Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, May 7

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

Jack Jones

Chicago Cubs -104

After losing the first two games of this series to the rival South Siders, I look for the Chicago Cubs to bounce back with a Game 3 victory behind their ace, Travis Wood.  They are showing excellent value here due to the motivation and the edge they have on the mound.

Wood has gone 2-3 with a 3.34 ERA and 1.248 WHIP this season to pick up right where he left off last season.  Indeed, the left-hander posted a 3.11 ERA and 1.145 WHIP over 32 starts last year and was one of the better starters in the entire National League.

He'll be opposed by John Danks, who hasn't been himself since 2010.  He went 8-12 with a 4.33 ERA in 2011, 3-4 with a 5.70 ERA in an injury-plagued 2012, and 4-14 with a 4.75 ERA in 2013.  Now, Danks is off to a 2-2 start with a 5.00 ERA and 1.583 WHIP through six starts in 2014.

Wood is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.250 WHIP in two career starts against the White Sox.  Danks is 0-8 (-9.1 Units) against the money line after giving up two or more home runs last outing over the last two seasons.  Chicago is 1-11 in Danks' last 12 starts vs. a team with a losing record.  Bet the Cubs Wednesday.

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

Tom Grassi

Phillies vs.Blue Jays
Play: Under 8

After playing two games in Philadelphia, the Phillies and Blue Jays head north of the border to play a 2-game series starting tonight in Toronto. The Jays won both of those games, the first 3-0 and  6-5 last night.

The pitching matchup tonight has Lee for the Phillies and Buehrle for Toronto. Lee has been razor sharp in his last three starts with a 1.71 ERA. On the season he has a 4-3 team start record and an 4-2-1 over under mark. Buehrle has been solid to start the season with a 2.25 ERA and 5-1 team start record and a 2-4 over / under mark.

After seeing 11 runs scored yesterday we like this game to be low scoring with Lee and Buehrle having good starts. The over / under in this contest it teetering between 7.5 and 8 runs. Go play it under 8 runs.

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

Steve Janus

Toronto Blue Jays -120

This is a solid price to get the Blue Jays at home. Toronto comes in having won three straight overall, including two in a row over the Phillies. The Blue Jays will send out Mark Buehrle, who outside of one bad start against the Red Sox has been brilliant in the early stages of 2014. Buehrle comes in with a 5-1 record to go with a 2.25 ERA and 1.250 WHIP in six starts. I'm well aware that the Philadelphia will be sending out Cliff Lee, who has been dominant of late, but Lee has not been nearly effective on the road (3.81 ERA, 1.385 WHIP) as he has at home. Lee also has a history of not pitching well against the Blue Jays. He's 2-5 with a 4.46 ERA and 1.427 WHIP over 11 career starts. In his last two starts at Toronto, he's allowed 12 runs on 22 hits.

Surprisingly enough, Lee has not been a good starter to back after a team loss. He's just 17-24 in his last 41 starts following a team loss. Buehrle on the other hand is 33-14 in his last 47 interleague starts and 10-2 in his last 12 starts during the month of May.

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

Jeff Fenster

Houston Astros vs. Detroit Tigers    
Play: Detroit Tigers -212

The Tigers and Rick Porcello (4-1 3.66 ERA) take on Brad Peacock (0-2 5.17 ERA) and the Astros. The Tigers are one of the hottest teams in baseball and have won their last 6 games by at least 2 runs.  The Astros are one of the worst teams in baseball and Brad Peacock has not only not won a game yet this season but has an ERA over 5.00.  The value is very thin on tonight's game at -212 BUT they should win this game and this play still has a positive EV based on the JFEN System's handicapping model.  The Tigers are scoring runs as they are averaging more than 5 runs per game and based on Peacock's recent outings, nothing suggests a low scoring game for the Tigers.  Conversely, Porcello is a solid arm and should keep the Astros near their average of only 3.3 runs per game.

