Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, May 24

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, May 24

SPORTS WAGERS

TORONTO +112 over Oakland

With spring injuries shelving two of their top starters, the Athletics turned to long-reliever Jesse Chavez to fill the void at the start of the year. With his first four starts all being of the pure quality variety, Chavez certainly made quite an impression but we’re starting to see some chinks in his armor. Only two of his last five starts have been of the pure quality variety. Chavez has also allowed two jacks in each of his last two starts. It’s also worth noting that his hot start came against weak competition that included the Astros twice, Seattle once and at Minnesota on a very cold day. Chavez entered this season with 5.99 ERA in 156 appearances so it may be a little premature to declare him a stud in such a small sample size this season. Chavez has a very impressive 2.54 ERA but his xERA over his last five starts is 4.07. He has been aided by an unsustainable 83% strand rate and it’s only a matter of time before some of those base-runners start crossing the plate. With a new approach and improved results, there’s no reason to expect the wheels to completely fall off for Chavez but he’s not going to maintain that ERA he’s posted to this point either. He’ll now face one of the hottest teams in the game and we’re not convinced he should be favored.

The Blue Jays have won 9 of 11. They are not only swinging hot bats and playing great defense but they’re doing all the little things right as well. Toronto’s execution of getting runners over and getting them in has been near flawless over this current hot streak. There isn’t a soft spot in the Blue Jays order. Each player that comes to the dish is a threat to go deep and it’s not just power either. The Jays have speed, they hit for average and they are as cohesive a unit as any team in baseball. That brings us to R.A. Dickey and he needs no introductions. Dickey has some risk because if his knuckler isn’t dancing, he has no shot at success. However, Dickey is 4-1 at home this season with a 3.05 ERA. Besides, this one is more about disregarding the pitchers and playing the Blue Jays at home as a dog because Toronto is playing too well to ignore in this spot.   


L.A. ANGELS -112 over Kansas City

James Shields is 6-3 with an ERA of 2.67 and he and the Royals opened as the favorite here because Shields’ mount opponent is a rookie with just two major-league starts. That said, we’re not buying Shields’ hot start because the skills don’t support his stats. Shields’ xERA over his last three starts is 4.49. He’s been aided by a high strand rate of 79% and a low hit rate of 28%. Both of those are unsustainable. Shields’ groundball/line-drive/fly-ball profile is league average and it looks like the big groundball gain in 2012 was an aberration. He’s also giving up a lot more line drives than usual. Shields’ will now face an Angels team that has won five of six and 11 of their past 14 games. The Angels have also scored six runs or more in six of their past 11 wins.

Matt Shoemaker replaced Hector Santiago in the rotation and pitched well in his first two big league starts, both of which were wins (3 ER, 9 K in 11 IP). The more we look at this matchup, the more value we see in Shoemaker and the Angels. The Royals have one of the worst OBP's (.307) in the majors against RHP. Shoemaker is capable of striking batters out at a high rate, as his 9.1 K’s/9 in the minors and his 14 K’s in 18 innings at this level will attest to. Shoemaker also has an elite groundball rate of 57% as a starter, a WHIP of 0.96 and most of all he now has confidence to go along with his good overall stuff and great command. With that, we’ll step in and spot the cheap price.


Chicago +102 over SAN DIEGO

Travis Wood can pitch and the Cubbies are playing around .500 ball over their past 24 games. This is another one of those very winnable games that’s all about fading Billy Buckner.   

With injuries piling up in the rotation, the best the Padres can do today is Buckner. Buckner is a 30-year-old career journeyman that has spent most of his pro career in the minors. When he’s been given the opportunity in the majors, Buckner has nose-dived each time for three different teams and now the Padres are his fourth team. In 43 appearances in the majors since 2007 (23 starts) Buckner has a career WHIP of 1.61, a career BAA of .309 and a career OPS of .892. Buckner is and always has been an emergency starter and cannon fodder in blowouts throughout his career. Win or lose here, when we can get on against Buckner and don’t have to spot anything in doing so, we’re going to play it every time and absolutely make no exception here. Buckner’s chance of success is slim and his chance of losing is great. 


