Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 25

Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 25

DUNKEL INDEX

NBA

Houston at Portland
Down 0-2 in the series, the Rockets head to Portland tonight where they are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games against the Blazers. Houston is the pick (+3) according to Dunkel, which has the Rockets favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Houston (+3)

Game 739-740: Toronto at Brooklyn (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto 118.359; Brooklyn 126.543
Dunkel Line & Total: Brooklyn by 8; 195
Vegas Line & Total: Brooklyn by 5; 190 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Brooklyn (-5); Over

Game 741-742: Chicago at Washington (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Chicago 118.518; Washington 119.449
Dunkel Line & Total: Washington by 1; 179
Vegas Line & Total: Washington by 3; 183
Dunkel Pick: Chicago (+3); Under

Game 743-744: Houston at Portland (10:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston 123.778; Portland 122.338
Dunkel Line & Total: Houston by 1 1/2; 211
Vegas Line & Total: Portland by 3; 216
Dunkel Pick: Houston (+3); Under

NHL

Chicago at St. Louis
The Blackhawks head back to St. Louis for Game 5 tonight and face a Blues team that is 0-5 in its last 5 Friday games. Chicago is the pick (-105) according to Dunkel, which has the Blackhawks favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Chicago (-105)

Game 31-32: NY Rangers at Philadelphia (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Rangers 10.919; Philadelphia 11.811
Dunkel Line & Total: Philadelphia by 1; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Philadelphia (-115); 5
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (-115); Under

Game 33-34: Chicago at St. Louis (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Chicago 12.410; St. Louis 11.450
Dunkel Line & Total: Chicago by 1; 6
Vegas Line & Total: St. Louis (-115); 5
Dunkel Pick: Chicago (-105); Over

Game 35-36: Dallas at Anaheim (10:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Dallas 11.861; Anaheim 11.442
Dunkel Line & Total: Dallas by 1/2; 6 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Anaheim (-160); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Dallas (+140); Over

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DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

LA Angels at NY Yankees
The Yankees open up their series tonight against an Angels team that is 4-0 in C.J. Wilson's last 4 starts during Game 1 of a series. LA is the pick (+100) according to Dunkel, which has the Angels favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (+100)

Game 951-952: San Diego at Washington (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Erlin) 14.546; Washington (Strasburg) 15.917
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1 1/2; 5
Vegas Line: Washington (-210); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-210); Under

Game 953-954: Miami at NY Mets (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami (Alvarez) 15.812; NY Mets (Wheeler) 15.275
Dunkel Line: Miami by 1; 8
Vegas Line: NY Mets (-115); 7
Dunkel Pick: Miami (-105); Over

Game 955-956: Cincinnati at Atlanta (7:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Bailey) 14.813; Atlanta (Santana) 16.440
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-160); 7
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-160); Under

Game 957-958: Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Villanueva) 15.635; Milwaukee (Garza) 15.167
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Milwaukee (-190); 8
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (+170); Over

Game 959-960: Pittsburgh at St. Louis (8:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh (Cole) 17.121; St. Louis (Miller) 16.100
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 1; 8
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-120); 7
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (+100); Over

Game 961-962: Philadelphia at Arizona (9:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia (Hernandez) 13.896; Arizona (Collmenter) 15.337
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Arizona (-140); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (-140); Under

Game 963-964: Colorado at LA Dodgers (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (Lyles) 15.060; LA Dodgers (Beckett) 16.376
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-145); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-145); Under

Game 965-966: LA Angels at NY Yankees (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Wilson) 15.865; NY Yankees (Kuroda) 14.664
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1; 9
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-120); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (+100); Over

Game 967-968: Kansas City at Baltimore (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Ventura) 15.108; Baltimore (Jimenez) 14.274
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-115); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (-115); Under

Game 969-970: Boston at Toronto (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Peavy) 16.674; Toronto (Buehrle) 15.630
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Toronto (-135); 8
Dunkel Pick: Boston (+115); Over

Game 971-972: Tampa Bay at Chicago White Sox (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Archer) 14.118; White Sox (Johnson) 14.944
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1; 10
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-135); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+115); Over

Game 973-974: Oakland at Houston (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oakland (Chavez) 15.852; Houston (Peacock) 14.377
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Oakland (-190); 8
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-190); Under

Game 975-976: Detroit at Minnesota (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Porcello) 14.993; Minnesota (Correia) 15.973
Dunkel Line: Minnesota by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Detroit (-135); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+115); Over

Game 977-978: Texas at Seattle (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (Ross) 15.477; Seattle (Elias) 14.202
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Texas (-115); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Texas (-115); Under

