Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 5

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 5

EZWINNERS

Maryland Terrapins +15

Sid Florida State put forth a lack luster performance last week against Boston College or did they show some holes in this Seminoles team? I expect FSU to be tested by this Maryland team that is flying under the radar. The Golden Eagles pass rush which usually resembles a high school team was able to sack FSU quarterback Jameis Winston four times last week. The Terps have one of the best defensive units in the nation and leads the country in sacks so I expect them to make Winston uncomfortable in this game. The FSU defense that is hyped up to be better than Maryland has struggled to stop the run and allow Boston College to make multiple big plays last week. The Terps offense should be able to run the ball here as well and when the Noles have to load up the box to stop the run Maryland has the speed on the outside to make the pay. Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown can make the deep throws and also has the legs to make things happen. Take the points.


Rice Owls +3

This Tulsa team looks nothing like the Hurricane teams of the past. Tulsa fans are used to seeing a high flying offense that is lighting up the scoreboard but that has not been the case with this team. The Hurricanes have had eratic quarterback play and a this team that used to average almost 35 points per game is averaging 19.5 which is just 104th in the nation. On the defensive side of the ball things are even worse. The young Tulsa defense is being torched for 37.5 points per game which is 112th in the nation. Rice is an under-rated team. The Owls run the ball well on offense where they are 30th in the nation in rushing at 219 yards per game. They should be able to do more of the same against Tulsa and win the time of possesion and wear at an already poor defnese. On the defensive side of the ball the Owls are much improved. The Owls defnese has actually held three out of their last four opponents to season low yardage including Texas A&M. Wrong team is favored, take the points.


Ohio State Buckeyes -7.5

Northwestern is coming off of a bye so they have had two weeks to get ready for this showdown, but I like Ohio State to keep rolling. The Wildcats offense is very good and will score some points. But it should be noted that they have not played a defense that is anywhere near as good as the Buckeyes defense that they will be facing today. The Wildcats have not fared well against good defensive teams as they are just 1-0 against the spread the last ten times they have hosted a team that is allowing 17 points per game or less. On the defensive side of the ball the Wildcats have concerns and I think they are going to have a hard time getting stops. Quarterback Braxton Miller matched a career high with four touchdown passes last week against Wisconsin in his first game back after injury and I expect the Buckeyes offense to continue to roll. Ohio State is 11-6 against the spread under head coach Urban Meyer and I look for them to continue to roll in this game. Lay the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 5

Harry Bondi

BOSTON COLLEGE (-12) over Army

Boston College has proven so far this season that it can take care of the lesser opponents on its schedule (wins over Villanova and Wake Forest), but struggle against the deeper, more talented teams (Southern Cal, Florida State). Army is certainly one of those teams that the Eagles will have a talent edge over and it’s a series that BC has absolutely dominated, winning 24 of the 28 meetings. While we would typically be afraid of the Eagles overlooking Army with a game at Clemson next week, keep in mind that BC blew a double-digit lead to the Cadets last year and dropped a 34-31 decision as a 7-point favorite. In addition, Head Coach Steve Addazio went 2-0 against Army in his two years at Temple by scores of 42-14 and 63-32 so he is very familiar with the Cadets’ option attack. What’s more, Addazio realizes that wins are going to be difficult to come by this season for the Eagles, so games like this one will get full focus. Army has struggled mightily when playing away from home the last three years going 0-11 straight up and 1-10 against the spread and after snapping a three-game losing streak last week, they are primed for a letdown. Lay the points.

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Sean Michaels

Yesterday I gave you a series play on the Tigers against the A's as a comp selection and that's off to a great start after Detroit's 3-2 win the Game One.

Back to football today with a freebie on Baylor (-28') at home against West Virginia.

The Bears are coming off their second September bye and today they open Big 12 play by hosting West Virginia in Waco.

The Mountaineers pulled off a stunning 30-21 upset of Oklahoma State as a 19 1/2-point home dog last Saturday, but they didn't need that shocker to get the Bears' attention. Baylor still remembers last year's 70-63 loss in Morgantown when Geno Smith dissected their defense for eight touchdowns.

