Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, October 13

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, October 13

Dave Mathews

Boston vs. Detroit
Play: Under

It was an ugly first game for Boston. They struck out 17 times against Detroit pitchers and lost just 1-0. despite a strong performance from Jon Lester. This becomes a must-win for the Boston with Clay Buchholz on the mound. He's pitched very well since coming off the disabled list on Sept. 10. Max Scherzer had a great season losing just three games. One of those three losses came against Boston. The difference in this game? Buchholz knows how to win at Fenway as he's 6-1 with a 1.99 ERA at home.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, October 13

Joe Gavazzi

San Francisco -10.5

Arizona won 22-6 vs. Carolina in the phoniest final of the week. The Panthers outgained the Cards 353-250, but they also had numerous dropped passes, committed 4 turnovers, and allowed Arizona to sack them 7 times. Now the Cards are 3-2 SU, 4-1 ATS as they look to make a statement behind new HC Arians and triplets QB Palmer, WR Fitzgerald, and RB Mendenhall. That doesn't happen today; the Niners have awakened from the somnambulant state of weeks 2 and 3 when they were beaten by Indy and Seattle by a combined count of 56-10. Since those losses, they have won at St Louis and on this field vs. Houston by combined counts of 69-14. Last week, SF profited from a +4 net TO margin and a 177-131 overland edge for a 34-3 victory. The Cards are rushing just 23 times for an average of 81/3.5, and they won't be successful through the airways against a Niner defense allowing just 54% completions, among the best in the league. With last week's victory, it upped the record to HC Harbaugh on this field to 15-5-1 ATS. Niners are rolling now and we aren't standing in their way.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, October 13

Charlie Scott

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New York Jets
Play: Pittsburgh Steelers   

You know The Steelers will come in prepared off a bye week. While the Jets come in full of themselves off a MNF Win. This is Rookie QB Gino Smiths first time seeing a Dick Lebeau defense that has had a week off to rest and prepare for him. Wait until game time to bet, Bookies have told me they expect Jet money.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, October 13

Larry Ness

Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns
Pick: Detroit Lions

The Cleveland Browns will return to Brandon Weeden at QB, with the injury in Week 5 to Brian Hoyer. Weeden’s thumb injury and less than acceptable play led to the QB change and the Browns responded with back-to-back wins, heading into their Thursday night Week 5 game vs the Bills. Hoyer injured himself on a scramble (torr a knee ligament) in that game and Weeden was called upon to fill in. Weeden would go 13 of 24 for 197 yards with one TD and no INTs but the star of the game for Cleveland in its 37-24 win was Travis Benjamin, who set a franchise record with 179 yards on seven punt returns, including a 79-yard TD. T.J. Ward’s 44-yard “pick-six” sealed the win.

As for the Lions, they lost to the Packers up in Green Bat last Sunday, for the 23rd straight time. Calvin Johnson was forced to sit out last Sunday's 22-9 loss to Green Bay because of an injured right knee but his status has ben upgraded to probable for this game. It’s NO small deal, as the Packers really contained Reggie Bush last Sunday, holding him to 44 yards rushing after he had gained a season-high 139 in a 40-32 win over Chicago on September 29. It marked the first time that Detroit (3-2) had failed to score at least 21 this season.

While I went against the Lions last Sunday, I’ve championed the Lions’ chances for improvement in 2013. Let me explain why I expect Detroit to rebound from LY’s 4-12 season (at 3-2, so far, so good). Moving the football wasn’t a problem for Detroit in 2012, as the Lions ranked third in total offense (408.8 YPC) but finishing off their drives was an issue, as the Lions averaged a modest 23.3 PPG. Consider that New England led the NFL in total offense but averaged 34.8 PPG, New Orleans was second in total offense and averaged 28.8 PPG and Denver finished fourth in total offense and averaged 30.1 PPG. One has to realize just how poorly the Detroit offense executed (when it mattered most) in 2012. Detroit’s defense wasn't bad either, as the team ranked 13th by allowing 341.1 YPG, meaning the team which finished the year outgaining foes on average by 67.7 YPG, would win just FOUR of its 16 games. The Lions were plus-67.7 YPG on the 2012 season, second-best in the NFL to Denver!

