SATURDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
Re: SATURDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
I'm laying the points with BAYLOR. The Bears have certainly been struggling, having lost six straight, most recently a blowout loss vs. Oklahoma. However, they're a lot better than their record indicates and as teams like Notre Dame (seven straight losses, than beat Louisville by 33) have shown this week, you can only keep a good team down for so long. This should be an excellent spot for the Bears to break out of their slump. The Bears come in playing with "revenge," having lost at Texas A&M exactly one month ago. They followed that loss by winning games (SU and ATS) against Oklahoma State and Kansas State, before entering their current skid. A look at the six games shows that they came against Oklahoma (twice) Texas, Kansas, Missouri and Texas Tech. The first four of those teams have a combined record of 31-7. Of those five teams, only the Red Raiders are below 500 in conference play and the Bears had to face them on the road. Note that the Bears beat Texas Tech by double-digits when the teams met here at Baylor. Today, the Bears face a Texas A&M team which has lost four straight road games and which is just 3-6 in conference play. Naturally, that's a big step down from Oklahoma. Note that the Aggies 4-game road losing streak saw each of the losses come by a minimum of six points and by an average of 11.5 points. While they lost here last season, the Bears are still 7-2 ATS this millennium when hosting the Aggies. Look for them get on track in a big way today, improving to 7-3 ATS the last 10 times that they were coming off three or more consecutive losses. *Annihilator
I'm taking the points with GEORGETOWN. This is a big game for Syracuse. The Orange need wins and they're looking to avenge a blowout loss at Georgetown. However, its arguably an even bigger game for the Hoyas. Indeed, Georgetown has gone from being all but guaranteed of an NCAA tournament berth to having its chances now very much in doubt. While they lost a lot from last season's team and are admittedly still young, the Hoyas are very talented. They've got four players averaging better than a dozen points per game and a defense which allows 63.5 points per game. Note that Syracuse comes in allowing more than 70 per game. Despite failing to cover as underdogs at Marquette, the Hoyas are still a profitable 12-7-1 ATS the last 20 times that they were listed as underdogs. On the other hand, while they covered vs. West Virginia, the Orange are 7-10 ATS their last 17 when listed as favorites. The Georgetown offense came to life when these teams met exactly one month ago. In fact, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim switched from the zone to man-to-man in an attempt to slow down the Hoyas. Afterwards, he was quoted as saying: "We gave them open looks, and they knocked them down. We played equally bad in both defenses." Playing a must win game, I expect the Hoyas to be at their best again this afternoon. *Big East GOM
I'm laying the points with GEORGIA TECH. The Yellow Jackets have lost an awful lot of close games this season, thanks in large part to the fact they've been turnover prone. That said, they cut down on their turnovers last time out and I believe that they're much better than their poor conference record (1-9) indicates. While I've only played on the Yellow Jackets once all season, that was in their upset victory over Wake Forest. I believe that they're capable of playing with any team in the conference and that this will prove to be another very favorable situation for them. Georgia Tech has lost seven ACC games by seven points or less this season, including three in overtime. One of those losses came at NC State. The Jackets blew a big lead late in that game and lost in overtime. That loss really hurt and puts them in bigtime "revenge" mode here. With time winding down, they badly want to gain some momentum before the regular season finishes, particularly as the ACC Tournament will be at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Nothing comes easily in the ACC but the Jackets know that this is a rare winnable game, one which they can't afford to let get away. The Wolfpack may be ripe for a letdown, as they're off a big win over Wake Forest. While that victory was impressive, they're still just 3-6 in Conference play. Its important to note that all three of those wins (in addition to the win over the Jackets, they beat Miami by 3) came at home. On the road, the Wolfpack have really struggled. Indeed, they're 0-6 their last six road games with five of the six losses coming by four points or greater, three of them by double-digits. They've only got one road win on the season and that was at New Orleans back in November. Note that the Wolfpack failed to cover that game too, winning by six as 8.5 point favorites. (The Privateers currently have the second worst conference record (5-9) in the Sun Belt, worst in the West.) Looking back further and we find NC State at an ugly 1-12 its last 13 road games. The Wolfpack are just 3-6 ATS the last nine times that they were underdogs of four points or less. Off a huge win over an instate rival and with a "revenge" game vs. another instate rival (UNC) on deck, look for their road woes to continue today, as Georgia Tech puts it all together and earns a much needed victory, covering the small number along the way. *ACC GOY
