Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

EZWINNERS

Wake Forest +6

Duke takes to the road in the rare role of a road favorite when they take on Wake Forest in this match up. This game also marks the first time that the #25 ranked Dukies play as a ranked team since their 1995 Hall of Fame Bowl loss to Wisconsin. I always look to fade teams that are favored against a team that has had their number in recent years and that is the case in this match up. The Blue Devils are 5-1-1 against the spread in the last seven meetings between these two teams but they have been the underdog in those games. The Demon Deacons have beat the Dukies straight up in twelve out of the last thirteen meetings between these two teams. This is also a huge flat spot for Duke as they are coming off of a huge win against the Miami Hurricanes last week and have a showdown with arch rival North Carolina on deck next week while Wake Forest is coming off of a bye week. I don't think Duke will handle last week's success well especially going on the road being expected to win the game against a rested team. Duke has won and covered the spread in five straight games, but they have been outgained in their last three wins and that usually does not bode well for a team in the role of the favorite. Wake Forest has struggled this season but they can still make it to a bowl with a win here and a win next week. Look for the Demon Deacons to throw everything they have at Duke after having two weeks to prepare. Take the points.

Nebraska +1.5

I believe the wrong team is favored in this matchup. The 7-3 Cornhuskers are coming off of a 41-28 loss last week to Michigan State, but Nebraska was much more competitive than the score would indicate. The Huskers actually outgained the Spartans 392 yards to 361 yards but killed themselves with five costly turnovers. Michigan State has one of the best defenses in the nation, while Penn State does not. The Nittany Lions have been gashed in several games this season and I expect Nebraska to do the same. PSU is going to see a heavy dose of Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah who rushed for 123 yards against the stout Spartans defense for an average of 5.7 yards per carry. If Abdullah gets things going on the ground like I think he will, that will take the pressure off of freshmen quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. and open up passing opportunities in play action. Penn State has a freshmen quarterback of their own in Christian Hackenberg. Hackenberg is the favorite for the Big Ten's freshmen of the year award as he has thrown for 2,399 yards and fourteen touchdown, but he also has thrown nine interceptions. Hackenberg will face a lot of pressure from Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory who leads the Big Ten in sacks with 8.5. I look for the Huskers to force Penn State into a few mistakes and to control the clock with their running game as the pick up the win at Happy Valley. Take the points.

Oklahoma State +9.5

Baylor has been unbelievable this season with an offense on pace to set major records at 61 points and 685 yards a game the Bears are riding a school best thirteen game winning streak and have matched their highest ever Associated Press ranking. But laying double digits on the road against Oklahoma State seems crazy to me as the Cowboys are 16-1 in their last seventeen game played in Stillwater. Eleventh ranked Oklahoma State was the preseason Big 12 favorite and has won six straight games to get right back in the thick of the Big XII title chase. The Cowboys have also improved their play every week since Senior Clint Chelf took over at quarterback and junior Desmond Roland assumed the primary running back duties four games ago and are coming off an impressive road win against Texas last week. The Bears knocked of Oklahoma State by seven points last year in Waco but that was only the second time in the last sixteen meetings that Baylor has beat Oklahoma State. Baylor has a loaded team, but they been hit by some key injuries to wide receivers and running backs and also lost starting left tackle Spencer Drango for the season. Baylor hasn't beaten a ranked team on the road since 1991 and they have not won in Stillwater since 1939. This one has the feel that the team with the ball last wins the game. Take the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

Chris Jordan

My free play for Saturday is on BYU, as only need to pick the winner in this game, and I like the Cougars to get it done over Notre Dame.

If there is one game that BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall has been waiting for, it's this one. And his Cougars, for that matter.

There is revenge to be had.

Two weeks ago it was Pittsburgh getting revenge on the Irish, who finished last regular season undefeated and in the BCS title game. Now Notre Dame comes in with a target on its back against BYU and also Stanford next week.

