Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday November, 9

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday November, 9

Scott Delaney

There's only one undefeated team left in the NBA, and it's not the defending champion Miami Heat, the defending Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder or the troubled and now-coachless Los Angeles Lakers. My free play for Friday night is in the NBA, is going to be on that still-undefeated team, as I'm laying the points with the New York Knicks against the Dallas Mavericks.

With the Knicks getting it done at both ends of the floor, I am pretty sure they'll be able dispatch the Mavericks, as the basketball mecca should be rockin' on a Friday night. The Knicks are averaging 104.6 points per game, third-best in the league, and have the No. 1 scoring defense in limiting the opposition to 85.3 ppg. Their 19.4 point differential also ranks first in the NBA.

And I'll have you know, we're not talking about a soft schedule of any kind. The Knicks manhandled the Heat and swept a home-and- home against their Atlantic Division rivals, the Philadelphia 76ers.

I know Dallas has won 18 of the last 21 meetings with the Knicks, not to mention five of the last six in New York, but these Knicks are playing a special brand of basketball right now and I don't think the Mavericks are going to be able to hang.

While Dallas is mired in on ATS slides of 3-9 after a straight-up win and 2-6 against Eastern Conference foes, while the Knicks are on ATS win streaks of 23-5 at home, 7-3 against Western Conference teams and 4-1 overall.

Lay the points with the Knicks.

3♦ NEW YORK KNICKS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday November, 9

Chuck O'Brien

My free winner for Friday night is going to be on the Miami Heat oer the Atlanta Hawks, laying what I feel is a cheap price. I wasn't sure how the Heat would respond to their championship season, how they'd open this season, but I can see they're on a mission to destroy everything in their path toward a second-straight NBA title. Not only are the Heat rolling offensively, but this is a team that is stifling foes on the defensive end.

While Miami ranks No. 1 in scoring 110 points per game, it ranks No. 2 in the league in point differential, outscoring its foes by 10.2 points per contest. The Heat arrive in Atlanta after limiting the Nets to 37.5 percent shooting in a 30-point win and the Suns to 39.8 percent shooting two nights earlier in a 25-point rout.

Admittedly, this will be a bit more of a test, but the Heat won't be short of confidence in this game, as they'll be aiming for a sixth straight road victory in Atlanta. Over their five-game win streak at Philips Arena, the Heat have won by an average of 14.8 points. In this Southeast Division rivalry, the Heat have won nine of 11 from the Hawks, while stymieing them to 88.4 points per game.

I'll take my chances with the defending champs and will lay the road chalk in this one.

2♦ MIAMI

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday November, 9

Craig Davis

Friday night free play is the Maryland Terrapins plus the points against Kentucky.

Siding with the underdog terps here because I believe we're getting tremendous line value as the name "Kentucky" brings extra, unnecessary points.

Go look at Kentucky's projected starting lineup: Kentucky: C Nerlens Noel, F Kyle Wiltjer, F Alex Poythress, G Archie Goodwin, G Ryan Harrow... do those names ring a bell?

It's a far cry from Anthony Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist, etc. Not to say these kids aren't going to be good players, because they were obviously highly recruited kids, but it's going to take them some time to get acclimated to the rigors of college basketball vs. a team that has some experience and some depth.

Let's not forget the Terps aren't that far removed from winning a National title themselves, so it's not like the 'Cats are playing some weak sisters of the poor tonight. Maryland is a capable of not only covering this number but winning the game outright... but I won't go that far. Let's just stay within the number and we'll be fine.

Maryland's projected starting lineup is as follows: C Alex Len, F James Padgett, F Nick Faust, G Dez Wells, and G Pe’Shon Howard. Some names might sound familiar... others not so much.

Even if James Padgett doesn’t play a ton of minutes, there’s no way he won’t start in his hometown tonight. Dez Wells was declared eligible on Wednesday, giving Mark Turgeon a much easier lineup to construct.

Len, Faust, and Wells are locks to start without question. Freshman guard Seth Allen had a tremendous game in his Maryland debut against IUP but it's still not a given he will start tonight. In fact, it's probably a better chance he'll come off the bench.

Here's the matchup to watch tonight... Alex Len vs. Nerlens Noel. If you like college basketball and you want to see an extremely heated battle... this might be the one to watch. Regardless of who outplays who, it should be a fun one to watch but will have little bearing on the outcome of the game as both are expected to play well.

When it's all said and done, this is much more like a home game for Maryland than Kentucky, and that should be enough for them to stay within this number.

2♦ MARYLAND

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday November, 9

Jeff Benton

Friday's freebie is the Under in the Pittsburgh-Connecticut football game.

Look for the Panthers to have a little less "pep in their step" tonight after suffering a gut-wrenching loss at Notre Dame last Saturday.

That loss coupled with the fact Pitt is up against the top-rated stop unit in the Big East is going to lead to a low-scoring game tonight at Rentschler Field.

Connecticut has held four of their last five opponents to 19 points or less, and for the season, the Huskies have they have held their foes to 19 or less in six of nine overall.

Not surprisingly, six of the Huskies nine games contested this season have stayed Under the posted price.

Three of Pittsburgh's four road games this year have stayed under, and if not for the 15 points they combined to score in overtime in South Bend last week, it would be a 4-0 road Under stat for the Panthers.

Low scoring tonight, play the Under in Pitt-UConn.

2♦ PITTSBURGH-CONNECTICUT UNDER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday November, 9

Chris Jordan

My free winner for Friday night is going to be on the Orlando Magic, catching points at home from the hyped-up Brooklyn Nets, who are beginning to resemble the New Jersey Nets more than the team they're supposed to be.

The allure of this team has seemingly worn off, and after watching them get blown out by the Miami Heat 103-73 Wednesday night in South Florida, I think the Nets are going to have problems in this one despite point guard Deron Williams having the sizable advantage and the Nets arguably having more talent.

The problem all along has been the media attention this team has gotten. There are so many expectations with this team, and I think those chips that were resting high up on their shoulders have been weighing them down. And it doesn't get any easier tonight, as the Magic have won 10 straight games over the Nets, and 17 of the last 20 meetings. Sure, the complexion of both teams have taken on brand new looks, but I think the Magic have responded much better sans Dwight Howard, then the Nets have in their new digs.

There's a return engagement between these two, in Brooklyn on Sunday, so the Nets can concentrate on that one. Tonight, however, the Magic are the right play.

3♦ ORLANDO

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday November, 9

Matt Rivers

Free play winner last night on the Under in the Colts-Jags contest.

Now 45-36 with my free plays.

Friday night a college comp play goes on the Drexel Dragons as the road favorite against the young Kent State Golden Flashes.

Second year coach Rob Senderoff is working in seven new players to the Kent attack this season, so expect plenty of early season growing pains for this young Flashes edition.

As for Drexel, their slow start last year cost them a shot at going to the Big Dance, but this is a team that is loaded - four starters return - and went all the way to the NIT quarterfinals last season.

CAA likely player-of-the-year Franz Massenat will see to it that the Dragons break from the gate a little quicker this year than they did last year, as Drexel is not thinking about a March ticket to the NIT, they are thinking about the Big Dance.

Drexel to pull away tonight and win this one by double-digits against the very green Golden Flashes.

4♦ DREXEL

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