Service Plays - Wednesday 9/1/21


Martin Green

FIFA World Cup European Qualifier

Norway vs. Netherlands (2:45 p.m. ET)

Netherlands to win (-143)

A new era begins for the Netherlands on Wednesday. Manager Frank de Boer was swiftly axed after the team's disappointing defeat to the Czech Republic in the Round of 16 at this summer's European Championship, and veteran manager Louis Van Gaal has returned for a third stint in charge of the national team. Van Gaal, who led the Dutch to the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup, will welcome star player Virgil Van Dijk back from injury, and his return could have a transformative effect on the team. The Liverpool defender will have to be at his best to deal with lethal Norwegian striker Erling Haaland, but Van Dijk rarely comes off second-best in any duel. Going forward, the Dutch have enough quality in Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum, Wout Weghorst, Denzel Dumfries and Donyell Malen to take Norway's shaky defense apart.

Russia vs. Croatia (2:45 p.m. ET)

Both teams to score (-110)|
Croatia Draw No bet (-125)

Croatia will be without talismanic captain Luka Modric for its trip to Moscow this week after the Real Madrid midfielder sustained an injury. His absence is a blow, but Croatia still has a great deal of quality in its ranks, with Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic pulling the strings in midfield and Nikola Vlasic and Ivan Perisic in attack. It should have enough quality to exploit a weak Russian defense. Russia made a strong start to its qualifying campaign, with a 3-1 win against Malta and a 2-1 victory over Slovenia. However, it then suffered a 2-1 defeat to Slovakia, leaving it level with Croatia at the top of Group H on six points apiece. Russia then lost 3-0 to Belgium and 4-1 to Denmark en route to an early exit from this summer's European Championship. It has some talented forwards, but it is unlikely to keep a clean sheet in this game.

Latvia vs. Gibraltar (2:45 p.m.)

Latvia -1.5 (-125)

Latvia should be able to pick up its first win of the World Cup Qualifying campaign when it hosts Gibraltar in Riga on Wednesday. Gibraltar sits at the bottom of Group G, having lost all three games thus far and conceding 14 goals in the process. Its team is made up of amateurs who have regular jobs, which is unsurprising when you consider that Gibraltar's population is just 33,000. Latvia is not exactly a European heavyweight -- it has drawn one and lost two of its three qualifiers so far -- but its team consists of professional players, and they should be able to win this game quite comfortably.

Denmark vs. Scotland (2:45 p.m.)

Denmark to win and 2 or more goals in the match (-125)

Denmark should have enough attacking firepower to get the better of Scotland in Copenhagen this week. The Danes went all the way to the semifinals of the Euros this summer, despite key playmaker Christian Eriksen missing out after a shocking collapse on the pitch. The highlights included a 4-1 win against Russia, a 4-0 victory over Wales in the Round of 16 and a 2-1 quarterfinal win against the Czech Republic. Denmark is also top of its World Cup Qualifying group. It has won all three games so far, with 14 goals scored and zero conceded. It should be able to call upon the likes of Mikel Damsgaard, Youssef Poulsen and Kasper Dolberg in attack, which could leave Scotland struggling. The Scots are tough at the back, but they are missing Scott McTominay, captain Andy Robertson is not quite fully fit after returning from injury, and they may ultimately be overwhelmed by the quality of Denmark's attackers.


Matt Josephs

Game: (308907) UAB at (308908) Jacksonville State
Date/Time: Sep 1 2021 7:30 PM EDT
Betting Line Provider: To be announced
Play Rating: c units
Play: Jacksonville State +14.5 (-110)
- Neutral site game in Montgomery Alabama means UAB won't be the true home team.
- JSU went 10-3 in 2020 playing games in both seasons beating FIU 19-10 while losing at Florida State 41-24 in a game they were up 14-0 at the end of 1Q and 21-14 at half.
- Zerrick Cooper and Zion Webb are two legit QBs for the Gamecocks and have some explosive talent around them.
- 19 starters back.
- UAB has a lot of starters back from a team that went 6-3 last year.
- The Blazers beat Central Arkansas 45-35 at home to open up their campaign last year in their lone FCS contest.
- 2019 they beat Alabama State 24-19 as well.
- UAB has a road game at Georgia next week so they may hide some stuff in the playbook.
- Head coaches are very good friends so maybe that plays a small part too.
- This is Bill Clark's alma mater and he talked about hoping to never play the school.


John Bollman

BOSTON @ TAMPA BAY | 09/01 | 7:10 PM EDT
ANALYSIS: I wanted to get this pick in as soon as possible, Xander Bogaerts left last night's game in the second inning with a positive COVID test. Matt Barnes, Hirokazu Sawamura, Martin Perez, and Kike Hernandez are all already out of the lineup and on the COVID list. The Red Sox were getting crushed by the Rays before their best hitter was out. The Rays have now won 9 in a row and they are 7-1 at home against the Red Sox. The Rays struggle with leftis but Chris Sale won't pitch deep and the Red Sox bullpen is gutted. Take the Rays.


Jeff Hochman

ATLANTA @ L.A. DODGERS | 09/01 | 10:10 PM EDT
ANALYSIS: The Dodgers are ranked 25th in batting average (.235) against left-handed starters this season. Atlanta's Max Fried has pitched great against Los Angeles, going 2-1 with an ERA around 2.00. The Braves have performed better than most teams against Dodgers RHP Max Scherzer, who allowed four earned runs over six innings versus Atlanta earlier this season and six in 5 1/3 frames last year. The Braves' No. 3 and No. 4 batters went a combined 0-for-8 in Tuesday's 3-2 loss. The Dodgers have a ginormous series with San Francisco on deck. Take the Braves +1.5 runs at -130.


Totals 4 U

September's Major League First-Pitch Total of the Month

Colorado/Texas over 8 1/2

MLB Baseball Bonus Winners

San Diego/Arizona over 8 1/2
NY Yankees/LA Angels over 8 1/2
Houston/Seattle over 9
Oakland/Detroit under 9 1/2

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