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Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

Jack Jones

Pittsburgh -8

The Pittsburgh Panthers (20-6) will be highly motivated for a victory when they take the court Sunday. They have lost back-to-back heartbreakers coming into this one with a 56-58 home loss to Syracuse, and a 71-75 road loss at North Carolina.

It has been a whopping eight days since the Panthers played last against the Tar Heels, so they have had all kinds of time to work on their mistakes and get better in practice. I look for them to put together their most complete game of the season tonight because of it.

The Florida State Seminoles (15-11) are coming off a crushing home loss to North Carolina (75-81) that they really needed if they wanted to get into the big dance. Now, even if they win out over their final four regular season games, I don't think they'd get in. They may be relegated to having to win the ACC Tournament to get in, and as a result, they might find it hard to be motivated for the remainder of the regular year.

The Seminoles are 1-12 ATS versus very good teams that outscore their opponents by 8-plus points per game after 15-plus games over the last two seasons. FSU is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games overall. The Seminoles are 0-6 ATS in their last six games vs. a team with a winning percentage above 60%. Bet Pittsburgh Sunday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

Alex Smart

Sacramento vs. Denver
Play: Over 209½

Both Denver and Sacramento enter this NBA contest in consistent funks, Both teams have proven to exhibit very lackluster defenses. The Nuggets have allowed 16 of their L/18 opponents to eclipse the 100 point plateau and in an effort to remain competitive need to run and gun . The same holds true for the Kings. who are pourous defensively having allowed 97 or more points in 44 of their 55 games this season. Sacramento also has no choice but to fire on all cyliners offensively to be competitive on most nights. With that said, despite of the lofty total , this number looks beatable with an OVER bet as both sides prepare to bomb away.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

Steve Janus

Wizards/Cavaliers Under 196

The last time these two teams played they combined for 228 points, easily going over the total of 198. Yet oddsmakers have came out and set a total of just 196 for today's matchup, which has to make you like the UNDER. The last time these two teams played in Cleveland they combined for just 189 points. Cleveland is fighting to get back in the playoff race and have held enach of their six opponents under 100 points.

The UNDER is 34-18 in the Wizards last 52 road games where the total is set between 190 and 199.5 points and 26-13 in the Wizards last 39 road games when revenging a home loss to an opponent. The UNDER is also 18-6 in the Cavaliers last 24 home games with a total of 195 to 199.5 and 42-23 in their last 65 home games following a SU loss.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

Ken Thomson

UConn -6.5

This is a Major Revenge Game for UConn and the Huskies should be ready to avenge flat effort at Moody Coliseum in January.  Napier, Boatright and Daniels should help Huskies roll at home!  They lost to Houston on that Texas trip and whipped the Cougars by 37 in Storrs, CT in the rematch this month.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

David Glisan

Utah -4.5

Larry Krystkowiak isn't getting the love he deserves for the turnaround he's engineered at the University of Utah.  The Utes struggled to find their way after longtime coach Rick Majeurus left but the former NBA journeyman was the perfect hire. Krystkowiak carved out a nice career for himself by little more than sheer force of will, working hard and doing 'the little things' every night.  His Utah teams have done well to assimilate his style.  They don't 'out talent' most of their PAC 12 foes but just outwork them.  For that reason we expect a strong bounce back effort by Utah here.  Utes coming off  a loss to #4 ranked Arizona  last time out in a game where they played well (took the Wildcats to overtime before losing).  The Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City has been a miserable place for visiting teams to play--they've lost only twice at home this season (Oregon beat them by 2 in addition to Arizona's OT win) and are a torrid 10-3 ATS on their home floor.  Sun Devils are 2-5 SU/ATS as an underdog this season and have covered only 3 of their last 10 games.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

SPORTS WAGERS

Orlando +11 over TORONTO

Indeed the Raptors are playing outstanding basketball with four wins in their past five games. As it stands right now, the Raps are a #3 seed in the East and they’re deserving of it. The Raps are an exciting young team that is loaded with shooters and if one guy goes cold, they have six others that could go off. That said, this is a number that is way out of the Raps comfort zone and it’s probably the biggest number the Raps have been asked to spot in over five years. Toronto is just not dominating enough yet to be this big a choice over a Magic team that is quietly playing much better of late.

