Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday November, 15

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday November, 15

Chuck O'Brien.

My free winner for Thursday night is going to be the St. John's Red Storm, who continue to play during their four-game season-opening week with a visit to the 2012 Charleston Classic. Both St. John's and the College of Charleston Cougars are both 1-0, and do battle here in the first round in a 2:30 pacific time tip.

I've been a big fan of this team and am a bigger fan of coach Steve Lavin, who returns in 2012-13 after posting a 2-2 record last season while making a full recovery from prostate cancer surgery. And while the Red Storm and Lavin were going through a traumatic season, the Storm secured the No. 8 recruiting class in the nation per HoopScoop.com. St. John's 2012 recruiting class is comprised of eight standout student-athletes representing five countries, and the highly-acclaimed group followed a 2011 class that was ranked third nationally by ESPN.

And yet all that being said, St. Johns is catching points mainly because Charleston is hosting this event. I have no problem taking the number against a team adapting to a brand new coach. Doug Wojcik is in his first year as the head coach of the Cougars after spending seven years as the head coach at Tulsa.

Look for Lavin to lead the Red Storm to a huge win over the Cougars.

3♦ ST. JOHNS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday November, 15

Jeff Benton

Your Thursday freebie is the Brooklyn Nets as the home favorite over the Boston Celtics.

Boston has won straight up in six of the last seven series meetings, including the last three, but that streak is most definitely in jeopardy tonight as the C's make their first stop to the Barclays Center fresh off a home win over Utah last night.

This is Boston's third game in four nights, and they play it with Rajon Rondo having turned his ankle in last night's victory over the Jazz. If Rondo goes, he will not be at 100%, and that swings the advantage to Deron Williams and company.

Brooklyn is off to a 3-1 straight up start on their new home court, and they have gone 2-1-1 against the spread in those four games.

This is as big a game as the Nets can play on their new home court, and with Rondo compromised, and the aging Celtic bodies having to play back-to-backers, look for Brooklyn to be up for ending the three game series slide.

Take the Nets as the small home chalk.

4♦ BROOKLYN

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday November, 15

Chris Jordan

My free winner for tonight is going to be on the Over in the North Carolina/Virginia game in Charlottesville, North Carolina.

North Carolina has the 15th-best offense in the nation and 10th best scoring offense in the country. The Tar Heels score 40.5 points per game, and take on a team that just allowed 40 points to Miami, Florida. Now they head to Charlottesville laying points and fully expected to win this game? Yeah, I'd say they're going to force an uptempo game.

Virginia is capable of putting points up on the board, as I've seen the Cavaliers score at least 33 points in four of their 10 games, while they're averaging 24.6. points per game. Not a lot, but what they're proving is they can hang offesively when they need to. And with two games left, and just four wins on the year, they have to win out to become bowl eligible.

So while the Tar Heels will be pushing the tempo tonight, looking to run away from the Cavaliers, you can fully expect the Cavaliers to respond to the challenge with a solid pace of their own.

Look for this one to get into the mid-60s.

3♦ OVER UNC/Virginia

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday November, 15

Matt Rivers

New coach Larry Brown guided the Mustangs to an opening night win over Loyola Marymount, but I think this road game against TCU and their new coach Trent Johnson is going to be a bit of a challenge for the Mustangs.

TCU has won their first pair of games under Johnson, allowing just 46.5 points per game thus far, and the Horned Frogs are in "revenge mode" against SMU.

The Mustangs took a 68-62 decision at home against the Horned Frogs last February, but in the overall series it is the Frogs who own a 12-2 spread mark versus the Ponies.

Going to side with TCU as the small home chalk tonight to hand Brown his first loss at the collegiate level since the late 1980's.

2♦ TCU

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