Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 12

Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 12

DUNKEL INDEX

NBA

San Antonio at Miami
The Heat look to bounce back from their 111-92 loss in Game 3 and come into tonight's contest with a 7-1 ATS record in their last 8 games following a double-digit loss at home. Miami is the pick (-5) according to Dunkel, which has the Heat favored by 9. Dunkel Pick: Miami (-5)

Game 707-708: San Antonio at Miami (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Antonio 124.973; Miami 133.974
Dunkel Line & Total: Miami by 9; 203
Vegas Line & Total: Miami by 5; 197
Dunkel Pick: Miami (-5); Over

Dunkel

Phoenix at Connecticut
The Mercury head to Connecticut tonight where they are 6-0 in their last 6 games versus the Sun. Phoenix is the pick (-5 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Mercury favored by 7 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Phoenix (-5 1/2).

Game 651-652: Phoenix at Connecticut (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Phoenix 117.919; Connecticut 110.593
Dunkel Line & Total: Phoenix by 7 1/2; 163
Vegas Line & Total: Phoenix by 5 1/2; 156 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Phoenix (-5 1/2); Over

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DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Toronto at Baltimore
The Blue Jays head to Baltimore tonight and come into the contest with a 6-0 record in Mark Buehrle's last 6 road starts. Toronto is the pick (-120) according to Dunkel, which has the Blue Jays favored by 2. Dunkel Pick: Toronto (-120)

Game 951-952: LA Dodgers at Cincinnati (12:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Greinke) 14.651; Cincinnati (Simon) 15.535
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1; 8
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-145); 7
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (+125); Over

Game 953-954: San Diego at Philadelphia (1:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Stults) 14.638; Philadelphia (Kendrick) 16.288
Dunkel Line: Philadelphia by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-120); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (-120); Under

Game 955-956: Atlanta at Colorado (3:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Santana) 17.132; Colorado (Chacin) 13.567
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 3 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-130); 10
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-130); Under

Game 957-958: Washington at San Francisco (3:45 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Treinen) 16.543; San Francisco (Hudson) 15.712
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1; 8
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-150); 7
Dunkel Pick: Washington (+130); Over

Game 959-960: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Samardzija) 15.735; Pittsburgh (Volquez) 17.502
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 2; 6
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh (-120); 7
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (-120); Under

Game 961-962: Milwaukee at NY Mets (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Lohse) 17.271; NY Mets (Niese) 15.920
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: NY Mets (-110); 7
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (-110); Over

Game 963-964: Toronto at Baltimore (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Buehrle) 16.662; Baltimore (Gausman) 14.629
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 2; 7
Vegas Line: Toronto (-120); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (-120); Under

Game 965-966: Cleveland at Boston (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland (Tomlin) 14.390; Boston (Lester) 13.228
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Boston (-150); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (+130); Over

Game 967-968: Detroit at Chicago White Sox (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Scherzer) 15.360; White Sox (Sale) 17.983
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 2 1/2; 5
Vegas Line: Chicago White Sox (-120); 7
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (-120); Under

Game 969-970: NY Yankees at Seattle (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (Whitley) 17.319; Seattle (Elias) 13.293
Dunkel Line: NY Yankees by 4; 8
Vegas Line: Seattle (-120); 7
Dunkel Pick: NY Yankees (+100); Over

Game 971-972: Arizona at Houston (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Miley) 12.842; Houston (Feldman) 15.237
Dunkel Line: Houston by 2 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Houston (-110); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (-110); Under

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SPORTS WAGERS

Croatia +1156 over Brazil

From a rhetorical standpoint taking Croatia to beat Brazil in the opening game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup is exceptionally enticing because the tag on the Croatians is enormous. The next question would be whether or not an upset is possible. Croatia is team that has been to the big dance. In 1998, they finished in third place when France hosted the World Cup. In their next two qualifications in 2002 and 2006, the Blazers would be relegated from their tournament at the conclusion of the group stage, failing to accumulate enough points to advance.

