Thursday Service Plays

Thursday Service Plays

SPORTS ADVISORS

Denver (4-4, 2-6 ATS) at Cleveland (3-5, 5-3 ATS)

The Brady Quinn era begins when the second-year quarterback leads the host Browns against the slumping Broncos in the second Thursday night contest of the season.

Cleveland blew a 27-13 lead last week and lost to Baltimore 37-27 as a one-point home chalk, halting a four-game ATS winning streak. QB Derek Anderson (17 of 33, 219 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) had a serviceable game, but his lone pick came late in the fourth quarter and was returned for a game-clinching TD. The Browns, who were outscored 17-0 in the fourth quarter, got outgained 429-274, lost the turnover battle 2-0 and held the ball for 7:30 less than the Ravens.

On Monday, Cleveland coach Romeo Crennel revealed he’s benching Anderson in favor of Quinn at the QB spot. It will be the first career start for the former first-round draft pick out of Notre Dame, who saw his only other regular-season action during Cleveland’s 20-7 home win over San Francisco in the 2007 regular-season finale.

Denver is coming off Sunday’s 26-17 home loss to Miami as a four-point favorite for its third consecutive loss and its sixth straight pointspread setback. QB Jay Cutler (24 of 46, 307 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs) had another subpar day, playing from behind throughout after throwing INTs on two of his first three possessions, with the second pick returned for a TD. The Broncos, who had only 14 net rushing yards, lost the turnover battle 3-1 and the time-of-possession battle by 13 minutes.

These teams have met three times this decade, with Denver going 3-0 SU (2-1 ATS). Most recently, the Broncos won 17-7 as a 4½-point road chalk in 2006.

Despite last week’s double-digit defeat to Baltimore, the Browns remain on several positive ATS runs, including 4-1 overall, 9-2 at home (2-2 this year), 6-1 after a non-cover, 9-2 after a SU loss, 8-3 as a home chalk and 12-4 against AFC foes (3-2 this year). On the flip side, the Broncos are on a bundle of ATS freefalls, including 8-24 overall, 1-8 on the highway (1-2 this year), 1-4 against losing teams, 5-17 after a non-cover and 7-19-1 inside the AFC (1-4 this year)

The under for Cleveland is on streaks of 11-3 overall, 7-2 against the AFC, 10-3 on grass and 5-2 at home. Conversely, Denver carries a handful of “over” trends, including 20-7-2 overall, 7-2-1 on the highway, 9-3 against losing teams, 12-4-1 in conference play and 19-7-1 when playing on grass.

ATS ADVANTAGE: CLEVELAND


COLLEGE FOOTBALL

(23) Maryland (6-2, 4-3 ATS) at Virginia Tech (5-3, 2-5 ATS)

Maryland goes for its third straight victory when it travels to Blacksburg for an ACC battle against Virginia Tech.

The Terrapins have won two in a row and five of their last six, and they’re coming off a narrow 27-24 home win over North Carolina State two weekends ago, failing to cash as an11½-point chalk. Maryland was outgained 342-229 and had a 12-minute deficit in time of possession against N.C. State. But RB Da’Rel Scott had 23 carries for 163 yards and a TD as part of the Terps’ 203 total rushing yards.

Virginia Tech is also coming off a bye, having lost to Florida State 30-20 two weekends ago as a 6½-point pup for its second consecutive SU loss and third straight ATS setback. The Hokies jumped out to a 10-0 first-quarter lead for the second straight game but once again couldn’t hold it, as the Seminoles scored 27 of the next 30 points. In a defensive struggle, Virginia Tech netted 243 yards while allowing 248, and the Hokies had the game’s only two turnovers.

These schools have met just twice this decade, with Va-Tech going 2-0 SU and ATS – a 55-6 home rout in 2004 and a 28-9 road win in 2005, with the Hokies laying 10½ points each time.

The Terps are on a 4-0 ATS run following a pointspread defeat, but they are on ATS slides of 0-4 on Thursday, 3-10 after a SU win and 5-10 on the highway. The Hokies are on pointspread declines of 2-6 overall and 2-7 at home (all as a favorite), but they carry positive ATS trends of 6-0 in November, 12-4 on Thursday and 24-9 in ACC action.

