Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, August 16

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, August 16

Sleeepyj

Packers / Rams Over 41.5

Both teams will look to fire away with this one later on today. Green Bay played a rather vanilla game on offense last week and i think that will change today. Green Bay will look to get the starters into the game for a good bit tonight. We will see some great production out of the Green Bay offense as they will now have some rhythm on offense. Rodgers and Co. will put some points on the board as they look to light it up down field. Green Bay's running attack last week was good enough to mix the game up. Today they will look to limit the running plays as they are a little thin in that area. I see no reason why Green Bay won't score tonight. The Rams defense played pretty good in regards with the 2nd team. The starters for the Rams did struggle a bit and i think that will continue against GB today. The refs will be out in full force in this one as Rodgers and Bradford look to exploit the secondaries today. The Rams also had some really good output with the rushing attack last week and i think they will dial that back this week to make way for the offensive passing game. The Rams really will be looking for quality out of the receiving core as they have a stable of WR's. Green Bay's secondary has always been suspect and i think we will see that tonight as both defenses go with a rather vanilla look. I look for both teams to score in the 20's and i think the OVER has a great shot to be hit in this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, August 16

Jimmy Boyd

Atlanta Braves +103

The Braves opened up their huge home series against the A's with a convincing 7-2 win that featured 4 home runs and I look for them to build off that performance with another victory tonight. Oakland is in a major funk right now. The A's have dropped 3 straight and 5 of their last 6 overall. Offensively they are really struggling, as they have now scored 3 runs or less in 5 of their last 6 games.

Oakland's struggles at the plate are big reason why I'm confident that youngster Julio Teheran will bounce back from a couple of bad outings with strong performance at home. Teheran has an impressive 1.88 ERA and 0.904 WHIP over 12 home starts. I'll take my chances with Atlanta providing enough run support, as they go up against the A's Sonny Gray, who has a 4.42 ERA and 1.418 WHIP over his last 3 starts.

Atlanta is 26-10 in their last 36 home games against a team with a winning road record, 5-1 in their last 6 home games with a total set at 6.5 or lower and 11-4 in Teheran's last 15 starts during game 2 of a series.

We also see a strong system in play to fade the A's. Road underdogs with a money line of +100 to +150 who are a below average AL hitting team (AVG <=.265) against a good NL starting pitcher (ERA <=3.70), cold hitting team - batting .250 or worse over their last 20 games are a mere 33-67 since 1997. That's a 67% system in favor of the Braves.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, August 16

Jesse Schule

Toronto vs. Chicago
Play: Over 9

The Jays have now lost four in a row heading into tonight's contest in Chicago, and the White Sox hammered them in the series opener by a score of 11-5 last night. Mark Buehrle will toe the slab for the visitors, and he hasn't been sharp at all lately. Buehrle (11-8, 3.31 ERA) was chased after just 3 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits at home against the Tigers his last time out. He lost to the White Sox at Rogers Center earlier this year, and this will be his first start at Cellular Field wearing a visitors uniform.

The White Sox hand the ball to John Danks, who has been completely destroyed in his last two starts. Danks (9-8, 4.96 ERA) has surrendered 13 runs on 16 hits and seven walks over 11 innings in his last two starts. He's been hit hard by the Jays in past meetings, and Edwin Encarnacion has homered twice in eight career at bats versus Danks.

While both starters have struggled, the same can be said about both bullpens. Todd Redmond was responsible for five of Chicago's runs last night, failing to make it out of the 5th inning. These teams have pushed the total over in four of the last five meetings in Chicago, while Danks has seen the total go over in four of his last five starts versus Toronto.


