Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, June 10

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, June 10

William Holloway

Mariners +105

The Mariners are 3-0 against the Yankees and Hisashi Iwakuma (4-2, 2.66 ERA) will get the ball for Seattle, who has posted a 1.91 ERA in winning eight of nine. New York has totaled seven runs while striking out 31 times in losing all three home meetings with Seattle. And they send Vidal Nuno (1-2, 5.33)to the mound, who is winless in his last five

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, June 10

Anthony Michael

San Antonio Spurs +4.5

The Spurs are awesome on the road and they are very accustomed to playing big time playoff games on the road. Look for a close game that has the Spurs getting the cover if not the outright win here.

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Joe D'Amico

Milwaukee over New York
Play Milwaukee

Milwaukee now has a 5-game lead in the NL Central at 38-26, with a 19-13 away record. New York has lost 6 straight and hasn't won against Milwaukee in their L4 meetings. Hitting has been a problem for the Mets, who face Marco Estrada today. The RH hasn't lost in his L3 starts, boasting a 5-2 overall record. The Brewers are scoring runs, hitting HR's, and Stealing Bases. They go up against Daisuke Matsuzaka who is making just his 2nd consecutive start and 3rd overall. Milwaukee is 10-2 the L12 games played at the Mets and 7-3 their L10 games played as a favorite. The Mets are 22-59 their L81 games played as a home 'dog and 0-5 their L5 vs. RH starters.


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Cajun Sports

San Diego Padres -115

The Padres qualify in a solid system from our MLB Database,  It tells us to Play ON MLB road teams coming off a SU win in which they were shut out in the first six innings. SU  241-262  +2835 Units  6-2 SU L8 and 4-0 L4. Play San Diego

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Tapin Sports

Brewers at -119

They are back into full swing and the Mets even thu have had a few shinny spots cant compete with the Brewers especially their batting line up. I look for today's game to win at least by 2-3 runs maybe more. If you want to make a small wager on the -1 1/2 run line I wouldn’t oppose that either. Brewers are just too strong in this spot.

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SPORTS WAGERS

Cleveland -110 over KANSAS CITY

The Indians are on fire and that’s never a bad time to step in. Cleveland has won three in a row and nine of 10, which was capped off by last night’s 17-7 win in Texas. Corey Kluber has turned into a top-tier pitcher. His skills vs. RH bats have been electric with 10.2 K’s/9 Dom, 1.4 BB/9 and a 50% groundball rate. It doesn’t stop there either. Kluber also owns elite skills against lefties with 10.4 K’s/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 42% groundball rate. Overall, Kluber has struck out 99 batters in 86 innings with a 3.23 ERA. What’s even more amazing is that he has an unlucky 35% hit rate and once that comes down, his ERA will be closer to his xERA of 2.92. Kluber is the straight goods pitching for a very hot team.

Jason Vargas’ consistency grade and xERA show his steadiness. Sure, some things are up (overall command) and some are down (dominant start%, notably), but it all comes out in the wash. Vargas lost time last year to a blood clot but otherwise he's good for 200 fair-to-middling, blandly consumed innings pitched. This year he owns a 3.23 ERA and 1.25 WHIP after 85 innings but that ERA is a complete mirage due to his unsustainable 84% strand rate. Vargas’ has a weak groundball/fly-ball split of 40%/40% and over his last five starts his WHIP is 1.42. There’s a correction coming in his ERA and the Indians are the right team to correct it.


San Diego -101 over PHILADELPHIA

Philadelphia has one win in its last nine games and they’ve lost four of the past six times that A.J. Burnett has started. You may recall that Burnett was on the verge of retiring before this season but the Phillies gave him 14 million reasons not to. Psychologically, Burnett may have already retired. He’s surrendered 26 hits and 19 earned runs in his last three starts covering 20 innings. Over his last five starts he has a BB/K split of 20/28 in 30 innings, which has led to a WHIP of 1.87. His four-seam fastball velocity has dipped to 91 mph and his swing and miss % has declined from 11% to 7%. The problem has been his knuckle-curve. It's a pitch that generated a high near-20% swing and miss rate in each of the last three seasons but this year that pitch has dipped to 11%. Burnett’s xERA is 6.16 over his last three starts and he’s allowed three runs or more in six straight.

