Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

DUNKEL INDEX

NBA

Denver at Brooklyn
The Nets host Denver tonight and look to take advantage of the Nuggets 4-7 ATS record in their last 11 games as road favorites of 3 1/2; to 6 points. Brooklyn is the pick (+4 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Nuggets favored by only 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Brooklyn (+4 1/2)

Game 501-502: Orlando at Philadelphia (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Orlando 116.981; Philadelphia 112.129
Dunkel Line & Total: Orlando by 5; 182
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 503-504: Detroit at Miami (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit 112.409; Miami 131.000
Dunkel Line & Total: Miami by 18 1/2; 207
Vegas Line & Total: Miami by 10 1/2; 200 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Miami (-10 1/2); Over

Game 505-506: Milwaukee at Boston (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee 105.499; Boston 120.852
Dunkel Line & Total: Boston by 15 1/2; 206
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 507-508: Denver at Brooklyn (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Denver 119.850; Brooklyn 118.465
Dunkel Line & Total: Denver by 1 1/2; 199
Vegas Line & Total: Denver by 4 1/2; 205 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Brooklyn (+4 1/2); Under

Game 509-510: Phoenix at Memphis (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Phoenix 118.830; Memphis 120.532
Dunkel Line & Total: Memphis by 1 1/2; 185
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 511-512: Charlotte at Dallas (8:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Charlotte 112.222; Dallas 123.550
Dunkel Line & Total: Dallas by 11 1/2; 211
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 513-514: Oklahoma City at Sacramento (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oklahoma City 125.628; Sacramento 114.723
Dunkel Line & Total: Oklahoma City by 11; 198
Vegas Line & Total: Oklahoma City by 6 1/2; 203
Dunkel Pick: Oklahoma City (-6 1/2); Under

Game 515-516: Toronto at Golden State (10:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Toronto 118.167; Golden State 121.182
Dunkel Line & Total: Golden State by 3; 210
Vegas Line & Total: Golden State by 8; 201
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+8); Over

NHL

Tampa Bay at Columbus
The Blue Jackets come into the contest with a 10-14-3 record and face a Tampa Bay team that is 10-1 in its last 11 games versus a team with a losing record. Tampa Bay is the pick (-115) according to Dunkel, which has the Lightning favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-115)

Game 51-52: San Jose at Toronto (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Jose 19.801; Toronto 11.679
Dunkel Line & Total: Toronto by 1; 5
Vegas Line & Total: San Jose (-160); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (+140); Under

Game 53-54: Pittsburgh at NY Islanders (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh 12.693; NY Islanders 9.736
Dunkel Line & Total: Pittsburgh by 3; 6 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Pittsburgh (-160); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (-160); Over

Game 55-56: Carolina at Washington (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Carolina 11.293; Washington 10.300
Dunkel Line & Total: Carolina by 1; 6 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Washington (-175); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Carolina (+155); Over

Game 57-58: Tampa Bay at Columbus (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay 11.914; Columbus 10.233
Dunkel Line & Total: Tampa Bay by 1 1/2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Tampa Bay (-115); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Tampa Bay (-115); Under

Game 59-60: Ottawa at Florida (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Ottawa 10.352; Florida 11.226
Dunkel Line & Total: Florida by 1; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Ottawa (-115); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Florida (-105); Over

Game 61-62: Vancouver at Nashville (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Vancouver 11.744; Nashville 10.220
Dunkel Line & Total: Vancouver by 1 1/2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Vancouver (-115); 5
Dunkel Pick: Vancouver (-115); Under

Game 63-64: Dallas at Chicago (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Dallas 11.366; Chicago 12.827
Dunkel Line & Total: Chicago by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Chicago (-210); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago (-210); Over

Game 65-66: Phoenix at Edmonton (9:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Phoenix 11.080; Edmonton 11.679
Dunkel Line & Total: Edmonton by 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Phoenix (-125); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Edmonton (+105); Under

Game 67-68: Los Angeles at Anaheim (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Los Angeles 12.614; Anaheim 11.389
Dunkel Line & Total: Los Angeles by 1; 5 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Anaheim (-140); 5
Dunkel Pick: Los Angeles (+120); Over

