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Thursday Service Picks and Consensus Reports

Thursday Service Picks and Consensus Reports

Burns NFL

TEXANS

Game: Denver Broncos vs. Houston Texans Game Time: 12/13/2007 8:15:00 PM Prediction: Houston Texans Reason: I'm playing on HOUSTON. These teams have identical records and they've had an identical pattern in winning three of their past five games. Both teams won two in a row, then both lost two in a row. Last week, they both earned impressive victories. The Broncos beat up on the Chiefs while the Texans handled what had been a red hot Tampa Bay team. Both teams still have an outside shot at a wildcard spot, making this a "must win" game for both teams if they want to keep those slim hopes alive. I expect home field to prove the difference. The Broncos have won two straight and 12 of 20 in the thin air of Denver. However, they've lost their last two on the road and are a money-burning 2-8 ATS in 10 road games dating back to last November. Note that Cutler was 16-of-32 for 214 yards with two interceptions and a career-low rating of 45.6 in their most recent road game, a double-digit loss at Oakland. Conversely, the Texans have won two straight home games and are now 6-2 SU/ATS in eight home games dating back to last December. Sage Rosenfels comes off a 27-of-36 performance (three touchdowns) and is now 2-0 as a starter for the Texans this season. The Wildcard spot notwithstanding, this is a big game for the Texans for a couple of other reasons. For starters, Texans Coach Gary Kubiak was the Broncos' offensive coordinator for 10 years. Naturally, he'd like a strong showing against his former team. Additionally, Houston is one victory shy of matching the single-season franchise record set in 2004. Look for another solid and highly motivated team effort as the Texans tie the team record for wins and improve to 500 on the year.

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Pointwise

NCAAB

Rating:5 Miami-Fla 75 Mississippi St 78

added game:

Davidson 87 The Citadel 57


NBA

Rating:2 LA Lakers 105 San Antonio Spurs 95

other games:

Miami 101 Washington 91


NFL

Denver 31 Houston 24-Mentor (Shanahan) vs protege(Kubiak) meet here. Enigmatic Broncos shined last week with 453-129 RY edge in rout of horrid Chiefsand with 4 Cutler TD tosses and 156 yards for Young(9.2 ypr). Two back of Chargers, whom they meet next week. Denver:31.1 ppg last 5 weeks, but still just a 5-16 spread play of late. Texans a perfect 4-0 ATS as non-division hosts this year(87-33 pt edge). But Houston 7-18 ATS and SU win, and just 2-8 ATS off a win of at least 14 pts. Denver 27-13 ATS in the 1st of 2 RGs. Broncos barely.

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THE SPORTS REPORTER:

*MIAMI over WASHINGTON by 12

So the Heat just finished a grueling six game road trip that did not go very well. Shaquille O’Neal began to complain publicly about his lack of touches – while ignoring his own inability to stay on the floor and Pat Riley doesn’t seem to have a good grip on his team right now. Washington has played well since Gilbert Arenas went down with injury. After all, is a record around .500 so surprising for this team, with or without Agent Zero? The Wizards have lost 19 of the last 20 games played against Miami and with O’Neal’s public gripes about seeing the ball and a national television audience watching, expect the Heat to put forth their best effort – especially after having been on the road for so long.Dwyane Wade has been slowly rounding into game shape and his skills should be on full display. MIAMI 99-87.

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Michael Cannon

40 Dime
BRONCOS

Take the Broncos for the road win over the Texans tonight.
Denver is in a better position health-wise for this game, and head coach Mike Shanahan should have all the answers against former backup quarterback and assistant coach Gary Kubiak.

Houston’s secondary has been decimated by injuries this season which should make Jay Cutler’s play-action passes more efficient.

The Texans are also hurting on the offensive line, quarterback and running back. Sage Rosenfels will get the start once again for Matt Schaub while Darius Walker will likely see the brunt of carries with Ron Dayne nursing a sore ankle.

This game has a bit more urgency for Denver, as they still have an outside shot at winning the AFC West and a wildcard berth. Houston has a chance at a wildcard, but they know that window of opportunity is rapidly closing with all their injuries.

