Saturday Service Plays

Re: Saturday Service Plays

Scott Rickenbach

Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers
Prediction: Philadelphia 76ers

This is a rare exception for us as we often focus on road teams in our handicapping. However, there are definitely situations that warrant riding the power of home court and this is one of them. Looking ahead, we expect to get line value with the Sixers here because Miami has been playing better ball of late and this is starting to attract attention from both the odds makers and the bettors! Also, since Philadelphia is just 13-10 at home this season through games of Monday, February 2nd this will keep this line from getting out of hand and that means we should be able to lay a fair number of points with a Philadelphia team that is surging right now. Before their loss to the Nets on Saturday, the Sixers had won ten of their last twelve games. They will be coming into this situation well-rested because they are in the middle of a seven game home-stand leading into the All-Star break! That means, of course, there is no concern of travel fatigue here and the Sixers also will be playing for just the third time in the last seven days! As for the Heat on Saturday, look for Philadelphia to take advantage of an injury depleted Heats back-court. Miami is expected to be without Daequan Cook here and his back-court absence negates the strength in the paint for Miami that is expected to be there with the return of Shawn Marion. Keep in mind the Sixers are also solid in the frontcourt even without Elton Brand and everyone is working well into the rotation. Philadelphias rotation was able to grow and get stronger during the time he was out. Consider a small play on the Sixers on Saturday night.

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

LEE KOSTROSKI

Florida State @ Clemson
PICK: Florida State

Clemson is coming off the win that basically put their basketball program on the map. Their 27 point beat-down of Duke was one of those games in which EVERYTHING went right for Clemson (and EVERYTHING went wrong for the Blue Devils). Duke shot just 30.8% and lost the rebounding margin by 10. We expect Clemson to have a hangover from that game and overlook a good Florida State squad coming to town.

Florida State is one of the most underrated teams in the ACC; at 17-5, they are just a few bad breaks away from having 2-3 more wins. The Seminoles lost to Duke by 8, Pittsburgh by 8, @Miami FL by 6, and on a buzzer-beating shot to North Carolina. The Seminoles boast one of the best defenses in the country. They allow 63.1 points per game on 37.8% shooting (and the fact that they play in the ACC makes it all that much more impressive). G Toney Douglas is quietly having himself an All-ACC caliber season. Douglas averages 20.2 points per game on 44% shooting.

Other than their dominating performance against Duke, Clemson has faltered in their other “big” games; falling by 10 to Wake Forest at home, and @North Carolina by 24. Looking ahead in their schedule, they have a rather “easy road,” so it would be easy for them to get caught up in the emotional victory over Duke. The Seminoles are 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 road games and we expect that Florida State will continue to fly under the ACC-radar and get the ATS victory in Clemson. Go with Florida State.

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

MATT FARGO

Utah @ Wyoming
PICK: Wyoming

Wyoming is back home following a two-game roadtrip that took it to BYU and New Mexico. The Cowboys have been one of the best home teams around but also one of the worst road teams. Following that game against New Mexico on Tuesday, the home team is now 21-1 in their games this season. Wyoming has a -16.1 ppg scoring margin in nine road games and a +14.2 ppg scoring margin in 13 home games. That is an enormous scoring differential and actually one of the biggest in the nation, coming in at 7th overall. Coming off a small trip should once again get the home swagger back. They were completely embarrassed at New Mexico and in their previous three road losses where the next game was at home, they are a perfect 3-0 with those wins coming by 7.7 ppg. Knowing it has a week off before its next game, Wyoming will put forth an all out effort on Saturday and it certainly helps with this being a monster revenge spot as explained later. Utah has also had its share of good play at home and rough play on the road. The Utes are 9-2 at home but 4-5 on the road and while that road mark seems respectable, there have been some bad losses in the mix as well with two losses coming by nine or more points as well as a loss at Idaho St. To Utah’s credit, it has played a very tough schedule, ranked 9th in the country but there are other factors that negate that including an edge it usually has and that is free throw shooting. The Utes are solid at the line at 79 percent but they do not go to line nearly as much. Wyoming made 18-of-25 free throws against BYU on Saturday and 14-of-19 free throws against New Mexico last time out. The Cowboys lead the nation in free throws made (466) and attempted (630). They have outscored their opponents by a 466-299 margin at the stripe through 22 games. This is a huge revenge game for the Cowboys as they were absolutely embarrassed in Salt Lake City. Utah won that game 91-67 which was a revenge game of sorts in its own right as this has turned into a pretty heated series. It involved a last-second alley-oop that the Cowboys threw against the Utes at the end of their last meeting, infuriating Utah coach Jim Boylen into an angry post-game confrontation with Wyoming coach Heath Schroyer. Look for the Cowboys to avenge that loss and keep their perfect home record alive. Wyoming is a perfect 7-0 ATS in home games after playing two straight games on the road over the last three seasons. It is also 11-3 ATS after two straight losses over the last three seasons. Playing a team that does not create a lot of turnovers bodes well for the Cowboys as they are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 home games against teams that force fewer than 14 turnovers per game. Making this one even better is the large number we are receiving here. While motivation will play a big part in Wyoming looking for the outright win, catching close to a touchdown at home is worth a big look. 3* Wyoming Cowboys

