Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 11

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 11

Jack Jones

Houston Rockets -2

I'm going to back the Rockets as a mere 2-point road favorite over the Washington Wizards tonight. They are easily the better team in this one, and I don't believe home-court advantage will be enough to save the Wizards.

Houston is 23-14 on the season. What I like most about this team is its resiliency. The Rockets have only lost back-to-back games three times all season, and they have yet to lose more than two games in a row. They are 10-3 straight up following a loss this year.

Honestly, Washington really does not have an impressive win this season. In fact, the Wizards have just one win against a team with a winning record this year, which was the Atlanta Hawks (20-17) at home. They were crushed at Indiana 66-93 last night, and you just can't trust them against good teams.

Washington is a very tired team to boot. This will be its 4th games in 5 days. Plays against home favorites (WASHINGTON) - after having lost 4 or 5 of their last 6 games, extremely tired team - playing their 4th game in 5 days are 62-31 (66.7%) ATS since 1996. Bet the Rockets Saturday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 11

Steve JanusFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Butler -1½FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The Bulldogs will be motivated to say the least, as they have started out 0-3 in their first go of things in the Big East. Losing is not something Butler is all that familiar with and I look for them to come out with max effort against the Hoyas at home. Georgetown comes in off a 18-point loss at Providence last time out and I'm just not sold on this team. The Hoyas have lost both of their true road games so far and are just 2-4 SU and 2-4 ATS away from home overall. Butler is 6-2 at home and we know this team is better than their 0-3 conference mark. The Bulldogs have solid wins over Purdue and Vanderbilt and lost by just 2-points to a very good Oklahoma State squad.
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Butler is 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games with a line of +3 to -3 and a perfect 8-0 ATS in their last 8 home games off a conference road loss by 6 or more points. They are also a perfect 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games vs good defensive teams who are holding opponents to 39% or worse shooting from the field and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games vs a team with a road winning pct less than 40%.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 11

Jeff ClementFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Memphis vs. Temple FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Memphis -7.5FOR REE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Memphis(11-3) vs. Temple(5-8). Temple's leading scorer Will Cummings is questionable with a concussion and Temple is 0-3 in conference play. Memphis is coming off a huge road win at Louisville and have won 14 straight conference road wins. Prediction: MEMP 80 TEMP 68.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 11

Jeff Benton

Your Saturday freebie is the Iowa State Cyclones to keep their record perfect with the win and cover in Norman against the Sooners of Oklahoma.

OU sports a solid 12-3 straight up mark, but a pair of those losses have come in the Sooners last 3 games, including an overtime home loss to Louisiana Tech.

Not sure Oklahoma is ready to step up against Fred Hoiberg's 14-0 Cyclones that have gotten the job done both at home - 5-1 against the spread at home, and they have also gotten the job done on the road - 4-2 against the spread away from Ames.

Series numbers show Iowa State having won and covered 2 of the 3 meetings between the schools last season, as the Cyclones are now 4-1 both straight up and against the spread the last 5 series meetings.

Being at home has not been a benefit for Sooners backers, as Oklahoma is just 2-5 against the spread in their home games to date.

Iowa State is not going to finish the season unbeaten, but I don't think this is the spot they falter.

Take the Cyclones to make it 15-0 straight up on Saturday.

4* IOWA STATE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 11

Brad Wilton

St. John's looking for win #10 this year against 5 defeats, and they are back home after back-to-back road losses at Georgetown and Xavier, but the Redstorm are in just a little bit over their heads this afternoon against the 14-1 WIldcats from the Main Line in Philly.

Jay Wright has his Villanova team at 14-1, and in the Top-Ten in the nation. The Wildcats sport spread covers in 10 of their 13 games this season, including 5 of 7 on the highway. Meanwhile, the Johnnies are just 4-8 in their lined games this season.

Series numbers show Nova with 3 straight wins and covers, and straight up wins in 9 of the last 10 meetings overall, with 6 covers in the last 7 series meetings.
This Villanova team looks to have the make up for a deep March run, and laying a few in New York to the Redstorm should not bother them at all.

Take Villanova.

2* VILLANOVA


Huge emotional win for the Georgia Bulldogs their last time out, as they won in overtime at Columbia against the Mizzou Tigers one day after head coach Mark Fox buried his father.

Going to look for that emotion to carryover at the Steg as the Bulldogs take on the poor-traveling Crimson Tide looking for their first series win since February 2010. Georgia has dropped the last 5 series meetings, but the 'Dawgs do own a 14-3 spread mark their last 17 in SEC play.

