Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 8

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 8

Wunderdog

Air Force vs. Army
Pick: Army -3

It is fitting that the Army will open their 2013-14 season vs. the Air Force. Army had a great season a year ago, winning 16 games, and even won a game in the Patriot Conference Tournament before bowing to a strong Bucknell team by just 8 points. Air Force put together a streaky, but good season a year ago, but may be challenged to duplicate it as they have lost some key players. Army hasn't had a team as good as this one could turn out to be in awhile, and expectations are promising. This should get them off to a good start as they are a better team than Air Force, and should have no problem taking down the small number here. Play on Army.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 8

PORT PORT SPORTS

ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE @ OKLAHOMA SOONERS UNDER 132.5

This Alabama team should be a force to be reckoned with in the SEC this season, as despite being picked to finish 6th in the SEC this season, this is an Alabama team that returns 7 players from last season, with 5 of their top 7 scorers returning, as well as 3 starters. Let's not forget, this is primarily the same Tide team that made a nice little run in the NIT beating Northeastern and Stanford before finally falling by a point against a tough Maryland squad, 58-57, ending their season. They will be expecting a lot more from their superstar guard, Relaford, and he has shown that he should be capable of carrying the burden for this team. Not really all that sure what to expect from this Oklahoma team, as they are using almost an entirely new starting rotation. The Sooners of last year had a rough go of it when playing away from home, as they were 1-6 ML in their L7 games when not played on their own campus, and 2-8 ML in their L10 away from home. They were 3-3 ML and ATS when playing on a neutral court, but they finished the season 0-2 ML and ATS in the tournaments. This Bama squad on the other hand was a pretty good bet down the stretch for their backers, as they cashed in on the spread in 4 of their L5 games played, while posting a 7-2 ATS record in their L9 to close out 2012-13. They were a perfect 4-0 ATS when playing on a neutral court themselves, while also posting a 3-1 ML record in those games. The Tide were also 8-2 ATS in their L10 away from home. As for the Under, I just anticipate this one to be a tight battle throughout and historically low-scoring games are the way these two teams play each other. Their 4 career meetings have resulted in a perfect 3-0 record for the Under and Alabama finished off the season last year with 5 straight Under wins and a 7-2 mark for the Under in their L9. These two teams have also played to the Under for the most part on neutral courts, as Oklahoma is 4-1 for the Under in the L5 at a neutral site, while the Tide are a perfect 5-0 for the Under in their L5 in a neutral building. Go with the UNDER to hit in this season-opener.


BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES (+3)

This one may end up being an outright win by the Eagles from BC when all is said and done, but we'll take the points instead and keep it on the spread for this one. These two schools have a long history of matching up and that has meant the win for Boston College in recent years. They have picked up the outright win and cover in 4 of the L5 meetings between the two schools since the 2008-09 school year and the Eagles are a dominating 7-3 ML and ATS in the L10 meetings overall. The Eagles have also posted a 5-3 ML and 6-2 ATS record in the L8 meetings held on the Providence campus. To take it even further, Providence has only had 2 of their 3 wins on their home campus in this series come by more than today's spread. Four of the L5 meetings between the two schools have had a final deciding margin of 5 points or less, with 2 of the L3 match-ups ending as 2-point wins for Boston College, with both on their home court. This Eagles squad returns all 5 starters from the end of last season, which should also be a good thing, as this Eagles squad rolled off 4 wins in their final 5 games to close out the year. Providence has seen a little trouble come their way this offseason, and the chemistry of the team most likely has been tested. They will be without 2 freshman due to suspension, and there have been a few other off the court incidences involving members of the team recently. How will they respond today will be seen fairly early. The road team is also 9-4 ATS in the L13 match-ups between the schools. Run with the BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES to come through as the road underdog in today's battle.


