Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 13

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 13

CHRIS JORDAN

My free winner for Thursday is on the Baltimore Orioles, and I want you listing Kevin Gausman ONLY in this game, as the rookie is still out for his first win, and I think is in a good spot to get it against the Boston Red Sox.

Gausman, a hard-throwing righty, hasn't exactly seen his call-up the way everyone expected, as he's now 0-3 with an 8.84 ERA. The overly hyped prospect has allowed seven earned runs twice, including his last start at Tampa Bay, when he didn't get out of the fifth.

The thing is, I know he is much better than we've seen, and I know he's going to produce a stellar outing and get on the winning track at some point. So if it takes me releasing him as a free pick, so be it. Gausman is the future of this rotation, and if he were anything like his numbers, he'd already of been sent back down.

But he's not. He's better. And this is the game he should break out for the first win of his professional career. Boston arrives in Baltimore after playing three in Tampa Bay, where the Crimson Hose took two of three. And while I know the Sox have won four of their last five, the O's have won 19 of the last 26 meetings - including five of the last six in Baltimore.

Let's list the youngster and go with him once again, as I'm banking on his first win to come against the American League East division leaders.

4* BALTIMORE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 13

BRETT ATKINS

On a 26-15 run with free plays after last night's loss on the Boston Bruins in the series-opener of the Stanley Cup Finals, I'm looking to improve that number with the Oakland Athletics in their matinee game against the New York Yankees, as the two conclude their three-game series in Oaktown.

The A's, who are 8-3 in June and 20-5 since May 17, seem to have the Yankees' number this season, having won four of five this season already. And make note, I want you listing both Jarrod Parker and Hiroki Kuroda, as I think the starters will mean a great deal in this game.

Parker steps to the hill after earning a win over the Chicago White Sox, whom he limited to three runs (just two of them earned), while scattering five hits and two walks over seven innings last Friday. He has a stifling 2.43 ERA over his last six starts, and should have plenty of confidence for this game, as he's 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA against the Yankees in his young career.

Meanwhile, Kuroda has struggled of late for the Bombers, taking three losses and a no-decision over his last four starts, while posting a 5.23 ERA during that span. Kuroda comes in after a loss to the Mariners his last time out, getting tapped for four runs over 6-1/3 innings.

Take the A's and list both starting pitchers.

3♦ OAKLAND

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 13

BRAD WILTON

My comp play for Thursday is to look for runs when Washington and Colorado conclude their series at Coors Field.

Afternoon game in the warm, thin-air, and I think the ball is going to travel.

True, these teams are on a 4-0-1 Under run the last 5 times they have met, but to me that only means we are due for some offense. With Jeff Francis starting for the Rockies, we certainly could see some runs score.

Francis comes into this start with a 2-4 record and an over 6 ERA. He made his first start back after being on the DL for a month with a strained groin, and didn't look too sharp as he allowed 4 runs and 6 hits in just 4 innings of work against the Padres.

Francis is also just 1-2 with a 4.81 ERA in his 7 career starts against Washington.

Ross Detwiler returns to the rotation for the Nats after missing nearly a month with a back strain. His last 3 starts before being shelved show an ERA over 4.

Have a feeling today is the day the bats break out for both teams.

Nats-Rocks to go Over the total.

3♦ WASHINGTON-COLORADO OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 13

CRAIG DAVIS

Free play on the UNDER in the Mets/Cardinals afternoon affair with two aces on the hill.

Adam Wainwright vs. Matt Harvey should be fun to watch... if you like pitching and low-scoring games.

Wainwright (9-3, 2.34 ERA), leads the majors with K-to-BB ratio of an astounding 13:1 and that's more that twice as good as anyone else in baseball. Yeah, that's how good this guy has been this year so far.

How does 28 strikeouts and two walks over a four-game span sound? Well, it sounds even better when you've won all four of those games.

Yes, I'm fully aware of his struggles with the Mets in the past, but those teams from as early as last year were better, offensively, than this year's team. A lot better.

The Mets, on the other hand, pounded out a few homers in a 5-1 win over the Cardinals last night and that means they're likely done with the long ball for a while. Seriously.

They'll need that kind of run support for Harvey (5-0, 2.10) tonight... a pitcher who doesn't seem to get a lot of run support from his teammates.

Harvey dominated the Marlins in his last outing Sunday, but the Mets could only score him one run and that took the game all the way to the 20th inning before the Marlins finally scratched across a run for a late-inning win.

Today, pitching rules the roost again as this game goes UNDER the posted total.

4♦ ST. LOUIS-N.Y. METS UNDER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 13

SCOTT DELANEY

For a second-straight day my free play is on the Minnesota Twins, catching a value price from the Philadelphia Phillies, as I look to extend this winning streak with complimentary plays.

The Phillies looked good not too long ago, getting back to their winning ways, as they moved above .500 for the first time this season. But now, after a five-game losing streak, the Phillies lost three straight to the lowly Milwaukee Brewers and have opened this three-game Interleague series at Target Field with two straight losses to the Twins, who are on the brink of a momentum-building sweep.

Minnesota is facing its second straight National League opponent after losing two of three at Washington last weekend. Here at home the Twins look awfully motivated, and against a struggling and frustrated Phils team, Minnesota has plenty of momentum to complete the sweep.

Take the Twins, as they'll take care of the Phils.

