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Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 16th

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 16th

Hollywood Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins
Prediction: Columbus Blue Jackets

The Penguins are a vulnerable playoff team with a style of play that is not conducive to defensive playoff hockey along with a set of forwards that drop off significantly when the Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin lines are not on the ice. Furthermore, Marc-Andre Fleury has struggled between the pipes the last two seasons with a 3.52 Goals-Against-Average and a 4.63 GAA over the last two playoff seasons. Pittsburgh was swept in last year's Eastern Conference finals by Boston -- and that was the first time they advanced beyond the second round since 2009.

Columbus plays a physical style of play which makes them an interesting team in these playoffs. And with reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky in net, the Blue Jackets have a goaltender that can steal games in this series. Additionally, Columbus has seven trusted defensemen led by their top blue line of Fedor Tyutin and Jack Johnson that more reliable than the Penguins' blue line. As a big money line underdog, the Blue Jackets offer value in a game that they can steal. Take Columbus with the money line.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 16th

Jesse Schule

NY Mets vs. Arizona
Pick: Over

The D'Backs have looked awful this season, especially at home where they are now 1-10 heading into today's game. They may be hard pressed to snap that skid with Brandon McCarthy on the mound this afternoon.

McCarthy (0-2, 7.78 ERA) didn't miss many bats his last time out, getting rocked for six runs on 10 hits over seven innings in a loss to the Dodgers. He been victimized by the long ball, surrendering five home runs in three starts so far.

Dillon Gee hasn't been much better, and he's also served up five homers in his first three games of the season. He didn't have his best stuff in his last start, allowing four runs on six hits, giving up a pair of home runs, while walking four over 5 2/3 innings in a loss to the Angels.

With a pair of struggling pitchers, and two teams that don't have strong bullpens, a matinee at Chase Field should yield enough runs to push the total over the number.

Jesse Schule's Featured Package

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 16th

Will Rogers

Washington vs. Miami
Pick: Miami

Here's a free play on the Miami Marlins over the Washington Nationals for Wednesday and the keys to the game:

1.  They Finally Won - Last night saw the Marlins snap an eight-game losing streak with an 11-2 win.  Unfortunately, I was on the wrong side of that one. Miami led 11-0 at one point as they really roughed up Stephen Strasburg.  It was their first win against the Nationals in five tries this season. Yet, even though I was on Washington Tuesday, I did have my eye on Miami today to snap its losing streak because of....

2. Jose Fernandez - Though he allowed a career high six earned runs in his last start, look for the Marlins ace to bounce back tonight at home where's he's never lost a decision.  He's 11-0 with a 1.14 ERA in Miami.  He also has a 2-0 team start record vs. Washington from last season as he allowed only one run and five hits in 13 innings, also finishing with 13 strikeouts.  It could be a long night for Nationals' hitters.

3. X-Factor - Miami hasn't won on the road this year, but they are a respectable 6-3 at home.  With Fernandez going, they are and should be favored.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, April 16th

Bryan Power

Kansas City vs. Houston
Pick: Kansas City

This is a low price to get in at while going against the woeful Astros.  The Royals took yesterday's series opener after being humiliated over the weekend in Minnesota. But Houston is a whole different kind of bad and KC has been able to consistently take advantage, winning 14 of the last 20 times the clubs have met...

Jeremy Guthrie has looked good so far for Kansas City and he gets the start tonight.  He's 2-0 in 2014, including a strong showing vs. Tampa Bay his last time out where he allowed just one run and four hits through seven innings.  An anemic Astros lineup should provide little resistance tonight.  In their last four games vs. Royals pitching, Houston has scored a grand total of six runs.  They come in having scored just 31 times the last 12 games overall w/ a .180 team batting average.  Their on base percentage is currently the lowest in baseball.  They had four hits yesterday.

Going back to last season, Astros starter Dallas Keuchel has a 2-8 TSR his last 10 starts.  In five of those games, Houston has scored just one run. Keuchel made one start last year vs. Kansas City, opposite Guthrie ironically enough, and allowed four runs.  If this one comes down to the respective bullpens, then it's a big advantage to the Royals as well.

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