Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, July 24

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

Jimmy Boyd

Chicago White Sox +143

The White Sox are showing unbelievable value as a huge road underdog against division rival Minnesota. While Chicago comes in off -back-to-back losses, it's not like Minnesota is playing great either. The Twins are just 2-4 in their 6 games since the break and should not be this big of a favorite with Phil Hughes on the mound.

Hughes has a solid 10-6 record, but has a not so great 4.06 ERA, which is only slightly better than the Hector Noesi's 4.62 ERA. On top of that, Hughes has an ugly 5.49 ERA at at home and has been hit hard in his two starts against the White Sox this season. He allowed 4 runs in 5 innings on 4/3 and 5 runs in 5 innings at home on 6/22. Not to mention Hughes is an awful 2-10 in his last 12 starts at home in night games and his team has lost by an average score of 2.3 to 6.6.

Another huge factor in this one is that the Twins swept the White Sox in the most recent series between these two teams. All underdogs with a money line of +125 to +175 who are  revenging a sweep at the hands of their opponents, after scoring 1 or less runs in a loss to a division rival (lost 1-2 to KC yesterday) are 33-16 since 1997. That's a 67% system in favor of the White Sox.

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

Sam Martin

Baltimore Orioles at Seattle Mariners
Prediction: Seattle Mariners

Baltimore did well to take two of three games in Anaheim against the Angels, but they run into one of the best pitchers in the American League tonight and we'll back Seattle to win late tonight. Iwakuma continues to impress, having a season ERA below three and allowing 2 ER's or less in each of his last four starts overall.

Chen is been decent for Baltimore, but is statistically worse than Iwakuma in ERA and WHIP and it's not even close. Chen lost both of his starts against Seattle last year despite being listed as the heavy favorite in both games. Far more confidence in the better pitcher and we'll back Seattle to win a close game in their home ballpark!

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

Will Rogers

Detroit vs. LA Angels
Pick:LA Angels

The Angels and the Tigers will open a four game set in Los Angeles tonight. The Halos have the best home record in AL at 35-18 so far this season, while Detroit has the best road record at 30-17. Something has got to give tonight, and I'm leaning toward the home team.

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Pitching - Garret Richards has limited the Tigers line-up to AVG of .190 with 10 strike outs. Considering the 26 year old has only allowed two runs on 14 hits over 22 1/3 innings in his last three games, I think he will give the Tigers offense a hard time tonight as well. Detroit with counter with reigning Cy Young winner Max Sherzer, who was less than spectacular in a no decision in his last appearance.

2. The Tigers in LA- Detroit has lost their last six games at the Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

3. X-factor - Mike Trout has been hot in his last 10 games, hitting .356 with four home runs, five doubles and 12 RBIs.

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

Ian Cameron

Calgary at Edmonton
Play: Under 49.5

There has already been a 3 point drop in this total which now sits at 49.5 for the most part but I still think we have enough wiggle room to give the Under a small recommendation in this Battle Of Alberta with current possession of 1st place in the West Division at stake between the 3-0 Calgary Stampeders and the 4-0 Edmonton Eskimos--a game that can be seen live on ESPN2 tonight. The defenses have led the way and have been dominant for both teams this season and I see no reason for that to change tonight. Calgary has yielded just 30 points in their first three games combined which equates to a 10 points per game average which is extraordinary while Edmonton has given up 58 points in their first four games for a very impressive 14.5 points per game average of their own. Both teams are capable of playing blanket coverage down the field in the secondary as well as over the middle and they can both stop the run. Calgary and Edmonton are ranked 1st and 2nd respectively in points allowed and rushing yards allowed in the CFL. The Stampeders and Eskimos are a combined 7-0 to the Under this season and 6 of those 7 games had fewer points scored than the current total of 49.5 for this game. With this being such an important game, I expect it to be played very tight to the vest on both sides and look for this game to stay Under the total.

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

Brady Kannon

Seattle Mariners -133

It was a tough pill to swallow for Baltimore on Wednesday night, walking in the game winning run to The Angels in Anaheim, in what was a very hard fought game, ending after 10pm Pacific time. Seattle is coming off of a series loss to The Mets in what was a day game for the finale. I like the rested home team, off of a loss, with a guy that has been great at home in Iwakuma, knowing they need him tonight to keep pace in the dog fight that is the AL West. Chen is no slouch but I like the situational set up for The Mariners.

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

Nelly

Marlins / Braves Under 7½

Henderson Alvarez owns an impressive 2.64 ERA on the season, walking only 22 batters in nearly 123 innings of work. Alvarez has allowed two or fewer runs in 10 of his last 11 starts but he has been supported by a marginal Miami offense. The Marlins have been held to three or fewer runs in 10 of the last 12 games and over the last 10 games Miami has hit just .209 against right-handed pitching scoring just 2.1 runs per game. Despite being a strong winning team, the Braves are one of the worst hitting teams in baseball, for the season batting .238 and scoring just 3.6 runs per game vs. right-handed pitching. Aaron Harang has delivered a terrific season with a 3.36 ERA and nine of his last 10 starts have been quality starts including a strong outing in Miami. Just 7.3 runs per game have been scored in Atlanta this season and low numbers should be expected to close this four-game set.

