Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, August 5

Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, August 5

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Tampa Bay at Oakland
The Rays look to bounce back from last night's 3-2 loss in the series opener and come into tonight's contest with a 9-0 record in their last 9 in Game 2 of a series. Tampa Bay is the pick (+105) according to Dunkel, which has the Rays favored by 2. Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (+105).

Game 951-952: Miami at Pittsburgh (12:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami (Hand) 16.201; Pittsburgh (Morton) 14.721
Dunkel Line: Miami by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh (-145); 7
Dunkel Pick: Miami (+125); Under

Game 953-954: NY Mets at Washington (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Wheeler) 16.210; Washington (Gonzalez) 15.298
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Washington (-165); 7
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (+145); Over

Game 955-956: San Francisco at Milwaukee (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Lincecum) 14.339; Milwaukee (Nelson) 15.992
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Milwaukee (-130); 8
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (-130); Over

Game 957-958: Chicago Cubs at Colorado (8:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Wood) 13.332; Colorado (Anderson) 15.899
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 2 1/2; 12
Vegas Line: Colorado (-150); 10 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (-150); Over

Game 959-960: Detroit at NY Yankees (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit (Price) 18.338; NY Yankees (Kuroda) 15.203
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 3; 6
Vegas Line: Detroit (-135); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-135); Under

Game 961-962: Baltimore at Toronto (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Norris) 15.967; Toronto (Buehrle) 17.298
Dunkel Line: Toronto by 1 1/2; 10
Vegas Line: Toronto (-120); 9
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (-120); Over

Game 963-964: Texas at Chicago White Sox (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (Lewis) 15.498; White Sox (Danks) 14.671
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Chicago White Sox (-140); 9
Dunkel Pick: Texas (+120); Under

Game 965-966: Tampa Bay at Oakland (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Smyly) 16.804; Oakland (Hammel) 14.922
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 2; 7
Vegas Line: Oakland (-125); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (+105); Under

Game 967-968: Houston at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Keuchel) 16.422; Philadelphia (Kendrick) 14.011
Dunkel Line: Houston by 2 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Houston (-115); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (-115); Over

Game 969-970: Cincinnati at Cleveland (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Cueto) 17.398; Cleveland (Tomlin) 15.766
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-115); 7
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (-115); Under

Game 971-972: San Diego at Minnesota (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego (Hahn) 16.499; Minnesota (Hughes) 14.562
Dunkel Line: San Diego by 2; 7
Vegas Line: Minnesota (-120); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Diego (+100); Under

Game 973-974: Boston at St. Louis (8:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (De La Rosa) 15.432; St. Louis (Lynn) 14.645
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1; 8
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-155); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (+135); Over

Game 975-976: Kansas City at Arizona (9:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas City (Duffy) 16.498; Arizona (Miley) 14.876
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-120); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (-120); Over

Game 977-978: LA Angels at LA Dodgers (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Angels (Santiago) 15.409; LA Dodgers (Kershaw) 17.987
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 2 1/2; 5
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-230); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-230); Under

Game 979-980: Atlanta at Seattle (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Wood) 16.403; Seattle (Hernandez) 15.564
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1; 5
Vegas Line: Seattle (-170); 6
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (+150); Under

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DUNKEL INDEX

WNBA

Atlanta at Phoenix
The Dream head to Phoenix tonight to face a Mercury team that is 10-1-1 ATS in its last 12 home games. Phoenix is the pick (-8 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Mercury favored by 15. Dunkel Pick: Phoenix (-8 1/2).

Game 601-602: Minnesota at Indiana (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 116.170; Indiana 113.495
Dunkel Line & Total: Minnesota by 2 1/2; 148
Vegas Line & Total: Minnesota by 5; 154
Dunkel Pick: Indiana (+5); Under

Game 603-604: New York at Washington (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: New York 111.539; Washington 110.406
Dunkel Line & Total: New York by 1; 153
Vegas Line & Total: Washington by 4; 146 1/2
Dunkel Pick: New York (+4); Over

Game 605-606: Chicago at Connecticut (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Chicago 114.546; Connecticut 109.102
Dunkel Line & Total: Chicago by 5 1/2; 159
Vegas Line & Total: Chicago by 2 1/2; 154 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago (-2 1/2); Over

