Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, February 6

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, February 6

SPORTS WAGERSFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Calgary +156 over N.Y. ISLANDERSFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Regulation only. Despite the Islanders losing five of six games, we mentioned that we like what we've seen from them recently and that still holds true. However, the Isles have much more appeal as a pup than they do as a big favorite. It’s safe to say that the Islanders, with their 12-16 home record and inability to win consistently, are a huge risk at this price. Indeed, the Islanders are capable of big upsets but they are also capable of losing to anyone, as their current 0-9 run against teams below .400 would attest to. It’s also worth noting that the Islanders are on a current 0-5 run playing on one days’ rest and that applies here.
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The Flames don’t have many victories but what they do have is a chip on their shoulders and an outstanding work ethic. They have the fewest players in the NHL (1 skater and 1 goaltender) going to the Olympics. They have been taking abuse locally for years because of bad management and a poor product on the ice but these players deserve credit for having none of that. Calgary comes to play every night. They’re coming off a 2-0 loss in Montreal but could have just as easily won that game, 2-0. Prior to that, Calgary had won five straight and scored four goals or more in all of them against Phoenix, Nashville, Chicago, Minnesota and San Jose. Scoring four or more in succession against every team in that group may not be accomplished again this season by anyone. Contrary to public belief, the Flames are not an easy out and haven’t been for weeks. Calgary is so much more appealing as a big dog than the Islanders are as a big favorite and let’s also not ignore the West versus East angle. Overlay.
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Detroit -½ +154 over FLORIDAFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Regulation only. No question that the Florida Panthers are one of the most undervalued squads in the NHL. In fact, Florida’s 35-21 record against the spread when taking back 1½-pucks or spotting 1½-pucks when they are favored is one of the NHL’s best ATS marks. However, this is a strong situational spot against them. The Panthers returned home on Tuesday from a four-game trip and promptly defeated the Maple Leafs 4-1 in a game they dominated throughout. Seven of the Panthers past nine games have been on the road and the two games that they did play at home over that span were not in succession, making the game against the Maple Leafs the ninth straight game in which they had to travel to play their next opponent. They were not flat against Toronto and if teams aren’t flat in the first game back they are often flat in the second game back. Furthermore, prior to the Panthers 4-1 victory over Toronto, they were tagged for 20 goals against in its previous four games with four goals or more allowed in all of them. That should come as no surprise, as Tim Thomas doesn’t stop pucks; instead the pucks hit him from time to time. Thomas plays an unorthodox style that was popular in the 70’s and 80’s. He’s constantly flopping around or lying on his back trying to stop pucks. He’s NOT an NHL caliber goaltender and teams with sharp-shooters have a great chance to bury a bunch of pucks behind him every time he’s in net. He’s the Panthers #1 goaltender by default but his days are numbered as an NHL goalie and nobody is in line to grab him.
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The Red Wings talent pool is sick. They are thought of by many as being a rebuilding team with older players but nothing could be further from the truth. The Red Wings may have more talent on their roster than any team in the NHL and they’re a good defenseman away from being a Cup contender this season. They also need better goaltending from Jimmy Howard, who is having an off year but if Howard plays well, the Red Wings are a potential freight train. Forget that Pavel Datsyuk returns tonight and is reunited with point-per-game skill-monster Henrik Zetterberg. Forget that Pavel Datsyuk is pretty universally revered around the NHL for a reason. He scores some of the slickest goals while winning defensive player of the year awards. Aside from that pair, not to mention Daniel Alfredsson, the Red Wings have elite talent in spades. Riley Sheahan, Gustav Nyquist, Justin Abdelkader, Luke Glendening, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco, Darren Helm and Danny DeKeyser may not be household names but these extremely talented players have been groomed to thrive in the Red Wings way. When the Red Wings don’t score four or more goals it’s usually because they’ve run into a hot goaltender. Detroit is still fighting for a playoff spot and they need wins to secure it. With just 26 games remaining, every game is crucial and with a huge edge in net, a huge edge offensively and in a better situational spot, we’ll gladly take our chances with this potential juggernaut.
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Winnipeg +121 over WASHINGTONFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Regulation only. The Jets are right back in the playoff picture and could leapfrog over Vancouver tonight for eighth spot in the West with a win here and a Canucks loss in Montreal. It didn’t seem possible that the Jets would be in this position less than a month ago after they had lost their fifth straight game and were in free-fall mode. What Paul Maurice has done to rejuvenate this squad is remarkable. The Jets have won nine off 11 games since Maurice too over and both their losses were by a single goal. The Jets could conceivably be on a 13-game winning streak. Nonetheless, Winnipeg is a fired up squad that can’t wait to get back on the ice. As a pooch against one of the NHL’s three worst teams, the Jets offer up nothing but value in this one.
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We’ve been suggesting all season that the Capitals are a nothing team. Their two best players, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Ovechkin are both headed off to compete in the Olympics and it’s safe to assume that it can’t get here soon enough for these two because of the frustration of having to play for such a garbage club with so few talented players. Imagine the anticipation, especially for A.O., of playing for their respective countries with a bunch of all-stars. It may surprise you to learn that not only have the Caps had the easiest strength of schedule in the NHL, but that they have just 13 regulation wins this season in 57 games. If not for OT, the Washington Capitals might have the least amount of points in the entire league and it’s for that reason, among others that they remain high on our fade list. The team that wants it more, has superior talent and that is in a better frame of mind is all the incentive we need to pull the trigger on this live dog.
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Pass NBA & CBBFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, February 6