Both teams are averaging a little more than 23 points per game, and both squads do the bulk of their damage on the ground, with Maryland averaging 167 rushing yards per game and the Hokies grinding out 160.5 rushing ypg. However, in their three road games, the Terps have averaged just 11.3 points and 317.7 yards (115.7 rushing ypg), while Va-Tech is putting up 23.7 points and 298.7 total yards per game (203.7 rushing ypg) in three home contests.

The under for Maryland is on streaks of 10-4 overall, 7-0 in roadies, 5-1 in conference play and 8-2 on Thursday. Likewise, the under for Virginia Tech is on runs of 7-0 on Thursday and 10-2 at home.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


(11) TCU (9-1, 7-2 ATS) at (10) Utah (9-0, 4-3-1 ATS)

In a battle with BCS bowl ramifications for both teams, unbeaten Utah welcomes Texas Christian to Rice-Eccles Stadium for a Mountain West Conference battle.

The Utes are coming off their closest game in weeks, squeaking past New Mexico 13-10 Saturday on the road, failing to cover as an eight-point chalk to halt a two-game ATS win streak. Utah, which has won 10 in a row and 17 of its last 18 going back to last season, had a disproportionate yards-to-points total, finishing with 388 total yards, while allowing 284. QB Brian Johnson (23 of 32, 195 yards, 1 TD) didn’t help the offense’s cause by having his lone INT picked off in the end zone.

The Horned Frogs ripped UNLV 44-14 Saturday laying 16½ points for their fifth consecutive SU win and third straight cover. In fact, in its last three games, TCU has outscored opponents by a total of 130-28, including a 32-7 home rout of then ninth-ranked and unbeaten BYU. Against the Rebels, the Horned Frogs’ defense, which ranks second in the nation, allowed just 175 total yards, including a stifling 20 passing yards. QB Andy Dalton (16 of 29, 151 yards, 3 TDs) was efficient, and TCU rushed for 259 yards (5.5 yards per carry).

Utah has won and cashed in the last two meetings against TCU, most recently notching a 20-7 home win two years ago laying two points and a 27-20 road win last year as a four-point pup.

TCU has given up 14 points or less in all nine of its wins, and it ranks third nationally in scoring defense, yielding an average of 10.8 ppg. Additionally, the Frogs are second in total defense (214.5 ypg) and they lead the country by a mile in rushing defense, giving up just 38.9 rushing ypg and 1.4 yards per carry. Utah also fields a solid defense, squandering only 17.7 points and 266.3 total yards per game (89.7 rushing ypg).

Offensively, both squads are nearly dead even, with TCU putting up averages 36.6 points and 405.5 yards and the Utes netting 36.1 points and 403.7 yards per contest.

The Utes are on a 1-4 ATS skid in Thursday games (0-1 ATS this year), but they carry positive pointspread trends of 5-1-1 on field turf, 6-2 in November games, 12-5-1 after a SU win and 7-3-1 in conference play. The Horned Frogs also sport several positive pointspread runs, including 8-2 overall, 7-1 in November, 6-2 after a SU win, 22-8-1 in Mountain West action, 9-4-1 after a spread-cover and 13-6-1 against winning teams.

Utah has topped the total in eight of its last nine games overall and the over is on further runs for the Utes of 22-8 at home and 4-1 in conference play. However, for TCU, the under is on stretches of 4-0 against winning teams and 4-1 on Thursdays.

ATS ADVANTAGE: TCU


NBA

Houston (3-1, 1-3 ATS) at Portland (1-3 SU and ATS)

The Rockets make the trek to the Pacific Northwest for a meeting with the Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden.

Houston tipped off the season three straight victories before losing to Boston 103-99 Tuesday night as a three-point home chalk, suffering its third straight ATS setback. Tracy McGrady had 26 points and six assists, but Yao Ming played less than 29 minutes, finishing with just eight points and seven rebounds. Meanwhile, the Celtics’ entire starting lineup reached double figures in scoring. Houston shot just 39.1 percent, while Boston hit at a 51.9 percent clip.

