Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, July 24

Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, July 24

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Detroit at LA Angels
The Angels open a series tonight against a Detroit team that is 2-10 in the last 12 meetings between the two clubs. LA is the pick (-120) according to Dunkel, which has the Angels favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (-120).

Game 951-952: San Francisco at Philadelphia (1:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Hudson) 16.669; Philadelphia (Hamels) 15.115
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-120); 7
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (+100); Over

Game 953-954: Miami at Atlanta (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami (Alvarez) 15.997; Atlanta (Harang) 14.866
Dunkel Line: Miami by 1; 6
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-145); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Miami (+125); Under

Game 955-956: San Diego at Chicago Cubs (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Ross) 16.181; Cubs (Jackson) 14.546
Dunkel Line: San Diego by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: San Diego (-115); No Run Total
Dunkel Pick: San Diego (-115); N/A

Game 957-958: NY Mets at Milwaukee (2:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Gee) 14.108; Milwaukee (Garza) 15.735
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Milwaukee (-160); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (-160); Over

Game 959-960: Boston at Toronto (12:37 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (De La Rosa) 16.552; Toronto (Stroman) 14.655
Dunkel Line: Boston by 2; 8
Vegas Line: Toronto (-130); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (+110); Under

Game 961-962: Texas at NY Yankees (1:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (Lewis) 14.861; NY Yankees (McCarthy) 13.923
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1; 8
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-200); 9
Dunkel Pick: Texas (+170); Under

Game 963-964: Houston at Oakland (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Feldman) 13.993; Oakland (Samardzija) 17.361
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 3 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Oakland (-260); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-260); Over

Game 965-966: Cleveland at Kansas City (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland (Kluber) 17.922; Kansas City (Duffy) 16.021
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 2; 8
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-125); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-125); Over

Game 967-968: Chicago White Sox at Minnesota (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Noesi) 15.524; Minnesota (Hughes) 16.955
Dunkel Line: Minnesota by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Minnesota (-160); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (-160); Over

Game 969-970: Detroit at LA Angels (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Scherzer) 16.301; LA Angels (Richards) 17.731
Dunkel Line: LA Angels by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-120); 7
Dunkel Pick: LA Angels (-120); Under

Game 971-972: Baltimore at Seattle (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Chen) 16.105; Seattle (Iwakuma) 15.024
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1; 6
Vegas Line: Seattle (-140); 7
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (+120); Under

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DUNKEL INDEX

CFL

Calgary at Edmonton
The Stampeders head to Edmonton on Thursday night and come into the contest with a 5-1 ATS record in their last 6 road games. Calgary is the pick (Pick) according to Dunkel, which has the Stampeders favored by 6. Dunkel Pick: Calgary

Game 121-122: Calgary at Edmonton (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Calgary 118.734; Edmonton 112.678
Dunkel Line: Calgary by 6; 45
Vegas Line: Pick; 50
Dunkel Pick: Calgary; Under

FRIDAY, JULY 25

Game 123-124: Winnipeg at BC (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Winnipeg 106.958; BC 120.365
Dunkel Line: BC by 13 1/2; 57
Vegas Line: BC by 7; 52 1/2
Dunkel Pick: BC (-7); Over

SATURDAY, JULY 26

Game 125-126: Ottawa at Hamilton (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Ottawa 104.243; Hamilton 116.131
Dunkel Line: Hamilton by 12; 44
Vegas Line: Hamilton by 4 1/2; 48
Dunkel Pick: Hamilton (-4 1/2); Under

Game 127-128: Toronto at Saskatchewan (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto 107.401; Saskatchewan 118.317
Dunkel Line: Saskatchewan by 11; 54
Vegas Line: Saskatchewan by 6; 50
Dunkel Pick: Saskatchewan (-6); Over

WNBA

New York at Seattle
The Liberty head to Seattle tonight to face a Storm team that is 11-5 ATS in its last 16 Thursday games. Seattle is the pick (-4) according to Dunkel, which has the Storm favored by 6. Dunkel Pick: Seattle (-4).

