Tuesday Service Plays

Tuesday Service Plays

SPORTS ADVISORS

(14) Ball State (9-0, 7-1 ATS) at Miami (Ohio) (2-7, 3-5 ATS)

Ball State’s quest for a perfect season and a BCS Bowl berth continues when it travels to Miami (Ohio) for Mid-American Conference clash against the slumping Redhawks.

The Cardinals had no trouble with Northern Illinois on Wednesday, rolling to a 45-14 victory as an eight-point home favorite. Ball State dominated in all phases of the victory, finishing with a 529-275 edge in total offense (219-160 in rushing) and a 25-12 advantage in first downs. All nine of the Cardinals’ wins this year have come by double digits, and they’ve outscored their last four foes by a margin of 138-37.

Miami (Ohio) went to Buffalo a week ago tonight and got spanked 37-17, falling well short as an 8½-point road underdog. The Redhawks got outgained 476-383 (216-142 on the ground) and committed the game’s only two turnovers. They’re now 1-9 SU in their last 10 games against Division I-A foes and 3-9 ATS in their last 12 lined contests dating to 2007. Also, six of Miami’s seven defeats this season have been double-digit blowouts.

The visitor has dominated this rivalry, winning six straight meetings and eight of the last 10 dating back to 1994. Also, the road team is 5-0 ATS in the last five clashes and 8-2 ATS in the last 10. Last season, the Redhawks went to Ball State and scored a 14-13 upset as a four-point road pup, but Ball State has prevailed in its last two trips to Miami (2-0 ATS), winning those two contests by a combined eight points.

Ball State is 5-0 (4-1 ATS) in MAC play, tied with Central Michigan in the West Division. On the other hand, Miami (Ohio) is tied for fifth in the East Division at 1-4 (2-3 ATS).

Ball State, which has outgained all nine opponents this season, is averaging 38.3 points and 458.4 total yards per game (194 rushing ypg) while giving up 15.3 points and 342.6 yards per outing (157 rushing ypg). Conversely, Miami (Ohio) has put up just 18.3 points and 327.2 total yards per game (117.1 rushing ypg) while allowing 31 points and 359 total ypg (178 rushing ypg).

The Cardinals are on a bunch of positive ATS runs, including 28-11 overall, 19-7 on the road, 9-3 against losing teams, 4-1 in MAC action, 10-3 versus losing teams and 9-3 in November. On the flip side, in addition to its ongoing 3-9 ATS slump overall, Miami is in pointspread funks of 0-6 at home, 2-8 in MAC play, 0-5 in November and 1-8 when playing on grass. The Redhawks’ only positive trend: It has cashed in 14 of its last 20 against winning teams.

The under is 5-1 in Ball State’s last six November contests, 5-1 in Miami’s last six MAC battles and 3-0 in the last three series meetings between these schools.

ATS ADVANTAGE: BALL STATE and UNDER


NBA

Atlanta (5-0, 4-1 ATS) at Chicago (3-4, 4-3 ATS)

Off to their best start in more than a decade, the Hawks try to remain the only unbeaten team in the Eastern Conference when they invade the United Center for a battle with the Bulls.

The Hawks faced their toughest test of the young season on Sunday at Oklahoma City but outscored the Thunder 31-23 in the fourth quarter to pull out an 89-85 victory, coming up just short as a 4½-point road chalk for its first non-cover of the season. The last time Atlanta began a season with at least five straight wins was back in 1997-98, when it started off 11-0. The Hawks are averaging 96 points per game and allowing 85.8 ppg and out-shooting opponents by an average of five percentage points (44.3-39.2).

The Bulls enter tonight in a 1-3 slump (2-2 ATS), most recently falling 106-97 to Cleveland on Saturday as a two-point home underdog, the team’s first defeat at the United Center this year. Chicago has been held under triple digits in five of its last six games.

These teams split four meetings last year, with the host winning each time. However, the Bulls went 3-1 ATS in the season series a year ago and they’re 8-2 SU in the last 10 meetings (4-0 at home), 6-1 ATS in the last six clashes overall and 6-1 ATS in the last seven battles in the Windy City. Lastly, the favorite has cashed in five of the past six head-to-head tussles.

Atlanta is 2-6 ATS in its last eight road contests, 2-5 ATS in its last seven against the Central Division and has failed to cash in five straight Tuesday affairs. Chicago is 1-4 ATS in its last five against the Southeast Division and 1-6 ATS in its last seven when going on two days’ rest, but 5-2 ATS in its last seven on Tuesday and 4-0 ATS in its last four after a non-cover.

