Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 23

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 23

John Ryan

Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers
Prediction: Philadelphia 76ers

The simulator shows a high probability that Philadelphia will lose this game by fewer than seven points. Supporting this graded play is a proven system posting a 72-36 ATS mark for 67% winners since 1996. Play on home underdogs (PHILADELPHIA) after a game where they failed to cover the spread and is an extremely well rested team playing 3 or less games in 10 days. Miami is hot, no doubt about it, but they are so hot, that they are prone to just under estimate the 76ers, who have been playing solid defense of late. The 76ers have allowed 40% or less opponent shooting in seven of the last eight games. The 76ers rank sixth best in defensive scoring allowing 95.3 PPG and they can ?on any given night cause some massive problems to the elite offenses in the league. I strongly believe this will be one of those nights. Moreover, the 76ers rank best in the NBA in ball handling thanks in large part to 76er All Star Holladay with a 1.719 assist-to-turnover ratio. Philadelphia is sound on the defensive rebounding facet and this can and will minimize Miami?s multiple shot possessions giving the 76ers a solid shot at competing well for 48 minutes. Take the 76ers.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 23

Sam Martin

Houston Rockets at Washington Wizards
Prediction: Houston Rockets

We'll fade Washington off their big upset home win last night against the Denver Nuggets, as the Wizards are now in a big letdown spot from that upset victory and have to come back one day later to take on a very good offensive team in the Rockets. Houston also played last night, scoring a 10-point win and cover in Brooklyn against the Nets and the 106 points Houston put up on the scoreboard was the 12th time in the last 13 games the Rockets have scored in triple-digits. Even better, Houston has scored at least 110 points eight times during that stretch! Washington was able to hang in a high-scoring game with Denver last night but that hasn't been the norm for the Wizards, who only average 92 points per game on the season and who had been held to final scores in the mid-80's in each of their two previous games. Washington's offense comes back down to Earth tonight as the Rockets fly by Washington in an easy victory!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 23

Freddy Wills

California vs. Oregon State    
Play: Oregon State   

Oregon State only lost by 3 the first game as a +6.5 dog on the road and really out played Cal, but they were just 8-15 from the FT line and that cost them. Cal really got out of their style of play in that game shooting 26 three pointers. More than anything I'm looking at Oregon State to rebound from their last home loss and Cal to have a major hang over after they beat Oregon on the road in a thriller. They will likely be hung over for this game in my opinion. They are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 vs. Oregon State and 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 following an ATS win. The last trend tells me this team of late is used to coming off wins and being just a bit too confident and I'm betting on that to continue.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 23

Tony George

Texas Tech +19.5

I did a Video Free Play on this play this week on my You Tube Video.  Classic Sandwhich Game for Iowa State who is a beast at home BUT they played Baylor on Wednesday and have a HUGE National TV Game on Big Monday against Powerhouse Kansas.  Look ahead spot and ISU laying a HUGE number here in a game trough to get up for. Take the BIG Points and Tech here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 23

Spartan

Florida -18.5

I don't generally lay this kind of number but will make an exception here. The Hogs are getting led to the slaughterhouse today. This could not set up much worse for the piglets. Florida has to be frothing at the mouth wanting to extract some revenge on the Hogs and you sprinkle in the fact they are off a very tough loss to Missouri. Nothing about this game says to me to trust Anderson's kids to stay within the number. It's no triple star release or anything but I do say the Gators will devour some bacon tonight and love every bite. Ly the points and watch the carnage. Florida in a rout guys!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 23

Bryan Leonard

Ind.-Pur.-Indpls / Wis.-Milwaukee Over 14

A 7-22 team against a 6-22 team in a non-conference bracket buster affair. IUPUI has traditionally gone over at home in lined games and neither team has the pressure of post season or conference action. Look for this game to sail over the total as both squads look to pad its stats.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 23

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

Indiana State/ Iona Under 154.5: Again I do know that brackebuster games trend to the over, but let's also remember that this year scoring is down across the nation and we may see a few more Under than in years past and this should be one of them. Indiana State has played just one game all year in which more than 152 points were scored and that was an OT game vs Ole Miss (172 points). Their home games have averaged just  131.6 ppg, including an average 130.4 in their last 7 at home, with just two of their home games all year scoring in the 140's or better. The Sycamores have little knowledge on Iona, but they do know that if ya wanna beat them you have to slow them down and I believe they will slow them down. That is really the pace that the Sycamores like to play at anyway. Iona can be slowed down on the road as they are off BB road games in which just 130 points and 116 points (regulation) were scored vs Fairfield and Manhattan respectively, plus earlier in their year they had a road game vs Rider in which 129 points were scored and a road game vs Siena in which 128 points were scored. Iona has gone 1-3 in those 4 road games, so slowing them down is the key and I feel that the Sycamores can do just that.


