Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, May 7

Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, May 7

DUNKEL INDEX

NBA

LA Clippers at Oklahoma City
The Thunder look to bounce back from their 122-105 loss in Game 1 and come into tonight's contest with an 18-7-1 ATS record in their last 26 games following a double-digit loss at home. Oklahoma City is the pick (-5 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Thunder favored by 9. Dunkel Pick: Oklahoma City (-5 1/2).

Game 709-710: Washington at Indiana (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington 120.294; Indiana 121.406
Dunkel Line & Total: Indiana by 1; 190
Vegas Line & Total: Indiana by 4 1/2; 184 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (+4 1/2); Over

Game 711-712: LA Clippers at Oklahoma City (9:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Clippers 120.966; Oklahoma City 130.000
Dunkel Line & Total: Oklahoma City by 9; 207
Vegas Line & Total: Oklahoma City by 5 1/2; 215
Dunkel Pick: Oklahoma City (-5 1/2); Under

NHL

Pittsburgh at NY Rangers
The Rangers look to bounce back from their 2-0 loss in Game 3 and come into tonight's contest with a 5-1 record in their last 6 games after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game. New York is the pick (-105) according to Dunkel, which has the Rangers favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: NY Rangers (-105).

Game 23-24: Pittsburgh at NY Rangers (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh 11.159; NY Rangers 12.084
Dunkel Line & Total: NY Rangers by 1; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Pittsburgh (-115); 5
Dunkel Pick: NY Rangers (-105); Over

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DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Chicago Cubs at Chicago White Sox
After dropping the first two games of the series at Wrigley, the Cubs look to pick up a win tonight at U.S. Cellular as they face a White Sox team that is 0-5 in John Danks' last 5 starts as a home favorite of -110 to -150. The Cubs are the pick (+110) according to Dunkel, which has the Cubs favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (+110).

Game 951-952: San Francisco at Pittsburgh (12:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Lincecum) 15.587; Pittsburgh (Cole) 14.954
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh (-135); 7
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (+115); Under

Game 953-954: NY Mets at Miami (12:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Wheeler) 17.018; Miami (Koehler) 15.961
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Miami (-120); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (+100); Over

Game 955-956: LA Dodgers at Washington (1:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Haren) 15.079; Washington (Strasburg) 16.676
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Washington (-135); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-135); Over

Game 957-958: Arizona at Milwaukee (1:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Arroyo) 14.192; Milwaukee (Peralta) 15.563
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Milwaukee (-150); 8
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (-150); Under

Game 959-960: St. Louis at Atlanta (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Wainwright) 14.746; Atlanta (Minor) 15.659
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1; 6
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-130); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (+110); Under

Game 961-962: Seattle at Oakland (3:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Hernandez) 15.872; Oakland (Straily) 14.952
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 1; 6
Vegas Line: Seattle (-135); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (-135); Under

Game 963-964: Houston at Detroit (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Peacock) 16.275; Detroit (Porcello) 15.799
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Detroit (-250); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (+200); Under

Game 965-966: Minnesota at Cleveland (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota (Nolasco) 14.932; Cleveland (Salazar) 13.990
Dunkel Line: Minnesota by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-160); 8
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+140); Under

Game 967-968: Baltimore at Tampa Bay (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Norris) 15.344; Tampa Bay (Ramos) 14.161
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-140); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (+120); Under

Game 969-970: NY Yankees at LA Angels (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Nuno) 15.395; LA Angels (Santiago) 14.357
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 1; 8
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-135); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (+115); Under

Game 971-972: Kansas City at San Diego (3:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Shields) 16.203; San Diego (Cashner) 14.371
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1; 7
Vegas Line: San Diego (-115); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (-105); Over

Game 973-974: Philadelphia at Toronto (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia (Lee) 15.881; Toronto (Buehrle) 14.973
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Toronto (-115); 8
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (-105); Under

Game 975-976: Cincinnati at Boston (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Leake) 14.711; Boston (Peavy) 16.491
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Boston (-150); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-150); Under

Game 977-978: Colorado at Texas (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (De La Rosa) 15.960; Texas (Lewis) 15.112
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1; 11
Vegas Line: Texas (-130); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (+110); Over

Game 979-980: Chicago Cubs at Chicago White Sox (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Wood) 15.872; White Sox (Danks) 14.732
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Chicago White Sox (-130); 8
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (+110); Over

