Sunday Service Plays

Sunday Service Plays

SPORTS ADVIORS

MIDWEST REGIONAL
(at Indianapolis)

(2) Michigan State (29-6, 19-12-1 ATS) vs. (1) Louisville (31-5, 22-14 ATS)

After a couple of shaky performances in the first two rounds of the Big Dance last weekend, Louisville came out Friday and proved why it received the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, waxing Arizona 103-64 and covering easily as a 9½-point favorite. The Cardinals are riding a 13-game winning streak (9-4 ATS), and have advanced to their second consecutive regional final.

In Friday’s other regional semifinal, Michigan State survived its second consecutive scare, rallying from a 13-point first-half deficit for a 67-62 victory over No. 3 seed Kansas, covering as a one-point favorite. The Spartans, who barely held off USC 74-69 as a four-point chalk in a second-round contest, are 3-0 SU and ATS in the Tournament and 9-1 SU (7-3 ATS) in their last 10. Tom Izzo’s squad is in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2005, when it lost the national championship game to North Carolina.

Louisville built up a 21-point halftime lead against the 12th-seeded Wildcats and outscored them 54-36 over the final 20 minutes. Five players scored in double digits for the Cardinals, who shot 57.6 percent from the field (14-for-29 from three-point range) and held Arizona to 38.1 percent shooting.

Goran Sutton had a season-high 20 points and nine rebounds to pace Michigan State against the Jayhawks, but it was the play of guard Kalin Lucas that proved the difference, as he scored seven – including going 5-for-5 on free throws – in the final 49 seconds. Michigan State won despite getting outshot 45.3 percent to 39 percent and despite getting outrebounded 31-26, but the Spartans were nearly perfect from the foul line (16-for-17) and had just 13 turnovers while forcing 19.

The Cardinals reached the regional final last season, falling to North Carolina 83-73 as a 5½-point underdog and they’re once again shooting for their first Final Four appearance since 2005. Coach Rick Pitino owns a 38-12 SU Tournament record while coaching Providence, Kentucky and Louisville.

Under coach Tom Izzo, Michigan State is now 30-10 SU in the Tournament, reaching four Final Fours, seven Sweet 16s and winning one national championship (2000). The last time the Spartans were in the regional final was in 2005, when they beat Kentucky 94-88 in overtime, covering as a 1½-point chalk.

These teams last met on Jan. 2, 1999, with Michigan State prevailing 69-57 as an 8½-point favorite.

Louisville, which failed to cash in its first two Tournament games last weekend, ended ATS droughts of 0-4 in non-conference play and 0-3 in the Big Dance with Friday’s rout of Arizona. Also, the Cardinals have failed to cash in five straight games against the Big Ten. On the bright side, they remain on positive ATS streaks of 39-19-1 overall (17-7-1 last 25), 15-7 as a chalk, 21-7-1 when giving less than seven points, 7-2-1 as a Tourney favorite, 4-0 when laying less than seven points in the Tournament and 11-4 on Sunday

Michigan State is on a host of positive pointspread runs, including 5-1 overall (4-1 at neutral sites), 5-0 in non-conference action, 11-4-1 in neutral-site games, 20-8-1 in the Big Dance, 8-3-1 as an underdog and 4-0 on Sunday. However, the Spartans have failed to cash in five of their last seven against the Big East.

The Cardinals are on “under” streaks of 13-7-1 in non-conference games, 7-3-1 as a neutral-site chalk, 15-5 after a victory of more than 20 points and 6-1 after scoring in triple digits in the previous game. Likewise, Michigan State comes in on “under” stretches of 10-4 overall, 38-18-1 as an underdog, 22-6 when catching less than seven points, 9-4 as a neutral-site pup, 8-3 after a SU win and 7-2 after a spread-cover.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


SOUTH REGIONAL
(at Memphis, Tenn.)