Last season's 17-14 loss to Notre Dame has haunted Provo, Utah, to be honest, so when the "Mormons invade the Catholics" today, don't be surprised if it seems to get personal. I'm counting on BYU quarterback Taysom Hill to lead the charge, as the Irish have struggled to contain dual-threat quarterbacks this season.

Hill ranks eighth in the nation in total offense at 333.5 yards a game, and is averaging 95.6 yards a game rushing. Hill might be the fastest and most athletic quarterback the Irish will face, and that includes Michigan's Devin Gardner. And that doesn't help the Irish's banged-up defensive line, which is struggling across the board.

Still this is more about revenge and pride, after Mendenhall still believes his Cougars should have won last season. Not to mention the fact they're 2-5 all-time against Notre Dame.

BYU has covered 14 of its last 20 against winning teams and 13 of its last 19 on the road, while the Irish have failed to cover 6 of 8 in November games and are mired in a 3-8 home slide versus the books. Take the Cougars in this one.

2♦ BYU

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

Jeff Benton

Your Saturday freebie is to take the Kentucky Wildcats plus the points as they play in Athens against the Georgia Bulldogs.

With just 2 straight up wins, Mark Stoops has had a rough first season as Kentucky head coach, but series numbers are in his favor today, and of course it will be quite interesting to see how the 6-4 Bulldogs respond a week after seeing a 4th and 18 "Hail Mary" do them in at Auburn. My guess is UGA will do just enough to get the win, but fail to cover this huge impost.

Georgia has failed to cover their last 4 between the hedges, and they have dropped 4 of the last 5 series meetings with Kentucky against the spread.

Kentucky has covered against Louisville, South Carolina and Miss State, no hesitation in taking the points today with the Wildcats against the downtrodden Bulldogs.

3♦ KENTUCKY

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

Craig Davis

Free play of the day on the UNDER in the Michigan/Iowa Big 10 battle in Iowa City.

While Iowa has actually had a lot more overs than unders this year, it's only because Vegas constantly plagues them with ridiculously low numbers. But today, I think the number and the opponent is just right for the UNDER.

For starters, it's going to be ice cold with wind and the possibility of snow showers. Don't expect either passing game to even get close to 200 yards. Both teams will try their best to establish the ground game early and often, not wanting a shootout but rather an old fashioned Big 10 slugfest.

3 yards and a cloud of dust might have been a 1960s phrase, but it's relevant today.

Michigan's offense has apparently been figured out, and they aren't making any adjustments on the fly. After scoring 63 points in a shootout win vs. Indiana, the Wolverines have scored 6, 13, and 6-9 points in their last three games. I say 6-9 points for their last game vs. Northwestern because they were lucky to even get off the game-tying FG to tie the game at 9 and force overtime. I don't count the OT points they scored from the 25 yard line because my 11U little league team could do that.

I'm talking about regulation... in the last 12 quarters of regulation, the Wolverines have one TD. Pitiful.

I have no idea who's going to ultimately win this game, but it's going to be very low scoring with both teams just wanting to get back to the locker room. Play the under as your free release of the day.

3♦ MICHIGAN-IOWA UNDER

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

Scott Delaney

My free winner for Saturday's college football card is on the West coast, and playing a Pac 12 showdown in Pasadena, where I'll play the UCLA Bruins over the Arizona State Sun Devils in the Rose Bowl.

I know the Devils' defense has been playing exceptional of late, going back about four weeks, and I also see where they've crept up to No. 17 in the BCS standings after five straight wins. But this one is going to be trouble against an equally surging team Bruins team that has won three straight since back-to-back to losses against Stanford and Oregon.

I love what I've seen from UCLA's sophomore gunslinger Brett Hundley, as he's been very crafty in extending plays, turning the field vertical when he needs to and becoming the playmaker for coach Jim Mora, Jr.

I generally think you always have to look at home underdogs this time of the year, with college football rivalries, but this appears to be a supreme value play here and I want you to get it early before there is any line move.

UCLA's balance on both sides of the ball, not to mention the balance on offense between Hundley and freshman linebacker Myles Jack - who has stepped in to contribute with five touchdowns in two games - is the key for this team.