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

Jesse Schule

Colorado vs. Texas
Pick: Colorado

The Rockies have won eight of their last 10 overall, and they out-scored Texas 20-3 in a two game sweep at home. The series shifts to Texas tonight, and the visitors are a slight underdog despite their overwhelming success at the plate.

Colorado has been hitting the cover off the ball, leading the major leagues in batting average as well as total runs scored. Troy Tulowitzki, Charlie Blackmon and Justin Morneau are first, second and fourth in the NL in batting average.

Jorge De La Rosa will toe the rubber for the Rockies tonight, and he's won three straight starts. De La Rosa (3-3, 5.11 ERA) allowed three runs on eight hits over six innings in a 10-3 win over the Mets his last time out. Prior to that he allowed just a pair of runs over 12 innings in wins over the Dodgers and Giants.

The Rangers hand the ball to veteran Colby Lewis, who has looked sharp in recent outings. Lewis (2-1, 4.22 ERA) allowed a pair of runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings in a win over the Angels his last time out. He doesn't go deep into ballgames, and his stuff is mediocre at best. It would be no surprise to see the 34 year old run into some trouble against baseball's highest scoring offense.


Jesse Schule's Featured Package

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

Teddy Covers

Baltimore  at Tampa Bay
Play: Baltimore +110

The first place Baltimore Orioles have scored 77 runs in their last 13 road games, showing the offensive potency that this lineup was expected to have coming into the campaign.  That’s how Baltimore has won eight of those thirteen ballgames, cashing each and every one of those winning bets at an underdog price.

And there’s no reason to think that Tampa spot starter Cesar Ramos is going to be able to shut down the Orioles lineup today either.  Ramos has been bouncing between the bullpen and the rotation.  He issued six walks in just 4.2 innings against Boston last Thursday, then came out of the bullpen against the Yankees on Saturday; a classic ‘likely to struggle finding a rhythm’ type start tonight.  The Rays bullpen behind Ramos has been overworked and ineffective of late – the Rays starters have completed six full innings only twice in their last eight ballgames.

Baltimore’s Bud Norris has won each of his last two starts, settling into a solid early season rhythm.   Norris is a savvy veteran who won’t wow opposing hitters with particularly nasty stuff, but he eats innings and doesn’t issue many free passes, limiting the damage when he does get hit.  The Orioles bullpen behind him has been quietly very effective in recent weeks. It’s a ‘bet-on’ unit against a quiet Rays’ lineup that has been held to three runs or less on 17 separate occasions already this year, including last night’s loss.

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

LT Profits

Washington vs Indiana
Pick: Under 186

The Washington Wizards drew first blood on the Indiana Pacers with a 102-96 win in Game 1, already the Wizards’ fourth road playoff win this post-season! To be fair though, Indiana was just one day removed from an intense effort in Game 7 vs. the Hawks, so a flat effort Monday was probably inevitable. Now, the Pacers are in another must-win spot, and as awful as they were after the All-Star break, this team was able to rise up defensively every time it needed to vs. Atlanta, holding the Hawks in the 80’s on all four Indiana wins while allowing an average of 85.3 points in those victories. Look for more of the same here, but we find the ‘under’ preferable to giving points with the Pacers because Indiana continues to scuffle offensively and Washington has an underrated defense. The ‘under’ is 7-3 in the Wizards’ last 10 games vs. teams with winning straight up records.

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

King Creole

Orioles / Rays Under 7.5

The OU line for this one opened at 8 runs on the overnight line... and has been bet down to 7.5 on gameday. The visiting Baltimore Orioles are chugging along in the American League East despite a surprisingly unproductive offense and 2013 home run champion Chris Davis relegated to the disabled list. Not only that, but catcher Matt Wieters will also not play tonight with his current elbow injury. So we already know that the O's are 'not playing with a full deck' tonight. With both teams trending 'Under' as of late, we'll tale a bite this this evening.