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

STEPHEN NOVER

Notre Dame @ UCLA
PICK: UCLA

Maybe a cross-country trip out of South Bend with an early start time is just what ailing Notre Dame needs right now.

But I'll have to see it first before I believe. In the meantime, I will continue to fade an Irish squad that has lost and failed to cover in their last six games, all against tough Big East competition.

Traveling out of conference this late in the season isn't usually good for the road team, especially on a journey this far away. UCLA is playing extremely well. The Bruins should be poised to jump all over the struggling Irish knowing they sustained early non-league losses to Michigan and Texas and this is a rare chance to host a big-time non-league foe.

A loss would be an embarrassement for UCLA and Bruins coach Ben Howland knows it. The Irish don't match up well to the Bruins either. Their presses won't be effective against Darren Collision.

The Bruins have by far the superior defense. They are much quicker than the Irish.

Notre Dame has failed to cover in its last seven games versus teams with a winning record, while the Bruins are 9-3 against the number the past 12 times they have faced a team with a winning mark.

This is a one-unit play for me.

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Sean Higgs

Air Force vs. San Diego State    
Play: San Diego State -18

Air Force is just brutal. San Diego State, even with a let-down factor after their last big OT win, should be able to manhandle this over-matched bunch. FREE PLAY SAN DIEGO STATE

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Info Plays

3* on Miami Heat +4.5

Reasons why Miami covers the spread Saturday:

1.)  The 76ers suffered a big blow when Elton Brand was pronounced out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.  That news came prior to Saturday's home match-up with Miami, and the 76ers are really getting short-handed.

2.)  The Heat are coming off a heartbreaking loss at Detroit 90-93.  We look for the Heat to bounce back tonight against a 76ers' team that squeaked by Indiana 99-94 last time out.  Miami is 17-8 ATS when the total is between 190 and 199.5 points this season.  Philly will struggle to find points tonight after losing Brand for the season.

3.)  System Play.  We'll Play Against - Home favorites (PHILADELPHIA) - poor three point shooting team (<=33%) against a poor 3PT defense (>=36.5%), average ball handling team (14.5-16.5 TO's) against a good ball handling team (<=14.5 TO's).  This is a 33-9 ATS System hitting 78.6% over the last 5 seasons.  Philly really relies on getting points in the paint, but they will have to rely on more perimeter shooting tonight to try and take down the Heat and it won't work.  Philly shoots just 32.7% from 3-point range on the season.  Bet Miami on the road.