As for 'Bama, they are have yet to win away from home at 0-5 straight up, and they are just 1-4 against the spread in those road games.

The time is right for UGa to end their 5 game series slide in their conference home opener today.

2* GEORGIA

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Brett Atkins

My free play is in college basketball for Saturday, as I look to extend my 17-1 run with complimentary releases by playing UNR over Utah State in Reno. The Wolf Pack come in to this one after a huge win in Las Vegas, handing UNLV its second straight home loss.

Anyone who hasn't had a chance to see Deonte Burton ought to take time out to see one of the most explosive scorers in the nation. Burton returns to the Lawlor Events Center after hitting 12 of his 20 shots from the floor - including 2-of-4 from behind the arc - while scoring 29 points and notching his first victory over the Runnin' Rebels in his career.

Given it is Saturday night in the biggest little city in the world, the biggest party will be inside Lawlor, and Burton will thrive in the spotlight.

Utah State generally has one of the nation's premier scoring defenses, but tonight it's going to struggle in slowing down Reno's freight train that is now 3-0 in Mountain West Conference play. The Wolf Pack not only have Burton doing damage on the scoreboard, but there's also Michael Perez, who added 18 points and seven rebounds in the win over UNLV.

Utah State has split its four games away from Logan, Utah this season, including a loss in its only Mountain West road game, a one-point setback at Air Force. This one won't be easy, as Reno is playing incredibly well of late.

5* UNR

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Chris Jordan

My free play for Saturday night is on Northern Colorado laying points to Idaho State in college basketball.

Northern Colorado looked good the other night against Weber State, 70-51, in Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion. The Bears improved to 3-0 in the Big Sky and 9-3 overall. Tonght I think they'll carry the momentum over to their conference clash with Idaho State and will to another double-digit win.

I know Idaho State leads the series 33-18, but the two teams split out last year with the Bengals winning 86-63 at home in Pocatello and but losing 78-63 in Greeley.

Northern Colorado is scoring 75.1 points a game behind a .492 shooting clip from the field. Through its three games in league play, the Bears are shooting 57.1 percent from the field, 50 percent from beyond the arc and are averaging an even higher 81.7 points a game.

I like the way Derrick Barden has been performing for the Bears, as he leads the team in scoring with 14.1 points and rebounds with 9.1 boards per game.

Look for Barden to lead the charge at home tonight, and the Bears to keep their offensive surge alive.

1* NORTHERN COLORADO

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 11

Craig Davis

Free play of the day is on the OKC Thunder over the Milwaukee Bucks in an absolute rout.

I never thought in a million years, even without Westbrook, OKC would lose two in a row when the second team was Denver. But it happened, and that plays right into our hands tonight.

Oklahoma City rarely loses two games in a row... let alone three, and they couldn't have asked for a better opponent than the Milwaukee Bucks coming to Chesapeake Arena.

This is such a mismatch that I really don't even care who the Thunder are missing. Serge Ibaka has been ailing and we know about Westbrook, but Milwaukee is literally so bad it likely won't matter.

The Thunder catch the right team at the right time as Milwaukee has won only four times away from home... and all four of those wins were against Eastern Conference teams.

They're only 7-28 overall and might very well be the worst team in the entire NBA. Losing to Chicago is one thing, but losing to Chicago at home while scoring only 72 points is completely embarrassing.

What chance to they have in Oklahoma City? Absolutely none.

Take the Thunder as your free play of the day.

