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Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, August 26

Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, August 26

DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Boston at Toronto
The Red Sox look to follow up last night's 4-3 win in extra innings as they face a Toronto team that is 1-6 in its last 7 games as a favorite of -110 to -150. Boston is the pick (+120) according to Dunkel, which has the Red Sox favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Boston (+120)

Game 901-902: St. Louis at Pittsburgh (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Lynn) 15.015; Pittsburgh (Cole) 16.125
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh (-135); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (-135); Over

Game 903-904: Washington at Philadelphia (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington (Gonzalez) 16.967; Philadelphia (Hamels) 15.442
Dunkel Line: Washington by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-110); 7
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-110); Under

Game 905-906: Atlanta at NY Mets (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Wood) 14.106; NY Mets (Gee) 15.322
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Atlanta (-135); 7
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (+115); Over

Game 907-908: Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati (7:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cubs (Wood) 15.638; Cincinnati (Cueto) 14.314
Dunkel Line: Chicago Cubs by 1 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Cincinnati (-210); 7
Dunkel Pick: Chicago Cubs (+180); Over

Game 909-910: LA Dodgers at Arizona (9:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Hernandez) 13.816; Arizona (Cahill) 14.990
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 1; 9
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-120); 8
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (+100); Over

Game 911-912: Milwaukee at San Diego (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee (Nelson) 15.617; San Diego (Ross) 14.002
Dunkel Line: Milwaukee by 1 1/2; 5
Vegas Line: San Diego (-125); 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (+105); Under

Game 913-914: Colorado at San Francisco (10:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado (De La Rosa) 15.507; San Francisco (Bumgarner) 14.662
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1; 8
Vegas Line: San Francisco (-190); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (+165); Over

Game 915-916: Boston at Toronto (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Boston (De La Rosa) 14.860; Toronto (Dickey) 13.775
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Toronto (-140); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (+120); Over

Game 917-918: NY Yankees at Detroit (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Yankees (McCarthy) 15.325; Detroit (Porcello) 16.908
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Detroit (-125); 8
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-125); Under

Game 919-920: Tampa Bay at Baltimore (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay (Cobb) 14.602; Baltimore (Chen) 15.778
Dunkel Line: Baltimore by 1; 6
Vegas Line: Baltimore (-115); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Baltimore (-115); Under

Game 921-922: Minnesota at Kansas City (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota (Nolasco) 16.123; Kansas City (Duffy) 15.223
Dunkel Line: Minnesota by 1; 8
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-175); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+155); Under

Game 923-924: Oakland at Houston (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oakland (Hammel) 15.674; Houston (Keuchel) 14.776
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Oakland (-120); 8
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-120); Over

Game 925-926: Cleveland at Chicago White Sox (8:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland (House) 15.686; White Sox (Quintana) 13.612
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 2; 9
Vegas Line: Chicago White Sox (-120); 8
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (+100); Over

Game 927-928: Texas at Seattle (10:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (Martinez) 16.350; Seattle (Paxton) 15.491
Dunkel Line: Texas by 1; 7
Vegas Line: Seattle (-190); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Texas (+165); Under

Game 929-930: Miami at LA Angels (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami (Eovaldi) 15.607; LA Angels (Shoemaker) 14.354
Dunkel Line: Miami by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-190); 8
Dunkel Pick: Miami (+165); Over

WNBA

Chicago at Atlanta
The Dream look to wrap up the series at home tonight against a Chicago team that is 4-10 ATS in its last 14 games when playing with 1 days rest. Atlanta is the pick (-3 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Dream favored by 6. Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-3 1/2)

Game 621-622: Chicago at Atlanta (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Chicago 107.215; Atlanta 112.996
Dunkel Line & Total: Atlanta by 6; 161
Vegas Line & Total: Atlanta by 3 1/2; 157
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-3 1/2); Over

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Jim Feist

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles    
Play: Tampa Bay Rays -105

Tampa Bay is playing well especially on the road. Evan Longoria drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning in Sunday's 2-1 victory at Toronto, his fifth RBI in the last three games. The Rays are a major league-best 21-6 on the road since June 28. Alex Cobb (9-6, 3.01 ERA) is a dog but is having a fine season with opponents hitting .232 off him. Cobb tossed seven shutout innings against the Tigers on Thursday, striking out six while allowing just two hits and two walks to come away with a 1-0 victory. This Tampa Bay offense is 9th in baseball in on base percentage and 12-4 in their last 16 road games vs. a team with a winning record. Baltimore has Wei-Yin Chen on the hill, with the team 1-2 his last three starts, plus the Orioles are 2-5 in Chens last 7 starts vs. the Rays. And the Rays are 4-1 in Cobb's last five starts against the Orioles.