The under is on streaks of 5-1 overall for Atlanta, 4-0 on the road for Atlanta (3-0 this year), 10-4 for Chicago overall, 7-2 for Chicago at home, 5-0 for Chicago against the Southeast Division and 7-3 for Chicago on Tuesdays. Finally, the last four meetings between these teams at the United Center have stayed low.

ATS ADVANTAGE: CHICAGO and UNDER


L.A. Lakers (5-0, 4-1 ATS) at Dallas (2-4 SU and ATS)

The Lakers shoot for their sixth straight win to begin the season when they travel to Dallas to battle the struggling Mavericks.

Los Angeles has blown out four of its first five opponents by double digits, with the most impressive victory coming Sunday against the Rockets, as the Lakers cruised 111-82 as a seven-point home chalk. L.A. has scored at least 104 points in four straight games and is winning by an average margin of 23 points per game (107-84) while out-shooting the opposition 45.4 percent to 39 percent (47 percent to 34.2 percent from three-point range).

Hours before the Lakers pummeled the Rockets at the Staples Center on Sunday, the Mavericks became the first team this season to lose to the Clippers, falling 103-92 as a five-point road chalk. The Mavericks went 1-2 SU and ATS on their three-game road trip to San Antonio, Denver and Los Angeles, and they’ve dropped their first two home contests by double digits, losing 112-102 to Houston and 100-81 to Cleveland.

The Lakers went 3-1 against Dallas last season, but 1-2-1 ATS. The host has won eight of the last 10 clashes overall, but the visitor went 3-0-1 ATS last season. Also, the underdog has cashed at a 10-3-1 clip in the last 14 meetings.

Going back to last season, the Lakers are on ATS runs of 22-10-1 on the road, 17-5-1 against the Western Conference, 12-5 on Tuesdays, 4-1 against the Southwest Division and 8-1 after a double-digit victory. Dallas is in ATS slides of 5-11 overall, 3-9 at home, 3-8 on Tuesdays and 2-6 when playing on one day of rest, but the Mavs had cashed in four straight against the Pacific Division before Sunday’s upset loss to the Clippers.

For Los Angeles, the under is on runs of 2-0 on the road this year, 7-2 against the Western Conference, 5-1 versus the Southwest Division and 6-1 when playing on one day of rest. Also, Dallas sports under streaks of 9-3 at home, 4-1 after one day of rest and 11-4-1 on Tuesdays.

ATS ADVANTAGE: L.A. LAKERS and UNDER

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JIM FEIST

UTAH JAZZ / PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
Take UTAH JAZZ

For the first time since 2000, the Jazz opened a season 5-0. Yet there's also a sense that the Jazz remain largely untested, so they are putting a lot into this road trip. They played four of their first five games at home and the combined record of their opponents is 6-22, counting two games against the winless Los Angeles Clippers. Only two weeks into the season, though, the Jazz will have the chance to back up all their talk about becoming a better road team. They look to bounce back after a loss at uptempo New York, a place they haven't won the past four seasons. Philadelphia (2-4) hasn.5?t had anything going, a big disappointment in last place. Opponents have accumulated 27 more steals than they have and the Sixers have committed 35 more turnovers than their opponents. They face an aggressive Utah defense, one allowing 91 ppg (4th best) and 42% shooting by opponents. Team defense? In a 98-88 loss at Orlando, the 76ers allowed all five Magic starters scored in double figures, led by Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu with 20 points each. Orlando is not a strong defensive team, yet the 76ers shot just 37.9% from the field, losing their second straight game. Play the Utah Jazz.

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DAVE COKIN

NEW YORK KNICKS / SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Take NEW YORK KNICKS

The NBA season is barely underway, but we're already seeing some shocking results. The long downtrodden Knicks are playing with a purpose and the reason is obvious. They now have a coach who actually has a clue in Mike D'Antoni. NY fans should not be criticized for going over the top a little with unbridled optimism off the early returns. Considering how comically awful this organization has been in recent years, the heart transplant they received with the arrival of D'Antoni gives them every right to feel great. The Knicks have a decent shot at another win tonight as they take on the reeling Spurs. San Antonio is badly beat up, with Parker now joining Ginobili on the sidelines. Bruce Bowen and Michael Finley have both gotten old and aside from the emerging Roger Mason and the always superior Tim Duncan, there's little to like about this team right now. The Spurs might get better later when their two injured stars return, but right now they're a fade. I'll take the Knicks plus the points.

