Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

Sam Martin

Stanford at California
Prediction: Stanford

Horrible motivational spot for the hometown Golden Bears tonight, who are no doubt still on a monster high after upsetting the top-ranked Arizona Wildcats the last time they took the court, and are pretty much in the definition of a "letdown game" here tonight.

To make matters worse, they face a decent Stanford team that will be playing with revenge from an outright home loss against Cal about five weeks ago - falling by seven points as a six-point home favorite. That big letdown spot and obvious revenge game for Stanford has this line very low and the linesmakers have set the trap for Cal money. We won't bit and we'll take the points looking for Stanford to win outright.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

Tom Stryker

Washington State vs. Colorado    
Play: Colorado -11

Clinging to a 16-6 SU overall record (5-4 SU in the Pac-12), Colorado needs to take advantage of the four conference games it has remaining in the regular season. The Buffaloes finish with five of their final nine on the road and four of those battles won't be easy.

Inside the Coors Events Center (CEC), the Buffs have been tough to beat ringing up a solid 69-11 SU and 39-26-1 ATS record. Provided CU it running the court against an opponent that arrives off a straight up win, head coach Tad Boyle's boys own an impressive 35-5 SU and 22-11-1 ATS mark including 21-4 SU and 15-5-1 ATS in this set if their opponent battled a conference foe last.

This is an absolute hideous spot for Washington State. As a road dog matched up against an opponent that played in the comforts of home last, the Cougars have lost their growl notching a disturbing 32-67-4 ATS record. In this spot facing a foe that hits the court with four or more days of rest, this angle drops down to a woeful 7-23-2 ATS.

The Buffs are starting to find their footing without the services of injured leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie. With five teams (including CU) holding a 5-4 SU record in the conference, Coach Boyle's kids need wins to pick up a little breathing room. WSU will provide that opportunity. Take Colorado.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

Jack Jones

Dallas Mavericks +2½

The Dallas Mavericks (28-21) are quietly having a solid season and are currently on pace to make the playoffs. The Memphis Grizzlies (26-21) have not been able to live up to expectations after making the Western Conference Finals last year.

A big reason for Memphis' struggles has been injuries, and they just keep coming. They have been without Tony Allen, who is their defensive stopper. Now they are without point guard Mike Conley (18.0 ppg, 6.3 apg), who is one of the most underrated players in the game today.

Dallas has won three of its last four games coming into this one. Its last two losses have been by a combined 3 points. I look for Monta Ellis (19.6 ppg) to have his way with whoever is guarding him as the Grizzlies will really miss Conley in this one defensively. They will also miss his offense considering he's the leading score on the team.

The Mavs are 8-0 ATS in their last eight road games versus horrible foul drawing teams who attempt 21 or less free throws per game in the second half of the season over the last three seasons. Dallas is 26-12 ATS when the line is +3 to -3 over the last two years. The Mavs are 9-1 ATS in thier last 10 road games after scoring 100 points or more in five straight games. They are hitting on all cylinders offensively. Bet Dallas Wednesday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

Red Dog Sports

Penguins vs. Sabres
Play: Under 5½

Pittsburgh has 4 unders, 0 overs and one push in its last 5 games while Buffalo has 19 overs and 27 unders this year. It does concern me that Buffalo has 5 overs, 0 unders and one push in its last 6 home games, but I think we see a 3-2 final that stays under.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

Freddy Wills

Nebraska vs. Michigan    
Play: Nebraska +13½

This is far too many points at this point in the season for a Big 10 game even if it's one of the best vs. one of the worst. Actually looking at things Nebraska just beat Indiana while Indiana lost on the road on Super Bowl Sunday. Nebraska lost the previous match up by only 1 point at home and will use the extra couple of days they get to prepare for this game to seek revenge. While Michigan is going to look to get back on track they have some huge games coming up over their next 4 including back to back road games at Iowa and Ohio State who are right in the mix for Big Ten top seeding. Nebraska should have the edge on the boards as Michigan has been a very poor rebounding team in conference play and that should give Nebraska enough of an opportunity to stay in this contest when you factor in their motivation as well as what Michigan is looking ahead to with 4 of the top 5 teams record wise in the Big Ten up next.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

Andre Ramirez

Fresno State vs. Air Force    
Play: Fresno State +1

Air Force is coming into this game with some Major Problems. Top Scorer Coggins will be on the bench for a third straight game. In the last 2 games Air Force was only able to score 58 points.

