Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

Jack Jones

New York Jets +10.5

After losing three in a row and with their backs against the wall, the Jets came away with a gutsy 37-27 win over Oakland last week to keep their playoff hopes alive. They now trail the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins by just one game for the 6th and final Wild Card spot in the AFC. With Rex Ryan as their head coach, this team will have the mentality to fight until the end.

If this team would quit turning the ball over, they could beat anybody. They proved that earlier this season by beating both the Patriots and Saints, who each have 10 wins on the season at this point. They certainly will not be intimidated by the Panthers in this one after beating two teams of that caliber.

This is a very tough spot for Carolina, which is coming off a crushing loss to the Saints with first place on the line last week. That could make this a hangover situation for the Panthers. Plus, they play the Saints against next week, which makes this a possible lookahead spot as well.

The Panthers aren’t really a team built for blowing out the opposition by double-digits. In fact, this will be the first time all season that they have been favored by double-digits, signifying there is a good chance they are overvalued. It’s only the second time that the Jets will have been an underdog by double-digits. The first time they covered as a 10.5-point dog in a 10-13 loss at New England.

The Panthers rank just 26th in the league in total offense at 320.2 yards per game. They rely heavily on the run, and the Jets have the perfect antidote considering they rank 2nd against the run at 82.6 yards per game and 3.1 per carry. Without an explosive offense, the Panthers will have a hard time covering this massive spread Sunday. They rank just 29th in the league in passing offense at 191.7 yards per game, so when the Jets take away their strength in their running game, they aren’t likely to move the ball that effectively through the air, either.

This has all the makings of an ugly, low-scoring defensive battle. That certainly favors the double-digit underdog. Bet the Jets Sunday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

Steve Janus

Arizona Cardinals -2.5

The Cardinals don’t get a whole lot of publicity in the NFC, but this team is just one-game back of the 49ers and Panthers for the two Wild Card spots. With a win over Carolina earlier this season and a home game against the 49ers still left on the schedule, Arizona is very much alive.

Tennessee on the other hand is technically still in the mix, but trail four teams for one spot in the AFC. You have to wonder if the Titans still believe they have a chance to make the playoffs. When a team finally comes to grasp with the fact that they won’t make the playoffs, that usually leads to a poor showing on the field next time out.

While the Cardinals are just 2-4 on the road this season, each of their last three losses away from home have come against teams who are currently in the playoffs. They have taken care of the likes of Jacksonville (27-14) and Tampa Bay (13-10) on the road. I wouldn’t typically be all that excited about laying points with Arizona on the raod, but it’s hard to not like your chances when they only have to win by a field goal. Keep in mind the Cardinals are a perfect 6-0 ATS in their last 6 road games vs a team with a losing home record.

Arizona’s win over St Louis sets them up in a favorable system, as favorites in non-conference games off a win against a division rival are 81-45 (64.3%) ATS over the last 10 seasons. Adding to this is the fact that the Titans are just 2-10 ATS in their last 12 games vs a team with a winning record.

The Cardinals defense has been one of the more underrated units in the league and are certainly capable of slowing down a Tennessee offense that needs to be able to run the football to really get in rhythm offensively. Not only does this appear to be a favorable matchup for the defense, but the Titans defense is allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 62.2% of their pass attempts. That’s a key number, as the Cardinals are a perfect 6-0 ATS vs defenses who allow 61% or better this season.

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Red Dog SportsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Washington Redskins +7FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The Skins should be motivated to play for QB Kirk Cousins this week as he will replace RG 111. Mike Shanahan came out and had an honest press conference with the media earlier in the week. The team has won just 3 games but heads to Atlanta to play a disappointing Falcons team that has struggled. QB Matt Ryan has had a poor year and the team has seen injuires and the rise of Carolina and New Orleans to the top of the division. Look for the underdog Redskins to keep it within a touchdown on Sunday. Take Washington +7.

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Alex SmartFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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NY Giants +7FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Alot of teams get banged up after playing a very physical SF 49ers team. It must be noted that the Seahawks are just 1-9 ATS L/10 after facing their rivals the 49ers. Seattle lost a hard fought and closely contested 19-17 battle to the Niners last Sunday, and should be in a bit of a letdown situation this week and start slowly vs a desperate and hungry NY Giants side. Add to that the Seahawks have failed to cover 9 of their L/11 as road favs off a division battle. Meanwhile, the Giants are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. NFC.

