Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

SPORTS WAGERS
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DETROIT +4 +100 over Green Bay
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The Lions are their own worst enemies. Detroit owns the #1 ranked passing offense with 307 yards per game and ranks only behind New England for most yards overall. If they ever get their act together, look out.
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Green Bay could help. The Packers are not whole, as the week off hasn’t really helped their long list of key injuries. The Pack is on a four-game winning streak but previous three came against Rams, Jags and Cardinals and all three were anything but a cakewalk. They take on a more difficult foe and an upset is a distinct possibility. No units risked.
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Arizona +10 -110 over ATLANTA
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Nobody’s perfect. Not anymore after the Falcons suffered their first loss in New Orleans last week. What usually follows an extended perfect season is an exhale of sorts and this is the type of team Atlanta figures to take lightly. The Falcons have been fortunate on more than one occasion. They have a great record but they are not displaying dominance. The Dirty Birds have won all four at home but only once by more than six points.  It’s also worth noting that this one is sandwiched between division foes, Saints and Buccaneers next week.
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A rested Arizona defense off a bye, taking this many points has appeal. They’re coming off games against San Francisco and Green Bay and put up a serious fight in the latter. They also beat the Patriots in New England earlier in the year and despite losing five straight, they’ve been in every game but one. This one should be no different. No units risked.
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N.Y. Jets +3½ -104 over ST. LOUIS
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The Jets are a joke but no one is laughing. The team has failed to score double-digits in its past two games, as the entire offense is useless. Still, we’re not prepared to give away points with a St. Louis team that has not been favored all year and returns home after exhausting affair with division leading Niners.
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It was revealed after that game last week  that many of the Rams players were unaware that an NFL game could even end in a tie. That may explain why nobody seemed to be trying to prevent it. In reality, everything went the Rams’ way. Stephen Jackson had a big game (go figure) and they caught the Niners napping, yet they still couldn’t seal the deal. As for this New York team, it’s rare for an NFL team to not respond after being humiliated. The Jets performance in Seattle last week may have been their worst effort in decades. A response should be forthcoming. No units risked.
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NEW ENGLAND -9 -103 over Indianapolis
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Few predicted that the Colts would be 6-3 after the first nine games this year. This is a team that was a league worst 2-14 last season. QB  Andrew Luck is living up to his billing.  Luck's thrown for 10 touchdowns and added five as a runner. He's rushed for more touchdowns than all but Robert Griffin III. He's already set the all-time single game rookie record with 433 yards passing. The Colts are making some noise, they’re attracting attention and now they’re being offered nine points against a Patriots team that barely got past the Bills a week ago. Looks appealing, doesn’t it?
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Not so fast. The Colts are defeating weak teams. Defeating the Browns, Titans, Dolphins and Jaguars in consecutive weeks is commendable for an upstart team but this is a different animal. The Patriots are No. 1 ranked in both points scored and total yards. It’s not Brady vs. Manning anymore but Tom will still treat it that way. The Pats are home for consecutive weeks after overseas trip and all focus will be on taking care of business here. No units risked.
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HOUSTON -15 +102 over Jacksonville
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We’re rarely fond of giving away this many points in the wild and whacky NFL but this could be the most genuine first versus worst in quite some time. The Jaguars lack playmakers, coaching and desire. They’re averaging less than nine points a game at home and that ineptness will likely carry over to the road.
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The Texans sit just two games up on the charging Colts and can ill afford to ease up quite yet.  Houston beat this team in Week 2, in Jacksonville, by 20 and that’s when all teams had enthusiasm. With a 1-8 record, that life has been sucked out of the Jags and as a result of that combined with other numerous problems, a blowout is in order. No units risked.
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OAKLAND +5½ +100 over New Orleans
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If you’ve ever wondered what a ‘sandwich’ game is, this could be the textbook example. The Saints had a huge win over the Falcons last week. After this one, New Orleans will host San Francisco, head to Atlanta for a Thursday game and then take on the Giants. Could you blame them for overlooking this one? Also consider that the Saints stock is higher than it’s been all season while the Raiders stock hit bottom with their 55-20 loss in Baltimore. This is not the right time to be buying Saints.
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Oakland usually comes up with something decent when least expected, as witnessed by their win over Pittsburgh in Week 3 after looking horrible in first two weeks. They did it again with near win in Atlanta after losing by 31 in Denver. When the Raiders decide to show up, they’re dangerous. Carson Palmer has thrown for over 350 yards in four different matchups and the defense he’ll face here is not only one of the league’s worst but it’s also in a real letdown spot. Perhaps Raiders to come back to life here for at least one week. No units risked.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

