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MONDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
Re: MONDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
15* Situational Mismatch-NBA (69.2% run since Mar 8)
My 15* Situational Mismatch is on the Por Blazers at 10:05 ET. The Blazers just completed a seven-game, five-game road trip with a 96-84 win at Milwaukee on Saturday. The Blazers won THREE of the five games, keeping them well inside the playoff "cut line," 5 1/2 games ahead of the 9th-place Suns. The Blazers are 44-26 in the Northwest Division, one game back of the Nuggets and a half-game ahead of the Jazz, as the 2nd through 7th playoff spots in the West are separated by just 2 1/2 games. Greg Oden (8.7-7.2) returned on the team's trip, totaling 13 point and 19 rebounds (6.3 per) in the three games in which he played. The Blazers are happy to have him back but they have to like the fact that Pryzbilla (5.6-8.6) has filled in well at center and the team went 10-5 in Oden's absence, including 8-1 at home. Roy (23.2-4.7-5.2) and PG Blake (11.1-5.0 APG) are the backcourt starters, with Aldridge (17.8-7.2) and now Outlaw (12.9-4.3) starting in the frontcourt. Batum (5.3-2.8) has typically started at the small forward spot but he's struggling with an ankle injury but the Blazers are sure not handicapped with Outlaw getting more minutes. Shooting guard Fernandez (10.1) also returned on the trip and the Blazers are happy to have the rookie back, who has given them a solid scoring 'punch' off the bench all season. The Blazers have been an excellent home team, going 28-6 SU and 21-13 ATS. Portland will take no mercy on the 76ers in this one, a team wrapping up a seven-day, five-game road trip of its own. The 76ers opened this trip with an upset win over the Lakers but then dropped games in Phoenix and Oakland, before beating the hapless Kings last night. Philly, like Portland, is fighting for playoff positioning, as its 35-33 record has the 76ers safely inside the playoff cut line but 1 1/2 games behind the Heat for that 5th playoff seed. Philly desperately wants to avoid finishing 6th (or 7th), as that would mean a first round matchup with either the Celtics or Magic. Philly is starting a small frontcourt with Brand sidelined for the year, as 6-6 swingman Iquoadala (18.32-4.4-6.6) and 6-8 small forward Young (14.8-5.0) join center Dalembert (6.4-9.0) up front. Veteran Evans (2.6-4.3) and 6-10 Florida rookie Speights (7.8-3.8) are the key reserves. PG Miller (16.1-4.4-6.6) is joined by Green (8.5) in the backcourt but Williams (12.4) has been HUGE coming off the bench. This is a BRUTAL spot for Philly and the Blazers should not lack for focus, as when these team met Jan 14 in Philadelphia, the 76ers won, 100-79. Expect the Blazers to "overturn that verdict here" and while the margin may not be that big again, the Blazers should have little trouble winning by double digits. Situational Mismatch 15* Por Blazers.
15* Tourney Bailout-CBB (64% s/Mar 7 with late tourney plays)
My 15* Tourney Bailout is on UTEP at 10:00 ET. I had predicted before the year began that UTEP would win 22 to 23 games by Selection Sunday and be squarely on the NCAA 'bubble.' That was not the case, as the Miners underachieved this season (10-6 in C-USA and 18 9 wins overall) and wound up in the CBI. However, the Miners were impressive in winning 79-77 at Nevada in their first game (could easily have 'mailed in ' their performance) and that gives me hope that like fellow C-USA member Tulsa did last year (won CBI), the Miners will "play hard" in this minor postseason tourney. Jackson (24.2-5.4) led the way in the team's win at Reno with 26 points, with Culpepper (17.4) doing what he's done all season and that is to score off the bench (he had 16). More good news comes UTEP's way with 6-11 freshman Moultrie (7.9-8.1) having scored 26 points while grabbing 24 rebounds in his last two games. Northeastern comes to town off a 64-62 first round win at Wyoming, a game in which both teams shot poorly. Northeastern is led by 6-4 junior guard Janning (14.1-4.6), who is joined in the backcourt by PG Allen (9.7-5.1). The team's frontcourt of the 6-8 Adako (10.9-4.1), the 6-8 Spates (7.8-3.1) and the 6-9 Ojougboh (7.1-4.4) is pretty solid but Adako missed that game in Laramie with a knee problem and it's not known whether he'll play in this game. I went against Northeastern in its game with Wyoming and lost, when the Cowboys played an awful game. However, my reasoning was sound and I'm coming right back against them in this one. Note Northeastern's schedule as of late. The team finished the CAA regular season on Feb 28 and then waited a full week to play its first conference tourney game, losing 58-54 to Towson on Mar 7. The team was then notified on Sunday, Mar 15 (probably very late) that it would be playing in Laramie, Wyoming in two days. T e Huskies won that game (more because of the Cowboys' poor play than anything they did) and now six days later, travels to beautiful downtown El Paso, Texas. These Boston kids have now been 'rewarded' with visits to Laramie and El Paso. Are you kidding me? More importantly, the Huskies have been just awful offensively over their last four games, averaging 54.8 PPG. They've shot 40.1 percent as a team, including 18-of-92 (19.6 percent!) from three-point range. All this and Adako may not play, again. Now don't think this is a current slump either, as the Huskies have reached 70 points in just TWO of their last 18 games. UTEP is an excellent defensive team (allows 59.8 PPG) and led by Jackson and Culpepper, score 75.6 PPG, themselves. Lay it! Tourney Bailout 15* UTEP.