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Ben Burns

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates    
Play: Pittsburgh Pirates -133

The Pirates really let me down last night. They held a 1-0 lead for much of the game before falling prey to a three-run 7th inning rally by the Cardinals.  With Adam Wainwright set to pitch Wednesday, tonight is a game Pittsburgh simply has to have.

Here's what I said yesterday in regards to St. Louis: "  A 97-win team in 2013, this year's team is not nearly as good due in part to injuries and the fact there was no way they could match last year's numbers with runners in scoring position.  They dropped 2 of 3 games over the weekend against the Phillies, a last place team."

To follow up on that, the Cardinals also have been outscored this year despite being 12 games over .500. That's highly irregular. A big part of that is they have scored the second fewest runs in all of baseball.

I like Pirates starter Gerrit Cole.  He faced St. Louis early this year and tossed seven innings, allowing just two runs.  Pittsburgh has won six of Cole's last seven starts overall. Cardinals starter Lynn has a 1-4 TSR his last five starts as an underdog.

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Scott Spreitzer

Marlins vs. Angels
Play: Over 8

Last night was a tough spot for the Angel lineup, fresh off the 10-game, 10-day road trip that ended with the huge weekend series in Oakland.  But I expect the Angel bats to be in "full swing" tonight against Nathan Eovaldi.  The Marlin righty has allowed 4 earned runs or more in four of his last seven starts.  He did have a nice 3-game stretch recently, but those starts came against the Reds (29th in rpg) and the Cards (28th in rpg).  He'll now face MLB's 3rd best run scoring squad on average and with their legs back under them.  The Halos will counter with Matt Shoemaker. The right-hander was terrific in his last start at Fenway, an emotional start, the night after losing Garrett Richards to a leg injury.  But Shoemaker threw 116 pitches after topping 96 pitches just once in his previous seven starts.  He's normally going to throw around 85-92 pitches on a good night and I do expect him to suffer from the busy night last time out. Shoemaker lasted just 3 2/3 IP and 4 IP the last two times he started following an outing where he topped 100 pitches.  He allowed 10 earned runs and 17 base runners in 7 2/3 IP.  I expect both offenses to do some damage tonight and I'm playing the Over between the Marlins & Angels on Tuesday.

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Rob Vinciletti

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks    
Play: Los Angeles Dodgers -117

The Dodgers have some nice numbers going their way tonight. LA is 7-0 as a road favorite off a home loss and has won 9 of 13 with a day off. They are also 3-0 on the road off a home loss by 5 or more runs. Arizona has struggled losing 15 of 22 as a home dog and 7 of the last 9 here in the series to LA. The Diamondbacks have Trevor Cahill on the mound making his 3rd start here vs the Dodgers. If this one is anything like the last two it will be another long night in the desert. Cahill allowed 12 runs in 8 innings here already vs the Dodgers. Hernandez goes for LA and he has 2 decent starts vs Arizona this season. Look for LA To bounce back here tonight.


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Larry Ness

Atlanta Braves at New York Mets
Prediction: Atlanta Braves

Atlanta (68-63) has fallen 7 1/2 games back of the Nats in the NL East (Washington now owns the NL's best record at 75-55) and is fighting to keep pace in a tight NL wild-card race (Braves are currently a half-game back of the Giants for the NL's 2nd wild card spot). The Braves open a three-game series at Citi Filed off back-to-back losses but had won SEVEN of eight prior to that.