Ian Kennedy is such a better option than Burnett. Kennedy has thrown a **pure quality start in each of his last four starts. Three of those four have come at Petco Park but he is succeeding even more on the road this season. In five road starts, he is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. Kennedy is enjoying a huge resurgence, both on the surface (3.39 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) and beneath it (3.10 xERA) and he hasn't been feasting just on RH bats. His skills actually have been better against LH bats with outstanding control, 11.8K’s/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a 42% groundball rate. Kennedy figures to thrive against a Phillies team that struggles to hit right-handed pitching, as they have a .233 BA and .655 OPS versus them. At a cheap price, we get the much better pitcher, the better bullpen and the team in better form. 

**We mention “pure quality start” often so here is a refresher course on our theory:

The old Quality Start method — minimum 6 IP, maximum 3 earned runs — is simplistic and does not measure any real skill. Bill James' "game score" methodology is better, but is not feasible for quick calculation. In pure quality start, we give a starting pitcher credit for exhibiting certain skills in each of his starts. Then by tracking his "PQS Score" over time, we can follow his progress. A starter earns one point for each of the following criteria:

1. The pitcher must have gone a minimum of 6 innings. This measures stamina. If he goes less than 5 innings, he does not get a pure quality start, he gets a 0 score no matter what other stats he produces.

2. He must have allowed no more than an equal number of hits to the number of IP. This measures hit prevention.

3. His number of strikeouts must be no fewer than two less than his innings pitched. This measures dominance.

4. He must have struck out at least twice as many batters as he walked. This measures command.

5. He must have allowed no more than one home run. This measures his ability to keep the ball in the park.

The nice thing about pure quality start is it allows us to approach each start as more than an all-or-nothing event.

Note the absence of earned runs. No matter how many runs a pitcher allows, if he scores high on the pure quality start scale, he has hurled a good game in terms of his base skills. The number of runs allowed — a function of not only the pitcher's ability but that of his bullpen and defense — will even out over time.

In other words, if a pitcher goes 7 innings and allows 7 runs on seven hits, strikes out eight, walks none and gives up one jack, that’s a PURE QUALITY START or a PQS score of 4 out of 5. 

This formula combines the individual raw skills of dominance, control and the ability to keep the ball on the ground, all characteristics that are unaffected by what the rest of the team does.


TORONTO -1½ +121 over Minnesota

We keep fading Kevin Correia and we keep getting paid off so we’re not about to put the brakes on that just yet. Correia has a job for one reason and one reason only; he’s being paid a ridiculous 5.5M this season and the Twinkies will let him rot out there at that hefty price rather than demote him to the pen. What chance does Correia have at this park against the Blue Jays? It could get ugly. Correia has a mere 37 K’s in 66.1 innings. Because he rarely misses a bat, he’s allowed an incredible 89 hits in those 66.1 innings for a BAA of .321. Incidentally, Jose Bautista is 6 for 9 lifetime (.669) v Correia with two jacks, Jose Reyes is 10 for 28 (.357), Brett Lawrie is 3 for 3 and Edwin Encarnacion is 6-24 with 2 jacks. Correia’s low 4% swing and miss rate combined with his fly-ball rate of 41% makes him batting practice out there.

J.A. Happ has been criticized at every level at every place he’s ever played. He’s the Rodney Dangerfield of starting pitchers but what he does do is win games. In seven games started, Happ is 5-2. He’s struck out 29 batters over his past 34 innings and he has a very good history against current Twins’ batters (oppBA of .229) albeit in a small sample size (35 career AB’s). Happ’s dominant start/disaster start splits nicely summarize the feast-or-famine nature of his performances but this one really isn’t about backing Happ as much as it is in fading Correia. Jays should score six or more for fun and if the Twinkies keep pace, good luck to them.

