Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 2

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 2

SPORTS WAGERS

FLORIDA ST -20½ -110 over Miami

Something is wrong with the rankings when the seventh ranked team in the nation is receiving almost three TD’s but that’s precisely the situation here. Those sweet points are going to look mighty enticing to scoop up in a matchup that has been close throughout the years. In fact, The Seminoles have won this game by more than 13 points just once since 1996. The oddsmakers aren’t dummies. They put up a number here to bait folks into taking the points and that’s exactly what folks have been doing, as this number opened at 22½ and has been coming down for two days now. The oddsmakers also know that one of these teams is a complete fraud and does not belong in the top rankings. We don’t have to point out which team that is. What we know for sure is that this line speaks volumes in regards to the oddsmakers opinion of the Hurricanes.

Florida State is in danger of missing a shot at a BCS Championship due to their weak strength of schedule and this now becomes an opportunity to blow out a highly ranked team and attempt to cement themselves as the clear number two in the BCS over Oregon. Florida State has the talent and depth on the defensive side of the ball to play man coverage against the Miami passing attack and focus their efforts on stopping Duke Johnson on the ground. Meanwhile, Jameis Winston and the Seminole offense has picked apart every team they’ve faced this season and there’s nothing suggesting that onslaught won’t continue against an underwhelming Miami defense.


VIRGINIA +18 over Clemson

There are teams that have focus and keep it and there are erratic teams like the Clemson Tigers who lose focus easily after some adversity. Clemson had the attention of the BCS committee when they hosted Florida State a couple of weeks ago and responded by getting whacked, 51-14. That loss and the magnitude of it derailed everything that the Tigers were hoping for this season. Last week the Tigers went into Maryland and got another scare. This week, the bummed out Tigers will once again have difficulty getting up for a road game against the 2-6, last-place Cavaliers.

Virginia does not have much appeal at all. Since its opening week win over BYU, Virginia has one win over FCS opponent VMI. However, they have also played some tough teams in Oregon, Ball State and Georgia Tech and they have been fairly decent in the passing game by averaging 318 yards per game which is good enough for 18th best in the FBS. That said, we can forget all of that here, as this is Virginia’s “Bowl Game”. The Cavaliers get some healthy bodies back this week and they figure to show up hungry and ready for battle. Should that come to pass, the Cavaliers may be surprised to find that they are the only team that showed up ready to play some football. Dare we call the upset here? It could happen.   


UNLV +172 over San Jose State

The Spartans of San Jose State had high expectations this season. They had a QB that was in the conversation for the Heisman before the season started and had just come off their best season in years. However, nothing seemed right with this team through the first few weeks and it still isn’t right. QB David Fales continues to regress. The Spartans have already lost more games this season than they did all of last. A blowout loss to Minnesota is concerning and so is that follow-up game against Utah State, a 40-12 loss. The Spartans have reeled off three in a row but it occurred against Hawaii, Colorado State and Wyoming with 10, 7 and 7 point victories, respectively. The Spartans defense can’t stop the marching band and they will now play their third road game in the past four weeks. SJSU should not be favored in this fight for second place in the MWC.

Since being outscored in the first two weeks by a combined 109-36, the Rebels have been undervalued since. We’ve kept a close eye on the Rebels all-season, as they were on our radar right off the hop because they were under the radar in all the polls. Since losing its first two, UNLV has reeled off five wins in six games with only loss occurring against #17 Fresno State. As a 6-point pooch in Nevada last week, the Rebels won outright and there’s no reason they can’t duplicate that here. This is by far Bobby Hauck's best team in terms of balance, ability and talent and they figure to be focused on the task at hand. In a game in which the Rebels chances are equally as good or perhaps even better than the visitor’s chances, we’ll take the value and +168 being offered.

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Chris Jordan

I'll play the Michigan State Spartans as my complimentary winner on Saturday against in-state and Big 10 rival Michigan. I know we're talking about one of the most dynamic offensive units the Wolverines have, behind quarterback Devin Gardner, but defensively, the Spartans are dangerous.

