Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

Rob Vinciletti

Rice vs. Houston    
Play: Houston -3½

Houston has won 6 of 7 this season vs Teams ranked outside the top 200 in the RPI Scale. Rice has lost 3 of 4 vs teams that are ranked 101 or higher. The Owls are also an anemic 0-22 straight up on the road off a home win, so I have no problem laying a few points. Rice has played some really soft teams as they come off a home win over Northwood- Texas while shooting a season low 29% in that game. They also lost to Houston- Baptist. Now they face a better Houston teams that is 9-2 with 5 or 6 days rest covering 5 of 6 in that role more recently. Rice is 10-31 vs winning teams and has lost their last 8 on neutral courts. Houston has won the last 2 games vs Rice and will likely win and cover here again today. Take Houston.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

Joseph D'Amico
NCAA-F  |  Dec 21
USC vs. Fresno State    
Play: Fresno State +6½

I had the opportunity to watch these two squads work out this week. Fresno State had their BCS hopes stomped out with a 10-point loss to San Jose State to bring the team their only loss of the season. Led by Derek Carr and the #1 passing unit in the nation, the Bulldog's QB has 4866 Yards Passing, 48 TDs, and only 7 INTs, with a completion rate of 70.1%. They do run the ball for 160.8 YPG on the legs of Quezada and Waller. On "D", they are susceptible to the pass but overall are a good unit. USC will be headed-up by their third Head Coach this season in Clay Helton. The 9-4 Trojans have the 16th ranked defense in Total Yards Allowed in the nation. But the offense leaves a lot to be desired. They are banged-up badly to begin with and the leadership of QB, Cody Kessler just isn't there. The ground game is so-so at best. Bottom line is USC can't match FSU on offense. This game will be a lot tighter than they expect. Certainly tighter than the 6 1/2-point spread. I lean towards the 'dog here. Take Fresno State.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

Jack Jones

Tulane -1.5

The Tulane Green Wave are thrilled to death to be playing in a bowl game in 2013. This will be their first bowl appearance since the 2002 Hawaii Bowl, a span of more than a decade. You can bet these players will be amped up for this one. Making matters even better is the fact that they will be playing at home as the school is based in New Orleans, LA, and their home field is the Superdome. Curtis Johnson’s crew will have plenty of fan support for this rare bowl berth.

Tulane had a very impressive season this year in which is was consistently undervalued. That couldn't have been more evident with its final ATS record of 9-3. The Green Wave were winning games behind a much-improved defense that only allowed 21.2 points and 352.6 yards per game to rank 26th in the country in total defense. This was an opportunistic stop unit as well, one that forced an average of 2.7 turnovers per game. That could be bad news for a Louisiana-Lafayette team that coughed it up an average of 1.7 times per contest.

The Rajin’ Cajuns cannot be too thrilled about playing in the New Orleans Bowl. This will be their third consecutive trip to this bowl, and there’s no question they would have rather gone somewhere else. This is a team that played very poorly down the stretch, going 0-5 against the spread in their last five games overall, which included a 28-31 home loss to Louisiana-Monroe and an 8-30 loss to South Alabama to close out the season.

A big reason for Lafayette’s struggles late was a wrist injury to starting quarterback Terrance Broadway. He is completing 62.3 percent of his passes for 2,276 yards and 19 touchdowns, while also rushing for 421 yards and eight scores. He is doubtful to play Saturday, then the Rajin’ Cajuns could be in trouble if he can't go. Either way, they like to run the football, and Tulane has the perfect antidote. The Green Wave rank 15th in the country against the run, allowing just 120.0 yards per game and 3.1 per carry.

Plays against road underdogs (LA LAFAYETTE) - poor defensive team (390-440 YPG) against an average defensive team (330-390 YPG) after 7+ games, after gaining 3.75 or less yards/play in their previous game are 27-7 (79.4%) ATS since 1992. Tulane is 5-1 SU & 5-1 ATS at home this season. The Green Wave are 11-1 ATS in their last 12 games on turf. Bet Tulane Saturday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

Justin Bay

Stanford vs. Michigan    
Play: Michigan -2

Stanford
- Average 79 PPG
- Allow 70 PPG
- Power Rating: 114.4
- SOS Power Rating: 104.2

Michigan
- Average 79.3 PPG
- Allow 63 PPG
- Power Rating: 110.1
- SOS Power Rating: 105.8