Love UCLA, and I wouldn't be surprised to see an outright win.

2♦ UCLA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

Brad Wilton

After blowing last week's home meeting with Michigan, and in triple overtime no less, look for the Northwestern Wildcats - losers of 6 in a row straight up - to get trampled this weekend at the hands of Michigan State.

Huge win for Sparty last weekend in Lincoln, as Michigan State can earn a spot in the Big Ten title game with the win this afternoon. The Spartans are on a 6 game winning streak and State has also covered all 3 this year when listed as the single digit favorite.

State's defense is ranked #1 even though they gave up 28 in their win at Nebraska. Expect finding the end zone to be tough for the sputtering Wildcats who have averaged just over 15 ppg their last 5 setbacks.

The visitor in this series has covered the last 6 meetings, and the Spartans are also working on a 7 game road cover streak as they head to Evanston this Saturday afternoon.

Go with Sparty here for the road win and cover.

4♦ MICHIGAN STATE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

Brett Atkins

My free play is on Missouri.

First of all, Missouri quarterback James Franklin returned to practice from a shoulder injury and is expected to start in this game. This alone gives the nod to the Tigers, an opportunistic bunch that capitalizes on mistakes and tends to force mistakes and cause turnovers. Franklin has been sidelined since Oct. 12, so it's the perfect timing for a team that needs balance heading into the home stretch.

The Tigers' fierce defense is allowing a mere 20.2 points per game and 3.3 yards per carry, while it leads the SEC with 17 interceptions and 34 sacks.

I mean, Bulldogs' coach Hugh Freeze has been solid at the helm, and comes in sporting a 26-9 ATS winning streak dating back to 2010. And you never know what to expect when you have a hot quarterback like Bo Wallace, who shattered offensive records last week, with 751 yards in a 51-21 win over Troy.

But you're getting value with the Tigers, so look for the wiseguy edge by buying the half point down if it's -3, or take the -2.5.

1♦ MISSOURI

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

SPORTS WAGERS

WAKE FOREST +7½ over Duke

We see three different lines for this game. Pinnacle has the Blue Devils -6½ -111, BET365 has the Blue Devils -7 -110 and SIA has them at -7½ -110. We’re not going to try and make a case for the Demon Deacons competing on an equal level with Duke on the playing field because that would be a bit ludicrous. Anyone that follows this game knows that on paper, Duke should destroy Wake but unfortunately, these aren’t computer generated games that are played on paper. In terms of situational betting, the Blue Devils could be in big trouble here. You see, Duke has reeled off six wins in a row. Two of those wins came against ranked teams with their latest victory last Saturday against then #23 Miami being perhaps the biggest one in school history. They not only defeated the “U”, they buried them, 48-30. The Blue Devils football stock is higher than it has ever been right now and that’s usually not the right time to step in a squad. That ship has already sailed and now is the time to sell high, as letdown spots for college kids does not come greater than this one.

Also inflating this number is Wake’s current form, as they have dropped three in a row, which was capped off by last week’s 59-3 loss to Florida State. It’s not easy to pull the trigger on the Deacs here but all the danger and warning signs of betting a road favorite that is supposed to win going away are ever-present. That’s when the dog usually covers and that’s the way we’re going to play it.


Oklahoma +5½ over KANSAS STATE

After a slow start that saw the Wildcats lose four of their first six games, this team has caught fire with four straight wins in very impressive fashion. Many of K-State’s early season losses were due to costly turnovers and not because they were outplayed. Bill Snyder has a remarkable home record in November over the years (31-4 straight up at home) and when you combine that with the Wildcats recent form and the fact that the Sooners will be without offensive stars Damien Williams and Lacoltan Bester due to suspensions, it has created an inflated price. The Wildcats are a tempting proposition here spotting the points but too many red flags has us backing the visitor. First, this line opened at -3½ and has been moving up since. That’s the first red flag. The second red flag is the Wildcats stock is too high and that is seldom the correct time to step in and finally, the Sooners are not getting the respect they deserve here and that has a way of firing up the visiting team.