MARYLAND TERRAPINS (+6)

This one should be an entertaining game all the way throughout as both of these schools enter the 2013-14 season with much-improved squads looking to bring some prominance back to their campus. Maryland definitely provides an intriguing make-up this season and this could be a very big year once again for one of the nation's storied programs. They were a cover machine to close out the season last year, as they finished off the year picking up the money for their backers in 7 of their final 8 games and 8-2 ATS in their L10 overall. They played well outside of Maryland also, as although they were 3-3 ML, they were a much more profitable 5-1 ATS in their L6 games not played on their own court. They managed those exact same records when playing on a neutral court as well, with a season-opening cover against Kentucky in a neutral building, as a 10.5-point dog. They also managed to show a profit when they were playing as the underdog, with an 8-5 ATS record when getting the points overall for the season, but they were a much more prosperous 6-2 ATS in their L8 as the dog to close out the year. The Huskies return the usual quality team, still with some leftovers on the squad from the Kemba Walker championship days. They too were a profitable bunch down the stretch last season, as despite losing 3 of their L4 games, they picked up the cash and covered the spread in 5 of their L6. They were 7-2 ATS in their L9 games and 12-5 ATS in their L17 games in 2012-13. Still this one should be closer than this spread would indicate. Maryland in 2-0 ML and 1-1 ATS in the 2 meetings between the two schools since the 2000's began. Go with the MARYLAND TERRAPINS for the cover in this afternoon match-up.

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Larry Ness

USC at Utah St.
Play: Utah St.

USC fired head coach Kevin O'Neill after a 7-10 start last season. The Trojans finished the year 14-18 overall with a respectable 9-9 mark in the Pac-12 Conference under interim coach Bob Cantu but in the offseason, they made a splash by hiring Andy Enfield. Enfield is a self-made millionaire, has a model for a wife and if that’s NOT enough, led Florida Gulf Coast to an improbable Sweet 16 run in the NCAA Tournament last March. USC’s basketball program begins a new era on Friday night, as the Trojans open the 2013-14 season at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan against the Utah State Aggies.

Utah State was 21-10 in 2012-13 (11-7 in the WAC) but for the first time since 1997, it did not partake in a postseason tournament. The Aggies, who have won 20 or more games in 14 consecutive seasons under coach Stew Morrill, are now a member of the MWC, which sent five teams to the NCAA Tournament last season. Enfield is expected to incorporate the fast-pace style that wowed with FCGU last season, which should inject some life into a USC team which averaged a modest 65.7 PPG a season ago. However, expecting "Dunk City" is probably setting expectations a bit too high.

Utah State only averaged 66.4 PPG last season, surely suffering down the stretch when Preston Medlin was lost for the remainder of the season following a wrist injury in January. However, the former WAC player of the year back at full strength, after averaging 16.3 PPG in just 16 games, while making almost 40 percent of his three-point attempts. The 6-10 Jarred Shaw (14.2-8.4) gained experience as the team's go-to scorer with Medlin sidelined and gives USU a great inside-outside presence. Guards spencer Butterfield (12.2-6.6) and Marcel Davis (7.1 PPG) also return to an experienced starting lineup.

USC’s top scorer from last year, Eric Wise (11.9), has moved on, but there's still some talent on the roster. J.T. Terrell averaged 11.7 PPG while Byron Wesley (10.2) impressed as a sophomore and should continue to improve. With Jio Fontan (9.3-5.3 APG) gone, the PG duties will be handed over to Pe'Shon Howard, who was cleared to play this season after transferring from Maryland. Omar Oraby (7-foot-2, 270 pounds) and D.J. Haley (7-0, 250) give the Trojans an imposing interior presence.

Maybe Enfield will work his ‘magic’ here as well but NOT tonight in beautiful downtown Logan. Lay the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 8

Jack Jones

Connecticut +28

At 0-7 on the season, the betting public wants nothing to do with Connecticut. That’s why the oddsmakers are forced to give a few extra points to the Huskies almost every time they play from here on out. They have to try and get even action on both sides, and the only way to do that is to inflate the lines in their games. That is evident by the fact that they are a 28-point home dog here, while they were only a 24-point road dog at UCF last time out, which handed Louisville its only loss of the season.

