Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 6

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 6

SPORTS WAGERS

MINNESOTA +115 over Chicago

OT included. The final scores of Games 1 & 2 were 5-2 and 4-1 respectively in favor of the Blackhawks. Anyone that didn’t watch those two games would feel safe in assuming the Blackhawks won easily based on those two results but nothing could be further from the truth. Don’t get us wrong, Chicago was solid in both wins over Minnesota, they’ve now won six straight after losing their first two playoff games to the Blue Notes and they remain a huge threat to win this game and the Stanley Cup but Minnesota is not going down without a fight. In fact, Minnesota has played the Blackhawks nose-to-nose through every shift of every period in the first two games. The Wild are just as close to being up 2-0 or tied 1-1 as they are of being in the 0-2 hole that they’re in.

Minnesota has held Chicago to just a few scoring chances in both games. The Wild outshot Chicago 32-22 in Game 1 and held the Blackhawks to 22 shots on net in Game 2 also. Tied 2-2 in Game 1 with under 12 minutes remaining in the third, Chicago scored to take a 3-2 lead and added a couple of empty netters to make the score a lot more flattering than it should have been. Game 2 saw a similar result with Chicago clinging to a one-goal lead for most of the third period. Chicago is a great team but Minnesota has been every bit as good and now the Wild return home, where they were dominant in the regular season and have yet to lose in this post-season. The line is small but the value is great because the Wild are not out of this series yet and they are very unlikely to get swept in this series. It would come as no surprise to see Minnesota tie this series up at home and make things very interesting. Minnesota belongs in the same conversation as the other elite teams. The Wild were just as good as Chicago, in Chicago, in the first two games. They play outstanding defense, they roll out four lines that compare to Los Angeles and they are very capable of taking this series to the limit. This is an absolute overlay and with so much value on the host we’re going to step it up with a 3-unit play.

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Bryan Power

San Francisco vs. Pittsburgh
Pick: San Francisco

The Giants won their sixth straight last night, albeit in totally different fashion from the previous five victories. After their pitching staff carried them by allowing just 5 runs in 5 games, it was time for the offense to lead the way Monday in an 11-10 win over the Pirates that required 13 innings. They pounded out 20 hits as the team improved to 10-1 L11 overall, a stretch that included their first sweep of the Braves in Atlanta s/ '88. Look for them to win again tonight in Pittsburgh.

Though it's only May, I'm pretty confident in saying I don't expect a return to the playoffs for the Pirates.  The starting rotation has fallen apart and their offense is just not producing, yesterday aside.  They are now just 12-20 for the year.  Tonight's starter Charlie Morton is 0-4 over six starts w/ a 4.21 ERA.  He's allowed at least 4 ER in five consecutive outings.

Giants pitching has allowed 3 ER or less in 8 of the last 11 games.  Looking to keep that trend going tonight will be Tim Hudson, who comes in w/ the 2nd lowest WHIP in MLB at 0.740.  He's averaging just 3.35 pitchers per batter, also one of the best marks in the league. Last time out, he came within one out of a complete game.  The San Francisco offense has totaled 29 runs and 52 hits its last three games at PNC Park. They are 2nd in home runs this year, trailing only Colorado.   Behind Hudson is a bullpen which has the lowest opponent's batting average in MLB.

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Bruce Marshall

Toronto Blue Jays at Philadelphia Phillies
Pick: Toronto Blue Jays

While Philly's Cole Hamels (6.75 ERA) has struggled since his return from a biceps tendon injury, Toronto's Drew Hutchison has been pretty consistent this season, allowing two runs or less in four of his first five starts. He was one out away from doing it again Wednesday before giving up a two-run double with two outs in the seventh inning. The Phils, blanked last night and 2-3 on a rain-shortened six-game homestand, have totaled 14 runs while going 7 for 47 (.149) with runners in scoring position over their last six contests.