When a team loses a key player or two, they usually don’t play worse. In fact, one could argue they play better because all they hear and read about all week is how severely handicapped they are without said player(s). The Sooners are an impressive 8-2 on the year and their defense is one of the best in the country, despite playing in the offensive minded Big-12. It’s also worth noting that Bob Stoops has Bill Snyder’s number. Stoops is 4-0 playing in K-State and 7-2 overall against Snyder. The kicker here is that it is expected to be below zero in Manhattan today. That hurts the passing game big time, as it will be the first week played in very cold conditions. OU has averaged 287.2 rushing yards in five Big 12 wins this season and if they come anywhere near that mark today, they will not only cover but will win outright. Lastly, Oklahoma has won nine straight games against teams it suffered a loss against during the previous season and that comes into play here. Take the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

SPORTS WAGERS

N.Y. Rangers -110 over NASHVILLE

OT included. The Predators are coming off back-to-back road wins in Detroit and Toronto. They’ve now won three straight while outscoring the opposition 13-5 over that span. However, a high percentage of their shots have found the back of the net and that’s something that can’t last. The Preds are usually in the 23-30 shots on net per game range so it should come as no surprise that they scored two goals over the last four games of their aforementioned road trip. We also have to wonder how much the Preds have left in the tank. Nashville recently completed a grueling seven-game road trip that saw them travel nearly 7000 miles over 17 days. They returned home last Saturday to face the Blackhawks but immediately hit the road again for two games this week. This will be the Preds 11th straight game of travel and a huge physical letdown is absolutely inevitable. That fatigue will set in either tonight or against the Coyotes on Monday and if the Preds happen to win this game, which we doubt, we’ll be sure to fade them again on Monday.

The Rangers got off to a good start in the first game of a four-game trip on Thursday with a 3-2 victory in Dallas. Henrik Lundqvist was brilliant in that game, as he kicked aside 41 shots. The Rangers were outshot in that game 43-27. However, that’s an anomaly, as New York has out-chanced and outshot nine of their past 10 opponents by a wide margin. It’s only a matter of time before those quality scoring chances find the back of the net. Prior to the game against Dallas, the Rangers played the Bruins, Kings, Canadiens and Devils and outshot that quartet by a combined count of 150-98, yet the Blue Shirts scored just four goals. That’s one goal for every 37½ shots on net. A correction in the Rangers percentage of shots that go in is absolutely forthcoming. The Rangers have had many injuries to key personnel but they are healthier now than they’ve been the entire season and Rick Nash back in the lineup makes them much more dangerous. Cameron Talbot gets the call in net for the Rangers here and that’s fine by us. Talbot stopped all 22 shots he faced in a shutout win over the Canadiens on November 16. Talbot has now won four consecutive games, he has a strong 1.58 GAA and .943 save % and this just might be his easiest assignment to date.


PHILADELPHIA -½ +103 over N.Y. Islanders

Regulation only. The Islanders played last night in Pittsburgh and rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie it after two periods. A late third period goal with under two minutes to go in regulation sent the Islanders to their seventh loss in nine games. Not getting a point out of that game is mentally deflating. The Islanders went 0-6 on the power-play while allowing two power-play goals against. That’s no surprise, as New York’s defense is among the weakest in the NHL. So is its goaltending. Dave Poulin played last night and is now 3-7 with a lousy save % of .896. Now what? Do the Islanders stick with Poulin or turn to Evgeni Nabokov here. Either way it does not matter. Goaltenders are also part of a hockey club and both Nabokov and Poulin shoot holes in the Islanders wings every time they try to take off, which is now become more than frustrating. This is the worst goaltending duo in the NHL and it’s a huge problem. 

