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Dave's Friday Free Play:
1* on Houston Astros +116
The Key: I like the price we are getting on the Houston Astros tonight as underdogs to the San Francisco Giants. The Astros have won 5 of their last 6 and have scored at least 8 runs in each of their last 3 games. Framber Valdez is 6-2 with a 2.97 ERA in 11 starts this year. Kevin Gausman has struggled with a 6.08 ERA and 1.88 WHIP in his last 3 outings and the Astros should stay hot at the plate against him. Take Houston.
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KC (Lynch) vs Jays (Stripling)
After struggling in his first visit to the Bigs in May, Daniel Lynch returned with a monster start, throwing 8 innings in a 6-1 win. Well, that was against Detroit. Now he faces the mighty Jays’ bats and their somewhat rebuilt bullpen. The Jays, warmed up after a 13-1 thumping of the Red Sox, can struggle against a new fresh face, but if you look at Lynch’s Triple A stats, 8 innings of 1 run ball is not the norm. His minor league Omaha ERA and WHIP were not pretty. Often, after the first Cinderella start, the Adrenalin subsides and the real pitcher emerges. And let us not forget a few things, like KC’s road underdog record (5-12) or their record against right-handers (29-42). Can anyone remember Jay’s wunderkind Alek Manoah’s second start, a very similar situation? I can, because I bet on it, and lost my shirt! This time around, I expect the Jays will have their way will Lynch in a vital game for their wild card run. Take Toronto – 1 ½.
Jack's Free Pick Friday: Royals/Blue Jays OVER 10.5
The Toronto Blue Jays have one of the most potent lineups in baseball. They rank 2nd in runs per 9 innings, 2nd in average and 1st in OPS. They just hung 13 runs on the Red Sox yesterday.
Now the Blue Jays should feast on Kansas City starter Daniel Lynch. He is 1-2 with a 7.87 ERA and 1.749 WHIP in four starts this season while allowing 14 earned runs and 28 base runners in 16 innings.
The Royals will score enough runs off of Ross Stripling to help get this OVER. Stripling cannot be trusted, either. He is 3-6 with a 5.30 ERA in 16 starts this season, including 2-3 with a 6.06 ERA in eight road starts. Stripling is 0-2 with an 11.00 ERA in his last three starts coming in as well.
The OVER is 9-2-3 in Royals last 14 road games vs. a right-handed starter. The OVER is 5-1-1 in the last seven meetings in Toronto. The OVER is 4-1 in Blue Jays last five home games. Bet the OVER in this game Friday.
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1* Free Pick on Padres -195
All plays are made using sophisticated machine learning models.
1* MLB - Royals/Blue Jays FREE PICK on Blue Jays -1.5, -124
Friday's Free MLB Pick is on the Toronto Blue Jays on the -1.5 run line against the Kansas City Royals. The Blue Jays will be returning home to the Rogers Centre for the first time in two years. I think that gives Toronto a pretty big motivational boost in a game they already have a massive edge in. Look for the Blue Jays offense to carry the load, as they should feast on Kansas City starter Daniel Lynch. Even after throwing 8 scoreless against the Tigers in his last start, he has a 8.73 ERA over his last 3 outings. He's way overmatched here. Play the Blue Jays -1.5, -124!
1* Free Sharp Play on Fluminense -130
*All Soccer picks are generated using advanced statistics and scoring models*
The line keeps falling. Down below -150 at some shops, as of this writing, I feel we're starting to see some value with the favorite. Keep in mind that (Orion) Cosce is undefeated and looking to keep it that way. Rowe, on the other hand, has dropped three straight. Rowe has a big frame (for this division) but he's proven to be vulnerable. Cosce doesn't quit. We saw that in his comeback win against Matt Dixon. Note that Dixon had been 9-0 prior to that fight. I like Cosce's chances of winning his UFC debut and remaining undefeated. Consider Cosce.
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My free play is on the Cin Reds at 7:10 ET.