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Black Magic Sports

1 Unit on Iowa -2

Iowa will return home Saturday hungry for a victory after handing Indiana their first Big Ten win of the season on Wednesday.  The Hawkeyes host Northwestern, who are coming off 3 straight home wins but none were impressive.  The Wildcats beat Indiana at home by just 2, a down Wisconsin team by 3 and then Chicago State by 12 in a non-conference meeting.  Coach Bill Carmody is 6-24 ATS after having won 5 or 6 of their last 7 games as the coach of Northwestern.  Carmody is 1-9 ATS off 3 or more consecutive home wins in all games he has coached since 1997.  The Wildcats will simply run into a hungrier Iowa team Saturday.  Iowa has won 8 of their last 9 home games vs. Northwestern, and as just a small home favorite Saturday the Hawkeyes are worth a shot against a team they have dominated in the past.  The Hawkeyes are 10-2 SU at home this season, while Northwestern is just 2-5 SU & 2-5 ATS on the road.  Lastly, Northwestern is 0-6 ATS after 3 or more consecutive wins over the last 3 seasons.  The Wildcats' 3 consecutive wins coming in are far from impressive.  Cash in with Iowa as the favorite.

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Black Widow Sports

1* on Oklahoma State +12

Oklahoma State has to be feeling pretty good to come away with a 1-point win hosting Texas Tech last game.  The Cowboys were likely looking ahead in that game in anticipation of playing at Kansas this weekend.  We look for the Cowboys to come out aggressive and stay right with the overrated Jayhawks in this one.  Oky State is off to a solid 14-7 start this year, and they have yet to lose a Big 12 road game by more than 12 points.  Kansas continues to win, but their margin of victory has been slim as of late.  They beat Nebraska by 6, Colorado at home by just 5, and then Baylor by 10.  Kansas won the National Championship last season, and this Oklahoma State team beat the Jayhawks 61-60 last year in one of the most entertaining games of the season.  With 4 starters back from that team, the Cowboys will look back to that win to give them the confidence needed to compete at Kansas Saturday.  Kansas is 0-6 ATS (-6.6 Units) after 2 straight games making 78% of their free throws or better over the last 3 seasons.  This will be a close game which will be decided by free throws in the end, and Kansas may get the win because of their great free throw shooting but the margin of victory will not come by double-digits.  Take Oklahoma State and the points.

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Mike Wynn

Minnesota @ Ohio St

Very important match up for both these teams Saturday as Minnesota travels to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes. At the time of this writing Ohio St is 16-5 overall and 6-4 in conference after a big overtime win over Purdue The Gophers are ranked 19th in the country with an 18-3 overall record and a 6-3 mark in conference but still have a major road block playing Michigan St in East Lansing. If Minnesota wins that game they’ll be tied for first in the Big10, and they lose they’ll be tied with Ohio St a couple games out of the top spot. Neither team is a lock for the NCAA tournament at this point, but Minnesota with a win over Louisville has the stronger resume at this point. Ohio St is certainly more of a bubble team with their best wins over Notre Dame, Miami-Fla, and now Purdue on Tuesday. The Big10 is not a strong conference again this year and I don’t see the committee going real deep on Selection Sunday. So let’s take a look at both these teams Saturday and we’ll start with the visiting Gophers of Minnesota.

Tubby Smith in his second year at the helm in Minnesota has the program headed in the right direction. Gophers 18-3 heading into Wednesday’s game have a great chance to make the big dance this season. Minnesota’s strength this season is their depth. Gophers have 11 guys averaging double digits in minutes this season so Tubby keeps fresh troops on the floor. Minnesota is led in scoring by junior guard Lawrence Westbrook and his 13.9 points per game this season. Tubby Smith is doing at Minnesota what he successfully did at Kentucky, and that’s putting on the defensive pressure and forcing turnovers and getting easy buckets. Minnesota defense is only allowing 61.6 points per game this season and if they’re knocking down their perimeter shots they are a tough team to beat.

Ohio St Buckeyes fresh off a big win over Purdue on Tuesday night have put themselves in good position for post-season play, but this game Saturday becomes very big for them. A win here Saturday over Minnesota would get the Buckeyes to 7-4 in Big10 in conference play and 17-5 overall and sitting well, but a loss here at would be very detrimental to post-season plans. Buckeyes don’t have quite the bench that Minnesota does and Thad Matta generally goes with a 6 man rotation for the most part. Ohio St leading scorer is sophomore G/F Evan Turner averaging 17 points per contest. Turner 1 of 3 Buckeyes knocking down three pointers at better than 40% this season and Ohio St needs the outside shooting to be there to be successful. Buckeyes all in all are a boarder line NCAA tournament team that probably won’t get far. They lack a strong presence in the post, they don’t shoot free-throws well, and perimeter oriented teams generally don’t last long in March.