We mentioned earlier in the year that the Flyers are the most undervalued team in the NHL and while their stock has gone up somewhat, they are still undervalued. Philly has picked up 11 out of a possible 12 points over its past six games. Over that stretch the Flyers have outscored the opposition 22-9. The Flyers are creating more scoring chances than almost any team in the NHL over the past couple of weeks with a barrage of quality shots on net. Earlier in the year, those chances weren’t going in but they are now and the Flyers still aren’t done. They have scored nine times over their past two games, both at home, while firing away 86 shots on net. The Flyers defense is also underrated. A rested and confident Philadelphia outfit with momentum gets the call here against a mentally deflated team playing the second game of back-to-backs. Oh, one other thing worth mentioning here is that Philadelphia has posted a sick 31-4-2 record over these Islanders during the past 37 meetings. Yeah, we like their chances here. 


DETROIT -½ +125 over Ottawa

Regulation only. A big weight has been lifted off the Red Wings after they defeated the Hurricanes on Thursday to snap an ugly eight-game home losing streak. It also snapped a losing streak of seven games overall and that 4-3 final was a flattering score to the ‘Canes. Detroit scored 17 seconds in, they outshot the ‘Canes 47-27 and they gave up a shorthanded goal with 15 seconds remaining in the third period to make it a much closer than it was. What often follows a victory that snaps a long losing streak is another victory, especially with quality clubs. Detroit still has some issues to work out in the back end but this team is loaded with talent up front that starts with the best two-way player in the NHL in Pavel Datsyuk (and his magic stick) and trickles down throughout the entire line-up. A healthy Darren Helm and recent call-up Gustav Nyquist make the Red Wings even more dangerous.

We’re not sure what’s going on with the Senators but one thing is clear; the Sens have fallen off dramatically with a healthier and stronger line-up than they had a year ago. Last season the Sens played hard every shift of every game. They played with a chip on their shoulders that lasted the entire season and into the playoffs. This season, it’s the complete opposite. On most nights, Ottawa is going through the motions while greatly lacking heart or desire. The Senators have lost four of their past five games and have been outscored in those losses by an alarming 18-6 while allowing four goals or more in every loss. Early this season, Ottawa defeated the Red Wings 6-1 at the Joe. The Red Wings have not forgotten that one.

Pass NBA & CBB

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

Charlie Sports

Illinois -6

The 3-7 Illinois Fighting Illini of the Big Ten Conference Leaders division will take on the 1-9 Purdue Boilermaker also of the Big Ten Conference Leaders division in 2013 NCAA Football action. Illinois is 1-8 Against The Spread their last 9 NCAA Football road games. The underdog is 4-1 ATS the last 5 meetings between the teams. The home team is 6-2 ATS the last 8 meetings between the teams. Illinois gets the road cover.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

John Ryan

Cincinnati Bearcats at Houston Cougars
Prediction: Cincinnati Bearcats

The simulator shows a high probability that Cincinnati will win this game. They are installed as a 2 1/2 point dog. I normally suggest splitting my DOG plays, especially the Top Rated 10* ones, into two parts with, for example, a 8.5* amount using the line and a 1.5* amount using the money line. For the first time this season, I am recommending that you simply play this as a 10* Money Line play and look for the SU win. The major reason, I am all over Cincinnati in this matchup is that they have the superior defense and one that can contain the Houston attack that ranks 39th averaging 33 PPG and 37th posting a 0.443 points-per-play ratio. Houston had been the lone team in the nation to score in every quarter until they failed to score in the first quarter against UCF in their 19-14 loss. Louisville studied that game film thoroughly and held Houston to just 13 points in their 20-13 win last week. Now, Cincinnati has had two games and plenty of time to prepare for this showdown coming off a 52-17 drubbing of Rutgers. The SIM projections call for Cincinnati to score 28 or more points and that Houston will not score 28 points. In past games, Cincinnati is a solid 5-2 ATS this season and 18-3 ATS over the past three season when they have scored 28 or more points. Moreover, they are 8-0 ATS when scoring between 28 and 35 points over the past three seasons.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

Ben Burns

Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets
Prediction: Houston Rockets

Schedule favors the Rockets in this one. Houston had the last two nights off. Minnesota is off a win over Brooklyn last night.