Connecticut has shown some signs of being able to compete with good teams. It only lost 21-32 at home to Maryland on September 14, and 21-24 at home to Michigan as an 18.5-point dog on September 21. The Huskies certainly did not play their best in losses at Cincinnati (16-41) and at UCF (17-62) in their last two games, but playing two top-caliber teams like that will only have them more battle-tested in preparation for Louisville.

The Huskies were one of only two teams to beat Louisville last season. They went on the road as a 10-point underdog and pulled off the upset by a final of 23-20 in overtime. While they have little to play for the rest of the way, they know that a win over Louisville this year would help put a bright spot on an otherwise sour season to this point. They could catch the Cardinals in a letdown spot considering they have a game against Houston on deck next week. The Cougars lead the American Athletic standings with a 4-0 record in the conference.

Connecticut is 20-7 against the spread in its last 27 home games following a road loss. The Huskies are 7-0 against the number off two consecutive road losses since 1992. Connecticut is 14-3 against the spread in its last 17 home games following a road loss to a conference rival. The Cardinals are 2-7 against the number in their last nine games following an ATS win. The Huskies are 10-1-1 against the spread in their last 12 November games. Bet Connecticut Friday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 8

Dave Price

Detroit Pistons +4

The Pistons are showing value catching a couple field goals at home. At 13-3-1 ATS in their last 17 games overall, they have been an outstanding investment dating back to the end of last season. The same can't be said about the Thunder, who are 1-8 ATS in their last nine games overall. Detroit has only one loss by more than three points this season and is 2-0 SU and ATS at home. The Pistons are 5-1 ATS in their last six home games. OKC is 1-1 SU and 0-2 ATS on the road with the win coming by only three points against a Utah team that's 0-5. The Thunder are 0-4 ATS in their last four road games. The Pistons have won or lost by fewer than four points in seven of their last eight home games against the Thunder. The home team is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings, and the underdog is 8-3 ATS in the last 11 meetings. Take the points.

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Bruce Marshall

Pacific vs. Nevada
Pick: Nevada

Pressure is on Nevada HC David Carter, now working for new AD (Doug Knuth) and under must-win edict this season. MW sources not surprised that Carter ran off many of his underperforming bigs after last season, and Pack’s fate rests upon some touted juco bigs and explosiveness of sr. G Deonte Burton (16.3 ppg), who bypassed NBA Draft and now won’t have to worry about sharing shots with hot-and-cold graduated backcourt mate Malik Story.  Longtime HC Bob Thomason has retired at UOP, which also moves into former WCC home this season.

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Joe Gavazzi

Dallas at Minnesota
Play: Dallas

The Wolves enter at 3-2 SU ATS and will be eager to make amends for their 13 point home loss to Golden Wednesday night. A now healthy group of T-Wolves will far exceed their 31 wins of last season. PG Rubio is surrounded by scoring forces Kev. Martin and Love. But they are hosting the Mavs, who are 11-2 SU at this site, on the wrong night. Dallas is off a 14 point loss of their own at OKC Wednesday. The Mavs are among the most resilient teams in the league at 30-13 ATS L1+Y. Always eager to back HC Carlisle in his preferred role, where he is 80-55 ATS as road dog as coach of the Mavs, a team who was 27-14 ATS on the road last year.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 8

Rocketman

Wofford @ Georgia
Play: Wofford +7.5

The Wofford Terriers travel to Georgia to take on the Bulldogs on Friday night. Neither team was great last season as Wofford finished with a 13-19 SU overall record while Georgia finished with a 15-17 SU overall record on the season. Wofford allowed only 59.1 points per game overall last year and 60.9 points per game on the road last season. Georgia was very similar in that department so I'm looking for a low scoring game here tonight which I like taking the underdog in. Wofford is 7-3 ATS last 10 games against the Southeastern Conference. My five sets of power ratings has Wofford winning outright by .25 points, .50 points, Georgia winning by only 3.26 points, 3.26 points and 2.38 points. We'll recommend a small play on Wofford tonight!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 8

Chris Jordan

My free winner for Friday night is on Portland State plus the points in the Thomas and Mack Center, against the UNLV Runnin' Rebels.