Michigan State's stop unit ranks in the top 5 in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in five majorly relevant categories: rushing, passing, total, scoring and pass efficiency.

Through eight games, the Spartans' defense ranks No. 1 in total defense (215.5 yards per game), rushing defense (54.9 ypg.) and first downs defense (12.8 pg.), while also ranking among the national leaders in pass effi ciency defense (second with a 88.81 rating), opponent third-down conversions (third at 28 percent; 33-for-120), scoring defense (third at 12.3 ppg.) and passing defense (third at 160.6 ypg.). MSU is one of three schools in the FBS, along with Louisville and Virginia Tech, to rank in the top five nationally.

No matter what, you have to admire what defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi has done over the years to build this defense. Heck, MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo may want to bring him aboard when the football season is over.

So as exciting players as Gardner may be  - he ranks 15th nationally in total offense and 10th in points responsible for, and has rushed for 520 yards and nine touchdowns - Sparty will be awfully tough to penetrate at home.

MSU will have revenge on the brain also, as its four-game winning streak in the series was snapped with a 12-10 loss in Ann Arbor last season. The Spartans are also looking to beat the Wolverines for the third consecutive time at Spartan Stadium for the first time in school history.

After last week's 42-3 win over Illinois, the Spartans jumped into the national rankings at No. 24 in both The Associated Press and the USA TODAY Coaches Polls, while they're also ranked No. 22 in the Bowl Championship Series standings. That'll be something they'll want to improve upon, and an impressive win in this one will do just that.

5♦ MICHIGAN STATE

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Brett Atkins

My free pick for Saturday is on the Miami Hurricanes plus all those points in Tallahassee, where the Florida State Seminoles are laying three touchdowns. Excuse me, but as good as Jameis Winston is, does anone else remember former FSU quarterback Chris Rix? The Seminoles were pretty good with him under center, as they were 30-9 when he played. But when he called signals against the Hurricanes, FSU was 0-5.

Get the point?

I know Florida State has won the last three meetings by a combined 101-56 score and I know Miami has trailed by double-digits in each of its last three games before rallying for wins each time out, but these are two top 10 teams, and this is an age-old rivalry. Both teams are 7-0 and this game between the third-ranked Seminoles and No. 7 Miami will mean something.

Miami has covered 10 of its last 13 going back to last season, and in this series, the Hurricanes are on a 6-1 ATS win streak in Tallahassee. Also, the underdog has covered 13 of the last 16 meetings while the road team is on a 6-1 spread streak.

This is far too many points to give in a game of this magnitude.

5♦ MIAMI, FLA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 2

Cajun Sports

Auburn Tigers vs. Arkansas Razorbacks
Play: Auburn Tigers

Our NCAA research for this week uncovered a powerful system that is active in Saturday's Auburn Arkansas contest. From Game 3 on Play ON a .500 plus conference team off a non-conference game seeking revenge for a straight up loss of less than 24 points in their last match up versus an opponent coming in off a shutout straight up loss. This system has been perfect since 1994 posting a record of 15-0 ATS covering the spread by an average of 14.5 points per game. Play Auburn

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Joe Gavazzi

UTEP at Texas A&M
Play: UTEP

This UTEP program is in major decline under 1st year HC Kugler. After going 3-9 SU, 4-8 ATS last year, UTEP is 1-6 SU ATS this season beating only lowly Mexico St. They have failed to cover by a net of 50 points. Now they appear on ESPN where they will act as a willing victim for the Johnny Money show. No doubt HC Sumlin will allow his Aggies to run it up. But from the perspective of this bureau, it is impossible to lay this price with a team whose defense allows 33 points and 474 yards per game.