David Glisan
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Colorado Avalanche +108FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The Colorado Avalanche have responded bigtime to their tightly wound Hall of Famer coach Patrick Roy.  Roy, not surprisingly, preaches defense and has the Avs playing hard just about every night.  Colorado has had little trouble with the Eastern Conference this year (15-7) and have feasted on teams with losing records (19-7 YTD including 7-1 in the second half).  Philadelphia has been disappointing all year with a big issue being their lack of consistent goaltending.  They've lost 9 of their last 17 and this is their first game back home after a West Coast road trip.  They beat San Jose and Los Angeles during that trip but that says more about the current state of the Sharks and the Kings than anything else.  Avs on a 12-5 run but are coming off a lopsided 5-1 loss at Madison Square Garden to the New York Rangers the last time out.  Roy apparently cracks the whip after a tough loss as the Avalanche are 8-3 after a loss of 2 or more goals this season.  The Olympic break is coming up (starts Sunday) and there's every reason to expect that Roy will have his troops playing hard right down to the wire.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, February 6

Will Rogers
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Columbus vs. Los AngelesFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: UnderFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The Kings have allowed fewer goals than any other team in the NHL, yet their own inability to light the lamp has caused them to lose nine of their last 10 overall. The Kings host the Blue Jackets and reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrobsky tonight, so goals will not be easy to come by.
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Before I make the decision to place a wager, there are numerous factors that I will take into careful consideration. While I won't go into great detail about all my handicapping methods, I will share a few of the key stats and trends for this contest:
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1: Previous History - The Kings have seen the total go under at a rate of 8-1-1 versus Metropolitan Division opponents, and these two teams have failed to score more than five goals in any of the last four meetings in Los Angeles.
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2: Injuries - The Blue Jackets are not a team that is loaded with offensive talent, and their best offensive player (Marian Gaborik) remains sidelined with a broken collarbone. The Kings are healthy, but they aren't getting production from several star players (Richards, Carter, and captain Dustin Brown)
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3: X-Factor - Jonathan Quick was 2-0 with a 1.50 GAA versus the Blue Jackets last year, and this will be his first meeting with Columbus this season. Bobrovsky has allowed five goals while winning three straight starts.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, February 6

Ian CameronFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Washington at UtahFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Utah -9FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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I used Utah in a very similar spot two weeks ago as a Sportsmemo free play when they returned home off multiple road losses and responded in a big way by blowing out USC 84-66 as 10.5-point home favorites. They should be sitting on a good effort again as they return home following three straight losses on the highway at Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado. They lost those games by a combined 17 points including a tough OT loss vs. Colorado. The Utes are a dominant 14-1 at home thanks to 50.3% FG and 36.2% from the perimeter. Delon Wright leads the team with 16.1 ppg but Jordan Loveridge and Brandon Taylor are two other viable scoring options. Utah has also performed very well defensively at home holding foes to 40.8% FG and just 31.9% from deep.
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Washington is very inconsistent – fully capable of hanging tough with Arizona and beating the likes of Colorado and Oregon but also capable of getting annihilated particularly away from Seattle. Washington is 0-3 SU and ATS in their last three road games losing by margins of 26 at California, 12 at Stanford and a 5-point loss on the road against arch rival Washington State last weekend. The Huskies managed to squeak out a 59-57 win against the Utes when these teams met last month in Seattle but Utah’s offense was in a major funk at the time. Washington will certainly have to score more than 59 points here to even be competitive in this game and we’ve seen the Huskies struggle to put the ball in the basket on the road of late scoring 67, 67 and 56 points.
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All but two of Utah’s 14 home victories have come by 10 points or more and this is an opponent it should be able to do the same.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, February 6

