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THURSDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS

THURSDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS

RAS

North Dakota State (+10) 1.00 UNIT

Southern Cal (-2) 1.00 UNIT

Arizona State (-4.5) 1.00 UNIT

Portland State (+10.5) 1.00 UNIT

UCLA (-7) 1.00 UNIT

Washington (-5) 1.00 UNIT

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THE GOLD SHEET'S LTS (+)

EARLY NCAA COLLEGE HOOPS

LSU (-2 1/2) over Butler NCAA at Greensboro

MEMPHIS (-20) over CS Northridge NCAA at Kansas City

MISSISSIPPI STATE (+5 1/2) over Washington NCAA at Portland

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Dr Bob

I have 6 round 1 Best Bets and one possible Best Bet.

Rotation #713 Butler (+2 1/2) 3-Stars at +1 or more, 2-Stars to -1.
Rotation #722 UCLA (-7) 3-Stars at -8 or less, 2-Stars up to -9.
Rotation #726 Cal (-1) 3-Stars at -2 or better, 2-Stars up to -3.
Rotation #734 Washington (-5 1/2) 2-Stars at -6 or less, 3-Stars at -5.
Rotation #826 Wake Forest (-7 1/2) 3-Stars at -8 or less, 2-Stars up to -9.
Rotation #830 Arizona State (-4 1/2) 3-Stars at -6 or less, 4-Stars at -4, 2-Stars up to -7.

3 Star Selection
***Butler (+2 ½) over Lsu

Butler has built a great tradition of excellence that continued this season despite coach Brad Stevens being forced to start 3 freshman. The Bulldogs aren’t as good offensively as they’ve been in recent years, but they play great defense (38.2% FG allowed) and take care of the ball (just 12 turnovers per game). Teams in the Horizon League are used to Butler’s deliberate offensive system, but the Bulldogs have frustrated non-conference opponents over the years and they are 19-2 ATS in their last 21 non-conference games when not laying more than 1 point (as dog, pick or -1), including a perfect 5-0 ATS this season. The Bulldogs have impressive wins at Davidson and at Xavier this season and lost by just 3 points at Ohio State and 4 of their 5 losses were by 4 points or less – so they figure to keep this game very close if they don’t win it straight up. Of course, I expect Butler to win this game straight up against an LSU team has struggled against teams with good interior scorers (Butler’s leading scorer Matt Howard fits the bill) this season. My ratings favor Butler by ½ a point and the Bulldogs apply to a very strong 24-2 ATS subset of a 99-36-3 ATS round 1 situation. I’ll take Butler in a 3-Star Best Bet at +1 or more and for 2-Stars at pick or -1. My math model predicts 126 total points.


3 Star Selection
***Ucla (-7) over Virginia Commonwealth

VCU is everyone’s first round upset pick, but I just don’t see that happening. UCLA isn’t as good as they’ve been in recent years, but they’re not that much worse either. The Bruins certainly have a different sort of team, relying more on their offense to atone for their mediocre defense, but UCLA’s offense is among the best in the nation. In fact, the Bruins led the nation in field goal percentage and their adjusted offensive efficiency (points per possessions adjusted for the level of opponent’s defensive efficiency) is the best in the nation since sharp shooting Nikola Dragovic was inserted into the starting lineup on January 11th. The Bruins’ defense, while not as good as in recent years, still ranks 49th in the nation in my rankings using games with their current lineup (defense is a bit worse with Dragovic starting), but VCU’s adjusted defensive rating is 48th in the nation. The difference is the offenses of these two teams and VCU’s offensive rating is 74th in the nation after compensating for opposition. My ratings favor UCLA by 10 points, which is where this line opened, but I’ve adjusted that number down to 8 ½ after factoring in VCU’s higher level of play against better competition. So, while the opening line of 10 was indeed too high, a line of 7 points is now too low and the Bruins apply to a very good 19-1 ATS subset of an 82-29-3 ATS round 1 situation. I’ll take UCLA in a 3-Star Best Bet at -8 or less and for 2-Stars at -8 ½ or -9 points. My math predicts 142 ½ total points, so I’ll consider the Over a Strong Opinion at 137 or less and a regular opinion at 137 ½ or 138 points.