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Prophet Plays

Brooklyn vs. Miami
Play: Under 192

I have no concern with Brooklyn being 4-0 against Miami this year. In two of the four games, Dwayne Wade sat out. Plus we’ve already seen how meaningless the regular-season results are based upon first round results. But the Heat figure to be rusty. Last year in the playoffs Miami had eight days between their first round versus Milwaukee and the second round against Chicago. In the first game the Heat were limited to 86 points shooting 39.7 percent. Then after disposing of Chicago, the Heat had seven full days before taking on Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals. In game #1 Miami scored just 92 points in regulation before winning in overtime 103-102. The past three meetings with Brooklyn this year has seen the Heat score 87, 95, and 89 points in regulation. The ‘UNDER’ is 5-2 the last seven meetings in this series. The Nets are 7-0 ‘UNDER’ following a game in which they scored 100 or more points in their previous game. This happened twice in the Toronto series. The Nets followed up their 102-point performance in game #3 with 79 points in game #4 at home. Then after scoring 113 points in game #5 at Toronto, the Nets returned to Brooklyn in game #6 and scored 97 but only allowed 83 in another ‘UNDER’. Plus Brooklyn is 8-3 ‘UNDER’ in their last 11 when facing an opponent with a winning percentage of .600 or higher. The last five meetings in Miami have resulted in an ‘UNDER’.

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Jack Jones

Arizona Diamondbacks +133

This is a classic case of a team off to a hot start to the season being overvalued against a team off to a slow start.  Coming into the year, most actually expected the Diamondbacks to be better than the Brewers.  That hasn't been the case in the early going.

However, there is now value in backing the Diamondbacks, especially tonight as a massive +133 underdog.  I like their chances with Josh Collmenter on the mound.  The right-hander has gone 1-2 with a 3.77 ERA and 1.194 WHIP over four starts and four relief appearances in 2014.

What really stood out to me looking at this game was how Collmenter has dominated Milwaukee in the past.  Indeed, he is 2-0 with a minuscule 0.67 ERA and 0.519 WHIP in four career starts against the Brewers.  Collmenter has only allowed two earned runs and 14 base runners over 27 innings in those four outings.

Milwaukee is 8-25 (-18.8 Units) against the money line in May games over the last two seasons.  The Diamondbacks are 5-1 in Collmenter's last six starts with the total set at 7.0-8.5.  The Brewers are 1-4 in Marco Estrada's last five starts as a favorite of -110 to -150.  Arizona is 6-2 in its last eight meetings with Milwaukee.  Bet the Diamondbacks Tuesday.

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John Ryan

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Washington Nationals    
Play: Los Angeles Dodgers -168

The simulator shows a high probability that the Dodgers boxed with starter Clayton Kershaw will win this game. If you have been following my work and releases even for a short time you realize that playing a significant favorite in MLB is a very rare occurrence. However, when they do occur, they are for a mountain of meaningful facts, metrics, and game situations. Kershaw is the best left-handed starter in the game today and will have no problem containing a sputtering Nationals offensive lineup. Kershaw made his first start last week and went 6 2/3 innings allowing just 1 ER on five hits with one walk and 7 K's in a 3-1 win at Arizona. He has allowed a 0.221 BA to the current members of the Nationals in their respective careers. Adam LaRoche leads the majority of offensive categories for the Nationals, but he has hit just 0.211 spanning 19 AB against Kershaw. In his last three starts against Washington he has allowed just 4 ER spanning 23 2/3 innings of work, walking two batters while striking out 26 batters. Take the Dodgers.


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Andre Ramirez

Brooklyn Nets vs. Miami Heat    
Play: Brooklyn Nets +7½

Today we are laying the money on the Nets. The Nets are paying good value with the generous 7.5 points. I actually think the Nets can win this game outright! The Nets are 4-0 against the Heat straight up! I like this game to be a lot closer since both teams matchup very well. The Heat haven't covered well against Atlantic division opponents this year. They are just 8-11 ATS. The Nets have been a solid road team this year, and they are 8-4 ATS when the totals is between 190-194.5 points. Take the Nets and the 7.5 points for today's winner.


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Stephen Nover

Royals / Padres Over 6.5

Kansas City and San Diego's offenses are nothing to brag about, but they aren't this bad. It's not difficult for me envisioning each team scoring at least three runs with a pitching matchup of 35-year-old Jeremy Guthrie against Robbie Erlin. Guthrie has a 4.97 ERA during his last four starts. He's allowed the second-most homers in the majors and is not getting any younger. Erlin has a 5.83 ERA. Erlin has lost four in a row while yielding 34 hits in 29 1/3 innings. Both teams have bullpen fatigue issues, too, after last night's 12 inning game. San Diego relievers pitched a season-high 7 1/3 innings on Monday. Closer Huston Street and setup man Joaquin Benoit have each pitched in the last two games. Kansas City's offense is better now with Lorenzo Cain back in the lineup. The Padres are better offensively, too, at the expense of defense with power-hitter Kyle Blanks called up.



