Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, May 25

Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, May 25

DUNKEL INDEX

NBA

San Antonio at Oklahoma City
After dropping the first two games of the series, the Thunder look to bounce back in Game 3 against a San Antonio team that is 0-7 ATS in its last 7 games at Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City is the pick (-2 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Thunder favored by 6 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Oklahoma City (-2 1/2).

Game 511-512: San Antonio at Oklahoma City (8:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Antonio 124.909; Oklahoma City 131.614
Dunkel Line & Total: Oklahoma City by 6 1/2; 212
Vegas Line & Total: Oklahoma City by 2 1/2; 208 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Oklahoma City (-2 1/2); Over

NHL

Montreal at NY Rangers
The Rangers look to bounce back from their 3-2 loss in Game 3 and come into today's contest with a 7-2 record in their last 9 games after scoring 2 goals or less in the previous game. New York is the pick (-175) according to Dunkel, which has the Rangers favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: NY Rangers (-175).

Game 13-14: Montreal at NY Rangers (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Montreal 12.239; NY Rangers 13.739
Dunkel Line & Total: NY Rangers by 1 1/2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: NY Rangers (-175); 5
Dunkel Pick: NY Rangers (-175); Under

WNBA

San Antonio at Los Angeles
The Sparks host a San Antonio team that is 1-5-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings between the two teams. Los Angeles is the pick (-8) according to Dunkel, which has the Sparks favored by 12. Dunkel Pick: Los Angeles (-8)

Game 601-602: San Antonio at Los Angeles (3:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Antonio 106.675; Los Angeles 118.675
Dunkel Line & Total: Los Angeles by 12; 144
Vegas Line & Total: Los Angeles by 8; 154
Dunkel Pick: Los Angeles (-8); Under

Game 603-604: Indiana at Atlanta (6:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Indiana 108.287; Atlanta 119.935
Dunkel Line & Total: Atlanta by 11 1/2; 157
Vegas Line & Total: Atlanta by 6; 148
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-6); Over

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DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

NY Yankees at Chicago White Sox
The Yankees play the series finale against at White Sox team that is 6-0 in Andre Rienzo's last 6 starts as an underdog. Chicago is the pick (+155) according to Dunkel, which has the White Sox favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+155).

Game 951-952: Milwaukee at Miami (1:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Nelson) 15.956; Miami (Wolf) 14.271
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Milwaukee (-115); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (-115); Under

Game 953-954: Arizona at NY Mets (1:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Arroyo) 13.450; NY Mets (Montero) 14.511
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Arizona (-115); 7
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (-105); Over

Game 955-956: LA Dodgers at Philadelphia (1:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Beckett) 15.831; Philadelphia (Burnett) 14.402
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 1 1/2; 8 1/2
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-115); 8
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-115); Over

Game 957-958: Washington at Pittsburgh (1:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Fister) 15.520; Pittsburgh (Liriano) 14.611
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1; 6
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh (-120); 7
Dunkel Pick: Washington (+100); Under

Game 959-960: Chicago Cubs at San Diego (4:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Hammel) 14.049; San Diego (Kennedy) 15.717
Dunkel Line: San Diego by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: San Diego (-130); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Diego (-130); Over

Game 961-962: Colorado at Atlanta (5:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (Morales) 15.151; Atlanta (Teheran) 14.623
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-170); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (+150); Under

Game 963-964: St. Louis at Cincinnati (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Wainwright) 14.564; Cincinnati (Leake) 15.590
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1; 6
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-150); 7
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (+130); Under

Game 965-966: Texas at Detroit (1:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (Lewis) 14.657; Detroit (Verlander) 16.122
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Detroit (-200); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-200); Over

Game 967-968: Oakland at Toronto (1:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oakland (Pomeranz) 16.648; Toronto (Happ) 15.112
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Oakland (-125); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-125); Under

Game 969-970: Cleveland at Baltimore (1:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland (Bauer) 15.725; Baltimore (Gonzalez) 14.894
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 1; 10
Vegas Line: Baltimore (-130); 9
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (+110); Over

Game 971-972: Boston at Tampa Bay (1:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (Workman) 14.887; Tampa Bay (Odorizzi) 15.364
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Tampa Bay (-115); 8
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-115); Under

