Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

Sean Higgs

Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans    
Play: Indianapolis Colts -2½

Sean Higgs has your Thursday Night NFL Network will feature the 6-3 Indianapolis Colts visiting LP Field to take on the 4-3 Tennessee Titans. A little bit of the shine is off this game as both teams are in off terrible losses. Indianapolis was throttled at home by the St Louis Rams 38-8, while the Titans suffered the indignity of losing to the win-less Jaguars. To add insult to injury, Tennessee has appeared to have lost QB Jake Locker for the year with an injury.

I will be the first to tell you I thought the Texans would control the AFC South, and the Colts would take a step back in Andrew Luck's second season under center. This team took on such a massive overhaul I thought they would regress. Obviously, I was wrong on both counts. The Texans have regressed while the Colts look like a potential Super Bowl contender for years to come.

So we have the Colts in off a total, beat down at home. Losing is one thing. When you have the Rams, who are on a 3 game losing streak and take it to you, it is time to look in the mirror. Now, I had the Rams. Could have been a little let-down spot as the Colts just beat the Texans and had another division on deck. I get it. But now is the time for this team to get back on track. The loss of Reggie Wayne is a big deal. He is one of the elder statesman of the locker room. Luck, as good as he is, is still a youngster. Don't forget, Indy was trailing 21-3 in the first half of the Houston game. They were down 28-0 last week at home. They can ill afford another bad half of football like that.

The Titans are a physical bunch. They are going to want to pound RB Chris Johnson all day long. He had only 30 yards last week on 12 carries vs the Jags. I think the Jags have a better run defense than the Colts though. Tennessee will look to Ryan Fitzpatrick to get them back into the division hunt. Sitting at 0-2, they are pretty much done if they hit 0-3 as the Colts would be 3-0. This guy is not terrible. He had a couple good years as the starter in Buffalo. It is easy to say, 'Hey, he lost both starts already this year.' Those games were vs Seattle and Kansas City. Not exactly league doormats. Now he gets the Colts. I wouldn't put Indy in those teams defensive level though. Fitzpatrick is a veteran presence, and has a couple decent wide-outs to help him stretch things out.

A pair of trends to make you think that the Titans are the play here. First, the home team is 5-2 ATS last 7 in the series. And #2, Indy is 2-5 ATS last 7 trips to Tennessee.

But then reality sets in. The simple fact is that Andrew Luck has yet to lose 2 games in a row. The Titans 1-3-1 ATS last 5 at home and a miserable 2-8-1 ATS last 11 vs AFC South opponents. How about 3-10-1 ATS last 14 vs teams with winning records?

The Colts ride in 6-1 ATS last 7 vs the AFC South and 9-2 ATS last 11 vs teams with losing records. They get it. They take care of business when the have to. The Colts have covered 7 in a row after a SU loss. The way the Titans have turned the ball over lately (4 last week, 13 last 5) I will go with the small road favorite.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

SPORTS WAGERS

TENNESSEE +130 over Indianapolis

Which Colts’ team shows up tonight is the question. Are we going to see the one that went into San Fran and whacked the 49ers and were the first team to defeat the Broncos or are we going to see the one that looked awful against Houston on Monday Night two weeks ago in that miracle win and were subsequently massacred by the Rams last week? Seriously, how do you get butchered at home by St. Louis? While it is easy to write it off as just one game, it was very troubling to see the first game without Reggie Wayne looking like they had a giant hole to fill. And with the passing game taking a big step down, the failures of the rushing attack were even more glaring. Trent Richardson has literally declined in every game since week four and in the last moth he has not had more than 40 rushing yards in any game. Pass the ball, you say? Well, the Titans pass defense is outstanding with only seven scores allowed all year and just two at home. The Titans are tops in the NFL against wide receivers.  The only time in the entire season any receiver managed a 100 yard game against them was DeAndre Hopkins thanks to catching a long pass. Perhaps the Colts greatly overachieved in the first half of the season. Losing is one thing, as it happens to every team but Indy has looked as bad as any team in the NFL in seven of its past eight quarters over two weeks after its bye week. This might not be the best time to be spotting road points on a short week with a team that looks this bad.

