Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 4

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 4

SPORTS WAGERS

Philadelphia +148 over N.Y. KNICKS

There’s a big difference from playing a season-opening, Friday night, home game against the world champs, in the featured game of the night no less, to playing a Sunday morning game against the 76ers. The Knicks were certainly ready for that opener and after whacking the Heat, they are garnering much attention here from bettors. They played a great game but an inevitable regression isn’t far behind because this team is likely to have more sizzle than steak. New York doesn't have much depth, it's counting on older players and at least three key players are out.

The 76ers are coming off an ugly nine-point win in their season opener over the Nuggets. Ugly because the offense was completely out of sync but holding the Nuggets to 75 points should not be ignored, as that’s unlikely to happen to Denver again for the rest of the season. If the D plays anything like they did on Friday and the offense picks it up even slightly, the 76ers will be tough to beat here. What we know for sure is that the Knicks are overvalued because of one hyped season opening win. 76ers outright.


Detroit +7½ -102 over L.A. LAKERS

The Pistons are 0-2 but against the number, they’re 1-1. They’ve played two high tempo offenses in Houston and Phoenix and thus, playing these Lakers should appear in slow motion for them. The Pistons are really undervalued because of some poor records over the last few years and a winless start this year but this season’s edition will not be pushovers. Greg Munroe, Rodney Stucky and Brandon Knight have all been very average in the teams’ first two games. That trio is so much more capable and there’s nothing like a game in L.A. to wake somebody up. 

It’s really early and there’s no need to panic but an 0-3 start and not coming close to winning is a sign of some serious problems. The Lakers margins of defeat thus far have been 8, 10 and 10 respectively, which isn’t awful on the surface but they were down by as much as 16 in each game and were never a threat to win the game. In all three losses, the Lakers had no rally in them whatsoever. Perhaps it’s a sign of things to come. Perhaps lining your team with aging vets after an unforgiving and grueling strike shortened season wasn’t a good idea. The Lakers bench is awful, the vets have no life in their legs and until they show us something different, we’ll gladly take significant points against them.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 4

Andre Gomes

Cardinals / Packers Under 43.5

This is a similar spot to the one last week where I took the Under in the game between Green Bay and Jacksonville. Aaron Rodgers will face one of the best pass defenses in the league, while not having his two best wide receivers in Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson on the field. This will certainly cause him problems against a Cardinals' pass defense that is #4 in completions% allowed, #12 in yards allowed per pass attempt and #6 in QB rating allowed. Things will only get worse for him, as Arizona leads the league in sacks with 26 sacks (tied with Green Bay) and the Packers' offensive line keeps struggling, having allowed 28 sacks on their first eight games of the season! Therefore, I expect Aaron Rodgers to have some problems today against a good defense that will put a lot of pressure on him as well. The Packers lack a good running game to give any kind of support to their passing game, so I believe Green Bay will indeed struggle a bit on offense today.

But if the Packers will struggle a bit on offense, the Cardinals will struggle a lot on offense! John Skelton is having a quite poor season, however that's not entirely his fault. It's hard for a quarterback to have a good season when the offensive line has allowed 39 sacks on their first eight games of the season! Green Bay leads the league in sacks and they will be all over John Skelton today, who will spend the whole game running away from the Packers' defense. Considering the fact that Arizona has lost their main two running backs due to injury and they are currently the worst team in the league in rushing yards per carry, I believe the Cardinals will struggle to have any kind of decent production today in either the passing game or the running game. They're getting shutdown today, just like they were last week against San Francisco.

Therefore, I expect a game where both defenses will cause a lot of problems to the offenses. Both teams have an excellent pass rush and a quite poor offensive line, therefore I expect both quarterbacks to have tough days today. With both teams also lacking a productive running game, I expect this game to be a low scoring affair and so, I'll be taking the Under in here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 4

Scott Delaney

My free pick run is at 26-13-1, a 67 percent winning clip, and I look to improve on that number with the Detroit Lions laying points to the Jacksonville Jaguars today in Northeast Florida. As I deliver this freebie at 6 a.m. eastern, I see the consensus line on the Lions is -5.5 points.

