Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 25

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 25

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Minnesota +7½ over PORTLANDFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Still don't believe the Blazers are contenders? They've beaten every team in the West currently projected to make the playoffs and have knocked off the Spurs and Thunder twice. Portland’s five-game winning streak was recently snapped but it was their third winning streak of at least five games halfway through the season. However, the Blazers are not in the best of spots here. Portland returned home to face Denver on Thursday night after a four game trip through San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and Oklahoma City. They were pushed hard on Thursday in a five-point victory and if teams aren’t somewhat flat in the first game back from a trip, they’re often flat in the second game back. Portland, behind a slew of sharpshooters, boasts the best offense, but the defense is below average and that could be a problem against the Timberwolves.
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Minnesota is not a team you want to spot 7½-points to. For one, they’re warming up with three wins in a row, capped off by a road victory at Golden State last night. Secondly, the T-Wolves are more than capable of defeating anyone and what’s so fascinating about this team is that they’ve had 10 games this season in which they’ve led by at least 30 points. Eight of the last nine teams that have accomplished that in one season have all gone onto the NBA Finals. That’s a testament to just how dangerous these Timberwolves are. Back on December 18 in Minnesota, the T-Wolves defeated the Blazers by 11 points. The blueprint for defeating Portland is in place and although this game is in Portland, we don’t anticipate an 18-point turnaround in the Blazers favor.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 25

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NEVADA AT WYOMINGFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Some serious praise is due Nevada coach David Carter. The Wolf Pack were not supposed to be a factor in the Mountain West this season. But they’re sitting pretty at 5-1 following the double OT win at Fresno State and are suddenly a team not to be overlooked.
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Wyoming is also likely in a good frame of mind right now. The Cowboys lost two very close games to start league play, falling by three at Nevada and then dropping an OT decision to New Mexico. But Wyoming has rebounded with three straight wins and should be a confident bunch today.
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There’s not much question as to who will be the most talented guy playing this game. That’s Nevada senior guard Deonte Burton. But the addition of AJ West might have been the catalyst that got the Wolf Pack rolling. West is not a star, but this team really needed some size inside and West has provided exactly that.
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Larry Nance is the go to guy for the Cowboys. He’s playing very steady basketball and in addition to knocking down a solid percentage of his shots, Nance is also getting the line pretty regularly and cashing in there as well.
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The obvious intangible here is revenge, as the Cowboys let a win at Nevada get away late. But I also like the fact that the Cowboys have won three straight in spite of the fact that they’ve been stone cold from beyond the arc in those wins. This is a pretty good team in that category, and if they get back to their norm today, I’ve got to think it’ll be bad news for Nevada.
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I don’t expect a lopsided result here. Nevada is a hot team and Burton can keep them in the hunt all by himself. But with the Wolf Pack off the thriller the other night and now facing a team bent on gaining revenge from the earlier result, it’s a good looking spot for the home team. I’ll back Wyoming minus the points for the Saturday free play.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 25

Carlos Salazar

Georgetown at Creighton
Play: Georgetown +11.5

Carlos is going with the road dog on Saturday night as he's saying there is good value here with Georgetown getting 11.5 points against a solid but not great Creighton team. Georgetown will keep this one close with some aggressive defense and Creighton well below their 82 points per game average.


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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 25

Jimmy Boyd

BYU +8

The Cougars have the second ranked scoring offense in the country averaging 88.3 points per game. This is simply too many points for a team that should score at-will against the Bulldogs. Gonzaga's defensive statistics are a bit misleading since they have yet to face a team with the scoring potential that BYU brings to this matchup. I don't think the Cougars will be slowed down by playing on the road either. They still average 86.2 points per game away from home this season.