The Magic are likely going to be without Aaron Afflalo here and Glen Davis’s contract was bought out, leaving the Magic a little shorthanded. However, that info is not privileged and what it does is forces the oddsmakers to inflate a number because of the public’s overreaction to injuries. Orlando is coming off an OT win over the Knicks and they have not lost by this margin in six straight games. That includes a 1-point loss to OKC, a five-point loss to Memphis and a one-point loss to Indiana. The Magic lost to Toronto by 15 points in the only other meeting this season and that game was also in Toronto. Expect the Magic to show a lot more resistance here. This team is not as bad as advertised. They are loaded with young talent and that talent is now getting the opportunity to play big minutes. They are responding well and will likely continue to respond well the rest of the way. This is too many points for the Raps to spot anyone not named Milwaukee.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

SPORTS WAGERS

Southern Methodist +6½ over UCONN

UConn has been a major moneymaker for its supporters in recent weeks, riding a 7-1 ATS hot streak into this one. However, the Huskies have been beating up on the weak in the American conference with a huge disparity between the top and bottom five teams. Six of UConn's seven straight-up wins during that span came against one of those bottom-five teams. UConn’s one straight up loss (albeit in spread-covering fashion) came at Cincinnati in a step-up-in-class game. The Huskies only loss against the number over that same stretch came against another step up in class game when they hosted Memphis last week. As a 6½-point choice, UConn needed OT to defeat the Tigers by five points. Now the Huskies are that same 6½-point price against one of the top five teams in the AAC and they have not proved to be worthy of spotting significant points against such clubs. UConn is ranked #21 in the country, meaning you are playing a premium to wager on them here against an unranked guest.

Back on SMU’s home court on January 4, the Huskies lost to this team by nine. The Mustangs and Huskies have identical 10-4 marks in the conference and identical 21-6 overall records. The Mustangs deserve more credit. They have a 21-point win over #7 Cincinnati, a 15-point win over #22 Memphis and of course the aforementioned nine-point win over UConn. SMU made it into the national rankings after that blowout win over the Bearcats but fell back out after a loss to Temple. The Mustangs out-rebounded the Huskies in the first matchup by 10 boards and they also missed nine of their 26 free throws otherwise the margin of victory would have been higher. The Mustangs are a bubble team right now and a win here makes it very tough for the selection committee to ignore all of their strong wins over ranked teams. SMU is too determined and too difficult to defeat to ignore taking back points like this.


Purdue +5½ over NEBRASKA

We played against the Cornhuskers this past Thursday when they were a 4½-point home favorite against Penn State. Nebraska went out and buried the Nittany Lions in dominating fashion, leading by as many as 27 points before taking their foot off the pedal and winning by 13. That was a flattering final score for Penn State. Nebraska was a popular choice that night and they will likely get as much support, if not more, here. The oddsmakers are not fools and this is classic case of them dangling the proverbial carrot in front of one’s nose. The Huskers are hot, their stock is soaring, they’re coming off an easy cover as a popular choice and they have appeal at home with a 12-1 record, spotting just six points to the inconsistent and erratic Boilermakers.

Purdue has dropped six of eight. Their last road win came way back in mid-January when they defeated Illinois. The Boilermakers have just two road wins in seven tries this season. Unless they win the Big-10 tournament, Purdue is not going to the dance and it would appear as though they are playing out the string. These Boilermakers are not an easy team to pull the trigger on today but something about this number has a foul taste to it. These are exactly the type of games that look too easy but fail to come through, especially right after a similar game for the favorite that DID come through. Line says Nebraska is likely to struggle today and that prompts us to step in and sell high.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

Bryan Power

Orlando vs. Toronto
Pick: Over

This seems like a really low total considering the Magic come in allowing 101 PPG.  They are coming off a 129-121 double overtime win over the Knicks. While 10 extra minutes of basketball played a large role in the high score, note that the 106-106 score at the end of regulation resulted in an Over anyway....

In fact, the Knicks and Magic were Over the total w/ almost four minutes still remaining in regulation.  Orlando's chances of following things up w/ another win are slim here considering they have lost 14 in a row away from home.  Their last road win was over two months ago.  Playing without point guard Aaron Afflalo would hurt them offensively, but they'll make up for any loss of production on the defensive end.  They allow 102.4 PPG on the road. It's also unlikely they will shoot as poorly as they did the last time they faced Toronto (33.3 percent).