How does a team lose to the Jaguars? The visiting Jaguars no less? Apparently the equation is to take out the opponents quarterback, get a safety, score on a fumble recovery and get five turnovers and it can happen. Obviously, the Titans were looking ahead to this Thursday prime timer and it’s something we pointed out last week. Still, with all those miscues, the Titans still only lost by a deuce and not 30 points like the Colts did at home against St. Louis. Jake (The Mistake) Locker was placed on injured reserve and that leaves Ryan Fitzpatrick in control for the rest of the year. Fitzpatrick played well in relief of Locker last Sunday when he scored three touchdowns and passed for 264 yards. Fitzpatrick is no savior but he's more than adequate as a replacement quarterback and frankly, we like this guy better than Locker. All of last year and in the first half of this year, the Colts had just about every bounce go their way. They had been winning for a season and a half and it was all smoke and mirrors. Well, the clock has struck midnight and the Colts perfect, magical run has ended and they may not get it back. Titans outright is the call.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

SPORTS WAGERS

Georgia Tech +11 over CLEMSON

It's very difficult to rebound from a devastating loss when that loss wrecks virtually every team goal. Three weeks ago, Clemson managed to beat a depleted Maryland team after that humiliating loss to Florida State but pretty it was not. The Tigers subsequently went into Virginia and clobbered the Cavaliers by 49 points and now they’ve had 12 days to prepare for this one. Had this game been scheduled before Virginia and after Maryland, the line would be about -7 and not -11. Two easy opponents after that loss to FSU have the Tigers overvalued again. Although Clemson would like nothing more than to stick to this visitor, the Yellow Jackets are coming on and always seem to give the Tigers fits.

The Yellow Jackets are not an easy team to figure out. They’re 5-2 in the conference and 6-3 overall but none of their wins have been of the notable variety. However, Tech has won 8 of the past 11 in this series and has found a rhythm of its own with three successive wins. Georgia Tech’s defense is also much improved over last season, ranking No. 3 in the league in total defense. The Yellow Jackets have also started to put together a passing game to complement their outstanding ground attack. Great defense, a balanced attack, a foe they always play tough and 11 points is more than enough bullets for us to step in.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

SPORTS WAGERS

Los Angeles -½ +132 over N.Y. ISLANDERS

Regulation only. The Islanders returned home from a four-game trip to defeat the Predators 3-1 on Tuesday. Big deal. The Preds have not been able to keep the puck out of their own net ever since Pekka Rinne went down. More notable for the Islanders was a four-game road trip against Eastern Conference opponents that saw the Islanders lose a lot of four-point games. New York dropped consecutive decisions to Washington, Carolina, Columbus and Montreal, getting outscored by a 16-6 margin. The Islanders were also outshot in all four contests, despite trailing for much of each game (something that normally inflates shot totals for the trailing team). Evgeni Nabokov is the league’s worst goaltender and it’s not even close. Nabokov has likely lost the #1 spot to Kevin Poulin but that’s something that remains to be seen. Regardless, whomever is in net tonight, and hopefully it’s Nabokov, it’s not going to matter, as the Islanders have regressed badly and no end is in sight until they fix their defense and goaltending.

L.A embarked on a four-game easy trip that started in Buffalo and continues on here followed by a game in New Jersey and New York against the Rangers. The Kings lost to Buffalo in OT but pay no attention to that, as they played one of their best games of the year and ran into a sick Ryan Miller. The Kings outshot the Sabres 45-17. After a slow start, the Kings are beginning to turn up the heat. They have badly outplayed each of their last eight opponents. In their last two losses to Buffalo and Nashville, they outshot that pair 93-35. The Kings are out of the playoff picture right now but that’s something that will change drastically, as this is still one of the top 3 teams in the NHL and offer outstanding value against a dreg like the Islanders. Ben Scrivens replaces Jonathan Quick (injured) and that’s fine by us, as Quick has a wretched save % of .896 this season. 


Colorado +139 over ST. LOUIS

OT included. The Blue Notes are tough to beat, especially at home but this team rarely wins by more than a goal, they don’t score much (two goals in four of their past five games) and should the game go into OT, a distinct possibility, they usually lose. St. Louis is just 3-2 over its past five games. All three wins came against struggling teams (Pittsburgh, Calgary and Montreal) and both of their losses occurred against teams in good form (Tampa Bay and Phoenix). Yeah, they can win here but this game figures to be tight and in that regard one has to give the Avalanche at least a 48-50% chance of winning.

