Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday November, 28

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday November, 28

SPORTS WAGERS

Weber State +14 -106 over DAYTON

The Dayton Flyers are an A-10 team that has won 20 games or more in each of the past five years. However, its win total has declined progressively over that span with last year’s 20 wins being the fewest in that time frame. They may decline even further this season with just one proven scorer in Kevin Dillard and center Matt Kavanaugh being suspended. Kavanaugh was the teams’ second leading rebounder and fifth leading scorer. The Flyers come in with a 4-1 record but none of the wins against weak completion have been by more than the points offered here. They also lost by 10 to Colorado on a neutral floor. 

Weber State returns two starters in 6-2 senior swingman Scott Bamforth and 6-10 junior center Kyle Tresnak. Frank Otis, a 2011 mid-season transfer, gives Weber's front line an additional boost. Otis is a 6’-6” senior and was the starting power forward before getting hurt. The Wildcats have only played three games so far and with a 1-2 record, they remain undervalued here. This is a well-coached team that has established itself as one of the most consistent programs in the Big Sky and they will not be a pushover in this contest.


Georgia Tech +9 -106 over ILLINOIS

The Illini went from being unranked to begin the year all the way up to #7 on the current polls. That dramatic rise was due to their championship run in the Maui Invitational tournament and easy wins over Butler and USC. That performance has this 7-0 team grossly overvalued, allowing us to take advantage. Those lopsided victories over USC and Butler were more a case of both those squads being lethargic than the Illini’s dominance. Don’t dismiss the Illini’s struggles against Hawaii and Gardiner Webb in which they won both by a single point, the former in OT when the Rainbows turned the ball over 16 times and shot 39% from the field.

Georgia Tech is coming off an 11-20 season but is confident it can turn things around this year with seven key players returning, including all five starters. Brian Gregory will be coaching for his second year at Georgia Tech. The Jackets are off to a solid 4-1 start and that includes a tidy win over the Gaels of St Mary’s. This ascending guest should be primed and ready to give the Illini a run for their money.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday November, 28

SPORTS WAGERS

Brooklyn +4 +100 over BOSTON

The Celtics have yet to show they can defend and that makes them risky spotting points to a dangerous intruder. Boston has allowed 100 points or more in four straight and in five of its last six. Orlando and Detroit, who rank 28th and 25th respectively in points scored, both went over the century mark on Boston over that span. The Nets rank 15th in PPG but they rank 3rd in offensive proficiency, meaning they score on a high percentage of their possessions. They’re also a strong defensive club that has allowed 89, 85 and 76 points against over their last three.

Brooklyn comes in off that big game against the Knicks and there’s a letdown factor looming here. However, they’ve been in some letdown spots already this season and have not fell victim to it. This team is clicking on all cylinders, both offensively and defensively. Boston is more vulnerable this year than they’ve been in some time. The Nets are too focused and determined to ignore against a club they should defeat.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday November, 28

Jack Jones

Michigan State Spartans +1.5

Michigan State plays a tough non-conference schedule early every year to prepare it for big games like this and bigger ones down the road. They split their first two contests, losing to Connecticut 62-66 while beating Kansas 67-64. Those two games have them battle-tested going forward.

While the Spartans have won five straight, head coach Tom Izzo has not been happy with his team turning the ball over 20 times in back-to-back games. "I think our guys are going to be great citizens when they get done with basketball, because the Christmas season is lasting all year," Izzo said. "They're giving gifts away."

"I don't like the way our team is at all," Izzo said. "I'm just trying to figure how much of it is due to our preparation or lack thereof with the guys who are injured. But that doesn't have anything to do with some of my key guys turning it over four or five times."

Izzo always has a way of calling out his players and getting them to respond. I look for the Spartans to put forth their most dominant effort of the season Wednesday at Miami. They'll be up against a Hurricanes' team that is only forcing 14.3 turnovers/game.

Miami will not be battle-tested at all coming into this contest as it has played a very weak schedule en route to a 3-1 start. It has home wins over Stetson, Jacksonville and Detroit, and a road loss at Florida Gulf Coast by a final of 51-63. That loss shows that the Hurricanes have a lot of work to do, and this will be by far their stiffest test of the season.

Michigan State is 8-0 ATS vs. teams who are called for 3+ less fouls/game than their opponents over the last 2 seasons. The Spartans are 24-7-2 ATS in their last 33 road games following three or more consecutive home games. The Hurricanes are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 vs. Big Ten opponents. Bet Michigan State Wednesday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday November, 28

Steve Janus

New Orleans Hornets +3

The Jazz should simply not be favored on the road against any team in the league. Utah comes into this game with a respectable 8-7 overall record, but they are 6-0 at home and 2-7 on the road. They have already lost at New Orleans once this season and have lost their last four visits to New Orleans Arena.