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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, August 16

Jeff Clement

Ravens vs. Cowboys
Play: Under 41.5

Tony Romo will get the start at quarterback for the Cowboys but won't see much action as backups Brandon Weeden or Dustin Vaughn will get most of the Snaps. Baltimore will probably rest TE Owen Daniels and lookout for the Ravens defense with 2nd round draft pick Timmy Jernigan and cornerback Jimmy Smith who have both had good training camps. I don't expect too much scoring and the Under is 28-14 in Baltimore games when line is +3 to -3.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, August 16

Tony Stoffo

Yankees vs. Rays
Play: Under 7

With Shane Greene getting the ball here against Drew Smyly sure sets up as another lower scoring game here and a strong release on the under in this spot between the Yankees and Rays here. Under is 7-2-1 in NYY last 10 overall. Under is 8-1-2 in TB last 11 games following a win. Plus add in the fact that today's home plate umpire Kerwin Danley has seen 14 of his last 15 games going under the posted only adds to this play here.

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Allen Eastman

Tampa Bay -2

The Dolphins have won just two of 10 games in the preseason under coach Joe Philbin. They lost last week to a bad Falcons team and the Fins didn’t seem to care too much about that game. They will not be as motivated this week as the Bucs. Tampa Bay is trying to build some momentum after hiring Lovie Smith. He wants to get that first win for the home crowd and to give his team some confidence. Lovie went 6-3 in his second preseason game when he was coaching at Chicago. That suggests he makes adjustments. Tampa Bay’s defense was sharp last week and Miami is learning a new offense. Miami could be without key backup quarterback Matt Moore and I think that Tampa Bay will be much more into this game. Take Tampa Bay to win this one going away.

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Robert Ferringo

Arizona +3

One of the things that has helped me become a successful football bettor – the No. 1 football handicapper in the country last year, as a matter of fact, with an amazing 62.1 percent success rate in the NFL (95-58) – is knowing how much the public overreacts to things. For instance, both Arizona and Minnesota had great Week 1’s last weekend and they both handled their opponents. But this line is a gross overreaction to Minnesota’s play and I felt like it should’ve come out as a ‘Pk’ or maybe Minnesota -1.0. But to give Arizona a full field goal is a bit odd. Arizona went 10-6 last year and improved this offseason. They have an established system and a second-year coach so their dominating Week 1 over Houston wasn’t a total shock. Minnesota bumbled to 5-10-1 last year. They have a rookie quarterback, who is going to get extended time this week, and a rookie coach still trying to figure things out. The Vikings won their first preseason game. But it came via a sloppy 10-6 decision against equally awful Oakland. I think it will be even worse this time around. Arizona won at Green Bay and at Denver last year and they are now 4-1 SU under Bruce Arians. He comes from the Steelers, originally, and Pittsburgh has been known for its serious preseason attitude. I think Arizona shows the gap between these two teams and they win this one outright.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, August 16

Andrew Lange

Toronto at Chicago
Play: Over 9

Two old buddies square off against one another as Mark Buehrle returns to Chicago to face John Danks. Not going to see many pitches his the 90 mph mark in this one. What we can expect is a lot of hard hit balls in play, particularly of the fly ball variety. Both pitchers have strong fly ball tendencies and with favorable weather conditions (wind out to left) look for a few of those batted balls to leave the yard. Neither pitcher is in good form with Danks allowing 28 earned runs in his last five starts. Buehrle meanwhile has seen his ERA finally spike after defying logic the first half of the season. In five post-All-Star outings the veteran lefty sports a 7.04 ERA. Some will point to the high BABIP (.432) during that span but when you don't miss many bats and are constantly pitching to contact, swatches like that are fairly common. Expect as many as 15 right-handed batters in this one as they knock around both soft-tossing lefties.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, August 16

River City Sharps

Kansas City -110

We are going back to this series tonight after a tough loss with our pick on the Twins last night. The Twins will send Phil Hughes to the mound to be opposed by the Royals Yordano “Ace” Ventura. While control has been an issue at times for Ventura, he has posted a 4-1 record over his last eight starts and when he is pitching well, can be very difficult to hit for opponents. Hughes has been hot and cold for much of the year with the Twins, who are in the middle of a very disappointing season. Lots of trend lines favor the visitors here in this matchup, highlighted by the fact that the Royals are 4-1 in Ventura’s last five road starts and 15-3 in their last 18 games following a win. These are simply two teams going in different directions and while Hughes can be good at times, he is much more “hittable” than Ventura when he is on his game, so the smart (and sharp) money is on the visitors here in this spot.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, August 16