20* CIT 2nd Round GOY (15-7 s/Mar 3 with high-end plays)
My 20* CIT 2nd Round GOY is on Brdaley at 8:00 ET. Oakland, located in Rochester, Michigan, went 17-14 last year and returned a veteran cast this year, along with some promising freshman. The Golden Grizzlies went 13-5 in the Summit League (third-place) and made it to the conference championship game, losing 66-64 to North Dakota St on a basket with 3.3 seconds left in the game. It capped an 18-4 run by North Dakota State, which helped the Bison overcome a 12-point deficit with under 10 minutes left. Oakland's first game in this year's inaugural College Insider.com tourney was a comeback home win over Kent St. The Grizzlies trailed KSU 40-27 at the half but rallied to win, 80-74, keeping them perfect at home this year at 12-0. The 6-11 Benson went from 5.2-3.5 LY to 14.1-7.8 this yeear, while the 6-9 Hudson improved from 3.5-3.0 to 7.3-4.4. Returning in the backcourt are the 6-4 Kangas (18.7) who is the team's leading scorer plus PG Jones (13.6-7.8 APG). Redshirt freshman Maynard (7.2) joins them on the perimeter at 6-7 with 6-4 freshman guard Cushingberry and 6-10 senior Waterstradt (4.6-5.1) being the team's key reserves. Kangas, the team's leading scorer has a sore ankle but he's listed as probable for this one. Bradley came within one game of winning last year's all-new CBI tourney (lost a best-of-three championship series to Tulsa, 2-1) and will now give it a go in this new tourney. The Braves lost three key players from LY's team, guards Crouch (15.8-3.6-3.2) and Ruffin (14.1-3.6-5.8) plus the 6-7 Salley (6.1-6.9). A key player LY (particularly in the CBI) was the 6-5 Warren (13.2-3.6) but he was lost before this year began, to a foot injury. All things considered, the Braves' 10-8 MVC mark and 19-14 overall mark is fairly impressive. The 6-6 Wilson (14.0-7.2) is the team's best player and he's joined up front by the 7-0 Collins (4.6-4.2). Sophomore Maniscalco (12.4-2.8 APG), JUCO transfer Roberts (8.2-4.2) and freshman McCain (5.6-3.2) start in a three-guard backcourt. Dunson (10.4) played well at the guard position most of this year, while 6-9 senior Singh (4.6-3.1) and 6-7 redshirt freshman Brown (3.4-3.0) add depth in the frontcourt. The Golden Grizzlies were competitive in losses at Cleveland State, Syracuse, and Iowa plus won at Oregon and Wisconsin-Green Bay but winning at Peoria will be no easy task, especially if Kangas is less than 100 percent. The Braves have lost just three times at home this season, to MVC regular season co-champs Creighton and Northern Iowa plus Butler (on Dec 10), which was ranked No. 22 in the final AP poll. The Braves beat a solid Austin Peay team 81-74 in this tourney's first round, despite Austin Peay shooting 56.1 percent, as the Braves made 51.1 percent (11-20 on threes). Jim Les was able to get last year's veteran team to take the new CBI tourney seriously, so I see no reason to believe this year's group won't show the same enthusiasm this year in the CIT. Kudos to Oakland but there's a MAJOR "class difference" between the Summit League and the MVC and the Braves, here at home at this 'cheap' price, will prove just that. CIT 2nd Round GOY 20* Bradley.