With the addition of Reggie Bush in 2013, I expected Detroit to fix the above issues. It’s NO surprise (at least to me), that in the two times in which Bush has played a full game (Week 1 and Week 4) and Calvin Johnson has also been available (he wasn’t in Week 5 vs the Packers), the Lions have scored 34 and 40 points, respectively. Bush had 200 yards from scrimmage in Week 1 vs Minnesota and 173 yards vs Chicago. With Johnson a likely go for this contest, expect the Lions to put points on the board.

As for the Browns, the return to Weeden (no choice) is NOT good news. He’s immobile in the pocket and if Detroit can do ONE thing on defense it’s pressure the QB. Note that Weeden’s been sacked 16 times (has 116 pass attempts), compared to Hoyer getting sacked six times with 96 pass attempts. The Cleveland running game is non-existent (79.0 YPG / 3.5 YPC) and while I usually stay away from the Lions on a grass field (especially as road favorite), I’m backing them here as Cleveland’s three-game win streak ends.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, October 13

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

Kansas City/ Oakland Under 41: This has been a very low scoring series over the last few years, as just 31.1 ppg has been scored between these teams in the last 9 meetings, with the OU going 1-7-1 over that stretch. Let's also note that week 6 divisional home favorites of 4 or more have gone 16-2 to the Under since 1996. Very solid trends there, but not only reason for the play. Alex Smith is more of a game manager than an explosive QB and teams are figuring this out. They know e won't go deep so they take that out of the equation when defending him. His is a dink and dunk QB the would like to take 6 plus minutes of the clock before getting points. Last week they put up 26 points vs Tennessee, but just scored one offensive TD in the game. Today this conservative offense will be going up against a solid Raider defense that has allowed just 21.6 ppg. Speaking of defense, the Chiefs are ranked tops in the league in points allowed (11.6 ppg), 7th in yards allowed and 4th vs the pass. The Chiefs are 21st vs the run so I expect an Oakland offense that is 9th in rushing, compared to 27th in passing, to pound the rock at the Chiefs, which will keep that clock rolling. This should be a low scoring affair between teams that are used to them.

HOUSTON -7 over St Louis: This may be this biggest game of Schaub's career or he just may find himself on the bench. Schaub has struggled, but he is very capable of turning it around vs a bad St Louis defense. Arian Foster is also starting to pick it up and will have at it vs the 27th run defense of the Rams, which should really help Schaub hit some big plays down down field with play action. The Ram offense can't run the ball right now as they currently are 29th in rushing and that is not good new going up against this defense. The Texans are the top defensive team in the league and they allow just 134.2 ypg through the air, so the Rams won't be able to run or throw in this one. Also the lack of a running game will mean that Bradford will be in a llot of long down situations and you don't want that vs this stout DL. St Louis does not match up well at all in this game and they will be taking on a desperate and angry Houston squad to boot. Texans by at least 2 TD's in this one.

2 UNIT PLAY

Pittsburgh +1 over NEW YORK JETS: Pittsburgh is coming off a bye and are still looking for their first win of the year, while the Jets are on a short week and playing off a last second road win on MNF. Bad spot for the Jets here. Also in a bad spot here is rookie QB Geno Smith, who will be facing a Dick Lebeau defense that has had an extra week to prepare for him. Despite the wins by Smith, lets also remember that he has 8 INTs on the year to 7 TD's. Big Ben hasn't been great in the last two game, throwing 6 INT's, but he also did throw for 789 yards in the two games. Pittsburgh is desperate, they've had the extra week off and the Jets are on a short week. All adds up to a Pittsburgh win here.

1 UNIT PLAY

Green Bay/ Baltimore Over 49: Both offense are high scoring ones and should put up plenty of points here. Baltimore's defense has been suspect this year, while the Pack will be missing Mathews and that should really weaken their defense. Even with him in their they are ranked 26th vs the pass. This should be a fun one.

Top 5 Power Angles For Today (7-3)

The Raiders are 11-0-1 ATS as division road dogs vs a .400 or better opponent.

Green Bay is 9-0 ATS vs non-conference opponents that are better than .500 on the season.

Washington Redskins are 7-0 ATS as division road dogs of less than 7 and they are 11-2 ATS their last 13 vs Dallas.