The Mets are 61-70 and playoff hopes have faded in Queens quite some time ago. They'll hand the ball to Dillon Gee and the last time he faced the Braves (back on July 9), he won 4-1, allowing one run in seven innings. That was his fist start since coming off the DL and he hasn't won since. Gee is 0-5 with a 5.71 ERA in seven starts (Mets have lost all SEVEN!) following the All-Star break.

Taking the mound for Atlanta is lefty Alex Wood. He's 9-9 with a 3.05 ERA on the season, making 29 appearances (18 starts / 11 relief appearances). He owns a 2.83 ERA in his 18 starts this season but the Braves are just 7-11 in those games (he deserves better!). Wood wants to be known as an elite pitcher and Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez believes he has the tools to accomplish that goal. "He's been terrific," Gonzalez told MLB's official website. "He's got that mentality to be a top-tier pitcher in the major leagues, and to be in that category, you've got to go out and go eight innings, go complete games. He wants to do it. And that's more than half the battle."

I'm not making any predictions on Wood's future but I like him and the Braves here, as the Mets lose for the EIGHTH straight time with Gee on the mound.

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Art Aronson

Minnesota Twins vs. Kansas City Royals    
Play: Kansas City Royals -172

The visiting Minnesota Twins send Ricky Nolasco (5-9, 5.96 ERA) to the hill; Nolasco gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings in a loss to the Indians on Wednesday. In 20 tries this season, Nolasco has given the Twins a total of six quality starts (and note that against the Royals he’s allowed opposition hitters an ugly .295 average while posting a pedestrian 2-2 record with a 4.21 ERA). The home side counters with Danny Duffy (8-11, 2.53 ERA) who is 3-0 with a 1.54 ERA in his last four starts against the Twins. Note that Kansas City took three of four in Minnesota from Aug. 15-18 during a 24-6 run just last month (it also won two of three at Kauffman Stadium against the Twins during that stretch). Despite the setback to the Yanks yesterday, Kansas City has still won eight of 12 coming in and has won five of the last six against the Twins in this series. One player to keep an eye out for in particular for the Royals is Alcides Escobar, who is 7 for 11 with two doubles and a triple against Nolasco this season; note that Escobar is batting .405 with nine extra-base hits and 18 RBIs in his last 22 games versus Minnesota overall. I think the home side is worth the price of admission in this spot, do you?!


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Steve Janus

Toronto Blue Jays -121

I look for the Blue Jays to bounce back from last night's loss with a much needed win at home over the Red Sox. Boston was able to snap their 8-game losing streak, but this team is still a complete mess and completely out of the playoff race. The Red Sox will send out the struggling Rubby De La Rosa, who has a 4.58 ERA and 1.811 WHIP over his last 3 starts and 8.10 ERA and 2.200 WHIP over 2 starts against the Blue Jays this season. Toronto counters with R.A. Dickey, who has allowed just 6 runs on 17 hits over 19 1/3 innings in 3 starts against Boston this season.

Key Trends/System - Dickey is 15-3 in his last 18 home starts against a team who are averaging 0.9 or less home runs per game. Toronto is 5-1 in their last 6 during game 2 of a series, while the Red Sox are a mere 3-12. Boston is also just 1-5 in De La Rosa's last 6 road starts against a team with a winning record. Add it up and that's a 37-8 (82%) system telling us to BET THE BLUE JAYS -121!

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Will Rogers

Minnesota Twins vs. Kansas City Royals    
Play: Kansas City Royals -153

The Royals are coming off two consecutive losses, but have still won 17 of their 23 games in August. They're looking good to bag another W tonight, as we have a clear mismatch on the mound.

Here are my keys to the game:


1. Pitching - The Twins will hand the ball to Ricky Nolasco (5-9, 5.96 ERA) who's been hit hard all season long. He's been particularly poor on the road, where he's 2-4, posting a 7.32 ERA over 10 starts. The 31 year old has lost both his starts in August so far, allowing nine runs on 15 hits over 12 2/3 innings of work. The Royals will counter with Danny Duffy (8-11, 2.53 ERA) who's having a great season. The 25 year old may not have been at his best over his last couples of starts, but is still 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in August. He's 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA over 5 outings versus the Twins so far this season.

2. Previous History - The Royals have won five of the last six meetings, and all of Duffy's last six starts versus the Twins. 