This is worse than just a typical back-to-back spot for the T-Wolves though. They're also playing their fourth game in the past five days. That's a pretty tough stretch.

Both teams are much better at home than they are on the road. The T-Wolves are 6-2 at Minnesota but 2-4 when playing on the road.

The Rockets are a .500 team (3-3) away from Houston, but they're 5-2 here at home.

The Rockets were laying -14.5 points when they last hosted the T-Wolves, winning that one by eight. Admittedly, much has changed since that 3/15 meeting. One of the changes is that the Rockets are now laying less than half as many points. Given the situation, I believe that's providing some value. Consider Houston.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

Larry Ness

Tulsa at Louisiana Tech
Play: Louisiana Tech

La Tech went 9-3 under Sony Dykes last year, leading the nation by averaging 51.5 PPG and falling less than a single yard shy of topping Baylor for No. 1 in total offense, gaining 578.2 YPG. However, Dykes fled for the ‘greener pastures’ of Cal (maybe not so ‘green’ after all, as the Bears are 1-10 and facing Stanford today off a loss to USC!), and few expected La Tech (under Skip Holtz) to come anywhere near nine wins in 2013. That said, after winning just ONE of their first five games this season, the Bulldogs have been better, winning three of their last five games.

The Bulldogs have shown steady progress on offense, as after averaging only 13.6 PPG in their five losses to FBS teams, they have scored 23 points or more in their three most recent victories. The Bulldogs didn’t have much of a chance at Rice last Saturday (lost 52-14) but here, in the Bulldogs’ final home game vs Tulsa, it should be a MUCH different story. The Golden Hurricane won the C-USA championship game last year, as well as its bowl game over Iowa St, finishing 11-3. Another 10-win season seemed like a stretch in 2013 but few expected this result.

Tulsa comes in 2-8, including just 1-5 in league play. Tulsa beat Colorado St 30-27 early on, with its only other win coming at UTEP, which like Tulsa is 2-8 (1-5 in C-USA). I’m not sure why Tulsa was installed as the small road favorite in this game and I’m taking the points, as 4-6 La Tech could still become bowl eligible with a win here and next week at UTSA. Wouldn’t a bowl trip (at 6-6) be ironic, as last year’s 9-3 team had to stay home. La Tech kept waiting for a “better bowl bid” but when “all the dust had settled,” there was ‘no room at the inn!’

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

Tony Karpinski

Washington vs. Oregon State    
Play: Washington -1½

Washington is yet another big offense team with a great passing attack, behind Keith Price who can fling it around. But the true beast of the team of course is Bishop Sankey, and his 14 TDs. Washington has played a very tough schedule this season, so with that they get much respect from me. Oregon State just can’t move the ball on the ground, grabbing only 2.7 YPC. Sean Mannion has put up amazing numbers on the season in the PAC-12 conference, vs. tough competition. They get a lot of interceptions; they are a turnover creating team, 3 players with 3+ picks. But they are also losers of 3 in a row, by 13 points. Where their offense has been struggling terribly. Oregon state has to learn to run the ball... And learn to stop the run, and this isn’t the game to do it. Washington wins by DD.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

Doug Upstone

Middle Tennessee State vs. Southern Miss    
Play: Middle Tennessee State -22½

On Saturday, Play On Road favorites of 21.5 to 31 points like Middle Tennessee State after beating the spread by 21 or more points total in their last three games and are playing a conference game next. These teams are 24-6 ATS, 80 percent and win by an average of 31.8 points a game.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

Dave Essler

Holy Cross +7.5

I was going to wait and see what this line did, but I don't think it matters. Holy Cross does not suck, this is a neutral site, and Belmont's win over North Carolina (Holy Cross only lost by 8) doesn't impress me. I am one that still thinks' UNC is over rated. The Crusaders bring back a ton, get to the line a ton, and Belmont simply cannot continue to shoot the FG % they have. Somewhat of an instinct here as well, since they seem to be begging, at -7.5, for people to take the known team here, and the line hasn't moved since it came out yesterday. I can see HC making this a last possession game. Yes, of course Belmont could blow them out, but isn't that the case with every CBB game anymore?

