Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

Dave Price

Oklahoma City Thunder -6

Memphis is struggling, but it won't be shown any mercy by an Oklahoma City squad that it knocked out of last season's playoffs. The Thunder likely wouldn't have lost the series had Russell Westbrook not gone down with an injury, and they will be out to prove it tonight. Oklahoma City also catches a Memphis team that isn't near full strength. Marc Gasol is out with a sprained MCL and Quincy Pondexter is out with a stress fracture in his right foot. Tony Allen is doubtful with a hip injury and Ed Davis is questionable with an ankle injury. You want to fade home underdogs that led by 15 points or more at halftime of their last game if they are matched up against an opponent that has scored 100 points or more in two straight games. Doing so has produced a 40-15 ATS mark since 1996. You also want to fade home underdogs of 3.5 to 9.5 points that have failed to cover the spread in two of their last three games if they are matched up against a team that has covered the number in three of its last four games. Doing so has produced a 68-33 ATS mark the last five seasons. Lay the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

Red Dog Sports

Clippers vs. Celtics
Play: Over 196½

Doc Rivers returns to face the Boston Celtics with his new team, the LA Clippers. Led by PG Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers have a solid offense but are just average on defense. I look for the visitors to make a statement and put up over 100 points. The Celtics have been a surprise with Brad Stevens as their coach. They just played last night and could have tired legs on defense. Let's hope the home team can add to the total and help this one go over.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

Tom Barton

Princeton vs Rutgers
Pick: Princeton -3

The Tigers are the better team and have started this year on fire while Rutgers has the benefit of a tough home court it won't be enough tonight. The Tigers come in at 6-1 with their sole loss being against Butler on the road and have won not only with their signature style of defense but this year their offense is doing well also. Princeton has put up 66 or more in every game while getting into the 70's in 4 of their 6 games. The Princeton D is always tough and has stepped it up in the last few games and now take on a Rutgers team that has been up and down all season. The Knights have lost 4 of their last 5 games and the competition is not exactly powerhouses. I'll take the better team and the small number here as I expect the Pricenton defense to frustrate this Rutgers squad while the Tigers new found offense should have a field day against a team that has allowed 70 + in each of their last 5 games, including 89 and 93.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

John Ryan

San Antonio Spurs at Milwaukee Bucks
Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks

The simulator shows a high probability that the Bucks will lose this game by 10 or fewer points. I actually like making a 5* play on the first half line as well. Supporting this first half play is a proven system posting a 33-8 ATS mark for 81% winners since 1996. Play on home underdogs of 6 or more points using the first half line (MILWAUKEE) and is a struggling team winning <=25% of their games and now playing a team with a winning record, with this game taking place in the first half of the season. Take Milwaukee.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

Bruce Marshall

Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors
Pick: Golden State Warriors

Payback time for Golden State bunch that lost by 4 in Big D on Nov. 27, when Warriors were at mostly full-strength with the exception of still-hurting Andre Iguodola (hamstring). Warriors got only 13 points from their bench that night, a familiar lament for Mark Jackson in many of the Golden State losses this season. But with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, Warriors can always shoot their way out of any trouble, and Golden State's NBA-best 44% beyond arc suggests they have resources that other teams don't own.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

Chris Jordan

My free winner for tonight is on Princeton laying the points at Rutgers, as the Tigers' defense looks awfully stringent this season, and should be able to contain the Scarlet Knights. Tonight will mark the 120th edition of this rivalry, and after what I see the Tigers did their last time out, I think they'll be riled up for this annual event.

Princeton comes in after its largest win of the season, as it was able to pull away from Fairleigh Dickinson late in the first half, building as much as a 26-point lead en route to a 77-55 victory. Spencer Weisz, who isn't even a regular starter for Princeton, registered his first-ever double-double (17 pts., 10 reb.) as a Tiger. Making his first start of the season Denton Koon led Princeton with 18 points. The honorable mention all-Ivy League preseason choice ranks second on the team with an average of 12.1 points per game, but is easily the culprit who can take any game over. To wit: off the bench, he led the team in scoring in each of the first two games.

While Koon is my X-factor in this one, let's talk about that defense, which held FDU to 29.6 percent shooting after intermission after the Knights shot 45.8 percent in the first half. The visiting team has won the last two in the series, so there should be a bit of confidence brewing from the carry overs on this team, who played here a couple years back.