3. X-factor - KC's line-up is hitting .318 over 151 at bats versus Nolasco, with Alcides Escobar going 7-for-14 and Eric Hosmer 5-for-10.

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Jeff Clement

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles
Play: Tampa Bay Rays -105

The Rays are 21-7 last 28 road games and Cobb is 4-1 with an ERA of 1.89 in his career against Baltimore. The Orioles are 2-5 last 7 Chen starts against Tampa Bay and with Cobb going for his 9th straight win look for Tampa Bay to get the victory tonight.

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SPORTS WAGERS

Cleveland +115 over CHICAGO

The White Sox have dropped six in a row. Over that span they are batting .214. Personally, I watched two of their three games in New York this past weekend and instead of being jacked up to play in the Big Apple like most teams get, the South Side looked completely disinterested. Errors, mental mistakes, poor base-running and swinging at pitches three feet out of the strike zone are all signs of a team going through the motions only. The trade of Gordon Beckham to the Angels last week sure hasn't been a lift for the South Side either, as Beckham was hugely popular in the dugout and he is a great defensive third baseman. Carlos Quintana is also trending the wrong way. Quintana has had some tremendous outings this season but all of the signs now point to a pitcher running on fumes. Santana threw 200 inning in 2012 split between the minors and majors. Last year he threw another 200 innings and this year he's already up to 161. Santana is 0-3 in his last three starts with an ERA of 4.91. His groundball rate has shown a significant decrease recently, going from 45% in the first four months of the year to 34% over his past five starts. In his last start he struck out three batters in six innings. The White Sox have lost each of Qunitana's last four starts by scores of 16-3, 4-1, 7-1 and 5-1. In all those starts he struggled miserably the second and third times through the order. Carlos Quintana is a pitcher in trouble right now pitching for a team that is also in trouble.

T.J. House has a mediocre 3.80 ERA and ugly 1.49 WHIP after 66 innings so far. As a result, he's being overlooked as just another mid to back-end rotation guy. A closer look suggests now's a good time to buy him low. His 3.43 xERA is the result of his solid command and very high groundball rate of 61%. House is beginning to figure things out quickly. His groundball/line-drive/fly-ball rate of 65%/15%/20% over his last three starts is the best profile in the majors over any three-start span this season. Furthermore, left-handed hitters have very little shot chance against him, as House has posted 8.1 K's/9 and a 67% groundball rate against lefties. In the end we're left with a motivated Indians' team with an undervalued pitcher going against a White Sox team that is playing like they can't wait for the season to end. 


CINCINNATI -1½ +121 over Chicago

Johnny Cueto is not pitching his best baseball of the season right now, as his 3.92 xERA in August is by far his worst month of the season. He will be looking to improve that statistic against the free-swinging Cubs, who are averaging over 10 strikeouts per game in the month of August. That should bode well here for Cueto, who has still struck out 43 batters over his past 44 innings and that has 191 K's overall in 193 frames. Great American Ballpark has been the place to be for Cueto, where he has gone 9-3 with a 1.81 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, and 10.1 K's/9 in 13 starts. Cueto is one of the best but this one is still more about fading Travis Wood.

Wood is in terrible form, going winless over his last 12 starts, where he has only three pure quality starts while going 0-6 with a 5.45 ERA. Going on the road has been an adventure this season, as he is 4-7 with a 6.03 ERA and 1.76 WHIP in 13 starts. Wood has had the same groundball/line-drive/fly-ball rate for three straight years at 35%/23%/42% and that's a profile that does not play well in hitters parks like Great American. Throw in Woods' shaky control (66 BB in 150 IP) and lack of confidence and you can see why he's a blowup risk every time he takes the hill. Seldom is it recommended to spot runs with the Reds but this is one of those games in which they figure to score plenty while giving up very little.