4♦ MINNESOTA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 13

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St. Louis at New York Mets
Pick: St. Louis -140

The New York Mets got a rare win last night against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets are, however, 10-19 in their last 29 games. They have their best pitcher on the hill tonight in Matt Harvey, but health questions arise, as he left his last start with stiffness in his lower back. The Mets, despite his efforts, are just 3-5 in his last eight starts because they struggle on offense. St. Louis has an even better pitcher on the hill in Adam Wainwright, who is looking for his 10th win on the season. The Cards are a strong 20-6 in their last 26 vs. a starter with a WHIP of less than 1.15, and are also 14-3 in their last 17 vs. a right hander. The Mets enter an ugly 5-26 in their last 31 as a home dog. Go with the Cardinals.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 13

Sam MartinFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Miami Heat at San Antonio SpursFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: Miami HeatFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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After the Heat crushed the Spurs in Game Two with a huge second half run, the Spurs returned the favor at home in Game Three outscoring the Heat 63-33 in the second half en route to a blowout win . Spurs now control this series 2-1, but we look for the Heat to bounce back as they have after every loss this postseason. Miami is a perfect 5-0 both straight up and against the spread following a loss this postseason, and we're not convinced San Antonio can come close to duplicating their outstanding three-point shooting effort from Tuesday night. Heat are 15-4 ATS playing with same-season revenge and a better second half effort leads to an outright Miami win.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 13

Jeff AlexanderFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Texas Rangers -1.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Rangers lost at Toronto in Yu Darvish's most recent start, but it should be a different story in Texas where the Rangers are 17-5 in Darvish's last 22 home starts. 6 of their last 7 home wins with Darvish on the mound have come by at least 2 runs. The Rangers are 38-16 in their last 54 games as a favorite of -201 or greater, 4-1 in Darvish's last 5 starts as a favorite of -201 or greater and 6-2 in his last 8 starts as a home favorite of -201 or greater. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, are 47-98 in their last 145 games as a road underdog of +151 to +200. The Rangers have won 5 of their last 6 home games against the Blue Jays with these 5 wins coming by an average of 5.8 runs.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 13

Jack JonesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Philadelphia Phillies -130FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Philadelphia Phillies have a big edge on the mound tonight with Cliff Lee over Minnesota's Kevin Correia. I'll lay a little extra juice here and back the Phillies as they come in highly motivated to put an end to their current 5-game losing streak.
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Lee has pitched like the former Cy Young that he is in 2013. The left-hander has gone 7-2 with a 2.55 ERA and 1.007 WHIP in 13 starts this season, including 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 0.867 WHIP in eight road starts.
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Correia is 5-4 with a 4.11 ERA and 1.318 WHIP in 12 starts this season for Minnesota, including 1-0 with a 4.74 ERA and 1.368 WHIP in his last three outings. The right-hander is 1-2 with a monstrous 9.98 ERA and 2.674 WHIP in four career starts against Philadelphia.
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Minnesota is 7-31 (-22.0 Units) against the money line vs. a starting pitcher who throws more than 6.5 innings per start over the last 2 seasons. Philadelphia is 6-1 in Lee's last 7 starts overall. The Twins are 14-49 in their last 63 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15. Bet the Phillies Thursday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, June 13

SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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SAN ANTONIO -104 over MiamiFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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We thought he had overcome the meltdowns on the league’s grandest stage, yet once again, LeBron James is reverting back to his deer-in-the-headlights routine that defined him in the 2011 NBA Finals against the Mavs. A truly dominating 113-77 Game 3 shellacking by the Spurs over the Heat resulted in another LeBron disappearance when his team needed him the most. Much has been written about LeBron’s tentative play in these NBA Finals so far and this is most definitely a stark contrast from the great play that LeBron displayed all season long. LeBron came to Miami so that if he has an off-game like he has had so far every game of these Finals, than his teammates, specifically Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, would be able to pick up the slack and carry him to the finish line. However, those two have been playing less-than-stellar basketball as well, and are a big reason why the Spurs are likely to be up 3-1 in the series after tonight. In the three games so far, Wade has only gotten to the free throw line a disappointing eight times so far, and pulled in a miniscule four rebounds in exactly 100 minutes of Finals play. No doubt this man is hobbled by excruciating pain in the knee, but he isn’t attacking the rim at all, and only getting points when LeBron feeds him for uncontested shots that are proving few and far between. Still the focus rightfully remains on LeBron James and his 21 for 54 shooting so far in this series. Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs defense have conceded the open jump shot to LeBron, and one that he is now struggling to convert with any regularity. The Spurs pack the paint and are preventing the drives to the rim that usually ended up with a Miami basket during the previous rounds and in the regular season.
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The Spurs of course have played highly unselfish basketball to complement their dominance on the defensive end. Leonard, Danny Green, and Gary Neal, “The New Big 3” have as many points through the first three games as the Miami Big 3. They have been shooting at a torrid pace and converting their chances within the Spurs system of basketball which allows role players to flourish. Tony Parker has been a big part of their success as his drives and penetration into the heart of the Heat defense have created all the openings on the perimeter that Green and Neal in particular did a great job of capitalizing on. Parker’s MRI Wednesday morning revealed a grade 1 hamstring strain, but thankfully no tear. This injury won’t take him off the court for a crucial Game 4 and you can bet that he will be ready to go and continue the chase of a 5th title. Much of this will also rest upon the hopes of the big man down low, aka Mr. Fundamental, Tim Duncan, who at the age of 37 outhustled and outran almost every player wearing a Heat jersey in Game 3. As written in the series preview, we wrote that the Spurs would do absolutely anything for their leader, and they will not let him down in this chase for the ring. Through the first three games this has certainly rang true as the Spurs have rallied around their leader, while Miami is proving incapable of picking up their own downtrodden MVP.  The mental advantage right now widely favors the Spurs who won’t let Miami get back into this series. San Antonio has won their last four playoff contests at home by margins of 18, 22, 4, and 36 points, while the Heat have lost their past three on the road by margins of 7, 14, and 36 points. San Antonio thrives down in the Alamo City, while the Heat have been shaky recently on the road. Take the team with the definite mental, physical and confidence edge to go up three games to one.

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