Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 6

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 6

Jack Jones
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Long Beach State +20.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Long Beach State has been one of the most underrated teams in the country over the last few years under head coach Dan Monson. This is a school that loads its schedule with a very tough non-conference games, which gets it prepared to dominate during the regular season. It has beaten some very good teams over the last few seasons.
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The 49ers are just 3-4 this season, but their four losses came against North Carolina, Arizona, USC and Fresno State. All four of those losses came by 22 points or less, and I look for them to stay within 20 points of overvalued Syracuse tonight.
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The reason the Orange are overvalued right now is because they have opened the season 6-0 against a relatively soft schedule. They've also gone 4-0 ATS in all of their lined games, so there's no question this team is getting a lot of backing from the betting public right now, which in turn forces the oddsmakers to set the spread higher than it should be.
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Syracuse is 30-52 ATS in home games after a win by 15 points or more since 1997. The Orange are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS win. Long Beach State is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games following a SU. loss. The 49ers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games following a ATS loss. Bet Long Beach State Thursday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 6

Jimmy BoydFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM

Nebraska +7FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Cornhuskers are showing catching seven points at home considering how dominant the home team has been in this series. The home side has won each of the past seven meetings by an average of 10.4 points.
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Nebraska has won or lost by seven points or less in seven of the last 10 meetings overall and each of the last four in Lincoln.
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This is Creighton's first true road game of the season, and the road has not been good to Bluejay backers recently. The Jays are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games versus a team with a winning home record.
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Nebraska has a chance to make a statement with a win over a ranked opponent. The Huskers will likely come up a little short but will have a good opportunity to keep this one within the number.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 6

Steve JanusFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Miami Heat -6.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Heat have had this game circled for over a month, as they got embarrassed in a 84-104 loss at New York back on Nov. 2. Their lack of focus in their 101-105 loss at Washington on Monday was likely do them looking ahead to this game.
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Miami catches the Knicks in a great spot, as New York found themselves in a battle last night at Charlotte. The Knicks were able to escape with a 100-98 victory, but will likely struggle to match the Heat's intensity tonight. New York is 0-3 this season when playing in the second game of a back-to-back road set, which includes a 10-point loss to the Grizzlies and 7-point loss to the Nets.
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The Heat always seem to play their best at home and have routinely stepped up to the challenge when playing on TNT Thursday. Miami is 18-8 ATS in their last 26 home games and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Thursday games.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 6

Red Dog SportsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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CREIGHTON vs. NEBRASKA    
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These two schools are both located in the state of Nebraska. Creighton is ranked and led by All-American Doug McDermott and coached by his dad. The Cornhuskers just beat USC at home and have defeated the Blue Jays in the last two played in Lincoln. I won't be shocked by Creighton blowout but think Nebraska keeps it low scoring and stays within the number in this rivalry hoops game.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 6

Harry BondiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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OAKLAND (+10.5) over DenverFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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As bad as Oakland has been this year, this is a spot to grab the points and we have some compelling trends to help make the case for the big dog here tonight. First off, NFL underdogs of 8 or more are 22-2 ATS the last 24, including two weeks ago when the Broncos were a 10.5-favorite at KC and escaped with a 17-9 win. That ATS loss also dropped the Broncos to 0-11 ATS in their last 11 as a favorite of more than 8 points. We expect a similar effort here tonight from Denver as it goes on the road a week after it wrapped up the AFC West title and will be looking to simply win without style points. The Raiders are a profitable 8-2 ATS as an underdog of eight or more points and if there's one game they will be up for in the final stages of this dreadful season it will be tonight at home on national TV against a bitter divisional rival. Hold your nose and take the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 6

Scott Delaney

With the two best teams taking center court in South Beach tonight, I'm taking the home team in the clash of titans. I don't care about the defending NBA champion Miami Heat losing in Washington the other night and I don't care the New York Knicks have the best record in the Eastern Conference. Well, actually I do; but in reverse mode.

I think the Heat's upset loss will have them motivated for tonight's game, to absolutely take it to the Knicks, and throttle their seemingly top contender in the East.

While LeBron James led the way for the Heat with his 41st career triple-double, scoring 26 points, snatching 13 rebounds and dishing out 11 assists, and Dwyane Wade added 24 while Chris Bosh chipped in 20 points and 12 rebounds, the Wizards still pulled out the miraculous win.

Yes, the Heat are thin at the point guard spot. Yes, the Heat are seemingly dinged up a bit.

