Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

Frank Jordan

Kentucky vs. Connecticut    
Play: Connecticut -1

Kentucky may be number 4 in the country, 8-0 on the season, and coming off a win over the defending champs, but they are playing this game in New York which is a stone’s throw for Connecticut. Uconn is 6-1 and number 12 in the country and their only loss was to a good Duke team on a neutral site. Despite this technically being a neutral site at MSG Uconn fans travel well and with the crowd being pro Uconn look for the Huskies to feed of the crowd’s energy propelling them to the win. Play Connecticut

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

John Ryan

Golden State Warriors vs. New Jersey Nets
Play: New Jersey Nets +2       

Ai Simulator 3* graded play on New Jersey as they take on Golden State set to start at 7:30 EST. AiS shows an 72% probability that New Jersey will this game and earn back to back victories for the first time this season. I had them last night and also won a 10* Titan play OVER in that game as well. It is obvious that now that the losing streak is past, the team is far more relaxed and playing more up to their abilities and tem performance levels. Supporting this graded play is a system that has gone 51-20 ATS since 1996 for 72% winners. Play against all teams where the line is +3 to -3 and is a poor rebounding team that is out rebounded by opponents by 3+ per game and after a game being outrebounded by opponent by 20 or more. AiS shows an 88% probability that GS will shoot between 23 and 238 free throws in this game. Note that GS is just 7-23 ATS (-18.3 Units) when they attempt 23 to 28 free throws in a game over the last 2 seasons. NJ is a solid 22-9 ATS (+12.1 Units) in home games after failing to cover 4 or 5 of their last 6 against the spread over the last 3 seasons. Take the Nets.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

ALEX SMART

Kentucky @ Connecticut
PICK: Kentucky +1

Kentucky may have reached this point of the season by use of its explosive offense, but there's a reason that HC John Calipari came out this week and said that his team was "not as good as [its] record." The Cats haven't covered a spread in over two weeks, with the last one coming in the form of a 73-49 victory against Cleveland State on November 24th. Until they played North Carolina, they really hadn't come across a solid opponent this year, as Stanford was probably the next best test, and UK needed overtime to dismiss the Cardinal on a neutral court.

Still, Calipari's crew ranks 28th in the country in offensive output at 81.1 points per game, and ranks 13th in shooting percentage at 50.7%. Free throw shooting is a big, big problem though, as the Wildcats are only shooting 66.2% from the field as a team, and Calipari still has nightmares over his former school, Memphis, struggling from the line in a year that his team was talented enough to win all of the marbles.

However, if you thought that Kentucky's schedule has been weak so far this year, check out what UConn's looks like. Save a Preseason NIT loss to Duke, the Huskies haven't taken on one team that really has much of a chance of making it to the NCAA Tournament unless it wins its conference. Relatively tight home games against Harvard, Hofstra, Colgate, and William & Mary all resulted in ATS defeats and has to scare the heck out of HC Jim Calhoun. This is really Connecticut's last test before jumping into Big East play just before the New Year.

Opposing teams aren't having any luck shooting against the Huskies, as they're just connecting on 36.6% of their shots, but they're still scoring 65.1 points per game. The tempo of the game is forced by G Jerome Dyson and G Kemba Walker. The two have combined for 32 steals and 73 assists in just seven games, and when the offense is humming, they can force the tempo like no other team in the land.

Neither team has played their best basketball yet this season, which makes this a very tough game to handicap. The Cats are 11-3-1 ATS in their L/15 games against the Big East, and it feels like Calipari's squad is just a tad better than a youthful Connecticut team that is probably still trying to figure it out.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

LARRY NESS

Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Lakers
PICK: Los Angeles Lakers -10.5

One wonders if the schedule makers are ever going to make the Lakers leave Staples Center? The Lakers host the Jazz tonight, entering with the league's longest active winning streak (nine straight) and an overall 16-3 record on the season. They've played 15 of those 19 games at home whey are 13-2 but just 8-7 ATS. Should we all just give LA a 'pass' into The Finals? Kobe (28.9-5.5-3.9) looks as good as ever and LA was very smart regarding Gasol. They didn't rush him and he's returned looking healthy and sharp, averaging 17.8 PPG and 9.2 RPG in his first eight games. Bynum's looked outstanding (18.2-9.8) and if he stays healthy all season, LA will be better that last year's team come The Finals. I'd rather still have Ariza than Artest but it's not much of a difference. Fisher will be saved for the playoffs with Farmar and Brown getting plenty of minutes in the backcourt during the regular season. As for Odom (8.2-8.3-4.4), who WOULDN'T want this guy? Utah (12-8) has won eight of 10, after beating the Spurs 104-101 on Monday. Deron Williams (19.3-4.3-10.2) scored 17 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 22 seconds remaining. Carlos Boozer (22.5-10.9) had 27 points vs San Antonio and averaged 20.6-13.2 against the Lakers in Utah's five-game losing series last postseason. Los Angeles has won four of five and seven of the last nine meetings with the Jazz, who are winless in their last six visits to Staples Center. I'm laying the points with LA.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

