Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, January 15,2010

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, January 15,2010

Jay McNeil

Well, my free play Thursday on Auburn looked good for most of the team's game at Tennessee, and then the Tigers just fell apart and ended up being outscored 43-18 in the second half. But despite that loss, I'm still on a modest 14-9 run, and I've got an NBA play tonight that will get me going back in the right direction!

The Spurs are 10-1 all time against the Bobcats and have never lost to them in Charlotte. In the teams' first meeting this season, on Dec. 11 in San Antonio, the Spurs shot 71 percent from the field in the fourth quarter and won 104-85 despite committing a season-high 28 turnovers.

San Antonio has won eight of its last 10 games, including three straight, and Tim Duncan should be well rested after sitting out to rest his knees Wednesday night during the Spurs' 109-108 overtime victory at Oklahoma City.

In Duncan's absence, rookie DeJuan Blair had 28 points and 21 rebounds, and the two post players should be too much for the Bobcats to handle tonight.

And while Charlotte guard Stephen Jackson has been on fire lately, scoring a career-high 43 points Tuesday in a 102-94 win over Houston, and averaging 28 points over the Bobcats' last seven games, San Antonio has tough defenders such as Keith Bogans that can help slow him down.

The Spurs are 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings between the teams, and are also on ATS runs of 8-3 overall, 7-3 as a favorite, 5-1 on the road and 5-1 as a road favorite. Take San Antonio to continue its dominance of Charlotte and cover the points tonight.

4♦ SAN ANTONIO

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, January 15,2010

Chuck O'Brien

Take the Rockets and lay the couple of points against the Heat in Friday’s NBA action.

Tough to argue with Houston’s success at home this year, as it has won 12 of 16 games at the Toyota Center, going an impressive 11-5 ATS, including 7-1 ATS in the last eight. Also tough to argue with the Rockets’ recent success against the Miami Heat, as they’ve won and covered three straight meetings and gone 5-1 SU and ATS in the six (with the winner cashing in all six). Go back to 2005, and Houston is on a 7-2 ATS roll against the Heat, including 4-1 SU and ATS at home.

This year, the Rockets entertain what must be an exhausted Dwyane Wade and Co. Miami is nearing the end of a six-game road trip that began a week ago tonight in Phoenix – yep, this is the Heat’s fifth game, all on the road, since last Friday. If that’s not enough, the Heat have to play in Oklahoma City against Kevin Durant and the young, energetic Thunder tomorrow night. As a matter of fact, Miami is in the middle of a suicidal run in which it is playing 19 of 24 games on the road from Jan. 8-Feb. 20, with only a brief respite for the All-Star break mixed in at the tail end of this stretch.

As it is, Miami has dropped four of its last six on the road both SU and ATS and is just 8-9 SU and ATS over its last 17 (with the winner cashing in all 17 games). And while the Rockets are 35-16-1 ATS in their last 52 games against teams from the Southeast Division, the Heat are 5-16-1 ATS in their last 22 against the Southwest Division.

5♦ HOUSTON ROCKETS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, January 15,2010

Jeff Alexander

1 Unit on Indiana Pacers -2.5

The Pacers are a big public play, but I feel there is still value in making a small play on them tonight. Yes, the Pacers are just 3-16 on the road this season, but the Nets are only 2-16 at home. Plus, I would expect Indiana to have a better road record had Danny Granger and Troy Murphy not missed so much action this season. I think this line is more representative of the Pacers without those two in the lineup. The key is the Nets are just 3-12 ATS versus up-tempo teams averaging 83 or more shots/game this season. Plus, the favorite is 8-1 ATS in the last 9 meetings. I just don't think New Jersey has the horses to keep up with a Pacers team that has now broke the century mark in 4 straight games tonight. Take the Pacers.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, January 15,2010

Spartan

OKL +5 vs DAL

The Thunder mounted a tremendous rally last time out against the Spurs but fell just short in the end. Now they venture just a little south to butt heads with the Mavericks. I do not tend to hang my hat on trends to the extreme but there is one stubborn fact here that cannot be overlooked guys. This Dallas team is a pathetic 1-12 against the number in their last 13 home contests. That's pretty glaring. The Mav's have simply been too inconsistent of late to have much confidence in, I do suspect they likely will prevail here tonight as they know full and well they have a rugged five game road trip looming after this game tonight. However, I fully expect the Thunder to take this game to the very end and will gladly take the five points. This should be a good one guys but the value is with the dog!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, January 15,2010

Ben Burns

Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals
Prediction: Washington Capitals

This play is too "expensive" to qualify as one of my guaranteed selections. In fact, I'll probably take a little heat for releasing it as one of my complimentary plays. That said, I've had plenty of success picking my spots with larger favorites over the years and feel that this will prove to be another good one.

