Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, May 25

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

Jeff Alexander

Chicago Cubs +133

Padres can't be trusted laying this much juice with Kennedy on the bump.  He's been rocked in his last 2 starts, allowing 9 earned runs in 12 2-3 innings.  The Padres are 0-4 in his last 4 starts, 0-6 in his last 6 home starts and 0-4 in his last 4 starts as a favorite.  Chicago's Hammel has been a lot more reliable.  He's given up 3 earned runs or fewer in 12 of his last 13 starts.  The Cubs are 5-1 in their last 6 games as an underdog.

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Dave Price

Atlanta Braves -161

Even at this price, the Braves are showing some value at home with Teheran on the hill.  The Braves are an awesome 84-38 in their last 122 home games and 39-13 in their last 52 games as a favorite of -151 to -200.  Teheran has been dialed in with a 1.92 ERA in all starts this season and a 1.40 ERA at home.  The Braves are 7-2 in his last nine starts, 6-1 in his last seven home starts and 9-3 in his last 12 starts as a favorite of -151 to -200.  The Rockies are 37-79 in their last 116 games as a road underdog and 14-37 in their last 51 meetings in Atlanta.  Morales has a 5.40 ERA in all starts this season and a 5.82 ERA over his last three. I don't see him outdueling Teheran.

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Jack Jones

Kansas City Royals +151

We're getting the Kansas City Royals at an excellent price Sunday.  Let's take advantage and back them as a massive +151 underdog to the Los Angeles Angels in the third and final game of this series this afternoon.

Jason Vargas was quietly one of the better additions to any rotation this past offseason when he joined the Royals.  The left-hander has gone 4-2 with a 3.76 ERA and 1.191 WHIP in 10 starts this season, including 1-0 with a 1.67 ERA and 0.926 WHIP in four road starts.

Vargas actually pitched for the Angels last year, and he'll want to stick it to his former team, which is something he has done frequently dating back to his time with the Mariners.  Vargas is 5-4 with a 2.51 ERA and 1.081 WHIP in 12 career starts against the Angels.

Like Vargas, Garrett Richards has been at his best on the road this season.  However, Richards has struggled at home, going 1-1 with a 5.85 ERA and 1.650 WHIP in three starts.  The right-hander is also 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA and 1.600 WHIP in one career start against Kansas City.

The Royals are 4-1 in Vargas' last five starts vs. a team with a winning record.  The Angels are 6-13 in their last 19 Sunday games.  Los Angeles is 1-5 in Richards' last six starts during Game 3 of a series.  Bet the Royals Sunday.

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Bryan Power

Minnesota vs. San Francisco
Pick: San Francisco

This was a series I thought would go the Giants way and so far it has w/ 6-2 and 2-1 victories. I took them in the series opener on Friday and today they can put the finishing touches on a three-game sweep w/ the big lefty Madison Bumgarner on the mound. Look for the home team to "break out the broom."

Minnesota failed to score until the 9th inning yday and simply hasn't done much offensively in the series w/ just three runs and 11 hits total. Going back a bit further, we find that the Twins have scored only 16 runs over their L6 games while batting a collective .193.  So this is nothing new. Coming into the series, the club had overperformed its run differential as they were two games above .500 despite being outscored by their opponents on the year.

San Francisco is a perfect 5-0 vs. the American League this season.  They send out Bumgarner today and he's been excellent lately, going 3-0 w/ a 2.88 ERA his L4 starts and a KW ratio of 28-4.  He's actually done his best work on the road, but the Giants 12-4 record in day games is enough to allow me to overlook that.

The Twins go w/ Ricky Nolasco, who was originally slated to pitch yday. Honestly, it's not hard to see why he was bumped back.  He has a 7.81 ERA & 1.915 WHIP in five road starts this year and is also winless for May.  His last two starts vs. San Francisco have been disasters, including a 19-3 loss late last season.