(2) Oklahoma (30-5, 16-13-1 ATS) vs. (1) North Carolina (31-4, 14-19-0 ATS)

North Carolina exploded offensively for the third straight time in the Tournament, pounding No. 4 seed Gonzaga 98-77 on Friday, easily cashing as a 7½-point favorite as it improved to 3-0 SU and ATS in the Big Dance. The Tar Heels, who have scored 101, 84 and 98 points in this event, are back in the regional final for the third straight season and a victory today would put them in the Final Four for the second consecutive year and the third time since 2005.

Oklahoma also moved to 3-0 SU and ATS in the Big Dance by easily dispatching third-seeded Syracuse 84-71 as a one-point favorite. The Sooners, who were eliminated in the second round of the Tournament last year, are back in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2003 and are seeking their first Final Four berth since 2002.

Four of UNC’s five starters reached double digits in scoring Friday, with Tyler Hansbrough going for a game-high 24 points along with 10 rebounds, while gimpy point guard Ty Lawson once again shook off an injured toe and poured in 19 points with nine assists. The Tar Heels shot 53 percent from the floor, made 11 of 19 three-point tries (58 percent) and dominated the boards (40-28 rebounding edge). Roy Williams’ squad is averaging 94.3 ppg in the Big Dance while shooting 50.2 percent.

The Sooners seemingly couldn’t miss against Syracuse, shooting 54.2 percent while going 9-for-21 (43 percent) from long range. Big man Blake Griffin (12-for-15 shooting, 30 points, 14 rebounds) was marvelous as usual, and he got a lot of help from guard Tony Crocker (28 points on 9-for-17 shooting). Oklahoma is averaging 79.7 ppg and shooting 54.4 percent in the Tournament.

North Carolina, playing in the Big Dance for the 41st time, started last year’s Tournament 4-0 SU and ATS, including an 83-73 victory over Louisville as a 5½-point favorite in the Elite Eight.

Oklahoma is in its 26th NCAA Tournament and last played in the regional final in 2003, when it lost to Syracuse 63-47 as a three-point underdog. The previous year, the Sooners were upset in the Final Four, falling 73-64 to Indiana as a seven-point favorite.

North Carolina has cashed in three straight games for the first time since a 3-0 ATS run that carried over from late November to early December, and the Heels – who entered this tourney in a 7-17 ATS drought – haven’t enjoyed a 4-0 ATS run all season. Furthermore, they continue to be in ATS funks of 0-5 on Sunday, 3-7 against winning teams, 3-9 as a favorite of less than seven points, 2-7 after a SU win and 2-8 after a spread-cover. On the flip side, UNC is on positive pointspread runs of 7-1 in the Tournament (all as a favorite), 37-15 in non-conference action, 5-2 versus the Big 12 and 9-3 at neutral sites.

The Sooners have now cashed in four of their last five Tournament games, and they’re 5-2 ATS in their last seven at neutral venues. However, as an underdog, OU is in pointspread slumps of 7-20-1 overall, 2-6 at neutral sites and 4-12-1 when catching less than seven points.

The over is on runs of 13-5 for North Carolina on Sunday, 6-1 when North Carolina is favored by less than seven points, 13-6-1 for North Carolina after a spread-cover, 5-1-1 for Oklahoma in the Tournament, 13-5-1 for Oklahoma in non-conference play and 10-3 for Oklahoma after a spread-cover.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NORTH CAROLINA and OVER


NBA

L.A. Lakers (58-14, 38-34 ATS) at Atlanta (42-31, 40-32-1 ATS)

The Lakers continue a seven-game Eastern Conference road swing when they make their only visit of the season to Philips Arena for a date with the playoff-bound Hawks.

Los Angeles clinched the top seed in the Western Conference with Friday’s 103-95 win in New Jersey, barely covering as a seven-point favorite. The Lakers have won five in a row and eight of their last nine, and after an 0-3 ATS stretch at home, they’ve cashed in each of the first four games of this road trip (all as a favorite). Phil Jackson’s team has been doing it with defense lately, holding six of the last nine opponents to 96 points or fewer while surrendering just 83.7 points per game in the last three.