Game 973-974: NY Yankees at Chicago White Sox (2:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Tanaka) 14.954; White Sox (Rienzo) 15.820
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1; 9
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-175); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+155); Over

Game 975-976: Kansas City at LA Angels (3:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Vargas) 15.549; LA Angels (Richards) 14.711
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1; 7
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-185); 8
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (+165); Under

Game 977-978: Houston at Seattle (4:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Keuchel) 15.394; Seattle (Iwakuma) 16.778
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Seattle (-170); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (-170); Over

Game 979-980: Minnesota at San Francisco (4:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota (Nolasco) 15.812; San Francisco (Bumgarner) 14.913
Dunkel Line: Minnesota by 1; 6
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-170); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+150); Under

Game 981-982: Arizona at NY Mets (4:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Spruill) 13.552; NY Mets (Matsuzaka) 14.411
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1; 9 1/2
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

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Tony George

Spurs / Thunder Under 208

If any team looks totally in sync right now it is the veteran Spurs who demolished the Thunder in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.  OK City looks to get back on track in this game at home, and since San Antonio is 1-4 ATS their last 5 trips to OK City, Thunder backers are licking their chops, but it should be noted that any team who has went down 0-2 in the conference finals in the NBA has only a 6% of winning the series.  I have a huge premium play and a strong opinion on this side play Sunday however there also is value in the Total in this game.

The total sits firmly at 208 and if you take a look in general in the Western Conference, many games go over the total and defense is flat out secondary to scoring, but this series and recent history tell us a different story.  The last 4 games between these in OK City have went under the total, 7 out of the last 10 in this series have went under the total, and all those games were 201 or higher on the line.  The Spurs defense is averaging 94 ppg their last 5, and comnbined in their last 5 games overall from both teams, their defensive average is 201 ppg allowed.

Another issue is the depth of scoring for OK City, it must go beyond Westbrook and Durant because the example of disaster that was displayed in game 2 with only 77 points of offense cannot be repeated or OK City has NO chance.  I expect more than 77 points from OK City at home in game 3 but I do expect a tighter game and a total score that does not exceed 208 points.

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Marc Lawrence

Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets
Prediction: Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks and the Mets put the wraps on a three game series at Citi Field Sunday afternoon where Bronson Arroyo takes the mound for Arizona. Arroyo enters the contest in sharp KW form with 23 strikeouts and 4 walks his last four starts. In addition, Arroyo is also 5-0 his last five teams starts as a visiting pitcher against the Mets. With Arroyo's road ERA (.3.70) nearly two runs per game better than his home ERA (5.48) this season, look for the Snakes to put a bite the Mets here today. We recommend a 1-unit play on Arizona.

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Bryan Leonard

Rockies vs. Braves
Play: Over 7½

Franklin Morales and Julio Teheran will face off on Sunday evening when the Rockies and Braves wrap up their weekend set. Morales draws a tough assignment against the Braves, who have the highest wRC+ and are tied with the Rockies for the top OPS against left-handed pitching. Braves right-handed bats have a wRC+ of 143 against southpaws on the season, which is tops in the league. Morales has a history of struggling with righties. Righties are slugging .503 off of Morales this season to improve on the career slugging percentage of .446.

Julio Teheran is due for some regression and it should come very soon. Following a shutout in his last start, Teheran lowered his ERA to 1.92, but a 3.85 FIP, a 3.96 xFIP, and a 3.87 SIERA suggest a correction in Teheran's ERA very soon. He's striking out fewer batters than last season and living on the batted ball luck of a .193 batting average against and a .214 BABIP against. His career averages in those two categories are .231 and .268, respectively. So he has performed better than average, but to be this much better than average is not likely to be sustainable. Along with a drop in strikeouts, Teheran is stranding 86.5 percent of baserunners. Unless the strikeouts come back, expect a normalization in that number.

Even though it's a getaway day for the Rockies, expect some runs to be scored in this game with a bad matchup for Morales and regression for Teheran.

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Heath Mac

San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder    
Play: San Antonio Spurs +2½

The Spurs won game 1 by 17 points and game 2 by 35 points. To think that the Thunder can turn this series around based solely on home court advantage is optimistic to even the most hardcore of OKC fans. Serge Ibaka may or may not play in this game, but even if he does play, he wont be at 100% and it's difficult to see him being the difference when not fully fit, at least in this game anyway.