Portland fell to Utah 103-96 last night, just missing the cover as a 6½-point road underdog in taking its second consecutive SU and ATS defeat. Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge each had 18 points, and the Blazers were up by seven at the half before struggling down the stretch. Portland ended up shooting 43.8 percent on the night, while the Jazz shot a solid 52.7 percent.

Houston is on a 5-0 SU run in this rivalry, having cashed in the last three meetings, including both of last season’s contests in Portland.

The Rockets are 1-4 ATS in their last five games going back to last year’s postseason, but they are on positive pointspread runs of 4-1 against losing teams, 18-8-1 on one day’s rest and 19-9 on the road. The Blazers are on ATS streaks of 4-0 against Southwest Division teams, 5-0 at the Rose Garden and 7-2 playing on back-to-back nights.

The under for Houston is on streaks of 6-0 on one day’s rest, 5-1 against losing teams, 4-1 on the road and 10-4 against Western Conference foes. For Portland, the under is on stretches of 13-4 against the Southwest Division and a lengthy 37-17 versus Western Conference foes. Finally, in this rivalry, the under has been the play in seven of the last nine clashes.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER

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Bob Harvey

TCU @ Utah Under 43.0

It’s the game of the year in the the Mountain West Conference as the 10th-ranked Utah Utes and 11th-ranked TCU Horned Frogs collide. The winner will have the inside track to earning a BCS bid. Both teams are unbeaten in conference play and Utah is a perfect 9-0 overall compare to 9-1 TCU. The two teams share the Mountain West lead but TCU can clinch at least a share of the conference title with a victory. Utah on the other hand, would still need to win at least one more game to earn a share of the crown.The Utes have won nine straight home games and are off to their best start in four years when they finished 12-0. However Utah struggled offensively last weeks 13-10 win over New Mexico. They had a muffed punt, a late interception that killed a potential touchdown drive and nine penalties. The Utes offense didn't have much success in last season's meeting with TCU and could have their hands full against tonight against an outstanding TCU defense.The Horned Frogs rank third in the nation in scoring defense (10.8 points per game), and second in total defense (214.5 ypg). Its run defense, which leads the nation with 38.9 yards allowed per game, will be tested by a Utah team that has rushed for 520 yards over its last two games. In what should be a tight, close to the vest game, I’m taking the UNDER in this key MWC showdown.

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Jimmy The Moose

Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins
Prediction: Over

The Maple Leafs who were having trouble scoring goals early have found their scoring touch recently. The Leafs have played over the total in their last 4 games. The over is 7-2-1 in their last 10 divisional games. Toronto has played the over in 4 of their last 5 games played with 1 day rest between action. The Bruins have played over the total in 3 of their 4 home games this season. The over is 5-1-1 in their last 7 divsional games. The over is 5-1 in Toronto's last 6 trips to Boston. The last 5 meetings overall between the clubs played over the total. Play the over.

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JIM FEIST

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING / NEW YORK RANGERS
TAKE UNDER

The NY Rangers are off to a fast start this season at 10-4-1. They have accomplished this with a very stingy defense led by Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes. Lundqvist is 8-3 this yea with a 2.00 goals against average and a save percentage of .926. Steve Valiquette has done well when he's given Lundqvist a night off, going 2-1 with a 2.59 gaa and .905 save percentage. The Rangers have the second best penalty killing unit in the league at 91.5%). Tampa Bay (4-3-3) has 11 points on the season and currently resides third in the Eastern Conference Southeast divsion. Tampa hasn't scored many goals this year, just 22 in 10 games (2.20 avg). Good thing for the Lightning is that they haven't given up many goals either, just 24. Vincent Lecavalier leads the Lightning with nine points and six goals. Mike Smith has been excellent in goal, allowing just 2.07 gaa with a very nice .941 save percentage. Neither of these teams do very well on the power play, as the Rangers are 27th in the league (13.7%) and Tampa Bay is 28th (13.6%). Lots of defense and goaltending in this game, but not a lot of scoring. Look for this game to fly under the total on Thursday.