Game 981-982: Seattle at Oakland (6:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Ramirez) 14.622; Oakland (Pomeranz) 15.952
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

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Rob Vinciletti

St Louis Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves
Play: St Louis Cardinals -120

The Cards fit a solid system that has won 11 of 13 times since 2007 and plays on road favorites that are off a 1 run road loss and had 2 or less run on 5+ hits, vs an opponent off a 1 run home favored win also scoring 2 or less on 5 or more hits if both teams had no more than 1 error. Atlanta snapped a 7 game losing streak last night but now have to face St. Louis ace A, Wainwright and he has a stellar 2.06 road era. He will oppose M. Minor making his 2nd start. Wainwright is 7-2 vs the Braves with a 2.90 era. Minor has a 4.56 career era vs the Cardinals. Look for St. Louis to bounce back in this one.


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Jim Feist

Cincinnati Reds vs. Boston Red Sox    
Play: Cincinnati Reds +140

Cincinnati has a fine offense and picks up the DH for this interleague series. Righty Mike Leake (3.53 ERA) has been great, walking only 8 in 43 innings with 37 hits allowed. Leake was the hard-luck loser on Friday facing the Brewers, giving up two earned runs over eight strong innings. The Reds are 6-2 in their last 8 interleague games, 40-19 in their last 59 road games vs. a team with a losing home record. Boston has not been good at Fenway with an offense short on power and a leaky defense. 32-year old Boston righty Jake Peavy is on the downhill side of his career and his ERA is over 2 runs higher at home than on the road. Peavy (1-1) struggled with his control in Thursday's doubleheader-opening loss to the Rays, walking five while allowing three hits and two runs in 6.1 innings. Boston has struggled against weak teams, with the Red Sox starting 2-8 against teams with losing records, so grab the talented dog.

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Art Aronson

Cincinnati Reds vs. Boston Red Sox    
Play: Boston Red Sox -141

Boston comes in with momentum after last night’s walk off victory and I look for the Red Sox to build off that performance. The Reds send Mike Leake (2-3, 3.53 ERA) to the bump for the second game of this quick series at Fenway. Leake is coming off one of his best starts of the season where he gave up two runs over eight innings in a loss to the Brewers. Keep in mind though,  the Reds have lost two straight with Leake on the hill. Cincinnati has totaled one run in Leake's last two starts after recording 17 with him on the mound in his first four. This will be Leake’s first start at Fenway, never an easy place to play in. The Red Sox counter with Jake Peavy (1-1, 2.87 ERA) who has had success versus the Reds throughout his career; in fact, that’s a bit of an understatement as Peavy is 6-0 with an extremely respectable 2.14 ERA in 10 lifetime starts versus Cincinnati. The veteran right-hander has been solid so far this season and I have no reason to think he won’t be once again tonight. The Red Sox have struggled at times this year but they are getting noticeably better as the season progresses and are finally inching closer to .500; keep an eye out for the the home side’s Dustin Pedrioa who is hitting .338 in his last 17 games and who is 7 for 18 (.389) in four games versus Cincinnati. Consider laying the short price to get Boston.


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Marc Lawrence

Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics
Pick: Seattle Mariners

The Mariners and the A's put the wraps on a three-game series Wednesday afternoon in Oakland where Felix Hernandez takes the mound in terrific KW form with 52 strikeouts and 10 walks in his seven starts this season. The King is also 14-5 his last nineteen team starts in this series, including 7-1 his last eight games here. Look for more of the same from the best arm in baseball here today. We recommend a 1-unit play on Seattle.

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Matt Fargo

Arizona vs. Milwaukee
Pick: Arizona

Arizona is slowly coming back around as it won last night in Milwaukee and has won four of its last six games following an 8-22 start. Playing at home has been the issue as the Diamondbacks are 3-15 but they are a much more respectable 9-9 on the road while going 4-1 in their last five road games against teams with a winning home record and they turn to Bronson Arroyo who is also turning things around. He opened the season with four straight non-quality starts but has since tossed two quality performances, allowing two runs in 13.1 innings combined. He faced the Brewers four times last season and tossed four quality outings, putting up a 2.28 ERA and 1.19 WHIP and he has had success against the Brewers throughout his career. Milwaukee is 2-5 in its last seven games against right-handed starters. Milwaukee has come back down to earth after a blistering start as it has lost five of its last seven games after opening the season 20-7. The Brewers are now 10-7 at home which isn't overall impressive but the start of Wily Peralta is. He has a 2.04 ERA and 1.03 WHIP through six starts with Milwaukee going 5-1 in those games and he is on a run of five straight quality outings. After posting a 4.37 ERA last season, how long can we expect this to last? I say not long. The Brewers are 2-5 in Peralta's last seven starts as a favorite of -110 to -150.