NFL Predictions

Atlanta Falcons - 9.5

The Arizona Cardinals are coming off a bye, but had lost 5 straight games heading into their bye week. They are 4-5 overall and just1-3 on the road. Over their last 5 games the Cardinals have scored just 53 points(10.6 points per game). The Falcons are 8-1 and coming off their first loss of the season, a 31-27 loss in New Orleans. Atlanta is perfect at home, with wins over Denver, Carolina, Oakland and Dallas. They are 6-3 ATS overall and 2-2 ATS at home. Although the Cardinals have a much higher ranked defensive in yards against, they are side by side allowing 19.2 and 19.3 points against per game. Their offenses are on different levels though, as the Falcons are ranked 6th overall and are scoring 27.4 points per game. The Cardinals are ranked 31st overall and are scoring just 16 points per game. QB John Skelton will get another start for the Cardinals and he is 33rd in the league with a 65.8 QB Rating, as he has thrown just 2 TDs and 5 INTs. Falcons QB Matt Ryan has been one of the most effective in the league completing 68.4% of his passes with 20 TDs , 7 INTs, and a 102.6 QB Rating. Note that the Cardinals are just 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 road games, and 0-5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall. The Falcons rebound from a loss well going 21-6 ATS in their last 27 games following a straight up loss. They are also 12-4-1 ATS in their last 17 vs a team with a losing record. Head to head the Falcons are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings. Arizona struggles on the road going 3-9 over the past two seasons away from home, and they have a very tough task this week. Given that they can't put together much offensively I don't see the Cardinals keeping this one close. The play is on Atlanta here.


Cleveland Browns +8

Cleveland goes into Dallas after a bye week looking to improve on their 2-7 record. Dallas is coming off a big win in Philadelphia and improved to 4-5 on the year. They are just 1-2 at home this season, while the Browns are winless on the road. All of a sudden it seems as if the Cowboys are getting a bunch of respect even though they were 1-4 over their last 5 games heading into Philadelphia, and knocked off a team that had won 3 games all season by a combined 4 points. The Cowboys rank much higher defensively than the Browns, but are giving up less than 1 point fewer per game. The Cowboys also rank a lot higher offensively but are averaging just 20.9 ppg compared to the Browns at 18.8 ppg. Advantage at the QB spot clearly goes to Tony Romo, although he has thrown just 12 TDs compared to 13 INTs this season. We are making this play because of the position the Cowboys are in. This is a good spot for a let down game after they went into Philadelphia and beat one of their division rvials, and now come home to host a 2-7 AFC team. Dallas also has a Thursday Thanksgiving home game just 4 days after this one against the Redskins that will be in the back of their minds. Cleveland also had an extra week of prep time with the bye week. Note that Dallas is just 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games overall, 3-7 ATS in their last 10 vs a team with a losing record, and 0-6 ATS in their last 6 home games. The Browns are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 road games, and 8-2-1 ATS in their lat 11 games following a straight up loss. Yes the Cowboys are the better team and are at home, but they haven't had much of a home field advantage and this is a tough spot for them. I like the Browns to come into Dallas Sunday and keep it close.


Houston Texans -15

I will rarely play any spread over 2 touchdowns, but I think we have a good spot to take Houston this week. The Texans enter this game 8-1 (4-1 at home) while the Jaguars are 1-8 on the year (1-3 on the road). Jacksonville has lost 6 straight games in which they have scored more than 15 points just once. Included in those games was last week's Thursday Night'er where they lost 27-10 at home, and looked absolutely awful. The Houston Texans beat Chicago last Sunday night 13-6 as 1 point underdogs, and have now won three straight. Houston has the league's 2nd ranked defense, and they are avering jsut 15.9 points against per game. Jacksonville's D is ranked 27th and are allowing 27.3 points against per game. Houston is ranked 14th offensively, but they are near the top of the league scoring 27.8 ppg. The Jaguars are 32nd in the NFL offensively and are scoring a league worse 14.1 ppg. Their only hope on offense is Maurice Jones-Drew, but he will miss his 4th straight game on Sunday. Note that the Jags are just 7-19-1 ATS in their last 27 games vs a team with a winning record. The Texans are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 home games, and 19-7-2 in their last 29 games overall. Take note that 4 of Houston's 8 victories have come by at least 15 points, while 5 of Jacksonville's 8 losses have been by atleast 15 points. These two teams met in Jacksonville in Week 2 with the Texans winning by 20 points. I think Jacksonville will be lucky to score 10 points on Sunday, and the Texans will cover this big spread.


