Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, March 3

Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, March 3

DUNKEL INDEX

NBA

New York at Detroit
The Knicks head to Detroit tonight following yesterday 109-90 loss to Chicago and carrying an 0-7 ATS record in their last 7 games following a SU loss by more than 10 points. Detroit is the pick (-5) according to Dunkel, which has the Pistons favored by 8. Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-5)

Game 701-702: Memphis at Washington (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Memphis 123.588; Washington 119.120
Dunkel Line & Total: Memphis by 4 1/2; 198
Vegas Line & Total: Memphis by 2; 190
Dunkel Pick: Memphis (-2); Over

Game 703-704: Chicago at Brooklyn (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Chicago 125.415; Brooklyn 121.992
Dunkel Line & Total: Chicago by 3 1/2; 182
Vegas Line & Total: Brooklyn by 3 1/2; 186 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Chicago (+3 1/2); Under

Game 705-706: New York at Detroit (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: New York 110.525; Detroit 118.761
Dunkel Line & Total: Detroit by 8; 200
Vegas Line & Total: Detroit by 5; 205 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-5); Under

Game 707-708: Charlotte at Miami (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Charlotte 121.605; Miami 127.126
Dunkel Line & Total: Miami by 5 1/2; 192
Vegas Line & Total: Miami by 12; 196 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Charlotte (+12); Under

Game 709-710: Utah at Milwaukee (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Utah 111.535; Milwaukee 114.934
Dunkel Line & Total: Milwaukee by 3 1/2; 189
Vegas Line & Total: Milwaukee by 1 1/2; 194 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Milwaukee (-1 1/2); Under

Game 711-712: Minnesota at Denver (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 122.420; Denver 111.193
Dunkel Line & Total: Minnesota by 11; 217
Vegas Line & Total: Minnesota by 5 1/2; 212 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (-5 1/2); Over

Game 713-714: LA Lakers at Portland (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Lakers 111.711; Portland 120.727
Dunkel Line & Total: Portland by 9; 226
Vegas Line & Total: Portland by 12 1/2; 220
Dunkel Pick: LA Lakers (+12 1/2); Over

Game 715-716: New Orleans at Sacramento (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: New Orleans 110.463; Sacramento 121.217
Dunkel Line & Total: Sacramento by 11; 209
Vegas Line & Total: Sacramento by 4; 204 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Sacramento (-4); Over

NHL

Columbus at Toronto
The Blue Jackets head to Toronto tonight following a 6-3 win over Florida and carrying a 6-1 record in their last 7 games after scoring 5 goals or more in the previous game. Columbus is the pick (-105) according to Dunkel, which has the Blue Jackets favored by 1. Dunkel Pick: Columbus (-105)

Game 51-52: Columbus at Toronto (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Columbus 12.040; Toronto 11.123
Dunkel Line & Total: Columbus by 1; 6 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: Toronto (-115); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Columbus (-105); Over

Game 53-54: Calgary at Minnesota (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Calgary 11.013; Minnesota 12.544
Dunkel Line & Total: Minnesota by 1 1/2; 4
Vegas Line & Total: Minnesota (-180); 5
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (-180); Under

Game 55-56: Buffalo at Dallas (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Buffalo 11.644; Dallas 10.499
Dunkel Line & Total: Buffalo by 1; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Dallas (-220); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Buffalo (+180); Under

Game 57-58: Montreal at Los Angeles (10:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Montreal 11.511; Los Angeles 13.126
Dunkel Line & Total: Los Angeles by 1 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Los Angeles (-150); 5
Dunkel Pick: Los Angeles (-150); Over

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DUNKEL INDEX

NCAAB

Kansas State at Oklahoma State
The Wildcats face Oklahoma State tonight in Stillwater where they are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games versus the Cowboys. Oklahoma State is the pick (-8 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Cowboys favored by 11. Dunkel Pick: Oklahoma State (-8 1/2)

Game 717-718: Xavier at Seton Hall (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Xavier 67.798; Seton Hall 62.929
Dunkel Line: Xavier by 5; 131
Vegas Line: Xavier by 1 1/2; 137
Dunkel Pick: Xavier (-1 1/2); Under

Game 719-720: Notre Dame at North Carolina (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Notre Dame 59.604; North Carolina 74.487
Dunkel Line: North Carolina by 15; 140
Vegas Line: North Carolina by 11; 144 1/2
Dunkel Pick: North Carolina (-11); Under

Game 721-722: NC State at Pittsburgh (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: NC State 59.114; Pittsburgh 72.110
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 13; 128
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh by 10; 135
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (-10); Under