The Hornets will be playing without rookie center Anthony Davis. NO question it's a big loss, but he played just 14 minutes in the Hornets win over the Jazz earlier this season. New Orleans didn't need Davis on Monday, as they went into Los Angeles and beat the Clippers 105-98 without him on the floor.

New Orleans is 8-1 ATS in their last 9 home games vs a team with a losing road record and are 12-3 ATS over their last 15 home games overall. Utah is 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 road games and are 3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 road games vs a team with a home winning % of less than .400.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday November, 28

Dave Price

Minnesota Timberwolves +9

The Clippers are getting a little too much respect from oddsmakers considering they have lost four in a row overall and three of their last four versus Minnesota. Since coach Adelman took over, the T-Wolves are an outstanding 14-3 ATS versus good teams like L.A. that outscore their opponents by 3.0 points or more per game. The Wolves have won these games by an average score of 100.5 to 100.3. Take the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday November, 28

Jimmy Boyd

New York Knicks -2

Motivated by Monday's loss at Brooklyn, expect the Knicks to bounce back strong tonight.

New York is 11-3 ATS in its last 14 games following a loss. In addition, it is 27-13 ATS in all games under coach Woodson, including 16-5 ATS when listed as a favorite.

The Bucks enter off a win at Chicago, but they are on a 3-14 ATS slide following a win, a 4-16 ATS slide in home games off a road win and a 13-31 ATS skid off an upset win over a division rival. It is also worth noting that the Bucks are only 8-22 ATS in their last 30 home games.

The Knicks have won their last two versus the Bucks, and I expect them to make it three straight in this bounce-back spot.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday November, 28

Jeff Alexander

Dallas Mavericks +6.5

The Bulls are just 3-10 ATS this season, including 0-7 ATS at home. The Mavs are an outstanding 36-15 ATS in road games in the first half of the season under coach Carlisle. Also, the underdog is on a 6-2 ATS run in the series. Take the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday November, 28

Timothy Black

OHIO STATE vs. DUKE    
PLAY: OHIO STATE

The Buckeyes are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against a team with a winning % above .600 and they have covered in 4 straight games against ACC opponents. The Blue Devils are just 3-13 ATS in their last 16 home games, including both games this season.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday November, 28

Scott Delaney

My free pick run is now at 40-21-2, and tonight out of the ACC/Big 10 Challenge I am taking the road underdog Boston College Eagles, plus the points in Happy Valley against the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Last season the Lions vame into Chestnut Hill and scored a 62-54 win, and I think the Eagles are going to be out for revenge in this one. I know B.C. has lost four of its last five games, including a 56-54 loss to Bryant at home on Sunday, but that was four days after knocking off SEC-foe Auburn, 50-49. Call it a letdow, or perhaps a lookahead to this game, but I don't think Bryant wins that game again.

After all, the Eagles seem to make a big deal of this annual series with the Big 10, sporting a 3-1 mark at home, and perfect 2-0 mark on the road. That only blemish - last year at home to Penn State.

Talk about incentive for revenge.

Boston College, which averaged just 59.3 points per game last season, has a bit more of an explosive offense, scoring 66.7 points per game as opposed to Penn State's 59. Both are being outscored by their opponents - B.C. by 2.8 and Penn State by 5.8. Overall, I think the Eagles have the better team, and create more scoring opportunities for themselves.

I'll take a shot with the road team here.

3♦ BOSTON COLLEGE


Another free winner for Hump Day, as I head into the Southern Conference, which opens its league schedule, and I like the Elon Phoenix getting points on the road from the Georgia Southern Eagles at Hanner Fieldhouse in Statesboro, Ga.

Elon, which is 4-4 all-time on the road against Georgia Southern, is off to a better start this season, sporting a 4-2 mark on the year. So even though Elon has a 4-5 record in league lid-lifters, I think this is a good spot for it to open the season right. The Phoenix have a junior-laden starting lineup - all four were starters last year - and boast four players who are averaging double digits in scoring.

Of all members of the Southern Conference, Elon has the best record, and is one of only three with a winning mark. The Citadel and College of Charleston are 3-2.

Of their preseason games, I am most impressed by a 65-53 win over South Carolina, out fo the SEC back on Nov. 21. The Phoenix couldn't carry the momentum over to their next game, at Virginia Military, and I just think they might have been hung over from the win over the Gamecocks.

With time to focus, I'll take the better team in this clash, and look for a road win.

4♦ ELON

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday November, 28

Chuck O'Brien

Here I am back on the court with another easy winner. Are you really going to ignore this double-digit winner, my One-and-Only 80 DIME Non-Conference Game of the Year?