Jeff Alexander

1 Unit on Milwaukee Bucks -3

Bottom Line: I'll take the Bucks at home where they are 7-3 this season laying a small number against a Raptors team that is just 4-9 on the road. This matchup has been one dominated by the home team in terms of the point spread with the home teams taking 5 of the last 7 against the number. Plus, the Bucks have been the much better team when playing without any rest, going 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games playing on 0 days rest while the Raptors are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games when playing on 0 days rest. The Raptors are just 25-52-2 ATS in their last 79 games as an underdog and 15-35-1 ATS in their last 51 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. We'll lay the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

Jack Jones

Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks    
Play: Over 205

Tough not to like the OVER tonight when Toronto heads to Milwaukee. The Raptors have scored 105 ppg on the road this year and given up 111.7 while the Bucks have scored 102.5 ppg at home while giving up 98.5.

Over the last five games Toronto has averaged 211 total ppg while the Bucks have given up 101 ppg. The last time these two teams met the Raptors won 115-106 and I see a similar type of score tonight in Milwaukee.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

Karl Garrett

Duquesne +17 at WEST VIRGINIA

G-Man has hit 4 of my last 6 comp play releases.

Take the points tonight with Duquesne as they take on West Virginia in Morgantown.

These teams have met ever year since 1999, and while the Mountaineers are on a 6 game series winning streak, it is the Iron Dukes that have filled the wallet in 6 of the last 8 meetings against the spread.

West Virginia is playing their first game this month, as they last played on November 29th.

Duquesne has already gone toe-to-toe with Big East Pittsburgh, losing in double-overtime.

This is just too many points to lay.

G-Man on the Dukes plus the generous impost tonight.

4♦ DUQUESNE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

Stephen Nover

Wisconsin -5 at UW GREEN BAY

Green Bay is going to be up for this game. Wisconsin hosts Marquette on Saturday in a far bigger in-state rivalry matchup.

But the line is still too short. Wisconsin is a much better team than Green Bay.

The Badgers are bigger, stronger and have a deeper backcourt. Normally I'd stay away from a road favorite with a key look-ahead game on deck.

But Bo Ryan, one of the best coaches in college basketball, won't let the Badgers look past Green Bay.

Wisconsin doesn't beat itself. That's a trademark of a Ryan-coached team. Guard Trevon Hughes is playing at a very high level right now for Wisconsin. He was just named the Big Ten Player of the Week.

The Phoenix is 1-4 against the spread (ATS) versus non-conference foes. The Badgers are 11-4 ATS the past 15 times they've been road chalk.

3♦ WISCONSIN

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

Drew Gordon

Michigan at UTAH (pk)

18-9-1 roll over L28 Free Plays, incl. the Thunder Monday and BYU Tuesday! For today's complimentary play, we're looking at the Michigan/Utah match up.

Once Michigan hit the beef of their early season schedule, we saw what this Wolverines team is really made of... 3 outright losses to Marquette, Alabama, and Boston College! So, then they go ahead and beat no-name Arkansas-Pine Bluff, shooting just under 43%, and this is the team you want to back versus a stifling Utes home defense tonight.

Did you see the Utes dominate Idaho State Saturday? They went up 40-15 by halftime, and limited the Bengals to 25% shooting for the half. Of course, nay-sayers will point to an ugly scond half of basketball, but that was just a young team taking their foot off the gas after dominating the first half of play. I believe we'll see a full-games worth of focus from the Utes this time around, and that' bad new for the Wolverines.

Other issue I see here is the size on this Utah team, that starts a 7-footer David Foster and 6-10 F Ken Tillie, both of which played excellent defensive game and contributed some on offense Saturday. That size will be critical in stopping the talented, but very inconsistent DeShawn Sims in this contest. We know Manny Harris will get his points, but if you can stop the foul prone Michigan frontcourt, then you can stop Michigan... Just ask Boston College!

Bottom line, granted these are two flawed teams, but if you're going to give me the Utes at home, at this price, vs. a road-weary Michigan squad (4-9-1 ATS L14 road games), I'll take it. Utah has the size and defense to win a close one here, and that's exactly what I expect will happen tonight.

Take Utah over Michigan in this college hoops match up.

