Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 16

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 16

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Kansas State -4.5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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As if Monday's humiliating 21-point loss at Kansas isn't enough motivation, the Wildcats were taken down by 8 points by Baylor in last season's conference tourney. These setbacks will have K-State extremely focused when it takes the floor this evening. Baylor has won its last 2 handily but both were at home and against Texas Tech and West Virginia. The Bears haven't been as solid on the road where they have dropped 2 straight and 4 of 6. K-State, meanwhile, has been lights out at home where it is 12-1. Each of these 12 wins have come by at least 6 points. The Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a loss, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a loss of more than 20 points and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games. Lay the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 16

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Maryland +5.5FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Duke is clearly one of the top teams in the country, but little has come easy on the road for the No. 1 team in the land. The Blue Devils have losses of 8 and 27 points at NC State and Miami. They won easily at Florida State but were fortunate to escape with wins at Wake Forest and Boston College, defeating them by 5 points and one-point, respectively. Maryland has been dominant at home where it is 14-2 this season and a 20-point loss to the Dukies at Cameron in the season's first meeting can't be sitting well. The Blue Devils are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games and 5-11 ATS in their last 16 versus ACC foes. The Terrapins are 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games following a double-digit loss at home. Look for Maryland to give Duke all it wants and more today.

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NellyFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Francisco + over GonzagaFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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With all the build-up for the biggest game of the WCC season, Gonzaga might not be able to help being a bit flat for Saturday's follow-up game, tipping off just over 40 hours after the huge win in Moraga. Gonzaga played a brilliant game, shooting 50 percent including nine 3-point makes and a huge edge at the free throw line, storming back from a one-point halftime deficit to win by 17. San Francisco has quietly won four of the last seven games including three road wins with a win over BYU. The Dons are coming off a very disappointing loss to Portland on Thursday however. After the big win over BYU, San Francisco was a bit flat in the narrow loss to Portland with poor shooting and a lack of intensity on defense. While Gonzaga has some great talent San Francisco has the size to compete in this match-up with big physical guards and enough height down low to avoid terrible mismatches though few will be able to hang with Kelly Olynyk. When these teams met less than a month ago Gonzaga won by 14 at home, really struggling to find an offensive groove despite a big edge in the turnover battle. San Francisco has covered in eight of the last nine meetings between these teams including three S/U wins as this is always a much bigger game for the Dons. Gonzaga has Santa Clara up next so this would be an easy game to overlook but San Francisco has proven to be a difficult team to blowout featuring a glowing 14-6-1 ATS record and a near even point differential despite the losing overall record. San Francisco has played a tougher overall schedule than every team in the WCC other than Gonzaga so the Dons may be a better team than it looks and this will be a good situation to back the home underdog with Gonzaga coming off perhaps the biggest game of the season.

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Cyrille Diabate +200 over Jimi ManuwaFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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This is a matchup of the wily, technical veteran going up against the powerful young newcomer. In what should be a stand up war, look for the crafty Cyrille Diabate (20-8-3) to use his reach advantage and kickboxing to keep Jimi Manuwa (12-0) at a distance. While an impressive 11 of Manuwa’s 12 wins have come by knockout, Diabate has only been knocked out once in his career and that was by Shogun Rua back when stomps to a downed opponent were still legal in Pride. The flip side of Manuwa having so many stoppage victories is that his cardio has looked more and more suspect as the fight wears on. Questionable cardio and facing an opponent with a solid chin and huge reach advantage does not look like a good match up for Manuwa. The veteran Diabate should be fighting a smart fight knowing to avoid and outlast the first round barrage that is coming and then picking apart Manuwa in the later rounds.

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Pittsburgh at MarquetteFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Numerous factors point us towards the under with this afternoon's Pittsburgh-Marquette matchup. The first meet was a knock-down-drag-out affair that produced only 65 possessions despite going to overtime. And the 74-67 score is very deceiving with the game tied 57-57 at the end of regulation. Pace wise we're dealing with two of the slower teams in the Big East with both averaging around 62 possessions per game. There have also been multiple reports that both squads will play zone defense at times this afternoon. For Pitt it is a smart move considering Marquette ranks No. 1 in the Big East is 2-point FG% at 51.5% and 14th at shooting threes (27.2%). Pitt has a similar blueprint with a vast majority of its points coming from inside 20 feet. Note that last year's meeting produced 119 points and 59 possessions and that was with Marquette playing up-tempo and averaging around 70 possessions per game. The Golden Eagles are significantly slower this year and as a result, we'll play this one under the total.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 16

Wunderdog

Virginia at North Carolina
Pick: North Carolina -5

Looks like an oddsmakers hedge here as the North Carolina Tar heels are barely favored at home vs. a good Virginia team. The hedge stems from the fact they anticipate that North Carolina will come into this game flat, having played their ultimate rival, Duke, in their last game. That hasn't been the case for Carolina as they are 12-1 straight up in their last 13 after playing Duke and have covered four of their last six after losing to Duke. The hells are young and benefit greatly from playing at home where they are 12-1 on the season. Virginia may be a bit overrated coming into this one as they have yet to face either Duke or Miami,Fla, the conference leaders. They have stumbled on the road at 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13. Play on North Carolina.