The 54-47 NY Mets are the lone team in the NL East with a winning record and they welcome the 54-49 Cincinnati Reds to Citi Field Friday night for the opener of a three-game series. The Mets sit atop the NL East, 3 1/2-games ahead of the 51-51 Phillies and four games up on the 51-52 Braves, who have won the division in each of the last three seasons. The Reds ended a six-year playoff drought last season and were expected to contend in the NL Central (or for an NL wild card spot) in 2021. Cincy visits Queens SEVEN games back of the first-place Brewers in their own division but also trail the 60-45 Padres by five games (San Diego currently holds down the NL's No. 2 wild card spot).
Tonight's starting pitchers are Sonny Gray (2-6, 4.50 ERA) for the Reds and Carlos Carrasco for the Mets. Gray looked like an "up and comer" early on while with Oakland, posting back-to-back 14-win seasons in 2014 and 2015. However, he was traded to the Yankees during the 2017 season and NEVER fulfilled his promise. The Yanks dealt him to the Reds prior to the 2019 season and he pitched well, going 11-8 with a 2.87 ERA in 31 starts (teams was 19-12). However, he was mediocre in 2020 and has been less than mediocre in 2021. The Reds are just 6-8 in his 14 starts and he comes into this game off back-to-back 'ugly 'efforts, lasting just EIGHT innings while allowing 13 ERs (14.63 ERA).
Carlos Carrasco was acquired by the Mets (from Cleveland) last winter in the Francisco Lindor deal and entered spring training with the idea he would be the No. 2 starter in the rotation, surrounded by Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman. However, before Carrasco could even pitch in the exhibition season, he tore his right hamstring while running. The New York Mets have waited more than half a season for Carrasco to make his Big Apple debut. Carrasco had back-to-back excellent seasons for Cleveland in 2017 (18-6) and 2018 (17-10) but the 34-year-old did very little in 2019 and 2020.
Carrasco threw just 6.2 innings over three rehab starts, so he will clearly be on a pitch-count, maybe even for the rest of the season (assuming he stays healthy). As noted, Gray is off two miserable starts but it is promising that his road ERA of 3.33 is almost TWO full runs less than his home ERA (5.23). It's difficult to even guess how long Carrasco can last and/or how effective he may be. The teams have similar records but the Reds are a way better offensive team, averaging 4.89 RPG (6th) to the Mets' average of 3.81 RPG (29th). Take the Reds.
FREE PICK - Houston Astros +116
I'll gladly take my chances with the Astros as a +116 road dog against the Giants in Friday's series opener between these two division leaders. Houston is rolling right now. They are 7-2 over their last 9 and have scored 8 or more runs in each of their last 3 games. The Giants just took 2 of 3 against the Dodgers at home, but I think that puts them in a bit of a letdown. Keep in mind they won 3 of 4 at the Dodgers a couple weeks ago and then lost 2 of 3 at home to the Pirates.
Another factor here is we are looking to fade Giants starter Kevin Gausman off a poor outing last time out. Gausman gave up 6 runs on 8 hits with 4 walks in just 4 1/3 innings. That's after he only made it 3 innings in his previous start.
Houston will counter with Framber Valdez, who has a 2.97 ERA and 1.290 WHIP in 11 starts with a 2.94 ERA in 5 road outings. In his last start, he threw 6 scoreless. Give me the Astros +116!
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This is a free play on Under 48.
The Eagles offense ranked 28th in the NFL in passing last season, averaging just 207.9 yards per game. They come into 2021 hoping that Jalen Hurts can bring their offense back to life, but that sure seems like a long-shot. I can remember Hurts as the same quarterback that lost his job as the starter for Alabama. Last season he completed just 52% of his passes for 1,061 yards with six TDs and four INTs while appearing in 15 games. He isn't exactly surrounded by an all star receiving corps and the Eagles don't exactly have the most dynamic stable of running backs either. The Falcons will be the favorite when they host Philly in Week 1, but this team might not be as explosive as it once was. Matt Ryan is now 36 years old, and Atlanta was just 4-12 in 2020. These two teams have gone under in five straight head to head meetings, and they failed to score 40 combined points in three of the last four meetings. This number appears to be a little inflated.