I'm taking the points with SOUTHERN ILLINOIS. The Bluejays have been playing well and bring the much better record to the table. However, the Salukis played them very tough at Creighton last month, losing by a single point. That result will give the Salukis the confidence to know that they can play with them here. Playing at home, I expect them to score the minor upset this afternoon. Despite their struggles on the road, the Salukis still play stingy defense at home. Indeed, they're allowing a mere 59.4 points per game here on the season - Creighton, which has the better offensive numbers, allows 67 per game on the road. The Salukis are 5-2 ATS when attempting to avenge an earlier road loss. They're also 41-29 ATS the last 70 times that they were coming off a conference loss. They've won eight of the last 11 home meetings in this series and I look for an extremely motivated effort here. *ESPN Best Bet
I'm laying the price with CAROLINA. The Blue Jackets are playing well. However, this is an extremely tough spot for them. That's because it's a 1-game "road trip," after completing a perfect 3-game home stand last night. Last night's victory was no ordinary one, as it came againt the Red Wings. Having also beaten the Sharks on the homestand, it will be easy for the Jackets to look past a "mediocre" team like Carolina. That will prove costly though. The Jackets are 1-4-0 all-time at the RBC Center. Additionally, they've won just nine of 27 road games. Despite beating the Sharks in a recent back to back situation, they're also an awful 3-14 the last 17 times that they played the second of back to back games. The Hurricanes were embarrassed in their last game, a 5-0 loss vs. Florida. Note that they had 42 shots though, so it was partly a case of running into a hot goalie. More importantly, note that they had won eight of their previous 10 games here and that the shutout loss will provide them with added motivation here. As forward Tuomo Ruutu said of the loss: "It was 5-0 in your home building. It's not acceptable." Look for the Hurricanes to bounce back with a huge effort, cooling off their guests and picking up the important two points. *Personal Favorite
Re: SATURDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
30 Dime ---- CALIFORNIA
15 Dime ---- NC STATE
10 Dime ---- UCLA
CALIFORNIA --- I’ve really enjoyed watching this team recently as they seem to be getting production in all the right places at all the right times. It seems that the Pac 10 has become quite an interesting conference as of late, with Washington, UCLA, Arizona State and Cal now in a four-way battle for the top spot and the #1 seed in the conference tourney. Cal has been ultra-impressive in their last two home games, beating two very good teams from the state of Washington (the Huskies and Cougars) en route to a 7-4 conference record and 18-6 overall mark. PG Jerome Randle has held this team together, not only shooting the ball extremely well (over 50% shooting his last two games), but also dishing out assists and grabbing the occasional steal. And you know that when a point guard is playing well, the rest of the team usually responds. Cal is an amazing 14-1 at home, with their only loss coming a few weeks ago in a fluky game with Oregon State. This team responds well to their home crowd and has covered nine of 12 lined home games so far this season. Tough spot for Stanford here.
The Cardinal appear to be getting a shot in the arm tonight, however, as they get all-world guard Anthony Goods back from a viral infection that kept him out of Tuesday’s game against Cal State Bakersfield. That’s important because the Bears are a guard-oriented team and they’re going to need all the “little man” help they can get to keep the aforementioned Randle, Theo Robertson, and Patrick Christopher from going nuts. Still, this game is likely going to come down to which team plays better in the paint, and I believe (after watching Cal the last two games) the Golden Bears have improved dramatically with their post presence since these two last met and will be able to get the better of 6-8 F/C Lawrence Hill. Hill scored a career-high 25 points (11-15 shooting) in the last meeting because Cal had absolutely no one who could stop him. Not even Jamal Boykin, also 6-8, was any sort of challenge for Hill in that game, so you can bet he’ll take it personally to do everything in his power to shut down the Stanford big man.
Stanford has absolutely owned the Bears in recent years, winning 20 of the last 24, mainly because they dominated in the paint and at the free throw line. Not so this year. Cal has hit 74% of their free throws this season while the Cardinal has struggled to hit even 67% of their attempts from the stripe and if you haven’t noticed, Stanford is having its worst season in quite some time when asked to score in the low post. Cal will take full advantage of that as they wrap up this three-game homestand with another impressive win. Stanford has been miserable since it entered conference play this year, winning just four of their first 11 games in the Pac 10, and even with Goods coming back from that illness, he won’t be 100% and won’t believe his eyes when facing the Cal guards. Bears are on an 8-2 ATS run over their last 10 home games and have so much revenge on their minds it’s not even funny. They will give the home crowd something to cheer about with an 83-71 win.
