Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 22

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 22

Jack Jones

Bulls/Blazers Under 190½

I look for a low-scoring, defensive battle tonight between the Portland Trail Blazers and Chicago Bulls. The books have simply set the bar too high tonight, and we'll take advantage by backing the UNDER 190.5 points here.

Both teams play at below-average paces. Chicago ranks 17th in the league in pace at 96.6 possessions per game, while Portland ranks 20th at 96.1 possessions per contest. The Blazers have yet to face a team that plays defense like Chicago.

The Bulls rank 3rd in the league in defensive efficiency at 92.8 points per 100 possessions allowed. On the season, they are giving up just 89.8 points per game on 40.4% shooting. Unfortunately, Chicago's struggles have come on the other end.

The Bulls are scoring just 93.3 points per game on 42.7% shooting. They rank a woeful 28th in the league in offensive efficiency with 92.8 points per 100 possessions. Portland is 16th in the league in offensive efficiency at 101.6 points per 100 possessions.

Even though the Bulls held the Nuggets to 97 points last night on the road, it wasn't good enough for defensive-minded head coach Tom Thibodeau. "Our turnovers hurt us," Thibodeau said. "The big thing is we gave them easy scoring opportunities. We should have been able to count on our defense. Ninety-seven points, 46 percent (shooting for Denver), it's too much."

The UNDER is 10-4 in Bulls last 14 games playing on 0 days rest. The UNDER is 6-1 in Bulls last seven games overall. Thibodeau is 49-25 to the UNDER in the first half of the season as the coach of Chicago. Bet the UNDER in this game Friday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 22

Greg Shaker

Pennsylvania / Iowa Over 157

Large number and going up for now but good enough to play here. I have 161.7..The Pace is going to be Frantic, we do have two teams that get to the Free Throw Line a lot, Iowa 31.4% of the time per possession, and Penn 30.4% of the time per possession, and we also have two teams that make their Free Shots at a good rate, especially the Hawkeyes. This is not likely going to be a close affair and the 2nd Half could be Wild and Crazy because of this. Triple or Near Triple Digits in the 2nd would not surprise me.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 22

Harry Bondi

Navy / San Jose State Under 60

We cashed another winning ticket with our ugly NFL dogs theory that has made us a fortune this season and will go against the public again tonight and play under the total in the Navy at San Jose State game. Both of these teams can score points but going inside the numbers we find that the oddsmakers overreact when the Midshipman play on artificial turf and after they score 40 or more points in a game. The prevailing thought is that Navy's triple option offense will score even more on the faster surface of artificial turf but they tend to jack the total up too high and Navy has played under the posted total in 14 of their last 17 on the fake stuff. Also, Navy has failed to go over the total in the game following the Middies scoring 40 or more points in a game seven straight times! Let's hope the trend database pays off tonight go under the total Navy at San Jose State.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 22

Joe Gavazzi

Navy +2.5

It’s the Navy run game led by QB Reynolds against the San Jose passing attack of QB Fales. Advantage. Navy against the San Jose St. team who lost 38-16 at Nevada last week when they allowed the Wolfpack to dominate them overland 311-58. It was a magical season for San Jose last year. They went 11-2 SU ATS. This year, however, following a pair of defeats, the Spartans have dropped to 5-5 SU and still must face Navy this week and undefeated Fresno next week. That’s a lot of pressure for this team. In that magical season of last, San Jose authored one of the most shocking performances of the 2012 season. The Spartans traveled 3000 miles east to Annapolis, where they shut out the Middies 12-0 allowing Navy a total of 144 yards. It was the Mids worst offensive showing in over a decade. At 6-4 SU, with post season plans secured, Navy will be playing with far less pressure than their host. And we are always looking at the Middies in this role, where they are a long-term 22-8 ATS as road dog.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 22

Dr Bob

Navy (+2) 32 SAN JOSE STATE 29

It’s tough for teams that are right in the middle of their conference season to prepare for Navy’s option offense, which is something that they normally don’t see. Non-conference games in the middle of the conference season can be hard to get up for and anything less than full focus during the week trying to learn how to defend the option can hurt you on Saturday. Navy is 64-44-1 ATS since 1996 when facing a team coming off a conference game, including 38-16-1 ATS as when not favored by 2 points or more (Navy is not as good as a favorite). The Midshipmen are 32-9 ATS in road games in that situation since 1991, including 17-2 ATS more recently and they’re 31-7 ATS as a road underdog against a team coming off a loss in their last game. Navy also applies to a 108-42-4 ATS statistical match up indicator that plays on good running teams as underdogs against teams that don’t defend the run well (that makes sense).

San Jose State did an incredible job defending the Navy option in a 12-0 win over the Middies last season but the coaching staff that led last year’s Spartans has moved on. San Jose State’s current defensive coordinator spent the last 6 years as a linebackers’ coach at Cal and the Bears never faced the option while he was there. Those military men surely haven’t forgotten how they were embarrassed by a very good San Jose State defense last season and Navy is 58% ATS the last 33 years when facing a team that beat them in their previous meeting (97-67-3 ATS), including 29-13-1 ATS in their last 43 such games as an underdog (14-0 ATS if the opponent is coming off a loss. Navy shouldn’t have any problem running the ball this year against a Spartans’ defense that is 0.6 yards per rushing play worse than average defensively and my math model picks this game even, so there is a bit of line value in favor of the Midshipmen, who tend to play their best on the road (60-24 ATS as a road dog). I like Navy here and I’d consider Navy a Strong Opinion at +3 or more.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 22

Dr. Bob

TORONTO (-4½) over Washington

Washington is coming off consecutive upset wins but the Wizards apply to a negative 17-67-1 ATS situation that is based on those two victories. My ratings only favor Toronto by 3½ points but I still like the Raptors here because the situation is so good. I’ll lean with Toronto based on the situation.


Golden State (-6) over L.A. LAKERS

This opinion is contingent on Stephen Curry returning to the lineup for the Warriors after sitting out Wednesday’s loss with a mild concussion. That loss sets up Golden State in a 156-73-4 ATS road favorite bounce-back situation and the Warriors are 23-4 ATS under coach Mark Jackson on the road after a loss when visiting a team coming off a win. It would appear that Curry will play based on the line moving from -5 to -6 points. However, I only favor Golden State by 4½ points with Curry playing so the line is a bit high. I’d take Golden State as a 2-Star Best Bet at -5 or less if Stephen Curry is upgraded to probable.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, November 22

OC Dooley

Connecticut -2

This is the championship game of the 2K Sports Classic being played inside New York’s famed Madison Square Garden.  One year ago in the championship game of this preseason tournament Alabama won by a massive TWENTY-TWO point margin which was just one day removed from a “squeaker” in the semifinal round.  Connecticut is in a similar situation as tonight they are favored in the championship tilt one day removed for a very close semifinal game where they survived by just a TWO point margin.  As predicted yesterday heavily favored Connecticut was put to a severe test by former rival Boston College who was facing them for the first time since the 2005 campaign.  The oddsmakers have made a loud statement in tonight’s championship tilt casting Connecticut as a full two-point favorite even though they are facing an Indiana contingent with an identical “5-0” record.  The reason why Indiana is an underdog has to do with a poor schedule as the Hoosiers have already faced four teams (Chicago State, Long Island, Samford, Stony Brook) who are not exactly major tests.  Many reading this analysis may remember that Connecticut a year ago was barred from participating in the postseason, but that is not the case this time around.  Connecticut has an outstanding backcourt led by SENIOR point guard Shabazz Napier (14 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists per game) who coupled with Ryan Boatwright have already combined on 13 different DEFENSIVE steals.

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