The Bulldogs have not won a game over a quality opponent this season. The schedule has been incredibly soft and the Cougars have a lot of potential to give them a scare today. BYU is an outstanding rebounding team, and they should get a lot of second chance shot attempts because of their ability to pull in offensive rebounds. The Cougars are +6 in rebounding margin this season, and their uptempo pace of play should wear Gonzaga down early.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 25

Tony George

Georgetown vs. Creighton    
Play: Creighton -11

Laying double digits always dangerous in conference play but Georgetown down 18 points ppg in starts out for suspension and injury and Creighton off a huge blowout win over Nova on Monday where their backcourt lit up Nova with a ton of 3 pointers and Georgetown cannot trade punches on the scoreboard or have no answer for McDermott.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 25

Rickie Robbins

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Toronto Raptors    
Play: Toronto Raptors -1

Head to head, the Clippers are 2-7 ATS in the last 9 meetings and 0-4 ATS in the last 4 meetings in Toronto while the home team is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings. The Raptors are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 home games, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games playing on 0 days rest and 17-5 ATS in their last 22 games overall. The Clippers on the other had are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record, but just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 0 days rest.

Other than a recent loss the Los Angeles Lakers, the Toronto Raptors have been lights out at home since just before Christmas, winning eight of their past nine straight up and against the spread. That includes victories over Indiana, Brookly, Minnesota and most recently Dallas. Overall, the Raptors have been the premier league in the NBA when it comes to betting as they have covered the spread in 17 of their last 22 games, which just so happens to be around the same time Rudy Gay was traded to Sacramento.

The Los Angeles Clippers are currently on the tail end of their seven-game road trip, winning last night in Chicago 112-95. With the victory, the Clippers now have a winning record through the first five games of their trip, alternating wins and losses in each game. Los Angeles has now improved to 7-3 since Chris Paul went down with an injury and currently occupy the fourth spot in a tough Western Conference.

I like Toronto here for two mains reasons. One, the Raptors have looked like a completely different team since shipping Gay away and they have also been a covering machine. Two, this will be the Clippers sixth straight road game and third in four nights, so we could see some fatigue set in. Plus, if they keep alternating wins and losses on this road trip, then they should be due for a loss.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 25

Larry Ness
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St. Johns at Butler
Pick: Butler
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St. John's is hoping to build on its first Big East win when it visits Butler for the first time in school history Saturday afternoon. The Red Storm opened Big East play with five straight losses but was able to break through with a 77-76 victory over Seton Hall on Thursday. D'Angelo Harrison (18.1-4.3), Orlando Sanchez (7.8-51) and Jakarr Sampson (12.2-6.3) scored 16 points apiece for St. John's but NOTHING comes easy for Steve Lavin's team this year.
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St John's led by 17 with less than nine minutes remaining but survived by a single point, after holding off a late charge. The win kept St John's out of the Big East 'basement,' which is inhabited by Butler (11-8 / 1-6), the Red Storm's opponent today. The Bulldogs won their first Big East game of the season last Saturday (at home in OT over Marquette), but were unable to follow that up with a second win, losing 65-56 at Providence on Tuesday.
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Kellen Dunham led the way with 17 points (he's Butler's leading scorer at 18.3 PPG) but the Bulldogs lost the battle of the boards by a whopping 37-22 margin in their worst offensive showing this season. Despite the presence of Kameron Woods (league-high 9.6 rebounds), the issues on the boards are nothing new for the Bulldogs, who rank last in the Big East in rebounding margin (-6).
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That said, I'm NOT about to give up on the Bulldogs, especially up against a 'weak sister' like St John's. Note that all four of Butler Big East home games have been OT affairs (1-3), so just why won't Butler be able to win here vs a St John's team which is 0-3 SU in true road games TY. Butler is 7-3 SU at home and again, all three losses have come in OT.
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Lay the 'short' price.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 25

Chris Jordan

My free winner for tonight is on Wichita State laying the number against Drake.

The Shockers are in after a 15-point win over Illinois State, as they earned their 20th win thanks to a second-half surge and Cleanthony Early's 23 points and 10 rebounds.

Wichita State overcame a brutal first half that saw it commit 11 turnovers and fall behind 28-25 at the break. For the game, the Shockers shot 23-of-57 (40.4 percent) and 11-of-27 (40.7 percent) from 3-point range. Illinois State, meanwhile, shot a paltry 19-of-59 (32.2 percent) and just 1-of-25 (4 percent) from beyond-the-arc.

Now Wichita State is in a good spot to continue its unbeaten streak, tonight against the Bulldogs in Des Moines, Iowa. The Shockers have covered 10 of their last 11 on the road and six of seven in conference play, while Drake is mired in ATS slides of 1-4 at home and 1-5 overall.

