Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, September 22

Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, September 22

DUNKEL INDEX

Chicago at Pittsburgh
The Bears look to take advantage of a Pittsburgh team that is 0-3-1 ATS in its last 4 games when playing on the Sunday after a Monday night game. Chicago is the pick (-2 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Bears favored by 4. Dunkel Pick: Chicago (-2 1/2)

Game 391-392: San Diego at Tennessee (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Diego 129.342; Tennessee 134.302
Dunkel Line: Tennessee by 5; 41
Vegas Line: Tennessee by 3; 44
Dunkel Pick: Tennessee (-3); Under

Game 393-394: Cleveland at Minnesota (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland 124.172; Minnesota 133.319
Dunkel Line: Minnesota by 9; 37
Vegas Line: Minnesota by 6; 41
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (-6); Under

Game 395-396: Tampa Bay at New England (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay 131.386; New England 136.949
Dunkel Line: New England by 5 1/2; 48
Vegas Line: New England by 8 1/2; 43 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (+8 1/2); Over

Game 397-398: Houston at Baltimore (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston 136.238; Baltimore 132.105
Dunkel Line: Houston by 4; 41
Vegas Line: Houston by 2 1/2; 45
Dunkel Pick: Houston (-2 1/2); Under

Game 399-400: St. Louis at Dallas (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis 128.811; Dallas 129.672
Dunkel Line: Dallas by 1; 52
Vegas Line: Dallas by 4; 47
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (+4); Over

Game 401-402: Arizona at New Orleans (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona 126.448; New Orleans 138.542
Dunkel Line: New Orleans by 12; 53
Vegas Line: New Orleans by 7; 48 1/2
Dunkel Pick: New Orleans (-7); Over

Game 403-404: Detroit at Washington (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit 131.676; Washington 131.005
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 1; 44
Vegas Line: Washington by 2 1/2; 49
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (+2 1/2); Under

Game 405-406: Green Bay at Cincinnati (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Green Bay 138.654; Cincinnati 133.804
Dunkel Line: Green Bay by 5; 45
Vegas Line: Green Bay by 2 1/2; 48 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Green Bay (-2 1/2); Under

Game 407-408: NY Giants at Carolina (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Giants 134.321; Carolina 133.490
Dunkel Line: NY Giants by 1; 50
Vegas Line: Carolina by 1 1/2; 45 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Giants (+1 1/2); Over

Game 409-410: Atlanta at Miami (4:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta 133.960; Miami 137.804
Dunkel Line: Miami by 4; 40
Vegas Line: Miami by 2; 44 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Miami (-2); Under

Game 411-412: Indianapolis at San Francisco (4:25 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Indianapolis 130.403; San Francisco 138.064
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 7 1/2; 49
Vegas Line: San Francisco by 10 1/2; 46
Dunkel Pick: Indianapolis (+10 1/2); Over

Game 413-414: Jacksonville at Seattle (4:25 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Jacksonville 120.240; Seattle 136.172
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 16; 38
Vegas Line: Seattle by 19 1/2; 40 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Jacksonville (+19 1/2); Under

Game 415-416: Buffalo at NY Jets (4:25 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Buffalo 128.258; NY Jets 132.040
Dunkel Line: NY Jets by 4; 42
Vegas Line: NY Jets by 2 1/2; 39
Dunkel Pick: NY Jets (-2 1/2); Over

Game 417-418: Chicago at Pittsburgh (8:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Chicago 133.996; Pittsburgh 130.042
Dunkel Line: Chicago by 4; 36
Vegas Line: Chicago by 2 1/2; 40 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago (-2 1/2); Under

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

Game 419-420: Oakland at Denver (8:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oakland 127.801; Denver 139.776
Dunkel Line: Denver by 12; 54
Vegas Line: Denver by 15 1/2; 49
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (+15 1/2); Over

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DUNKEL INDEX

MLB

Texas at Kansas City
The Royals look to build on their 7-0 record in James Shields' last 7 starts as a favorite of -110 to -150. Kansas City is the pick (-135) according to Dunkel, which has the Royals favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (-135)

Game 901-902: Miami at Washington (1:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami (Koehler) 14.200; Washington (Haren) 15.107
Dunkel Line: Washington by 2; 7
Vegas Line: Washington (-240); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Washington (-240); Under

Game 903-904: Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (1:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati (Arroyo) 15.926; Pittsburgh (Locke) 15.644
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 1/2; 8
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh (-120); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (+100); Over

Game 905-906: NY Mets at Philadelphia (1:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NY Mets (Torres) 14.659; Philadelphia (Lee) 14.202
Dunkel Line: NY Mets by 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Philadelphia (-210); 7
Dunkel Pick: NY Mets (+185); Under

Game 907-908: St. Louis at Milwaukee (8:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis (Kelly) 15.902; Milwaukee (Peralta) 14.479
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: St. Louis (-160); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-135); Over

Game 909-910: Atlanta at Chicago Cubs (2:20 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta (Teheran) 16.108; Cubs (Jackson) 14.695
Dunkel Line: Atlanta by 1 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 911-912: Arizona at Colorado (4:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Arizona (Corbin) 14.144; Colorado (Nicasio) 14.930
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 1; 11
Vegas Line: Arizona (-115); 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (-105); Over

Game 913-914: LA Dodgers at San Diego (4:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Dodgers (Greinke) 16.087; San Diego (Cashner) 14.492
Dunkel Line: LA Dodgers by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: LA Dodgers (-130); 7
Dunkel Pick: LA Dodgers (-130); Under

Game 915-916: Houston at Cleveland (1:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston (Bedard) 15.188; Cleveland (Kluber) 14.209
Dunkel Line: Houston by 1; 9
Vegas Line: Cleveland (-260); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (+220); Over

Game 917-918: Chicago White Sox at Detroit (1:08 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: White Sox (Johnson) 15.368; Detroit (Sanchez) 14.730
Dunkel Line: Chicago White Sox by 1/2; 7
Vegas Line: Detroit (-300); 8
Dunkel Pick: Chicago White Sox (+250); Under

Game 919-920: Toronto at Boston (1:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto (Dickey) 15.791; Boston (Doubront) 17.345
Dunkel Line: Boston by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Boston (-160); 8 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Boston (-160); Over

Game 921-922: Baltimore at Tampa Bay (1:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Baltimore (Feldman) 15.156; Tampa Bay (Romero) 16.722
Dunkel Line: Tampa Bay by 1 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 923-924: Texas at Kansas City (2:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas (Ogando) 16.012; Kansas City (Shields) 17.559
Dunkel Line: Kansas City by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line: Kansas City (-135); 7
Dunkel Pick: Kansas City (-135); Under

Game 925-926: Seattle at LA Angels (3:35 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Seattle (Hernandez) 15.701; LA Angels (Wilson) 14.517
Dunkel Line: Seattle by 1; 6
Vegas Line: LA Angels (-130); 7
Dunkel Pick: Seattle (+110); Under

Game 927-928: Minnesota at Oakland (4:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota (De Vries) 12.642; Oakland (Gray) 16.936
Dunkel Line: Oakland by 4 1/2; 9
Vegas Line: Oakland (-230); 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Oakland (-230); Under