Greg Shaker

Pittsburgh -2.5

Playing the NFLX is a different animal as we all know that. We have a strong Database with these games and that is what this play is all about here. The Steelers are in a very good situation to come away with a win and cover here especially since the betting line is now below the 3 mark. There is a 77% Database entry as well as a 62% Database entry that support this play and the involve not only the way teams react off a road loss in these games and this particular match-up with these teams. We can add to this that Buffalo is playing with some controversy on and off the field to come up with a Fair Betting Line for this one of Pittsburgh -5.25. At the current betting line of -2.5 that gives us this play..

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, August 16

Nelly

Blue Jays / White Sox Over 9

Mark Buehrle should be motivated to pitch well in his return to the south side of Chicago but after a brilliant start to the season the veteran left-hander has really struggled. Buehrle has allowed eight more hits in seven of his last 10 starts and he has allowed four or more runs in four of his last five starts. In three of his last four starts he failed to go past four innings and the White Sox have been a hot offensive team, featuring baseball top team on-base-percentage since the All Star break. Chicago put up 11 runs last night to win the opening game of this series and the Toronto bullpen is in trouble tonight with Marcus Stroman getting just two outs in his starting effort last night. The Jays have had one of the worst bullpens in baseball this season and the unit will face some strain unless Buehrle can break his slide. Chicago has even worse recent relief pitching numbers with a comical 9.85 ERA in the last 10 games for the bullpen. While Toronto continues to lose ground in the AL East this is still a lineup with a lot of potential. John Danks for a moment looked like a popular trade target but the contenders are likely glad they passed on the veteran left-hander. In his last five starts Danks has allowed 28 runs in just 27 innings for a 9.22 ERA. He has allowed nine home runs in those five starts which is dangerous against a powerful Blue Jays lineup and U.S. Cellular Field has been a high scoring park with 9.2 runs per game on average and the 'over' going 31-27.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, August 16

Bob Balfe

NY Jets +3

The Jets have the more athletic QB's which is always good to have in the preseason. This team has some great receivers that might have to be shipped out of town just because there are so many of them. This is a good football team and if they can get Smith or Vick to have a big season they can go as far as anybody. Outside of Dalton the Cincinnati backup QB's are brutal. If he goes down this year this team is toast. Take the Jets

Indianapolis Colts -1.5

If you are a Giants fan you have to be concerned about the lack of running backs this team has. Their starter has never been a featured back and they just can't risk injury in the preseason. The Colts are made up with a few ex giants that are great skilled players. Indy has the better backup QB. Take the Colts.

Bills / Steelers Over 40

Both teams have great backup skill players on offense that will dominate the defense in the later quarters. Buffalo has 3 legit starting running backs. Brice Brown will chew up yards bigtime in the second half. This should be a great game to watch with a lot of scoring. I am excited to see this Buffalo team this year and Pitt will be a lot better on offense. I believe the Steelers Defense will be on the decline this year. Take the Over.

Minnesota Vikings -3

This Arizona team is going to have to stay healthy and win with defense this year because their team on offense is not too deep. Minnesota has more polished quarterbacks and on this surface it is always a plus to take them in the preseason when visiting teams just want to get in and out of there with no injuries. Take Minnesota.

St. Louis Cardinals -135

Jesse Hahn has pitched well for San Diego this year in his limited innings, but this is an offense that usually can never get going especially on the road. It is hard to win 2-0 games in Major League Baseball night in and night out hence the reason teams like this have losing records. St. Louis is a great home team as always. Take the Cardinals.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, August 16

Harry Bondi

HOUSTON (-3) over Atlanta

Seahawks got us another pre-season winner last night and tonight we turn to a team in desperate need of a win, even a pre-season win! Houston had an abysmal 4-12 season last year, hired a new Head Coach in former Penn State headman Bill O’Brien and got annihilated by Arizona in their pre-season opener 32-0 by Arizona! That is not the way the Texans typically perform in the pre-season. In fact, Houston has gone 8-4 ATS in their last 12 pre-season games and are a perfect 3-0 in week 2 of the pre-season the last three seasons. It is the Texans first home pre-season game and with a new head coach and quarterback and coming off a 32-0 shellacking last week we expect Houston to bounce back big tonight. Take the Texans!

