Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, March 2

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, March 2

Robert Ferringo

Tulane (+2) over Tulsa

Oh, how things change. Last year I couldn't get enough money down against Tulane. Injuries just creamed this team, and their young backcourt struggled mightily early in the season. I thought they would get creamed on the road at Tulsa last January, but they made some big shots and ended up only losing by four points. Now I think that Tulane can win this one outright against a really sagging Tulsa squad. Ricky Tarrant got off to a slow start to his sophomore campaign. But this kid can play. He struggled at Southern Miss. But he has averaged 25.5 points per game in his other four games since Feb. 6, and he is finding his stroke. Tulsa played a little above itself early in the conference season. But they are coming back down to earth. They have played a soft schedule over the past month and have still lost six of nine games. This team lost by nine at home to East Carolina and UAB and needed OT to beat! Houston. I think Tulane is better than all three of those teams. Look for Tarrant and Josh Davis to have big games and for the visitors to take this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, March 2

Jim Feist

Vanderbilt -1½

Vanderbilt has won twice as many conference games as Auburn, and the Tigers have packed it in on an 0-6 SU, 1-5 ATS run. Vandy has won 3 of 4 games and even covered in the lone loss at Kentucky, a 74-70 defeat. The Commodores are 35-17-2 ATS in their last 54 road games. The Commodores are 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings with Auburn, and 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings in Auburn. Play Vanderbilt!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, March 2

Charlie Scott

Wichita State vs. Creighton
Play: Wichita State 

Nice matchup for Wichita St. Creighton is a soft kind of finesse team,that doesn't play much defense. While Wichita St likes to pound the boards, play physical along with good defense.


Miami Florida vs. Duke     
Play: Over   

When these 2 Teams met earlier this Season the Score went flying Over the Total in a Miami blowout of Duke. Expect this game to be played at Dukes pace as every game in their last 5 games has gone Over 135. Duke with revenge and off a loss to Virginia will score on offense, However I don't know if they will be able to slow down Miami.


Air Force vs. Fresno State   
Play: Air Force 

Air Force is a disciplined Team made of upperclassman and need this win for any Post season (NIT) Hopes. After Tonight's game Air Force 16-10 finishes the regular season @ SDST and at home vs NM. Fresno St is 3-11 S/U their last 14 games. Air Force gets the Win !

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, March 2

Bob Balfe

Warriors PK over Sixers

The Sixers are just brutal. I know this seems like a trap game, but so be it. I just think this is the worst team in the league and the Warriors will simply put up more points therefore winning the game. Take Golden State


Texas Tech -4.5 over TCU

TCU cant score on the road. They average just under 50 pts a game on the road. Texas Tech is no powerhouse, but TCU is really bad. I can’t believe they beat Kansas. This really is a wacky season, but Tech should win at home today. Take Texas Tech

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John RyanFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Saint Louis at George WashingtonFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: George WashingtonFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The simulator shows a high probability that GW will lose this game by fewer than five points and has an excellent shot at upsetting St. Louis. Given that favorable projection, I like forming a combination wager using a 12* amount on the line and a 3* amount using the money line. Huge edge in rebounding favoring GW adn they are projected to have at least four more boards in this game. In past games, GW is 56-35 ATS (+17.5 Units) when they grab 4 to 9 more rebounds than their opponents in a game since 1997. STL is just 18-33 ATS (-18.3 Units) when they grab 4 to 9 fewer rebounds than their opponents in a game since 1997. GW ranks 38th in the nation averaging 38.1 boards per game while STL ranks an anemic 261st averaging 32.7 boards per game. STL ranks 311th averaging 7.5 offensive boards per game and GW ranks 66th averaging 23.7 boards per game. GW will minimize STL second chance scoring possessions and this will be a major factor in them winning this game. Take George Washington.

