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Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday January, 19

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday January, 19

Allen Eastman

Utah (-9.5) over Cleveland

This is where I think that the line will be. I am expecting a blowout in this game. Utah has one of the best home-court advantages in the league. They will also come into this game off of four days of rest. They needed it. The Jazz had to play eight games in 12 days and have played three of four games on the road. But they have been playing really well. This team has gone 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games. They have one of the top offenses in basketball, and they should take advantage of the Cavaliers. This game is going to be the end of a five-game road swing for Cleveland. I think they will not be ready to play and will just want to go home. I like Utah to win this one by at least 15 points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday January, 19

Matt Rivers

Your Saturday comp play will be Harvard as they play a rare non-conference January game at Memphis against the Tigers who are simply laying a few too many points this Saturday afternoon.

Memphis is the class of Conference USA, but that is reflected in the price of today's contest, and I can see Tommy Amaker's Crimson sneaking inside the back-door in this one.

The Tigers just walloped Rice by 26-points earlier this week for their seventh straight win, but Memphis is just 2-4 against the spread this season when asked to cover double-digits.

Harvard is also off a win over Rice earlier this month, as the defending Ivy League champions bested the Owls by 30 points! The Crimson come to the Land of Elvis with wins in seven of their last nine straight up, and they are a perfect 4-0 versus the spread in that span in the underdog role.

Grab the points as Memphis shows just enough for the outright, but not enough for the cover.

1* HARVARD

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Jeff Benton

Your Saturday freebie is Temple to name it against St. Bonaventure in Philly early on Saturday afternoon.

The Owls dodged a bullet on Wednesday when they came from double-digits down to edge past George Washington down in D.C. Expect Fran Dunphy's team to get back to form versus the Bonnies who come to the City of Brotherly Love mired in a six game straight up losing streak that has seen the points work just once in those six losses!

Temple has owned this series with ten wins in as many tries since the 2005 season. The Owls have also covered in four in a row against the Bonnies, and are on an 11-1 overall series spread roll the past dozen conference meetings.

St. Bonaventure is allowing a whopping 81 ppg during their current six game slide, so would tend to expect the Owls who have been in the 50's in two of their last three games to get their offense grooving here.

Lay the wood as Temple pulls away for the easy win and cover as the Bonnies slide hits seven in a row.

4* TEMPLE


Your Saturday freebie is La Salle plus the points at Xavier.

The days of Musketeer domination in the Atlantic 10 certainly do not apply this season, as the X-Men are clearly in a down mode this season, as their modest 10-6 straight up mark suggests.

The Musketeers have won their last three following their ugly four game slide, but they are playing a man down as guard Dee Davis is still bothered by a wrist injury, and they are facing a La Salle edition that regularly has seven players seeing double-digit minutes per game.

La Salle had been on a five game series slide, but that slide was snapped in the Explorers 10-point home win over Xavier last January in Philadelphia. The addition of Tyrone Garland - 11 points off the bench in 21 minutes in Wednesday's conference win over Dayton - is paying dividends for Dr. John Giannini's team.

The Explorers are looking for their first conference road win today, and I definitely feel they can win this game outright.

I know a basket is not a lot to play with as the "road dog", but I like La Salle plus the points to pull this one out.

3* LA SALLE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday January, 19

Scott Delaney

I am playing the George Washington Colonials plus the points at Massachusetts tonight.

The Colonials will be playing the first of two straight games in New England tonight, and I like their chances at challenging the Minutement for an outright win at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass. And this isn't just 'any' game out of the Atlantic 10, either, as these two are charter members of the league - the only institutions to have played in the conference all 36 seasons.

There's some pride at stake.

And even though the G-Dub is the only program nationally to start four true freshmen in a game this season - and has done so now in all three of its league games - I like the way it has grown, and improved, despite a 7-9 mark. The Colonials lost Wednesday, 55-53, to a very good Temple team. They led for nearly 38 minutes, but were silenced over the final 7:53, as the Owls closed the game on a 10-0 run.

Sure, on paper U Mass (12-4, 2-1) looks like the better team - and just might be - but the Colonials have covered eight of 12 on the year, and are staying competitive in their games.