The Avalanche remain hot. They have won eight of 10 road games this season and they are a perfect 8-0 in their last eight games after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game. If they create scoring chances here, some are bound to go in because Jaroslav Halak has been about as average as any goaltender in the league. Halak has not been exposed as such because the Blues are so efficient defensively but these Avs have the firepower and creativeness to do some damage. Regardless of how you break this one down, the Avalanche offer up too much value in this price range to ignore. Of course they can win here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

SPORTS WAGERS

North Dakota State +7 over ST. MARY’S

For year’s it’s been St. Mary’s and Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference battling for the title and as a result, the Gaels have become quite a recognizable program. In fact, St. Mary’s has reached the NCAA tournament in two straight years, which has this team on the radar once again and it sure doesn’t hurt that they are off to a quick 2-0 start with a 13-point win and a 22-point win.  However, for the first time in four years, Saint Mary's will be without guard Matthew Dellavedova, one of the nation's best offensive players and the team's leader in each of the past two seasons. The Gaels will still be good with other key contributors returning but this is one of those games that look easy but is far from it.

North Dakota is not on the NCAA map yet. After all, they play in the Summit League, which features some of the least recognizable schools in the country. Combine that with the Gaels being a known program and it creates an inflated number. On Jan. 17 of last season, North Dakota State was 7-0 in Summit League play and looked like the favorite to win the conference championship and make some noise in March. However, the Bison’s top player, Taylor Braun got injured and did not return until the title game in which the Bison lost by six points. The good news is that every starter and key reserve from that squad is back this season. The Bison finished fifth in the nation in defensive rebounding rate and held opponents to just 42% shooting inside the arc. Coach Saul Phillips does not need to do much tweaking to win big with this roster. With so much returning firepower, he has the Bison well positioned to be the best team in the Summit League and perhaps one of the top squads from outside the major conferences. With that, we’ll accept this inflated price.

Pass NBA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

Raphael Esparza

Indianapolis (-3) over Tennessee

The Colts will be looking to erase the bad home loss they received last week against the Rams. St. Louis was up early against the Colts, and the halftime score was St. Louis 28-0, so in this matchup I see Indy starting off hot. Tennessee not only lost last week to Jacksonville (27-29), but they lost QB Jake Locker, and now Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the start. I'm no fan of Fitzpatrick, and Andrew Luck will have a big road game and out-duel Fitzpatrick Thursday night. The Colts have had success on the road, going 3-1, and again the Colts will play much better in this game than they did at home against the Rams. The Colts are 10-1 ATS following a SU loss, and the Colts are also 9-2 ATS against a team with a losing record. The Titans are 2-8-1 ATS against AFC South teams. Prediction in this game is that Indy scores first and last, and I see A. Luck winning this game with ease and winning by double-digits.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

Indianapolis/ Tennessee Over 42.5: The Colts scored just 8 points vs the Rams last week, but Andrew Luck still had 353 yards passing in the game, so it was turnovers that did them in. Prior to last week's game, the Colts had scored 63 points in their 2 previous games and they had hit 27 or more in 5 of their previous 6 games. This is still a very good offense, despite what happened last week. Now as far as their defense, they have been bad as they come in allowing 428 ypg and 31.7 ppg over their last 3 games. The Tennessee defense has also been roughed up a bit over their last 3 games, allowing 27 ppg over that stretch, and we note that those three games were vs weak offensive teams in Jacksonville, St Louis and San Fran. On offense the Titans will be without Locker, but Fitzpatrick has been solid this in his place this year and should be able to put up some points on this weak Colts defense. I know the Under is 13-3 the last 16 in this series, but with two weak defenses and 2 solid offenses we should be able to hit at leas 45 in this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

Jack Jones

Marshall -12½

The Thundering Herd got off to a tough start this season with three absolutely brutal losses. They have lost two games by a combined five points to at Ohio (34-31) and at Middle Tennessee (49-51), as well as a triple overtime loss at Virginia Tech (21-29). That’s how close this team is to being 9-0 right now. They have responded with back-to-back blowout victories over Southern Miss (61-13) and UAB (56-14) to show what kind of dominant team they really are.