NC STATE --- Yes, I’m fully aware that the Wolfpack haven’t exactly been successful on the road this season, losing five of six in their true road games. But has anyone noticed how they’ve been playing lately? Aside from their impressive 6-point win over Wake Forest Wednesday, the ‘Pack have played one of the toughest road schedules of anyone in the country over the past two months… and those games are going to prepare them for what Georgia Tech has in store for them this afternoon. NC State’s last four road games were losses at V. Tech (in overtime), at Boston College, at Duke, and at Clemson. That’s a tough schedule for anyone, let alone an average team like the Wolfpack. But like I said, that schedule has made this team stronger and will prove costly for the Jackets at home.
The Jackets stand at 10-13 overall and 1-9 in conference play, with their only win coming two weeks ago against Wake Forest… a game that if played today would have a totally different outcome. G. Tech has lost three straight and eight of their last nine, so it’s going to take a near-perfect game in order for them to pull off the win at home. Other than a small rebounding advantage, NC State owns every major category including PPG, shooting percentage and FT shooting percentage. Georgia Tech has basically cashed it in and is already building for next year while the Wolfies believe they can still compete with the top dogs in the ACC. NC State won the earlier meeting between the two at home and should find this matchup even more to their liking as Georgia Tech hasn’t made that “second half of the season” move like many thought they would. The underdog has covered seven of the last eight H2H meetings and I see no reason why this one won’t be different. Take the points and watch the Wolfpack win this game SU.
UCLA --- We all know Ben Howland’s crew is better than they showed Thursday night in Phoenix and they’ll prove it today in Tucson with a big, much-needed win. Arizona has been playing great basketball since their come-from-behind, OT win over Houston a few weeks ago. Since then they’ve reeled off five more wins over both Washington schools, both Oregon schools and USC. But I believe their luck runs out today as they simply don’t rebound the basketball well enough to continue winning. While Arizona has been outrebounded in four of their last five wins, UCLA has been dominating the boards and, aside from Thursday’s loss to ASU, they’ve been dominating opponents. Prior to Thursday night, UCLA won four straight games by an average of over 20 PPG.
Arizona’s recent run has been nothing short of unbelievable, but it ends this afternoon as they are simply out-matched at just about every position. Defensively, UCLA allows just over 60 PPG and is one of only a few teams in NCAA Division I basketball that can say they shoot better than 50% from the field on the season. Bruins are 6-2 ATS in the last eight H2H meetings vs. Arizona and after today you can make it 7-2 because Arizona is going to run out of gas in the second half. In their last 58 games following an ATS loss, the Bruins have covered more than two-thirds of those contests while Arizona finds themselves in a 1-4 ATS slump when getting between one and 6.5 points. UCLA gets back on track with a 10-point road win.
Re: SATURDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
5 Dime - Houston
Houston is 9-2 SU at home this year with an average winning margin of 80-61. Its only two losses came against Iowa State (71-67) from the Big Ten and fellow Conference USA member UTEP (62-55). Along the way, the Cougars have trounced U.Mass (80-54) from the Atlantic-10 and a very good conference rival in Alabama-Birmingham (76-56).
That is the same Alabama-Birmingham that ran all over Tulane in an 81-61 win at home 10 days ago. The Green Wave followed that loss with another at Marshall, allowing 89 points in a three-point overtime setback. They finally managed to snap a three-game losing streak - which began with a 79-74 home loss to Central Florida - by downing visiting East Carolina on Wednesday, 73-64.
Note those last two foes mentioned above, Central Florida and East Carolina. The Cougars went into Orlando and bushwhacked the Knights 10 days ago 97-69, putting an end to UCF's then-five-game winning streak. Houston also obliterated East Carolina at home in mid-January, blowing out the Pirates 85-67.
The Cougars are returning home after notching their third straight win, a 69-56 triumph at SMU. It was far from an impressive performance, but it was an important win nonetheless considering Houston's top two scorers, Aubrey Coleman and Kelvin Lewis, combined to misfire on 21 of their 32 shots from the floor, totaling 31 points between them. That can only be taken as an encouraging sign for a club that now returns home - where it's played with confidence all season - in an attempt to keep its postseason hopes alive.
Tulane is 2-9 SU on the road and the Green Wave are 0-2 SU and ATS in the last two meetings.
Re: SATURDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
100,000* ABSOLUTE NO-BRAINER Plus Bonus Locks
1. 100,000♦ South Carolina
2. 50,000♦ Northeastern
3. 50,000♦ Kansas
1. I really do not like laying points like this on the road against a team in Alabama that in years past have been very good on their home court but right now this Alabama team is a joke. Mike Gottfried is gone and the Tide have lost Ronald Steele for the season. Nothing at all has gone right for this team in what feels like years now and the program is pretty much in free fall mode. The Tide have dropped four of five and six of eight and even in wins have looked sketchy at the very best. These guys beat a terrible Georgia team by only five points and right now are not even an average squad.