3♦ WICHITA STATE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 25

Brett Atkins

My free play for Saturday is on San Francisco, laying the points and getting it done at home against Santa Clara.

It truly is hard to argue what the Dons have been doing during the first half of the season, as they've improved dramatically from last season. Compared to their 2-6 start last year, San Francisco is 5-3 after its first eight games in conference play this year.

Coach Rex Walters obviously had his troops ready for battle, and now it's time to prove it's been no fluke for a team that has four players averaging double figure points, and another six who are averaging eight points or better.

All but one of those players shoots better than 47 percent from the field.

Now in the middle of a five-game homestand, the rest of the team's schedule is relatively favorable since it's already played St. Mary's and Gonzaga on the road. Games like tonight are virtual must wins, in the Dons' eyes, so I'm laying the points with them tonight.

5♦ SAN FRANCISCO

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Primetime InsidersFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Columbia -9 FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Columbia and Cornell recently played just 7 days ago in Columbia.  Columbia was a 15 point favorite and failed to cover only winning by 10 points.  You may wonder why are we backing Columbia on the road if they just won by 10 in their own building I will tell you why.  First, in this game Columbia who usually shoots over 40% from 3 point land shot a measily 29%.  In addition, Columbia turned the ball over 12 times which is uncaracteristic of this Columbia team.  If you look even further into the last game you see that Columbia was up by 18 with less than 5 minutes less.  Columbia could have covered in the previous game but now we are in a better situation.  We get a lot better team at a discounted price.  Everyone remembers the Cornell of old who was winning tourney games against major conferences but this is a terrible Cornell team to put it lightly.  They only have one win this season and it comes to Oberlin (No idea where that even is)...  Columbia on the other hand really doesn't have any bad losses and beats teams it should beat like Cornell. 
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Like I mentioned above Columbia is an excellent three point shooting team who should be able to find their groove against one of the worst three point defensive teams in the nation.  Additionally, Columbia will be able to use its size to dominate the glass just like the last game between these two teams.  Cornell will get no second chance points as Columbia does an excellent job at defending the glass as well as defending beyond the arch.  The final cherry is FT shooting as much as people say it should not be factored in when betting.  I have a team who shoots 75% from the line and the other team shoots 60% from the line this will factor into an easy cover by Columbia. Columbia 79 Cornell 59
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Santa Barbara -5.5FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The one reason why this game is not rated higher is I am nervous about Santa Barbara looking ahead to the Irvine game.  The game is 5 days away and I think Santa Barbara will be a focused bunch.  Santa Barbara's offense is a well oiled machine with a top 40 offense and top 20 in FG%.  Santa Barbara does shoot a lot of 3s but is top 30 at making those shots and they are going up against a bottom 250 defense in Fullerton.  Additionally, Santa Barbara does an excellent job at not turning the ball over.  Similar to the defense of Fullerton their offense is bottom 275 and score the majority of their points inside which is not going to be easy sledding for them as Santa Barbara who plays majority zone should be able to shut them down inside.  They are a top 35 defense at defending teams inside because of that excellent zone. Santa Barbara 75 Cal State Fullerton 65
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Northern Arizona +4.5FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Similar to the Santa Barbara game, this game would be rated higher if not for one factor which is the North Dakota defense.  The North Dakota defense is actually terrible ranking in the bottom 330 in almost every category except turning teams over and specifically steals.  Northern Arizona is not a turnover prone team but ND is able to turn almost everyone over.  I do think that Northern Arizona will handle the defense pretty well and as a result will get many open looks.  Northern Arizona is a decent defense but they do limit the amount of offensive rebounds and play good man defense which should limit the amount of dribble penetration and easy layups that ND usually gets. Northern Arizona 70 North Dakota 68
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Northern Iowa -5FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Northern Iowa has been a very up and down team.  They forced OT against Iowa State but lose to Bradley.  You never know what team you are going to get but the game against Bradley is fresh in their minds they will be looking to avenge that loss and get back in the win column.  Northern Iowa has a top 60 offense that doesn't turn the ball over.  They do shoot a lot of threes which they live and die by but should be able to push the tempo against Loyola Chicago to get some easy looks.  If Northern Iowa is able to speed up Loyola Chicago this game could get out of hand as Loyola Chicago is one of slower tempo teams in all the land.  If Loyola Chicago gets in a high scoring affair there are going to be issues as they are a bottom 250 offense who turns the ball over on 21% of their possessions and this number could get higher if the pace is sped up.  Additionally, Northern Iowa will be able to limit the amount of second chance buckets as Loyola Chicago is a terrible offensive rebounding team.  Northern Iowa 70 Loyola Chicago 60
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Connecticut -6.5FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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UConn is one of those teams that no one is talking about but are playing some of the best ball in the nation particularily on the offense end where they rank in the top 40 in overall offense and #2 in 3 point percentage.  This is going to prove troublesome against Rutgers who doesn't defend the 3 well and can get lazy on defense. Additionally, Rutgers allows offense rebounding on 34% of their possessions which is going to be very troublesome because you can't give UConn second looks.  UConn's defense is not as good as their offense but they still rank in the top 65 in the nation going up against a bottom 190 team.  The concern I have for UConn is defending the glass as Rutgers is one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the nation.  However, UConn is top 20 in inside the arch defense and should get their fair share of steals and blocks as well. UConn 82 Rutgers 69