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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 6

Hollywood Sports

Portland at San Antonio
Prediction: Over

Portland (58-30) has enjoyed three days off since their 99-98 victory over Houston on Friday that closed out that series in six games. The Trail Blazers have played 5 of their last 6 games Over the Total with at least three days of rest. The Trail Blazers have also played 6 of their last 8 games Over the Total against teams with a winning percentage over 60%.

San Antonio (66-23) clinched their seven game series with Dallas on Sunday with their 119-96 victory. The Spurs have then played 4 of their last 5 games Over the Total following a victory. Additionally, San Antonio has played 5 of their last 6 home games Over the Total against teams with a winning record on the road. Take the Over in this one.

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Brian Edwards

Nets at Heat
Play: Nets

Brooklyn went 4-0 both straight up and against the spread vs. Miami this season. The Nets are also 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games as underdogs. I don't worry so much about Brooklyn's lack of rest (playing Game 7 at Toronto on Sunday) because of the way Jason Kidd disperses the minutes so evenly (with the exception of Joe Johnson). I like the 'dog here.

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LT Profits

Portland vs San Antonio
Pick: San Antonio -6.5

The San Antonio Spurs finally asserted themselves on both ends in Game 7 vs. Dallas, and the result was a 119-96 demolition that was never in doubt as the Spurs shot a mind-boggling 56.8 percent for the game while a San Antonio defense that finished fourth in the league in efficiency showed up for the first time in the series, holding the Mavericks to 40.9 percent shooting. Look for a faster start by the Spurs vs. the Portland Trail Blazers, who come off of a tight six-game series vs. Houston where three games went into overtime and Portland won the decisive Game 6 by one point on a three-pointer by Damian Lillard at the end of regulation. Portland is stepping up in class though in this matchup of the best bench in the NBA (Spurs) and the worst (Blazers). The Spurs are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games following an ATS win.

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Jeff Alexander

Miami Marlins -117

The Fish are worth a small investment at this price at home where they are 15-5 on the season with a .305 batting average.  The Mets got off to a strong start on the road but have come back down to earth with losses in four of their last five.  The Mets have also dropped six of their last eight in Miami.  New York's Colon has really struggled (5.64 ERA overall, 8.64 ERA on the road).  Miami's Alvarez, on the other hand, has been solid (3.28 ERA).  Miami has won 2 of Alvarez's last 3 starts versus the Mets, and he has given up just 4 runs in 20 1-3 innings in these outings.

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Dave Price

LA Angels -137

The Yankees can't be trusted on the road with Kuroda on the mound.  They are 3-13 in his last 16 road starts and 0-5 in his last five starts as a road underdog.  He has a 5.14 ERA on the season and a 6.61 ERA over his last three starts.  LAs Wilson has a 3.18 ERA on the season and a 2.37 ERA over his last three starts.  He easily outdueled Kuroda in New York Apr. 25, giving up one run in six innings while Kuroda gave up eight runs in 4 1-3.  The Angels are 3-0 in Wilson's last three starts versus the Yankees and 5-2 in their last seven home meetings in the series.

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Jeff Fenster

Cincinnati Reds vs. Boston Red Sox    
Play: Boston Red Sox -119 

The Reds will face the Red Sox in game 1 of an interleague series.  The Reds will throw Homer Bailey (2-1 3.60 ERA over his last 3 starts) and the Sox will throw Felix Doubront (0-1 4.70 ERA over his last 3 starts).  The initial pitching edge appears to favor the Reds and Bailey but upon closer examination we find it does not.  Interleague play has a way of changing things and the stats favor a Red Sox win.  The Reds are 1-5 in their last 6 meetings with the Sox and are just 2-8 in Bailey's last 10 Interleague starts.  On the flip side, the Red Sox are 4-0 in Doubront's last 4 interleague starts.  Add that to the fact that the Sox are just 15-17 and need to start winning more to keep pace with the Yankees and you have the home team with a pitching edge and needing to win.

