Monday Service Plays

Monday Service Plays

SPORTS ADVISORS

West Virginia (16-7, 9-11 ATS) at (6) Pittsburgh (21-2, 10-6-1 ATS)

The Backyard Brawl takes to the hardwood as West Virginia travels to Pittsburgh looking to put an end to the Panthers’ three-game winning streak.

The Mountaineers snapped a two-game losing streak Saturday with an 86-59 home win over Providence, easily cashing as an 11½-point chalk. West Virginia has lost two straight on the road in Big East action (1-1 ATS) and three of its last four away from home (2-2 ATS).

Pitt has won three straight (2-0 ATS) and is coming off Saturday’s 92-69 win at DePaul, cashing as a 16½-point road favorite. The Panthers are a perfect 14-0 in front of the home fans (6-2 ATS) where they average 83.4 points per game and 50 percent shooting, while giving up 62.2 ppg on 41 percent shooting.

West Virginia is 5-5 SU and 4-6 ATS in Big East play, though the four spread-covers came in the last six games. Pitt is 8-2 in league action (6-4 ATS), including 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS at home.

When these two squared off in Morgantown, W.V., back on Jan. 25, the Panthers rolled to a 79-67 win as a one-point ‘dog. Pitt has won five of the last six meetings (4-2 ATS) and squeaked out a 55-54 home win a year ago as a three-point favorite. The Panthers are 12-5-1 ATS in the last 18 matchups, and the favorite is 10-4-1 ATS in the last 15.

West Virginia is just 3-8 ATS in its last 11 contests after a non-cover, but otherwise it is on positive ATS runs of 6-2 on Mondays, 4-1 as an underdog and 14-4-1 as a road ‘dog of seven to 12½ points. Pittsburgh is on ATS streaks of 5-2 at home, 9-4-1 on Mondays, 4-1 against Big East foes and 4-0 as a favorite of seven to 12½ points.

The Mountaineers have topped the total in seven of their last nine as a ‘dog of seven to 12½ points and the Panthers are on “over” runs of 4-1 at home, 15-5 against Big East competition, 45-22 as a home favorite and 4-1 after a spread-cover. Also, the over has been the play in three of the last four battles in this rivalry following a 4-0 “under” streak.

ATS ADVANTAGE: OVER


(21) Kansas (19-4, 12-5 ATS) at Missouri (20-4, 10-7 ATS)

The Jayhawks carry an eight-game winning streak into Mizzou Arena to take on Missouri in a Big 12 showdown.

Kansas’ eight-game winning streak (7-1 ATS) has left them a half-game behind Oklahoma in the Big 12 standings – the only two teams still unbeaten in league play – and the Jayhawks are a perfect 4-0 SU and ATS on the highway in conference action. On Saturday, Kansas went to Oklahoma State and won 78-67, narrowly covering as 10½-point favorites.

Missouri has won seven of its last eight (6-2 ATS) and crushed Iowa State 82-68 Saturday, cashing as a nine-point road chalk to improve to 7-2 in the Big 12 (6-3 ATS). The Tigers are 14-0 at home this season (5-2 ATS in lined games), including 4-0 SU (3-1 ATS) in Big 12 play, and for the season they average 89.2 ppg on 50 percent shooting at Mizzou Arena while giving up just 62.4 ppg on 37.8 percent shooting.

The Jayhawks have won five straight in this rivalry (3-2 ATS), sweeping the season series in each of the last two years. In last season’s trip to Missouri, they scored a 76-70 win but came up short as seven-point favorites. The underdog is 9-4-2 ATS in the last 15 meetings between these rivals, and the Tigers have gotten the cash in six of the last nine at home.

Kansas is riding several positive ATS trends, including 21-8 overall, 4-0 on the road, 8-1 against Big 12 competition, 20-7 against teams with a winning record, 10-3 as a road ‘dog and 6-0 on Monday. The Tigers are on ATS spirals of 18-37-1 in Big 12 action and 8-20-1 ATS as a favorite of less than seven points, but they are on positive pointspread trends of 6-2 overall and 4-1 after a spread-cover.