Key Points:

: Fresno State is Averaging 68 points on the road.
: Fresno State 26-12 ATS when playing on the road last 3 years
: Fresno State 14-5 ATS when playing on a Wednesday
: Air Force averaging 63.6 points last 5 games

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

Jeff Alexander

Stanford +3½

The fact Cal won the first meeting 69-62 as a 6-point dog and is coming off an upset win at home over Arizona sets up a very strong system in favor of Stanford. Underdogs that are out for revenge for an upset loss to an opponent are 68-34 ATS since 1997 if the opponent is coming off an upset win at home in conference play. This system is hitting at a 78% clip (25-7 ATS) the last 5 seasons. Stanford is 18-7 ATS under coach Johnny Dawkins when out for revenge for an upset loss. Bet the Cardinal.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

Doug Upstone

Dallas vs. Memphis
Play: Under 189½

Play UNDER on teams like Memphis when the total is between 180 and 189.5 points and they are an ordinary offensive team averaging 92-98 points a game, facing a defensive team (Dallas) who allows 102 or more PPG, after scoring 85 points or less in their last outing. The logic behind this free pick is teams like the Grizzlies are going to control the tempo and their offensive issues are not just going to disappear because it is a weaker defensive club. In the past 17 seasons, this type of matchup is 27-6, 81.8 percent and it has won 11 in a row, with an average final score of 179.7 total points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

Dave Price

Purdue -2½

Off a tough one-point home loss to Northwestern, Minnesota will be looking to bounce back. That's not an easy thing to do on the road in the Big Ten, especially when the opponent is coming off a double-digit loss and seeking revenge. The Boilermakers are an impressive 26-9 ATS under coach Painter following a double-digit defeat to a conference foe. It is also worth noting that Purdue is 12-4 ATS at home under its current head man when the line is +3 to -3. The Golden Gophers have struggled on the road where they've lost their last three. Plus, they are 0-6 ATS in road games the last two seasons when they check in with losses in two of their last three games. Minnesota has especially struggled at Purdue where it has lost six straight by an average of 15.8 points. Lay the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

Mark Franco

Dallas Mavericks vs. Memphis Grizzlies    
Play: Memphis Grizzlies -2½

The Dallas Mavericks seek their third straight win when they begin a stretch filled with road games at Memphis on Wednesday. Dallas has won the first two meetings this season with Memphis, which had its own winning streak snapped at six with Monday's 86-77 loss at Oklahoma City. But both those wins came without Memphis star Marc Gasol who was out with an injury. Since Gasol has returned the Grizzlies have won 6 of last 7 and 11 of last 13 games. Memphis’s defense will be the difference here so lay the small number with the more motivated home team.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

Dennis Macklin

Portland vs. Gonzaga    
Play: Gonzaga -15½

I equate this game to a game last week where UConn hammered Houston 80-43 in a similar revenge spot. If you remember back, the Huskies opened AAC play flat as a pancake in a double-digit loss to the Coogs in Houston. The 37-point beat down last Thursday night was the payback. Back on January 8th, Portland snapped a 24-game losing streak to the Zags with an 82-73 home win in a game that the Zags never led so here we go. Gonzaga is 4-2 as a WCC home favorite but take that with a grain of salt as the Zags are arguably the most overpriced team in college basketball. Five of those six home wins at the McCarthey Center are by 14+ points. Gonzaga figures to be loaded for bear tonight and while Few is a gentleman, can't find a reason for him to take the foot off the pedal here. Zags big!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

