Thursday Service Plays

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Miami at LAKERS -14

Miami was able to snap another one of their prolonged losing skids with a rather convincing thumping of Sacramento on Tuesday night, but that was just a flash in the pan, as the disappointing Heat figure to be right back on the short side this Thursday night when they play the Lakers at the Staples Center.

Los Angeles is riding a 9-game winning streak, and have covered in 8 of those 9 wins. Their only miss coming on Tuesday when they failed as the 15 1/2-point favorite against Portland in their 13-point win.

Expect the Lakers to toy with this Miami team. The Lakes did win the first meeting of the year just prior to the All-Star break, winning by 10 at Miami as the 7 1/2-point road chalk. That makes 2 in a row, and 3 of the last 4 in LA's favor, and puts the Lakers on a 7-3 spread run the last 10 meetings.

Things are going to well in the City of Angels right now, and this one will result in a blowout win.

Play on LA.

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THE SPORTS REPORTER

BEST BET
*SAN ANTONIO over DALLAS by 12
It’s indisputable that the Mavericks traded for Jason Kidd with the hopes of improving
their immediate attempts to win the NBA title. After all, a 35-year old point guard shooting 37% from the field isn’t going to get much better in the years to come. But will this move really help Dallas in the short term? What about tonight, when it’s a virtual certainty that the lightning quick Tony Parker, recently returned from injury, will be running circles around Kidd – who has lost more than a step defensively in recent seasons. Parker himself was quoted as saying “I'm really happy for that trade. Diop was doing a good job on us. And Devin Harris, most of the time, he played good against us. So I thought it would be good for us. No disrespect to Jason Kidd, he's a great point guard, but those guys that left always gave us trouble.” Dallas fans shouldn’t be surprised if their Mavericks suffer another early playoff exit this year and live to regret ever parting with Devin Harris.

SAN ANTONIO 102-90

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Philly-Connection

Dallas under 182.5


Gamblers Data

Georgia Southern +2.5


Mr. Ernie

Norte Dame under 144


Cappers Access

Louisville

Arizona

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Karl Garrett

Michigan State+5 at WISCONSIN

Tonight I have to give the Spartans a play, as Michigan State recently had Magic Johnson come into the locker room to give the team a talking to. Thus far the Spartans have responded with a pair of home court wins, but tonight's road game will be the barometer if the talk worked, as State has come up short their last 3 on the conference road.

Wisconsin is a staunch squad, but if you are going to cover against them, you better do it in Madison, as the Badgers are 8-3 against the spread on the road this year, but just 4-9 against the spread at home!

This is a double-revenge spot for the Spartans, and while the outright may be just out of reach, I look for the cover to be attainable, as Michigan State has been able to go 4-2 against the spread the last 6 series meetings.

G-Man is grabbing the points, and looking for this one to come down to the wire.

4* MICHIGAN STATE


WUNDERDOG

MLB

Game: Florida at Baltimore
Pick: Baltimore -113

The Marlins will make the 90-minute trip south to meet up with the Orioles. The Marlins played at home yesterday and as is typical, the veterans will not make the trip. They used four pitchers yesterday that were with the team last season, which means the breakdown after Sergio Mitre completes his two innings will be comprised of mostly pitchers that weren't even in the Majors last season. We also note that the starters were responsible for all six hits the Marlins got yesterday as they did not get a single hit in the last three innings. That means this travel squad is mostly made up from the remainder that did not even get a hit yesterday. Since this is Baltimore's first game, their projected opening day pitcher Adam Loewen will get the first two innings and Dave Trembley has said the position players will play five innings and try to get them two at-bats. We have to give the nod to the O's here at basically even odds, playing with starters for half the game, a better starter for the first two innings and more frontline bullpen pitchers to follow since the Marlins played yesterday and used some that won't pitch today.

