Sunday Service Plays
Re: Sunday Service Plays
Scott Spreitzer's CBB 25* Conference Championship Knockout!
I'm taking the points with Clemson on Sunday. This game, on paper, reminds me quite a bit of my Utah win over New Mexico the other night. The Tigers have played UNC practically straight-up in both of this season's meetings. It took double-OT for UNC to get the win in the most recent meeting in Chapel Hill, and one OT period when the teams met at Littlejohn Coliseum. In that first meeting at Clemson, it took a three-pointer by Wayne Ellington with 0.4 seconds left in the extra period for the Tar Heels to win by two. Clemson actually led, 81-74 with just 2 1/2 minutes left in regulation, but couldn't score another point, instead heading to overtime. In the most recent meeting, Clemson led UNC by 11 points with 3-minutes left in regulation, but fell in double-OT. But it's obvious that Clemson can not only compete with UNC, but with a call or two, can beat them. In the two meetings, Clemson actually took 16 and 7 more FG attempts than UNC. They out-rebounded the Heels in both games, especially on the offensive glass where they own a combined +9 margin. They had 11 steals in the first meeting and 14 in the second. And, they've forced UNC into more turnovers than assists. BUT...UNC received 36 FT attempts in game two to Clemson's SEVEN! That is not a typo. UNC made 31-of-36 FTs to Clemson's 1-of-7! A whopping 30-point advantage. In game one, UNC outscored Clemson, 24-14 from the stripe. If you were with me on Utah the other night, you now see the ridiculous similarities I wrote about in that one. The Utes not only covered, they beat UNM outright. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Tigers do the same. Coach Oliver Purnell's teams have been known to start off on fire, then wilt down the stretch in ACC play. Not this year. They're playing outstanding basketball, just beat Duke, and are focused on what would be the program's first tournament title in it's 55-year history. I believe they have the right mix to accomplish the feat. No less than 10 players average between 9 and 30.5 minutes played per game. Seven players average over 4.4 shots per game, showing they distribute the ball well. Four Tigers average at least two assists per game. Five are averagaing at least one steal per game, and five players average in double-figures in scoring. You get the picture. This is a dangerous and underrated team. Guards Hammonds and Stitt have done a great job in taking over the point for the graduated Vernon Hamilton, and K.C. Rivers went from being arguably the best 6-man in the game last season to the team's leading scorer this year. Add it all up and I believe the Tigers are up to the task. While I believe Clemson will win outright, my play is to take the points for insurance. The Tigers, plus points, on Sunday.
Re: Sunday Service Plays
1. 200,000♦ Georgia
2. 50,000♦ Wisconsin
3. 50,000♦ Hawks
1. Georgia- This is a very intriguing match up as a handicapper, because of the rarity of the situation. Georgia wins two games on the same day to advance to the SEC finals, beating Kentucky and then Mississippi State, two of the SEC's best in the process! Guys, you simply cannot downplay the importance of momentum in this match up, as all of a sudden Georgia is rolling, and facing an opponent who accounted for one of the only 4 Bulldogs' SEC wins this season!
Speaking of that, do you remember their last meeting? The Bulldogs clobbered the Razorbacks 82-69 in Athens, showing what this Georgia team can do when they're motivated and playing in a friendly atmosphere. Same goes for today's Title game, as they may not be in Athens, but Atlanta will do just fine for the Bulldogs' faithful, who will surely be rockin' and rollin' after yesterday's huge wins.
So let's talk about the fatigue factor... Anyone who's knows basketball will tell you its never easy to play back-to-back games. And of course, even more so when playing in 3 games in 2 days. However, there's two things you need to consider: A. These are college kids not older NBA veterans, younger legs equals fresher legs. And B. While they did tire against Mississippi State (got sloppy towards the end), they still prevailed, and will have a good nights sleep and a couple extra house (game time changed from 1 to 3:30 pm ET) to prepare. In other words, I believe oddsmakers went a little to far in fading the Bulldogs because of fatigue, and we'll grab the cash because of it!