New Orleans Saints -4.5

I'm big on New Orleans right now and for good reasons. The Saints have won their last two games over Atlanta and Philadelphia, and have won 4 of 5 overall to improve to 4-5 on the season. The Raiders have dropped two straight, including last week's 55-20 loss in Baltimore. Oakland is just 3-6 this year and 2-2 at home, with two of their three victories coming against Kansas City and Jacksonville (both 1 win teams). This one looks to be a high scoring game, as New Orleans' defense is ranked 32nd while the Raiders are ranked 23rd defensively. The Saints are allowing less points against per game at 28.4 compared to the Raiders who are giving up a league worst 31.6 papg. New Orleans' offense is ranked 4th and are averaging 27.7 ppg, while the Raiders are 12th and averaging 21.2 ppg. QB Drew Brees has thrown 25 TDs and 9 INTs this season for a 97.3 QB Rating, while Carson Palmer has thrown 15 TDs, 9 INTs and has a 86.8 QB Rating. Although Drew Brees prefers playing in a dome, he should be fine in a warm weather outdoor stadium. The saints are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 overall, and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs a team with a losing record. The Raiders are just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games overall, and 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 home games. The Saints have a ton of momentum heading into this one after knocking off the 8-0 Falcons last week, and they still have playoffs on their minds. The Raiders always play tough at home, but this team doesn't have enough to keep up with the Saints. I like New Orleans to win by a touchdown.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

Charlie Sports

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
Play: Washington Redskins

The (3-6) Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL NFC East division will take on the (3-6) Washington Redskins of the same division in 2012 NFL action. The Eagles are struggling this season, but are 3-0 staright up and against the spread their last 3 vs. Washington. Philadelphia has lost 5 in a row straight up this aseaon and have dropped their last 4 ATS. The Redskins have lost 4 of their last 5 staright up and have stayed under the total their last 3. Washington gets the home win.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

Larry Ness

New Orleans vs. Oakland
Pick: New Orleans

The saying goes that if it looks too good to be true, generally it is. Am I making a mistake here playing the Saints? After all, the Saints have allowed more than 400 yards of offense to their opponents in all NINE games this season, checking in at 469.3 YPG on the year (almost 70 yards more that the 31st-ranked team and still on pace to yield the most yards in NFL history). As for the Raiders, they gave up 42 points in a home loss to Tampa Bay two weeks ago, then tied a club record by allowing 55 points to the Ravens last week. Oakland is allowing 255.9 YPG through the air, while allowing opposing QBs to complete 66.0 percent of their throws while managing a measly 11 sacks and six INTs in 318 attempts. That hardly bodes well when facing Drew Brees, who is averaging 319.3 YPG passing while throwing 25 TDs against just nine INTs. As all know, the Saints opened 0-4 but have won FOUR of five with Brees throwing 15 TDs and just four INTs in that span. It should also be noted that the Saints have averaged 144.0 YPG on the ground the last two games (5.3 YPC) which is more good news vs an Oakland defense which allowed the Bucs 278 yards rushing back in Week 9. As impressive as Brees is, the Saints can’t avoid the fact that since 2010, they are 1-9 when they run 20 or fewer times but 27-4 when it's 21 or more! Oakland has seemingly shelved its running game for the season (ranks 31st with 76.7 YPG on 3.5 YPC), relying solely on Carson Palmer. Palmer's played well (302.6 YPG with 15 TDs and nine INTs) and faces that terrible Saints “D,” which allows an NFL-high 104.4 QB rating to their opponents, 307.3 YPG through the air and has just five INTs in 338 pass attempts, against. The Saints have won 13 straight games in the month of November and Brees is 6-0 while throwing for 1,248 yards, 13 TDs and no interceptions in his last six games against the Raiders. I should bet that things will change here? No thanks!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

Scott Spreitzer

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers
Prediction: Carolina Panthers