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VCU -6½ over ButlerFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Say what?! The more well-known 20th ranked Butler Bulldogs are being offered 6½ points against a club they are virtually tied with in the A-10 conference? This is one of several key weekend matchups that is going to attract a lot of attention from bettors. As March Madness nears, many more bettors start paying attention to college basketball in an attempt to familiarize themselves with who’s who in the NCAA. The masses are going to see Butler’s ranking and wins over #1 Indiana and #2 Gonzaga and eat this line up, thinking these points are a gift. They’re not. In an early 12:00 PM EST start, this is going to be one of the biggest played games by the betting public today. It sticks out like a sore thumb and the books have made the Bulldogs far too enticing for us to endorse. We could go into all the X’s and O’s of this matchup but it’s not relevant for our purposes. We’ve recognized a “curious” line and we’re very sure the oddsmakers didn’t err. Butler backers, you’ve been warned. 
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GEORGE WASHINGTON +5½ over Saint LouisFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Billikens of Saint Louis were a bubble team two weeks ago. They are no longer on the bubble after they shot up to #18 in the polls. Not only has Saint Louis won 10 straight but over that span they knocked off Butler twice and VCU once. Two of those wins came in back-to-back games on Feb 19 and 22. They have Xavier on deck and while the Billikens have secured a ticket to the dance, they’re in one of the worst situational spots in the country today.
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The Colonials are an ”also-ran”. They will finish near the bottom of the A-10 conference again with another pedestrian season, going 6-7 in the conference and 12-14 overall. GW has dropped four of its past five games but what they do well is rebound and play tough at home. That said, this isn’t about wagering on the Colonials. It’s more about fading a newly-ranked team on the road spotting points in a hugely unfavorable spot. Upset alert is on. 
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Notre Dame +6 over MARQUETTEFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Marquette’s 15-0 home record is well documented, even more so after the Golden Eagles knocked off favored Syracuse on this same floor this past Monday on ESPN’s Monday double-header. That win shot Marquette up to #22 in the rankings. This will be the first game after that emotional win. Here’s what you may not know about that 74-71 Marquette win over Syracuse. Marquette attempted 35 free throws, compared to just seven for the Orange and in the final 9 minutes of that contest, the Golden Eagles attempted 20 free throws to the Orange’s none. Don't expect that sort of discrepancy here.
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The Irish have finally recovered from their grueling five-overtime win over Louisville. In both of Notre Dames’ recent contests, it's been the Irish defense that has set the tone. The Irish held both Cincinnati and Pitt below 42 points and the two opponents combined to shoot just 2-for-20 from 3-point range. This Notre Dame defense is one of the best in the country and that should allow it to hang with this host, if not lead, for a full 40 minutes. With Marquette moving up in the rankings and their stock increasing, the price to wager on them just went up. That’s not the time to step in on the favorite.

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Steve JanusFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Iowa +14½FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Hawkeyes were able to pull off a 58-48 win at home over Purdue, despite playing without starting point guard Mike Gessell. While Iowa won't have Gessell in today's game against Indiana, I don't think his absence will keep the Hawkeyes from covering this large spread. Iowa is one of the most underrated teams in the country, as their lack of experience has cost them several games late. Iowa proved they can hang with the Hoosiers in a 65-69 home loss earlier this season.
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Iowa suffered a devastating road loss at Nebraska in their last game away from home, but that doesn't mean they won't keep it close at Indiana. This team lost by just 9-points at Ohio State, 3-points at Minnesota and 4-points at Wisconsin. They arguably should have beat both the Gophers and Badgers. The key in this game is Iowa's 3-point defense, as they are allowing opposing teams to shoot just 30.4% from long distance. In the first matchup against Indiana, the Hoosiers went just 4 of 14 (28.6%) from behind the arc. Iowa's season is on the line as they have to win this game if they want any hopes of making the tournament, while Indiana could be in for a letdown after an emotional loss at Minnesota earlier this week.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, March 2

Dave PriceFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Creighton -5½FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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It looked like Wichita State might cruise to a second straight MVC title when Creighton lost 3 in a row at the beginning of February. But the Blue Jays have battled back with 3 consecutive conference wins and now have an opportunity to win the Valley on their home floor. I like them to get it done and to cover the spread in the process. The Shockers won the first meeting by 3 points, but Creighton is on an impressive 47-28 ATS run when out for revenge for a road loss to an opponent. It has won by an average score of 73.4 to 66.1 in this situation. The Jays are 14-2 at home this season and when they win they win big. All 14 of these wins have come by double digits. The Jays are also 13-2 in their last 15 home games against Wichita State. These two losses have occurred in the last two meetings, which should only fuel Creighton's fire. It's been an awesome season for Wichita State considering all they lost off last year's team. However, Creighton is the better ball club, it's at home, it's out for revenge and it's out for the MVC crown. Lay the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, March 2