Las Vegas Insider -CBB (8-4 s/Mar 10 with tourney Insiders)
My Las Vegas Insider is on Creighton at 7:00 ET. How quickly one's star can fade! Billy Gillispie resurrected left-for-dead programs at UTEP and Texas A&M, which put him in the perfect spot to take over at Kentucky, one of CBB's "royalty" programs. However, his first season last year was full of controversy, although the Wildcats did make a late run to get an NCAA bid ('Cats lost their first round game). This year it was more of the same inconsistency and Kentucky failed top garner an NCAA bid, ending a 17-year run. The latest Kentucky rumor mill has former player Travis Ford (just completed a successful first year at Okla St), "coming to Lexington." The Wildcats did beat UNLV 70-60 in their first round NIT game (Meeks had 19 with Patterson adding 16 and 11 boards). However, the 6-4 Meeks (23.5) and the 6-8 Patterson (18.1-9.4) are Kentucky's only consistent performers. The 6-9 Stevenson (7.6-3.8), the 6-7 Harris (5.5-3.6) and junior PG Porter (4.0-2.7 APG) round out the starting five. Few if any Kentucky players have shown any ability to contribute significantly in their reserve rolls. Creighton tied Northern Iowa at 14-4 for the MVC regular season title but threw in a real 'ugly' 73-49 loss to Illinois St in the MVC tourney. That loss contributed to Creighton being "left on the NCAA bubble" come Selection Sunday. Dana Altman's in his 15th season at Omaha and this year's team won at least 20 games for the 11th straight time, while the Blue Jays' NIT appearance marks their 12th consecutive postseason appearance. However, the school and fans alike are used to NCAA appearances (seven between 1999 and 2007), not NIT ones. Creighton was less than impressive in its 73-71 home win over Bowling Green last Wednesday but that 'flat' effort was understandable, after failing to get an NCAA bid (Creighton was 26-7 on Selection Sunday and its RPI of 40 was the second-highest of any school NOT to go 'dancing'). Creighton could have some trouble with Patterson inside, as the 6-9 Lawson (8.4-4.8) is the team's best big man, joined by a cast of average performers in the 6-8 Walker (5.1-3.9) and the 6-5 Harriman (3.7). However, Creighton's perimeter people are excellent and the team's depth is quite impressive. The Blue Jays don't have a Jodie Meeks but in Woodfox (15.70 and Stinnett (12.40 they do have two "prime time " players. The rest of the group is a rotation of newcomers like JUCO Carter (8.1-5.2) and freshman Young (5.1) plus returning players like Witter (7.9), Korver (3.7) and Dotzler (3.1). Creighton did get a No. 1 seed in this tourney and so far, NIT No. 1 seeds have yet to lose. Auburn, Florida and SD St (the three other No. 1 seeds), all won home games in the second round by scores of 74-55, 74-60 and 70-52. This Omaha crowd will be fired up for a visit from the storied Kentucky program but the Wildcats can't win on reputation alone. Expect a another double digit win by an NIT No. 1 seed and with this 'short' number, that translates into an ATS rout. Las Vegas Insider Creighton.
Weekly Wipeout Winner-NBA (10-3 or 76.9% s/Jan 30!)