TAMPA BAY -1 +104 over Boston

The Rays are too cold at the dish to be spotting 1½-runs so we’ll just have to settle for this wager with a smaller take-back. The good news is that despite the weak hitting, Tampa has started to win some games and that’s a huge difference to a teams’ mindset. The Rays are coming off back-to-back wins and will once again enjoy a significant edge on the hill here. Jake Peavy’s dropping skills and rising fly-ball profile warn that ERA could continue to rise. Over his last three starts covering 16.1 frames, Peavy has struck out 7 batters while walking 6. He’s allowed nine jacks in 54 frames and has yet to go a start this season without giving up a bomb. Peavy’s numbers just keep getting worse. He faded badly down the stretch last season and he’s trending that way again this year with a 6.35 ERA and .310 OBA average in May. Recapping, Jake Peavy’s K’s are way down, his BB’s are up, his fly-ball rate continues to increase and is now at 42% compared to 38% groundouts, he has a 1.50 WHIP overall and in May, covering three starts, his WHIP is at 1.72 and his ERA is at 5.16. Pitching for a Red Sox team that has lost eight in a row and that’s not giving their pitchers any run support whatsoever, Peavy’s risk far outweighs his reward.

David Price has an ERA of 4.28 after 10 starts. That’s the majors’ most misleading ERA so a serious correction, to the good, in Price’s ERA is forthcoming. Price’s xERA is 2.95. Here’s a guy that has walked six batters in 69 innings while striking out 77. Over his last 34 innings, Price has walked two and struck out 37. Price’s dominance can be seen in his 83%/4% dominant start/disaster start split since the start of the second half last year. Not only is Price’s under the hood stats sick, he’s added another couple of pitches to his repertoire and is using his 94 MPH four-seam fastball less. Price has a wicked cutter and one of the best changeups in the game. There are no signs of a slowdown for Price. He’s an elite pitcher with elite skills whose ERA will reflect that very shortly. Price figures to breeze through a Red Sox lineup that is swinging at everything and hitting nothing. Invest with confidence.

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Brady Kannon

Milwaukee +100

The Brewers are back! Yeah, they took about a week to ten days off on offense and now that appears to be over as the bats have returned.. just in time for a date with Jacob Turner who hasn't converted a start into a win in his last 17-tries. Miami is just 3-and-14 in his starts despite their excellent record at home. Peralta has been good enough for Milwaukee and again, if the bats are still going as they have for The Brewers, I like our chances here. I would probably act sooner rather than later as I would expect Milwaukee to become the favorite in this game.

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Dave Essler

Atlanta -150

I am also going to throw a marble on the Braves RL and possibly the over. I'd LOVE 7, but don't know if it gets there. Minor has thrown a TON of pitches in the last two games, but the Braves clearly have the better bullpen, and they ALL simply crush Nicasio, who is one of those Rockies pitchers' who is actually WAY WORSE away from Coors Field. At 4PM in Atlanta it is going to be SUPER-HOT and very humid, so the ball should carry, and the Rockies being from Colorado just aren't used to that. If and when Minor DOES make mistakes, he's a flyball pitcher big time, so Colorado should get SOME. Atlanta's on a winning streak and the Rockies aren't. Lance Barksdale will be behind the plate, and his last FOUR games have seen 10+ runs. Over the years' he typically been an "under" umpire, so I suppose there's always the reverse-regression thing, but I just don't see it with what I see on the field. Either way, I can't see a scenario where the Rockies win a low-scoring game, so it's all somewhat correlated, not unlike what we tried to do in the Toronto game last night.

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Prophet Plays

Colorado Rockies vs. Atlanta Braves
Play: Atlanta Braves -151

Mike Minor is making his fifth start since returning from a season-opening stint on the disabled list. In his first two outings, Minor allowed eight runs on 18 hits in 10.1 innings and Atlanta lost both games. In his last two, both Braves' wins, Minor has given up two runs on eight hits in 13.1 innings.Atlanta has won all four of Minor's career starts against Colorado, but he's pitched best in the two at Turner Field, throwing 14 scoreless innings and allowing just three hits.The Braves took last night's opener, 3-2, marking their fourth win in five games overall and their sixth in seven tries at home. The Rockies have lost six of their last seven on the road, scoring a total of nine runs in the losses. No surprise considering they're averaging 3.9 runs on the road and nearly three more per game (6.8) at Coors Field.Colorado's Juan Nicasio is 3-0 in six home starts this season with a 3.60 ERA. The road, however, has been a different story as his ERA is 4.96 in three outings in which he's allowed 23 baserunners in 16.1 innings. Again, no surprise since his ERA in 17 road starts a year ago was 4.62 and he allowed 135 baserunners (99 hits, 36 walks) in 87.2 innings.Nicasio is 0-3 in four career starts against Atlanta. He's worked 18.1 innings in those outings and allowed 20 runs on 30 hits in addition to talking 10 batters. The Rockies have scored a total of seven runs in Nicasio's three road starts this season.