Game 979-980: Cleveland at San Francisco (10:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland (Carrasco) 15.056; San Francisco (Hudson) 16.456
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-165); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (-165); Under

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Rob Vinciletti

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago White Sox
Play: Tampa Bay Rays -130

Tampa Bay comes in off an upset loss at home to Minnesota and that loss sets them up in a powerful database system that plays on road favorites off a home favored loss that scored 5 or more runs and are taking on an opponent, like Chicago that comes in off a road loss by 2 or more runs. These road warriors have won 10 of the past 12 times the past few seasons. Tampa has a pitching edge with Archer over Johnson. The White sox are 1-6 vs losing teams and have a 6.14 home bullpen era. Tampa has won all 33 times on Friday and look the right side in game one the series.


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Marc Lawrence

Cincinnati Reds at Atlanta Braves
Prediction: Atlanta Braves

When Ervin Santana and the Braves open a three-game set against the Reds Friday evening in Atlanta they will take on the field knowing Santana is in great KW form with 24 strikeouts and 4 walks this season. He has also cashed in 7 of his last 10-team starts at home. With his counterpart, Homer Bailey owning a 1.87 WHIP this season as opposed to Santana's 0.81 WHIP, we recommend a 1-unit play on Atlanta.

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Jim Feist

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks    
Play: Arizona Diamondbacks -125

Think Arizona can get a win at home, which they haven't done a lot of? They can against the aging Philadelphia Phillies, a team that is 13-30 in their last 43 road games. And speaking of aging righty Roberto Hernandez (5.75 ERA) is on the mound. The Phillies are 1-2 his last three starts and the only win was 10-9 over Colorado where Hernadez gave up 10 base runners, 6 runs in 4 innings! The Phillies are 20-42 in their last 62 games vs. a right-handed starter and face righty Josh Collmenter, who has allowed fewer hits than innings pitched. Collmenter surrendered four runs on five hits and two walks across six innings while striking out six Sunday in a loss to Los Angeles. Collmenter almost had six innings of one-run ball complete but Yasiel Puig took him deep with two on and two out to ruin his quality start. It was a fairly solid showing from Collmenter and he should remain in the rotation for the time being. The Phillies are also 16-35 in their last 51 road games vs. a right-handed starter, so grab the home team.

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Stephen Nover

Philadelphia vs. Arizona
Play: Over 9½

Roberto Hernandez can change his name from Fausto Carmona, but he can't change his pitching fortunes. He's one of the worst starters in the major leagues as is Josh Collmenter, a converted reliever.

These two No. 5 type starters tangle today at hitter-friendly Chase Field where Arizona has a 5.38 home ERA.

Hernandez's ERA this season is a fat 5.75. He has gone from Cleveland to Tampa Bay to Philadelphia during the last three seasons. Only once during the last seven years has he posted an ERA under 4.89.

Collmenter is brutal, too, with a 4.50 ERA. He's best suited for long relief. This will be his third start of the year. Collmenter's first two starts were against the Mets and Dodgers where he gave up a combined seven runs in 10 innings for a 6.30 ERA.

The right-hander is 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in two lifetime starts against the Phillies. Philadelphia's current roster bats a collective .355 against Collmenter. The over has cashed five of the last six times the Phillies have faced a righty on the road.

The Diamondbacks have surrendered the most runs in baseball by a wide margin. The Phillies give up the third-most runs in the National League. Both bullpens are atrocious. The Phillies entered yesterday's action with the highest bullpen ERA in the majors.

Add it together and you have two crappy starters backed by two horrendous bullpens in a hitter's park. The offenses are much stronger than the pitching. So there's no reason why double-digits can't be reached.


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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 25

Red Dog Sports

Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays    
Play: Toronto Blue Jays -128

The Red Sox are off a key series vs. the New York Yankees and face Mark Buehrle, who is 4-0 with a super low ERA of 0.66. The Blue Jays lefthander is a crafty lefty who has experience. Both teams are in the .500 range. Toronto (vs. the Orioles) and Boston (against the Yankees) have been playing some high scoring games lately but I think we see Toronto win as small home favorites.

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Ray Monohan

Toronto Raptors vs. Brooklyn Nets
Play: Toronto Raptors +5

The Raptors evened the series and looked good doing it on Tuesday. Next stop Brooklyn where is should not be forgotten just how good a road team Toronto was during the regular season.  No team in the East had more road victories and they were 25-15-1 ATS over the course of the year. They can get it done on the road because they are solid defensively and DeMar DeRozan is one of the best closers in the NBA right now.