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PAUL LEINER

10* Over 182 Spurs/Mavs
5* Over 125 UCLA/Arizona


EZ Winners

1 STAR: MILWAUKEE BUCKS (+3.5) over New Jersey Nets
(Risking $110 to win $100)


BIG Al

Miami Heat plus the points over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Butler Bulldogs minus the points over Wright State.


USA Sports Consulting

UL Lafayette -1

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Locksmith Sports Picks

1 Unit on Nevada -3.5

New Mexico State is only 4-9 on the road this season an 4-8 ATS in road lined games.  New Mexico State has been hot of late, but they are coming up against a Nevada team tonight that is in a big bounce back spot after being blown out by Southern Illinois.  Nevada won the first showdown this season on the road by 9 points.  Nevada has won 5 of the last 6 meetings.  New Mexico State is 4-12 ATS when playing against a good team (Win Pct. 60% to 80%) over the last 2 seasons and just 10-24 ATS revenging a loss where opponent scored 75 or more points since 1997.  Nevada has been unstoppable at home this season with an 11-2 mark.  We'll take the Pack laying a small number against a team they have already beaten up on tonight.

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Jeff Alexander Sports

1 Unit on CS Northridge +7

Northridge is far too good of a team to be catching this many points.  CS Fullerton is just 6-17 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 3 seasons.  I have also uncovered a strong system kicking heavily in our favor tonight.  Plays against a favorite in a game involving 2 very good teams - outscoring opponents by 8+ PPG in the 2nd half of the season, after scoring 80 points or more 3 straight games are 34-8 ATS over the last 5 seasons.  We'll take this 81% system to the bank tonight.

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Matt Fargo

UCLA vs. Arizona State
Play: Arizona State     
 
UCLA won the first meeting by 33 points so this one should be another rout right? Well, the public thinks so as they are lining up behind the Bruins faster than it takes Lindsey Lohan to hook up in a club. Don’t think for a second that the Sun devils have forgotten that game, their biggest loss of the season by a wide margin. The game itself was ugly from the start as the Sun Devils held their previous 19 opponents to an average of 59.7 ppg. The Bruins reached 60 less than six minutes into the second half.

Arizona St. is coming off a split last weekend in Washington. The Sun Devils lost at Washington St. by 12 points but the game was much closer as a late Cougars run was the difference. They played one of their best games in a while against the Huskies on Saturday and hope to carry that into this home game where they are 12-3 on the season. UCLA is 7-1 on the road while outscoring foes by 9 ppg. However take away the Oregon St. game and the Bruins are just +5.7 ppg in the other six road Pac Ten games.

Arizona St. had one of the softer schedules to start the season but it has achieved something few other teams have done. The Sun Devils are just one of six teams with four wins over top 25 RPI teams. The wins are over #6 Xavier, two wins over current #17 Arizona and the win over current # 20 Stanford with losses to #7 UCLA and at Stanford. Last year, Arizona St. was 4-17 in games decided by 10 points or less, but this year the Sun Devils are a Pac-10 best 7-2.

Going back to that first meeting against UCLA shows that pretty much everything that could have went wrong did. The Sun Devils play a solid game of defense as they are third in the Pac Ten in field goal percentage defense at 40.9 percent which is 50th in the nation. They allow 61.8 ppg., which is fourth in the conference and 34thi n the nation. Against the Bruins they allowed 84 points on 58.5 percent shooting. You can bet those number come down and playing at home they will come down a great deal.

