Friday Service Plays
Re: Friday Service Plays
1. 200,000* Magic
2. 50,000* Fairfield
3. 50,000* Kings
1. Magic- Several things I love about this match up for the Magic, but let's start with the reemergence of point guard Jameer Nelson. Coach Van Gundy has made some difficult, but intelligent moves lately, and they've paid off.
First, he decided to sit or limit Nelson's minutes until he showed he really wanted to play. He responded by playing some of the most aggressive basketball I've seen all season, winning his match up with Jason Kidd on Wednesday, despite coming off the bench. He dropped in 11 points, dished out 8 assists, and was on the attack for all 25 minutes he played... A great sign for this Magic offense.
Another excellent move coach Van Gundy made also came against the Nets, as the Magic have been known to start slow. So what did he do? After another lackadaisical start, he pulled 3 of his starters, sending the message that you play the game for a full 48 minutes... A great tactic, that will surely pay off in tonight's match up against the Lakers.
The biggest issue I have with the Lakers is fatigue. They're in the midst of grueling road trip, and are now playing their 6th road game in 9 nights. Say what you will about the "new-look" Lakers, but there's no question they'll have tired legs in this one. Also, the fact Kobe Bryant is dealing with a dislocated pinkie on his shooting hand is seriously effecting his offense. He scored 6 points at New Jersey, and then 11 points at Atlanta... The Lakers cannot win against a team of Orlando's caliber without Kobe being 100%.
Finally, do you really think the Pau Gasol is the answer against Dwight Howard?! One player is a finesse euro-style small forward in a centers body, while the other is arguably the best pure center is the NBA... No question Howard dominates this match up, most likely getting Gasol in foul trouble early. Andrew Bynum would've been the much better match up for the Lakers, but that's obviously not possible.
Bottom line, look for the Magic to come out firing tonight, as their offense is most dangerous with a resurgent Jameer Nelson leading the charge. The match ups strongly favor the home team, especially considering the fatigue factor and Kobe's injury. Magic roll!
Take the Magic at home over the L.A. Lakers as your top-rated play of the day.
2. Fairfield- For those of you that don't follow the MAAC closely, this game may seem like a dangerous spot to take an 8-14 Fairfield team on the road against an 8-14 Manhattan team, but that's simply not the case.
You can throw out Manhattan's 8-14 record, because their strength of schedule is a ridiculous 313th, as compared to a more respectable 173rd for the Stags. Seriously guys, this Jaspers team is a fraud, going just 3-15 ATS overall this season, including 1-7 ATS at home. They've lost 7 straight, and are playing absolutely no defense whatsoever, allowing 79 ppg on a mind-boggling 56% shooting over their last 5 games.
Fairfield meanwhile, is coming off a huge confidence-building outright upset at Niagara, beating a solid Purple Eagles team 76-72 as 11-point underdogs! You couldn't ask for a better win coming into this game, as Fairfield's backcourt stepped up bigtime on the road, and they'll do it again tonight. Its surprsing, because usually the Stags get their production from the frontcourt, but it appears this Fairfield team is starting to find a balance on offense.
Speaking of the frontcourt, the Stags have a huge edge down-low tonight, as a smallish Jaspers frontline poses little threat to forwards Johnson, Nero, and Evanovich. Look for the Stags frontcourt to control the paint, much like they did against Niagara.
Bottom line, I couldn't disagree more with oddsmaker on this one, as I can easily see the Stags winning this game outright. Granted, let's not get greedy, as any points are an added bonus, however, the play here is squarely on Fairfield to expose a bad Manhattan team in their own house Friday night.
Take Fairfield plus the points over Manhattan in this MAAC match up.
3. Kings- For as good as the Jazz are playing, it should tell you something they're only slight favorites at Sacramento tonight. Look guys, the fact of the matter is both of these teams are playing great basketball right now, but there's no question that the Jazz (despite all their recent success) are still vulnerable on the road, where they're just 11-15 SUATS away this season.
True, Utah has won and covered 5 straight on the road, but let's not overlook the Kings recent play either. They've won 7 of their last 10 games, including a nice home win and cover against a great New Orleans team 112-103 February 1st.