Looking at this match up Saturday the early number is right around Ohio St -4. I tend to like the Buckeyes here simply because they’re going to need it more than Minnesota and the Gophers will be coming off a big game against Michigan St. If The Gophers were to knock off Michigan St it would make for a solid play on Ohio St, but it not I still think the Buckeyes are worth a small play Saturday.

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

#1 Sports

Texas @ Nebraska

Texas (15-5, 4-2 Big 12) The Longhorns rallied from 17 down with just 7 minutes to play Saturday at the Erwin Center but fell 81-85 in overtime to Kansas State, ending their 19-game home win streak and allowing a conference record 44 points to junior guard Dennis Clemente. Coach Rick Barnes’s (262-98 in 11th season at Austin) team is just one of 8 college crews in the country to earn an invitation to the NCAA Tournament each of the last 10 seasons, with his fine recruiting skills and a remarkable ability to mold his coaching philosophy from year to year to match his personnel key to consistent success. Experience is one of Texas’s top assets this go-round with 5 upperclassmen most often making up the starting lineup and 5’11” senior SG AJ Abrams (16.9p, 2.7r, 1.7a) the squad’s best weapon with outstanding outside range. Abrams has hit 58 of 153 from deep this year and has buried a career Big 12 Conference-best 342 triples in his 129 games. Backfield mate 6’2” junior PG Justin Mason (7.2p, 4.0r, 4.9a) is decent but backup 6’2” freshman G Varez Ward (3.5p, 2.5r, 1.8a) has been eating into his time recently with a combined 17 points and 8 boards in the last two contests. And speaking of earning more minutes, 6’6” 233 sophomore F Gary Johnson (11.5p, 6.7r) – who missed the first 13 games of 2007-2008 with a serious heart ailment that easily could have ended his playing days – has battled all the way back to start each of the Horns last 4 games, leaving the much bigger 6’10” 298 junior C/F Dexter Pittman (8.3p, 4.4r) on the bench at tip. Size inside has been a Longhorn luxury for years and they again have a solid rebounding advantage this season with 40.8 boards per game compared to 35.7 for opponents but this front court isn’t up to snuff with those of past seasons. 6’7” 222 junior F Damion James (15.7p, 8.6r, 1.2a) is a very productive player with 8 double/doubles this campaign but lacks ideal size needed against the top tier big men while 6’10” 228 senior starting C/F Connor Atchley (5.6p, 3.6r) just has never had the athleticism to match his will to get his hands dirty. Texas averages 72.7 points per game, allow 62.8 per game, are 6-4 away from Austin, and play a home game Wednesday night against Missouri before this contest.

Nebraska (13-7, 3-4 Big 12) The Cornhusker ended a 3-game losing streak Saturday night with a fine 82-69 win over Texas Tech in Lubbock, forcing 20 turnovers by the Red Raiders and racking their best road point total in 5 seasons. There’s just no getting around the dominating feature of Coach Doc Sadler’s (50-34 in 3rd season at Lincoln) unit: This team is small. The smallest in Division I. So small that each of their top 8 scorers are guards. 5’7” sophomore PG Cookie Miller (7.8p, 2.3r, 4.2a) is the smallest player in the Big 12 Conference. This team is so small that only one regular Nebraska player holds a position other than guard – 6’8” 235 junior F Chris Balham (2.1p, 2.5r) and he averages just 10.2 minutes per game. OK, so you get that this team is small but this team also shoots the lights out, is extremely deep, is one of the best defensive teams in the country, and has some kids playing their best ball right now. The Huskers may only score 67.5 points per game but have nailed their shots from the field at a 45.7% rate including a sterling 37.7% from behind the arc (remember the NCAA moved the line back), led by 6’2” senior 6th man Paul Verlander (8.6p, 1.7r) who has converted 50 of 111 from deep – one of seven players with at least 9 triples. Seven Nebraska players have also racked at least 17 steals this season to contribute to the Big 12’s best 9.3 thefts per contest and the conference’s least points allowed at 58.9 per trip. Only Oklahoma and Oklahoma State managed 70+ points against these stoppers and through 20 games opponents have managed just 215 assists versus 365 turnovers. 6’0” freshman backup G Brandon Richardson is back from an injury and is making the most of it with 19 combined points is two games last week, now giving Coach Sadler eight players averaging at least 4 points per game, and he’s not the only hot hand right now. 6’5” senior G Ade Dagunduro (11.8p, 3.8r, 1.6a) has shot better than 61% from the field over his last 14 games and has piled up 44 points in the last two while Cookie Miller has averaged 11.1 points per in conference play, 16.0 in his last four, and 19.0 his last two. Nebraska plays Colorado in Boulder Wednesday night prior to this match up.

