Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

Dave Price

Pittsburgh Pirates -119

Colorado has won its last two but is still just 15-38 in its last 53.  The Rockies are 5-22 in their last 27 versus winning clubs.  They'll have a tough time making in three straight with Locke set to get the ball for Pittsburgh.  The southpaw has a 3.05 ERA and a 1.032 WHIP through nine starts while averaging 6.9 innings per start.  These numbers stack the odds against the Rockies, who are 12-28 this season versus NL starters with an ERA of 3.50 or lower, 9-34 the last 2 seasons versus starters who average 6.5 innings per start or more and 6-24 the last 2 seasons versus an NL starter with a WHIP of 1.050 or lower.  Colorado's Matzek has a 4.91 ERA and 1.469 WHIP in eight starts while averaging 6.0 innings per start.  The Rockies are 0-7 in his last seven starts.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

John Ryan

Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees    
Play: Toronto Blue Jays +122

The simulator shows a high probability that the Blue Jays will bounce back and take Game 2 of this weekend series. The AL East is up for grabs and although the Blue Jays have fallen on hard times, they are still within striking distance and have the personnel to mount a serious charge down the stretch. The offense has been largely inconsistent during the last month, but are showing sugns of better approaches at the plate. Morevoer, the bullpen has been quite good and Toronto is a money making 14-5 (+10.2 Units) against the money line after 3 straight games where the bullpen gave up no runs over the last 2 seasons. Toronto starter Hutchinson has not been good over his last three starts, but he can take solice in the fact that he has posted a nice and tidy 2.97 ERA with a 1.163 WHIP in 12 road starts this season. I am highly suspect of Yankee starter Capuano, who was aquired from Colorado for cash considerations. This bumps Chase WHitley to the bullpen adn sets rookie Green to start Sunday. This makes little sense to me as Capuano started the season with the Red Sox as a reliever and struggled so much that Boston simply released him. Given Toront's formidable lineup of power, I don't see him last more than 5 innings max.


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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

Bruno Bets

St Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs
Play: Chicago Cubs -115

It's not often that you catch the Cardinals swooning, so I'll take advantage while I can.

Arrieta has been brilliant at Wrigley this season and Miller has just not been that good. He has struggled with command facing LHB and he'll see a few today. The Cubs haven't seen him much and he may be effective early, however Chicago relishes the opportunity to beat St Louis and I believe that it is a great spot for them today.

I am not sure why the ex-Oriole pitchers (Hammel and Arrieta) have had such great success at Wrigley Field, but it is so and I'll keep riding it. Jake often suffers from a lack of run support, but I have no doubt that he will keep the Cardinals off-balance for as long as it takes today. The Cards have not seen him much and he will need to pay special heed to both Adams and Peralta. He has issued a few more BB lately than I'd like, but has the ability to pitch around them. His .175 BAA in matinee games does suggest that we may not see an abundance of scoring today. Hopefully, Chicago can tighten up that horrid 1st-inning defense that was on display yesterday. Jake has been very effective and should only need a few runs.

Bruno's Bitchin' Bases

I will be going back to the well with the Rockies at another nice price. Until the Pirates begin to hit consistently on the road (.239), they should not be favored against a team that hits well at home, period. I do expect that we see runs again today and probably not as late in the game as yesterday. I am a Locke fan, but think he has drawn the short-straw in this spot. Hitting .315 as a team at home can overcome a lot of deficiencies. Hitting southpaws at a .276 clip doesn't hurt. We have said it all year long, but the Bucs' sub-par play on the road is all that will keep them from the post-season. A truly competitive team just cannot be 7 games under .500 on the road at this point of the season. Currently undecided on backing the ALT Rockies' RL again, but I am considering it. That bullpen is a huge deterrent.

Not sure what to expect from young Hellickson and I am not a big Lackey fan, but this one is likely Boston's game to lose? Jeremy has talent, but to open him as a -120 favorite against the Sox in this spot amounts to a slap in the face both for Lackey and Boston. Red Sox or nothing here. As well as the Rays have played, they are still a team capable of another long losing streak, IMO. Everything has gone right for them during this winning streak, including outstanding pitching. I am not sure they'll get it today?