Game 601-602: New York at Seattle (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: New York 106.681; Seattle 112.744
Dunkel Line & Total: Seattle by 6; 148
Vegas Line & Total: Seattle by 4; 142 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (-4); Over

Game 603-604: Phoenix at Los Angeles (10:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Phoenix 120.564; Los Angeles 114.973
Dunkel Line & Total: Phoenix by 5 1/2; 160
Vegas Line & Total: Phoenix by 3; 164 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Phoenix (-3); Under

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DABE COKIN

CLEVELAND INDIANS AT KANSAS CITY ROYALS
PLAY: CLEVELAND INDIANS -114

What should be a good pitching duel is on tap tonight as the Indians and Royals open a weekend set in Kansas City. It’s Corey Kluber vs. Danny Duffy in a dynamite duel with lots on the line for each team. Both the Indians and Royals are still within hailing distance of the AL Central front-running Tigers. But the reality is that these two clubs are more realistically contending for the last wild card spot. Cleveland has stepped it up lately, and the Indians are now only two games back of Seattle. The Royals haven’t been sharp recently, but they’re still just 2.5 games off the pace.

That current form is big tonight, though. Even though the Indians are not as potent against lefties, this is still a hot entry right now. As for the Royals, they got a much needed won on Wednesday against the White Sox, and maybe returning home will get them heated up.

But there’s no question that the Royals major weakness is getting them in hot water right now. This is simply a poor offensive team, with an alarming lack of power remaining an issue all season long. The Royals usually have to put hits together in small ball fashion to score, and accomplishing that against Kluber has been a problem for them.

KC did manage to beat Kluber once this season, but they’ve also been completely overmatched by the star righty twice. That doesn’t bode well for the home team here, as the Royals are not hitting at all well right now. Aside from a seven-run outburst against some mediocre White Sox hurlers on Tuesday, the post-All Star Kansas City bats have done very little.

The Indians lost yesterday and in fact dropped two out of three at Minnesota. But even with that series loss, I still feel there’s positive momentum with the Tribe. They might not have it easy tonight against the southpaw serves of Danny Duffy, who should own a better record than his current 5-10.

But therein lies the problem for Duffy. He hasn’t been the recipient of much offense and he keeps getting matched up tough, which is again the case this evening. Kluber has been the model of consistency and as long as his command remains top notch, it’s hard to see the Royals helping Duffy out with much tonight.

The Indians are rightfully small favorites here, so this isn’t a particular bargain. But I really don’t see this as having to pay a premium to enlist the service of Kluber tonight. As good as he’s been for me this season, I’ll have no problem supporting the Cleveland ace once again. I’ll side with the Indians to garner the road win tonight.

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Rob Vinciletti

Chicago White Sox vs. Minnesota Twins
Play: Minnesota Twins -149

The Twins fit a 90% system here that plays on certain home favorites off a home dog win by 2 or more runs in a game where the total was 8 or less and their opponent arrives off a home loss. The Twins are 7-0 as a home favorite of -140 or more and 6-1 as a home favorite off a home dog win. Chicago has lost the last 5 to the Twins and is 0-9 on the road off a 1 run loss and 0-5 as a road dog of +140 or more off a home loss. They have H. Noesi going and he was pedestrian like in a 7 inning 4 earned runs appearance here in June. He will oppose Phil Hughes tonight who has a 7-2 record against them with a 2.78 era. With the Whitesox just 2-8 on throwback Thursday we will take the Twins tonight.


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Jim Feist

Chicago at Minnesota
Pick: Over

Two of the worst pitching staffs in the American league matchup here on Thursday. The White Sox have allowed an average of 4.53 rpg (13th in AL) while the Twins are 12th with a 4.49 rpg average. In fact, these two clubs are in the bottom four of the AL in most pitching categories. The Sox will start Hector Noesi here on Thursday with his 4-7 record, 5.21 ERA and 1.51 WHIP. Noesi can have control issues, evidenced by his seven walks in five innings against the Angels back on July 1st. Phil Hughes will start for the Twins and he has a nice 10-6 record, but his ERA is still average at 4.06. Moreover, in July Hughes hasn't been good at all, posting a 1.52 WHIP and 5.96 ERA in 25 2/3 innings. If we just look at Hughes last six starts we see just one quality start and that was against a light hitting Seattle club. In the other five starts he allowed 5,5,7,5 and 5 earned runs respectively. Hughes has also allowed double-digit in hits in each of his last two starts. This one has all the markings a high scoring clash.

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Stephen Nover

Texas Rangers vs. New York Yankees    
Play: Texas Rangers +175

Brandon McCarthy isn't as bad as his statistics with the Diamondbacks may indicate. But he's certainly not as good as he's looked during his first two games with the Yankees. He also doesn't have good lifetime numbers against the Rangers.

