Friday Service Plays

Friday Service Plays

SPORTS ADVISORS

Nevada (4-4, 3-4 ATS) at Fresno State (5-3, 1-7 ATS)

Fresno State looks to continue its recent domination of Nevada when these two Western Athletic Conference rivals clash at Bulldog Stadium.

Fresno State has won eight of the last nine meetings with the Wolf Pack, going  4-2-1 ATS in the last seven. Last year, the Bulldogs went to Reno and earned a 49-41 win as three-point road ‘dogs, this after scoring a 28-19 home victory in 2006, failing to cash as 13-point favorites. The straight-up winner is 5-1-1 in the last seven meetings between these schools.

Nevada had last weekend off after traveling to Hawaii for an Oct. 25 game that saw the Wolf Pack fall 38-31 as 3½-point road favorites. Despite that setback, Nevada’s offense has been clicking all season, coming in ranked sixth in the country in total offense (513.8 yards per game) and second in rushing (304.8 ypg). QB Colin Kaepernick leads the attack having thrown for 1,521 yards and 12 TDs while also running for 740 yards and 12 TDs.

The Bulldogs fell at Louisiana Tech on Saturday 38-35 as a 4½-point road chalk, the seventh straight non-cover for Fresno, whose last spread-cover came in a season-opening 24-7 upset at Rutgers. Pat Hill’s squad puts up 33 points and 420.4 total yards per game, with QB Tom Brandstater enjoying a solid campaign, throwing for 1,791 yards, 15 TDs and six INTs. However, thee Bulldogs’ problem has come on defense where they allow 29.4 points a game and 405.8 yards, including 208.1 ypg on the ground.

The Wolf Pack are on ATS slides of 2-6 on the road and 1-5 on the road against teams with a winning home record, but they sport pointspread runs of 12-3 following a non-cover and 11-4 after a straight-up loss. Meanwhile, Fresno State has been a disaster for bettors, currently on ATS slides of 9-26 overall, 3-13 at home, 5-17 in WAC games, 3-7 in November, 0-5 in Friday games and 7-21 following a non-cover.

Nevada has topped the total in its last eight road games against teams with a winning home mark, but otherwise the Wolf Pack are on under runs of 5-2 in conference games and 6-1 in November contests. For Fresno State, the over is on streaks of 5-0-1 overall, 4-1 at home, 6-0-1 after a non-cover and 4-0 after a straight-up loss. Lastly, in this rivalry, the over is 5-2 in the last seven meetings.   

ATS ADVANTAGE: NEVADA


NBA

Toronto (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS) at Atlanta (3-0 SU and ATS)

Two teams off to surprisingly hot starts this season square off in Atlanta when the Hawks host the Raptors in an Eastern Conference matchup.

The Hawks have opened with three straight wins for the first time in 11 years, with two of the victories coming on the highway. On Wednesday, Atlanta went to New Orleans and upset the Hornets 87-79 as 8 ½-point underdogs. The Hawks’ lone home game was a 95-88 victory Saturday over the Sixers as 2½-point favorites. Defense has been the key for Atlanta, limiting the opposition to 84 points a game and 39.9 percent shooting from the field.

The Raptors opened the season with three straight wins before falling to Detroit 100-93 on Wednesday as a 3½-point home chalk. Toronto is 2-0  SU and ATS on the road so far, including a 91-87 win in Milwaukee on Saturday as a one-point ‘dog. The Raptors are shooting 47.1 percent from the floor this season and 50.8 percent from the three-point line.

Toronto took two of three from the Hawks last season (2-1 ATS) but Atlanta won a shootout at home on April 2, winning 127-120 in overtime as a 1½-point favorite. The Raptors are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings and 6-4 SU and ATS in the last 10. The straight-up winner is a perfect 10-0 ATS in this series dating back to 2005.

Going back to last season the Raptors are 38-18-2 ATS in their last 58 against Southeast Division teams, but they are on ATS slides of 11-24 overall, 7-19 after a day of rest, 4-11 on the road and 1-10 in Friday contests. Meanwhile the Hawks are on ATS streaks of 4-0 at home and 5-2 against teams from the Eastern Conference.