The Panthers were actually a short favorite when these teams met in Tampa in week-one, a 16-10 Buccaneers' win. Carolina provided us with big back-to-back covers, but hit the wall in last week's loss to Denver. The Panthers had played in five straight, down to the wire type games and looked gassed against the Broncos. Of course, Denver is also recognized as the top team in the NFL in the Vegas Rankings this week. I expect a bounce back by Carolina against the NFL's worst pass defense, which also happens to be a little dinged-up right now. And let's not forget how misleading last week's win over San Diego happened to be. After all, the Buccs were outgained 426-279! The Panthers are just a handful of plays away from a 6-3 record and I believe they'll land one in the win column on Sunday, taking full advantage of Tampa's porous secondary. I'm recommending a play on the Panthers on Sunday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

John Ryan

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars

The simulator shows a high probability that JAX will lose this game by 14 or fewer points. The best against the worst and I am backing the worst. Stands to reason given the public is all over the Texans in this apparent blowout situation. The most important item that the betting public is overlooking is that Houston is on a very short week with their Week 12 matchup set to take place against a much greater opponent in Detroit Thanksgiving Day. What I anticipate will happen in this game, is that workhorse running back Arian Foster will see far less touches than his 25 carries per game average. This will be to keep him fresh for the Lions game. Justin Forsett will see far more action in the Houston backfield in this game. Look for the Jags, who are coming off a long week of rest after their loss to the Colts last Thursday to open up the offense featuring the no-huddle attack. Gabbert makes his best decisions and reads in the faster paced style of play calling and this will keep J.J. Watts and the Texans pressure out of Gabbert?s line of vision. I think the Texans win the game, but JAX will keep it within 10 or fewer points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

Jim Feist

Rockets at Lakers
Pick: Over

The Houston Rockets (4-5 S/U, 4-4-1 ATS) continue their West Coast road swing in LA on Sunday. The Rockets opened the season with two wins, but have since dropped five of their next seven. They are coming off a OT loss at Portland on Friday, 119-117. The Rockets have been putting up some nice offensive numbers too, scoring 100 or more points in their last three games and five of their nine. The LA Lakers (4-5 SU, 4-5 ATS) rebounded from a tough loss to the Spurs with a blowout win over the Suns on Friday, 114-102. The Lakers have also put up some nice offensive numbers, scoring 100 or more in five of their nine games. The dog has done well in this series of late, covering five of the last six meetings. In fact, Rockets are 5-1 in their last six matchups with the Lakers. The OVER has also been a good bet when these clubs meet, with the last seven going over the number. I expect these two pretty good scoring teams to go OVER here on Sunday. They have done so in their recent meetings and will once again. Take the OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

Dave Cokin

San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
Pick: Denver Broncos

Big revenge spot for San Diego after blowing a 24-0 lead in the first meeting. But Denver is red hot and the fact is they completely overwhelmed the Chargers in that first meeting. I'll look for a repeat here and will back the Broncos minus the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

Matt Fargo

Chargers at Broncos
Pick: Under

The over was 8-4 last Sunday as scoring continues to rise and completely hurt the books with totals as the majority of all action has been on the over. Why are now starting to see CFL like totals in the NFL as this Sunday there are five games with a total of 48 or higher including three in the 50's. Last week the scoring average was 48.6 ppg and that includes the three primetime games Thursday, Sunday and Monday where there were just 85 points scored in the three games combined. This is the week the under makes a big run and we need to decipher which games have the greatest amount of value along with the greatest chances of staying at least somewhat low scoring. One of those is San Diego and Denver. Both teams are 6-3 to the over on the season and both are in the midst of some high scoring games recently. The Chargers and Buccaneers scored 58 points last week for San Diego's second straight over while Denver and Carolina scored 50 points for its second straight over as well. This is a big game for San Diego as it needs to take this one to keep any sort of playoff hope alive. It will have to accomplish that by shortening the game and not getting into a shootout. They can do this by running the ball more frequent. The running game has been very good for the most part as they have surpassed 100 yards on the ground in seven of their last eight games. Denver's rushing defense is decent but it is not a top ten unit so expect Ryan Matthews to play a big part this week. The Broncos have been scoring at will of late as they have gone over 30 points in four straight games making this a contrarian play. On the other side, San Diego is seventh in the NFL in total defense and the Chargers have allowed fewer than 300 yards in three straight games. Granted, Denver is a much stronger offense than what it has seen but the Chargers are allowing a respectable 7.1 ypa. Peyton Manning ripped them apart in the second half of the first meeting so expect the correct adjustments to be made. We are catching a very favorable total in this game as it is the second highest San Diego has had this season and it falls into a great totals situation favoring a low scoring game as we play the under involving road teams where the total is between 42.5 and 49 points after allowing 30 points or more last game going up against an opponent after two straight games where 50 total points or more were scored. This situation is 49-21 (70 percent) to the under since 1983 with the average points scored being 40.9 ppg.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