Game 929-930: San Francisco at NY Yankees (1:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Francisco (Petit) 15.341; NY Yankees (Pettitte) 14.412
Dunkel Line: San Francisco by 1; 10
Vegas Line: NY Yankees (-150); 9
Dunkel Pick: San Francisco (+130); Over

Game 931-932: Miami at Washington (7:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami (Koehler) 13.330; Washington (Strasburg) 16.393
Dunkel Line: Washington by 3; 6
Vegas Line: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

WNBA

Chicago at Indiana
The Sky look to bounce back from their Game 1 loss and build on their 6-1 ATS record in their last 7 road games. Chicago is the pick (+2 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Sky favored by 3 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Chicago (+2 1/2)

Game 663-664: Chicago at Indiana (3:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Chicago 115.860; Indiana 112.520
Dunkel Line & Total: Chicago by 3 1/2; 141
Vegas Line & Total: Indiana by 2 1/2; 145 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago (+2 1/2); Under

Game 665-666: Minnesota at Seattle (5:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 119.956; Seattle 110.019
Dunkel Line & Total: Minnesota by 10; 152
Vegas Line & Total: Minnesota by 8; 146 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (-8); Over

CFL

BC at Saskatchewan
The Roughriders look to take advantage of a BC team that is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 road games. Saskatchewan is the pick (-5) according to Dunkel, which has the Roughriders favored by 8. Dunkel Pick: Saskatchewan (-5)

Game 497-498: BC at Saskatchewan (4:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: BC 112.010; Saskatchewan 120.227
Dunkel Line: Saskatchewan by 8; 48
Vegas Line: Saskatchewan by 5; 52 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Saskatchewan (-5); Under

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Art Aronson

Arizona Cardinals vs. New Orleans Saints    
Play: Arizona Cardinals

The visiting Arizona Cardinals are 1-1 but could easily be 2-0 as week 1’s defeat to the Rams was on a last minute field goal. The Cardinals did win their home opener in St. Louis with an impressive 25-21 win over the Detroit Lions. QB Carson Palmer was 22-for-39 for 248 yards, one TD and one INT. Rashard Mendenhall had 55 yards on five carries to go with a touchdown. It took a last minute drive by Drew Brees to set up field goal for the New Orleans Saints to narrowly edge out Tampa Bay 16-14 and move to 2-0 in the process. Brees finished 26/46 for 322 yards, one TD and two INTs. Jimmy Graham had 10 receptions for 179 yards. The Cardinals are now 2-0 ATS this season under new head coach Bruce Arians. Carson Palmer has brought some stability to the offense that actually given the pretty good Arizona defense a break unlike past seasons. The Saints didn’t look overly impressive in Tampa but are 2-0 and the rightful favorites at home here. Still, the Arizona is a more complete football team than we have seen in years and should not be this much of an underdog. Grab the points here and be ecstatic if you get Arizona with the number straying about the touchdown point. The Saints have played two very close games versus divisional opponents and I fully expect a bit of a letdown here with Arizona coming into tow. This game is likely to be a lot closer than many think

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Terron ChapmanFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Diego Chargers vs. Tennessee TitansFOR SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Tennessee Titans -3FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The NFL schedule-makers didn’t do the San Diego Chargers any favors to start the season. After traveling east for an early start time with the fast-paced Philadelphia Eagles and coming out victorious, 33-30, the Chargers will have to regroup and travel east for the second time in as many weeks. This time, a physical Tennessee Titans team awaits them looking to bounce back in their home opener from a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Houston Texans, 30-24.
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It’s hard to point the finger at one player for a loss, but Jake Locker’s accuracy – or lack thereof – continues to haunt the Titans. Tennessee overcame Locker’s inaccuracy against the Steelers in Week one but they weren’t able to do so Sunday. Locker’s inability to be accurate on third downs in most concerning. He was just 6-for-11 for 42 yards, a TD and a fumble on third down. Only three completions converted a third down. It’s early, but the Titans rank last in the league in passing (123y/gm). If they expect to contend, Locker will have to be more consistent. Good news for him and the Titans faithful is the Chargers and their porous pass defense is on deck. The Chargers rank 31st in the league allowing 9.4 yards per pass attempt. There should be plenty of opportunities for Locker to connect on Sunday, the question is will he?
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The Chargers shouldn’t be taken lightly after blowing a 21-point lead against the Texans then following it up with bounce back win against Philadelphia. Phillip Rivers has been kept upright thus far as the o-line has allowed just two sacks. They’ll face another test Sunday against a Titans team that’s registered seven sacks so far. The Chargers face tough task traveling east back-to-back weeks and to compound things, they’ll be facing a Titans team playing their home opener at LP Field, so you can expect emotions to run high.
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The Chargers have won nine straight in the series. In fact, the Titans haven’t beaten the Chargers since relocating from Houston to Nashville (8-0) and that includes a 38-10 beat down last season. However, this is tough spot for the visitor and we like the Titans chances of putting an end to that streak. Lay the points with the host at your sportsbook.

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Brandon ShivelyFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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St. Louis vs. DallasFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Over 47FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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If the Rams had a legit running game, then they might be playoff contenders as they have opened up their passing game nicely in the first two weeks. Sure, they lost to Atlanta 31-24, but they were only outyarded 357-352. The speedsters Pettis and Austin were targeted 23 times in the game and they accounted for all 3 of Bradford's TD passes. So needless to say, they will test the Cowboy's secondary this afternoon. The Rams are 4th in the NFL in passing yards while we saw the Cowboys get lit up by Eli in week 1. A lot of those yards were garbage yards, but we feel the Rams will score today with little resistance. The Rams are 5-1 OVER the L4Y when the total is 46 or higher. We think that the Dallas defense is still a work in progress with the hiring of DC Monte Kiffin who had been the DC at USC with his son. We saw USC's defense regress in 201002012 and believe it might be time for Kiffin to hang his shoes up. Romo has weapons with Dez Bryant and we already saw Fitzgerald have a field day on the smaller cornerbacks of Saint Louis. There is only one play on this game and that is the OVER

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Jesse SchuleFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Detroit vs. WashingtonFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: OverFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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“We have a team that you’re going to be proud of,” Shanahan said. “They have set the expectations: anything short of a Super Bowl is a failure.”
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This was a comment from the Redskins coach back in August, but after an 0-2 start to the season, Shanahan might be fortunate if he his team can even compete for a playoff spot.
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The Redskins defense was ranked the worst in the NFL against the pass in 2012, and they've been lit up for a combined 71 points in consecutive losses in the first two weeks of the 2013 season.
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With the offensive juggernaut that is the Detroit Lions coming to town this week, the Skins are gonna be hard pressed to turn things around.
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The Lions were far more dangerous on offense with a healthy Reggie Bush in a 34-24 victory over Minnesota in Week 1. Bush led the team with 101 yards on four catches, and another 90 yards on the ground. He missed the second half of last week's loss to Arizona with a knee injury, but an MRI shows no structural damage and he could be ready to go on Sunday.
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Megatron had six receptions for 116 yards and a pair of TDs in Arizona, and he's gonna be a handful for this woeful Washington secondary.
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The Lions defense hasn't exactly been watertight either, so I wouldn't expect a one-sided game, the home team should get it's fair share of points as well.

