Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, August 16

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

Dave Price

Los Angeles Angels -155

Texas has practically become a dead fade with losses in 40 of its last 52 games.  It's lost eight straight to the Angels, including five in a row at home.  The Halos are a near-perfect 10-1 in their last 11 road games versus clubs with a home winning percentage less than .400.  The Angels are also 9-1 in their last 10 games as a road favorite of -151 to -200.  They are in good hands with Shoemaker, who tossed a gem in winning his only start versus Texas.  The Angels are 10-4 in his 14 career starts, including 4-0 in his four division starts.  Texas' Lewis has struggled at home where he has a 7.26 ERA.  He's also struggled in division play, posting a 7.64 ERA.  Shoemaker has a 2.84 ERA in divisional starts this season.  The Rangers are 1-5 in Lewis' last six home starts.

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

Will Rogers

Jets vs. Bengals
Play: 41½

The New York Jets offense was one of the worst in the NFL last year, but with Mike Vick and Geno Smith battling for the starters job, we could see New York put some points on the board in the pre-season. The Jets are in Cincinnati tonight, taking on a Bengals team that surrendered a whopping 41 points in a loss at Kansas City in Week 1. I'm expecting to see a shootout in Cincy tonight.

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Backup Quarterbacks - Mike Vick and Jason Campbell are each listed as the #2 quarterbacks on the depth chart, but both have plenty of experience starting in the NFL. Campbell threw a pair of TD passes in Week 1, while Vick showed he's still got lightning speed.

2. Officiating - It was no accident that all four of last night's games went over the total, as offense were aided by flags, with officials calling pass interference on the slightest contact.

3. X-Factor - The Bengals have seen the total go over in four of their last five pre-season games.

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

Jack Jones

Tampa Bay Rays -130

The Tampa Bay Rays have become the fourth team in MLB history to get back to .500 after being 18 games under at one point in the season.  I've ridden them a lot lately, and I'm going to continue to do so because this team just doesn't have any quit in them.

Drew Smyly is one of the most underrated starters in baseball and got a lot of grief because he was part of the trade for David Price.  He has posted a 3.96 ERA in 20 starts this season, but a 3.50 ERA in his last three.  Smyly pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings in his last start against Texas, and he's 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in one career start against New York.

The Yankees are stuck in a tailspin that they cannot get out of.  They have lost five in a row coming into this one while scoring a combined seven runs in the process.  Shane Green has pitched well for them in limited action, but he is being overvalued as a result.

Tampa Bay is 19-3 (+14.5 Units) against the money line in home games when playing on Saturday over the last two seasons.  The Yankees are 16-35 in their last 51 games as an underdog of +110 to +150.  The Rays are 19-8 in the last 27 home meetings and 16-5 in the last 21 meetings overall.

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

John Ryan

Mariners vs. Tigers
Play: Over 6½

The simulator shows a high probability that more than 7 runs will be scored in this game and that one of these teams may score the posted total on their own merit. Detroit is a solid money making  21-9 OVER (+11.4 Units) in home games facing AL teams allowing 4.7 or less runs/game on the season;  23-7 OVER (+15.9 Units) in home games facing an AL team with a batting average of .255 or worse in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons; 21-8 OVER (+12.8 Units) in home games facing teams outscoring opponents by 0.5 or more runs/game on the season over the last 2 seasons; 25-11 OVER (+13.5 Units) after having lost 4 or 5 of their last 6 games this season. I had Seattle Friday for my 7th straight MLB winner and they hammered the Tigers 7-2 and were installed as +125 DOGS. I have been on record since June stating that Seattle is that one team ranked in the Top-5 of my power ratings that can win the second Wild Card. With their starting pitching, they are a very tough opponent for any playoff matchup. Detroit is fighting for their playoff lives after blowing a very comfortable lead, but are in a solid situation to score runs today. The Tigers bullpen has been just horrible and have posted a 5.38 ERA with a 1.616 WHIP in 60 home games this season. Seattle is 6-1 batting 0.276 with a 0.328 OBP that will continue facing David Price. Moreover, the Detroit lineup will get to Felix based on the SIM projections and this game will easily go 'OVER' the posted total of 6 1/2 runs.