SPORTS WAGERS

Indiana +7 -104 over NEW YORK

Indiana has gotten off to a horrible start. They were projected to be a tough out every game but some awful shooting and poor defense had them sitting at 3-6 prior their to 20-point win over Dallas on Friday night. The Pacers exploded in the second half of that contest with great shooting and excellent defense. A big weight was lifted of their shoulders in the process. They come into this one feeling so much better and they catch the Knicks at a good time.

New York comes home from a three-game trip through Orlando, San Antonio and Memphis. The latter two were especially physical and while the Knicks went 1-1, they were down by 12 in San Antonio in the fourth quarter before rallying to win and were down by 22 in Memphis before ultimately losing by just 10. That takes a toll and now they’ll play a noon game upon returning and it’s just not a favorable spot. Give the Knicks a ton of credit. They’re playing hard, they’re playing great defense and they’re playing with a passion not seen since the Jeff Van Gundy era. However, this is too much weight to be spotting a talented Pacers team coming off their best game of the year. Overlay.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

Andy Iskoe

Carolina +1.5

Tampa Bay upset Carolina as 3 point home dogs to open the season. Since that game Tampa has become a much more potent team on offense yet while also displaying a permissive defense. At 5-4 the Buccs are on the periphery of the Wild Card race. Carolina is just 2-7 but 5 of the losses have been by a TD or less. Their defense has played much better over the past month, holding 4 of its last 5 foes to under 100 rushing yards while also holding 4 of its 5 foes to under 230 passing yards. Yet they've gone from being a 3 point road favorite at Tampa Bay to a home underdog in just two months? Tampa is hot, having won 3 in a road including twice on the road. But Carolina, despite disappointing us against Denver last week, has had success in this series, winning both game last season (when QB Newton was a rookie) and 5 of the last 7 meetings. With 2 road games on deck this sets up favorably for the Panthers who have shown over the past month that they've not given up on the season.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

Charlie Scott

New Orleans Saints vs. Oakland Raiders
Play: Oakland Raiders   

I'm currently on a 10-0 5 week winning streak in Marc Lawrence's Vegas Wise Guys Contest and used the Raiders as my Best Bet this week. The Saints are off a big Win against division foe Falcons. The squares love the Saints, while most sharps are on the Raiders. I can't see laying points with the Saints on the road, on grass, with the worst ranked defense in the NFL. Wait until game time to bet to get the best number.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

Jeff Scott Sports

5 UNIT PLAY

Houston/ Jags Under 41: The Jags offense is pitiful this year as they come in raked 32nd in total offense (264.3 ypg) and 32nd in scoring (14.1 ppg). The Jags are also 31st in yards per play (4.5) and will be facing a Houston Defense that is 4th in yards per play allowed (4.8). Don't expect many or any big plays from the jags here. Overall the Houston defense comes in 3rd in total defense (281.6 ypg) and 3rd in passing defense (195.7 ypg). I really don't see the Jags getting DD in this one. On offense Houston will not need to do too much to win this this one and I expect them to mostly keep the ball on the ground and use Arian Foster to pound away at the Jags 29th ranked rushing defense. That will eat plenty of clock. Houston really doesn't have to do too much on offense to win this one and I expect then to keep this one pretty vanilla, especially since they have a defense that has the ability to shut out this hapless Jags offense. Look for this game to finish in the low 30's at best.

4 UNIT PLAYS

NEW ENGLAND -9.5 over Indianapolis: The Colts have won 4 in a row, but all were vs sub .500 teams and all 4 teams had offenses ranked near the bottom of the league. This Patriots offense is not ranked near the bottom and the Colts will have trouble slowing them down in this one. The Patriots have one of the worst pass defenses in the league, but overall they still allow just 22.3 ppg on the year. The Colts this year have scored just 20.7 ppg away from home, while the Patriots have averaged 33.2 ppg at home and have outscored their opponents at home by 11 ppg. This may be close at the half, but after last weeks game in which they allowed the bills to hang around in you can expect that the Pats will look for the blowout here. Pats by at least 17 in this one.