Toronto just missed out on covering (by a point) Friday night vs. Cleveland.  Defensively, they limited the Cavs to 39 percent and it was the 10th time in the last 13 home games they held an opponent under 95 points.  But with this low total and a likely offensive explosion, I think that even with another strong defensive effort, this one should go Over.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

Harry Bondi

WESTERN MICHIGAN (-3) over Eastern Michigan

Big revenge spot for the Broncos, who played one of their worst games of the season earlier this year in a 56-37 loss at EMU. In that game Western Michigan scored just 14 points in the first half and overall shot just 28% from the field and 50% from the free throw line. You can expect a much better and more focused effort today from Western Michigan, which is 11-4 ATS in its last 15 games when trying to avenge a road loss to the same opponent. Western has won 15 out the last 17 meetings between the two schools on this floor while Eastern Michigan has won just nine of its last 40 games away from home. Lay the short number.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

EZWINNERS

Michigan St +1 1st Half

Michigan upset Michigan State on the road in the first meeting between these two teams and the Spartans will be looking for revenge today. In the first meeting Michigan shot the lights out from downtown as Stauskas was 5 for 6, Levert was 3 for 5 and Walton Jr. was 2 for 2 from three point land. I don't expect that to happen a second time around as I expect Izzo to make taking away the three point looks a priority. Also in the first matchup Michigan State was without Adreian Payne who is a matchup nightmare for the undersized Michigan frontcourt. I like the Spartans to get off to a good start, play on Michigan State in the first half.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

Primetime Insiders

Northern Illinois +1.5

Northern Illinois's offensive is nothing special ranking near last MAC however the Cenral Michigan defensive is dead last in the MAC.  Northern Illinois ranks first in the conference in offensive rebounding get a offensive rebound on 37% of their possessions.  This is going to be an issue against Central Michigan who is on the smaller side and a team who struggles to defend the glass.  Northern Illinois scores the majority of their points from the line and Central Michigan is prone to making stupid fouls.

The Central Michigan offensive runs through Folwer and it is pretty effective ranking in the top 3 in the conference however this is the strength of the Northern Illinois team as well.  Northern Illinois does an excellent job at limiting second chance points and defending without fouling.

Northern Illinois is a much deeper more experienced team and if they can shut down Fowler should have no problem coming away with a win today.


Eastern Michigan +3.5

This game is going to all come down to defensive as we have the best defensive in the conference in Eastern Michigan going up against the 5th best defensive in Western Michigan.  Even though Western Michigan owns a better conference record Eastern Michigan is the better team in my estimation.  Eastern Michigan plays shut down defensive limiting opponents to less than 40% from the field and turning teams over at a very high rate.  Eastern Michigan's defensive should do enough to keep them in this contest and have it come down to the last possession.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

Sam Martin

SMU at Connecticut
Play: Connecticut

SMU has been fantastic at home this season - especially in conference play - but they won't have their home court advantage this afternoon when they take on a revenging UConn team. SMU beat the Huskies by nine points back in early January, but now they are the road team and with a 7-6 road mark (14-0 at home) including a very bad loss at Temple in their most recent road game, we like UConn to get their revenge in a big win and cover today.

Two factors kept this from being one of our signature releases - Connecticut shot just 37% in the first meeting which was one of their worst shooting efforts of the season, and secondly this line is just a bit out of our comfort zone in terms of covering the spread at the free throw line late. UConn should be much better at home where they are 12-2 SU and scoring 78 ppg, and we do feel there is still good value backing the Huskies at this price.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

Michael Alexander

Washington Wizards vs. Cleveland Cavaliers    
Play: Washington Wizards -1

Washington has put together two wins in a row following a loss in Toronto to kick off the second half, thanks to a last-second dunk from Nene in Saturday's home win over New Orleans. Following consecutive wins over Western Conference powerhouses Oklahoma City and Portland to open their February schedule, the Wizards had dropped five of six before taking down the Hawks in Atlanta on Wednesday. Washington is in good position for an Eastern Conference playoff berth, entering play within 2 1/2 games of fourth-place Chicago.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

Steve Rosen

Houston Rockets vs. Phoenix Suns    
Play: Phoenix Suns +1

The Phoenix Suns are in the process of proving themselves as a contender in the Western Conference and have won three straight. The Suns knocked off the San Antonio Spurs on Friday and will look for some revenge when they host the Houston Rockets on Sunday. The Rockets posted a 122-108 home victory over the Suns on Feb. 5.James Harden is in pain after suffering a hyperextended right elbow when he collided with teammate Jeremy Lin last game. This will effect his game, without question.Phoenix has taken five of the last eight in the series, including three straight at home.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

