Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday December, 28

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday December, 28

Steve JanusFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Denver Nuggets -2½FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Dallas Mavericks are being overvalued due to the return of Dirk Nowitzki. It's going to take some time for Nowitzki to get back into the swing of things. He likely won't play big minutes until later in the season and his return likely won't have an effect on the Mavericks ability to win games for at least another week. I understand Dallas just went on the road and took the reigning Western Conference Champions to overtime last night, but I believe that was more of the Thunder suffering a hangover from that lost to the Heat on Christmas Day than the Mavericks all the sudden being a contender again.
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Denver is one of the more underrated teams in the NBA, basically because they have not been able to win on the road at the same rate that they do at home. However, they have played a very brutal schedule early in the season with 20 of their first 30 games being played away from home. This is one spot where the Nuggets are a strong play.
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Prior to last night, Dallas had lost three straight games by double-digits. They are 1-7 in their last 8 games and I have a hard time believing they will have the energy on a back-to-back set to keep up with Denver.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday December, 28

Jeff Alexander

UCLA -3

Look for Mizzou to struggle in its first true road game of the season versus a UCLA team that is starting to find its groove. The Bruins are on a 19-8 ATS run in games following 2 consecutive home wins of 10 points or more.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday December, 28

Scott Delaney

Let's take a look at the free play for tonight, as I carry over the momentum from last night's winner on Western Illinois over Oakland, and keep it going with Utah Valley over Austin Peay in the Dr Pepper Classic at Chattanooga.

The Wolverines come into this event after splitting a pair of games last week, defeating Troy, 67-64, in overtime before falling short in a late comeback against North Carolina Central, 73-67. Today they might be in the right spot to pick up some momentum, as Austin Peay has lost four straight. The Governors are a young team trying to blend multiple newcomers, and have quite yet found an identity, or even a team leader to turn to.

Austin Peay was beat down last Saturday, 83-57 at Illinois State. And while the Governors will be playing their second of five straight games away from Dave Aaron Arena, Utah Valley has played nine of its 14 away from Orem, Utah.

The travel should not affect the Wolverines one bit, and they'll exploit the Governors with a balanced attack. Four Wolverines average double figures.

Lay the low chalk in this game.

3♦ UTAH VALLEY

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday December, 28

Chuck O'Brien

High Point (pk) at TN CHATTANOOGA

My free pick run is at 148-123-3, and tonight I have two college basketball freebies for you, including this one on the High Point Panthers at Tennessee-Chattanooga, the host of the 23rd annual Dr. Pepper Classic. I know it's never a good idea to go against the host team in a holiday tournament involving mid-majors, but in this pick'em, just having to select the winner is an easy choice with High Point.

I think the Panthers will be out to do some damage here, as they come in after an excruciating close loss to Eastern Kentucky, 73-70, on Dec. 21. In a back and forth affair that saw the lead change hands four times and the game tied eight times in the second half alone, it was another close loss for High Point. Its four most recent losses have come by an average of 4.75 points, while the Panthers have been within five points in the last six minutes of each game.

Tonight against Chattanooga, something tells me there will be no close calls, and there will be no letting off the gas pedal. Chattanooga is just 3-8 overall, and it is coming in after a 108-78 win over NAIA-member Reinhardt last Friday. This is a step up in class, and the Moccasins don't necessarily have a lot to offer against the well-balanced Panthers.

High Point is led by redshirt frosh John Brown, who is averaging 22.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals while shooting 48.2 percent from the floor and 76.5 percent from the line in the last three games. This kid is explosive and can take over a game at any moment. He's already been featured on ESPN SportsCenter's top 10 plays three times in his first 10 collegiate games. Random intangible? Yes. But it's noteworthy when you're talking about a mid-major that doesn't get much recognition until March.

Brown, who is averaging 18.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 2.1 blocks on the season, has been named the Big South Freshman of the Week three times this season.

High Point comes in on a 5-1 ATS run against non-conference foes, while the Mocs are mired in ATS slides of 1-4 against non-league competition, 0-5 at home and 1-5 overall.