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ASA

Spurs at Thunder
Play: Thunder -2

Sports betting logic tells us to play on the Oklahoma City Thunder minus the short number over the San Antonio Spurs. NO - the Thunder are NOT going to get swept and if there is a game they're going to win it's this one. Don't get too caught up in the first two games of this series and let's remember these Thunder were 38-10 SU at home this season with an average point differential of +8.2PPG which was 5th best in the NBA. The 'big 2' for the Thunder, Westbrook and Durant really struggled shooting the basketball and I doubt they'll shoot as bad as that again now that they're back home. Westbrook and Durant combined to make just 13 of 40 FG attempts for a 32% night in Game 2. That's well below their season averages of 44% (Westbrook) and 50% (Durant) so expect both to find their 'stroke' tonight. After that embarrassing loss the Thunder will be dialed in for this game and they've proven that all season long with a 20-10 SU record when coming off a loss. Oklahoma City is even better yet at home when off a loss with a 10-3 SU record this season. The Thunder are 14-3 ATS their last 17 home games against a road team that has a winning percentage greater than .600 as these Spurs have. The Thunder are 11-3 ATS their last 14 meetings with the Spurs and remember it was just a few years ago when these same Spurs were up 2-0 in a series against the Thunder and OKC came back to win four straight games. San Antonio is just 1-5 ATS their last six away and we feel this is the perfect time for an investment on the Thunder..

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Red Dog Sports

Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners    
Play: Houston Astros +133

Our free baseball play for Sunday in on the Houston Astros. They were able to win at Seattle last night in a blowout as they scored 2 runs in the first and put up a 5-spot later in the game. The Astros are hitting the ball well. Seattle is just 10-11 at home and they use Iwakuma on the hill today. Houston starts Keuchel and he has won his last three starts and has an ERA of 2.92 with just 1 walk and 22 strikeouts (in his last 3). Take the Houston Astros as our free pick for today.

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Steve Janus

Red Sox/Rays Under 7.5

After playing a marathon 15-inning game on Saturday, I look for both teams to come out a bit flat in Sunday's series finale. The Red Sox have really struggled to get much of anything going offensively of late. They scored 5 runs in the 1st inning yesterday, but would fail to add to their total over the next 14 innings. Boston is averaging just 2.6 runs and hitting a mere .211 as a team over their last 7 games. The Rays haven't been even worse at the plate, averaging just 2.3 runs and hitting .211 as a team over their last 7.

Today's pitching matchup may not look great on paper as Boston's Brandon Workman takes on Tampa Bay's Jake Odorizzi, but with the way these two team are struggling offensively, I expect this to turn into a pitchers duel. Workman has a 1.42 ERA and 0.794 WHIP over 3 relief appearances (6 1/3 innings), while Odorizzi has a 1.72 ERA over his last three starts.

Key Trends/System - THE UNDER is 10-4-1 in Boston's last 15 road games against a right-handed starter and 21-9-3 in their last 33 games as an underdog and 17-8 in the Red Sox last 25 against a starter with a WHIP of 1.30 or worse. That's a 48-21 (70%) system telling us to BET THE UNDER 7.5!

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Dennis Macklin

New York Yankees vs. Chicago White Sox    
Play: New York Yankees -1½ -107

The Yankees top off-season acquisition, Masahiro Tanaka, has been all he was billed to be and more. He's 6-1 with a 2.39 ERA overall despite losing for the first time in 42 starts (no typo) dating back to last year in the Japanese league. This will be the first time the Pale Hose see Tanaka and with their own rookie phenom Abreu on the shelf with an injury, runs figure to be tough to come by. Andre Rienzo has been great going 4-0 with a 4.11 ERA and Chicago willing all six of his starts but .... he's been tip-toeing through the hand-grenades allowing 46 runners (16 walks) in 35 innings and he probably won't have the luxury of 20 runs of support like he's gotten over his last three starts. Only the Yankees 1-8 L9 record at the Cell and the prohibitive number kept this from making our real card.

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SPORTS WAGERS

N.Y. RANGERS -½ +100 over Montreal

Regulation only. Let’s just say that the hockey gods were looking out for the Canadiens in Game 3. The Habs were badly outplayed for the second time in the three games but they got some extreme bounces and they got the game of his life out of Dustin Tokarski. Perennial goon, Branson Prust set the tone early in the game by going head hunting and he succeeded in taking out Derek Stepan. Prust was suspended for two games, which is another example of the NHL encouraging this sort of thing. Because the NHL won’t do anything about goon hockey and actually welcome it, the Rangers must now take things into their own hands. New York isn’t going to go goon on the Habs and retaliate. Instead, that cowardly act by Prust will only ignite the Rangers even more. Throw in P.K. Subban’s comments about Lundqvist getting lucky after Game 2 and what we have here is a superior Rangers team that will never be more fired up than they will be here.

