Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, March 10

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, March 10

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

Boston/ Oklahoma City Over 200: The Celtics have been trying to run a bit more and they should get their chance to do so in this one. Boston did put up 108 points in an earlier home game vs the Thunder and they have averaged 100.6 ppg in their last 5 games. The Celts do average just 94.9 ppg on the rad, but OKC has struggled some on defense of late, allowing 100.4 ppg in their last 5 games overall and they allow 95.6 ppg at home. I think getting at least 96 from Boston would be golden here, cause the have scored at least 106 points in 10 of their last 12 home games. OKC averages 109.9 pg at home, including 113.8 ppg in their last 12 at home. Boston's defense has been pretty good this year, but they will be hard pressed to stop the Thunder in this one. This should be an up and down game, with at least 205 points being scored. KEY TREND--- The Over is 12-5 in Boston's last 17 games vs an opponent that scored 100+ in their previous game.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, March 10

Nelly

Wisconsin - over Penn State

Wisconsin has lost back-to-back games to surrender any hopes of the Big Ten title and for the first time in the Bo Ryan era the Badgers might finish outside of the top four in the conference. Wisconsin has had truly dreadful shooting in the last two games and while this game will be on the road this should be a good opportunity for Wisconsin to get back in rhythm as Penn State has some of the worst defensive numbers in the conference. Wisconsin struggled to pull away in the first meeting between these teams with a 60-51 win at home but this is a Penn State team that has won just two conference games. Penn State did show improvement late in the season but this squad has lost eight home games and after its first Big Ten win the Lions followed up with a 29-point loss. Penn State scored a big win over Northwestern during the week and they could be a bit flat back at home behind an underwhelming final home game crowd. Penn State has covered in seven straight meetings between these teams but value is back on Wisconsin for this match-up, especially considering that the spread was 18 at the Kohl Center when these teams met earlier in the year. The Badgers are an extremely well coached and disciplined team that will have a focused effort going into this final conference game and coming two losses including the humiliating effort in East Lansing. These teams will likely meet up again in the Big Ten tournament and Wisconsin will make sure it is clear who will be in charge of that match-up.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, March 10

Bob Balfe

Wisconsin -8.5 over Penn State

Wisconsin needs a big win to end the year here. Penn State is a weak team and this Badgers team needs a big win for the tournament committee and themselves. You just can’t lose to the worst team in the conference at the end of the season. Take Wisconsin.


Indiana Pk Michigan

Two teams have played great and have played poor. Indiana is a better team and has more experience. This is going to be a good game, but in the end I think Indiana does exactly what they did at home a few weeks ago in the final minutes. Take the Hoosiers.


Virginia -8.5 over Maryland

Maryland is a young team and I like how they have played this year at home, but on the road they are very week. Virginia is one of the most underrated teams in the nation and they are great at home. Look for them to make a statement for the committee at home today. Take Virginia

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, March 10

Harry Bondi

VIRGINIA (-8) over Maryland

Nice ACC FREE WINNER yesterday with Duke and we will stay in the ACC and back Virginia to bounce back big after two road loses. Cavaliers have been money at home going 17-4 ATS their last 17 in Charlottesville and will be focused today with a first round bye in this weeks ACC Tournament on the line and a packed house rocking John Paul Jones Arena on Senior Night. Maryland has been solid at home but awful on the road where they sport a 4-11 ATS mark. That trend continues tonight as Virginia gets ready for the ACC Tournament by blowing out the Terps.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, March 10

Rob Veno

Dallas at Minnesota
Play: Dallas

Somehow, someway, the Mavericks are still in the Western Conference playoff hunt sitting just three games out of the eighth and final spot. The possibility of making the playoffs has Dallas playing with game-by-game focus which is more than this crippled Minnesota team has going for it right now. Down to just nine players and missing three key starters including center Nikola Peković, the Timberwolves are running on fumes. Dallas’ frontline advantages and their depth figure to be problematic for Minnesota tonight and it helps that the Mavs continue to be a rested team. Without any semblance of a go to scorer, the T-Wolves faltered miserably in their first game without Pekovic last night against Denver getting outscored 61-39 in the second half. Back-to-back games with a shorthanded team coming from the mile high altitude doesn’t bode well for Minnesota against a Dallas team still playing with a purpose. Have no problem laying the -6.5 tonight in a contest the Mavs should win by double-digits.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, March 10