Chip ChirimbesFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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UNLV -5FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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UNLV has won their last three but it has been a bit disappointing for their backers as they have 'covered' only 10 of 27 lined games and now they are favored on the road against their only in-state rival. The Rebels re 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games overall and are 7-19 Ats in their last 26 road games dating back to last season. The problem for Nevada is that just really aren't very good as they rank 260th in the nation in field goal percentage. Surprisingly enough, this is a non-conference game and UNLV is 13-2 out of the Mountain West.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, March 2

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Ottawa at PhiladelphiaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Ottawa +150FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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We have a matinee today in Philly, as the Ottawa Senators bring in their lofty 12-6-3 mark. But in spite of that, they are written off as a solid dog to the sub - .500 Flyers. Philadelphia just can't seem to get things going, as they have yet to win more than two games in a row on the season. Their recent woes are occuring in front of the net as they have allowed 18 to trickle through in their last five games at 3.6 per contest. That opens the door for a live dog here in Ottawa, winners of five of their last six, allowing just 9 goals in the process at 1.5 per contest. The Flyers' inconsistent season has them now at 1-5  when following a win in their last six. Back the dog in this one and go with Ottawa.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, March 2

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Kyung Ho Kang -102 over Alex CaceresFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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In a bout that was supposed to take place back in November, two exciting lightweights face off in the octagon. Known for his unorthodox fighting style and quirky personality displayed when he was on the Ultimate Fighter, Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres (8-5) comes into this fight the winner of three of his last four bouts. Caceres has shown that he has the ability to hit opponents with flashy strikes and while he has decent jiu jitsu, he has displayed that when taken down he can become vulnerable.
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Making his UFC debut, Kyung Ho Kang (11-6) is a well-rounded judo practitioner with excellent submission skills, having earned eight of his eleven victories by submission. Being the bigger fighter, look for Kang to use his size and wrestling/judo skills to implement takedowns and try to work for a submission to finish the fight. While Caceres is also comfortable fighting off of the ground, Kang’s skills simply outclass him.
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Yushin Okami +175 over Hector LombardFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Putting to rest the notion of a drop-in performance with a victory in his last fight, Yushin Okami looks to continue his winning ways against the dangerous Hector Lombard. Standing 6’2” to Lombard’s 5’9”, Okami (29-7) enters this fight with a nice height advantage. While Lombard (32-3-1-1 No Contest) definitely has the power to test Okami’s chin (which admittedly has looked questionable recently), we believe that Okami will be able to use his reach to keep Lombard at a distance and use his size to get Lombard against the fence, putting Lombard in his clinch and securing takedowns. Okami is a smart fighter. He knows that Lombard’s best chance of winning is on the feet and catching him with one his power shots. In what should be an ugly fight, look for Okami to grind out the victory and derail another possible title contender’s chances. At the price that Okami is being offered, he is definitely worth placing a wager on.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, March 2

Brett Atkins

One of two free winners for tonight, I am siding with Marshall to get it done against Houston, as the Thundering Herd finish the regular season with two of its last three games on the road, starting today at Houston.

Marshall (12-16, 5-8 Conference USA) has had a week between games, so there's been plenty of time to recover from last Saturday's 52-48 loss to UAB. Nonetheless, Marshall was successful in its last road game, an 82-70 victory at Central Florida.

And even though the Herd is just 1-9 in true road games this season, I like its chances against the Cougars (15-11, 4-9 C-USA), who are in off a 63-53 loss at UTEP on Wednesday, their third consecutive defeat.

Look for an intense battle of the two best rebounding teams in the conference, both averaging 38.6 boards per game. What stands out for me, though, is how the Herd handled Houston in the second half of the first meeting.

After trailing by eight points at halftime back on Feb. 22, Marshall erupted for a 34-7 run to begin the second half and pull away for a 66-58 over Houston at the Cam Henderson Center.

I think that'll provide the confidence for Marshall, to be able to come in here and pull off an outright upset. And oh yes, coach Tom Herrion has never lost to Houston, with a 3-0 all-time record.

2♦ MARSHALL

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, March 2

Brad Wilton

Your Saturday comp play release is Duquesne plus the points at La Salle.

Let's not kid ourselves, the Iron Dukes are not going to win this game outright, but keep in mind that no one thought they were going to win outright the last time they journeyed from the Steel City to the City of Brotherly Love, as the Iron Dukes were able to win outright at Temple as the double-digit dog on February 14th.

The Explorers have likely locked up an at-large bid to their first Big Dance since 1992, but this is a game I can see them taking a little too lightly and having to scramble from an early deficit to come back for the win, but not the cover.