Major League Baseball has made some significant UMPIRE changes this season. I count at least 14 new guys who were not Umping at this time last season. Getting a feel for some of these new guys will take a little time. ONE of those new guys will be working 'behind the dish' tonight in Tampa. That would be Man in Blue CLINT FAGAN. He comes in tied with the second best 'UNDER' record on the season (out of 80 Umps)... with an an overall mark of 1-5 O/U. Average runs-per-game when Fagan is working has been a miniscule 5.0. His games this year have seen 6 runs... 4 runs... 1 run... 9 runs... 6 runs... and 4 runs. He's already worked one game at Tropicana Filed this year (Yankees vs Rays on April 20th). And in fact, tonight's starting pitcher for Tampa (Cesar Ramos) ALSO started that previous game vs New York. That game saw only 6 total runs scored and it was Fagan's most strikeouts (24) of any game so far this year. Fagan has gone 9-16 O/U in his career... including 2-8 O/U in all 'Righty vs Lefty' pitching matchups

Speaking of Cesar Ramos, if we eliminate his very first start of the season... he's been very solid. In his last three starts, his ERA is only 1.23. He allowed 1 earned run... 0 earned runs... and 1 earned run in those three starts (ALL of which went UNDER the Total). Tonight will be his first career start vs the Orioles. Daytime ERA: 3.86.... Nighttime ERA: only 1.17.

On the flip side, Bud Norris gets the call for the visiting Orioles. He faced the Rays once last year... and allowed only 1 earned run in 7 innings of work in a 4-1 win (and UNDER). He has similar results as his counterpart this evening. After allowing 5 earned runs in 5 innings in his first start of the year, Norris has looked very solid. His ERA in his last four starts has been just 2.91. Daytime ERA this season: 5.40.... Nighttime ERA: only 2.08. His most recent start saw him allow only 1 earned run in a 5-1 win (and UNDER) versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. THREE of his last four starts have gone 'Under the Total'.

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Prophet Plays

Clippers vs. Thunder
Play: Over 214.5

This series is now 10-3 ‘OVER’ the last 13 meetings. Granted you can’t expect Chris Paul to deliver 8-of-9 from beyond the arc, but it’s worth noting the Thunder is vulnerable to the 3-point shot. They were #26 in defending the long range bomb this year. Two nights ago the Thunder only had 31 points with 7:19 remaining in the second quarter. But they went on to score 26 points or more in each of the final three quarters and despite hitting just 45.9 percent Oklahoma City still scored 105 points. There could have actually been more than 227 points scored on Monday when you consider the Clippers rested the majority of their starters in the fourth quarter and only scored 18 points in the final stanza. Plus I doubt Reggie Jackson and Caron Butler will go a combined 2-of-15 tonight off the bench. The Clippers are an incredible 14-1 ‘OVER’ since December 1. Plus since Christmas Day, Clipper games have averaged 222.7 points a game providing LA is an underdog. Meanwhile over the last four years Oklahoma City is 10-1 ‘OVER’ as a home favorite of eight points or less when the posted total is 187 or higher. The Thunder also stand 20-6 ‘OVER’ their last 26 when playing on one day of rest and an incredible 8-1 ‘OVER’ their last nine Wednesday games. Get a load of this league-wide playoff system: Since 1995 when all playoff non-division teams coming off a road victory in which they scored 120 or more points have seen their next game go 9-0 ‘OVER’ when the posted total falls in the range between 203-220. Plus NBA playoff home favorites off a home loss in which they allowed 120 or more points are 8-0 ‘OVER’ since 1993. It all fits here and Western Conference games in this post-season have gone ‘OVER’ at an extraordinary clip.

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Bruce Marshall

Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays
Pick: Tampa Bay Rays

Time for a turnaround in this series after Baltimore has won the previous three meetings.The Rays are hoping Ramos can be more efficient and eat up some innings. Tampa Bay's starters have completed six innings only twice in the past eight games, putting added pressure on a bullpen that has compiled a 5.13 ERA during that span. But Cesar Ramos was fairly effective in his most-recent start last Thursday vs. the Red Sox, and expect the Rays to do some business at the plate vs. Bud Norris.