Texas has dropped 18 of its last 21 on its way to becoming the worst team in baseball right now. But they shouldn't lack for motivation in this road matchup after the Yankees won by one run in what turned out to be in controversial fashion last night after the minimum five innings because of rain.

The Yankees' ground crew had trouble covering the field in a timely fashion once a downpour hit and the Rangers didn't appreciate that. This is what Rangers manager Ron Washington had to say about it: “Because of them not being able to get the tarp out on the field, this game shouldn’t come to us losing it.”

None of the Yankees have faced Texas starter Colby Lewis at the new Yankee Stadium. Lewis is having a down year, but he pitched respectably this past Saturday giving up two runs in five innings to the Blue Jays, a team with much more power and offense than the Yankees, who remain without their top power hitter, Mark Teixeira.

The Rangers also happen to have won six of the last eight times Lewis has been an underdog.


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Scott Spreitzer

Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals    
Play: Kansas City Royals +110

Much needed back-to-back wins by the Royals after dropping seven of their previous eight games.  A win on Thursday and the Royals would regain second place in the AL Central.  We can't knock Corey Kluber, but this will be the fourth time this season the Royals have faced the Cleveland righty.  Just as important, I expect the Indians to struggle at the plate against KC's Danny Duffy.  The left-hander has been outstanding in most of his last nine starts, allowing 2 runs or less in seven of those outings.  Duffy will face a Cleveland lineup that's 4-14 in 18 road games against lefties this season, averaging just 3.34 rpg. And we should note the Indians have won just 21 of their last 73 games on the road against starting pitchers with a WHIP of 1.30 or smaller.  I expect the Cleveland lineup to continue to struggle at the plate in this one and I'm recommending a play on the Royals on Thursday.

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Matt Fargo

Baltimore Orioles vs. Seattle Mariners    
Play: Baltimore Orioles +121

Baltimore was two innings away from sweeping the Angels but it allowed two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to lose by a run. Still, the Orioles were glad to take two of the three games to square back to even on the current roadtrip before starting a four-game series in Seattle. Baltimore is still a solid 29-22 on the road this season and holds onto a three-game lead over the Yankees and Blue Jays in the American League East. The Orioles are 14-2 in their last 16 games following a loss. Seattle lost two of three against the Mets to open the week and is now 9.5 games out in the American League West but it still sitting in the second Wild Card spot in the American League. The Mariners could be a lot better but have not been able to get the job done at home where they are just 25-28 on the season. They send Hisashi Iwakuma to the hill and he is having a solid season with a 2.95 ERA and 0.99 WHIP over 15 starts but while Seattle is 5-1 in his six road starts, it is just 4-5 in his nine home starts despite his numbers being even better at Safeco Field. The issue is run support as the Mariners are averaging just 2.8 rpg in those nine home outings. Additionally, the Mariners are 0-4 in Iwakuma's last four starts as a home favorite of -110 to -150. Baltimore turns to Wei-Yin Chen and while he has been average, he is winning. He is 10-3 on the season including 5-1 on the road thanks to a ton of run support as he is getting 6.4 rpg through eight road games. He struggled the first couple months but he has a 3.88 ERA in June and July while allowing three runs or less in eight of those nine starts. The Orioles are 8-3 in Chen's last 11 road starts against teams with a winning record.


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Ray Monohan

Detroit Tigers vs. Los Angeles Angels    
Play: Detroit Tigers +120

This is a good pitching matchup with Max Scherzer vs. Garrett Richards. This one comes down to the fact that I believe in Scherzer a lot more than Richards at this point so getting him at +120 is just too good value to ignore. If you are looking for more, you can also see that Scherzer to just 3 hits over 7 innings back in April.  He has only been an underdog twice all season and the Tigers won both games.  On the diamond you have to take your chances a little more.

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Art Aronson

Chicago White Sox vs. Minnesota Twins    
Play: Minnesota Twins -149

I think the home side offers good value in the opener of this four game set. Minnesota turns to Phil Hughes (10-6, 4.06 ERA) who is a pedestrian 3-3 with a 6.34 ERA over his last six starts. The last time he faced the White Sox he gave up four runs over five frames while not receiving a decision in a 10-9 victory in Chicago on April 3rd; note though, Hughes owned a minuscule 1.34 ERA vs. Chicago lifetime previous to that somewhat shaky outing. The visitors counter with Hector Noesi (4-7, 5.21 ERA) who gave up four runs over seven frames in a 5-4 setback at Minnesota on June 20th, lucky to escape with the no-decision. The Twins swept a four game set in this series at Target Field from June 19-22 and all signs point to another rout in my opinion as Hughes gets the slight nod on the bump and that’s more than enough to tip the scales in our favor; consider a second look at MINNESOTA in this one.