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Tony Karpinski

Texas Rangers vs. Detroit Tigers    
Play: Detroit Tigers -166 

Texas has a strong team this year, but when on the road are a completely different team, and lack the emotional fortitude to pull it out in Detroit. Detroit is laced with power, based off primarily with Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. Rajai Davis is a very fast player so even with small bouncing infield dinkers, he can cover a lot of space, and is very quick when getting base to base.

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Andrew Lange 

Chicago Cubs at San Diego
Play: : Chicago +104

Chicago’s Travis Wood has pitched a little better than his 4.61 ERA and was given no favors of late with games against division foes St. Louis and Milwaukee as well as a start in bandbox Cellular Field. His K/9 (8.40) is actually two full strikeouts ahead of last year and his FIP of 3.59 is more than a full run less than his ERA. Tonight the extreme fly baller can rest easy knowing he can challenge hitters in the zone and likely avoid the long ball. The Padres will call up veteran journeyman Billy Buckner who was last seen slinging poop for the Angels last season. In 155.2 MLB innings, Bucker's ERA is over 6.00 and his K-to-BB ratio a dismal 110-61. And even though he was pitching in the hitter friendly PCL that last two seasons, Buckner still flashes alarmingly high WHIPs of 1.60 and 1.39. Offensively, both teams are obviously poor. Statistically the Padres are the worst offense in the National League (.224/.280/.633) – ironically their numbers are even worse on the highway. The Cubs aren't much better but I'm more focused on the starting pitching matchup and feel like the Cubs have enough of an edge to warrant a small play.

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Harry Bondi

CLEVELAND (+110) over Baltimore

We expected Tribe starter Corey Kluber to have a big year and after a sluggish start the big right-hander is coming around nicely, going 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA in four starts this month with 39 strikeouts and 5 walks. Meanwhile, former Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez has had a tough time in an O's uniform this year, especially in this ballpark where he is 0-4 at home with a 4.81 ERA. Cleveland was in a letdown spot last night after sweeping the Tigers earlier in the week, and it showed. Today they will be laser-focused to get back on the winning track against their former teammate, who took the money and ran during the offseason.

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Nelly

Boston Red Sox + over Tampa Bay Rays

The numbers for David Price this season certainly don't indicate that he is one of the top pitchers in baseball and just a few years removed from a Cy Young award. Price has a great strikeout-to-walk ratio but he has a 4.28 ERA already taking four losses and he has not pitched well at home with a 5.01 ERA. Boston has had good success against Price in recent seasons and already this season Price has allowed three or more runs in six different starts. The Rays enter this game coming off back-to-back emotional walk-off wins but Tampa Bay is just 21-28 on the season including just 10-14 at home. In the last 10 games the Rays are batting just .195 with 2.2 runs scored per game and the numbers are even worse against right-handed pitching. In great contrast Boston has dominated left-handed pitching this season, going 10-6 against left-handed starters. In the last 10 games Boston is batting .261 vs. southpaws and for the season Boston is scoring nearly a half run more on average against left-handers. The Red Sox enter this game on an eight-game slide but that creates exceptional value on the defending World Series champions, with Boston playing much better on the road this season. Jake Peavy is coming off back-to-back disappointing starts to spoil a strong start to the season but he dominated Tampa Bay earlier this season with just three hits allowed in over six innings. Peavy made three excellent starts against the Rays last season and he has been a dramatically superior pitcher in daytime games this season, featuring a 2.37 ERA. The Rays have won just three of the last 12 home games and there is a big bullpen edge for the Red Sox in this matchup with Boston featuring a 2.97 ERA on the season for relievers. Boston has actually been favored in all eight losses on the losing streak as value has shifted dramatically for today's game.