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Jimmy The Moose

Dallas Stars at Los Angeles Kings Nov 11 2008 10:35PM
Prediction: Over

The Stars are averaging 2.9 GPG and their D is allowing an average of 3.86 GPG and that hs resulted in a profitable 10-3 over on the year. The over is 5-3 on the road for the Stars. In their last 7 Conference games the over is 6-1. The over is 16-5-2 in the Stars last 23 games vs. a team with a losing record. The over is 7-1-1 in the Kings last 9 games vs. a team with a losing record. The over is 20-7-1 in their last 28 games following a win. The over is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings overall between the clubs. Play the over.

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Nostradamus

Miami (Ohio) +19.5
Ball st/Miami Under 54
Philadelphia -4.5
San Antonio -4
Pitt/Det Over 5.5
Calgary -155

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Bobby Maxwell

Atlanta at CHICAGO -3 

The Hawks are undefeated. They are off to a 5-0 start and come in off a narrow victory in Oklahoma City on Sunday, winning 89-85 but failing as a 4 1/2-point road favorite. But tonight they're going to a tougher place to play than Oklahoma when they go to Chicago to face the Bulls.

We'll play the Bulls in this one as they are in the United Center. They have lost just once at home this season but it came Saturday as Cleveland came in as a two-point road favorite and won 106-97.

Last year when these two met, the home team won all four games and the Bulls were 3-1 ATS and they are on an 8-2 SU tear against the Hawks, including 4-0 at home. Chicago is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings and 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings with the Hawks in Chicago.

This is a big game for the Bulls who feel they are a playoff team in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks made a splash in last season's playoffs when they took the Celtics to seven games. Chicago has the young stud in Derrick Rose that needs to lead this team. Play Chicago at home in this one.

3♦ CHICAGO

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Jeff Benton

For Tuesday we’ll take the points with the Jazz at Philadelphia.

This line makes no sense to me. Sure, Utah is coming off its first loss of the season – Sunday’s 107-99 setback to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden – but that was an early tip-off following a long trek from Salt Lake City, so there’s little doubt that the players’ body clocks were out of whack. Now, after an off day Monday, I expect Utah to take the court in Philly tonight energetic and raring to go. Unfortunately, they’ll take the court once again without star point guard Deron Williams and sharpshooter Mehmet Okur, both out with injuries.

Normally, that would concern me a lot in this game … if the 76ers were playing like the darkhorse Eastern Conference contender many predicted they would be. But Philly is off to a 2-4 SU and ATS start, with the two victories coming at home against the Knicks and Kings. The four losses? Magic, Heat, Hawks and Raptors, all pretty good teams. The 76ers’ biggest problem has been their inconsistent offense. They scored 125 and 116 points in their two wins, but averaged 85.8 points per game in the four losses, scoring between 83 and 88 points in all four contests.

Well, tonight, the 76ers run up against a pretty good defense, one that’s allowing just 91 ppg on 42.6 percent shooting. Finally, the Jazz have owned this rivalry over the last five years, winning eight of the last 10 meetings straight-up and going 9-4-1 ATS in the last 14 clashes, including 4-1 ATS in their last five trips to Philly. Grab the points and watch Utah’s defense dominate this one.

3♦ UTAH JAZZ

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Matt Rivers

For Tuesday take the Bulls at home.

I give these Atlanta Hawks a ton of credit because they come into the Windy City as hot as any team in the NBA right now. Mike Woodson's squad is a perfect 5-0 and they have earned those victories against quality teams like Orlando and New Orleans on the road along with Toronto at home among others. Joe Johnson is a star, Al Horford is really really good, Mike Bibby still has some gas in the tank and even without the injured Josh Smith the birds are a formidable bunch this season and should be just that today.

With all of the above said and even with four losses this season I still like da Bulls at home at this cheap price. It's not like Atlanta is never going to lose and this Chicago team has a lot of talent led by a total budding superstar in Derrick Rose along with athletic and quality guys like Nocioni, Gordon, Thomas and others.

In order to cover Chicago almost just has to win which is fine with me and despite the great play early on Atlanta is due to lay a semi egg and this can easily be just that spot.

This should be a good game but after 48 minutes the Hawks will be tagged with loss number one!

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Jake Timlin

Your Tuesday selection is the Atlanta Hawks.