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

LT Profits

Miami vs Atlanta
Pick:Miami +128

Henderson Alvarez is quietly coming into his own at the age of 24 for the Miami Marlins. Not many have noticed because of his 6-5 record, but Alvarez has now allowed two runs or less in 10 of his last 11 starts and is fifth in the National League with his 2.64 ERA, to go along with 75 strikeouts vs. just 22 walks and ranking 11th in the majors with a 54.4 percent groundball rate. Meanwhile, 36-year-old Aaron Harang continues to defy logic for the Atlanta Braves as he is 9-6 with a 3.36 ERA when it appeared that his career was over after going 5-11 with a 5.76 ERA for Seattle last year. However, Harang has just a 4.16 xFIP and the Marlins torched him for nine earned runs on 10 hits in 4.2 innings earlier this season. The Marlins are 10-2 in Alvarez’s last 12 starts.

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

Bruce Marshall

San Diego Padres at Chicago Cubs
Pick: Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are a bit of a tough sell tonight at Wrigley Field, especially with starter Edwin Jackson ( 0-3 with a 7.18 ERA in his last five starts) on the mound. But we suspect the Padres' 8-run eruption on Wednesday was helped by Chicago's rookie starter Tsuyoshi Wada, who was hit hard in just five innings of work. Remember, San Diego has already been blanked 15 times this season, and the Padres are legendary for their non-support of starter Tyson Ross, who has received only ten runs of support in his last nine starts.

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

Jeff Alexander

Cleveland Indians -107

The Indians get the call as Thursday's free play with Kluber on the hill.  He's been outstanding against the Royals, going 4-1 with a 3.33 ERA in 8 career starts against them.  The Indians are 6-1 in his last 7 starts versus the Royals.  Kansas City's Duffy is 1-1 with a 5.51 ERA in 3 career starts versus Cleveland.  The Royals are 4-11 in Duffy's last 15 home starts versus a team with a winning record and 0-5 in his last 5 starts as an underdog.  The Indians are 9-1 in Kluber's last 10 starts following a quality start in his last appearance.

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

Jack Jones

Seattle Mariners -133

The Seattle Mariners (53-48) are fighting for a Wild Card spot in the American League this season.  They have been one of the most underrated teams in baseball, and the same can be said for tonight's starting pitcher, who doesn't get the credit he deserves season after season.

Hisashi Iwakuma has been nothing short of dominant over the last three seasons.  He went 9-5 with a 3.16 ERA in 2012, and 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA in 2013.  Iwakuma is 8-4 with a 2.95 ERA and 0.994 WHIP over 15 starts in 2014, including 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA and 0.662 WHIP in his last three.

Wei-Yin Chen is no more than an average starter for Baltimore.  The left-hander has posted a 4.21 ERA and 1.303 WHIP in 19 starts this season, including a 4.68 ERA and 1.323 WHIP in eight road starts.  Chen is 0-2 with a 4.56 ERA in four career starts against Seattle.

Iwakuma is 14-4 (+15.4 Units) against the money line after two or more consecutive losses over the last three seasons.  The Orioles are 0-4 in their last four games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15.  The Mariners are 20-9 in their last 29 vs. a team with a winning record.  Seattle is 16-5 in Iwakuma's last 21 starts after scoring two runs or less in their previous game.

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

Dave Price

San Diego Padres -121

The Cubs can't be trusted with Edwin Jackson on the mound.  They are just 16-35 in the veteran right-hander's last 51 starts, 6-20 in his last 26 starts as an underdog of 1-10 in his last 11 starts versus NL West foes.  He has a 5.61 ERA on the season and an ugly 9.60 ERA over his last three starts.  He is 0-5 with a 6.95 ERA in nine career starts versus the Padres with his clubs losing each of his last eight starts against them.  San Diego's Tyson Ross has a 2.70 ERA on the season and a 1.35 ERA over his last three starts.  He should benefit from facing a Chicago club that isn't familiar with his stuff.  His only previous appearance against the Cubs came in relief with Oakland in 2010, yielding no hits over two scoreless innings at Wrigley Field.  The Padres are 5-1 in their last six versus NL Central opponents and 5-2 in Ross' last seven starts versus NL Central clubs.

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

Steve Janus

San Diego Padres -121

This is a great spot to back the Padres. As bad as San Diego has been in 2014, the Cubs have been even worse and Chicago has been a free fall since trading away Samardzija and Hammel. The Padres won easily 8-3 yesterday and I like their chances of cashing in another comfortable win given today's pitching matchup.

