Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, February 4

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, February 4

Joe Gavazzi

James Madison +7

Towson was rated by many as the projected winner of the Colonial. But, they have underperformed to date with a league record of 5-2 SU, 3-4 ATS, including just 1-3 ATS as conference home chalk. Underperforming transfers, McGlynn, Burwell, and Benimon, are a major reason. It does not take much to improve the fortunes of these mid-major teams. Such has been the case for James Madison with the addition of Andre Nation. Since returning to the lineup, Nation is knocking down nearly 20 PPG and providing a big boost to the fortunes of the Dukes, a team picked for the lower echelon of the Colonial. Under 5th year HC Brady, this has always been the Dukes' role standing 37-24 ATS as road dog. This one figures to go to the final minute.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, February 4

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

Florida/ Missouri Under 131: The Florida defense has been outstanding and if you couple that with a slow down pace on offense then you get an OU mark of 12-4 to the Under in their games this year. Florida home games have gone 8-1-1 to the Under with an average of 124.9 ppg being scored in those games. The Gators allow just 53.1 ppg on 36.3% shooting in their home games and while Missouri does score 71.8 ppg on the road, they only shoot 39.2% away from home. The Gators average 71.8 ppg at home, but are bad from long range (32.3%) and the FT line (66.3) in their home games and while Missouri allowed 71.6 ppg on the road, they do so on just 41.2% shooting. This should be a rather slow paced game, with more defense than offense as we get a game played in the lower 120's at best.

Ohio State/ Iowa Under 138.5: The Hawkeyes love the uptempo game, but they have been slowed down at times and the Buckeyes are a team that can do it. Ohio State has been inconsistent on offense of late, scoring just 61.2 ppg on 39.5% shooting in their last 5 games, so slowing down the game will be imperative for them in this one. The Buckeyes allowed 84 points to the Hawkeyes, when the teams met last month so I expect more of a spirited effort from their defense in this one. That Buckeye defense has been good for most of the year, allowing just 58.9 ppg overall and 60.8 ppg on the road, so they have the ability to keep this high flying Iowa Offense. The Iowa defense has not been all that bad this year, especially at home, where they have allowed just 62.8 ppg on 35.7% shooting this year. Ohio State will be focused defensively and should slow the game down enough to keep this one in the lower 130's at best.     

2 UNIT PLAY

Wisconsin/ Illinois Over 129: Wisconsin has become more of a scoring team this year and it has led to an average of 75.3 ppg for them. The Wisconsin defense has been a bit weaker this year, allowing 63.3 ppg overall and 61.8 ppg on the road. Illinois averages 72.4 ppg at home and Wisconsin averages 67.5 ppg on the road. I feel these teams can get at least 135 points in this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, February 4

Joe Duffy

Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks    
Play: Atlanta Hawks +3½

Suffice to say, the Pacers have finally gotten more than enough respect from the oddsmakers and gamblers must pay a serious premium to bet them. That is why they are only 2-5 their last seven. They are playing their third game in four nights, while Atlanta had two full days off. The Pacers are 3-4 straight up this season when playing the second game of a back-to-back on the road.

In home/road splits, Indiana is +1.3 points per game on the road, but Atlanta is +4.4 at home. Add to that, the Pacers host one of the top teams in the Western Conference Portland in their next game, so it is a tough spot for the Pacers.
Atlanta is actually the more offensively efficient team, averaging 104.5 points per 100 possessions, while Indiana is at 102.5.

Atlanta has won 12 straight series meeting at home outright by 10.6 points per game. Atlanta will win straight up.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, February 4

Hollywood Sports

Charlotte at Golden State
Prediction: Over

Charlotte (21-28) looks to rebound from their 105-95 loss in Phoenix as a 9-point underdog on the Saturday. The Bobcats have played 8 of their last 10 games Over the Total after a loss as well as 7 of their last 9 games Over the Total after a point spread setback.

Charlotte has also played 12 of their last 16 games Over the Total on the road. Golden State (29-19) comes off a 95-90 win at Utah last Friday -- and they have played 4 straight games Over the Total when playing with at least three days of rest. Additionally, the Warriors have played 10 of their last 14 games Over the Total against teams with a losing record. Take the Over in this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, February 4

Dennis Macklin

Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks    
Play: Atlanta Hawks +3½

The Pacers are absolutely the best team in the East and have even won 17 of 22 but .... they've hit a wall as most good teams do about the half way mark of the season in regards to covering numbers, Indy is just 2-7 in their L9 the way that we keep score. The Hawks have won five of seven and for some reason are not an easy matchup for the Pacers who have lost their last three visits to the Philips Center by double-digits. The Hawks do their best work at home where they are 15-7 ATS which includes a perfect 4-0 as a home dog of three or less. Grab the points

The Mack Attack is No.3 in college hoops and off a 2-2 night with a post last night. In more than 30 years in the business I have never made excuses for losing but you just can't get any more unlucky than we were Saturday in college hoops and last night in the NBA. Well, the harder I work, the luckier I get and tonight come with just one five game college package. Abbreviated card, five slam dunk winners. Don't miss them.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, February 4