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Don Best Consensus

Wizards at Pacers
Pick: Over

Take advantage of the soft number until the books adjust. Until Roy Hibbert is able to establish a defensive presense, Washington will dictate the scoring flow and make it a first to 100 type of game.

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Andre Ramirez

Penguins vs. Rangers
Play: Over 5

Today the Penguins will be on the road to take on the N.Y. Rangers. The Penguins have a 2-1 lead in the series, and are the favorite to win it all.  The Penguins are 6-3 over the Rangers in the last 3 seasons. The problem in this game is the spread. According to BetOnline, the Rangers are a slight favorite at +100. The Rangers are 14-6 ATS after 3 or more consecutive unders. By using this angle, the Bookmakers are saying the Rangers are going to win this game. The Rangers have had luck in the past at home against the Penguins, but i see other opportunities in this game. In this series, 6 of 8 games have gone over the total.  The Penguins are 9-1 on the over when leading in a playoff series. The Penguins allowed 3.5  goals in their last 2 road games, and this angle is telling me, that the game has a good chance of going over. The Rangers did score 3 goals in their first game against the Penguins.


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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, May 7

Dennis Macklin

Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays    
Play: Baltimore Orioles +125

Tampa Bay has struggled at home going 7-7 in their first 14 games after leading the majors in home wins last year. Cesar Ramos has been great over his last three starts with a 1.23 ERA but has not been able to extend going just a combines 14 2/3 innings. The Orioles have been money off of losses (9-2 L11) which is why they were a play for us yesterday and were beaten by of all people Phil Hughes. The O's counter with veteran Buck Norris who faced the Rays once last year after being rescued from Houston and gave up one run on six hits in going seven innings in a September win. The Rays pen has been mediocre at best (4.42) and they figure to get lots of work here. Baltimore plus the quarter rates a solid call.

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Bryan Power

Kansas City vs. San Diego
Pick: Kansas City

These teams have played a pair of extra inning games so far.  The Royals let me down Monday, but snapped a 5-game losing streak yday w/ a 3-1 win in 11 innings. I see them taking the series w/ a win Wednesday afternoon.

This is a pretty solid price on KC ace James Shields, who comes in w/ solid numbers despite a 3-4 TSR.  He has an ERA of 3.11, inferior to that of San Diego's starter Andrew Cashner, but has a better WHIP.  Shields was rocked last time out, but that was against one of the better offenses in the league - Detroit.  San Diego has the worst offense in the league. That's in runs scored, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.  They're 29th in team batting average.  True to form, they scored only 1 run in Tuesday's loss.

Even worse, the Padres have been shut out in each of Cashner's last two starts.  They were also shut out in his first start of 2014 as well.  Kansas City has lost only two games this year when scoring more than four runs, one of those being Monday's series opener. They'll get enough production from the offense to pull out the win here.

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Footy Tipster

West Bromwich vs. Sunderland
Pick: Over 2.5

Sunderland look to secure their top flight status with a win here on Wednesday but they come up against a tough West Brom team who must get at least one point from their remaining two games to secure top flight football for next season!

This should be a good open game of football on Wednesday evening. Sunderland have been in immense form of late, winning 3 in a row and adding Man United to its list of recent victims. West Brom must win take at least a point here to ensure they are safe from relegation.

This game has seen over 2.5 goals in 6 out of the las t 6 meetings! Both teams have score in 4 of these last 6 meetings. Given what is at stake for both teams here I believe this pick is the bets value on offer in this game!

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Bryan Leonard

St Louis / Atlanta Under 6½

You won't find us going under 6 1/2 or 7 ver often but this is a rare time in which we look to have some value. Neither team is hitting a lick right now as both teams key players are struggling badly. As good as the Cardinals were last year in clutch hitting they are on the opposite side of the spectrum in 2014. The Braves are scuffling so bad they have moved the pitcher up to the number eight position in the batting order. Anything to squeeze out a run.