While the excitement is in the air on the campus of UNLV, with the football team a win away from being bowl eligible, and the basketball team tipping off tonight, I think there is legitimate cause for concern with the Runnin' Rebels right now.

Everyone's answer last week, after the Rebels lost to 71-70 to Dixie State on Nov. 1 in their first exhibition game was the same: "Eh, it's just an exhibition game..."

Then the Rebels struggled to defeat Adams State, 72-67, this past Tuesday.

I'm sorrry, but while Bryce Dejean-Jones is nursing an injury, and is out of the lineup, this team is struggling to points on the board. Remember, the Rebels lost Anthony Bennett to the NBA Draft, they graduated Anthony Marshall and they watched Mike Moser and Katin Reinhardt transfer to the Pac 12. UNLV has to find some chemistry, it's that simple.

Portland State lost three starters, all of them double-figure scorers, but it still has forward Aaron Moore, who led the team in scoring, rebounding and blocks last season. Junior point guard Tim Douglas is a transfer in from the U. of Portland, and he'll be a welcome addition.

Fact is, the Vikings will be more pumped to play UNLV, than the Rebels will be to play Portland State. And this is going to be a single-digit game.

1♦ PORTLAND STATE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 8

Craig Davis

Your free play tonight is on the OKC Thunder minus the small number over Detroit.

Some might call this game a trap, but I'm not so sure it is. Mo Cheeks learned a lot from Scott Brooks during his days as bench coach for the OKC Thunder, and while I've heard many say the Pistons are probably the right side tonight because Mo Cheeks knows the ins and outs of the Thunder, I think it works both ways.

Cheeks learned how to run a team from Brooks and the Thunder, so I figure OKC is going to be one step ahead of Cheeks in game-planning for a game like this.

The Thunder proved me dead wrong two nights ago when they thumped the high-scoring Mavericks, proving they can play some defense when need be.

And if this Russell Westbrook isn't the fully 100% healthy Russell Westbrook, I can't imagine how good he's going to be when he's at full strength.

Take the Thunder in a close one to win and cover the small number in Detroit.

2♦ OKLAHOMA CITY

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Scott Delaney

Ah yes, the move to Division I and right into the Western Athletic Conference. That's the story of Grand Canyon University, straight out of Phoenix, right off Camelback Road. And be careful what you think about the Antelopes, they have an awfully big financial backing, have been successful in the past when it comes to their Division II standing and have brought in some mighty big names in their respective sports to lead them into the future.

On campus, there is no bigger name than Dan Majerle, the new head coach of the basketball team, that is catching too many points in my opinion, from Loyola Marymount.

Quite frankly, I don't know what to expect from the Lions, after they endured a brutal, injury-riddled campaign last year, including all-WCC performer Anthony Ireland, who had postseason knee surgery. I admit, there is a ton of experience on this team, and Loyola is always tough come conference time, but out of the shoot, this is like a brand new team coming together for the start of the season.

As for GCU, it arrives in the WAC after successfully competing and reaching the D-II NCAA Tournament in each of the past two seasons, going 42-16.

After Majerle's troops play Loyola tonight, they'll take on host San Diego tomorrow. The Lopes didn't look too shabby last Friday in an exhibition game against UC San Diego, albeit they lost 71-63 in front of a sellout crowd of 4,410 at GCU Arena.

While Majerle said his team made too many mistakes, he also credited them for playing hard and showing improvement. GCU fought back from an early deficit to take a four-point lead in the second half, but with the score tied 63-63 at the 1:58 mark, UC San Diego closed the game on an 8-0 run.

Tonight I trust the Antelopes will keep this one tight and contend against the Lions to keep the margin in the one-digit range.

4♦ GRAND CANYON

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 8

Brad Wilton

Mountain West action tonight from Albuquerque, and my free play is the Over in Air Force taking on New Mexico.

While series numbers do show Unders contested the last two series meetings, tonight's figures to be a fireworks show, as both teams have major issues when it comes to stopping the football from ringing up touchdowns.

