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Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 20

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 20

Steve JanusFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Miami Heat -5.5FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Miami Heat haven't forgot about that heartbreaking loss to the Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals, and I look for them to come out extremely focused in tonight's TNT showdown. The Heat dominated both games between these two teams last year, winning 105-94 at Dallas and 106-85 in Miami. Without Dirk Nowitzki the Mavericks are no match for the Heat. They might be able to keep it close early, but I expect Miami to take over in the second half. Dallas is just 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games vs a team with a winning % of .600 or better!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 20

Jack JonesFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Portland Trail Blazers +5.5FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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This line is simply an overreaction to the fact that LaMarcus Aldridge is expected to miss this game tonight. Sure, he is arguably Portland's best player, but he's not worth as many points as the oddsmakers are giving him in this contest against the Denver Nuggets.
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Portland is playing well having won three straight coming into this one, including a 98-90 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. It is 7-4 at home this season, while the Nuggets are just 7-11 on the road. Denver is giving up a whopping 103.1 points/game away from home this year.
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Home-court advantage is clearly huge in this series. The home team has won 10 straight meetings in this series. In fact, Portland has not lost by more than 3 points at home to Denver in any of its last 11 home meetings.
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The home team is 13-3 ATS in the last 16 meetings in this series. Denver is 2-11 ATS after scoring 55 points or more in the first half in 2 straight games over the last 2 seasons. Portland is 77-53 ATS in its last 130 games as a home underdog of 6 points or less. Bet the Blazers Thursday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 20

KelsoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Southern Illinois at Nicholls StateFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Southern IllinoisFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Southern Illinois is a much improved team over the one that finished 8-23 last season and that is reflected by the fact the Salukis were a miserable 2-11 on the road last year and come into this game 3-2 in their “away” games. This is not to suggest Southern Illinois is an outstanding basketball team but merely to point out it is playing well and at a much higher performance profile than is UC-Davis. UC-Davis has beaten only Eastern Washington (2-8) and Sacramento State (6-3) this season and simply seems up against it tonight.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday December, 20

Rob Veno

Pepperdine at Tulane
Play: Pepperdine

Despite knowing that this is the championship game of Tulane’s own holiday tournament and that the Green Wave is off to an 8-3 start this season, I have a hard time finding the eight points worth of separation given to them in this contest. Tulane’s non-conference schedule ranks 345th according to Ken Pom. Their slate is littered with teams that own RPI’s of 200 or worse – Georgia Tech and Nebraska are their only opponents possessing an RPI better than 214. Pepperdine’s schedule has not been much better, but it is better. The Waves have faced a pair of PAC-12 opponents (Cal and Washington State) along with early season surprise Cal State-Northridge and a much improved Central Michigan team (5-4 SU, 5-3 ATS vs. a tough schedule).

Fundamentally these teams are very similar statistically on defense but Pepperdine holds more than just a slight edge in almost every offensive category. The senior leadership of PG Caleb Willis (2.5-1 assist-turnover ratio) has been key for the Pepperdine offense and figures to be significant tonight. Tulane doesn’t have an established true floor general and star sophomore guard Ricky Tarrant’s shooting numbers have suffered greatly this season because he has to do too much. Power forward Josh Davis tore Texas-Pan American up last night (11-14 FGs, 23 pts) but that production is likely to be slowed down tonight by Pepperdine’s freshman post force Stacy Davis (6-6, 240). Depth could also be an issue here in the second of back-back nights since Pepperdine’s double-digit minutes are dispersed nine deep and Tulane’s only plays seven (six players over 23 mpg). Last night’s minutes log was about the same on each side and because of the blowout victory over UTPA, Tulane head coach Ed Conroy was able to keep some starters’ minutes down.

An outright upset appears to be a real possibility in this title game between a pair of very comparable foes. In the end, Pepperdine’s FG shooting, PG play and ability to neutralize Tulane’s strengths should be good enough to get in under the +8.

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