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 25

River City SharpsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Hawks / Bucks Under 195FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Atlanta comes into this game really, really banged upo as Jeff teague will not go for the Hawks. They also anticipate that DeMarre Carroll won't go tonight either, meaning the Hawks are going to rely heavily on a bench that last time out had their worst offensive showing of the season. The Bucks are flat terrible and really struggle to score points, so we think the value in this contest is with the UNDER 195. The reserves for Atlanta have not shot the ball well and Milwaukee virtually never shoots it well, so we're counting on an ugly one tonight at Bradley Center.
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Belmont -6FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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This game is a rematch of one played just nine days ago, when Belmont traveled to EKU and left a 74-63 loser to the Colonels. These are two of the best teams in the OVC and Belmont really needs to protect their home floor tonight. They are coming off an impressive 14-point victory over Morehead State and have won 3 in a row, while the Colonels have won four straight. Statistically speaking, both of these teams are very similar, which leads you to question why we would have a six point favorite between two very similar teams and a situation where EKU won by 11 just nine days ago. We think they are trying to lure some "funny money" to the road dog here and we think you will get a focused, energized Belmont team tonight. We are going to side with the home favorite here.

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St Louis Blues -138FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The Blues enter this game with a 34-11-5 record overall and a 16-6-3 road record. They are coming off a 2-1 win in New York Thursday night. The Islanders sit with a 21-25-7 record and just 8-10-7 at home. They are coming off a 6-4 loss vs Pittsburgh after winning their previous two games. While New York has been scoring goals lately they've also allowed 18 goals against over their last 4 games (4.5 per game). These two teams met in St Louis on December 5th with the Blues winning that meeting 5-1. St Louis has won 4 of these two teams last 5 meetings dating back to 2009. Tonight's starter for St Louis will be Jaroslav Halak who is 21-7-3 with a 2.28 GAA and .912 SV%. Over his last 5 games he has allowed just 7 goals against (and 1 or fewer in four of those starts). He has gotten wins in 5 of his last 6 starts. St Louis is 6-2 in their last 8 road games, 45-15 in their last 60 vs Eastern Conference opponents, and 51-21 in their last 72 vs a team with a losing record. The Islanders have won just 3 of their last 13 home games, and are 8-21 in their last 29 Saturday games. Take the Blues here laying some chalk.
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Columbus Blue Jackets -½ -125FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The Buffalo Sabres have lost 5 straight games to fall to 13-29-7 on the season and 4-14-3 on the road. Although they've managed to score 3 goals in each of their last 5 games, they rank last in the NHL averaging just 1.76 goals per game are are 18th giving up 2.82 against per game. They are also the worst ranked team in the league in 5 on 5 play with a goals for to against ratio of just 0.61. The Blue Jackets are on an 8 game winning streak including recent 5-2 and 5-3 home wins vs Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Before that win they won a 4-3 shootout game in Buffalo as they out shot the Sabres 35-29. Columbus is now 26-20-4 on the season and 14-9-2 at home. The Blue Jackets rank 7th in the league scoring 2.88 goals per game and they are 11th in 5 on 5 play. Note Buffalo is just 1-8 in their last 9 road games vs a team with a winning home record. Tonight we've got one of the hottest teams in the East who have won 8 straight and 5 straight at home versus the league's worst team that has won just 4 of 21 road games. I like the price we're getting on the Blue Jackets to win in regulation at home and continue their winning streak.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 25