The Falcons have played 9 game so far, and they are allowing an average of just over 37 points per game to be scored on them. The Lobos meanwhile have put 8 games in the books, and they are allowing just over 35 points per game to be scored against them.

5 of the last 9 series meetings overall played between these conference rivals have landed Over the total, and the Wolves have gone Over the total in 6 of their 8 games played this year, while the Force has been Over in their last pair of games.

Look for a game that is played in the 30's on both sides of the ball.

Over the call in this Air Force-New Mexico contest tonight.

4♦ AIR FORCE-NEW MEXICO OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 8

Brett Atkins

My free winner for tonight is in college basketball, as I like San Diego to get it done minus a cheap number against South Dakota State. The two mid-majors meet in the first round of the USD Classic at Jenny Craig Pavilion on the campus of the University of San Diego. And South Dakota State is beginning life without Nate Wolters, arguably the best player to play for the Jackrabbits.

Playing at USD is tough enough for teams like Gonzaga and St. Mary's during the West Coast Conference regular season, but for a team like South Dakota State, that is now in a rebuilding process, it'll be even tougher.

The Toreros return a solid backcourt that is stocked with experience, as two-year starters Christopher Anderson and Johnny Dee are back. Anderson ranked second in the WCC in the steals and assists departments. Dee, meanwhile, averaged 15 points per game and drained 80 treys, which ranked third in the WCC. In the frontcourt, there's Jito Kok back, and he's a shot-blocking specialist.

I think the Jackrabbits might stand a chance once Summit League play begins, I mean Jordan Dykstra is solid, an guards Brayden Carlson and Chad White can be effective. There's Florida-transfer Cody Larson, who was cleared by the NCAA to play immediately for the 'Rabbits. But all this is still a question mark for a team that depended highly on Wolters for scoring and now has to find a new identity.

Take the Toreros tonight, as they'll dominate on their home floor.

3♦ SAN DIEGO

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 8

LT Profits

Air Force vs New Mexico
Pick: New Mexico -3

The Air Force Falcons and New Mexico Lobos are almost mirror images of each other in that both teams have one-dimensional offenses that run the ball well but cannot throw a lick and both have horrendous defenses. Now, Air Force has always been among the leading rushing teams in the country with its triple option, and the Falcons are averaging 279.2 rushing yards per game on 5.1 yards per carry again this year. However, it is New Mexico that is actually third in the nation in rushing this season at 313.6 yards per game on the ground on a very hefty 6.3 yards per carry! Furthermore, Air Force did not have a win over an FBS opponent until beating Army last week, and there could be a letdown after getting that win in a battle for the Commander-in-Chief Trophy. Air Force is 3-11 ATS in its last 11 games overall.


Cal Poly SLO vs Arizona
Pick: Cal Poly SLO +16.5

The Arizona Wildcats rank sixth in the preseason, but they lost their leading scorer from their Sweet 16 team last year in Mark Lyons. The good news is that Lyons, who was a natural shooter playing point guard, is replaced by a natural point guard in Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell, and Arizona has a nice recruiting class. The bad news is that McConnell will not give the Wildcats the scoring Lyons did and while Arizona will get better as the year goes on, its starting inexperience could hurt in the beginning. The Cal Poly Mustangs return their top three starters from a team that won 18 games for the second straight season while ranking second in the country in fewest turnovers and fourth in turnover-to-assist ratio. They also won road games at UCLA and USC the last two seasons. In fact, Cal Poly SLO is 4-1-1 ATS in its last six games vs. the Pac-12.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 8

Joe Gavazzi

Air Force +3

In an option vs. option offensive football game, one would consider that such a clock eating affair would lead to a low scoring game. Think again. Each of these defenses allows 37 PPG with Air Force allowing 221/4.7 overland and New Mexico allowing 253/6.3 vs. the run. With two wins apiece, neither of these teams is going anywhere with those shoddy defenses. But, we can slightly favor the momentum of Air Force, who broke their 6 game losing streak, with a 42-28 home victory over Army last week. As Air Force is normally a winning team, it is understandable that they are 0-3 ATS following the Army victory. This year, you can see it as a buy sign from a team who may have reached the nadir of their discontent following a 5-16 ATS and 2-6 ATS record to begin this year. Air Force is the value side as underdog.