My first freebie for Wednesday night is going to be on the Temple Owls, laying points on the road in Buffalo against the Bulls. Though I know the Bulls have played twice as many games as Temple already, I'm much more comfy with the traditional power out of the Big 5 in this clash, than I am a somewhat shaky and inconsistent team like Buffalo.

The Owls take the court with a perfect 3-0 mark after outlasting Delaware, 80-75, in a wild shootout that displayed plenty of sharpshooting by both teams. While the Fightin' Blue Hens had no problem finding the net with a 56.9 shooting clip, they were a rather bleak 4 of 12 from beyond the arc. The Owls, on the other hand, connected at a 48.1 percent clip but were 11 of 29 from downtown.

Temple impressively stayed balanced with its attack as four players scored in double figures, led by Scottie Randall's 18 points and eight rebounds, while Khaliff Wyatt also scored 18 with seven assists. The Owls just seem to have a talented enough roster that has a plethora of scorers, which helps if someone is having an off night.

Buffalo has lost its firepower from last season. A 76-57 win over Mansfield does not impress me. I'm more interested in the fact the Bulls are 2-5 on the year, not to mention they've gotten out of the 50s only three times - twice of which they lost. It's just quite noticeable the Bulls are missing talent from last season, lack an identity right now and still need time to gel.

Admittedly, both teams are not what they were a year ago. But Temple is always a force to reckon with, has the tradition and is in better shape right now. Lay the road chalk.

3♦ TEMPLE


My second free winner for Wednesday is going to be out of the ACC/Big 10 Challenge, and I'm taking a shot here with No. 4 Ohio State down in Durham, North Carolina, as I think the Buckeyes can give the second -ranked Duke Blue Devils a hard time.

I know the Devils are out for revenge from last season's dismantling on a night when then-No. 3 Duke played at then-No. 2 Ohio State, and the Buckeyes were near-flawless. The Buckeyes scored the game's first 11 points, led by 19 at halftime and went ahead by as many as 25 at one point, en route to an 85-63 rout.

And remember, that was an Ohio State team that went to the Final Four.

It almost seems as if the roles are reversed this season, after seeing what Duke has done to start the season, with impressive wins over Minnesota, Virginia Commonwealth and then-No. 2 Louisville last week to win the Battle for Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. But I don't know if the Buckeyes are as tired and lethargic as the Devils were at this point last season.

Ohio State, which has won 16 of 22 games on opponents’ home courts the past two seasons, knows the challenge it is up against, as Duke has won 96 consecutive games in Cameron against nonconference opponents, a school record and the longest active streak in the country.

And the Buckeyes have to be just as geared up for this game, as they've yet to play a ranked opponent, and realize this Blue Devils team is already being compared to the group that won the championship in 2010.

So with all this working against the Bucks, how is it I could possibly take the points?

Though they lost two dependable scorers from a year ago in William Buford and Jared Sullinger, those who returned have done well for the Buckeyes on the whole.

Ohio State ranks No. 1 in 3-point field goal percentage among the 345 Division I teams in men's basketball. It ranks in the Top 10 in assist-to-turnover ratio (6th/+1.63) and fewest turnovers per game (5th/9.5 per game). Individually, junior Deshaun Thomas is sixth in scoring with 24.0 points per game, while teammate Aaron Craft is No. 5 in assist-to-turnover ratio at +7.0, while sophomore Shannon Scott shows no sign of inexperience and ranks 16th at +5.0.

The team ranks 33rd nationally with 79.8 points per game, and 12th in the nation with a 22.5 scoring margin against its four foes.

I think this will be a little more competitive than the revenge-minded folks believe it will be. Take the road underdog here.

1♦ OHIO STATE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday November, 28

Craig Davis

Wednesday's free play is Ohio State as the underdog at Duke.

I have easily been more impressed with the Big 10 than I have the ACC in this challenge so far (just ask North Carolina).

I've heard way too much about how Duke remembers last year's embarrassment at that hands of these very same Buckeyes and how they're going to come out strong in "revenge mode".

I've heard it so much that I now believe Ohio State will win this game SU. Both teams return several of the players from last year's squad, and while I don't believe Ohio State was 30 points better than Duke last year like the score might have indicated, I also don't believe Duke was in the same class and I don't believe they are this year either.

Ohio State still does one thing better than Duke which will be the difference in the game... play defense!!

PG Aaron Craft, who is still only a junior, is a feisty ball-defender who will probably average 5 or more steals per game this year with his quick hands and great court-vision.

Duke's guards had better prepare for his quickness or they will find themselves in a hole based on Ohio State's transition game.

Both teams have great athletes, but I believe OSU's are better and it will be the other difference in this game.

Should be a fun one to watch, but in the end I believe Ohio State wins by a few.

2♦ OHIO STATE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday November, 28

Jeff Benton

42-27 free play run.