Pass NBA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, June 10

Stephen Nover

Atlanta Braves vs. Colorado Rockies    
Play: Atlanta Braves -120

In a perfect world Juan Nicasio wouldn't be in Colorado's starting rotation. Unfortunately for the Rockies they have a cluster injury problem among their starting pitchers.

They also are down three of the their top five hitters with Carlos Gonzalez, Michael Cuddyer and Nolan Arenado all on the DL. Not helping matters is Justin Morneau being in the throngs of his worst hitting slump of the season just three for his last 32.

Braves starter Mike Minor has compiled a 1.87 ERA during his last five starts. He's one of the better young lefties in the majors. The Rockies are averaging just 2.2 runs in their last four games.

Not only do the Braves have a far superior starting pitcher going, but they have a much better bullpen especially at closer with Craig Kimbrel. Atlanta also has the necessary power to take advantage of Coors Field ranking 13th in homers.

Nicasio has been tagged for 12 homers in 67 1/3 innings already. He has a 4.68 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. Nicasio has been hammered during his last two starts surrendering 12 runs on 20 hits in just 10 innings.


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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, June 10

Jimmy Boyd

Tampa Bay Rays +125

The Rays are showing solid value as a home underdog in Tuesday's interleague showdown against the Cardinals. There's no denying the Rays have been in a major funk of late, but there's too much talent for this team to keep playing this poorly.

While the Cardinals will send out their ace in Adam Wainwright, they have not performed well in this spot. St Louis has lost 5 straight series openers, are 1-7 in their last 8 games as a favorite of -110 to -150 and are 3-8 in their last 11 road games against a team with a losing home record.

Tampa Bay is 8-2 in their last 10 interleague home games against a right-handed starter and 4-1 in their last 5 against the NL Central. Road teams after allowing 1 run or less 2 straight games against opponent after getting shut out 2 straight games are just 11-27 since 1997. That's a 71% system in favor of the Rays.

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Dave Price

St. Louis Cardinals -128

The Rays are mired in a terrible slump.  They are 17-36 in their last 53 overall, including 1-13 in their last 14.  NL opponents have done them no favors as they are 0-5 in their last five interleague games and 0-9 in their last nine interleague games versus a team with a winning record.  Tampa Bay figures to have a rough go of it again with Wainwright set to take the mound.  The Cardinals are 40-18 in his last 58 starts, 25-10 in his last 35 road starts versus a team with a losing record and 17-4 in his last 21 starts on 5 days' rest.  His season ERA is three runs lower than Odorizzi's.  The Rays are 2-9 in Odorizzi's last 11 starts and 0-5 in his last five starts as an underdog.

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Jack Jones

Kansas City Royals +103

The Kansas City Royals are showing excellent value as a home underdog to the Cleveland Indians tonight.  While the Indians are certainly hot having won nine of their last 10 games overall, they are also overvalued because of it.

Kansas City hasn't been playing too shabby itself with five wins in its last seven games.  It is hitting .371 with runners in scoring position during this seven-game stretch.  Also, the Royals had Monday off due to a rainout, while the Indians played in Texas and will be the more tired team because of it.

Without a doubt, Jason Vargas is one of the most underrated starters in the league.  The left-hander has gone 5-2 with a 3.28 ERA in 13 starts this season, including 1-0 with a 1.77 ERA in his last three starts where he has given up four earned runs in 20 1/3 innings.

The Indians are 8-13 against southpaws this season, hitting .238 and scoring only 3.5 runs per game against them.  Vargas is 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in his last three starts against Cleveland, giving up just three earned runs over 20 innings.

Cleveland is 2-10 in its last 12 road games vs. a left-handed starter.  The Indians are 5-16 in their last 21 road games with the total set at 7.0-8.5.  Kansas City is 4-1 in its last five home meetings with Cleveland.