3 Star Selection
***California (-1) over Maryland

Maryland is getting too much credit for being an ACC team while the Pac-10 is incorrectly perceived to be a lesser conference. The ACC is indeed a better overall conference than the Pac-10, but 1.5 points on average, but that’s because North Carolina and Duke are pulling up the average. The Pac-10 doesn’t have any elite teams, but 9 of the 10 teams are in the post-season and 8 of them are actually good teams and the median Pac-10 team (USC, Arizona) is better than the median ACC team (Miami-Florida, Maryland). Cal and Maryland actually played a schedule that rated exactly the same in difficulty and the Bears were 22-10 while the Terrapins are just 20-13 straight up. Maryland is getting some credit for beating North Carolina at home and for beating Wake Forest in the ACC tournament, but those were their only 2 wins of the season against teams that rate as highly as Cal or better (against 8 losses). The Bears, meanwhile, were 10-7 straight up against teams as good or better than Maryland and the Bears have some wins over good teams too (2-0 against Washington and a win over Arizona State). Maryland was is just 5-11 against teams rated in my top 50 while the Bears are 7-7 against top-50 teams and Maryland doesn’t even rank in the top-50 (they’re #51). Cal is actually 6-1 straight up against teams that rate within 3 points of Maryland’s rating (UNLV, 2-0 against Arizona, 2-0 Wash St, 1-1 Stanford) while Maryland is 3-5 against teams that rate within 3 points of Cal’s rating (wins over Michigan, Miami, and Wake and losses to Georgetown, Miami, Florida State, Clemson and Wake). The Bears should certainly be favored by more than just 1 point in this game and my ratings favor Cal by 2 ½ points and by 4 points using only games against other good teams. The Bears also match up well, as Maryland is better defending the interior while allowing opponents to get open looks from the outside (they allow 34.4% 3-point shooting to teams that combine to average 34.8% shooting). Cal leads the nation in 3-point shooting at 43.4% and their top 3 scorers are all perimeter players, so Maryland’s ability to defend the paint doesn’t really mean much. Maryland’s bad offense (42% shooting) just won’t be able to keep up with the Bears’ outstanding offense. In addition to the line value and match-up, the Bears apply to a 24-3 ATS first round angle while Maryland applies to a negative 42-70-1 ATS game 1 situation that is based on their good play in their conference tournament. I’ll take California in a 3-Star Best Bet at -2 or less and for 2-Stars at -2 ½ or -3 points. My predicted total is 144 total points.


2 Star Selection
**Washington (-5 ½) over Mississippi State

Mississippi State has won 6 consecutive games while covering the spread in all 6 and winning 5 of those as the underdog. However, major conference teams that weren’t likely to make the NCAA Tournament without winning their conference tournament generally fall flat in the NCAA opener and the Bulldogs apply to a 9-33-1 ATS letdown situation in round 1. Also, teams that win 3 or more consecutive games as an underdog are just 28-75-1 ATS as an underdog or pick in their next game if facing a team with a winning record, including 2-11 ATS as a dog of less than 12 points in the NCAA Tournament. Washington, meanwhile, is 7-0 ATS this season after a loss so the Huskies should bounce back from their loss to Arizona State with a good effort in this game. Washington also applies to a 24-3 ATS first round situation. My ratings favor Washington by 6 points in this game, but I don’t particularly love the match-up. Mississippi State shot blocker Jarvis Varnado, who averages an incredible 4.7 rejections per game, should neutralize Huskies’ big man Jon Brockman and Washington’s mediocre outside shooters (34% 3-pointers) will be forced to take more 3-pointers than they usually do (just 12 per game). Washington’s top two scorers are guards, so they don’t completely depend on inside scoring and they do score enough in transition to negative Varnado somewhat, but overall I think the match-up favors the Bulldogs a bit. In fact, my match-up analysis projects a fair line of 5 points instead of 6 points. The situation is simply too good to pass up and I’ll take Washington in a 2-Star Best Bet at -6 points or less and for 3-Stars at -5 or less. My math model predicts 149 total points.