The Kansas City Chiefs have gone 7-0-1 to the UNDER off a road game that went OVER.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 10-23-1 ATS in their last 34 games at home.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, October 13

RJ Robbins

Detroit Lions vs. Cleveland Browns
Play: Cleveland Browns   

Remember earlier this season after the Browns traded Trent Richardson to Indy, they were accused of tanking this year to get the Number 1 pick in next year's draft. After 5 weeks into this season the Browns are tied in 1st at 3-2 with the Bengals ansd Ravens. Head Coach Pat Shurmur didn't get that memo! The Browns under Shurmur are now 7-3 getting points at home. Detroit on the other hand is 1`-5 the last 2 years as a road favorite.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, October 13

Craig Davis

Free play of the day on the Saints and Pats to stay under the posted total.

While I'm definitely an "offensive" guy (no pun intended), I have to say I'm more impressed with New Orleans' defense than I am their offense. No disrespect to Drew Brees, because I still believe they can score with anyone in the NFL... other than maybe Denver, but the defense (to me) has been the high point of this team and the main reason they are unbeaten through six weeks.

On the other side, Pats QB Tom Brady had his streak of 52 consecutive regular-season games with a touchdown pass ended last week. Seriously, is anyone all that impressed with this offense?

Oh sure, Tom Brady has a way of making receivers look better than they probably are, but even the best of the best can't make certain receivers run open or catch passes. That's what happened last week, and though I do expect Brady to have a better game today at home, I can easily see him struggling for a second straight week.

Just one year after leading the league in scoring a yards per game, that Pats are now in 19th place in terms of points per game and 18th overall in total yardage... obviously those numbers got worse after their 13-6 loss to Cincy last week.

Defense, however, has been one bright spot for the Pats this year, holding their opponents to just 14 points per game. The Saints aren't far behind at 14.6.

This leads me to believe that even though both of these programs are known for their high-powered offenses, it's the defenses that have been better and will rule the roost today.

Play the UNDER as your free play of the day.

4♦ NEW ORLEANS-NEW ENGLAND UNDER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, October 13

Jeff Benton

Your Sunday freebie is the Over in the Eagles-Buccaneers game.

Conflicting trends here as Tampa Bay has been Under the total in all 4 of their games this season, and 8 in a row now dating back to last year. Philadelphia meanwhile has played Over the total in their last pair of games, and 4 of 5 overall in the Chip Kelly era.

Michael Vick is bothered by a hamstring injury, and that is all the more reason I like the Over, as I feel backup Nick Foles will want to show that he can be a starter in this league as he moves forward in his career.

Mike Glennon makes the second start of his career for the Bucs, and he did toss a couple of costly picks in Tampa's last game before their bye, as the result saw Greg Schiano's team lose another 13-10.

With an extra week to get ready for this clash, I think Glennon will find some of the holes in the sieve-like Eagles defense that is allowing almost 32 points per game this year.

Tampa's string of 8 straight Unders gets halted here.

Eagles to make it a 5-1 Over run for the year.

3♦ PHILADELPHIA-TAMPA BAY OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, October 13

Brad Wilton

My free play winner for this Sunday in the NFL is the take the underdog Oakland Raiders to stay within the number in their game at Arrowhead Stadium against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs.

Price getting a little "rich" on the 5-0 Chiefs who have also covered in all 5 of their wins. Problem is, Oakland has been a thorn in KC's side in their home stadium, as the Raiders have covered in each of their last 7 visits to Kansas City, and are 9-1 against the spread the last 10 times the division rivals have met at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Raiders do have a bye week next week, and coach Dennis Allen would like nothing better than to head to that week off with a stunner of an upset against one of the three remaining unbeatens in the league.

Outright may not occur, but I do think the visitors are getting enough to extend their road cover streak to 8 straight in Kansas City.

Backing Oakland plus the points in this one.

4♦ OAKLAND

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, October 13

Brett Atkins

The Pittsburgh Steelers opened up a 2.5-favorite Sunday night. By the time the New York Jets were done upsetting the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night, the Flyboys were laying the 2.5. As of 10 a.m. eastern, the Jets are laying a point.

I know the Steelers are hoping to avoid their first 0-5 start since 1968, when the team lost its first six and finished 2-11-1. And as hard as it is for me to go against the original favorite in this one, I do think the Jets are the right side, and believe coach Rex Ryan is on to something right now.

Jets quarterback Geno Smith became the second rookie quarterback to win on the road last Monday against the Falcons, and currently leads the league with three go-ahead drives in fourth quarter, including two that won games as time expired. For his effort in Atlanta, Smith was selected AFC offensive player of week after throwing three touchdown passes with no turnovers.