Heading into the rematch the Bears are off to a quick 3-0 start as they've hammered Wofford (69-3), Buffalo (70-13) and U.L. Monroe (70-7) in three home outings. Quarterback Bryce Petty has completed 75 percent of his passes with eight TDs and running back Lache Seastrunk continues to power a strong ground game for coach Art Briles' multi-faceted attack.

The Bears simply have too many offensive weapons in their arsenal for the Mountaineers to contend with. They also have extra motivation to avenge last year's humiliating road loss.

3♦ BAYLOR

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Jeff Benton

Your Saturday freebie is the LSU Tigers to bounce-back with a conference road win and cover at Miss State.

LSU lost a tough one last weekend at Georgia, but I fully expect Les Miles' team to handle their business against a Miss State team they have owned. The Bayou Bengals have won 13 in a row straight up versus the Bulldogs, and they have covered in each of the last 3 series meetings, while also covering in 9 of their last 10 visits to Starkville.

Zach Mettenberg did all he could do last week in the Tigers upset bid at Georgia, but it was not his fault the defense allowed a whopping 44 points to UGa. Do not expect the Bulldogs to be able to gouge the Tigers for that many points on Saturday night, as Miss State has been held to 23 points in their 2 games against "quality" foes Oklahoma State and Auburn.

The points have not really been of much help to Dan Mullen's team, as Mississippi State stands at 1-1 this year in the underdog role, and just 1-5 their last 6 when listed as the pup.

The Tigers are in a frisky mood tonight after last week's setback, and the Bulldogs are in their way.

Lay it with LSU.

5♦ LSU

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Craig Davis

Free play of the day today is on the Tampa Bay Rays to even this series with the Red Sox at one game apiece.

So far, the Pirates and Cardinals are tied at one game apiece and the Dodgers and Braves are tied at one game apiece and I believe after today the Rays and Red Sox will go back to Tampa tied with both teams winning one game.

While Matt Moore clearly wasn't the answer on the mound for the Rays, I believe David Price will have enough gas left in the tank from Monday's win vs. Texas to get the job done vs. Boston today.

The Rays had won 10 of 12 before playing one of their worst games of the year, with errors, leaving runners in scoring position, and and horrendous pitching by Matt Moore.

Though today's starter, David Price, hasn't faced the Red Sox in the post-season as a starter, he does have a little experience in that department, and in the regular season he owns them.

Price threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief against the Red Sox as a rookie in 2008, but that's it. In the regular season, Price owns a 10-6 record with a 2.93 ERA in 20 career starts vs. Boston, including a 6-1 record and a miniscule 1.88 ERA in Boston (over 10 games).

Take the Rays to even the series as your free play of the day.

3♦ TAMPA BAY

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Brad Wilton

My free play winner for Saturday will be to back the Georgia Bulldogs as the road favorite as they take on the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville.

Georgia comes into Rocky Top off their rousing win at home over LSU last weekend, while the Volunteers barely got by South Alabama last weekend at Neyland Stadium by a 31-24 count.

The sledding gets a little easier for the Bulldogs this weekend, as UT has already suffered big losses to Oregon and Florida this season, and are simply not up to playing Georgia close for the full 4 quarters. Can they at least cover? Not likely when you consider the Vols are just 4-11 their last 15 lined home games.

Georgia has won the last 3 series meetings, covering in 2 of those 3, and no doubt that the QB matchup between Aaron Murray and Justin Worley is no matchup at all, Murray owning the hands-down edge in this one.

After slugging it out last weekend with LSU, look for Georgia to welcome this step down in competition.

Dawgs minus the road chalk for the win and cover.

3♦ GEORGIA

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Brett Atkins

My free winner for tonight is on the Idaho Vandals, catching an awfully big number from a Fresno State team I think will come in a bit overconfident and that will fall flat in looking past this team.