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Marc Lawrence

Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals
Prediction: Cleveland Indians

Edges - Indians: Kluber 44 strikeouts and 6 walks last six starts, and 6-2 career team starts in this series, including 3-1 last four here, and 8-1 career team starts during July. Royals: Duffy 2-6 career team starts during July, and 0-2 with 6.36 ERA last two team starts in this series. With the Tribe 19-10 at night the past two seasons behind Kluber, we recommend a 1-unit play on Cleveland.

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Jesse Schule

Baltimore vs. Seattle
Pick: Under

The Orioles continue to play well on the road, coming into Safeco tonight with a road record of 29-22. The Mariners however haven't been playing well at home, coming off back to back losses to the Mets. With Hisashi Iwakuma facing off against a red hot Wei Yin Chen at pitcher friendly Safeco tonight, we should expect a pitcher's duel here.

Iwakuma (8-4, 2.95 ERA) allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings in a no decision at Anaheim his last time out. He's 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA in the month of July, and he boasts a very respectable 2.81 ERA in nine starts in Seattle this season.

The Orioles hand the ball to Wei Yin Chen, who has won three straight. Chen (10-3, 4.31 ERA) allowed three runs on five hits over five innings in a win over Oakland his last time out. He's 5-1 in eight starts on the road, and 7-1 in 14 starts under the lights.

Kyle Seager leads the Mariners in home runs as well as RBIs, but he's 0-for-11 with a pair of strikeouts lifetime versus Chen.


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River City Sharps

San Diego Padres -115

Even though he is sporting a losing mark of 8-10, Tyson Ross has been rock solid for the padres this year. The San Diego righty has a solid 2.70 ERA but has been the victim of a complete lack of run support, most visible in his more recent starts. Over his last nine starts, the Padres have scored a total of 10 runs for the All-Star. Tonight, he gets the ball and will be opposed by the Cubs Edwin Jackson, who may be the guy for the Padres to give Ross some more run support. The Padres have absolutely destroyed Jackson through the years, who has posted an 0-5 record with a 6.95 ERA against these Padres. The Cubs have really struggled post-All Star break and are 1-6 over their last seven games. The Cubs are also just 6-20 in Jackson's last 26 starts as an underdog. We will roll with Ross here tonight at a reasonable price and expect the Padres to continue their domination of Jackson.

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MLB Predictions

San Francisco Giants +106

The Giants have won the first three meetings of this series, and I'm betting on them to pull off the sweep this afternoon. The first three games have been 7-4, 9-6 and 3-1 victories as the Giants have now won 6 of their last 7 games overall scoring 5+ runs in five of those games. They are 57-44 on the season and 29-19 on the road. The Phillies have lost four straight and 7 of their last 8 overall to fall to 43-58 on the year and an awful 19-32 at home. Today's starter for San Fran will be Tim Hudson who is 8-6 with a 2.78 ERA, .252 OBA and 1.10 WHIP. He has pitched better on the road this year with a 2.35 ERA, .255 OBA and 1.08 WHIP. The Phillies will counter with Cole Hamels who is 4-5 with a 2.83 ERA, .231 OBA and 1.17 WHIP. Although Hamels has a 1.93 ERA on the road, his home ERA is 3.86 as he has given up 7 homeruns at home compared to just 1 on the road this year. Take note that the Giants are 5-1 in their last 6 road gams, 7-1 in their last 8 road games vs a team with a losing record, and 6-1 in their last 7 vs NL East opponents, They are also 5-2 in Hudson's last 7 starts with 4 days rest, and 4-1 in his last 5 road starts. The Phillies are just 7-21 in their last 28 home games vs a team with a winning record, 0-5 in their last 5 home games, and 1-4 in Hamels' last 5 starts as a small favorite between -110 and -150. Also take note that the Giants are 5-0 in their last 5 meetings in Philadelphia, and the Phillies are just 1-5 in their last 6 games vs San Fran with Hamels on the mound. I'll take the Giants this afternoon as short underdogs.