Tulsa is clearly in rebuilding mode in 2013 and came into the season way overvalued after winning the Conference USA Title last season. It has gone 2-7 straight up and a woeful 1-8 against the spread. It has hardly been competitive, either. The Golden Hurricane have suffered five of their seven losses by 17 points or more. Their only wins have come against Colorado State (30-27) and UTEP (34-20). They are coming off a 24-58 loss at East Carolina, which is a team that is similar in talent level to Marshall.

Marshall has a huge edge offensively in this one. It is scoring 42.6 points and averaging 493.7 yards per game to rank 14th in the country in total offense. Tulsa is scoring 20.6 points and averaging 369.4 yards per game to rank 90th in total offense. The edge also goes to the Thundering Herd on the other side of the ball. They are allowing 20.9 points and 359.4 yards per game to rank 27th in total defense. The Golden Hurricane are yielding 34.0 points and 406.8 yards per contest.

Plays against a home team (TULSA) – after allowing 37 points or more last game against opponent after 2 straight wins by 28 or more points are 34-7 (82.9%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Tulsa is 1-14 against the spread off two straight losses by 17 points or more since 1992. The Golden Hurricane are 26-44 against the number after allowing 37 or more points in their last game since 1992. Bet Marshall Thursday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

Steve Janus

Rockets/Knicks Over 204½

With or without James Harden the Rockets should have little trouble scoring the basketball at will against a Knicks defense that can't protect the paint. Atlanta scored 91 points with just 4 3-pointers last night vs the Knicks and that was because they got whatever they wanted inside. Houston is even more potent down low with Dwight Howard and should have a better time hitting from the outside. New York made a key move prior to last night's game, as they started Carmelo Anthony at the 4. New York's offense responded by hitting 12 3-pointers and I look for that hot shooting from the outside to stick as they return home. The Rockets have allowed at least 100 points in three of their four road games and the lone exception came against a lackluster Utah team.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

Tony Finn

Colts / Titans Under 43

Thursday night's AFC match-up between the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans is not what it once was. Different players, coaches, schemes and possible results as the Colts have slid badly since starting the season with impressive victories, highlighted by a miserable home loss by the Colts to the Rams and in ugly fashion. The Tennessee Titans lost at home, too, and did so against a winless Jacksonville club losing Jake Locker for the season with a foot injury.

Indianapolis is in control of the division and after losing at home to the Jags Tennessee is facing a three game road trip following Thursday's match-up making them a playoff dead dog

What to make of the Colts?  Young, inexperienced, injury riddled and rushing deficient.The Colts beat the likes of Seattle, San Francisco and Denver and have lost to NFL organizations without winning records. This is the sign of a young group. The Colts knew they needed more ground-round and when they acquired Trent Richardson from Cleveland they believed they had added the missing piece -- problem is their offensive line play has been dismal. Richardson is averaging 35.7 yards rushing over seven games since arriving from the Browns. Although Andrew Luck threw for 353 yards, he was picked off three times - matching his total from the previous eight games.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, who lost two starts in place of Locker last month, threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, but doesn't have that "it factor" or experience to close out games or mount a winning drive. His fumble with 2 minutes to go at home against the Jags doomed the Titans.  Running back Chris Johnson broke out of his season-long doldrums with 150 yards and two touchdowns before the bye week, but was limited to 30 yards on 12 carries by the Jaguars. Since Titans have been nothing short of sloppy on offense giving the ball away 13 times in their last five games.

The Under is 13-3 in the last 16 meeting between the two teams and 6-2 in the last 8 meetings in Tennessee.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

Sam Martin

Marshall at Tulsa
Play: Tulsa

Solid line value taking the home underdog tonight as Marshall has not proven they are capable of winning big on the road. Thundering Herd was listed as double-digit favorites in each of their last two road games with disastrous results, losing outright at Middle Tennessee State and then escaping Florida Atlantic with a one-point win. Tulsa's rushing game matches up well against Marshall, and while we don't expect the Herd to lose this game outright we believe Tulsa can keep it close.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

Dave Price

NY Knicks +2

The Knicks head into tonight's game with momentum after upsetting the Hawks in Atlanta last night. That victory sets up an ideal situation to back New York tonight as it is 11-0 ATS in home games off an upset win on the road over the last 3 seasons, winning by an average score of 104.5 to 89.5 in this spot. The Knicks have also been one of the best bets in the NBA when playing without rest, going 20-7-1 ATS in their last 28 in that situation. Houston has failed to cover the number in each of its last four games and the trends show we should continue to fade away. The Rockets are 15-29 ATS after failing to cover the spread in 2 or more consecutive games over the last 3 seasons and 11-26 ATS in road games after a game where they failed to cover the spread over the last 3 seasons. Take the Knicks.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

Chris Jordan

My free play for tonight is on the Marshall Thundering Herd in college football, as I see them destroying Tulsa in the teams' Conference USA showdown.