Brazil will undoubtedly have wonderful momentum entering their opening match. The number three team in the world is eager to defend their home pitch, as their country plays host to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Brazil is seeking redemption from an early exit in 2010 and would relish the opportunity to secure another golden trophy in its own backyard. However, Croatia has played in big games before and they are certainly battle tested. They managed to draw with the sixth-ranked Switzerland and thirteenth-ranked Belgium. This team thumped South Korea on two separate occasions and they were a contender in the 2012 European Championship.

An upset here is unlikely but it is not inconceivable. This fixture along with the Mexico/Brazil fixture are both attractive betting options. The upside of the reward is substantial and Croatia is certainly capable of being a pest and hanging around. Ask Portugal who narrowly defeated Croatia by one solitary goal in 2013. We've seen the hosts of big events struggle many times in the past as big favorites because the pressure to perform is huge (see Russia's hockey team at these years Winter Olympics, among others) and it would come as no big suprise to us if the Brazilians suffered a similar fate.

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SPORTS WAGERS

PHILADELPHIA -109 over San Diego

The Padres have scored 14 runs over their past nine games and just two runs over their past three games, which includes the last two games at Citizens Bank Park. Over that nine-game stretch, San Diego is batting .155, they’ve struck out 97 times and they have a measly 19 extra base hits in 272 plate appearances. The Padres have two wins over their past nine games and one of those victories occurred when they had one hit in a game against Pittsburgh (a bunt single, no less) and won, 3-2. To win today, the Padres are going to have to score quite a few because Eric Stults has very little chance of success. At 34-years-old, Stults’ is the epitome of a lefty soft-tosser. His four-pitch mix makes up for his weak 87-mph fastball but it's his pinpoint control (13 BB in 65 IP) that allows him to keep his job for now. One thing you can count on is that Stults will get into a bunch of jams every game and give the opposition plenty of opportunities to score. In 13 starts, he has a 1.55 WHIP, a 4.65 xERA (5.68 actual ERA), 34 K’s (in 65 IP) and a weak 6% swing and miss rate.

Kyle Kendrick is 1-6 with an ERA of 4.30 after 12 starts. Kendrick teased us with a couple of decent years and a nice uptick in strikeouts in 2012 but there's not much upside in this skill set except that he can take the ball every fifth day. In the end, the weak strikeout numbers, middling xERA and his disaster risk all make Kendrick at best an innings eater. Thing is, the Padres are going so bad right now that they have a great chance of making Kendrick look good. Without an advantage on the hill, which they do not have here, the Padres are a great fade spotting less than a dime.

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Rob Vinciletti

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles
Play: Toronto Blue Jays -113

We are playing on road favorites off a home favored loss by 2 or more runs if they scored 4 or less runs on 10 or more hits. These teams are winning by 4 runs per game, 7-3 on average. The Jays are 1-3 vs winning teams and average 5 runs per game in division play. The Orioles are 1-5 at home vs leftys and 3-8 as a home dog from +100 to +125. They have Gausman and his 4.91 era taking on Lefty Buehrle for the Jays who has already gone 7 strong here allowing just 1 run vs the Orioles. He is also 6-0 on the road with a stellar 1.46 road era. going 42 innings allowing just 7 earned runs. For the reasons above we are Taking Toronto.


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River City Sharps

Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Play: Chicago Cubs +105

Interesting matchup here tonight at PNC Park as the Pirates are going to send Edinson Volquez (3-5, 4.27) to the mound to face the Cubs and their ace, Jeff Samardzija (2-5, 2.54) The Cubs are looking for the split tonight of this four-game series and hope they can give their best pitcher a little more support. Samardzija is 4-3 with a 1.90 ERA against the Pirates over his career, which includes a 1-0 Opening Day defeat this season. The Cubs offense has been completely anemic in his starts against Pittsburgh, but we think tonight might be the time to change all of that. While Volquez has pitched better of late for the Bucs, he is definitely a "play against" for these Sharps and we think this might be a good spot for the Cubs to get their ace some serious run support. We are backing the road dog in this spot.