This is just a big number, and the Explorers are just 3-4-2 against the spread at home this season.

Duquesne has won and covered 3 of the last 4 series meetings, and the road team in this rivalry is 8-2 against the spread the last 10 times the schools have squared off.

La Salle is 19-7 on the year, and they will get win #20, however they will not cover in this spot.

Take the Iron Dukes plus the points.

2♦ DUQUESNE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, March 2

Jeff Benton

Saturday freebie is Memphis to take out some frustration on Central Florida.

The Tigers got started just a bit too late earlier this week at their 18 game win streak was halted at Xavier. That loss also was their first loss all season long on the road.

Expect Memphis which pounded UCF 93-71 in the first meeting to run their series win and cover streak to four in a row both straight up and against the spread.
The Tigers have claimed the victory in nine of the last ten series meetings, while sporting a 7-2-1 against the spread mark.

The Golden Knights do stand at 19-9 for the year, but they are on probation due to sanctions, so I am not so sure how motivated they will be if they fall behind early - which I expect since the Tigers will be itching to get out of the blocks fast after their slow start on Tuesday.

Josh Pastner's team really needs to win these last few games in convincing fashion, and today they do just that.

Tigers roll big.

5♦ MEMPHIS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, March 2

Craig Davis

Your free play is on the Milwaukee Bucks over Toronto.

The Bucks have seemingly turned things around after losing seven of eight games by beating the Mavs and Rockets on the road over their last two games.

No, it's not necessarily a reason to get excited if you're a Bucks fan, but you have to be a little bit optimistic of a possible playoff seed if they can just play .500 the rest of the way. They are six games clear of the Sixers for the 8th and final seed in the Eastern Conference.

They are starting to get contributions from their bench and hitting more of their free throws, which was haunting them during those mini losing streaks.

As for Toronto, well, I guess it's just another one of those seasons despite recently having a five-game winning streak until just recently.

Indiana, New York, Denver, etc. Those were some of the teams they beat during that span, but things have quickly fallen apart again.

Losses to the Cavs and Wizards followed up by last night's 12-point home loss to Indiana gives me all I need to know.

They got hot for a small stretch but now are back to playing like themselves.

Milwaukee should dominate and I'm taking them as your free play of the day.

3♦ MILWAUKEE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, March 2

Scott Delaney

My free winner for tonight is going to be on William and Mary getting it done at home against James Madison.

Winners in four of its last five games, William and Mary closes out the regular season tonight by hosting host Senior Night at Kaplan Arena. And right after the Tribe honors its five member senior class of manager Ryan Brown, Brett Goodloe, Doug Howard, Andrew Pavloff and Matt Rum prior to tip-off, I suspect we're going to see a high-powered attack against its arch-rival.

James Madison won an 81-71 victory earlier this season in Harrisonburg. But make note last season, William and Mary defeated James Madison in Williamsburg, 68-61. The home team has won three straight meetings, but William and Mary has won three of the last five meetings overall.

And during its current 4-1 run, Bill and Mary is averaging 74.4 points per game over the stretch. Part of that streak can be attributed to the hot shooting from the perimeter, as the Tribe ranks 46th nationally in 3-point percentage (37.3) and 48th in field goal percentage (46.0).

I expect a well-rounded contest from William and Mary, so lay the easy chalk.

2♦ WILLIAM AND MARY

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, March 2

Chris Jordan

My free play is on the low chalk Vanderbilt Commodores, who have won three of their last four and are back on the road for their second meeting with the Auburn Tigers. The 'Dores knocked off Auburn back on Jan. 23 by eight, 73-61.

Vanderbilt (12-15, 6-9) has now won the the last seven games in the series, and should be in the right mindset for this game, after a thrilling, 63-62, win over Georgia on Wednesday night at Memorial Gym. Down by 12 at the half, the Commodores stormed back and used a Kevin Bright jumper with 0.8 seconds to come away with a rousing victory.

Auburn (9-19, 3-12), meanwhile, has lost six in a row - four of them by double digits. In getting hammered by Kentucky, Arkansas, Florida, Texas A&M, Mississippi and Alabama, the Tigers have been outscored by 18.1 points since Feb. 9.

The Commodores have covered 20 of 27 after an ATS setback, and are on a 5-2 run versus the books - all in SEC play. Conversely, the Tigers are mired in ATS slides of 0-4 after failing to cover, 0-5 after failing to win and 2-7 with teams that can't win on the road.