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

DUNKEL INDEX

NCAAB

Michigan at Duke
The Wolverines travel to Duke tonight to face a Blue Devils team that is 3-11 ATS in its last 14 games as a 6 1/2 to 9 point favorite at Cameron Indoor. Michigan is the pick (+7 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Blue Devils favored by only 1. Dunkel Pick: Michigan (+7 1/2)

Game 517-518: Massachusetts at Eastern Michigan (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Massachusetts 62.448; Eastern Michigan 59.084
Dunkel Line: Massachusetts by 3 1/2
Vegas Line: Massachusetts by 6
Dunkel Pick: Eastern Michigan (+6)

Game 519-520: Central Florida at Florida Atlantic (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Central Florida 55.107; Florida Atlantic 54.552
Dunkel Line: Central Florida by 1
Vegas Line: Central Florida by 6
Dunkel Pick: Florida Atlantic (+6)

Game 521-522: Indiana at Syracuse (7:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Indiana 73.498; Syracuse 73.359
Dunkel Line: Even
Vegas Line: Syracuse by 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Indiana (+6 1/2)

Game 523-524: Illinois at Georgia Tech (7:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Illinois 68.103; Georgia Tech 61.503
Dunkel Line: Illinois by 6 1/2
Vegas Line: Illinois by 1
Dunkel Pick: Illinois (-1)

Game 525-526: Penn State at Pittsburgh (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Penn State 62.283; Pittsburgh 72.891
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 10 1/2
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh by 14 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Penn State (+14 1/2)

Game 527-528: Northern Iowa at WI-Milwaukee (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Northern Iowa 59.844; WI-Milwaukee 55.000
Dunkel Line: Northern Iowa by 5
Vegas Line: Northern Iowa by 1
Dunkel Pick: Northern Iowa (-1)

Game 529-530: North Texas at BYU (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: North Texas 48.245; BYU 73.101
Dunkel Line: BYU by 25
Vegas Line: BYU by 18
Dunkel Pick: BYU (-18)

Game 531-532: Texas Tech at Arizona (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas Tech 54.531; Arizona 75.491
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 21
Vegas Line: Arizona by 17 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Arizona (-17 1/2)

Game 533-534: Colorado at Colorado State (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Colorado 65.623; Colorado State 60.791
Dunkel Line: Colorado by 5
Vegas Line: Colorado by 2 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Colorado (-2 1/2)

Game 535-536: Michigan at Duke (9:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Michigan 73.781; Duke 74.956
Dunkel Line: Duke by 1
Vegas Line: Duke by 7 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Michigan (+7 1/2)

Game 537-538: Notre Dame at Iowa (9:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Notre Dame 62.439; Iowa 79.193
Dunkel Line: Iowa by 17
Vegas Line: Iowa by 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Iowa (-9 1/2)

Game 539-540: Florida State at Minnesota (9:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Florida State 64.801; Minnesota 71.500
Dunkel Line: Minnesota by 6 1/2
Vegas Line: Minnesota by 3
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (-3)

Game 541-542: Utah at Boise State (10:05 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Utah 62.291; Boise State 68.104
Dunkel Line: Boise State by 8
Vegas Line: Boise State by 10
Dunkel Pick: Utah (+10)

Game 543-544: Creighton at Long Beach State (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Creighton 66.502; Long Beach State 56.977
Dunkel Line: Creighton by 9 1/2
Vegas Line: Creighton by 12 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Long Beach State (+12 1/2)

Game 545-546: UC-Santa Barbara at UCLA (11:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: UC-Santa Barbara 59.417; UCLA 68.213
Dunkel Line: UCLA by 9
Vegas Line: UCLA by 12
Dunkel Pick: UC-Santa Barbara (+12)

Game 547-548: IPFW at Miami (OH) (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: IPFW 55.054; Miami (OH) 50.310
Dunkel Line: IPFW by 5
Vegas Line: IPFW by 1
Dunkel Pick: IPFW (-1)

Game 549-550: Belmont at Middle Tennessee State (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Belmont 62.522; Middle Tennessee State 65.408
Dunkel Line: Middle Tennessee State by 3
Vegas Line: Middle Tennessee State by 6
Dunkel Pick: Belmont (+6)