Wunderdog

The Citadel at Appalachian State
Pick: The Citadel +10.5

These teams have combined to win just a grand total of 10 games this season. When you consider the fact that only three of those came against Division-1 opponents, it certainly looks like the line is over done here for this one. Both of these teams struggle for offense, although you can give a slight edge to the Citadel on the overall shooting numbers. The Citadel's 12 game losing streak, and 0-12 road mark on the season has the line elevated here. However, remember that they are 4-0 ATS in their last four when catching double-digits, and they are now 11-5 ATS following an ATS win in their last 16. The Mountaineers are just 4-9 ATS in their last 13, and the Citadel stands at 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings. Make the play on the Citadel.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, February 6

Sean Higgs

Louisiana-Monroe vs. Texas State
Play: Texas State -3½

Normally when a team (State) crushes a team (ULM) 61-36 a few weeks ago, my first instinct is to jump on the team that got smoked. But I can't here. I think the number is short enough for us to ride the faves. I don't think ULM will shoot 20 something % from the field here. Nor do I think State will hit near 60%. Bobcats should be able to take care of business here at home.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, February 6

EZWINNERS

UConn +6

Cincinnati is playing well and are quietly 21-2 and ranked #7 in the nation, but I really don't think they are a top ten team. The Bearkats are a very good defensive team, the best in the conference, but they can struggle at time offensively and they have a very short bench. UCONN is playing very well themselves as they are back in the top 25 for the first time since January 4th. The Huskies have won six out of there last seven games following an 0-2 start in AAC play. Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier have both stepped up there games during UCONNs surge and I expect that to continue in this game. Take the points.

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Hollywood Sports

Chicago Bulls at Golden State Warriors
Prediction: Golden State Warriors

Golden State (29-20) looks to bounce-back from a 91-75 loss at home to Charlotte on Tuesday (in a situation where we had the Bobcats) -- and they are an impressive 8-0-1 ATS in their last 9 opportunities to rebound from a double-digit loss at home.

Chicago (24-24) comes off a 101-92 win at Phoenix on Tuesday as a 7.5-point underdog in their current west coast road trip -- but they have then failed to cover the point spread in 4 of their last 5 games following a straight-up win as well as failing to cover the point spread in 4 straight games after a point spread victory. Additionally, the home team is 16-5-1 ATS in the last 22 meetings between these two teams -- including the Bulls having failed to cover point spread expectations in 8 of their last 11 trips to Golden State. Lay the points with the Warriors for this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, February 6

Steve Janus

Georgia Bulldogs +3

The Bulldogs come into this game riding a 3-game losing streak, while the Tigers enter having won 4 their last 5. I believe Georgia is being extremely undervalued at home, where they are 9-2 on the season and 6-2 in the last 8 meetings here vs LSU. Keep in mind that all four of the Tigers wins during their recent strong stretch have come at home.

LSU is just 6-16 ATS in their last 22 road games against teams who like to slow down the pace (average 53 or less shots/game), while Georgia is 17-8 ATS in their last 25 games after 3 straight where they forced their opponent to 14 or fewer turnovers and 15-6 ATS in their last 21 home games after playing a game as an underdog.

There's a couple of strong systems in play supporting the Bulldogs. Any team (GEORGIA) - after failing to cover the spread in 3 or more consecutive games against opponent after successfully covering the spread in 4 or more consecutive games are 124-71 (64%) ATS over the last 5 seasons. We also see that a road team (LSU) - excellent defensive team (<=40%) against a good defensive team (40-42.5%) after 15+ games, after 2 straight games making 50% of their shots or better are just 9-33 (21.4%) ATS over the last 5 seasons.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, February 6

Teddy Covers

St. Mary's vs. Loyola Marymount    
Play: St. Mary's -5

We’ve got a maximum motivational spot for the road favorite here. And St Mary’s is matched up against a home underdog that isn’t playing any defense, has lost whatever limited confidence they have and hasn’t been covering pointspreads all year.