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Art Aronson

Oakland A's vs. Houston Astros    
Play: Oakland A's -175

The A’s earned a 10-1 win in yesterday’s series opener behind sterling pitching from  Scott Kazmir and from the big bat of Josh Donaldson. A repeat performance is imminent in my estimation. Oakland sends Jesse Chavez (1-0, 1.38 ERA) to the hill for his second consecutive outing against the Houston Astros; he gave up four hits over six innings of a 4-1 win against the Astros on Sunday, also striking out six to bring his total to 28 over 26 innings of work. Chavez has gone at least six innings while allowing one earned run in each of his first four starts this season. Houston, which is 5-24 all-time against Oakland while losing 11 of 13 matchups at home, will counter with Brad Peacock (0-2, 6.14 ERA); Peacock is 1-2 with a 3.92 ERA in four starts against the A's and was the loser opposing Chavez last Sunday. I look for much of the same in this meeting as this talented Oakland team takes advantage of their superior pitching and batting matchups; the A’s are still angry after getting swept by Texas and come into this series looking for blood. Donaldson continues to hit the ball well for the Oakland, coming off a 3-for-4 night with a pair of two run homers. Oakland is 8-2 on the road this season while the Astros are just 3-8 at home. The A’s are also a strong 7-1 vs. clubs with losing records this year. I think the table is set for another beatdown. How about you?


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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 25

Bryan Power

Kansas City vs. Baltimore
Pick: Kansas City

The Royals dropped their final two games in Cleveland, including a 5-1 loss Thursday afternoon. The Tribe scored all five of its runs in one inning (the 5th) and offensively KC had no answer for Corey Kluber.  But tonight they get to face a struggling starter (and former Indian!) Ubaldo Jiminez, who has an 0-4 TSR thanks to a 6.75 ERA and 1.875 WHIP to this point.   They should have far more success at the plate tonight as they open up a three-game set at Camden Yards.

Baltimore won 11-4 yesterday in Toronto, scoring double digit runs for a second straight game.  Offense is the Orioles' strength, but I see them getting slowed down here by Royals starter Yordano Ventura, who had been outstanding in two starts before running into Minnesota last time out. For all the alleged offensive prowess, the O's are averaging just 2.7 runs per game at home this year.  Look for them to drop the series opener.

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Bryan Leonard

Cleveland at San Francisco
Play: 1st Half Under

The Cleveland Indians head west to open an interleague set at AT&T Park against the San Francisco Giants. The pitching matchup features Carlos Carrasco against Tim Hudson. Carrasco may have a bit of an advantage over the Giants the first couple times through the lineup because they have never really seen him before. Current Giants hitters have 10 plate appearances career against him. The first time through the lineup, Carrasco has pitched to a very respectable slash line against of .240/.296/.400/.696. Carrasco's secondary stuff gets above average swing and miss rates, while his fastball command is the issue. Also, his BABIP is a ridiculous .383 with a 54.4% left on base rate. The Indians infield defense certainly isn't great, but an inordinate amount of ground balls are finding holes. Against a team that hasn't seen Carrasco very much, some of those hard hit grounders could turn into balls in play that aren't barreled up and therefore easier to handle.

The Indians have struggled to hit with runners in scoring position all year long and Tim Hudson probably won't give them many chances. In 30 innings so far this season, Hudson has not walked a batter. The Indians are 17th in batting average but third in walk rate and seventh in on-base percentage. The bulk of their offensive prowess is tied directly to walks, especially without a legitimate power threat. Hudson won't give them many free passes and they'll have to hit their way on.

Prior to Wednesday's offensive explosion, the Giants had scored just 20 runs over their last 10 games and have been rather reliant on home runs to score. Carrasco doesn't allow many of those and, like the Indians, the Giants are a low-average team so far. This game should remain low scoring early on.

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Chase Diamond

Kansas City vs. Baltimore
Play:  Kansas City -103

This game features the 10-11 Royals at the 11-10 Orioles. This game is one of those games I see and I know it's a good chance for my clients to make some good money. Ubaldo Jimenez has been dreadfull and just like some other pitchers I have on auto fade this is another of those guys. He has a 0-3 6.75 ERA and just really hasn't had good stuff in a few years. Yordano Ventura is a awesome young arm only 22 years old this season he is 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA look for another great outing and with this awesome line I'll take it every time.


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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 25

Jason Sharpe

Detroit (-140) over Minnesota

Rick Porcello is the one Detroit Tigers pitcher that you can get value betting on as the others are usually priced way too high. The veteran right-hander has been his usual steady self to begin this season. Most folks forget Porcello is still just 25 years old and has seen a nice uptick in his velocity since last season, proving that he’s still improving as a pitcher. He’s posted a better ERA on the road the last three years than at home, nearly a full run lower overall.