Match ups also slightly favor the Bulldogs, as Arkansas had trouble matching up with them in their only meeting this season. True, Weems and Thomas played decent (combined 25 points on 10 of 23 shooting), but that was about it. It was the 3 Georgia guards that stole the show, as Gaines, Woodbury, and Humphrey all shot over 50%, combining for 50 of the Bulldogs 82 points! More of the same today, as the Razorbacks defense has been piss-poor of late, allowing 76 ppg on on 48% shooting over their last 5 games. Compare that to the Bulldogs, who are allowing 68 ppg on a much better 39% shooting, and you really start to see the difference between these two teams.
Finally, there's motivation, as the Razorbacks pretty much punched their ticket with the win over Tennessee, and could very well come out a bit flat here this afternoon. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, can only make the NCAA tourney with a win here today, so expect them to play accordingly! Bulldogs keep this one well within the number, with the outright upset an outside possibility.
Take Georgia plus the points over Arkansas as your top-rated play of the day.
2. Wisconsin- I sided against Wisconsin yesterday, and we got the Top Play winner on Michigan State, as the Spartans and Drew Neitzel were able to keep it within the number 65-63. However, today's match up with the Illini is very different, mainly because Illinois does not have a red-hot player like Neitzel to carry their offense when they struggle, like the Spartans did yesterday. But that's hardly the only difference...
Also consider their two meetings this season, both double-digit Badgers' wins, including a 71-57 win and cover at Assembly Hall back on February 20th. Herein lies the problem for the Illini, as the Badgers defense is not only excellent, but their offense doesn't make many mistakes. In their last meeting, Wisky held the Illini to 43% shooting (26% from 3-point) and forced 20 turnovers, all while out-shooting them (46% from floor, 50% from 3-point) and taking much better care of the basketball (only 7 turnovers)! Neither one of these teams is going to light up the scoreboard, but when it comes down to defense and turnovers, the Badgers have a significant edge.
Another issue for Illinois is matching up with the Badgers big and deep frontline. Sure, Pruitt and Randle are solid, but between Butch, Landry, Stiesma, and Leuer, the Badgers are bigger, stronger, and deeper. In the backcourt, the Illini's Meacham has been ice-cold (10 points combined L2 games), and that should continue against an excellent defensive backcourt for Wisconsin. Wisky G Trevon Hughes is a gametime decision, but things are looking better than they were when he was wrigthing on the floor in pain yesterday. If he misses this game, it'll hurt the Badgers, but their outstanding depth will be their saving grace once again.
Clearly, the Illini have the motivation edge here, because unlike the Badgers they only go Dancing with a win here. However, in this specific case, motivation just isn't enough. The Illini's offense has been far to inconsistent to trust against the very best defense in the country... If ever Illinois was going to get exposed as a weak offensive club, it'll be today. Badgers roll in this one!
Take Wisconsin over Illinois in this afternoon's Big Ten Title Game.
3. Hawks- I admit the Hawks have been pretty awful on the road this season, but in this case, they're being spoon-fed an easy opportunity at a road win tonight at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks are struggling mightily, and Atlanta has more than enough reasons to come out fired up for this one.
First, the Hawks are only 1/2 game out from the Nets and 8th and final playoff spot. The fact they're still in the race with their 27-38 record is a testament to how bad the East has gotten, but regardless, it a huge motivational edge, especially when it appears the Knicks have just plain given up. Even Isiah is starting to fool around with his lineup in preparation of next season... Not a good sign if you're a Knicks-backer.
Second, did you see their only meeting this season? Atlanta won, but failed to cover the 6'-point spread, winning 99-93 at home. Now we switch venues to the MSG, and the sputtering Knicks are only a slight dog? Sorry, but if anything, the Knicks have gotten worse since that meeting, losing 6 of their next 7 games, including all 4 at home (1-3 ATS) since then!
