Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Bobby Maxwell

Arizona at OREGON STATE -5

I'm on a 48-21 run with my FREE selections, including 25-7 over the last 32 days, and tonight I've got a comp winner coming on the college hardwood with Oregon State as the Beavers host Arizona in a Pac-10 matchup.

The Beavers are about to end an eight-game losing streak to the Wildcats and do so in a big way today in Corvallis, Ore.

Oregon State is 5-3 at home this season with wins over Fresno and Colorado already under their belts at home. They were at rival Oregon on Sunday and scored a 64-57 upset victory as 8 ½-point underdogs. They are 4-0 ATS in their last four lined games and 8-2 ATS in their 10 lines games this season.

Arizona has split its first two Pac-10 series this year, one series on the road and one at home last weekend. They went to USC and lost by six as an 8 ½-point ‘dog and then followed it up with a 77-63 win at UCLA as a six-point underdog.

The Wildcats are on ATS slides of 0-5 after a straight-up win and 4-9 ATS in their last 13 as a road ‘dog of up to 6 ½ points. Meanwhile, Oregon State is on ATS runs of 14-2 overall, 6-1 at home, 4-0 in Pac-10 games, 13-3 after a straight-up win and 5-2 on Thursdays. In this conference rivalry, the home team is on an 8-3 ATS run.

Look for this one to be loud and wild as Oregon State is going to end this conference losing streak to the Wildcats. Lay the chalk with the Beavers.

2♦ OREGON STATE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Chris Jordan

Chicago +7 at BOSTON

Big win for the Celtics last night, if you consider playing against the Nets a game. The halftime lead was 71-35, so you tell me how much Boston had to work last night.

Tonight, the tables turn, as Boston will have its hands full with a team that has shown its mettle when the Celtics are without Kevin Garnett, who is supposed to miss his eighth straight game.

The Bulls, facing the Garnett-less Celtics in the playoffs last season, pushed Boston to the brink of elimination in that memorable series. Tonight, well-rested, they're going to push the C's to a potential sixth loss in 11 games.

Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rasheed Wallace and Rajon Rondo have all missed time over the past 2-1/2 weeks, and it's starting to take its toll against higher caliber teams, such as Chicago, which had last night off and rolls in with double-revenge from this season.

Boston overpowered the Bulls in a 118-90 victory on Oct. 30, and had seven players in double figures in a 106-80 win in Chicago on Dec. 12.

But the Bulls come to Beantown off back-to-back wins - Saturday, 110-96, over Minnesota, and Monday against Detroit, 120-87.

I realize the Bulls have dropped 10 of 11 away from Chicago and are 3-13 on the road this season, but they're on ATS runs of 4-0 as an underdog and 6-0 versus Eastern Conference foes.

Plus, with the road team on a 7-2 spread streak in this clash, I think I'm good playing the underdog here.

3♦ CHICAGO BULLS


California -3' at WASHINGTON STATE

There are plenty of impressive records and stats in the Pac 10 thus far, I realize this, and it's going to be hard-pressed to find road chalk covering that much in conference play.

But tonight, it's one of those rare opportunities. Cal, led by four senior starters, is going to handle the Cougars with ease to improve to 3-1 in conference play.

I know the Bears venture onto the road for the first time in conference play, but their experience is going to be key this season, including tonight, to help them contend for the Pac 10 title.

Remember, this is a Cal team that was favored by some to win the Pacific 10, and rightfully so; it is poised, it executes well, it takes high-percentage shots, it defends tenaciously. Most importantly, these players know how to stay in ball games.

That's how it works when you return 93 percent of your scoring from the year prior, not to mention the four starters, plus the top two reserves and two all-conference players.

Last year the Bears finished third. This season they want the crown.

And to win the title, you have to win on the road. It begins, for Cal, tonight in Pullman.

4♦ CALIFORNIA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Stephen Nover

Gonzaga at ST. MARY'S -3'

Gonzaga is averaging 78.6 points per game. St. Mary's is scoring at an 82.5 points per game clip. Both teams shoot nearly 50 percent from the floor.

The teams play fast the entire game.

This is reflected in a number of over trends. They include: Gonzaga going over in 21 of its last 29 road contests and St. Mary's going above the total in 16 of its last 21 home contests.

