Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

Steve Rich

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Portland Trailblazers    
Play: Portland Trailblazers -2½

Hard to buck red hot Portland at home, especially off a win against Indiana. Now they face another elite team in OK City in the Rose Garden tonight in the marquee game of the day. Along with Denver, the Thunder are also hot winning 8 in a row, but really struggled with Sacramento last night as well. Portland is gaining confidence that their best start since 1998 is not a fluke. They have beaten some of the NBA’s best and look to get over on a red hot Oklahoma City team.

I always look for motivation in the NBA, and the Blazers should have it here, as they have lost 7 in a row to the Thunder. OK City is always valued high and they are only 8-8 ATS this year, while Portland remains one of the best cover teams in the NBA at 13-5 ATS. Portland has 1 loss at home, and the Thunder while undefeated at home this year are not a great road bet. The stats are even more or less in this one but like the 7-time revenge angle and I always look for a team on a West Coast Swing as a go against play after their first win on back to back nights. Portland exacts revenge tonight in a big game. Should be a shootout and the OVER 205 might be worth a sniff as well.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

Steve Janus

Los Angeles Clippers -3½

I look for the Clippers to bounce back from their loss at home against the Pacers with a convincing win on the road over the Hawks tonight. Los Angeles has only lost back-to-back games once all season and are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 following a SU loss. The Clippers are also a dominant 27-11 ATS in their last 38 road games when listed as a favorite of 3.5 to 6 points.

Atlanta is clearly not playing their best basketball right now. They come in having lost two straight an five of their last six overall. Home underdogs of 3.5 to 9.5 points off a road game where they covered the spread but lost the game outright are just 32-74 (30.2%) ATS over the last 5 seasons.

The Clippers certainly appear motivated to start their road trip strong. Blake Griffin came out and said, "It's our job - C.P., myself and DeAndre (Jordan) - to keep reassuring everybody that we can't look ahead," Griffin told the team's official website. "Something that we always say about a road trip, 'You can't win them all without winning the first one,' so that's kind of the mindset that we have to have." Adding to this is the fact that head coach Doc Rivers is 35-19 ATS in the last 54 road games he's coached where his team comes in on a full 2 days of rest.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

Jack Jones

Milwaukee Bucks +4½

The Detroit Pistons are coming off their most impressive performance of the season. They just went into Miami and knocked off the defending champs last night. It's only human nature for them to come back tonight and suffer a huge letdown because of it.

Milwaukee will be motivated following a loss to Boston last night. It also just recently lost at Detroit on November 25 in the first meeting of the season between these teams. There's no question that the Bucks will be the more motivated team tonight given the situation.

Plays on underdogs (MILWAUKEE) - cold team - failing to cover the spread in 12 or more of the last 15 against opponent after having covered 4 or 5 of their last 6 against the spread are 69-35 (66.3%) ATS since 1996.

Detroit is 8-19 ATS after covering the spread in two of their last three games overall over the past two seasons. The Pistons are 2-7 ATS in their last nine games when their starting five players combine for more than 160 minutes of the previous day. Bet the Bucks Wednesday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

LT Profits

South Florida  vs George Mason
Pick: George Mason -3.5

The George Mason Patriots are 4-0 at home this season, and their expected big edge in second chance points should make the difference vs. the South Florida Bulls. Both of these teams can be offensively challenged, with George Mason ranking 197th in the country in offensive efficiency and South Florida just ahead of the Patriots at 196th, and both play very good defense with George Mason ranking 58th in defensive efficiency as South Florida ranking 97th, but 30th in effective field goal percentage allowed at just 43.8 percent. The reason the Bulls do not rank higher in defensive efficiency is the key to this contest as they have surrendered far too many second chance opportunities ranking a terrible 312th in defensive rebounding percentage. Conversely George Mason yields very few second chances ranking 18th in that category! South Florida is 4-10 ATS in its last 14 games vs. teams with winning records.