Game 607-608: Atlanta at Phoenix (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta 109.617; Phoenix 124.830
Dunkel Line & Total: Phoenix by 15; 170
Vegas Line & Total: Phoenix by 8 1/2; 165
Dunkel Pick: Phoenix (-8 1/2); Over

Game 609-610: Tulsa at Los Angeles (10:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tulsa 107.054; Los Angeles 114.972
Dunkel Line & Total: Los Angeles by 8; 164
Vegas Line & Total: Los Angeles by 6 1/2; 160 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Los Angeles (-6 1/2); Over

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DAVE COKIN

KANSAS CITY ROYALS AT ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
PLAY: ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS +105

You won’t see me saying this very often, but I believe the wrong team is favored tonight as the Royals face the Diamondbacks. Consequently, I think there’s a good chance that the line here is going to flip and the Diamondbacks will go off as the favorite. The reason I expect that to happen is that the ‘cappers who stress pitching metrics are going to be all over Arizona tonight.

There’s no doubt that the Snakes are a lousy team and that they just got worse with Paul Goldschmidt getting his hand broken on a pitch by Ernesto Frieri. Goldy is done for the season and that’s pretty much the topper on what has been a thoroughly disappointing campaign  for the Diamondbacks. The Royals, meanwhile, are still in playoff contention, in spite of the fact they did absolutely nothing to improve their chances of getting there at the trade deadline. So on the surface, one can see why KC is favored here.

But the pitching metrics here guarantee that the statheads, myself included, will be grabbing whatever plus money we can with Arizona. Make no mistake, there’s more to beating baseball than just analyzing the starting pitching stats. Nevertheless, when they are what they are here, it’s time to just make the play and wait for the final score.

Danny Duffy is the proud owner of a nifty 2.42 ERA. That’s sensational if you still believe in ERA as an accurate barometer of pitching performance. I do not. I’m much more reliant on xFIP, SIERA, and a variety of other components that are simply more revealing statistics. In the case of Duffy, that 2.42 is a mirage. Duffy owns a 4.50 xFIP, 4.37 SIERA, a .232 BABIP and he’s gotten pretty lucky with a 6.7 HR/FB rate. Considering he’s a fly ball pitcher, that last number is significant.

Lots of things would appear to be anti-Duffy tonight. If he has his normal fly ball rate, he could get touched up in a homer-friendly venue. I also have been tracking Duffy’s innings, as he’s approaching a career high as a professional. His control was awful last time out, and there could be a connection. In any event, he’s been a regression candidate for some time now, and Duffy’s most recent start could well be the fade signal I’ve been looking for.

Wade Miley is the flip side of this coin. He’s outperformed his base numbers, and I give him a considerable edge over Duffy in the head to head matchup. I also think it’s worth noting that Miley might be in a great frame of mind right now. His name was being tossed all over the place as trade bait at the deadline. But the Diamondbacks made it clear publicly that they were not interested in moving Miley. This is second hand information, but I’ve been told by a good source that Miley was very worried about getting dealt and that he preferred to say put in Phoenix. So we should be seeing a contented and stress free southpaw on the hill at Chase tonight.

It never hurts to be able to add a little team data to the picture, so it’s worth mentioning that KC has had trouble with offensive production against lefties all season, and I don’t see why that suddenly changes tonight. No doubt about it, there’s going to be risk involved in backing the Snakes in any game, as they’re a bad team with little to play for. But I’ll play the metrics game tonight and will grab the small plus with the Diamondbacks to get the win tonight.

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Rob Vinciletti

Atlanta Braves vs. Seattle Mariners
Play:Seattle Mariners -166

On Tuesday the free system play is on the Seattle Mariners. Game 980 at 10:10 eastern. Seattle is to high to unit rate. However they fit a 17-2 system and have Felix Hernandez on the mound, so for the free play they will be just fine. Home favorites like Seattle that are off a road favored loss and scored 2 or less runs have won 17 of 19 times if the total in that loss was 8 or less. The Mariners have won 9 of 12 with a day off ad 7 of 8 at home off a road loss. The braves are averaging 2 runs per game the past week and are just 7-41 in road games where they scored 2 or less runs. With Hernadez pitching the Braves don't figure to score much and he has gone 7+ innings in 13 straight starts allowing 2 or less in all of them. Through the years he has won 13 of 17 at home in August. Wood goes for Atlanta and he has dropped 5 of his last 7 road starts. Look for Seattle to capture the opener.