The road team has won and covered the last two meetings, while it's been the visitor covering eight of the last 11 meetings. I'm taking the points here, as George Washington looks to pull an upset.

3* GEORGE WASHINGTON

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday January, 19

Sean Michaels 

Being here in Vegas, I've had the opportunity to watch UNLV play six times in person. With the exception of last Saturday's near-disaster, a 76-71 overtime win against Air Force, the Rebels have played pretty good ball.

Problem is tonight they're not at Thomas and Mack. Instead they're in Fort Collins, Colorado to take on the better-than-expected Rams of Colorado State.

The Rebs did pull off a rare road win against a long-time nemesis, beating San Diego State 82-75 on Wednesday. But "rare" is the key word in that sentence.

The victory against the Aztecs snapped an eight-game ATS skid outside of Vegas for the Runnin' Rebels, who have covered just twice in their last 14 road games overall.

Tonight they're tackling a Colorado State team that recovered from a five-point loss at San Diego State last Saturday that snapped a seven-game winning streak by destroying Air Force 79-40 at home on Wednesday.

And that's the same Air Force that gave UNLV fits last weekend.

What Colorado State has and UNLV lacks is an interior presence. With former Minnesota transfer Colton Iverson, a 6-10 center in the paint averaging 15 points and nine boards, and power forward Pierce Hornung joining him down low, the Rams are outrebounding their opponents by 14 a game. That leads to a decisive advantage in second-chance scoring opportunities and definitely hits the Rebels in their Achilles Heel.

CSU is on a 14-3 ATS run and has won a school-record 23 games in a row straight-up in Fort Collins.

2* COLORADO STATE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday January, 19

Craig Davis

Tonight's free play for me is on the Atlanta Hawks, plus the 4 or 5 points, vs. San Antonio.

We've all seen that the Spurs are a MUCH better team at home than they are on the road, and today we get lucky enough to happen to catch them away from home.

And if you consider the Spurs finished up a late home game vs. the Warriors last night, had to turn around, hop on a plane to Atlanta, and try to get some sleep before they turn around less than 24 hours later and play another basketball game.

San Antonio isn't built like that anymore. Tim Duncan can't continually get up and down the floor like he used to. This has become more of a half-court, methodical, patient team vs. when they used to run teams to death in the past.

Let's also consider the fact that Manu Ginobili makes a HUGE differene whether you want to believe it or not, and with him out of the lineup due to injury. The lineup shuffling will continue tonight for the Spurs, and therefore I like the Hawks to step up their game and surprise the Spurs in Atlanta tonight.

Free play of the day on Atlanta plus the points. Good luck!!

3* ATLANTA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday January, 19

WunderdogFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Harvard at MemphisFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Harvard +10.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Tommy Amaker has definitely made a difference as coach at Harvard. The Ivy League is no longer a league about Penn, Princeton, and recently Cornell, as Harvard has become the best and most consistent team. They are 9-5 this season, and shoot almost 49% from the floor, and are a great 3-point shooting team at over 43% on the season. That certainly is a resume to score the cash as a big dog here. Memphis is not quite at the same level when John Calipari was here, but is still a very good, solid basketball team at 13-3. The Tigers come into this one with a poor resume in out-of-conference play, where they are just 16-34-1 ATS in their last 51, while Harvard has claimed five of their last six out-of-conference tilts. Take the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday January, 19

John RyanFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Texas Tech at Oklahoma StateFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: Oklahoma StateFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The simulator shows a high probability that OS will win this game by 21 or more points. OS has a solid defense ranking 22nd in the nation allowing 58.3 PPG and will make it very difficult for TT offense to reach their season average of 70.7 PPG that ranks 84th in the nation. TT has very poor ball movement and too many times relies on their leader Crockett to bail them out as the shot clock winds down. This poor ball movement is further weakened by the fact that OS ranks sixth in the nation allowing opponents an average of just 8.6 assists per game and seventh sporting a 0.573 opponent assists to turnover ration. TT ranks just 273rd with a 0.761 assists-to-turnover ratio and 18.2% of their possessions have resulted in a turnover. Sim shows a high probability that OS defense will limit TT to 60 or fewer points. OS is a rock solid 7-1 ATS (+5.9 Units) when they allow 60 or less points in a game this season. Moreover, the sim shows that OS will score between 75 and 80 points and in past games they are a perfect 8-0 ATS (+8.0 Units) when they score 75 to 80 points in a game over the last 3 seasons. Take Oklahoma State.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday January, 19

