Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 15

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Nevada +9 -110 over ArizonaFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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It’s offense versus offense here. With two of the most balanced attacks in the nation going at it expect to see plenty of scoring and it would not surprise us one bit to see the Wolfpack come out on top against a Wildcats defense that is undersized, inexperienced and razor-thin. The Wildcats have shuffled players around on defense all year but still can’t stop the bleeding. They set a school record for yardage allowed this year.  Arizona will have to play at a site where the cold and altitude favor the opponent and where the ‘Cats will practice only once. Arizona had its eye on the Las Vegas Bowl, but instead fell to the Pac-12's final bowl slot.
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The Nevada defense played much better down the stretch.  They come into this Bowl game off their best offensive half of the season against a strong Boise State defense in which they racked up 379 yards. It's true that Nevada’s Chris Ault's bowl record leaves something to be desired but ASU’s Rich Rodriguez is 1-5 against the postseason number himself, with three of the losses falling at least four touchdowns away from the spread. The setup of this one favors the dog. We like them to win outright but will gladly take the generous points.
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Toledo +10½ over Utah StateFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The favored Aggies posted better stats than Toledo but one must look at the level of competition each club faced before putting too much weight on numbers. Utah State’s residency in the WAC had it playing its final six games against much lesser talent in the weak conference compared to the Rockets, who reside in the always tough MAC. When the Aggies faced two quality defenses in BYU and Wisconsin, they only managed to score 17 points combined.
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Toledo went 9-3 this season. All three losses were by seven points each with one of those occurring in OT against Arizona in its first game of the year. In other words, the Rockets have not lost all year by the margin being offered here and they played a tougher schedule than the Aggies. They played in this same Bowl game last year and faced another MAC squad, the Ohio Bobcats and lost 24-23. The disrespect the Rockets are being shown in this line will surely motivate them even more in what figures to be a close game between two fairly evenly matched clubs. Take the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 15

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Golden State +6 over ATLANTAFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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By stunning the Heat in Miami, the Warriors proved there is nothing fluky about their best start since 1991-92. Golden State is 5-1 on a seven-game road trip and they've won 10 of their last 12, boasting  a 7-2 mark against teams with winning records. The Warriors are also 14-1 when winning the rebounding battle and that bodes very well here as Atlanta ranks 26th in rebounding.
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Atlanta is the other surprise team in the NBA with a 14-6 mark. However, Atlanta has played Charlotte three times in its last 10 games and Washington, Cleveland and Orlando once each. That’s six softies in 10 games and while a win is still a win, the Hawks strength of schedule ranks 29th in the NBA while the Warriors ranks third. The Warriors beat these Hawks back in California by four on a night in which they did not shoot well. Since then, confidence is higher and it’s hard to overlook that 14-1 mark against teams they out-rebound.  Better team taking points is appealing.
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RHODE ISLAND +106 over SMUFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Mustangs take their 8-1 record to Rhode Island where they are a small favorite over the 2-7 Rams. While spotting the small price looks appealing on paper, we’re urging you not to take the bait.
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SMU’s strength of schedule ranks 143rd in the country. They’ve played a slew of weak teams and even with that, their statistical numbers are very average. Rhode Island’s schedule has been much tougher with games against #7 Ohio State, Seton Hall, Virginia Tech, Providence and George Mason among others. That’s not an easy non-conference schedule. URI lost by just 11 to OSU and by just 5 to the Hall. New Rams Coach Dan Hurley (a hire widely acclaimed as one of the best in the nation) will finally get an opportunity to implement his aggressive, attacking style of play on both ends of the court against a beatable Mustang squad in much the same way he used it to beat Auburn. These non-conference records before the “real” season begins can be very misleading and we find a great example of that here.
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MEMPHIS +4 over LouisvilleFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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A ranked team favored by a small number on the road is a strong angle we always like to take a close look at and we find another one here with the sixth ranked Cardinals playing at Memphis. For the second straight year, the Tigers are not projected to do so well. Those predictions were fairly accurate a year ago when Memphis lost eight games and were ousted in the first round of the NCAA tournament. What is not revealed in all of that is how close they were in almost every loss during the regular season. We mention that because the Tigers are a year more experienced and battle tested. This year they’re just as talented and they’re off to decent 6-2 start. They’ve won four in a row, they’re still an outstanding offensive club and they rarely lose at home.
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Louisville comes in with an impressive 8-1 record with only loss occuring against Duke. Still, we can’t get too excited about a team that has beaten Manhattan, Samford, Miami (Ohio), Illinois State, Charleston and the UMKC Kangaroos. Louisville has played one true road game this year, at Charleston, and until we see them prove themselves on the road in a game like this, we’re not buying its #6 ranking. Upset alert is on.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 15