David Banks

Michigan +5.5

An in-state rivalry could give us perhaps the best matchup in the Big Ten this season on ESPN Saturday night when the third ranked Michigan State Spartans (18-1, 10-6-2 ATS) host the 21st ranked Michigan Wolverines (14-4, 9-6-1 ATS) from the Breslin Center at 7:00 ET. While the Spartans have tasted defeat only once to North Carolina here at home, they will probably be without starting center Adreian Payne for a fifth straight game here, which would take away the size advantage they would normally have over the Wolverines. That makes Michigan State vulnerable vs. a very hot Michigan team.

Michigan State is ranked eighth overall on the Pomeroy Ratings, meaning that the Spartans may be a tad overrated with their third ranking in the polls but are still excellent when at full strength, which unfortunately they are not right now without Payne's 16.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game and general inside presence at 6-foot-10. Yes, the Spartans have gone 4-0 in the games that Payne has missed, but they were taken to overtime by Minnesota, only beat Indiana by five points at home and beat a couple of teams in Illinois and Northwester that are ranked 84th and 142nd respectively on Pomeroy. Michigan is a much bigger threat than any of those teams and Matt Costello has averaged just 5.8 points and 3.8 rebounds the last four games while filling in for Payne. That lack of production could prove fatal here as no other Michigan State starter stands taller than 6-foot-6 and Keith Appling is now the only senior making any significant contributions. Garry Harris leads the team in scoring with his 18.3 points, but this could be the biggest game in the young sophomore's life so it remains to be seen how he reacts while being asked to carry this team on this big stage.

Michigan was just 6-4 after blowing a late lead at home to top ranked Arizona in a disappointing 72-70 loss back on December 14th, but the Wolverines have not lost since while reeling off eight straight wins, and at 6-0 in Big Ten play, they join Michigan State (7-0) as the only two teams undefeated in conference play, which is just another reason why is probably the biggest Big Ten game so far this season, especially with the Wolverines up to 10th on Pomeroy. And Michigan certainly has the offense to take advantage of the Spartans' lack of size, as the Wolverines are ranked third in the country in offensive efficiency and seventh in effective field goal percentage. Michigan is a good three-point shooting team at 38.2 percent, but the Wolverines are deadly closer to the basket ranking eighth in the land in two-point shooting at 55.5 percent, and that is where Michigan State will miss the presence of Payne the most. Michigan also ranks a good 46th in defensive efficiency, a ranking enhanced by ranking 15th in defensive rebounding percentage, and again, the Wolverines should now dominate in that department assuming Payne sits outs as expected.

Michigan is 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games overall, 6-1 ATS in its last seven games following a straight up win and 3-0-1 ATS in its last four games vs. teams with a winning percentage above .600.

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OC DooleyFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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St. Joseph’s +4.5FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Host Richmond is in a classic emotional “letdown” position after topping #13 ranked Massachusetts in a 58-55 thriller back on Wednesday where there home fans stormed the court after the final buzzer had sounded.  My research indicates that in the past two years after a game where the offense was held to “60 or less” points on the scoreboard Richmond (1-8 ATS) has actually been a bet-against.  Richmond has also had problems the past couple of seasons handling prosperity as after a stretch where they won outright at least 4 times in a six-game span, the Spiders (0-6 ATS) have been a financial disaster.  It was back in early December when St. Josephs hit an absolute low point losing by a resounding 30 points versus Philadelphia area rival Villanova.  However since that debacle St. Josephs has gone on a 9-1 straight up WINNING tear and are playing with an abundance of confidence.