Adding to the Thunder's worries is the fact that as well as they have played at home in the first two games, the Spurs are one of the better road teams in the league as well and seem to revel in playing in opposition buildings.

If the Thunder are to win this game, there will have to be a huge turnaround and while that may indeed happen here in game 3, we'd rather be on the proven performer, amazingly with a points start.

Oklahoma City is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games at home. San Antonio is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, May 25

Rob Vinciletti

Kansas City Royals vs. Los Angeles Angels
Play: Los Angeles Angels -160

The Angles fit a solid system that has won 21 of 29 times and plays on certain home favorites off home loss by 2 or more runs, if they scored 4 or less runs but had 10 or more hits, vs an opponent like KC That is off a road win and scored 5 or more runs on 10 or more hits with no errors. The Royals won 7-4 in extra innings last night but are 0-4 as a road dog off a road win where they scored 5 or more runs and 1-4 as a road dog from +125 to +150. The Angels are 15-5 with a total that is 8 to 8.5 and have won 5 of 6 of late vs leftys. As a home favorite off a home loss by 2 or more runs they are 5-0. In the Pitching G. Richards for LA and better numbers than KC lefty J. Vargas. Look for the Angels to bounce back and beat the Royals tonight.


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Jim Feist

Washington Nationals at Pittsburgh Pirates
Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates

When the Pittsburgh Pirates picked up Francisco Liriana they legitimately thought they had found the Ace of their staff. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case as Liriano is 0-4 this season with a 4.86 ERA. However, records can be deceiving and case in point here is that the Bucs have won five of the last six times Liriano has started. And lets face it, that's why they got him, to win games. Liriano did have a rough outing last time out against the Orioles, allowing six earned runs over nine innings. But, even in the loss there was good news and that was the fact that Liriano got 10 ground ball outs versus just one fly ball out. If the southpaw can continue that type of pitching the wins will come. Doug Fister gets the start for the Nats today. Fister is 1-1 with a 3.93 ERA. Fister has just three starts this season, though two have been quality. Fister mised the first part of the season with a back injury. Good matchup here today, but I look for Liriano to finally break that win slump and get in the victory.

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Jesse Schule

Colorado Rockies at Atlanta Braves
Pick: Atlanta Braves

The Braves are 17-10 at home, while the Rockies are just 11-15 on the road. Colorado has earned a split through the first two games of this series, but I expect the home team to take the rubber match Sunday. Julio Teheran will toe the slab for the Braves, and he's been dominant in Atlanta this season. Teheran (3-3, 1.92 ERA) tossed a complete game shutout, striking out eight in a win over Milwaukee in his last start. The win puts him at just 1-1 with a 1.40 ERA in six starts at Turner Field this season. The Rockies hand the ball to Franklin Morales, who really has struggled on the road. Morales (3-3, 5.30 ERA) allowed three runs on five hits over six innings, not factoring in the decision in a home game against the Giants his last time out. He's unlikely to win a duel against a high end hurler such as Teheran, and the Rockies don't score as many runs on the road as they do at home.


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Charlie Scott

Washington Nationals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Play: Washington Nationals +105

These 2 Teams are somewhat equal in talent, maybe the Nat's have a little edge. I expect the Nat's to play hard Today trying to avoid a 4 game sweep to the Pirates. In the Pitching matchup Fister a solid #3 was the big trade for Nat's in the offseason, while the Pirates Liriano is nothing more than a Journeymen Pitcher at this point in his career.

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Art Aronson

NY Yankees vs. Chi. White Sox
Pick: NY Yankees

The Yankees will start Mashiro Tanaka (6-1, 2.39 ERA) who is coming off his first loss in MLB. Including his final two years in Japan, Tanaka had gone 42 regular-season starts without a loss prior to Tuesday's 6-1 defeat to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Tanaka would give up a season high four runs (three earned) in six innings, so we should take him at his word that he will likely bounce back with a good start here: "I try to go out there to do my best every time out," Tanaka said through a translator. "But given the outing last time, yes, I really want to go out there and perform better." The White Sox will counter with Andre Rienzo (4-0, 4.00 ERA) who has yet to lose. Rienzo has had a lot of success in six starts this season but is yet to face the Yankees and the sample size is still too small to crown him quite yet. I see a letdown for him here going against a great starter he may feel “pressed” to pitch well against to keep his team in the game. The Yankees have fallen back of first place in the American League East and will be very motivated to not fall back much more here with Toronto playing so well. While the Yankees have hardly been a great bet at Chicago of late, the price is worth it here with Tanaka on the hill as the team goes for a split with the White Sox in this series.