Marshall is already bowl eligible and is now looking for its third straight win, hoping to enhance its bowl chances. The Herd have always been a good postseason draw, and now it's on them to enhance their resume.

Marshall is 1-3 on the road this season, and this is a great opportunity to better that mark, as a win also puts Marshall in a tie with East Carolina atop the C-USA East.

Meanwhile, Tulsa (2-7) is hoping avoid its fourth straight defeat, but I don't think it happens against this hard-hitting defense. I honestly don't think Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans can hang. The redshirt freshman will be under fire the entire game, and based on his last three games - he is 39 of 85 for 440 yards, has thrown two touchdowns and six interceptions and has an 83.0 NCAA passer rating - I don't think he will handle Marshall's pass rush.

Take the Herd tonight, as this should be no contest.

5♦ MARSHALL

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

Jeff Benton

Your Thursday freebie is for the points to ring up when Marshall and Tulsa do battle.

The Thundering Herd hit Oklahoma having eclipsed the total in each of their last three games, and four of their last six overall, while the Golden Hurricane snapped a three game Under clip with and Over at East Carolina to make it five of their last eight having played Over the total.

This series has been traditionally high-scoring in the short time the teams have faced one another, as each of the last three meetings since 2008 have all played over. Last year the teams combined for 83 whopping points in Huntington. Tonight it is time for them to combine for a game in the 70's, as Marshall and Tulsa play a fourth straight series Over.

Rakeem Cato has led the Herd to 49 points or better in each of Marshall's last three games. Look for another prolific night tonight at Skelly Field.

4♦ MARSHALL-TULSA OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

Craig Davis

Marshall/Tulsa OVER is your free play of the day as the Thundering Herd gets set to take on a struggling Tulsa team on the road.

I never thought, at the beginning of the season, that Marshall would ever have the chance to go into Tulsa and be listed as a near two-TD favorite... but that's exactly where we're at. The 'Herd is currently -13 at the time of this writing and the total is around 61.

While my gut says Marshall should roll in this game, let's not forget they are just 1-3 on the road but a perfect 5-0 at home, including last week's huge 56-14 win over hapless UAB.

What I know about Marshall is this: they are a well-oiled machine on offense and continue to score at a high level. Before their 56 vs. UAB last week they scored 61 in a blowout win over Southern Miss in the previous week.

Tulsa's biggest problem all season has been their lack of defense and turnovers. I like both of those things in our favor if I'm playing the over.

Tulsa should give Marshall a few short fields with some turnovers while allowing them to run and throw at will.

The only way we don't get to the OVER in this game is if the Golden Hurricane take care of the ball, limit their turnovers and penalties, and forget how to run their offense.

This one seems fairly easy... take the OVER as your free play of the day.

4♦ MARSHALL-TULSA OVER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

Scott Delaney

On the heels of my NBA freebie winner on Denver last night, over the visiting L.A. Lakers, tonight's free winner from pro hoops is on the Golden State Warriors, minus the points against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

There are plenty of big names in tonight's Western Conference showdown at Oracle Arena in Oaktown, with a match-up that includes the Warriors' Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala and David Lee and the Thunder's Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Problem for the Thunder - and Warriors fans looking to see two of the best players in the league at their best - I'm not so sure they're going to be at their best in this one, after a disappointing game last night in Los Angeles against the Clippers, who ran the Thunder ragged in a 111-103 clinic.

And the biggest disappointment for the Thunder here will be the fact they couldn't sustain their nine-point halftime lead.

Now Durant, Westbrook and the rest of the boys from OKC have to deal with a Warriors team that has played well on both ends of the floor this season, averaging 103.9 points per game (8th in the league) while limiting foes to a mere 96.1 ppg.(6th).