Granted, critics will say they just lost to Seattle 105-92 at Arco Wednesday, but that's exactly the kind of motivation this Kings team needs in this match up. If you think Sacramento isn't looking to bounce back hard tonight against the Jazz, then you don't know basketball.
What's been most impressive about this Kings team is their offense, which has blossomed since they got healthy. Led by Kevin Martin, this Kings offense is averaging 103 ppg over their last 5 games, going 4-1 SU over that span. We all know to run with the Jazz you have to be able to score points, and that's precisely what the Kings have been doing. Don't let one bad game against the Sonics deter you from taking the Kings in this spot, remember they're 15-10 SU & 14-11 ATS at Arco this season.
Finally, let's not forget the last time these two met at Arco, where the Kings got a solid 117-107 win and cover back in December, and that was without Mike Bibby in the lineup. Look for another strong effort tonight, as the Kings definitely will be looking to make up for their loss to the sorry Sonics with a resounding home win in this spot. We'll take the points as an added bonus, but don't be surprised if the Kings win outright here.
Take the Kings at home plus the points over the Jazz in late NBA action.
Re: Friday Service Plays
Hawks -3.5 (POD)
Winning 22 of 35 days (63%) and winning 26 of 42 POD winners (62%).
I'm going to get straight to the point today as there are quite a few plays on tap. I have complete faith in my handicapping as I continue to tweak and adjust my spreadsheets and my rankings to stabilize for the new trends. I feel that it is a good opportunity today to go ahead and take advantage of some lines today early on in the month. Typically I would have 3 plays, but I have 5 today. To let you know in advance, the 3 plays that I would have rode today are the Hawks, twolves and Pistons, but I tacked on the Phoenix/Seattle Under and Clips/Raps Over which are my 4th and 5th preference in selections today. What I'm going to do also is go back to researching 10 games a day on the blog and that will give me a good spring board to choose picks off of. This is why you saw every NBA game analyzed today - which came out to about 11 total ballgames. Research and analysis has always been my base and I need to continue to make sure that is the cornerstone of my handicapping as that is what has allowed for the success thus far this basketball season. I like the Hawks here for a couple of reasons including the fact they are ever so close to the .500 mark. The Cavs looked terrible at Houston yesterday and they are coming off a back to back and there is no love lost between these 2 eastern conference teams. I understand that the Hawks could be in for a let down after the big win against the Lakers, but then again, they beat the Nets, Sixers and Lakers all at home realizing that they need a big home stand after a tough road trip where they did not do well. I think the public will likely get sucked into another Cleveland road loss here. The Cavs are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games with 0 days rest and the Hawks are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games at home.
Do you remember earlier in the year that I took the Twolves as 12.5 dogs at Boston and they covered with ease? Well, this is their perfect opportunity to win outright today at home. The Twolves won outright against the Suns at home, beat the Bulls and Nets, beat the Warriors on the road outright and nearly beat the Celtics on the road outright and now they get to face them at home today without Kevin Garnett who dropped 10 points and 16 boards in their 1 point 87-86 win over the Twolves in Boston. Remember, the Twolves are made up of plenty of ex-Celtic players who felt betrayed in the Garnett trade and would love to show up their ex-team here and actually get the outright win. I would even take the Twolves here in a pick-em but will gladly take the 6 points as this is a team that I've been riding for a while and there is no better spot than today with this revenge here. The Twolves are coming off a tough loss to Houston which is an added bonus as they are 4-0 ATS after a straight up loss and the underdog is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 contests between these 2 teams.
IC what are you doing?! This is the Portland Trailblazers here catching double-digit points at Detroit, this is easy money, take Portland right? Wrong. Portland is without Roy and Jones today and even if they had both starters, I am still likely to take the Pistons here. For two reasons in particular, one, most of the public is riding the dog at over 60% and that itself has always been a factor in me taking teams that are public dogs and also Detroit lost back in November to the Blazers in the Rose Garden and remember that game. Plus, this team played subpar against the Heat at home and failed to cover the 16 point spread as they barely won so I look for Flip to get his boys playing much better here against a better opponent. Look for the Billups vs. Steve Blake matchup to be exploited. Remember, when the Pistons want to lay the law down they do it as they beat Dallas 90-67 and I think they end up winning this game by 15. The Blazers have failed to cover their last 7 games and the Pistons are 13-3 ATS following a day of rest.