Bruce Marshall

Toronto Maple Leafs at Florida Panthers
Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs

These teams are headed in opposite directions lately, and slumping Florida is picking a bad time to run into an ascending Toronto bunch that has scored have scored at least four non-shootout goals seven times during a current 9-1-1 stretch. The charge has been led by Phil Kessel, who has 10 goals and 13 assists over the last 12 contests. He's among the NHL leaders in goals (30) and points (61) after recording his second hat trick of the season and adding an assist in Saturday's 6-3 home win over Ottawa. Meanwhile, the Panthers, losers of three straight, have not been helped much lately by vet GK Tim Thomas, who is 2-5-0 with a 3.70 GAA over his last seven starts, allowing at least three goals in each. Play Maple Leafs on Money Line

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, February 4

AC Dinero

So Illinois vs. Drake
Play: Drake -3.5

Kind of a light card this evening. We'll take Drake at home coming off a road loss over a Southern Illinois team coming off 2 home wins. They shoot the 3 very well, but overall, haven't shot the ball from the floor well at all over the past 5 games. Look for that to improve. THe Saluki's like to leave valuable points at the FT line, and turn the ball over more.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, February 4

Chris Jordan

My free play for tonight is on Colgate plus the single point against Holy Cross, as I like the small home underdog tonight.

This is a revenge game for Patriot League rivals, as Holy Cross defeated Colgate 73-64 last month, after Dave Dudzinski scored 16 points and the Crusaders drained 7 of 16 from beyond the arc. The Crusaders have won five of their last six meetings with Colgate, but I won't let that scare me off this game.

Don't let the nine-point win fool you, either, as Colgate led as late as the 10:55 mark of the second half.

Holy Cross (12-10, 6-4) and Colgate (8-13, 2-8) are both coming off losses, and the team I like to rebound would be the Raiders, who won last year's matchup, at Cotterell Court, with a 63-45 beatdown.

Colgate has covered five straight games. Take the home team here.

1♦ COLGATE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, February 4

Jeff Benton

Your Tuesday freebie is the Wake Forest Demon Deacons as the underdog at Duke.

My feeling is Duke will be just a little bit drained after their overtime loss at Syracuse on Saturday, and the Blue Devils will not be able to pull away and cover this rather large impost.

Duke has indeed won outright the last 7 times they have faced Wake, but the Demon Deacons have used the points to their advantage, covering each of the last 4 series meetings and 6 of their last 9 meetings against the mighty Devils.

Wake Forest has dropped 5 of their last 8 games to slip to 14-8 on the season, but the Demon Deacons have had their competitive moments this season, and they do appear to be catching Duke at the right time tonight.

No outright upset, but plus the mountain of points, look for Wake Forest to at least cover the number.

1♦ WAKE FOREST

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, February 4

Craig Davis

Your free play winner this Tuesday night is the Iowa Hawkeyes as the home favorite over Ohio State.

In their first meeting, Iowa shot their way to a come-from-behind, 10-point win in Columbus... which, at the time, was unheard of. Considering Ohio State had a 10-point lead of their own with 5:30 to go, it's nearly impossible to think the Hawks were able to not only battle back, but actually reverse the score in just five minutes!!

Do I think Iowa will shoot that hot from outside again tonight? No, I don't.

But OSU hasn't shown me the same defense they showed against Marquette, Notre Dame, and in the second half vs. Michigan State. Since then, and before the Wisconsin game, their defense was a complete joke, losing to Nebraska and Penn State in the same month!!

Unacceptable for Ohio State.

Iowa City is actually a tough place to play, and Ohio State just doesn't have the offense to keep up tonight.

Iowa, again, by 10.

2♦ IOWA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, February 4

Scott Delaney

My free play for Tuesday is on Illinois in Big Ten play, as I look to improve my Free pick run, which is now at 26-17-1 after nailing the Washington Wizards last night. The Illni are catching 3.5 from Wisconsin tonight, and could win this game outright.

Both teams are reeling right now, so how the oddsmakers decided Wisconsin is deserving of being a favorite is beyond me, to be quite honest.

Sure, the Badgers are nationally ranked and have the better record, but they've lost two in a row and five of their last six, while their offense has become extremely stagnant.

Illinois, admittedly, is mired in a seven-game slide, but the losing streak began with two road games - at Wisconsin and then Northwestern. The Illni also had Michigan State and Ohio State to deal with, traveled to Indiana and hosted Iowa.

If there is going to be one game the Illni can step up, it's this one right here, as they've been home, they're out for revenge and they're catching a vulnerable Wisconsin team. I suspect we'll see senior Joseph Bertrand step up tonight at home, after he just scored 20 points against Iowa on 7-of-10 shooting.