3 Star Selection
***Wake Forest (-7 ½) over Cleveland State

I lost my Best Bet on Butler -6 over Cleveland State in the Horizon League Tournament Final, but that win by the Vikings gives me no hesitation in going against them again here. Cleveland State is still not as good in games without injured guard D’Aundray Brown (51% FG, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game) and the only reason they were even close against Butler was due to a huge variance from the expected 3-point shooting of each team. Cleveland State has only made 31.7% of their 3-point shots this season, but the Vikings were 10 of 19 in that game against a good Butler defense (I expected 28.3% 3-point shooting) and a good shooting Butler team (35.2%) made just 4 of 19 3-point shots when they were expected to make 34.8% at home against a slightly better than average Cleveland State 3-point defense. Cleveland State managed to make 6 more 3-pointers on the same number of attempts as Butler in that game, rather than making less as expected, and the Vikings would have lost by about 15 points had the 3-point shooting not been so randomly variant. Beating Butler has made the Vikings a bit overrated while Wake’s loss to Maryland in the ACC tournament has resulted in less respect. Wake Forest may have lost to Maryland, but they are good enough to be 6-1 straight up against the best teams that they faced this season – winning at BYU, beating North Carolina in their only meeting, sweeping Clemson, beating Florida State by 23 points and splitting two games with Duke. My ratings favor Wake Forest by 8 ½ points with Brown out for Cleveland State and the Demon Deacons’ strong defense (I rate them 15th in the nation in adjusted points per possession allowed) should overwhelm a normally poor shooting Vikings squad (43% FG, 32% 3-pointers). Cleveland State does play good defense, but Wake Forest performed relatively better offensively against better defensive teams, as wins over Duke, Florida State, and North Carolina would attest. The reason for this play is a number of strong situations that favor Wake Forest, including a 15-0 ATS subset of an 82-29-3 ATS first round angle. Cleveland State, meanwhile, applies to a negative 9-33-1 ATS letdown situation. I’ll take Wake Forest in a 3-Star Best Bet at -8 or less and for 2-Stars at -8 ½ or -9 points. My math model predicts 140 total points.


3 Star Selection
***Arizona State (-4 1/2) over Temple

Temple played great in winning the Atlantic 10 tournament, but the Owls are not good enough to beat Arizona State if both teams play their normal game. Temple and Arizona State both shoot a lot of 3-pointer (21 per game at 36.7% for Temple and 22 per game at 36.6% for ASU), but the Sun Devils have an advantage in this match-up because they defend the 3-point arc so much better. ASU allowed just 31.4% long range shooting to a schedule of teams that combine to average 35.5% from deep while Temple was just average defending the arc, giving up 34.3% 3-point shooting to teams that combine for 34.5%. Temple’s Dionte Christmas is getting a lot of pub for his good performance in the A 10 tournament, but Christmas is an inconsistent shooter that made just 41% of his shots while ASU star James Hardin in a top 5 NBA draft pick that made 50% of his shots while adding 4.2 assists and 1.7 steals per game. My ratings favor Arizona State by 6 ½ points and the Sun Devils are due to bounce-back from their loss to USC in the Pac-10 finals. Coach Herb Sendek’s team is 20-11 ATS after a point spread loss in his 3 seasons, including 12-2 ATS recently, so it’s not often the Sun Devils play poorly in consecutive games. Temple has accumulated a very good spread record the last two seasons (41-22-3 ATS), but the Owls don’t perform as well against motivated teams and they are just 3-10-1 ATS against a .500 or better team that is coming off a loss (1-6 ATS this season and 1-4 ATS as a dog). Temple also applies to a negative 2-17 ATS subset of a 42-70-1 ATS letdown situation while the Sun Devils apply to a 99-36-3 ATS round 1 angle. I’ll take Arizona State in a 3-Star Best Bet at -6 or less, for 4-Stars at -4 or less, and for 2-Stars at -6 ½ or -7 points. My predicted total is 121 ½ points.