But after Carmelo Anthony dove into the stands for a loose ball last night in a win at Charlotte, he and lacerated his middle finger, didn't finish the game and needed six stitches to sew up the gash. Overnight reports had Anthony's availability for tonight in serious question. As of 12:15 p.m. eastern today, he's a gametime decision due to what has been described as a "deep cut" to his left middle finger.

If Anthony isn't available, the Knicks will be without three starters from last year's Game 1 playoff series against the Heat: Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert.

The Heat are 8-0 at home this season, and they come in riding a 10-3 win streak against the Knicks. New York is a mediocre 5-4 on the road, but is a disappointing 3-7 in its last 10 in Miami.

Lay the wood.

3♦ MIAMI

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 6

Chuck O'Brien

I'm going to back Miami (-7') at home in revenge against New York as the Heat score a sixth straight home win in the series.

Now to Thursday's freebie.....

The Heat were ripped 104-84 in the second game of the season at New York. And now they're in no mood for playing around or letting anyone keep things close, as they're also looking to rebound from a stunning loss at lowly Washington two nights ago.

I don't care the New York arrives on a five-game winning streak and has the best record in the Eastern Conference, and that Miami just lost 105-100 to Washington. This is a game - if any game - the Heat will be up for.

Miami ranks second in the NBA in scoring, with 104. 3 points per game, but don't be surprised to see it put up more like 114.

Of the Big 3 on Miami, the biggest two have come up, well, big. "King" LeBron James has averaged 30.6 points in his last 18 regular-season games against the boys from Gotham City, while Dwyane Wade is averaging a severe 30.3 the last 13 times he's faced them overall.

New York's Carmelo Anthony is expected to play tonight despite a finger injury that required six stitches, but you have to think that injury will affect his game.

Miami has covered four straight at home versus New York and six of the last eight meetings.

2♦ MIAMI

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 6

Craig Davis

Nebraska has always been the "Cornhusker Football State"... but for one day, it's nothing but a basketball state.

Creighton and Nebraska. Both of these teams are off to good starts and this promises to actually be a pretty good game. There's a joke going around the Nebraska media this week, comparing Creighton basketball allowing 74 points to Wisconsin and Nebraska's football team allowing 70 to Wisconsin.

Oh well, I thought it was rather humorous.

Instead of worrying about who is big brother and who is little brother in hoops this year, there is actual buzz around this game  because the Huskers appear to have a legitimate team this year... and that has to scare the Blue Jays a little.

I'm sure Creighton players and fans believe they are the only show in the state, but they can get off their high-horse right now because Nebraska is every bit as good as they are, in my opinion, and will give them a game to remember tonight.

Creighton's Josh Jones didn't help matters when he was quoted as saying, "we will prepare like they're (Nebraska) a tough team to play.” Ouch. Don't think for a minute that's not plastered all over the Cornhusker's locker room.

My question is... "Is Creighton ready to play 30 seconds of defense every time down the floor?" They're going to have to get used to a slow tempo game unless they can somehow figure out a way to make Nebraska run with them.

The only way I will get worried here is if the Huskers get down by double digits and abandon their original game plan of slowing the pace and playing solid defense.

Another huge question in tonight's game is... "Can 6-foot-10 Nebraska senior Brandon Ubel use his length to bother Jays All-American G Doug McDermott? Or will Ubel get himself in foul trouble early because of McDermott's penetration?"

This is clearly not the same Nebraska team Creighton expected to face when the schedule came out. Shoot, no one outside of Omaha thought the Huskers would be off to this kind of hot start.

But they are... and we can't ignore it. Maybe Nebraska wins, maybe they don't. But I don't see them losing by more than a few points in what promises to be a great game.

Free play of the day on Nebraska plus the points at home.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 6

Jeff Benton

Your Thursday freebie is the New York Knicks plus the points in their rematch with the Miami Heat.

New York did just play last night in Charlotte, hanging on for the win but no cover. I don't think there will be any issue for the Knicks to get their energy level rolling against the team that eliminated them in five short games last May in the postseason.

The Knicks bowed-up on November 2nd just after Hurricane Sandy blew through the northeast and took a 104-84 decision at Madison Square Garden as the 6-point underdog. It is obvious that New York has improved on their defense, and it is also obvious that Miami was definitely taking the 1-13 Washington Wizards a little too lightly on Tuesday night when the Wizards stunned the Heat in D.C.

Miami has not lost in eight home games this year, but they are just 4-4 against the spread in those eight wins.

Heat bounce-back from Tuesday's debacle with the win, but this one is closer than the linemakers think.

Take the points.