SPORTS WAGERS

N.Y. Islanders +181 over PITTSBURGH

OT included. Both these teams will play their third game in four days but the Islanders played yesterday afternoon while the Penguins played last night in Toronto. A Saturday game in Toronto on Hockey Night In Canada is one that every player gets up for. The Penguins came out fired up but by the third period they were running on fumes. The Maple Leafs skated circles around the Pens in that period and in OT but the Penguins luckily escaped with a 5-4 shootout win. On Thursday night, Pittsburgh had to rally from a 4-1 deficit against its biggest rival, the Philadelphia Flyers. With poor goaltending and weak defense continuing to haunt this Penguins club and coming off two emotional and draining wins, the Pens could once again fall victim to this lively pooch.

The Islanders have defeated Pittsburgh in three of the past four meetings. The Islanders are also very warm at the moment, having picked up points in five straight games (3 wins and 2 OT losses) and that includes victories over two of the hottest teams in the league, Montreal and Washington. Not only did the Islanders win those two games but they scored a combined 11 times in doing so against two of the better defensive clubs in the NHL. Their offense is clicking, their power-play is on fire and whether they’re facing Marc-Andre Fleury or Tomas Vokoun, chances are the Penguins are going to have to score a bunch to beat them.


ANAHEIM -½ +120 over St. Louis

Regulation only. Yesterday we suggested that the Blues are in a lot of trouble and then they went out and beat the Sharks in San Jose. Trailing 3-1 going to the third period, the Blue Notes scored a soft goal on Antti Niemi in the first four minutes of the final period.  A minute later they scored another awful goal. Niemi was pulled, the life was taken out of the Sharks and the Blues went on to win in OT. The Blues will play their fifth straight road game here and third in four days.

The Ducks are 10-1 at home. Their 81 goals scored are tops in the West and second in the league behind Pittsburgh. Since a 5-0 loss to Vancouver in their home opener, the Ducks have outscored opponents 35-16 while running off 10 consecutive victories at the Pond. They’ll get a crack at Jaroslav Halak here, a goaltender that has missed much time this season and whose confidence is shaken. Halak has posted a 3.40 GAA while losing his last three in Anaheim. Additionally, the Ducks have won five straight and 15 of the last 18 at home in this series. Expect more of the same here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, March 10

Wunderdog

Cleveland at Toronto
Pick: Cleveland +5.5

Overachieving Cleveland continues to surprise, on a 7-3 ATS run. This young team hustles and has Kyrie Irving back, off a 24-point game against Memphis. The Cavaliers are 6-1 ATS against the Eastern Conference and 10-2 ATS in their last 12 road games vs. a team with a losing home record. Toronto has a losing home mark and is home from a four-game road trip, losing three of them. The Raptors are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games overall and 1-4 ATS in their last five home games. The Cavaliers are 14-6 ATS in the last 20 meetings in Toronto, the road team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings and the underdog is 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings. Play the Cavaliers.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, March 10

Andre Gomes

Philadelphia 76ers -1.5

After the disaster that was their home loss against Orlando, where Coach Collins threw his players under the bus after the game, Philadelphia has been showing some competitiveness. On their last game at Miami, the Sixers were competitive and they were only down by 75-76 at the end of the third quarter. Then, the Heat set up their extra gear and beat them comfortably down the stretch, but Philadelphia left a good image on that game. The Sixers will definitely come fired up to get revenge from their humiliating home loss against Orlando. In that game, Philadelphia's lack of aggressiveness was visible on their shot locations: 8-10 FG at the rim and 1-5 FG from 3-9 feet versus 9-28 FG from 16-23 feet and 7-21 treys! The Sixers refused to work on the down low against Orlando's awful interior defense! From the several humiliating factors in that game, perhaps the worst one was Nikola Vucevic (a former Sixers player) having 19 rebounds, while Spencer Hawes had just 1 rebound in 21 minutes!