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DAVE COKIN

NASHVILLE PREDATORS / CALGARY FLAMES
TAKE NASHVILLE PREDATORS

Nashville was a home loser to Calgary in their earlier hookup, despite the fact the Predators controlled play for much of the contest. Now they get a chance to get a little revenge for that loss and they're catching a pretty good price in the process. The Flames are very streaky and have now dropped their last two outings, so the timing is good. I'll grab the road dog odds with the Predators.

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Sports Gambling Hotline

Denver at CLEVELAND

Ahh, the NFL is back under the Thursday lights for another season, and the way all the Monday night affairs have been going - 8-2 OVER the posted total through 10 games - leads us to believe we may see another high-scoring contest tonight between the Broncos and the Browns.

True, Denver's offense has been struggling to put points on the board, but remember the Brownies may still be shell-shocked after allowing 24 unanswered points in the 2nd half of their Sunday loss to Baltimore.

Denver's defense has been getting shredded on a regular basis, as they have allowed 24-points or more in 6 of their last 7 games, and 32-points or more in 4 of their last 7 games!

The Broncos have also played OVER the posted price on a 9-3-1 clip their last 13 away from home.

We see this one adding up to another prime time OVER from Cleveland this evening.

Play the HIGH.

3♦ OVER

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Bobby Maxwell

Maryland +3 at VIRGINIA TECH 

Maryland has turned its season around after a very slow start as the Terps have won two in a row and five of their last six. We'll grab the points with them tonight at Virginia Tech and watch as this ACC battle comes down to the final drive.

Maryland beat NC State 27-24 at home two weeks ago but failed to cover as an 11 1/2-point favorite. RB Da'Rel Scott ran for 163 yards on 23 carries as the Terps rushed for 203 yards. They average 167 yards rushing per game and they average 23 points a game, the same total as Virginia Tech.

The Hokies had last weekend off but lost to Florida State 30-20 a few weeks ago as a 6 1/2-point underdog. It was the secont straight loss for VaTech and the third straight non-cover. The Hokies' defense has been shaky all season and the offense turned the ball over twice.

VaTech is just 2-6 ATS in its last eight games overall and 2-7 ATS at home (all as a favorite). Maryland is 4-0 ATS the last four games following a non-cover.

We'll go ahead and grab the points with the Terps in this one They have been able to step up in big games this season and they'll deliver tonight on national TV. Play Maryland.

2♦ MARYLAND

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Karl Garrett

Maryland at VIRGINIA TECH -3

Going to go with Virginia Tech tonight as the small home favorite, as I really don't see the Hokies losing their third in a row in this spot. The last time Tech lost 3 in a row in the regular season was back in 2002, so expect a prideful effort from these Hokies tonight under the home lights.

True, V-Tech has a pair of QB's dealing with ankle sprains, but senior Sean Glennon is listed as probable for this one, and that is good enough for me.

The Hokies have won 25 of their last 28 homes games straight up, and with this price being so small, all we pretty much have to do is win this game for us to cover.

Maryland is just 5-10 against the spread their last 15 on the road, and I think they are due for a road loss in this one tonight. The last time these teams met was back in 2005, Va Tech scoring a 28-9 win at Maryland as the 10-point favorite.

Similar result tonight from Blacksburg. Take the Hokies minus the number.

1♦ VIRGINIA TECH

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JEFF BENTON

For Thursday, we’ll turn to College Football and play the Virginia Tech-Maryland game UNDER the total.

Pretty small number here, especially given the fact the first three weekday games this week have easily hurdled over the total. However, there are several key indicators that suggest a low-scoring game in Blacksburg, Va., tonight. First off, Maryland has scored a grand total of 34 points in three road games, all of them going under with combined point totals of 31, 37 and 38. In fact, if you go back to last season, the under is 7-0 in the Terps’ last seven road games, with none of those seven contests featuring more than 40 total points.

Meanwhile, if you go back to 2005, Virginia Tech has played 18 home games against Division I-A foes, and 14 have stayed under the total, including both lined games this year against Western Kentucky (27-13) and Georgia Tech (20-17).

Lastly, when these squads play in these nationally televised Thursday night contests, points historically have been hard to come by. Consider: The under is 7-0 in Virginia Tech’s last seven Thursday games and 8-2 in Maryland’s last 10. Add it all up, and there’s only one way to look at this contest, and that’s UNDER the posted total.