For Toronto, the under is on runs of 11-4-1 overall, 6-2 on the road, 5-1 against the Eastern Conference, 10-3-1 after a straight-up loss and 5-2 against Southeast Division foes. Atlanta has stayed under the total in its last four overall and five of their last seven after a spread-cover, but the over is on streaks of 9-2 at home, 10-1 after getting a day off and 5-0 on Fridays. In head-to-head meetings, the over is 19-7 in the last 26 meetings, including 6-1 in the last seven in Atlanta.

ATS ADVANTAGE: ATLANTA


Miami (2-2 SU and ATS) at San Antonio (1-3 SU, 0-4 ATS)

The Spurs finally got in the win column on Wednesday and now look to make it two in a row when they host the Heat.

San Antonio opened the campaign with three straight losses (0-3 ATS), including two at home, but it gutted out a 129-125 overtime win in Minnesota two nights ago. Tony Parker was a one-man wrecking crew against the T’Wolves, putting up 55 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, but the Spurs still came up short as a 4 ½-point favorite.

Dating back to the playoffs last season, the Spurs had dropped five straight games before Wednesday and they remain in an 0-6 ATS funk.

Miami has alternated wins and losses this season and comes into this one off a 106-83 win over the Sixers on Wednesday as three-point ‘dogs. Dwyane Wade put up 29 points and pulled in seven rebounds to lead Miami to the win against Philadelphia.

The Spurs have won five of the last six meetings against Miami (3-3 ATS) and eight of the last 10 (4-5-1 ATS) dating back to 2003. San Antonio won both matchups last season but failed to cash in either one. The Spurs got an 88-78 home win as 11 ½-point favorites and scored a 90-89 road win as a 9 ½-point chalk. The home team is 11-4-1 ATS in the last 16 meetings and the straight-up winner is 6-3-1 ATS in the last 10 series clashes.

The Heat are on ATS slides of 2-5 against Southwest Division teams and 7-20-1 following a straight-up win, but they are on ATS streaks of 7-2 overall, 4-1 on Fridays, 4-1 after a spread-cover and 4-0 when getting a day off. Meanwhile the Spurs are riding ATS slides of 0-4 after a non-cover and 1-4 after a day off, but they are 4-0 ATS in their last four against the Southeast Division.

For Miami, the under is on streaks of 19-7 overall, 19-7 after a spread-cover, 4-0 against the Western Conference and 4-1 against the Southwest Division. It’s been all unders for San Antonio as well, including 9-3 overall, 7-1 on a day of rest, 4-1 at home and 5-0-1 after a straight-up win. When these two meet, the under is 14-2 in the last 16 meetings, including 7-1 in Texas.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


Dallas (2-2 SU and ATS) at Denver (1-3 SU, 3-1 ATS)

The Nuggets are scheduled to finally trot out their two new acquisitions tonight when the Mavericks visit the Mile High City in a Western Conference matchup.

Denver made an early-season blockbuster trade this week, sending Allen Iverson to Detroit for Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess. The trade comes on the heels of consecutive losses for the Nuggets, including a 104-97 home setback to the Lakers as 8½-point ‘dogs on Saturday then a 111-101 loss at Golden State Wednesday with an undermanned roster as 3 ½-point underdogs.

The Mavericks, who have alternated wins and losses this season, come into this one off Wednesday’s 98-81 road win in San Antonio as 4½-point underdogs. Dallas is 2-0 (SU and ATS) on the road this season, holding the opposition to 83 points a game while allowing 106 per contest at home. Dirk Nowitzki (30) and Jason Terry (29) combined for 59 points against the Spurs.

Denver took two of three from the Mavericks last season (3-0 ATS), including a 118-105 home win as an 8½-point favorite. The Nuggets are 3-1 SU (4-0 ATS) in the last five series clashes and 6-4 ATS in the last 10. Finally, the straight-up winner is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 head-to-head meetings.

Dallas is in ATS slumps of 0-6 after a straight-up win and 1-6 against Northwest Division teams, but they are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five Friday games and 5-1 ATS in their last six road games against a team with a losing home record. Denver is 6-1 ATS in its last seven against Southwest Division teams and 4-0 ATS in its last four Friday contests, but otherwise the Nuggets are on ATS slides of 2-6 overall, 2-6 against Western Conference teams, 1-4 at home and 0-4 following a non-cover.