AC Dinero

Auburn vs. South Carolina
Play: South Carolina -2.5

Perennial SEC celar dwellar finds itself as a rare favorite. THere aren't many opportunitites for wins on the schedule, so the Gamecocks need to take advantage of opportunities like this. How a team that has lost 7 of 8 finds itself a favorite is a bit mind boggling. So, that is why I am taking them.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

SPORTS WAGERS

Dallas +200 over SAN JOSE

Regulation only. We’re always on the lookout for value and that makes the Stars an instant play. We’ve been touting Dallas the entire year and it’s just starting to pay dividends now. Dallas has picked up 11 out of a possible 14 points over its past seven games. Over that span they have a 3-0 win over Pittsburgh, a 2-0 win in Anaheim, a 4-0 win over Minnesota, a 7-1 victory over the Maple Leafs and a 3-1 win in Phoenix last night. Over their last five victories, the Stars have outscored the opposition by an incredible count of 19-2. With a 2-1 takeback, Dallas is certainly worth a wager against a Sharks' squad that isn’t going so well right now.

San Jose has one win in its last five games. Over that span they have lost to both Edmonton and Calgary. Over their last seven games, the Sharks have scored two goals or less six times. In San Jose’s last game against Philadelphia, they allowed four, third period goals in a 5-2 loss and managed just 22 shots on net the entire game. Indeed the Sharks figure to break out of this funk at some point but with a slew of key injuries and with the Olympic break beginning on Sunday, it appears as though the Sharks are just trying to hold things together until after the break and they’re not doing a very good job of it. Dallas on the other hand is confident and very capable of pulling this upset.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

SPORTS WAGERS

Milwaukee +12½ over DENVER

It really says something about the dysfunction of the Bucks that they've managed to put this much distance between themselves and the rest of the NBA's putrid pack. That said, if all things were equal the Nuggets would take their turn putting a beat down on the Bucks like everyone else. However, all things are not equal and when you pick your spots correctly, there is some profit to be made on these garbage teams. First, the Bucks are coming off a win over the Knicks and at least they have a little more confidence here but this is more about fading the Nuggets.

This gets a little interesting for the Nuggets because they’re coming off a hard fought, one-point win over the Clippers. That’s not so interesting but Denver travels to New York, the city where the last Denver team to play there embarrassed an entire region and it’s up to the Nuggets to restore some Denver pride. There is no question that the Nuggets are looking forward to that opportunity. Furthermore, the Nuggets have just three wins in their last 10 games and only one of those was by more than the points being offered here. The Nuggets are not a team to be spotting significant points with. They are unlikely to care much about this game and even more likely to take their gas off the pedal should they get a big lead. Denver has a more important agenda coming up and if the Bucks have anything resembling a heartbeat, they should easily get this cover.

SACRAMENTO +102 over Toronto

You really have to admire the Raptors rise to relevancy since they unloaded Rudy Gay to these Kings. Toronto is on a current run of 19 wins over their past 29 games and they’ve also won four of its last five games with only loss over that span occurring in Portland by three points. That loss to the Trail Blazers has to be considered one of the best losses by any team this year, as the Raps battled back from 19 down and actually took a lead late before losing it. The Raps are going good and they have shown a ton of heart since trading Gay. However, this seemingly cheap price on the Raps strongly suggests it’s a trouble spot for them. The Raps will play their fourth straight on the road after playing in the high altitude of Denver, followed by the aforementioned game in Portland, followed by the high altitude again, this time in Utah. That’s tough physically and mentally and the Raps have played extremely hard in all of them. The gas tank could be running on fumes here.