I know both of these teams are in the cellars of their respective divisions, and both have experienced rather disappointing seasons, but the fact remains the Lions are a better team than their record would indicate. Detroit (3-4) is in after compiling 415 yards against a rather decent Seattle defense, as the Lions won 28-24 behind a gutsy performance by quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Stafford completed 34 of 49 passes for 352 yards, with three touchdowns, an interception and a rushing score in the victory. And beyond what we already knew - the Georgia-graduate is pretty damn good - we saw improvement with the offensive line, as the Lions allowed no sacks, had just one turnover and turned all three red-zone trips into touchdowns.

Now they take on a Jags team that has the worst offense in the league and the 25th-ranked defense. I don't care this one is in Jacksonville, the Jags don't have enough personnel to keep up with the Lions. Stafford has thrown for 1,843 yards, with 17 touchdowns and one interception, in his last six games against AFC teams.

Jacksonville has failed to cover in five of its last seven at home, while the Lions are in on a three-game ATS winning streak. My money is on the road chalk in this one.

3♦ DETROIT

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 4

Chuck O'Brien

My long-term free-pick run is now 125-93-3, and I'm looking to win my third straight NFL freebie in as many Sundays when I play the Chicago Bears minus a field goal against the Tennessee Titans. I notice the consensus line is 3.5 across the board, so I'm going to insist you buy the half point off this line and lay only a field goal with grizzlies, in case we run up against a tight game.

Personally, I don't think that'll be the case, as we're talking about a stringent Bears defense that I don't believe Tennessee can penetrate. Chicago's stop unit is ranked 7th overall in the league, while the its rushing defense is numero uno. That could spell trouble for the Titans, who will be reduced down to being a one-dimensional team today, and that's never good against a physical team.

First, think about this: if the Bears are shutting down the lanes and dominating in the trenches, they're forcing Tennessee to use its air game. Now, in that mode, I want you to picure how many times you've seen a member of the Bears' stop unit returning a pick-six this season.

Doesn't it seem like every time you look up, there's a defensive highlight with this team? The Bears have six interceptions returned for touchdowns, the most of any team in NFL history through seven games. Bears cornerback Tim Jennings has snatched seven passes in his past eight games and returned his first interception for a touchdown, last week against the Carolina Panthers.

And I know quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's history under center against Chicago, having thrown for 837 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions in his last three starts against the Bears. And I also see he has thrown two touchdowns and no interceptions with a 101.6 passer rating in his past two games.

All that'll change today, as he's going to have Julius Peppers breathing down his neck, and a swarm of talented secondary specialists just waiting for him to make a mistake.

This is an overall bad situation for the Titans, so I'm going to lay the points and ask you to buy the half point off of 3.5 - after all, it's the sharp thing to do with this line.

2♦ CHICAGO

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 4

Craig Davis

Gave you a free play winner on Oregon State on Saturday.

Now on a 7-3 run with my free plays.

Sunday's free play is the Dallas Cowboys plus the points at Atlanta.

On paper, this game looks like an Atlanta blowout.

So why is the line only 3 1/2 or 4? Doesn't that seem like a crazy line when Dallas has proven to be such a bad football team?

Well, it reminds me of a few years ago when the Cowboys played the undefeated Saints on a Saturday night and they were seven-point underdogs. They won outright when no one gave them a chance.

I'm not saying the Cowboys will win this game outright, but there's something about this line that says Falcons by a field goal.

Dallas is having offensive troubles, and occasionally their defense looks like crap too, and the team is just in disarray most of the time anyhow. There's just too much confusion with this team... and I believe it's a simple matter of Jason Garrett being in over his head.

Dallas has plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, but they just don't know how to win the big games.

I do know this... Atlanta isn't blowing teams out like they did at the beginning of the year and Dallas will somehow find a way to sneak in the backdoor.

Take the Cowboys plus the points as your free play of the day.

3♦ DALLAS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 4

Jeff Benton

Your Sunday freebie is the Seattle Seahawks to stop their two game losing streak today back at home against the Minnesota Vikings.

Seattle is 3-0 both straight up and against the spread at Century Link Field this season, all as the underdog! First try for the Seahawks in the home favorite role and they will be up for the challenge. Seattle has now covered six straight at home, and 9 of their last 11 at home dating back to last season.

