Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, February 24

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, February 24

SPORTS WAGERS

MARYLAND +4 over Syracuse

The Orangemen are still the #1 ranked team in the country and they’ve proven over and over that they’re tough as shoe leather but their sum is still better than their parts. Syracuse’s run is over and a bit of a breather is now in order after a series of intense games that ended with a loss to Duke on Saturday. We count seven games in its last eight in which the Orange were pushed to the limit. After this game, Syracuse has a five day break before they host Virginia on Saturday. The Orangemen had an amazing run with a slew of close games but over the course of a season it’s near impossible to maintain that intensity. After back-to-back losses and with just four games remaining until the ACC tournament gets underway, this appears to be the most vulnerable conference spot of the season for the Orange.

We’re not 100% sure if Maryland is playing for their tournament lives here but we can assure you that a loss here and they have no chance of getting an at-large bid. Things could have been very different for the Terps this season, as they were so close on a few occasions. Maryland lost to UConn by one-point to open the season. They lost by four points to Pitt on January 25 and nine days ago they lost at Duke by just two points. Had they been able to win two of those three close games, they would absolutely be in a position to get into the NCAA tournament. Still, if the Terps win here, win at Clemson next Sunday and close the season with a home win over Virginia, they at least have to be considered. What we like is that Maryland bounced back after that deflating loss to Duke by defeating Wake to set up this one. They’ve had six days to prepare for this huge game while the Orange have played two very tough games this past week. Maryland could not have asked for a better setup and this small line suggests they’ll respond.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, February 24

Wunderdog

Oklahoma at Kansas
Pick: Under 155

The Oklahoma Sooners like to get out and run the floor, but they would be making a mistake to come to Kansas and try to run with the Jayhawks, as they learned in a 90-83 home loss earlier in the season. It is easy to see that when Kansas has been held back from getting the tempo going, they struggle, as their five losses that did not involve overtime saw them average 63.6 points per game. And they scored more than that average in every single one of their wins. Oklahoma has had success controlling tempo on the road, as they are 5-1 to the UNDER in their last six on the highway, and will be ready to bring the defense here, or the game will be lights out early. Make the play on the UNDER.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, February 24

Joe Duffy

Syracuse vs. Maryland    
Play: Maryland +4½

Our power ratings have this as a two-point game. Syracuse is in a serious bubble burst. They were all but a lock for a No. 1 seed and close to a historic undefeated season. They have now lost two straight and must rebound quickly from their controversial loss at Duke with yet another difficult road task.

On the other hand, Maryland can be fully focused on this one. They have not played in six days when they had the perfect tune-up game at home to a weak Wake Forest squad.

Going from the old Big East to the ACC was not a huge upgrade. In fact the Big East transfer upgraded the conference for everyone. But newbie Syracuse had the early motivational upper hand where they had to prove themselves and most ACC games became a one-way rivalry briefly. But those days are gone.

Keep in mind that the last two Syracuse wins were last second shots by a combined three points. In their last six games, their two biggest margins of victory were both at home to Notre Dame by just six and to Clemson.

After breezing through 23 straight win, two narrow victories and two losses is certainly trending down.

Joe Duffy’s Picks is on Maryland as the home underdog.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, February 24

Dave Price

Citadel +4.5

The Citadel is 0-14 in conference play, and no team wants to get skunked. I expect Citadel to go after this game with all it has to remove the doughnut. Citadel had won five straight against Samford before getting swept last season so revenge will also be a motivator. Samford has experienced major struggles on the road where it is 2-14 this season. Samford has also been overvalued against poor teams like The Citadel, going just 1-6 ATS in its last seven games versus squads with a winning percentage below .400. Samford shoots the ball well from the field at 47.4 percent. However, Citadel is 6-0 ATS the last two seasons versus teams that make 45.0 percent of their shots or more. Take the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, February 24