The Hawks have followed up seven-game SU winning streak by dropping three of their last four, with all three losses coming against elite NBA competition – 102-96 at Cleveland, followed by a pair of home defeats to the Spurs on Wednesday (102-92) and the Celtics on Friday (99-93). Prior to those latter two setbacks, Atlanta had won eight straight home games (7-0-1 ATS). Also, the two non-covers against San Antonio and Boston came on the heels of an 8-0-1 ATS run.

The Lakers pounded Atlanta 96-83 as an 8½-point home favorite in the first game after the All-Star break on Feb. 17. L.A. has won two straight and four of five in this rivalry, but the loss came in last year’s visit to Philips Arena, which the Hawks won 98-95 as a 3½-point underdog. The host is 8-3 SU and ATS in the last 11 meetings, and the Lakers are 8-3 SU and ATS during this stretch. Finally, the winner has cashed in each those 11 head-to-head matchups.

Los Angeles has gotten the money in six straight road games and is on further pointspread tears of 4-0 overall, 8-1 against the Eastern Conference and 4-1 after a spread-cover. However, the Lakers are 10-21 ATS in their last 31 contests when playing on one day of rest, 2-8 ATS in their last 10 against the Southeast Division and 2-5 ATS in their last seven versus winning teams.

Atlanta has failed to cash in five of its last six against Pacific Division foes, but otherwise the Hawks are on spread-covering streaks of 8-2-1 overall, 10-2-1 at home, 9-2 against winning teams, 6-1-1 against the Western Conference and 7-2-1 when going on one day of rest, and they’re 12-6 ATS as an underdog of less than five points.

The Lakers carry “under” streaks of 6-1 overall, 7-3 on the highway, 5-1 against the Eastern Conference and 4-0-1 on Sunday, and the under is 7-1 in Atlanta’s last eight Sunday affairs. However, the Hawks are on “over” runs of 4-0 overall and 4-1 at home and 6-3 in this rivalry.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE


San Antonio (48-24, 36-34-2 ATS) at New Orleans (44-27, 30-39-2 ATS)

The suddenly slumping Hornets face a must-win situation at New Orleans Arena if they’re going to run down the Spurs for first place in the Southwest Division.

New Orleans has followed up a three-game winning streak with consecutive upset losses to the Nuggets at home (101-88 as a four-point favorite) and the Knicks on the road (103-93 as a 4½-point chalk). The Hornets now trail the Spurs by 3 ½ games and the second-place Rockets by two games in the division standings. Once again, the Hornets are struggling on the offensive end, as they’ve been held under triple digits in eight straight games and 13 of the last 16. Meanwhile, after limiting 14 straight opponents to 97 points or less, Byron Scott’s club has seen the last two eclipse the century mark.

The Spurs have taken advantage of New Orleans’ slump by winning three straight games, as the offense has come to life by scoring 107, 102 and 111 points after averaging 85.7 ppg in the previous six outings. On Friday, San Antonio had no trouble with the Clippers, winning 111-98 and holding on for the cover as an 11½-point home chalk. The Spurs have cashed in their last two contests, following an 0-5 ATS slump.

These teams had a thrilling seven-game Western Conference semifinal playoff battle last spring, with the Spurs winning the last two games both SU and ATS to take the series. New Orleans got a tinge of revenge in this season’s first meeting Dec. 17, winning 90-83 as a two-point home favorite, but San Antonio answered with a 106-93 rout as a 7½-point home chalk on Jan. 31.

Including the playoffs, the home team has won 10 of the last 11 clashes both SU and ATS in this rivalry, with the winner covering each time out. Also, the favorite is on an 8-1 ATS roll, and San Antonio is 1-5 ATS in its last six trips to New Orleans, with the lone cover coming in Game 7 of last year’s postseason series.

Despite cashing in its last two games, San Antonio is still on ATS slumps of 2-5 on Sunday, 1-4 against the Western Conference and 3-9-1 when coming off a double-digit loss. The Hornets are in pointspread nosedives of 2-5 overall, 1-7 after a SU defeat, 5-12 after a non-cover and 0-4 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous contest.