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Jonathan Young

Baltimore Orioles + 114

One of the most contrasting pitchers in all of baseball gets the nod the the Orioles as Ubaldo Jiminez takes the mound against the Indians tonight. Note the word ‘Tonight’, the splits between Jiminez’ Day and Night starts are dissimilar to say the very least.

He is 4-8 on the season with a 4.51 ERA in 19 starts so far in 2014. In 6 ‘Day’ starts this year, Jiminez is 1-5 with a staggering 9.22 ERA and 2.16 WHIP. Compare that to his 13 ‘Night’ starts, where he has gone 3-3 with a 2.87 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 78 IP. Opponents have hit just .216 off Jiminez in those games under the lights.

The Indians will give the ball to Carlos Carrasco who will be making his sixth start of the season and is coming off a 5 IP shutout of the Yankees. As a starter in this season, Carrasco has struggled going 1-3 with a 5.66 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. Prior to his last outing, Carrasco had given up at least 4 ER in 4 starts. I really do foresee this Oriole offense to get on base against Carrasco who  has been guilty of struggling with his command when pitching from the stretch.

Baltimore have gone 3-0 in Jimenez’ last 3 starts and they haven’t lost consecutive games since the 28/29th June 2014. The Orioles have hit .290 in their last 7 games whilst averaging over 6 runs per game in that span. I believe the value is on the road team tonight as a slight underdog with a better pitcher on the mound and an offense that has been very productive over the past few weeks.

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LT Profits

Brewers vs Dodogers
Pick: Under 6

This total between the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers is low, but there is a very good reason for it. The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw is favored to win his second straight Cy Young Award and third overall as he simply has video-game numbers right now at 14-2 with an astonishing 1.78 ERA, 0.86 WHIP a .201 batting average allowed and an unheard of ratio of 163 strikeouts vs. 19 walks in 136.1 innings! He has 11 straight Quality starts while allowing one run of less in nine of those outings, including a no-hitter. However his Dodgers could have trouble scoring runs off of Yovani Gallardo of the Milwaukee Brewers. Gallardo has allowed one run or less in three of his last four starts with two scoreless outings and he has four straight Quality Starts vs. the Dodgers. The ‘under’ is 16-5-2 in the Dodgers’ last 23 games after allowing five runs or more in their previous game.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, August 16

SPORTS WAGERS

HAMILTON +155 over Calgary

Losing does take a toll but the good news for the Tiger-Cats is that they are huge favorites to make the playoffs in the East despite their 1-5 record. This league plays 18 games a season and most experts agree that the “real” season does not begin until Labour Day weekend. Furthermore, the Tiger-Cats have already played every team from the West and that should have them well-prepped to beat up on teams from the East. Aside from its opener in Saskatchewan, Hamilton was in a position to win every other game they’ve played this year. The Ti-Cats are without question the class of the Eastern Conference. The mental mistakes this team has made pretty much cost them every one of their losses. Eliminate dumb penalties and untimely turnovers and Hamilton could easily be 5-1 with wins already over B.C., Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg. Hamilton leads the league in penalties and penalty yards (89 penalties for a staggering 680 yards), which is another example of how close they are to being a force. Talent wise, Hamilton is as good as any team in the CFL and probably more talented. QB Dan LeFevour is not only getting better each quarter, he’s getting very comfortable out there. LeFevour and the rest of the squad are on the verge of a major run up the standings, as this is not a 1-5 team.