Game 551-552: Southern Utah at CS-Northridge (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Southern Utah 38.867; CS-Northridge 46.221
Dunkel Line: CS-Northridge by 7 1/2
Vegas Line: CS-Northridge by 12 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Southern Utah (+12 1/2)

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

EZWINNERS

Eastern Michigan +6

This will be the first time UMass plays a game as a Top 25 ranked team since Nov. 18, 1998. The Minutemen are off to a great 6-0 start with some nice wins and a tournament championship, but I think this is a real flat spot for UMass. This is the first true road game for the Minutemen and after their early success against teams like Boston College, LSU and New Mexico I don't see them being excited to visit Eastern Michigan after and eight day layoff with a home game against BYU on deck. Eastern Michigan is not a team to take lightly. The Eagles are off to a 5-1 start with their only loss coming on the road against Kentucky. EMU has two solid scorers in Karrington Ward who averages a team leading 16.0 points per game and Ray Lee who scores 15.3 points per games. I expect this one to be close. Take the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

Jim Feist

Orlando Magic AT Philadelphia 76ers
Pick: Philadelphia 76ers

Your free pick for Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013, comes in the NBA as Magic and the 76ers meet in Philadelphia. Orlando is a bad road team and in a terrible situational spot, the second of a back to back spot after playing at Washington yesterday. Orlando struggles on defense and the Magic is 10-23-1 ATS in their last 34 games vs. a team with a losing record. Philadelphia is rested and at home, and when these teams meet the home team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

Jimmy Boyd

Indiana +6½

Syracuse has played well this season, but Indiana has not been getting as much credit as they deserve from the oddsmakers. The Hoosiers have quietly posted a 6-1 record, and they are 5-1 against the spread. They have had no problem scoring baskets this season, averaging 86.4 points per game. When playing on the road their scoring average only takes a small dip down to 80 points per game while the Orange are averaging 74 points at home this year.

The 2-3 zone defense run by Syracuse will not be something new to the Hoosiers. These teams met last season, and while the Orange won that game, this year's Hoosiers team is built to defeat the zone. They are not a team that has to rely heavily on their inside game like last year, and they have been shooting 47 percent from the field in road games this season. Indiana's only loss this season came on the road in a neutral court battle with UConn. That loss was by a single point, so I am confident they can cover a 6.5 point line against Syracuse in this game.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

Matt Fargo

Iowa -8½

One factor that I like to look at early in the season is teams playing their first road game after opening the season playing strictly at home and that is the case for Notre Dame tonight. The Fighting Irish are off to a 5-1 start with all six of those games taking place in South Bend. The one loss was a bad one at that as they lost to Indiana St. by 13 points. This is Notre Dame's first season in the ACC and it could be a very successful one as its guard loaded team matches up well with a lot of the conference opponents but it does not match up well here at all as Iowa should have a decisive edge down low with its big men. The Hawkeyes dropped their first game of the season last time out against Villanova in overtime down in Nassau. This is a team on the rise as they have the pieces in place to back to the NCAA Tournament as they have a solid and efficient offense, a tough defense and excellent rebounding ability. This line may seem big to some but in this case, it is not big enough.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

Ray Monohan

Colorado -2

Buffs vs. Rams isn’t exactly the hottest rivalry but it is always interesting when school from the same state get together. In this series the home team usually wins but this year I think the Buffs are going to leave Fort Collins victorious. They are a short favourite on the road and they have a fantastic backcourt to lead the way. CSU has been a nice story of late but this is a totally different team from the one that was a factor in the MWC last season. Take advantage.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

Rickie Robbins

Edmonton Oilers +114

The Oilers look to continue their strong play as they return home to Rexall Place to host the suddenly slumping Phoenix Coyotes.

The Coyotes got off to a red hot start this season as they were neck and neck with the cream of the crop of the Western Conference but have since faltered by winning just four of their last 10 contests and have since slipped into 4th place in the Pacific division. Phoenix generates most of its success with strong play between the pipes and a defensive game that contributes at both ends of the rink and while their offense gets a bit of a bad rap for not having a ton of firepower they certainly have some guys who can score. Phoenix has held a huge edge over the Oilers in recent memory and they’ll look to replicate that success with another strong outing at Rexall Place tonight. Mike Smith will get the call for the Coyotes while the Oil will counter with Devan Dubnyk.