**According to our system, Michigan should win by more than five points**


South Alabama vs. Arkansas    
Play: Arkansas -9½

South Alabama
- Average 71.2 PPG
- Allow 70.8 PPG
- Power Rating: 99.4
- SOS Power Rating: 101.5

Arkansas
- Average 86.8 PPG
- Allow 68.7 PPG
- Power Rating: 114.6
- SOS Power Rating: 104.6

**According to our system, Arkansas should win by more than 15 points**


Northern Iowa vs. Virginia    
Play: Virginia -10½

Northern Iowa
- Average 71.2 PPG
- Allow 72.7 PPG
- Power Rating: 104
- SOS Power Rating: 103.1

Virginia
- Average 66.7 PPG
- Allow 55 PPG
- Power Rating: 110.2
- SOS Power Rating: 103.2

**According to our system, Virginia should win by more than 15 points**


Butler vs. Evansville    
Play: Butler -4½

Butler
- Average 74.3 PPG
- Allow 66.9 PPG
- Power Rating: 114.4
- SOS Power Rating: 104.5

Evansville
- Average 70 PPG
- Allow 72.7 PPG
- Power Rating: 99.4
- SOS Power Rating: 100.6

**According to our system, Butler should win by at least 7 points**


Eastern Michigan vs. Oakland    
Play: Eastern Michigan +4½

Eastern Michigan
- Average 67.9 PPG
- Allow 68 PPG
- Power Rating: 107.4
- SOS Power Rating: 104.3

Oakland
- Average 68.5 PPG
- Allow 77.4 PPG
- Power Rating: 101.1
- SOS Power Rating: 105.8

**According to our system, Eastern Michigan should win this game straight up but we will take the points**

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

Bruce Marshall

Avalanche vs Kings
Pick: Under

Since the Kings rarely give up more than one goal these days, we’ll take our chances with another “under” recommendation and trust L.A. doesn’t score four or more goals itself. After it was Ben Scrivens filling in admirably for injured Jonathan Quick, now it’s Kings rookie goalie Martin Jones with seven straight wins and an airtight 0.85 GAA. The Kings have now allowed two goals or fewer in ten straight games, and are “over” only twice in their last fourteen outings. With Colorado “under” 8-3-1 in its last 12 games as well, look for another lower-scoring game at Staples Center.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

Freddy Wills

Rice vs. Houston
Play: Houston -3.5

My algorithms love Houston and for good reason. They will have the best player on the court by far in Tashawn Thomas who is averaging 17.5 ppg, 9.3 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per game. Houston should have the edge here in FTA, FG% offense and defense and even on the glass and turnover margin. I think they have made a mistake in this line based on what Rice did at Texas A&M which was lose by just 3 while Houston lost by double digits. That's just one game and you can't put too much weight on it. Actually Vegas is admitting a significant mistake as they had Rice a +19 under dog at A&M while Houston was +9 as they admit that Houston is 10 points better. As the season goes on vegas adjusts their models and we tweak our algorithms constantly. A ton of value here with two in state rivals the last two games in 2013 between these two had spreads of 10.5 and 12.5 in favor of Houston.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

Harry Bondi

FRESNO STATE +6 over Southern Cal

As Harry wrote in his new article, ”5 Keys to Beating the Bowl Games,”, finding out if a team is motivated or not it vital when handicapping bowl games and the Trojans are not exactly hyped up for this game. These kids did not come to Southern Cal to play in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 21st. They had visions of playing on a national stage and winning championships.

We saw what happened last year when a disinterested Trojan team, featuring many of these same players, got creamed by Georgia Tech, 21-7, in a minor league bowl as a seven-point favorite. This is also a team that’s playing for its third head coach this season and is vastly disappointed that interim head coach Ed Orgeron didn’t get the head coaching job.

Meanwhile, any chances of Fresno State being deflated about not pulling off its run as a BCS Bowl buster went out the window when they got this date with USC. Fresno will be motivated to knock off a program in which many of their players got ignored by during the recruiting process. Bulldogs QB Derek Carr will have no problems adding to his tally of 48 TD passes against a disinterested Trojan defense. Fresno is also the only other team besides Florida State to win all of its head-to-head matchups this season against fellow bowl teams. Take the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

Bob Balfe

Colorado State +5.5

There is no doubt that Mike Leach is an offensive guru in the passing game, but 3 weeks off is never good for a team coming into a bow game. This Cougar Defense is brutal and I don't think they can stop this Colorado State rushing attack. Both defenses stink, but Washington State is so predictable. Take Colorado State.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

DAVE COKIN

HOUSTON ROCKETS VS DETROIT PISTONS
PLAY: HOUSTON ROCKETS -2

I’ve been on a major run with my NBA plays lately, and this play fits the pattern of the type of play I’ve been cashing in on.