The Minnesota Twins have been a little bit of a surprise early on, especially swinging the bats as they come into this game a Top-5 team in runs scored for the season. I’m not buying into it for a few reasons: they are hitting just .247 as a team right now and also they are way above where they should in runs scored for the year based on the other key offensive stats. They also lead all of baseball in on-base percentage with men in scoring position, meaning they have been very lucky with the timing of their hits thus far. This is a bad baseball team in nearly all facets of the game and when they play an elite team like they did few weeks ago with Oakland as they were swept and outscored 21-8 in the three game home series.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 25

DAVE COKIN

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES  AT ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
PLAY: PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES +128

It’s Roberto Hernandez taking on Josh Collmenter tonight as the Phillies open a weekend set with the Diamondbacks. Philadelphia comes in on a bit of roll winning four of five including a series win over the Dodgers. The struggling Snakes also have a little positive momentum at last after rallying with two wins to split their set with the woeful Cubs.

Hernandez is off a very rough outing, as the former Fausto Carmona got lit up at Colorado. I’m willing to give Hernandez a pass on that one. It was his first start at Coors and his sinker wasn’t sinking. When Hernandez can’t command that offering, he has very little chance at success, so that unfortunate result was somewhat predictable. It’s not like he’s the first guy to get savaged at Coors.

Collmenter has always profiled better as a reliever, but basically had to get stretched out and put into the Arizona rotation because at least a couple of the team’s previous starters were getting annihilated. Collmenter remains effective as a reliever in once around the lineup efforts thanks to that quirky delivery. But the more hitters see of him, the more they like it. Small sample to be sure as it’s very early, but Collmenter is dead last in the NL rankings on third time through the lineup numbers, 84th out of 84.  What that indicates is that Collmenter could have success early against the Phillies. But if he’s still around by the fifth or sixth inning, he could well be very ripe for the pickings.

I’m a little mystified by this betting line, to be honest. The Diamondbacks have seven wins  and a whole lot more losses. They just lost a major power component with Mark Trumbo going down and besides that, winning two in a row against the pathetic Cubs isn’t exactly headline news. The Phillies, meanwhile, are showing they can still be a reasonably productive team if they can keep their older guys fresh and healthy. That probably won’t be the case as the season wears on, but for right now, they’re playing okay ball.

I can’t go into detail on the formula I use to come up with what I feel are live underdogs, but Hernandez fits that criteria here as he takes on Collmenter. It sure looks to me like the Phillies are in better current form, and even with the very dicey bullpen for the visitors, the home team’s relief corps isn’t significantly better. I mulled over making this a first five innings only call, but Collmenter gets more vulnerable later, so that’s not necessarily the right maneuver. At the price currently available as I’m posting this opinion, the Phillies are getting enough to get my attention, so I’m going with the road dog in this hookup.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 25

Andrew Lange

Philadelphia at Arizona
Play: Philadelphia +125

It is amazing to me to see a team with a 7-18 record sending a fringe, 4-A starter to the hill laying as high as -135. I understand that Arizona can't play any worse than they have but this is still a poor team across the board and simply should not be a medium-sized favorite vs. anyone with Josh Collmenter on the hill. I have no problems with Collmenter's funky ways out of the bullpen but he's just not built for second and third looks from batters. He was rolling along fine in his first start at LA but coughed up four runs (triple and home run) in the sixth. He's also typically weaker against left-handed bats (.266/.215) which Philadelphia has a plenty of in its lineup. Roberto Hernandez is a tough cookie to handicap. Some days he's on, others he isn't. Outside of a poor start in the thin air of Coors Field – which makes sense with him relying so heavily on movement – he's been serviceable and shows the stuff is still there with 49 swinging strikes in four starts. With the roof open at Chase Field, the edge goes to Hernandez vs. the fly ball ways of Collmenter.

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LT Profits

Houston vs Portland
Pick: Houston +3

This is a must-win game for the Houston Rockets after losing the first two games at home to the Portland Trail Blazers, and they have the talent to pull off the road win. Houston normally has a great inside-outside game, and while the “inside” was fine in Game 2 with Dwight Howard going for 32 points and  14 rebounds, the “outside” has not been there with James Harden going 14-for-47, his worst two-game stretch all year! Look for the fifth leading scorer in the NBA to get straightened out tonight. The story for Portland has been LaMarcus Aldridge scoring 89 points the first two games, but Houston did a better job of pushing him away from the basket in Game 2 when 13 of his 18 filed goals were from 10 feet or more. Expect the same tactic here. The Rockets are 5-1-1 ATS in the last seven meetings in Portland.