SELECTION: The Huskers have been out-boarded in 15 of their 20 games (28.5 rebounds per to 33.7) in 2008-2009 but playing this squad’s 5-guard lineup is a different challenge than any the Longhorns have faced. Forcing Abrams to play hard on both ends of the court is the key to pulling off the upset and Doc Sadler’s got the personnel to make that happen. Take Nebraska at the Devaney Center on Saturday.

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Jeff Scott Sports

4 UNIT PLAY

(Power Angle Play Of The Week)

Rice/ Houston Under 141: The Under is 22-8 in Owls last 30 road games, while the Under is 41-18-1 in Cougars last 60 home games. Rice comes in haveing a hard time scoring as they have averaged just 57.4 ppg in Conference USA action, plus they score just 55 ppg and shoot 36.3% from the floor on the road this year. The Houston defense comes in allowing 72.6 ppg in conference play, but they allow just 60.3 ppg in their overall home games, including allowing just 61.7 ppg in their Conference USA home games. Yes Houston can score in bunches, but as you can see from the trend below when Rice is installed as a huge dog they have the ablity to slow the game down and keep the score down. Rice has been instilled as a dog of 16.5 or higher 5 times and 4 of those games went Under the total, with an average of just 129.2 ppg being scored. Oh BTW, not one of those 5 games scored above tonight's total. This game should be played in the low 130's.

POWER ANGLE For This Play--- During the last 2 years when Rice is a dog of 10 or more the UNDER is 20-3. The average points scored is 123.8 ppg in those games.


3 UNIT PLAY

(Power Angle Play)

Michigan +17.5 over CONNECTICUT: The Wolverines are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games, while the Huskies are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games as a home favorite of 13.0 or greater and  6-14 ATS in their last 20 non-conference games. Michigan had been struggling as they went in to the Penn State game winners of just 1 of their last 6, but a 20 point win over a good Lions squad has them feeling confident again. UConn has been crushing opponents lately, but they are playing in the very rugged Big East, so this could be a flat spot for them as they have the "Cuse on deck. No doubt Uconn is the better squad here, but I feel the Michigan defense will keep them in it and lose by no more than 10.

POWER ANGLE For This Play--- Since 1997, February Underdogs of 10 or more that commit less than 12 turnovers per game are 46-18 ATS.


2 UNIT PLAYS

Tennessee -3.5 over AUBURN: The Volunteers are 8-3 ATS in the last 11 meetings, while the Tigers are 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 vs. Southeastern. The Vols are starting to come around as they are 4-2 in their last 6 games, including a blowout win of Florida and a big win at Vandy mixed in there. Auburn is struggling right now having lost their last 2 and they are just 2-5 in a weak SEC. Vols have the momentum right now and should get an easy win here. 

DUKE -14 over Miami-Fla: The Blue Devils are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS loss. Duke will be hopping mad for this one after getting blasted by Clemson a few nights ago, while Miami should be in full letdown mode after blasting Wake Forest a few nights ago. Duke has outscored their opponents by 25.6 ppg, including outscoring their ACC foes at home by 27 ppg. Duke has also outscored the Canes by 16 ppg in their last 4 trips here. This is a bad, bad spot for the Canes as Duke rolls.