Finally, I saw something I liked in the Hawks last game, a 117-93 shellacking of the Clippers in Atlanta. Besides the fact they snapped their losing streak with a resounding win, they also got a tremendous game from Mike Bibby, scoring 14 points and dishing out 14 assists! Bibby is starting to get comfortable with his new surrounding, which only means good things for this Atlanta team that's struggled with point guard play all season.
Bottom line, while Atlanta has had their troubles on the road all season, this is one of the few solid opportunities to side with the Hawks on the highway. Knicks are just terrible, and the fact Isiah is screwing around with his lineups only adds to the mounting evidence that the former star player is a garbage coach. Motivation, and the improving play of Bibby propel the Hawks to a much-needed road win tonight.
Take the Hawks over the N.Y. Knicks in this NBA match up.
Re: Sunday Service Plays
3 Star Selection
North Carolina (-5) over Clemson
16-Mar-08 10:00 AM Pacific Time
Clemson is coming off an upset win over Duke, their first over the Blue Devils in 23 games, and the Tigers won big in their first ACC tourney game. The Tigers are just 3-10 ATS after an upset win and 3- 13 ATS after consecutive wins and covers (1-6 ATS this season) in 5 seasons under coach Oliver Purnell. The Tigers apply to a 15-50 ATS conference tournament situation while North Carolina applies to a very strong 51-9 ATS championship game situation. My ratings favor UNC by 5 ½ points, so the line is fair, and I’ll take North Carolina in a 3-Star Best Bet at -5 ½ or less and for 2-Stars at - 6.3-Stars at -5 1/2 or less, 2-Stars at -6.
3 Star Selection
Texas (+6) over Kansas
16-Mar-08 12:00 PM Pacific Time
Texas plays their best against the best teams while Kansas doesn’t play as well against good teams while blowing out bad teams. The Longhorns beat Kansas 72-69 at home in their only meeting this season and they also beat Tennessee by 19 points on a neutral court and beat UCLA in Pauley Pavilion. Texas is 6-2 ATS as an underdog this season and the Horns are 20-9 ATS as an underdog against conference foes the last 7 seasons. Texas applies to a very good 139- 51-4 ATS situation that is 62-19-2 ATS in championship games, including 3-0 yesterday with Temple, Kent State, and Fullerton State. I get Kansas by 6 points using all games this season for each team, but I get Jayhawks by only 3 ½ points using only games played against quality teams. If I only use Texas’ 15 games against NCAA Tournament caliber teams against Kansas’ 10 games against NCAA tourney caliber teams I actually would favor Texas by 2 points. After factoring in how much better Texas plays against good teams I get a fair line of Kansas by 4 ½ points. I’ll take Texas in a 3- Star Best Bet at +5 points or more and for 2-Stars at +4 points.3-Stars at +5 or more, 2-Stars at +4 1/2 or +4 points.
3 Star Selection
Wisconsin (-7) over Illinois
16-Mar-08 12:30 PM Pacific Time
Illinois lost by 10 points and by 14 points in two regular season games against Wisconsin and I don’t see the Illini coming close to winning this game either. Contrary to what announcers say, it is not tough to beat a team 3 times in one season and Illinois actually applies to a negative 27-75-5 ATS situation that is based on losing both earlier meetings. Wisconsin, meanwhile, applies to a 139-51-4 ATS situation that is 62-19-2 ATS in championship games and went 3-0 for me in Best Bets yesterday. Wisconsin G Trevon Hughes was injured yesterday and is questionable for this game, but the Badgers aren’t likely to miss his horrible 39% shooting and they won straight up at Texas in the only other game that Hughes missed this season. My ratings favor the Badgers by 7 points and I’ll take Wisconsin in a 3-Star Best Bet at -7 points or less and for 2-Stars at -7 ½ points.3-Stars at -7 or less, 2-Stars at -7 1/2.
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