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Doug Upstone

Northwestern vs. Nebraska    
Play: Over 58½

Two teams hook up in Lincoln today, both going the wrong way. Each will look to change direction and set sails to a bowl game. Nebraska will be without Taylor Martinez today and will rely heavily on RB Ameer Abdullah, who is fast approaching the 1,000 yard mark, which hasn't been done by a Cornhusker since Ahman Green, sixteen years ago. There has been a lot of talk about Bo Pelini gone if, well, he's gone. Scott Frost will be the head coach next year at Nebraska. Look for the Huskers to control the clock and win this one by double digits. If you are looking for a total on the game, I think over 58.5 is the play.

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SPORTS WAGERS

Florida +180 over WASHINGTON

Regulation only. We’ll definitely take our chances with the Panthers tonight when being offered prices like this against the Caps. For one, Washington returns home from a difficult five-game trip that featured four games on the Canadian West Coast before ending last night in Philadelphia. Washington is just 3-3 at home, they are under .500 on the year, they have an extremely weak defensive group and they’re simply too big a risk at this price.

The Panthers don’t win often but they play hard and they’re getting better. They lost 4-0 last night at home to the Blues but in no way did they look out of place or overmatched. Three of the Panthers last four games have come against TB, Chicago and St. Louis. They have a recent win over a much improved Wild and they are not an easy out. Florida has outshot its last three opponents by a count of 108-72 and with so much youth, talent and enthusiasm, they are going to win at a much higher clip as soon as things begin to click. The Panthers are close and offer up outstanding value in this winnable game.   


TAMPA BAY +120 over St. Louis

Regulation only. Not convinced that the Blues deserve to be favored here and certainly not by this much. St. Louis is off to another great start with its shutdown defense and just enough scoring but this team lacks the offense to be considered a true contender. The Blue Notes are coming off another win last night in Florida but managed just a handful of scoring chances – again. St. Louis has produced less scoring chances than 28 of the league’s 30 teams. Its leading scorer is Thomas Steen. The Blue Notes work as hard as any team in the league and that counts for something but talent wise, they are not in the same class as the other upper echelon teams in the NHL. With Jaroslav Halak in net, a huge defensive effort will be needed because Halak is just average.

The Bolts continue to win games at a high rate but they are not getting the credit they deserve for doing so. They have yet to lose consecutive games this season. The Lightning went into Carolina last night and shut out the ‘Canes 3-0. It’s not often that Carolina is held off the scoreboard, especially at home. The Bolts have won nine of 13 games and with a much better offense than the Blues and better goaltending with Ben Bishop in net, they absolutely have a great chance to make it 10 wins in 14 games. Win or lose, this is a ridiculous overlay. 

NOTE: This bet will only stand if Bishop is in net.

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Statfox Dave

Syracuse vs. Wake Forest
Play: Syracuse -4

I will lay the points here and back the Orange at home against Wake Forest. This is a system play for me called the Yo-Yo where one team covered large against the spread and the other got blown out ATS. Orange win by 10.

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OC Dooley

Georgia State +18.5

Even though host Georgia State is 0-8 for the season and almost as awful against the spread, there has been a slight “drop” in the line offshore late this morning which to me speaks volumes. There are several high profile games involving Georgia schools today led by the annual Georgia/Florida rivalry, while Atlanta-based Georgia Tech seeks to become Bowl Eligible in a streak that spans well over a decade. While this particular contest will garner little attention either locally or nationally the fact of the matter is that today is the first time that head coach Bobby Petrino will be stepping foot inside Atlanta’s GeorgiaDome since he walked out on the NFL Falcons way back in 2007 to take a job with Arkansas. In an infamous Monday Night Football telecast Petrino claimed he would be loyal to the Falcons and their owner but following a loss to the Saints he walked out on the city and just sent an e-mail to his NFL players instead of meeting them face-to-face. It has been negative karma ever since for Petrino who after losing his Arkansas gig due to an off-the-field scandal has landed with Western Kentucky. In a three year span entering this season Western Kentucky (22-11 against the spread) was a money-maker for investors. But so far in conference play this season with Petrino at the helm Western Kentucky (1-3 ATS) has actually been a “bet against”