Mississippi State/ Vanderbilt Under 118: The Bulldogs have allowed 79.6 ppg in their last 5 games, BUT 3 of those games were vs Missouri, Florida and Ole Miss. 3 of the highest scoring teams in the SEC. Now they take on one of the worst scoring teams, as Vandy averages 59.6 ppg overall and 55.9 ppg on the road. The Bulldogs offense is not all that great either as they average just 58.3 ppg on 41.3% shooting at home and the Commodores are a team that plays good defense. Vandy does allow 64 ppg on the road, but they come in playing very well at that end of the floor, allowing more than 58 points just once in their last 7 games. They can play some defense and will have a good showing vs a bad MSU offense. Let's also note that MSU is 338th in 3pt shooting (27.9%) and 285th in FT% (65.4%), while Vandy is 336th in FT% (60.8%) and they shoot just 31.9% from long range on the road. I don't expect allot of extra points from those two categories. This game should be a slow paced game and will struggle to hit 110 points.


California -1 over OREGON STATE: The Cal Golden Bears are on a roll right now as they have won 4 in a row, including road wins over Arizona and Oregon. Impressive. The Bears defense has been very good of late, as they have allowed just 61 ppg in their last 6 games and that gives them a big edge at that end of the floor over an Oregon State squad that has allowed 72.4 ppg in their last 8 games. Yes OSU has the better offense, but ths game will be won with defense. Cal is rolling, while OSU has won just 3 of their last 14 games. I expect both teams to continue to head in opposite directions after this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 23

SPORTS WAGERS

Colorado +156 over LOS ANGELES

OT included. Los Angeles has won four of five but the victories came against the then reeling Blues, Columbus, Edmonton and Calgary. The latter three in that group have a combined record of 16 wins and 30 losses. The Kings have played eight of their past nine games on the road, including the last three and will now return home a tired club playing in an afternoon game. Additionally, goaltender Jonathan Quick, after off-season surgery has looked nothing like the goaltender that carried this team to a championship a year ago.

Looking at the betting lines in the NHL, it's safe to say that parity has never been greater. Rarely do we see a favorite of more than -140. Most favorites this season have been in the -110 to -130 range so when we see a favorite like this, one could assume it's somewhat of a mismatch. That's not the case here. The Avalanche are perhaps the league's most undervalued club right now. They've endured some crippling injuries and the contract dispute of Ryan O'Reilly but that hasn't stopped them. Colorado has now won three of its past four games while scoring 15 goals over that span. They defeated the Blues 1-0 and they won 6-5 over Nashville, proving they can play both styles. The Avs get back the talent of LW Gabriel Landeskog for this game, which can only improve their chances. It may also surprise you to learn that Colorado has defeated the Kings in five straight games and at this price, they're very worthy of serious consideration.


N.Y. Islanders +116 over BUFFALO

OT included. If there's one thing we've learned about the Islanders this season, it’s that they're not to be trusted as chalk but remain a highly profitable pooch. The Islanders are 2-6 at home but 5-3 on the road with wins at Pittsburgh, Tampa, Toronto, the Rangers and most recently at Montreal. That's an impressive set of road victories. The Islanders PP ranks 4th in the league while jumping up to 2nd best on the road. Their penalty kill ranks 9th overall, 5th on the road and they'll now go into Buffalo to play a Sabres club that is not only in disarray on the ice but off the ice as well.

Sabres fans and players were not happy about the firing of Lindy Ruff. It's now become a serious distraction as all the media wants to do is talk about that. The game on the ice has taking a backseat to Ruff’s dismissal. Bringing in a rookie coach that has not dealt with the horde of media asking questions was not a well thought out plan. Aside from all that, Buffalo is not getting better. In response to the firing of Ruff, they were badly outplayed in Toronto in a 3-1 loss on Thursday. The Sabres PP ranks 29 out of 30 teams and their penalty kill ranks 20th. Buffalo has lost five of six, they've scored one goal or less in four of those and things are going to get worse before they get better. Buffalo has no appeal as the favorite.