Wainwright is coming off a poor performance and Minor is typical Minor even coming off a prolonged injury. We look for a terrific pitching matchup here with the likely game winner ending the contest with just 3 total runs.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, May 7

DAVE COKIN

BALTIMORE ORIOLES  AT TAMPA BAY RAYS
PLAY; BALTIMORE ORIOLES +125

I’m a great believer in regressions and progressions to the norm. It’s a big part of my pre-game analysis when it comes to making plays each day. The idea is to garner value by betting against a pitcher who is getting lucky, and getting on the guy who’s pitching better than his base numbers might suggest. This doesn’t always work, obviously, but the corrections in question mostly do take place and getting there before the line adjustments take place is a big key to getting value.

Cesar Ramos is getting lucky. There’s nothing in the Ramos resume that suggests he’s capable of maintaining anything close to the sub-3 ERA presently owned by the Rays lefty. Ramos has a high walk rate, he’s not dominant in any aspect of the game and yet he’s keeping the opposition off the board for the most part. If you examine the analytics, it’s easy enough to see what’s happening. Ramos is generating at ‘em balls galore. That’s not going to continue much longer, or at least all the probabilities say it’s not supposed to.

I really can’t make a great case for his mound opponent today, as Bud Norris is, well, Bud Norris. Personally, I’ve always felt Norris would be a possibly outstanding relief pitcher. As a starter, he’s ordinary. And it’s not like I’m racing to the window to fire on Norris tonight. But I do want to take my chances against Ramos, and head to head I’d rather have Norris.

This falls squarely into what I would say is value category. The  Orioles-Rays game really looks like a tossup to me. If this game is evenly priced, I’m not touching it. But Ramos is overpriced off the numbers I track, and as a result I can get some pretty generous underdog odds with the visitors tonight. The Orioles are therefore worth consideration for me this evening,. and I’ll go with the Birds for the Wednesday free play.

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Freddy Wills

Cardinals vs. Braves
Play: Under 6.5

I see tremendous value in this total. Not only are both teams struggling offensively, but both will face challenging pitching match ups. The Braves offense continues to rely on the long ball, but facing Adam Wainwright certainly won't help as he has allowed only 2 HR all year and has an ERA under 3 in 9 career starts vs. the Braves. The Cardinals on the other hand will face Mike Minor which they've had success against prior to 2013, but their struggles vs. LHP since last year are well documented. They currently are 30th in OPS vs. LHP and in 2 starts last year Minor went 14 innings allowing only 10 hits and 1BB while giving up 2 ER. Both these teams feature some of the better arms out of their bullpen in the league and 8 of their last 9 meetings have gone under the total. The Cardinals are under the total 18-7-3 in their last 28 vs. LH starter and the Braves are under the total 35-15-1 in their last 51 match ups with the NL Central.


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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, May 7

Scott Spreitzer

Yankees at Angels
Prediction: Over

The Yankees have clobbered southpaws in road night action this season and should have little trouble with Hector Santiago, who has been knocked around in four of six starts this season, including an outing in the Bronx against the Yankees. Vidal Nuno goes the for the Yanks. The New York lefty has been slammed in three of his last four starts and gives us plenty of confidence that the big bats for the Angels will be able to tee-off tonight. The Halos are second in MLB in runs per game and they're 4th in both OPS and home runs. Add in a couple of mediocre-at-best bullpens and we have the recipe for a high scoring game. I'm recommending a play on the Over between the Yankees & Angels on Wednesday.

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Jeff Clement

Colorado Rockies vs. Texas Rangers
Play: Texas Rangers -120

Colorado(21-14) vs. Texas(17-16). J.DeLarosa(3-3) ERA of 5.11 vs. C.Lewis(2-1) ERA 4.22. The Rockies are 1-4 last 5 DeLarosa road starts vs teams with winning records and the Rangers are 5-2 last 7 Lewis starts against Inter League teams. The Rangers are 16-5 last 21 games as a favorite.

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Jimmy Boyd

Miami Marlins -112

The Marlins have caught fire and are all the sudden just a 1/2-game back of the Braves for the division lead in the NL East. Miami has won 3 straight and 7 of their last 8 games overall, all of which have come at home. The Marlins are an MLB-best 16-5 at home this season and I see no reason why you wouldn't back them as a small home favorite on Wednesday.