The over has cashed nine of the last 10 times Gonzaga has been an underdog, while the over is 18-7-1 in St. Mary's last 26 games.

Freshman Elias Harris has stepped up recently for Gonzaga averaging 18.5 points in his last four games while providing another scoring option for the Bulldogs.

3♦ OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Brett Atkins

I'm now 4-1 on the college hardwood the last five nights after nailing Wednesday night's winner on UNLV as they won and covered at home against San Diego State. Today I've got another one coming as I go with Fullerton at home over Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Fullerton, playing inside tiny Titan Gym, is a tough team to beat. Tonight, have no hesitation laying the chalk as the Titans will roll to a 16 point win, at least.

The problem for Cal Poly SLO is it doesn’t score enough points on the road, managing just 66.7 points a game in the opponents gym. Meanwhile, Fullerton puts up 82 points a game at home and collects more than seven more rebounds a game than normal.

The Titans have three guys in Aaron Thompson, Gerard Anderson and Bryce Webster that have the ability to go for a big night, while realistically, only Lorenzo Keeler can score at will for Cal Poly. Everyone else needs a lot of help to put the ball in the basket.

Fullerton has won three of the last four matchups (3-1 ATS) and four of the last six have been decided by 10 points or more.

The Titans have won five straight at home this season and they are a whopping 48-23 ATS in their last 71 games against teams with losing records. Cal Poly is on ATS slides of 1-4 overall, 7-21-1 against Big West Conference squads and 1-4 on Thursdays.

Lay the chalk and play the Titans to win this one big!

3♦ FULLERTON

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Joel Tyson

3-0 this week with my comp plays, as Atlanta covers by the hook last night in the NBA.

"Revenge"!

That is the cry at the Hinkle Fieldhouse tonight as Cleveland State comes calling on a Butler team that they defeated in the Horizon League tournament last March right on this very hardwood.

Butler has shaken off their funk, and have rattled off 4 wins in a row, and tonight they catch the Vikes sans last season's dynamic backcourt duo of Jackson and Bullock.

As a result, the Vikings of Cleveland State are just 7-10 for the season straight up, and 4-9 against the spread their last 13 lined games.

This line is inflated due to the revenge factor, but I am laying it any way,

4♦ BUTLER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Pete Angelo

Denver (+1') at UL Lafayette

One th13-1 start in NAIA ing is for sure right now down South, college basketball isn't all that good in Louisiana.

Unless of course you play for LSU-Shreveport, which is 13-1 in NAIA play. So while we'll likely never see a line on the Pilots, we do have the opportunity to fade any other team from the Bayou State.

Tonight that'll be the Ragin Cajuns, who recently announced a paltry 1,235 paid attendance for a Sun Belt game, their smallest home crowd in decades.

Tonight they host Denver after taking a week off since beating North Texas, which was missing two starters for the game. The win snapped a five-game losing streak, not to mention two inside the Cajundome.

Lafayette is 5-10 overall, and isn't exactly surviving an injury-plagued campaign, as frontcourt threat Courtney Wallace (knee) and swingmen Corey Bloom and La’Ryan Gary (feet) remain sidelined while guard Ryan McCoy (academic) is gone for the year.

Meanwhile, the Pioneers come into this one having won six of their last eight and with a 12-5 mark overall and 5-1 record in Sun Belt Conference play. It's no surprise to me how well they've been playing, as there's plenty of experience on this Denver team.

Denver returned nine players - including all five starters - plus 98 percent of its scoring and rebounding from last season.

Behind senior guard captain Nate Rohnert, look for Denver to win this one by double digits.

1♦ DENVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Chuck O'Brien

Take BYU minus the points at Air Force in college hoops action on Wednesday.

You’ll learn soon enough that the Mountain West Conference is a top-heavy league this year (just like it was in football). There are four legitimate contenders for the title (BYU, UNLV, New Mexico and San Diego State), with a fifth (Utah) that could beat any of those four teams on a given night (especially if playing in Utah).

Air Force falls into the also-ran category, as the Falcons just don’t have the talent once again this year. That shows in their mediocre 8-7 record, which includes two recent road losses to conference bottom-feeders Colorado State (70-48 on Saturday) and TCU (59-50 a week ago). Air Force also has lost to Northern Colorado at home (70-46), Northern Arizona at home (60-52), as well as Missouri State. The Falcons’ signature win this year? Does UC Davis or Charleston Southern count?