Do I think a 1-4 independent team can beat an undefeated thorn in the BCS' side? No. But I honestly think Fresno State is going to be looking ahead to... wait for it... its bye week. Yes, the Bulldogs might be far too cocky for their own good, and think to themselves let's just get past Idaho and get some rest before upstart UNLV visits in two weeks.

As good as Fresno State is and can be, it allows the big plays for some reason, and that won't bode well on the road, in a high-altitude venue, against an upset-minded program. The Bulldogs’ defense has allowed almost half of its yards on just 29 plays, while its been on the field for 330 snaps. And even though this isn't necessarily a big-play Idaho team, there wasn't much to expect from a Hawai'i team that scored 34 unanswered points to fall short in a 42-37 loss to Fresno last week.

The Bulldogs traveled to Honolulu last week, returned home from the islands and now are back on the road. I'm sorry, but I'm playing the home pup to stay within the number.

3♦ IDAHO

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Chris Jordan

My free play for you Saturday is on the South Carolina Gamecocks minus the big number against Kentucky, as the Wildcats will be no match against Ol' Ball Coach's troops tonight.

You know who we haven't heard much of this season? The guy with the jaw-dropping, bone-rattling, helmet-removing hits: Jadeveon Clowney, whose highlight hit in last season's bowl win over Michigan is close to being a memory for most, but still etched in opposing coaches minds.

Clowney has just 12 tackles - three for a loss - two sacks and four quarterback hurries this season. They're decent numbers, but they're not Clowney-esque, considering this guy was being touted as a Heisman Trophy candidate. He's even drawn criticism for not playing hard enough this season, as there are some who think he's avoiding injury, knowing he's a top 5 pick in next summer's NFL Draft.

Well, be prepared boys, Kentucky's offensive line has given up the most sacks in the Southeastern Conference with 10 for 70 yards.

Yep, my basis for playing a 3-touchdown favorite relies on a defensive end to step up his game, and continue to bring his offense back on the field by stopping Kentucky's offense. Lay the chalk here.

5♦ SOUTH CAROLINA

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Bryan Leonard

Georgia -10

Too much of an overreaction in this line after the Bulldogs beat LSU last Saturday. This is a team that has gone 7-2 SU on the road the past three seasons with the only losses coming at Clemson and South Carolina. Georgia is averaging a whopping 554 yards per game and that includes contests against Clemson, South Carolina and LSU. Now that's impressive. Aaron Murray is averaging 17.3 yards per completion, well above the 11.9 FBS average. Tennessee is allowing 14.5 yards per pass completion so this could be another record setting day for the Georgia signal caller. Right now leading rusher Todd Gurley is listed as questionable. We don't expect him to play, so when it's announced we expect this line to go down somewhat. So you may want to wait a bit to get this one in. Regardless we are very comfortable with the current 10 point tariff.

While Georgia has already had a bye week this will be the sixth straight week of football for the Volunteers. They were blown out when stepping up in class against Oregon, but have underperformed for most of the year against weaker opposition. Tennessee played relatively well against Florida, but the Gators don't have a competent signal caller. The Volunteers have a weak passing game which is a concern as they will need to trade points with Georgia in this contest to remain competitive. This team has been out gained in 3 of 4 FBS contests and only held a 90 yard advantage last week hosting South Alabama. Even in the contest against FCS Austin Peay the Volunteers couldn't produce a passing yardage edge.

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Kyle Hunter

South Carolina -21

The Kentucky Wildcats are clearly the worst team in the SEC. Kentucky might struggle to win more than a couple games all season. The Wildcats already lost by 9 against Western Kentucky on a neutral field. South Carolina has been winning close games, but those were against teams much better than Kentucky. Here is a great chance for the Gamecocks to run away with a huge win. South Carolina beat Kentucky 54-3 two years at home. It's hard to predict a score like that, but it wouldn't shock me to see the Gamecocks win by 30 plus points here. They will dominate the line of scrimmage all game long. Look for a bigtime win here from the Gamecocks. Take South Carolina.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 5

Anyone have gold sheet late phone service selections?