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Wunderdog

Seattle @ Washington
Pick: Seattle +5

The Seattle Storm were once a dominant force in the WNBA, but have tapered off the last couple of years in large part due to injuries. They are coming into this game having played yesterday, and it has bumped the line. This is a team that has nine players at 16 minutes or more, and no one is playing more than 28 a night, so the lack of rest should not be a factor at all - especially at this early stage of the season. Washington has played just two games, and has not been able to get into any rhythm yet. They are also just 2-5 ATS in their last seven on no rest. The Storm has had the edge, as they are 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings, and this one sets up right for them. Play on Seattle.

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Wunderdog

Kansas City @ Los Angeles
Pick: Kansas City +105

Kansas City is a young team that is getting closer and closer. And at one game under .500, they certainly have incentive to play hard here as they take on the LA Angels. The Angels have been an under-achieving team the last 2+ years. While they have played better this season, they are not taking advantage of their home turf where they are just 14-12 on the season. James Shields is finally getting some run support and he is 6-3 with an ERA of 2.67 on the season, and has allowed a total of 4 runs over his last three starts. Kansas City is 24-9 in his last 33 starts, including 6-1 in his last seven vs. a winning team. They're also getting it done on the road where the Royals are 16-5 in his last 21 starts. Back Kansas City in this one.

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Larry Ness

Minnesota vs. San Francisco
Pick: San Francisco

The 30-18 Giants (.625) are one of just THREE teams with a winning percentage of greater than .600 this year...

The 30-18 Giants (.625) are one of just THREE teams with a winning percentage of greater than .600 this year, lead the NL West by four games and are MLB's top money earner in the early going, at plus-$1,180 ($100/game). After a 6-2 win last night over the Twins, the Giants take on Minnesota again tonight, hoping that Pablo Sandoval and Ryan Vogelsong continue their hot stretches, as both players have turned around their poor starts to 2014.

Sandoval had a .171 average with two HRs and six RBI through the first 34 games but has batted .360 in 13 games since. He connected for a three-run shot in the first inning Friday. Vogelsong will take the mound for the Giants, looking to deliver another strong pitching performance. He's sure done is part lately, posting a 1.62 ERA over his last five starts but owns a modest 2-1 record to show for it, due to only NINE total runs of support. That's in stark contrast to his first four starts, during which he went 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA.

"You have to believe that you're going to turn it around and get it going," Vogelsong said. "That's what my hope was. You have to believe that. If you don't, you're behind the 8-ball to begin with. When they believe in you, too, that goes a long way. That helps a lot." The Giants have won FOUR of Vogelsong's most recent five starts plus have won all four interleague meetings this year and five straight dating to 2013, their longest such streak since taking seven in a row in 2011. A 1.40 ERA has keyed the recent success against AL foes and Vogelsong's recent form suggests San Fran's excellent starting pitching will continue.

Minnesota's Samuel Deduno (1-2, 3.53) had his scheduled start flipped with that of Ricky Nolasco, who is now slated to pitch Sunday. Deduno has gone 1-1 with a 4.24 ERA in three starts (team is 2-1) after moving from the bullpen to the rotation to replace an ineffective Mike Pelfrey, who's on the disabled list with a groin injury. Deduno's nothing special and the Giants come in having won 13 of their last 18 games at home and with Vogelsong in excellent "current form," grab another win right here.

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Sam Martin

Washington Nationals at Pittsburgh Pirates
Prediction: Pittsburgh Pirates

Washington starter Stephen Strasburg sure has the name value to warrant this line, but he doesn't have the statistics to back it up and we'll fade Strasburg and the Nationals on the road at a great price in terms of line value.

Strasburg is just 2-2 with a 5.09 ERA on the road this year and his Nationals have been a disappointment at the plate with a .246 team batting average on the season. Pirates are heating up with three straight wins and Gerrit Cole is a solid 3-1 with a 3.21 ERA here at home. Stats call for Pittsburgh to be a much higher favorite than they are, and we'll jump all over this line value!

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Steve Janus

Kansas City Royals +103

The Royals are showing some great value here as a small road underdog with their ace James Shields on the mound. Shields is 6-3 with a 2.67 ERA and 1.114 WHIP over his first 10 starts and has been even stronger than that of late with a 1.71 ERA over his last 3 starts. Adding even more value is how well he's thrown on the road. Shields is 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 1.050 WHIP over his 6 road starts.