For the Mavericks, the under is on runs of 51-22 against Northwest Division teams, 6-1 overall, 8-3-1 on Fridays and 5-1 against the Western Conference. Denver has topped the total in seven straight Friday games, but the under is on runs of 9-3 overall, 20-8 against Southwest Division teams, 9-3 against Western Conference and 4-0 at home. In this rivalry, the under is 11-5 in the last 16 series clashes. 

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER

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JIM FEIST

MILWAUKEE BUCKS / BOSTON CELTICS
TAKE MILWAUKEE BUCKS

The Bucks have surprised oddsmakers by playing some defense this season. They haven't played any 'D' in years, but not so this season under Coach Scott Skiles, allowing 44% shooting, 15th in the league. They've also won 3 of 4 games, holding the run and gun Knicks to 86 points (on the road) and nearly topping Toronto in a 91-87 game. Boston is getting all the attention as defending champ, but comes home after a 3-game road trip. The surprising visitors and their new defense will help them stay closer than expected. Play the Bucks.

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Bob Harvey

Utah Jazz -11.5

For the third time in five years the Utah Jazz have started the season 4-0. While the players come and go, the one certain is head coach Jerry Sloan who is in his 21st season as boss of the bench. Tonight could be a historic night for Sloan who is one win away from becoming the first coach to win 1,000 games with one team. It says here the undermanned Oklahoma City Thunder will accomodate.For the third straight year, Carlos Boozer has been a beast, averaging a double-double per game with 21 points and 10 rebounds. He’s also shooting a very quiet 62.7% well above his career average. Boozer is the main main, but he’s surrounded by solid talent like Memhmet Okur who is good for 15 points and 8 rebounds per game this season. The one unknown for the Jazz is Andrei Kirlenko. Some nights AK-47 brings his A game and can be a triple-double waiting to happen. Most nights though he’s just average. A classic under acheiver. Utah is still waiting for Deron Williams to return to the line-up and when he does, the Jazz could start pulling away from the rest of th division.There’s not much to get excited about when it comes to OKC. They’ve got Kevin Durant and very little else. The Thunder ranks last in the league in scoring (83.8) and are tied with the Jazz for last in the NBA with just eight three-pointers.Utah will be full throttle tonight trying to get Sloan to the 1,000 mark. This one could get ugly and will end with a double-digit win and an easy cover.

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Marc Lawrence

Play On: Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets play host to the Mavericks in a Western Conference duel in the Mile High city when recently acquired Chauncey Billups makes his debut with Denver. Dallas checks in off a 17-point upset win over San Antonio on Tuesday while the Nuggets dropped a10-point decision to the Warriors at Golden State Wednesday. With Denver 4-0 ATS the last four games in this series and the Mavericks 0-6 ATS in games after sparring with the Spurs, we'll stay at home with the Nuggets this evening.

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Jimmy The Moose

Montreal Canadiens at Columbus Blue Jackets
Prediction: Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens are 8-2 on the year and have been playing very well all season. Montreal has been very good on the road winning their last 4 road games. In their last 7 games following a win they are 6-1. Columbus has lost 5 of their last 7 games. In their last 22 dating back to last season they are 6-16. In their last 7 games played with 1 day rest between action the Blue Jackets are 1-6. Montreal is by far the better team and will take this one. Play on the Montreal Canadiens -.

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Nostradamus

Nevada -1
Atl/Buff Over 5.5 -125
New Orleans -7.5
New Jersey +7.5
Indiana +9
Denver -1

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DUNKEL

New York at Washington
The Wizards are in search of their first win and will look to take advantage of a New York team that is 0-3 ATS this season against teams with a losing record.  The Wizards are the pick (-5 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has Washington favored by 9.  Dunkel Pick: Washington (-5 1/2).   