Charlie ScottFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Syracuse vs. LouisvilleFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: SyracuseFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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I don't trust Louisville's struggling offense laying this many points to a good Team like Syracuse. Louisville struggles shooting from outside and will have to vs the Syracuse 2-3 zone. Play Syracuse !
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UNLV vs. Colorado StFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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UNLV is off their best game of the Year a win at SDST. That and the altitude at Colorado St should slow their offense down. Add that Colorado St will try and make this a half court game, a style of play that UNLV's offense struggles. UNLV will give a good effort on the defensive end vs Colorado St. PLAY UNDER !

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Ben BurnsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Columbus vs. NashvilleFORFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: UnderFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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We have to lay a little extra juice to play at 5.5. However, I feel that price will likely prove worth laying.
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Both 2012 meetings between these teams stayed below the total, including a 3-0 final for Nashville on this very day (1/19) last season.

Including that result, the Predators have seen the "under" go 30-15-8 in division play the past couple of seasons. Overall, their games averaged 5.3 goals last season.
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Note that most of last year's meetings between these teams had an O/U line of five, rather than 5.5. However, the final meeting (which finished with exactly five goals) had an O/U line of 5.5. Including that result, the Preds have seen the "under" go 19-14 the last 33 times that they played a home game with an O/U line of 5.5.
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Don't be surprised when those stats improve this evening. Take a look at the Under 5.5

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Bryan LeonardFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Michigan St. -2.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Buckeyes just knocked Michigan from the unbeaten. They have struggled when stepping up in class away from home with losses to Duke and Illinois. Buckeyes are a good rebounding team as are the Spartans, which negates a usual Ohio State edge.
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Michigan State prefers to play a grinding type of contest beating you on the boards and playing excellent defense. The Spartans are a perfect 11-0 SU at home. Spartans had two players involved in a fight Wednesday and neither started against Penn State, yet they were able to gain the victory.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday January, 19

Jeff Scott SportsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Missouri +13.5 over FLORIDA: Even without Bowers in this one I like the Tigers to keep I close. The Gators have allowed 47.6 ppg in their first 3 SEC games, but Georgia, A&M and LSU all don’t possess great or even good offenses. Missouri does as they come in scoring 77 ppg on 45.3% shooting. Defensively the Gators allow just 51.2 ppg overall on 36.8% shooting, but the Tigers have played pretty good defense this year, allowing teams to shoot just 38.3% from the floor, while allowing 64.6 ppg. Yes the swamp is a tough place for teams to play and this will be Missouri’s first ever trip here, but I d feel that they make a good showing of it in this one. They have more than enough offense to keep this one in single digits, even without Bowers.
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TOWSON STATE -3.5 over James Madison: The Tigers have struggled at home going just 1-3, but the Dukes have struggled even more on the road, going 1-6, while being outscored by 11.1 ppg. The Dukes shoot just 38.9% on the road and 65.5% from the charity stripe away from home. The Tigers also get a big edge on the boards as they are 37th in rebounding, while the Dukes are 271st. JMU is having problems scoring overall as they have averaged just 60.6 in their last 5 games, while Towson comes in putting up 75.4 ppg in their last 5 games. The Tigers have too many edges and they are are 13-6 ATS the last 19 in the series. Look for them to win by at least 8 points in this one.
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Kansas/ Texas Over 125: Yes the Jayhawks play great defense and Texas can't score right now, but i still see this one hitting at least 130 here. This has been a pretty high scoring series anyway. In the last 10 meetings each game put up at least 136 points, while those 10 games averaged 151.7 ppg. Texas is having problems scoring, but they still put up 66.1 ppg on their home floor. I do expect the Longhorns to get out in run in this game so they don't have to face the Kansas halfcourt defense. The Kansas offense is having no such scoring problems, as they have averaged 76.8 pg overall and 75.2 ppg in their last 5. they have also put in 67 ppg on the road. Texas does allow 52.2 ppg at home, but have only play one good offense at home (North Carolina) and they allowed 67 points in that game. I see no reason, why both teams can't hit the mid 60's in this one. 