I trust Shanahan more in this matchup than Kubiak, plus the Broncos defense has improved lately, forcing 13 turnovers in the last five games.

The Broncos are 6-1 ATS in their last seven following a straight-up win of more than 14 points and 4-1 ATS in their last five against the AFC.

Houston is in ATS slumps of 3-7 overall and 3-6 against the AFC.
Take the Broncos as they grab the road win.

5 Dime –
MISSISSIPPI STATE
Lay the points with Mississippi State tonight when they host Miami.
The Hurricanes are a paper 8-0 this year. They have yet to play a quality Division-1 opponent and the line reflects that.

The Bulldogs play tough at home and I expect forward Charles Rhodes to take it to the Hurricanes bigs tonight. He can control the post when he plays with energy, as witnessed by his 47 points in the last two games.

The Hurricanes can still be undisciplined at times and if they don’t force the ball inside against the Bulldogs this game could get out of hand.

Mississippi State is a contender for the SEC Western Division title and their losses have come to ACC contender Clemson, Southern Illinois and a rock-solid Miami (OH) team.

Lay the points as Mississippi State grabs the home win and cover

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Burns NBA

MIAMI

Game: Washington Wizards vs. Miami Heat

Prediction: Miami Heat Reason: I'm laying the points with MIAMI. The Heat have really struggled this season. However, they finally turned things around by closing out their road trip with back to back impressive victories. They're back home now and they've had a couple of days to recover from the long trip. Looking back to last season and we find that the Heat also began December by playing a road trip on the West Coast. They returned from that trip with a poor 3-6 record at home for the season. Listed as -8.5 point favorites in their "return game," they crushed a Raptors team by a score of 99-77. Despite being bothered by a tooth-ache, Dwayne Wade tied his season high with 37 points en route to the easy cover. That night, the Heat faced a Raptors team which was without its best player, Chris Bosh. Tonight, laying a much smaller number, the Heat return with a 2-6 home record to face a Washington team still without its best player, Gilbert Arenas. While the Wizards have been playing decently without Arenas, they never tend to fare too well vs. the Heat. Indeed, the Wizards are a horrific 1-19 SU and 5-13-2 ATS the last 20 series meetings. Wade, who had 64 points in the final two games of the trip, and who always tends to fare well vs. the Wizards, had this to say: "Going out West really helped us off the court as well as on the court. It helped us get to know each other a little more, helped us as men respect each other a little more, respect what each other does..." Heat coach Pat Riley also feels the team coming around: "There seems to be a little lighter air to the team. I think they've gotten through it and gotten closer together." Exactly one year ago, the Heat returned from their road trip and closed out December by going 5-2 SU/ATS in their seven home games. With Jason Williams expected to return and behind another big game from Wade, look for the Heat to duplicate last year's result by returning home with a win and cover.

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Burns college hoops

DAVIDSON (-32 or better)

Game: The CITADEL vs. Davidson Game Time: 12/13/2007 7:00:00 PM Prediction: Davidson Reason: I'm laying the points with DAVIDSON. At first glance, this number seems high. However, a closer look shows that there is a MAJOR talent difference between these teams and I believe the line is actually very reasonable. In fact, it would be higher if Davidson didn't enter with a 3-5 record. Keep in mind that three of those losses came against the likes of Duke, North Carolina and UCLA and that they were all close games which the Wildcats covered. The Wildcats, who went 17-1 in conference play last season, view themselves as a Top 25 team. They are very well balanced and have a true star in Stephen Curry, who continues to establish himself as one of the top young scorers in the nation, averaging 24.6 ppg through eight contests. Curry, the son of former NBA player Dell Curry, already has 37 3-pointers and is shooting 43.0 percent from beyond the arc. Note that Curry has scored in double figures in 35 consecutive contests and 41 of 42 during his college career. While Curry grabs all the headlines, guard Jason Richards has quietly established himself as one of the top playmakers in the country. In fact, Richards ranks among the top passers in the country, averaging 9.1 assists per game. The Wildcats are extremely well-coached and after three straight losses, they enter this game with a chip on their shoulder. They've only played two true home games and they won those games by an average score of 109-53! Meanwhile, the only time that the Bulldogs played a road game against an opponent of Davidson's caliber (11/12 at South Carolina) they were blown out by 61 points, losing 103-42. Including that result, the Bulldogs are a money-burning 17-31 ATS as underdogs since 2005. While they've shown some heart thus far, the Bulldogs are very young and have only one senior on the squad. Looking back further and we find them at 44-70-2 ATS as underdogs since 1997. Those numbers are almost mirror opposites of what the Wildcats have done when favored. Indeed, Davidson has gone a profitable 30-18-1 ATS as favorites since 2005 and 71-48-3 ATS in that role over the past decade. That includes an impressive 16-6 ATS mark when listed as home favorites of greater than 12.5 points. The Wildcats won and covered both series meetings last season and they're 6-3 ATS (9-0 SU) the last nine. Look for them to jump on top immediately and cruise to a one-sided blowout win