San Antonio vs Minnesota
Pick: San Antonio -4

The San Antonio Spurs figure to have much of the crowd support when they face the Minnesota Timberwolves in Mexico City Wednesday, not that the Spurs need much help as their offense should have its way with what has recently been a terrible Minnesota defense. San Antonio is ranked second in the NBA in field goal percentage at 49.1 percent and seventh in three-point shooting at 39.0 percent, and it is going up against a Timberwolves’ team that is ranked 23rd in points against on the year but he been even worse that that lately, allowing a distressing 109.2 points per game on 51.6 percent shooting including 46.7 percent from three-point land in the last five games! As if that is not enough, the Spurs are improved defensively this season ranking third in points against at 92.1 per game. The Spurs are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games vs. teams with losing straight up records.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

River City Sharps

Bradley -10.5

This looks to be a good spot to back the Braves as a struggling IUPUI team comes in, posting just a 1-7 mark early in the season. Bradley is 5-2 on the young season and one of the stories of this game is the ability to hit open shots. Bradley really shoots the ball well, especially at home, where they are shooting 51.6%. IUPUI has really struggled from the field, shooting only 42% on the season. Missed shots have to get rebounded and Bradley also boasts a big advantage in that category, so we really think this is a bad matchup for IUPUI. Geno Ford has Bradley moving in the right direction and they can't afford to let up on games they "should" win easily, so we expect a full effort from the Braves.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

Teddy Covers

Oklahoma City vs. Portland
Pick: Oklahoma City

Here’s the quote from Pacers head coach Frank Vogel, following Portland’s four point win over Indiana on Monday: “They made big shots all game long. Hopefully that's what it's going to take to beat this team -- making impossible shot after impossible shot."

Portland isn’t the best team in the Western Conference, and their 15-3 start to the season might well be their high point of the campaign.  I’m not saying the Blazers are bad, but I am saying that this team isn’t going to hit “impossible shot after impossible shot” to the tune of a 105 points per game average for the entirety of the season.  The Blazers have only one way to go from here, from a SU and ATS perspective, and that’s down!

Oklahoma City has come on like a freight train since their sluggish start to the season, reeling off eight straight wins (6-2 ATS) coming into tonight.  That stretch includes victories over the likes of the Clippers, Spurs, Warriors, Nuggets and T-wolves – quality foes.  They’ve absolutely dominated this series in recent years , winning each of the last seven meetings between these two squads (6-0-1 ATS in those games).  Wrong team favored here!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

Bryan Power

Phoenix vs. Calgary
Pick: Calgary

Calgary is coming off a win also, and it was more impressive as they beat the Kings in LA 2-1 as big +245 ML underdogs.  You can be excused if you forgot about that result as it occurred back on Saturday, meaning the home team has a ton of rest coming into this one.  On the other hand, you have Phoenix, who played last night.  This is the Coyotes' 1st time playing back to back nights on the road since very early in the season and they have lost each of their last three games at the Saddledome.

The Flames may have won B2B games only one other time all season, but situationally this game is to their advantage. Karri Ramo gets his second straight start in net after stopping 21 shots against the Kings.  This is a good value on the home team.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

NHL Predictions

Detroit Red Wings -125

The Flyers enter this game after being shut out on Monday night in Minnesota 2-0. Philadelphia is 12-13-2 on the year and just 5-6-2 on the road. Detroit comes into this game hot, winning 4 straight games including 3 road games. During their winning streak they've out scored opponents 18-4. They are now 14-7-7 on the year and 5-4-6 at home. Tonight's match up will feature Steve Mason in net for Philadelphia and Jimmy Howard for Detroit. While Mason has the edge numbers wise in goal, the Red Wings are scoring 2.79 goals per game as a team (9th) comapred to the Flyers at just 2.07 gpg (29th). The Flyers are just 1-4 in their last 5 road games. Detroit is 4-1 in their last 5 vs a team with a losing record, 8-3 in their last 11 games following a win, and 10-1 in their last 11 home meetings vs Philadelphia. Detroit has been playing well lately giving up just 4 goals against in their last 4 games, and I think we're getting a generous price on them at home tonight vs the Flyers despite missing a some key offensive pieces.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

Big Kat Sports

Boston College +2.5

Boston College is just the better of the two teams coming into the second to last game of the BIG10/ACC Challenge tonight. Purdue has already had scares at home to the likes of Rider, Siena and Northern Kentucky while the Eagles have played a much tougher schedule and are a much more formidable opponent compared to the teams mentioned above. BC has a balanced scoring attack with F Ryan Anderson (19PPG) and G Oliver Hanlan (21 PPG) leading the way while the Boilermakers still haven't found that scoring presence on the front line that they will need to win games in the Big 10. We'll take the bucket tonight on BC since we have them rated higher in our numbers and use the Eagles to break this small losing streak we have going here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