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Larry NessFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans
Pick: Arizona CardinalsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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One may want to argue that Arizona is the most improved team in the NFL, as Bruce Arians, who saved Indy’s season last year by stepping in as interim head coach while Chuck Pagano was battling leukemia, has again worked ‘miracles,’ this time with the Cards. Arizona opened 4-0 last year but then lost 11 of its final 12. However, the Cards are 8-5 with the Titans up on Sunday. They then play at Seattle and home to San Francisco to end the season. Quietly, the Arizona Cardinals have become a serious threat to chase down an NFC wild-card spot.
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Though he was unable to throw a pass in last week's workouts because of a sore right elbow, Palmer completed 27 of 32 passes for 269 yards and a TD (no INTs) in last Sunday's 30-10 victory over visiting St Louis. The Cards have now won FIVE of their last six (after a 3-4 start), with Palmer throwing 12 TDs and just four INTs in that span (had eight TDs and a whopping 13 INTs in his 1st seven games!). Despite a sore elbow, Palmer’s never had a QB rating below 85.0 in ANY of his last six games, while four times topping 112.0 (112.1, 114.0, 116.0 and 119.0). All this, despite a running game which averages a modest 90.2 YPG on 3.7 YPG.
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While the Cards still hold postseason hopes, the Titans, while mathematically alive for a playoff berth at 5-8, are all but ‘toast.’ They're 2-7 in their last nine after Sunday's 51-28 loss at Denver and they've dropped FOUR of five since Jake Locker went down for the season with a foot injury. QB Ryan Fitzgerald looked good in his first three games after Locker went out for the year, throwing five TDs without an INT (completed 71.% for an a average of 268.7 YPG), while posting consecutive QB ratings of 111.2, 111.6 and 109.2 However, he’s completed just 55.7% for an average of just 186.5 YPG over his last two, with two TDs and five INTs.
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The Titans will almost assuredly miss the playoffs for the FIFTH consecutive season and the team’s failure to improve despite spending $100 million in free agency will likely cost head coach Mike Munchak his job. The morale-challenged Titans enter this game looking to avoid their first FIVE-game home losing streak since 1996, when the franchise was still based in Houston. Considering the Cards still have plenty to play for and their lone loss in their last six games is a three-point defeat at Philly (don’t forget, the Eagles have won FIVE in a row), the price seems ‘cheap.’ Lay it.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

King CreoleFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Tampa Bay +6FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Sharp ATS Players are already aware of the dangers of playing a WEST COAST team who takes to the road and plays an EARLY kickoff in a eastern time zone city. That'll be the case on Sunday, as the Niners head east to take on a very HOT Tampa Bay Bucs team. The line in this game opened at San Francisco -5 points. As of Saturday, the line was still hanging around in the -5 to -6 range. You may want to hold off on your play ON the home underdog. With the Niners being a very popular play with the 'squares', there is a very good chance that this line might just go up to +6 or +7 on gameday. So follow the line move... and then STRIKE when the pointspread reaches it's zenith.
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Credit the host Buccaneers for not throwing in the towel on the season. After starting off the 2013 season with losses in EACH of their first eight games, Tampa Bay has risen like the Phoenix from the ashes. They come into Sunday's game with as 5-1 ATS record in their last 6 games. And the average MARGIN during that 6-game stretch has been +9.8 ppg. So they've been covering the spread by almost 10 PPG during that stretch.
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Our database querying begins with the 'West to East' factor that we touched on in the first paragraph.
2-11 ATS since 2007: All WEST time-zone road favorites playing off a division home game (San Fran) versus any < .500 EAST time-zone opponent (TAMPA). These teams have gone a PERFECT 0-6 ATS as larger favs of > 4 pts (San Fran) in this ideal 'LET DOWN' situation.
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There's ALSO a 'hangover' or 'letdown' effect for teams who just played the Seattle Seahawks (like the Niners) as of late.
1-8 ATS last 12 months: All NFL teams AFTER playing a home game vs the Sea Seahawks (San Fran). These teams have gone a PERFECT 0-6 ATs when taking to the road.
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There's a big role reversal for the Buccaneers. They just BLASTED the Buffalo Bills as a home favorite last week... and are now catching significant points at home.
5-0 ATS: All non-division home underdogs of +3 > pts playing off a SUATS home favorite DOUBLE-DIGIT win (BUCS) versus any opponent off a SU win BUT an ATS loss (Niners).
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In their last two games, the host Bucs have WON by 21 points... and LOST by 21 points.
8-1-1 ATS since 1993: All non-division underdogs of < 7 points off a SU win of 20 > pts and a SU loss of 20 > pts (BUCS). These teams have gone a PERFECT 5-0 ATS vs any opponent off a SU win (like the Niners).
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Sealing the deal is a look at the ATS tendencies when these two divisions (NFC West vs NFC South) hook up against each other.
1-16 SU / 2-15 ATS: All NFC WEST DIVISION road teams playing off a division game (San Fran) versus any AFC SOUTH DIVISION opponent (TAMPA BAY). These teams have gone a PERFECT 0-10 ATS when playing a a division SU WIN (Niners).