The Angels counter with Matt Shoemaker, who has pitched well but I don't believe his stuff is good enough to hold up over the long run. Even if he does keep it up, he's not shown the ability to pitch deep into games. Given the Angels bullpen has a 4.70 ERA and 1.370 WHIP on the road, I look for the Royals to win here rather easily.

System - Road teams when the money line is +125 to -125 (KANSAS CITY) - after having lost 3 of their last 4 games, a marginal losing team (46% to 49%) playing a winning team are 48-23 (68%) over the last 5 seasons.

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Michael Alexander

Dodgers vs. Phillies
Play: Over 8½

The OVER is 7-2-1 in the Dodgers last 10 games as a road favorite betwen -110 to -150, 8-3-1 in their last 12 overall, and 5-2 in Haren's last 7 starts overall. The OVER is also 4-1-1 in the Phillies last 6 overall, 5-0 in their last 5 games as a home underdog, and 20-8-2 in their last 30 games vs a right handed starter.

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Joe Gavazzi

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds    
Play: St. Louis Cardinals -108 

Following the 5-3 St. Louis loss to Cincinnati last night, you must know we are right back on St. Louis following a loss.    Since the start of 2013, St. Louis is 60-26 following a defeat including 15-6 this year.  On the road, those numbers are 33-17 including 8-4 this year.  St. Louis has owned this series winning 9 of the last 10.  Each of these starters have battled shoulder problems.  Since this became an issue for Cingrani, the Reds lost both his starts in which he pitched 10 innings allowing 7 runs and 18 BR.  Garcia had a successful return to the rotation.  Though the start resulted in the 6-5 loss to Atlanta, Garcia worked 7 innings allowing only 5 BR with a 5/0 KBB.  Garcia has a great history vs. the Reds with a 9-2 record and 2.95 ERA in 13 starts.

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Dennis Macklin

Red Sox vs. Rays    
Play: Over 7

Neither of these teams have much pop, especially the Boston Red Sox who going into yesterday had 39 team home runs. That's 12 less than both toothless San Diego and Houston. Today's starters just might be the cure for what ails. Jake Pevay got off to a monster start but rocks a 6.35 ERA over his last four starts. Homestanding David Price is not a whole lot better with his 1-3 mark and 5.35 ERA in his last five outings. Both teams are capable of getting this number against the opposing respective starter today, play the over.

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Andre Gomes

Real Madrid +119

For this contest, I’ve made the decision to make a play w/ Real Madrid this Wednesday, but because there were some news regarding the availability of Atletico’s striker Diego Costa (supposedly he is fit to play today), I knew that we would get a better line near game time. At the time, Real Madrid was priced @ +100 / 2.00 @ Pinnacle Sports, and right now, we could get them @ +117 / 2.17. No doubt that the wait was worth for us…

Regarding the matchups and the game…

Atletico Madrid has won the Spanish League and this achievement was simply epic in my opinion. They are the ultimate example of a “TEAM” as they have won the domestic league despite having inferior overall talent on their roster when compared to Real Madrid & Barcelona.

Their biggest strength relies on the incredible work rate of all their players. Their defensive pressing is just tremendous as they don’t concede many chances for their opponents to create quality shots. However, this will be their biggest problem for this contest!!!

I don’t think that Atletico will have the proper “aggressiveness” and physical condition to hang around against a “rested” Real Madrid team. Note that w/ them completely focused in winning La Liga, Atletico simply couldn’t win the L3 games of the competition. I understand that the draw @ Barcelona in the last round felt like a win for them, but prior to that game, Atletico lost @ Levante and draw at home against Malaga – two games in which Atletico would have won easily early / mid on the season. They gave everything to win the domestic league and I believe that this will have a price for them in here…

On the exactly opposite side we have Real Madrid… After crushing Bayern Munchen @ Germany, Real Madrid was so focused in winning “La Decima” that they completely “shut down the chip” and didn’t care to be competitive @ La Liga. This is was weird to understand because as we know, both Atletico and Barcelona struggled in the last rounds, and a focused Real Madrid could really have won La Liga! While Atletico is expected to be a little drained emotionally IMO, we have a Real Madrid team that will be ready for the challenge.