3 UNIT PLAYS

Philadelphia/ Washington Over 44.5: The Eagles may be better off having Foles out there in this one as he has a big arm and should be able to find plenty of holes in this horrendous Washington pass defense that has allowed 310.7 ypg so far. The Eagles only average 17.3 ppg, but will be facing a skins team that has allowed 27.6 ppg on the year. The Skins have been a pretty high scoring team this year as they have averaged 27.6 ppg. The Skins are pretty balanced with a strong running game, which only sets up the passing game even more and they have taken advantage with a 7.1 yards per attempt average. This should not be your average smash mouth NFC East football game. Both teams have the weapons on offense and both defenses have been poor, which should allow for plenty of points to be put up here.


New Orleans/ Oakland Over 54.5: I see allot of points in this one. The Saints offense can score on any defense and they have this year, averaging 27.7 ppg on the year. The Saints have scored 24 or more points in all but 1 game this year and they are 2nd in the league in passing (303.9 ypg). That High powered offense now gets to face a Raiders defense that is 24th vs the pass (255.4 ypg) and 32nd in points allowed (31.6 ppg). The Raiders have been particularly bad in their last 2 games, allowing a whopping 97 points over that stretch. On offense the Raider have not been all that bad as they come in averaging 26 ppg in their last 4 games. At home the Raiders have put up 30.7 ppg in their last 3 games played here and that should continue as they take on a bad New Orleans defense. The Raiders have McFadden out and they have already stated that there will be plenty of balls in the air from them in this one as they take on the leagues 2nd worst passing defense. You can expect many big plays from the Raiders in this one. Overall on the road this year the Saint defense has allowed 481 ypg and 31.3 ppg. Bad numbers for sure here. This game could be played in the 60's.


Arizona/ Atlanta Under 44: This year the Arizona Cardinals have had just 2 games score more than 38 points and one of those games went to OT, in which just 45 points were scored. The Cards offense has struggled this year as they come in averaging just 295.8 ypg and 16 ppg overall, while on the road they have put up 305.3 ypg and just 13.6 ppg. On the other side of the ball the Cardinals have a defense that has played pretty well this year, allowing just 320.7 ypg and 19.2 ppg. Little offense and solid defense is why Cardinal games have averaged just 35.2 ppg on the year, The Atlanta offense does come in averaging 27.6 ppg on the year, but this is still a ball control offense and i just don't see them getting too many big plays vs a defense that doesn't allow many. The Falcon defense has also been solid this year as they have allowed just 19.3 ppg, despite giving up 365 ypg. They do allow 6.2 yards per play, but Arizona only gains 4.8 ypp, so don't expect allot of big plays from the Cards in this one. Neither team will get too many big plays today. Both defenses are very good and only one team can score. No more than 35 points in this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

Andre Gomes

Jaguars / Texans Under 41

There isn't much to say in here, as we are talking about a game between one of the best teams in the league and of the worst teams in the league. Houston's offense is very running-oriented and I expect to see Arian Foster to have a huge workload today, even though the Texans hasn't been very effective on the running game this season (#20 with 3.9 Y/C). Jacksonville has an average defense against both the running and the passing game, therefore I believe they won't allow the Texans to score a massive number of points today.

The problem for Jacksonville is that I don't know how they will score at all. Blaine Gabbert is banged up with a shoulder injury and if he is bad healthy, let alone injured. Houston's pass defense is excellent and they won't allow any big play to the Jaguars today. With Maurice Jones-Drew out with a foot injury, the Jaguars' running game has been quite poor as well and Houston's run defense should be also able to shutdown the running game of Jacksonville today.

With Jacksonville's decent defense keeping the score respectable and with Houston's defense completely shutting down the Jaguars offense, I believe we are into a similar game to the one Houston played against Buffalo two weeks ago and so, I'll be taking the Under in here.


Orlando Magic +4.5

Toronto is coming from a loss yesterday afternoon in Boston, where they got crushed by Boston's offense, who moved the ball excellently and made almost every long range shot: 5-10 FG from 10-15 feet, 14-20 FG from 16-23 feet and 6-15 3pts. The Raptors' starting lineup was terrible and it was Linas Kleiza, Terrence Ross and John Lucas III, who combined 35 points scored to keep the score a bit respectable.