Andrew Lange   

Boston College at Purdue
Play: Boston College +4

Purdue hasn't done much of anything this year to be deserving of this price range for tonight's game against Boston College. The Boilermakers struggled against the likes of Northern Kentucky, Rider, Siena (twice), and also lost outright by 15 points to a bottom-tier Washington State squad. Head coach Matt Painter on his team's struggles: “I’ve never, as an assistant or a head coach, been with a team that can show such promise in one half and the other half lose their focus or not make winning basketball plays, not tough it out on a certain possession,” to this extent, Painter said. “It’s a hard thing, and it’s a positive that you show that you can be successful, but it’s also a negative in terms of when things don’t go your way, you’re not able to right the ship. You have to show more consistency.”

The reason for the inconsistency as well as last year's sub .500 finish is easy to pinpoint – Painter just doesn't have the talent he's accustoming to working with in West Lafayette.

Boston College meanwhile is probably disappointed to be 3-4 but the Eagles have shown far more ability than Purdue. BC lost its season opener at Providence in overtime. On one day rest wore down against a UMass squad that is playing as well as any team in the country. They then lost to a quality Toledo squad by three and fell by two to UConn who already has wins over Maryland, Indiana and Florida (albeit by very slim margins). Boston College was a very young team last year but still had three quality road wins (Penn State, Virginia Tech, and Clemson) and also tight losses by 4, 3, 5, and 3. They have a tendency to be outclassed at times by bigger, more athletic teams but I don't see Purdue being able to overwhelm them in that department. Also note that Boston College is currently the nation's top free throw shooting team at 84% while Purdue shoots only 65% – a huge edge given the current climate of college hoops.

There isn't a huge gap between these two squads but Boston College is the better of the two teams and has been far more challenged schedule-wise. I see them as a very live dog.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

Marc Lawrence

Denver vs. Cleveland
Pick: Cleveland

When the Nuggets meet the Cavaliers in Cleveland Wednesday evening both team will take the floor of underdog, upset wins.   That sets the table for tonight's battles as the Cavs are 5-1 ATS in this series in games in which Denver arrives off an upset win while the Nuggets are 3-10 ATS in this series when playing off back-to-back wins.  Stay at home the Cavaliers in this upset special tonight.  We recommend a 1-unit play on Cleveland.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

Joe Gavazzi

Dallas Mavericks +1.5

Mavs had to rally from 12 down in the 4th to survive Charlotte last night. The last two times on the road, they lost by a single point at Atlanta and by 2 at Denver. Look for them to reverse those results as under current HC Carlisle, they have been an excellent road dog. Any issues the Mavs had, pale in comparison, to those of New Orleans. The Pelicans’ dominant inside force, Anthony Davis (18/10) will be out at least a month with an injured hand. New Orleans rallied for an OT victory at Chicago in his absence and also defeated New York and Philly for a 3 game road sweep. So what! None of those teams are anywhere near as good as the Mavs.


Northeastern +3.5

Harvard returns from a lengthy peregrination which took them through Colorado and into Alaska where they won the Tourney by beating TCU, Green Bay and Denver. So what! It's a short turnaround before traveling across town to face the Huskies. Though Northeastern enters on a 0-3 SU run, they showed well in the previous two weeks, going 1-3 SU but 3-1 ATS against Georgetown, a victory, and quality teams like Charlotte, Florida St. and VCU. They have quickly reloaded replacing veteran guards Lee and Smith with a balanced, scrappy lineup. Harvard is clearly the class of the Ivy. But tonight against a hungry city rival, they are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

Doug Upstone

Denver Nuggets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers    
Play: Denver Nuggets -4

On Wednesday, Play On road favorites like Denver off two or more consecutive road wins, if they have a win percentage between 60 to 75 percent, playing a team with a losing record. The thinking here is we have a good team who is playing well on the road and in the past has continued to so so against an inferior opponent. This NBA system is a sweet 28-8 ATS, 78.8% and these teams have won by 10.5 points per game.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

NEBRASKA -5 over Miami: Canes could be in for a long night here. This us their 4th straight road game, while the Huskers are playing their 2nd straight at home and have haven't played since Saturday, while Miami last played on Sunday. The Huskers are a solid team at home, going 4-0 this year and they have gone 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 home games. Miami is 2-0 in true road games this year, but after taking on CS Fullerton and College Of Charleston in those road games, they take a step up in competition and the Canes are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games vs the Big 10. The ACC/ Big 10 challenge has gone mostly the way of the ACC so far, but tonight the Huskers will win one for the Big 10. Nebraska by at least 8 here.   