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Sleepyj

Atlanta Braves -1.5 -125

The Atlanta Braves have been on a nice roll as of late, and will look to continue that success here with a series Vs. The New York Mets tonight. Atlanta has won 8 out of the last 12 and would like to get right back into the win column here to start this series. Atlanta will send LHP Alex Wood to the mound tonight. The Mets just faced 4 RHP in a row and i think we may have some timing issues here for the Mets. Atlanta is coming off back to back road losses and had the day off to recharge themselves. The Mets come back home from a west coast trip and may prove to be sluggish as well. Atlanta has quietly snuck themselves right into the wildcard chase as they are only a few games behind St. Louis in the race. Atlanta will play 3 teams not even in the conversation for the playoffs over the next 12 games against the Mets, Marlins(twice), and the Phillies. They can make a big push here and have a good chance to gain ground or even pass the Cardinals for the wildcard. The New York Mets will send RHP Dillon Gee to the mound. I'm not very high on Gee as the season has grew older. Gee's arm has also grown older over the last 7 games as he has dropped 6 out of those 7. His strikeout to walk ratio has been horrible as he has allowed 17 BB over that time period. The Braves will be happy to see another RHP in Gee with little power left in his pitches as the season nears the end. The Mets have been getting hit as well as they have surrendered 31 runs in the last 6 games. We don't expect that to stop tonight. We love the Braves here in this spot as this team looks to the post season. Lets back the Braves here tonight on the RL as i think Gee will get himself into trouble as the Braves look to tee off into the playoff the chase.

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Sammy P

Tampa Bay at Baltimore
Play: Under 7.5

The Baltimore Orioles demolished the Tampa Bay Rays last night 9-1.  That's good news for the Orioles as they had previously lost three straight and managed just four runs in those three games.  Baltimore will have a tougher test tonight against Rays starter Alex Cobb who has really turned around his season.  Cobb has won his last two starts giving up just one earned run.  In fact you need to go back nine starts (7/4) to find the last game where Cobb gave up more than two runs.  Needless to say, Cobb's last six starts have all gone Under the total.  Baltimore counters with Wei-Yin Chen.  Chen has also had a string of under the total games to his name.  He has seen five straight games go under the total and seven of his last eight.  Chen has pitched well as of late in Camden Yards going 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA.  I'm not expecting much to be accomplished by either offense tonight.  Both starters are in too good of form and this has all the makings of a pitcher's duel tonight.  Take the Under.

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Nelly

St. Louis Cardinals + over Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates led most of the way last night in a critical opening game of this NL Central rivalry. The Cardinals put up three runs in the 7th inning to steal the game. Pittsburgh had two errors last night and the defense for the Pirates has been a key reason why the club has not matched last season's success. St. Louis has surged into the top wild card spot in the NL with a great August run while the Pirates are on the outside looking in as both teams continue to trail Milwaukee in the division race. The Cardinals are 14-9 in the month of August so far while things have gone the opposite direction for the Pirates at 10-13. St. Louis is 9-3 in the last 12 games and the key has been the offense finding more consistent production. In that 12-game run the Cardinals have scored four or more runs in 10 of the 12 games to improve on what have been some of the worst scoring numbers in baseball this season. In August St. Louis has the second best team on-base-percentage in baseball while scoring nearly 4.4 runs per game on average. Pittsburgh has better offensive numbers for the season but not lately, as Pittsburgh has scored three or fewer runs in six of the last nine games. Pittsburgh owns a great home record for the season but they are just 5-6 in the last 11 games at PNC Park and Pittsburgh is on a 3-9 run overall in the last 12 games, the inverse of what the Cardinals have done. Lance Lynn had consistency problems early in his career but has pitched extremely well the past two months with nine straight starts with three or fewer runs allowed, actually allowing two or fewer runs in eight of those outings. His strikeout numbers are still very good but he has kept his walks in check with just five walks allowed over his last four starts, all St. Louis wins. He pitched well in a 5-2 win the last time he faced the Pirates and he has been the more promising starter in this matchup. Former top draft pick Gerrit Cole pitched well in his first start back from injury last week but he walked four batters and did not look completely comfortable on the mound. Even when healthy, Cole posted fairly average numbers this season despite the elevated expectations after he shined in 19 starts last season. Despite pitching 25 fewer innings at this point compared to last season Cole has allowed more walks and home runs than he did last season with nearly as many runs allowed. Lynn is a better candidate for a strong outing tonight and the Cardinals have been the far better hitting team in recent games.