The Sun Devils are back in Tempe and they fall into a great situation. Play against road favorites of 3.5 to 9.5 points that are coming off two consecutive home wins by 10 points or more going up against an opponent off a road win. This situation is 44-17 ATS (72.1 percent) since 1997 with the average point differential being just -1.7 ppg. Arizona St. is 9-1 ATS in home games against teams that are outscoring their opponents by eight or more ppg over the last two seasons. Look for another repeat against the big boys. Play Arizona St. Sun Devils 1 Unit

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Big Al McMordie

Notre Dame vs. Louisville
Play: Notre Dame     

At 7 pm, our complimentary selection is on Notre Dame. Two of the top three teams will meet Thursday night in Louisville, where Rick Pitino's Cardinals will take on Mike Brey's Fighting Irish in a match-up of Top 20 clubs. Notre Dame probably is not thrilled that its lone game vs. Louisville must take place on the road, and that's because the Irish currently have the 2nd longest home win streak in the country (at 35 games). Only BYU has won more (45) than Notre Dame. In its last game (a 7-point home win over Syracuse), Notre Dame was led by guard Kyle McAlarney, who set a Notre Dame record with nine 3-point goals. McAlarney tallied 30 points in that game, and it was the third time this season, he's hit the 30-point threshold. Notre Dame also received a strong game from center Luke Harangody, who scored 13 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, for his 16 double-double of the season. Against Louisville, Harangody (the Big East's leading scorer) will have to play well vs. Louisville's David Padgett for the Irish to come out on top. These two squads have met seven times since 1991, and Louisville has NEVER covered the spread. I won't buck that history. Take Notre Dame plus the points in this big game at Freedom Hall on Thursday.

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Tom Freese Blue Line Club .

Miami at La Lakers

Miami is in a 54-20 ATS Play Against System that says to go against road teams with double digit home loss revenge if they are off a double digit win. The Heat are 3-7 Straight Up and ATS their last 10 games at Staples Center. The Lakers are 11-2 ATS their last 13 games and they are 18-8 ATS vs. losing teams. Kobe and company are 21-8 ATS off one or more games where they went under the total and they are 16-5 ATS after covering ATS in two of their last three games. PLAY ON LA LAKERS


Ross Benjamin

Milwaukee @ New Jersey
Play On: New Jersey -3.5

Any conference home favorite off a home underdog ATS loss by 10 or more points, has won 36 games or more out of their last 82 at home, and is playing an opponent off a home underdog SU win is 8-0 SU and ATS since 1993. The favorite has won those 8 games by an average of 11.8 points per game. Play on the New Jersey Nets minus the points.

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DOC'S

4 Unit Play.Take Wake Forest -2 ½ over Maryland 
The Terrapins cannot handle prosperity and have seen their hopes of a tournament big all but vanish this season. They have lost three of their last four games including a home loss to Virginia Tech. The Demon Deacons have been the complete opposite winning three of their last four games with their only loss coming against North Carolina. Both teams have six conference losses and cannot afford another win in order to keep the hopes of a tournament big alive. The winner of this one will likely be in and it is hard to argue with Wake’s 14-1 record when the game is being played at Lawrence Joel Coliseum.

4 Unit Play.Take Arkansas Little Rock -9 ½ over Denver
Revenge is best served on the court and that is exactly what will face the Pioneers on Thursday. Denver has lost their home magic and never had any success on the road evident by the fact that they have not recorded a true road victory this season (0-13). Denver has lost four straight games including two bad home beats against mediocre teams from the Sun Belt. Little Rock sits atop the Sun Belt Standing and should have no problem blowing out Denver early and cruising to a victory similar to what A & M did to Tech last night. The Trojans have great balance and will put the clamps on Denver and not allow them to reach 50 points. This one will be over by halftime.

4 Unit Play.Take Nevada -3 ½ over New Mexico State
The Wolf Pack need this victory if they want any chance of winning the WAC Regular Season title and we expect them to come out strong on night and complete the season sweep of the Wolf Pack. They are coming off a brutal road trip and are ready for some home cooking tonight @ Lawlor Events Center. The Aggies have won five straight game but only Boise State at home would be considered a quality victory. The other four victories have come against Bottom Feeder teams that Nevada has already beaten earlier in the season. This is a one bid conference this season and Nevada needs this victory in order to improve upon their standing in the WAC for the upcoming conference tournament.