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SPORTS WAGERS

Charlotte +8½ over NEW ORLEANS

8½-points is a lot of weight to be laying with a Pelicans’ team that has not proven anything. In fact, the Pelicans are much like the Bobcats in that they both changed their name, they both have a bunch of high draft picks on their roster and one should never lay 8½ points with either of them. Tyreke Evans starts the season as the third wheel in the Pelicans' backcourt, giving way to Eric Gordon and Jrue Holiday. Ball handling won't be an issue for New Orleans, but deciding who will be doing it might be. New Orleans had a chance to win its opener against Indiana, as it led practically the entire game until late in the fourth quarter. But they lost and subsequently lost again in Orlando by 20 points on Thursday. Once losing sets in, that first win becomes more difficult to attain each time out and although it’s just two games, the Pelicans are feeling some heat now after blowing their first game and getting blown out in their second.

The Bobcats are coming off a nice win over the Cavaliers last night. They also9 opened the season with a very game effort against Houston in a game they kept scary close. Charlotte's success ultimately comes down to the evolution of its many lottery picks: Gerald Henderson (2009), Kemba Walker (2011), Bismack Biyombo (2011), Michael-Kidd Gilchrist (2012) and Cody Zeller (2013). Despite eight top-10 picks since 2004, the Bobcats have yet to draft an All-Star but put these guys together as one, throw in two good games to start the year and add a little confidence and we certainly like their chances to stay well within this margin.

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Sean Higgs

Colorado vs. UCLA
Play: UCLA -28

Sean's Free Pick here on Saturday. Colorado Buffalos vs UCLA Bruins -27.5 We are going to have to lay some wood here to start your November to remember! Higgs has his CFB GOW up and a couple Sure-Shot Winners to build your bankroll.

By now, you probably have figured out how I do my write ups here. I do one team, then the other, and close it out with my final thoughts. Well, today we find out what happens when I don’t have anything really to say about one of the teams.

Hello Colorado Buffaloes! This team has 3 wins this year. Do wins over Charleston Southern and Central Arkansas count? They were outgained 670-350 last week. 670 at home! Buffs are giving up a little less than 500 ypg and 37ppg. They will be walking into a real tough spot here on Saturday night.

Enter UCLA. Bruins could be off one of the toughest 2 game stretches in college football. Back to back road games at Stanford and Oregon. Now they get some home cooking vs the aforementioned Buffaloes who can’t stop a leaky faucet.

Bruins were embarrassed the last 2 weeks. They were probably hoping for a split. Keep it sort of close vs Oregon. I mean, let’s keep it real. UCLA isn’t quite ‘there’ yet. They are doing a great job getting back into the Top 25 though. So the Bruins are averaging nearly 46ppg in their 5 wins while Colorado is giving up 50ppg their last 4 games. See where we are heading with this? Buffs lost 44-17 at Oregon State and 54-13 at Arizona State. I will put this UCLA offense on par with those units.

UCLA defense is also getting a reprieve here in a step-down in class after The Tree and Ducks. Colorado has 7 rushing TDs on the year, and 5 were in 1 game against Charleston Southern! Jim Mora is going to want his team to get the bad taste out of their mouths. They can’t afford to overlook anyone if they want to keep pace in the PAC 12 South. I think they roll up a 55-23 type win here.

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Don Best Consensus

San Antonio Spurs vs Portland Trailblazers
Pick: Portland Trailblazers

After the way Portland played in an eye-opening 113-98 victory at Denver on Friday, San Antonio can use all the help it can get. The Blazers dominated in one of the league’s toughest venues and head home brimming with confidence. Portland has won its last four home openers and carries a two-game winning streak against San Antonio.

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LT Profits

Oklahoma State Vs Texas Tech
Pick: Texas Tech +1.5

The 7-1 Texas Tech Red Raiders are coming off of their first loss of the season, but it was a game effort in a 38-30 loss at a difficult road venue at Oklahoma and we like them to bounce back with a mild upset at home over the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Texas Tech has been dominant at home while averaging 39.0 points and 571.3 total yards and surrendering only 16.3 points and 327.0 total yards per game. That includes averaging a whopping 409.0 passing yards in Lubbock, but David Webb with have to avoid throwing interceptions after tossing two of them at Oklahoma that may have made the difference. Meanwhile the Oklahoma State pass defense has been rather ordinary on the road allowing 293.7 passing yards per game, including 320 passing yards in the shocking loss at West Virginia. Oklahoma State is 1-5 ATS in its last six road games vs. teams with winning home records.