For the Jayhawks, the under is on runs of 4-1 on the road, 4-1 on Mondays, 4-1 as ‘dogs, 5-1 after a spread-cover and 4-0 in Big 12 play. Missouri is riding “over” streaks of 5-1 overall, 8-3 at home, 5-1 in Big 12 action, 12-5 after a spread-cover and 7-0 on Monday. In this rivalry, the over is 5-2 in the last seven meetings overall and 6-1 in the last seven clashes at Missouri.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE


NBA

Phoenix (28-21, 17-29-2 ATS) at Philadelphia (25-24, 24-23-2 ATS)

The Suns travel to the Wachovia Center in search of their fourth straight road win over an Eastern Conference squad when they take on the 76ers.

Phoenix pounded Detroit 107-97 as a one-point underdog Sunday for its second straight win and its third in its last four games (2-1-1 ATS). Dating back to late January, the Suns have won three of their last four SU and ATS on the road, and they have really picked up the scoring lately, averaging 114.8 points per game over their last five while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field.

Like the Suns, Philadelphia is on a two-game winning streak after beating the Heat 94-84 on Saturday, cashing as a 3½-point home chalk. The Sixers are on Game No. 6 of a seven-game homestand (3-2 SU, 2-1-2 ATS), bringing their home record to a mediocre 15-11 (12-12-2 ATS).

The Suns are 6-2 SU and ATS in the last eight meetings with the Sixers, and the road team won both clashes a season ago. The Sixers scored a 119-114 win in Phoenix as 9½-point underdogs, but the Suns returned the favor with a 107-93 win in Philly as 3½-point favorites. The chalk is 9-2 ATS in the last 11 battles between these two, and the Suns are 9-3 ATS in the last 12.

Despite last night’s win and cover in Detroit, Phoenix is on ATS slides of 9-21-2 overall, 3-6-1 on the road, 3-8-1 against the Eastern Conference, 0-4-1 against the Atlantic Division and 2-5 on Mondays. Philadelphia is 0-4 ATS in its last four on Mondays, but the Sixers are on positive pointspread runs of 11-4-2 overall, 5-2 against Western Conference teams and 8-2 against teams with a winning record.

The Suns are on “under” streaks of 7-4 against Eastern Conference teams, 4-1 on Mondays and 4-0 on the second night of a back-to-back. The Sixers have stayed below the total in five of seven overall, 21 of 31 at home and 22 of 29 on Mondays. Also, the under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings in this series.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER

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Re: Monday Service Plays

Jimmy The Moose

Los Angeles Clippers at Charlotte Bobcats
Prediction: Over

The over is 20-7 in the Clippers last 27 games. The over is a profitable 14-3 in their last 17 road games. In their last 21 games as a road dog the over is 21-5. The Clippers have played the over in their last 5 vs. Eastern Conference opponents. Charlotte has played over the total in 4 of their last 6 games. The over is 4-1 in their last 5 games as a home favorite. The over is 5-1-1 in their last 7 games played with 0 day rest. In their last 14 vs. Western Conference team's the over is 10-4. The last 4 meetings between the clubs have played the over. Play the over.

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Cajun Sports

West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Pittsburgh Panthers -7.5
PLAY: 2* Pittsburgh Panthers -7.5

ESPNs Rivalry Week tips off at Petersen Events Center where the Pittsburgh Panthers will host Big East rival the West Virginia Mountaineers. West Virginia enters tonights contest off a home win over Providence 86 to 59 as an 11.5 point favorite. That win came on the heels of back-to-back losses for the Mountaineers at Louisville 69 to 63 and at Syracuse 74 to 61. Pitt enters on a three-game winning streak which began after suffering a road loss at Villanova back on January 28th.

The last meeting between these two came on January 25th of this year and was played in Morgantown with Pitt easily winning 79 to 67. The key in that matchup was Pitts inside-out offensive scheme which worked almost to perfection with the Panthers shooting 54.5 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from behind the arc. The Pitt defense was able to hold the Mountaineers to only 41.1 percent from the field and a miserable 26.3 percent from behind the arc.

The Panthers are 14-0 straight up and 5-3 against the spread at home averaging 83.6 points on 50.2 percent shooting and allowing 62.0 points per game on 40.3 percent from the field. West Virginia is 7-5 SU and 5-7 ATS when playing on the road this season and over their last five games they are averaging 70.4 points per game on 41.4 percent from the field and allowing 66.6 points per game on 46.0 percent shooting for their opponents. The Panthers have an obvious advantage on both ends of the floor and should be able to dictate both the pace and style of play tonight which should translate into another Panthers win and cover versus the Mountaineers.