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Ben BurnsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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New York vs. CarolinaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: CarolinaFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The general feeling about the Giants seems to be: "... they always start slowly; they'll be OK ..."
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However, I'm not so sure that's the case this season.
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True, the Giants are going to be extremely hungry to avoid falling to 0-3. The same can be said for the Panthers though, another team which can ill afford another loss.
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Added motivation for the Panthers stems from the fact that the Giants hammered them here last season.
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The Giants have some issues on their offensive line. Coughlin acknowledged as much: ""We're certainly not knocking them back off the ball."
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While they're having real trouble running the ball, the Giants have also given up more passing yards (390.5 per game) and more points (38.5 per game) than any other team. Part of that can be attributed to the fact that they had to face Peyton Manning last week - but it also stems from the fact that they've been unable to consistently get pressure on opposing QBs.
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Meanwhile, Eli has been intercepted seven times.
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I think the Giants' problems may prove to be a little bigger than most believe. I also think that the Panthers are likely a little better than a lot of people probably realize. That said, with the pointspread essentially a non-factor, the home team looks worthy of consideration.

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Bryan PowerFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Green Bay vs. CincinnatiFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Green BayFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Both teams here rebounded nicely from Week 1 defeats with double digit victories in Week 2.  But the Packers win was far more convincing than the Bengals and they have Aaron Rodgers.  I think that will be the big difference Sunday for Green Bay, who we are still able to get laying less than a field goal at some shops.......
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I don't think most people realize that overall Cincinnati is probably a better team than Green Bay, at least when you break the two teams down position by position.  The Bengals certainly have a stronger defense.  On offense, they have WR AJ Green.  But the one position the Packers have a major advantage at is the most important of all and that's quarterback.  If you put Aaron Rodgers on Cincinnati, I think you'd have a 14-2 team that would rip through the AFC, yes even Peyton Manning and the Broncos.  I think the discrepancy at QB w/ Rodgers over Andy Dalton is enough to carry the road team to a win and cover here.
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Rodgers was at his best last week vs Washington, throwing for 480 yards and four touchdowns, completing 32 of 48 passes.  Green Bay led 38-7 entering the fourth quarter.  Meanwhile, Cincinnati struggled to get by a bad Pittsburgh team at home, winning only 20-10.  It is clear that Dalton is the weak link of the Bengals team.  They probably should have won by more.  The short week doesn't help Cincy here either.  There was no shame in the Packers losing at San Francisco in Week 1.  They are a little bit better at this point than the Bengals.

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Sean HiggsFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos    
Play: Oakland Raiders +15½FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Yes, you read that right. We are backing the Raiders here. Now, I usually try to break up my article in why I like 1 team and not the other. But for this match-up, we are going to have a pot-luck of information bouncing off one another.
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So we are taking Oak-Town here. Believe it or not, the Raiders are actually 7-1 ATS last 8 trips to Denver. The road team has covered 8 of the last 10 in the series. So we have the mighty Broncos, right now probably everyone’s, along with Seattle, the teams to be in the Super Bowl.
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Denver off a cross-country beat down of the New York Giants and Manning’s younger brother Eli. That win on the heels of Peyton’s 7 touchdown opening night. No bones about it, this Broncos team can score in bunches. I will just put it out there that I was on both the Ravens and the Giants. I will doggy-up again here with Oakland.
So the Raiders trot out Terrell Pryor at QB. The kid was respectable on the road in Indy and at home vs the Jaguars. I get that both of those teams aren’t in Denver’s league. I can hear the Broncos backers right now. The defense picked off 2 Super Bowl MVP Quarterbacks Flacco and Manning 6 times! What are they going to against this kid!
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Denver is averaging 45ppg so far this year. And yes, they should be able to dominate the Raiders here. But I like to think outside the box. And I will grab a big double digit division dog nearly every step of the way. I said in my early analysis of Denver and I will say it again. I think the defense is a bit weaker than last year. Teams can score on them. They can’t count on 3 turnovers a game and punt returns for TDs every week.
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Two plus touch-downs is a nice chunk of points to start with. I will grab the OAKLAND RAIDERS and the +15.5 as of this writing.

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Bill Biles

Lions/Redskins Over 49

The Redskins have not been able to stop anyone on offense, and have scored tons of points in garbage time. I expect both teams to put up the points in this one and the over to hit

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Jamie TursiniFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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San Diego Chargers vs. Tennessee TitansSERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Tennessee Titans -3FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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This is a great spot to go against the Chargers. They are in perfect position for a letdown. Off of Monday night's collapse in Week 1. Then travel back east on a short week and beat the Eagles (as 7 point dogs). Classic "letdown" spot without question going on the road again. They will have little to no emotion for this one. Lay the points.

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Stephen NoverFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Lions / Redskins Under 49FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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If Robert Griffin III and Reggie Bush were both healthy, I wouldn't consider going under the total. But they aren't.
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Griffin is working his way back into shape after missing the entire offseason and preseason following knee surgery. He has yet to display the running skills he had before the injury. Bush isn't likely to play greatly reducing the Lions' offense. If he does play, he won't be at 100 percent.
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Both Griffin and the Lions offense are impacted by this game being played on grass. Griffin's lifetime quarterback percentage is down 20 points when playing on grass as opposed to artificial turf. The Lions are a carpet team. They were held to 21 at Arizona last week. The Lions are averaging just 17 points during their past three grass contests.
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Neither team has good field goal kickers either. The Redskins are going with backup John Potter, who missed his only field goal try in the NFL last week. Lions kicker David Akers was horrible with San Francisco last year and he's been bad, too, with the Lions. He just may be washed up.
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The Redskins' defense is better than perceived. The Redskins faced the Eagles in Week 1 and were caught flatfooted as other teams will be when they take on Philadelphia's fast break offense. Than the Redskins had to play the Packers in Green Bay last week. The Packers may have the best offense in football.
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Washington's defense is healthier than what it was last year. The Lions are not intimidating away from home, especially when playing on grass and not having a healthy Bush.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, September 22

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New York Giants at Carolina PanthersFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
Play: New York Giants +1FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Something has to give when the Giants travel south to take on the Carolina Panthers. Both teams have started the season 0-2, getting there in different ways. The Giants have been torched defensively in two losses to the Cowboys and Broncos, while the Panthers suffered a brutal defeat last week on the last play of the game to the Bills. Eli Manning has struggled to start the season, throwing 5 TD’s and 7 INT’s. Part of those problems come from a lack of any type of running game, forcing the Giants to be completely one-dimensional. We think the signing of Brandon Jacobs will help the Giants a little more this week and open up some more opportunities in the passing game. This game basically comes down to the fact that we will take Manning everyday over Cam Newton, and Coughlin everyday over Ron Rivera. Backs to the wall, the Giants get it done on the road.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, September 22

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St. Louis (+4) over DallasFOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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St. Louis is a great dog play, and this is the second straight week that they are getting points. I loved Atlanta last week due to the fact that they were coming home off a difficult loss the weekend before. If it wasn't for that fact I would have been all over the Rams. St. Louis is an extremely difficult matchup for the Cowboys as their defensive front can get all over Tony Romo, causing him to rush throws and turn the ball over. Offensively they will also be able to match the Cowboys point for point with their new, open offensive attack. The Rams are 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games and 6-2 ATS in their last eight games following a S.U. Loss. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are a measly 2-10 ATS in their last 12 home games and 7-20-1 ATS in their last 28 against the NFC.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, September 22