Jeff Alexander

Syracuse -4

Syracuse is coming off a tough, controversial loss at Duke, but it has no time to feel sorry for itself. The Orange still have plenty to play for, an ACC title and a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance, so they can't afford anymore slip-ups, especially against inferior competition. Playing two road games in a three-day span is a tough situation, but Syracuse is 29-18 ATS lifetime under Boeheim when playing two road games in three days. The Orange are also 52-34 ATS under Boeheim as a road favorite or pickem. Maryland is 10-3 at home this season, but it is 1-4 ATS in its last five home games versus a team with a road winning percentage greater than .600. The Orange are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four road games versus a team with a home winning percentage greater than .600. Bet Syracuse.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, February 24

Steve Janus

Dallas Mavericks -2.5

The Mavericks fell at home to the Miami Heat 73-81 in their first game back from the All-Star break, but rebounded nicely with back-to-back wins over the Philadelphia 76ers (124-112) and Detroit Pistons (113-102). Dallas will certainly be looking to keep their strong play going, as they are currently tied with the Phoenix Suns for the 7th and 8th spots in the Western Conference playoff race. Both teams are just two games ahead of the 9th place Memphis Grizzlies.

Overall Dallas has won 9 of their last 12 games and a big reason for that has been their surging offense. The Mavericks come in averaging 107.5 ppg during this stretch, thanks in large part to the play of All-star forward Dirk Nowitzki. Over the last 12 games, Nowitzki is averaging 24.5 ppg on an impressive 57% shooting from the field and 49% from behind the 3-point line. Nowitzki and the Mavericks should have their way with a Knicks defense that has not been playing well at all of late. New York comes in allowing 106.2 ppg over their last 5 games. Road favorites (DALLAS) - good offensive team - scoring 99+ points/game on the season, after scoring 105 points or more 3 straight games are 174-111 (62%) ATS since 1996.

Not only do you have to like Dallas in a decent revenge spot, but the schedule definitely favors the Mavericks. While Dallas will be playing their third straight road game in a span of just four days, this will be the Knicks' 5th game in 7 days. Home teams who have lost at least 5 of their last 7, playing their 5th game in 7 days are just 90-155 (36.7%) ATS since 1996.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, February 24

Joe Gavazzi

Oklahoma St. -13.5

The hard-trying, well coached Horned Frogs have taken the donut in the toughest conference in America with a 0-14 SU mark. Now, they have suffered the FCB (FINAL CRUSHING BLOW) with the loss of Fields, their double-digit scorer. This is the 5th player lost this season. Daniel Meyer Coliseum is among the weakest venues in America, where in the last 15+ years the Frogs have posted a record of 78-117 ATS (40%), including 6-14 ATS (40%) L2Y under current HC Johnson. With the return of best boy Smart, Oklahoma St. flashed a buy sign with an 84-62 romp over a decent TTRR team. At 5-9 SU in league play, there can be no compassion for the TCU injury situation. The 82-50 first meeting romp by the Cowboys could be well duplicated here tonight.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, February 24

AC Dinero

Elon vs. Furman
Play: Furman +7

Slim pickings this evening. Elon comes in winners of 7 in a row. Furman may only be 9-18, but they have 2 of their last 3. Both teams have played really good defense over the past 5 games. We'll back the home team in the hopes the defense keeps playing hard and keeps it close

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, February 24

River City Sharps

Oklahoma +11.5

Pretty good matchup in the Big 12 tonight as Oklahoma travels to Lawrence to take on the Kansas Jayhawks. Kansas is fresh off a complete throttling of Texas on Saturday when the Jayhawks won 85-54. This is the second meeting of the season between these two. The first game on January 8th was a 7-point victory for Kansas on the road. Much has changed for both of these teams as the season has rolled on and truthfully, most for the better. There are lots of interesting trends in this game and most of the ones we take stock in push us towards the road doggie. We also like the fact that Kansas rolled on Saturday over a good Texas team and played one of their best offensive games of the season. Most teams struggle to back those up with another great offensive effort and Oklahoma is a team that can get up and down the court. Oklahoma is averaging almost 83 ppg and they are getting 11.5 tonight against a Kansas team in a bounce spot. The clear value to the Sharps is with the road doggie catching way too many points. Lon Kruger has his team ready to punch and counterpunch tonight and the Sooners stay within the number.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, February 24