Edmonton always seems to be in the discussion of the next break out team in the NHL as they were expected to follow similar paths to the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins but so far in the youth movement era for the Oilers they haven’t been able to muster up anything. For a team who was expected to make the playoffs in each of the past two seasons they have been a far cry from it and this season doesn’t appear to be any brighter.

However, the Oilers are playing very well at the moment and they starting to get some quality victories sparked by the signing of Ilya Bryzgalov. While the Russian netminder hasn’t been in a ton of action yet and is sidelined with a day to day injury it has been his presence that has seemingly elevated the game of Devan Dubnyk who was struggling until Bryzgalov was called up. The Oilers don’t typically play well against the Coyotes but with Phoenix not playing very well themselves at the moment and Edmonton coming off a nice win in Dallas I think it’ll be a motivator to do well and I think they get the win.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

Art Aronson

Phoenix Coyotes -118

The visiting Phoenix Coyotes (15-7-4) look to bounce back after a 2-5 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at home. Rob Klinkhammer and Martin Hanzel scored goals for Phoenix and Mike Smith made 31 saves in a losing cause. The Edmonton Oilers (9-17-2) come off a 3-2 SO win at the Dallas Stars. Ales Hemsky and Andrew Ference scored goals in the win. The Coyotes are 3-1 in games at Edmonton and 6-2 versus the Oilers in the last three seasons. Adding to the bad news for the Oilers is the fact that the team will have to start struggling Devan Dubynk in this game as starter Ilya Brzgalov was forced to leave last game with an injury and is not available for this game. The Oilers are just 3-8 at home this season so home ice is not really an advantage in this situation. Coyotes’ goalie Mike Smith is 6-0-1 with a 1.96 GAA in seven starts against the Oilers with Phoenix. I don’t usually recommend laying the juice on the road team in hockey that often but this looks like a no brainer. Take Phoenix.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

JR O'Donnell

Northern Iowa -1

Northern Iowa - 1 get our call tonight on the road as these defensive minded and well coached  Panthers will take out the boys from Wisky Mil on the road tonight at the U.S. Cellular enter..Huge stat in our favor tonight..... UNI has made 77.6 percent of its free throws through the first six games of the season.. We have hit a smooth 14-3 members run.... 2-0 last night Gators/Seattle Hawks and # 15 to the North Iowa Panthers - 1 on the road... Power Rated here @ N I - 4

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

Rob Vinciletti

Florida State +3½

The Seminoles have home loss revenge for a close loss to Minnesota last season. FSU is 4-1 straight up and to the spread as a road dog of 3 or less points and has covered in all 4 games vs winning teams. They are 5-1 to the spread coming off a non conference game. Minnesota is 1-7 ats as a short home favorite of 3.5 or less and has lost the last 2 vs winning teams in Arkansas and Syracuse. Florida.St has a solid edge on the boards and are a live dog here tonight. On Tuesday we have 2 solid NBA Plays up one is a 15-1 NBA Totals system that averages 216 points per game and the other is a double system side. Jump on both now as we cash out on Ruby Tuesday. For the free play take the points with Florida St. RV

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

Will Rogers

Orlando vs. Philadelphia
Pick: Philadelphia

The Magic lost in Washington last night by a score of 98-80. They shot just 39% from the floor, and they were just 3-of-15 from beyond the arc. Orlando will play their second game of a back-to-back on the road in Philly tonight, against a 76ers team that has lost four straight and 8-of-9 overall.

Here are my keys to the game:

1: Previous History - The Magic have really struggled on the road this season, with just one win in seven games. Philadelphia has a .500 home record (5-5), and the Sixers have defeated the likes of Miami, Chicago, and Houston at the Wells Fargo Center.

2: Injuries - Jameer Nelson left last week's game against the Sixers with an ankle injury, and he's not expected to play tonight. Orlando has gone 0-2 in consecutive blowouts without Nelson in the lineup.