5♦ Maryland-Virginia Tech UNDER

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SCOTT DELANEY

Two straight NBA winners right here, and the third time is a charm so let's bank the Rockets in Portland.

After last night's seven-point loss in Salt Lake City, I don't expect Portland to be ready to step on the floor and challenge the rejuvenated Rockets, who had the night off and will be looking to avenge their loss to Boston two nights back.

With nine of Houston's next 11 on the road, the Rockets need to seize an opportunity to gain some momentum on this current West Coast jaunt, which includes trips to L.A. for a clash with the Lakers, and a stop over in Phoenix.

Nevertheless, the Rockets have been one of the best road teams in the league over the past two seasons, posting back-to-back identical marks of 24-17 away from home. And going back to last season the Rockets have covered 19 of 28 road games.

They've also covered 19 of their last 27 that came after one days rest.

This is a win and cover with the road team that is far more talented.

HOUSTON ROCKETS

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MATT RIVERS

For Thursday take the Rockets out west.

I was skunked by Houston on Tuesday night as they fell at home to the World Champion Celtics but will give them another chance today.

Portland is a solid and up and coming team that certainly can play very well at the Rose Garden. But without both Greg Oden and Martell Webster once again and playing for a second straight night after the game against the Jazz last night will just make this situation too hard for the young Blazers, even on their home court.

The Rockets are more rested and did not have to run around in altitude last night in Utah. Plus with Ron Artest in the mix assisting superstars in Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming may make these guys a team that is as good as any this season. I can see Houston just clamp down with that intense defense and run the court without much opposition.

In the end I'm not too sure that the Blazers will get out of the 70's and that won't be good enough as this thing has 92-79 written all over it.

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WILD BILL

Utah +2 1/2 (5 units)

Broncos +3 1/2 (5 units)

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Nostradamus

Utah +2
Orlando -5
NY Islanders +130
Rangers/Wash Parlay 100/153
Minn/Colo Under 5.5
Los Angelos -135

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MTi Sports

Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazers

The Rockets are 0-7 ATS (-7.1 ppg) on the road with at most one day of rest off a home loss that broke at least a three-game winning streak and 0-4 ATS (-7.9 ppg) as a favorite when facing a conference opponent for the first time in the current season that they beat in their last three meetings from the previous season. 

Play on: Portland

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Vegas Experts

Denver Broncos at Cleveland Browns

Browns fans get their wish tonight as QB Brady Quinn makes his first ever start. Be careful what you wish for Cleveland as it wasn't Derek Anderson dropping 13 passes this season (Braylon Edwards), not protecting the passer (terrible offensive line) or failing to stop the other team (defense allowed 30+ points to Ravens LW). Denver has failed to cover a spread in a mind-numbing seven straight games, a streak which eventually has to come to an end. Grab the points.

Play on: Denver

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NCAAF DUNKEL

Maryland at Virginia Tech
The Hokies return home after two straight road losses and will look to take advantage of a Maryland team that is 0-5 ATS since 1993 in road games where the total is under 42.  Virginia Tech is the pick (-2 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Hokies favored by 7.  Dunkel Pick: Virginia Tech (-2 1/2). 

Game 111-112: TCU at Utah
Dunkel Ratings: TCU 103.284; Utah 104.794
Dunkel Line: Utah by 1 1/2; 37
Vegas Line: TCU by 2; 43 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Utah (+2); Under

Game 109-110: Maryland at Virginia Tech
Dunkel Ratings: Maryland 90.612; Virginia Tech 97.583
Dunkel Line: Virginia Tech by 7; 44
Vegas Line: Virginia Tech by 2 1/2; 42 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Virginia Tech (-2 1/2); Over


NFL DUNKEL

Denver at Cleveland
The Browns look to bounce back from their loss to Baltimore last week and take advantage of a Denver team that is just 2-7 ATS in its last nine road games.  Cleveland is the pick (-3) according to Dunkel, which has the Browns favored by 7.  Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-3). 