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

Syracuse/ Maryland Under 131.5: Until the Cuse show they can score I feel there will always be value on the Under, especially if an OU line is in the 130's. The Cuse just don't play games that high scoring, especially of late as their last 6 games have averaged just 114.3 ppg. Now let's also note that 13 of Syracuse's 14 ACC games have scored 128 points or less, with the only game posting more being the crazy OT game vs Duke in their first meeting. The Orange just simply don't play games in the 130's. Their offense is week and they also play at a very slow pace, while their defense is very good and that zone defense they play really slows the game down as well. Maryland comes in having played some good defense of late, allowing just 63.3 ppg in their last 3 games and should have little problems keep the Orange offense under wraps in this one. The Maryland offense averages 76.5 ppg at home, but have put up 67.4 ppg in their last 5 games overall. Against this defense they won't hit either number. The Cuse will play angry in this game and I think it will show more on the defensive end of the floor. Their offense can't score so they need that defense even more. their will be another game for the Orange that won't hit 130 points.

2 UNIT PLAY

Oklahoma State/ TCU Under 139: The Horned Frogs play at a slow pace and they did just that at home over the weekend vs Iowa State and were in the game till the final few minutes. That game only put up 131 points and this was vs an IIowa State team that is used to playing games in the 140s or 150s. TCU will look to slow the pace here as it gives them their best shot at pulling an upset. TCU just doesn't have the offense to score with these teams so the have to slow the pace. They have scored just 61 ppg in their last 5 games and have scored more than 65 points just once in their last 7 games, plus they have averaged just 58 ppg in their Big 12 home games this year. Oklahoma State can score, but they will have limited possessions in this game and TCU has allowed just 69.4 ppg at home. Very hard to see more than 135 points in this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, February 24

Bruce Marshall

Syracuse at Maryland
Play: Maryland +5

Tough scheduling stretch for Syracuse, which has been forced to expend profuse energy in almost every game over the past few weeks and is now not only playing its third game in five days, but also is off the intense Duke battle on Saturday. Given the numerous close calls Orange have endured of late, no reason to expect much different tonight in College Park against a Maryland side that has appeared energized in recent games, including a close call at Virginia, a near-miss at Duke, and a comfortable home win over Wake Forest. Explosive Terp wing Dez Wells (15 ppg) has been getting lots of scoring help lately, with G Nick Faust recording career-high 20 points in the recent win over Demon Deacons, while F Jake Layman tallied 18 in a 2-point loss vs. Coach K on Feb. 15. If the 'Cuse could lose vs. lowly Boston College, it can lose at the Comcast Center. Play Maryland

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, February 24

Tony George

Oklahoma +11.5

It came easy for Kansas on Saturday Night in a big emotional game, and with a young team to bounce back 2 days later against a good team and lay double digits is always tough.  Lon Kruger a vastly better coach than the pathetic Rick Barnes of Texas and OU not given enough credit beating up on Okie State and Kansas St in their last 2 wins.  OU lost by 7 at home against Kansas when the Rock Chalk hit 54% from the floor and 50% from free point range and made 80% of their free throws.  Does not get much better than that and in their last 5 games, Kansas has only hit 27% from beyond the arc.  KU wins but I will take the points here.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, February 24

Primetime Insiders

Eastern Washington -6.5

We are going to back Eastern Washington tonight at home against Portland State. Eastern Washington has won 3 in a row and returns home where they are 9-2 at home this season.  Portland St is coming off a win against putrid Southern Utah before that win they had lost 4 straight. Eastern Washington defense on conference play has been stellar limiting opponents to the 2nd lowest shooting percentage in the conference. They also do an excellent job of limiting second chance points.  Portland State shoots a lot of threes and Eastern Washington is second in the conference against shots from outside. On the offensive end Eastern Washington has been middle of the road but does an excellent job at not turning the ball over which is going to be crucial against a turnover hungry Portland State squad.  Eastern Washington shoots a lot of 3s as well but Portland State is bad on the defensive end allowing teams to shoot over 55% from the field. Eastern Washington loves to push the pace with Tyler Harvey and should be able to create many open looks against the porous Portland State defense.