Tampa Bay +103 over CAROLINA

OT included. The Hurricanes were high on our radar for a time but things are really not going their way. They continue to lose players to injury at an alarming rate and they're getting almost no production from their third and fourth lines. Due to injuries, the 'Canes will feature a makeshift defense for this one and that doesn't bode well against a high powered Lightning offense. Carolina has dropped two straight to Montreal and Winnipeg and will change things up with backup goaltender Dan Ellis as the confirmed starter. That too, works to our advantage.

After starting out like a house on fire, the Bolts have tailed off dramatically with just two wins in their past nine games, including a six-game losing streak. However, they seem to be getting back on track with two wins in three games with only loss over that span occurring against the powerful Bruins. Tampa has scored three goals or more in four of its past five games. Tampa is much healthier than Carolina, they have three lines that can score and they've also won two straight at this venue. Carolina is a team in trouble so this hungry intruder should be able to come in here, smell a wounded prey and go in for the kill.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 23

SPORTS WAGERS

Detroit +7 -103 over WICHITA STATE

For all you folks looking to familiarize yourself with tournament teams that could pull off an upset or two, pay close attention to the Detroit Titans. Detroit has looked somewhat ordinary when facing off against some of its Horizon League competition this year. However, when the Titans play tougher opponents, they step it up big time. Detroit nearly pulled an upset at Syracuse before losing by four. They covered the spread wire-to-wire at Pitt and knocked off conference leader Valparaiso by double digits last weekend. This is a solid, veteran team that ranks 6th in the nation in points per game. They can win this game outright.

The Shockers have won four in a row and now sit atop the Missouri Valley with a 12-4 mark. In this, Bracketbuster weekend, Wichita State will now step out of conference to play a team they are unfamiliar with. Last Sunday they outscored Illinois State 8-0 in the final 36 seconds to win by a point. They followed that up with another fortunate four-point win over the poor shooting Indiana State Sycamores. This is a home team that is playing with fire and is about to get burned. Wichita State's strength of schedule ranks 15 spots lower than Detroit's SOS and now they're spotting seven points to a team that not only may be better than them but one that will be highly amped up to make an impression on the selection committee.


Creighton +172 over SAINT MARY'S

With a 12-2 conference record and 25-5 overall mark, it should come as no surprise that the Saint Mary Gael's are currently a 12 seed in Joe Lunardi's latest bracket. The Gaels’ two conference losses have both occurred against Gonzaga, the only other tournament team in the WCC. Saint Mary's has feasted off a bevy of marshmallows in that conference and the resulting stats, much like its W/L record, are highly misleading. Truth is, we have not seen a “quality” win from the Gaels all season.

The same can't be said for the Bluejays. Creighton has been put to the test on several occasions this year notching straight-up road wins in Wisconsin, Arizona State, Nebraska, Cal, Missouri State, Southern Illinois and Evansville. Now, the Bluejays will be underdogs here for only the third time all season. That's a role reversal that plays in our favor and one we'll look to take advantage of.#690


Missouri +109 over KENTUCKY

The Kentucky Wildcats missing its star player, Nerlens Noel, is equivalent to the Thunder playing without Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant. The Wildcats lost by 30 in their first game without Noel and then had to survive a seven-minute stretch without a field goal in the second half of a tight win over a bad Vanderbilt club. Kentucky's 9-4 conference mark and 18-8 overall mark is largely due to the work of Noel. When a team loses its star player, the rest of the club usually digs down deep for a game or two but the Wildcats have proven that this obstacle is a serious one.

Missouri is 19-7 overall and 8-5 in the conference but that record could be much better had they not suffered some hard-luck losses to UCLA by three points, to LSU and Texas A&M both by two points and last Saturday at Arkansas when they were outscored 7-1 in the final 29 seconds of a two-point defeat. Instead of hanging their heads, the Tigers responded with perhaps their best game of the season on Tuesday, defeating #5 Florida and putting themselves back on the bubble. Mizzou is battle tested, their confidence has been restored and they certainly have a strong chance of pulling off this minor upset.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 23

SPORTS WAGERS

CHARLOTTE +9½ over Denver

The Nuggets are playoff bound. They sit at 34-22 and there's not many playoff teams that will be looking forward to playing them in a best of seven format. They're dangerous, especially at home where they've won 23 of 26 games. However, Denver has shown much less intensity on the road, where they are eight games under .500 at 11-19. The Nuggets have played five of their past six on the road and have just one win to show for it, an eight-point victory over Cleveland. Denver will look forward to returning home on Monday to play the Lakers. L.A. is not what they used to be but that doesn't prevent the opposition form getting extremely jacked up to stick it to them. For the Nuggets, this game now becomes more of an inconvenience than anything else.

