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Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August, 29

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August, 29

Big AlFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Akron at Central FloridaFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Central FloridaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Dating back to the 2008 season, Akron is an awful 6-45 straight-up and 16-31 ATS (with 4 non-lined games) its last 51 games. Even worse: as an underdog of more than 4 points, it’s 0-37 straight-up! That doesn’t bode well for the Zips tonight vs. the Knights. And neither does the fact that Akron will be starting a sophomore QB, Kyle Pohl, who has yet to start a college game. Moreover, these two teams met last season in Akron, and the Zips were destroyed by UCF 56-14 (and were trailing 35-0 at half before the Knights took their foot off the gas). Overall, last year, Akron surrendered over 35 ppg, and ranked 109 (of 120 teams) in rushing defense (surrendering 211.08 ypg). Yikes! Look for UCF to again win this one in blowout fashion, as it is 22-13-1 ATS its last 36 lined home games. Lay the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August, 29

Bruce MarshallFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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CS Sacramento at San Jose StateFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: CS SacramentoFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Mountain West sources are not so sure that San Jose, making its debut in its new league this season, is going to be able to maintain the elevation it reached in 2012 before HC Mike MacIntyre moved to Colorado. New Spartan HC Ron Caragher arrives with good credentials from U of San Diego (where Jim Harbaugh preceded him), but has proceeded to change all of the offensive and defensive schemes from a year ago, creating an adjustment period that could take some of the pop out of an offense that will now be lining up in pro sets with split backs instead of last year's spread looks that suited QB David Fales so nicely. Sac State is no pushover, a competitive Big Sky outfit that has beaten Pac-12 reps (Oregon State and Colorado) each of the past two seasons, and took Big Sky powers Montana State and Eastern Washington to the wire last fall. The Hornets, who play at Arizona State next week, return capable weapons QB Garrett Safron as well as leading rusher Ezekiel Graham and top receiver Morris Norrise. Sources indicate the near-3 TD spread looks too high.

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UNLV vs. MinnesotaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Under 51FOR  FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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I decided the Under is the safer play than taking the points. Last Year when these 2 Teams played on opening night, the game was a dead under that ended up going Over in OT. I expect the same play style Tonight ! Finally UNLV Coach Hauck has "His guys" in his 4th Year at UNLV. Both Teams want to be competitive in the 4th Quarter, both Offense's like to run the ball and struggle to pass. From the Gold Sheets Bruce Marshall on Wednesdays The Las Vegas SportsLine ESPN Las Vegas, In games Minn. QB Nelson started in 2012 Minnesota scored 14 or less points in 5 of 7 of his starts. PLAY UNDER
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Rutgers vs. Fresno StateFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Rutgers Coach Flood and his grind it out, physical style of play. I expect Rutgers a Jersey Team playing in the middle of California 3 Time Zones away to play Tonight's game at their pace. Throw in first game miscues on offense and Rutgers having a struggling offense adds up to UNDER !

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Bryan Power

Cleveland vs. Atlanta
Pick: Atlanta

On Tuesday, I won w/ the Braves over the Indians. If you recall, I started my analysis by saying it would be a pretty daunting week for Cleveland as they not only were set for three games here at Turner Field, but then will be going to Detroit for the weekend. Well, they lost again last night 3-2. I see a Braves sweep.....

Atlanta has the best home record in all of baseball, now 46-18 for the year. They have won 15 of their last 18 games at Turrner Field. Therefore, the fact Cleveland will be starting Ubaldo Jimenez doesn't sound too promising. I say that because he owns a 1-12 team start record on the road during the second half of the season the last two years.  The Indians as a team are just 17-37 in the month of August the last two years.  The offense has scored all of two runs in this series.  I'm telling you, this isn't going to be a good week if you're a Cleveland fan.