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Jamie Varnerover +116 over Melvin GuillardFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Two fighters with seemingly similar fighting styles and career paths square off in what should be an exciting lightweight fight. Throughout their careers, both fighters have been plagued by inconsistencies as well as questions about their desire and focus. Both have the opportunity to prove their detractors wrong here. The former WEC champion Jamie Varner (20-7-1-2 No Contests) has come back from the depths of near retirement and salvaged his career going 1-1 this year, including scoring a knockout victory over renowned prospect Edson Barboza. Taking his last fight on short notice, Varner put on a potential fight of the year performance against Joe Lauzon before succumbing to a triangle choke. Despite the loss it is clear that Varner's heart is back into fighting as he is displaying the form that made him a champion.
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Guillard (47-12-3-1 No Contest) is an explosive striker with good wrestling. When Guillard is on, he looks unbeatable, when he is off his game he often loses in stunning fashion. The question in all his fights is which Melvin Guillard will show up. Like Varner, Guillard comes into this fight off of a loss and has lost three of his last four fights overall. We trust that the crafty Varner will be able to keep distance and withstand, as well as counter Guillard's striking. Both fighters are about equal in terms of wrestling with a slight advantage to Guillard, however, should the fight go to the ground, Varner has the edge as Guillard has proven to be submission prone.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 15

Scott Delaney

53-31 comp play run following Thursday's winner on the Knicks over the Lakers and last night's on the T'wolves at the Hornets.

Saturday's comp selection is in college hoops on Louisville over Memphis.

Normally I'd be hesitant about this old school rivalry, but not this year.

Now with how well the sixth-ranked Cardinals are playing and the fact they've already taken on Northern Iowa, Missouri and Duke, and are well-tested for this rivalry game.

I know Louisville is already playing without center Gorgui Dieng, who broke his left wrist in last month's Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. And I heard coach Rick Pitino has said he has other players hurting as well and it has him being more cautious in practice.

But I'm calling smoke screen.

The Cardinals will be just fine today in this game, and I'll count on that defense that is forcing more than 22 turnovers a game and lead the nation in turnover margin at plus-9.2. Louisville has scored 35 percent of its points off turnovers.

Louisville had seven players in double figures in last season's meeting and has won three straight and eight of the last 12 in this annual affair.

The Cardinals are in on ATS runs of 11-4 in non-conference play and 14-4 overall. Lay the road chalk.

3♦ LOUISVILLE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 15

Chuck O'Brien

My free winner for Saturday is an early one, as I like the top-ranked Indiana Hoosiers to get it done over the Butler Bulldogs. Yes, I know this has always been a tough rivalry, and I know you don't underestimate Butler, the two-time national runner-up. But I still can't get that ass-whooping Indiana put on Duke out of my head.

And if the Hoosiers are going to get up for any other game, it's going to be this one. Trust me, even Indiana knows those goose bumps you get when walking into Hinkle Fieldhouse are for all basketball enthusiasts. It's historic. It means something.

Fortunately for the Hoosiers, this one is at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in the Close the Gap Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis. So avoiding that small-school atmosphere is a plus

I'm pretty sure it's safe to say Indiana will be Butler's toughest test since its eighth-seeded team almost pulled off a shocker in the 2011 national championship game against UConn. But the Hoosiers are so much better.

Indiana is not only atop the polls, but it also ranks No. 1 with its scoring offense, averaging 89.1 points per game, and No. 1 with its scoring margin, which is 31.7 points per win. The defense isn't too shabby, ranking 26th in the country in allowing just 57.4 points per game.

Sorry, but Butler just won't have enough for this year's rivalry. Take the Hoosiers.

2♦ INDIANA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 15

Jeff Benton

Saturday freebie is the Over in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl between Toledo and Utah State.

With the Rockets main guns RB Fluellen, and QB Owens back operating at full strength after suffering ankle injuries late in the season, will look for the points to pile up in this one.

Toledo also features the one-and-only Bernard Reedy who has scored touchdowns this season both on a kick return and a punt return, not to mention his 82 receptions for over 1,000 yards.