Wisconsin is mired in ATS slides of 1-6 after a straight-up loss and 1-5 overall, while the home team has covered five of the last seven meetings. Take Illinois.

3♦ ILLINOIS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, February 4

Brad Wilton

Good one tonight in Richmond, Kentucky as Tennessee Chattanooga takes their 15-9 record into town to face the Colonels of Eastern Kentucky and their 16-7 mark.

Will Wade is in his first season with the Mocs, and he has turned this team around as Shaka Smart's former right-hand man at VCU has Tenn-Chatt lined up to take the Southern Conference.

This is just too many points to be giving the scrappy Mocs, as Eastern Kentucky is just 2-3 against the spread at home this year in their lined games, and Jeff Neubauer's team has failed in 4 of 5 this season when laying double-digits.

Just don't see double-digits separating these two schools tonight, so take the Mocs plus the points and look for a close one.

4♦ TENNESSEE CHATTANOOGA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, February 4

Gabriel Dupon

My free play for today is on the Eastern Kentucky Colonels minus the points over the Tennessee-Chattanooga Moccasins.

Chattanooga comes into this one having won 11 of 12 overall, while Eastern Kentucky has won six of its last seven and has now the Ohio Valley contender has set its sight on challenging the top team in the Southern Conference.

Why the UTC Moccasins can cover this number - Chattanooga is not a bad team, as its record indicates, and responded from the loss to Davidson nicely. The Mocs have covered four straight against teams that win at home.

Why the Eastern Kentucky Colonels can cover this game - Since losing five of eight midway through the season, the Colonels have won six of seven overall and have covered five of those games. They're looking to set a new program record for consecutive home court non-conference victories after their win over North Carolina A&T on Dec. 18 tied the program record with their 21st straight home non-conference win.

In conclusion, why Eastern Kentucky is my SMART FREE PLAY in this game - Here's what stands out to me, as strange as it appears - a team that is 15-9 overall and 9-1 in its own conference - is catching 12 points. Even if it is on the road, it's not like this team is traveling to play a major-conference team. Chattanooga started the season 4-8 and then won 10 straight before losing to Davidson on Thursday. And the Mocs are in off a 67-52 win over Furman on Saturday. So why in the heck are the Colonels laying so many points? This is one of those games that separates the sharps from the idiots, as the squares tend to think 'wow, look at the big number' and jump on what appears to be a valuable underdog number. But the oddsmakers are clearly revealing what's taking place in this game, by dictating a blowout with this very big line. The sharp play is on the home team here.

3♦ EASTERN KENTUCKY

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, February 4

OC Dooley

Mississippi +11.5

To make a long story short college basketball as a whole needs to market potential stars and underdog Mississippi has one of them in fiery Marshall Henderson who is getting a rare shot in front of the national cameras tonight.  Henderson (19 points per game average) leads the entire SEC conference in successful three-point long range shots made (77) and is not shy about bombing away so to speak.  The oddsmakers had no choice but to cast Mississippi as a prohibitive underdog this evening since the Rebels long term are 0-19 on the road when facing an opponent with a Top-25 national ranking.  In addition Kentucky has won 21 in a row in front of the HOME fans with the average margin of victory in league play being an enormous 18 points per pop.  But Ole Miss enters with CONFIDENCE tonight after recovering from a massive 15-point second half deficit last time on the floor and WINNING outright.  Dating all the way back to the 1997 campaign when cast as a “double digit” road underdog Ole Miss (12-1 ATS) has been money in the bank and this evening are facing one of the youngest squads in the nation

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, February 4

River City Sharps

Ohio St +5.5

Thad Matta's Buckeye squad was mired in a run where they had lost 5 of their last 6 games and had a daunting task at Wisconsin this weekend. But the Buckeyes gort themselves off the mat and stunned the home Badgers in the Kohl Center, a place that is almost impossible for visitors to win. Now, the Buckeyes have life again and more importantly, confidence as they head to Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes. Iowa lost to these Badgers 75-71 on January 5th and now find themselves as 5.5-6 point favorites tonight. Ohio State is 4-3 on the road this season, including a nice road W at Purdue and tough 4-point loss at Michigan State. Iowa is going to want to get up and down the floor, but the Buckeyes have done a nice job defensively, especially on the road, where they are holding opponents to 66.7 ppg. We think that Ohio State, with their backs to the wall, will rise to the occasion and play inspired tonight. Senior guard play and experience is in our back pocket, so we are going to back the road doggie.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Tuesday, February 4

Harry Bondi

ATLANTA (+3) over Indiana

Indiana has been one of the best teams in the NBA this season, both straight-up and at the betting window where they have gone 30-17 ATS. But one situation the team has struggled is in back-to-back nights where it is just 4-8 ATS. They are in that very situation tonight in a game that's being played in a building that's been a house of horrors. The Pacers are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games on this floor and haven't won outright in Atlanta since Dec. 22, 2006. The home team is also a profitable 23-8 ATS in this series. Trend is your friend tonight. Take the home dog.

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