Houston vs Utah
Pick:Under 199.5

Do not look now but the Houston Rockets are actually playing defense with Dwight Howard manning the paint as they lead the league after two games in field goal percentage against at 37.4 percent. It is obviously early but the Rockets knew they had to improve defensively after basically running teams off the floor last year, leading the NBA in pace rating, but the expected improved defense this year is what makes the Rockets championship contenders, as well as possibly a nice ‘under’ team until oddsmakers catch up to their change in style. The Jazz are third in the league allowing the opposition to shoot just 39.0 percent, although they are 0-2 while losing those games by a combined six points. Utah held Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder to 40.7 percent shooting in its only home game. The ‘under’ is 18-6 in the Rockets’ last 24 games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.

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River City Sports

Colorado vs UCLA
Play: UCLA

UCLA just concluded a brutal stretch where they dropped consecutive games to No. 7 Stanford and No. 2 Oregon, so they are looking to get healthy at home against the struggling Colorado Buffaloes. Colorado is the worst team against the run in the Pac-12 and it appears that the UCLA offense, led by QB Brett Hundley, will have their choice of scoring on the ground or through the air. UCLA has beaten Colorado by a combined score of 87-20 since Colorado joined the Pac-12.

Injuries have been a big problem for Colorado and this is a game they would need "all hands on deck" to even be competitive with UCLA. Unfortunately for the Buffs, UCLA is angry and will take their frustrations out on the visitors.

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Alex Smith Sports

Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Rangers
Pick: New York Rangers -1

The Hurricanes skate up to Broadway to take on the Rangers, one night after a 3-0 blanking at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lighting. Carolina is on their 3rd and 4th string goalies, and missing forwards Joel Skinner and Radek Dvorak. The Rangers have dominated this team over the years and I like them to beat down the 'Canes tonight, laying the goal at even money

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NHL Predictions

Anaheim Ducks -104

This is a bet on Anaheim to win in regulation time. The Ducks are 10-3-1 on the season and 5-3-1 on the road. Buffalo is a league worst 2-12-1 and 0-7-1 at home. The Ducks are coming off a shootout loss in Boston, but had won three straight games on their road trip prior to that loss. The Sabres are coming off a 2-0 loss in New York on Thursday where they were out shot 46-29. They've lost 3 straight games and 6 of their last 7. Their lone win was a 3-1 win in Florida where they were out shot 45-21 but managed a victory. Anaheim is scoring 3.07 goals per game (10th), while Buffalo sits last in the NHL with just 1.47 goals per game. The Sabres are getting out shot on average by over 10 shots per game. Take note that the Ducks are 5-0 in their last 5 vs a team with a losing record, and 5-0 in their last 5 road games vs a team with a home winning % under .400. The Sabres are just 1-10 in their last 11 home games dating back to last season, 0-4 in their last 4 home games vs a team with a winning road record, and 0-5 in their last 5 vs a Western Conference opponent. Take Anaheim to get it done in regulation time at a good price.

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Hollywood Sports

UTEP at Texas A&M
Prediction: Over

Texas A&M (6-2) comes into this game following their 56-24 win against Vanderbilt. The Aggies have then played 4 straight games Over the Total after a win by at least 20 points. And in their last 7 games at home, Texas A&M has played 6 of these games Over the Total. UTEP (1-6) enters this contest following their 45-7 loss at Rice as a 19-point underdog -- and they have then played 6 of their last 8 games Over the Total after both a straight-up loss as well as a point spread loss. Additionally, the Miners have played 4 of their last 5 games Over the Total on the road. Take the Over in this one.

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