On the other hand, Orlando is already rotating their players without much worries, as they are already thinking about the draft. Tobias Harris has been playing at the PF position and it looks like he will remain on that position tonight, so this is excellent news for Thaddeus Young, who seems to be back at 100% after an injury, as he had 12-15 FG and 25 points against Miami on the team's last game! Jameer Nelson has returned to the Magic's lineup and on the three players that he has already played since his comeback, he looked very far from his level (34.9% FG and 4.3 turnovers per game), while showing no effort on defense. Jrue Holiday will surely have a huge edge over him tonight.

With the Sixers fired up and while having more talent than Orlando, who won't be worried about winning tonight, especially as they will host the Lakers on their next game, in a game where they will certainly motivated in facing Dwight Howard. Therefore, I expect an easy win for Philadelphia today and so, I'll be taking them tonight on a Double Dime Play!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, March 10

David Banks

Miami Heat -7

The Miami Heat (46-14, 31-29 ATS) have won 17 straight games and they now face the last team to beat them and probably their biggest threats in the East in the Indiana Pacers (39-23, 35-27 ATS) at American Airlines Arena in Miami Sunday at 6:00 ET on NBA TV. In fact, Indiana is 2-0 vs. the Heat this season, although both of those Pacer wins came at home, but make no mistake, the Pacers are probably the only team in the East and may even the entire NBA that can challenge Miami in a seven-game series because of their tenacious defense. They will not be intimidated by playing in South Beach either after winning here during the playoffs last season, so this could turn out to be one of the best games of the year!

The Pacers probably have the best defense in the NBA. They are in a virtual tie with the Memphis Grizzles for first in points against at 89.5 per game, and they lead the league outright in field goal percentage allowed at 41.4 percent, three-point defense at 31.9 percent and in defensive efficiency, grading out at 95.3 points per 100 possessions, significantly better than the Grizzlies in second (97.2). The only reason that the Grizzlies are right there in points allowed is because they play at the third slowest pace in the league. The Pacers meanwhile can boast that they have one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA in Paul George and also one of the best interior defenders in Roy Hibbert, so it is no wonder that teams have not been able to score against them, and that includes Miami, which has scored 77 and 89 points respectively in the two losses this year. Furthermore, those two Indiana wins came before the improvement of its offense. While the Pacers still rank just 25th in the NBA in scoring at 94.1 points per game, that average has shot up to 101.5 points over the last 10 games with Indiana going 8-2 in those contests, and one of the two losses came when Hibbert sat out a one-game suspension vs. the L.A. Clippers.

Now the entire Miami team and LeBron James in particular have obviously been on a different plane than the rest of the league lately, and the natural knee-jerk reaction here would be to expect somewhat of a blowout as Miami avenges its two losses to the Pacers. The only problem with that logic is that it would be hard to argue against Indiana having the superior defense in this game and the Pacers easily have a better defense than any team that the Heat have beaten during the 17-game win streak. Yes, James has been out of this world as he is threatening to become the first player in NBA history to average at least 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists per game while shooting at least 56 percent from the field over an entire season. However, George has shadowed LeBron well in the first two meetings, as while James averaged 25.0 points, he needed a lot of shots to do so shooting 51.4 percent. The revenge motive may drive the Heat to victory, but it should be far from easy and it is difficult to pass up a decided underdog that plays defense the way that Indiana does.

The Pacers are 13-5 ATS in their last 18 games overall and 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games after scoring at least 100 points in their previous game. As hot as Miami has been on the court, the Heat are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games overall, and they are also 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games vs. the Central Division.

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