Phoenix/Seattle Under 217
Everyone assumes that when these 2 teams meet it will go over. It will obviously be high scoring, but that does not mean it will necessarily go 'over' as that is indicative of the line that is set only. For example, did you know the last 7 times these 2 teams have met the game has gone under the posted total. Time and time again, I have watched this under hit and time and time again the public continues to love the over here. Both times these 2 teams have met this year it has gone in favor of Seattle covering the double-digit number and the game going under. Keep in mind that Phoenix played a double-overtime game and that could have some remnance on this game but this is a trend that I think is worth taking advantage of here. The Sonics typically play the under when they play a straight up winning team as they are 5-0 to the under when they play a team with a winning record, the under is 9-2 when the Sonics play a team with a winning home record - meaning the under typically hits when the Sonics play the better teams in the league and the under is 5-1 in Phoenix when these 2 teams match up there of late.
Clippers/Raptors Over 196
Look for this game to top 200 for several reasons. Keep in mind this and the other total that I have set for today's card are my 4th and 5th plays of preference but I like this for a few reasons. First, the home team continues to dictate the pace in this series. When the game is at L.A. the game is likely to go under, when the game is in Toronto, the game is likely to go over. Take a look at these numbers - keep in mind these 2 teams have kept relatively the same players the last 2 years:
12/8/97: Clippers 77 - Toronto 80 (in LAC)
2/04/07: Toronto 122 and Clippers 110 (in Tor)
12/20/06: Clippers 96 and Toronto 98 (in LAC)
2/5/06: Toronto 113 and Clippers 115 (overtime) (in Tor)
Long story short, when the game is in Toronto, the game typically takes a faster pace. Check out Toronto's scores of late: 114 at Miami, 101, 122, 104, 106 and 114. Plus, I like the fact the Clippers dropped over a 100 against Boston the other night and the fact they have revenge and are likely to be an active dog which favors my active dog/over theory that I have written extensively about. The over is 5-2 when the Clips are underdogs of this range and the over is 4-0 when the Raps are favored of late.
Re: Friday Service Plays
Game: San Francisco vs. St. Marys Game Time: 2/8/2008 10:00:00 PM Prediction: San Francisco Reason: I'm taking the points with SAN FRANCISCO. Given the situation, I feel that this line is too high. The Gaels are patting themselves on the back after scoring an overtime win over Gonzaga in their last game. That was their biggest win of the year. With a 3-game road trip on deck, facing a team that they already dominated earlier this season, I feel that they're ripe for an emotional "letdown." Note that the Gaels won at home against Gonzaga last season. They followed that up by winning by seven points vs. San Francisco. Although last month's game resulted in a blowout victory for St. Mary's, this series has historically seen a lot of relatively close games. In fact, dating back to February of 2001, these teams have played 14 games and 12 of them have been decided by 18 points or less. None have had a line this high and I feel tonight's number is generous. The Dons have been struggling to earn victories. However, with the exception of St. Mary's, no team has beaten them by more than 18 points since Oregon did so way back in November. The Dons haven't forgotten about that loss and they'll be anxious for a much better showing tonight. Note that San Francisco is 3-0 ATS the last three times it was attempting to avenge a home loss and a profitable 11-5 ATS in that situation the past three seasons. Look for the revenge-minded Dons to keep this one closer than expected, improving to 14-6-1 ATS the last 21 times they were underdogs of greater than eight points. *WCC Conference GOM