Going with the very hot Hawks I stay take the points as they stay perfect tonight. I mean given the fact that Atlanta is 5-0 this year with impressive road wins at Orlando and New Orleans it’s not tough to figure out the Hawks are the better team in Chicago. A Chicago team that has lost 3 of their last 4 games as the Bulls struggle by allowing more points then scored. Well thanks to the Hawks playing a Chicago team with little to no interior defense and not enough scoring to keep pace with Atlanta I love the road points here as the Hawks should win outright.

All Atlanta!

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DUNKEL INDEX

Ball State at Miami (OH)
The Cardinals come in with a 5-1 ATS record as a road favorite over the last three seasons and face a Miami of Ohio team that is just 3-9 ATS at home,  Ball State is the pick (-19) according to Dunkel, which has the Cardinals favored by 22.  Dunkel Pick: Ball State (-19).

Game 301-302: Ball State at Miami (OH)
Dunkel Ratings: Ball State 92.872; Miami (OH) 71.145
Dunkel Line: Ball State by 22; 58
Vegas Line: Ball State by 19; 54 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Ball State (-19); Over


NBA

Atlanta at Chicago
The Bulls have won seven straight at home in this series, but run into an Atlanta team that is off to its best start (5-0) since the 1997-98 season.  The Hawks are the underdog pick (+3) according to Dunkel, which has Atlanta favored straight up by 1.  Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (+3).

Game 501-502: Utah at Philadelphia
Dunkel Ratings: Utah 121.592; Philadelphia 121.818
Dunkel Line & Total: Even; 198
Vegas Line & Total: Philadelphia by 4 1/2; 191
Dunkel Pick: Utah (+4 1/2); Over

Game 503-504: Denver at Charlotte
Dunkel Ratings: Denver 117.951; Charlotte 118.284
Dunkel Line & Total: Even; 196
Vegas Line & Total: Denver by 3 1/2; 193
Dunkel Pick: Charlotte (+3 1/2); Over

Game 505-506: Milwaukee at Cleveland
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee 111.575; Cleveland 128.006
Dunkel Line & Total: Cleveland by 16 1/2; 186 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 507-508: Atlanta at Chicago
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta 120.013; Chicago 119.377
Dunkel Line & Total: Atlanta by 1; 182
Vegas Line & Total: Chicago by 3; 188
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (+3); Under

Game 509-510: LA Lakers at Dallas
Dunkel Ratings: LA Lakers 128.133; Dallas 123.443
Dunkel Line & Total: LA Lakers by 4 1/2; 199
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 511-512: New York at San Antonio
Dunkel Ratings: New York 113.606; San Antonio 114.783
Dunkel Line & Total: San Antonio by 1; 202 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: San Antonio by 4; 197
Dunkel Pick: New York (+4); Over

Game 513-514: Detroit at Sacramento
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit 121.500; Sacramento 115.187
Dunkel Line & Total: Detroit by 6 1/2; 202 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 515-516: Minnesota at Golden State
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 111.147; Golden State 117.850
Dunkel Line & Total: Golden State by 6 1/2; 212
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A


NHL

Ottawa at Montreal
The Senators have gone 4-1-1 in their last six contests and face a Montreal team that has lost two straight.  Ottawa is the underdog pick (+145) according to Dunkel, which has the Senators favored straight up by 1.  Dunkel Pick: Ottawa (+145).   

Game 1-2: Philadelphia at NY Islanders
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia 10.759; NY Islanders 11.653
Dunkel Line & Total: NY Islanders by 1; 6 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Philadelphia (-155); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Islanders (+135); Over

Game 3-4: Pittsburgh at Detroit
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh 11.692; Detroit 13.266
Dunkel Line & Total: Detroit by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Detroit (-190); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-190); Over

Game 5-6: Ottawa at Montreal
Dunkel Ratings: Ottawa 12.191; Montreal 10.993
Dunkel Line & Total: Ottawa by 1; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Montreal (-165); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Ottawa (+145); Under

Game 7-8: Toronto at Calgary
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto 11.705; Calgary 10.741
Dunkel Line & Total: Toronto by 1; 6 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Calgary (-160); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+140); Over

Game 9-10: Nashville at San Jose
Dunkel Ratings: Nashville 10.551; San Jose 12.968
Dunkel Line & Total: San Jose by 2 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: San Jose (-220); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Jose (-220); Over

Game 11-12: Dallas at Los Angeles
Dunkel Ratings: Dallas 11.704; Los Angeles 12.048
Dunkel Line & Total: Los Angeles by 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Los Angeles (-110); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Los Angeles (-110); Under

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Vegas Experts

The Lakers are not a team you want to be playing right now. They have won their five games by an average of 22.4 PPG and no team has been within seven points. They are 5-1 ATS coming off BB home wins by 10 points or more. On the road, their scoring average jumps to over 110 PPG. They took three of four series meetings with the Mavericks last year. Best part of this whole deal is Kobe Bryant has only scored 30+ in one game this year and is due for a breakout performance.