On the other hand, Orlando is coming from a road win in Detroit last Friday. Jameer Nelson came back to the lineup and he was the key of that game with 13 points and 10 assists. The Magic got pounded by Detroit down low, as they allowed 26-39 FG at the rim and 5-8 FG from 3-9 feet. Even though the Pistons looked good on offensive, Orlando had the key of the game by grabbing 60% of the rebounds! Their cuts keep being very efficient with 12-17 and with Jameer Nelson back, their pick and roll plays immediately got better.

Toronto keep playing without Kyle Lowry and they are struggling to defend on the backcourt, especially cuts, as Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas aren't good help defenders! Toronto is just #22 in defending cuts, #28 in defending transition plays and #28 in defending spot ups, so they are a good matchup for Orlando's offense. The Magic keep struggling on their inside defense, but Toronto is the #6 team in the league with less volume at the rim, so if the Raptors want to win this game, they will need to outplay Orlando in terms of outside shooting and right now the Magic with their dynamic offense is better than them with Jameer Nelson back. Therefore, I'll be taking Orlando in here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

Scott Delaney

37-17-1 comp play run following Saturday's easy winner on Nebraska over Minnesota with today's play on the Atlanta Falcons getting it done at home against the Arizona Cardinals. Why not? With thoughts and pressure of an undefeated season put to rest, the Falcons can get on with the order of business: a division championship, home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and quite possibly their first trip to the Super Bowl since 1999.

This is the perfect opportunity to show everyone last week was no kind of an indicator, other than one about the New Orleans Saints, and they're about to make a comeback. Atlanta is still 8-1, and even after its 31-27 loss to the Saints, it's enjoying a three-game lead over Tampa Bay in the NFC South and is one game ahead of Chicago for the best record in the NFC.

Now they host a team licking its own wounds, having lost five straight.

Yes, the Cardinals were off last week, possibly giving them a chance to regroup, but the way I've seen them play during their demise sincce opening the season 4-0, I think this losing skid has been indicative of how this team truly is.

It seems like Arizona is banged up where it matters most, with running back Beanie Wells nursing a severe turf toe and quarterback Kevin Kolb out with a rib injury. Thus, we have the diminutive duo of 5-foot-7 LaRod Stephens-Howling and 5-9 William Powell running out of the league's worst-ranked backfield, and unheralded John Skelton back under center. And make note, Skelton is the league's 33rd-rated passer, with five interceptions and just two touchdowns. Breaking news: there are 32 teams in the NFL.

I'd rather bank on the much-better Falcons, who have the sixth-best offense in the league and are 29-1 when quarterback Matt Ryan has 100-plus quarterback rating, including 6-1 this season. Sure, the Cardinals have the league's second-ranked pass defense, but that doesn't scare me with this one taking place in the Georgia Dome, where the Dirty Birds are 30-6 in Mike Smith's five seasons as coach.

Arizona has no way of keeping up with the 31st-ranked offense.

In a battle of birds today, I'll take the mightier Falcons over the Cardinals.

3♦ ATLANTA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

Chuck O'Brien

Today's complimentary winner is on the Carolina Panthers plus the points at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As much as I believe in coach Greg Schiano, and as much money as I've made with the Bucs, I think this might be one of those disappointing weeks where a team that has no shot of making the playoffs scores a monumental win, much like the one the Panthers scored over the Washington Redskins.

While Tampa Bay has won four of its last five games to improve to 5-4 and yes it's in playoff contention in a very competitive NFC, but that doesn't mean it can't suffer a letdown here or there. The Panthers (2-7) have lost five of six but there is that one meaningful win over the 'Skins and Robert Griffin III.

Even though Tampa Bay beat Carolina in the season opener 16-10, the Panthers just might be ready to score another shocker. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Bucs arrive in Charlotte a bit overconfident and playing a tad bit too cocky for their own britches. I mean, when you're an overachieving team with a first-year coach that has received criticism for some quirky plays and you're averaging 35.6 points per game in a five-game span, you tend to overlook a team like Carolina.

Something tells me Carolina coach Ron Rivera has reminded his troops how they destroyed the Bucs last season, using a ferocious ground game, rushing for a ridiculous 433 yards and seven touchdowns in two games against them, outscoring their division foes 86-35. Cam Newton was unstoppable, scoring a total of eight touchdowns - four rushing and four passing - in the season sweep.

Yes, this is a team mired in a losing streak, but it's also a team that has lost four games after leading in the fourth quarter.