Possible Best Bet
*Byu (-2 1/2) over Texas A&M

Déjà vu. These teams met last season in the first round of the tournament with BYU as the 8th seed and Texas A&M as the 9th seed. The Aggies of A&M won that game 67-62 as pick thanks to some uncharacteristic 50% 3-point shooting (they were 36% for the season and BYU allowed only 30% 3-pointers for the season). The Aggies will likely win again if they make half of their 3-pointers, but that’s not likely to happen. BYU applies to a very good 99-36-3 ATS round 1 situation that is particularly good for smaller favorites or dogs. My ratings using all games for both teams would favor BYU by 6 points, but the Aggies have played better against good competition while BYU hasn’t played quite as well, on a relative basis, against better teams. I still get BYU by 3 points even after factoring that in. I’ll take BYU in a 2-Star Best Bet at -2 points or less and I’d consider the Cougars a Strong Opinion at -2 ½ or -3 points. My math model predicts 144 ½ total points, so I also lean with the over.

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RAS

Robert Morris/Michigan State (Over 129.5)
Rating: 1.50

Akron/Gonzaga (Over 131.5)
Rating: 1.00

Cal State Northridge/Memphis (Over 130.5)
Rating: 1.00

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Tony George

Penn St. -1 vs Rhode Island

Cheap Line for Penn State who is on a strong homecourt (16-3 on the Year), and who played in the tough Big 10 this season beating numerous NCAA Tourney teams in here. Rhode Island off a win at Niagara and travel again to College Station on back to back roadies in 2 days time. HUGE advantage for a solid Penn State team off a buzzer beater win against a good George Mason team. Like Penn State at home with their depth and tougher schedule. Play 1 Unit on Penn State

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Evan Altemus

Washington -5.5 vs Miss. St

Washington is one of the more disrespected teams in the entire country. They won the Pac 10 regular season title and had several impressive wins throughout conference play. They struggled at the start of the year but closed the season in impressive fashion. Now they get to play their first game of the tournament very close to home in Portland, Oregon. Mississippi State is just happy to be here after winning the SEC Championship. Their biggest advantage over teams is their big man Jarvis Varnado, but Washington will be able to take away that strength with the dominant inside play of Jon Brockman. The Huskies are one of the best rebounding teams in the country, and they have outstanding guard play to complement Brockman. Mississippi State really struggled in non-conference play with losses against Washington State, Texas Tech, Cincinnati, Charlotte, and San Diego. Now they have to travel across the country and play almost a home game for Washington. The Bulldogs struggled away from home all season, and they wont be able to keep this game close. Look for Washington to get a dominant opening round win. 4 UNIT SELECTION

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Plus Line Sports

Memphis -19.5

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Raging Bull

Soccer:

Galatasaray +110 (UEFA Cup)

Zenit St. Petersburg -140 (UEFA Cup)


NCAA:

Texas -4
Memphis -19
Maryland +2
Western Kentucky +5
Morgan State +17
Binghamton +22