The Gaels hadn’t played on the road in nearly a month when they travelled to San Diego last Thursday. The Toreros slowdown style really frustrated St Mary’s as they were held to a season low 43 points. Then BYU went uptempo on St Mary’s on Saturday and blew the Gaels out of the gym – a quality foe at the top of their game. St Mary’s is too good to suffer through extended losing streaks in this very mediocre WCC conference; primed to hammer somebody tonight.

And Max Good’s Lions are an easy team to hammer. St Mary’s beat them 89-61 just two weeks ago; dominating the game in every possible way. The Gaels won both meetings last year by double digit margins as well. A two game losing streak ensures full focus against a team that they can (and have) dominated.

Loyola Marymount has fallen apart over the last month: 1-8 SU, 1-8 ATS since the calendar turned to 2014. This is a squad that went 1-15 SU in conference play last year; not exactly brimming with confidence these days. The Lions can’t rebound worth a lick and they’ve basically stopped playing defense in recent weeks, a bad combination against a talented and motivated foe. Take St Mary’s.

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Dave Price

Utah -9

Utah has lost three in a row but all three were on the road. Now, the Utes are back home where they are 14-1 on the season. And, if the three straight defeats aren't enough motivation, they will be fueled by last month's two-point loss at Washington. Utah has been a tremendous investment this season, going 12-3 ATS in lined games. It has been an especially good investment at home where it is 9-1 ATS in line games. Revenge has been a strong angle to play on Utah as it is 13-3 ATS when seeking revenge for a same-season loss over the last three seasons. It is an even more impressive 20-5 ATS when seeking revenge for a close loss of three points or less since 1997. It is also worth noting that the Utes are a perfect 6-0 ATS the last two seasons in home games following a loss on the road. Lay the number.

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Jeff Alexander

Santa Clara +15

Playing against home favorites of 10 to 19.5 points that are off a home win against a conference foe has resulted in a 104-62 ATS record since 1997 if they are up against an opponent off an upset loss at home. Additionally, road dogs of 10 points or more off an upset loss to a conference foe are 43-18 ATS the last 5 seasons if they are matched up with a team that's off a home win of 10 points or more. Santa Clara is on a 23-10 ATS run in road games off 2 straight losses against conference foes. The Broncos are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 games versus teams with a winning percentage above .600 while the Cougars are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games versus a team with a losing record. The road team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings. Grab the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, February 6

AC Dinero

San Francisco vs. San Diego
Play: San Diego -2

San Fran goes on the road after a rare 5 game home streak. 3rd home game in a row for San Diego (1-1) as they look for revenge after a close loss in the first meeting. SF shoots it better, but SD defends it better. For a good shooting team, SF is a surprisingly poor FT shooting team. Take the home team who protects the ball better that is looking to evening the score.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Thursday, February 6

Tony Stoffo

San Antonio Spurs vs. Brooklyn Nets
Play: Brooklyn Nets -6

San Antonio at Brooklyn Real tough spot for a Spurs team tonight playing on a back to back road scenario without Duncan, Parker, Leonard, and Ginobili. Add in the fact it's an out of conference game I just can't see San Antonio being competitive in this spot against a Nets squad that sure needs the game. Brooklyn the play here.

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LT Profits

UAB vs Florida International
Pick: Florida International +2.5

The Florida International Golden Panthers have exceeded expectations going 11-11 to this point as they have done a good job of protecting their home court going 7-3 in Miami. What the Panthers lack in talent, they make up for in hustle, especially on the defensive end at home where they are limiting opponents to 40.5 percent shooting. The UAB Blazers are not a good shooting team ranking 310th in the country in effective shooting percentage, and their 14-7 record is attributable to going 11-3 vs. a non-conference schedule ranked 281st in SOS. These two teams are actually tied at 3-4 on the conference standings. UAB has struggled on the road in recent years and has been fortunate to play only five true road games so far, going 2-3 while shooting just 40.0 percent from the field in those games. Florida International is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 home games.