By contrast, Calgary is not as good as their 5-1 record suggests. They were extremely lucky in at least two wins (over Hamilton and Edmonton) and in their victory over Toronto they were outgained by 71 yards. Stamps QB, Bo Levi Mitchell’s ranks 6th among the eight regular QB’s in passing yards. His completion percentage ranks 7th out of the eight regular QB’s and that’s after playing four of their six games against the East. Additionally, the Stampeders had an easy game last week against Ottawa and they have Ottawa again on deck next week. After that, the Stamps play back-to-back games against Edmonton beginning Labour Day weekend and this looks like one of those tricky spots where the Stamps could take a breather, much like the Eskies did last night in Ottawa. Even at their very best, Calgary would still be in very tough against this talented host. Keep the points, we’re not interested in them. We see the Tiger-Cats as the superior team in a better situational spot taking back significant juice in their own barn. Tiger-Cats get off the mattress here and finally win a game they deserve to win.

NOTE: We’re passing on Montreal and Saskatchewan but much prefer taking the points to spotting them if you must.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, August 16

SPORTS WAGERS

Buffalo +2½ +100 over PITTSBURGH

The Steelers lost their preseason opener against the Giants and their defense was gashed for 170 yards on the ground. Pittsburgh is thin to begin with on the defensive line and will now have to deal with a Bills’ team that loves to run and that has the weapons to do so. Pittsburgh will use Big Ben for a couple of series or perhaps the entire first quarter but we say so what. Roethlisberger threw just two passes last week and he’s not a guy that puts much emphasis on preseason anyway. Roethisberger is not one of those guys that goes out of his way for anyone, meaning he doesn’t work with younger QB’s to help them get better. Steelers Coach, Mike Tomlin had an outstanding preseason record when he first started coaching but that has changed. Pittsburgh has dropped five preseason games in a row. The Steelers went 0-4 last year and they are 0-1 this year. The QB rotation will feature Roethisberger, Landry Jones and Bruce Gradkowski but it really doesn’t matter because Big Ben will be their opening day starter and he acts like it.   

Buffalo has already played two preseason games and they have a nice competition brewing at QB with E.J. Manuel, Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel. All three have played significant minutes in the preseason and that figures to continue in this one. We also like Buffalo’s depth. Once the starters are removed, Buffalo’s backups (linebackers) have been just as good and they’re very capable of playing on the first team offense or defense. One has to like the direction of the Bills. They appear focused and only took five penalties last week in their win over Carolina. They’ve had an extra day of preparation and that healthy QB battle plays very well in the preseason. Bills outright but we’ll take the points because we don’t have to lay any juice in doing so.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, August 16

SPORTS WAGERS

Cincinnati +134 over COLORADO

Anytime we can take-back a price like this one against the team with the worst record in the majors, we’ll have a close look for sure. Do you really want to lay significant juice with a team that has three wins in their last 15 games and is now without Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki? We think not. If that’s not bad enough, Jordan Lyles is not a pitcher to be spotting a price like this one either. Lyles has 20 wins in 79 career starts. He brings a career ERA of 5.06 into this one along with a career WHIP of 1.43 and career BAA of .277. This season Lyles has a BB/K split of 30/58 in 80.1 innings over 14 starts. Last year, Lyles went 7-9 with a 5.59 ERA in 142 innings for the Astros. A horrid March led to AAA demotion; May return brought little improvement. Only June (3.53/3.63 ERA/xERA) hinted at upside. Lyles 2H disaster was fueled by poor control and vanishing K’s. He lacks plus offerings and while his age helps, he has work to do before he can be trusted in this role, especially at this venue pitching for the Rockies.

The injury to Homer Bailey opened the door for Dylan Axelrod. With Tony Cingrani, who opened the season in the Cincinnati rotation, on the Triple-A DL, recent acquisition Dylan Axelrod now gets another chance. Axelrod had a 24 K/5 BB split in 35.1 IP in his five starts since joining AAA-Louisville, after struggling with his control earlier with AAA-Charlotte in the White Sox organization. Axelrod also has a .209 batting average against and 0.91 WHIP at Louisville. His career skills and 4.76 xERA in 198 innings spread across the previous three seasons (2011-13) suggest he has been unable to translate his minor league success to MLB but he’s not the one spotting -145 here. That makes Axelrod and the Reds a much better option taking back a price than Lyles and the Rockies spotting one. A change of scenery may just be what the doctor ordered for Axelrod. Overlay.