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MLB Predictions

Cincinnati Reds -1.5 +107

I am looking to catch Cueto on the bounce back after he gave up 4 runs in his most recent start. That ties for his second worst start of the year. That was on the road however, where he has been strong, but not automatic like we have come to find out in Cincinnati. Cueto has a road ERA of 2.56 which is strong in its own right, but that number falls to 1.81 at home. He also possesses a WHIP of 0.82 at home compared to 1.07 away. The Cincinnati offense had a horrible stretch for awhile there, but with Brandon Philips back I think they'll be better. Considerably better? Without Joey Votto around I doubt that, however, they should do enough to give Cueto a relatively easy win here tonight. The Cubs are hitting only .227 against right-handers, they get a pretty damn good righty tonight. The Reds' hitters will have the opportunity to do well against Travis Wood, a pitcher that has been struggling mightily. He's pitched 71.2 innings on the road and has a 6.03 ERA and 1.76 WHIP to show for it. In 13 starts on the road, 10 of them he allowed more than 2 runs. I don't think it'll take much for the Reds to win and cover -1.5 because I expect Cueto to roll through this lineup. I figure if the Reds can make it to 4 runs, which I believe they will, they'll cover the number. With that said give me the Reds.

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David Banks

Twins / Royals Over 8.5
   
After hardly getting national exposure this entre year, the American League Central leading Kansas City Royals (72-57, 33-28 home) are on national TV the second straight night Tuesday when they host the Minnesota Twins (58-72, 29-35 away) at 8:10 ET on FOX Sports One. Southpaw Danny Duffy will be on the bump for the Royals taking on right-hander Ricky Nolasco for the Twins. Kansas City entered a make-up game vs. the Yankees Monday night with a surprising two-game lead over the Detroit Tigers. The Twins meanwhile entered Monday dead last in the division and 14 games behind the Royals, and they tried to help Kansas City while splitting four games with the Tigers this past weekend, although they did lose the last two games after scoring 32 runs while winning the first two games of that series. 
   
Duffy seems like a poster child for regression, not because of his 8-11 record obviously, but because his remarkable 2.53 ERA and 1.03 WHIP over 128 innings this season simply do not seem sustainable given his weak sabremetric numbers. You see, Duffy is a pronounced fly ball pitcher with just a 33.9 percent ground ball rate and he does not have good command numbers with 98 strikeouts vs. 45 walks. And yet, he is somehow yielding a .231 BABIP, something that seems highly unlikely to continue, and even worse his average velocity over the last 30 days of 92.7 MPH is down from the 93.4 MPH it was before that. The bottom line is that negative regression for Duffy seems imminent, and while it is tempting to say it began when he allowed five runs in seven innings vs. the Colorado Rockies last time out, it is only fair to point out just one of the runs was earned as he allowed four unearned runs on one swing on a two-out grand slam after an error extended the inning. Still, Duffy must now deal with a suddenly hot Minnesota offense that is averaging 6.50 runs overall over the last 10 games while batting .287 vs. southpaws during this time.

The Royals are also scoring runs though while averaging 5.40 runs in their last 10 games and they are batting .276 vs. right-handers in this period, which is bad news for Nolasco. You see, Nolasco has had enough troubles this year regardless of the competition after being considered the Minnesota ace to begin the year, as he is 5-9 with a brutal 5.96 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. Granted he may have been bothered by an elbow injury earlier on that ultimately landed him on the Disabled List for more than one month, but he has not really been any better in his two starts since being activated, allowing a total of nine earned runs on 15 hits plus two walks in 12.2 innings. His first start off of the DL came against these Royals in Minnesota and the results were not pretty as Nolasco was charged with five earned runs on seven hits in six innings, marking the second time this season that he allowed five earned runs in a game vs. Kansas City, doing so while allowing 11 hits in 5.2 innings on the previous occasion.

The 'over' is 13-4 in the Twins last 17 games following an off day. The 'over' is also 18-7-2 in the Royals' last 27 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30, as well as 4-1 in the last five head-to-head meetings between these teams.