The Panthers after playing their last game on the road and are now installed as a favorite have posted a record of 45-24-1 ATS, if they are a home favorite their record is 34-19-1 ATS. Pitt is 30-16 ATS after having won against the spread in two of their last three games. The Mountaineers on the other hand are 0-6 ATS after having covered the spread in three of their last four games. West Virginia has struggled against teams that average 77 or more points per game posting a record of 2-8 ATS their last 10 games.

With the Panthers having lost only 2 games the entire 2008-09 campaign and not a single loss at home we expect them to get the win and cover over the Mountaineers on Monday night in Pittsburgh. Lay the chalk as the Panthers put another double-digit number on the boys from the hills of West Virginia.

PROJECTED FINAL SCORE: (2*) Pittsburgh Panthers 81 West Virginia 67

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Scott Delaney

For Monday we're taking the Under in the Suns and Sixers clash up in Philly.

With the trend being to take the under with the Sixers at home, and the Suns playing on the second of back-to-back nights after a physical win in Detroit last night, I think this one is going to easily stay low tonight.

After scoring 107 points in Motown, I don't think the Suns will be looking to run in their second straight road contest and fifth game over eight days. And to be honest, if the Suns had been on the East Coast, I might ponder my choice, but the fact those five games ranged from home to Oakland, back home and then to the East, I think this will be a tired team.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not falling for the Sixers here, as Phoenix has won 14 of 25 on the road, not to mention three of its last four.

Instead, I'm intrigued about Philly's under runs of 5-1 off a straight-up triumph and on one day's rest, 4-1 against the West, 22-9 at home and 5-2 overall. I also see the Suns have stayed under in four straight second nights of back-to-back games.

The low is also on a 5-2 run the last seven meetings, so play this one under.

Philadelphia/Phoenix UNDER

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Matt Rivers

For Monday take the Clippers in Charlotte.

I really would like to be getting more in this spot as the Clippers all the way across the country is not exactly awe inspiring but as they start getting healthier, which they have, this team is going to get a ton better.

Los Angeles has been horrific this season but a lot of that has been due to the ridiculous amount of injuries they have encountered. When you basically lose your five best players and at least three of those have All-Star potential then you are going to have a terrible record. Baron Davis and Marcus Camby were brought in in the offseason and a beast down low in Zach Randolph was traded from the Knicks early in the year. Add in blossoming young future stars in Al Thornton and Eric Gordon and this team really can be alright as we just saw in the burial win at Atlanta.

Charlotte is not terrible and a squad with some potential as well led by Emeka Okafor, Gerald Wallace, Ray Felton and others but they have dropped four in a row and five of six. Plus those games were not even really all that competitive, save the last game loss against the same Hawks team that was just whipped in the next game by this same Los Angeles team.

Obviously the Associative property is never the 100% end all answer but do not sleep on this Los Angeles team right now as they are undervalued but also pretty darn talented.

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Craig Davis

Bucks are 14-9 playing at home while the Rockets continue to play below .500 basketball on the road (13-14).

Even without Michael Redd, the Bucks have been able to score consistently on offense and have actually stepped up the intensity on defense.

Bucks are a perfect 9-0 ATS in their last nine vs. Southwest Division teams and should have no problem staying within the number tonight at home.

2♦ MILWAUKEE

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Bobby Maxwell

Phoenix at PHILADELPHIA -4

Winning FREE plays in 10 of the last 15 days and tonight we've got another one for you as we play the Sixers at home to get the job done against the Suns.

Phoenix on the second night of a back-to-back and a Philadelphia team that has been playing pretty well lately and cashing at the betting window. We'll lay the small chalk with the Sixers in this one.

Philly beat the Heat 94-84 on Saturday and cashed as a 3 1/2-point home favorite. They are 11-4-2 ATS in their last 16 overall and 8-2 ATS against teams with a winning record. This team is in the midst of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference and they get the chance to play this Suns team tonight coming in with tired legs.

Phoenix is just 3-8-1 ATS in its last 12 against the Eastern Conference, 3-6-1 ATS on the road and 9-21-2 ATS overall.

The Suns got a big win over the Pistons on Sunday night and have a matchup with the Cavs looming on Wednesday. This is that sandwich game in-between that will get looked over by them. Play the Sixers tonight and look for them to win this one by 10.