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River City SharpsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Texas Tech  -1FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Most of our long-term clients probably already pencilled this one in as a play after seeing the opening line. We won with this angle the other night and although we don't play this system "blindly", we also really believe in rolling with it (as long as the team that needs to win isn't terrible!) For those of you that are new, the angle you play is when you have an unranked home favorite of between PK through -3 playing a ranked road dog, you ALWAYS PLAY the home team ATS. This system hits at over 75% and is one of the strongest systems we use. In terms of the game, we also like the fact that we have the home team coming off a loss as Tech dropped a six point decision to West Virginia earlier this week. Add to this the fact that Oklahoma won both games between these teams last season, and we think this is a very strong play today. Get this early as we think you will see the line move in favor of Texas Tech. We also like the fact that Tubby Smith is now on the sidelines for Tech and he has a history of being a really good motivator when his team needs to get up for a big home game. Everything we see here points to the home team.

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Harry BondiFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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GONZAGA (-8) over BYUFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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BYU has to be exhausted after a triple overtime loss at Portland Thursday. Cougars top two player Nate Austin and Tyler Haws both played over 50 minutes and two other players logged over 40 minutes. That's bad news heading into face a Gonzaga squad that has owned the Cougars recently winning the last four games including the last two at Gonzaga by 11 and 20 points. More of the same today take Gonzaga over BYU.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 25

River City SharpsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Drexel  -4FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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This game is a similar situation to what we have in the EKU-Belmont game that we also have made a play on. These two teams played back on January 8th and Bill and Mary won a 85-73 decision at home. Now these two teams play again at Drexel, where Bruiser Flint's teams have traditionally been very difficult to beat. Drexel is also coming off a loss to league leader Delaware, while Bill and Mary were drummed by 17 points at Hofstra. After a rough start offensively, Drexel is scoring 78 points a game in conference and Flint's team have always been stellar on the defensive end. This game is about payback and we think you are going to get a solid performance from the home Dragons today.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Saturday, January 25

Dr. Bob

Opinion - WAKE FOREST (-2) over Notre Dame

Wake Forest is 11-0 at home with wins over 3 teams that are better than Notre Dame (NC, St. Bonaventure, and Richmond). Notre Dame covered in their loss at Florida State but I still think the Irish are overrated and my ratings favor Wake Forest by 3 ½ points in this game. I’ll lean with the Demon Deacons at -2 or less and I’d take Wake Forest in a 2-Star Best Bet at -1 or better.

Opinion - PROVIDENCE (-2) over Xavier

Xavier has covered the spread in 9 consecutive games but teams that covered their last 7 or more lined games are just 107-156-4 ATS on the road, including 42-80-1 ATS as an underdog against a .500 or better team. Providence is also playing well (4 straight wins and covers) and Xavier has been very lucky that their opponents have made just 62.1% of their free throws this season. That’s the lowest percentage in the nation and well below the 69.1% that their opponents combine to average for the season. Xavier isn’t going to be so lucky in this game given that Providence leads the nation with 80% free throw shooting as a team. My ratings make this game a pick after adjusting for Xavier’s lucky free throw shooting ‘defense’, so the line is a bit off. However, Providence applies to a 117-44-5 ATS home momentum situation and Xavier is due for a down game. I’ll lean with Providence at -2 or less and I’d take Providence in a 2-Star Best Bet at -1 or better.

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River City SharpsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Kansas State  +9.5FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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We are going to take a side here with the road dog getting a generous amount of points in Kansas State. The home Cyclones are glad to be back at Hilton as they are mired in a three-game losing streak, while Kansas State was upended at Texas at the buzzer. Iowa State wants to get up and down the floor and score a lot of points, but the strength of Bruce Weber teams through the years has been their defense and we just think 9.5 points is too many to give a quality Wildcat team. Kansas State is 10-2 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record this season. That's good enough to go with the doggie.

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Greg SmithFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Maryland +4.5FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The last time Maryland played Pittsburg it ended in a rout loss with a final score of 59-79. Now, three weeks later, the Terrapins get the Panthers on their home court to avenge their humiliation. Maryland is a small dog at home, but I would not be surprised to see an outright win, especially playing in College Park.

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