BYU has won eight straight meetings in this rivalry (6-2 ATS), including three straight wins and covers in Colorado Springs (the last two by scores of 71-50 and 69-53). The Cougars come into this contest at 16-1, including a current 11-game winning streak, and they’re 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 games as a road favorite. Air Force is 3-12-1 ATS in its last 16 as a home underdog.

4♦ BYU

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Wunderdog

Gonzaga at St. Marys
Pick: St. Marys -4

The Gonzaga Bulldogs have ruled the roost in the West Coast Conference, but a new player has been developing and emerging, and looks to have the upper hand here. The Gaels have been knocking on the door, but this looks to be the year they break through. For the first time the Gaels will have had that edge over the Zags as Omar Sanhan will be the best player on the floor. Sanhan is a beast to contend with inside averaging a double-double. He is not alone however. The Gaels’ twin towers also include Ben Allen, and he is at 10 points per game and 8 boards as well as a solid playmaker in Mickey O'Connell dishing out 108 assists to just 44 turnovers. The Bulldogs took a hit from graduation and are still talented, but have lost a ton of experience which will hurt them in this one vs. a team that is hungry to knock them off, and for once has the better team. I'll go with St. Mary's here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Larry Ness

UTA pk vs CLE

The Cavs continue their five-game road trip with a visit to Salt Lake City, the team's fourth game in five days (will play at the Clippers on Saturday to conclude the trip). Cleveland is 18-5 since Dec 1 and at 30-10 overall, has the best record in the East with only the Lakers' 30-9 mark slightly better among all NBA teams. LeBron (29.4-7.2-7.8), Williams (16.9-5.0 APG) and Shaq (10.7-7.1) are the lone double-digit scorers, with Shaq posting career lows. However, the Cavs own excellent depth and with James penetrating and then dishing, the team's 41.3 percent mark from beyond the three-point line (2nd-best in the league), makes them a dangerous offensive team. The Cavs rank third in points allowed (94.3 PPG) and hold opponents to 43.4 percent from the floor, the lowest of any team in the league. The Jazz have six double-digit scorers led by Williams (19.6-3.9-9.7) and Boozer (19.2-10.4) and also come close to matching the Cavs' depth. The Jazz are an excellent shooting team ass well (48.4 percent ranks 4th) and have always been tough at home (14-6 SU and 13-7 ATS on the year). These teams met in Cleveland back in mid-November with the Cavs winning 107-103, a game in which both teams shot better than 50 percent from the floor. The Jazz played short-handed in that game, as Williams sat out and just seven players were used, six playing 30-plus minutes. The Cavs are in a tough stretch of games right now and while they've beaten the Jazz in the last four meetings between the two teams, they've dropped 15 of their last 19 trips to Salt Lake City! Take Utah.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Spartan

UTA -1 vs CLE

This is a situation where you have the Cavaliers on the back end of a road trip competing in their fourth game in a row. The Jazz have been a money maker when performing in Salt Lake City as they have now covered the number in an impressive 13 of the last 19 games. If you just lean on trends to make your selections then the Cav's are a no brainer here but I like the situation enough to back the Jazz. Boozer and Williams are playing well and I suspect they will want to make a statement here tonight. The Jazz are the typical Jazz guys, Jerry Sloan has a good, solid team that plays very well at home and struggles on the road. They will make the playoffs and then exit prior to making any deep run. I say tonight on TNT at home they come up with a huge effort and defeat King Lebron and company.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Ron Raymond

MON / DAL Under 5.5

When ANY NHL Team played as a Road team - Vs Eastern conference opponent - Last 4 years - During the month of January - Coming off vs Atlantic division opponent - Coming off 1 over - Allowed 6 or more goals AGAINST in their last game; the UNDER is 21-10-1 for the Road Team (DAL) in this spot the last 4 seasons.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Tom Freese

Gonzaga at St. Marys
Prediction: Gonzaga

Gonzaga is 27-4 sraight up against Saint Mary's. The Zags are led by Matt Bouldin and his 15.4 points a game Elias Harris scores 14.1 points a game. Steven Gray scores 13 points a game and Robert Sacre chips in with 11.7 points a game. The Zags are a well balanced machine. Saint Marry's has one the best players in the country in Omar Samhan. All he does is put up 20.8 points a night and 11 rebounds a night. The fact that the ZAGS have dominated this series we will side with coach Mark Few and the ZAGS. PLAY ON GONZAGA +