If the NHL didn’t want this sort of nonsense in the game, they would suspend guys like Prust for 50 games, not two. Prust’s act was retaliation for the inadvertent hit that took out Carey Price. It was intended to injure another player and the two games or four games that the NHL hands out during the regular season for this type of act is actually laughable. Players look at like a holiday, not a suspension and absolutely welcome a small break in the middle of the year. The NHL welcomes it because it gets people to the game. It gets the media talking and it gets the fans angered and fired up. It’s WWF for a few minutes. After Prust went goon on Stepan, a different vibe came over the crowd. The atmosphere was charged, the fans were angry and jacked up and the media and everyone else have been talking about it since. That’s why the NHL has welcomed this sort of thing and will continue to welcome it forever. Prust and many others like him have an NHL job for one reason and it’s not because of their hockey skills. Nobody that watches hockey would ever notice Prust missing from the ice if he sat on the bench the entire game. He and others like him are useless hockey players but the NHL does nothing about it. Perhaps things will change when some goon like Prust literally kills another player on the ice. Until then, expect this to continue.

Again, it’s now time for the Rangers to focus in even more and essentially put away the Canadiens. Montreal has one line (the Max Pacioretty line) playing well while the other lines are getting outplayed by the Rangers every shift. One cannot expect another hero’s performance out of Tokarski again either. He may turn out to be a great goaltender but nothing in his game says he’s going to be standing on his head the rest of this series and we still strongly believe starting Tokarski over Budaj is a mistake. Out of three games, Montreal has had one dominant period in this series, that being the third period in Game 2. Other than that it’s been all Rangers and now that New York’s fire has been fueled they figure to play their best game of the series yet and that’s far too much for the Canadiens to handle. Justice prevails and the Rangers go up 3-1.   

Pass NBA

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Tapin Sports

Oakland -120

The A's were red hot and are suddenly not as they have dropped two straight to open this series against the Jays and 3 in a row overall. They had reeled off 11 of 12 immediately prior to that and with Pomeranz on the mound today, we expect the A's to head for the border with a fairly easy win under their belt when all is said and done. Pomeranz has been absolutely money this season, jumping out to a 4-1 mark and an eye-popping 0.94 ERA through his first 6 appearances this season. He has been even better since Oakland officially placed him in the rotation, as through his first 3 starts for the A's, he is a perfect 3-0. Even more impressive, is in the 15 innings pitched in that span, he has yet to allow a single run, and he has allowed only 8 H while striking out 16. He has held opposing hitters to a measly .157 BA while Oakland has managed to post 3 straight shutouts in each of his starts. Oakland has faced a potential sweep situation 3 times previously in 2014, going 2-1 in those games, with only Texas picking up the 3-game sweep on them. They are 5-3 in the 8 games that have been the close-out game for a road series, while Toronto has gone 1-3 in their opportunities to finish off the sweep themselves. As well as officially sweeping the Red Sox, they also have technically swept the Phillies in a 4-game set, but that was that weird home-and-home series the MLB did a couple weeks back. They are 0-1 in the lone opportunity they had to pick up the sweep (3-game series+) as they dropped that game to the Astros, and they are 0-3 dating back to last season in the same situation. OAKLAND A'S are the play.