Nonetheless, the rivalry alone is big enough to motivate the much-better Tigers, as Princeton and Rutgers are just 23 miles apart, from one's home floor to the other's. The Tigers are on a 5-1 ATS run in non-conference play, while Rutgers comes in having failed to cover four of its last five at home. The road team has covered six of the last seven meetings, while Princeton is on a 4-1 ATS run at Rutgers.

Lay the road chalk here.

4♦ PRINCETON

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

Jeff Benton

Your Wednesday freebie is the Thunder in revenge over the Grizzlies.

Last season, Memphis made quick work of Oklahoma City in the Western Conference playoffs, dispatching the Westbrook-less Thunder in 5 games.

Time for a little payback, as it is clear this is NOT the same Memphis team as last season, and their 10-10 mark shows a team that is struggling to find an identity under their new head coach. The Grizzlies are also struggling without their big man Marc Gasol patrolling the middle.

Memphis has lost 6 of their last 8 games at home, and I don't see it getting better tonight against an OKC team that is fresh off a road win and cover at Atlanta last night, as the Thunder have now won 3 straight and 11 of their last 12 straight up, and they have also gone 7-2 against the spread their last 9 when installed as the favorite.

Revenge tonight, as Oklahoma City pounds the floundering Grizzlies in Memphis.

3♦ OKLAHOMA CITY

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

Craig Davis

Free play of the day on the OKC Thunder to keep rolling as they play on back-to-back nights, having played at Atlanta last night.

They travel from Atlanta to Memphis for a western conference showdown with the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year.

But let's keep one thing in mind -- the Grizzlies aren't the same team as a year ago and I don't believe they have enough firepower (yet) to take down one of the best teams in the league.

Memphis is missing Marc Gasol from tonight's game and there are some other injuries along Memphis's front line. If you'll remember back with me... the Grizzlies beat the Thunder (with Westbrook) last season in five games of the second round because OKC simply couldn't check the Memphis big men inside.

Teams that are going to beat OKC are going to be teams with absolute studs in the paint. The Clippers. San Antonio. Houston. Portland. Memphis? Well, not if they don't have Gasol and Z-bo isn't 100%.

That's why the Thunder completely dominated Indiana the other night... and the Pacers never once had the lead in that game. It was the best overall game I've seen them play... EVER.

Even playing poorly last night, the Thunder were able to garner a much-needed 101-92 road win against a pretty good team.

Take Oklahoma City minus the small number as your free play of the day.

3♦ OKLAHOMA CITY

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

Scott Delaney

My free winner for tonight is in the NBA, where I think the Over in the Warriors/Mavericks game in Oakland is a value play. These two tend to have some wild ones, and tonight should be no different.

If you look back at some of the more recent matchups - including Nov. 27 - the last three meetings have stayed under. But in the last seven meetings, at least one team has scored triple figures in the game.

Dallas will be playing its fourth straight road game, spanning the past eight days. That's not as bad as it sounds since the Mavs have had time to rest during this trip. They should be fine for a run-and-gun tempo tonight against a Warriors team that is averaging 103 points per game on the year, and a bit more - 106 to be exact - in Oakland.

The over has cashed in seven of the last 10 meetings in Oaktown, and I'm betting on this one to go high as well.

5♦ Warriors/Mavericks Over

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

Brad Wilton

Homecoming for long-time Boston coach Doc Rivers, as he will patrol the parquet floor once again, this time from the visitors bench.

I expect the Clippers to give an added effort for their current coach tonight, and with Boston just a shell of the former team that Rivers coached, look for Los Angeles to roll to the road win and cover tonight.

Boston was blasted at Brooklyn last night, snapping a 3 game winning streak for the C's, while the Clippers had the night off before resuming their 7 game road swing that has seen them gain some wind in their sails, winning 2 of their last 3 on the road both straight up and against the spread.

True, Los Angeles has a date with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in Brooklyn tomorrow night, but I do not think their will be a loss of focus on what should be a special night for Rivers when he steps on that hardwood tonight.

Clippers take care of business in this one.

2♦ L.A. CLIPPERS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

Brett Atkins

My free play tonight is in college basketball, as I play Buffalo plus the points vs. Canisius in a neutral-court contest in downtown Buffalo. The Bulls are catching points from their crosstown rival, and though the Golden Griffins have some sharp-shooting vets on their team, I don't think they're ready for what Buffalo brings to the court.