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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NIAGARA -9 over ManhattanFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Jaspers have one conference win in their past four games and it occurred against the last place (1-6) Marist Red Foxes. Manhattan hasn't been the same team since leading scorer George Beamon got hurt in December. They've now lost nine of 12, scoring production is way down and this team doesn't just miss shots, they're three-feet off target. That spells big trouble against this up-tempo Niagara squad that is putting up some impressive numbers.
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The Purple Eagles have been getting great guard play from Antoine Mason and Juan'ya Green on both ends of the floor, they've played a tougher schedule than the Jaspers and they're primed to run Manhattan out of the gym.
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LOUISVILLE -6½ over SyracuseFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Syracuse swept the season series last year and it's rare to see them receiving this many points or any points for that matter. Since the beginning of last year, the Orange have only been a pooch one time and that occurred in the Elite Eight round against Ohio State. Combine that with the Orange's 16-1 record and they look rather appealing taking back this many. We're not so sure as Syracuse's 4-0 conference record has come against Villanova, Rutgers, USF and Providence, not exactly the cream of the crop. 
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Watching Louisville overwhelm just about every team they play, including UConn is convincing enough for us to spot these points. The Cardinals are dominating on both ends of the court and their four Big East wins have all come by 15 points or more. Syracuse has not seen a defense that pressure the way the Cardinals do. Louisville is rarely underpriced but as single-digit chalk at home, they are here and we're on it.
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IOWA -106 over WisconsinFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Hawkeyes aren't ranked, they're 1-3 in the conference and that has them at a playable price here against a Badgers team that is coming off a huge win at Indiana. When we look at the Hawkeyes we see a team that just fell short in two previous home games against Big-10 powers Michigan State and Indiana. Iowa is a solid all around team that ranks high in assists, points per game and rebounding.
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The Badgers are 4-0 in the conference and this game is sandwiched between that aforementioned win against Indiana and Michigan State at home on Tuesday. The Badgers are a team that Fran McCaffery's squad won't be intimidated by or overmatched against and they catch Wisky at precisely the right time.