CS Northridge vs UC Davis
Pick: UC Davis -2

The CS Northridge Matadors have been like night and day home vs. away this season, which is obviously bad news on the road visiting the UC Davis Aggies. While Northridge is 8-2 at home, it is just 1-10 on the road with the win coming vs. little Texas A&M Corpus Christi out of the Southland Conference. The Matadors are ranked 228th in the country in two-point shooting at 47.3 percent, and although they shoot the three-ball well at home, they are at only 30.1 percent from beyond the arc on the road. Combine that with ranking 226th in offensive turnover percentage and Northridge has a tough time scoring away from home. UC Davis is just 7-15 overall but the Aggies do lead the Big West in effective field goal percentage during conference play at 54.8 percent. CS Northridge is 8-21 ATS in its last 29 games vs. teams with losing straight up records.

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Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

Temple/ SMU Under 146.5: Very high OU line for an SMU game, especially at home, where they play great defense and slow the game down. Their home games have averaged just 135.8 ppg and that's thanks mostly to a defense that allows just 57.6 ppg on 33.7% shooting on their home floor. Temple has averaged 72.8 ppg on the road overall, but just 66.5 ppg in their 4 conference road games thus far. The Owls have been horrible on defense of late, allowing 83.2 ppg in their last 5 games, but SMU is not an uptempo offense that will really take advantage of that. They do average 78.2 ppg at home, but its more because of their 53% shooting than them playing an uptempo game. Even if they hit 78 points here I just can't see Temple scoring more than the low 60's off of this defense. I expect this one to be played in the upper 130's at best.

St Mary's -5 over LOLOYA-CAL: The Gaels have owned this series of late, with the last 3 by double digits, while also winning 9 of the last 10 in the series, with all wins coming by at least 7 points. The Gaels come in off B road losses to BYU and San Diego, so you can expect a focused effort from them in this one. Prior to the two game slide they did beat LMU at home by 28 points. LMU comes in having played 3 in a row and 7 of their last 9 games on the road so this may be a tired bunch here. They also having been winning over that stretch, having won just 1 of the 9 games, while losing both games played at home by double digits. St Mary's is the much better team here and they need this one more after losing two in a row. I look for them to win this one by double digits.

Penn State/ Michigan State Under 141: Earlier this year these team but 142 points n the board, but that won't happen in this one. Penn State has struggled to score on the road i Big 10 play, putting up just 62.3 ppg (Regulation) in their 4 conference road games this year. That number may not get much better at Michigan State, where the Spartans have allowed just 64.1 ppg on 37.3% shooting this year. The Spartans have averaged 80+ ppg at home, but the Lions have played decent defense away from home, allowing just 73 ppg,while in their last 5 games overall they have allowed just 67.4 ppg on 40.2% shooting. The should be able to slow down an MSU offense that has averaged just 66.5 ppg (Regulation) in their their last 4 games. MSU's 9 conference games (Reg Only) have averaged just 130.7 ppg, while PSU's 4 Big 10 road games have averaged just 134 ppg. This one should finish in the low 130's at best as we have inconsistent offenses going up against two defenses that are playing well right now, in what should be a slow paced game.

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Harry Bondi

GEORGIA (+2.5) over LSU

Great call on Colorado State last night and we look to follow that up tonight win another FREE WINNER on Georgia. LSU has played well at home but has struggled on the road. Likewise, Georgia has been lousy on the road but they've been tough at home with wins over Alabama and Arkansas in SEC play. The Bulldogs don't possess a lot of offensive firepower but neither does LSU. Georgia is tough defensively, particularly down low where LSU likes to work offensively. Home team has won and covered four of the last five match-ups between these two and the home court makes the difference again tonight, take the Bulldogs over the Tigers.

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OC Dooley

Utah -9.5

The key to this pick surrounds the head coach of Utah who I have found out has CHALLENGED his players to have a monster second-half of the league schedule and they are determined to come through.  For those who have followed Utah they were one of the nation’s big surprises during non-league play in November and December, but have since fallen off in conference action with a below .500 mark.  Utah has struggled on the road going 0-11 in the most recent eleven chances, but they are back at HOME this evening where they have gone a whopping 14-1 long term with all but two of the triumphs coming by the double-digit variety.  In Pac-12 league action in the opening half of the schedule HOME teams overall (37-17) have held the upper hand and tonight marks the first time Utah has had a chance to play in front of their own fans in a full TWO WEEK stretch.  They will be facing Washington who is 0-3 both SU/ATS in the most recent three appearances on the highway.  Washington also is coming off a deflating loss where they coughed up an EIGHT point advantage against geographic rival Washington State

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