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

Hollywood Sports

Yankees at Rays
Pick: Under

Tampa Bay (61-61) enters this game coming after their 5-0 win against the Yankees in the opening game of this series. The Rays have then played 8 of their last 9 games Under the Total after a victory. The Under is also 5-0-1 in Tampa Bay's last 6 games after allowing two runs or less in their last contest. New York (61-59) has played 5 straight road games Under the Total as an underdog in the +110 to +150 price range. Additionally, the Under is 8-1-2 in the Yankees' last 11 games after allowing at least five runs in their last contest.

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

Anthony Michael

Baltimore Ravens +1

The Ravens are 26-17 ATS as pre-season underdogs and their defense looked very strong in their pre-season opener. Dallas is terrible as a pre-season favorite at 21-36 ATS and they are 0-4 ATS the last 4 years in their 2nd pre-season game. Look for Romo to get very little action here especially against the tough Ravens defense. Looks like all Baltimore here

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The Real Animal

Indianapolis -2

Sure the Giants are 2-0 but how well have they really played? They beat Buffalo thanks to a fluke 73-yard bomb in the 4th quarter. In that game they averaged 3.2 a carry while allowing 4.5 a pop. Last week they outlasted Pittsburgh 20-16 but the Steelers are now 0-5 in the preseason the last two years and finished 8-8 the past two seasons when it counted. Indy is off a 13-10 loss to the Jets but the Colts generally score in the preseason and I like their QB combo of Luck and Hasselbeck. Favorites are now 15-5 straight-up so far in preseason including 4-1 so far this week. I know we saw dogs lose but still cover the past two nights with Jacksonville and Detroit but that doesn’t happen often. The Colts have covered in 4/5 home preseason games while the Giants are 9-19 straight-up in August since 2000. I think Indy has a significant edge at the receiver position with Hilton, Nicks, and Wayne. The Giants’ defense has looked better than it really is too thanks to bad qb play by the opposition. Ben Roethlisberger only threw two passes last week followed by Gradkowski and Landry Jones. E.J. Manuel was only 2-of-7 in the Hall of Fame game. Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel each threw an interception in relief. Look for the Colts to bounce back tonight and hand the Giants their first NFLX defeat.

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

Jimmy Boyd

Chicago White Sox +131

The White Sox are showing great value as a home dog against the Blue Jays on Saturday. They have taken 4 of 5 against Toronto this season, while the Blue Jays come in in a major slump having gone 3-10 in their last 13 overall. Chicago won the opener last night 11-5 and I look for them to keep the offense rolling against former White Sox starter Mark Buehrle. After a brilliant start to the season, Buehrle has fallen on hard times. He's got a 7.04 ERA since the All-Star break and a 4.50 ERA and 2.071 WHIP over his last 3 starts. The White Sox will counter with John Danks, who is due for a strong outing after a rough stretch. Despite a 4.96 ERA and 1.469 WHIP on the season, Danks has had more good starts than bad. He's allowed 3 runs or less in 15 of 24 starts and will certainly be motivated going up against one of his old teammates and good friend. There's also a solid system in play telling us to back Chicago. Teams with a money line of +125 to -125 who are starting a well rested pitcher who is working on 5 or 6 days rest against opponent with a cold starting pitcher- WHIP >= 2.000 over his last 5 starts are 31-12 over the last 5 seasons. That's a 72% system in favor of the White Sox.

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

Ross Benjamin

Houston Astros vs. Boston Red Sox    
Play: Boston Red Sox -1½ +120

The Red Sox starter Rubby De La Rosa has been superb in his 5-starts at Fenway Park this season going 4-1 against the money with a stellar 1.97 ERA and 1.06 WHIP.

The Houston starter Brad Peacock enters tonight in horrible form over his last 3-starts posting a monster 10.53 ERA and 2.27 WHIP. The Astros hurler has gone 1-5 against the money on the road this season with a very lofty 6.47 ERA and 1.60 WHIP. He's allowed a whopping 9 home runs in just 32.0 innings of work on the road. In 2 career starts versus Boston he's posted a horrific 14.75 ERA and 3.83 WHIP with both outings coming since 2013.

