Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 26

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 26

Jeff Alexander

Toronto Blue Jays -164

The White Sox have lost 6 of 7 and will have a hard time snapping out of their funk on the road where they have dropped 68 of 98.  Happ has been far from great for Toronto, but the Sox are just 6-20 in their last 26 road games versus lefty starters.  Carroll makes a return to the starting rotation for Chicago, and the Toronto hitters are chomping at the bit as the right-hander has a 12.46 ERA over his last 3 starts.  The Jays have won 10 of their last 13 series openers and are 10-4 in their last 14 as a home favorite of -151 to -200.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 26

Dave Price

St. Louis Cardinals -103

Josh Beckett is having a terrific season, but his numbers fall short of Adam Wainwright's.  St. Louis' ace is 10-3 with a 2.08 ERA in 15 starts and has done his best work on the road where he has a 1.50 ERA.  He enters in phenomenal form with a 1.17 ERA over his last three starts.  The Cardinals are 42-18 in his last 60 starts, 4-0 in his last four road starts and 17-6 in his last 23 starts versus National League West foes.  As good as Beckett has been, the Dodgers are just 6-8 in his starts, including 2-6 at home.  L.A. is just 18-20 at home on the season while St. Louis is 20-19 on the road.  The Dodgers are 7-15 in Beckett's last 22 starts, 1-5 in his last six home starts and 1-7 in his last eight starts versus winning clubs.  It is also worth noting that Wainwright has a 3.00 ERA in 12 starts versus the Dodgers while Beckett has a 4.68 ERA in seven starts versus the Cardinals.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 26

LT Profits

N.Y. Mets vs Pittsburgh
Pick: Under 8

There could be a surprising pitching duel when Daisuke Matsuzaka and the New York Mets visit Vance Worley and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Neither starter began the season in the majors but both have exceeded early expectations since being recalled. Dice-K is 3-1 in five starts with a 2.68 ERA and 1.26 WHIP and he has 45 strikeouts in 47 innings. The downside is his 35 walks, but he has minimized the damage by allowing only 28 hits in those 47 innings. He is facing the Pirates for the first time ever, which is a bigger advantage for Matsuzaka than usual because of his funky motion. Worley has been brilliant in his two starts for Pittsburgh allowing three runs on 10 hits in 13.2 innings with nine strikeouts vs. one walk and the Mets are batting just .226 vs. righties. The ‘under’ is 7-3-1 in the Mets’ last 11 games overall.

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Tom Barton

Philadelphia vs Miami
Pick:  Philadelphia

I am all about Cole Hamels here and have been for a few starts. Hamels has been just unreal lately and against this Marlins team on the road I can't see anything changing. Hamels has allowed 3 runs in his last 5 starts combined and it goes even deeper than that. He has held 6 of his last 9 opponents to 1 run or no runs and only once during that span has anyone even seen more than 3 runs, and that was 4. The Phillies have won 3 of his last 4 starts and while they don't back him with many runs he doesn't need many. Hamels owns these Marlins as well with an under 2 ERA in his last 8 starts. Miami is one of the worst road teams in the league and now send out a struggling starter. Tom Koehler was on a tear and has come crashing back down to earth. Koehler has allowed 24 runs in his last 35 innings lasting past 5 innings in just one of his road starts. He shouldn't be as bad as he showed for a stretch but isn't as good. He certainly can't keep up with Hamels success that will win out here.

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Andre Gomes

Germany / USA Under 2.5

There are a lot of conspiracy theories about this contest favoring a draw between these two teams = both would qualify for the next round.

In normal conditions, at this price, I would blindly make a play w/ Germany to win but because of this, I’ve decided to pass sides…

However, I think that this contest has all conditions to be a low scoring affair!

I expect this contest to be played @low tempo! We can expect the USA team to bring a conservative mindset for today facing the superior talented German side, but I also think that the Germans will be happy to keep the tempo low – they’ll save some energy for the knockout stages.

NOTE: I’ve checked the weather for this contest and it’s raining! The field won’t be good for a fluid wide-open game,  so I’m happy to take my chances w/ UNDER in here!