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

Dave Price

Tampa Bay Rays -120

The Rays blew an early 2-0 lead and fell last night, but they are in good position to bounce back here.  The Orioles are 1-3 against southpaw starters this season, batting only .214 and scoring just 2.5 runs per game against them.  Going back to last season, they are 3-7 in their last 10 road games versus left-handed starters.  Getting to Tampa Bay's Ramos figures to be a difficult task.  The lefty has an ERA of 1.23 over his last three starts.  Baltimore's Norris hasn't had the same kind of stuff on the road where he has an ERA of 6.23 through three starts.  The Orioles have won each of this season's three meetings, but the odds of winning a fourth straight aren't in their favor.  Baltimore is 5-11 in the last 16 meetings and 1-4 in the last five in Tampa Bay.  The Rays are also 25-11 when playing with double revenge the last two seasons.

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

Sam Martin

Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians
Prediction: Cleveland Indians

After losing six straight on the road against the Giants and Angels, Cleveland has seemingly turned things around back at home winning their series against the White Sox and then splitting the first two games of this series against the Twins, including a 4-2 victory last night. We'll back the Indians in a favorable pitching matchup to win again Wednesday.

Indians starter Danny Salazar was all over the place early, but has settled down of late with just 4 ER's over his last 12 innings of work for a 3.00 ERA in his last two outings. Twins starter Ricky Nolasco is the key to this game, owning a very high 8.72 ERA in four road starts this year. Even worse is his high 2.123 WHIP in those four road games, allowing more than 2 baserunners per inning! Cleveland is a solid 30-11 as a home favorite priced between -125 and -175 and they'll come through against Nolasco tonight!

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Will Rogers

Cincinnati vs. Boston
Pick: Cincinnati

Though the Reds lost 4-3 yesterday here in Boston, I feel they are worth a shot today on the money line.

Here are my keys to the game:

1.  Tough Losses - Though they are two games over .500, Cincinnati has a run differential of +16, which is actually better than that of first place Milwaukee, who is currently six games ahead of them in the American League Central.  As you might expect, they have a poor record in one run games.  Already they've played 15 of them and won just five.  Last night saw them lose in walkoff fashion in 12 innings.  They are due to start winning some of these games.

2. Mike Leake - The Reds starter has pitched at least six innings in every start and been pretty effective in doing so.  He was a hard luck loser in his last start as the team failed to score.  I like the team's chances with him on the hill tonight.

3.  X-Factor-  The Red Sox have given Jake Peavy just four runs of support in his four home starts this year.

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Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

INDIANA -4 (-115) over Washington: I know this Pacers team has troubles, but as far as talent goes they are still the better team and I feel they will get their heads clear for this one to avoid another embarrassing home loss at the hands of the Wizards. The Wizards were able to dictate the pace in game 1, but Indiana is still a team that plays great defense and will use that defense, much like they did in game 7 vs the Hawks, to slow down the young Wizards that just may be feeling a bit too high after take game 1 of this series. The host is 4-1 ATS the last 5 meetings and the Wizards are 4-9 ATS their last 13 games in Indiana. I look for the Pacers to win this one by 8+ points.

2 UNIT PLAY

Thunder/ Clippers Under 216: The Thunder have the ability to play much better defense than they did in game one, and I see them turning to that defense in this one, especially with their backs against the wall as it is. The Thunder have allowed just 99.2 ppg on 43.6% shooting on their home floor and should come up with a good game plan to control the pace in this one. I also can;t see the Clippers hitting 51.7% from long range again and certainly can't see Chris Paul going 8 for 9 from deep again. Thunder home games have averaged 205.8 ppg on the year and that's just about where I see this one falling.

