Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday February 3rd

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday February 3rd

SPORTS WAGERS

LOUISVILLE -10½ over Marquette

How can it be? 10½-points? Seriously? That has to be everyone's reaction to this line on this Super Bowl Sunday and we can almost guarantee that the Marquette Golden Eagles will be the front end of a lot of parlays with the betting public’s Super Bowl picks. After all, the Golden Eagles are now ranked, they're first in the Big East with a 6-1 record and they have conference wins over Georgetown, UConn and Pitt. Marquette's only conference loss came at Cincinnati in OT. This number seems absolutely ridiculous.

Louisville's previous #1 ranking is now #12. They've lost three of its past four and they're just 5-3 in the conference. The Cardinals stock has been sinking for two weeks now while the Eagles stock has been soaring. This is not a mistake by the oddsmakers. They could've made Louisville an 8-point choice here and not sway a single bet. The linemakers have a strong sense that Louisville is going to come out, dominate and play its best game of the year. If you were leaning Golden Eagles, we would urge you to proceed with caution, as this pointspread has trap written all over it.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday February 3rd

Rob Veno

Virginia at Georgia Tech
Play: Over

Although they’re not winning games straight up, the young Yellow Jackets have developed a couple of definitive traits. Since ACC play began, GT has pushed their tempo up to 73 possessions per game. The high number of chances has allowed Tech to average nearly 64 ppg in league play despite their poor 38.9 FG%. Even turtle paced Clemson was sped up to 70 possessions by Georgia Tech last Tuesday night in their contest which totaled 123 points. Quicker pace is one thing, but the subpar defense being played by the Jackets is not something associated with HC Brian Gregory. Lapses and non-cohesiveness on the stop end are also bi-products of excessive youth which is trying to learn on the fly in a very tough league.  No doubt that Virginia head coach Tony Bennett’s team always brings their methodical game plan on the road but it’s hard to resist offensive the openings when that will show up against this opponent. The Cavaliers will likely have a few hair trigger spurts today as the host tries to force tempo. Even better for UVA is the fact that their excellent three point shooting (38.4%) could thrive here since Georgia Tech has allowed 35% or better in four of their seven conference games. Advantages to playing over 112.5 are present in the fundamentals of this matchup and the low price leaves plenty of room for error.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday February 3rd

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

Boston/ Clippers Under 184: The Celtics have been mostly a slow down team this year and they should be even slower the rest of the year without Rondo in there. The Celts have averaged 98.6 ppg in their last 5 games, but 2 of those games did go into OT. Looking at regulation and we see that Boston has averaged just 90.1 ppg in their last 9 games overall. Not sure they can hit that mark today vs a Clippers squad that has allowed just 90.3 ppg in their last 3 games and just 94.4 ppg on the road on the year. Now Like Boston, the Clippers have had their own scoring woes of late, averaging just 92.6 ppg in their last 9 games. Not good news for the Clipps, especially when taking on Boston on the road. Boston has allowed just 92.5 ppg at home overall, including just 87.3 ppg (regulation) in their last 7 games here. Both offenses are struggling and that gives two very good defenses the edge here. Should be a slow paced game with neither team hitting the 90 point mark.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday February 3rd

