Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 16

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 16

Scott Delaney

It's never easy to go into Los Angeles and defeat Loyola Marymount, no matter how inconsistent the Lions may be playing on any given night, week or season. But there's something to be said about these scrappy Pilots, who arrive after registering a huge victory against then 18th-ranked Gonzaga, 82-73.

I know the Pilots have only won two of their last five games, but any momentum carried over by a West Coast Conference team, after beating Gonzaga, has to be taken in consideration.

Loyola was once on a four-game win streak, but is now mired in a four-game skid, and will be in big trouble trying to defend Kevin Bailey, who leads the Pilots' scoring attack with 16.8 points per game on 44.7 percent shooting from the field.

These two are very similar, and right now Portland has the momentum in its favor. Take the road pup here.

2♦ PORTLAND

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 16

Brett Atkins

My free play is on UC Riverside on the road, against UC Davis.

It's taken quite some time, but I think it might be time to start giving Riverside a little respect. This is a team that was rebuilding and took some time to find an identity.

Riverside (5-11, 0-2) rolls into Sacramento's Cal Davis after a pair of losses that opened Big West Conference play, as the Highlanders lost at Cal State Fullerton (78-73) and to UC Irvine (72-52). Meanwhile, UC Davis (5-12, 0-2) also lost its first two league games of the season, as it dropped an 89-77 decision at Cal State Northridge and a 99-74 pelting at the hands of Long Beach State.

Since opening the season with a 3-2 record, the Aggies have lost nine of their last 11 games. And since UC Davis won both games a year ago, I like the double-revenge theory with the Highlanders as well.

Take the road team here, as Riverside has played a tougher non-conference slate and will be better prepared for this game.

5♦ UC RIVERSIDE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 16

LT ProfitsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Milwaukee vs Illinois-ChicagoFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Illinois-Chicago +1FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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While we get that the Illinois-Chicago Flames are 5-12 and have lost six straight games. We simply do not feel that the Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers are good enough to be road favorites over anyone despite their 12-6 record. The Panthers have taken advantage of a schedule ranked 166th in the country in SOS, as they are only 148th in offensive efficiency and 189th in defensive efficiency. They are a terrible rebounding team that ranks 234th in offensive rebounding percentage and a worse 320th on the defensive glass, and they are sloppy with the basketball turning it over 20.1 percent of the time vs. a national average of 18.5 percent. Despite their record, the Flames should dominate in second chance points here against a poor rebounding team, as UIC ranks 33rd nationally in defensive rebounding percentage. Illinois-Chicago is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 games following a straight up loss.
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BYU vs San FranciscoFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: San Francisco +4FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The BYU Cougars are ranked 51st in the country on the Pomeroy Ratings, but while they have one of the strongest home courts in the country, the Cougars have lost five straight road games since winning their first road game of the season, making their Pomeroy numbers based on overall performance a bit misleading. And it is not likel they are losing to elite teams on the road either as they recently lost at a Pepperdine team ranked 132nd on Pomeroy and 142nd ranked Loyola Marymount! The San Francisco Dons are 8-3 at home and have won four straight there including winning their first two home WCC games by double-digits. The Dons rank 35th in offensive efficiency and 29th in effective field goal percentage, and should face little pressure from a BYU defense ranked 306th in defensive turnover percentage. San Francisco is 23-6 ATS in its last 29 games following an ATS loss.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 16

OC Dooley

St Louis Blues -135

The reason for St. Louis being cast as a prohibitive home favorite has to do with their current 10-1-1 run of prosperity.  But the victory that the Blues truly want tonight is against an opponent who has given them fits as it was Los Angeles who has eliminated them from the playoffs in consecutive postseasons.  I will admit that St. Louis finally knocked off the Kings on home ice earlier this month (second day of January) but in that 5-0 triumph Los Angeles was without their injured star goaltender.  This evening the Blues to have a chance at exacting revenge versus Jonathan Quick who in the past fifteen chances against them has a 12-3 record along with an excellent 1.33 goals-against-average. My research indicates that in the past two years when off consecutive games where the defense allowed “two or less” goals each time, St. Louis has been nearly unbeatable (10-1) in front of their HOME fans.  As mentioned at the top of this analysis St. Louis is a prohibitive home favorite even though they have defeated Los Angeles just four times in the past 19 clashes in this series, so I for one am following the oddsmakers lead.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 16

Harry Bondi

LOYOLA-MARYMOUNT (-4) over Portland

Let's go west for our third straight FREE Winner and back the Lions of Loyola-Marymount. They return home, where they are a perfect 5-0 both straight up and ATS, after a brutal 5 game road trip. The Portland Pilots had a thrilling win over then No. 22 Gonzaga last Thursday, but they are a sub .500 team. Lions will have the best player on the floor in senior Anthony Ireland, who continues to lead the Lions in scoring. He is playing his best basketball on the year right now shooting 25-for-45, 56% from the field the and scoring 68 points the last two games. His superb play and home cooking will get the Lions their sixth straight home cover tonight.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, January 16

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

San Diego/ Santa Clara Under 135:  The has been a low scoring series of late as the last 9 between these teams have averaged just 116.7 ppg, with only 2 of those games even making it to the 130's. Last year the teams met twice and just 114 and 113 points were scored in the two games. Neither team plays uptempo and neither is all that good  the offensive end of the floor. San Diego comes in averaging just 67.1 ppg overall on just 52.8 shots per game, which is 295th in the nation. Santa Clara, has slumped a bit on offense of late as they have averaged just 65.4 ppg (during regulation) in their last 7 games. That offense may not get much better in this one vs a San Diego squad that has allowed 67.5 ppg on the road on just 41.6% shooting.These teams play fairly close low scoring games and that should continue in this one.   

Western Illinois/ South Dakota Under 130.5: The Leathernecks are one of the slowest paced teams in the nation. their games this year have averaged just 121.7 ppg and just 119 pg on the road, so even away from home its hard to speed this team up. WIU averages just 59.1 ppg overall and 54.6 ppg on the road and would really love for his game to be played in the 50's On defense they have allowed just 62.6 ppg overall and 64.6 ppg on the road and they should be able to keep an average SDSU offense from going crazy in this one. SDSU isn't great on defense, but they won't have much problems keeping this popgun attack under control. Last year these teams met twice and 119 and 112 points were scored in this games and I expect this one to be played under 125.

2 UNIT PLAY

Ohio State -4 over MINNESOTA: Ohio State is one of the best teams in the very tough Big 10 and while they come in on a 2 game slide, which should fuel them even more for this one. The Buckeyes have owned this team of late, winning 6 in a row outright and they are 5-1 ATS in those games, plus we note that the favorite is 12-1 ATS the last 13 in this series. The Buckeyes are also 26-3 SU vs Minnesota when Ohio State is ranked nationally. Minnesota has played well at home (10-1) but really haven't played anyone good on this court except Michigan and they lost that one by 3. They did play a decent Purdue team here, but only won that one by 3, failing to cover. I look for Ohio State to get back on track with a win of at least 7 here.

1 UNIT PLAY

Missouri/ Vanderbilt Under 132.5: Vanderbilt has averaged 69.6 ppg on the year, but they are now without leading scorer Eric McClellan, who has been dismissed from the team. They do have three other DD scorers to rely on, but still they will suffer at that end of the floor, especially vs a Missouri defense that allows just 65.6 ppg on 38.9% shooting this year. Vanderbilt also plays good defense, especially at home where they have allowed just 61.6 ppg on 40.1% shooting. Both teams have been in some low scoring games of late and with no offensive consistency on both teams and good defense I expect that trend to continue here.

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