The under is 5-1 in the last six meetings between these clubs and 5-1-1 in the last seven clashes in New Orleans. Additionally, the Hornets are on “under” streaks of 8-0 overall, 5-0 at home, 5-0 against the Western Conference, 4-0 in divisional games and 6-0 when playing on one day of rest. Meanwhile, San Antonio has followed up a 5-0 “under” stretch by topping the total in its last three.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NEW ORLEANS and UNDER

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Cajun Sports

New Jersey Nets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves    
Play: New Jersey Nets -3         

The Target Center will be the site of today’s contest between the host Minnesota Timberwolves and the visiting New Jersey Nets. The Timberwolves have been costly to their backers this season going 10-25 ATS overall on their home floor including 6-24 ATS as a home pup and 5-13 ATS as a home underdog of 6 points or less. This series has seen the Timberwolves cover eight of the last ten but they will certainly need some of that past luck here because they have been nothing short of terrible at home this season. They are 3-12 ATS in home games versus teams who attempt 18 or more 3 point shots per game on the season and 4-13 ATS in home games versus teams committing <=14 turnovers per game. Even though the Nets allow 101.9 points per game on the road this season we know that the T-Wolves are 3-12 ATS versus teams allowing 99 points or more per game during the second half of the season this season. These two teams have met once this season in Jersey with the Nets winning 113 to 84 as a seven-point home favorite. You could be thinking revenge for such a humiliating defeat but the Timberwolves are 12-23 ATS in home games revenging a loss where their opponent scored 100 or more points and 4-12 ATS in home games revenging a road loss versus opponent this season. Finally we have an NBA System that tells us to play against Western Conference home teams that have lost at least three straight versus Eastern Conference foes and now host an Eastern Conference team, these teams are 9-34-3 ATS and fail to cover the spread by 4.8 points per game. Lay the points with the Nets as they get the win and cover over the Timberwolves on Sunday afternoon.

Graded Selection: 2* New Jersey Nets 108 Minnesota Timberwolves 99

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Craig Trapp

Michigan State vs. Louisville     
Play: Louisville -6.5       

Today's game faces two power house coaches: Izzo and Pitino. This game might be a track meet as both teams have shown a propensity to run and gun. Will be interesting to see if Michigan State can run with a very deep Louisville team. Louisville comes at you in waves and usually wears teams out in the 2nd half. With a four guard rotation the Cards just keep coming at you until you give it up late. The Spartans have turned back several good teams lately and will try to upset one more team to make the final four. Lets look at records and trends:

Team records:

Michigan State: 29-6 SU, 19-13 ATS

Louisville: 31-5 SU, 22-14 ATS

Recent Trends:

-Spartans are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.

-Spartans are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 vs. Big East.

-Cardinals are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite.

-Cardinals are 15-7 ATS in their last 22 games as a favorite.

Michigan State has had a very nice season and has overachieved in my opinion. Tom Izzo is a great coach but even his skills will not keep this game close. Louisville is too deep and the press will kill Michigan State late in this game. As all have seen the Big East is the best conference without a doubt all year. Louisville showed on Thursday what they can do when they are hitting outside shots. Terrance Williams and Earl Clark might be the best two all around players left in the Tournament and will have a great game today. Cards will keep up the hot shooting and show how over rated the Big Ten was all year. Most likely will be high scoring affair but the Cards have no problem ATS. SCORE: LOU 90 - MSU 75

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LT Profits

Michigan State @ Louisville Under138.0

The Louisville Cardinals exploded for 103 points in their rout of the Arizona Wildcats in the Sweet 16, but we feel that just gives us added value on the Under here in their Elite Eight matchup with the Michigan State Spartans.

After all, while Louisville is obviously capable offensively, the main reason they have gotten to this point is their defense, The Cardinals have allowed just 61.8 points per game on a miniscule 39.4 percent shooting from the floor over the entire year, and according to the Pomeroy Ratings, they are second in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing only .833 points per possession.