The Rockets could not have been any worse they were last night at Indiana. That sets up a play on scenario for Houston tonight. Good teams rebound from really bad games, and I definitely would include the Rockets in that good team category. Houston is 7-2/6-3 (3-0/3-0 on the road) off a loss so far this season, which is good news. They’re also not troubled playing back to back, as the Rockets are 5-1/5-1 with no rest.

I expect a big effort tonight by the road team, and if they deliver on that count, there’s not much the Pistons will be able to do about it. I’m laying the short number with the Rockets.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

Mid-Major Matt

Sacramento State vs CS Fullerton
Pick: CS Fullerton -10.5

Fullerton hosts Sacramento State on Saturday night. They are coming off an 87-80 win over Texas Southern on the 15th. This is a team that is improving now that Alex Harris is back in the lineup. Harris is the team's second leading scorer behind Michael Williams who puts up 15.5 points per contest. Sacramento State is only 3-4 and is coming off a 31 point win at home over William Jessup. The Hornets have lost by eight at Bakersfield, 36 at UCLA and 18 at UTEP. They have two double digit scorers in Mikh McKinney and Dylan Garrity with a steep drop off after them. Sacramento State has failed to cover in 20 of their last 36 games as an underdog. This one is a mismatch. The home team will cover easily.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

Larry Ness

Illinois vs. Missouri
Pick: Missouri

Missouri head coach Frank Haith sat out the first five games of the season due to a suspension regarding his time at Miami-Fla and returned for Missouri’s two-game event in Las Vegas (Nov 28-29). The Tigers enter their annual game with Illinois (in St St Louis)  still unbeaten at 10-0 and ranked 23rd in the latest AP poll. Haith won 30 games in his first season at Missouri with a four-guard lineup and last year, with a more balanced team with big men Bowers (14.1 & 6.1) and UConn transfer Oriakhi (11.2-8 & 8.4), the Tigers won 23 games.

Bowers, Oriakhi, Bell (10.7 & 4.2) and PG Pressey (11.9-3.3-7.1) are gone from last year’s team but Missouri has a talented team in 2013-14. The Tigers are led by a trio of 6-5 guards. Tulsa transfer Clarkson (19.4-3.6-3.8) and Brown (19.0-5.5), an Oregon transfer who played 25 games LY for Missouri, lead the scoring. That duo is joined by Ross, who averages 14.2& 5.6. The frontcourt features 6-7 freshman Williams (6.5-8.4) plus returning players in the 6-10 Rosburg (5.6-4.1) and the 6-9 Criswell (6.4-5.3).

Illinois lost its top-two scorers from last year, guards Paul (16.6-4.4) and Richardson (12.30. The Illini are led in scoring this year by Drake transfer, Rayvonte Rice at 17.7 PPG (also 5.5 RPG). Returning guards Abrams (11.5-4.0-3.4) and Bertrand (10.7-5.3) start alongside of Rice in a three-guard lineup, joined by 6-7 Illinois St transfer Ekey (9.2-6.4) and the 6-11 Egwu (8.3-5.4). That “iron-five” all average 26-plus MPG. At the core of Illinois’ 9-2 start though, is its defense, which is allowing 60.4 PPG.

However, when facing Oregon last Saturday night, the Ducks shot 55.8% and sored 71 points. Slowing Missouri will be a tough assignment as well, as the Tigers are averaging 79.0 PPG on 49.8% shooting plus also play some defense themselves, holding opponents to 65.8 PPG on 38.1% shooting. The Tigers have won FOUR in a row in this series and make it FIVE in a row, late this afternoon.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

Sam Martin

USC at Fresno St.
Prediction: USC

Fresno State will line up as the underdog for the first time all season, and for good reason as this game against the USC Trojans will be the best defense they will have faced by far.

In their 62-52 loss against San Jose State a few weeks back, Fresno State was exposed as a team that is well above average offensively, but does not have the type of defense that allows them to hang with the elite teams across the country. Not convinced Fresno will be able to put up anywhere near the types of points and offensive stats they have in a weak conference and non-conference schedule, and we are more prone to believe USC will be able to have the type of offensively display that saw them score 62 points at Cal and 47 points at Colorado in their last two road games.