2♦ NEW YORK

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 6

Chris Jordan

After a 2-0 night with freebies on Temple and North Dakota State, I head to the added card for tonight's complimentary winner, and roll with the Eastern Washington Eagles catching points at home against the Idaho Vandals.

A pair of two-win teams take the court tonight, and I think we're safe in taking the home underdog. I don't know what the oddsmakers are doing here, but they clearly have lost sight on the added games of late.

The EWU men’s basketball team played its first six games away from home, but now is playing five of six in what has been reported as an improved Reese Court venue.

Last spring new premium seating was added on the scorer’s table/team benches side, and the existing wooden bleachers were moved to the ends of the court. In addition, a new video board has been added to the existing scoreboard at Reese Court this fall, and made its debut on Nov. 30.

The Eagles were successful in their home opener last Friday - Reese Court's debut - as they scored a 79-75 win over Cal State Fullerton, and should be fired up for their pre-conference homestand they continue this week with a pair of games at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash., hosting Idaho tonight and Seattle on Monday.

I was actually pretty impressed by Eastern Washington's win last week over the Titans, as freshman forward Venky Jois and junior guard Justin Crosgile each had double-doubles for the Eagles. Jois finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds for his third double-double in the last four games. Crosgile, a transfer from St. Joseph’s, had 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

Look for the Eagles to light things up in their newly improved venue, and go for the outright win.

3♦ EASTERN WASHINGTON

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 6

Matt Rivers

Free play winner last night on the Charlotte Bobcats.

For Thursday, comp play winner is the Dallas Mavs as the small road underdog at Phoenix.

One of my tried-and-true NBA handicapping axioms is playing against a team in their first home game after three or more on the road. In tonight's scenario, that would be the Phoenix Suns who come back to the Valley of the Sun having just played six straight on the highway and went just 1-5 straight up.

Phoenix is not offering too much value right now on their home floor, going 2-6 versus the spread in their eight home games.

Dallas comes in having just gotten beat like a drum last night at the Clippers, but I will side with them to rebound tonight against the inferior Suns.

Dallas has gone 8-1 against the spread the past nine series meetings, why not make it 9-1?

Take any points available with the Mavs.

2♦ DALLAS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 6

Ian Cameron

Cal-Santa Barbara at San Diego State
Recommendation: San Diego State

I have enjoyed a few winners betting against UC Santa Barbara this season and I was also able to cash a ticket betting on San Diego State in their win in Anaheim against UCLA on Saturday. I think tonight’s road game at San Diego offers another great opportunity to fade the Gauchos.

Don’t be fooled by UCSB’s last and only road win of the season against Santa Clara, 83-80 in OT. The Broncos were terrible in that game. Santa Clara shot only 36% from the floor and were plagued by turnovers and foul trouble. UCSB had a rare hot shooting night pouring in the basketball at a 45.3% clip from the floor but that’s been the exception, not the rule for the Gauchos this season. In their other games, they failed to score more than 72 points against Division I competition. UCSB has been annihilated in every other road game besides the Santa Clara game losing by margins of 14, 28 and 16 points (0-3 ATS). Note that none of those teams are as good as the one they’ll face tonight. The Gauchos are a very young and inexperienced team that lacks depth, scoring and defensive aptitude. That’s quite the bad combination of issues when you have to go on the road and take on a strong San Diego State team that I sense will be focused.

San Diego State slipped by a much better UCSB squad last year with a 76-75 OT win on the road. The Aztecs were also very lackadaisical in their last win at home against Texas Southern, winning 74-62 but only pulling away in the latter part of the second half. Those two games should have the Aztecs focused on the task at hand as I expect they will not take the Gauchos lightly this time around. San Diego State has great inside, outside balance with Jamaal Franklin and a now healthy Chase Tapley in the backcourt. DeShawn Stephens also returned from injury for the Aztecs against UCLA and has the presence inside to neutralize UCSB’s one and maybe only consistent scoring threat, Alan Williams. San Diego State has a major depth edge over the limited UCSB rotation as the Aztecs can put in very capable bench reserves such as guard James Rahon and forwards Dwayne Polee II, Skylar Spencer and Winston Shepard. The Aztecs play stifling defense holding foes to just 56.7 points per game on 36.4% shooting. I expect points to be few and far between for UCSB tonight on the road against a terrific defensive squad.

The last time these teams faced off on this court, San Diego State blasted UCSB 90-64 in 2010. It was the same story in 2008 with the Aztecs cruising to a 68-51 home win over the Gauchos. I don’t lay -15 or more unless I see a complete and utter mismatch in the making. I think we have that here. Lay the points with the far superior San Diego State Aztecs as they should hand UCSB another blowout road loss.

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