2♦ UTAH

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

Michael Cannon

Kentucky +1 vs. Connecticut, at NEW YORK, NY

I am now 41-27-1 with my last 69 overall free plays after the Bobcats outright win last night!

Take Kentucky for the win over Connecticut in the SEC/Big East Invitational at Madison Square Garden.

I’m not buying into U-Conn’s ranking right now.  They lost too much from last year’s team and they were completely outclassed in their loss to Duke back on Nov. 7.  The Blue Devils are the only noteworthy team the Huskies have faced thus far and I feel that the Wildcats will expose them once again.

Kentucky held off a very talented North Carolina team on Saturday, 68-66.  The fact the Wildcats were able to win despite committing 20 turnovers and shooting just 63 percent from the charity stripe speaks volumes about the potential this team has.

Connecticut may have the whining Jim Calhoun running the show still, but the Huskies don’t have the same stable of talent they had last year.

Take Kentucky as they grab the win.

3♦ KENTUCKY

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

Chris Jordan

Kentucky +1 vs. U Conn, at New York

All based on schedule strength, as the Huskies have run roughshod through the likes of William & Mary, Colgate, Hofstra, Louisiana State, Boston and Harvard. And before you say anything about LSU, make note the Tigers have lost to the two real competitive teams they've faced: the Huskies and ASU.

But the lone loss for U Conn - that would be against Duke, 68-59.

So what happens when Jim Calhoun throws is pups to these evergetic Wildcats who have also had their share of cupcakes, but come in after taking care of business against the other power from Tobacco Country - the Tar Heels of North Carolina?

John Calipari has everyone believing a title is coming back to Lexington for the first time since 1998, with this early 8-0 start to the season.

I like the way this offense is scoring points, but more importantly, Calipari has his troops playing a stifling style of defense to keep the points limited to 65.1 points per game. They're also crashing the boards and dominating the paint with their big men, ranking ninth in the nation with a rebound margin of 11.1 per game and fourth in the country with 8.3 blocked shots per contest.

Connecticut is always tough, I agree. But tonight Kentucky makes a statement with its second-straight big-time win.

5♦ KENTUCKY

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

Dominic Fazzini

Kentucky vs. Connecticut (pick) at New York

Took a loss with my complimentary selection Tuesday as the Nuggets fell apart in the fourth quarter at Charlotte. But I'm still 38-22 over the last 60 days, including a 21-9 run, and I will bounce back with a winner today!

Connecticut is no stranger to Madison Square Garden, having already played there twice this season. The Huskies beat LSU 81-55 and lost 68-59 to Duke at the world-famous arena last month, and coach Jim Calhoun has had good success in 74 games there in his career, going 44-30.

UConn's offense, except for the loss to Duke, has been solid this season, with the team averaging 77 points per game. And the Huskies are getting consistent scoring from Jerome Dyson (20.1 ppg), Stanley Robinson (15.4 ppg) and Kemba Walker (15.4 ppg).

Kentucky has gotten off to an 8-0 start in coach John Calipari's first year at the school, but the Wildcats seem ripe for a loss despite having defeated North Carolina 68-66 at home in their last game. In that game, Kentucky shot 57.1 percent in the first half and took a 15-point lead into halftime, but it took two free throws by freshman John Wall with 4.3 seconds left to put the Tar Heels away.

Wall is a star in the making, but the Wildcats start three freshmen and a sophomore, and I just don't see them getting the job done today against a UConn team that is quite familiar with playing big games.

The Huskies are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games on a neutral court, while Kentucky is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games overall and its last seven nonconference games. Take UConn to get the victory today.

3♦ CONNECTICUT

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

Jeff Benton

CS Fullerton at SAN DIEGO ST. -14

For Wednesday’s free play, I’ll head back to the college hardwood and lay the big points with San Diego State against Cal State Fullerton.

San Diego State is 6-2 on the season, with its two losses coming on the road. In fact, unlike most Division I schools, the Aztecs aren’t afraid to travel early in the season, as they’ve played five of their first eight contests away from San Diego. But in its three home games, SDSU has rolled by scores of 77-52, 86-53 and 89-48, easily cashing in its two lined home contests.

The Aztecs are loaded with talent and will be challenging UNLV (currently ranked 18th in the nation) for the Mountain West Conference title. On the other hand, Cal State Fullerton will be lucky to finish in the upper half of the below-average Big West. The Titans started the season with three straight victories, including a 68-65 overtime win at UCLA. But that victory doesn’t look all that impressive anymore now that we know the Bruins are really, really bad this year. Besides, since that 3-0 start, Fullerton has dropped consecutive games to non-Division I opposition (69-49 to Central Arkansas and 62-61 to Stephen F. Austin)!