2♦ PHILADELPHIA

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Re: Monday Service Plays

Chris Jordan

Kansas at MISSOURI -4' 

Love the low number with this Big 12 clash on national television, as we're going to see a physical contest that will stay relatively low compared to what the oddsmakers believe.

It's easy to believe you can choose one side or the other and come up with the total in this one ... if you like the Jayhawks play the under, and if you the like the Tigers you're sure to like the over. After all, Kansas has stayed low in four straight and six of seven, while Missouri has soared past the number in five of its last six.

But since I am not playing either side, I have to look at the fact which team is going to try to dictate the pace, and that's easily going to be Kansas. It has to, and it must use defense if it wants to win. Missouri has scored at least 88 points in six of its last 10 outings, so the 'Hawks have to slow the tempo and utilize their shot clock to keep the ball out of Missouri's hands as much as possible.

The Over has generally been the play in this series, but with the under on runs of 4-0 in Kansas' last four in conference play, four of its last five on the road and four of its last five as a road pup, I'm going to play this one under.

1♦ Kansas/Missouri UNDER

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Jim Feist

NEW ORLEANS HORNETS / MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
Take "Under"

New Orleans has been up and down offensively without sparkplug guard Chris Paul. They scored 89 against Portland, the game he went down, collapsing in the fourth quarter, then had 93 against defenseless Chicago. Memphis has all kinds of problems offensively, ranked 27th in the NBA with 93.5 ppg. They just beat Toronto 78-70! These teams have met twice and both meetings sailed under the total, with Memphis scoring just 87 and 84 points. Play the Hornets/Grizzlies under the total.

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Dave Cokin

HOUSTON ROCKETS / MILWAUKEE BUCKS
Take "MILWAUKEE BUCKS"

The Bucks are besieged by injury issues right now, but they're still playing hard. Houston cannot seem to put good games together, and the Rockets are a brutal 5-17 ATS off a spread win. I'll tab the Bucks tonight as home dogs.

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Carlo Campanella

LA Clippers at Charlotte Bobcats

Los Angeles has put back-to-back wins together, but not willing to believe that this 12-39 Clippers squad can keep stringing wins together following a 121-97 victory at Miami as 6 point Dogs. Both of those victories were on the road, but now play their 7th straight road game in Charlotte on Monday night as we find them at 6-17 ATS after an outright Dog win.

Play on: Charlotte

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VEGAS EXPERTS

Kansas at Missouri

Kansas looks very attractive in this spot getting points. What Head Coach Bill Self has been able to do with this young Jayhawks team is remarkable. The defending National Champs have started 8-0 SU/7-1 ATS in conference play this college basketball betting season and tonight draw a Mizzou team that is 14-0 SU at home this year. However, look for them to lose for the 1st time at Columbia as Kansas has won four straight in this H2H series and held 5 of its last 7 opponents to 35% shooting or worse.

Play on: Kansas

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Brian Hansen

New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
Prediction: New Jersey Devils

New Jersey is coming off a rare 3-1 home loss to the Kings and I look for them to bounce back this evening in front of the home town crowd as their cross town rivals are on tap. New York is coming off a 10-2 beatdown loss on the road from Dallas, and I expect them to be sluggish again tonight. New Jersey is 10-6 vs. division opponents; play on the DEVILS!

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Jimmy Boyd

1 Unit on West Virginia +8

This is a revenge game for WVU which lost to Pitt in late January. I expect the Mountaineers to play the Panthers much tougher this time around. The key here is the momentum WVU's big 86-59 over Providence created. WVU is 14-4 ATS after a cover as a double digit favorite since 1997 and 11-2 ATS off a home blowout win by 20 points or more over the last 3 seasons. Big wins have affected Pitt against the number differently as the Panthers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a SU win of more than 20 points. The Mountaineers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a road underdog and 14-4-1 ATS in their last 19 games as a road underdog of 7.0-12.5. Take the points!