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Scott Spreitzer

Cleveland Indians vs. San Francisco Giants    
Play: San Francisco Giants -156

We're laying a higher price than we normally do with this one, but sometimes there is value in decent-sized chalk and this is one of those times. The Giants "found" their bats on Wednesday night and now return home to face the ineffective Carlos Carrasco. The right-hander has been garbage so far this season, and in fact, Carrasco is 0-11 with an 8.25 ERA in his last 16 outings.  San Francisco counters with Tim Hudson, who's is giving his team solid innings and strong outings in 2014.  I expect another strong outing, his 5th in as many tries, against a middle-of-the-pack Indians' attack.  The Tribe are a horrid, 16-40 in IL road games, while the Giants have handled the AL Central, 13-3 in their last 16. I'm recommending a play on the Giants on Friday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 25

Jimmy Boyd

Boston Red Sox +115

I'm simply not convinced that a 35-year-old Mark Buehrle is capable of keeping up his incredible start to the season. Buehrle is a perfect 4-0 with a 0.64 ERA and 0.929 WHIP over his first four starts. I look for that hot start to come crashing to an end against the Red Sox, who are averaging a solid 4.7 runs/game over their last 7. Boston has also hit lefties well this season, as they are averaging 4.9 runs/game with a .349 OBP against southpaws. Adding to this is the fact that Buehrle has a mere 4.37 ERA and 1.417 WHIP in 24 career starts versus the Red Sox.

In my opinion Boston has the better of the two starts on the mound in this one, as they will send out Jake Peavy. While Peavy has yet to record a decision in four starts, he's got a solid 3.33 ERA and it would be a lot better if it wasn't for one bad start against the Orioles. In his first three starts, Peavy allowed just 4 runs on 12 hits over 18 and 2/3 innings of work. He hasn't allowed more than 2 earned runs or 5 hits in each of his last 5 starts against the Blue Jays!

Boston is 10-1 in their last 11 games versus a left-handed starter, 6-1 in their last 7 games as an underdog of +110 to +150, and are a dominant 43-19 in their last 62 games following a loss. Toronto is just 4-9 in their last 13 games as a home favorite of -110 to -150.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 25

Matt Fargo

Los Angeles Angels vs. New York Yankees    
Play: Los Angeles Angels +108

The Angels took two of three in Washington but did drop the series finale on Wednesday to fall back under .500 on the season. They are 3-3 on this current roadtrip which still has then two games over .500 on the highway at 7-5 and I expect them to come back with a win on Friday. C.J. Wilson opened the season with a poor start against Seattle as he allowed six runs on eight hits in just 5.2 innings but he has bounced back nicely. Over his last three starts, he has a 2.70 ERA and 1.20 WHIP with two of those starts resulting in quality performances. He has faced the Yankees four times since coming to Los Angeles and he has been spot on each time, posting a 2.02 ERA with all four of those starts being quality outings. The Angels are 3-1 in those games and going back, they are 11-3 in Wilson's last 14 road starts. The Yankees are coming off a series win in Boston as the offense piled up 14 runs last night and a letdown after the Red Sox is inevitable. New York send Hiroki Kuroda to the hill and after two strong starts to open the season, he has been off in his last two, allowing seven runs over 12 innings. Overall, he has a 4.07 ERA and while he has been great at Yankee Stadium since coming to New York, his recent form is definitely a concern. The Angels are 17-8 in their last 25 road games against right-handed starters.


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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, April 25

Jack Jones

Pittsburgh Pirates +100

Rarely ever will the St. Louis Cardinals be a small favorite at home.  I believe the oddsmakers are tipping their hand a little here, not wanting to get killed on sharps pounding the Pirates as a decent-sized underdog.  Instead, I'll pound them at this generous +100 price.

I believe the Pirates should be favored in this one with the edge they have on the mound.  Gerrit Cole is one of the best young starters in the game.  He is off to a 2-1 start with a 3.67 ERA and 1.259 WHIP in four outings, picking up right where he left off last year.  Cole is 2-1 with a 2.50 ERA and 0.833 WHIP in three career starts against St. Louis.

Shelby Miller had a solid rookie season last year, but he has struggled a bit in 2013, going 1-2 with a 3.57 ERA and 1.500 WHIP in four starts.  He has already walked 14 batters in 22 2/3 innings.  My biggest reason for fading the Cardinals is the fact that Miller has never beaten the Pirates, going 0-5 with a 5.93 ERA and 1.720 WHIP in five career starts against them.  Enough said.  Bet the Pirates Friday.

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