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

Cajun SportsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville JaguarsFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Buffalo Bills -2FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The Buffalo Bills are coming off a horrible performance last week in Tampa losing 27 to 6 as three-point road underdogs. The Bills had five turnovers with QB Manuel throwing four interceptions and no touchdowns in the loss. The Bills have lost their last three on the road averaging 246 yards of total offense and have been outscored 85 to 33. The Jags have won four of five with two of those wins coming against the Houston Texans. In the last meeting with the Texans they lost the stat battle 406 to 181 and that has been the case for the most part in each win so far this season. That luck runs out today against the Bills. A check of our database reveals a system that tells us to Play ON a non-Monday road favorite of 2 to 9 points with a total of more than 33 points coming off a road SU loss with three or more interceptions thrown in their last game versus an opponent not off a division home SU loss of seven or more points. This system has a record of 20-1-2 ATS for 95.2 percent winners covering the spread by an average of 8.65 points per game. Play the Bills

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Aaron's Analysis

Pittsburgh Steelers +2.5

The Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8) host the Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) on Sunday Night Football. The Steelers are coming off of two heartbreaking losses, losing to Miami last week 34-28. and to Baltimore the previous week, 22-20. Against the Dolphins, Steeler receiver Antonio Brown came up short as time expired in a wild last ditch effort. The week prior, they missed out on overtime as their two point conversion failed. Despite the loss last week, the Steelers outgained the Dolphins 412-360. Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger managed to pass for 349 yards and 3 TDs and Brown caught five passes for 137 yards and 1 TD. As a result of those two consecutive losses the Steelers have no chance of making the playoffs, and will not end up with a winning season. The Bengals are currently sitting comfortably at the top of the AFC North, with a two game lead over the Ravens. They have won three games in a row, and are coming off of a 42-28 victory over Indianapolis last week. Despite a perfect 6-0 record at home, the Bengals are only 3-4 on the road, with two of those three victories coming by a mere margin of three points each. Behind the arm of Roethlisberger the Steelers are ranked #7 passing the ball, with an average of 266.8 yards per game. In addition to last week’s effort versus the Dolphins as mentioned above, Ben and the Steelers have managed to pass for an even better 290 yards per game over their last four contests. This week they should be able to take advantage of a Bengal secondary who has been struggling as of late, allowing an average of 252.7 yards over the last three games (222.4 on the season). On the season Roethlisberger has passed for 3,724 yards, with 64% completions and a solid 24 to 10 TD to INT ratio. In their previous meeting this year in Cincinnati in the second week of the season, the Bengals won 20-10. Roethlisberger managed to pass for 251 yards and 1 TD in that one. At that point early in the year, not only were the Steelers minus running back Le’Veon Bell, but also were minus Ben’s ”safety blanket” on offense, tight end Heath Miller. Entering the lineup in the third game, Miller has caught 49 passes for 524 yards and 1 TD since. Leading all receivers for the Steelers has been Antonio Brown, catching 90 passes for 1,240 yards and 7 TDs. The other two leading wideouts are also quite competent, as Emmanuel Sanders has caught 58 passes for 661 yards and 5 TDs and Jerricho Cotchery, 41 passes for 571 yards and a team leading 9 TDs. Versatile running back Le’Veon Bell has gained 936 yards from scrimmage to go along with 5 TDs in just ten games this season. Over the last two games he has 225 yards in total offense, with 1 TD and an improved 4.3 yards per carry. Defensively, the Steelers have been quite sound, as they rank #7 in the league versus the pass, allowing an average of just 221.8 yards per game. Prior to allowing 181 yards rushing to Miami last week in snowy conditions, the Steelers were allowing just 82.8 yards per game on the ground in their previous four contests (120.2 on the season). Prior to the Bengals putting up 275 yards passing versus the Colts last week, QB Andy Dalton had been struggling, as the Bengals averaged just 184 yards through the air over the three games prior. Although the Bengals may very well put up some decent numbers passing versus the Steelers with Dalton and receivers A.J. Green and Marvin Jones, a solid Steeler defense should be able to keep them in check. Roethlisberger, Brown, Sanders, Cotchery and Miller should be able to get it done in the passing game versus the Bengals secondary, and Bell should keep the Bengal defense honest as he pounds away on the ground. As mentioned above, the Bengals have been a poor road team this year. Although the Steelers are out of the playoffs, they look to play the role of spoiler in this one, and would love nothing better than knocking off their division rival, and I forecast they’ll be able to come out of this one with an upset victory.