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SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Anaheim +156 over VANCOUVERFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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OT Included.  We'll have to take a wait and see approach before we trust this Canucks team to be as good as year's gone by. We don't know the impact of last year's first round playoff exit to the Kings in which they went down without a fight. The previous year they were destroyed by Boston in a deciding 7th game. Now the Canucks come in with plenty of key injuries and question marks regarding the second, third and fourth lines. They also had only three players overseas during the lockout while Ducks had five. Vancouver did very little in the off-season other than picking up d-man Jason Garrison but they lost other key defensemen in Aaron Rome, Sami Salo and Marc-Andre Gragnani. The window of opportunity is closing and this group could be fragile and overvalued.
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The Ducks are without question one of the most undervalued teams in the NHL. Bruce Boudreau wasn't the problem in Washington and Anaheim gets the benefit of him being the scapegoat there. With Boudreau behind the bench, the Ducks had the fifth-best record in the Western Conference from Jan. 1 to the end of the season and went 14-6-1 in their last 21 games at home. Offensively, the “big three” need no introductions. Keep your eye on Peter Holland, Kyle Palmieri and Devante Smith-Pelly, as Boudreau will give all three the opportunity to shine and all three are capable. Daniel Winnik is one of those pesky forwards that every team would love to have. Defensively, they'll be tougher, bigger and more skilled, as Toni Lydman and Francois Beauchemin are both healthy (unlike last season), Luca Sbisa and Cam Fowler are on the verge of all-star status, and Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen are a couple of nice veteran additions. Finally, there's Jonas Hiller in net and he's among the best in the game. Early in the year, there are some teams that offer tremendous value and we're suggesting the Ducks are among that group.
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Ottawa +112 over WINNIPEGFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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OT included. To begin, the Jets had five players overseas during the lockout but one was a goaltender. The Senators had 9 overseas and when you combine that with John Maclean's system, based heavily on conditioning and relentless skating, we expect the Sens to come out very sharp. They're led by Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson, they have a solid mix of vets and youth, they added Guillaume Latendresse and Kyle Turris while not losing anyone significant. The difference between those who have played real games the past few months and those just working out in scrimmages could be noticeable in some cases. Ottawa gets a bit of an edge here early in the season by having so many players in game ready mode.
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The Jets start the year with some injuries and perhaps some distractions too. Evander Kane signed a six-year deal worth $31.5 million and now that his contract is secured, there are signs of trouble. Kane didn't play well in Russia, lasting just 12 games with Dinamo Minsk, for whom he scored just once. He was seen in Las Vegas flaunting stacks of money and that rubbed a lot of his teammates the wrong way. Goaltending and defense remains a potential liability as well. Ondrej Pavelec signed a five-year, $19.5-million deal in the offseason before the team found out about his drunk driving charge in the Czech Republic, stemming from a traffic accident in his hometown of Kladno last May. There's some baggage here and while the Jets do have some nice pieces in place, we're not ready to back them just yet as the chalk in this spot against this undervalued and very dangerous guest.
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NY ISLANDERS +109 over New JerseyFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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OT included. The Devils could be in trouble. They didn't fare well without Zach Parise when he missed most of the 2011-12 season (they missed the playoffs) and now he's moved to Minnesota. The Devils were counting on Adam Henrique for production but he will start the season in street clothes. They didn't pick up anyone of note in the off season. Martin Brodeur at 41 is a year older and a year slower. His rapid decline started two years ago. Brodeur was awful in more games than he was good last season and it's incredible that Lou Lamoriello hasn't addressed this liability. The Devils had only three players working overseas during the lockout.
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By contrast, the Islanders had 10 skaters playing overseas during the lockout. They lost P.A. Parenteau to free agency but Brad Boyes in new surroundings can be just as productive. Several other forwards including Michael Grabner, Kyle Okposo, Matt Moulson and Frans Nielsen have all shown spurts of great promise and production in the past and then of course there's the Isles’ star player in John Tavares. The Islanders could be a live pup all year, especially at home and fading the Devils on the road with Brodeur in net will offer value until linesmakers catch up.
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TAMPA BAY -½ +151 over WashingtonFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Regulation time. In this year's NHL future odds, the books have the Capitals listed as slightly better than a 2½-1 favorite to win the Southeast. That is based on history and pedigree and should be completely ignored. All of the Southeast residents are improved with the exception of Winnipeg. The Caps’ decline started last season and we're suggesting it won’t stop yet. Washington’s biggest off-season acquisition was Mike Robeiro from Dallas. Nine players departed including Alexander Semin and Dennis Wideman. Throw in a rookie coach and the third coaching change in a year and we just can't get on board with this club. The Caps are decent up the middle and could be very good in goal but they're simply not on par with this host.
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The Lightning have upgraded. They added a new starting goaltender (Anders Lindberg), two top-four defensemen (Matt Carle and Sami Salo) and a couple of everyday depth forwards to a lineup that already includes the game's most dangerous scorer in Stephen Stamkos and some top notch secondary scorers. The game is sold out, the Bolts are excited about their chances of going all the way and we expect them to set the season’s tone right out of the box.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday January, 19

Black Widow

Utah Utes +10.5

Plays on road underdogs of 10 or more points (UTAH) - a poor offensive team (63-67 PPG) against a good defensive team (63-67 PPG), after allowing 75 points or more 2 straight games are 31-6 (83.8%) ATS over the last 5 seasons. While the Utes are 0-5 SU in Pac-12 play, four of their five losses have come by 10 points or less. That includes a 54-55 loss at ASU, a 57-60 loss at Arizona and a 53-57 home loss to UCLA. This team is hungry for its first conference win tonight, and Washington needs to be on upset alert. Take Utah and the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday January, 19