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WEST VIRGINIA (-14.5) over Texas TechFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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We went against the Mountaineers on Wednesday night when we cashed in on another 4-Star winner as Baylor rolled in a 20-point rout. But today we'll turn the tables and lay the big number with West Virginia. If there was ever a team that has packed it in for the season, it's Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have lost nine of their last 10 games and those losses have come by an alarming 20 points per game, including a 16-point setback at home to this same West Virginia team. The Mountaineers are still in contention for a postseason berth and are 4-1 ATS this year off a loss in conference play. If Huggy Bear has a chance to win by 20 points, he won't take the foot off the gas pedal. Lay the points.

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Bowling Green vs. AkronFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Bowling GreenFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Going with double-digit underdogs in revenge of a home loss is an impressive 781-584. Also going with double-digit underdogs playing a team with 10 or more consecutive wins is a solid 406-342.
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Akron is a dichotomous spread and straight up team. This means if a team is consistently winning outright but failing to cover or losing outright and covering, we ride the spread streak. This has proven to be a way to isolate over and undervalued teams. Despite 16 straight wins straight up they have dropped three in a row against the spread.
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Bowling Green is playing their best basketball of the season winning 3-of-4 straight up and covering each one. It is a clear-cut case of one team wanting to escape with a win before their big Bracket Buster game, while the underdog wants to keep it close.

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NY ISLANDERS -104 over New Jersey
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OT included. Not the best spot for the Devils after they exerted a lot of energy in that come from behind win over Philadelphia last eve.  It wasn’t easy and now New Jersey will play the tail end of back-to-backs with their backup goaltender, Johan Hedberg as the confirmed starter. That said, this one is more about taking the value being offered on the host.
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Loaded with talent and creativity, the Islanders remain strongly on our radar screen. After falling behind 2-0 to the Rangers on Thursday at MSG, the Islanders rallied for three goals in a dominant second period and ultimately finished the deal in a shootout win. They actually made the Blue Shirts look silly at times in much the same way they did against Tampa Bay in the second game of the season and even more so against Buffalo last Saturday when they outshot them 43-15 and played most of the game in Buffalo’s end. The addition of defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky makes this Islanders power-play incredibly dangerous and the team better as a whole. We mentioned on Thursday that the Islanders could be on the verge of winning streak. They’re off on the right foot and now price and situation will hopefully allow for another step in that same direction.
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Tampa Bay -110 over FLORIDAFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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OT included. Strange year so far. We saw the Blues jump out to a 6-1 start and looking near flawless in doing so. Then, they proceeded to lose their next five games while allowing 27 goals in the process. The Sharks are going through a similar stretch right now. San Jose opened the year 7-0. They’re now on a 0-7 run after losing again last night. Then there’s the plight of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Here’s a team loaded with talent (Martin St Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Cory Conacher, Matt Carle, Ted Purcell, Sami Salo, Eric Brewer and others) that opened the year by winning six of seven games while scoring goals like this league hadn’t seen since the Gretzky era. After beating the Jets 8-3 on Feb 1, the Lightning haven’t been the same. Tampa has now lost six in a row and as a result of that, we get a hugely favorable line here.
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The Panthers have some troubled skaters (Stephen Weiss at -9, Brian Campbell at -9, Tomas Fleishmann at-9, some old and way past their prime one's (Alex Kovalev, Peter Mueller) and goaltender Jose Theodore, who appears to be battling the puck most nights. Florida is also without a couple of key guys in Kris Versteeg and Ed Jovanoski. The Panthers have lost six games this season by three or more goals and five games by four or more. They’ve also seen four of their last five games go into OT with the Panthers winning once while losing three times. If the Lightning are to turn their season around and regain the momentum they started with, there’s no better place than here against a struggling team and one they’ve defeated in their last five meetings.