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 5

Dave Cokin

Missouri vs Vanderbilt
Pick : Missouri

Revenge is an overplayed factor that usually doesn’t rate as much attention as it receives. But there are occasional spots where getting even for a loss the prior season carries significant weight. I see that being the case tonight as Missouri takes on Vanderbilt.

The Tigers hosted the Commodores last season in what was the first ever SEC home game for Missouri. Things looked good early on as the Tigers were in control, when in-game injuries reared their ugly head. Mizzou lost both its QB Franklin and special teams ace Murphy, the backup QB proved to be a disaster, and just like that, a probable victory turned into a very disappointing loss.

Even in that loss, Missouri outgained Vandy by 100 yards and really stuffed the Commodores ground game in the process. I can see that happening again here. Missouri has a terrific ratio on the ground, rumbling for 262 per game while surrendering only 116. I think the Tigers can run it well here, and fully expect them to keep Vandy under its per game average on the ground.

My numbers also favor Missouri. I’ve got this team sitting at #22, while Vandy checks in at #48. Every set I utilize has Missouri winning the game.

Basically, this is one of my favorite types of plays. The data points one way, so does the situation and the betting number is basically a non-factor. It’s a pick the winner, win the bet scenario, and with that being the case, I’ll be backing Missouri tonight.

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Dave Mathews

Stanford vs. Washington
Play: Stanford -7.5

So Washington is 4-0 and they upset Stanford last year at home, 17-13. Do you think Stanford remembers that loss? The difference here is Stanford's offensive line, which is arguably the best int he nation. They put up 55 points last week at Washington State without All-American guard David Yankey, who had to attend a family situation. He's back this week and will help protect QB Kevin Hogan, who has 832 yards with 10 TDs and 3 INTs. Stanford can win by running over you or going over the top with Hogan to wide receiver Troy Montgomery. The Cardinal gets their revenge.

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Carlos Salazar

Northwestern vs. Ohio State
Play: Northwestern +7.5

Carlos says that yes Ohio St is a powerhouse and they have won 17 games in a row along with beating Northwestern in 28 of the past 29 meetings. But this game isn't about the past it's about the numbers and Carlos says they just don't add up for Northwestern to be a 7.5 point underdog. He's taking the points here as the return of Venric Mark will get the cover and a good chance at the win. If you're looking to play Carlos' rated selections pick up a full-season package or single day package today.

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Doug Upstone

Tulane vs. North Texas
Play: Tulane +3.5

On Saturday, PLAY ON, teams like Tulane, rushing for 3.5 to 4.3 yards per carry, against a poor rushing team like North Texas (3 to 3.5 YPC), after allowing 1.5 or less rushing yards per attempt in last game. Since 2004, these teams are 22-3 ATS, 88%, winning by 12.3 points a game.

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Wunderdog

Columbus at New York Islanders
Pick: New York Islanders -119

The New York Islanders made the playoffs last year, and excitement is in the air this season, hoping that this team has finally turned the corner. They opened the season last night with a thrilling overtime win on the road, so they should be feeling a spark from a big win to start the season. Columbus opened last night as well and dropped a 4-3 decision to Calgary, so they might not feeling as good, packing up, and heading on the road. The Blue jackets have been a disgrace on the road where they are 141-320-15 in their last 476. They are also coming up short when playing on no rest, where they are 63-129-4 in their last 196. The Islanders are the better team as a skinny chalk here, so play on New York.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, October 5

SPORTS WAGERS

Klitschko vs Povetkin

Klitschko by TKO, KO or DISQ over Povetkin

This is a battle of Olympic Super heavyweight Gold medalists with Klitschko winning gold in 1996 and Povetkin in 2004. This fight almost happened a few years ago but then trainer Teddy Atlas kept Povetkin out, saying that he wasn’t ready. It turned out to be a good decision because Povetkin’s purse is much bigger now than it would have been before. But are Povetkin’s chances to win any better now? Probably not although they probably are not any worse.