My Weekly Wipeout Winner is on the Pho Suns at 10:05 ET. The Suns lost six straight games from Mar 3-12, putting the team's playoff hopes on "life-support." However, they've rebounded to win four straight games (4-0 ATS), averaging 128.5 PPG in the surge, winning each game by double digits with an average margin of victory of 19.3 PPG. Stoudemire (21.4-8.1) has been sidelined for quite awhile and now Barbosa (14.3) is out, but the Suns don't seem to care. Shaq (18.1-8.6) has been great, while Richardson (17.0-4.6 in 45 games with the Suns) and Nash (15.3-9.6 APG) form the starting backcourt. Hill (11.0-4.9) and Barnes (10.4-5.3) start up front with Shaq plus previously little-known (or used) players like Tucker (4.8), Dudley (4.4-2.6) and Amundson (4.0-3.3) are all stepping up. Denver comes into this game 45-25, leading the Northwest Division by one game over Portland and is 1 1/2 games up on Utah. The log-jam in the West is muddled, with 2 1/2 games separating the current No. 2 seed (Houston), with the current No. 7 (New Orleans). Anthony (22.1-6.9) continues to lead Denver in scoring, while Billups (18.4-6.3 APG with Denver) is the team's heart and soul. Nene (14,7-7.8) has done yeoman's work as an undersized center all year, while power forward Martin (11.8-6.1) has been healthy most of the season (has played in 59 of 70 games, which is a great percentage for him). Kleiza (9.8-4.0), Andersen (6.3-5.9) and Balkman (5.6-4.3) have all contributed in the frontcourt, with Andersen in particular playing well lately, averaging 6.8 PPG, 8.1 RPG and 3.1 blocks over his last 13 games. JR Smith (14.4), Jones (5.6) and Carter (5.3-4.7 APG) have all started at one time or the other in the backcourt. Denver has not played well on the road post-All Star break. The Nuggets won at Philly in their first game out of the break but then lost six straight, before finally winning at Memphis on 3/18. However, that was an 111-109 win over the apthetic Grizzlies, in a game in which the Nuggets were 6 1/2-point favorites. The Suns have won EIGHT straight home games over the Nuggets and despite being 3 1/2 games out of the West's final playoff spot, haven't "packed it in." Chalk up another home win here and the 'cheap' number will result in a double-digit ATS win. Weekly Wipeout Winner Pho Suns.
Re: MONDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
CBI Tournament Mismatch Game of the Year
Stanford (135') at Wichita State (-1')
WICHITA STATE (-1') 500 Dimes
100 Dime Hoops Five Pack
College of Charleston (+4') at Richmond (143)
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (+4') 100 Dimes
Oakland (+3) at Bradley (138')
OAKLAND (+3) 100 Dimes
Vermont (+1) at Oregon State
VERMONT (+1) 100 Dimes
Idaho (+8) at Pacific (125')
IDAHO (+8) 100 Dimes
Davidson (+4') at Saint Mary's (143)
DAVIDSON (+4') 100 Dimes
Re: MONDAY PREMIUM SERVICE PLAYS
2* (Top Play) Creighton Blue Jays (-) vs Kentucky
When Creighton squeaked by Bowling Green Wednesday there were a couple of key factors. One was that the Blue Jays were still trying to get over the disappointment of not making the Big Dance. The other was that the Falcons had an 11-4 run going as they headed into Creighton for an NIT Opener that Bowling Green was much more excited about than the Blue Jays were. This all showed up in the way the Blue Jays played that game as they trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half and still trailed by 8 points with under 9 minutes to play in the game! Creighton simply was disappointed by not making the Big Dance and they were also guilty of overlooking Bowling Green. That all changes now for the Blue Jays as, after surviving the expected “let-down game”, it’s a unique opportunity that now sits in front of Creighton! The Blue Jays are fired up about the opportunity of hosting Kentucky in a game that will be televised on ESPN. This is a rare chance for Creighton to secure a high-profile victory over a big-school foe! Additionally, even though they certainly won’t overlook the Wildcats, the Blue Jays know that defeating Kentucky will set up a home date with Notre Dame. This would be huge for Creighton, a Catholic school, as they would then get a showdown with one of the most high-profile programs in the country. As you can see, and the players don’t need reminded of this but Coach Dana Altman will do just that, not making the NCAA Tournament is not the total disaster it originally appeared to be. After surviving the first round scare, the Blue Jays now see this as an opportunity to take down some big-name schools and make a run at winning the NIT! The Blue Jays have the horses to do just that. Kentucky, though they did manage to beat UNLV in the first round, is still upset about missing out on the Big Dance. That’s because it was the first time the Wildcats had missed the NCAA Tourney in 18 years! That’s not very easy to overcome and coach Billy Gillispie continues to be on the hot seat. Unlike a Creighton team that was red-hot at the end of the season, the Wildcats had lost 9 of their last 13 games before coming up with the win over UNLV. The trouble here is that Creighton has enough size inside to slow down big man Patrick Patterson of Kentucky. Also, the Wildcats have seen star Jodie Meeks continue to struggle with his shooting touch. Kentucky also has had a big problem with turnovers this season and we feel certain that Creighton’s pressure defense is absolutely going to disrupt the Wildcats offense throughout this game. Kentucky shot 50% from the floor against UNLV even though three starters – Meeks, Michael Porter, Perry Stevenson – combined to make just 9 of their 25 shots. The rest of the team made 17 of 27 shots from the floor and that’s unlikely to be repeated against the pressure defense that the Blue Jays employ. Yes, Creighton’s defense did not look good against Bowling Green but so much of that had to do with missing out on the Big Dance. The situation is an entirely different one now. The Blue Jays are hosting the Wildcats of Kentucky and that means they bring their “A game” tonight and score a big win for the mid-majors in this one! Play Creighton minus the points as a Top Play selection.