The Bulls are shooting for their fifth straight victory as they make the 14.1-mile trek downtown to the First Niagara Center for their clash with Big 4-rival Canisius. Both teams, in fact, are in after wins, but the Bulls recently defeated St. Bonaventure, 78-73, impressively and I like what I've seen from UB thus far.

A young team, no doubt, but the Bulls are playing inspired ball, while also being led and mentored by senior Javon McCrea, who leads the Bulls in scoring and rebounding. Freshman Shannon Evans has scored in double figures in back-to-back games

Canisius leads the all-time series 26-15, but Buffalo has won seven of the last nine meetings. Buffalo comes into this one having covered seven straight against winning teams, while Canisius is mired in a 2-5 ATS slide on neutral courts. Play the underdog in this one.

5♦ BUFFALO

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

Joe Gavazzi

LA Clippers -6

Always looking to favor the far superior Western Conference teams when they visit the lowly East (take a look at the standings) this is an especially good spot. Under 1st year HC Stevens, the newly integrated Celtics have struggled mightily against winning teams in their 10-13 start. And Clippers are glad to add to that misery as they make this an "A game" for HC Rivers in his return to Boston Gardens. Always like playing the better team when they have a reason to play.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

Wisconsin/ Wisc- Milwaukee Under 134: This has traditionally been a low scoring series as the last 9 games between these teams averaging just 115.9 ppg, with 8 of those 9 games scoring 127 points or less. Wisconsin was in some higher scoring games earlier in the year, but lately they are starting to look like their teams in years past, as their last 5 games have averaged just 123.2 ppg and their defense is in high gear right now, allowing just 57.8 ppg over that stretch. Milwaukee has been in some high scoring games this year, but they are playing at Wisconsin, where the Badgers should get the pace where they want. Defensively, Milwaukee does allow 71 ppg, but on just 43.8% shooting overall, including 28.7% from long range and that is key when playing a Wisconsin team that lives from beyond the arc. The Under is 11-5-1 in Wisconsin's last 17 vs the Horizon League, while the Under is 8-2 in Milwaukee's last 10 vs the Big 10. 71-54 sounds about right for this one.

Davidson -5.5 over Niagara: The Davidson Wildcats are off to a 4-5 start, but they ave played a tough schedule that has included Virginia, Georgia, Duke, Clemson, Charlotte and New Mexico. They did win just two of those games (Georgia, Charlotte), but this team has been battled tested and that should serve them well in this game vs a weak Niagara team. The Purple Aces have had a rough start to the year as they are just 2-8 out the gate and that is vs a very weak schedule as Seton Hall is the only big named team that they have faced. The Defense has been horrible for his year as they have allowed 86.5 ppg on just over 50% shooting and again that was vs a very weak schedule. Davidson has allowed 81 ppg, but it is understandable when you look at the teams they have faced. Davidson is by far the better team here and should win this one by 10 or more.   

2 UNIT PLAY

Colorado State/ Denver Over 132: Yes I can pick an OVER from time to time. LOL. The Over is 12-3-1 in Colorado State's last 16 lined games and their games this year have averaged a healthy 151.3 ppg, including 145 ppg in their home games this year. Denver games have averaged 132.4 ppg overall and 130.2 ppg in their last 5 games. The pioneers don't shoot very well, but CSU does allow teams to shoot for 45.8%. Denver is weak at the defensive end, allowing 50% shooting and 69.5 ppg, while CSU scores 75.4 ppg overall and 78 ppg at home, plus they hit their FTs at a 74% clip for the year. I have been taking advantage of some over-inflated OU lines of late, but this one is just too low, so I will go with the Over here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