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Matt Fargo

Cleveland State @ Butler
PICK: Cleveland St +16

This is a big overreaction in my opinion. Cleveland St. lost two key players from last season’s Horizon Conference Tournament championship team and it knew coming in it was going to be a rebuilding season and struggles would take place early on. The schedule did not help matters as it was brutal but at the same time, it helped and it will help in such games such as this. The Vikings have played Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio St. and Kansas St. while losing by 24, 2, 13 and 29 points respectively. As you can see there were blowouts but losses like that can help a team grow up in a hurry and that is the case here. Since installing a lineup that is quicker that includes four guards, the Vikings are 3-0. On the season, Cleveland St. is 15th in the country in steals with 9.8 per game and that isn’t a good thing for Butler that has not exactly been taking great care of the ball like it has in the past. The Bulldogs are ranked and are a very public commodity. That leads to big lines so it comes as no surprise that they are 3-7 ATS when favored by five or more points. Butler has played a very difficult schedule as well so that had led to some closer than expected game and on the season it is getting outshot overall from the floor as well as from long range. While this rivalry is still not at full force, it is getting there and the Vikings consider this their biggest rival in the conference so you know they will be ready for this one. This is a revenge game for the Bulldogs from that conference tournament final game from last season but laying this many points is a little aggressive. The Bulldogs are 1-3 ATS at home when laying at least 14 points while Cleveland St. is 16-5 ATS in its last 21 games after giving up 65 points or fewer in three straight games. That defense will be a key factor here as a low scoring game works in our favor when taking a ride with the big underdog. Also, the Vikings are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games when getting 13 or more points so they are well suited to stay well under this number Thursday night. 3* Cleveland St. Vikings

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Lee Kostroski

Gonzaga @ Saint Mary's
PICK: Saint Mary's -4

St. Mary’s is 15-2 and have received little recognition thus far. That will end tonight. They are getting four points against the overrated Bulldogs and we expect them to get the big win at home.

The Gaels have had some big wins this season. They’ve defeated Oregon, Northeastern, and Utah State. Their only two losses were to USC and Vanderbilt – both by a small margin. A win tonight would be, by far, the biggest win of the season. It would give them an early head start in conference play and put them on the map nationally. It’s also a big game for Gonzaga, but this win wouldn’t mean nearly as much for the Bulldogs as it does for the Gaels. It will be hard for Gonzaga to match St. Mary’s intensity and emotion in this game.

St. Mary’s is 8-0 ATS in their last 8 games as a small home favorite of 0-6. They are also 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games following a S.U. win and 14-3 ATS in their last 17 games overall. They have one of the most powerful offenses in the NCAA. They score more than 82 ppg and make 49.5% field goals for the season. In the last four games alone, they’ve shot better than 46% (three games above 50%) and held opponents below 45% (three opponents below 40%).

Gonzaga is coming off of two close wins against Portland and Illinois. They defeated the Illini by two in overtime and defeated Portland by three. The game against Portland was only their 2nd true road game (@Michigan State, L 71-75 in mid-November). Now, they have to travel to St. Marys’s, where the Bulldogs are just 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings. The Gaels are VERY good at home. They are 21-8 ATS in their last 29 home games and 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games as a home favorite. They are already 6-0 ATS at home this season and we expect that to continue tonight. Go with the Gaels.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Alex Smart

Seton Hall @ Georgetown
PICK: Georgetown -6

It's pretty clear that HC Bobby Gonzalez is on the verge of creating something very special at Seton Hall. The former Manhattan Jaspers boss had lost four straight games before beating Cincinnati on Saturday, but of those losses, all four came within nine points, two of the four losses came in overtime, and all four were against teams that are probably going dancing this year (Connecticut, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, and West Virginia). Still, in order to punch his team's ticket to the NCAA Tournament himself, Gonzalez is going to need to see a lot more SU victories against teams like this in conference. Watch out for G Jeremy Hazell, as he is averaging 23.3 points per game on the team with the #5 offense in the land (85.5 points per game).