Charlotte has the fewest wins in the NBA but at home they've been competitive on most nights. They have recent home losses to Detroit by just six, Boston by three, the Lakers by seven, Atlanta by eight and Houston by six. The 'Cats are an atrocious defensive club but when they play teams that like to run and gun like the Nuggets, it's more to their liking and those are exactly the type of games they've been in a psotion to win. Against a disintersted Denver club, this one has that feel to it.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 23

Steve Janus

Indiana Pacers -4

If it wasn't for this being a home-and-home set for these two teams, Indiana would have easily made my premium card for Saturday. While I still really like the Pacers to cover this small spread, I'm not going to be betting quite as much as my other plays.

The Pacers have looked like a legit contender since returning from the All-Star break, as they followed up a 34-point win over New York on Wednesday with a 32-point blowout over the Pistons last night. Throw in their 101-77 win over Charlotte before the break and they have won three straight by 20+ points.

With such a low number, it's unlikely the Pacers don't cover if they win this game and I can't see Detroit pulling off the upset. You don't just win three games by 20+ and decide took take the next night off. Indiana is out to make a statement and the Pistons aren't going to get in their way. These two teams have now played 3 times this season and all three times the Pacers have won by double-digits.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 23

Jeff Alexander

Texas +3

The Longhorns are a more-than-respectable 10-3 at home and will be out for some serious revenge here as they were humiliated 83-57 at Kansas State earlier this season. The Wildcats haven't been trustworthy in the small road chalk role as they are on a 4-15 ATS slide as a road favorite of 3 points or less or pickem. They are also 5-15 ATS in Saturday road games the last 3 seasons. Take Texas.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 23

Dave Price

Philadelphia 76ers +7.5

This is a solid situational spot for Philly as it has had two days off and has played just one game in the past nine days. It will be fresher than a Miami squad that will be playing its third game in four days. The 76ers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games when playing on two days' rest. Philly has also shown that it can play with Miami. It has won or kept the score within six points in each of the past two and five of the past seven matchups. The 76ers suffered a bad loss at Minnesota last time out but are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games following an ATS loss. They are also a rock solid 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games. Take the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 23

Nelly

Villanova - over Marquette

This should be a tricky spot for Marquette, facing a second straight road game and now facing real pressure in a three-way tie with Syracuse and Georgetown on top of the Big East. One of those teams will lose today spelling an opportunity for the Golden Eagles but this is a team with only three road wins on the season. Marquette is just 1-3 in the last four road games in Big East play and Villanova owns home wins over some of the best teams in the conference. The Wildcats are just 10-4 S/U at home but this is a team that rises up against the best competition and after losing at home to Marquette last season this will be a big game for Villanova. Marquette has lousy offensive numbers in road games, shooting just 41 percent and barely scoring 60 points per game and Villanova continues to be undervalued with a 12-5 ATS record in the last 17 games.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday February 23

NHL Predictions

Montreal Canadiens -127

The Rangers have lost two straight games dropping their record to 8-6-2 on the season and 2-3-1 on the road. They've lost 3 of their last 4 games, with their lone win coming against a struggling Washington team. The Canadiens are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss against the Islanders in a game where they outplayed New York but couldn't finish them off. Before that the Canadiens had won 5 straight and they now sit 11-4-2 on the year and 7-3-1 at home. In their first meeting of the season on Tuesday the Canadiens won 3-1 in New York. That win makes Montreal 8-3 in these two teams last 11 meetings. They are also 6-0 in their last 6 home games vs the Rangers. When these two teams meet the home team is 19-7 in their last 26 meetings. The Canadiens are 7-3 in their last 10 home games while the Rangers have won just twice in 6 tries on the road this year. This is a big game for Montreal and I have them beating the Rangers tonight.

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