Over his last three games in the fourth quarter, Smith is 19 of 23 (82.6 percent) for 234 yards with three touchdowns versus no interceptions and an impressive 148.6 QB rating.

Hard to argue with something that's working. Take the Jets.

5♦ JETS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, October 13

Chris Jordan

My free winner for Sunday is on Jacksonville plus the points, in Denver, as there's something that tells me Broncos coach John Fox will treat this like the second game of the preseason, and will have his starters resting by the second half.

I know Denver has scored 230 points, the most by any team through five games in NFL history, but if this team goes up by 30 points early on, Fox will put his vehicle in cruise control, avoiding injuries while quite possibly sharpening his depth chart.

And lest we forget we're one week removed from Denver's defensive meltdown against the Dallas Cowboys, who came closer than any other team of outpointing the Broncos. I'm not saying the Jaguars have the firewpower, but to come down from last week's game to this level could throw the Broncos out of whack, too.

I'm just very cautious about a 4-touchdown favorite in this situation - a sandwich home game between last week's trip to Dallas and next week's trip to Indianapolis. The smart play in this one is to take the points.

5♦ JACKSONVILLE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, October 13

Scott Delaney

My free play for Sunday is on the New Orleans Saints plus the points in New England, as I think the Patriots could lose outright.

These two teams have arguably the league's best tight ends, but the Patriots will have to do without Rob Gronkowski, who missed the first five games after forearm and back surgeries and will miss this game today. And as inconsistent as the Patriots' offense, I don't know if they'd hang even with Gronk.

Instead, my money is on Drew Brees connecting with his tight end, Jimmy Graham, who was tied for second with 37 catches after making 10 in New Orleans' 26-18 win over the Chicago Bears last Sunday.

The other problem New England will have today is the Saints' knack for chewing up time, as they lead the league in time of possession at 34:37. And I personally don't know if New England has enough on offense to sustain long drives to keep the ball away from Brees.

Instead, this storyline is about Brees and his numerous productive players to connect with via the passing game, besides Graham, include running backs Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles, plus wideout Marques Colston.

This one is all Saints.

3♦ NEW ORLEANS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, October 13

Sean Michaels

Going for a third straight football comp winner today by backing Houston (-7 1/2) to snap a three-game skid by beating St. Louis at home.

Matt Schaub - despite throwing a pick-six in four straight games - did NOT forget how to be a winning quarterback. He's simply in a slump like every athlete since the Roman Empire has experienced at one time or another. True, he almost lost his starting job this week, but coach Gary Kubiak decided to stick with "his" guy and numerous teammates, including Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and Brian Cushing, stepped up for their embattled field general.

The Rams enter off a 34-20 victory over winless Jacksonville at home last Sunday. Not exactly impressive. And their only other win was in their season opener at home against Arizona 27-24. In-between, they lost 31-24 at Atlanta, 31-7 at Dallas and 35-11 at home to San Francisco.

Houston has lost three in a row on the field and five in a row in Vegas, but both slumps end today.

3♦ HOUSTON

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, October 13

OC Dooley

Patriots -1.5

This is a major REVENGE contest for both the Patriots and their star quarterback. The last time these pair of league heavyweights met was on the Monday Night national stage back in the 2009 campaign when the eventual Super Bowl champion Saints feasted on the overwhelmed Patriots in a 38-17 final verdict where Drew Brees had a record passer rating (158.3) that included five different touchdown passes. Midway through the final quarter of that infamous contest New England virtually threw in the towel replacing Tom Brady with backup Brian Hoyer. Even though the rosters have changed for both sides since than odds are that both coach Bill Belichick and Brady will not forget that humiliation. Drew Brees is now “3-0” versus Tom Brady in their NFL careers with the only time Brady coming out on top was in 1999 at the collegiate level. With all of the injuries and attrition which has caused New England to use untested rookies at receiving spots, one can argue that the wrong side is favored in today’s rematch as New Orleans is the only undefeated side remaining in the NFC while tight end Jimmy Graham is on the brink of setting an all-time league record at that position with four consecutive 100-yard receiving efforts. But while the Saints are excelling on both sides of the football with Sean Peyton back as the head coach, the team with him at the helm long term (6-11 ATS) has struggled where it counts on the ROAD. The big news in New England surrounds the questionable health of star tight end Rob Gronkowski which reportedly has caused strife in the lockeroom but that has only given up rare price “value” in a Patriots home game for which I am taking advantage

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