For starters, the Capitals are a much better team than the Leafs. If the teams played 100 times, the Caps would win a large majority of them. Currently, Washington has 62 points and is comfortably on top of the Southeast Division. On the other hand, Toronto has 41 points, firmly entrenched in the basement of the Northeast.

The Caps are also playing on home ice. They're 14-3-3 (14-6 vs. ml) here on the season. The Leafs are 7-13-4 (7-17 vs. ml) on the road.

The Leafs are 6-16 (-9.2) against teams with a winning record. The Caps are 16-7 (+3.6) vs. teams with a losing record.

Additionally, the Caps have the schedule in their favor. They had last night off. The Leafs, on the other hand, are off a win vs. Philadelphia last night. That's noteworthy as they're 2-10 their last 12, when playing the second of back to back games.

The Leafs won't catch the Caps looking past them either, as they've actually beaten them twice in a row. (Both games were at Toronto.)

With the Caps at 15-5 (+8.8) when playing with 'revenge,' if you don't mind laying some extra juice for a game that's got an extra strong chance of winning, consider laying the wood with Washington.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, January 15,2010

TEDDY COVERS

Loyola-Chicago @ Illinois-Chicago
PICK: Loyola-Chicago +1.5

The Illinois-Chicago Flames have dominated this in-city rivalry for the last two years, winning each of the last five meetings between these two squads. This year, however, the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers are the superior squad. And make no mistake about it – Jim Whitesell’s crew is hungry to break their losing streak against their cross-town rivals.

Loyola has three distinct advantages in this ballgame. First, they are the deeper team. Jimmy Collins plays three of his starters for nearly 35 minutes per game, while Whitesell has eight guys in his rotation averaging between 13 and 30 minutes. The Ramblers should be the fresher team down the stretch tonight.

Loyola’s second major edge is their ability to shoot the basketball, or, more specifically, UIC’s inability to make shots. The Flames are a truly awful offensive basketball team, ranked #326th in the country in shooting percentage (37.6%). Leading scorer Robo Kreps is a brick waiting to happen, and his starting backcourt mate Zavion Neely is shooting at a 22 percent clip from three point land. Loyola’s defensive stopper, Terrance Hill, will be matched up against Kreps, making things even tougher for the Flames on the offensive end here.

Last, but not least, Loyola is the vastly superior rebounding squad, thanks to Andy Polka, a cerebral interior player who always seems to be in the right position to snare the board. Polka leads the Horizon League in rebounding this season, bad news for a UIC team that has been outrebounded by nearly seven boards per game.

Loyola was 11-2 before an early January three game hiccup. They’ve won outright at Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Bradley, Holy Cross and SIU-Edwardsville already this year. Facing a struggling 5-11 Flames squad, look for the Ramblers to get their revenge at the Pavilion tonight, in this ESPNU TV matchup. 2* Take Loyola-Chicago

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, January 15,2010

Hollywood Sports

Oklahoma City Thunder at Dallas Mavericks
Prediction: Dallas Mavericks

Dallas (25-13) tries to avoid three-straight losses at home after dropping their last two games against the Lakers (100-95) and the Jazz (111-93). The Mavericks' defense has waned over their last three games as they are allowing 107.6 PPG and 53.1% shooting from the field. Dallas should regain their defensive presence and coach Rick Carlisle is committed to re-establishing a defense that is 3rd in the Western Conference by holding their opponents to just 44.8% shooting from the field. Said Carlisle: "Our problems are at the defensive end ... That's the biggest thing we've got to work to resolve. We've shown we can be a good defensive team. We've just got to keep with it." The Mavericks have enjoyed great success in containing the Thunder's Kevin Durant. Durant scores only 13.7 PPG against the Mavs -- which is his least productive scoring against all the teams in the NBA. Oklahoma City (21-17) comes off a disappointing 109-108 overtime loss to the Spurs. After four straight home games, the Thunder now embark on the road where they shoot only 44.8% from the field. Oklahoma City has underachieved as of late as they have failed to cover the spread in five of their last seven games. The Mavericks should bounce back and win convincingly at home tonight. Lay the points with Dallas.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, January 15,2010