3: X-Factor - Orlando center Nikola Vucevic suffered an ankle injury against the Wizards, and if he's able to play tonight he likely won't be 100%.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

Bryan Power

Detroit vs. Miami
Pick: Miami

Now to the Heat, who I feel should win this one convincingly after a close call the other night against Charlotte.  Despite shooting 52% for the game, Miami beat the Bobcats by only one point and needed to rally back from a 12-point deficit at the end of the third quarter to do so.  Over the final 8:20 of the game, the Heat scored an incredible 34 points, which if stretched out over a full 48 minutes would come to a 196-point pace.  So, yeah, that's what the two-time defending NBA champs are capable of, just so you know. They are also 3-1 ATS this season off a SU win where they did not cover.

Meanwhile, I haven't been too impressed w/ the Pistons of late, as they will be dropping in this week's Power Rankings (out tomorrow).  They are off an easy win over Philadelphia, but that was at home against one of the league's weaker teams.  Miami, very quietly, has won 10 in a row. Taking this many points is unlikely to help the Pistons considering their 3-15 ATS record as double digit dogs the past 2+ seasons. Last year, they lost by 14 and 22 in their two visits to South Beach and that's the range where I expect the final margin to fall into tonight.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

Brad Diamond Sports

Oklahoma City at Sacramento
Play:  Sacramento

The Thunder finally leave Oklahoma after a six game home stand that edged up their solid 12-3 SU (8-7 ATS) mark in the Western Conference. They have won 7 straight games with a solid 5-2 ATS bank note. Although 9-0 at home, the Thunder show different on the road with a 3-3 SU mark. The SAC Kings (4-11) are the home underdog (+8 ) tonight, while going just 3-7 SU on their floor in 2013. They have lost 4 straight games, 2-2 ATS in Vegas. Their last win was on November 20th a 113-106 win at Phoenix as a 5.5 underdog. The Kings have been favored in only three games this season. Overall, the recent series between these two has been dominated by OKC with the Thunder winning six straight by an average margin of 12.4 points per game. This is their first meeting in the 2013-2014 campaign.

Against the spread the road team in the series has banked 5 straight. However, the lines makers have already compensated opening the number at -7.5 at this writing, we are at -8 overnightValue! Yes, OKC has all the floor edges, but we refer to their current 3-3 SU mark on the road thus far. With bigger games down the road feel EMOTIONAL ADVANTAGE inside rests with the frustrated Kings. At 4-12 ATS with just one day of rest OKC could have some problems here. And despite the Kings suffering SU in the series they have been competitive against teams with >.600 mark at 7/10 ATS.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

DAVE COKIN

CREIGHTON VS LONG BEACH STATE
PLAY: CREIGHTON -12

I’m a big fan of taking good teams off uncharacteristically awful performances. Tonight, there’s a game that provides fits that philosophy to a tee as Creighton finishes off its California swing with a stop at Long Beach State.

The Bluejays were about as miserable as can be last time out. They evidently had a flat spot off the tough loss to San Diego State and ended up getting upset by George Washington. Losing to the Colonials was not the worst thing in the world. GW is not a bad team this season and they’re a little underrated right now. But the way the Bluejays lost was an entirely different story.

Creighton was simply terrible in this game. They were an atrocious 19/56 from the field, and only recorded nine assists for the entire game. Considering the efficiency this team usually displays, those stats are hard to fathom.

In spite of how poorly they played, Creighton actually got itself in position to win the game. They fought back from a double digit deficit to forge a 53-50 lead with a couple of minutes remaining. But Creighton then got outscored 10-0 at the finish line, and ended up absorbing a second straight loss.

I have to think this is all bad news for Long Beach State. The 49ers are really struggling. A quick look at the stat breakdown tells the ugly story. Long Beach cannot shoot the basketball. That includes foul shots, where the 49ers are an abysmal 56% for the season.

Creighton is not a great defensive team, but the strategy here seems clear. Don’t let Michael Caffey or Dan Jennings get good looks. Send them to the stripe if necessary, as both are horrid foul shooters. The Long Beach offense primarily goes through those two guys, so focusing on them should pay off.