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

Playersbet

Wyoming -6

Can this be the week Hawaii gets there first win!? Not a chance. Just a horrible situation for Hawaii to be in and all of their recent travel doesn’t help their case. Hawaii flew home last week and got home late Sunday, then had to fly to LA, just to get back onto the plane to head to Wyoming where they will play Saturday. Did we mention the temp in Wyoming will be below freezing? The Rainbow Warriors went 3-9 last year and have followed it up with an 0-10 start in 2013. The Warriors have only been competitive in one road game this season and were beaten by double digits against bad teams like Navy & Nevada. Hawaii is 3-10 in their last 13 games against teams with a losing record. Wyoming is 7-2 in their last 9 games against teams with a losing record. If Wyoming protects the football today, they will be able to roll over Hawaii.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

Chase Diamond

Temple vs. Connecticut
Play: Connecticut +7

This game features the 0-9 Uconn at the 1-9 Temple. Temple had it's heart broken last week as UCF shockingly came back late for a real shocking win. I expect Temple to really not be into this Uconn game tonight and I expect Uconn to see this as a game they truly can win. Last year Temple won a close one 17-14 and I expect a similar game. Temple should not lay 7 points to any team. The public is all over Temple here at a rate of 71%. I want all clients to place a 500* play on Uconn plus the points here but a win would not shock me.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

Dave Cokin

Arizona State vs UCLA
Play: Arizona State -2.5

I’m taking a stance on one of the day’s very best games as Arizona State takes on UCLA. There’s plenty on the line for both programs here. The winner will be positioned to play for the PAC-12 title, and that also means a chance to get to one of the BCS bowls.

This is one of those games where I’m going to trust the numbers in the categories I tend to give the most weight to. For me, that almost always begins with the rushing stats. Those numbers are great indicators for dominance in the trenches, and generally winning that battle will win the game. I find these especially important in closely lined games where getting the outright victor will generally get you paid.

UCLA is solid enough running the ball, and they have a terrific QB. But the Bruins are not as adept at stopping the run, and I like the chances of the Sun Devils to be able to mix up their attack. On the flip side, ASU has been getting more dominant by the week in forcing opponents to become one dimensional by stuffing the run game. That’s huge here as Arizona State has a very efficient pass defense as well.

I give UCLA’s Brett Hundley the edge at QB, but it’s not a blowout as Taylor Kelly is no slouch for Arizona State. The special teams are a coin flip, with neither team excelling in that aspect of the game.

I can also see revenge playing at least a small role here. The Sun Devils lost at the gun last season in a really wild 45-43 classic, and they’d love to return the favor today. I try to avoid guessing mindsets, so the fact UCLA has the big rivalry duel with USC on deck doesn’t mean anything to me. Besides, it’s really tough to envision the Bruins looking past this opponent with how important the game is.

I sure don’t see this being easy by any means. But the data tells me that Arizona State is the better squad. With the number where it is, chances are that the outright winner gets the cash as well. I’ll side with Arizona State to do exactly that today.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, November 23

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

Nebraska +2 Over PENN STATE: Nebraska still has hopes of a New Years Day bowl and they should get one if they win out. The Nebraska defense has taken it's hits this year but they have played well on the road, allowing just 274 ypg away from home. Penn State has been really inconsistent this year as they have alternated wins and losses for the last 8 weeks. Penn State did crush Purdue last week, but also needed OT to beat Hapless Illinois and needed OT to be Michigan on this field, while also getting crushed by Ohio State, Minnesota and Indiana in their other Big 10 games. This is not really a good team and they have beaten just 1 winning team all year and that was the 4340 thrilling OT win over Michigan. Nebraska is off a tough loss to Michigan State and should come out fired up for this one and I feel they are better on both sides of the ball here, with much better depth as well. Look for Nebraska to win this one by at least a TD. 