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Harry Bondi

AIR FORCE (+3) over New Mexico

It's been a lousy year for the Fly Boys but they got a much needed victory over Army last week and we think they will carry that momentum into another win tonight. These squads are mirror images of each other offensively running the option well and rarely passing. You would think that practicing against the option every day in practice would help the defenses but both stop units are among college football's worst. Air Force has played a much tougher schedule than the Lobo's and have covered 7 of the last 9 against New Mexico. Let's follow those trends tonight as Air force fly's or more likely runs through New Mexico tonight.

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AJ Atencio

Toronto +9

Indiana is 5-0 for the first time as an NBA franchise but the past couple games have been grinding; although, you wouldn't notice it from the box score. They continue to play without George Hill and the point guard will be a game time decision tonight. The Pacers are already 0-1 ATS this season when laying more than 8 points. Toronto hasn't played great ball to start the season but catches their biggest # of the young campaign. Not only did the Raptors win both meetings in Indiana last season straight up but they've covered 4 of the past 6 meetings. There's also a favorable trend in this series with the road team going 5-0 ATS the past 5 meetings. Books set this line too high and Indiana falls into a letdown spot tonight. Play the Raptors in what we expect to be a close game.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 8

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

Georgetown/ Oregon Under 131: Last year in many games I got caught up with thinking OU lines are too low and it cost me. That's odd cause I am normally an Under player. Well I will go with the Under in this one. The Hoyas were a pretty weak offensive team last year, even with Porter in there. Now they don't have him and have a few new pieces that will take some time to gel, especially on the offensive end of the floor. The Hoyas will have to rely on their tough defense and slow down game to win some games early in the year. the Ducks have some new faces as well and were a very good defensive squad last year and that should continue here. Both teams will play good defense in this game and the offenses should struggle. I look for a game in the low 120's.

2 UNIT PLAYS

Colorado +3.5 over Baylor: Baylor will still be a formidable team this year, but the loss of Jackson will really hurt them early in the year. They just won't have the same offensive punch, right out the gate. Colorado lost a star player in Andre Roberson, but they do have better depth also have Spencer Dinwiddie back, who lead the team in scoring last year. Colorado is one of the favorites to win the Pac-12, while Baylor is a middle of the pack team in the Big 12. Look for the Buffaloes to pull out the small upset.

Wisconsin/ St Johns Under 129: Not many Wisconsin games this year will have an OU line this high, because this team simply does not play many games in the upper 120s. Their style of play and they tough defense does not make for many high scoring game. I do not expect this year to be any different. The Badgers will slow the pace here and St John's will not be able to run as much as they like. The Johnnies are not an explosive team and they did play good defense last year as they led the nation in blocked shots (7.3 pg). This one will struggle to hit 120.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 8

OC Dooley

76ers +3.5

Even though looked at as one of the league’s worst teams, Philadelphia has already made a major splash winning each of the initial 3 games of a new campaign including a stunning HOME upset versus defending champion Miami.  In this particular contest the entire Sixers organization and their fans will have special interest as Cleveland big man Andrew Bynum is slated to make an appearance.  Following a shocking run all the way to the 2012 Eastern Conference playoff semifinal round, Philadelphia felt that Bynum was the missing piece and they signed the former Laker to a hefty $17 million dollar contract.  Due to knee problems Bynum ended up NOT starting one single game in a Philadelphia uniform which will make him the subject of severe boos this evening as he returns to a city he essentially jilted.  Here is a solid 70-PERCENT SYSTEM (49-21 since 1996) which plays ON home underdogs like Philadelphia with an explosive offense that averages at least 103 points per game, when off a contest where the defense struggled by allowing the opposition to score at least 55 points in the opening half.  For whatever the reason my research indicates that in the past two years Philadelphia has made investors serious money (12-3 ATS) when taking the court on a FRIDAY

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