As for the Bluejays offense, I’m not too worried. That George Washington game was an aberration, but one that likely works out in my favor here. I can’t envision Creighton being casual off two losses, especially with how poorly they played in the most recent one. Long Beach is the perfect antidote for what’s ailing the Bluejays. I expect this one to get lopsided and I’ll spot the points with Creighton.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

Sean Murphy

Tampa Bay vs. Columbus
Pick: Columbus

Give me the Blue Jackets coming off a complete no-show in Boston on Saturday.

The Lightning are fresh off a 2-1 homestand, but let's face it, things have been mostly downhill since losing Steven Stamkos to injury back on November 11th. Tampa enters this game having dropped four in a row on the road.

Columbus has gotten off to a disappointing start to the season, but with that being said, the Blue Jackets have shown signs of turning the corner lately. They've managed to split their last eight games, despite being listed as the underdog in six of those contests. Their power play is finally clicking, having scored five goals over their last four games, and while their penalty kill continues to struggle, they aren't likely to face a stiff test in that department here, as the Lightning have converted on only one of their last 17 opportunities with the man advantage.

The home team is 6-1 in the last seven meetings in this series, but they haven't matched up since January of 2012. Even though they've gone through some tough times early this season, the Jackets are still a better team now than they were the last time they faced the Lightning. Tampa is simply trying to tread water while Stamkos recovers from injury. It has done a nice job of that so far, but I look for it to get tripped up here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

Steve Janus

Denver Nuggets -4½

The Nets have been one of the biggest disappointments so far this season and I think this is a good spot to fade Brooklyn off a misleading 97-88 road win over Memphis. The Grizzlies were without both Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, which are arguably their two most important players. Denver on the other hand is a team on a mission right now. The Nuggets have won six straight, including three impressive road wins over the Mavericks, Timberwolves and Raptors.

While I could see Denver wearing down towards the end of their 6-game road trip, I look for them come out strong tonight. This will be just the second game in four nights for the Nuggets.

Another huge key here is not only do I like fading the Nets off that big win, but this is also a huge look ahead spot for Brooklyn with a home game against the Knicks on deck this Thursday on TNT.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

SPORTS WAGERS

Carolina +152 over WASHINGTON

OT included. The Hurricanes are not playing well. They’ve lost six of eight games and they also have some key injuries, specifically to defenseman Tim Gleason and ex-Cap, Alexander Semin. However, a close looks shows the ‘Canes playing some tough competition over their last 10 that include the Devils twice, Boston twice, Detroit, St. Louis, Anaheim and Colorado. Carolina won back-to-back games over Anaheim and Colorado and they also won back-to-back against Ottawa and New Jersey before losing its last two. The ‘Canes are close to getting to the consistent level they should be at. They are not getting great goaltending from Cam Ward and he’s a part of the reason why they’re struggling. What we know for sure is that the ‘Canes are every bit as good as the Capitals and probably better.

Washington has no appeal spotting a price like this one. There are so many things not to like about this team and we’ll start with time of possession in the opposition’s end. In that regard, the Capitals rank fourth worst in the league behind Buffalo, Florida and Toronto. The Caps lost four in a row before defeating the Canadiens and Islanders in their last two. However, they were badly outshot in both those games and thus, could easily be on a six-game losing streak. In fact, the Caps have only outshot one opponent over their past eight games. That was against the Maple Leafs. A recent view of past games reveals the Caps have been outshot 41-33 by Ottawa, 40-18 by Pittsburgh, 47-20 by St. Louis, 37-33 by Detroit and twice by Montreal by a combined 68-53. It would be unreasonable to expect the Capitals to sustain any consistency when they are spending most of the game in their own end. As a significant favorite, the Capitals are a huge risk and an instant fade based on those findings. Big overlay here.


San Jose -½ +102 over TORONTO

Regulation only. Following Saturday’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle made a comment that was quite telling for a team that has been a statistical anomaly this season. It was a comment that confirmed the argument of advanced stat proponents, who preach a strong correlation between shots attempted and wins. For the first month of the season the Leafs won games despite consistently being outshot. When looking at the traditional shots-against stat, we see that Toronto allows 35.9 shots per game, worst in the league.

