Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, April 27

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, April 27

SPORTS WAGERS

WASHINGTON -110 over San Diego

There is value from time to time on favorites that are underpriced and we get a prime example of that here. The reason the Nationals are such a small price at home is because Taylor Jordan is 0-3 with an ERA of 6.23 after four starts. Jordan is another case of why you don’t purchase or bet against surface stats. Jordan might be viewed as a sixth starter, once the return of Doug Fister pushes Jordan or Tanner Roark to the bullpen. That talk just gives Jordan even more profit potential. He made big strides this spring against LH bats, helping to produce an overall spring line of a 20/2 K/BB in 20 IP. With swing-and-miss stuff and an extremely high groundball rate, Jordan is a strong bet to string together some nice starts. He’s been hurt by a high hit % and low strand rate but overall his skills are excellent. Jordan’s groundball/line-drive/fly-ball rate of 55%/19%/29% is one of the better profiles in the majors over the first month. Jordan has a great chance of picking up his first win against a Padres team that is batting a league worst .204 on the road. Washington outscored San Diego 15-1 while winning the past two games and the Nats have outhit the Padres 43-21 in the series.

Less than two years removed from a sub-3.00 ERA season, Ian Kennedy was traded from Arizona to San Diego at the 2013 trade deadline. He had a 5.23 ERA at the time and things didn't exactly turn around after the trade (4.24 ERA in 10 starts with SD). Kennedy is off to a decent start this year with a 3.60 ERA but that’s after only five starts. We’ll look at a much larger sample size and see that he’s certainly trending in the wrong direction over the last three years. His ERA: 2.88, 4.02, 4.91. His WHIP: 1.09, 1.30, 1.40. That erosion has been the result of a rise in both control and HR/9. Kennedy has some upside but his disaster start/dominant start split over the last three years tells us that some clunkers are forthcoming and that’s he’s a poor wager pitching for a team that can’t score runs. The favorite holds all the value in this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, April 27

Joe Gavazzi

Boston Red Sox +100

Toronto pitching has virtually disappeared. In their 4 game losing streak, the Blue Jays have allowed 36 runs with a .326 BAA and a .421 OBP. Expect the Boston Red Sox, who have turned things around on offense with a combined 15 runs this weekend, to end the misery of Toronto pitchers. Today, it comes in the person of over-the-hill knuckle baller Dickey. Control is a key indicator of a knuckle ballers success. For the season, Dickey has a 24/18 KBB, has allowed 47 R in 29 IP with a resulting record of 1-3 and a 5.90 ERA. Dickey twice faced Boston from this mound last year losing both games with an 8.53 ERA. Following a strong start to the season, Lester allowed 3 earned runs in 4 2/3 ERA of a 9-3 loss to NYY. Despite that uncharacteristic outing, Lester still has a 36/8 KBB for the season and strong 2.67 ERA. Look for his return to form against a Blue Jay team he has dominated. In his L6 starts against Toronto, Lester is 4-0 with a 2.55 ERA and a .183 BAA.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, April 27

Will Rogers

Oakland vs. Houston
Pick: Oakland

Oakland actually lost a game to Houston yesterday, so I see them coming back today at a relatively cheap price to take the series.

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Opposite Ends of the Spectrum - Even though they lost Saturday, Oakland is still 15-9 this season and has the best run differential in baseball, outscoring their opponents by 42.  Houston, who is 8-17, has been outscored 130-80 (-50), a differential that is "topped" by only Arizona.  It's the team that has allowed the fewest runs in the American League against the team that has scored the fewest.

2.  Head to Head - Saturday was the A's first loss to the Astros in six games between the teams this season. It was only their 5th in 25 games the last two seasons. It came about when Houston scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth.  It also snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Astros.

3. X-Factor - Oakland is 8-2 in day games this season.

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John Ryan

Philadelphia Phillies at Arizona Diamondbacks
Prediction: Arizona Diamondbacks

The simulator shows a high probability that Arizona will win this game. Supporting this graded play is a proven system posting a 181-139 mark for 57% winners, but has made a whopping 73 units/unit wagered averaging a +120 DOG play since 1997. Play on home teams (ARIZONA) after having won 3 of their last 4 games and is a struggling team, winning 38% or less of their games on the season. Burnett gets the nod for Phillies, but is just 17-41 (-27.3 Units) against the money line in road games vs. an NL team with an on base percentage .325 or worse since 1997. McCarthy may be winless this season, but he is much better starter than his current 'flash' stats reflect. Phillies have been largely inconsistent on offense and this is a matchup I strongly believe that McCarthy can dominate. Take Arizona.