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Wolkosky Milan

10* DALLAS +5
10* MIAMI +14
10* DAL/SAS OVER 182
10* MIL/NJN OVER 198½

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FERRINGO

2.5-Unit Play. Wright State (+12) over Butler
The Raiders are 10-1 ATS in the last 11 meetings and are matched up against a team that has struggled to cover double-digit spreads all season long. Butler is just 4-12-1 ATS in conference games and Wright State is 16-5 ATS as a dog. This one is going to be within three points of this number – I don’t think Wright wins this game – but I think we’re going to be on the right side of line.

5-Unit Play. Arizona (-4.5) over USC
Note: This is our Game of the Month.

We were on the wrong side of the injury bug earlier in the week but I am hoping we are on the right side tonight. USC point guard Daniel Hackett has a fracture in his lower back. And although he is going to try to play through it he is going to be severely limited if he is able to play at all. Without their point guard and, arguably, the club’s most valuable player it’s going to be tough for the USC to be going on the road to a place they historically don’t perform well in. They are 1-21 SU in their last 22 trips to U of A. Without Hackett I think that Arizona’s Jarred Bayless is going to run wild. Jordan Hill and Taj Gibson should cancel one another out on the inside, so the entire key – the ENTIRE key – is for Chase Buddinger to show up. Over their last 10 games, Arizona is 5-1 ATS when he scores 20 or more and 1-3 ATS when he doesn’t. He hit USC for 29 in the first meeting and hopefully Buds will be fired up to go against O.J. Mayo.

2.5-Unit Play. Boise State (-3.5) over San Jose State
I’ll take the better team the books can take the points. The Broncos may be a bit dazed after their loss to Siena over the weekend, but they are still a veteran team and they can bounce back much more quickly than a younger team would. SJSU is just playing out the string and I don't think they have the talent to run with the Broncs tonight.

2-Unit Play. Notre Dame (+8) over Louisville
The question with Louisville is always whether or not they can score enough to lay double-digit numbers on people. I think it's going to be tough tonight. Notre Dame is certainly in the same stratosphere as the Cardinals and I think they can hang around in this game. Also, the Irish shoot so well from the outside that even if they are getting run down by UL they can easily bang a couple late threes to sneak into this number. Look for a two- or three-possession game tonight and a solid cover by one of the Big East's best.

2-Unit Play. Stanford (-11) over Washington
Washington is 5-13 ATS as a road dog and I think they have been playing above themselves a bit during their three-game home stand. If Stanford can cut off Jon Brockman on the interior I don’t know if the Huskies can score consistently enough from the outside to keep this one close. Stanford hammered the Huskies in Washington by 14 in the first meeting and I think they can match that performance tonight in front of the home faithful.

2-Unit Play. St. Joseph’s (-12) over St. Louis
The Billikens have stunk on the road this year and I don’t think they can score enough to stay with the Hawks at home. Other than a head-scratching loss to LaSalle at home the Hawks have won their last three home games by 25, 22, and 15. St. Louis’ last three road losses have been by 17, 11, and 27. The Hawks are hitting their stride and I think they smother STL this evening.

1-Unit Play. ‘Under’ 148 Maryland at Wake Forest
I’m going contrarian with this pick. I don’t play many totals, but this one jumped out at me because both teams have been scoring so much lately, but I think it’s a bit uncharacteristic.

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STRIKE POINT SPORTS

3-Unit Play. Take Notre Dame +8 over Louisville
A big time battle in the Big East, perhaps for the league's top spot, however I cannot see the Cardinals making this a one-side affair. Actually, I think the Irish have a good chance to win this game outright, based on the fact that they have been playing great basketball. Notre Dame is one of the best three point shooting teams in the country, so Louisville will have trouble guarding the perimeter in that sense. Luke Harangody is also a beast down low, and with the Irish leading the conference in offensive rebounds, that allows for more opportunities to attack on offense. Look for a competitive game all the way through, and for Notre Dame to cover this number.