SPORTS WAGERSFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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SURVIVOR PICK Week 3FOR FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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SAN FRANCISCO over IndianapolisFREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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There are many games to choose from this week that includes Seattle over whatever that other team is, New England over Tampa Bay, San Fran over Indianapolis, New Orleans over Arizona and Denver over Oakland. Many poolies may also step out a bit and take Minnesota to beat Cleveland because the Brownies are without Brandon Weeden and just traded Trent Richardson to the Colts in an in-season impact trade that rarely occurs. Of those games, Seattle is obviously not going to lose but it would be a shame to use up the Seahawks against the Jag-Wires. Of the rest of the games, we’re most comfortable with San Francisco because of that horrible display we saw from them last Sunday night
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The Battle of the West wasn't much of a fight when the 49ers went into Seattle and got buried. This was a 49er team that looked nothing like the team that defeated the Packers in Week 1. San Fran was a frustrated team that played completely out of character in the second half when they started taking dumb penalties, committing personal fouls and turning the ball over. However, San Fran’s defense was nothing less than brilliant in the first half when Seattle kept getting great field position and could not score. Count on a much different 49ers team on offense than the one that embarrassed their coach last week.
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Indianapolis has a good QB in Andrew Luck. After him, the talent on both sides of the ball is thin. The Colts have played two home games thus far and they’re very fortunate not to be 0-2 after a real scare in Week 1 by the Raiders. So while the Colts have played Oakland and Miami, the 49ers are much more battle tested having already battled Green Bay and Seattle. Had San Fran played a great game and lost last week or even won outright, we would not be playing them here. However, that heartless effort assures us we’ll get a full effort this week and that’s going to be more than enough to defeat this average guest.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, September 22

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Lions (1-1) at Redskins (0-2)FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Give the Redskins a break. They were the first team to face Chip Kelly’s newfangled offence and they fell too far behind before figuring it out. Last week, the ’Skins had to trip up to Lambeau on a short week to face a dangerous 0-1 Packers squad that was hungry to get to .500. As a result of Washington’s 0-2 start, we get a discounted price here. The Lions are given too much respect by the oddsmakers. Once again, they proved how unreliable they are, losing as chalk in Arizona last week. Sure, they have some firepower, but their cons outweigh their pros. Detroit still takes too many dumb penalties (19 in two games), many of them costly. That falls on the coach, who remains a nitwit. The Lions’ defence is a sieve. Washington is a better team than it has shown. Detroit is the same 4-12 squad from a year ago, one that has covered once in its past nine on grass. Spot the small number. TAKING: REDSKINS –1½
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Bills (1-1) at Jets (1-1)FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Did you hear the one about the Jets being favoured? This is the NFL and any team can win on a given day. But being expected to win when you’re one of the weaker teams in the league is absurd. This Jets team has an offence that makes soccer seem exciting. New York has rushed for less than 70 yards in each game while passing for just 235 yards per contest. Both teams will start rookie quarterbacks, but early returns clearly have Buffalo’s EJ Manuel ahead of Jets neophyte Geno Smith. Manuel has a 95.9 passer rating, with three touchdowns and one interception, while Smith has produced an uninspiring 55.2 rating with one touchdown and four intercepts. Maybe the Jets do employ the better defence, but Buffalo’s stop unit appears to be getting stronger and definitely more confident. Offensively, the Bills have playmakers and, should the visitor ever get the lead, the Jets are not built for comebacks or, more importantly, spotting points. TAKING: BILLS +2½
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Colts (1-1) at 49ers (1-1)FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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It’s not often you see us spotting double-digits in this space, but this one is irresistible. Truth is, the Colts are imposters. We have no doubt that Andrew Luck will continue to ascend as a premier quarterback in this league. The trouble is a weak supporting cast. The Colts are awful defensively. They allow more than they score. As a double-digit favourite to the lowly Raiders, they barely slipped by. That was followed by a loss to the Dolphins. Both of those games were on home turf. Indianapolis does not travel well, having lost five road games by 10 or more last year. Now this suspect squad must head out to play a motivated 49ers bunch, coming off an embarrassing loss on national TV. The Niners are tough as nails at this park, losing just once here last season and covering both times they were listed in this price range. With Indy’s pass protection going from bad to worse, expect the 49ers to wreak havoc in the Colts’ backfield. TAKING: 49ERS –10
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Chargers (1-1) at Titans (1-1)FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Last year’s rag-tag Chargers hammered the Titans by a 38-10 count. Is this year’s Tennessee team improved enough to now be giving away points to a San Diego squad that seems to have elevated its game? We hardly think so. While Tennessee’s defence may be adequate, the offence is ridiculously pedestrian. QB Jake Locker has passed for a measly 273 combined in two games while “prized” running back Chris Johnson is averaging a puny 3.3 yards per carry and has yet to score a touchdown. Chargers have battled against two good offences and QB Philip Rivers appears to have his groove back. TAKING: CHARGERS +3
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Browns (0-2) at Vikings (0-2)FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The Browns traded what many thought was their best offensive players this week and the resulting departure of Trent Richardson has caused this number to rise. That works for us. Teams that are 0-2 against the spread and then are asked to win by a touchdown has been a losing proposition over the years. If nothing else, the Browns can play defence. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out stacking eight in the box to stop Vikings star RB Adrian Peterson and forcing QB Christian Ponder to go skyward to beat you. If the Browns were taking 6½ to the Ravens, should they be taking the same to this opponent? TAKING: BROWNS +6½
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Buccaneers (0-2) at Patriots (2-0)FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The Bucs are a mess. There is friction between players and coaches, while an 0-2 start doesn’t help. Both games could have easily been won. They are the most penalized team in the NFL with 23 fouls and counting. However, the Patriots have some issues of their own. Different issues, but issues nonetheless. Unlike a head cold, what ails New England isn’t likely to pass any time soon. QB Tom Brady has performed magic throughout his illustrious career, but he is clearly frustrated with an inexperienced and underperforming group of receivers. Until that changes, we’ll fade the Pats in this price range. TAKING: BUCCANEERS +7
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Rams (1-1) at Cowboys (1-1)FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Even though the Cowboys have covered both of their games thus far, they can’t be trusted. They are disorderly and poorly coached. A team that claimed they wanted a more balanced attack and was committed to the run, Dallas ran 16 times last week compared to 49 drop backs in last week’s loss to the Chiefs. The ’Boys failed to even attempt a running play in the fourth quarter. Can’t be trusted. Dallas has covered just four of its past 17 games at home. St. Louis is young, but athletic, and should have some fun chasing QB Tony Romo around. This one stays close. TAKING: RAMS +3½
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Texans (2-0) at Ravens (1-1)FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Houston needed overtime to knock off the visiting Titans last week prior to mustering up a huge second half in its opener to take down the Chargers. We’re not sure if that early resume qualifies them to be favoured when visiting the world champions. With an array of talent littered throughout their roster, the Texans still don’t scare anyone. Baltimore will not lack motivation for this one as Houston handed them a most humiliating 43-13 thrashing in Texas last season. The Ravens are well-coached and they are quickly adapting to the personnel changes that have fallen upon them. It’s a tough one, but the home side gets the nod. TAKING: RAVENS +2½
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Cardinals (1-1) at Saints (2-0)FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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If you haven’t looked, there have been a lot of close games in the NFL in the early going. If you’re going to give away a converted touchdown these days, you’d better be quite confident in the disparity between the two teams. While the Saints may be the more publicized team, Arizona is not the weak group that we’ve grown accustomed to the past few seasons. This matchup could work well for the Cardinals as their feisty and talented secondary can keep this one within a score. We can’t ignore New Orleans’ stellar home record, but we’ve got enough wiggle room to endorse the doggie. TAKING: CARDINALS +7
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Green Bay (1-1) at Cincinnati (1-1)FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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If you aren’t familiar with the host side, let us introduce you: Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Cincinnati Bengals. They beat the teams they are supposed to beat. They lose to everyone else. It’s been that way for a while now and we don’t see it changing any time soon. The Packers are an upper-tier team, led by an MVP quarterback. Despite losing, Green Bay fared well in San Francisco before coming home to pummel the Redskins. They’ll now have the pleasure of not facing a read-option quarterback and, given that the defences are nearly equal, we’d much rather back Aaron Rodgers than counterpart Andy Dalton. TAKING: PACKERS –2½
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N.Y. Giants (0-2) at Panthers (0-2)FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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One is a rock, the other a hard place. One of these teams will end the day at 0-3. While the Panthers have found distinct ways to lose, the Giants have simply not performed well. The G-men have suffered from turnover-itis but, additionally, the defence is not the daunting unit that’s been its trademark. With Jason Pierre-Paul still not right after back surgery, the Giants have just five sacks in their last seven games dating back to last November. The defence as a whole seems to be a step behind. That should work well for the Panthers, who employ the first read-option QB that New York will see. TAKING: PANTHERS –1
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Falcons (1-1) at Dolphins (2-0)FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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There’s nothing fishy about these Dolphins. Perhaps they haven’t faced the toughest competition so far, but winning both games on the road to open the year has the Dolphins back on the football map. Now they head home to face an Atlanta team that will limp into Sun Life stadium to face a physical Miami bunch. The Falcons are soft at the best of times. Two important defensive players were put on IR this week as LB Sean Witherspoon and DE Kroy Biermann are both gone. Atlanta also lost starting RB Steven Jackson and FB Bradie Ewing. A solid Miami team is being sold short here and we’ll take advantage. TAKING: DOLPHINS -2
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Jaguars (0-2) at Seahawks (2-0)FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Since the mid-’80s, only nine teams have been favoured by 19 points or more. The underdogs are typically bottom-dwelling teams with little to no appeal. Yet they’ve managed to cover eight of the past nine times they were lined up this way. Every stat, tangible and intangible in the football world, acknowledges the Seahawks as the far superior team. However, this is a game of emotion and no matter what a player’s brain tells them, there is a subconscious component that tends to let down against very inferior opponents. After smacking out its biggest rival last week, Seattle could fall victim. We’ll close our eyes and plug our noses in support of this unattractive mutt. TAKING: JAGUARS +19
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Bears (2-0) at Steelers (0-2)FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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It’s not often that the Pirates are the talk of Pittsburgh this time of year. With the Steelers not up to their usual standards, their adoring public are suddenly down on them. That’s a good time for us to step in. Spotting seven points just a week ago at home, Pittsburgh is now receiving a few points on its own field. A winless start to the season has aided the unexpected pointspread, but we’re not sure it’s warranted. The Bears are undefeated, but could easily be 0-2 after squeezing out a couple of fortunate wins. Pittsburgh’s offence may get a big boost with TE Heath Miller returning to action. TAKING: STEELERS +2½
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Raiders (0-2) at Broncos (2-0)FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Bookies are not in the business of giving away money. While there aren’t many statistical reasons for backing the Raiders here, there are variables that make it palatable. Oakland can play some defence. The team gets up for this hated division rival. It helps Oakland’s cause that the Broncos keep losing key guys, most notably LT Ryan Clady this week, whose job it is to protect Denver’s most precious possession. Denver still lacks a running game and the defensive will face its first running quarterback of the year. The Raiders have a long way to go, but with their positive attitude and appearing in their only prime-timer of the year, they can find a way to cover. TAKING: RAIDERS +14½