Play on: LA Lakers

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Jimmy Boyd

Chicago Bulls -3

I like the Hawks to go down for the first time this season tonight in a building where they have lost 7 straight. The Bulls are a solid 3-1 at home this season. They will be without experienced guard Kirk Hinrich tonight, but Chicago has much better backcourt depth than in year's past with the drafting of point guard Derrick Rose and won't miss a beat at home. The road could be another story however without Hinrich. The Hawks are 1-6 ATS in the last 7 meetings in Chicago and 1-5 ATS in the last 6 meetings overall. The Favorite is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings. The Bulls are 21-6 ATS in their last 27 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game. Lay the number tonight

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John Ryan

Game: Utah Jazz at Philadelphia 76ers
Prediction: Philadelphia 76ers

Reason: Ai Simulator 3* graded play on Philadelphia (76ers) I know it still early in the season, but to have a 2-4 team favored over a strong 5-1 team is a bit perplexing and makes this a possible trap play for those backing Utah based on their recent success. AiS shows a 73% probability that 76ers will win this game by 5 or more points. Supporting this graded play is a system that has gone 30-9 for 77% since 1996. Play against road dogs in a game involving two good free throw shooting teams hitting 76-79% and is a hot shooting team with 3 straight games making >=47% of their shots. Utah is in a weak role noting they are just 6-16 ATS (-11.6 Units) in road games when playing against a team with a losing record over the last 2 seasons; 3-13 ATS (-11.3 Units) in road games after playing 5 consecutive games as favorite over the last 3 seasons; 6-17 ATS (-12.7 Units) in road games after playing 4 consecutive games as favorite over the last 3 seasons. Utah may be 5-1, but they have not a difficult schedule. They have wins against Denver, 2 against the Clippers, Portland, Oklahoma City and the Knicks. Not a competitive gauntlet by any measure. Those teams have combined for a 9-17 mark with only the Kicks being 4-2. Take the 76ers. Who at 2-4 need this win far more than Utah.

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Tom Freese

Game: Toronto Maple Leafs at Calgary Flames
Prediction: Over

Toronto is 6-0 OVER their last 6 games and they are 7-1 OVER their last 8 games vs. the Northwest Division. The Maple Leafs are 8-3 OVER when their opponent scores 2 or less goals in their last game and they are 6-2 OVER off a win. Calgary is 13-3-1 OVER after scoring 2 or less goals in their last game and they are 7-2 OVER after allowing 5 or more goals in their last game. The Flames are 5-1-2 OVER their last 8 meetings with the Maple Leafs. PLAY ON 'OVER'

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Marc Lawrence

New York Knicks @ San Antonio Spurs
PICK: San Antonio Spurs -3

When San Antonio plays host to New York tonight they will do so knowing they are 5-0 ATS in this series when playing off a SU favorite loss. With the Knicks in of three wins in a row we'll take advantage of the value in tonight's line and stay at home with the Spurs this evening.

We recommend a 1-unit play on San Antonio.

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Dave Malinsky

Atlanta Hawks @ Chicago Bulls
PICK: 4* ATLANTA/CHICAO Under

It should not be a secret as to how the Hawks have jumped out to a 5-0 opening to the season – it has all been about defense. Yet tonight’s line shows that the markets have still not fully grasped that yet.

Atlanta has gone 4-1 to the Under so far, with the only Over that 110-92 blowout of Toronto, when there was naturally a lessening of intensity for both teams on the defensive end in the latter stages of the game. And in a perfect 3-0 run to the Under on the road, the scores have fallen below the expectations by a collective 57 points, or 19.0 per game. The Hawks are 2nd to only the Lakers in points allowed per game and FG percentage allowed, and check in at #3 on our best set of defensive ratings. When we combine that level of defense with their methodical game flows (#22 in pace), it means that an opponent is going to have to execute quite well to score, and the Bulls are not in a position to do that tonight. And if anything the absence of Josh Smith, which leaves Joe Johnson as the only real go-to offensive threat for Atlanta in half-court sets, slows the pace even more.