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Tom Freese

Boise State vs. Fresno State    
Play: Boise State +1

Boise St is 22-8 ATS as underdogs of 6.5 or less points and they are 7-3-1 ATS their last 11 games overall. The Broncos are 4-1-1 ATS their last 6 road games and they are 5-1 ATS their last 6 Monday games. Fresno St is 25-51-2 ATS their last 78 home games and they are 8-20-2 ATS their last 30 games overall. The Bulldogs are 5-16-1 ATS their last 22 Conference games and they are 3-13 ATS off an ATS loss. PLAY ON BOISE ST

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DUNKEL

Kansas at Missouri
The Jayhawks look to build on their 7-1 ATS record against conference opponents this season as they take on a Missouri team that is 0-3 ATS as a home favorite between 3 1/2 and 6 points over the last three seasons.  Kansas is the underdog pick (+4) according to Dunkel, which has the Tigers favored by only 1.  Dunkel Pick: Kansas (+4). 

Game 509-510: West Virginia at Pittsburgh
Dunkel Ratings: West Virginia 73.993; Pittsburgh 79.900
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 6
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh by 8
Dunkel Pick: West Virginia (+8)

Game 511-512: Kansas at Missouri
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas 72.856; Missouri 73.329
Dunkel Line: Missouri by 1
Vegas Line: Missouri by 4
Dunkel Pick: Kansas (+4)

Game 513-514: Boise State at Fresno State
Dunkel Ratings: Boise State 55.537; Fresno State 53.163
Dunkel Line: Boise State by 2 1/2
Vegas Line: Fresno State by 1 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boise State (+1 1/2)

Game 515-516: Loyola-MD at Siena
Dunkel Ratings: Loyola-MD 49.294; Siena 66.751
Dunkel Line: Siena by 17 1/2
Vegas Line: Siena by 14 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Siena (-14 1/2)

Game 517-518: Wofford at NC Greensboro
Dunkel Ratings: Wofford 46.192; NC Greensboro 47.712
Dunkel Line: NC Greensboro by 1 1/2
Vegas Line: Wofford by 2
Dunkel Pick: NC Greensboro (+2)

Game 519-520: Furman at Elon
Dunkel Ratings: Furman 43.319; Elon 47.951
Dunkel Line: Elon by 4 1/2
Vegas Line: Elon by 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Furman (+7 1/2)

Game 521-522: Rider at Marist
Dunkel Ratings: Rider 52.838; Marist 47.608
Dunkel Line: Rider by 5
Vegas Line: Rider by 1
Dunkel Pick: Rider (-1)

Game 523-524: Iona at Manhattan
Dunkel Ratings: Iona 49.985; Manhattan 55.424
Dunkel Line: Manhattan by 5 1/2
Vegas Line: Manhattan by 2
Dunkel Pick: Manhattan (-2)

Game 525-526: Murray State at Eastern Illinois
Dunkel Ratings: Murray State 55.821; Eastern Illinois 52.415
Dunkel Line: Murray State by 3 1/2
Vegas Line: Murray State by 2 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Murray State (-2 1/2)

Game 527-528: Austin Peay at Tennessee Tech
Dunkel Ratings: Austin Peay 52.176; Tennessee Tech 50.634
Dunkel Line: Austin Peay by 1 1/2
Vegas Line: Tennessee Tech by 1
Dunkel Pick: Austin Peay (+1)

Game 529-530: Tennessee State at Jacksonville State
Dunkel Ratings: Tennessee State 40.499; Jacksonville State 54.272
Dunkel Line: Jacksonville State by 14
Vegas Line: Jacksonville State by 12
Dunkel Pick: Jacksonville State (-12)

Game 531-532: TN-Chattanooga at Samford
Dunkel Ratings: TN-Chattanooga 50.639; Samford 56.859
Dunkel Line: Samford by 6
Vegas Line: Samford by 2
Dunkel Pick: Samford (-2)


NHL

Montreal at Calgary
The Canadiens are 7-2 in non-conference games and face a Calgary team that is 0-4 in February.  Montreal is the underdog pick (+130) according to Dunkel, which has the Canadiens favored straight up by 1/2 a goal.  Dunkel Pick: Montreal (+130).   

Game 1-2: NY Rangers at New Jersey
Dunkel Ratings: NY Rangers 10.768; New Jersey 11.710
Dunkel Line & Total: New Jersey by 1; 6
Vegas Line & Total: New Jersey (-165); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: New Jersey (-165); Over

Game 3-4: Montreal at Calgary
Dunkel Ratings: Montreal 11.165; Calgary 11.088
Dunkel Line & Total: Montreal by 1/2; 4 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Calgary (-150); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Montreal (+130); Under

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Re: Monday Service Plays

James Patrick Sports

Suns vs. Sixers

Our Monday selection in NBA action is the Phoenix Suns as they own a 9-3 ATS record in Philadelphia and the 76'ers are just 8-21-2 ATS their past 31 contests.