Toledo will be making their third straight bowl appearance, and if this one is like their previous pair (68 and 83 combined points) then this one in Boise should have little trouble climbing Over the posted price.

Looking at the Aggies side of the ball, they did play that 6-3 defensive battle against BYU back in early October, but since that stalemate, State has averaged nearly 45 points per game over their final six efforts of the regular season.

A glance at the weather forecast shows no interference from Mother Nature, so why not expect the points to fly in this one?

Toledo-Utah State Over the total.

3♦ TOLEDO-UTAH STATE OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 15

Chris Jordan

My free play for Saturday is going to be on the Georgia Bulldogs, as I think they're getting off cheap against Iona tonight in college hoops, and should be able to cover the number over the Gaels.

This one being inside Stegeman Coliseum, in Athens, Georgia, I don't think the Bulldogs will have trouble once they pull away in the second half.

The reason the number is so low is because the Dawgs are in after back-to-back losses at South Florida by 11 and Georgia Tech by eight. But after an 11-day break during final exams, I think Georgia will be re-focused. Both of Georgia’s wins (Jacksonville and East Tennessee State) have come in Stegeman Coliseum.

The Gaels, from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, are 1-4 away from home, losing its only true road game by two points at Saint Peters. Georgia is 2-1 all-time against MAAC schools.

I'll lay the home chalk in this one, as I believe coach Mark Fox will have his troops focused for this one.

4♦ GEORGIA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 15

Matt Rivers

69-55 free play run coming into Saturday.

Free NBA winner tonight is to take the Wizards plus the points as they play in Miami,

For whatever reason, Washington has been a thorn in Miami's side of late, as the Wizards have actually won OUTRIGHT the last three times the teams have met, including a 105-101 win as the double-digit home underdog on December 4th.

The Wizards have gone 6-2 against the spread the last eight series meetings, so grabbing the points tonight is obviously a high-percentage play.

Miami may be 10-2 straight up at home, but they are just 6-6 against the spread in those twelve home games. Meanwhile, Washington totes is a 1-9 straight up road record, but with the points the Wizards are a competitive 6-3-1 against the spread.

Have to stick with the percentages here and look for Washington to stay inside the number once again.

1♦ WASHINGTON

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 15

Bryan Leonard

Boston / San Antonio Under 198

Similar to our 3 Unit Play last night on the Celtics game under, we will take this contest under the total as well. The reasoning is the same as yesterday, and you can view that analysis by clicking on our past picks on our homepage. It would have been a client play but I took out the last 199 on the board (Sorry need to pay the bills LOL). If it gets back to that number consider it a 1 unit selection.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 15

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

ARIZONA STATE -15 over Dartmouth: Tough spot here for Dartmouth as they are playing their 6th road game in a row, they have to travel cross country and they are taking on an angry Arizona State squad that is off an embarrassing home loss. I look for this on to be over quite early.

More later

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 15

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

POWER ANGLE PLAY

Toledo +10.5 over Utah State: Im gonna go with Toledo in this one. The Utah State defense has been pretty awesome this year, but they only played 2 good offenses and allowed 41 points to La Tech and 27 points to San Jose State, which were the only 2 times they allowed over 20 points on the year. Today they will faced a Toledo offense that has put up some big numbers this year, averaging 456.1 ypg and 32.9 ppg. Toledo didn’t have start QB Owens or top RB Fluellen in their last game, but both are expected back in this one and they are the two parts that really make this offense go. I know that the Toledo defense has been pretty weak this year, but because of their offense they were still able to go 9-3 on the year with all 3 losses being by just 7 points each. I look for that offense to keep them close once again. 2 POWER ANGLES FOR THIS PLAY--- MAC teams that were .666 or better on the year are 11-1 SU and 10-1 ATS if they are off a win… Bowl favorites of > 3 points off DD win are 4-16 ATS if they are returning to same bowl game they lost at the year before.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 15

Wunderdog

Georgia Southern at Virginia Tech
Pick: Georgia Southern +17

The Virginia Tech Hokies are out of the gate strong at 8-1. They fell 1 point from perfection, as they lost a 1-point decision to West Virginia. Georgia Southern has a big guy in the middle that could help them inside here. Eric Ferguson hits for 15.8 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game, as the Hokies’ strength on defense has been defending the perimeter. Virginia Tech will be vulnerable here because they like to push the tempo and will have to defend the shot-clock here. They are much better in a racetrack event, which isn't going to be the case here. The Eagles have been at their best with a blowout, confidence-building win as they are now 17-8 ATS off a 20+ point win in their last contest. The Hokies have been disinterested when facing a team with a road winning percentage of under .400 at 1-6 ATS in their last seven. Take the points and play on Georgia Southern.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 15