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Burns NHL

DEVILS

Game: New Jersey Devils vs. Boston Bruins

Prediction: New Jersey Devils Reason: I'm playing on NEW JERSEY. The Bruins beat me yesterday but I'm going to play against them again here. This will be the fifth time that the Bruins will have played the second of back to back games, since the start of November. They went 0-4 in the previous four games, scoring just one goal in three of the losses and two in the other. The Devils aready defeated the Bruins 4-3 at New Jersey last week. That victory brought them to 7-2 the last nine series meetings. While the Bruins would love to avenge that loss, they're an awful 30-65 (-30.4) the last 95 times that they faced a team which defeated them in their previous game. The Bruins are also still likely without their top goalie and are playing their first game back off a 3-game road trip. Look for the Devils, who haven't played since Monday, to improve to 3-1 when playing with two day's rest in between games and 8-2 the last 10 series meetings.

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Jim Feist

WASHINGTON / MIAMI OVER

Where has all this Miami offense come from? The Heat had trouble scoring points early in the season but not of late. In their last five games, the Heat have scored at least 100 points in each game. Unfortunately for Miami, their defense has gone south also. The Heat has allowed at least 100 points in five of their last six games. In fact, all five of those opponents scored 110 or more!! Needless to say, the Heat have seen their last five games go OVER the total. Washington hasn't exactly been on a scoring slump without star Gilbert Arenas. The Wizards have scored at least 100 points in each their last five games also. Both teams scoring and not playing much defense so we'll go with the trend and play OVER here on Thursday

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Karl Garrett

3* SPURS / LAKERS OVER

Tonight I like the Spurs-Lakers to head OVER the posted total. I know Duncan is doubtful for the Spurs, and Walton and Brown are doubtful for the Lakers, so expect Manu and TP to step up and provide the scoring punch for San Antonio, while there is little doubt Kobe will be a one-man wrecking crew for the Lakes. The Spurs have been OVER the total in 5 of their last 8, and 5 of 9 overall on the road this year, while the Lakers have eclipsed the posted price in 4 of their last 6 games. 3 of the last 5 series meetings at Los Angeles have gone OVER the total, while the Lakers are on a 19-7 OVER run their last 26 Thursday night contests. Offense will be the order of the night tonight at the Staples Center. Take San Antonio and Los Angeles to head OVER the total tonight.

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Matt Rivers

WASHINGTON WIZARDS

The Heat did finally have a big win in that last game at Phoenix as the huge dog and have too much talent to stay as bad as their record indicates but they still can't be laying a handful plus right now to anybody better than terrible. Washington is obviously once again without their superstar in Gilbert Arenas but the Wiz have actually been alright since the point guard's injury. Caron Butler has been great and Antawn Jamison and a few others have been good as well leading this team into first place 20 plus games into the season.The first game back from a long road trip is always the toughest and Shaq, D Wade and the Heat will experience that tonight. The last example of this was a few days ago when the Magic played a very sluggish first game back home after traveling back from across the country as they lost outright to the well inferior Pacers as the 8 point home chalk less than a week ago. Miami may win this game as they are still due to take care of business but they are still far from good and I'll grab any points I can get with the Wiz!