The pitching matchup in this one heavily favors Miami. The Marlins will send out Tom Koehler, who is 3-2 with a 2.41 ERA and 1.125 WHIP over six starts. Koehler has been nearly unhittable at home, going 2-3 with a 0.90 ERA and 0.950 WHIP in 3 starts. New York counters with Zack Wheeler, who is 1-3 with a 5.13 ERA and 1.530 WHIP. Wheeler has been even worse on the road, going 1-2 with a 7.05 ERA and 1.696 WHIP.

The Mets are 1-4 in their last 5 after losing the first two games of a series, 1-5 in their last 6 games as a underdog and 1-5 in their last 6 road games vs a team with a winning record. Miami is 5-1 in Koehler's last 6 starts when his opponent scores 2 or fewer runs in their last game and a perfect 7-0 in his their last 7 home games against a right-handed starter.

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Alex Smart

Penguins vs. Rangers
Play: Under 5

New York has failed to convert on all 13 opportunities with the man advantage in this  series vs Philadelphia and on 34 straight overall power play opportunities. Its obvious at this point the Pens are capable of playing defense and getting good goal tending from the much maligned MC Fleury. Meanwhile, with the  Rangers offense struggling to hit the back of the net their goal out put will remain minimal. The Rangers saving grace so far has been the play of their own defense, and top tier goal tending from Henrick Lundqvist. With that said, considering how this series is beginning to turn into a defensive quagmire , its makes sense for me to recommend we take a under position in this spot.


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SPORTS WAGERS

Cubs +100 over WHITE SOX

Travis Wood has a 3.25 ERA and 1.25 WHIP through six starts. In five of those six starts he’s allowed three runs or less and all of his skills are supported by his xERA of 3.53. Wood’s 37 K’s in 38 innings is supported by his 10% swinging strike rate, which is up two points from last year. His control is also trending the right way, as he has issued just seven walks. Wood has been steady and is certainly worth backing but this choice is more about fading John Danks.

Danks is getting progressively worse each season. He went 4-14 with a 4.75 ERA in 138 innings last season. Danks returned in mid-May last season from a year off (shoulder) but left his velocity on the DL. This season in 36 innings, Danks has an alarming K/BB split of 20/21. His fastball tops out at 88 MPH and his swinging strike rate over his last two starts is 5%. Batters are making contact on 90% of his pitches when he’s in the strike zone and that’s the worst mark in the majors for pitchers with at least four starts this year. Danks has a xERA of 5.53 to go along with a groundball/fly-ball split of 38%/42%. There is nothing in Danks’ profile that is appealing and until he shows us something different he’s an automatic fade when favored.


Cincinnati +145 over BOSTON

There’s really not a lot to like about the Cincinnati Reds. This is a ball club that has more flaws than Oscar Pistorius’ defense. From their defense to their offense to their bullpen to their inability to score key runs with RISP, the Reds are as frustrating to watch and/or wager on than just about any other team in the majors. That said, we can’t refuse this take-back on Mike Leake against Jake Peavy. A steady dose of groundballs and strong control provide Leake with a nice floor. Only two of Leake’s 37 starts since the beginning of last season have been disastrous. That tells us that the Reds have a chance to win every time Leake starts. Leake’s groundball/line-drive/fly-ball profile of 57%/16%/27% is further proof that he’ll almost always keep his team in the game and has the ability to work through innings quickly. He seldom walks anyone, he has a 1.04 WHIP and his 3.53 ERA is right in line with his xERA of 3.49. If we were to describe Leake with one word it would be “reliable”.

Jake Peavy is anything but reliable. Pay no attention to Peavy’s 2.87 ERA because it is driven by extremely lucky hit and strand rates of 25% and 87% respectively. That low hit rate and high strand rate are both unsustainable. Peavy is precisely the reason you don’t purchase surface stats. His skills have been on a steady decline for two years running and they’ve never been worse than they are right now. Peavy has a 4.48 xERA overall and a 5.02 xERA over his past two starts. As a fly-ball pitcher with poor durability, with worsening control (21 BB in 36 innings) with a home in the AL East, Peavy's risk outweighs his reward. A big correction in Peavy’s ERA is coming.   

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