I stated yesterday that the Marlins OWN the American League and nothing has changed. If we recall how badly the Fish started their season on the road they have come a long way. They still believe that they are in the NL East race. If they had not lost Fernandez, I expect they'd be between 3 and 4 games out. Alvarez has picked up some slack, but they need a couple other young starters to elevate their game. Any team with a player like Stanton, who can carry a team for weeks at a time, can close in a hurry. Sub-par teams like Houston on long home-stands often fall into the "there's always tomorrow" mindset. That won't do against a team like Miami who will battle to the end. The Astros showed they shouldn't have been favored last night and I fully expect they will again. After a brutal start on the road the Marlins have come on strong winning 4 of 5 since the break. Despite their identical road/home records, the Marlins are the better team in all aspects and have gone 9-2 in their last 11 meets. The one added bonus is that they are not quite good enough to overlook Houston, as many do. Cosart has allowed a lot of runs lately and I believe that Miami will add substantially. After a solid May and June it appears that the Cosart regression has begun in a big way. Although he didn't pitch that well, Miami has won both of Koehler's inter-league starts this season (both on the road) and provided him with considerable run support in doing so. Expect a similar blueprint. I am tempted by the Over, but after the 'Stros were shut down last night, I'll pass.

Red-Flag Alert ~ As I said last night, I liked the Rangers prior to the pitching change. Young Tepesch catches a tougher draw in Gray, but I do think that there is some danger in backing the A's here. When looking at the Texas' hurler's splits there is a huge difference when pitching at home and more specifically at night. No doubt that Gray as as good as they get but Oakland has hit only .240 on the road this season, yet are one of the ML's best road teams? Their pitching has been winning a lot of those games. Tepesch has allowed just 16 hits (1 HR) in 25+ innings under the lights. As good as Sonny is, this kid may just match him pitch for pitch through 6 or 7. The Rangers' poor hitting since the break will keep me off of them, but be careful of putting too many eggs in the Oakland basket tonight. The Under may be the best look of all, but too many intangibles (ie. Washington, Texas' bullpen) to be confident in it. The A's did hit him a bit at O.co, but he has been much more polished at Arlington. Tread carefully here, friends.

Yep, Young has been exceptional at home, but Norris has put a pretty nice run together himself. Another that may very well come down to that big-fly? Like all M's pitchers, Young often suffers from a lack of support and has not been quite as dominant in July. A couple may very well be all the winner needs here? Seattle has hit Norris hard in the past, but currently cannot hit anyone. Baltimore hasn't either, but their's are leaving the yard. It will be awfully hard to go against the Orioles' thunder here. That 6'10" frame staring them down from the hill and the fact that they really haven't seen him will likely make this one a pass. Although the Under looks appealing at first glance both offenses are overdue to explode, so I think it is better to be safe than sorry here. Birds or nothing, though.

Seventeen straight losses at Yankee Stadium, really? The Jays have led in 13 of those games, so the bugaboo is very real. The Jays have not hit LHP well this season (.237) and Hutch has looked bewildered pitching in matinees. Hard to trust Capuano, but crafty old veteran that he is I can't bank on Toronto ending their streak of futility. Joey Bats is seeing the ball well and will likely do some damage, but Reyes and Melky need to set the table. Hutch seems to have lost all confidence though and may not give 'em a chance and his numbers facing LHB do not bode well. Once again, I do expect some runs. Nine is an ugly number, though. May look instead to just the Yankees' Over 4½ (-115). Expect the top of the Bombers' order to cause Hutch a lot of trouble.

FWIW ~ Despite Cueto's stellar matinee record over the last several seasons, the Reds have hit just .176 (Nats at .318) since the break and the Nationals are an incredible 19-3 in Gonzo's last 22 starts vs the NL Central. Amazing stuff!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

Primetime Insiders

Boston +100

This game pits Hellickson vs Lackey. Lackey has struggled in his last 5 with an ERA north of 6 but has been great in his last two starts by not giving up more than two runs. Lackey is a very underrated pitcher according to our system whereas Hellickson is very overrated and even though he dominated his last start he was quite lucky in that contest and should have some difficulty against the Red Sox today.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