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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, May 25

Scott Spreitzer

Royals at Angels
Prediction: Over

The Halos send Garrett Richards to the bump off a tough start in his last outing. Richards has performed well to start the season, but a regression to April/May form may finally be catching up with him. Richards had produced a 4.91 ERA in his previous 21 April/May appearances before this season. As a team, Angel games are 9-1-1 to the Over in Richards' last 11 home starts. I expect Richards to get plenty of help at the plate today. The Angels are on a 13-2-2 Over run in their last 17 home games against left-handers and face a vulnerable southpaw in Jason Vargas who has allowed 7, 7, and 5 earned runs in three of his last five starts. Mike Trout owns a 1.022 OPS against left-handers this season and Albert Pujols owns a .375 batting average against Vargas with four extra-base hits in 16 at-bats. Toss in a couple of bullpens that worked a lot of innings last night and we have the recipe for a higher scoring game than expected. I'm recommending the Over between the Royals & Angels on Sunday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, May 25

Chase Diamond

Spurs / Thunder Under 209

This big playoff game has the 2-0 Spurs at the 0-2 Thunder. The Thunder will be super desperate to win tonight as they will throw everything they have at the Spurs who have been red hot since the Mavs pushed them to seven in the first round. The Thunder have been getting killed on Defense by the Spurs expect them to really amp up play on that side of the ball and if Ibaka returns for this one all the better for the under. The under is 5-0 in the Thunder last 5 home contests versus a team with a win percentage over 60%. Public nailing the over big time here.


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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, May 25

Bob Balfe

San Antonio Spurs +2.5

The Thunder really are struggling without Ibaka in the lineup. San Antonio is just too good of a basketball team with so many weapons. The Thunder Defense is playing as poor as it gets right now and that is just not a winning recipe deep in the playoffs. I don't think the Thunder will be able to handle the Spurs or their bench tonight. Take San Antonio.

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DAVE COKIN

CLEVELAND INDIANS AT BALTIMORE ORIOLES
PLAY: CLEVELAND INDIANS +110

Not many have doubted the potential of Trevor Bauer. But the former UCLA star hasn’t put it together at baseball’s highest level, and his unorthodox methods and apparent stubbornness to do things his way have come into question on a regular basis. But it’s starting to now loom like Bauer has turned a corner, and I’m eager to see what he does today as the Indians wrap up their weekend set against the Orioles.

The big issue for Bauer has been his lousy control. He’s got high end stuff, but most pitchers cannot survive an abundance of free passes and Bauer has proven to be no exception to that rule. The good news is that Bauer appears on the verge of putting that problem  in the rear view mirror.

Bauer has been sharp in his limited duty with the big club and his work at AAA this season has been outstanding. Maybe it’s just a tease, but off what I’ve seen from Bauer so far in 2014, I’m willing to bet that he’s arriving as a quality big league starter and that he’s sticking around for keeps this time.

Miguel Gonzalez provides the opposition here. Gonzalez is the prototypical $3-5 starter. His stuff is pretty marginal, although it seems clear to me that Gonzalez is a big time battler who frequently can outpitch his metrics. Nevertheless, Gonzalez is hittable and he’s running headlong into an offense that’s suddenly getting it cranked up. My belief is that the Indians are going to get to Gonzalez for at least a handful of scores today and if Bauer is on his game again, Cleveland will have a great chance to win this.

I like the way this Tribe lineup is constructed when they’re facing a righty opponent. The Indians look as though they’re going to be vulnerable against tough lefties, but Gonzalez obviously does not fall into that category. As for Baltimore vs. Bauer, it’s likely to come down to balls and strikes. If Bauer can avoid free passes and bad counts, he’s probably a winner here. There’s no question in my mind that the Bauer buy sign has been flashed and I’m willing to back him and the Indians as underdogs today.