Game 107-108: Denver at Cleveland
Dunkel Ratings: Denver 127.254; Cleveland 134.359
Dunkel Line: Cleveland by 7; 50
Vegas Line: Cleveland by 3; 46
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-3); Over


NBA DUNKEL

Houston at Portland
The Blazers look to bounce back from last night's loss in Utah and build on their 10-6 ATS mark as a home underdog between 3 1/2 and 6 points.  Portland is the pick (+5) according to Dunkel, which has Houston favored by just 1.  Dunkel Pick: Portland (+5).   

Game 701-702: Philadelphia at Orlando
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia 114.634; Orlando 122.668
Dunkel Line & Total: Orlando by 8; 194
Vegas Line & Total: Orlando by 5 1/2; 191 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Orlando (-5 1/2); Over

Game 703-704: Houston at Portland
Dunkel Ratings: Houston 121.882; Portland 120.639
Dunkel Line & Total: Houston by 1; 179
Vegas Line & Total: Houston by 5; 184 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Portland (+5); Under


NHL DUNKEL

Tampa Bay at NY Rangers
The Lightning bring a three-game winning streak into New York to face a Rangers team that has dropped two straight.   Tampa Bay is the underdog pick (+155) according to Dunkel which has the Lightning favored straight up by 1.  Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (+155).   

Game 51-52: Edmonton at Pittsburgh
Dunkel Ratings: Edmonton 11.149; Pittsburgh 12.634
Dunkel Line & Total: Pittsburgh by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Pittsburgh (-155); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (-155); Over

Game 53-54: NY Islanders at Atlanta
Dunkel Ratings: NY Islanders 9.932; Atlanta 11.216
Dunkel Line & Total: Atlanta by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Atlanta (-150); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-150); Over

Game 55-56: Toronto at Boston
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto 11.982; Boston 11.193
Dunkel Line & Total: Toronto by 1; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Boston (-170); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+150); Over

Game 57-58: Tampa Bay at NY Rangers
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay 11.357; NY Rangers 10.536
Dunkel Line & Total: Tampa Bay by 1; 5 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: NY Rangers (-175); 5
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (+155); Over

Game 59-60: Carolina at Washington
Dunkel Ratings: Carolina 12.325; Washington 11.500
Dunkel Line & Total: Carolina by 1; 5 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Washington (-155); 6
Dunkel Pick: Carolina (+135); Under

Game 61-62: Philadelphia at Ottawa
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia 12.480; Ottawa 11.483
Dunkel Line & Total: Philadelphia by 1; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Ottawa (-140); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (+120); Under

Game 63-64: Minnesota at Colorado
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 11.369; Colorado 10.528
Dunkel Line & Total: Minnesota by 1; 4 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Colorado (-155); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+135); Under

Game 65-66: Nashville at Calgary
Dunkel Ratings: Nashville 10.842; Calgary 12.388
Dunkel Line & Total: Calgary by 1 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Calgary (-160); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Calgary (-160); Under

Game 67-68: Phoenix at Vancouver
Dunkel Ratings: Phoenix 11.902; Vancouver 13.313
Dunkel Line & Total: Vancouver by 1 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Vancouver (-165); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Vancouver (-165); Under

Game 69-70: St. Louis at San Jose
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis 10.381; San Jose 13.438
Dunkel Line & Total: San Jose by 3; 4 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: San Jose (-250); 5
Dunkel Pick: San Jose (-250); Under

Game 71-72: Florida at Los Angeles
Dunkel Ratings: Florida 10.214; Los Angeles 11.785
Dunkel Line & Total: Los Angeles by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Los Angeles (-130); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Los Angeles (-130); Over

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Drew Gordon

Texas Christian -1' at UTAH 

Interesting Moutain West match up here, as two teams with a lot to prove come into this contest. Fact is, I'm not sold on Utah, who's played next to no one this season, and looked pretty damn shaky at New Mexico last week. A return home should do a lot for the Utes high-powered offense, however if a 4-6 Lobos team can hold them to just 13 points, imagine what the Horned Frogs vaunted stop-unit will do!