Game 501-502: New Orleans at Charlotte
Dunkel Ratings: New Orleans 124.075; Charlotte 118.658
Dunkel Line & Total: New Orleans by 5 1/2; 182
Vegas Line & Total: New Orleans by 7 1/2; 186
Dunkel Pick: Charlotte (+7 1/2); Under

Game 503-504: New York at Washington
Dunkel Ratings: New York 108.628; Washington 117.628
Dunkel Line & Total: Washington by 9; 203 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Washington by 5 1/2; 209
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-5 1/2); Under

Game 505-506: Detroit at New Jersey
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit 122.333; New Jersey 117.434
Dunkel Line & Total: Detroit by 5; 196
Vegas Line & Total: Detroit by 7 1/2; 191
Dunkel Pick: New Jersey (+7 1/2); Over

Game 507-508: Indiana at Cleveland
Dunkel Ratings: Indiana 118.154; Cleveland 128.112
Dunkel Line & Total: Cleveland by 10; 195
Vegas Line & Total: Cleveland by 9; 192
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (-9); Over

Game 509-510: Toronto at Atlanta
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto 117.510; Atlanta 124.600
Dunkel Line & Total: Atlanta by 7; 179
Vegas Line & Total: Atlanta by 3; 182 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (-3); Under

Game 511-512: Milwaukee at Boston
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee 110.442; Boston 130.216
Dunkel Line & Total: Boston by 20; 195
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A;

Game 513-514: Miami at San Antonio
Dunkel Ratings: Miami 114.535; San Antonio 123.233
Dunkel Line & Total: San Antonio by 8 1/2; 187
Vegas Line & Total: San Antonio by 6; 189
Dunkel Pick: San Antonio (-6); Under

Game 515-516: Phoenix at Chicago
Dunkel Ratings: Phoenix 124.132; Chicago 117.817
Dunkel Line & Total: Phoenix by 6; 210
Vegas Line & Total: Phoenix by 4; 205
Dunkel Pick: Phoenix (-4); Over

Game 517-518: Oklahoma City at Utah
Dunkel Ratings: Oklahoma City 109.364; Utah 129.441
Dunkel Line & Total: Utah by 20; 177
Vegas Line & Total: Utah by 11 1/2; 181 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Utah (-11 1/2); Under

Game 519-520: Minnesota at Sacramento
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 111.657; Sacramento 116.457
Dunkel Line & Total: Sacramento by 5; 195
Vegas Line & Total: Sacramento by 3 1/2; 199
Dunkel Pick: Sacramento (-3 1/2); Under

Game 521-522: Dallas at Denver
Dunkel Ratings: Dallas 119.609; Denver 122.111
Dunkel Line & Total: Denver by 2 1/2; 197
Vegas Line & Total: Denver by 1; 203
Dunkel Pick: Denver (-1); Under

Game 523-524: Memphis at Golden State
Dunkel Ratings: Memphis 110.449; Golden State 119.240
Dunkel Line & Total: Golden State by 9; 190
Vegas Line & Total: Golden State by 6 1/2; 194 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Golden State (-6 1/2); Under

Game 525-526: Houston at LA Clippers
Dunkel Ratings: Houston 121.980; LA Clippers 108.945
Dunkel Line & Total: Houston by 13; 187
Vegas Line & Total: Houston by 7; 181 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (-7); Over


NHL

Montreal at Columbus
The Blue Jackets are coming off a 5-4 win over Edmonton, but are 0-4 after scoring 4 or more goals in the previous game, while the Candiens are 4-1-0 on the road.  Montreal is the pick (-145) according to Dunkel, which has the Canadiens favored by 1 1/2.  Dunkel Pick: Montreal (-145). 

Game 1-2: Ottawa at Carolina
Dunkel Ratings: Ottawa 12.858; Carolina 11.854
Dunkel Line & Total: Ottawa by 1; 6 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Carolina (-130); 6
Dunkel Pick: Ottawa (+110); Over

Game 3-4: Montreal at Columbus
Dunkel Ratings: Montreal 12.811; Columbus 11.333
Dunkel Line & Total: Montreal by 1 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Montreal (-145); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Montreal (-145); Under

Game 5-6: Atlanta at Buffalo
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta 10.502; Buffalo 11.546
Dunkel Line & Total: Buffalo by 2; 6 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Buffalo (-260); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Buffalo (-260); Over

Game 7-8: Dallas at Anaheim
Dunkel Ratings: Dallas 11.565; Anaheim 11.349
Dunkel Line & Total: Dallas by 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Anaheim (-175); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Dallas (+155); Under


