Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday March 21

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday March 21

NHL Predictions

Carolina Hurricanes -115

The New Jersey Devils sit 3rd in the Atlantic division with their 13-11-6 record.  They have won just 4 of their 14 road games this season going 4-6-4 on the year.  The Hurricanes are 15-12-2 on the year and 7-7 at home.  Neither team is coming in here hot, as New Jersey has dropped 3 straight games and Carolina has lost 4 straight.  Before losing 4 straight the Hurricanes had won 6 of 7.  New Jersey has won just 3 games in their last 13 overall.  The Devils are also winless in their last 6 road games.  They are getting Martin Brodeur back between the pipes tonight, but I'm not sure that will be enough to get this team going.  The Hurricanes are expected to have Dan Ellis in net who is 4-4-1 with a 2.51 GAA and .925 SV%.  These two teams have met twice this year with Carolina winning 4-2 in New Jersey and then 6-3 at home on March 9th.  The Hurricanes are 9-4 in their last 13 meetings in Carolina with New Jersey. The Devils have really been struggling to win games, and I like Carolina to take advantage tonight at home with a big win at a great price.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday March 21

Hollywood Sports

Portland Trail Blazers at Chicago Bulls
Prediction: Portland Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers (31-36) looks to rebound from a 102-95 loss at Milwaukee on Tuesday -- but they are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games after scoring at least 100 points in their last game. Additionally, Portland is 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games on the road. And in their last 28 games against teams with a winning record, the Trail Blazers are a decisive 18-7-3 ATS. Chicago (36-30) has failed to cover the point spread in 5 straight games against an opponent that allowed at least 100 points in their last game. The Bulls look to rebound from a 119-118 loss themselves to Denver on Tuesday. Chicago has failed to cover the point spread in a disappointing 23 of their last 33 games on their home court. And in their last 32 meetings with a Western Conference foe, the Bulls have failed to cover the point spread in 23 of these contests. Take the points with Portland.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday March 21

Andre Gomes

Minnesota Timberwolves +6

Projected Line: Sacramento by 2 points

I actually believe Minnesota has a great chance of winning this game outright. First of all, I believe that due to Sacramento's mindset for this contest. They are coming from a mega win at home against the Clippers, where they were close to double digit dogs. But how are the Kings faring as home favorites after winning a game? Not well by being 1-4 ATS this season! More than that, Minnesota's offense will have some great edges in here. The Wolves have four guards running the offense and naturally their offense is super heavy on pick and roll ball handler plays and since the All Star break, 20% of their offensive plays have been pick and roll ball handler plays (#1 in the league in volume of this kind of play). Thanks to the speed that they have due to the fact that they use an undersized lineup, they are also having a considerable volume of transitions, besides the typical spot up plays. This means that pick and rolls + transitions + spot ups are currently representing something like 70% of Minnesota's offense right now. But how does Sacramento defend on these areas? Well, terribly! The Kings are the worst pick and roll ball handler defense in the league, while they are #28 in the league on transition defense. Therefore, the Wolves should be able to have a great offensive game tonight.

On the other side, it's true that Minnesota's defense has their limitations. However, Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko are back and they help the team improving on defense big time. But what I like on the Wolves's defense for this contest is their ability to force turnovers. Minnesota's defensive pressure on the opposing ball handler is excellent, especially Ricky Rubio who has been amazing on this area lately. Sacramento's guards don't take care of the ball well and so, the Wolves have the perfect opponent in here to force turnovers and completely ruin Sacramento's offensive flow on this contest. I believe Sacramento will overlook Minnesota tonight and with the Wolves exploring the Kings's poor defense, I expect Minnesota to be super competitive today. Therefore, I'll be taking the Timberwolves in here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday March 21

Joe Gavazzi

Harvard +11½

In this game, followers of my analysis know that I believe the Lobos will be playing a lot of basketball between now and early April. HC Alford has molded a team that is far more than its individual parts. Kirk is an underrated big man, while Bairstow does all the dirty work inside. On the perimeter, they have Snell and Williams, who can both shoot outside and drive to the basket. Greenwood is the perfect complement to their talents. Their shot selection is impeccable as is their defensive positioning, especially in defending ball screens. This team can go a long way. They were at their best in the most recently completed MWC CCT victory in Vegas, where they beat Wyoming, 59-46, San Diego St, 60-50 and host UNLV, 63-56. That’s 51 PPG defense against solid competition. In Alford’s career, he is a mind boggling 39-14 ATS when allowing his previous two opponents to score 65 or fewer points. Yet the preference here is for Ivy rep Harvard, who was our top of the ticket Ivy League GOY in their matchup with Princeton in late February. Graduation and withdrawal losses severely depleted Amaker’s crew, but the Crimson reloaded and barely skipped a beat in repeating as Brain Chain champs. Amaker discovered a lead guard in Siyani Chambers to control the offense and dish to big guards Revard and Webster. The work of Saunders on the interior was complemented by emerging freshman Kenyatta Smith and Moundo-Missi. Hardened by games at the 94 foot pressure of UMass, St Joe’s, BC, UConn, Cal, St Mary’s and Memphis, against whom they went 6-1 ATS, they will not be awed by the Lobos or this venue, where altitude favors New Mexico. Clearly Amaker is in his best in this role, and with the Lobos having this game sandwiched between their CCT victory and higher profile games ahead, Harvard could clearly waltz in under this number.

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