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, September 22

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Detroit (+2) 26 WASHINGTON 21FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Lions come into this game off of a 25-21 loss to the Cardinals in Arizona that was a pretty evenly matched game statistically. Detroit is a talented team but at times they suffer from a lack of discipline and poor coaching, and as a result they tend to make foolish mistakes. Last week demonstrated a prime example as they missed multiple makeable field goals and had 8 penalties for 101 yards in the 4 point loss. Reggie Bush was banged up and the Lions run game was ineffective with just 49 yards on 20 carries so they had to rely on their passing game, which is very good when their receivers hold onto the ball.
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The Redskins played another poor first half last week and trailed 24-0 at halftime to the Packers before losing 38-20. So far this year the Redskins have been outscored 50-0 (their 7 points in the Eagles game was the result of a defensive TD) in the first half in their two games combined. They have played better in the second half in both games but that has been against defenses that were protecting large leads. When the game has been in its early competitive stages, the Redskins have not shown up. Their offense has been limited and their defense has played terribly. They have played two tough games (one versus Chip Kelly’s newly unveiled offense and the next in Green Bay against one of the best teams in the league off of a loss) but their lack of competitiveness in the first half is telling.
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I don’t like the matchups here for the Redskins and my numbers show advantages across the board for the Lions. My ratings favor the Lions in this game by around 3.5 points and I have several systems that play on the Lions here (a 239-143 situation that plays on the Lions and a separate negative 160-259 situation that plays against the Redskins.) Dr. Bob has also been nice enough to supply a couple of other situations (109-43-1 and 68-23-3) that support the Lions. The Redskins have problems in the secondary with several young players attempting to get acclimated to the speed and talent at this level and they face a very good passing game here with the best receiver in the NFL in Calvin Johnson. I am aware that the Lions face divisional foes the next two weeks but coming off a loss I expect that they will be focused here. I like the Lions.
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Arizona (+7) 22 NEW ORLEANS 28FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Cardinals have been competitive so far this season in losing a close game to the Rams in St. Louis and then beating an improved Lions team in Arizona last week. Defensively, they have been very difficult to run against as they have allowed an average of just 58 yards per game at 2.6 yards per carry. The Saints are not a particularly strong running team (78 yards at 3.3 YPC) so far this year and making a team become one-dimensional (as the Cardinals may here) is generally not a good thing. What has been surprising to me so far is how well the Saints defense has played the pass. While their run defense has not been good (allowing 124 yards per game at 5.4 yards per carry), their pass defense has limited the Falcons and the Bucs to an average of just 196 yards at 6.1 yards per pass.
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My ratings favor the Saints here by 6.5 points with good passing advantages on both sides offensively. There is some concern for the Cardinals as their most explosive offensive weapon (Larry Fitzgerald) has been hobbled with a hamstring injury and had to pull himself out of the game in the third quarter last week. If he can’t go or if he is limited in any way it is a major issue for the Cardinals. This is also a 10AM PST start for the Cardinals and while I’m not sure exactly how big of a deal that is, it certainly doesn’t help. I do have a 637-462-40 situation that plays on the Cardinals here, but this game to me is really a toss-up so I will lean with the Cardinals based on the situation and the slight line difference.
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St. Louis (+3.5) 26 DALLAS 24FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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St. Louis comes into this game off of a 31-24 loss to the Falcons in a game that they made close late, after trailing 24-3 at halftime. The Rams outgained Atlanta overall 421 yards at 5.8 yards per play to 394 yards at 6.6 yards per play but after reviewing the game the Rams seemed to be a bit outclassed in this spot. Overall the Rams appear to be about an average team as they beat the Cardinals at home in Week 1 as expected and lost to the Falcons in Atlanta in Week 2 as expected. After the first two games, they are averaging 5.83 yards per play and giving up 6.02 yards per play. Their rush offense and their pass defense has not been good but their pass offense and their rush defense has.
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The Cowboys are now 1-1 after a 17-16 loss to the Chiefs in Kansas City in a game where they just couldn’t make the big play when they needed it as they were just 3-11 on third down. They were terrible running the ball with just 38 yards on 15 carries, and they were not good defending the run as they Chiefs gained 114 yards on 25 carries for 4.6 yards per rush. They fumbled the ball away twice while the Chiefs committed no turnovers in the game. So far on the season the Cowboys appear to be a below average team from the line of scrimmage, averaging just 4.89 yards per play offensively while giving up 6.44 yards per play on defense.
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My ratings on this game favor the Cowboys by a point (not accounting for situations) and matchup analysis suggests offensive passing game advantages for both offenses with limited rushing success. The Rams do qualify in a 637-462-40 situation and benefit from a negative 160-259-16 situation that plays against the Cowboys here. Dr. Bob has also passed along a couple of other situations that favor the Rams here (37-15, 109-43-1 and an 8-35-2 system that plays against the Cowboys). I like the Rams plus the points.
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Tampa Bay (+7) 20 NEW ENGLAND 24FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Bucs enter this game off of a home loss to the Saints that they let slip away. After gaining the lead 14-13 in the 4th quarter on a Mason Foster 85 yard interception return for a TD, the Bucs missed a field goal with 1:06 remaining and gave the ball back to Drew Brees with 1:06 left on the clock and no timeouts. He quickly drove the Saints 54 yards and for the second week in a row the Bucs lose on a last second game winning FG. The Bucs passing offense was not good as Josh Freeman completed 9 of 22 passes for 113 yards, but RB Doug Martin played well and ran for 144 yards. The Bucs defense did its part in holding the Saints to 5.4 yards per play, sacking Brees four times and intercepting him twice.
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New England played a poor game at home against the Jets but came away with a 13-10 victory as Geno Smith threw 3 fourth quarter interceptions which snuffed out several Jets scoring opportunities. Defensively, the Jets played well in shutting down the Patriots from the line of scrimmage and held them overall to just 234 yards and 3.7 yards per play. The same can be said for the Patriots as they sacked Smith four times and were +4 in turnover differential, holding the Jets to 318 total yards and 4.5 yards per play.
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These teams spent time together in training camp, holding three joint practices and facing each other in the second preseason game so each team knows their opponents personnel well. With the Bucs coming off two last second losses and lots of talk swirling about the QB and the coach, the Bucs could be distracted here. However, this is not the same Patriots team we are used to seeing and the Buccaneers are 10 seconds away from being 2-0. My ratings have this game lined around 4 so I see some line value here with Tampa Bay. I don’t have any situations that apply to this game so based on the ratings I will lean with the Bucs.
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Cleveland (+6) 19 MINNESOTA 23FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Browns are a team with a new QB this week as Brian Hoyer takes over for the injured and ineffective Brandon Weeden. New Browns GM Michael Lombardi likes Hoyer and has been impressed with him since his preseason showings in New England so it is not a surprise to me that he leapfrogged Jason Campbell to get the start. I’m not sure that he will give up the job either if he plays well. The Browns offense so far this year has been bad, averaging just 275 yards per game at 4.1 yards per play and only 8 points per game. Defensively, however, they have actually played pretty well, holding opponents to 288 total yards and 4.4 yards per play. They have been particularly good up front as they have limited their opponents to just 62 rushing yards per game at 2.3 yards per rush. They also get playmaking 2nd year WR Josh Gordon back this week after he served a 2 game suspension to start the season to hopefully add a vertical stretch element to their offense.