NCAAF Dunkel

Game 113-114: Nevada at Fresno State
Dunkel Ratings: Nevada 83.442; Fresno State 88.498
Dunkel Line: Fresno State by 5; 65
Vegas Line: Fresno State by 1 1/2; 70 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Fresno State (-1 1/2); Under

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Vegas Experts

Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland has totally dominated this H2H series in the LeBron James era, covering six of the last seven, winning 10 of the last 11 outright, including the last seven here at home. LeBron James scored 30 or more points in three of the four meetings with the Pacers last season and Indiana is certainly no better this year. They were terrible on the defensive end last year and come into this game a bit banged up. The fact of the matter is that they're not very good.

Play on: Cleveland

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Locksmith Sports

1 Unit on Dallas Mavericks +1

Denver is now just 1-3 on the season with its only win coming against the lowly Clippers as defense continues to be the weakness of this team.  Dallas is 2-0 SU and ATS on the road this season and has an extra day of rest on the Nuggets coming into this one.  The Nuggets are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following an ATS loss.  It doesn't matter if Billups is able to go or not for the Nuggets as there is going to be an adjustment period.  Denver likely stakes a small step backwards before it can move forward.  Take the Mavs.

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Tom Freese

Miami at San Antonio 

Miami is 13-3 ATS vs. losing teams and they are 10-1 ATS vs. a team with a win percentage of under 40%. The Heat are 4-0 ATS when playing with one day of rest and they are 4-0 ATS vs. a team that allowed 100 or more points in their last game. San Antonio is 5-11-1 ATS their last 17 games after allowing 100 or more points in their last game and they are 0-6 ATS their last 6 games. The Spurs are 1-4 ATS with one day of rest and they are 0-4 ATS off an ATS loss. PLAY ON MIAMI +

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John Ryan

Dallas Stars at Anaheim Ducks
Prediction: Dallas Stars

Reason: Ai Simulator 3* graded play on Dallas (NHL) Supporting this graded play is a system that has gone 243-251 for 49% and has made a tidy profit of 65.7 units since 2002. Play against home favorites of -200 or less against the money line that are explosive offensive teams scoring 3+ goals/game on the season and after playing a game where 7 or more total goals were scored. The average play has been a dog of +130. In the money line sports of MLB and NHL strong results are based on units won and not on winning percentage. Such is the case with this system that is analogous to playing Black Jack at the casino. This system essentially is playing BJ and being rewarded $1.30 for every winning $1.00 played and having the opportunity play 494 hands. Here is another dog playing system that has gone 83-64 making 53.3 units since 2002. Play against home favorites of -200 or less against the money line that is a tired team playing their 4th game in 7 days and with a winning record on the season facing a losing record team. Anaheim in a rough spot here noting they are 0-4 against the money line (-9.2 Units) in home games against terrible teams being outscored by opponents by 0.5+ goals/game over the last 2 seasons. Dallas is in a strong role noting they are 6-1 against the money line (+6.9 Units) in road games after allowing 4 goals or more 2 straight games over the last 3 seasons. Take Dallas.

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Bryan Leonard

Toronto Raptors @ Atlanta Hawks
PICK: Atlanta Hawks -2.5

The Raptors are sitting at 3-1 on the season but they have been less than impressive. The best victory could be the opening night 95-84 win at Philadelphia but the Sixers are struggling with Elton Brand new to the lineup. They had to go to overtime to defeat Golden State at home and the other victory was an unimpressive one at Milwaukee. They finally played a good team last game and they lost to Detroit at home without Chauncey Billups who had been traded to Denver. New addition Jermaine O'Neal is struggling offensively shooting just 38% from the field and now they face a three game road trip a bit overvalued in the betting markets.

Atlanta comes into play a perfect 3-0 with impressive road victories at Orlando and New Orleans. The young Hawks are playing terrific defense allowing 85, 88 and 79 points in the three victories. If you remember back to the first round of the playoffs a year ago the Hawks gave the soon to be champion Celtics a very tough time and that confidence is clearly taking hold. Just two games ago they trailed Philadelphia by 16 points after the first quarter and gradually fought all the way back for a 95-88 victory. This team doesn't quit and they are learning how to win. With a four game road trip on deck the Hawks know the importance of this Eastern Conference showdown. We get a cheap line here on a squad that remains under the national radar.