Any run line favorite of -1.5 (-120 to +115) that's hit 1 home run or less in each of their previous 10-games, and they're playing in the month of August, has gone 42-17 (71.2%) against the run-line during the past 17-seasons.

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

Prophet Plays

New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Play: Tampa Bay Rays -135

The Rays won the series opener 5-0 last night to climb back to .500 for the first time since April 22, a pretty amazing accomplishment considering they were 18 games under the break-even point at one stage. Drew Smyly, acquired from the Tigers in the David Price trade, makes his third start for his new team and first at Tropicana Field. He's coming off 7.2 innings of three-hit, shutout ball at Texas on Monday in which he also fanned nine batters. While the Rays have won seven of nine, including three straight in which they've scored a total of 21 runs, the Yankees have dropped five in a row and scored just seven runs in those losses.

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

Cajun Sports

Buffalo vs. Pittsburgh
Play: Play: Over 40.5

The Bills make the trip to the Steel City for a Saturday evening battle against the hometown Steelers. The Power Indexes project this game sailing Over the posted total. The TPR Index projects average total points for the Bills of 22.81 points while the average total points for the Steelers are 23.63 points. The Math Model projects a total point differential of +4.26 points against a total point range of 40 to 42 points. The combination of these two power index averages gives us an easy call on the Over in tonight’s contest.

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

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

Green Bay/ St Louis Over 43: This one smells of a shootout. The Packers offense never really got off the ground last week, as they played in a monsoon, but that should be a different story this week playing in a dome and on a faster track. Let's also note that Rodgers didn't play in that game and the St Louis secondary had their issues vs the Saints, allowing 252 yards through the air. I look for Rodgers to play into at least the second quarter and that should mean plenty of points for them, at least early. The Rams offense had a good showing last week, both on the ground (150 yards) and through the air (238 yards) and a balanced offense is hard to stop. The Rams are looking to open up the offense even more this year and should have a good game vs the weakness of the Packers and that is their defense. With the new pass defense rules and with all the balls that should be in the air in this one, I just don't see how at least 48 points are scored here. KEY TREND: The OVER is 7-1 in the Packers last 8 preseason game two's.

BEST OF THE REST

HOUSTON -3 over Atlanta:  I know just about the whole world is on them, but i do feel it is the right side. Houston couldn't have played any worse last week on both sides of the ball and I expect them to bounce back in this one. I know this is just preseason, but the Texans have a new head coach that i'm sure wants to win this one. They need something positive after crashing and burning last year, and then in game 1 of the preseason. The Falcons took their opener vs the Dolphins, but still had problems scoring, especially in the red zone and their defense is not as good as they showed vs Miami, Mike Smith is not a great preseason coach and with the Falcons coming off a win and the Texans getting embarrassed I expect Houston to be the much more motivated team, especially in front of the home   

Dallas/ Baltimore Over 42.5:  The Cowboys defense is bad and whether it is the preseason or the regular season it will be bad. This team drafted for defense this year, but still it will struggle this year and going up against a no-huddle attack of the Ravens won't help. The Ravens last week put up 386 yards of total offense, including 237 on the ground vs a vaunted San Fran defense. Now they take on a Cowboys defense that allowed the Chargers 395 yards of total offense last week, including 152 on the ground. I do expect some more reps from Flacco in this one, which should mean a bit more passing and that running game for the Ravens should really open up some lanes deep for Flacco and company to hit their receivers. The Cowboys offense is much better than they showed last week in San Diego, plus Romo will play in this one and that should really help the Dallas offense early and after Romo we will see Weedon, who had a nice game last week. The Ravens had a nice game vs the Niners on defense last week, but still this is not a great defense and should struggle vs a motivated Dallas offense in this one. I'll call for at least 45 points in this one.

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

Scott Delaney

My free play for tonight is on the Tampa Bay Rays at home against the New York Yankees. The last two nights my comp winners have been on the Rays, in Texas on Thursday, and last night against the Yankees in the series opener.

So why not play Tampa Bay a third-straight night?

I wouldn't worry too much about the pitching matchup of Shane Greene and Drew Smyly, this one has me more intrigued as the Yankees are mired in a five-game slide and have to take on a feisty Rays team that needs one last surge to have a chance at the postseason.