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Jeff Benton

5* MISSISSIPPI STATE

If you looked purely at the records of these teams, the Hurricanes would be a sure-fire lock, as they’re 8-0 while Mississippi State is just 5-3. But it’s easy to go 8-0 when your eight opponents would lose to the Little Sisters of the Poor. Check out this schedule for Miami: Florida Southern, Marist, VCU, Providence, Morgan State, Alabama State, St. John’s and Florida International. That’s enough cupcakes to make golfer John Daly feel full. Tonight, Miami finally plays a decent team, one that’s averaging more points per game than the ‘Canes (73-70) and shooting a better percentage from the field (46.4-41.6). And while the Hurricanes have slightly better defensive stats – slightly – the main reason is they’ve played crappy competition. On top of all that, Mississippi State hammered Miami in South Beach last year (70-52 as a two-point underdog). Plus, the Bulldogs have covered 20 of their last 28 home games and four of their last five against ACC foes. Add it all up, and I’ll lay the chalk with complete confidence in this one.

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Ben Burns

Game: Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins
Prediction: Ottawa Senators

Reason: Although they got crushed at Philadelphia on Tuesday, the Penguins are still fairly pleased with the results of their recent road trip. Indeed, they swept Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver in Sidney Crosby's Western Canada debut. However, its often difficult for a team to play its first game back home off a successful road trip. That task is even tougher when that game comes vs. the top team in the Eastern Conference, an Ottawa team with only two regulation road losses on the entire season. We're getting a fair price on the Senators due to the fact that the Penguins have been hot and also due to the fact that the Sens won last night at Carolina. However, the back to back situation shouldn't be a huge concern as the Sens had the previous four nights off. Additionally, the Sens are a perfect 4-0 the last four times they played a road game after having played the previous day. That includes a 4-2 win at Pittsburgh here last April. Including that victory, the Sens are 9-2 the last 11 times they played here. Consider a play on OTTAWA

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Winners Edge- 12/13/07

NBA:

Miami Heat -6 , 2 units

NFL:

Denver Broncos -1 3 units

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Cappers Access Comp

(Thur) NFL Broncos Texans 1 Texans

(Thur) NBA Heat Wizards 5 Wizards

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Vegas Experts

Denver Broncos at Houston Texans
Thursday, December 13th

Denver on a run of six straight overs. Houston is 7-5-1 to the over on the season. It completes 66.3% of its passes and allows 64.8% completions while Denver is at 63.6% complete on offense versus 61.7% on defense so both clubs should be able to move the ball through the air. DENVER is 26-13 OVER vs. teams allowing a comp. pct. of 61% or worse in the second half of the season since 1992. HOUSTON is 14-4 OVER vs. teams allowing a comp. pct. of 61% or worse over the last 3 seasons.

Play on: Over

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Sports Gambling Hotline

Washington at MIAMI (-5)

It's been a long road back home for the Heat, as Miami is playing their first home game of the month, as they are fresh off a 6 game road trip that saw them win their last pair of games at the Clippers, and Suns.

The general rule of thumb is to go against a home team after 3 or more on the road, but we will buck that trend tonight, as Miami doesn't have much wiggle room due to their terrible start this year.

Miami has won the last 3 series meetings, and 7 of the last 8 straight up. Against the spread (playoffs included), the Heat own a 13-5-2 spread mark the last 20 tilts.

Washington comes to South Florida having won their last pair, and 4 of 5, but they were all at home. On the road, the Wizards are just 4-6 straight up this season.

Play on the Heat!