2♦ HIGH POINT


Southern Mississippi (-2) at MOREHEAD STATE

My second free winner for Friday night is going to be on Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles laying cheap chalk to Morehead State. This really is a mismatch, and I don't know what the oddsmakers are thinking with the line this low.

The Golden Eagles (8-4) arrive for this one after a disappointing loss to the Wichita State Shockers, 59-51, after squandering an 11 point halftime-lead. Southern Miss' second half collapse coincided with Wichita State's strong finish, as the Shockers scored the final 10 points of the game.

It was an off day for the Golden Eagles, who are averaging 65 points per game and shooting 45 percent from the field as a team. I have to believe we're going to see more of this team than the one we saw against Wichita.

Morehead State is in after back to back losses, including its last time out, a 20-point shellacking at the hands of North Dakota, 69-49. UND outshot Morehead 56 percent to 35 percent from the field.

This is a no-brainer for me, as Southern Miss has already recorded some notable victories this season, including wins over Western Kentucky, Georgia and UC Irvine. I sincerely don’t believe they should have a problem beating Morehead State on the road. Lay the cheap road chalk.

1♦ SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday December, 28

Jeff Benton

Freebie for Friday is the Houston Rockets as the underdog at San Antonio.

The Spurs have already won and covered the first pair of meetings this season against the Rockets, and are on an overall 7-3 straight up roll the last ten times the teams have played, but tonight it is all about the sizzling Rockets.

Houston comes to the Alamo City having won and covered five in a row, and they are an overall 7-1 straight up their last eight times on the hardwood.

As for San Antonio, the Spurs may have won their last three games, but their spread mark is just 3-5 their last eight games contested.

Tonight is the night the surging Rockets get on board in the season series against the Spurs, and if they don't win this game outright, they at the very least will cover.

Take the points.

4♦ HOUSTON

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday December, 28

Chris Jordan

Tonight, my free pick is on the Falcons' men's basketball team laying a trey at North Dakota.

Bowling Green arrives in Grand Forks to play its second of four consecutive road games and is in the midst of five games being played over five different states (Florida, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio). And though some might think the Falcons are weary, I think they'll be coming in fired up after scoring near-upsets against back-to-back power foes - South Florida (87-84 in triple overtime) and Michigan State (64-53).

Aside from stars Jordon Crawford, Richaun Holmes and Anthony Henderson, this is a team that has depth, and that coach Louis Orr can count on when it comes to his reserves. Bowling Green's bench has outscored the opponent's bench in eight straight games.

The Falcons check into this one on ATS win streaks of 15-3 after a straight-up setback, 4-1 after an ATS cover and 4-0 in non-conference play. Meanwhile, the nickname-less team from North Dakota has dropped four straight to the books.

Lay the road chalk.

2♦ BOWLING GREEN

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday December, 28

Matt Rivers

My comp selection tonight is on the Under in the Meinke Car Care Bowl between Minnesota and Texas Tech.

Sure, the Red Raiders have put some points on the scoreboard this season, as Texas Tech comes into this bowl game having played Overs in three straight and five of their last six games, but even if they get their points, I am not so sure you can count on the points coming from Minnesota.

The Golden Gophers scored just 17 points or less in seven of their last eight games coming into tonight's contest, and the Under went 6-4-1 in Minny's lined games this season.

Just don't think we will be seeing too many points on the Reliant Stadium scoreboard this Friday night.

Play the Under in Minnesota-Texas Tech

2♦ MINNESOTA-TEXAS TECH UNDER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday December, 28

Jeff Scott Sports

4 UNIT PLAY

Indiana/ Jacksonville Under 153: The Hoosiers can score a ton of points and could probably name their score here, but they are a HUGE favorite in this game and with the Big 10 season on deck, but how much will they keep their starters in here? I don't expect many of them to be playing too much in the second half, which should help keep the late scoring down. On defense Indiana should have no problems slowing down a Jacksonville offense that averages just 64.2 ppg on 40.6 % shooting on the road this year. Indiana allows just 55.3 ppg on 34% shooting at home this year, showing just how tough their defense is. Indiana will build a big first half lead and then pull starters early in the second half and just cruise the rest of the way as they look to the Big 10 opener. Indiana should be good for 85-90 points at most, while Jacksonville will be good for the low 50's at best. This one should be played in the low 140's. 