1* (regular play) Carolina Hurricanes Money Line (-) @ Florida
The Panthers are coming off of a loss on Saturday where they gave up three late goals and lost to the Blue Jackets. On the same day, the Hurricanes were at home and got a big win over the division rival Capitals by a 4-1 count! As a result, this would normally seem like a perfect spot for a play on the Panthers and a play against the Hurricanes. This is especially true when you consider that Florida is supposed to get their second leading scorer, Nathan Horton, back on the ice tonight. However, the Panthers have a couple of key issues here that clearly are going against them and favor Carolina. As a result, the play here is on the Hurricanes. Florida’s scoring woes are a major issue! The one goal they scored against Columbus on Saturday was the third time in their last five games that the Panthers have either been shutout or scored just one goal. Also, they’re playing right into the teeth of revenge here! The Panthers absolutely embarrassed the Hurricanes in a 5-0 win in the clubs’ last meeting and that was at Carolina! Needless to say, the Canes are hungry to return the favor here and hand Florida an ugly home loss of their own. Also, this is a key game in terms of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference and, so, even though the Hurricanes are off of a big divisional win they’re certainly not going to overlook Monday’s divisional opponent. This is especially true because of what happened on February 12th – the ugly 5-0 home loss – when Carolina got hammered. The Canes are 11-3-2 in their last 16 games and they’ve averaged over 4 goals per game during this solid stretch. Additionally, the Hurricanes are facing a Florida team that has won just once in their last six games and the Panthers scoring woes are of particular concern. The return of Horton is highly unlikely to fix all that ails Florida right now and yet people are over-reacting and jumping on the Panthers here. We will react to this by grabbing the extra value with the hotter team on the road and now available without laying juice! Huge value on the Canes! Play Carolina on the money line as a regular selection.
1* (regular play) Orlando Magic (-) @ New York
The “knee-jerk reaction here might be to grab the Knicks as a home dog since New York has a shot at “right-back revenge” here. With the Knicks losing at Orlando on Saturday, many will be quick to back them as they look to avenge that loss on Monday night. However, what many are overlooking here is that a couple of key factors from Saturday’s game have resulted in line value for the Magic here. Yes, Orlando only won the match-up Saturday by seven points but they had a much bigger lead than that before faltering late. Part of the problem for the Knicks in the game was not having the normal services of Dwight Howard. The reason for this is because Howard was in foul trouble and this limited his point production as well as his rebounding. That means Howard brings a little “extra effort” to this one which, of course, is the last thing the Knicks need to deal with. Adding even more fuel to the fire is the fact that Orlando’s Rafer Alston and New York’s Nate Robinson were called for technical fouls during a “shoving exchange” in the third quarter. It was not a big incident but it’s just a little something that insures that the Magic will have the right mental approach here. Orlando doesn’t like the Knicks, they don’t like the fact they allowed them back in the game at home on Saturday, and they know a Magic victory here is key in their pursuit of the #2 spot in the Eastern Conference. In other words, they hold the same edges they did Saturday and yet they are laying a smaller number here (because they’re on the road) and we’re going to take advantage. The Knicks, even though David Lee is expected to play – after missing Saturday’s game - are a very banged-up team physically and mentally. The loss to the Kings – who had been 0-28 against the Eastern Conference – really hurt the spirit of the Knicks. The losses have continued to pile up and their playoff hopes are all but dashed. This makes things very tough on them mentally and the Magic can break their spirits with another dominating effort. Howard, 15 points and 7 rebounds Saturday, will make up for that foul-plagued performance here. The Knicks have lost 9 of their last 13 and the last three defeats have come by an average of a twenty point margin per loss. Another ugly one is on tap here. The Magic know that with a win here they will give themselves an opportunity at overtaking Boston for the #2 seed if they can take care of business against the Celtics on Wednesday. The Magic make amends for allowing the Knicks back into Saturday’s game and we expect a huge effort from Howard to lead the way. Play Orlando minus the points as a regular selection.