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Ben Burns

Baltimore Orioles vs. Toronto Blue Jays    
Play: Toronto Blue Jays -122

Down 3.5 games in the American League East, this is a critical series for the Blue Jays.  They get the first place Orioles in their ballpark for three games, starting Tuesday.  Mark Buehrle has arguably been their best pitcher all season and he gets the baseball here in the series opener.  After losing three straight times to Houston, this is one Toronto "must have."

Baltimore had to play a make up game Monday in Washington.  Toronto had the day off.  That's an obvious advantage for the home team, who needed it, considering they had yet to enjoy an off-day since the All-Star Break.  The last two times the Blue Jays have come into a series with a day off, they responded by taking the opener both times.

This will be just the second time since April that these division rivals have met.  While Toronto was able to earn itself a split in Camden Yards back in June, the trends suggest it is unlikely that the Orioles will be able to do the same here in Canada. Not only is Baltimore just 15-41 its last 56 games played at Rogers Centre, but the Blue Jays have won 5 straight games as a home favorite.

Then there is the Buehrle factor. The left-hander comes in with a 15-7 team start record, 3.11 ERA and 1.33 WHIP.  He comes in off a quality start in Boston where he allowed only one run in 6.2 innings.  Look for him to pitch the Jays to victory Tuesday night.

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Art Aronson

New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals    
Plau: Washington Nationals -161 

The visiting New York Mets will start Zack Wheeler (6-8, 3.60 ERA) for Game 1 of this three game set in Washington. Wheeler has performed decently of late and earned a win in against the Phillies on Wednesday, allowing two runs in 6 2/3 innings of work. Note though that Wheeler has struggled against the Nationals with a 1-4 record and pedestrian 4.75 ERA; the right-hander allowed five earned runs while taking a loss in his last outing versus the Nats. Washington will turn to Gio Gonzalez (6-7, 3.88 ERA) who is looking to bounce back after a tough start himself, the left-hander didn't make it out of the fourth inning, allowing five runs in 3 2/3 innings, ultimately taking his seventh loss of the season on Thursday against the Phillies. This looks to be an opportune time for him to get back on track though as he is 6-2 with a 3.10 ERA against the Mets lifetime. New York has only been able to hit .195 against Gonzalez in ten games against him. Note that the Mets are just 2-9 as a road underdog in the +150 to +170 range this season; and note that the Nats hold the 13-8 advantage when hosting the last 21 in this series. Consider Washington with Gonzalez.


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Jim Feist

Kansas City Royals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks    
Play: Arizona Diamondbacks +105

Kansas City is winding down a tough stretch, playing its 5th straight road game out West. The Royals are 16-36 in their last 52 road games vs. a team with a home winning percentage of less than .400. Danny Duffy goes here, back to his old problems with command walking 11 in his last 19 innings. Duffy allowed one run on four hits, walking six and striking out four over 5.2 innings on Wednesday, but didn't factor into the decision. The six walks were a season-high for Duffy, who was fortunate to escape Wednesday's outing with just one run allowed. The Royals are 3-8 in Duffy's last 11 starts with 5 days of rest. The Royals are also 3-8 in their last 11 games vs. a left-handed starter and face southpaw Wade Miley, with the team 6-2 his last eight starts. Miley (7-7) scattered seven hits and four walks Wednesday afternoon against the Reds, but didn't along a single baserunner to cross the plate over 6.2 innings. He had a 2.45 ERA through six July starts, representing his best month so far of 2014. The Diamondbacks are 14-3 in their last 17 interleague home games vs. a left-handed starter and 16-7 in their last 23 interleague home games.

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Jesse Schule

Miami Marlins vs. Pittsburgh Pirates    
Play: Miami Marlins +1½ -160

Andrew McCutchen could be out for at least a month after being intentionally hit by a Randall Delgado fastball in Arizona. This is obviously a big blow for the Bucs, and I think they're likely to struggle against an upstart Miami team here tonight. The Marlins have won 6-of-7 on the road since the break.