Wunderdog

Detroit vs. Los Angeles
Pick: Los Angeles -114

The Los Angeles Angels have been a mystery over the past two seasons as they have a lot of talent, but just didn't seem to have the team chemistry. All that has changed as this team is 20 games over .500 and just two games behind Oakland for the best record in the AL, and in all of baseball. Matt Shoemaker takes the ball for the Halos, and his 7-3 record on the season is backed by a better ERA than the Tigers Justin Verlander. Verlander hs seen his velocity, once topping out at 100, drop considerably, and he hasn't pitched with the same effectiveness this season with a 4.84 ERA. The Angels have been punishing as a home favorite where they are now 22-6 in their last 28. And the Tigers have never played well against the Angels here where they are a brutal 14-39 in their last 53. Make the play on Los Angeles

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

SPORTS WAGERS

Ottawa/HAMILTON Over 47

The buy-low, sell-high angle does not just apply to sides. It can apply to totals too and we find an example of that in this game. Hamilton has played three games and the totals in those games were 54, 54 and 50½ respectively. All three games went under the number and the reaction to that and to overall scoring being down is a very beatable number here. Both games so far this week have gone under the number. Over players are getting clobbered this year, which in turn makes them gun shy and many will shift gears but we’re not one of them.

Hamilton’s offense is loaded with outstanding receivers and for the first time this season they’re all healthy with a full week of practice under their belt. They also have one of the most dangerous offensive weapons out of the backfield in C.J. Gable. The Tiger-Cats come into this game 0-3 but two of their losses occurred against the great defenses of Edmonton and Calgary. The Tabbies take a huge step down in class here when facing the poor defense of the Redblacks. Incidentally, Hamilton probably should have won both those games. Dan LeFevour gets the call at QB for Hamilton and he’s the third different starter in three weeks. However, after replacing Jeremiah Masoli last week he got in plenty of snaps and he’s been taking most of the reps in practice this week. LeFevour is dangerous with his ability to run and is without question Hamilton’s best option.

The Redblacks aren’t scoring many points and in fact these two rank at the bottom of the league in all key offensive categories. But as the weeks pass and players get used to new systems and offensive schemes, scoring will increase. Ottawa’s Henry Burris is capable of going off in any game. Had his receiving corps been able to catch accurate passes right in the numbers, Ottawa would have scored a lot more points. Burris will be a little extra-jacked up here to perform well because the Tiger-Cats chose to release him in in the of-season in favor of Zach Collaros. Furthermore, the Redblacks figure to get a couple of short fields because the Tiger-Cats are turnover prone with 12 already in just three games. That said, we’re not counting on Ottawa to light it up here. A reasonable output of between 14-24 points is attainable. As for Hamilton, with all that offensive firepower, they figure to go off. This is their first “real” home game in close to two years. The fans will be crazy and the atmosphere electric. Hamilton has the horses to put up 40 points on their own in this one and they may not stop there.

NOTE: We’re passing on the Riders/Argos.

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SPORTS WAGERS

Baltimore -105 over SEATTLE

Frankly, we couldn’t give a rat’s behind who is pitching for the Orioles, as this one is all about fading Chris Young of the Mariners. The Orioles find ways to defeat strong pitchers and usually beat up on poor ones and Young fits the bill of the latter. Chris Young has started 19 games and has a 3.22 ERA after 117 innings. How can that be? Here’s a guy with the worst groundball rate in the league at 24%. Over his last five starts, his groundball rate is even worse at 21%. He has just 70 K’s in those 117 innings and it’s only a matter of time before he strings together a series of disasters. Young has been the beneficiary of a ridiculously high 88% strand rate over 50% of his starts. Overall, his strand rate is 80% and his xERA is 4.99. Young is 35-years old and totaled only 44 IP in 2010/11 due to shoulder issues, and missed most of 2013 due to thoracic outlet syndrome. Despite his 6’10” height, Young isn’t a power pitcher. His fastball is generally in the 84 mph range and he’s never piled up big strikeout numbers. Chris Young is pitching on borrowed time. His skills are horrible and if this home-run hitting team doesn’t get to him, it’ll be because of the yard he pitches in but even that can’t mask his deficiencies much longer. The Orioles at a cheap price against Young is perhaps the best value on today’s board.