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Mike Wynn Comp

Davidson -29½ Over Citadel


Platinum Plays Comp

DAVIDSON WILDCATS - 29½ Over the Citadel Bulldogs


Razor Sharp comp

WASHINGTON/MIAMI UNDER the total of 205


Total4U comp

MISSISSIPPI STATE - 5 1/2


Big Time Sports comp

OTTAWA / PITTSBURGH OVER 6 GOALS


#1 Sports comp

LOS ANGELES LAKERS


Nevada SharpShooters comp

DAVIDSON -29 OVER CITADEL


The Scout comp

Denver/Houston under 47½


Huddle Up Sports comp

Phoenix/NY Islanders under 5'


TV Hotline comp

DAVIDSON -29

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Michael Cannon

40 Dime
BRONCOS

Take the Broncos for the road win over the Texans tonight.
Denver is in a better position health-wise for this game, and head coach Mike Shanahan should have all the answers against former backup quarterback and assistant coach Gary Kubiak.

Houston?s secondary has been decimated by injuries this season which should make Jay Cutler?s play-action passes more efficient.

The Texans are also hurting on the offensive line, quarterback and running back. Sage Rosenfels will get the start once again for Matt Schaub while Darius Walker will likely see the brunt of carries with Ron Dayne nursing a sore ankle.

This game has a bit more urgency for Denver, as they still have an outside shot at winning the AFC West and a wildcard berth. Houston has a chance at a wildcard, but they know that window of opportunity is rapidly closing with all their injuries.

I trust Shanahan more in this matchup than Kubiak, plus the Broncos defense has improved lately, forcing 13 turnovers in the last five games.

The Broncos are 6-1 ATS in their last seven following a straight-up win of more than 14 points and 4-1 ATS in their last five against the AFC.
Houston is in ATS slumps of 3-7 overall and 3-6 against the AFC.
Take the Broncos as they grab the road win.

5 Dime
MISSISSIPPI STATE

Lay the points with Mississippi State tonight when they host Miami.
The Hurricanes are a paper 8-0 this year. They have yet to play a quality Division-1 opponent and the line reflects that.

The Bulldogs play tough at home and I expect forward Charles Rhodes to take it to the Hurricanes bigs tonight. He can control the post when he plays with energy, as witnessed by his 47 points in the last two games.

The Hurricanes can still be undisciplined at times and if they don?t force the ball inside against the Bulldogs this game could get out of hand.

Mississippi State is a contender for the SEC Western Division title and their losses have come to ACC contender Clemson, Southern Illinois and a rock-solid Miami (OH) team.

Lay the points as Mississippi State grabs the home win and cover

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Sports Rumble

San Antonio Spurs (17-4) at Los Angeles Lakers (12-8)

San Antonio has won eight of their last 10 games against the LA Lakers on the road and the road team in this series has covered the spread in seven of the last 10 meetings. The Spurs will be without Duncan tonight, but have won their last two games without him. Take the points in a close fight. Kobe and his crew will put on a show, but the Spurs will play their usual tough defense. San Antonio is 4-2 ATS in the last 6 games at the Staples Center.

San Antonio Spurs

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MILE LINEBACK

Selection 1: NFL Football
4* Denver Broncos

Denver playing much better than recent W/L results. Talented QB Cutler is evolving/maturing as an NFL quarterback, and as a result, HC Shanahan is starting to open up the playbook for his franchise QB. Hence, more points are being scored and strongly believe Denver can outscore their opponent on Thursday night. The Broncos are weak against the run (Houston not much better). However, Houston are not a great running team (#24) with their top two running backs injured. Ahmad Green is on IR and Ron Dayne is battling a bum ankle. Backup QB Rosenfels is 2-0 for the Texans. However, the journeyman QB will be facing one of the best secondary’s in the league on ThNF. Denver match-up well in all passing situations and Champ Bailey is one the best shut down corners in the league and should be able to take Rosenfels’ favorite target Andre Johnson out of his game (at least slow him down significantly). Denver hold fundamental match-up advantages and are much more capable of taking Houston out of their game than vice versa. Like Shanahan in this situation (more or less, has nothing to lose), basically playing for next season, and should open up playbook for talented Cutler.

Plus Denver starting to run the ball (#6). Houston very fortunate to win last week with Tampa starting QB Garcia a last minute scratch (McCowen played like crap). In addition, Texans out-gained again but key turnover deep in Bucs territoryand kick-off return for TD propelled Houston to win. They won’t be so luckytonight on national TV. Play on DENVER

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