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Joe Gavazzi

Miami -8

Brooklyn was extended to the limit in a 7-game series, holding off Toronto 104-103 on Sunday for the series victory.  Garnett stood tall with a 12/11 line.  The Nets were led by Johnson with 26.  They turned over the ball only 8 times and Pierce blocked the game winning shot with less than a second on the clock.  Certainly, Brooklyn will have Miami’s full attention.  The Heat took the collar from the Nets in the regular season, going 0-4 SU ATS by a combined 12 points with 3 losses by a single point.  That includes the last two meetings of the series on this floor, when Brooklyn prevailed 88-87, 96-95.  Brooklyn “flipped the switch” at the start of the new year.  They enter tonight with a record of 38-20 SU, 35-23 ATS in 2014.  The many Brooklyn veterans will not be awed by the two-time defending champs.  Unlike Brooklyn, Miami is well-rested, having swept their series with Charlotte, covering 3/4 of the games.  That rest factor is key in Game 1 of a playoff series, translating into a situation that has covered over 70% of the time since 1990.

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Teddy Covers

Minnesota at Cleveland
Play: Minnesota +125

There’s not much respect for Twins starter Samuel Deduno in the betting markets.  Deduno pitched a handful of gems as a part time starter in both 2012 and 2013, but he really tailed off after the All Star break last year. Following shoulder surgery in the offseason,  he opened the 2014 campaign in the bullpen, and got hit hard in his first start of the season against the powerful LA Dodgers lineup just last week.

But for as inconsistent as Deduno has been, he’s got a solid track record against the Indians (.192 batting average against and 31 strikeouts in 36 innings).  And with the extended slump this Cleveland lineup is in right now, even mediocre pitching is shutting this team down.   
The Indians scored 12 runs last Friday against the White Sox, but have combined for a grand total of 18 runs while losing eight of their other nine games over the past ten days; held to three runs or less eight times during that span.  Off a ten inning shutout loss at home last night, it’s pretty clear right now that the last place Indians can’t hit and have no business as home favorites against a surging foe tonight!

Minnesota has won three straight overall and they’re 9-6 on the highway in their last 15 road games, cashing winning bet after winning bet in this ‘road dog’ role.  Indians spot starter Josh Tomlin hasn’t started a big league game since 2012, and his track record against the Twins is downright ugly, sporting a 7.67 ERA in six previous outings against Minnesota.  Live dog here!

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Dave Essler

Royals / Padres Over 7

OK, reasoning. Yes, it did go to 6.5 which always concerns me when it comes off a key number like 7. However, when you're winning you aren't as bothered by line moves (or I'm not) than when you're losing, so I trust what I saw. Normally, I'd agree with the move simply because the Royals tend to struggle against lefties. However, last night they kicked the sh*t out of Stults, and IMO Erlin is worse than Stults and give up far more flyballs. Plus, he's rarely pitched past the 6th inning, and although the Padres pen is that much better, they worked (as did the Royals) overtime last night. And the last week the Royals team bullpen ERA is 6.75, which means that unless Guthrie throws the gem, we'll see them, and honestly I don't think that happens. He's allowed four earned runs in three of his last four starts and is ALSO a flyball pitcher, so perhaps this line move is somewhat predicated on the wind, but it's not like it's a hurricane, although it IS a pitchers park. BUT, not like it used to be since they moved the fences in. Anyhow, what I also like is that to a man the Padres all have an at bat and a hit (or more) against him, so if the gem is thrown, IMO, it's far more likely to be Erlin, and I don't see it. When the lineups come out, if there's anything stupid we'll get off of it and swallow the pride, but I don't see that happening either, and as you know I am not scared to admit a transgression. Also, they've got a day game tomorrow w/Shields v. Cashner, so I half-expect anyone that might sit to do it tomorrow, or they're looking at THAT matchup more than this one. We'll see what happens.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, May 6

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

Miami / Brooklyn Under 193

The Brooklyn Nets are not an uptempo team, they got caught up in that a bit with Toronto. They can't do that here. Miami has is also not really an uptempo team and they will play a slower paced game right along with the Nets. These teams met 4 times this year and the last 3 in regulation put up just 178, 191 & 175 points. Miami is rested and that should mean they will have their defensive legs and they did allow just 92 ppg in their opening series vs Charlotte. The Heat have allowed just 97 ppg at home, while the Nets have scored just 96 ppg on the road. Brooklyn may be a bit tired after their 7 game series with the Raptors and that should impact their defense, but the Heat are not a team that will try and pour it on once they are up big (and I expect that) and that should keep their scoring down late in the game. Also being tired for the Nets should mean they will really slow the pace and I just don't see them scoring a whole bunch on this tough Miami defense. I look for this game to be played in the mid 180's at best.

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