Brad Hand will toe the slab for the visitors, and he's coming off three straight quality starts, winning 2-of-3. Hand (2-3, 4.15 ERA) allowed three runs on five hits over seven innings in a 4-3 loss to Washington his last time out. He's been pitching well recently, and his numbers on the road are better than they are at home. The Pirates hand the ball to Charlie Morton, who has been somewhat of a mess lately. Morton (5-10, 3.54 ERA) has surrendered eight runs on 16 hits over 11 innings in consecutive losses. Giancarlo Stanton is 5-for-13 with a pair of extra-base hits versus Morton.


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Marc Lawrence

Boston Red Sox at St Louis Cardinals
Prediction: St Louis Cardinals

Edges - Cardinals: Lynn 8-4 with 2.72 ERA home, and 11-5 as a favorite and 11-5 at night in team starts this season. Red Sox: De La Rosa 0-4 with 6.04 away ERA (as opposed to 4-1 with 1.97 home ERA) this season. With De La Rosa in lousy KW form with 8 walks and 4 strikeouts his last three starts, look for the Red Birds to get the better of the Red Sox here tonight. We recommend a 1-unit play on St. Louis.

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Will Rogers

Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees    
Play: Detroit Tigers -125

The Yankees won a close contest 2-1 yesterday when they opened this four game series versus the Tigers. I think the tables will turn tonight, when David Price makes his highly anticipated debut for Detroit.

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Pitching - As mentioned, the Tigers hand the ball to David Price who will be eager to produce the goods right from the get go for his new team. Price (11-8, 3.11 ERA) lost his last game for the Rays, but it's possible his head was somewhere else in that game. He's been throwing the ball well on the road this season, going 6-2 with a 2.74 ERA in 10 starts. The Yankees will counter with Hiroki Kuroda (7-7, 3.98 ERA) who's been hit hard his last two outings, where the 39 year old has surrendered seven runs on 17 hits over 12 2/3 innings. He's been rather pedestrian at Yankee stadium this season, going 4-3 with a 4.08 ERA.

2. Tigers on the road - Detroit has one of the best road records in the major leagues going 31-21 so far this season. 

3. X-factor - Tigers fans need not worry after losing Game 1, they usually respond after losing the opening game of a series, and are 38-18 in their last 56 when playing the second game of a series.

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Ray Monohan

Padres vs. Twins
Play: Under 7½

A couple of last place teams squaring off in a meaningless August game. Just because it is meaningless doesn’t mean the Padres are suddenly going to find some offense. Sure they have had some recent outbursts but I don’t trust it to continue.  Twins starter Phil Hughes has been inconsistent but the team is surprisingly in the top 5 in scoring this season. Padres rookie starter Jesse Hahn has been a little too good to be true which is why there is still some value with the road team keeping the score low in this one.  Under is 7-0-1 in SD last 8 interleague games. Take the Under.

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Carlo Campanella

Giants vs. Brewers
Play: Over 8

A quick look at the game shows that while Giant's starter Time Lincecum is 9-7 this season and a big name in Baseball, he owns a 5.52 road ERA this year and has been shelled for 11 Earned Runs during his last 2 starts combining for 7.6 Innings Pitched, while not making it past the 5th inning in either game! During his 9 career starts against Milwaukee, 6 of those 9 games have gone Over (6-3 Over/Under), including a 3-1 Over/Under record on the road in Milwaukee. All the money pouring down on the Over seems to be well placed on Tuesday.

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Larry Ness

New York Mets at Washington Nationals
Pick: Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals have been able to take the lead in the NL East with more than just a little help from the slumping Atl Braves, who have lost SIX a row. Washington leads the division by three games over Atlanta and it should feel confident about its chances at widening that gap before opening a three-game set in Atlanta on Friday.

The Nats open a three-game home series tonight against the Mets, while the Braves are in Seattle for two games with the Mariners. Washington has dominated the New York Mets of late, as the Nats look to beat the visiting Mets for the 11th time in 12 meetings. The Nationals have won 10 of 11 games against the Mets, batting .296 with 20 HR and averaging 6.0 runs while compiling a 2.70 ERA.