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Minnesota comes into this game off of a tough 31-30 loss to division rival Chicago in a game that they found themselves with the lead late but just couldn’t hold on. Christian Ponder played marginally better than last week, but the Vikings had to settle for two field goals in the red zone late in the game that could have made a difference in the outcome. They also benefitted from defensive and special teams touchdowns as once again the passing offense fell short.
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I don’t have any situations on this game and my ratings only favor the Vikings by about 3.5 points so there appears to be some value on the Browns. I don’t know how Hoyer will play but I expect him to be an upgrade over Brandon Weeden, who I do not have rated very highly. I’m also not sure what the effect of trading RB Trent Richardson is on the psyche of the team, as it may offer the perception from management that they are not making decisions in the best interest of the team to win this season. No real strong feeling on this one but I will lean with the Browns plus the points based on my ratings.
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Green Bay (-3) 26 CINCINNATI 22FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Packers come into this game after beating the Redskins 38-20 last week at Lambeau in a game that they led 24-0 at halftime. They dominated from the start and for the first time in NFL history a team had a 450 yard passer and a 125 yard rusher in the same game. Overall, they rolled up 583 total yards at 8.7 yards per play while giving up 423 yards at 7.4 yards per play to the Redskins, although much of the Redskins total was gained in the second half after they trailed by three scores.
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Cincinnati enters this contest off of a big Monday Night Football win versus division rival Pittsburgh 20-10. The Bengals outgained the Steelers 407 to 278 total yards while limiting the Steelers rushing attack to just 44 yards at 2.8 yards per carry. The also had both a turnover differential and sack differential of +2. So far this season, the Bengals have played excellent rush defense in holding opponents to an average of 64 yards per game and 3.0 yards per carry.
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The Packers should be focused on this game as they come off of an easy home win last week and look forward to a bye next week while the Bengals are in a divisional sandwich as they beat the Steelers on MNF last week and next head to Cleveland to play the Browns. My ratings have the Packers favored here by about four points but they have been banged up in the defensive backfield and have given up an NFL worst 8.8 yards per pass. I don’t have any situations that apply here but based on the ratings difference and the spot, I lean with the Packers minus the small number.
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San Diego (+3) 23 TENNESSEE 24FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Chargers enter this contest off of a 33-30 win in Philadelphia against the Eagles as a 7.5 point dog. It was the first of two 10AM PST start time games for the Chargers in back to back weeks. Offenses on both sides dominated with a combined 1051 yards from scrimmage and 63 points scored as the Chargers had the ball last and scored on a 46 yard field goal to win it with 7 seconds left. As fast as the Eagles were on offense (59 plays in 19:43), the Chargers controlled the clock on sustained drives (77 plays in 40:17) and wore down the Eagles defense. Rivers completed 12 of 13 passes on third down and converted 8 of those into first downs. Defensively, the Chargers were burned multiple times by DeSean Jackson (9 catches for 193 yards) and had several long pass play near misses.
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Tennessee comes off of a loss in overtime to the Texans in a game where they were outgained by nearly 200 yards (452 to 248) and held to 3.7 yards per play. Jack Locker was not very good overall in completing 17 of 30 passes for 129 yards and just 3.8 yards per pass while being sacked four times. However, to his credit he did put together an impressive 99 yard TD drive to put the Titans in the lead late in the game before losing in OT. After a solid showing in Week 1, the Titans run defense was beaten badly by the Texans ground game as they racked up 172 yards at 6.1 yards per carry.
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My ratings favor the Titans in this game by around 2.5 points while matchup analysis predicts a good passing advantage for the Chargers. Dr. Bob has passed along a couple of situations that apply to this game that favor the Chargers that are 68-23-3 and 47-17-2 and as a result I will lean with the Chargers.
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Houston (-2.5) 26 BALTIMORE 20FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Texans enter this contest 2-0 after escaping last week with a 30-24 OT victory against division rival Tennessee. It was a game won decisively from a statistical perspective once again although the scoreboard reflects a much closer type game. This is very similar to what happened in Week 1 against the Chargers, where the stat line was one sided but the final score was close. In fact, the Texans enter this game with the 2nd largest positive yards per play differential in the league through the first two games (they average 5.9 YPPL and average giving up 4.3 YPPL). So, although the final scores were close in both games, from the line of scrimmage this team has been excellent and may be a bit undervalued as a result.
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Baltimore overcame a sloppy and poorly played first half last week against the Browns where they trailed 6-0 at halftime to eventually win at home 14-6. They were not overly impressive in doing it, however, as they averaged only 4.4 yards per play for 299 total yards while giving up 259 yards at 4.2 yards per play to the Browns. The defense played well overall in registering five sacks and hitting Brandon Weeden 12 times while holding the Browns rushing attack to just 65 yards at 3.3 yards per carry. Overall, after two games the Ravens are tied for third with the largest negative yards per play differential (they average 4.5 yards per play while giving up 6.0 yards per play).
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The Texans qualify in several situations this week including a 637-462-40 system that plays on them and a negative 160-259 situation that plays against the Ravens. My ratings say that the current number is about right (-2.5) but matchup analysis suggests a significant advantage in the Texans favor offensively when passing the ball. I like the Texans here minus the points.
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MIAMI (-2.5) 25 Atlanta 21FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Dolphins enter this game 2-0 after beating the Colts in Indianapolis in Week 2 (where they were 7-1 last year). Ryan Tannehill played very well and the Miami defense did just enough to keep the Colts out of the end zone on their final drive to preserve the win. Miami rushed the ball better than Week 1 after working on their run game all week and adjusting their zone blocking scheme to better fit their personnel. They are still averaging just 62 yards per game and 2.7 yards per carry on the season but I expect this area to improve. They are passing the ball well averaging 287 yards and 7.2 yards per pass. On defense, they are allowing 5.2 yards per play overall but their run defense took a step back last week after a strong Week 1 as they let the Colts run for 133 yards and 5.1 yards per carry.
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Atlanta comes into this game after a 31-24 home win versus the Rams where they could not generate any rushing offense (37 yards at 2.5 yards per carry), especially after Steven Jackson left with an injury. Outside of Steven Jackson, four other Falcons suffered injury in the game including Asante Samuel, Kroy Biermann, Bradie Ewing and Sean Weatherspoon. With key players injured and vulnerability on the offensive line the Falcons will face a tough test this week against the Dolphins and a strong front seven.
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Both teams play in primetime games next week as the Falcons host the Patriots on Sunday night football and the Dolphins go to New Orleans Monday night. The Falcons are not quite the same on the road as they are 8-13 SU as a dog under Mike Smith and the Dolphins were 5-3 SU last year at home. My ratings and matchup analysis don’t show significant edges here at the current number but there is a 18-55-2 situation the applies which plays against the Falcons. Without a strong opinion either way, I will lean with the Dolphins based on the situation.