San Diego will send out Tyson Ross, who despite a 8-10 record has a strong 2.70 ERA and 1.171 WHIP over 21 starts. Ross has been even better of late, posting a 1.35 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over his last 3 starts. Chicago will counter with Edwin Jackson, who has been one of baseballs worst starters this season. Jackson is 5-10 with a 5.61 ERA and 1.563 WHIP over 20 starts and comes in with an awful 9.60 ERA and 1.800 WHIP over his last 3 starts. On top of that, Jackson is 0-5 with a 6.95 ERA and 1.81 WHIP over 9 career starts (1-9 team record) against the Padres.

Key Trends - Jackson is 5-19 over the last 3 seasons against poor power teams who average 0.9 or less home runs per game and 3-17 in his last 20 starts following a start where he didn't walk a batter. San Diego is 5-1 in their last 6 against the NL Central and 4-1 in Ross' last 5 starts during game 3 of a series.

System - All teams with a money line of -100 to -150 (SAN DIEGO) - poor power team - averaging 0.9 or less HR's/game on the season, after scoring 8 runs or more are 233-130 (64%) over the last 5 seasons.

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

Tom Grassi

Oakland A's -1½ -113

Last night we released a Top Rated 25* AL West Run Line of the Year on the Oakland Athletics and it looked to be an Easy Winner as the Athletics were up 5-0 by the second inning and 9-2 in the seventh, but in the 8th inning, the Astros scored five runs to put us right at the 2 run number (9-7) but Doolittle came in during the ninth and finished it off for the win!

The Oakland A’s are once again -265 favorites against the Astros and we feel comfortable wagering a few units on the Run line at -125.  They should have no problem winning by the -1.5 runs after the Astros opened up the series with a shocking +225 money line win.

Scott Feldman is starting for the Astros and has a below average 4.30 ERA and 1.370 WHIP in all starts this season.  He is coming off back to back losses and three straight team losses but we don’t expect things to turn around just yet as he faces Oakland who seems to have no problem putting some runs on the board. Feldman is only 6-17 TSR when playing against a division opponent.

On the other side of the pitching matchup is Jeff Samardzija who has a solid 3.05 ERA and 1.131 WHIP in all starts and tends to pitch even better at home with a strong 2.42 ERA and 1.036 WHIP when pitching at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Look for him to have another strong matchup and assist the a’s in an easy win at the betting window.

The public will be all over the A’s this afternoon at -265 but why lay all that chalk when you can snag them at -113 on the run line!

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

Stephen Nover

Marlins at Braves
Play: Marlins

Henderson Alvarez has better numbers than Aaron Harang and at this stage of their careers is the better pitcher. Alvarez has been cleared to make this start and won't be on a pitch count after suffering a bruised shin during his last start this past Saturday. Alvarez is one of the most underrated pitchers in the National League. The Marlins have won 10 of his last 12 starts. Miami is 5-1 in his last six road starts and 7-2 the past nine times he's been an underdog. Harang is pitching well, but he's 36. I'm expecting to see him start wilting during the rest of the season.


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

Wunderdog

Houston vs. Oakland
Pick: Oakland -1.5

The Houston Astros stole a game in this series vs. the Oakland A's, but I don't think that they are going to take another. Oakland has been the best team in the AL all season, and they have had their game on and delivering the knockout blow vs. bad teams, where they don't get caught sleeping very often. Oakland has delivered a 108-38 record as a favorite of -201 or higher, and is killing teams that start a right-hander against them at home where they are 88-40 in their last 128. The Astros have not made too many stands on the road, where they are an MLB worst 79-182 in their last 261 road games. When facing a winning team, Houston finds the win column very infrequently as they are a woeful 43-134 in their last 177. Houston is 7-23 in their last 30 vs. Oakland, and 1-7 in their last eight in O.Co Coliseum. Oakland has more 2 runs or more wins than any team in baseball, and get one more today.

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

Sports Atari

Oakland A's -1.5 -118

Look for the Oakland A’s to dominate the Astros in the last game of their series. Oakland scored 9 runs yesterday on 13 hits with Cespedes and Lowrie hitting a pair of home runs. Samardzija gets the start for Oakland with a 1-1, 3.27 ERA in 3 starts. Oakland’s starters are limiting opponents to 1 run or less in 10 of their last 16 games. The A’s are also 11-5 in those 16 games and 41-15 as a favorite.

The Astros come in at 10-21 in their last 31, 33-72 in a game 3 situation and 1-5 when Feldman starts. He’s 0-2 with a 5.89ERA in his last starts allowing 46 runs on 105 hits this season over 96.1 innings. 9 of Feldman’s last 12 starts have gone over the posted total.

Look for the A’s to get out ahead early and control the game to win by 2 or more.