Washington has four series remaining against New York (totaling 13 games, which is the most between any two teams in the majors the rest of the way), and maintaining its recent success against the Mets could go a long way toward claiming another NL East title.

The Nationals will face Zack Wheeler (6-8, 3.60 ERA), who is 3-0 with a 1.63 ERA in his last six starts (Mets are 4-2). The right-hander labored through 112 pitches over 6.2 innings Wednesday, allowing two runs and scattering seven hits with two walks to earn an 11-2 win over Philadelphia. "You saw a guy battle without his best command," manager Terry Collins said.

However, while Wheeler has looked solid lately, he's only 1-4 with a 4.75 ERA in five career starts against the Nationals (Wheeler has faced the Nationals twice this season, going 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA). Gio Gonzalez (6-7, 3.88 ERA) will get the ball for Washington and he has struggled recently, going 0-3 with a 5.23 ERA in his last four starts. He was roughed up for five runs and eight hits while being pulled with two outs in the fourth of Thursday's 10-4 defeat to the Phillies.

That said, the good news is he's 6-1 with a 2.45 ERA over his last eight starts against New York, although that lone blemish came in his most recent outing against New York, as he gave up five runs and seven hits in three innings of a 5-2 defeat in the nation's capital May 17. More good news comes Washington's way in the fact that the Mets just concluded a four-game series with the Giants, hitting only .144 with eight runs scored, while dropping THREE of four.

Gonzalez does not enter this contest in great form but not only have the Nats dominated the Mets lately (see above) but Gonzalez is 6-2 with a 3.10 ERA in 10 career starts vs New York (teams are 7-3), holding them to a .195 opponents batting average! That's good enough for me to back the Nats.

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Mike Lundin

San Diego Padres vs. Minnesota Twins    
Play: San Diego Padres +110

The Padres and the Twins will open a two game set in Minnesota tonight. The home team has had the upper-hand so far this season, leading the season series 2-0. The Padres have three straight wins though, and are looking good as the underdog tonight when they send Jesse Hahn (7-2, 2.01 ERA) to the mound.

The 25 year old has impressed in his rookie season, especially on the road where he is 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA in four starts. His last outing away from home was in a 5-2 win at Atlanta, where he conceded only one run on three hits over six innings. The Twins hand the ball to Phil Hughes (10-8, 4.12 ERA) who is coming off three consecutive losses. He's been poor at Target Field this season, going 3-5 with a 5.51 ERA in 11 starts. The Padres are 4-1 in their last five versus a team with a losing record, and the Twins fits the bill there with their 50-60 record this season.

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Brad Diamond

Baltimore Orioles vs. Toronto Blue Jays    
Play: Toronto Blue Jays -115

The Orioles are coming off an impressive road win over Washington winning 7-3 as an underdog.  Toronto shows off a day-of-rest after losing three straight to, hold your breath, Houston.  The Blue Jays are 4 games behind Baltimore second place in the East.   So, this is a bigger game and series for Toronto if they are to overtake or challenge the Orioles.  Fortunately they have lefty Buehrle hitting the bump tonight.  The veteran hurler has been supported by Toronto when listed as chalk hitting 14-of-18, 5-0 as home favorite.  The veteran Buehrle (11-7, 3.11) shows off a solid 6-1/3 innings of work allowing just one earned run versus Boston. To help this evening one of Toronto’s injured Brett Lawrie returns to the lineup.

The Orioles are flying high after a 10-6 west coast road swing, while winning last night in Washington.  Last week Bud Norris pitched well against the Angels allowing no earned runs in 7 innings of work.   Norris has won 4 straight vs. the Blue Jays, but the Orioles are 2-5 L7 in Toronto.  The Blue Jays won the last meeting between the clubs 5-2 on June 14th and field tonight with an outstanding 17-4 record in Tuesday encounters.  Finally, feel the EMOTIONAL angle here is all with the Blue Birds, so play Toronto tonight.