It's hard to see how the Hoyas, who are holding their foes to just 58.6 points per game this year, are going to let themselves get run all over by the Pirates. No team has dropped more than 70 on this squad all season, and HC John Thompson III is determined to keep it that way. Seton Hall is probably going to find guarding C Greg Monroe virtually impossible. Monroe, who learned from his predecessor, Roy Hibbert, is averaging 14.4 points, 9.8 boards, and 1.6 blocks per game in '09-'10.

The Pirates did pull off the mild upset of Georgetown last year, but that 65-60 victory came at home. Now, they'll have to travel to the Verizon Center, a place where they haven't tasted victory since 2003. The Hoyas had won four straight NCAA basketball gambling affairs in this series before the loss last season. Look for them to get back to their winning ways against the pirates tonight!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Hollywood Sports

Auburn at Tennessee
Prediction: Auburn

Tennessee (12-2) is primed for an emotional letdown after defeating the #1 ranked Kansas Jayhawks, 76-68, after suspended four of their players on the heels of their drugs and weapons charges. The Volunteers enjoyed an inspired effort from its remaining players including getting 45 solid minutes of combined play from three walk-on players to take down the number one team in the land. But that emotional effort is just not sustainable. As a double-digit favorite against a mid-level Auburn (9-7) team, these players will likely struggle. Forward Tyler Smith was the Vols second leading scorer and he has been dismissed from the team. Three other players remain on indefinite suspension. Overall, Tennessee has to replace 32.5 points of scoring from these four players. Auburn comes off an 80-71 loss to South Carolina. But the Tigers have covered nine of their last twelve games as a road underdog. Auburn plays strong defense that holds their opponents to just 43.5% shooting from the field. This should help keep them within the big number. Furthermore, Auburn has covered 13 of their last 19 games when playing teams with a winning percentage about 60%. This is nice opportunity to fade Tennessee. Take the points with Auburn.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

GoodFella

UTA pk vs CLE

LeBron and Co. come into tonights TNT matchup vs the Jazz playing their 4th and final road game of their west coast roadie--having won 2 of the 1st 3 game on the trip. Utah has won 3 of their L/4 games overall & are coming off a 29 pt blowout home win over the Heat on Monday. Both teams are playing some of their best ball right now--but we all know just how hard it is for any team to come into Utah and get a victory. Utah is 14-6 at home this season SU & 13-7 ATS---but they are on a nice (10-3 ATS run L/13) home games coming into tonight. LeBron is always up for ESPN/TNT games & this won't be an easy game for the Jazz tonight--but I do expect them to be very up for this ballgame & I expect a typical strong home effort out of Utah tonight--as I see an edge in the schedule here for the Jazz, as the Cavs have been on the road for the L/7 days--while the Jazz have been at home the L/5 days. I really expect a huge effort out of Utah in this spot and believe they will come away with a hard fought win over LeBron and Co. tonight. Take the Jazz tonight guys.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

Tony George

Oregon pk vs Ariz. St

In a toss up game, I will side with the Ducks at home in Eugene tonight on a strong homecourt in a pick em ballgame.  They are playing with double revenge from last year and have not covered a spread against the Sun Devils in 3 years of conference play.

Oregon is 8-3 SU at home and ASU is yet to win on the road, and have struggled on offense scoring just 61 ppg their last 5 games.  The Ducks are hitting 48 % from the floor and 38% from 3-point range in their last 5 games. I like the Ducks in a sqeaker tonight at home.  Yes the Devils play great defense, but on the road against a team scoring near 80 ppg, I am not sold they can get it done on the road.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 14,2010

WUNDERDOG

Anaheim at Los Angeles
Pick: Los Angeles -150

The Kings have had a tough first three games in this home stand losing all three, but to teams that are a combined 72-45 on the season. With last place Anaheim coming in they should be hungry for a win vs. a team they have a much more favorable matchup. The Ducks have won a season high five straight games and for a team that had not previously won more than three in a row all season, could be in prime fade position here, especially with their road dog mark at just 8-20 over their last 28, and 2-11 mark as a road dog of up to +150. The Kings have conquered the number in seven of the last nine vs. a team with a losing record, and 10 of their last 13 vs. the Pacific. I'll grab the Kings in this one.

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