Dave Price

Iowa Pk

Wisconsin won at Indiana last game but largely hasn't been the same team away from home where it lost by double digits to Florida, Creighton and Marquette and struggled to beat Nebraska. Plus, that big win sets the Badgers up for a letdown. Iowa is 9-2 at home with those losses coming to Indiana and Michigan State by narrow margins. The Hawkeyes gave Wisconsin problems last season with their uptempo style and won both meetings. The Badgers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games while the Hawkeyes are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games. The Hawks are also 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games following a win. The home team is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings, and the Badgers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 meetings at Iowa. Bet Iowa.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday January, 19

Dave Price

Iowa Pk

Wisconsin won at Indiana last game but largely hasn't been the same team away from home where it lost by double digits to Florida, Creighton and Marquette and struggled to beat Nebraska. Plus, that big win sets the Badgers up for a letdown. Iowa is 9-2 at home with those losses coming to Indiana and Michigan State by narrow margins. The Hawkeyes gave Wisconsin problems last season with their uptempo style and won both meetings. The Badgers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games while the Hawkeyes are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games. The Hawks are also 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games following a win. The home team is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings, and the Badgers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 meetings at Iowa. Bet Iowa.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday January, 19

Jeff Alexander

New Orleans Hornets -5.5

These two teams are headed in opposite directions as the Warriors have lost 5 of 6 and the Hornets have won 6 of 7. I'll gladly take the team on the upswing. The Warriors won the season's first meeting by 7 points at home but the Hornets are an impressive 28-13 ATS when out for revenge for a same-season loss to an opponent over the last 2 seasons. New Orleans is also on a 10-0 ATS run the last 2 seasons when checking into a matchup with 3 wins in its last 4 games. Lay the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday January, 19

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Oklahoma + over Kansas StateFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Kansas State is moving up in the national rankings, sitting with a 14-2 record and the Wildcats also own a perfect 8-0 record at home. Kansas State has started 3-0 in Big XII play, although the two toughest games featured very slim margins, winning by six at home vs. Oklahoma State and barely winning at West Virginia by a single point. K-State did blowout TCU on the road on Wednesday and now they head back home for a game with Oklahoma. This is a game that could get a bit overlooked as the Wildcats will host Kansas on Tuesday for certainly the biggest games of the season. The two Wildcats losses came by double-digit margins but both losses came away from home against high quality teams, Michigan, and Gonzaga. The big win for Kansas State was a 67-61 win over Florida at home in a game where Florida could not hit outside shots and oddly struggled rebounding. It is a win that will keep on giving for Kansas State's profile but there is little substance on the rest of the resume. Oklahoma is quietly 12-3 including a perfect 3-0 start in Big XII play as well. The Sooners beat West Virginia and Oklahoma State by far more convincing margins than Kansas State did and Oklahoma has not lost in over a month. Two of three losses came against suspect competition but Oklahoma has more quality wins overall, beating West Virginia in non-conference play as well, plus wins over UTEP, Texas A&M, and Ohio. Oklahoma is also 3-1 in road games this season and 3-1 in neutral site games. The statistics for these teams mirror each other in most areas as Oklahoma will be able to compete on the boards in this match-up but the Sooners are also a far better free throw shooting teams, hitting over 11 percent better than the Wildcats. Oklahoma won both meetings between these teams last season and the Sooners are an underrated team that could be catching Kansas State in a problematic spot with the Kansas game on deck.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday January, 19

Andrew Lange

Oregon State at USC
Play: Oregon State

Not sure that USC is ready to lay -5.5 in a conference game. The Trojans performed well and expended a lot of energy in Thursday's loss to Oregon. They played at a faster tempo and showed a variety of different defenses under interim head coach Bob Cantu. My issue is while practice may be more enjoyable to go to with Kevin O’Neill gone; this is still an average PAC-12 team void of a significant home court advantage or ability to pull away from teams of comparable ability. After beating UC Riverside 70-26, USC lost at home to UC Irvine, Cal, and Oregon. Their wins in LA were by two against Stanford and by two, in overtime, against Dayton. Oregon State is winless in PAC-12 play in part because they've played the best three teams in the league (Oregon, Arizona, and UCLA) and also because of suspensions. Tonight they’re expected to be at full strength with Eric Moreland (10.8 ppg, 11.1 rpg) returning. I see this being a close game and recommend taking the points.

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