South Carolina is a tough team that just continues to impress. Sure we don't think of this program as anything special and many seasons have been as an SEC doormat but things really have changed and this team has been really solid. This season has been far from being a fluke as the Gamecocks have a lot of talent and guys that have played together for a while now.
Darrin Horn has done a great job this season leading to the 17-5 overall record and 6-3 conference mark. Devan Downey is an absolute stud that can take this game over. Throw in Brandis Raley-Ross, Zam Frederick, Dominique Archie, Mike Holmes and others and you have a team that is no joke right now. Of course the road will make this thing somewhat difficult but the 'Cocks just beat Kentucky outright on the road and have covered four of five away from home. They also won in Waco earlier in the season when Baylor was still good and flat out should run through a well inferior 'Bama squad today.
The upside is here as we could win this thing going away but there is no way that the home boys have enough to take care of business with ease. A possible 15 point cover is not out of reach but Alabama doing that is silly making this a very good value.
2. Northeastern has been the best team in the Colonial pretty much all season long. It used to be VCU and George Mason were the class of the conference but neither the Patriots nor Rams have been all that of late. In fact today's home squad and final four team a few seasons ago have dropped three of four and five of seven including defeats against well inferior opponents in Delaware and James Madison. Something has been missing for Jim Larinagga's team as things have not been right at all of late. All of those losses did come on the road and the Patriots have taken care of business at home and are a perfect 11-0 there but I still do not trust these guys as they are not an overall confident club right now.
The Huskies have lost two of three themselves and are not exactly rolling like they had been earlier in the season but there is no reason at all why they cannot win this game, no less grab the cash of a hefty number. Matt Janning is a very very good player and with wins on the road at VCU, Old Dominion, Indiana, Providence, Delaware and others this team knows how to travel and being on the highway really should not be that big of a concern.
Mason certainly could stay perfect at home with a win here but Northeastern is still underrated and well worth a play today.
3. Kansas State has been very impressive of late and overall a lot better than people thought after Michael Beasley left for the NBA but when push comes to shove Kansas is still the superior team.
I went against the Jayhawks the other day in Missouri and it hurt me as KU lost the game late but covered easily as they led throughout. The Tigers had that great comeback late to win the game on the court but I was extremely impressed with Bill Self's kids as they are really coming around of late and playing phenomenal defense. To hold Mike Davis's high octane offense in the teens for the first half and 62 points for the entire game is almost impossible to believe. Add in the eight game winning streak previous and 11 wins in 12 games and you see a team that is ready to compete with anybody.
Sherron Collins is a star and others have been on the cum including Cole Aldrich who is a semi beast down low. These guys are obviously not as good as last season's National Championship team but in a year or two they do have that potential. Over the past month the Jayhawks have proven they can play on the road with impressive win after win and flat out should outclass a rapidly improving and good K State club but not a great team by any means.
Denis Clemente will do his thing as the guy is super for the Wildcats who have now won six straight but it is not going to be enough against an ultra dangerous team right now in Kansas.
Re: SATURDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
1500* - Cincinnati Bearcats
1000* - Florida Gators
500* - UCLA Bruins
I don't know if you realize this, but Cincinnati is 17-8 this season, and they come into the Steel City sporting wins and covers in 3 straight. The Bearcats have won 7 of their last 9 overall both straight up, and against the spread, and they are getting a ton of points in today's game against a Pittsburgh team that has one eye on Monday's crack at home against # 1 Connecticut!!!!!
Talk about a perfect spot for Cincy to come in and steal the bacon, this is it.
These schools played 3 times last season (inlcuding the Big East Tourney), and Cincinnati covered in ALL 3, and actually won outright in their home meeting against the Panthers, 62-59.
I have to believe the Bearcats can stay inside of the number in this one, especially with Pitt looking ahead to their Monday nighter with UConn.
Take the points boys!
1500♦ - Cincinnati Bearcats - 4:00 pm
After watching Georgia's listless performance at Knoxville earlier this week in a game they were plastered 79-48, I believe the Bulldogs have thrown in the towel on the season, and are just going through the motions.
Anyway you slice it, the 'Dawgs have lost 11 in a row now, and the points have done much to help them of late, as they are on a 2-6-1 spread slide their last 8 losses.
Florida is looking for win # 20 on the year, and today in Athens, it is going to happen!