Tonight's contest continues up a six-game homestand for the Rays, who will play 28 of their next 31 against American League East opponents, not to mention 27 of their next 33 against teams currently over .500.

Tampa Bay is on a 20-10 tear in their 29 games against teams over .500, it has won eight of 12 at home and is 12-9 since June 25 after a dismal 16-23 start at Tropicana Field.

Take the Rays here, as they continue a winning run that is now at three straight games.

3♦ TAMPA BAY

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

Craig Davis

Your free play of the day is the LA Dodgers over the Milwaukee Brewers (on the run line) with Clayton Kershaw taking the hill once again for the home team.

There's no doubt about it... this release is all about Kershaw --- and why not? He's been one of the most dominating pitchers in baseball again this year and has a solid history against the Brewers. Having said that, the Dodgers are going to have to figure out how to score some runs because the Brewers have had their number recently, including last night's come-from-behind 6-3 win in the 8th inning. The Milwaukee bats got to the LA bullpen in the 8th inning and never looked back.

They also took two of three from the Dodgers at home last week to make it three wins in their last four meetings with L.A., but I believe Kershaw will put a stop to that tonight.

Yovani Gallardo pitches for the Brewers tonight but didn't get to see the Dodgers in the last series. Over seven career starts against them, however, he's a dismal 1-4 with a 5.98 ERA.

As for Kershaw, he casually struck out seven Brewers in a game last week, allowing just one run over eight innings of work for the only win in the series. He's now allowed two or fewer runs in 14 of 19 starts this year and hasn't lost since May 28. He's also 5-2 against Milwaukee with a 3.05 ERA in nine starts.

Take the Dodgers on the run line as your free play of the day.

2♦ L.A. DODGERS -1.5

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

Jeff Benton

Your Saturday freebie is the Royals over the Twins.

Had to look twice at this price, as right now there aren't many teams hotter than the Kansas City Royals, and I am not about to play against them right now.

The Royals have won 11 of their last 12 games, and they are gunning for their 6th straight road win as they hit the diamond tonight. Expect it to happen, as Yordana Ventura takes the hill to face Phil Hughes.

Ventura is on a 2-0 run his last 3 starts with a 2.37 ERA, and owns a 5-2 road record for the season.

He will face a Minnesota team that has lost 13 of their last 18 games at Target Field, and will send Hughes to the mound in hopes of cooling down the Royals.

Hughes owns a 6-3 career record against Kansas City, but also own a career ERA that is quite near 6 versus the Royals.

Have to side with K.C. to keep things moving in the right direction.

4♦ KANSAS CITY

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

Gabriel Dupont

I like the Chicago White Sox against the Toronto Blue Jays, as the home pup is the right side of this game.

The SMART INTANGIBLE with the White Sox - After last night's win over the Jays, there is a little momentum there, and the South Siders always enjoy playing at home.

The SMART INTANGIBLE against the Blue Jays - The Jays are struggling right now, having lost four in a row, and it's come by a wide margin. Toronto was outscored by the Mariners in Seattle by a combined final of 19-4. Then lost the series opener last night, 11-5.

In conclusion, why CHICAGO is my SMART PLAY in this game - Toronto comes into this Saturday night affair on additional losing streaks of 2-7 after a loss, 0-7 on the road and 3-10 overall to drop four games behind Seattle in the race for the second and final wild-card spot.

The Blue Jays gave up 17 hits and five-run innings in the first and fifth, as the Sox are now on winning streaks of 6-2 against A.L. East teams and 5-1 in this series.

2♦ CHICAGO

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

Chris Jordan

Not necessarily sure what's going on with the Oakland Athletics, but they've dropped off lately, having lost three straight, and tonight I think it continues to spiral downward. That's why my free play is on the Atlanta Braves.

Last night Jason Hammel gave up five runs while recording only nine outs and the Athletics' skid continued with a 7-2 loss to the Braves. Hammel allowed five runs and six hits, including three homers, in three innings.

What does that have to do with tonight? Well, when that was one of your three big acquisitions this season, for the playoff run, it can be disheartening. Now the A's have to try to rebound on the road, in Atlanta, where the Braves are 35-28 this season - the eighth-best home record in the majors.