Tons of time for USC to prepare for this passing attack, and in the scope of comparable defensive skill we give a huge edge to USC here. Wouldn't be at all surprised to see much of the favorite back the underdog, but we're not falling for the trap and we look for the Trojans to win this one comfortably.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

Jimmy Boyd

UC-Irvine +7

Denver runs a slow down offense, taking time to setup a play with each possession. They average just 52 shot attempts per game, and I think that puts them at a big disadvantage against UC-Irvine. The Anteaters are averaging 78.5 points per game this year, and this is a lot of points for them to be receiving considering how evenly matched these teams have been.

The Anteaters opened the season shooting 50 percent or betting in each of their first five games. They have been slowed down recently, but will catch a break against this soft Denver defense. The Pioneers have allowed 68.1 points per game, and they rarely contest an opponents shot. The Pioneers are also a poor rebounding team averaging just 27 per game, while allowing an average of 33 rebounds per game to their opponents. We will take the points, but Cal-Irvine has a very good chance to win this game straight up.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

Dave Price

Orlando Magic -3½

This is a bad spot for the Kings, who will be playing their fourth road game in five days, their fifth game in seven days and their eighth in 13 days. The Kings are a dismal 16-41 ATS the last three seasons when playing eight games or more in a 14-day span. They are just 2-11 ATS the last three seasons when playing a fifth game in seven days and have lost by an average of 15.3 points in this situation. Orlando is in a much better spot as it has had the last two days off. You want to back home favorites playing only their second game in days when they're up against a team playing its fourth game in five days. Doing so has produced a 29-9 ATS mark the last five seasons. Lay the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

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Washington State -5½ over Colorado StateSERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Perhaps it’s the sucker play of the Bowl Season and if it is, so be it but you would be hard pressed to find a single reason to back the Rams in this game. Colorado State’s best win this season came over whom? The Rams seven wins came over Air Force (0-8 in the conference), New Mexico (1-7 in the conference), Nevada (3-5 in the conference and 4-8 overall), Hawaii (0-8 in the conference and 1-11 overall), Wyoming (3-5 in the conference and 5-7 overall), UTEP (1-7 in C-USA and 2-10 overall) and finally Cal Poly who went 6-6 overall and that resides in the Big Sky. Playing that group of cupcakes and not defeating a team with a winning record this entire season, CSU’s defense was dreadful, allowing nearly 450 yards per game. Now that defense that hasn’t played in three weeks will face the nation’s fourth ranked passing offense. Colorado State may get some points because they’re skilled offensively but they won’t be able to keep up with the Cougars.
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Washington State went just 6-6 but they played in the much tougher PAC-12 and they’re way more battle tested than the Rams. Games against Oregon State, Oregon, Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford and USC among others will have the Cougars well-prepped for anything the Rams throw their way. The Cougars have not been to a Bowl game in more than a decade so there is little chance of them feeling slighted about appearing in the New Mexico Bowl. Instead, the Cougars will be thrilled and completely jacked up to kick off the College Bowl Season. WSU has won playing every style this season against quality opposition all year. One could argue that aside from a game against Idaho in which the Cougars won 42-0, this is their easiest game of the season. WSU played the eighth toughest schedule in college football. Lastly, the PAC-12 has beaten up on the Mountain West all year and there is nothing suggesting this one will be any different.
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Buffalo +109 over San Diego StateFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The Bulls started off 0-2 after games against two ranked teams, Baylor and Ohio State. Buffalo then went on to win seven in a row and eight of its final 10 games. Buffalo is a well-balanced team that plays solid defense (they held four opponents to seven points or less) and they can move the chains both through the air and on the ground. The Bulls were tied for 27th in the country in points allowed per game. The Bulls and Aztecs played one common opponent this season in Ohio State. The Bulls lost 40-20 to the Buckeyes while the Aztecs lost 42-7. Buffalo has never won a Bowl game and has appeared in only one other back in 2009 so there should be no question about focus and motivation for the Bulls. They want this one and they want it badly.
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The Aztecs had a lot of ugly games this season including a 40-19 loss to Eastern Illinois to open the year and a 45-19 loss to UNLV to close it out. They were also taken to OT by Hawaii and had two other narrow victories over Air Force and Nevada. The Aztecs are not a clean team. They make far too many mental errors and they turn the ball over constantly. When looking at Bowl Games you have to consider that the combatants have been off for three weeks or longer and in that regard, it’s difficult to trust an Aztecs outfit that has had trouble focusing and holding onto the ball this entire season. Off for three weeks, San Diego State figures to have more turnovers than the Bulls. Give us the team that wins the battle of turnovers and we’ll show you a winner 90% of the time. The Aztecs are a warm weather team playing in cold weather and that too, favors the Bulls.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