1 UNIT PLAY

Colorado/ Oklahoma Over 136

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Rob Vinciletti

Arizona vs. Oregon    
Play: Arizona -4½

On Saturday the pac 10 play is on the Arizona Wildcats.Game 549 at 3:30 eastern.Arizona comes into this one laying 4.5 on the road against Oregon.The Ducks are a subpar team this year.They are 2-13 su and 3-12 ats vs winning teams,0-7 su and 1-5 ats revenging a road loss,1-7 off 3+ losses,and 14-31 ats including 0-6 su and 1-5 ats after scoring 60 or less in there last game.Arizona has no problems with losing teams this year going 14-0 su.They are 13-1 su as a favorite and 6-2 ats after allowing 60 or less in there last game.On the Saturday card there are 4 solid college hoops plays from 23-3,16-2 angles and two 90+% system plays.Back Arizona in pac 10 play

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Jeff Alexander Sports

1 Unit on Nebraska +3.5

Nebraska is 11-3 at home and has just 1 less loss on the season than Texas and yet the public is piling on just as the books knew they would with this number. We'll avoid the trap and ride the Huskers to a win Saturday. The last 2 times these teams have faced off it has been a battle to the death with Texas winning by just 4 points as an 11.5-point fave last year at home and by just 1 point the year before at Nebraska. Nebraska has won back-to-back games on the road to build some nice momentum while Texas comes in having lost 2 in a row. The Underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings. The Longhorns are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games as a favorite and 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 vs. Big 12. Cornhuskers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 home games. Take Nebraska.

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Jimmy Boyd

1 Unit on Oregon +4.5

Condensed writeup due to amount of games to handicap. Oregon has lost 10 in a row and could not be hungrier for a win. It gets an Arizona team at home today that is only 4-6 on the road this season and has lost 4 of its last 5 in the Pac-10 on the road. Its one win came last game at Oregon State. The Wildcats won by 3 but did not cover the 4 point spread. Oregon always gets up for the Wildcats while the Wildcats will be looking ahead to a date with USC. The Wildcats are just 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games as a road favorite of 6.5 points or less and the Underdog is 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings. Take the points.

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Dave Price

1 Unit on Raptors/Hornets UNDER 185

With the slew of injury problems for both of these teams (Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Mo Peterson, Tyson Chandler), there won't be enough players in the building to put this one over. Both defenses should play well tonight as neither will have as many stars to stop. New Orleans is 31-16 UNDER when the total is between 180 and 189.5 points over the last 2 seasons and Toronto is 9-1 UNDER in road games after allowing 100 points or more 3 straight games over the last 2 seasons. Bet the Under tonight.

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Brad Diamond Sports

Play on: Chicago over Dallas

The Bulls have improved greatly since guard Kirk Hinrich and forward Luol Deng have returned to the lineup. Surprisingly, Chicago has been surviving without insider Drew Gooden, but they will need an outstanding effort to stop the Mavs at the American Airlines Center. Dallas has won 4 of 5 SU, but were just crushed by Utah 112-87 up in the Mile High. Historically, the Bulls play Dallas tough, so I’ll grab the points, again!

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Game Time Sports Advisors

NC Wilmington vs. Northeastern     
Play: Northeastern   -20.5
 
We are backing Northeastern here. We have won several times already this season backing these guys. A good, veteran team. Now we get them off a loss with revenge. This NC Wilmington team is extremely down. The Seahawks are 1-9-1 ATS their last 11 times out as a road dog. It won't get any easier today.

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Drew Gordon

Miami +4' at PHILADELPHIA 

In recent years the 76ers have owned the Heat, that is until this season, when Wade and company crushed them 106-83 back in November. While no one is expecting a repeat of that performance tonight, I simply cannot lay this many with an Elton Brand-less 76ers squad, and here's why:

First and foremost, its no secret the Heat do not have a legitimate bigman. They've rotated Haslem, Anthony, and now Magloire in their center position, and had the 76ers had Brand, they could have taken advantage of a smallish Miami frontline. But as we all know, Brand is out for the year, and thanks to that, the Heat now match up particularly well with Philly.