3* OKLAHOMA CITY

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North Carolina +7½ over SYRACUSESERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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We faded the Orangemen as a 12½-point road favorite in their last game in Virginia Tech and didn’t come close, as Syracuse won easily with a big second half to bury the Hokies by 20. Syracuse is now 2-0 in conference play, they are 16-0 overall and they come in as the #2 ranked team in the country. Indeed this team is good but they’re not THIS good. The Orange had a difficult time against the Hurricanes in a five-point win. They also had a close call against the St. John’s. They rank 187th in the nation in rebounding, 133rd in assists per game and 142nd in point per game and that’s after playing 14 of 16 games at home against a slew of out-of-conference, feeble opponents. It’s worth repeating that when you wager on highly ranked teams, you will almost always pay a premium and that’s certainly the case here.
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Remember, this is the first Saturday in a long time without college football. Casual and diehard fans alike now turn their attention to hoops. It’s no coincidence that as soon as the college football season ends, the NCAA basketball conference schedule kicks in. Furthermore, these early games on Saturday will be included in a lot of parlays onto today’s NFL games. One must certainly be aware of overpriced chalk in this “real” first week. The Tar Heels kicked off their ACC conference schedule this week by losing to both Miami and Wake Forest. Those two losses have this talented visitor very undervalued here. This is a Tar Heels team that beat Kentucky, Michigan State and Louisville, teams that are a combined 36-3 in their other games. North Carolina is an unranked squad with top talent. That this team isn’t ranked in the top 25 is bordering on ludicrous. When it’s all said and done, North Carolina will not only be a tournament team, they have a great chance to go deep into the tournament. After two losses, this is a huge rebound spot for one of the finest programs in the country. Hell, we’re not even convinced that Syracuse is the better team here. Taking back 7½-points in a big game with the Tar Heels pedigree, coaching and talent is about as good as it gets in this sport. Definite upset possibility. 
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TENNESSEE -12 over Texas A&MFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The Aggies come in as one of the most overvalued teams in the country because of their 10-4 record and their recent 16-point win over Arkansas in their last game just three days ago. It should be noted, however, that the Hogs are not very good on the road and that it was a bad spot for them in that they had a home date with the Gators up next (that game goes today). The Aggies have played a pathetic out-of-conference schedule that includes games against Buffalo, Mississippi Valley State, Rice, Prairie View, Sam Houston State, Arkansas Pine Bluff, McNeese State and Texas Pan American. All those games for the Aggies were at home. In three neutral site games this season, A&M is 0-3 with losses to Missouri State, SMU and Oklahoma, the latter by 12 points. On their home court against the Mean Green from North Texas, the Aggies lost by 20. Billy Kennedy's Aggies haven't played a single true road game this season but that changes today against a very good Volunteers squad.
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Tennessee is without question the most undervalued team in the SEC. The Vols starting five is as elite as any team in the conference and that includes Florida, Missouri and Kentucky.The departure of Trae Golden hurts the Volunteers offensively, which we saw in their season-opening loss at Xavier. But Memphis transfer Antonio Barton fits in nicely with this team and brings the toughness that dimension coach Cuonzo Martin desires from his players. Senior Jeronne Maymon is one of the best passing big men in the country, and junior forward Jarnell Stokes (who averaged a double-double in conference play last season) complements him well in the strongest frontcourt in the SEC. Jordan McCrae is the most talented offensive wing player in the SEC, and can really score when he gets the green light. The Vols have the depth and experience to finish in the top three of the SEC and easily make the NCAA tournament. In the Vols rematch with Xavier on a neutral court they defeated the Musketeers by 15. In fact, each of the Vols past nine victories has been by 15 or more points and that figures to continue here against this huge imposter.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 11

Denver Money

Tampa Bay Lightning +120

I think we will see the Flyers nice run of 10 straight at home come to an end today. I think if Bishop was not hurt and playing we could have actually seen the Lightning as small favorites despite the current home winning streak of the Flyers. It really could go either way today as the home team has won 8 of the last 10 meetings but I don't see it happening. I will take the small road dog here with the value.

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Ross BenjaminFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Seattle -8FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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I get the whole revenge factor for New Orleans heading into this game. However, the manner in which they lost that game has to have created a lot of uncertainty. Seattle won this season's regular season matchup 34-7, and quite frankly the game wasn't even as close as the 27-point margin may indicate. Seattle outgained New Orleans 429-188, and played the 2nd half in a very conservative mode.
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This is a Seattle team that's 15-1 at home in the last 2 seasons, including 12-4 ATS. They're also 9-1 SU&ATS as a home favorite of 10.0 or less in that same time span. The Saints do come off a road win at Philadelphia last week on a game winning field goal with no time left on the clock. That was just their 2nd road win in their last 7 tries. New Orleans is also 0-4 SU&ATS in their last 4 as a road underdog of 3.5 or more, and lost those 4-games by an average of 20.5 points per game. Winning at Philadelphia is one thing, accomplishing that at Seattle is a whole different animal kingdom
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Any home favorite in a game that involves two teams that average 1.5 yards or more per pass attempt than their opponents, and they allowed 5.5 yards or less per pass attempt in their previous game is 24-3 ATS (88.9%) since the beginning of the 1983 season.
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New England -7FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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This is a New England team that's gone 40-6 in their last 46, and 58-9 in their last 67 home games under the guidance of head coach Bill Belichick. The Patriots are also 11-1 in their last 12 home games following a bye week under Belichick. There's no doubt that the Colts have been a whole different team since Andrew Luck came into the picture in 2012. However, they're still a dismal 1-5 SU&ATS on the road during that period versus an opponent with a winning record. Their comeback versus Kansas City last week was of epic proportions. In my opinion they will be emotionally spent this week on the road, versus an opponent that's rested, and in one of the more tougher stadiums to win at in the NFL.
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Any home favorite or more that's playing in game 11 of the season or beyond, and they have a better than .666 winning percentage, versus an opponent coming off a home underdog straight up win, and they have a winning record on the season, has gone 20-1 ATS since the beginning of the 1981 season. If that home favorite of 4.0 or more is coming off a bye week, they improve to 11-0 SU&ATS, and win by an average of 21.6 points per game, since the beginning of the 1980 season.