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Dave Essler

Cincinnati Reds +1.5 -135   

Of course it's tough to fade Wainright and his 7-2 record with a great WHIP. However, coming off a one-hitter where he threw 115 pitches, we've got to think if he was ever vulnerable this would be it. He shutout the Reds on opening day in Cincinnati, so there's an extra measure of motivation, aside from being on ESPN. Many of the Reds hit him "reasonably" well, and we're not worried about Votto being out, because he was horrible against Wainright. Leake's been a bit of hard luck in the W/L column, not getting great run support, but, he hasn't given up a home run or more than two earned runs in his last four starts. His WHIP is barely over 1.00, since he hasn't been walking many and he HAS been keeping the ball on the ground. He's pitched reasonably well against St. Louis, and in three starts at home has only allowed a .177 BAA and no home runs. Of the 47 games the Reds have played, 20 have been one run games, and as good as the Cardinals can be, they're still under .500 on the road. With Bruce back and the Reds pen getting healthier (albeit not showing in the stats) we see this as a one run game either way, so will gladly take the home team with the last at bat and the +1.5 at a reasonable price.

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River City Sharps

Milwaukee Brewers -110

We are going to side with the Brew Crew on the road here today as they will send Jimmy Nelson out in his first start of th year against Randy Wolf, who is also making his first start of the season. Both of these guys are being used due to injuries among both pitching staffs, but we really like Nelson and he was very good during his September 2013 callup, where he posted an 0.90 ERA in four appearances. He has also been lights out for the Brewers Triple-A team, meanwhile Wolf has struggled at Triple-A this season for the Marlins. We think the Brewers get to Wolf early and often and Nelson pitches a solid game for Milwaukee.

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Matt Fargo

Minnesota Twins vs. San Francisco Giants    
Play: Minnesota Twins +158

After sweeping the Padres in their two-game set, the Twins have lost the first two games in San Francisco but I expect them to take the series finale today. Minnesota is 23-23 on the season with 21 of those wins coming in the role of underdog. Ricky Nolasco has been pitching a lot better since a horrible start to the season as he has allowed three runs in each of his last three starts, three of which were quality outings. The offense has been hit or miss behind him as he has received three runs or less in five games while getting seven runs or more five times. After two poor offensive showings, the bats should come alive today against Madison Bumgarner who has been inconsistent this season, especially at home. He has a 6.20 ERA in four home starts, none of which have been quality outings and going back, the Giants are 1-4 in his last five starts as a favorite of -151 to -200. Look for that poor record to continue today.


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Will Rogers

Houston vs. Seattle
Pick: Seattle

This looks like an especially cheap price on the Mariners considering the opponent (Houston) and who's pitching (Iwakuma).  Sure, the Astros won Saturday. But that was the game in between facing Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez, so it was the one you'd figure they were most likely to take.  They won't be as fortunate Sunday.

Here are my keys to the game:

1.  Iwakuma - In four starts, he's 3-0 with a 1.76 ERA and 0.717 WHIP.  He has yet to allow a single run pitching at Safeco Field this season. In fact, going back to the final month of last season, he hasn't allowed any earned runs in six of his last nine starts! The team won his last start, 6-2 over Texas. Opponents are batting only .189 against Iwakuma this season.

2. Weak Hitting - Seattle has one of the worst team batting averages at home this season, but Houston's is still worse on the road at .213 and they are averaging just 3.1 runs/game.  Yesterday was the most runs the Astros have scored in any game this season, so there's going to be a regression today.

3. X-Factor - Iwakuma has done quite well for himself in the past against Houston, going 3-0 with a 1.95 ERA the last four starts.  That includes a win in his 2014 season debut.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, May 25

Jimmy Boyd

Los Angeles Angels -160

Despite losing in extra yesterday, the Angels come in having won 8 of their last 11 overall. I like their chances of bouncing back with a win on Sunday. LA is 4-0 in their last 4 games following a loss and 6-1 in their last 7 after allowing 5+ runs in their last game.

Los Angeles will give the ball to Garrett Richards, who is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA and 1.136 WHIP on the season. With the Royals sending out lefty Jason Vargas, who has a 4.42 ERA over his last 3 starts, the Angels have a clear advantage on the mound at home.

Los Angeles is 4-1 in their last 5 home games against a left-handed starter, 4-1 in their last 5 games as a home favorite of -151 to -200 and 12-4 in their last 16 home games against a team with a losing road record. That's a 77% (20-6) system in favor of the Angels! Take Los Angeles!

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