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Jimmy Adams

Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees    
Play: Detroit Tigers -125 

The Tigers obviously made a huge gain by adding David Price to the rotation. He’s a guy who has great command, rarely going out of the strike zone. He hits both sides of the plate with tremendous accuracy and has great stuff to go along with it. Price is on extra rest after being dealt from Tampa, and he also has good lifetime success at Yankee Stadium, going 4-0 with a 1.91 ERA in his appearances in the Bronx. He also leads the league in strikeouts.

Hiroki Kuroda remains what’s left of a starting rotation that has been riddled with injuries. He’s pitched decent as of late, give up 3 earned runs in his last start against the Rangers. He does, however, own a 5.85 FIP against the Tigers current rotation. Joba Chamberlain will also be coming home to face his former team, so if this game is close late count on Joba to come in with a motivational edge. Miguel Cabrera has great lifetime success against Kuroda, and around him Detroit remains one of the best offenses in all of baseball. The Yanks squeaked one out last night, but this Tigers squad is much better overall so I don’t count on it happening again tonight.

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Sleepyj

Orioles at Blue Jays Under 9

I'm not buying this line one bit today. Baltimore has gone Under it's last 10 of 13. Toronto will struggle against the LHP as they have Mark Buehrle on the mound with a 3.11 ERA. Baltimore will send out Bud Norris with a 3.69 ERA. Baltimore has only been involved in 2 games with the total runs amounting to 10 or more since July 20th. These two teams are neck and neck and neither can afford to have a major let down from the pitching staff. I think the road trip for Baltimore from Washington to Toronto will make them a little sluggish tomorrow night as far as the players bats are concerned. Toronto is coming off a day off and LHP Buehrle is coming off 1 days extra rest from his normal rotation. I think the faster we get a hold of this one we gain some value..They need 10 to beat us, as i think they will struggle to even hit 8 in this one.

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River City Sharps

Houston Astros -120

The Houston Astros are all of a sudden scoring runs in bunches...meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies are as offensively challenged as ever. The Astros won three of four games vs. the Blue Jays this weekend, outscoring Toronto 17-4 in the process. The Phillies haven't scored a single run in their last 21 innings! The Astros give the ball to their ace, Dallas Keuchel (10-7, 2.97) and he will be opposed by Kyle Kendrick (5-11, 4.92) for the Phillies. There are lots of signs here tonight pointing us towards the road favorite. For starters, Kendrick has been positively awful for the Phillies lately and was hammered by the Mets in his last start, an 11-2 loss. He has also struggled vs. the Astros historically, posting a 1-3 career mark with a 5.33 ERA against Houston. On the trends side, an interesting nugget here is that the Phillies have not returned well from an off day. They are 2-8 in their last 10 games following an off day and they are just 8-17 in Kendrick's last 25 starts as the dog. The Astros are playing pretty good baseball right now and we expect more of the same tonight in Philly.

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Scott Spreitzer

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Oakland A's    
Play: Tampa Bay Rays +114 

The Oakland bats have not been tearing it up of late. The slide started in an 8-1 loss to Houston last Wednesday, the final game before Yoenis Cespedes was traded to Boston for Jon Lester. The A's went 9-for-72 at the plate from last Wednesday into the 5th inning of their 8-3 win on Saturday against KC. That final score was misleading with the Royals fueling Oakland's scoring with a missed pop-up in the infield and an error. The A's scored all 8 runs in the same inning. Take away the 5th inning "outburst" in Saturday's game and the A's are 23 for their last 142 at the plate, a team batting average of just .162. Tonight, along with their struggles at the plate, the A's will send Jason Hammel to the mound. Hammel has not fared well since the trade that brought him to Oakland from Chicago. In fact, the right-hander has been tagged for 18 earned runs, 36 base runners, and 5 home runs in four starts, spanning just 16 1/3 IP. The A's have dropped all four of Hammel's starts. Slumping at the plate and with a pitcher who's slumping on the mound, I believe the A's are over-valued tonight. I'm backing the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, August 5

Chip Chirimbes

San Diego Padres vs. Minnesota Twins    
Play: Minnesota Twins -118

Twins over Padres- The Minnesota Twins bats have come alive scoring 24 runs in their last two contests against the White Sox and now host the weak hitting and road challenged (20-33) San Diego. Padres who are 0-8 in the last eight meetings.


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