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Tony George

Milwaukee -145

The Mets are on fire. 10-4 run, WOW. This series is notorious for the Under, 7-1 the last 8 meetings, but remember that trends tend to reverse and even out more times than not and with the total at 7.5, oddsmakers look for this to be a low scoring affair tonight. I like the Brew Crew at home here, and while their starting pitcher stats do not match the numbers of the Mets starter on the season, the Mets offense, no matter how hot they are will struggle again tonight and that will be doom.

Matt Garza takes the hill at home tonight with a solid 3.71 ERA his last 3 and considering that the Mets as a team are hitting a paltry .156 as a team against right handers their last 5 games, and .170 overall as a team, I consider Garza with run support which he will have, the winning pitcher here tonight as he squares off against Dillon Gee whose ERA on the season is 2.92 but in his last 3 his ERA has increased to 4.00. It is Garza’s 0.96 WHIP that is impressive in his last 3 starts. The Brew Crew have put up 18 runs in their last 4 games, including a sweep of the Cincy Reds who were hot, while the Mets have managed just 9 runs in their last 4 games.

It is about pitching and hitting folks, but in this game while I consider the pitching and bullpens almost dead even, it is the hitting and offense of Milwaukee that hold value, especially at home because the Mets are 7 games below 500 on the road. A little chalky on the line here but worth the stretch for a half unit play in this contest tonight.

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Rocketman

San Francisco @ Philadelphia
Play: San Francisco +106

The San Francisco Giants travel to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies on Thursday afternoon.  San Francisco is now 57-44 overall this year while Philadelphia comes in with a 43-58 overall record on the season.  Philadelphia is 24-34 last 3 years at home when the total is 7 or less.  San Francisco has won 6 of their past 7 games overall.  Philadelphia is 1-7 last 8 games overall.  San Francisco is scoring 6.1 runs per game their past 7 games overall while allowing only 3.1 runs per game during that time.  Philadelphia is only 19-32 at home this year.  Philadelphia is scoring only 3.1 runs per game their past 7 games overall while allowing 6.3 runs per game past 7 games.  Tim Hudson is 8-6 with a 2.77 ERA overall this year and 3-3 with a 2.32 ERA on the road this season.  Hudson has 31 strike outs and only 5 walks on the road this year.  San Francisco has won 7 of 9 meetings in Philadelphia the past 3 years and has won all 3 meetings so far this season.  We'll recommend a small play on San Francisco today! 


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SPORTS WAGERS

EDMONTON +105 over Calgary

The Eskies opened as a 2-point favorite but the so called “sharpies” quickly got a hold of the number and now the Stamps are a slight favorite. There is some validity to that, as Calgary has absolutely dominating this series over the years by defeating Edmonton eight straight. The last time Edmonton celebrated a win over the Stampeders was way back in September of 2011. We say big deal. With 1000’s and 1000’s and 1000’s of games played every year combined between all sports (pro and college) there are going to be some “trends” that stick out more than others but using that to influence your selection is actually ridiculous. What happened years ago has zero impact on the outcome of this one and we’ll use that Calgary dominance to take advantage of a favorable number. The Stamps are 3-0 but a close look shows wins over Montreal, Toronto and Hamilton, who are a combined 2-9. Last week Calgary dodged a huge bullet at home by defeating the injury depleted Tiger-Cats, 10-7. The Stamps were a 9½-point choice against a Hamilton bunch that was forced to use a first time QB, not to mention several replacements to key personnel on both sides of the ball. Despite winning two weeks ago, Calgary was outgained by the Argonauts by almost 80 yards. The Stamps defense has been great but again, two of the three games were against Hamilton and Montreal, two teams that can’t move forward.

By contrast, Edmonton has defeated both Winnipeg and British Columbia. In Winnipeg last week the Eskies were dominating, despite it being a look-ahead game to this one. This is one of the fiercest rivalries in all of sports, as only 300 KM separate the two stadiums in the same province. For Edmonton, this is like a playoff game and certainly its biggest game of the season. They are sick of being the Stamps whipping boys. They have focused tremendously this week on getting this proverbial monkey of their backs. Nothing else matters. How serious are the Eskimos? They closed their Tuesday practice to the public and media and announced that the ban will last the entire week. Edmonton’s defense has been outstanding, holding all four teams to 24 points or less and holding its last two opponents to 11 and 3 points respectively. Edmonton is 4-0, they’re at home, they’ve had an extra day to prepare, they haven’t been this determined or focused in a long time and frankly, there is nothing we’ve seen from the Stamps that suggests they deserve to be the chalk in Edmonton. Eskies outright.