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Brandon Shively

Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox
Play: Cleveland Indians +142

I like the Indians as a sizable dog tonight as they are one of the hottest hitting team in the AL currently and have the better pitcher on the mound that is in better form currently. Cleveland just swept the Red Sox last week and I like them to continue with their winning ways against Boston in this game. Cleveland is hitting .300 over the last 7 games averaging 6.4 runs a game. Chisenhall is hitting .583 with 4 Homeruns and has boosted his season average to .393. All-Star Michael Brantley is also heating up as he is 6-for-10 with 6 runs scored in his last three games. They are facing a Red Sox team that is 2-5 in their last 7 games, hitting .227 and only scoring 2.6 runs a game. Boston is 15-17 SU overall at home this season, and I feel this is an inflated line based on 'Jon Lester' being on the mound. Lester has received a decision in all 13 starts this season. He has given up 3 ER or more in 6 of those 7 starts. Lester is 2-4 at home this season with a 3.05 ERA. He is only getting 2.5 runs of support in these starts. The Indians will call on Josh Tomlin who has a 35/5 K/BB mark on the season. The Indians are 5-2 in his 7 starts giving him an average of 5.5 runs of support a game. Tomlin has a 0.94 WHIP on the season as well and has a 2.84 ERA in his two night starts. The value tonight lies with the Indians as an underdog as they are 9-3 their last 12 games overall, while the Red Sox are 1-9 in their last 10 vs. the AL Central and are 2-8 in their last 10 games as a favorite. Play on Cleveland Indians on the Money Line


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TJ Masterline

Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Play: Pittsburgh Pirates -115

Pirates are 6-1 in their last 7 games with Kellogg behind home plate. Home team is 5-1 in Kelloggs last 6 games behind home plate vs. Chicago. Cubs are 2-5 in their last 7 games with Kellogg behind home plate. Cubs are 4-10 in the last 14 meetings. Cubs are 3-10 in the last 13 meetings in Pittsburgh. Cubs are 0-5 in Samardzijas last 5 starts vs. Pirates. Pirates are 6-0 in their last 6 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15. Pirates are 6-2 in their last 8 games as a home favorite of -110 to -150. Pirates are 8-3 in their last 11 games as a favorite of -110 to -150. Pirates are 8-3 in their last 11 games vs. a right-handed starter. Pirates are 7-3 in their last 10 home games vs. a right-handed starter. Pirates are 20-9 in their last 29 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400. Cubs are 7-19 in Samardzijas last 26 starts on grass. Cubs are 2-6 in Samardzijas last 8 road starts with the total set at 7.0-8.5. Cubs are 2-7 in Samardzijas last 9 road starts. Cubs are 2-7 in Samardzijas last 9 starts as a road underdog. Cubs are 2-9 in Samardzijas last 11 starts as an underdog. Cubs are 1-5 in Samardzijas last 6 starts with 4 days of rest. Cubs are 1-7 in Samardzijas last 8 starts when their opponent allows 2 runs or less in their previous game. Cubs are 0-5 in Samardzijas last 5 starts vs. a team with a losing record. Cubs are 0-6 in Samardzijas last 6 starts after scoring 2 runs or less in their previous game.

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Jesse Schule

Los Angeles Dodgers at Cincinnati Reds
Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers

The Reds offense came alive for five runs in a 5-0 victory over the Dodgers in Cincinnati last night. Runs have been far and few between for this team though, as the Reds rank 29th overall in the majors in runs scored. Facing Zack Greinke this afternoon certainly isn't likely to help matters, as the right-hander tries to move into a tie for first in the NL with his ninth win here today. Greinke (8-2, 2.52 ERA) was roughed up slightly at Coors Field his last time out, but he hasn't had any trouble in recent trips to Cincinnati. He's 3-0 with a 2.52 ERA in his last four starts at Great American Ballpark. The Reds hand the ball to veteran Alfredo Simon, who has been very impressive in his own right. Simon (8-3, 3.15 ERA) gave up three runs on seven hits, and a pair of homers in a home loss to Philly his last time out. He might keep his team in it, but he's going to be hard pressed to win a pitcher's duel with Greinke.