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MLB Predictions

Los Angeles Angels -1.5 +125

The Angels have won the first two meetings of this series by scores of 8-6 and 6-2 last night. They have now won 5 straight and six of their last seven games overall to improve to 43-33 on the season and 25-14 at home. The Twins are 36-40 overall and 17-23 on the road. Tonight Ricky Nolasco will pitch for Minnesota and he is 4-5 with a 5.52 ERA, .316 OBA and 1.56 WHIP on the year. He has been awful on the road with a 7.11 ERA, .369 OBA and 1.91 WHIP. Over his last 4 starts in June his ERA is 5.01 with a .298 OBA and 1.46 WHIP. On the other hand we've got Jered Weaver on the mound for the Angels, and he has been solid this year with a 3.47 ERA, .223 OBA and 1.13 WHIP. Although his overall numbers are pretty good, he has been great at home with a 2.92 ERA, .198 OBA and 1.04 WHIP. He had a stretch of below average starts in June, but went 8 innings giving up just 4 hits and 1 earned run in his latest start vs Texas. Take note that the Twins are 0-7 in their last 7 road games, 4-17 in their last 21 vs AL West opponents, and 1-4 in Nolasco's last 5 road starts. The Angels are 13-3 in their last 16 games as a home favorite of -151 to -200, 6-0 in their last 6 home games vs a right handed starter, 23-8 in their last 31 home games overall, and 38-13 in Weaver's last 51 home starts. I'll take the Angels by 2 or more this afternoon.


Tigers / Rangers Over 10

There have been plenty of runs to enjoy in this series, in the type of baseball many people expected from these two teams this season. For the greater part of the season the Tigers have. Unfortunately for them, though, their bullpen has been an absolute mess. Conversely, however, it has led to plenty of runs being scored against them. The Tigers have now won six straight games after a tough stretch of losses, but look unstoppable at the plate lately. Note that Detroit has scored 26 runs in their last three games! The last time they've scored less than 5 runs was six games ago against the Royals on the 19th. They should be able to destroy Nicholas Martinez who has had a tough go of it. Martinez has been getting shellacked at home and I find it hard to believe it'll change against this offense. He brings tonight an ERA of 6.38, coupled with a 1.91 WHIP and .407 OBP at home. In his last start at home against Cleveland, Martinez allowed 8 runs in only 2 innings. Additionally, his ERA of 7.20 in his past three starts is tough for the Rangers to swallow as well. Rick Porcello has been shaky lately as well, putting forth an effort of a 4.00 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and .321 OBP his last three. Porcello's worst start this season came against the Rangers on May 24th, getting hammered for 7 runs and 12 hits in 5.1 innings pitched. If the total is in the balance late in this one, I expect the Tigers' bullpen to get it over the number. Look for the runs to keep coming in Texas tonight, as the Tigers and Rangers should get OVER 10 runs.

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Stephen Nover

Detroit Tigers -136

The Rangers have dropped seven in a row. They are a fade right now. Rick Porcello gets easily maligned but the Tigers win for him. Detroit is 21-7 during his past 28 starts. Detroit has won six in a row with the last five coming on the road. The Tigers are averaging 6.5 runs per game during this span. The Tigers have won six of Porcello's past seven away starts. I'm not a fan of Texas starter Nick Martinez. He surrendered eight earned runs to the Indians in two innings during his last home start and is vulnerable to the long ball. The Tigers just saw Martinez, too, last month.


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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 26

Jimmy Boyd

Nationals at Cubs
Play: Cubs +124

The Cubs are showing excellent value as a home underdog against the Nationals. Starter Travis Wood has been consistently strong at home, where he's 3-2 with a 2.93 ERA and 1.093 WHIP over 7 starts. Washington's Doug Fister has been strong overall, but he's clearly been more vulnerable on the road. Fister has a 2.56 ERA and 1.041 WHIP overall and a 3.34 ERA and 1.281 WHIP on the road (5 starts). Last time he took the mound on the road, he gave up 4 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in just 6 innings of work. Chicago is 9-3 in their last 12 against the NL East, 8-3 in their last 11 during game 1 of a series, 4-1 in Wood's last 5 starts following a team loss and 6-2 in his last 8 starts as an underdog. Adding to this is a solid system telling us to fade the Nationals. Road teams who are hitting team .250 or worse as a team against an average starting pitcher (ERA=4.20 to 5.20) -NL, with a starting pitcher whose WHIP is 1.150 or better on the season-NL are just 48-90 since 1997. That's a 65% long-term system in favor of the Cubs.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 26

Ian Cameron

Toronto at Winnipeg
Play: Under 55.5

I am a little puzzled by the move toward the Over this morning with this total getting pounded from 53.5 to as high as 55.5 in many locations. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have a brand new starting QB in Drew Willy and although he has talent and plenty of potential, we are still talking about someone who was a backup in Saskatchewan for the last couple years and will be making his first start. Toronto has some holes to fill defensively and they also have a new DC in Tim Burke. The Argos lost key veteran CB Pat Watkins while also saying goodbye to DL Khalif Mitchell and two solid LB’s Robert McCune and Marcus Ball. However given Winnipeg’s offensive makeup to start the campaign it shouldn’t be as big of a challenge for the revamped Argos defense.