The Braves will go w/ Kris Medlen as they go for the sweep Thursday. Though his TSR isn't all that great, Medlen still has good numbers, particularly a 3.04 ERA here at home. He'd won four starts in a row before losing his last time out at St. Louis.  But even then, he allowed just three runs in six innings.  When working on five or six days rest in his career, Medlen has a 17-2 TSR.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August, 29

Will Rogers

Rutgers vs. Fresno State
Pick: Fresno State

It's rare that you find the non-BCS schools favored by so many points over the BCS school, but in this case it is certainly justified. Big things are expected this season from Fresno State & they were a perfect 6-0 ATS last season at home. Rutgers is a BCS school in name only, out of the newly formed American Athletic Conference.

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Homefield Advantage - Not only did Fresno State cover all six home games last season, but they were favored in every game. They outscored visting teams by an astounding 31.6 points/game in 2012!  The only home game in which the Bulldogs did not score 42 or more points last year was the season opener, but that was a nothing game against FCS school Weber State and the 1st year coaching staff cared far more about the following game where they were to play at Oregon (would lose 42-25).

2. Returning Starters - FSU has 16. eight on each side of the ball, including a senior starting QB in Derek Carr (David's brother).  Rutgers returns only 10 starters from last year's team and will be without their seven of their 11 top tacklers on the defensive side of the ball.  On offense, they lose top rusher Jawan Jamison.

3. X-Factor - To say this is an unusually long trip for Rutgers would be putting it mildly.  They have not travelled further West than Notre Dame since the 1999 season! Then, they lost at Cal by two touchdowns.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August, 29

Jimmy Boyd

Tulsa +4

The Tulsa offense will not be intimidated by the Falcons defensive reputation. The Golden Hurricane will have seven starters returning to an offense that scored an average of 34.7 points per game last season. They will have their star quarterback, Cody Green under center again this season, as well as their top receivers and a running back duo that rushed for over 2,000+ yards.

The Falcons offense was a bit underwhelming last year, and with Tulsa having just 3 defensive starters making their return, it presents a favorable matchup for the Golden Hurricanes. Two key positions on offense, the running back and starting tackle, will see new faces this year. That is going to be a difficult adjustment for the Falcons.

I think the Falcon's are going to struggle to complete passes down field in this game. That plays right into Tulsa's favor as they are 7-0 ATS the last three seasons when the defense holds opponents to 150 to 200 net passing yards. The hype surrounding Bowling Green may have been too much and I look for Tulsa to keep this game close.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August, 29

Michael Rispoli

Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt
Play: Under 53½

Michael Rispoli Sports see's this game going UNDER the posted total. 6 of the last 7 years these two teams have played UNDER the total. 5 of the last 6 meetings in Nashville have gone UNDER the posted total. And Ole Miss ended last season on an UNDER streak of 6 out of 7 in away games. Take the UNDER in tonight's Ole Miss/Vandy game and prepare "your man" for a long season!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August, 29

Bill Biles

Towson vs. Connecticut    
Play: Connecticut -16½

UCONN struggled for much of the season last year only winning 5 games, however their defense ranked in the top 20 allowing only 19.8 PPG. UCONN returns a good running game led by junior Lyle McCombs. Look for UCONN to be to much for the Colonial school in Towson.

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JR O'Donnell

Minnesota -13.5

Lay it tonight boys.... Well coached and the smart second yr QB Nelson lead the way...... Coached by 3rd yr skipper coach Jerry Kill...6-7 last year and looking for a Bowl appearance this year for these Golden Gophers . The Qb is a quiet leader. The Defense is where these Minny Gophers make some noise.  JUCO transfer Damian Wilson  @ middle linebacker is rock solid. The Power Rated play here is the home team.... - 21.33 points ..... Long Long Night for the Rebels............. they are 19% ATS prop play in their last 51 road games We will not buy line move off of the 17 opener

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August, 29

Jack Jones

Hawaii Warriors +24

I fully expect the Hawaii Warriors to be one of the most improved teams in the country. Norm Chow had little to work with last season with only nine returning starters as he was implementing his new schemes. It took a long time for the Warriors to catch on, but they finally did at the end of last season. They closed out 2012 with back-to-back blowout victories over UNLV (48-10) and South Alabama (23-7) to give them some momentum heading into 2013.