Also keep in mind that their offensive explosion Friday came vs. a middle-of-the-pack Pac-10 team that is not known for defense, and they will not have as much success running today vs. a defensive-minded Spartans team that is almost as stingy as Louisville.

Michigan State is allowing 63.0 points per game on 41.5 percent shooting, and they held a very good Kansas offense to 62 points Friday. The Spartans are ranked number 10 in adjusted defensive efficiency by Pomeroy, allowing .887 PPP, and they also play great perimeter defense, allowing only a 31.5 percent success rate on three-point attempts.

These are two defensive-minded teams, so we look for the pace of this game to more closely resemble the Michigan State/Kansas matchup on Friday than the game where Louisville ran an outclassed Arizona team off the floor.

Pick: Michigan State / Louisville Under 138

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Marc Lawrence

Play On: Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta returns home off Friday's 99-93 home loss to the Celtics with same season revenge on their minds when they host the Lakers Sunday afternoon. With Los Angeles looking dead ahead to a same season revenger up next against Charlotte on Tuesday night, look for the Laker to dip to 0-4 SU and ATS in this series when playing off back-to-back wins against a same season revenging Hawks' squad. Grab the points with Atlanta.

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Jimmy The Moose

Ottawa Senators at Tampa Bay Lightning
Prediction: Over

The Senators gave up 6 goals last night in a 6-3 loss to the Thrashers. Ottawa has played over the total in 6 of their last 8 games. The over is 11-4 in their last 15 vs. an Eastern Conference opponent. Tampa has played the over in 5 of their last 7 games. The over is 5-1 in their last 6 vs. an Eastern Conference team. The Lightning have played the over in 5 of their last 6 home games. The over is 15-5-3 in Ottawa's last 23 trips to Tampa. Play the over.

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Stephen Nover

San Antonio Spurs @ New Orleans Hornets
PICK: San Antonio Spurs

The Hornets should be primed for a strong effort at home following an embarrassing road loss to the Knicks on Friday.

The problem for New Orleans is quality bodies. The Hornets just don't have enough of them for this matchup.

New Orleans will be missing center Tyson Chandler and his backup Hilton Armstrong, both out with ankle injuries. In addition, Peja Stojakovic has missed the last 12 games because of back spasms and reserve forward James Posey may be suspended for this game.

The timing is especially bad for New Orleans because the Spurs have Manu Ginobili back. San Antonio has won its last three games. This will be Ginobili's third game back since missing a month and a half with an ankle injury.

Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker were in the lineup together for the first time on Friday since Feb. 11. They helped San Antonio build a 27-point lead on its way to an easy 111-98 win against the Clippers.

Finally healthy, the Spurs are trying to peak with the playoffs coming up in three weeks. They should be ready to give an all-out effort with their next game on Tuesday at home against lowly Oklahoma City and then not playing again until Friday.

This is a one-unit play for me.

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John Fisher

Michigan State vs. Louisville    
Play: Under 138

Teams play tough defense and will be playing with one day rest. Look for a lot of sloppy play in this contest. Under 138 5 STAR PLAY


Oklahoma vs. North Carolina     
Play: Under 163.5

I will take the Under for the same reason as MSU game. Short rest more important possesions. Sooners will slow and dictate the pace. Why ...casue they shoot a high percentage and will not let UNC go a running. Look for a even flow game. Game should be in the Mid to upper 70's. 3 STAR

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Jeff Benton

For Sunday we’ll head to the Elite Eight and play the North Carolina-Oklahoma contest UNDER the total.

I admit right off the bat that this is a total contrarian play. I know that all the money is going to come pouring in on the “over” in this matchup, and it’s easy to see why. First off, the public always plays these marquee games “over” the total. Secondly, the “over” hit in both of yesterday’s Elite Eight games and the “over” is 5-1 in the Tournament since Friday. Thirdly, both the Sooners and Tar Heels have been scoring at will in the Big Dance, and both topped the total in their victories on Friday.