HOUSTON -3 over Cincinnati: I will be going with the Cougars in this one. When people think Houston they usually think offense, but this team is playing some fine defense right now as they held UCF and Louisville to just 19.5 ppg in their recent two game road trip vs those teams and we also note that the Cougars lead the nation with 33 takeaways this year. Cincinnati has won 5 in a row and they did crush Rutgers on the road last week, but still Rutgers is a week team this year and their other 4 wins during this streak were vs teams with a combined 8-29 record on the year, while their 2 losses this year have been vs teams with a combined 5-14 record. Overall the Bearcats 8-2 record is a bit deceiving, because they have yet to be a team with a current winning record and earlier in the year hey did struggle on the road with losses at Illinois and South Florida, but a very lackluster 14-0 win over winless Miami-Oh. The Houston defense is playing very well right now and they have fought very hard in their losses to Louisville and UCF their last two games. Now they are at home and should get back on track with a win over a very overrated Cincinnati squad, by at least 7 points.

2 UNIT PLAYS

Kansas +4.5 over IOWA STATE: This Kansas team is still playing hard for Coach Weis,while Iowa State has mailed it in. The road team is 4-0 ATS the last 4 in the series, while the dog is 4-1 ATS. I look for an outright Kansas Win here.

East Carolina -6 over NC STATE:  If it wasn't for ECU's big game with Marshall next week, this game would be rated higher. That game next week vs Marshall should be for the right to play in the Conference USA Title game, so what motivation could ECU have for this one. Well in a word "Recruiting". NC State and north Carolina get the better recruits over ECU, so a win here may give them a chance at stealing some of those recruits from the big boys. Let's also note that ECU has scored 50+ points 5 times this year on their way to averaging 41.5 ppg and they also have the 8th ranked pass offense in the nation, led by Shane Carden. This team not only plays offense as they have the 15th ranked defense in the nation, while allowing just 21.5 ppg, which is 25th. NC State comes in having lost 6 in a row and have allowed a whopping 38 ppg in their last 4 games, while scoring just 16.7 ppg in their last 6 games. The Wolfpack have nothing to play for and they just don't stack up well on either side of the ball vs this very hot ECU team.

Bowling Green -24 over EASTERN MICHIGAN:  The Falcons have a big game on deck vs Buffalo, but still this Eastern Michigan program is a mess and are already thinking about next year. Bowling Green has outscored their last 2 opponents by a 94-3 count, while EMU is off their first win vs an FBS school this year and in their last 6 losses they have lost each game by 25 or more points. Bowling Green rolls here.

Michigan/ Iowa Under 47: The Michigan offense has struggled of late as they have scored just 12.7 ppg in their last 3 games (during regulation), plus they have averaged just 302.8 ypg and 24.3 ppg on the road this year. Not sure they will get much going today vs a very tough Iowa defense that has allowed just 319.2 ypg and 18.7 ppg overall, including allowing just 324.5 ypg and 18.5 ppg at home for the year. In their last game Iowa put up 38 points vs a pathetic Purdue defense, but prior to that they had scored just 17.4 ppg in their previous 5 games, plus Iowa has scored just 13.3 ppg in their 3 Big 10 home games. Those 3 games averaged just 34.7 ppg. The Michigan defense has been solid this year and should be able to keep Iowa under wraps. Both teams run more than pass, plus both have below average offenses and with a couple of solid defenses on the field we should get an old fashioned Big 10 defensive battle.

1 UNIT PLAY

WAKE FOREST +5.5 Over Duke: Tough game for Duke here as they are coming off a HUGE win vs Miami and now must travel, with a road game vs North Carolina on deck. Wake Forest did get blasted at home by FSU last week, but they do have nice DD wins vs Maryland and NC State on this field, so they can play well at home. Wake Still has a shot a bowl, if they can win their last 2 games and that should have them playing hard in this one vs a Duke squad that is in let down mode.

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