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Phoenix +101 over OTTAWAFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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OT included. Note the 2:00 PM EST start. The Senators are a team in big trouble. A day after being humiliated in New Jersey, the Senators had a chance for redemption and failed again, this time at home to the Panthers. One really has to question the Senators state of mind now. Playing at home in this pressure filled game under a microscope can’t be good either. Coach Paul MacLean’s decision to start Craig Anderson again is actually mind-boggling. Anderson has been appallingly awful this entire season while the superior Robin Lehner sits on the bench. Lehner was the loser in New Jersey but he’s a frustrated goaltender that deserves a string of starts to showcase his talent. Last year he was brilliant and when called upon this year, he’s been outstanding as well with a .926 save % compared to Anderson’s save % of .897. In an attempt to shake things up, every line for the Senators will be different here. 37 games into the season, that’s not a fix.
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The Coyotes are in a mini-funk with three straight losses to Carolina, Montreal and Toronto but that’s after facing three rock solid goalies in Justin Peters (.929 save %), Carey Price (.932 save %) and James Reimer (928 save %). Phoenix takes a big step down in class when facing Anderson here. The Coyotes 106 goals scored ranks them fifth in the West behind Chicago, St. Louis, Anaheim and San Jose. Only two teams in the East, Pittsburgh and Washington, has scored more goals than the Coyotes so offense is not an issue. Neither is defense, as the Coyotes have one of the best core groups in the league. We also get the West versus East angle here that has been extremely profitable this entire season. Despite the three-game losing streak, Phoenix is not playing poorly. They rarely get outshot or outworked and that constant determination has paid off this season many times and will continue to pay off.  Good goaltending, solid defense, and hard work is the Coyotes way. They’re among the best coached clubs in the league and coach Dave Tippett knows exactly how to prepare his guys when he sniffs a wounded prey.
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TORONTO -½ +140 over DetroitFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Regulation only. Since a 4-3 victory over Ottawa in which the Maple Leafs were outshot 50-31, Toronto has cut down on shots allowed and it’s getting progressively better each week. The Leafs have held three of their last seven opponents to 23, 23 and 28 shots and that’s a huge improvement. Toronto has had a grueling schedule in December, having played 10 games already and facing the likes of San Jose, Dallas, Boston (twice), Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Florida and Phoenix. You won’t find a team in the NHL with a tougher 10-game stretch and it’s likely to serve the Maple Leafs well beginning here. The Leafs are coming off a nice win over Phoenix, they whacked the Blackhawks last Saturday in Toronto and they have a huge edge in net in this game with either James Reimer or Jonathan Bernier versus Jonas Gustavsson. This is also the Maple Leafs easiest assignment in some time.
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No question Gustavsson will want to thrive here after the Maple Leafs gave up on him a couple of years ago. However, “The Monster” is mentally soft and the ghosts from this building may haunt him some more. Additionally, he’s not that good and his play is beginning to deteriorate more every game. The Red Wings have one win in their past seven games, a 3-2 OT victory over Calgary. Detroit has been held to two goals or less in regulation in seven straight games and the last time they scored more than two goals in regulation came against New Jersey eight games ago. This is a banged up, old team with weak defense, average goaltending and a lack of scoring. If the Maple Leafs come in ready and play anything close to the way they played against Los Angeles, Chicago or Phoenix, they should have little trouble disposing of these Red Wings. The Leafs are improving while the Red Wings continue to regress.   
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Carolina +133 over TAMPA BAYFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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OT included. Last night the ‘Canes hosted the Capitals and lost 4-2 but pay no attention to that, as Carolina had returned from a road trip and was off for six full days. Still, they outplayed the Caps badly (outshot them 41-29) but ran into a hot goaltender in Philipp Grubauer while Cam Ward was brutal again with a save % of .893.
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Keep your eye on the Hurricanes. Carolina is a non-descript 14-14-7 this year and just might be the least talked about club in the NHL. They have suffered through a string of key injuries to Jeff Skinner and Alexander Semin among others, not to mention the poor play of goaltender Cam Ward. That said, the ‘Canes are poised to have a big second half should they remain healthy like they are now. They boast one of the best top-sixes in the league, sprinkled with the right amount of grit and flash. The Staals are absolute beasts to play against, both owning a rare mix of size and skill. Jeff Skinner is a 21-year-old who already has a 30-goal season just keeps producing.  Alexander Semin is one of the most pure offensive talents in the league (his 40 goal year was okay) – so much so that when he was in Washington people called him “the most talented player on the team.” Their D is solid and reliable with guys like Tim Gleason and Andrej Sekera, and even sports a bright young star in Justin Faulk. That brings us to Justin peters who is sure to get the start here after Ward stunk it up again last night. Peters is one of the best goaltenders in the game that not many people have seen play. We are extremely confident with Peters in net because this guy NEVER has a bad game. Right now the ‘Canes are the most undervalued team in the NHL and that makes them very playable in this winnable game. Biggest overlay on today’s board.
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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