But you see, this is the exact reason why the “under” is so attractive today. We all know that when the public lines up on one side of a particular play that the other side is almost always the way to go. And because the “over” is going to take so much action today, the oddsmakers had to inflate this line.

When you get down to it, it’s extremely difficult for a 40-minute college game to be played in the mid-160s or higher. That means, in essence, that both teams have to score well into the 80s. That ain’t easy. In fact, when you consider that only two of Oklahoma’s last 14 games have gone over 160 points and that North Carolina hadn’t exceeded 160 in five straight games before Friday’s win over Gonzaga, this basically is a very strong “value” play. Take this one UNDER the total.

5&#9830; N. Carolina-Oklahoma UNDER

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Matt Rivers

For Sunday take the Mavs in Cleveland.

LeBron and the Cavs at home have been beyond unreal. This team has literally lost only once on their court and that came to the other great team in the NBA in Kobe and the Lakers.

Meanwhile the Mavericks are coming off of that home loss to Denver and have been very shaky away from Big D this season. Plus Josh Howard is injured which doesn't help things.

With all of the above said I can't pass up Dirk and the Mavs plus such a hefty number as I think Cleveland is ultra due to lose a game like this. No doubt this version of Mark Cuban's team is not as good as in years' past but there is still a high upside and I ultimately do believe that Cleveland at some point will suffer another home defeat, if not a few more.

Going 40-1 at home for a campaign is almost impossible. I don't care how unreal Lebron is and how great of an addition Mo Williams has been. 40-1 is simply ridiculous and the Mavs do still have players.

Rick Carlisle' squad is still fighting for a playoff spot and did recently win in both Portland and Phoenix, two tough places to play. Jason Terry is still around to help out Nowitzki and Jason Kidd has actually been pretty good this season among a few others.

The 59-13 Cavs are great and could win and cover against anybody on any night the way they are playing but they will lose some games before the season is out at home and this could be one of those games. Even if not, to get almost double digits is too good to pass up!

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Tony Weston

Today's Selection:

I told you yesterday to take the Over in the UConn-Missouri matchup. Did you listen? Well, it was a little closer than we expected, but we still nailed that Over to give us yet another Comp Play winner.

That puts us on a 5-0 Comp Play run and puts us at 13-4 our last 17 Freebies. And we’re making it 6 in a row today as we’re taking the Over in the Michigan State-Louisville matchup.

The number for this one is floating around 138 points, which these two will blow past.

Consider, first, that both of these teams have hit the Over in three of their last four games with Michigan State totaling, on average, 140.7 points per game and Louisville totaling, on average, 147 points per.

Also consider that the Over has come in for Louisville in 9 of its last 13 games when installed as a favorite and has come in 4 of its last 6 games in The Tournament when installed as a favorite of between 7 and 12 1/2 points.

There is a lot of offensive firepower between these two and it will be on display today. Take the Over easily in this matchup between Michigan State and Louisville.

3&#9830; MICHIGAN STATE-LOUISVILLE OVER

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Craig Davis

Well, all I can say is “wow”!! Missouri misses a wide open layup with a second left that cost us a cover, not to mention Pittsburgh falling apart with three minutes to go, a four point lead and the ball. Just a small bump in the road in what has been a very good post-season for us. Our free play with Miami, however, was yet another easy winner and now makes it eight of the last 12 on the right side. Today, we make it 9 of the last 13 with Cleveland.

This one is pretty simple. Cleveland is good at home, losing just once all season. Dallas, on the road, is bad (17-20). Cleveland went into Dallas and beat them 100-81 as 4-point favorites back in November. Yes, I know Dallas can shoot the ball exceptionally well now that Jason Terry seems to have found his game again, but the Mavs are simply overmatched. If LeBron James isn’t beating them off the dribble, you can bet Mo Williams is hitting from deep and Anderson Varejeo is dominating in the paint. You see, Dallas has no answer for inside threats and this might be one of AV’s best games. And let’s not forget Big Z… Ilgauskas will more than be able to clean up what Varajeo misses. Don’t let their recent ATS blues scare you… this one has Cleveland written all over it.