Atlanta Braves -134

Braves won 6-1 yesterday over Miami and they’re in a great spot to do it again today. They’ve scored 5 or more runs in 6 of 8 games (11 runs in the last 2 games) and we’re always looking in Atlanta’s direction when they’re productive at home because that’s when they’re deadly and hard to stop. Miami’s offense is going in the opposite direction this month but they’ve won 2 out of 3 in Atlanta and will be hard pressed to take another one before they leave town.

Harang is 4-0 with a 2.38ERA in his last 5 starts with the Braves going 4-1 in that span. He’s 9-6 on the season with a 3.36 ERA which is not as strong as Alvarez on Miami at 2.64 with a 6-5 record. The problem for Alvarez is that he gave up 10 runs in his last 2 games with a 0-2, 9.39ERA in those 2 starts. He’s also 0-2 with a 6.67ERA in 5 starts against the Braves.

This is Atlanta’s day and your day to make some BONUS money off a solid home team looking to even out and finish off the series with a win.

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

Non Stop Sports Picks

Chicago / Minnesota Over 8.5

Look at what Hughes has done recently? Sure he had a nice stretch to start the season, but regression sets in as it almost always does! In his last 4 home starts, an ERA of OVER 8 and 31 hits given up. The White Sox can and will hit him tonight. On the opposite side, Noesi is still so hit or miss...mostly miss. An overall ERA of OVER 5, and he struggles on the road (see his Cleveland game, 4.2 IP & 6 ER). Plus, these pitchers won't go more than 5 or 6 innings, meaning we get to see the bullpens. Just too many ways this one sails OVER.

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

Scott Delaney

My free play is on the Oakland Athletics on the Run Line, over the Houston Astros, in American League West play.

PITCHING NOTE: Every Run Line/Total play will list pitchers with the starting pitchers scheduled to go at the time of the wager. And tonight I am emphatic about who is starting for both teams. Thus, be sure that Jeff Samardzjia and Scott Feldman are the pitchers of record when making your play. If either one or these pitchers is not going, disregard this play.

I loved when Oakland acquired Jeff Samardzjia, and he's proven me right when I first said it was just what the A's needed in their rotation. He is in after allowing four runs to the Orioles last Friday, but it was just two pitches that resulted in home runs. He struck out four in seven innings of work, the third straight start he's completed as many innings for his new team. In those outings, he's allowed eight earned runs over 22 innings.

Truth is, it's gotten worse. He allowed just one earned run at home to Toronto, then three earned runs at Seattle and then the four at home to the O's. It's time to shine for the right-hander. And if there is any one team he can dominate, as the Astros have the fifth-worst batting average (.239) in the league.

Meanwhile, Feldman is in after receiving a tough loss Friday, despite allowing three runs and seven hits in seven innings. Though I know four of his last five starts have been quality, and he hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in nine of his last 11 starts, he's also faced the White Sox and Red Sox the last two times out, allowing 10 earned runs in those games alone. He will struggle against the A's in this one, as Oakland is looking to avoid a series loss to one of the worst teams in the bigs.

4♦ OAKLAND -1.5

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

Jeff Benton

Your Thursday freebie is the Padres over the Cubs.

Have to side with Tyson Ross to outduel Edwin Jackson, as Ross may be just 8-10 on the season, but he has a season ERA of 2.70. Ross sports an even lower ERA of 1.35 for his last 3 starts, and with the Cubbies scoring just 3 or less in 3 of their past 4 games, I look for Ross to dominate in tonight's start.

Edwin Jackson is on an 0-3 slide his last 5 starts, and is just 5-10 for the year with an ERA well over 5.

We all know the Padres bats are feeble, but they will not need to score more than 3 or 4 tonight to get the win behind Ross.

Expect that to happen.

Padres the call.

3♦ SAN DIEGO

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

Brad Wilton

My Thursday night comp play is the Under in the O's-M's meeting from Safeco Field.

Baltimore finished their series in Anaheim with another Under last night, as the O's head north to the Emerald City with 3 straight Unders played, and Unders in 9 of their last 12 games played overall.

Seattle is on a similar line, as they concluded their 3 game set with the Mets yesterday with their 3rd straight Under, and have now played Unders in 12 of their last 15 games overall.

Hard to buck those trends, and with Wei-Yin Chen and Hisashi Iwakuma stepping to the mound I will look for another low-scoring game played tonight in King County.

Chen has seen 2 of his last 3 starts hold Under the total, while Iwakuma has also seen 2 of his last 3 starts play Under the total. Iwakuma's ERA over his last 3 starts is under 2, and for the season he owns a 2.81 ERA at Safeco Field.

Runs have been hard to come by for both teams, and they will remain hard to come by tonight.

O's and M's Under the total,

3♦ BALTIMORE-SEATTLE UNDER

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