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Frank Jordan

Braves vs. Rockies
Play: Over 10

Atlanta has scored 18 runs in the first three games and 15 in the last two and Colorado has scored 19 in the first three games and 18 in the last two as the bats are alive in the Rockies. Colorado has Chacin on the mound who has an ERA over five and 0-4 on the season. Atlanta has Santana on the mound who started with a low ERA under two, but now after allowing nine runs over his last three starts is now at 3.69 ERA. Look for the bats to be powerful on Thursday as the winning team wins 8-5. Play the over

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Matt Fargo

Detroit Tigers vs. Chicago White Sox    
Play: Detroit Tigers +100

The Tigers have definitely been in a funk as they have lost three straight games and going back to mid-May, they are 6-16 over their last 22 games. Detroit has seen its lead shrink from seven games on May 18th to just two games heading into Thursday and it is in need of a jumpstart. Speaking of funks, Max Scherzer has been in his own funk as well. After posting a 1.83 ERA through his first nine starts, eight of which quality outings, he has gone four straight starts without a quality performance, posting a 6.84 ERA in the process. The good news is that he faces Chicago who he has dominated twice this season and has thrown eight quality outings in his last nine starts against them. The White Sox are again back to .500 on the season and they send their ace Chris Sale to the mound. He is again having a very solid season with a 2.06 ERA in eight starts and he has yet to lose, going a perfect 5-0. He is coming off his worst start of the season however and while his latest numbers against the Tigers have been solid, Chicago is just 3-5 in his eight career starts against them. The White Sox are 2-6 in Sale's last eight starts as a favorite of -110 to -150.


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Scott Spreitzer

Detroit Tigers vs. Chicago White Sox    
Play: Chicago White Sox -109

Detroit's lead in the AL Central is down to 2 games over the KC Royals after dropping their 3rd straight game and their 8th in their last 10.  Pitching has let the Tigers down and I expect more of the same tonight.  Max Scherzer has seen his season ERA balloon from 1.72 on May 5, to 3.38 as we head into tonight's game.  Scherzer has been tagged for 20 earned runs and 45 base runners in his last four starts, spanning 26 1/3 IP.  That's a hefty 6.84 ERA & 1.71 WHIP.  We believe White Sox hurler Chris Sale, meanwhile, will get the better of the Tiger bats.  The White Sox are on a 6-0 run when Sale throws on four days rest, the situation here, and he owns a 3.12 ERA in 14 appearances (8 starts) against Detroit.  Finally, the Tigers are averaging less than 4 rpg in road action against southpaws in 2014.  I'm backing the White Sox on Thursday.

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Art Aronson

Washington Nationals vs. San Francisco Giants    
Play: San Francisco Giants -154

The Nationals have gotten the better of the Giants in first three games of this series but I think the home team finds a way to win the finale. The Nats will start Blake Treinen (0-2, 1.78 ERA) who is in the rotation because of an injury to Gio Gonzalez. Treinen pitched six innings of two-run ball in a no-decision against the Padres on Saturday. Treinen has been solid so far in relief appearance but will be in tough against a good Giants team at AT&T Park. The home side will start veteran Tim Hudson (6-2, 1.97 ERA) as it looks to avoid the sweep. Hudson is coming off his “worst” start of the season as he gave up three runs in just five innings of work to the Mets; suffice it to say, I expect the veteran to bounce back here as he is a solid 16-5 against Washington with a stingy 2.45 ERA. And Hudson has yet to record a loss at home, 4-0 thus far. The Giants still have the best record in the Majors and note that they’re 17-6 in day games. I would have no problem laying the price here.


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Marc Lawrence

Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles
Prediction: Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays and Orioles open a four-game series at Camden Yards Thursday evening in a battle of the birds where Mark Buehrle takes the mound for Toronto. The lefty has been perfect tin his starts away from home this season, sporting a 6-0 team-start mark to go along with a sterling 1.46 ERA. With the Jays 7-1 at night in games behind Buehrle this season, look for more of the same tonight. We recommend a 1-unit play on Toronto.