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New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ersFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: New York KnicksFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The simulator shows a high probability that the Knicks will win this game by 7 or more points. Turnovers will be a huge factor in this game tonight. The KNicks despite their losing record are a solid ball handling team. The SIM projects that they will have 3 to five fewer turnovers than the 76ers; will score 105 or more points; that 76ers will shoot between 43 and 47% from the field. In past games, Knicks are a solid 32-14 ATS (+16.6 Units) when they commit 3 to 5 fewer turnovers than their opponents over the last 3 seasons; 22-9 ATS (+12.1 Units) when they score 105 or more points in a game over the last 2 seasons; 76ers are just 3-11 ATS (-9.1 Units) when they make 43% to 47% of their shots in a game this season; 7-19 ATS (-13.9 Units) when they allow 105 or more points in a game this season. 76ers shot 55% in the first half scoring 60 points against Detroit. Detroit then turned up the defense and held Philadelphia to just 44 points and many of them came late in the fourth quarter when the game was already decided.

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Sam MartinFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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New Orleans Pelicans at Dallas MavericksSERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: Dallas MavericksFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Mavericks completely dominated the Pelicans last night, winning 107-90 in New Orleans while holding a commanding 53% to 45% edge in shooting percentage. Same teams square off tonight with the location switching to Dallas, where the Mavericks are a far better team.
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While Dallas is just 9-10 away from home (including last night's win), they are 12-6 here at home and scoring 106 points per game. Pelicans are 6-13 SU on the road and they give up 106 ppg on average. Usually we look to back the losing team in the second leg of a home-and-home series, however the big margin of victory last night combined with the winning team returning home leads us to believe Dallas will win this game big again!

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Tom StrykerFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Baylor -14½FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Off Tuesday's 15-point drubbing at Iowa State, Baylor will be in a serious bounce-back mode at home against TCU on Saturday afternoon. The last thing Bears head coach Scott Drew wants to see his troops do is fall to 0-2 SU in the Big 12 Conference with a road game at Texas Tech on deck.
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There is certainly nothing wrong with the way BU has played at the Ferrell Center lately. In case you haven't noticed, the Bears have quietly won 12 straight in Waco by an average of 20.2 points per game. Also, since the start of the 2009-10 season, Baylor owns an impressive 67-12 SU mark in its own backyard.
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Off back-to-back SU and ATS home losses to West Virginia and Kansas State, TCU isn't playing its best basketball right now. The Horned Frogs are locked into one of their worst team roles too. According to my college basketball database, TCU is a dismal 38-58-1 ATS when coming off a SU and ATS loss including a woeful 23-46-1 ATS in this situation priced as a pup of +18 or less. It's also important to note that the Toads are a soft 5-11 ATS in their last 16 when priced as a dog and lined up against an opponent that takes the court off a blowout loss of 15 points or more.
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The Bears have dominated in-state foes posting a stunning 18-1 SU record in their last 19 games. Off the brutal loss to the Cyclones, Coach Drew will have his men ready to go.

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Jeff AlexanderFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Oregon State +2FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Playing against road favorites or pickems that are off a double-digit road victory has resulted in a 15-3 ATS record the last 3 seasons provided they carry a 60-80% win percentage and are playing a team with a 51-60% win rate. This will be a tough encore for Cal following Thursday's big upset win Oregon. The Beavers are 5-1-2 ATS in their last 8 home games. They are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 versus Cal, including 4-1 ATS in their last 5 at home in the series. Bet the Beavers.

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Doug UpstoneFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Virginia vs. NC StateFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Play: NC State +2½FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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It doesn't happen often, but I truly think the odds makers have this one wrong. NC State is as good as Virginia is and are playing at home yet catch two points. The numbers are pretty identical, both at 11-4 and NC State has played tougher competition. Take the two points with NC State and an equal play on the moneyline at plus 110 is advised.