2&#9830; CLEVELAND

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Karl Garrett

Chicago at TORONTO -2 

5-0 the last 5 days for free, including Charlotte on Saturday!

Tough spot for the Bulls who were on court Saturday afternoon at home against Indiana, and while Chicago was able to notch win # 4 in a row, things won't be so easy in this one, as Toronto did have Saturday off to get rested-and-ready for this showdown.

The Raptors are now playing free and easy, as they have won and covered the last 3 on this 5 game homestand.

Toronto also won the last meeting 114-94 in Chicago as the 2-point dog. That puts the Raptors at 5-2 both straight up, and against the spread the last 7 series meetings.

We have come to the time of the season when you don't find much "fair" value with teams that need to win in order to up their playoff stock. Such is the case on Sunday.

G-Man backing Toronto to make it 4 straight wins and covers.

3&#9830; TORONTO

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Drew Gordon

LA Lakers at ATLANTA +3' 

This is a tougher spot than you think for the Lakers. You see, they clinched the # 1 seed and home court throughout the playoffs with their win over the Nets Friday, and now have relatively little to play for. Oddsmakers don't get paid to be stupid, normally the Lakers would be a considerable favorite in this spot, especially with the Hawks struggling a bit, but not after clinching the # 1 seed.

Also, one has to factor in Kobe's ankle injury. Sure, it may be nothing, but will coach Jackson risk his star player's health after shoring up the # 1 seed? He will likely play, but I believe he'll be limited, and that's always good news if your against the Lake Show. Gasol stepped up big in Kobe's absence against the Nets, but the match ups are more favorable for Atlanta here is Kobe is limited.

Next, note the Hawks have yet to lose 3 straight home games ALL season! Its not like they lost to bottom-feeders either, falling to the Spurs and Celtics in back-to-back home games is nothing to be embarassed about! Look for the Hawks to come out with A LOT more energy than the Lakers tonight, who are much more liable to lose focus after clinching.

Finally, besides the public obvious adoration for this Lakers team, did you know the Hawks are an outstanding 10-2-1 ATS in their last 13 home games?! Also, Atlanta is a solid 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall... So before you go blindly jumping on the Lakers bandwagon, you have to consider how well the Hawks are playing right now AND at home. Play here is on the home dog Sunday afternoon!

Take Atlanta plus the points over the LA Lakers in this NBA match up.

3&#9830; ATLANTA

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Bobby Maxwell

Michigan State +7 vs. Louisville, at Indianapolis 

Here's an Elite FREE winner for you today as we're on the college hardwood with Michigan State getting way too many points against Louisville.

Yeah, I know how shaky Michigan State looked against Kansas on Friday night while Louisville was off destroying Arizona. But I saw something I didn't like from Louisville, a bunch of cocky players celebrating a route. They think they're cruising through this round too, but they've got a big surprise waiting for them in the Spartans.

Michigan State was in a dogfight with Kansas, winning 67-62 as a one-point favorite. They fell behind by 13 in the first half and showed their mettle, rallying back and playing just like coach Tom Izzo wants, rebounding and hitting open shots.

The Spartans also had a fight in the second round, edging USC 74-69 as a four-point favorite. They know how to handle themselves in tough fights, does Louisville?

Michigan State is 9-1 SU (7-3 ATS) in its last 10 games, and remember that this team is so well-balanced, they could have any of four players lead the team in scoring and they've got Goran Suton in the middle who controls the pace with his ability to shoot, rebound and defend. He had 20 points and nine boards against the Jayhawks.

Did Louisville do any work against an Arizona team that was as shocked they were there as the rest of the country? The Cardinals led by 21 at the half and they shot 57.6 percent from the floor.

Louisville is 0-5 ATS against Big Ten teams while Michigan State is on ATS runs of 5-1 overall, 5-0 in non-conference action, 11-4-1 on neutral courts, 20-8-1 in the Big Dance and 8-3-1 as a 'dog.