Toronto +121 over N.Y. YANKEES

Leave it to the New York Yankees to bring in another aging veteran. Chris Capuano is 39 years old and hasn’t started a game since September of last year. He made 28 relief appearances this season as a member of the Red Sox before they released him. The Rockies picked him up and sent him to the minors where he was subsequently dealt to the Yanks for cash considerations. In Capuano’s last five outings in June, he surrendered 10 earned runs on 14 hits and four walks in just four innings. The left-handed Capuano's four 2014 minor league starts show promise (21 strikeouts and five walks in 19.1 innings), but a major league career 39% fly-ball rate and 1.2 HR/9 makes him a huge risk at this launching pad for right-handed hitters (Yankee Stadium increases HR’s by 16% compared to rest of league. Capuano’s 1.55 WHIP this season (1.41 last year in 24 starts for the Dodgers) almost assures us that men will be on base when one or more Blue Jays go deep.

Drew Hutchison has always flashed big strikeout potential and currently leads the Blue Jays staff in Ks with 102 in 113 innings. Hutchison has one of the unluckiest profiles in the game with a low 68% strand rate on the year to go along with an abnormal 32% hit rate. Once that normalizes his ERA will decrease. On the road, Hutchison is 4-4 with an ERA of 2.97. What's more, he's bumped his fastball velocity from 91 mph to 92 mph, but can reach back to the 95-mph range if necessary. Hutchison has been whacked in two straight starts and may be a little shell-shocked but he and the Blue Jays are a strong value play taking back a tag against a guy that couldn’t crack the Rockies horrible staff.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

Michael Alexander

Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers
Play: Oakland Athletics -186

The Athletics have reason to believe they'll get back on track Saturday - they've won the last six games started by Sonny Gray, who has been one of the league's best pitchers over the last month. Gray has been especially tough when Oakland is coming off a loss, going 8-1 in those situations over his brief two-year career. Texas has lost 27 of its last 33 games and has not won consecutive contests since June 27-28 against the Twins.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

Jack Jones

Pittsburgh Pirates -123

The Pittsburgh Pirates (54-48) have been rolling over the past month to pull within three games of the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the NL Central.  After losing game 1 of this series with the lowly Colorado Rockies (42-60), I look for them to come back and win game 2 Saturday.

Jeff Locke is one of the most underrated starters in baseball.  The left-hander has gone 2-1 with a 3.05 ERA and 1.032 WHIP in nine starts this season, 1-0 with a 2.49 ERA and 1.200 WHIP in three road starts, and 1-0 with a 2.21 ERA and 1.082 WHIP in his last three starts.

Tyler Matzek is one of the worst starters in baseball.  The left-hander has gone 1-4 with a 4.91 ERA and 1.469 WHIP in eight starts this season, 1-3 with a 5.92 ERA and 1.480 WHIP in four home starts, and 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA and 1.667 WHIP in his last three starts.

Locke has gone 0-0 with a 3.08 ERA in two career starts against Colorado.  Matzek has gone 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA and 1.667 WHIP in one career start against Pittsburgh.  The Pirates are 10-2 in their last 12 games as a road favorite of -110 to -150.  The Rockies are 5-22 in their last 27 vs. a team with a winning record.  Pittsburgh is 6-1 in Locke's last seven starts.

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Teddy Covers

Washington vs. Cincinnati
Pick: Washington

My clients and I have cashed several winning bets against the Reds during their current 0-7 post-All Star Break slide. The Reds lineup defines the word ‘anemic’ these days, held to three runs or less in every loss. With Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto on the DL, I’m not expecting any sort of immediate turnaround.

The advanced metric stats clearly show that Johnny Cueto is due for some regression.  His .228 BABIP (batting average allowed on balls in play) is simply unsustainable; hence his FIP that’s a full run higher than his ERA.  Cueto has suffered through high pitch counts in each of his last two starts, needing 112 pitches to last through five innings of work against the Yankees in his last outing. The Reds bullpen behind him ranks #25 in MLB in team ERA this year.

That stands in sharp contrast to the Nationals relief corps, currently sitting with the third best bullpen ERA in the majors.  And Gio Gonzalez is primed for a strong bounceback effort today after getting lit up by the Brewers in his last outing.  His quote? “It's one of those games where you have to brush under the rug.  Nine days off, it didn't help."  Gonzalez has dominated this Cincinnati lineup before, with a 1.00 ERA and 32 strikeouts in just 27 innings of work against them over four starts.

Reds manager Brian Price makes a strong bet-against case for his squad as well.  “It's just really a mental game. When we were going good before the break, nobody was pressing. Now, everybody's pressing."