Now, with 16 returning starters, the Warriors figure to be much-improved in Chow’s second season. The offense welcomes back eight starters and adds in Ohio State transfer Taylor Graham at quarterback. Four of the top five receivers return, as do four starters along the offensive line. The defense has eight starters back as well and will be a lot better. Leading the way will be senior LB Art Laurel (51 tackles, 13.5 for loss), senior DE Tavita Woodard (38 tackles, 5.5 sacks) and junior DE Beau Yap (37 tackles, 10.5 for loss).

Hawaii has played USC reasonably tough in their two meetings over the last three years. They covered the spread in each, and last year’s 49-10 road loss was due to playing in the first game of Chow’s system, and having little returning experience. However, in 2010, the Warriors fought tough in a 49-36 home loss, which was the closest game yet in this series. Hawaii actually outgained USC 607-524 for the game.

The Trojans have a lot of talent, but they still don’t know who is going to be their quarterback for 2013. With Matt Barkley gone to the NFL, they figure to struggle at the position this year. Barkley leaves as the school’s all-time leading passer. Max Wittek did not play well in limited action last year, and if he’s under center, they are in trouble. The Warriors are 4-1 against the spread in their last five vs. Pac-12 opponents. Bet Hawaii Thursday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August, 29

Steve Janus

Milwaukee Brewers +146

This is a great price to back the Brewers against division rival Pittsburgh. Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo is a solid 1-0 with a 2.65 ERA over his last three starts. All three have resulted in wins for the Brewers. Gallardo is 10-3 with a 2.58 ERA over 17 career starts vs Pittsburgh (14-3 team record). That's more than enough reason to back Milwaukee at nearly +150.

Adding even more value here is the Pirates send out one of their weakest starters in Gerrit Cole, who is just 4-4 with a 4.36 ERA at home and 1-1 with a 4.24 ERA and 1.412 WHIP in his last three starts. Cole also has a 4.50 ERA and 1.833 WHIP vs the Brewers.

Milwaukee is 8-2 over their last 10 games following a loss and 4-1 in Gallardo's last 5 vs the NL Central. Pittsburgh is just 1-4 in their last 5 games as a favorite and 0-5 in their last 5 in Game 3 of a series.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, August, 29

Chip Chirimbes

Baltimore Ravens vs. St Louis Rams    
Play: St Louis Rams -6½

The defending Super Bowl Champs get no respect as the winless St. Louis Rams (0-3) are huge favorites at home. Now granted the Rams are 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall but the difference between these two and their power rating compared to this line tells me Baltimore is more concerned with their opening night contest at Denver next Thursday night. The Rams haven 't been impressive but this 'line' is telling.

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Los Angeles Angels vs. Tampa Bay RaysFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Tampa Bay RaysFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Rays have slipped 2.5 games behind Boston in the race for the American League East. They have a bit of a cushion on the Wild Card spot but I am sure they don’t want to play in a single elimination game. Yesterday they beat the Angels and this is the final game of their set at home against L.A. before they start a crucial series at Oakland. Jake Odorizzi take the hill and he has not been good for Tampa this season. However, I think he is going to be facing a lifeless Angels team just looking to get the heck out of town this afternoon. Day game after a night game with nothing to play for, perfect spot to mail it in.

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North Carolina vs. South CarolinaSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: North CarolinaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The line is generous on North Carolina in this game so they are worth a small look. The Tar Heels are in their second year under HC Larry Fedora, and they return QB Bryn Renner.  North Carolina’s offense improved by 12.6 points per game from 2011 to 2012, and that was in Fedora’s first year.  The Tar Heels know the system better now, and we expect big things from their offense in 2013.  South Carolina is a very strong team out of the SEC, and they could possibly make a run at the national title.  However, they play at Georgia next week in a big showdown game which may keep them from playing their best tonight.  The line is generous on North Carolina in this game so they are worth a small look.