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TORONTO -9½ over BrooklynFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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How can the Raptors be a 9½-point choice over the Nets? Toronto hasn’t been this big a favorite this season and probably not for about four seasons. The Raps biggest spread this season as the chalk was back on November 9th when they were a nine-point favorite over the then 0-7 Utah Jazz. Now they’re a bigger favorite over a Brooklyn team that has won five in a row and that includes victories over Golden State, Oklahoma City and Miami? Are you kidding?
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Forget stats, forget momentum and forget about everything else. This line is telling us who to bet and that’s all there is to it. Under normal circumstances Toronto would be about a four-point favorite here but the oddsmakers have put up a number that will force bettors to take the points. It’s hard not to. Thing is, the Nets defeated the Heat last night in an intense double OT game and this line assures us that Brooklyn will show up in body only with very little interest in playing another 48 minutes.

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NEW JERSEY -½ +113 over FloridaFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Regulation only. We can’t stress enough how goaltending is the single most determining factor in games this season. We’ve said if before and it’s worth repeating that the Devils would have many more wins if they chose to stick with Cory Schneider instead of allowing Martin Brodeur to play so many games. The Devils are difficult to play against because every player pays great attention to defense and it’s for that reason that they have allowed the fewest shots on net in the league. Schneider and the Devils are coming off a 1-0 victory over Dallas. In three of its past six games, New Jersey has held Pittsburgh, the Islanders and Dallas to one goal or less and it would be of no surprise if they did the same thing to these Panthers.
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Florida has scored one goal in regulation in three of its past four games. The Panthers have one regulation win over their past eight games. In a recent three-game set against Winnipeg, Tampa Bay and Detroit, the Panthers allowed 15 goals against. Tim Thomas is not the answer. Thomas has an acceptable save percentage of .914 but he’s one of those goaltenders that flop around like a fish out of water and many of his saves are of the fortunate variety. There are a lot of leaks in the Panthers' ship, including goaltending and a lack of scoring. Florida has scored just 104 goals this season, which ranks them ahead of only Calgary and Buffalo. The Devils have 104 goals also but the difference is that New Jersey has allowed 24 less goals than the Panthers and if Schneider played the majority of those games that number would be much better. A disciplined and determined Devils squad with a big edge between the pipes gets the call.

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LT ProfitsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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New Orleans vs SeattleFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Under 44FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The New Orleans Saints quieted some critics by winning a cold outdoor game in Philadelphia last week with their defense and running game actually playing a bigger role in the win than Drew Brees. Meanwhile, the top seeded Seattle Seahawks have been laying in wait with the best defense in the NFL following a bye week. However, Seattle is not the only team that plays defense in this game as the Saints improved by leaps in bounds in their first season under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, ranking fourth in the NFL in both total defense (305.7 yards per game) and scoring defense (19.0 points). It also helped that former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram stepped right in for injured Pierre Thomas and rushed for 97 yards on 18 carries last week. Thus, both teams could have time-consuming drives. The ‘under’ is 7-1 in the Saints’ last eight games overall.
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Florida International vs Louisiana TechSERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Florida International +15FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs are 13-3 after winning their first Conference USA game ever Thursday after coming over from the WAC, but they lost leading scorer Raheem Appleby and his 16.1 points per game to an ankle injury. This is a concern vs. the scrappy Florida International Golden Panthers, who have been competitive while going 9-7 and winning their Conference USA opener on the road at Rice. Louisiana Tech has also accumulated its record vs. a schedule ranked 279th in SOS and it lost its toughest home game so far to a UL Lafayette team ranked 104th on the Pomeroy Ratings. The Golden Panthers have overcome a poor 48.2 percent effective filed goal percentage by ranking 45th in the country in FTA/FGA percentage and 63rd in offensive rebounding percentage, which should help them hang here. Florida International is 15-7 ATS its last 22 games vs. teams with a winning percentage above .600.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 11

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Boston Celtics at Portland TrailblazersFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Portland Trailblazers -12FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Coming off a blowout free winner last night as the Pacers took care of business, we look for the same thing tonight in Portland. This line is currently set at 12, and we hate laying such big numbers but this game has blowout written all over it. We have projected this line around 15-20 as Boston really has no chance. The Celtics were 1-6 ATS in their first seven games versus foes with an above .600 winning percentage and are playing in their fourth road game in five days. Trail Blazers are 16-7-1 ATS in their last 24 vs. Eastern Conference. Celtics are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Saturday games. Trail Blazers are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.

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