Black Widow

1* on Oklahoma City Thunder +5

Oklahoma City has been a very reliable team to back when coming off a loss or a game where they failed to cover. The Thunder are 13-2 ATS (+10.8 Units) after a game where they failed to cover the spread this season and 13-3 ATS (+9.7 Units) after 1 or more consecutive losses this season. Meanwhile, Dallas has not fared well in the role of the home favorite this season. The Mavs are 4-14 ATS (-11.4 Units) as a home favorite this season and 1-9 ATS (-8.9 Units) in home games after failing to cover 2 of their last 3 against the spread this season. The Thunder are right in the thick of the playoff hunt in the Western Conference with a 21-17 record this season. This team has been underrated all year, especially on the road where they are 10-8 S.U. & 12-6 ATS. They have won 8 of their last 11 games overall. This is a young team, but they don't play like it. Take the Thunder and the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, January 15,2010

Jimmy Boyd

1 Unit on Sacramento Kings +3

Look for the Kings to pull off the small upset tonight as they get a nice lift from the return of leading scorer Kevin Martin. It's hard to justify the 76ers laying more than a deuce at home against a team with 3 more wins on the season, especially since the 76ers are just 3-15 ATS in home games this season. What makes matters worse is they are 0-7 ATS home games after playing a game as favorite this season. While the Kings are just 3-13 on the road, they are 9-6-1 ATS in those games. Plus Sacramento will be out for revenge here after losing to the 76ers at home back on December 30th. Both Tyreke Evans and Kevin Martin didn't play in that game. With both in the lineup tonight, I expect the Kings to improve to 10-1 ATS in their last 10 games following a SU loss of more than 10 points, and 6-1-2 ATS in their last 9 games as a road underdog. Take the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, January 15,2010

SPORTS WAGERS

ATLANTA –4½ over Phoenix

The Suns are still considered to be one of the elite teams in the Association and that perception can be taken advantage of. Its stock is going to plummet real soon. Phoenix is 24-15 and that’s because of a 15-4 home record and a good start on the road. However, they’ve lost eight of its last nine road games and that includes a loss in Indiana in which they blew a 24-point lead. No way do they get a big lead on this host. The Hawks play tremendous defense and that’s a problem for Phoenix. The Hawks also have a slew of offensive weapons in which any one of six guys can get hot and against the defense they’ll face here, all six could have big games. The Suns record masks its shortcomings but the fact is they rank 29th in the NBA defensively and after playing its last five games against Sacramento, Houston, Miami, Milwaukee and Indiana and not fairing so good, they’re about to take a huge step up in class and will get exposed by this well-balanced and very dangerous Hawks team. Atlanta is heating up again with four wins in five games and should have its way against this extremely overrated and soft visitor. Play: Atlanta –4½ (Risking 2.2 units to win 2).


CHARLOTTE +1.15 over San Antonio

The Spurs are hot, very hot in fact and last game could’ve been the coming out party for DeJuan Blair. Tim Duncan was a late scratch and Blair stepped in and didn’t look out of place for a second. Blair went off for 28 points and 21 boards and was the difference in the Spurs one-point OT win over the Thunder. It was a nice win in a place they’ve had trouble winning in the past and now they’ll face an Eastern opponent that they don’t see very often. The Spurs continue on its road trip with games against Memphis and New Orleans after this one, so don’t be surprised to see them take a night off here. We’ve seen this guest pull a whole bunch of no-shows this year already and this could certainly be one of those times. Besides, the Cats are playing decent and should be the more intense of the two. Charlotte has won six of its last seven and that includes a win in Cleveland and this would be another signature win for them. Play: Charlotte +1.15 (Risking 2 units).