I'm not listing pitchers in this one, but Oakland hands the ball to Sonny Gray, who is mired in a mini-slide of losses in three straight starts. This three-game skid is the longest of his career.

Meanwhile, the Braves have Julio Teheran up, and though he is 2-3 in interleague play over his career, and is 1-2 in two starts against AL teams this season, he has a 2.41 ERA versus the junior circuit this season.

Take the Braves.

2♦ ATLANTA

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

Brad Wilton

Plenty of overhaul that first year coach Lovie Smith must work through in Tampa Bay, and after watching them drop a 16-10 decision at Jacksonville last Friday night, I am not so sure I trust them laying any points to a Miami team that lost by the same margin on the road to the Atlanta Falcons.

Miami brings a money-making 7-1 spread mark on week two of the preseason schedule the past 8 seasons into this one, and with the fiasco of Incognito/Martin now fully in the rear-view mirror, look for third year coach Joe Philbin to have his team gathering some steam as Miami heads into the new season on September 7th.

Take the points as the Dolphins are able to spring the mild upset on Saturday night at the Pirate Ship.

2♦ MIAMI

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

BONES BEST BETS

ROYALS ML -105

The Royals are the hottest team in baseball with a 19-4 record over their past 23 games. The Twins come in having dropped 6 of their past 9 overall as well as 7 of their past 10 against the Royals. We also really like Ventura for the Royals and do not buy what Phil Hughes has been selling of late.

RAYS ML -140

Hot versus not. The Rays have wins in 7 of 9 while the Yankees have dropped 5 straight. Pitching matchup is close to a wash but New York has been outplayed badly in each of their past 5 games (all losses by 2+ runs).

DODGERS ML + GIANTS ML Parlay +125

We don’t do a lot of parlays, but the Dodgers are as close to a lock as you can get. Kershaw is the best pitcher in the NL and the Dodgers are 16-3 when he takes the mound. He has a 0.81 WHIP at home this year. In his last 10 starts he has given up no earned runs 5 times and 1 earned run 3 times and has pitched at least 8 innings in 7 of 10.

The Giants have been struggling but so have the Phillies and so has Kendrick. He has a 5.57 road ERA and 1.36 road WHIP and 2-6 record. He is 1-6 in day games with a 6.24 ERA and 1.58 WHIP. Hudson has been solid all year and at home. His home ERA is 3.20 with a 1.11 WHIP. He had given up 3 earned runs or less in 7 of his last 8 starts.

CARDINALS ML -127

The Cards have won 3 straight vs the Padres. The Cards are 35-25 at home this year and the Padres are 23-37 on the road. Miller has been inconsistent this year but in 4 of his last 5 starts he has given up 2 earned run or less. Last time he faced the Padres he gave up 2 runs and 3 hits over 6 innings. Good value today in the Cards. They should be a -140 to -150 favorite at home today.

MARLINS -1 +100

The money line price at -145 is playable if you choose but we’ve decided to take the -1 at even money after much debate. Alvarez has been dominant all year and even more so at home. 5-2, 1.48 ERA, 1.03 WHIP pitching at home is tough to top.

TIGERS TEAM TOTAL UNDER 3 -105

King Felix is an absolute beast. His numbers speak for themselves and he always shows up for the big games. Hernandez has not allowed 3 runs or more in 16 straight starts dating all the way back to May 12th! Don’t be surprised to see a complete game gem here today in Detroit.

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

Wunderdog

Blue Jays @ White Sox
Pick: Under 9

The Toronto Blue Jays had control of the second Wild Card in the AL, but when the calendar turned to August this team has hit the wall hard. Toronto is 3-10 this month, and their road trip is off to a sluggish start as they have dropped the first four. The offense has been dormant, as the Blue Jays have mustered all of 9 runs in the four game slide. Their saving grace here may be the fact that they have Mark Buehrle on the mound. He sports a 3.31 ERA on the season, and certainly has the capacity to keep the now struggling Jays' attack in the game. The Jays have played to an 18-8 mark to the UNDER in Buehrle's last 26 road starts. The White Sox have now gone 5-1 to the UNDER in their last six in the role of a home dog. This series has had trouble finding its way over the total as the UNDER is 17-8 in the last 25 meetings. Take the UNDER in this one.

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