However, we do see a tough fight ahead for Povetkin. Klitschko has gotten to a place where he is extremely difficult to beat. In fact, no one has done so since 2004. Klitschko has always been a phenomenal talent but under the right circumstances, was beatable. Very early on, Klitschko actually abandoned a fight he was winning widely with former football player Ross Puritty in 1998 because of fatigue. Purity was a journeyman that already had 13 losses at the time. That loss tabbed Klitschko with stamina and heart issues that are labeled on him today. After that loss he went on an undefeated run of 5 years until he ran into a fast punching southpaw veteran in Corrie Sanders in 2003. Sanders, a huge underdog, couldn’t miss him with the left cross and dropped him every time he hit him. 3 fights later, Lamon Brewster took everything he had for 4 rounds, until a tired and helpless Klitschko was rescued in the 5th round. But after that loss, Klitschko joined forces with Emmanuel Steward and slowly began to figure out a way to play to his strengths and minimize risk.

Fast forward 9 years later and Klitschko has improved in many ways. First of all, he’s physically stronger than he has ever been. He turned pro at 220 pounds and now he is a lean and ripped 250 pounds with steel cords for veins running up his biceps. He has more muscle density than he has ever had. And through Steward, he has learned to relax in the ring. Before, he was always tight, looking to bang guys out like he couldn’t wait to get the hell out of the ring. But Steward got him to utilize a jack hammer left jab that has allowed him to dictate the tempo in the ring. And with that style, he learned to stay out of wars and exchanges. So the trend of his fights are continual jabbing for the early part of the bout and when an opponent is tenderized enough, Wlad with come in with a heavy artillery of crosses and hooks. When he uses them, his right cross and left hook are equally devastating.

So the old blue print to beat Klitschko was either a sharpshooting puncher or an ultra-tough pressure guy that could tire Klitschko out and once he gets fatigued, that’s when you can jump on him. Many believe Klitschko will live up to the credo once stated by Vince Lombardi; “that fatigue makes a coward out of all men.” There is something to that statement. When you are gassed, you are helpless. No one wants to be there but Klitschko has done such a superb job of restructuring himself and he’s as fit and ready to go as ever.

Let’s look at Povetkin. He’s a strong, sturdy, if slightly undersized heavyweight, with good technique and heavy hands. He seemed to be more of a pressure fighter earlier in his career but hasn’t seemed quite as active as of late. He has a good chin, reasonable skills and decent power. The thing is, I would give today’s Povetkin a chance to beat the 2004 version of Klitschko. But that is not the version he is facing. And while Povetkin hasn’t been beaten yet as a pro, he has had some difficulties. Faded former champ Ruslan Chagaev gave him a tough fight for the vacant WBA title and three fights ago he was fortunate to get the win over cruiserweight champion Marco Huck who challenged for the title. Huck hurt Povetkin several times in the fight and Povetkin was on virtual fumes in the 12th round.

Povetkin is not going to outbox Klitschko from a distance. If he tries that, he will get picked apart. And he is not a speedy fighter where he can land a blow that Klitschko doesn’t see coming. His best chance is to be aggressive, and force a pace on Klitschko that he can’t keep. The problem is that this version of Klitschko will continue to stick a stiff jab into Povetkin’s face and Povetkin is not a defensive wizard. Klitschko’s jab is like a right cross and takes its toll over time. Povetkin will be earnest but he will get hit repeatedly on the way in. He has a chin but if Huck had him reeling, Klitschko can do much worse. After six or seven rounds Povetkin will began to take increased punishment. Soon after that, we see him breaking down and getting stopped and that’s precisely the way to play this one. Some books has this number as high as -160 but hopefully you'll get in somewhere around -140. We would sill recommend a bet at -160 because we give it a 75% chance of cashing.