Milwaukee +1.48 over GOLDEN STATE

Something really smells fishy about this one. The Warriors opened as a 4½-point favorite and they’re getting hammered by the public yet the line has dropped. The NBA is very much like the NFL in that it takes a ton of action and the books are so sharp in this sport. We saw this same scenario last night when the public was hammering the Celtics but the line dropped anyway and Chicago won outright. The Bucks are a pitiful road team while the Warriors play with a ton of energy at home and usually give even the best team’s fits. This one is all about spotting a rat and playing against it. Play: Milwaukee +1.48 (Risking 2 units).   


Northern Colorado/PORTLAND ST. over 155

There aren’t too many people who know just how potent both these teams offense’s are. The beauty of betting college basketball is that lesser known schools fall through the cracks because they are never mentioned or featured on television. I’m here to tell you there probably isn’t going to be another game this season when two incredible offenses face off against each other. Firstly, let’s mention the three point shooting; Northern Colorado has six players that average over two three point shots a game and as a team they shoot 39.6%. That statistic puts them in the top 30 in College Basketball but believe it or not, Portland State does even better. Portland State shoots an incredible 42.1% from three while utilizing the shot on 35% of their possessions, a staggering success ratio that unfortunately hasn’t translated into victories. The reason for that is because of the atrocious defense played by Portland State, who allows opponents to shoot an embarrassing 42.1% on threes and 54.5% on twos. Northern Colorado allows opponents to shoot 34.1% on threes and when you add everything up it’s a classic case of two teams with great offenses and terrible defenses facing each other in what will undoubtedly be a high scoring game. It’s hard to fathom a total being set this low for two teams who clearly can shoot with any school on the planet, but this is the case tonight and I’m not going to back away. Play: Northern Colorado/Portland St. over 155 (Risking 2.16 units to win 2).

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, January 15,2010

Drew Gordon

Sacramento at PHILADELPHIA -3

37-24-3 roll L64 Free Plays, incl. 5-1 L6! For today's complimentary play, we're looking at the Kings/76ers match up.

This is an interesting game, because people who follow the Kings know they are only profitable in this spot, as a road dog. Sacto is 8-2-1 ATS in their L11 in that position, and while that may seem tempting, especially with their best player back and playing where they're playing, I'm not buying it.

Yes, the 76ers are a pathetic 3-15 ATS at the Wachovia Center, but if betting NBA games was as easy as compiling a bunch of trends, then I wouldn't have a job! Guys, it simply "too easy" to bet the Kings tonight, as the public has jumped all over them in this match up (more than 80% on Sacramento), and as always that should send up a major red flag!

In fact, while the return of Kevin Martin will mean good things in the long-term, his return could screw with the current chemistry they have with star rookie Tyreke Evans running the show. Point guards don't like to split duties with anyone, especially two "shoot-first" PGs!

Finally, I like what I've seen from the 76ers of late, going 5-4 SUATS over their L9 games. All of a sudden, we're starting to see some value with the 76ers at home, as oddsmakers make it increasingly cheaper to bet this team based on their atrocious home record ATS. They've played well in their L3 games, with wins at Detroit and vs New Orleans, and I suspect another strong effort against a very beatable Kings squad dealing with some lineup issues.

Take Philadelphia over Sacramento in this NBA match up.

1♦ PHILADELPHIA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, January 15,2010

Chris Jordan

No. Colorado at PORTLAND STATE +2'

I'm playing the Vikings tonight, as the home pup gets the easy money.

Northern Colorado is a very good basketball team, as evidenced by its six-game win streak, but I cannot ignore the fact Portland State has a 10-0 lead in all-time series with Northern Colorado - including a 6-0 mark since the Bears joined the Big Sky for the 2006-07 season.

This is a Portland State team that is going to be there in the end, challenging for the Big Sky title. The Vikes made a run to the Big Dance last season, and with six letterwinners back, I think they've set a return date to get back to the postseason.

There's no doubt about it that PSU is underachieving right now. I don't know if this team should be 15-1, 14-2, 13-3 ... you get the point; but it could very well be 11-5, rather than 7-9.

And you know who realizes this? The oddsmakers.

Otherwise the 15-3 Bears would be much bigger favorites in this situation.