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Aaron's Analysis

Carolina Panthers -10

The Carolina Panthers (9-4) host the New York Jets (6-7) on Sunday in Charlotte. The Panthers are coming off of a disappointing 31-13 loss at New Orleans last week, ending their eight game winning streak. That loss also put them one game behind the Saints in the NFC South. The Jets are coming off of a 37-27 victory at home over Oakland, putting an end to their three game losing streak. Despite the victory, they were outgained 383-352. As a result of that victory, the Jets still cling to hopes of making the playoffs. Playoffs? By simply reading that you cannot hear the emphasis, as I was trying to imitate what Coach Jim Mora said in an interview years ago. The Panthers have won five consecutive games at home, with their loss prior coming at the start of the season versus the now 11-2 Seattle Seahawks. Throwing out a tough 24-20 victory over the always tough 10-3 New England Patriots, the Panthers have dominated their other four opponents at home with a combined score of 129-31. During that five game span, Panther QB Cam Newton has had a passer rating of 100.2, 65.2% completions, 1,148 yards and 10 TDs versus 5 INTs, with an additional 223 yards and 3 TDs rushing. While the Panthers are #1 in the league allowing just 14.5 points per game, the Jets are #31 in scoring, averaging just 17.4. The Jets have managed to go just 1-5 on the road this season, with their lone victory being versus 3-10 Atlanta. Throwing out that victory, the Jets have been outgained on the road by the combined score of 156-49, averaging just 9.8 points per contest. While the Jets have a decent rushing attack, their offense is one dimensional as they rank #30 passing with an average of just 181.4 yards per game. Recently they’ve seemed to have gotten even worse with QB Geno Smith, as they have averaged just 137.5 over the last six games. The Jets offense should find both points and yards hard to come by this week versus the stingy Panther defense, a defense who has allowed just 79.4 yards rushing per game (#1, 62.3 last three games) to go along with 216.8 versus the pass (#5). Offensively the Panthers rank #9 in rushing, with a solid average of 129.2 yards per game (142.3 last three games). Although the Jets rank #2 versus the rush, they’ve shown vulnerability over the past two games, as they have allowed a combined 275 yards rushing to Oakland and Miami. The Panthers should be able to move the ball on the ground versus the Jets with the likes of backs DeAngelo Williams (833 yards from scrimmage, 2 TDs) and Mike Tolbert (475 yards from scrimmage, 6 TDs). Jonathan Stewart will be out with a torn MCL in his right knee. Contributing 495 yards and 6 TDs rushing is QB Cam Newton. Newton has passed for 2,776 yards, 62% completions, and a solid TD to INT ration of 20 to 11. Behind Newton the Panthers have averaged a decent 191.7 yards per game through the air. Newton and the Panthers should be able to take care of business through the air in this one, as the Jet secondary has allowed a staggering average of 290 yards per game over the last six games, with a season average of 254.9 yards, which ranks them #24. The Jets may also be without Antonio Cromartie (concussion). Newton has a talented group of receivers, with the likes of the ageless Steve Smith (60 catches for 681 yards and 4 TDs), tight end Greg Olsen (58 catches for 651 yards and 5 TDs), Brandon LaFell (45 catches for 553 yards and 5 TDs) and Ted Ginn, Jr. (31 catches for 474 yards and 4 TDs). The Panther defense allows just a total of 296.2 yards per game (#2). They should be able to handle Smith and the Jet offense. As mentioned above, the Panthers have been successful at home, and that should continue here versus a Jet team who struggles on the road. As a result of the Jets winning and the Panthers losing last week, there’s some line value in this one. Panthers should be able to dominate and get back on track here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