Take the road chalk.

2♦ VANDERBILT

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Joe GavazziFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Miami FL +6.5FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Hmm. Duke, at Cameron Indoor Stadium where they are 63-3 SU L4Y, including 16-0 SU this year, off a loss, 73-68 at VA, and playing with 90-63 revenge for a Jan 23rd defeat in Miami. Seems like a no brainer. That is, unless you watch each of these teams play as much as I have. Duke is always better than its individual parts. With no disrespect to this year's roster, including Curry and Plumlee, it is the teaching of Coack K and his staff that has that program in the top 10 each season. But unless I've missed something, 2nd year Miami HC Larranaga is not far behind in this area. And clearly he has the better players. Scott and Larkin are the superior guard tandem. A healthy Johnson is a beast on the interior. Kadji is the country's best stretch 4, and veteran Gamble cleans up on the interior. Since ascending to top 5 status, the Canes have gotten a bit full of themselves, reaching their nadir in a 80-65 dump at Wake. But the feel good buffer came with 78-58 victory at home vs VA Tech. Only their three game league lead and overconfidence from 27 point earlier win, prevents this outright victory. But what quality team comes flat in Cameron.

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Rutgers at GeorgetownFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Georgetown Hoyas have been as good as anyone in the Big East, as they have caught fire late in the season, and have run off 10 straight wins. Georgetown is off of a huge physical, and emotional battle at UConn, where they came back from 7 down with 1:45 left in the second overtime to squeeze out a 1-point win. It will be very easy for this team to come out flat vs. a Rutgers team that won't get their juices flowing. Rutgers may be only 13-13 on the season, but this has been a competitive team in league play. Rutgers has suffered just one loss by more than 12 points in their last 14 conference tilts. Go with Rutgers.

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Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

Butler +7 over VCU: Both of these team have had nice years once again and both are in a battle for the A-10 title in their first years in the league. I know that VCU is at home where they have gone 13-2 on the year, but I don't feel that they should be a favorite of this much. Butler has just two losses on the year of more than 4 points and they are a solid 6-2 SU on the road. This team play s very hard and in this nationally televised game you can bet they will play hard once again and till the final buzzer. VCU does have the advantage on the offensive end, but Butler gets a slight edge on defense allowing just 62.6 ppg on 41.1% shooting, while VCU allows 63.8 ppg on 44.1% shooting. On the road the Bulldogs have been a bit tougher allowing teams to hit just 38.5% of their shots. Defense will be key here and I feel that Butler's defense will be enough to keep this one close.


Alabama +16.5 over FLORIDA: I know that Florida has outscored their opponent by a gazzillion ppg at home, but this is not a series that has had many blowouts over the years. In the last 10 meetings between these teams there has been just one game that decided by more than 11 points and 8 of those games have been decided by single digits. The Gators have the clear advantage on offense, but both of these defenses are very tough. The Gators come in having allowed just 53.5 ppg overall and they are 3rd in the nation in defensive efficiency, while Bama has allowed 58.5 ppg overall, including a mere 51.8 ppg in their last 12 non-OT games. In those 12 games they allowed more than 56 points (58) just once. This team plays some lock down defense. In a game where the pace should be slow (both teams are 294th or higher in pace), limiting possessions and with two awesome defenses teams on the court we should get another tight ball game here with the Gators winning by no more than 8 or 9.


MTSU/ Western Kentucky Over 130: Neither team plays at a high tempo but these two teams are 1 & 2 in offensive efficiency in Sun Belt games this year. MTSU has been excellent on offense of late, having scored at least 66 points in each of their last 13 games, averaging 75.6 ppg over that stretch. On the road, MTSU has hit at least 66 points in each of their last 6 away from home, averaging 68 ppg over that stretch. Defensively MTSU is one of the best in the Sun Belt, but WKU's offense has been nearly unstoppable of late, averaging 80.4 ppg in their last 5 games. The Hilltoppers have scored 65 or more in 7 of their last 8 games and they have averaged 69.5 ppg at home. WKU's games have been very high scoring in their last 5 games and it isn't just due to their offense, but because of a defense that has allowed 75.6 ppg in their last 5 games. Both offenses are rolling right now and one team can play defense at all right now. I clearly expect both team to put up at least 65 in this one and overall I will call for at least 140 points scored.

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