Second, its pretty clear from their last meeting, that no one on this 76ers roster can guard Dwayne Wade. He has his way with the 76ers backcourt in their last one, and with the development of Chalmers (9 steals last meeting), the Heat will win the backcourt match up with relative ease. In the frontcourt, the healthy return of Shawn Marion boosts the Heats defense tremendously, and he should be a constant headache for Andre Iguodala in this one.

Finally, not only does the Heat enjoy an extra day off (compared to 76ers), having last played Wednesday, but in losing 3 of their last 4, there's an extra sense of urgency in this match up. I'm not saying that translates into a SU win, but what I am saying, is this game should be plenty competitive. And quite frankly, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the Heat won outright (but don't get greedy take the points). Also note, the Heat are a solid 6-2 ATS over their last 8 roadies, and you can make it 7-2 ATS after tonight!

Take Miami plus the points over Philadelphia in this NBA match up.

2&#9830; MIAMI


Memphis at GONZAGA -4' 

I know full well its tempting to grab the Memphis plus the points in this one, but you have to fight the urge for several reasons. First and foremost of which is the Tigers terrible 3-6 record ATS on the road. Memphis-backers will tell you their team cannot be trusted away, failing to cover at Southern Methodist, at Tulsa, and at Central Florida. Not to mention their SUATS loss at Georgetown (a team that's been exposed as overrated since then).

On the flip side, while Gonzaga's 3-4 record ATS at home is nothing to write home about, you have to be impressed with their recent play, and specifically, their win at Portland in their last one. They dismantled what was then the # 2 team in WCC by 15 points on their own court, in one hell of an impressive effort. Gonzaga could've gotten caught looking ahead to the Memphis game, but instead, they took the Pilots behind the woodshed, which says a lot about this Bulldogs team.

From a match up standpoint, I also like the Zags Heyvelt and Daye matched up against the Tigers Dozier and Taggart. With the Zags frontcourt finding success, their offense should be more than capable of beating a good, but not great Tigers defense (63 ppg allowed on 41% shooting away). And that brings me to my last point...

Finally, the difference in this one is defense, plain and simple. The Bulldogs D at home is downright nasty, allowing just 53 ppg on 36% shooting! Of course, some of that can be attributed to the weak-ass league they play in, but we've seen this Gonzaga team cut their teeth against solid competition early on this season (see wins over Okie State, Tennessee, Maryland). Not to mention they shut down a high-powered St. Mary's offense (Gaels are no pushover) in late January, giving me more than enough confidence they can hold their own against Memphis tonight. In the end, the Zags protect their house and grab the cash in this one!

Take Gonzaga over Memphis in this college hoops match up.

2&#9830; GONZAGA

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Chris Jordan

Georgia at SOUTH CAROLINA -14

Operation Sellout is the mantra in Columbia tonight, and that should be just fine for the Gamecocks, who will be looking to avenge a tough-luck loss to Florida, but dismantling the troubled Bulldogs. Georgia has lost nine straight and are under the direction of an interim coach that has made some adjustments defensively, but who has far from changed the Dawgs’ losing ways.

I am much more confident with SC’s fist year coach Darrin Horn, who has guided the Gamecocks to road wins at Baylor and Kentucky, beat Florida at home and, as mentioned, suffered a close loss to the Gators Tuesday in Gainesville.

I don’t know how much I agree with Georgia’s athletic department’s decision on firing Dennis Felton, as it only handed the same nine underclassmen over to interim coach Pete Herrmann. And now his job will be to try and stop four scoring threats who all average double figures, led by fourth-year junior Devan Downey and his 20.4 points per game. In fact, the young Dawgs are facing a slew of experience, as it includes a fifth-year senior who averages 16 points and a junior who pops for 11.5.

Lay the chalk with the Gamecocks.

2&#9830; SOUTH CAROLINA

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

VEGAS EXPERTS

Notre Dame at UCLA

We all know how bad Notre Dame is on the road, and today is going to get even worse as they make the cross country trek to Westwood to take on UCLA. The Bruins are outscoring opponents on average of 20 PPG here this season and come off three straight dominating performances where they won by double-digits. Notre Dame has failed to cash seven games in a row and is a peculiar 0-6 ATS on Saturdays. Although, this number is in the double digits, its relatively not that large.

Play on: UCLA

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