CLEVELAND -½ (1st 5 innings) +109 over Baltimore

For whatever reason, Progressive Field has been a house of horrors for the Orioles and that continued with an extra-inning loss last night. A fresh Carlos Carrasco, who only has 70 innings under his belt this season, most in relief, will now make his second start since being demoted at the end of April. Carrasco made four starts in April, going 0-3 while allowing four ER or more in each start. He was then moved to the bullpen, where he thrived in 43 IP, with a 2.30 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 8.2 K’s/9 and outstanding control. On August 10, he made his first start since April, throwing five shutout innings, allowing two hits, striking out four with no walks issued. Carrasco has nasty stuff. He has an elite groundball/line-drive/fly-ball profile of 55%/15%/30%. He uses five pitches with regularity and he’ll throw them in any count. He average fastball velocity is 94.8 MPH and he’ll change speeds frequently. His extreme talent has never been in question and now at the age of 27 and showing signs of becoming the dominant starter that he was projected to be, perhaps he’s figured it out. Carlos Carrasco is too talented to give up on yet.

Free agent acquisition Ubaldo Jimenez has been an expensive disaster, with the worst walk percentage in baseball. Jimenez's AL-leading 63 walks translate to 5.4 BB/9 so he may not be long for the rotation if he cannot control the strike zone. Remarkably, the Orioles have won Jimenez’s last four starts but you can’t keep winning at this level when you can’t throw strikes. Jimenez’s 5.42 xERA is one of the worst marks in the game. In his first start back after a month long DL stint, Jimenez had a groundball/fly-ball split of 6%/67% (1 groundball against 17 fly-balls) and a swing and miss rate of just 6%. Fortunately for him the game was in St. Louis but this venue does not play well for pitchers that can’t throw strikes or keep the ball on the ground. Indians figure to score some runs early.

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Chase Diamond

Baltimore Ravens vs. Dallas Cowboys
Play: Dallas Cowboys +1.5

This game features the 1-0 Ravens and the 0-1 Cowboys. The Cowboys need this game very bad and it's at home. There are alot of bruised egos after getting killed by the Chargers last week expect a bounce back game where these guys go all out just for the win I don't see the Ravens being as hungry. Public is pounding the Ravens today at a rate of 64% but I believe they will get buried tonight.


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Steve Janus

Tampa Bay Rays -126

This is a great spot to jump on the Rays as a relatively small home favorite. Tampa Bay has won 3 straight and 7 of their last 9 overall, while the Yankees are in the midst of a 5-game losing streak. The Rays starting pitching has been absolutely dominant during their recent hot stretch. Over their last 9 games they have a ridiculous 0.90 ERA and I look for the starting pitching to be the difference in this one.

Tampa Bay will be sending out Drew Smyly to make his home debut since coming over from the Tigers. Smyly comes in off one of his best starts of the season, where he allowed just 3 hits over 7 2/3 scoreless innings at Texas. While New York will counter with Shane Greene, who has a 2.89 ERA over 7 starts, I look for him to struggle. Greene comes in off a lengthy 8 days of rest and will have the added pressure of pitching in front of pitching in front of a lot of friends and family as he grew up just 90-minutes away from St. Petersburg.

Key Trends - Yankees are 16-35 in their last 51 games as an underdog of +110 to +150, 4-13 in their last 17 against the AL East, 1-4 in their last 5 against a left-handed starter and 1-4 in their last 5 after scoring 2 runs or less. Tampa Bay is 6-1 in their last 7 as a favorite of -110 to -150, 10-2 in their last 12 against the AL East, 5-1 in their last 6 against a right-handed starter and 10-4 after scoring 5+ runs.

System - Road teams when the money line is +125 to -125 (NY YANKEES) - very bad AL offensive team (<=4.2 runs/game) against a team with a good bullpen (ERA<=3.75), after a game without an extra base hit are a mere 14-40 (26%) against the money line since 1997.

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