The Chicago problem tonight is one that Vinny Del Negro certainly did not count on – instead of worrying about how to find minutes for all of the guards on his roster, the absence of Kirk Hinrich and Larry Hughes instead leaves them short-handed. Derrick Rose had to play 44 minutes in Saturday’s loss to Cleveland, much more than they would like for a rookie still trying to learn the NBA ways, but there is no way around that for now. And it is not helping matters that Thabo Sefolosha’s offense remains MIA, managing just 3.1 points per game on 34.8 percent shooting, despite having started five of seven games. But Sefolosha is an ideal defensive matchup vs. Johnson because of his size, which keeps him on the floor for long minutes tonight. As a team the Bulls are only shooting 42 percent, and they rate 23rd on our offensive efficiency charts, and that does not get better sans Hinrich, and against this caliber of defense.

This one will not be pretty to watch, with a lot of ugly stretches in which neither side finds an offensive rhythm. But that suits our purposes just fine.

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Jeff Alexander Sports

1 Unit on Duke -23.5

Now that Duke got its first one out of the way, I expect the Blue Devils to really look sharp tonight against a terrible overmatched opponent.  The Devils went just 3-for-11 from 3-point range and committed 21 turnovers and you can bet that both of those stats will improve tonight.  The Blue Devils are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. the Southern Conference and 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games after allowing less than 50 points in their previous game.  Coach K clearly wasn't satisfied with his team's offensive effort last night even though they scored 80 points.  I expect them to really run up the score in this one after hearing about it from their coach.  Lay the number,

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Wunderdog

Philadelphia at New York Islanders
Pick: Philadelphia -148

The Islanders have been living in a nightmare, as they have just two wins to show for their last nine efforts on the ice. On average the Isles' have been getting out-scored by a goal a game - one of the losses came during this stretch at Philly in OT. The Flyers have already seen five of their 13 games end in either OT, or a shootout, but in their last seven they have been the opposite of the Rangers where they have out-scored their opponents by a goal a game. There is a big gap between these teams right now, and I'm going with the Flyers on the road here.

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LT Profits

New York Knicks +3.5

The once proud San Antonio Spurs have been beset by injuries and are off to a 1-4 start, while the upstart New York Knicks have actually played decent basketball while going 4-2.

Furthermore, the lone Spurs victory was a non-covering win vs. the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves, and they are 0-5 against the spread. As if that is not bad enough, while already without Manu Ginobili, the Spurs also lost Tony Parker to an ankle injury in their home loss to the Miami Heat on Friday.

We felt before this season started that San Antonio was a team in decline, as they got old in a hurry and have practically nothing on the bench. Now they have been reduced to poor Tim Duncan, who we have loads of respect for, and a cast of role players. As hard as he will try, Duncan cannot win games by himself, and the Spurs will continue to struggle until they start getting some players back.

The Knicks have won three straight games, and this streak includes a nice road win vs. the Washington Wizards. They have also cracked the 100-point mark on four of their six games while averaging 102.5 point per game, so they should be able to take full advantage at what has become a bad San Antonio defense.

It has been sad to watch a Spurs team that prides itself on defense surrender 105.0 points per game, and we look for the improved Knicks to pull the upset on the road here.

Pick: Knicks +3.5

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Drew Gordon

Atlanta +3' at CHICAGO

Solid underdog play here on the undefeated Hawks, as Vegas still refuses to give them any credit, and they'll pay for it tonight. Yes, I know Josh Smith is out, but that's only part of the picture, let's dig a little deeper...

First, while Josh Smith is out, the loss of Hinrich and most likely Drew Gooden (ankle-questionable) is a huge blow to this Bulls squad. Although its still not clear if Gooden is going to play, backup center Aaron Gray is a major down-grade at the position, and eliminates one of the few edges the Bulls have in this game (with the Hawks weak at center).

Second, while Vegas and the public alike seem reticent to back this Atlanta team, I'm an early believer. I'm not saying they're an elite team, but they're sure as hell good enough to give a short-handed Bulls team a run for their money. Note, it usually takes a team a couple games to get used to playing without a star (like Smith), and that was clear in their failure to cover at the Thunder in their last one. Look for a more focused effort tonight, as Williams, Horford, and Murray pick up the slack.

Finally, while Rose is a star in the making, he's still a rookie, and no surprise leads the Bulls in turnovers. This Bulls team is going to experience plenty of growing pains with their rookie floor general at the helm. Considering the way the Hawks are playing on defense of late, allowing 85 ppg on 40% shooting this season, I say the Bulls and Rose are in for a tough game tonight.

Small play on Atlanta plus the points over Chicago in this NBA match up.

1♦ ATLANTA

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