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Tom Barton

Cincinnati vs Chicago
Pick: Cincinnati -180

Oh the money I have made backing Johnny Cueto over the years and here is the team he has made us smart players the most money against. Cueto take on the Cubbies and has to be smiling. He has been brilliant this year and recently. Over the past 10 weeks he sits at 10-2 with a 2.42 ERA overall but wait there's more. Cueto over the past 10 years has just owned these Cubs and while the faces have changed the results never have. He is 7-1 with a 1.80 ERA against Chicago and is 6-0 with a 1.74 ERA at home. The Cubs meanwhile are tossing Travis Wood who has looked pretty bad. Wood is 0-6 with a 5.45 ERA in his last 12 starts and 1-5 in 8 starts for his career against Cincy.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, August 26

LT Profits

Boston s Toronto
Pick: Under 8.5

R.A. Dickey of the Toronto Blue Jays is 10-12 with a 4.08 ERA after allowing five runs in 5.2 innings at Milwaukee last out, but he had allowed two runs or less in three of his prior four starts and he held these Boston Red Sox to one run on three hits with 10 strikeouts in seven innings the last time he faced them July 28th. That was the second time in three starts vs. the Red Sox in 2014 that Dickey allowed one run and he is facing a Boston lineup batting .225 vs. right-handers on the road. Rubby De La Rosa is doing a nice job for Boston as he has a 3.69 ERA despite his 4-5 record and has allowed three runs or less in eight of his last 10 starts with seven official Quality Starts. The ‘under’ is 9-2 in the Red Sox last 11 road games.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, August 26

Jimmy Boyd

San Diego Padres -121

The Padres are showing great value as a small home favorite against the Brewers on Tuesday. San Diego will send out their ace in Tyson Ross, who has the majors 5th best home ERA in the league at 1.94. In his last 4 starts at home, Ross is 3-0 with a ridiculous 0.96 ERA. I'll take my chances on the Padres offense providing enough run support here to secure the win. Milwaukee will send out Jimmy Nelson, who is just 2-4 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.343 WHIP over 8 starts. Nelson was hit hard in his most recent outing, giving up 4 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks over 5 2/3 innings of work at home against the Blue Jays.

While the Brewers won yesterday's series opener 10-1 over the Padres, that actually sets up a favorable system on Milwaukee. Home teams who are a terrible offensive team - scoring <=3.8 runs/game on the season (NL), after allowing 10 runs or more are 38-16 (70%) over the last 5 seasons.

Adding to that is a strong system telling us to fade the Brewers based off their recent strong performances at the plate. Road underdogs with a money line of +100 to +150 who are stranding 6.9 or less runners on base per game on the season, after 3 straight games where they had 12 or more hits are just 8-33 since 1997. That's a 81% system in favor of the Padres.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, August 26

Jack Jones

Tampa Bay Rays +100

The Tampa Bay Rays are the type of team that does not quit on their season.  They will continue to fight until they are eliminated, which is a testament to the job that Joe Maddon does as manager.  I like them to knock off the Baltimore Ravens Tuesday night due to their edge on the mound.

Alex Cobb is one of the most underrated starters in the game today.  He has gone 9-6 with a 3.01 ERA and 1.141 WHIP in 20 starts.  Cobb has been untouchable in his last three, going 2-0 with a 0.44 ERA and 0.836 WHIP while allowing one run in 20 1/3 innings.  He is also 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA and 1.132 WHIP in six career starts against Baltimore.

Wei-Yin Chen is overmatched by Cobb in this one.  The left-hander is 13-4 on the season in spite of a mediocre 3.76 ERA and 1.225 WHIP over 24 starts.  He has gone 3-4 with a 3.51 ERA and 1.275 WHIP in 11 career starts against Tampa Bay.  In his last two starts against the Rays in 2014, Chen has allowed eight runs, 16 base runners and five homers over 10 innings of work.

Tampa Bay is an impressive 16-5 (+14.1 Units) against the money line vs. a starting pitcher whose winning percentage is better than 70% over the last three seasons.  The Rays are 21-7 in their last 28 road games.  Tampa Bay is 4-1 in Cobb's last five starts vs. Baltimore.  The Orioles are 2-5 in Chen's last seven starts vs. Tampa Bay.

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