The Kings have dropped seven of their past eight games and as a result, their stock is very low at the moment. However, Sacramento is coming off a 99-70 victory over the Bulls and that win coincided with the return of DeMarcus Cousins. The last time the Kings had a healthy roster they went on a run of nine wins in 15 games, which included victories at home over Miami and Portland and a road win at Houston, not to mention an OT loss to the Pacers. Cousins’ is a game changer. He is one of the most devastating players in the world and he’s a stark contrast from the underperforming player from the past two seasons. His willingness to bang inside and move people out of his way, as well as his ability to finish shots, has placed him into an elite level of post scorer. Cousins’ has grown immensely as a player; he's now a dominant scorer and rebounder and he’s influencing the game with his passing as well. It’s no coincidence that the Kings whacked the Bulls upon Cousins’ return. Sacramento will be ready tonight. Arco Arena can be as difficult as any venue and a fresh Sacramento team figures to use that home court to its advantage against what should be a spent Raptors squad.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

SPORTS WAGERS

La Salle +7½ over UMASS

Derek Kellogg and the Minutemen are legitimate contenders to win the Atlantic 10 (when just about everyone had penciled in VCU to roll through the league). Kellogg has an experienced team that’s led by diminutive point guard Chaz Williams, but the key has been the play of athletic junior big man Cady Lalanne in addition to a quality supporting cast. The Minutemen are 17-4 overall. They have some pretty impressive stats when it comes to rebounding, points scored, assists and FG percentages but this team exerted a lot of energy in the early going in an attempt to get a leg up in the selection process. UMass had some nice wins against New Mexico and Clemson but again, it was early in the year when teams’ are going through an evaluation period during their non-conference schedule. UMass played its non-conference schedule like it was the Sweet Sixteen. Since running their record to 12-1, the Minutemen are just 5-3 since and just 4-3 in the conference. They have lost three of their last four games with only win over that span occurring against Fordham. It’s also worth noting that many of their early wins came against some bad teams and the Minutemen blew out few while allowing as many easy baskets as some of the worst programs in Division I college basketball.

La Salle is the forgotten team in the A-10 but let us remind you that this team reached the Sweet-16 last year and brings back just about every key member from that squad. Granted, the guy who isn't back was pretty important. Guard Ramon Galloway led the team in scoring, assists and steals but if there's one thing La Salle isn't short on, it's guards. Coach John Giannini plays four perimeter players at once for large stretches. The Explorers own the exact same conference record as the Minutemen but their 12-9 overall record has them undervalued. La Salle’s three conference losses occurred against VCU, the Bonnies and George Washington. VCU and GW are a combined 11-3 in the conference and 35-8 overall. When the Explorers lost to GW, it was the game after a double OT loss to VCU. La Salle has been shooting poorly this entire year but that is not the characteristic of this team. Its shooting percentage will inevitably increase and when that occurs, victories will follow. The Explorers and the Minutemen are fairly evenly matched but this line says otherwise, making this the right time to step in.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

David Glisan

Dallas Stars +175

One of the first things I was taught as a neophyte sports bettors was this simple lesson:  recreational players try to 'pick winners'; professional bettors 'find value'.  That mantra has stuck with me for over 20 years now and I think we've found a perfect example of solid underdog moneyline value in today's NHL.  San Jose has been one of the top teams in the NHL this season but they've sputtered of late--particularly on offense where they've been hurt by injuries to top playmakers, especially Logan Couture.  Sharks have lost 4 of last 5 and have scored only 5 goals in five games.  Stars are a team that is somewhat 'under the radar' but one that could cause trouble down the stretch.  Dallas has won 5 of their last 7 and 3 of the last 4 against San Jose.  Note that all four of those Stars/Sharks games were one goal affairs.  Simply put, this game is a *lot* closer than the moneyline suggests and I'll gladly take the underdog price.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, February 5

Kevin Rogers

Texas A&M at Mississippi St.
Play: Mississippi St +7

Both these teams are going backwards at the moment, but Texas A&M has dropped fast following a 3-0 start in SEC play. The Aggies have lost five straight games, while two of their first three wins came in comeback fashion against Tennessee and South Carolina. Mississippi State rallied past A&M in the first meeting last month in overtime, but the Bulldogs are 0-4 in conference play on the road. It is very difficult to back this young A&M team as a favorite right now, as I'll take the points with Mississippi State.

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