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

ARIZONA STATE -15 over Dartmouth: Tough spot here for Dartmouth as they are playing their 6th road game in a row, they have to travel cross country and they are taking on an angry Arizona State squad that is off an embarrassing home loss. I look for this on to be over quite early.

Butler/ Indiana Under 143: (Added) Butler can not run with this team if they hope to pull the upset. Georgia plays a slower pace and were nearly able to take out the Hoosiers. That slower pace should frustrate this Indiana team that just doesn't play with a shot clock. Butler is usually one of the better defensive teams in the nation and while they have struggled at times they do come in allowing just 57.6 ppg in their last 3 games. The Hoosiers are one of the better defensive teams in the nation as they have allowed lust 57.4 ppg on a mere 35.3% shooting. I expect this one to be played in the low 130's at best.

OREGON -13.5 over Nebraska: Google News Play (Added) Oregon has been excellent at home and their up and down pace should be a big edge over the Huskers slower pace. That is evident by the fact that Nebraska has allowed 56 ppg in their wins, but 69 ppg in their two defeats. They just don't have the horses to compete with the faster teams and they wont be able to hang in this one as the Ducks win it by 17+.

2 UNIT PLAY

SMU PK over RHODE ISLAND: (Added) Both teams have first year coaches at the Helm, but SMU's Larry Brown has had the better time of it going 8-1 out the gate, while the Rams have struggled out the gate behind new head man Dan Hurley. The Mustangs will struggle once they get up against bigger teams, but the Rams are not all that big a team and they lack depth behind their starters. Look for both teams to continue to head in opposite directions after this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday December, 15

John RyanFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Tenn Martin at St. LouisFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: St. LouisFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The simulator shows a high probability that St.Louis will win this game by 30+ points. The sim shows a high probability that (TM) will not score more than 60 points and will have between 14 and 18 turnovers. In past games, St. Louis is 13-4 ATS when they allow 60 or less points in a game over the last 2 seasons; 10-1 ATS when they force 14 to 18 turnovers in a game over the last 2 seasons. (TM) is just 2-10 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons; 25-44 ATS when playing against a good team winning between 60% to 80% of their games since 1997; 6-17 ATS after playing 2 consecutive games as an underdog over the last 2 seasons. STL just has too much superior talent and they already execute their offense at a high level against vastly superior teams than (TM). Take St. Louis

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Joe GavazziFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Michigan -10FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Former West Virginia HC Beilein has now a far better gig with his Top 5 Wolves. In fact, he won't even recognize this offensively-impotent group of Mountaineers. In a mid-week loss to Duquesne, 6th year HC Huggins' troops blew a double digit lead in route to a 60-56 defeat to a Duquesne team who used their quickness to control the glass and score in transition. If the Mounties were overwhelmed by the mediocre Dukes in Pittsburgh, imagine what happens when they go up against the Wolves. Like Michigan needed more perimeter power, they have now welcomed Freshman Shooter Stauskas who hits nearly 60% of his triples and Glen Robinson III to a guard tandem rich with the likes of Burke and Hardaway. In this case, the numbers don't lie with the favorite in this game far superior to West Virginia in every phase of the game. With the WVU transfers Staten and Murray underachieving, there appears little that Huggins can do.

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KelsoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Notre Dame at PurdueFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Notre DameFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Notre Dame returns basically the same team that went 22-12 last season and the Irish appear to have improved dramatically over that squad. Notre Dame’s only loss this season came in its second game, to St. Joseph’s, 79-70, in overtime, and has progressively improved with each game. The Irish are long and lean, very athletic, fast and quick, and are one of the most fundamentally sound teams in basketball—and they always come to win. Purdue is in a major rebuilding mode and has struggled the entire season, with its only wins coming against Hofstra, N.C.-Wilmington, at Clemson, and Lamar. The better teams on the schedule have manhandled the Boilermakers and they come into this game off a 47-44 loss at Eastern Michigan. Everything points to a solid Notre Dame win.

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