This is just way too many points to pass up. This one will be a fight to the finish, there is no quit in the Spartans and they won't get blown out. Play Michigan State.

2&#9830; MICHIGAN STATE

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Sports Gambling Hotline

Michigan State vs. LOUISVILLE - at Indianapolis, IN

For Sunday in the Big Dance, take the OVER in your Michigan State-Louisville contest.

Michigan State has been OVER the total in 2 of their 3 Big Dance games, and 3 of their last 4 dating back to the Big 10 tournament. We get the feeling that for the Spartans to hang with the Cardinals, they are going to be forced into showing some offensive fire power, and we feel that even if they get blown out, there will be enough points coming from the Louisville side for us to get this game in the OVER column.

Lousville sailed way OVER the price in their Sweet 16 laugher against Arizona, and they have now played HIGH in 3 of their last 4 dating back to the Big East tourney, and are on a 9-4 OVER clip their last 13 games when installed as the favorite.

We expect another high-scoring game involving the 'Ville before this one is all said and done.

Play the OVER.

5&#9830; OVER

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Chris Jordan

Oklahoma +7 vs. North Carolina, at Memphis 

Did you get the feeling after Blake Griffin showed Syracuse how to actually the slam the basketball, since one of its own missed at the Orange end of the court, that the rest of the world is also missing something? Maybe Oklahoma is more than Griffin, who bullied Syracuse around for 30 points and 14 rebounds, while Tony Crocker contributed with a career-high 28 points.

And let’s be real, the Sooners were pulling away from the pride of northern New York midway through the first half, while Griffin punctuated the win with the now infamous noggin-knocking slam dunk.

Bring on the Tar Heels!

I don’t know if the Sooners are going to be dancing with Villanova and U Conn next week, not to mention today’s early winner – which is my 400&#9830; Line Mistake Winner #3 in a Row – but I do know this is going to be one helluva basketball game. One that I wouldn’t be surprised goes down to the wire.

North Carolina isn’t known for playing defense, mainly because it can score enough to compete better offensively than Carolina’s Bobcats, and that might bite them against a Sooners team that has plenty of mettle to combine with Griffin’s potency, such as guards Willie Warren and Austin Johnson, who will be spot on for this regional final.

Fact is, Oklahoma has solved issues that caused a late-season slide, and is on a 4-1 ATS run in its last five tournament games – a perfect 3-0 this year. As for the Heels, well, they’re mired in ATS slides of 2-7 laying wood in this range, 2-8 off an ATS win and a putrid 0-5 on their last five Sundays.

1&#9830; OKLAHOMA

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DAVE COKIN

CHICAGO BULLS / TORONTO RAPTORS
Take TORONTO RAPTORS

It's way too little, way too late, but the Raptors are finally playing some decent basketball. I like Toronto to extend their modest winning streak here as they host the Bulls. Good spot for the hosts, as they enjoyed Saturday off while Chicago was winning at home. I'll look for the Raptors to notch the win and cover today.

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JIM FEIST

PHOENIX SUNS / SACRAMENTO KINGS
Take PHOENIX SUNS

There is some line value with the Suns because they are in a tough situational spot, playing their 4th game in 5 nights. But the Kings have clearly packed in the season, off another no-show game, a 113-95 home loss to Memphis. The Kings came out with their characteristic poor first half that has plagued them all season. Turnovers early and poor defense had the Kings facing double digit deficits most of the game. Sacramento is on a 1-7 SU, 3-5 ATS run, while the visitors are fighting for a playoff spot. Play the Suns.

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Nick Parsons

Minnesota Wild @ Edmonton Oilers -150

Teetering on the brink of disaster after an upset loss to Phoenix dropped them into ninth place, the Oilers desperately needed two points out of Anaheim on Friday. Their season all but depended on it. In their biggest game of the season so far, they climbed back over Anaheim and into seventh place with seven games to go and I'm expecting another big effort this evening. Minnesota is 8-12 its last 20 vs. division opponents while Edmonton is a perfect 2-0 in a home game where the total is 5 or less. Play on the OILERS!

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