Game: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Dallas Mavericks Game Time: 2/8/2008 8:35:00 PM Prediction: under Reason: I'm playing on Dallas and Memphis to finish UNDER the total. The Grizzlies are going through an adjustment period right now, getting used to some new faces in the lineup along with the departure of Gasol and Swift. Consequently, they've failed to reach triple-digits in either of their two games without Gasol. Note that those two games came at home, where the Grizzlies score seven more points per game than they do on the road. Additionally, note that they came against a pair of defenses which allow an average of 103.3 (Bucks) and 103.9 (Jazz) points per game on the road. Tonight, figures to be significantly more difficult to score as the Grizzlies will be playing on the road and facing a Dallas defense which allows an average of 95.9 points per game and which has held six straight opponents to double-digits. Those six teams averaged only 89.8 points per game. The Grizzlies, who have seen the UNDER go 14-6-1 on the road for the season, have finished below the total 20 of the last 29 times that they were coming off a SU loss when listed as a favorite. Overall, the UNDER is 7-2 their last nine games. Although their last game finished above the number, the Mavs have still seen the UNDER go 4-2 their last six games. They held the Grizzlies to 84 points (103-84 final) when the teams met at Memphis a couple of weeks ago. That game stayed below the number by double-digits and brought the UNDER to 4-1 the last five meetings in this series. Look for tonight's final score to be lower-scoring than expected once again. *Southwest Division TOM
Game: Utah Jazz vs. Sacramento Kings Game Time: 2/8/2008 10:05:00 PM Prediction: Sacramento Kings Reason: I'm playing on SACRAMENTO. This is a really big game for the Kings. Currently in 11th in the conference, they desperately need a victory to close out their homestand, before embarking on a 4-game road trip which starts tomorrow night. Things aren't so urgent for the Jazz as their recent win streak has them sitting alone on top of the Northwest division. Coming off a big win over division rival Denver, I won't be surprised when they stumble tonight. Its true that the Kings are just 22-25 for the year. However, they're a much healthier and stronger team now than they were at the beginning of the season and they're also still a respectable 15-10 at home. It's also worth mentioning that Utah is 11-15 SU/ATS on the road this season and an ugly 42-59-2 (41.6%) ATS against teams that are below 500 the past few years. Additionally, the Jazz already lost by double-digits here in December and have just three wins their last 13 trips here, getting outscored by an average margin of 17.6 in the 10 losses. I'm expecting a highly motivated effort from the Kings tonight as they continue their homecourt dominance in this series and keep the Jazz from winning 11 straight for the first time this millennium.
Game: San Antonio Spurs vs. New York Knicks Game Time: 2/8/2008 7:35:00 PM Prediction: New York Knicks Reason: I'm taking the points with NEW YORK. The Knicks failed to cover last time out, losing by three points vs. Indiana. However, they're still a healthy 9-5 ATS their last 14 games and 8-3 ATS the last 11 times they were listed as underdogs. The Spurs come off three straight SU/ATS wins, most recently an 85-77 win over Washington on Wednesday. However, they're still playing without Tony Parker and they're still just 6-12 ATS in 2008. While they have managed the SU win in 10 of their last 17, only three of those wins came by double-digits. The Spurs haven't been anything special when playing in this situation (on a "win streak") over the last few years either. In fact, they're just 40-45 ATS their last 85 games when coming off three or more consecutive victories. The Spurs, currently favored by eight points, are just 3-8 ATS the last 11 times they were favored by eight points or less. Note that the defending champs could easily get caught looking ahead to their weekend showdown at Boston, in what they hope will be a Finals preview. Despite coming up short, the Knicks outrebounded Indiana by a 49-34 margin and had three players with at least 20 points, led by Zach Randolph's 26. Note that Randolph didn't play when the teams faced each other at San Antonio and the Knicks still only lost by four points. Look for the Knicks to give them a tougher game than expected once again, improving to 6-1 ATS the last seven times they were underdogs of eight points or less. *Friday Feast
Re: Friday Service Plays
2 Star Selection
**Memphis (+12 ½) over DALLAS
05:35 PM Pacific
I’ll take Memphis in a 2-Star Best Bet at +12 or more and for 3-Stars at +13 or more.
Friday NBA Opinion
Seattle (+11 ½) over PHOENIX
I’ll lean with Seattle at +11 or more and I’d take Seattle in a 2-Star Best Bet at +12 ½ or more, as a very good 72-19-3 ATS situation would apply at that number.
Friday College Opinion
Siena (+2 ½) over MARIST
I’ll lean with Siena based on the team trend.