3 UNIT PLAYS

Brown/ Providence Under 130: The Way i see this one is that Brown will have to score around 60 for this one to go over the total I just don't expect that at all. Brown comes in really struggling on offense as they have scored just 58 ppg on 36.7% shooting, while in their last 3 games those numbers dip to 49.7 ppg on 33.3% shooting. Improving to much on those numbers will be tough vs a Providence squad that has allowed just 57.8 ppg on 37.3% shooting overall and 55.6 ppg on 36.2% shooting in this last 5 games. Offensively the Friars come in averaging 69.4 ppg overall and in their lone road game they put up just 68 points on 36.5% shooting. 68 is key her as Brown has allowed more than 68 points (Regulation) in just 1 of their last 7 games, so expecting at most 68 or 69 points from Providence is reasonable. Neither team is really an uptempo team, both teams shoot poorly and are bad from long range, plus neither is great from the FT line. All that should add up to a final that look like this... 68-54.


Missouri/ UCLA Under 150: Both teams do play an uptempo pace, but both teams have also played solid defense on the year. Missouri's pressing defense comes in allowing just 61.7 ppg on 35.6% shooting. That pressing style of defense is tough for teams to prepare for and should lead to some scoring problems for UCLA's prize freshmen. They haven't seen pressure defense like this one. Missouri does score 78 ppg, but are just an average shooting team (44.9%) and will be facing a UCLA defense that has allowed teams to it just 39.8% of their shots at home, while allowing 66.9 ppg. This should also be a close game which could lead to both teams slowing the pace down the stretch of the game as they will be looking for the quality shot. I just don't see much more than the low 140's in this one.

2 UNIT PLAY

Baylor +9.5 over GONZAGA: Baylor has 3 losses but by a total of just 10 points. They have a road win vs Kentucky on the resume, plus a 15 point home win vs BYU and a 19 point neutral site win vs St Johns. This team does get up for the bigger games and this one is clearly a big game. The Zags do have a neutral win over Kansas State, but also have a home loss to a very good Illinois squad. The Bears have played solid defense this year as they have allowed just 65.2 ppg on 41.9% shooting, plus the biggest edge that Gonzaga has on opponents is their rebounding, but that is negated by the fact that Baylor is a very good rebounding team, thanks to their size. Make no mistake that the Bulldogs are the better team, but they won't win this game by DD.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday December, 28

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

Texas Tech/ Minnesota Under 55: (Added) Minnesota has not played allot of high scoring games, thanks mainly to an inept offense. Gopher games this year have averaged just 45.2 ppg, with just 2 of their games putting up more than 55 points and if you remember, one of those games (vs UNLV) was just 13-13 heading to OT. Minnesota comes in averaging just 17.7 ppg (regulation) vs FBS opponents this year and have scored more than 17 points in just 1 of their last 9 games, plus we note that they have scored just 18 ppg vs bowl teams on the year. The Red Raiders defense has been a problem for them this year, but just in the Big 12 as they have allowed just 10 ppg to non-conference opponents. True that was vs Texas State, New Mexico State and NW State, but this gophers offense isn't much better than those teams. Texas Tech's offense has been solid this year, but inconsistent as they have scored 24 or less in 3 of their last 5 games and will be taking on a decent Minnesota offense that has allowed just 352.8 ppg and 23.9 ppg on the year. Minnesota can not match this team point for point so I really look for them to use their running game which will shorten the game and give them a better shot at winning and Texas tech can be run on, allowing 171.4 ypg on the ground this year. These teams play different styles of football, but in the end I feel the score board will resemble more of a Big 10 score than a Big 12 score.

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