Delvin Rodriguez vs Miguel Cotto

Delvin Rodriguez +451 over Miguel Cotto

Miguel Cotto is a pretty big favorite but he has a real fight on his hands here. Delvin Rodriguez has fallen short in some close fights but has never really been beaten up in the ring, even though he fatigued and folded against Jesse Feliciano 6 years ago. In truth, other than a 9-3 type point’s loss to Austin Trout, Rodriguez could have easily won all his other decision losses. He doesn’t seem to lack confidence but he has lacked a finishing kick or perhaps has had mental lapses in some of his closer losses. But he rematched Powel Wolak after a draw and really took him to the woodshed, essentially retiring him in their rematch. And against Trout, Rodriguez was probably about as equally competitive with him as Cotto was. (Cotto dropped a wide decision to Trout late last year.)

Cotto is still a warrior and a determined fighter but he has had so many tough fights over the years. He has much more ring mileage than Rodriguez even though Rodriguez is actually 5 months older. Rodriguez has a big height advantage in the fight and has fast hands and decent ability. Some have questioned Rodriguez’s fortitude because he doesn’t always display enough urgency in his bouts. However, his two bouts with Wolak were quite interesting. Wolak entered the first fight as a big favorite and was coming off a 6 round dismantling of former champion Yuri Foreman. Most figured Wolak would walk Rodriguez down and impose his will. And he did, but Delvin fought back. He had no choice as he wasn’t allowed to breathe. But he bit down and they waged a great war that ended in a draw. To Rodriguez’s credit, in the rematch he made some adjustments and beat Wolak at every facet of the game. The thing is, if a fighter doesn’t press Rodriguez, he will be content to fight at the slower pace. This was evidenced by his bout with Trout. There weren’t a whole lot of punches thrown and Rodriguez didn’t try to make the fight enough. It’s just not his nature. But with Rodriguez’s height and speed, Cotto will likely be looking to press Rodriguez, which will force him to punch. And Cotto’s particular in your face style will possibly bring about Rodriguez’s sharp punching in return.

Cotto has had a hall of fame career and has faced all the best guys of his generation. But he’s had a long road and he is a smallish light middleweight against a competent and fresher fighter with decent experience of his own that just might be in the right place at the right time. Cotto will find himself in a real fight against Rodriguez who has the size and ability to cause problems. If this fight were offered at even money, we’d probably tip Cotto but that doesn’t mean Rodriguez isn’t live in this contest. We don’t see Rodriguez getting run over and it would not surprise us one bit to see him pull this one out. Big overlay.


Scott Quigg vs Yoandris Salinas

Quigg by KO, TKO or DISQ over Salinas

Scott Quigg is one of the UK’s best fighters going. He has been tearing through sturdy opposition and has won 13 of his last 14 by KO. He’s strong, hard hitting, especially to the body, and very big for a 122 pounder. His most impressive win was against rugged top contender Rendell Munroe, who Quigg dispatched of in 6 rounds. Salinas is a Cuban expatriate and was a national amateur champion although he didn’t compete in the Olympics.

As a top Cuban amateur, Salinas obviously has some skills and talent but we don’t see him as the force of a Rigondeaux and that type. Not all Cuban amateurs are destined to be great pros and many fall short. Salinas kind of emulates a poor man’s Floyd Mayweather but we view his as more sizzle than steak. With the exception of a draw with former champ Nehomar Cermeno who was 1-4 in his last five fights entering the bout, he has feasted on very soft opposition.

Quigg is quite fierce and really on top of his game as of late. Salinas doesn’t appear to have the physical presence to stand up to Quigg and we don’t think he’s that tremendous that he will confound Quigg for any length of time. Look for Quigg to win inside the distance, perhaps somewhere around the 7th round. The Quigg KO proposition is about even money depending on where you play. He is a fire breathing pressure fighter that has 12 rounds to work with and he figures to put away Salina well inside that number.