Elon -6.5

Elon is taking on Furman in Southern Conference action on Monday night. Elon is sitting at second in conference while Furman is second to last in conference. Elon is taking the floor as the second best offensive in the conference behind the play Lucas Troutman who is a force at 6-10.  Elon does an excellent job on the offensive glass with a rebound on 33% of their possessions. This should continue against the smallish Furman defensive who ranks 8th in conference at defensive rebounding and 9th defensive overall. Elon shots the 3 a lot having 3s account for 31% of their points.  They should have no problem getting open looks against Furman who allows teams to shoot 38% from downtown. Furman offensive revolves around Croone however the rest of the squad leaves much to be desired. Furman owns the worst offensive in the conference and should struggle to score against Elon who ranks in the upper half.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, February 24

Rob Veno

Samford at The Citadel
Play: Samford -4.5

The Citadel has been ridiculously bad this season and is currently in the midst of a 10-game span where they have not come within five points of their opponents. Overall, the average loss during this stretch has been 14.8 ppg with eight being by nine or more. While Citadel is locked into the #11 spot in the upcoming Southern Conference Tournament, Samford has an opportunity to gain the #6 spot with a strong close to the regular season. Samford owns the tiebreaker against NC-Greensboro by virtue of their 88-78 win back on Jan 23. The #6 seed becomes important because it faces the league’s worst team (#11 seed) in the first round which will be this Citadel team.

The likely #10 seed is Furman which Samford struggled with twice this year so earning the #6 figures to make a difference for them. The nine days off for Samford heading into this contest could benefit them as well in the form of fresh legs at a time of year (just 3-4 games left) where teams are somewhat fatigued. Fundamentally, each of these teams is smallish and has defensive troubles but the gaping difference between them is offensive efficiency where quicker paced Samford holds the edge. Citadel’s youth (8 of 11 players are underclassmen and no seniors on team) is a major explanation for their subpar offense and porous defense which allows 47.7% from the field. Expect Samford’s three-point shooting along with standings motivation and extensive rest to all be positive factors en route to victory.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, February 24

OC Dooley

Knicks +3

Reeling New York is in the midst of a 2-8 SU/3-7 ATS skid even though All Star Carmelo Anthony is averaging a whopping 31 points per game in that stretch.  To make a long story short Anthony whose teams have never missed out on a playoff berth in his solid decade in the league is starting to voice public frustration as his teammates are not stepping up to the plate so to speak.  The Knicks hit an absolute low last time on the floor losing 107-98 on the road against an Atlanta contingent who had lost their prior eight outings.  Despite all of their problems New York has done well against tonight’s opponent and even won on the road at Dallas in the most recent clash, while also taking the last pair of clashes inside Madison Square Garden.  Admittedly Dallas enters tonight’s game on a 9-3 run and has won the both ends of their current three-game road trip even though the competition (versus Philadelphia and Detroit) was much worse as opposed to what they will be facing tonight

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, February 24

EZWINNERS

Golden State -1 1st Half

Golden State is playing very well right now with the Pistons have some serious issues. Detroit is one of the worst defensive teams in the league, epically when it comes to defending the oppositions guards and I think that will be a huge problem against Steph Curry and company in this game. Detroit has the advantage in the paint, but I don't think they will slow down the offensive output of Golden State back court. The Warriors might still be a little thin in the front court, but veteran Jermaine O'Neil is playing at a very high level right now and should once again hold his own in this matchup. The Warriors have won five straight and six out of the last seven meetings between these two teams and I look for Golden State to get off to a good start in this game. Lay the points in the first half.

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