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Bob Balfe

St. Louis Cardinals -115

Wainwright has been pitching excellent this year while Minor has only had a few innings of work. Both pitchers have given up 2 homeruns on the year. Wainwright in 50 innings and Minor in just 6. This game will be low scoring and could come down to that one long ball. Atlanta has really struggled to score runs as of late. Take the Cardinals.

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

Joe Williams

Wizards at Pacers
Play: Over

The over is 7-1 in Washington's past eight overall games, and 4-1 in their past five on the road. Plus, over is 6-1 in their past seven against a team with a winning percentage over .600. The over is 6-2 in Indiana's past eight home games, and 4-1 in their past five against a team with a winning straight-up record. Buck the trend, as the under has cashed in five of the past six meetings in Indianapolis. Of course, Game 1 was the exception, and Game 2 will be no different.

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Jeff Alexander

Detroit Tigers -1.5

Bottom Line: The Tigers are rolling.  They've won 7 in a row by an average of 4.6 runs, and each of the last 6 wins have come by at least 2 runs.  Detroit is now 8-1 versus Houston since the start of last season.  These 8 wins have come by an average of 5.9 runs, and each of the last 6 wins have come by at least 2 runs.  The Tigers have won 15 of Porcello's last 19 starts and 11 of these victories have come by 2 runs or more.  The Astros have lost 10 of Peacock's last 15 starts by an average of 3.3 runs.

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

Joe Gavazzi

St. Louis -105

Rarely do we pass up an opportunity to play St. Louis following a loss.  Since the start of 2013, St. Louis is 45-20 following a defeat including 10-5 this year.  That includes 25-12 away, 5-3 this year on the road.  The Braves snapped their 7 game losing streak with a 2-1 win vs. St. Louis tonight.  But the Braves bats continue to be dormant.  In their last 9 games, Atlanta has totaled 16 runs.  Minor was decent in his first start of the season 5 days ago.  His recent history against St. Louis has not been as strong.  In 4 starts totaling 23 2/3 IP, Minor has a 4.56 ERA.  The Cards have won 5/7 Wainwright starts over which time he has a 2.16 ERA with a 46/13 KBB.  That includes 5 road starts where in 35 IP he has a .195 BAA.  The exception to his excellence came in his previous start, a 6-5 loss to the Cubs in which he worked 5 IP allowing 6 runs on 10 hits.  St.Louis and Wainwright bounce back against the weak hitting Brave bats.

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

Andre Gomes

Wizards / Pacers Under 187

We lost w/ the Under by 14 points in the first game of this series, but note that w/ less than a minute to go, the score was 94-84 (178 points) and then the Pacers hit 4 three pointers while the Wizards went 8 for 8 from the FT line!

For tonight’s contest the biggest adjustment will be made from IND regarding Roy Hibbert:

"I have to get (Hibbert) some looks to get him going some," Vogel said. "Everyone has to understand, he wasn't 0 for 11 last night, he was 0 for 2. He's the fifth option in our starting five offense."

Honestly, I don’t think that Hibbert will have a big impact on the offensive end in this series, but w/ the Pacers being focused to feed him down low, I expect IND to play @ slower pace tonight. According to my numbers, the Pace factor of G1 was 94.8 – way above my expectations.

The biggest problem for the Pacers in G1 (apart from letting WAS to hit 10-16 from 3pts) was their inability to get rebounds. WAS had a remarkable 61% reb/rate w/ 17 offensive boards! Drew Gooden alone had more offensive rebounds vs. entire IND team! This is where Hibbert could really make a difference because when he is out, most likely Luis Scola will get his minutes – not a good thing for IND regarding this “issue”.

On the other side, IND’s offensive problems are real against a Wizards’ defense that is coming from a great defensive series vs. CHI in the first round. Note that the Pacers scored only 20 points in the paint!

Because of the high scoring outcome in G1, we are getting 187 points – good enough for me to make a play w/ the Under in here.

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