Sean Murphy

Houston vs. Indianapolis
Pick: Under

The first meeting in this series this season totaled 51 points, affording us some additional value with the 'under' in this spot.

Both of these teams are coming off 'over' results last week, but I expect a different story to unfold on Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis.

Last week's loss in Jacksonville may have been the 'straw that broke the camel's back' so to speak for the Texans. I'm just not expecting much from Houston offensively in this spot. That's certainly no stretch as the Texans are averaging only five yards per play on the road this season. Much better Texans offenses have topped out at 17 points in their last four trips to Indy.

The Colts did manage to score 28 points in Cincinnati last Sunday, but that was after falling behind by a substantial margin in that game. Something just hasn't been right with this offense over the last month or so, and I'm not sure they'll get it figured out this week.

Home field hasn't given Indy much of a boost offensively, as it has averaged just 5.2 yards per play over its last three games at Lucas Oil Stadium.

We've seen the 'under' go 5-1 in the last six meetings in this series, and that's a trend I see continuing this afternoon. Look for the Texans defense to show some pride, while the offense remains stuck in neutral, ultimately helping this one stay 'under' the lofty total.

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Steve Merril

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Minnesota Vikings    
Play: Philadelphia Eagles -6½

Philadelphia is hot right now as they’ve won five straight games while going 4-1 ATS. The Eagles are also a fresh team as they just had their bye three weeks ago. To compare, Minnesota had their bye after Week 4 way back in September; the Vikings will play their 10th consecutive game on Sunday. Philadelphia’s offense is in tremendous form; the Eagles have scored 24 points or more in five straight games. Overall, the Eagles are averaging 25.7 points and 409.4 yards of offense per game this season. Philadelphia averages 8.0 yards per pass attempt which ranks them #4 in the NFL. They also own the best rushing attack in the league, averaging 158.8 yards per game on 5.0 yards per rush. Minnesota’s poor defense will be hard-pressed to stop the Eagles in this game.

The Vikings have given up 20 points or more in every game this season. Overall, Minnesota is allowing 30.4 points and 401.8 yards per game. The Vikings allow opponents to gain 5.6 yards per play (#22) and 7.0 yards per pass attempt (#21). The Vikings’ pass defense is going to get torched in this game by Philadelphia QB Nick Foles. Minnesota has allowed a league-high 29 passing touchdowns this season, and they lost their best cover-corner (Xavier Rhodes) last week to injury. Foles is having an exceptional season running Chip Kelly’s offense. Foles has a QB rating of 120.0 with an incredible 20/1 TD/INT ratio. Matt Cassel will be under center once again for Minnesota. But unfortunately for him, the Vikings backfield is depleted. Adrian Peterson (foot) is expected to miss this game and his replacement, Toby Gerhart, hurt his hamstring last week and he’s highly questionable to play. Philadelphia is 7-1 ATS in games they win SU this season. The Eagles have won six of those seven games by 6 points or more with their averaging win coming by 12.5 points per game. We’ll lay the points with the Eagles in this game on Sunday afternoon.

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Bob Harvey

Pelicans vs. Nuggets
Play: Over 204½

he New Orleans Pelicans have finally begun to adjust to the absence of injured power forward Anthony Davis - and they have strong guard play to thank for it. The Pelicans look to build off back-to-back victories Sunday evening when they visit the Denver Nuggets in their first meeting of the season. New Orleans is coming off a 104-98 win over Memphis - salvaging a .500 record on their four-game homestand - while the Nuggets dropped a 103-93 decision to Utah.