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Jacksonville (+19) 12 SEATTLE 30FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Jaguars have been a disaster so far in 2013 and through two games have the largest negative yards per play differential in the league (they average 3.3 YPPL offensively while giving up 5.2 YPPL on defense). Those stats likely won’t improve this week as they face the team with the second largest point differential in the league so far in the Seattle Seahawks. Last week against the Raiders they were dominated at the line of scrimmage as QB Henne was sacked five times while rushing for just 34 yards at 1.8 yards per carry. On defense, they allowed the Raiders to rush for 226 yards at 6.6 yards per carry. They finished the game offensively with only 248 total yards and many of those yards and their only offensive TD came late, after the game was out of reach.
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The Seahawks, meanwhile, asserted themselves as possibly the best team in the NFC last week with a thrashing of the 49ers in Seattle by the score of 29-3. They held the 49ers offense, which appeared to be unstoppable in Week 1, to just 207 total yards at 4.1 yards per play while registering three sacks and five turnovers. The Seahawks defense has played lights out so far this season as they are only averaging giving up 225 total yards at 4.5 yards per play and surrendering 5 points per game!
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This game is obviously a huge mismatch with a deservedly gigantic line. I don’t have any situations that apply to this game and my ratings favor the Seahawks here by 21 points. That being said, I will lean with the Jaguars plus the points as the Seahawks are in a bit of a trap game and I don’t believe they will bring their best effort here. The reason is that the Seahawks are coming off of a big emotional win against their divisional rivals on Sunday night and next week travel to Houston to take on a strong Texans team at 10AM PST. They are also facing their former DC Gus Bradley who is in his first year as HC of the Jaguars. He knows the personnel and schemes well from his days there. I can’t imagine the Seahawks being laser focused here and that is enough for me to lean with the Jags at such a large number.
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Indianapolis (+10) 20 SAN FRANCISCO 28SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Indianapolis is a team that many had overvalued entering 2013 after an 11-5 record and playoff appearance in 2012 where they outplayed their stats. So far this year they have not been impressive in beating the Raiders at home in Week 1 in a game that they could have lost, and then losing last week to the Dolphins at home. They now begin a road trip where they play three of the next four away where they went 4-5 last year (including playoffs), losing by an average of 18 to 28.5.
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The 49ers com off of a beating at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks in a big Sunday night divisional game where they were also embarrassed last season. Their passing offense, which looked very good against the Packers in Week 1, was held completely in check by the best pass defense in the NFL. Overall, they gained just 207 yards at 4.1 yards per play. Defensively they played fairly well themselves as they held the Seahawks offense to 292 total yards and 4.3 yards per play. Their downfall, as is generally the case in lopsided losses, was turnover differential (-4).
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I do have some technical support for the Colts here (153-67-8 and 239-143-8 situations and 37-15 and 26-2-1 situations that Dr. Bob has added) but it’s not enough for me to play against the 49ers in this spot as Jim Harbaugh is 7-0 and 5-2 ATS off a loss. In addition, the loss of RG Donald Thomas (possibly their best offensive lineman) won’t help an already porous offensive line that has had some problems protecting Andrew Luck against a very good San Francisco front seven. There are some interesting subplots to this game as well as the Colts just traded for Browns RB Trent Richardson and he will likely play some. The other is that Indy is quarterbacked by Andrew Luck, who played for Harbaugh at Stanford and so there is familiarity here. Slight lean to the Colts.
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PITTSBURGH (+2.5) 20 Chicago 19FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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Chicago comes into this game off of a late come from behind victory over the division rival Minnesota Vikings in a game that Chicago won despite allowing both a special teams and defensive touchdown. They did, however, benefit from 80 and 78 yard kickoff returns by Devin Hester in the first half. The Bears appear to be improved this year, especially on offense, due in part to an improved offensive line that is giving Cutler more time to throw the ball than what he has been used to in the recent past, although they did not play as well in Week 2 as they did opening day versus the Bengals. Their improvement offensively is demonstrated by that fact that they are averaging 6 yards per play, which is higher than the league average of 5.48.
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The Steelers enter this game 0-2 for the first time since 2002 after losing a divisional matchup on Monday Night Football versus the Bengals 20-10. Entering the game after losing some key players to injury last week, the Steelers struggled versus a good Bengals defense that held them to 278 total yards and only 44 yards rushing. Through the first two games of the season, the Steelers rank 28th in Yards Per Play, averaging only 4.38 and there are already grumblings of dissatisfaction between offensive players and OC Todd Haley. Fortunately, the Steelers still field one of the best defensive teams in football as they rank 6th in Defensive Yards Per Play. The problem has been in the past, and continues to be, that they just don’t generate turnovers on defense as already this year they are -4 in turnover differential.
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The Bears are an improved team here but may be a bit overvalued heading into this game against one of the most consistently good and proud franchises in the NFL. My ratings in this game actually favor the Steelers by about half a point in this spot, and I don’t have any situations that apply to this game. Matchups project a low scoring game with neither offense being able to do much. I lean to the Steelers.
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DENVER (-15) 33 Oakland 17FREE SERVICE PLAYS VISIT THESPREAD.COM
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The Raiders come into this game with a win under their belts as they defeated the mighty Jacksonville Jaguars 19-9 at home last week. The Raiders were dominant in this game and that is evidenced by the divergent rushing numbers exhibited here; 226 yards at 6.6 yards per rush for the Raiders to 34 yards at 1.8 yards per rush for the Jags. The Raiders played the Colts very well in Indy in Week 1 also, and after two weeks have a huge rushing advantage against their opponents thus far. The Raiders are averaging 198 yards rushing at 5.9 yards per rush while giving up just 81 yards rushing at 3.8 yards per rush. Their passing game is still a work in progress as QB Pryor is averaging just 158 yards passing at 5.5 yards per pass.
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Meanwhile, the Broncos look like the cream of the crop as they steamrolled their second consecutive opponent in the 2nd half. After taking a slim 10-9 lead into the break, the Broncos proceeded to score 31 second half points against the Giants (very similar to Week 1 versus the Ravens where they trailed 17-14 at half, then scored 35 2nd half points). Whatever adjustments they are making at halftime seem to be working fairly well. After two games they have the largest positive yards per play differential in the league (they average 6.9 yards per play on offense and give up 4.9 yards per play on defense) while also having the largest positive point differential (averaging around 45 points scored to 25 points against). What makes these stats more impressive is that they were put up against pretty good competition in the Giants and the Super Bowl Champion Ravens and without top CB Champ Bailey and pass rushing maven Von Miller.
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As you might expect, matchup analysis shows significant advantages for the Broncos in every area and my ratings favor them here by about 16 points. The Broncos won last year at home versus the Raiders 37-6 but this is a little bit of a different Raiders team. Their defense appears to be improved and they are rushing the ball and stopping the run fairly well. Denver should be ready to roll in this game as it is at home in primetime on Monday Night Football. I don’t have any situations that apply to this game and don’t have a real strong opinion either way, but based on the modest line difference I will lean with the Broncos minus the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, September 22