The Gators last pair of the SEC road have both been losses, but the sledding is significantly easier in this one, and Florida does boast a perfect 10-for-10 record the last 10 times they have faced UGA, covering the last pair, and 5 of the last 6.
Florida has also covered 7 of the last 9 meetings in Athens, soon to be 8 of the last 10.
BLOWOUT written all over this one!
1000♦ - Florida Gators - 3:30 pm
Look for UCLA to bounce-back at Arizona today.
The Bruins were once again beaten back by Arizona State on Thursday to stop a 4-game win, and cover streak.
Arizona has come on strong since their unreal overtime win and cover over Houston back on January 24th, winning their last 6 games. Of course on their home floor they will be a tough out for the Bruins, but Ben Howland's team has got to be seething after losing in Tempe, and they have had the Wildcats number of late, winning the season's first meeting, 83-60 as the double-digit favorite to make it 8 straight series wins with 6 covers in those 8 games.
Looks to me like the Bruins don't know how to match up against Arizona State, but certainly DO know how to match up against their in-state brother the Wildcats.
Take UCLA minus the number to bounce-back strong today.
500♦ - UCLA Bruins - 1:00 pm
Re: SATURDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
Tulsa at Central Florida
Play: Central Florida +2.5
Tulsa is a better team than Central Florida, but the scheduling dynamics are huge for the home team tonight. UCF has been very good at home all season, but they had a disastrous outing against Houston a few games back. The Knights followed that up with a second straight shabby performance, but they appeared to get it back together last game against UTEP. UCF lost that game, but only by five and I see them now getting back to where they were prior to the Houston debacle. Now it's Tulsa that fits the profile of a team likely to throw in a clunker. The Golden Hurricane have had a very solid year, but they just got kikked at Memphis in what was a very big game and they're in a huge potential hangover spot. The home team has won all five meetings between these two teams and the situation favors the host tonight. I'll take the points with Central Florida.
UCLA at Arizona
Play: UCLA -4
I have to admit I'm surprised by how well Arizona has hung in, as I thought the Wildcats were a candidate to pack it in early with the pre-season turmoil and what amounts to a lame duck coaching staff. That said, they're still a limited team as they have very little depth and I just can't see them matching up with UCLA. The Bruins have been sharp lately, and don't be misled by the narrow loss to Arizona State. I thought UCLA was flat out jobbed by the officiating late in that game, and that may actually work to our advantage here. No doubt in my mind the Bruins take the court focused and mite ticked off to boot and that's a combo Arizona cannot counter. Lay the spot with UCLA.
Creighton at Southern Illinois
Play: Creighton -2.5
It's been a rough year for Southern Illinois. The Salukis got off to a terrible start thanks to their horrific shooting, and just when they finally seemed to get on track, they lost their floor leader to injury. SIU just got trampled at Northern Iowa and they look like major fade material right now. Creighton has hit their stride and the Bluejays will be gunning for their sixth straight win here. I see them getting it without that much resistance and I'm therefore more than happy to lay a very small spot with the Creighton side.
Tennessee State at Austin Peay
Austin Peay -12.5
Tennessee State is a mess right now. They unceremoniously dumped their veteran coach last week, and while they did manage a road win at Jacksonville State on Monday, this is basically a rudderless ship right now. Austin Peay has not been a big margin team this year, but the Governors are winning, and now find themselves just one game off the top in OVC. The national TV cameras will fire up the crowd and I feel there's good reason to fade the road team in their current state of affairs. Lay the spot with Austin Peay.
Niagara at Fairfield
Play: Niagara -5
Niagara was just about my favorite team early in the season as I notched several winners with the Purple Eagles. I got off them when they hit a bit of a funk early in the conference season, but Niagara is clearly back on the beam once again. The Eagles have won six in a row coming into play tonight, and they've covered each of their last five outings. Fairfield has shown lots of guts in playing through injuries and off the court issues, but now Nero is having more back problems, so in effect the Stags have lost almost all their key talent for one reason or another. I think they have to be gassed at this point and the fact that Niagara is a dynamite 10-1 as road chalk of six points or fewer sure doesn't hurt the cause. Let's ride the hot team again with another play on Niagara to notch the win and cover.
Re: SATURDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
George Mason -5.5 Wager 770 to win 700
NC State +3.5 Wager 770 to win 700
Penn St -2.5 Wager 770 to win 700
So Carolina -2 Wager 770 to win 700
Ohio State +6 Wager 770 to win 700
Nevada +2 Wager 770 to win 700
The Citadel +8 Wager 770 to win 700
BONUS: Dayton -9