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Hollywood Sports

Brazil at Croatia
Play:Croatia +1.5

It may be tempting to take the Brazilian host team in this opening game with their number one world ranking after their victory in the 2013 Confederations' Cup where they were also the host nation -- but that looks liek Fool's Gold from this vantage point. Croatia did not qualify for the 2010 World Cup after failing to advance to the Knockout Stages in both 2002 and 2006. And they will be without their striker Mario Mandzukic who was suspended for this opening game by FIFA. Yet, they are only getting 1 1/2 goals for this contest? This looks like a trap -- and lets start with how overrated home field advantage is in international soccer tournaments like this. The cheering home crowd plays little role in triggering inspired play since soccer is such a methodical athletic event (its not like the crowd can inspire an adrenal rush for LeBron to nail another 3-pointer). The studies on home field advantage conclude that the biggest advantage home field offers host teams in international soccer is the opportunity for friendly calls from the referees. But most of that sample size does not involve World Cup events ...

And this is a FIFA event who are on the heels of the blatant bribery episode when they awarded the 2022 games to Qatar. I am not suggesting that these refs are on the take (any more than in these NBA Finals ?) -- but I don't think they feel any pressure to make some friendly calls for Brazil on stage as big as this. Croatia enters these games confident under the leadership of new head cache Niko Kovac -- and they have premier international talent in Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and 20-year old Inter Milan star Mateo Kovacic. Croatia lost to a Brazil team that boasted the famed Ronaldo by just a 1-0 score in the 2006 World Cup. In this opening game where jitters could be a factor for the Brazilians, take Croatia plus the 1 1/2 goals.

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Bryan Power

Detroit vs. Chicago
Pick: Chicago

One could make a case that the White Sox' Chris Sale is the best pitcher in the game. One could also make a far stronger case that the Detroit Tigers are in a major slide. I took Chicago on the run line in Monday's series opener (didn't even need to) and then they won again yday, this time 8-2. Behind Sale, they sweep!

If not for a rainout Tuesday, then the Tigers could very well be staring down the possibility of a four-game sweep here on the South Side.  That shouldn't come as any kind of shock since the AL Central leaders have now dropped 8 of 10 and 16 of 22. Somehow they have been able to maintain first place in the division, but that lead is down to two games and their run differential has dipped all the way to +2 for the season.

Justin Verlander couldn't turn things around yday, and even w/ Cy Young winner Max Scherzer on the bump this evening, it will be hard to turn things around against Sale.  The White Sox ace comes in with a remarkable 0.669 WHIP in his eight starts, none of which have seen the lefty take a loss. The team actually lost in his last outing, which marked the first time since returning from the DL that Sale gave up more than 1 ER.   Consider that before one bad inning against the Angels his last time out, Sale had allowed just 7 hits to the previous 107 batters faced.

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Steve Janus

Houston Astros +102

I cashed in on the Astros with my free pick on Wednesday and I look for them to keep the momentum going at home with another win over the Diamondbacks. Houston's Scott Feldman has let his team down in each of his last two starts and I look for him to come out extremely motivated to deliver a big performance. Feldman has a strong history of bouncing back and let's not forget were talking about a guy who allowed 3 earned runs or less in 6 of his first 8 starts.

Arizona's Wade Miley is just 3-6 with a 4.57 ERA and 1.263 WHIP on the season (14 starts). While he's pitched well of late, each of his last 3 starts have came at home. I look for Miley to struggle on the road against a Houston team that comes in averaging 5.3 runs and hitting .273 as a team over their last 7 games. Miley is just 2-6 in his last 8 road starts against a team with a losing record and Arizona as a team is just 9-20 in their last 29 games after scoring 2 runs or less.

System - The fact that the Astros won yesterday's contest by a final of 5-1 is important to note. Teams revenging a loss where they scored 1 run or less, in a game involving two bad teams (38% to 46%) are just 49-84 (37%) against the money line over the last 5 seasons.