Washington comes into this one with great momentum and positive team chemistry despite Ryan Zimmerman heading on the DL.  The Nationals have taken over first place in the NL East with 15 wins in their last 21 games including seven of their last nine; plating 52 runs (almost six per game) during that span.  Ride the hot and fade the cold with the Nationals in afternoon action on Saturday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

Bruce Marshall

Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
Pick: Tampa Bay Rays

We will continue to ride the red-hot Rays, whose win streak is now at 8 after Friday's 6-4 win over the Bosox. Now Tampa Bay is on the cusp of its longest win streak in ten years, while Boston, after a recent five-game win streak, has been outscored 27-11 while losing four in a row. Jeremy Hellickson, off of the DL not long ago and with a 2.08 ERA in spot work between minor league assignments, has been deemed ready to go by Rays manager Joe Maddon. Bosox starter John lackey is also not likely to get as much run support as he has in recent outings (34 runs in last four starts).

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

John Fisher

White Sox -1.5 +105

So you think a Minor League pitcher from Rochester will improve your chances of beating Sale. He was 5-5 in 17 starts with a 3.43 ERA. That is good but not good enough to hold off Abreu and company. Sale is 2-0 on the road with a 2.2 ERA. When you hold opponents to under a .200 Avg and have a WHIP of .86 it's tough not to take Sale here. Dozier is the one big threat for Sale.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

Sam Martin

St Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
Prediction: Chicago Cubs

Cardinals let one get away yesterday as the Cubs took a late lead and hung on for a one-run win. Today, the Cubs have a pretty favorable pitching edge and we'll back Chicago in Wrigley to win again at a very reasonable price.

Cubs starter Arrieta comes in with a strong 4-1 home TSR and 1.76 ERA, and overall he's gone nine straight starts allowing 3 earned runs or less. Same can't be said for the Cardinals Shelby Miller, who has given up 13 earned runs in his last thee starts combined (7.63 ERA), and even worse the Cardinals have lost each of the last five times Miller has taken the mound.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

Jimmy Boyd

Philadelphia Phillies -138

The Phillies are showing great value on Saturday with veteran Cliff Lee on the mound. Lee has a 2.83 ERA at home and I expect him to come out extremely motivated with the potential of being traded to a contender. It certainly helps that Lee is 4-1 with a 3.12 ERA and 1.020 WHIP over 7 career starts (6-1 team record) against the Diamondbacks.

Two big systems on Philadelphia in this one. First, home teams with a starting pitcher whose gives up 7 or more hits/start, with a team on base percentage .300 or worse on the season are 55-31 (64%) since 1997. Second, all teams with a money line of -100 to -150 who are a poor power team - averaging 0.9 or less HR's/game on the season, after scoring 8 runs or more are 234-130 (64%) over the last 5 seasons.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

Steve Janus

Miami Marlins -102

System - Play Against - Home teams (HOUSTON) - with a cold starting pitcher- WHIP >= 2.000 over his last 3 starts, with an on base percentage of .260 or worse over their last 3 games are 13-42 (31%) against the money line over the last 5 seasons.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

Scott Delaney

My free play for tonight is on the Kansas City Royals, against the Cleveland Indians, as I think this A.L. Central rivalry continues to favor the home team.

Don't list the pitchers here, but just know this is a very cheap number to lay with Zach McAllister and Jeremy Guthrie. I'm more intrigued by the four-game win streak, the fact the Royals are at home, it's a Saturday night and the weekend momentum is always in favor of a winning team on its own field.

Nevertheless, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the fact McAllister is rejoining the Tribe on seven days' rest after being called up as the 26th man during last Saturday's doubleheader in Detroit. While I've read the right-hander has been much better in the Minors, that doesn't mean he can challenge a Royals team that has outscored its foes by a combined final of 17-7 during this win streak.

When these two teams met earlier this month in Cleveland, the Royals lost the last two games, 7-3 and 4-1, after winning the series lid-lifter, 7-1. A series win is most certainly on the brains of these Royals players, exacting revenge for before.

There's also the matter of these two playing for second place in the American League Central, as just 1.5 games separate the two. The Royals' win last night over the Tribe distanced them ahead in the standings, and they'll be looking to further themselves even more.