“Teams don’t score very much on the rush anymore in the NHL,” Carlyle said. “A lot more goals are created with offensive zone time, cycling, more deflections from the point and second and third opportunities from shots and rebounds”.  This is called “offensive zone funneling” now. In even strength situations, the Maple Leafs own the worst shots on net percentage in the league. You can win that way with superior goaltending and players like Phil Kessel, who can change the game with one well-timed goal that only he can score. It’s just not the typical path to success and Toronto can’t keep winning by hanging their goaltenders out to dry. James Reimer’s save % is at .931 and Jonathan Bernier’s is at .929. They’ve been outstanding but both have career save percentages of .917, which suggests we’ll see some correction as the season goes on. The Maple Leafs did what they had to in capitalizing on a friendly early-season schedule but now it gets tough. Five of Toronto’s next seven games are against the West, which has cleaned up on Eastern Conference opposition so far this season. In the next three weeks the Maple Leafs will see the last four Stanley Cup winners. It’ll make great drama for the HBO cameras, which are getting ready to roll for this season's edition of "24/7," but doesn’t help the cause of a team trying to straighten out its game.

San Jose has won five in a row and eight of nine. They have scored 20 goals over their last five games and 13 over their last three against Anaheim, St. Louis and Los Angeles. This is the Sharkies second trip to Toronto since 2010 we mention that because every team gets jacked up to play in Toronto. Now we get to lay a half puck and take back some small juice with a team that spends more time in the offensive zone than any team in the league against a team that spends more time in their own end than any team in the league. The ice will seem tilted in this game and it won’t be in the Maple Leafs favor. The fade continues.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

SPORTS WAGERS

GEORGIA TECH -1½ over Illinois

The Illini are 7-0 and they’re taking back some points here. That may seem appealing but when we look at the Illini we see plenty of problems. First, the Illini are undersized and that’s a big problem when facing a team with more weapons than they have. This is a weak rebounding Illini team that ranks 250th in the country in that department and that’s after playing a bunch of marshmallows. Illinois’ toughest opponent to date was UNLV and they won that game by a deuce. They also just beat Fort Wayne at home by a deuce and scored just 57 points. The Illini’s other victories came against Alcorn State, Jacksonville State, Valparaiso, Bradley and Chicago State. This is a team that relies heavily on two players and after that, the production drops off to alarmingly low levels. A lack of scoring, a lack of depth and a lack of rebounding does not equal to success against quality clubs on the road and that’s the situation the Illini face here.

The Yellow Jackets are 4-0 at home and included in that slate is a 9-point victory over Georgia. They’ve also played Dayton, Mississippi State and St. John’s. Indeed Tech has some issues too, most notably a lack of scorers but Tennessee transfer, Trae Golden is fitting in very nicely in this offense with his aggressive style and ability to get to rack and draw fouls. Then there’s Marcus Georges-Hunt. The most encouraging aspect of Georges-Hunt's game is that he was the leading scorer for an underperforming ACC offense as a freshman, yet he showed an unmistakable ability to take care of the ball. Georges-Hunt is averaging 12 a game and he’s only going to get better. The Jackets are an outstanding defensive team with a huge man in the middle in Daniel Miller. Miller alters shots, he blocks shots and the Illini have not come close to facing a defense like the one they will see here. Tech pulls away in this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, December 3

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Anaheim Ducks -130

The Anaheim Ducks will look to improve their home record to 11-0-1 on the season when they take on the Los Angeles Kings tonight at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The Ducks come into the contest off a loss to the Sharks where they came back from a 3-1 deficit in the third period, earning a point before losing in a shootout while the Kings come into the game playing in the second of a back to back after a 3-2 over the Blues last night. LA jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second period but gave up 2 late goals and goalie Ben Scrivens had to make a few key saves in the final seconds to keep the game from going to overtime. In addition to their great start on home ice this season, the Ducks have been excellent in the spot they are in here tonight. They are 9-2 in their last 11 games against teams from the Western Conference and have posted a 9-3 record in their last 12 games when playing with 2 days of rest. The Kings, on the other hand, despite sitting just two points behind the Ducks in the Pacific Division have actually struggled in the situation they find themselves in here this evening as they are just 5-16 in their last 21 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600. Pair that with the fact that home team has won 4 straight in the head to head series between these two teams and we'll lat the small price with the Ducks to get another home win.

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