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Jimmy Boyd

Free Pick on Los Angeles Dodgers -138

The Dodgers had their 3-game winning streak snapped by Johnny Cueto and the Reds on Wednesday, but I look for them to bounce back and take the finale of their series against Cincinnati. Los Angeles will send out Zach Greinke, who is 8-2 with a 2.62 ERA and 1.165 WHIP on the season. While Greinke struggled on the road at Coors Field in his last start, he's 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA away from home this season.

Cincinnati will counter with Alfredo Simon, who is 8-3 with a 3.15 ERA and 1.116 WHIP over 12 starts. However, Simon has an ugly 4.20 ERA over 5 home starts and a 6.19 ERA and 1.500 WHIP over his last 3 outings.

Simon and Greinke recently faced off in LA back on 5/27. Greinke held the Reds to just 3 runs on 8 hits with 11 strikeouts, while Simond allowed 5 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks over just 3 2/3 innings.

Dodgers are 6-2 in Greinke's last 8 road starts against a team with a losing record, 10-2 in his last 12 starts after their opponents scored 5+ runs and 16-2 in his last 18 starts following a team loss. Take Los Angeles!

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Jim Feist

Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates
Pick: Chicago Cubs

The Pirates are 9-19 in their last 28 vs. the National League Central and the Chicago comes to town playing well, recently winning 6 of 8, plus going 4-1 against teams with losing records. Pittsburgh has a weak offense, 19th in baseball in runs scored, 17th in slugging. Chicago has ace Jeff Samardzija going with a 2.54 ERA fanning 75 in 85 innings with just 24 walks. Samardzija pitched seven strong innings in earning his second win of the season Saturday. He give up five hits, two runs, and one walk while striking out eight. Pittsburgh has Edinson Volquez going, with a 4.27 ERA and the team 3-6 his last nine starts. Volquez took the loss in Saturday's home start against the Brewers, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks over six innings, while striking out four. He only has 48 strikeouts in 71.2 innings, and hasn't pitched past the seventh inning in any of his starts. The Pirates are 1-4 in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a losing record, so grab the visitors and their ace.

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Bryan Leonard

Arizona -109

Wade Miley and Scott Feldman square off in Thursday's finale of a short two-game interleague series between the Diamondbacks and the Astros. As of June 9, the Diamondbacks had the second-best record in the National League since April 18. Their awful start completely buried them in the standings and has been tough to climb out of, but they're playing substantially better.

We like the Diamondbacks a lot on Thursday night with Miley on the hill against the Astros. Miley has a career-high in K%, SwStr%, and yet his ERA is 4.57. Two predictors of future performance, xFIP and SIERA, put Miley more than at or around a full run better at 3.53 and 3.63. Miley has posted a 5.69 ERA at home and a 3.18 on the road. Not that Minute Maid Park is a great pitcher's park, it's not, but it ranks 19th in home run park factor compared to Chase Field, which is fifth. Miley has allowed 11 home runs in 49 home innings and just three home runs in 39.2 road innings.

Miley's HR/FB% is over five percent above his career average and given his increase in strikeouts and swings and misses, it's reasonable to assume that he's making better pitches and that the HR rate he's dealing with is an anomaly and should normalize soon. Furthermore, Miley is posting the best first-pitch strike percentage of his career. That should benefit him against the Astros more than most lineups because of their high strikeout rate.

Scott Feldman is trending negatively in about every pitching category imaginable. We'll start with the basics, where Feldman has a 4.12 ERA but his advanced metrics suggest that it will get even worse with a 4.65 FIP, a 4.73 xFIP, and a 4.53 SIERA. Only five pitchers with 50 or more innings pitched this season have a higher xFIP than Feldman. Feldman checks in with the lowest K% of any pitcher with 50+ innings, in front of Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Young, and Eric Stults. That's a lot of contact with an Astros defense that ranks 25th in defensive runs saved at -28 and ranks dead last in Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 chances.

Somehow, Feldman has managed to hit nine batters already this season. His control and command have been deplorable and every start has the potential to be a complete abomination with that defense behind him. He lasted just 1.2 innings in his last start against the Twins and gave up nine runs the start before that. With the Astros bad bullpen and Feldman not giving them any length, this game has the potential to be really ugly.

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