Besides, if the Buccaneers are so much better, and the Panthers are this team headed toward upheaval, then why is the line so low? It just might be because the oddsmakers are begging you to take the low favorite, but in reality are indicating this one should be closer than expected and the Panthers are the right side.

2♦ CAROLINA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

Jeff Benton

Going to back the Washington Redskins (-3') at home against the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC East clash.

I think the bye week is just what the doctor ordered for the Redskins, who carried a three-game losing streak into the break.

Washington has struggled against Philadelphia in recent meetings, as the Eagles have won and covered both the last three in the series, and the last three played at FedEx Field, but those wins came with Michael Vick under center. That won't be the case today, as rookie Nick Foles makes his first NFL start.

Foles was harassed plenty in relief of Vick last Sunday at home versus Dallas, and with the Philly offensive line resembling a piece of swiss cheese this season, expect the rookie out of Arizona to face plenty of pressure again in this one.

Philadelphia is in the midst of a five-game straight-up slide and a four-game ATS skid, and is just 1-8 overall versus the number this season. Andy Reid's days as head man in the City of Brotherly Love are seemingly limited, and have to believe that rookie RGIII will want to get his team back in the winner's circle versus a division rival.

With division games the next three weeks, Washington does have an outside shot at getting back in the weak NFC East division race if they can get on a roll. Today is the start. Back the Skins minus the points.

2♦ WASHINGTON

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

Chris Jordan

My free winner for Sunday is going to be the Green Bay Packers in a key NFC North rivalry clash, as I think we're actually going to see a mismatch of huge proportions. Last year, when Green Bay beat Detroit 45-41 in the regular-season finale, things were different and we were watching two different types of football teams. This year, expectations and paths have been different, and something tells me the Packers are about to make a huge statement - the same kind they made when they went into Houston and destroyed the Texans.

Detroit is in last place in the division and faces an uphill climb with a difficult schedule the rest of the way. And even though Green Bay is banged-up and has plenty of work to do to get into the postseason, with Chicago leading the North, I still think the Packers are the better football team.

Green Bay, which is just one game back of the Bears, has won 20 of its last 23 games against the Lions. That includes last year's sweep and that season-finale in which Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers didn't even play. Instead, it was backup Matt Flynn throwing for 480 yards and six touchdowns.

And even though Detroit's Matthew Stafford threw for 520 yards and five touchdowns, keep in mind that was against last year's Packers defense that couldn't stop a coffee spill if it were Brawny paper towel. This year, however, a much-improved Green Bay stop unit is more like a quicker-picker-upper, and I like it to stymie the Lions' second-ranked offense in this showdown.

Rodgers has 25 touchdowns and ranks first in the NFL with 25 or more in the team's first nine games in two different seasons, and he's going to shine brighter than anyone else on that stage today. Look for the big plays to go down in Motown. After all, Detroit has allowed 85 points from outside the red zone, and the league average is 58.

All Green Bay today.

2♦ GREEN BAY

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday November, 18

Matt Rivers

Your Sunday free play is the Over in the Saints-Raiders game.

The Oakland defense has been gushing points the past two weeks, as Tampa Bay put up 42 on them in the Black Hole two Sunday's ago, and last Sunday it was Baltimore gouging them for a NFL-high 55 points! Obviously, both games made their way well Over the total.

More of the same with the suddenly humming Saints paying a visit. New Orleans is averaging right around 28 points per game their past five games, and their defense still remains a huge question mark with 27 points or more allowed in four of their last six contests.

The Raiders have become quite the Over team of late, with each of their last four going Over and 12 of their last 16 since last season now having landed in the Over column.
A zebra can't change its stripes, so stick with the established trends and play Oakland to go Over the posted price one more time this Sunday.

3♦ NEW ORLEANS-OAKLAND OVER


Your Sunday free play is the Over in the Packers at the Lions.

No weather issues indoors in the comfy climes of Ford Field, so look for Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford to light up the sky and for the points to add up in this NFC North battle.

Green Bay comes into this game having played Overs in six of their nine games this season, while Detroit has been Over the total in six of their nine with a push in the mix.

Back the numbers up a little further, and you will see the Packers on a 19-8 Over clip since the 2010 season, while the Lions are 29-14-2 over since the end of the '09 campaign!

Hard to ignore those numbers, so don't try and play the contrarian in this one....climate-controlled conditions, points will be flying.

5♦ GREEN BAY-DETROIT OVER

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