With Davis expected to miss several more weeks with a broken bone in his hand, the Pelicans' dynamic backcourt duo of Eric Gordon and Jrue Holiday has stepped up. Gordon led the way with 25 points against the Grizzlies while Holiday is averaging 19.5 points and 10 assists over the past two games. The Nuggets' starting guard duo of Ty Lawson and Randy Foye has been the exact opposite of effective, having combined for zero points in the loss to the Jazz.

ABOUT THE PELICANS (11-10): As well as New Orleans ended its homestand, the news wasn't all positive. Veteran swingman and bench spark Tyreke Evans aggravated a left ankle injury in Friday night's victory and may not participate in Sunday's opener of a five-game road trip. The Pelicans have other concerns, as well; they're allowing opponents to shoot a robust 47.2 percent on the season, the second-worst mark in the league.

ABOUT THE NUGGETS (13-9): Head coach Brian Shaw was displeased with his team's collective effort against the lowly Jazz, and has suggested that changes to the starting unit may be on the way. Of particular concern: Denver allowed 33 points in the first quarter versus Utah, the latest in a series of bad starts. "Continuing to give up those big quarters is not going to get it done for us," Shaw told the Denver Post. "The chemistry, for whatever reason, is not there."

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Dave Price

Arizona Cardinals -3

With tough division games against Seattle and San Francisco ahead, the Cardinals know they need to take care of business here to boost their chances of making the playoffs. While Tennessee is still mathematically alive for a playoff berth, it is a long shot. The Titans went into Denver last Sunday with hopes of staying in the thick of the race but left with their tail between their legs. It will be mighty tough for this team to recover from that beating. Tennessee has been a poor investment against winning teams, going 10-26-1 ATS in its last 37 games versus such opponents. The Titans are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a loss of more than 14 points. The Cardinals are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall, 7-1 ATS in their last 8 versus a team with a losing record and 6-0 ATS in their last 6 road games versus a team with a losing home record. Lastly, the Titans are 0-7 ATS in the second half of the season when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 3 seasons, losing these contests by an average score of 30.7 to 18.4. Take Arizona.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

Rob Vinciletti

Seattle Seahawks vs. NY Giants    
Play: NY Giants +7½

The Giants are taking a touchdown here today in what looks like flat spot for a Seattle team that comes in off a close loss to San Francisco last week. Road favorites like the Seahawks that are off a loss that broke 3 or more game win streak have failed to cover 10 of the last 11 times vs an opponent that lost by 20 or more points straight up and to the spread like the Giants. Seattle is flatter than a short stack at IHOP after a game with the Niners and have failed to cover the last 6 times as a road favorite off a division game vs an opponent that had revenge. Also in effect is a solid 25-4 system that plays on non division dogs of 6.5 or more with at least one win that are off a non division loss and are playing an opponent off a division loss. It will be cold with a mixture of snow and rain here today and the Giants can keep this game close.

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Brandon Shively

Chiefs vs. Raiders
Play: Over 41

While a lot of folks today are looking at the 'UNDER' in this game, I want to tell you why I am looking the other direction as this game will be going OVER the Total by 7 points or more I believe. A lot of guys are looking at the trends in this game and seeing that the UNDER is 9-1 the L10 matchups when these divisional rivals hook up. Seeing this trend, one might think that the UNDER is a 'lock' for this game. Not so fast though. The lines makers still have this total posted at '41' and are begging for some UNDER action.

I am going to wait before kickoff in this one, and see if we can get it at 40.5 possibly. The Chiefs defense has taken a step back as of late as they are giving up 34 ppg in their last 3 divisional games. I am not saying that the Raiders will score 34 points this afternoon, but I feel they will score 20-23 points playing at home. I know they will move the ball with success, and Janokowski is always a threat to kick a couple 50 yarders. The Raiders defense has been regressing and that is where Kansas City will take advantage. Alex Smith has no problem in taking what the defense gives him and he should make some big plays down filed off the play action. I am seeing a 17-10 score at halftime in the Chiefs favor, and the 14-17 points in the second half should be no problem. The Raiders are on a 5-0-1 OVER run currently. The defense is allowing quarterbacks to complete 66% of their passes and this has the makings of a high scoring game. The Raiders have a decent run game, but they do their best at home where they are rushing for 155 yards per game for 5.1 yards per carry. That ties in nicely with the fact that the Chiefs are getting torched on the ground for 5.2 yards per carry on the road.