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RINKPLAY SPORTS

NHL Western Conference GOM

5* Edmonton Oilers +115

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Larry Ness

Washington -6 vs Miss. St

Rick Stansbury has had a nice run in Starkville, Mississippi. He entered this year with a 10-year mark of 2018-115, taking the Bulldogs to FIVE NCAA tourneys since 2002. His Bulldogs entered the NCAA tournament at 19-12 (9-7) last Thursday and beat Georgia, South Carolina, LSU and Tennessee to give the Bulldogs their sixth NCAA trip in his 11 years (not bad). Out in Seattle, Lorenzo Romar was coming off back-to-back poor season with his Huskies, finishing 16-17 last year, after a 19-win season the previous year had left his team without a postseason invite. However, prior to that, Washington had made three consecutive NCAA trips under Romar, including back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances in '05 (29 wins) and '06 (26 wins). Many expected the Huskies to be much better this year but no one predicted that at 14-4 in the Pac10, Washington would win its first outright Pac 10 regular season title since 1953 (a very good year, as that's when I was born!). Washington easily dispatched of Stanford in the Pac 10 quarters but in the semis, lost to ASU 75-65, a team it had beaten twice during the regular season. However, "all's well that ends well," as U-Dub gets its preferred sub-regional venue in Portland, Oregon. MSU beat Oregon in last year's NCAA first round but gone from that team are the team's best all-around player, swingman Gordon (17.2-6.6-4.9) and the team's best inside player, the 6-8 Rhodes (17.4-7.8). Also lost was starting guard Ben Hansbrough (10.5), as Tyler's "little brother" decided to transfer to Notre Dame. The 6-9 Varnado (13.1-9.0) has had an excellent season, while also leading the NCAA in blocks (4.6 per game). Stewart (12.3-3.8) returned to the backcourt and played well, joined by freshman Bost (11.1-3.6-4.7) and sophomore Turner (8.5-5.4). Ravern Johnson (12.2) is a 6-7 swingman, while the 6-8 Augustus (6.1-3.3) and 6-8 freshman Osby (4.2-2.6) add depth to the frontcourt.The 6-7 Brockman (14.9-1 1.2) is finally in his senior year at Washington and he has a chance to "make it special," after two disappointing seasons. The 6-6 Pondexter (11.5-5.7) starts next to him on teh frontline, as does 6-8 freshman Gant (3.1-3.4). The starting backcourt is made up of "something old and something new." There is senior Dentmon (15.0-2.8-2.5) and a wonderful freshman, Thomas (15.4-3.1-2.5). The "first man off the bench," is the very versatile 6-9 Bryan-Amaning (6.3-4.2). Washington averages 78.9 PPG and its toughness on the boards has them at plus-8.4 in rebounding margin, the 4th-best margin in the nation. MSU not only gets a tough venue (very favorable to Washington) but must travel off a its grueling four-day trek to the SEC tourney title. Yes, Varnado (13.8-8.8 in the four games), Stewart (16.3 PPG the L3) and Turner (18 points and 21 rebounds the L2) all played well. Also, the Bulldogs' 'D' never let up, allowing just 61.5 PPG in the four games, while holding their four opponents to 32.7 percent from the floor (including 28.6 percent on threes). However, after averaging 80.5 PPG in their first two wins on 48.7 percent shooting (43.6 on threes), the "tired" Bulldogs averaged just 65.5 PPG on 34.6 percent shooting (22.7 percent on threes) the last two games. It's all U-Dub in this one! LEGEND Play on Washington.

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Maddux Sports

3 units on Butler +2.5
3 units on BYU -2
3 units on UCLA -7
4 units on Washington -5.5
4 units on Gonzaga -12.5
3 units on California -1.5
3 units on Illinois -5

Friday

3 units on Stephen Austin +12
4 units on Cornell +13
3 units on Wisconsin +2.5

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BOB BALFE

BYU -3 over Texas A&M
American +16.5 over Villanova
Michigan/Clemson Under 137.5
Morgan State +16.5 over Oklahoma

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DESTROYTHEBOOK SPORTS

NIT Tournament, 2nd Rnd Winner

Notre Dame -5

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Insider Sports Report

4* Maryland/California (NCAAB) OVER 140.5
Range: 139 to 142.5

4* L.S.U. -2.5 over Butler (NCAAB)
Range: -.5 to -4.5

3* Binghamton/Duke (NCAAB) UNDER 137
Range: 139 to 135

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The Prez

Northern Iowa +9.5 / 5 units

Maryland +2.0 / 6 units

Tenn Chattanooga +21.5 / 4 units

Morgan State +17.5 / 5 units

Binghamton +23.0 / 4 units

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Anthony Redd

25 Dime Louisiana State

25 Dime Texas

25 Dime Oklahoma

15 Dime UCLA

10 Dime Texas A&M

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Al DeMarco

5 Dime - Gonzaga

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Bob Valentino

30 DIME - UCLA

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Brandon Lang

20-Dime LSU

20-Dime Mississippi State

20-Dime California

10-Dime Michigan

10-Dime VCU

5-Dime Gonzaga

5-Dime Northern Iowa

FREE - Binghamton

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Chris Jordan

600♦ VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH

100♦ WESTERN KENTUCKY

100♦ MORGAN STATE

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