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Dave Price

San Francisco Giants +101

The Indians have lost 7 of 11 on the road this season, including the first two games of this series to fall to 9-26 in their last 35 road games against winning clubs and 16-42 in their last 58 interleague road games.  They also fell to 0-5 in their last five in San Francisco.  Cleveland scheduled starter Danny Salazar has been getting rocked routinely (7.85 ERA), especially on the road (10.79 ERA).  The Giants have won 7 of 11 at home and are now 30-13 in their last 43 interleague home games.  Like Salazar, Ryan Vogelsong has been roughed up early.  However, he's been better at home where he allowed only 1 run on 4 hits in 6 innings against the Dodgers in his most recent home start.  The Giants are 19-9 in Vogelsong's last 28 home starts.  Take San Francisco.

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Steve Janus

Boston Red Sox +100

The Red Sox are showing great value in this spot. Boston will sent out Jon Lester against R.A. Dickey. Lester has a 2.67 ERA over 5 starts, while Dickey has a miserable 5.90 ERA over five starts. Lester is 15-7 with a 3.55 ERA over 38 career starts vs Toronto, while Dickey is 1-3 with a 5.29 ERA in 5 career starts vs Boston. The Blue Jays have really struggled against left-handed starters this season. They are averaging just 3.6 runs/game and are hitting a mere .229 as a team. Boston is 27-12 in their last 49 games after a game where their opponent scores more than 5 runs and are 62-30 in Lester's last 92 starts against a team with a losing record.

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SPORTS WAGERS

Toronto/BROOKLYN Under 192

Generally speaking, scoring has been way up in the NBA this year but playoff basketball brings an entirely different style. We can’t stress enough how important each possession becomes the deeper the series goes. Teams work in practice on getting the best shot possible and it’s drilled into their heads how important getting a high percentage shot is. Defense wins playoff series and the Nets are loaded with playoff savvy personnel that know a thing or two about playing defense.

The last two games of this series have produced two overs. The total in those two games were 190 and 191 respectively. Now the total moves up another point and we get to take advantage of that overreaction with an under bet here. One point is nothing but the situation is entirely different. This is the most crucial game of the series. Adjustments are made and intensity levels rise. Historically speaking, the deeper a series goes, the better chance the under has of cashing and we’ll put that to the test here.


Chicago +107 over WASHINGTON

When betting the playoffs, supporting teams with the better head coach and defense has long been a profitable profile. Chicago's Tom Thibodeau against Washington's Randy Wittman is a complete mismatch. Thibodeau has won 66 percent of his games as an NBA head coach and has 34 playoff games under his belt while Wittman has won only 37 percent of his games and is a postseason rookie. The Wiz had a chance to put this series out of reach but failed to do so and now they’ll pay the price.

Defensively, the Bulls boasted the league's second-best defensive rating and effective field goal percentage. With Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson controlling the paint and defending the pick-and-roll, the Wizards will have a very difficult time scoring in the half court. The Bulls can also neutralize the one-man fast break of John Wall and force him to shoot from the perimeter. The Wizards shot just 31 percent from 3-point range after April 1. Additionally, the Wizards lost Nene to a suspension and his presence makes a difference, especially on the defensive end and on the boards. The Bulls Joakim Noah has been the heart of these Bulls but D.J. Augustin has been its knight in shining armor. He'll never be mistaken for Derrick Rose, but Augustin's resurrection in Chicago suddenly makes these Bulls very dangerous. When Chicago scores 90 or more they have an incredible winning percentage and nothing suggests they won’t hit 90 here.

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Wunderdog

Miami Marlins @ New York Mets
Pick: New York Mets -115

The New York Mets are overachieving behind some talented young arms. The Mets are 11-4 as a home favorite and 7-1 in their last eight games following a loss. Last place Miami is in town with holes everywhere, including making two more errors yesterday, now ranked 28th in team fielding. Miami is 2-9 on the road, and the Marlins are 4-11 in Tom Koehler's last 15 starts vs. a team with a winning record. New York goes with Dillon Gee (3.58 ERA), who has been sharp with nine walks and 25 hits allowed in 32+ innings. Opponents are hitting .208 off him, and the Mets are 6-1 in Gee's last seven starts as a favorite. The Marlins are 7-15 in the last 22 meetings in New York, so grab home field. Play the New York Mets.

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Harry Bondi

BOSTON RED SOX (-105) over Toronto

We went against Jon Lester and the Red Sox earlier this week for a “Steam Team” winner on the Yankees, but we expect the ace left-hander to bounce back big here today against a Toronto team he has pitched very well against in his career, going 15-7 with a 3.55 ERA and two complete games. The Red Sox are starting to get healthy with Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks back in the lineup and Toronto starter RA Dickey continues to be unimpressive, going 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in his last three starts. Red Sox sweep the Jays!

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