I see the final score in the 31-20 range for the Chiefs today and the OVER should be locked in by the end of the 3rd quarter so you won't have to sweat this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

DB Consensus

Chiefs at Raiders
Pick: Under

These AFC West divisional foes have some powerful trends pointing to a low scoring game. Under is 14-4-1 in KC last 19 vs. AFC West. Under is 7-2-1 in KC last 10 road games. Under is 21-8-1 in KC last 30 vs. AFC. Under is 8-1-1 in OAK last 10 home games. Under is 7-2 in OAK last 9 vs. AFC West. Under is 7-1 in the last 8 meetings in Oakland. Head-to-Head is a RIDICULOUS 9-1 UNDER the last 10 meetings. The Chiefs can clinch a playoff spot with a win today. Last meeting (10/13) KC sacked Pryor TEN TIMES! Lots of punting and clock killing in the 2nd half sends KC to the playoffs.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

Bruce Marshall

Pepperdine at Washington State
Pick: Pepperdine

Pep has been a bit erratic, but its best efforts suggest Waves can hang around in the Palouse. Emergence of frosh G Jermey Major (15 ppg last five games) and juco backcourt mate Malcolm Brooks (scored 16 in recent win over UCI) providing a nice complement to frontline workhorse 6-6 soph PF Stacy Davis (16.2 ppg & 57% from floor). Meanwhile, Pac-12 sources report Wazzu HC Ken Bone still trying to shore up PG position that was depleted when expected starter juco Danny Lawhorn left the team in preseason practice. Cougs (only one spread cover first five on board) now relying heavily upon G DaVonte Lacy (21.8 ppg), the only Wazzu player scoring more than 10 ppg. In current state, not sure revenge angle for last year’s 2-point OT loss in Malibu is enough reason to support Cougs.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

Charlie Scott

Washington Redskins vs. Atlanta Falcons
Play: Washington Redskins +6

I believe the Redskins sitting RG3 and starting Cousins at QB could be a positive for the Skins. I also can't understand laying this many points with the Falcons who due to cluster injuries quit a couple of weeks ago.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

Andy Iskoe

New Orleans Saints -6

The Saints are in a Carolina sandwich as they will be at Carolina next week after routing the Panthers at home this past Sunday night. The Rams have played well at times this season but a loss here would be their third three game losing streak. The Saints need a win to stay a game ahead of the Panthers and maintain their Division lead and a chance for a number 2 seed as opposed to a number 5 seed if they fall to a Wild Card. New Orleans is just 3-3 on the road but two of the losses were at Seattle and New England. St Louis is capable of staying close into the second half but ultimately New Orleans has too many options on offense and a much improved defense capable of pulling away.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, December 15

SPORTS WAGERS

Houston +5½  over INDIANAPOLIS

Since defeating the Broncos in Week 7 the Colts have been as wretched as any team in the league. In six weeks since that victory, Indianapolis is 3-3 but should probably be 0-6. It started in Week 9 after their bye when the Colts played in Houston on a Monday Night. Indy needed a 15-0 fourth quarter to  defeat the Texans 27-24 they were outgained in 483-314 and lost the time of possession, 36 minutes to 24. The Colts were buried in St. Louis the next week, 38-8. In Week 11, Indy fell behind the Titans 17-6 and needed another rally to win by three, 30-27. In week 12, the Colts were buried in Arizona, 40-11 and in Week 12, they defeated the Titans again, this time by a score of 22-14. In that latter game against Tennessee, Andrew Luck passed for 160 yards and the Colts had 265 total yards of offense but Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three picks and the Titans fumbled once. Incidentally, Indy fumbled three times in that game and lost none of them. Finally last week, Indy lost in Cincinnati 42-28. The Colts are not a good team. They’ve been fortunate with every bounce going their way. If this game meant anything to them, we’d still be reluctant to spot points because they are among the least appealing and riskiest favorites in the NFL. The Colts already clinched the AFC South but are three games back from a possible first round bye so they have three weeks to play and yet not have it matter. No reason yet to expect resting of players but it is bothersome that the Colts do not have any added motivation to win games with the playoffs still three weeks away.