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SPORTS WAGERS

Cleveland -109 over KANSAS CITY (1st 5 innings)

We’re going to switch to the first 5 innings for a good majority of our games for now because had we’ve had leads (or tied) after five in just about every game we’ve bet since the All-Star break. Our selections are largely based on the starting pitchers and therefore shortening the game should work in our favor.

Danny Duffy has posted a 2.66 ERA and 1.12 WHIP over 90 innings this season. However, there is nothing in his profile that suggests he’ll be able to maintain that pace in the second half. Duffy has been the beneficiary of a lucky 80% strand rate. His swinging strike rate is below league average and it’s getting worse. Duffy has a groundball/fly-ball rate of 35%/48%, yet his HR/F is only 0.8%. That can’t last, as eventually some of those fly-balls will leave the yard. Furthermore, current Indians batters have 23 hits in 65 combined AB’s against Duffy for a BA of .354 and an off-the charts OPS of 1.053. Duffy is a prime sell-high target.

If Corey Kluber isn’t in the Cy Young discussion, he should be because few pitchers in the AL have been better. Kluber has 152 K’s in 140 innings. He’s issued just 33 walks and has an elite groundball rate of 55% since the beginning of May. Kluber comes in with a 12% swing and miss rate, a 64% first strike pitch rate and an ERA of 2.95 with an xERA of 2.96. Current Royals have just 39 hits against Kluber in 187 AB’s for a BA of .209. Any time we can spot a cheap price with Kluber going against a team that loses as many games as they win, we’ll gladly step in and certainly make no exception here.   


Miami +125 over ATLANTA (1st 5 innings)

Checking in on Aaron Harang a couple of months ago revealed that he had seemingly recaptured his skills from around 2006, finishing May with a fine 3.30 ERA and base skills soaring into elite territory. Now in late July, he seems to be hanging in there, with a season ERA still at 3.36. A skills analysis, however, reveals that things are unraveling quickly for Harang. Talk about a skills reversal and one need not look further than this stiff.  Since June 1, Harang has walked as many batters as he's struck out (28 in 58 IP) His swing and miss rate shows he's fooling fewer hitters as the months pass. Strand and hit % fortune have masked his poor skills. As usual, xERA tells the real story and Harang’s xERA since June 1 is 5.76. Taking back a tag against Harang has nothing but value and it should be noted that current Marlins have 50 hits in 131 AB’s (.382) against him.

We’re on record saying that Henderson Alvarez was benefitting from a lot of good fortune early on and that his ERA would absolutely regress. Well, over his last three starts, Alvarez has posted an ERA of 4.91 and now that his stock has dropped somewhat, we’re buyers once again because there are many positive trends working in his favor. Alvarez’s swinging strike rate has increased from below average to above average: 6%, 8%, 9%. He already had an elite 54% groundball rate but over his past five starts his groundball/line-drive/fly-ball profile is one of the best in the game at 58%/15%/27%. Alvarez also has outstanding control, as his 22 walks in 123 frames will attest to. For a team that is hitting just .242 against righties at home, the Braves continue to be overpriced and we’re on it.

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Prophet Plays

Detroit Tigers vs. Los Angeles Angels
Play: Los Angeles Angels -113

Max Scherzer is 3-0 with a 1.87 ERA in his last five starts, but a red flag went up for me after he struggled through 5.2 innings against Cleveland on Saturday because of neck spasms. Although he allowed just two runs and six hits over 5.2 innings, the numbers that concerned me were the four walks he issued against only four strikeouts. For a guy that's fanned 150 batters in 132 innings on the season, those numbers catch your attention. As good as Scherzer has been, LA's Garrett Richards has been better with a 7-0 record and 1.25 ERA in his last nine starts. He allowed one run on three hits in eight innings versus visiting Seattle on Saturday to drop his ERA to 1.90 in his last six home outings. The Angels have won six in a row in Anaheim in the series by a combined score of 34-9. Although just 3-3 on its current homestand, Los Angeles has won 21 of its last 28 overall.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, July 24

Tony Stoffo

San Diego Padres vs. Chicago Cubs
Play: San Diego Padres -115

With Tyson Ross getting the start here against Edwin Jackson makes for a solid value release on the Padres at this low price. Ross is 2-2, 0.93 in his last four starts. Jackson is 0-3, 7.18 in his last five starts.

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