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Bryan Power

Oakland vs. LA Angels
Pick: Oakland

I recommended the A's in this space yday and though they lost, I'm not coming off the notion that this is the best team in baseball. Even though they are currently an AL-best 39-25, a phenomenal +125 run differential indicates that they are actually underperforming when it comes to the WL record. This is a team that has either been winning, tied, or had the tying run at the plate in the 9th inning in 56 of their 64 games this year.  Yesterday was not one of those games. Thus, I'll call for them to bounce back against an Angels team they'd previously swept earlier in the year.

A's starter Drew Pomeranz is 4-2 w/ a 2.30 ERA & 1.117 WHIP.  Even though it was in defeat, I believe that his last start may have been his best all season as he stood toe to toe w/ the Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka, lasting a season-high 7 innings while allowing just two runs, only one of them earned.  Pomeranz is clearly better than Angels starter Hector Santiago, who remains winless in seven starts and deserves to be as his ERA is 5.19 and his WHIP is 1.587.  Tyler Skaggs was supposed to pitch tonight, but was sent to the DL w/ a hamstring injury.

Oakland had an uncharacteristic three errors in yday's ballgame, which almost equaled their total number of hits (4).  Even more shocking is that all three errors came from MVP candidate Josh Donaldson at third base.  That won't happen again.  Nor will the A's getting only four hits.  In addition to leading all of baseball in OBP (.336), they are also #1 in runs scored.

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Wunderdog

Braves @ Rockies
Pick: Under 10

The Atlanta Braves are not the best offensive team in the league, but one thing they typically get is a well-pitched game. And the back of their bullpen is rock solid, and rarely fails to get the job done. This team typically plays games that are low scoring, and through 62 games this season they have seen just 13 of them produce 10 runs or more or just 21%. Colorado was looking forward to this long homestand, as they typically swing the bats well at home. But, right now they are slumping offensively, scoring just 2 runs or fewer in four of the seven games on this homestand. The Rockies' bats are further inhibited vs. a winning team where they have played six straight to the UNDER. This one comes up shy of the total.

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Sam Martin

New York Yankees at Seattle Mariners
Prediction: Seattle Mariners

While Hisashi Iwakuma's 1-2 home record and 1-3 home team start record doesn't do any justice to his effort (2.79 ERA here at home and 2.66 ERA on the year), that record is giving us great line value with the home team and superior starting pitcher, and we'll lay the reasonable price with the Mariners tonight.

Iwakuma has fared well against the Yankees in his career with a 3.18 ERA in three career meetings, and his Mariners are full of confidence and momentum after winning eight of their previous nine games. Yankees have lost six of their last eight and are in an offensive slump failing to score more than four runs in every game since May 28th.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, June 10

Rocketman

Washington @ San Francisco 
Play: San Francisco -130

Washington is 33-29 overall this year while San Francisco comes in with a 42-22 overall record on the season.  San Francisco is 21-9 this year against a team with a winning record.  San Francisco has made their backers major money when playing at night over the years with a 987-817 record since 1997 making Dime players $121,900.  San Francisco is allowing only 3.2 runs per game at home this year holding opponents to a combined .222 team batting average.   Madison Bumgarner gets the start for the Giants where he is 8-3 with a 2.68 ERA overall this year and 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA his last 3 starts.  Bumgarner has 90 strike outs compared to only 18 walks overall this year including 25 strike outs and only 1 walk his last 3 starts.  Bumgarner has a 2.61 ERA in his six starts vs Washington in his career.  We'll recommend a small play on San Francisco tonight! 


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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, June 10

Jeff Alexander

Blue Jays -1.5 +125

Minnesota's Correia has been a pure fade. The Twins are 6-23 in his last 29 starts with each of the last 6 losses coming by at least 2 runs.  Correia is 1-3 with an ERA of 7.04 in 4 starts versus Toronto.  The 3 defeats came by 4 runs or more.  The Blue Jays are 21-6 in their last 27 overall and 20-6 in their last 26 at home versus Minnesota.  They are in pretty solid hands with Happ, who is 4-1 in his last 5 starts. Each of these 4 wins came by at least 2 runs.