Look guys, Utah can trade scores with anyone in the nation, but that's not the problem. The problem is stopping at Texas Christian offense that's firing on all cylinders right now, especially when you know the TCU defense will get a stop here and there. Andy Dalton may not have the numbers Brian Johnson has, but he commits far fewer turnovers, and his last game was a perfect example, completing about 55% of his passes for 3 TDs and no picks at UNLV (not amazing, but more than enough to compliment a balanced TCU run attack).

Now let's talk about the Horned Frogs defense, which is as good as anyone in the country. Their lone loss came on the road at powerhouse Oklahoma, and even then, the defense did an admirable job against the Sooners run game (36 rushes for 25 yards or 0.7 yard per carry average), only to get punished by QB Sam Bradford (no shame in that, he's damn good). Look guys, not only will TCU completely shut down the run, but star DE Jerry Hughes (14 sacks) and the stud Horned Frogs d-line will have Johnson running for his life all game long.

Finally, going back to the New Mexico game, I strongly believe the Utes were exposed in that contest. Brian Johnson had almost identical numbers to the Colorado State game (which the Utes won going away 49-16), but what was the difference? Against Colorado State, they were able to run the ball at will, racking up 327 rushing yards on a gaudy 8.8 yard per carry average. Make no mistake, they won't get ANYWHERE near that number tonight, and fact is, the Utes offense doesn't run nearly as efficiently when they can't run the ball. In the end, the defense is the difference, as the Horned Frogs win and cover a close hard-fought road game tonight in Salt Lake.

Take Texas Christian over Utah in this college football match up.

2♦ TEXAS CHRISTIAN

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Horned Frogs -2.5 at Utah Utes

Last week the Utes beat New Mexico 13-10 while the Horned Frogs beat UNLV 44-14. The outcome of this game does not really mean much, except the Mountain West Conference title and a possible berth in a BCS Bowl game. Yeah, this game is huge. The Utes can keep their slim hopes of a national championship alive with a win tonight. The Utes are led by QB Brain Johnson (1820 yds 14 TD 8 INT) and his main targets are Freddie Brown (37 rec 463 yds 4 TD) and Bradon Godfrey (37 rec 385 yds 3 TD). The Utes rushing attack is led by RB Matt Asiata (531 yds 9 TD). The Horned Frogs are led by QB Andy Dalton (1473 yds 9 TD 3 INT) and his main targets are Jimmy Young (43 rec 729 yds 5 TD) and Walter Bryant (19 rec 193 yds 1 TD).

Staff Pick: This game features 2 of the best defenses in college football as the Horned Frogs rank 2nd and the Utes rank 7th. Texas Tech has the better rushing offense while Utah has the better passing offense. The Utes struggled on offense last week barely beating New Mexico 13-10 and they will have a harder time against the ferocious defense of the Horned Frogs. Even though the Horned Frogs rank higher in terms of rushing yards per game, Utah has ran the ball well as of late rushing for 520 yards in their last 2 games. The key to this game will be which team can score on the other's legit D. Since losing to Oklahoma back in the end of September the Horned Frogs have been on fire, as they won 5 straight games by an average of 28.4 points. Utah is at home tonight, where they have won 9 straight and in their last 5 games against Texas Tech the Utes have won 4. The Horned Frogs can win at least a share of the MAC title with a win tonight, while Utah still needs to win 1 more game to earn the title. Look for the Horned Frogs to stifle the offense of the Utes and for them to score just enough to win this huge road game and end Utah's undefeated season.

Horned Frogs 23 Utah 18

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Re: Thursday Service Plays

SportsKingz

CFB

MARYLAND +3

TCU/UTAH OVER 42.5


NFL

BRONCOS/BROWNS OVER 46

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Re: Thursday Service Plays

Tom Freese

Game: Nashville Predators at Calgary Flames
Prediction: Under

Calgary is 5-1 UNDER their last 6 games and they are 7-2-1 UNDER when playing their fourth game in six days. The Flames are 7-3 UNDER vs. Central Division teams and they are and they are 4-1 UNDER their last 5 games vs. Western Conference teams. Nashville is 7-2-1 UNDER their last 10 games at Calgary and they are 6-2 UNDER their last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Predators are 9-4 UNDER vs. an opponent who scored 2 or less goals in their last game. PLAY ON 'UNDER'

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