Bryan Power

Green Bay vs. Cincinnati
Pick: Green Bay

Both teams here rebounded nicely from Week 1 defeats with double digit victories in Week 2.  But the Packers win was far more convincing than the Bengals and they have Aaron Rodgers.  I think that will be the big difference Sunday for Green Bay, who we are still able to get laying less than a field goal at some shops.......

I don't think most people realize that overall Cincinnati is probably a better team than Green Bay, at least when you break the two teams down position by position.  The Bengals certainly have a stronger defense.  On offense, they have WR AJ Green.  But the one position the Packers have a major advantage at is the most important of all and that's quarterback.  If you put Aaron Rodgers on Cincinnati, I think you'd have a 14-2 team that would rip through the AFC, yes even Peyton Manning and the Broncos.  I think the discrepancy at QB w/ Rodgers over Andy Dalton is enough to carry the road team to a win and cover here.

Rodgers was at his best last week vs Washington, throwing for 480 yards and four touchdowns, completing 32 of 48 passes.  Green Bay led 38-7 entering the fourth quarter.  Meanwhile, Cincinnati struggled to get by a bad Pittsburgh team at home, winning only 20-10.  It is clear that Dalton is the weak link of the Bengals team.  They probably should have won by more.  The short week doesn't help Cincy here either.  There was no shame in the Packers losing at San Francisco in Week 1.  They are a little bit better at this point than the Bengals.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, September 22

Will Rogers

Cleveland vs. Minnesota
Pick: Under

My first two free plays for the NFL season have both been playing 'Under' on the Cleveland Browns. Both plays won rather easily. After scoring only 10 points in an opening week loss to Miami, the Browns managed even less last week vs. the Ravens (six). With the trade of Trent Richardson, things now look even bleaker.

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Browns Tanking? - When we all woke up on Wednesday, Cleveland was probably the second worst team in the league.  By the end of the day, they somehow managed to get worse! It started with the announcement that starting QB Brandon Weeden (thumb) would not play Sunday. Rather than make the logical decision of turning to backup Jason Campbell, a veteran with plenty of starting experience, the team will instead go with third-stringer Brian Hoyer, who makes his just second ever career NFL start.  Things then went from bad to worse as the team dealt RB Trent Richardson to the Colts in exchange for a 1st round draft pick.  For those keeping score at home, the Browns may now be the weakest team in the league at every offensive skill position! At least they have a good defense though!

2. Christian Ponder - There aren't going to be many times when the Vikings have an edge at QB this season, but Week 3 will be one of them.  That's not to compliment Ponder here, but rather it's an indictment of the Browns' current situation.  In two games this season, Ponder already has four interceptions and has thrown for just 463 yards.

3. X-Factor - In Minnesota's 31-30 loss to the Bears last week, there were three non-offensive touchdowns in the game.  Take those away and put them against a foe that's inept offensively and I just don't see many points being scored here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, September 22

Ben Burns

Giants vs. Panthers
Pick: Panthers

The general feeling about the Giants seems to be: "... they always start slowly; they'll be OK ..."

However, I'm not so sure that's the case this season.

True, the Giants are going to be extremely hungry to avoid falling to 0-3. The same can be said for the Panthers though, another team which can ill afford another loss.

Added motivation for the Panthers stems from the fact that the Giants hammered them here last season.

The Giants have some issues on their offensive line. Coughlin acknowledged as much: ""We're certainly not knocking them back off the ball."

While they're having real trouble running the ball, the Giants have also given up more passing yards (390.5 per game) and more points (38.5 per game) than any other team. Part of that can be attributed to the fact that they had to face Peyton Manning last week - but it also stems from the fact that they've been unable to consistently get pressure on opposing QBs.

Meanwhile, Eli has been intercepted seven times.

I think the Giants' problems may prove to be a little bigger than most believe. I also think that the Panthers are likely a little better than a lot of people probably realize. That said, with the pointspread essentially a non-factor, the home team looks worthy of consideration.

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