Teams respond differently when they lose a head coach. Some actually get markedly better while others just dwell in the futility that got their coach fired in the first place. We can assure you that Wade Phillips wants to win and so do these players. Phillips brought in some Big 12 refs to the Texans practice this week in an attempt to get his team to cut down on penalties. Houston has dropped 11 games in a row and no team or individual player wants to keep losing at a humiliating pace and it’s not like the Texans don’t have talent. Case Keenum had a big game against the Colts last time and that’s when it mattered for Indy. The Texans defense ranks among the top units in the NFL. Andre Johnson had his best game of the year - make that his career, when he reeled in nine passes for 229 yards and three scores on the Colts in week nine. The Colts have not played better than Houston for six weeks. In a nothing game they are asking to spot a margin against a hungry team that is going to put a stop to its futility at some point. We’re calling the Texans outright but will accept the points.


Buffalo -2 over JACKSONVILLE

How can the Bills be road favorites!? That’s probably the sentiment of most people after the Jaguars won again last week for their third straight victory and fourth win in five games. Now we get an opportunity to sell high on a team that could generate precious little offense in the first 10 weeks of the season but that has scored 29, 32 and 27 points in three of the past five weeks. That’s nice but we’re not buying into that for a second. Most of those points were handed to the Jags. In last week’s 27-20 win over Houston, Chad Henne went 12-27 for 117 yards. In the Jags 29-27 win over the Titans, Henne went 14-23 for 180 yards and the Titans fumbled five times, losing three of them and threw two picks. In Jacksonville’s 32-28 win over the Brownies, Henne was at it again by going 22-40 for 195 yards. Truth is, the Jags have had a lot of good fortune and favorable bounces over the past month but this is still the same team that was getting smoked almost every week for the first nine weeks of the season.

The Bills will wind down another losing season. The offense started well early in the season but E.J. Manuel hit the rookie wall and began to decline in recent games. There's plenty of raw material for next season if the Bills can only determine how to be consistent on offense and how C.J. Spiller can fit in so that he's not just an explosion every four weeks. E.J. Manuel returned in Week 10 and suffered through his worst game yet last week in Tampa Bay when he passed for 184 yards and four interceptions. In other words, C.J Manuel’s worst game is Chad Henne’s best. Furthermore, the Bills have played a rather tough schedule that includes games against New England, Carolina, Cinci, New Orleans and Kansas City and aside from a 35-17 loss to the Saints the Bills were in a position to win the others. Yeah, the Bills are just 4-9 and yeah, they’ve looked bad at times but they are so much better than the Jags and should prove so here. The Bills had a rough game last week but so what. It happens. Let’s not forget what they did to the Jets (37-14) prior to their bye week and all of those other good games they’ve played. The Bills poor effort last week almost guarantees us a response here because Buffalo is usually well prepared and ready to go. Should that come to pass, the Jags pure luck will not hold up again.

DALLAS -6½ over Green Bay

The Cowboys did not merely lose in Chicago, they exposed just how badly the defense plays and that the Cowboys offense cannot handle cold weather even versus a defense that has been decimated by injury this year. We just love it when a team looks so awful in prime time and the next week’s line is a reaction to it. Not only do teams respond to being whacked, Tony Romo and the Cowboys are sick of hearing how they choke every December.

Can someone explain why the Cowboys aren’t -14 here? Sure the Packers won last week but that was in the bitter cold at home against the inept Falcons (an indoor team) by a single point. Aaron Rodgers might as well replace his jersey name with "GLUE" because it all falls apart without him. Two weeks of Matt Flynn and the wideouts have never looked worse. James Jones hasn't scored since week four and with Flynn under center he only managed four catches for 19 yards against the weak secondary of the Falcons. When we look at the Packers without Rodgers, we see them losing by 14 to both Philadelphia and the Giants. On Thanksgiving, they were clobbered by the Lions in a flattering 30-point loss. The Pack should have lost that one by 50. The closest the Pack have been on the road since losing Rodgers is 14 points and now this marginal defense will be facing its toughest test of the season. Green Bay does not have the horses to get into a shootout (see Detroit) and a Dallas squad in a foul mood is very likely to do the same thing to the Packers as the other two clubs did when they came calling. This is a cheap price.

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