Your Wednesday freebie is the Magic plus the points at home against the Spurs.

You heard me correctly...the Magic!

Yes Orlando is just 5-8 straight up this season, but they do catch the San Antonio Spurs on the eve of their Thursday night spotlight game on TNT at Miami, and a strong case can be made that San Antonio may indeed take the foot of the proverbial gas pedal in this one allowing Orlando to stay close enough to get the home dog cover.

San Antonio also happens to be playing their fifth game in the last eight nights with that Miami tussle still on the horizon.

Of course the Spurs 12-3 straight up mark would give them the inside track to grab another straight up win, but winning by double-digits may be a little tougher with Jackson and Leonard dealing with injuries.

Coach Pop calls off the dogs early in this one as the Spurs get ready for their marquee game against the Heat tomorrow night.

Take Orlando plus the points.

1♦ ORLANDO

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday November, 28

Chris Jordan

As Kent State continues its two-game road swing tonight in Youngstown, Ohio for a Northeast Ohio showdown, I like the momentum the Golden Flashes bring into this one after an impressive 74-60 win at Nebraska on Saturday.

It was the program's first victory at a Big Ten school since 1970, and a bit of a statement if you ask me.

Senior Chris Evans has led the charge for the Flashes, averaging 16.5 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting over 66 percent from the field in two wins last week. Evans, who was named the MAC East Player of the Week for a second time this season on Monday, was pretty damn impressive Saturday night, connecting on 8 of 9 shots en route to a team-best 19 points and six rebounds.

To date, he leads Kent State in scoring (17.2 ppg), rebounding (7.2 rpg) assists (2.2 apg), steals (2.4 spg), blocks (1.0 bpg), field-goal percentage (.597) and free-throw percentage (.781).

He's supported by junior Darren Goodson, a junior college transfer who has blended into the lineup nicely, and had his best game Saturday, scoring 16 points on 8 of 10 shooting after coming into the contest having scored just 12 points on the year.

And while the Flashes are flying high right now, Youngstown State comes in mired in a three-game losing streak on the heels of a three-game winning streak. I know the Penguins knocked off Georgia early on, but they're playing at a different level right now, and aren't aas confident or consistent as they were at the start of the season.

Kent State leads the all-time series 26-16, has won the last four meetings and nine of the last 11. All this being said, and if the oddsmakers want to give me points, I'll take 'em.

3♦ KENT STATE


For my second freebie for the busy card on Wednesday night, I'm playing the Bradley Braves laying points in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, to the Central Michigan Chippewas. I love the low number I see here, as the Braves are looking to match a program record for November wins after a 4-1 start to the season.

I like what I've seen from second-year Braves head coach Geno Ford, and not sure if the Chipps are in a groove just yet under first-year coach Keno Davis, who will face a Missouri Valley Conference program for the first time since his lone season as coach of Drake back in 2007.

And keep in mind, Ford is plenty familiar with the Mid-American Conference, as he was a two-time MAC Coach of the Year in his three seasons at Kent State. Quick disclaimer, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Davis was both the MVC and national Coach of the Year in 2007-08 with the Bulldogs. Still, I think the Braves are playing more cohesive right now, than the Chippewas.

Bradley has scored at least 76 points in each of its first four wins and is averaging 75.2 ppg through the first five games of the season. The Braves are 7-1 over the last two years when scoring at least 70 points. And here's what's impressive to me, Bradley is tied for 287th nationally by shooting just 28.4 percent (21-74) from 3-point range. Tells me this is a blue-collar group that works the ball down low, pops short jumpers and manufactures its points.

The defense is stellar too, as it's allowing the opposition merely 21.2 points per game in the paint, while opponents are shooting just 40.3 percent (71-176) from inside the arc. The defense is forcing 15.8 turnovers per game while it has 49 steals thus far. Overall, Bradley's defense has provided the Braves with a 102-54 advantage in points off turnovers.

The Braves are going to be too much at both ends of the court, and I have no problem laying the points.

1♦ BRADLEY

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday November, 28

Matt Rivers

Free play winner for Wednesday is to ride the rolling Hawks.

The price is getting a little steep to back Atlanta in this spot, but no real choice to try and take a chance with a Charlotte team that has not been able to make a dent in the Atlanta armor of late.

Last season Larry Drew's team won and covered all four series meetings, and they picked up right where they left off last Friday night, winning and covering the first meeting this season at Charlotte by a 101-91 count. That win is part of a five game Hawks win streak.

The Bobcats meanwhile just absorbed a 114-69 humiliation at Oklahoma City on Monday night, and they have now failed the pointspread in three of their last four contests.

It may not be a 45 point setback, but it is easy to imagine a 12 points or so loss.

Lay it with the Hawks.

3♦ ATLANTA

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