Bryan Leonard

W.Carolina +8.5

The Catamounts are 6-7 on the season but as usual it doesn't shy away from quality opposition. Games against Oregon, Virginia Tech and Wright State and prepared this team well. This is a veteran team with all five starters returning from a down 14 win team from a year ago. But this program previously put together 17, 18 and 22 win seasons the prior three years.  Georgia enters play at 5-4 on the year despite playing a very weak slate of games. The victories have come against Wofford, Appalachian State, Chattanooga, Lipscomb and Gardner-Webb. The Bulldogs return just two starters from a year ago and were projected to be a middle of the road SEC squad. But we haven't been impressed at all with this team who has yet to post a quality victory this season. Georgia doesn't belong in this price range until they can beat a decent team by margin.

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River City Sharps

Gonzaga -7

Our systems all show Gonzaga as a solid play and we contemplated making this play a Diamond selection, but it just missed. Either way, the Zags look to continue their roll when they travel to Kansas to take on the Wildcats. Keep in mind that even though the game is in Kansas, this is a neutral floor game being played in Wichita. The Zags rank among the nation's leaders, averaging 87.5 ppg on 52.6% shooting - including 44.4 percent from 3-point land. Kansas St has been pretty solid defensively this season, but their problem has been an inability to score the basketball. They are only averaging 66 ppg while giving up 71 ppg. Meanwhile, Gonzaga is only surrendering 72.8 ppg. While we never "love" backing a team in a hostile environment against a quality program like the Wildcats, everything we look at says the Zags cover this number, so we are going to trust the data here and watch Few and his boys get it done.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

Andrew LangeFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Southern Utah at San DiegoFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Play: San Diego -21.5FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Southern Utah is arguably the worst DI team in the country. Their losses this year have come by margins of 33, 28, 15 (vs. Riverside at home), 29, 22, and 37. There was some decent competition is that bunch but there was also Northridge and Portland – two teams not that far removed from tonight's opponent San Diego. The Toreros have had a tough schedule of late with competitive losses to New Mexico, San Diego State, and UC Santa Barbara. A quick glance at USD’s resume suggests it isn't capable of laying this type of price with non-blowout wins over Grand Canyon, Morgan State, Greensboro and Southern Illinois. They did however wax Northern Kentucky on the road and trust me when I say all of those aforementioned teams are significantly stronger than Southern Utah. There aren't many of them but the Thunderbirds are a squad that you simply bet against every opportunity in non-conference play. Once Big Sky play starts, you'll see them compete in a handful of contests but tonight there's a class difference and the home squad can name the score.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, December 21

Chris Jordan

Headed to Boise, Idaho for my free play tonight, as I like the game between Buffalo and San Diego State to go over the posted number. I see that San Diego State is generating some betting interest, and is now the favorite in this game, as the Bulls were the original one-point favorite, but are now a 2-point pup.

Now I can't tell you what's going to happen here, in terms of the winner and loser, but knowing how offensive Buffalo likes to get, assuming it will be out to prove it deserves more respect than it's gotten and knowing the Aztecs will be pushed into an uptempo game.

A total this low, with two teams that can put this number on their own, realistically, shouldn't be an issue. Buffalo went over the posted number in eight of its 12 games, while San Diego State soared past the number in four of its last five games of the regular season.

San Diego State ranks 35th nationally in passing, behind junior quarterback Quinn Kaehler, who averages a whopping 7.8 yards per pass attempt and has thrown 17 TDs this season. He has a main target who can get up and get it, in Ezell Ruffin. So even though the Bulls rank 27th nationally in scoring defense, San Diego State is going to have its way at times in this one. It'll have no choice, given its defensive flaws. Buffalo will be attacking a defense that ranked 96th in points allowed (32.3).

Ask me, and I see this game falling on a final tally of 31-30... that's 61 points.

5♦ Buffalo/San Diego State Over

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