2-Unit Play. Take North Texas +1 over Louisiana Lafayette
The Mean Green have been rolling, winning their last four games and are 18-9 on the year. The Cajuns are just 13-14, while North Texas has won the last four meetings. The Mean Green are 10-4 ATS in its last 14 road games. They held serve at home, and they will make it a season sweep over ULL in this Sun Belt tilt

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Kelso

Chairmans  S Jose St +4.5 10 units

Best Bets= N Dame +8 5 units
Arizona -5 4 units
Mich St +5.5 3 units

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InfoPlays

3* on Austin Peay +4

Austin Peay should not be the underdog in this meeting with Eastern Kentucky tonight.  Austin Peay is 8-2 in their last 10 meetings at Eastern Kentucky while going 6-1 against the spread as well.  Austin Peay has won 20 of their last 25 meetings with Eastern Kentucky overall.  It is safe to say that Austin Peay has their number.  Austin Peay has won 6 of their last 7 games overall.  Austin Peay is 14-5 ATS versus poor foul drawing teams - attempting less than 18 free throws/game after 15+ games over the last 3 seasons.  Austin Peay is 10-2 ATS versus poor offensive teams - scoring less than 64 points/game after 15+ games over the last 3 seasons. 

Bet Austin Peay on the road.

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Priceless Picks

1 Unit on Louisville -8

The Cards are 8-1 all-time in home games against Notre Dame and I look for them to put a big beatdown on the Irish tonight.  Notre Dame has struggled on the road this season at just 5-5 SU and 4-6 ATS.  The Cards have cruised at home with a 13-2 mark and they have really caught fire of late, winning 7 in a row SU and ATS.  Louisville if 12-3 in Big East play and 11-4 ATS in those games.  Louisville is 18-6 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record after 15 or more games over the last 2 seasons, 12-4 ATS versus good shooting teams - making >=45% of their shots this season, and 11-3 ATS versus poor pressure defensive teams - forcing <=14 turnovers/game after 15+ games over the last 2 seasons.  There's no stopping Louisville's momentum tonight.  The Cards will take care of business and stay in the hunt for a Big East title.   

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Rich Green

Freesportsletter: Spurs -4.5
Silver Key: Eastern Kentucky -3
Gold Key: San Jose State +6 (YTD 36-55)  yikes

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Factsman

The Citadel +1.5


Rockdeman Dog Of The Day

Ga Southern

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Peter Loshak

With the trade deadline acquisitions of Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis, the Penguins have improved significantly.  Play Pittsburgh on the money line tonight on the road at  Boston.

On Thursday in the NHL, I’m going to take a shot with Pittsburgh, a team playing well that just improved significantly with a trade earlier in the week. The Penguins are small road underdogs of +105 to Boston, a team that is on a four-game winning streak achieved against sub-par competition.

Pittsburgh has been anchored by two players recently, second-year phenom Evgeni Malkin and top-notch goaltender Ty Conklin. Those two players have often been almost all the team has needed to come away with wins of late, to the moderate unease of management. But the Penguins have now added two quality players to their roster, acquired in a trade with Atlanta, star right winger Marian Hossa and gritty forward Pascal Dupuis. The Pens were able to acquire those two without giving up a whole lot in return, mostly because they will both be unrestricted free agents next year. But for now, Pittsburgh looks to have gotten significantly better, and they are likely to be a tough opponent against anyone from here on out this season.

Boston is a quality team, to be sure, and they do have good goaltending. Tim Thomas is off a shutout and Boston has won four straight. But the Bruins have been playing competition mired in slumps and bad circumstances recently, and playing Pittsburgh on Thursday is sure to be a different challenge.

This will likely be a very close and competitive game, but I like Pittsburgh’s momentum and mindset to pull out a win. Getting them at underdog odds looks to me to have some value, so I’ll be on Pittsburgh +105 Thursday evening.

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