2 UNIT PLAY

SMU -9.5 over Ill-Chicago: Should have had this as a top play, but lost some value from the opening number of 7. Still this is a very good SMU team that is 7-2 on the year, with a win over Texas A&M and a 3 points road loss to a very good Virginia team on their resume. The Flames are 0-4 ATS their last 4 t home, while SMU is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 vs a team with a winning record. Mustangs should roll here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

The Duke's Sports 

Wisconsin +4

Badgers have great chemistry among their team on and off the court; moreover, they're playing great basketball now with wins over Fla, ND, St. Louis and West Virginia. Virginia, on the other hand, has taken on a much schedule and should have trouble in this spot. Cavaliers are just 1-6 ATS against teams above .600. I do realize that the Cavaliers' defense is strong; however, Wisconsin is showing great offensive balance this year with multiple members shooting above 50%. The Badgers are 12-2 vs the ACC and looking to avenge last year's 60-54 home loss. We'll roll with Wisconsin.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

Nelly

New Orleans Pelicans - over Dallas Mavericks

Dallas needed a great late rally to beat a shorthanded Charlotte squad last night after Michael Kidd-Gilchrist left with injury. The Mavericks out-scored the Bobcats 29-15 in the fourth quarter last night in what was deemed a must-win game for the slumping team. Given the age of the Mavericks playing on back-to-back nights with travel is less than ideal and while Dallas is 4-2 ATS in that role this season the numbers should get worse as the wear and tear of the season grows. Dallas is just 2-6 S/U on the road this season while the Pelicans hold a solid home court at 5-3 this season. New Orleans is back at home after a three-game road trip in which the Pelicans swept all three games, including a big win in Chicago on Monday. New Orleans is 6-2 in the last eight games after a shaky start to the season the lone losses came in close games with the Spurs and Warriors. With Anthony Davis and Greg Stiemsma injured, the defense has suffered for the Pelicans but this is a team with great offensive talent and after an adjustment period Jrue Holiday is looking like the player that New Orleans hoped they would get in the off-season trade. In terms of efficiency ratings New Orleans and Dallas are nearly identical on both sides of the ball with New Orleans actually holding slight edges despite this line suggesting that Dallas is the better team. In just about every measure the Pelicans look slightly stronger in this near-even matchup and this is a tough situation for the Mavericks on the road and knowing a huge game with Portland is up next on the schedule.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

Dave Essler

Temple -2

Temple lost to St. Joe's last year by one, at St. Joe's, in their last year in the A-10. So, some measure of revenge. This is the Owls' first home game in almost a month, and beat both UGA and UAB in Florida, and have also had ten days to rest. Temple does have Texas next, but it's at home, so this is not looking ahead here, especially given it's a familiar foe and the rest. On the other hand, St. Joe's has a game this weekend with 'Nova, which to me has the bit of look-ahead potential. St. Joe's two losses were ot LSU and Creighton. Although I'm not super-high on the Jays, the thing those two have in common is they both play up-tempo, so does Temple (not quite as much) and St. Joe's has a very thin bench. St. Joe's relies super-heavily on the three-ball, and on the road we like those teams less, and of course Temple does defend the perimeter. St. Joe's, when they do get to the line, hit about 62%. Not good enough, while Temple has not been turning the ball over and shoots nearly 74% from the line, which is what we need to back favorites. I actually put this out at -2.5 last night.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 4

Harry Bondi

NORTHEASTERN (+3.5) over Harvard

Both teams are off to strong starts but lets take the rested home underdog Huskies over their cross town rivals who are just back from winning the Alaska shootout. That trip was a long and exhausting won for the Crimson but proved they could play with some of the big boys. But the Huskies, who play Harvard annually will not be impressed. Northeastern is the better shooting team and win outright tonight. Take Northeastern over Harvard.

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