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Art Aronson

Kansas City vs. Minnesota
Pick: Minnesota

The visiting Royals will send Bruce Chen (5-2, 2.88 ERA) to the mound as the team goes for the sweep in Minnesota here. Chen did not fare well in his last start out; giving up seven earned runs in just 3 2/3’s innings in loss to the Washington Nationals. In fact the left-hander has given up 13 runs in his last nine innings. Chen has had his fair share of troubles as well in Minnesota. Last year Chen gave up 12 runs over just 8 2/3’s innings while losing both games last year at Target field. While there hasn’t a lot of bright spots for the Twins this year, Sam Deduno (8-7, 3.69 ERA) has been consistently solid all year. The right-hander allowed just one run on three hits over six innings in a 5-1 win over the Indians last Friday.  Deduno won his first three career starts versus Kansas City with a 0.93 ERA, but gave up four runs and 12 hits in a 5-2 road loss Aug. 7. The Twins aren’t certainly the underdog here but their looks to be a lot of factors going the teams way with Deduno versus Chen matchup on the mound. The Twins likely don’t want to suffer the embarrassment of getting sweep at home here. I expect a more motivated Twins team to finally get a win here and snap a four game losing streak.  We are also getting good return money here on the underdog.

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Doug Upstone

Rutgers vs. Fresno State    
Play: Fresno State -11

Fresno State returns 15 starters and should hit the ground running this year. They have a tremendous home field advantage as well. Look for a 2 TD victory, at least. Lay the 11 points.

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Dave Price

Baltimore Orioles +142

The Orioles are showing value at this price with Tillman gripping the pill. He has been at his best on the road where he has a 2.97 ERA, and he has been lights out against the Red Sox, going 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA in his last five starts against them. He's won his last two meetings over them by throwing 13 scoreless innings. The Orioles are 13-4 in Tillman's last 17 starts and 9-2 in his last 11 road starts. In addition, the Orioles are 7-0 since the beginning of last season in his starts as a road underdog of +125 to +175. They are 6-0 this season in his starts versus clubs that outscore their opponents by 0.5 runs or more per game. Tillman has clearly been at his best against the stiffest competition. The Red Sox are just 1-5 in Lester's last 6 starts versus the Orioles. Bet Baltimore.

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UTAH (-2.5) over Utan StateFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The college football season is here and there will be more than 30 games played this weekend. Today, we look at a game from Thursday's card where we will back the revenge-minded Utah Utes in an early season in-state battle. Utah usually hammers State annually winning the last 12 games by an average of 22 points! But last year the Aggies stunned Utah in overtime 27-20. Utah is not going to get many wins this year playing their second year in the tough Pac-12 but they will win this one easily. Take the Utes to get revenge.

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NellyFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Bowling Green + over TulsaFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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While several other MAC coaches have turned one big season into a bigger gig, Dave Clawson has made steady progress in four years at Bowling Green despite getting little attention. Last year the team finished 8-5 despite a tough schedule and the Falcons have covered in the opener all four years under Clawson including two S/U underdog wins. This year's team is loaded with experience and the defensive numbers were very impressive last season, allowing less than 17 points per game and less than 300 yards per game. Tulsa is certainly a tough early test for the defense as the Golden Hurricanes are routinely among the national leaders in many offensive categories. Tulsa has much more prominent games with Colorado State and Oklahoma ahead and this game could get overlooked however. Tulsa has lost its opening game three straight seasons including losing twice as a road favorite and the Tulsa defense could take a big step back this season with very little experience. Tulsa lost seven of its top nine leading tacklers from last season and the while the offense still has several prominent weapons, the offensive line is being completely rebuilt this season.  Backing a MAC team as a favorite against a team that won 11 games last season looks a bit questionable but the Falcons will be ready for this opportunity. Bowling Green has covered in six straight season openers while Tulsa has struggled in the road favorite role.

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Richard WittFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Brewers / Pirates Under 7.5FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Even with opportune recent acquisitions, Bucs continue to be defensively-oriented as they batten down the hatches in their quest to make the MLB postseason for the first time in more than two decades, and not sure just what this Brewer lineup can do about it. Under 7.5, it is.

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