NHL Predictions

Los Angeles Kings -125

The Los Angeles Kings were in Montreal last night and won 6-0 to improve to 20-7-4 on the season and 10-3-2 on the road. The win was their 4th straight and they've out scored opponents 15-4 over that span. The Maple Leafs are coming off a 5-2 loss at home Sunday night against the Bruins, where they once again gave up a high number of shots (39). Toronto is dead last in the NHL in shots against at 37.1/game. Although they had some success early, the scoring chances given up plus some key injuries are starting to catch up to the Leafs who are now 16-12-3 on the year and 10-6 at home. Toronto has won just twice in their last 8 games overall. Tonight's starter for Los Angeles is expected to be Martin Jones, who has been outstanding in his young NHL career going 3-0-0 with a 0.65 GAA and coming off two straight shutouts. The Leafs will give Jonathan Bernier an opportunity to beat his old club, and Bernier is 9-8-2 with a 2.49 GAA. Bernier is in a slump himself as he has a SV% below .900 in 4 of his last 5 appearances. Note that the Kings are 6-1 in their last 7 vs Eastern Conference opponents and 6-1 in their last 7 road games. The Leafs are just 1-4 in their last 5 vs Western Conference opponents and 17-38 in their last 55 vs a team with a winning % above .600. I said this about San Jose when they were in Toronto not long ago and we cashed a regulation bet, but Western Conference teams (especially those with a good number of Canadian players) love to visit Toronto. The last time Los Angeles was in Toronto they put 42 shots on net in a shootout victory, and I expect a good effort from the Kings tonight. Take Los Angeles to win in Toronto.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

The Duke's Sports

Princeton -3

Rutgers program remains in tatters with Eddie Jordan running the show. Knights have yet to beat a Division IA program this season and should keep that streak alive tonight hosting Princeton. The Tigers are well disciplined -- pass the ball well, limit turnovers and play tight defense -- the complete antithesis of Rutgers which give up 76 ppg and that's against shoddy competition at this stage of the season! The Tigers have balanced scoring so leading scorer T.J. Bray (hand) limited minutes shouldn't affect them. Princeton also has pretty good depth with Koon (12.1 ppg) off the bench. The Tigers are a sweet 41-18 ATS on the road and with the road team at 5-1 ATS in this series, we'll ride the Tigers.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

Andre Gomes

Philadelphia / Minnesota Over 209

Yesterday I took Minnesota to win at Detroit for an easy win, as the Wolves with their uptempo game completely explored Detroit's lack of speed in the front with 10-13 FG on cuts for a nhice 1.57 PPP! The Wolves also created nice look on the outside and Kevin Love was the key for that with 4-6 3pts! Minnesota is a great offensive team to watch whenever they are efficient from long range and last night was the case! Minnesota will now host Philadelphia and so, this game will involve a lot of running. After all, we are talking about two of the fastest paced teams in the league. Philadelphia's defense won't be able to stop Minnesota down low, on transition and on 3pts shooting! I took the Over on the Sixers' last game and I lost big, but it wasn't because suddenly the Sixers started to defend well. In fact, it was because the Clippers couldn't hit a single outside shot with a terrible 1-10 on corner treys!

Philadelphia is indeed struggling to be effective on long range with a combined of 12-64 (19%) 3pts on their last three games! However, they have a good transition game and know how to attack the rim well, two areas where Minnesota's defense struggles, as they are #25 in the league with 15.2 fast break points allowed per game and #27 in points in the paint allowed with 45.7! So, this is also a good spot for a decent offensive game from Philadelphia! Minnesota is coming from a nice win and they will score so easily today that they will relax on defense, turning this game into a very high scoring contest.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

Harry Bondi


Off another FREE WINNER last night on Indiana over Miami in the NBA tonight we turn to college basketball and back the Wisconsin Badgers who annually crush their instate rivals Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Wisconsin has won the last 11 meetings between the two squads by an average of 18.2 points. The last two years have been even worse as the Badgers have won by 21 both years. Wisconsin needs an easy one and gets it tonight lay the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, December 11

OC Dooley

Philadelphia Flyers +160

For those hockey fans who watch the weekly Wednesday presentation on NBC Sports Network cable you know that it is designated as “rivalry” night.  These two teams have a special rivalry as it was the Blackhawks who defeated the Flyers in the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals.  However since then it is Philadelphia who has WON both meetings with Chicago and I am looking for that trend to continue this evening especially since Flyers GOALTENDER Ray Emery most likely will be facing his former teammates as a year ago he went a dazzling “17-1” while donning a Blackhawks uniform.  While on the subject of goaltending Chicago’s lead net-minder Corey Crawford (lower body) is OUT for the next three weeks and the teams ORIGINAL reserve goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (groin) is also sidelined.  Host Chicago is also a bit fatigued as 8 of the most recent 11 games have been “away” from the United Center which recently was booked for the annual “circus” which forces both the Blackhawks and NBA Bulls into extended road swings

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