In addition, the Warriors have won all three of their home games this season by an average of 20 points on 54.7 percent shooting, they come into this one after producing their best shooting night of the season in a 113-95 victory over Detroit on Tuesday and the home team has covered four of the last five meetings, while the favorite has cashed in six of the last seven.

Take Golden State here.

4♦ GOLDEN STATE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

Brad Wilton

ACC battle tonight, and this Georgia Tech-Clemson series has been a most definite "dog" of a series, as in the underdog has been the play.

Dating back to 1990, the underdog in the rivalry stands at 19-5, with 16 of the last 24 meetings having been decided by 5 points or less!

Based on those numbers, I will take the Yellow Jackets as your free play for Thursday night. Georgia Tech has the type of ball control offense that can keep the football out of the Clemson offense's hands for stretches of time as the Techsters makes it difficult for the # 8 ranked Tigers to put up "style" points as they look to move up the rankings ladder in the last few weeks of play.

Clemson has twice left the back-door open this season, allowing late TD's by both N.C. State and Maryland to blow the cover as the double-digit favorite, and another blown cover would not be a surprise for a team that is just 3-4 this season when listed as the chalk.

Conversely, G-Tech has gone 11-4 against the spread their last 15 games dating back to last season.

Points work in this one.

2♦ GEORGIA TECH

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

Brett Atkins

Told you the Oregon Ducks were going to roll in college hoops last night, right? Tonight your free winner is on the Under in the Marshall/Tulsa game - the other college football contest on the card.

Alright, so Marshall won at home last week against UAB, 56-14, to become bowl-eligible. This week it heads into Tulsa, to take on the downtrodden Golden Hurricane, and I don't think the Herd will be looking to fire up the offensive engine enough to force a high-scoring game, once the game is out of reach.

I don't even know if Marshall covers the number, since a 10-point win would suffice, something like 31-21. Then again, it wouldn't surprise me to see a 34-21 final, or 37-21. But the fact is I don't see these two getting into the 60s.

The Golden Hurricane has lost three consecutive home games, but they also lead the series with Marshall, 4-0, with two wins at home and two wins in Huntington.

Last week Tulsa rushed for 188 yards against an East Carolina defense that was allowing only 85.2 per game, so I wouldn't be surprised to see the Hurricane play a ball-controlled game tonight, looking to play keep-away from Marshall.

I don't know how this game plays out with the final, or which side to take, but don't look for a high-scoring, explosive game.

4♦ Marshall/Tulsa UNDER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

Sean Michaels

7-2 with my last nine comp plays following last night's second straight NBA winner this week on the Spurs over Washington.

Sticking in hoops tonight and backing the Warriors (-5) at home against the Thunder, who are playing their first back-to-back set of the season.

Oklahoma City is coming off a 111-103 loss in LA to the Clippers last night, a game they led 62-53 at halftime. The Thunder, who are missing starting center Kendrick Perkins (death in his family), were out-rebounded 50-35 (18-8 on offensive glass) which resulted in 14 second-chance points for the Clippers, who took advantage of second-year center Steven Adams' first pro start.

This is a "statement" game for Golden State tonight. The Warriors haven't beaten anyone of note yet and they're 3-0 at home, but the wins have come against the Lakers, Kings and Pistons. With Stephen Curry healthy (25 points in three quarters of Tuesday's 113-95 rout of Detroit), Russell Westbrook (shooting just 34.8 percent) will have some defensive issues in just his sixth game back from a knee injury.

3♦ GOLDEN STATE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, November 14

Harry Bondi

MARSHALL (-12.5) over Tulsa

This is the time of year we love to go against "dead teams" and Tulsa certainly falls into that category. After winning a school-record 11 games last season, the Golden Hurricane limp into this game 2-7 overall with losses of 19 and 24 points the last two weeks. This is a team that has clearly given up on this season, as seen by tonight's depth chart that lists six freshmen in the starting line-up. Meanwhile, Marshall has everything to play for. Wins in their final three games will send the Herd to the Conference USA title game for the first time in school history. Marshall is known for its offense as it averages a conference-best 42 points per game, but the defense is also playing very well and ranks second in the league in points allowed. No Marshall player has ever beaten Tulsa in his career, so let's take the ultra-motivated, explosive Herd against a Tulsa team that has already waved the white flag on the season.

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