1♦ KANSAS CITY

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Jeff Benton

Your Saturday freebie is the Over in the Dodgers-Giants game from the City by the Bay.

We all know how dominant Clayton Kershaw was/is/can-be, but this play is not so much a play against Kershaw - even though he allowed an un-Kershaw like 3 runs over 7 innings in his last start, which did land Over the total - no, this play is against my belief in Ryan Vogelsong who is coming off allowing 11 hits in just 3 innings in his last trip to the mound against the Phillies.

On May 11th, Kershaw was on the hill against San Francisco and Tim Hudson, as that game wound up being a 7-4 final in favor of the Giants. That game did go Over the total, and I am expecting tonight's game to also make its way Over the total.

As for Vogelsong, this will be his 4th season start against the Dodgers, and even though he has pitched well in 2 of the 3, those 28 hits over his last 21-plus innings leads me to believe that Los Angeles is going to put up a big number in more than one frame tonight.

I will take my chances and play the Over in the Dodgers-Giants on Saturday night.

2♦ L.A. DODGERS-SAN FRANCISCO OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

Gabriel Dupont

The SMART INTANGIBLE with the Athletics - Sonny Gray. The young phenom is in after improving to 4-0 with a 0.95 ERA this month after limiting the Orioles to one earned run on just two hits with two walks and eight strikeouts over 6-2/3 innings on Sunday. He's riding a five-game winning streak, and will be at his best against this horrible lineup.

The SMART INTANGIBLE working against the Rangers - Futility. Yes, the Rangers won 4-1 last night. But that doesn't scare me, because I think they simply pissed off Oakland and the A's will be in trouble tonght. Texas has lost seven of 10 now, and are still 21 games under .500.

In conclusion, why Oakland is my SMART PLAY in this game - Make note, as pissed as Oakland is, it bodes nothing but trouble for Texas starter Nick Tepesch, who was scheduled to start on Friday, but was scratched as a precaution after pitching in relief during Tuesday's 14-inning loss. After allowing five runs on nine hits in his previous start, he actually took the loss out of the bullpen, and I think he could be hung over from Tuesday.

Since the every MLB wager on a total auto-lists pitchers, I want you to be sure the two pitchers on your ticket, when making this play, are: Gray and Tepesch. If they are not the pitchers of record when making your play, disregard this play.

1♦ OAKLAND -1.5

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

Chris Jordan

My free play is the matinee game at Wrigley Field, and I like the hometown Cubbies to score the win over the struggling St. Louis Cardinals, who have lost  four in a row.

This is a heated rivalry, and I won't get too long-winded on my reasoning, other than to tell you Chicago is catching this team at the right time. St. Louis is just 5-6 in its last 11 and came into this series after a disappointing showing against the Tampa Bay Rays. Granted, the Rays are the hottest team in the league right now, but the Cardinals are the defending National League champs, and something just isn't right them right now.

My money is on the Cubs adding to the Redbirds' woes, after Chicago opened this series with a surprising win. Don't worry about listing pitchers here, as it won't matter when momentum takes over. The fact this is a day game doesn't help, either, as the Cards' average dips a bit when they play early. Add to that it dips even further on the road, and this is a great value play.

2♦ CHICAGO

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, July 26

Brad Wilton

All set to watch a couple of pitchers do their thing on Saturday night at Turner Field?

Odrisamer Despaigne and Julio Teheran are the pitchers, and the Padres and Braves players are the unlucky hitters this Saturday as San Diego and Atlanta play to an Under at Turner Field.

Friday night the teams combined for 7 runs to push the closing price, as the series Under streak moved to 3-0-1, with the Under being 7-3-1 overall between the Padres and Braves.

Despaigne is making his 6th start, and has not allowed more than 2 runs in any of his previous 5 starts, compiling a 1.31 ERA for his 34-plus innings of work this summer since his call up. 4 of his 5 starts have played Under the total.

Julio Teheran rebounded after a pair of terrible starts with a rock-solid 7 innings of one run ball with 11 strikeouts his last time out against Miami at home. His best work has come at Turner Field this year, where he is 3-1 with a 1.23 ERA this year. The Under is 20-6 when Teheran starts at home, and I see no reason to shade that trend.

Padres and Braves keep the scoring to a minimum on Saturday. Go Under.

3♦ SAN DIEGO-ATLANTA UNDER

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