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Bob BalfeFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Iowa State -18
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Iowa State can score and they can score in a hurry. TCU averages under 50 pts a game on the road and this team is going to get backed by some just because they beat Kansas. Iowa State might be a little jealous because they had Kansas on the ropes on the road earlier this year and blew the game. I just don’t think TCU will be able to keep up with the scoring today. Take Iowa State.
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Cal Poly -6
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Cal Poly at home has been money in the bank this year. This team just crushes whoever they play in this gym. UC Santa Barbara won earlier this year in their home building and Cal Poly will look for revenge. This team shares the ball well and should pull away in the 2nd half. Take Cal Poly.

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Teddy Covers   

Arizona State at Colorado
Play: Arizona State

The Sun Devils were a legitimate ‘value’ team for most of the season.  They were projected as the #11 team in a 12 team conference, and failed to impress early on, starting the year 1-2 ATS. But following that sluggish start, Herb Sendek’s team proceeded to go 10-3 ATS in their next 13 ballgames, playing themselves into contention for a postseason bid.

Arizona State has cooled off, losing three of their last four in SU fashion, including a particularly poorly played defeat at Utah on Thursday Night.  The Sun Devils aren’t losing by margin, however – all three recent defeats have come by five points or less.  They’ve won on the road in SU fashion at Texas Tech, Oregon State and Wassou, and have hung tough in tight road losses by five or less at Oregon, Washington and Utah.  It’s not easy to beat Arizona State by margin these days, and they’re primed for a strong bounceback showing tonight!

Arizona State is not doing it with smoke and mirrors either – Sendek’s got some real talent this year! Point guard Jahii Carson has exceeded everyone’s expectations after sitting out last year as a non-qualifier; a legitimate ‘spark plug’ type of player.  Carrick Felix has already been named the PAC-12 Player of the Week three times this year; a double-double machine.  Evan Gordon and Jonathan Gilling are perimeter sharpshooters, combining to hit 4.5 three pointers per game.  And 7-2 center Jordan Bachynski is blocking more than four shots per game, a true low post defensive dominator. 

Colorado is coming off a major revenge win over PAC-12 leader Arizona, leaving them potentially a tad bit ‘fat and happy’ here.  The Buffaloes struggled to match up with the Sun Devils in the first meeting despite a poor game from Carson, who’s been on quite a tear of late; pouring in 57 points in the two games of their last road trip against the Washington schools.  Don’t expect the matchups to work much better for the home favorite tonight!

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Hollywood Sports

New Mexico St. at Utah St.
Prediction: Over

Take the Over in this Battle of the Aggies between the New Mexico State and Utah State as the books have posted a Total for this Western Athletic Conference contest (during a year where most books have been selective in offering an Over/Under number to the betting public since these are books are losing these propositions too often). Utah State (17-6) saw their three-game winning streak snapped on Thursday in their 63-60 loss in overtime to Denver. That game finished Over the 112 Total which means that Utah State has seen the Over go 20-5-1 in their last 26 games on their home court. Additionally, Utah State has played 5 of their last 6 games Over the Total against teams with a winning percentage over 60%. New Mexico State (18-8) looks to keep it going after their 67-57 win at San Jose State on Thursday. That game most likely finished as a Push with the Total placed at 124 -- and that means the Over is 4-0-2 in the visiting Aggies last 6 games on the road. Take advantage of the posted number here and take the Over.

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Tony Karpinski

UC Riverside vs. Long Beach State
Play: UC Riverside

CAL Riverside had a very difficult game with Long Beach State that went to the limit taking them to overtime despite being a home dog and losing 91-82. Granted, this team does not have a straight up record prowess, but they have been a strong underdog for quite some time this year. This team lost by 4 points to UC Irvine on the road, lost to UC Davis by 7 points on the road, lost to Pacific by 5 points on the road, lost to Cal State Fullerton by 2 points on the road and the Highlanders are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games on the road with a winning percentage of greater than 60% and the Niners of Long Beach are 1-5 ATS when facing teams with a road winning percentage of less than 40 percent. Look for a tight game right to the end here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 16

Freddy Wills

Loyolla Marymount +13.5

Loy already lost on the road by 13 to St Mary's and that to me means we have value in the spread. This is also a key game for St Mary's on the road in a hang over spot as they just got run off the court in the 2nd half against Gonzaga. They have BYU up next and they are in no mood to play this game. Marymount on the other hand would love to steal a victory and it's clearly possible. St Mary's relies heavily on the three point game and while Loyolla struggles defending the perimeter it's easy to see how they can make adjustments in the second match up of the season. I see this Marymount giving a scare to St Mary's.

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