But they're not, and it could very well be because the Vikings have the Big Sky's highest-scoring offense, averaging 77.6 points a game.

Take the home pup ... it's the easy play in this game.

3♦ PORTLAND STATE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, January 15,2010

Scott Delaney

Northern Arizona +2 at Eastern Washington

Mike Adras has to be fed up with his team right about now, and knowing him, he will have the fire sparked under his Lumberjacks for this trip to the Northwest.

The 'Jacks come into this game after suffering an embarrassing, 87-62 setback to Weber State - the ninth loss on the year for Northern Arizona, which fell to a paltry 1-4 in Big Sky play.

And again, Adras does not settle for mediocrity. He's a master at bringing the best out of his players, no matter the talent level.

The Eagles have been unable to play well defensively, And though the Lumberjacks have been mediocre in averaging just 68.5 points per game, they've shot a respectable 45.2 percent shooting effort.

I'm looking for that breakout game tonight.

3♦ NORTHERN ARIZONA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, January 15,2010

Tony Weston

Just a horrible outcome last night as the Cavaliers dominated the game from start to near finish. But a miracle three by a guy on a 10-day contract does in Cleveland and costs us.

That’s fine. I can’t dwell on that and I won’t.

I’m focused on tonight and focused on cashing in with the Spurs who will get over on the Bobcats.

Coming into this game the Spurs have cashed in each of their last 2 games and have covered in 8 of their last 11 games, including 3 of their last 4 on the road.

The Bobcats, on the other hand, have failed to cover in 3 of their last 4 overall, including 2 of their last 3 at home.

Most importantly, the Spurs are 7-2-1 ATS their last 10 games against the Bobcats and have covered in 5 of their last 6 against Charlotte, including covers in each of their last two meetings.

When these two hooked up back in December the Spurs destroyed the Bobcats, winning 104-85 as a 7 1/2 point favorite.

Tonight, San Antonio will cash in against the Bobcats.

3♦ SPURS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, January 15,2010

Tony George

ORL -4.5 vs POR

Portland a Home Dog of +4.5 ?  REALLY??  OH YEAH I WILL Tell you WHY!

While I have a Big TOP PLAY tonight in the NBA this is a good game to bet.  I cannot fathom this line or a team like the Blazers in the Rose Garden as a dog against a team in disary that has lost 5 out of 7 games, many to lesser teams than the Blazers who are always tough at home.

This also is the third game of a west coast swing roadie for the Magic, who are off a 18 point woodshed beating at the hands of the Nuggets.

NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND!!  Brandon Roy is OUT with a bad hamstring...THAT IS A HUGE LOSS FOR AN ALREADY DEPLETED ROSTER for the Blazers.

This line will go down slightly...but Lay it with the Magic to get back on track and DOMINATE the paint in this game.

LAY THE WOOD WITH ORLANDO.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, January 15,2010

King Creole

TOR +2.5 vs NYK

Big time REST advantage for the Toronto Raptors, who have been waiting around in the Big Apple for a couple of days as the Knicks finished up their 3-game road trip. So it's a 3-1 rest advantage for the visitors in this game. That sets up a real nice System which has been perfect thus far in the month of January.

6-0 ATS in January: All NBA teams with 3 or MORE days rest (TORONTO)... versus any opponent with only 1 day rest (New York).

'Short' division road dogs (like the Raptors tonight) have been very profitable in the 2009/2010 season.14-7 ATS this season: All division road dogs of 4 < points (TORONTO). And when playing off 2 or more SU losses in a row, these dogs have gone a PERFECT 5-0 ATS.

As mentioned above, New York returns home off a quick 3-game road trip. Sharp players already know that it's prudent to fade ANY home team coming in off 3 or more road games in a row, under the right conditions.2-10 ATS this season: All NBA home favorites playing off 3 or more road games... if they WON their last game SU (Knicks)... and they're taking on an opponent off a SU loss (TORONTO).

New York's last game was on the division road against the Philadelphia 76ers... and they won in UNDERDOG fashion.21-2 ATS this season: All NBA home favorites of > 1 point playing off a SU division road DOG win (New York). When facing a division opponent AGAIN, these teams have gone a PERFECT 0-3 ATS this year.

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