Dodgers / Phillies Over 7.5

Not sure why the odds are looking so good on this play, but then again, I pretty much have no faith left anymore in either Burnett or Beckett. You just never know what you are going to get with these two pitchers and on any given outing they can either be lights out, or rocked like a single-A pitcher thrown to face the '27 Yankees. We're expecting something along the lines of that today as these two mighty offenses have to be hungry after totaling only 10 R combined through the first two games of the series. They gave us a mighty scare with Saturday's half-point eeker of a win on the Under, but don't expect that one today as the ball should fly around the yard early and often today. Beckett and Burnett were once young phenoms on the Marlins starting rotation together, but since winning the World Series together early in their career, neither of them has fared well against the other when they have battled. Over 4 games started by the two pitchers against each other, Beckett is the only one with a win (1-0 / 4.62 ERA) while Burnett has never beaten Beckett and its no wonder with his 6.52 ERA in those games. Beckett also has an ERA nearing 5.50 in his 36+ innings of work (6 GS) at Citizens Bank Park in his career. Burnett meanwhile has walked nearly 4.5 batters per game in 2014, something that is sure to get him in trouble with the Dodgers being the 8th best in MLB at taking BB and their .326 team OBP and .744 team OPS could really haunt him today. OVER is the play.


Washington +105

Strasburg couldn't get it done yesterday for the Nationals, but there is good reason to believe that Fister will be the guy to slow down these red hot Pirates bats today. For starters, he has fared well against Pittsburgh in his 2 career starts against them, allowing only 2 ER and striking out 19 in those outings. And Fister has been dominant as of late too, allowing only 3 ER in his last 2 starts (14 IP) against Arizona and Cincinnati, and last season he pitched well in a following 2 previous starts in which he had allowed 1 and 2 ER and lasted at least 12 IP. In two of those 3 outings, he allowed 0 ER and in that same situation he has responded by allowing 0 ER in 4 of those 7 games throughout his career. WASHINGTON NATIONALS are the play.

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Tapin Sports

Thunder -2.5

This spread should be a gift when all is said and done and the Thunder might not even need the services of Ibaka for this one. Oklahoma City should come to play today and if you mustered enough courage to watch through the blowout that was game 2, you would have seen the passion and the fire that have been lit underneath Durant and Westbrook. These two will be way more at ease on their home court, and something tells me the trio of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili won't be quite as comfortable on the floor for tonight's game. And yes, the Spurs do still run entirely through them. The Thunder have only managed a 4-3 ML record on their home court during the 2014 postseason, and have managed a 7-6 ML mark there in the last 2 postseasons, they were 14-6 ML in their previous 20 postseason games prior to that. And it was two years ago when they came home down 2-0 against the Spurs and completely written off by the entire sports world, when they swept both games on their home court and went on to win the series in 6. That was pretty much the same Spurs team. And although it doesn't appear to be the same Thunder team, expect for Durant to put this game on his shoulders and carry his team to something more than a 3-point win. Oklahoma City had won 5 straight heads up against the Spurs dating back to last April and 5 of the last 6 meetings between the two squads. The Spurs haven't actually picked up a win in Oklahoma City since March of 2012, with the Thunder posting a 7-0 ML and ATS mark against the Spurs at home over the last 7 games there, while posting an 8-1 ML and ATS mark in the last 9 on their home turf. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER is the play.

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Harry Bondi

TAMPA BAY (-120) over Boston

We locked in another winning week with your FREE WINNER on the Tribe yesterday and today fade our beloved Boston Red Sox who have lost ninth straight games, lead the majors in money lost at -$1472 and today are forced to start Brandon Workman, who has had some success as a major league relief pitcher but never a starter. In fact, Workman has a 5.41 minor league ERA but the Bosox are forced to start him today because of the ineffectiveness of their other starters. Boston’ bats have been ineffective as well as their team batting average of .243 is the teams lowest since 1966! That ineffectiveness continues today at Tropicana Field take the Rays

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Wunderdog

Milwaukee @ Miami
Pick: Miami -102

Miami is quietly playing good baseball, winning five of the last eight. This young team is sixth in baseball in runs scored and fifth in on-base percentage. The Marlins are 24-7 in their last 31 home games and 19-7 at home against a team with a winning road record. Miami has veteran Randy Wolf (1.80 ERA) going, and he knows how to throw strikes, walking one in five innings with five strikeouts and only three hits allowed. Miami is a huge park and throwing strikes is key, so he will do well here. This Milwaukee team is struggling, losing six of eight, all on the road. The offense has hit the skids scoring 0, 2, 3, 0, 4, and 1 run in the six losses. Miami is 13-3 as a home dog and 10-2 against righties. Play the Miami Marlins.

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