The Titans are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games against opponents with a winning record and 1-4 ATS in their last five as an underdog of 13 points or more, while SDSU is on ATS runs of 4-1 overall, 6-1 at home, 6-1 as a favorite, 6-0 as a home chalk and 6-2 when favored by 13 points or more. Lay the chalk.

5♦ SAN DIEGO ST.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

Scott Delaney

Wisconsin at UW Green Bay

Not buying into the whole letdown theory.

The Badgers are always a physical team, and this year you can add athleticism to the mix.

I know it's very enticing to take the points with the home underdog here, but the Badgers have beaten the Phoenix in 10 consecutive years - including two games at Green Bay.

Wisconsin has won the last three games by an average of 18.3 points per contest.

I know the Phoenix have started the season red-hot, producing an 8-2 start through their first 10 games, and roll into this one on a four-game win streak, but they've yet to play a major-conference team yet.

Tonight their eyes are opened, as the Badgers apply intense pressure and roll to an easy win and cover.

5♦ WISCONSIN

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

Tony Weston

Georgetown comes through last night and delivers a solid Comp Play winner. I’m handing you another winner tonight as I’m taking the Cavaliers on the road at the Houston Rockets.

Despite last night’s fluke of a loss at the Grizzlies, the Cavaliers are still 4-1 SU and ATS their last 5 games. In that stretch Cleveland is beating its opponents by 12 points per game (105.8-93.8).

Now the Cavs battle a Rockets team that’s only covered in 4 of 8 home games this year and has covered in just 3 of its last 8 games overall.

Houston will drop another one tonight as the Cavs beat up on the Rockets easily.

3♦ CAVALIERS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

Craig Davis

Tonight's free play is on the team that WILL win the Horizon League... Wisconsin-Green Bay. Honestly, this play makes completely no sense... and that's why I like it so much. Last night's 25-dimer on Butler made all the sense in the world, yet it didn't pan out like it should have. You and I know things don't always work out how they appear on paper. We have a Big 10 powerhouse who just beat the mighty Duke Blue Devils last week in the Big 10/ACC challenge. In fact, their win put the Big 10 over the edge, winning the challenge for the first time ever. They play great defense, they shoot free throws well, and just don't let "lesser" teams beat them. They've never lost to the Phoenix in school history, so you can imagine how confident this Badgers team is going to be tonight. If you beat Duke, you simply don't lose to Wisconsin-Green Bay. All signs point to a Wisconsin win, and that's all the more reason I think the Phoenix pull the upset tonight. They do a really good job of switching between zone and man-to-man defense, and the newcomers have performed better than expected, offensively, to start the season. This team has a tremendous amount of talent and confidence, and playing at home might be just the thing that does the Badgers in tonight. I'm playing the Phoenix tonight as home underdogs.

3♦ WISCONSIN-GREEN BAY

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 9,2009

O.C. Dooley

Kentucky +1

It goes without saying that the Southeast Conference remains king on the football field, but the various teams from the SEC basketball draw are coming off a very rough campaign which makes tonight an opportunity for that league to make a statement versus an opponent from right now basketball’s best conference (Big East).  Actually Kentucky made a statement for the league back on Saturday when they defeated North Carolina but that was just a home affair.  For those of you who watched Kentucky’s two-point win against North Carolina Saturday on CBS-TV, you saw the Wildcats almost cough up a 19-point lead and they ultimately failed to cover the spread on a meaningless last second 3-point shot by the Tarheels.  The main reason why Kentucky failed to cover the 3-point spread on Saturday was because superstar guard John Wall (18 points, 7’ assists per game) sat on the bench much of the second-half due to leg cramps.  Kentucky (8-0) is off to their best start since way back in the 1993 campaign as new head coach John Calipari is already working his magic.  What I like best about Calipari is that he refuses to let his players gloat about that North Carolina triumph during the weekend.  According to public comments Calipari is expecting his Wildcats to quote get “punched in the mouth” tonight on the road because his troops at times play too casual.  Tonight’s ESPN clash is a major event since Connecticut and Kentucky are meeting for just the SECOND time ever on the same floor with Jim Calhoun as one of the head coaches.  Connecticut may be off to a solid 6-1 start but they have FAILED to cover the spread 5 times already in part due to a “soft” schedule.  In the Huskies only big test of this new campaign they lost against Duke and tonight is another big test for a Connecticut team that has had very little bench production.  A grand total of 3 Connecticut starters have been forced to log on average at least 34 minutes per contest which is excessive.  In a game that Kentucky dominated this past Saturday but failed to cover in the waning seconds, I feel there will be ATS justice for the Wildcats tonight

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