On the flip side, Toronto's strength is its offense with veteran QB Ricky Ray who in 2013 completed a ridiculous 77% of his passes. The line move suggests bettors feel Toronto’s offense will roll in this matchup but Winnipeg has upgraded their talent on defense and there really is nowhere to go but up. Winnipeg’s new head coach Mike O'Shea came from the Toronto Argos organization as the special teams’ coordinator so he should have a very good idea of what to expect. I don't agree with the total move and even the heavy move on the side with Toronto being bet up from -5 to as high as -7. I am comfortable stepping in with a recommendation on the Under in tonight’s CFL season opener.

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Michael Alexander

Miami Marlins vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Play: Philadelphia Phillies -152

Koehler fell to 1-3 in his last six starts despite allowing just two runs on four hits in seven innings of a 4-0 setback to the New York Mets on Saturday. The 27-year-old has struggled with his control, issuing at least three walks in four of his last five outings. Koehler sputtered in his last outing versus Philadelphia, permitting five runs (four earned) on seven hits in five innings to take the loss.

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Bryan Power

St. Louis vs. LA Dodgers
Pick: Over

At first, this might seem to be a risky move going Over the total w/ two strong starting pitchers - Adam Wainwright and Josh Beckett - on the hill.  But getting the 6.5 w/ little juice is a good number as 7 is a key number when it comes to betting MLB totals as a 3-3 game assures us of a win.   Both teams went Over in winning efforts yday.

In fact, St. Louis has averaged 6.2 rpg over its last five, including a nine-run effort at Coors Field Wednesday in a win over the Rockies.  This after losing 10-5 Tuesday.  Obviously, coming off B2B games where 15 total runs were scored has to be owed somewhat to playing in Denver, but they won't have to score at nearly the same rate here to send this one Over.

The Over is 3-1 this month in Dodgers games when the total is 6.5 runs or less.  They had 10 hits yday, their most in any game in the last eight games.  The Over is now 24-11-3 this season here at Chavez Ravine thanks to all the low totals.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 26

Bob Balfe ‏

Philadelphia Phillies -155

This is about the max I will ever lay in a baseball game and usually it would be for really good teams unlike the Phillies, but the pitcher in this one is much better and the Phils have the better bullpen. Last night the Phillies lost a close game more or less on a bad error by Brown. There has been no better pitcher than Hamels this month and I like the Phillies chances to win this game even with this price being where it is at. Take the Phillies.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 26

Wunderdog

Colorado @ Milwaukee
Pick: Under 9

The Colorado Rockies have one of the biggest home field advantages in MLB, and tailor their lineup accordingly. It has allowed them to be a better than .500 team at home, but the road is still filled with land mines as they are 15-24. The answer is easy to find. The Rockies average 6.3 runs per game at home, and just a paltry 3.7 on the road. Their road games average just 8.3 runs per game, compared to 12 at home. The Rockies are an easy OVER the total consideration for bettors, but the reality is that the Rockies are 37-15-3 to the UNDER in their last 55 games as a road dog from +151 to +200. The Brewers are a strong UNDER team when playing at home vs. a team with a road winning percentage of less than .400 where they have turned in an 18-7-1 mark to the UNDER in their last 26, including 7-1 to the UNDER in Peralta's last eight starts vs. a losing team. This one stays UNDER.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 26

OC Dooley

Mets / Pirates Over 8

Both sides have had recent infusions which will bolster overall OFFENSIVE production. Pittsburgh’s Neil Walker was leading all major league second-basemen in overall statistics prior to being placed on the disabled list and has since returned.  Meanwhile with the recent callup of prized outfielder George Polanco who hit safely in each of his initial nine games at the major league level, the Pirates have one of the game’s more dynamic outfields led by MVP Andrew McCutchen.  Yesterday the Pittsburgh bats were silenced on the road however it was due to Tampa ace David Price possibly making his final assignment in a Rays uniform.  The Mets offense is coming off consecutive high scoring affairs and are now getting back outfielder Juan Lagares from a stint on the disabled list.  Just last night the Mets received a three-run HOMER from Lucas Duda and a two-run HOMER from the same Chris Young (.201 average) who was rumored to be soon being released. On the mound for Pittsburgh tonight is the same Vance Worley who in his career (6.64 ERA) has struggled with facing the Mets attack

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