Joe Gavazzi

Arizona State vs. Utah    
Play: Utah -5

Despite their 9 point loss at Colorado, AZ State has no problems with bubble trouble with a 30ish RPI. They are, however, 1-4 ATS as road dog in PAC 12 play. The big names of PG Carson, scorer Marshall, and Bachynski on the interior get far more ink than their Utah counterparts. Yet, under Utah Coach K, the Utes are in an ideal spot today. Full motivation will occur as the Utes lack of preseason competition and 6-8 SU PAC12 log, require multiple marquee wins for bubble consideration. It could well start today as the motivation of 79-75 revenge finds coach K in a role where he is 18-4 ATS as revenger and his Utes, playing on a home court where they are 16-2 SU. 11-1 ATS.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

AC Dinero

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Play: Oklahoma City Thunder -5

We'll back OKC as they were embarrased at home by Miami on Friday night, losing by 22. They have the better offense, defense, and rebounding. These 2 could very well meet up in the post season, but the Clippers are in a tough spot here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

Mr. Masterline

Washington State vs. Oregon
Play: Oregon -14

The Ducks just beat this team by 27(as 6.5 favs) on the road late last month. Today shouldn't be much different. Washington State has only won 2 of their last 14 straight up, many of which have been blowouts. I expect that again today. The key in the game will be rebounding, where the Ducks outdid them by 17 last month. Take this one to the bank on me, and see my deals for today!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

Wunderdog

Purdue at Nebraska
Pick:Nebraska -5.5

Purdue had its big showdown test the last game, a home date with No. 13 Michigan State to try and end a 2-5 skid. They flopped, losing 94-79. Purdue is now 2-6 ATS their last eight games, struggling at both ends of the court. They are no bounce back team, with the Boilermakers 0-3-1 ATS after allowing more than 90 points in their previous game. Purdue is second to last in the Big 10 in scoring defense, ninth in field goal shooting and field goal defense, plus dead last in free throws (65%). Stick a fork in 'em, especially on the road. Nebraska, on the other hand, is showing plenty of life, winning seven of the last nine. This defense is third in the Big 110 in points allowed (65.3 points per game) and on a 10-1 ATS run. The Cornhuskers are 19-7-1 ATS in their last 27 home games, 18-7-1 ATS versus the Big Ten, so grab the motivated home court. Play Nebraska.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

Cajun Sports

Washington vs. Cleveland 
Play: Washington +1

This series has been dominated by the road underdog with three straight victories and we look for that trend to continue on Sunday. Washington has also been money on the highway this season posting a 19-8 against the spread mark. They are 57-35 ATS when installed as an underdog. Washington is 24-8 ATS revenging a home loss and 11-2 ATS revenging a loss in which their opponent scored at least 110 points. We want to Play ON NBA teams in this price range revenging a home loss, playing three or fewer games over the last ten days. This system is 50-20 ATS including 5-1 ATS this season. We will back Washington here

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday, February 23

Jeff Scott

3 UNIT PLAYS

UConn/ SMU Under 134: These two teams are pretty efficient on the offensive end but neither team plays up and down the court basketball. They won't be able to in this game either as both defenses get back very well. The SMU Defense is ranked 2nd in the nation in defensive FG% (37.1%), while UConn comes in at 12th in that category (38.9%). SMU has allowed just 6.1 ppg verall, including 61.4 ppg in their last 5 games and 67.1 ppg on the road. For Uconn they have allowed just 63.7 ppg overall, including 58.8 ppg in their last 5 games and 60.7 ppg at home. This is a huge game for both teams and I expect tightness and conservative play especially early and down the stretch. I look for this game in the 120's.

Northern Illinois/ Central Michigan Over 129.5:  A Little while back Steve Fezzik did a video on Basketball Specialization, meaning ta a certain aspect and make it your specialty. Well for the most part I have done that and have become a olid Under player, but every once in a while I need to step out and make a top play an Over play. This is a great spot to do that. NIU is not a great scoring team as they have one of the weaker offenses in the MAC, but this Central Michigan defense is just horrible as they have allowed 76.8 ppg overall, including 77.3 ppg in their last 9 games during regulation and 76.1 ppg at home. Let's also note that NIU scored 88 points on this defense just 11 days ago. Central Michigan is no slouch on offense as they have averaged 74.8 ppg at home and 70.3 ppg (Regulation) in their last 9 games. The NIU defense has been playing well of late allowing just 59.8 ppg in their last 5 games, but they have allowed 64.6 ppg n the road and I see Central Michigan getting a few more than that here. Neither team has anything to play for so both teams will just go all out and play and I see both teams hitting at least 65 points in this one.

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