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LT Profits

West Virginia +8.0

The casual observer may expect a blowout at first glance here when the fifth ranked 21-2 Pittsburgh Panthers host the unranked 16-7 West Virginia Mountaineers, but a peak at the Pomeroy Ratings actually paints a different picture.

Yes, Pomeroy has Pittsburgh at number 4, and deservedly so. The surprise however is that West Virginia is ranked number 7, mainly due to the fact that the Mountaineers rank fifth in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency and a respectable 32 in adjusted offensive efficiency.

West Virginia has been a perimeter team in recent seasons, but they have changed their personality a bit this season as they rank number 11 in the nation in offensive rebound percentage, giving them more garbage second chance points than they have had in the recent past.

They must have learned a thing or two in practice about defending the perimeter in past years though, as they currently lead the country in defensive three-point percentage, limiting opponents to 26.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

Now the Panthers are obviously one of the best teams in the land, and they did beat the Mounties by 12 points at Morgantown last month. But they have to guard against some complacency here, as they may get too comfortable at home where they are undefeated at 14-0, especially vs. a team they handled rather easily on the road.

However, West Virginia is a much better team than they showed that night, and the Mountaineers will be motivated by revenge in this nationally televised contest. Look for them to fight to the finish here and keep this game close.

Pick: West Virginia +8

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Nelly

Philadelphia - over Phoenix

Despite the injuries Philadelphia has been playing respectable ball and recent home wins over Indiana and Miami as well as a one-point loss against Boston show a lot about the make-up of this team. Phoenix enters this game off a huge win Detroit Sunday and this makes for a tough travel situation for an aging team, facing a second straight road game in as many days. Trade rumors could also serve as a distraction and the Suns have been one of the worst ATS teams in the NBA, currently 17-29-2 on the season. Philadelphia is 11-4-2 ATS the past 17 games and the favorite is 9-2 ATS in the last eleven meetings between these teams. The 76ers are allowing 14 fewer points per game over the last five contests and are a much better defensive team against long-range shooting. Look for the Sixers to take care of business and deliver the knockout to the Suns.

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Jeff Benton

Kansas at MISSOURI -4 

Lost one with the Nets on Sunday, but I’m still on a 51-34 run with free plays over the past 85 days. For Monday, we’ll head to the college hardwood and back Missouri minus the points at home against Kansas.

Obviously, the Tigers have a very good basketball club this season. How else do you explain the fact that they’re laying a pretty significant number against an opponent that’s on an eight-game winning streak (7-1 ATS), all against Big 12 rivals? But I see the oddsmakers working here, because for starters, Kansas really hasn’t played a top-tier conference foe. The Jayhawks have defeated Colorado twice, Iowa State, Nebraska, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas A&M.

All but Kansas State and Nebraska (both 5-4) have losing conference records, and none of those seven opponents is anywhere close to threatening to break into the Top 25, as Missouri is. The Tigers are 20-4 on the season, including 7-2 in conference, and they’ve cashed in each of their last three games, including last Monday’s 69-65 upset win at then-No. 16 Texas. In fact, Missouri has defeated both ranked opponents it has played this year, having taken down No. 19 USC 83-72 back in late November. That game against the Trojans was played at Mizzou Arena, where the Tigers are a perfect 14-0 this season, including four double-digit Big 12 victories by an average margin of 26 points per game! One more note about conference play: The Tigers are averaging 86.3 ppg, scoring at least 77 points in six of the eight games versus league foes.

Last year, with a far less talented team, Missouri gave Kansas all it could handle at Mizzou Arena, losing to the eventual national champs 76-70 as a seven-point home underdog. By anyone’s measure, the Tigers are much better than last year and the Jayhawks aren’t nearly as good. Bottom line: With this game being on national TV, the students at Missouri are going to be extremely fired up and will give the Tigers the biggest home-court edge they’ve had all season. If the players handle the pressure early on, I have little doubt they’ll hand Kansas its first Big 12 defeat.

4♦ MISSOURI

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