Joe Gavazzi

San Francisco -3½ & Over 47

I would love to be privy to the childhood dynamics of the brothers Harbaugh in their formative years. Did John (50 yrs. old) of Baltimore maintain an older brother dominance over brother Jim (49 yrs. old) of San Francisco? And was that a factor in Baltimore’s 16-6 home victory last November when these coaches first met? Or does little brother Jim get his revenge for that loss and those childhood memories? But since neither of these coaches are playing a single down in this Super Bowl, this analysis will focus on the players taking the field. Neither of these teams have the same profile as they did 10 weeks ago. At that time I cited the ravens as a team that was plummeting downward with an aging defense and a predictable offense growing increasingly reliant on the passing of QB Flacco. The first change came when Harbaugh fired 5th year OC Cameron and replaced him with former Indy HC Caldwell. The veteran Caldwell was a calming influence on Flacco in no small part a function of Caldwell’s decade long experience working with QB Peyton Manning at Indy. Following Baltimore’s 1-4 SU ATS finish, QB Flacco has made a remarkable turnaround in the playoffs. Along with a shuffled, and re-shuffled OL, the improved Baltimore pass efficiency has led to a more productive running game which has averaged 149 RYPG in 3 playoff victories. Combined with a n OL that has allowed just 4 sacks, this is the best Baltimore has looked offensively all season. But the changes did not stop on the offensive side of the ball. Baltimore’s aging defense received an emotional lift with the return of injured leader Ray Lewis. His 25 tackles in 3 playoff games has led a ravens defense whose played with far more emotion in allowing only 4 TD’s in 3 playoff games (2 more TDs allowed by Special Teams). That was against the likes of Signal callers, Luck, Peyton Manning and Brady. Clearly the Ravens enter this game playing their best football of the year. A similar improvement was made by the 49ers. In mid-November, San Francisco HC Harbaugh made a gutsy move in switching, and staying, with QB Kaepernick. All this second year signal caller has done is go 7-2 SU including wins over New England, Green Bay and Atlanta. His presence has added an extra down field dimension to a once conservative 49er passing game. The fact is a capable and dynamic runner, not only puts pressure on opposing defenses, but also opens up the running lanes for power back, RB Gore, as well as the blazing speed of Oregon rookie RB James. With perhaps the best OL in the League, this offense has gone from being predictable to explosive. Now that I’ve brought you up to speed with the recent events and current form of these teams, let’s take a look at some numbers based on the YTD performance. In our outstanding run through the NFL the last 3 months, including 7-4 ATS in these playoffs, selecting every side and selected totals, I’ve held true to my conviction that it is the better running game and defense that wins football games. With that in mind, let’s consider the YTD stats which show that San Francisco averages 32 rush attempts/game for 166 RYPG on 5.3 YPR. Those numbers are the best in the NFL by San Francisco. Now consider Baltimore allow opponents 31 rush attempts/game for 124 yards overland. Knowing the above, do you think it’s important to factor in that NFL teams who run 30 or more times/game (vs. opponents who do not) are 126-20 ATS (87%) including 5-0 ATS in the January playoffs. That stat goes hand in glove with the fact that teams this year that outrush their opponents by 30+ yards have been an outstanding indicator of point spread success that record now stands 120-31 ATS (80%) including 5-2 ATS in this year’s playoffs. Keep in mind with QB Kaepernick representing a dual threat, the Niners ground game is even more dynamic. On the defensive side of the ball, the 49ers hold a clear edge. They allow a League best 294 YPG and only 17 PPG as well as just 4.9 defensive YP Play. those numbers are all clearly superior to the Baltimore defensive YTD numbers of 22/357/5.3 Conclusion: After considering all of the above factors it is the opinion of this bureau that despite the dramatic improvement on both sides of the ball by the Ravens in the last month, Baltimore is still the inferior team when it comes to running the football and playing defense. Furthermore, with 2 weeks off, and Baltimore having ascended to this title game, will the emotional lift by Ray Lewis have as great an impact in a game where one must assume that neither team will have an emotional edge. As a result, strongly prefer the better running game of the 49ers which has improved even more with the running threat of QB Kaepernick and the balance thrusts of the dichotomous styles of RBs Gore and James. Despite the Ravens improvement on the stop end, I feel far more comfortable with the 49ers defense that has proven their metal in each of the previous 2 seasons. In NFL games this season where the line was 6 or less, the straight up winner was 146-10 ATS (94%). At what I consider to be a fair price, expect the 49ers to emerge as this year’s Super Bowl winner. Totals Alert: In a season where defensive rule changes, favoring the offense, impacted the game dramatically. We saw scoring leap to an average of over 46 PPG; that makes this over/under impost of 47 to assume this will be an average scoring game. But late season improvements to the scoring ability of the Niners with QB Kaepernick at the controls, strongly implies that on a fast indoor track in near perfect conditions, that the Niners will extend their run to 10-1 ATS OVER in Kaepernick games. As a matter of longer term significance, please consider that the OVER is 13-6 in recent Super Bowls in which an O/U line of less than 50 was posted.

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