It looks like Diego Costa will play today after a “miraculous” trip to Serbia during the week. However, I just don’t think that he’ll ready to be a major factor in the game... Note that he “forced” to play @ Barcelona in their last game and got subbed w/ just 16 minutes of action. He represents almost 35% of the team’s total goals for the season, so the fact that he is way far from being @100% is a huge blow for the team. Atletico’s offensive threats in the last games have been almost exclusively via set pieces and this says it all about their lack of offensive production lately.

Obviously, I expect Atletico to bring a defensive minded game plan for this contest. Trying to play an “open game” w/ Real Madrid is just a kamikaze idea, because Real would crush them in transition w/ CR7 & Bale – that’s the biggest reason why Real humiliated Bayern @ semis w/ 4-0 win @ Germany.

For Real Madrid, the absence of Xabi Alonso can’t be ignored in here especially because I don’t like his natural replacement Illarramendi, who lacks the proper competitiveness and experience for this kind of games. I would have enjoyed more if Sami Khedira took the spot but either way, the absolutely key players for Real in the midfield are Angel Di Maria and Luka Modric and both are expected to play.

I expect this contest to be a tight one w/ few chances for both teams to score. However, w/ Diego Costa banged up and w/ also Arda Turan projected to not start the game, Atletico is really shorthanded on the front. The same thing cannot be said about Real Madrid w/ Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and K. Benzema. This trio automatically will generate some scoring chances and sooner or later, one of them will make the difference and therefore, that’s why I’m taking the Real Madrid to win this contest!

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Tapin Sports

Dodgers / Phillies Under 8.5

These two teams had quite the showdown last night, with Kershaw tossing a complete gem and escaping out of two runners on, no out situations in holding the Phillies to the 2-0 shutout.  The Dodgers may have found their mojo recently and it has all started with the starting rotation, which has showed up huge over their current 3-1 run.  Today should be a battle as Haren takes the mound looking to rebuild off his recent outings and his career history against the Phillies.  Philadelphia has been struggling at home recently, losing 6 of their last 8 games played there and the team has been shutout in 3 of their last 5 games played at Citizens Bank Field.  In fact, five of their last 9 games played in Philly have seen one side get shutout.  The Phillies are averaging only 3.4 RPG at home in 2014, a full run less than when playing on the road.  They have played to Under 8 R in 5 of their last 7 on the road, with a 9-3 mark for the Under in their last 12 away from home. 


Red Sox / Rays Under 7

Expect another low-scoring affair between these two teams as their bats were held completely silent yesterday and things shouldn't get any easier with Peavy squaring off against Price.  The Rays picked up their second straight walk-off win once again yesterday and that should have them motivated to knock the Red Sox to their 9th straight loss overall.

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Bruce Marshall

Milwaukee Brewers at Miami Marlins
Pick: Miami Marlins

Tom Koehler didn't have his best stuff for the Marlins on Friday night, contributing to their 9-5 loss to the Brewers. But before jumping off the Miami bandwagon, let's not forget that the Marlins are still an MLB-best 19-7 at home this season, and Milwaukee, even after last night's win, is just 4-9 its last 13 on the road. Miami will need Saturday starter Jacob Turner to pitch better than he has in recent outings, but the bats produced a season-high 4 homers on Friday, including two by Giancarlo Stanton., and the Marlins have scored 23 runs in their last three games.

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Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

Indiana/ Miami Under 183.5: I know that Miami home games should be higher scoring that Indiana home games, but I do like the Pacers to keep this one close and that should indicate a low scoring game, just like in game 2 in which 170 points were scored. The Heat have allowed just 92.7 ppg in the playoffs overall, including just 89.4 ppg at home, while Indiana comes in allowing just 90.1 pg in the playoffs overall and just 84.3 ppg in their playoff road games. The Last 9 in this series has averaged just 177.9 ppg, while the last 4 played here between these teams have averaged just 179.8 ppg. Both defense will show up big time here and the offenses will keep the pace slow. Should be another game played in the 170's at best.

2 UNIT PLAY

Indiana +7 over MIAMI: The Pacers played very well vs the Heat in Indiana, winning game 1 and leading game 2 most of the game, before Miami won by just 4. The Pacers are a team that has been built specifically for the Heat and I feel they will come up with a big effort here and keep this one closer than Heat fans would like. Miami should win, but by no more than 4 points in this one.

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