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Steve Janus

San Francisco Giants -130

Great spot to jump on the Giants at home with their ace Madison Bumgarner on the mound. Bumgarner has been nearly unhittable of late. He's 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA and 0.455 WHIP over his last 3 starts. In Bumgarner's two career home starts against the Nationals, he's allowed just 2 runs on 9 hits over 16 innings off work.

Washington will send out Doug Fister, who has a history of struggling on the road. Fister has a 3.78 ERA over 3 road starts this season and is just 8-22 in his last 30 starts on the road when listed anywhere from a -125 favorite to a +125 dog.

Key Trends - Washington is just 15-37 in their last 52 games as a road underdog of +110 to +150, while the Giants are 23-7 in their last 30 home games against a right-handed starter, 35-16 in their last 51 games following a loss, 6-0 in their last 6 during game 2 of a series and 5-0 in their last 5 after being held to 2 runs or less.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, June 10

Nelly

San Diego Padres + over Philadelphia Phillies

San Diego can be tough to back with the worst offensive numbers in baseball but Philadelphia has not been much stronger this season and the edge on the mound for the Padres should be substantial tonight. After bouncing around and struggling the last two seasons Kennedy is having a great 2014 season posting a 3.39 ERA with 88 strikeouts in 79 innings of work. He has allowed just 11 hits and four runs in his last three starts while striking out 22. Kennedy also has better numbers away from Petco Park with a 2.61 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP with San Diego going 4-1 in his road starts this season. Philadelphia has lost eight of the last nine games with awful offensive production and veteran A.J. Burnett is tough to count on. Burnett has walked 41 batters in 79 innings this season including allowing four or more walks in four of his last five starts. Burnett has allowed 19 runs in his last three starts and 32 runs in his last six starts has a strong month of April has been wiped away. Even at home Burnett owns a 1.54 WHIP and the Phillies are just 2-4 in his last six starts. If this game goes to the bullpen there is massive edge for the Padres who have had one of the lowest bullpen ERAs in baseball this season as well.

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Sammy P

Cleveland at Kansas City
Play: Cleveland -110

There may not be a hotter team in baseball right now than the Cleveland Indians.  Last night they pounded the Texas Rangers 17-7 to improve to 9-1 in their last 10 games.  Laying a price has not been an issue with the Tribe during this run either as we've seen them priced above -130 just twice during the last ten games; both of which they won by three runs.  Baseball is a very streaky sport and not only are the Indians hitting the ball and winning games, but they trot out Corey Kluber who has been just as hot on the mound, going 4-0 in his last six starts – all victories.  He sports a 2.83 ERA on his recent six game streak including a WHIP of 1.06.  The Indians will face left handed starter Jason Vargas. Cleveland has been abusing left handers during their last ten games hitting a robust .341 and I don't expect their bats to slow down tonight.  We are getting a very fair price and a very hot team tonight.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, June 10

Bob Balfe

San Francisco Giants -130

I don't think there is a pitcher as hot right now as Bumgarner. This guy is a strike out machine. Washington has not had too much work against left handers this year however they have hit lefties pretty well when they have faced them. The problem tonight is none have been as solid as the pitcher they will face tonight. I like the Giants at home. Take San Francisco.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, June 10

Michael Black

San Antonio at Miami
Play: San Antonio +5

The Heat come home for Game 3 of the NBA Finals after causing the split in San Antonio and we're backing the Spurs for Game 3 tonight. Miami played the game of their lives in Game 2, shooting 53% from the field to cling to a two point victory. I don't like em to keep that shooting % up, they're gonna cool off. Opinion on the San Antonio Money Line but we're taking the points at +5.

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