PLAY ATLANTA

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Erik Scheponik

Nevada vs. Fresno State
Play: Over 70.5

Last year's matchup hit 90 and would not shock if this year's produces a big number as well. Nevada is 6th in the nation in total offense at 514 ypg, led by stud dual threat QB Colin Kaepernick, the conference's leader in total yardage. The Wolfpack's balance is awesome at 209 passing ypg and 305 rushing ypg (6.3 ypr against D1 opponents!). Fresno also has terrific balance, but may focus more on the pass here against a Nevada pass defense allowing 8.3 yards per pass, especially since the Bulldogs are beat up in the backfield. Their own QB Brandstater will be drafted this season, and has been very good thus far, throwing for 7.9 yards per pass. FSU's defense has been terrible by theirs or any standards, allowing 28 or more in 6 straight games to teams with inferior offenses than what they will see today. Overall, both defenses are allowing 6.0 yards per play against D1 opposition, and there's simply too much offensive balance for either stop unit to focus on taking away anything. Looks like a shootout. Nevada 41- 38 

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Andre Gomes

ATL / TOR Over 182

As I've referred yesterday on my Over Portland pick, the league has been given so many unders that the oddmakers have been forced to lower the lines even more, in order to give the market some balance and that's why we are getting so much value in some overs, especially for the lines being so low. That's the case of this game. We are talking about two teams who have begun the season very well, with good wins and so, with a lot of confidence. The Hawks are one of the few unbeatable teams until now and they are coming from an huge win on the road against the Hornets, in a game where they had the lead the whole game. The team is 3-0 and curiously they are also 3-0 Under, which explains why we are getting such a low line today. However, we are talking about a team who likes to run and plays with a fast tempo, so surely nobody believes the Hawks will be a team known for their games to end up being under.

And the spot of this game is perfect for the over, as I've said both teams are coming to this game with confidence. The Raptors lost at home their last game against Detroit, but they played well, the problem was the perfect game the Pistons played. The team is being very well directed by Calderon and Bosh is at his level. The only player who is currently not playing at his level is Jermaine O'Neal, but he stayed awake until about 4 a.m., watching and re-watching his new team's first four regular-season games in an attempt to better understand his struggles.

The Raptors last season went 11-5 Over after losing an home game with 7-3 Over on the road and a perfect 4-0 Over when they were small dogs and today the team will be as competitive as they have been this season.

On the other side, the Hawks had a mini trip on the West and they are now coming back home and the team on their first three games of the season made 57 assists and 37 turnovers and against a not so aggressive defense of the Raptors, they should score a good number of points. Take note Woodson is 20-7 Over after 3 or more consecutive unders as the coach of Atlanta. With a line of just 182 points, it will be just necessary for both teams to score more than 90 points and I think that should be easily reached tonight. Take the over in here.

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BIG AL

Our Friday night NBA selection is on the Miami Heat plus the points at the San Antonio Spurs.

Last year, Manu Ginobili led the Spurs in scoring with over 19 ppg, but the Argentine superstar won't be in uniform for Gregg Popovich's crew for the first two months after having surgery to repair his ankle.  His absence has hampered a Spurs team that struggles to score last season without Ginobili on the court.

In their first four games this season the Spurs are 0-4 ATS.  Last year, Ginobili missed eight games, and the Spurs were 3-5 ATS in those games. The previous season, Manu missed seven games, and San Antonio was 1-6 ATS.  And he also missed three games in April of the 2005-2006 season with the Spurs failing to cover all three of those games.

Indeed, San Antonio's performance without Ginobili (4-18 ATS last 22 missed games) is a lot worse than the games in which either Tim Duncan or Tony Parker failed to play.  And if the Spurs were involved in a competitively priced game with a pointspread of eight points or less, the Manu-less Spurs are 1-15, 6% ATS since April 2006.  Take Miami.