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LT Profits

Tampa Bay vs Boston
Pick : Under 7.5

After losing Game 1 of the ALDS yesterday, the Tampa Bay Rays have the right pitcher on the mound as they look to even the series with the Boston Red Sox in David Price. Price got off to a poor start due to a triceps injury that undoubtedly bothered him earlier than he let on, but Price looked like himself again going 7-3 with a 2.87 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 84 strikeouts vs. just 13 walks after the All-Star break, and he tossed a Complete Game in the tiebreaker vs. the Texas Rangers allowing two runs and seven hits. However, he is not the only hot pitcher here as John Lackey did not deserve a 10-14 record this year given his 3.52 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, and he allowed just 18 baserunners in 21.1 innings his last three starts. The ‘under’ is 21-4-1 in Lackey’s last 26 starts on grass.


LSU vs Mississippi St
Pick : LSU -7

The LSU Tigers come off of that 44-41 loss to Georgia last week, and while a letdown is possible vs. the Mississippi State Bulldogs, the fact that the Tigers lost may actually motivate them here as they know they can ill afford another slip-up as even a one-loss SEC team still has a chance to go to the BCS Championship game if Alabama has one stumble somewhere. There is no doubt regarding the talent advantage LSU has here and the Tigers have a much more balanced offense cutting  quarterback Zach Mettenberger loose as they are averaging 281.8 passing yards and 192.2 rushing yards. The Bulldogs are 2-2, but they have not beaten much in Troy and Alcorn State of the FCS while they lost to Oklahoma State and Auburn, neither of whom is on the level of LSU. LSU is 12-3 ATS in the last 15 head-to-head meetings.

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NHL Predictions

Tampa Bay / Chicago Over 5.5

The Chicago Blackhawks needed to erase a deficit of their own in their season opener, defeating the Capitals 6-4 to pick up right where they left off last year. Conversely, the Lightning will look to get their first win, after getting dropped by the Boston Bruins 3-1 Thursday night. They shouldn't have it easy against the Blackhawks, who are loaded from top-to-bottom with offensive fire power. The Blackhawks finished 2nd in the NHL last season, scoring 3.10 goals per game, trailing only the Pittsburgh Penguins. You don't need to look back very far to find the Lightning, who were 3rd in the league in scoring, potting an average of 3.06 goals a game. So, scoring goals wasn't a problem for the Lightning, but keeping it out of their own net was. While they scored 3.06 goals a game, they gave up 3.06 a game so they weren't getting anywhere with that formula. Goalie Andres Lindback is a talented youngster, but he isn't good enough to carry the load himself. The Lightning need a much improved defense to give him a little bit of assistance. The Lightning defense and Lindback could be in for a long night against the Blackhawks, who should light the lamp with regularity Saturday behind Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. I foresee Tampa getting back to 2012-2013 form tonight: score some goals, but give up too many to overcome a barrage of goals from their opposition. I'll be on the over.


San Jose Sharks +106

Often times when I am taking a good sized favorite I will choose to bet them to win in regulation rather than lay the chalk. Almost all sportsbooks offer the option to bet on a team to win in regulation. For example at5dimes you will be able to bet Sharks (1st 60 minutes) -1/2. Or at Pinnacle you will look under hockey and click "NHL Regulation Time". If you can't bet them in regulation time I would risk 2.00 units to win 1.32 units on them to just win outright.

The San Jose Sharks were one of the best home teams in the NHL last year as they had only two regulation losses at home going 17-2-5, and 25-16-7 overall on the season. The Coyotes missed the postseason last year going 21-18-9 on the year and just 7-10-7 on the road. Both of these two teams have opened their season with 4-1 victories, as the Coyotes beat the Rangers 4-1 on home ice while the Sharks beat Vancouver 4-1 in their home opener. These two teams met 5 times last year with the Sharks winning 3 of those (2 in regulation). The Sharks outshot Phoenix in every meeting. We've got two good goalies between the pipes tonight, but I think the Sharks have a clear advantage at home where they always seem to come out with a lot of energy. The Sharks are 42-17 in their last 59 home games, while the Coyotes are just 5-14 in their last 19 road games. Over the past few years the Coyotes are just 5-16 in their last 21 meetings in San Jose. I like the Sharks in regulation tonight getting plus money.

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