprised some this year, but this game will put rookie QB Geno Smith in a domed stadium, on national TV vs a team that is very desperate. Hurting the Jets is the fact that they also have no Santonio Holmes, plus they may be without TE Kellen Winslow. The Jets have very little offense in this one and will rely on their 2nd ranked defense to get the job done, but it will not be easy vs an Atlanta squad that is 6th in the league overall and 3rd in the league in passing. The Jets just don't nearly have enough offense to keep it close, especially since I expect Geno Smith to have a few mistakes in the hostile atmosphere. Atlanta by at least 2 TDs here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, October 7

Harry Bondi

Jets / Falcons Under 45

When the Jets play the Falcons, as they do in tonight's Monday nighter, the under is the way to go. Five of the last six matchups between these two teams have gone under the total and the Jets have been a dead under team with 5 of their last 6 games going under the posted total. Let's ride those trends tonight to another Free game winner!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, October 7

Bruce Marshall

New Jersey vs. Edmonton
Pick: New Jersey

It’s been bumpy going for both New Jersey and Edmonton in the first week of the NHL season. But there seem to be a few more problems with the young Oilers, adjusting to a new regime led by GM Craig MacTavish and coach Dallas Eakins. Which has been reflected in some very disjointed efforts out of the gate that also featured poor goaltending from Devan Dubnyk, who has allowed 10 goals on 59 shots and was pulled in the second period in an eventual 6-2 loss to John Tortorella’s Canucks.  The Devils have some new faces, too, but look a bit closer to hitting stride.  Vet GK Martin Brodeur likely starts tonight at Rexall Place, with newly-acquired Cory Schneider slated to face his former team Vancouver tomorrow night.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, October 7

Leonard Stratton

Atlanta Braves vs Los Angeles Dodgers
Play: Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves have their backs against the wall going into game 4 of the NLDS. After being crushed by the Dodgers 13-6 on Sunday night in LA the Braves will have to dig into their bag of tricks to win game 4 and get back to Turner Field for a deciding game 5.

The Braves have chosen to send veteran right handed pitcher Freddy Garcia to the mound tonight. This will be the first time Freddy has pitched in the postseason since he pitched in the World Series in 2005 for the Chicago White Sox. Garcia has been a huge help to the Braves rotation down the stretch. Over his last 19 innings pitched he has a 1-1 record with a 1.83 ERA.

The Dodgers have decided to go for the kill tonight and pitch Clayton Kershaw on three days of rest for the first time in his career! The scheduled starter for tonight was going to be Ricky Nolasco, but Don Mattingly has decided to use his ace to try to avoid a trip back to Atlanta. This will be the Braves second look at Kershaw this season, and don't expect the Atlanta bats to stay quiet this time. Its a sound managerial decision considering the Dodgers have Grinke ready to pitch a game 5 if needed.

If you combine the facts that this current lineup of Braves seem to be at their most dangerous when backed into a corner and this Dodger lineup can drop crooked numbers on ANY pitcher ANY inning, expect to see huge fireworks in LA tonight!

Factor in that this is an elimination game for Atlanta and that they can see Turner Field one more time if they pull off this win the slugfest will end up with the Braves coming out on top. The Braves are 14-4 on Monday games, 96-67 on games played on grass, 67-47 at night, 72-50 against right handed pitching, and 40-27 after a loss.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, October 7

Justin Bay

New Jersey vs. Edmonton
Play: Over 5½

Both of these teams have not collected a win yet so far this season. The Devils were shutout by the Penguins 3-0 and then lost in shootouts 4-3 versus the Islanders. Marty Brodeur will be in net tonight for New Jersey which should give the team some confidence.

The Oilers have lost their first two games of the season along with allowing 11 goals in those two matchups. Devan Dubnyk has a 6.53 GAA along with a .831 save percentage. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins should be making his season debut tonight which will give Edmonton's offense a huge boost.

With goalies in the league trying to adjust to the new pads and both teams defense struggling so far, the OVER looks like the best play in this matchup. Edmonton's goalie has been awful so far and Edmonton's offense should be solid tonight.

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