Pick: Heat +6½

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Black Magic Sports

1 Unit on Atlanta Hawks -3

The Atlanta Hawks may be the surprise team in the league to this point.  Atlanta gave the Boston Celtics a run for their money last season in the opening round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs by forcing a Game 7, and that momentum has carried right over into the start of the 2008 season.  Despite starting the season 3-0 this year, the Hawks are still getting no respect as just a 3-point home favorite against the Toronto Raptors Friday.  Joe Johnson scored 24 points as Atlanta had five players in double figures during Wednesday's 87-79 victory at the New Orleans Hornets. Johnson leads the team in scoring at 28.0 points per contest.  If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.  I will gladly ride the Hawks’ bandwagon tonight as a small home favorite when they have yet to lose a game.  The Raptors are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.  The Raptors are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 Friday games as well.  Atlanta continues to be underrated tonight despite their fast start.  Cash in with the Hawks as the favorite.

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Jeff Benton

The only thing that went right for me Thursday was my free-play winner on Maryland-Virginia Tech UNDER the total. I’m now 4-2 with freebies in November, and I look to build on that streak Friday by backing the Rockets minus the points against the Clippers.

No doubt, last night’s stunning overtime loss in Portland – Brandon Roy made a fall-away 30-footer at the buzzer to pull out a 101-99 win – has to sting for the Rockets, who have now dropped consecutive games to the Blazers and Celtics by a total of six points. But if ever there was a perfect tonic for Houston, it’s the pathetic Clippers. Los Angeles has lost 12 in a row going back to last season, including the first five to start this year. During this 12-game slide, the Clippers are 1-11 ATS, failing to cash in all five losses this season.

The worst of those 12 losses may have come on Wednesday night against the Lakers, when the Clippers played their rivals tight for 3½ quarters … then watched as the Lakers went on a 22-0 run turn an 81-79 deficit into a 106-88 blowout win. If there was ever a game that summed up the Clippers pathetic history, it was that one!

And despite what happened to Houston last night, I just can’t see this being the game that the Clippers get over the hump. After all, they’ve lost five straight and eight of the last 10 to Houston, with the Rockets cashing in each of the last four. Last season, the teams met three times and Houston won by margins of 17 and 26 in Los Angeles and by 22 at home. The road team is 17-5 ATS in the last 22 meetings between these squads, and the Clippers are 5-17 ATS in their last 22 home games. Pretty easy call here. Lay the chalk.

3♦ HOUSTON ROCKETS

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Re: Friday Service Plays

Matt Rivers

For Friday take the Hawks at home.

I am not truly thinking that Mike Woodson's Hawks are going to win an NBA Championship in the near future or anything but the way things have been going early on why not back them here at Philips Arena!?!?!?

Atlanta is a phenomenal 3-0 and coming off of that brilliant outright victory in New orleans against Chris Paul and one of the best teams in the entire NBA in the Hornets. These guys fell down by right around 25 in the previous game against a solid 76ers team and scratched their way back for the win there. And in the opener as the 8 point dog destroyed Dwight Howard and the Magic down south.

Having a training camp under their belts with Mike Bibby has been huge and this team really is pretty good right now.

Obviously the Hawks will come back down to Earth a bit and Chris Bosh, Jermaine O'Neal and the Raptors have the potential to assist in that process but with everything coming up roses for the Hawks thus far, and against quality competition, I'll roll with them. After all the ATL does boast talent with Bibby, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford and others and at home with a high level of confidence are really not laying all that much here.

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Re: Friday Service Plays

Black Widow Sports

1* on Charlotte Bobcats +7.5

It has taken some time for the Bobcats to get accustomed to new head coach Larry Brown’s system, but this young team is starting to show signs of life. Each member of the starting five scored at least 13 points in a 3-point loss to the Knicks las time out, and rookie D.J. Augustin came off the bench to add 14. But 18 turnovers cost the Bobcats’ a chance to win, and we look for Charlotte to take much better care of the ball at home tonight against the New Orleans Hornets. Brown has his team buying into the fact that defense wins championships. The Bobcats have already showed improvement on this side of the floor, holding their opponents to 96.2 points per game. The Bobcats are 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 games playing on 1 days rest. The Bobcats are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a S.U. loss. The Hornets are just 2-6 ATS in their last 8 road games. The home team is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings. Take Charlotte and the points Friday.

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