Things are starting to get away from Christian Ponder who has been throwing interceptions at an alarming rate of late. Not surprisingly Minnesota has lost two of their last three straight up, and they are just 1-2 both straight up and against the spread on the road this season.

Playing in the Emerald City is never easy, and Minnesota just has not shown that they can be counted on to win away from the Twin Cities. I have a feeling Ponder's miscues will continue on the Century Link Field today as Seattle claims a much-needed win and cover.

3♦ SEATTLE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 4

Chris Jordan

My free NFL pick for Sunday is going to be a total, as I head to Wisconsin for the NFC clash between the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers, and play this game under the posted 43-1/2 points. Look, I know the last time these two met they combined for a playoff-record 96 points, while compiling more than 1,000 yards of offense. Heck, these two even needed overtime to settle the outcome.

I don't think this go-round will come close to the previous meeting.

After all, the Cardinals have lost four straight games, including last Monday's 24-3 rout at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, and their offense is about as lethargic as it can be right now. And that's with all-pro receiver Larry Fitzgerals in the lineup. To say this unit is a mess would be as safe as saying Hurricane Sandy was a wet one. Injuries have marred the Cardinals, their 39 sacks allowed are nine more than any other team, and they're averaging a paltry 11.5 points per game during this losing streak.

Now, that all being said, remember this is the same team that started the season 4-0. And if you look closely, you'll see even in the setbacks, this defense has been respectable. It's still ranked 6th in the league overall, sparked by the fourth-best passing defense. And that might not bode well for Aaron Rodgers and company.

I know the Pack has averaged 30 points over its last five contests, but something tells me it's in store for a huge defensive tussle this time around, not an offensive shootout. Green Bay has held its last three opponents to 24 points or less, and is tied with Arizona for the league lead with 26 sacks.

Look for this one to stay low, as the under comes in with ease.

4♦ UNDER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 4

Matt Rivers

For Sunday, go with the Houston Texans at home against the Baltimore Ravens.

Houston is laying double-digits, but I am not the least bit worried as the Texans have already covered both of their tries as a double-digit favorite this season (vs. Miami and Tennessee), and they are 5-2 overall against the spread this season.

Buffalo comes in fresh off their bye-week, but their 3-4 record is a bit deceiving, as three of their four losses this season have been by large margins: 20 point loss at the Jets, 24 points loss home to New England, and 42 point loss at San Francisco.

Dating back to last season, the Bills are just 3-6-1 against the number when installed as the road underdog. The Buffalo defense has had issues stopping the run, as they are allowing a college football-like 6 yards per carry for the year! Have to expect the high-powered Houston offense (23 points or better in all seven of their games this season) to do some damage both on the ground and through the air.

On the flip side, look for Houston's defense to put the clamps on the Buffalo offense.

This one has the potential to be the biggest blowout on the Week Nine schedule.
Take the Texans.

5♦ HOUSTON

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 4

OC Dooley

Redskins -3

You will see at the bottom of this analysis an astounding 13-2 ATS all-time trend involving Washington head coach Mike Shanahan that automatically makes this a very high percentage wager.  But one of the keys to this pick surrounds a “coaching letdown” so to speak involving Carolina’s Ron Rivera who last Sunday returned to Chicago where he was once a successful defensive coordinator for a Super Bowl squad.  The Panthers led almost wire-to-wire last Sunday in the windy city before coughing up a substantial fourth quarter lead and losing on a last-second field goal by the Bears.  It was for the most part business as usual for Carolina who has endured five other losses this season by a combined 18 points and a once promising season has essentially gone by the boards.  The upcoming SCHEDULE for Washington makes today an almost “must win” situation for the host who after tackling the Panthers will be taking on three playoff-caliber squads (Eagles, Cowboys, Giants) with all three coming from the competitive NFC East.  Even though the Redskins lost on the road last Sunday it must be pointed out that entering the contest Robert Griffin III led the entire NFL in pass completion percentage at the 70 mark.  Today he will oppose fellow former Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton who has committed a grand total of EIGHT turnovers in the past five outings.  In the career of current Washington head coach Mike Shanahan his teams have been almost automatic where it counts (13-2 ATS) after trailing by 14+ points in the previous game at halftime

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