Game 723-724: Kansas State at Oklahoma State (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Kansas State 64.556; Oklahoma State 75.781
Dunkel Line: Oklahoma State by 11; 142
Vegas Line: Oklahoma State by 8 1/2; 136
Dunkel Pick: Oklahoma State (-8 1/2); Over

Game 725-726: Montana State at Montana (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Montana State 45.542; Montana 52.352
Dunkel Line: Montana by 7
Vegas Line: Montana by 9 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Montana State (+9 1/2)

Game 729-730: Savannah State at North Carolina Central (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Savannah State 43.692; North Carolina Central 64.255
Dunkel Line: North Carolina Central by 20 1/2; 122
Vegas Line: North Carolina Central by 14; 126 1/2
Dunkel Pick: North Carolina Central (-14); Under

Game 731-732: Navy at Colgate (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Navy 43.825; Colgate 58.025
Dunkel Line: Colgate by 14
Vegas Line: Colgate by 11
Dunkel Pick: Colgate (-11)

Game 733-734: Lafayette at Loyola-MD (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Lafayette 50.174; Loyola-MD 48.877
Dunkel Line: Lafayette by 1 1/2
Vegas Line: Lafayette by 3
Dunkel Pick: Loyola-MD (+3)

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Brandon Shively

Charlotte vs. Miami
Play: Under 196

I like for this game to stay Under the Total tonight. This will be Charlotte's 3rd road game in 4 nights and the linesmakers have set this total a bit too high in my opinion. Charlotte has the 4th best defense in the NBA this year holding opponents to 96 ppg. They are actually holding opponents to 92 ppg over their last 5 games, 9 points under the NBA average. We can then look at the Miami Heat and notice they are holding their last 5 opponents to 89 ppg and this game is shaping up nicely to be a defensive game where neither team will be in a hurry to force the pace. The Bobcats are 6-2 UNDER this year when the total is set at 195-199.5. I feel like the Bobcats defense will keep the Heat from scoring 100+ tonight as Charlotte is physical in the paint and will rebound the ball and give all their effort. This is Miami's 4th straight home game before heading out to see Houston on the road Tuesday night then playing @ San Antonio on Thursday night. I feel like the effort will not be there tonight and HC Spoelstra might decide to give Lebron and some others a little breather as well and I will factor this into my decision as well as I see this as a game with a final score in the 98- 89 range (187 points). Historically, the UNDER is 6-2 the last 8 matchups with these two teams. Last year, Charlotte played two games @ Miami where the Total was 198 and 198.5. Both games went UNDER by an average of 8.5 points. When Charlotte played Miami earlier this year on 1/18/14, the total was 192.5 and the score was 90-90 (180 points) before going into overtime. Tonight the total has been raised 3.5 points and I certainly do not feel like it is warranted.


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Rob Vinciletti

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Play: Toronto Maple Leafs -121   

Toronto has this one circled on their calendar after a humiliation loss here 6-0 to Columbus back in November. The Leafs are 9-2 with home loss revenge and have won 14 of 21 at home when the posted total is 5.5. Columbus has lost 32 of 47 long term on the road when the total sits at 5.5. With Toronto having won 4 straight at home off a road game we will look for them to serve up revenge here tonight. Take Toronto.


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Marc LawrenceFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Charlotte Bobcats at Miami HeatFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: Charlotte BobcatsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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After a couple of grueling playoff runs that resulted in championships, the Heat figured out long ago that an early March game against the lowly Bobcats is a good place to coast. That can be frustrating for the Miami fans, who expect the Heat to win by 20 every night, but in the eventual scheme of things, those same fans will have a very short memory, indeed. Miami is 3-9 ATS as home favorites of 9 or more versus sub .500 opponents this season at press time, and with the Bobcats off a probable loss at OKC yesterday, there will be plenty of value here tonight. It seems like this coasting thing against Charlotte is nothing new as the Heat are just 4-9-1 ATS in the Triple-A against the Bobcats. That fact is compounded by a 1-5 ATS mark before playing the Rockets and a 2-10 ATS record at home after playing their Florida rivals from Orlando. Charlotte is quietly flying under the radar in the East, currently holding the 6th seed, though we may need to reevaluate this team in a week as they are currently in the middle of a 4-game stretch against the teams with the best records in the league. Still, we like the fact that the Bobcats are 6-2 ATS with same-season triple revenge versus .333 or greater opposition, and also own a 17-10-1 ATS on the road at press time. Heat fail to ignite, again. We recommend a 1-unit play on Charlotte.

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Sam MartinFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Memphis Grizzlies at Washington WizardsSERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Prediction: Washington WizardsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Both Memphis and Washington are streaking heading into this matchup, with the Grizzlies winning 18 of their last 24 and the Wizards winning six straight. We don't discount Memphis's extended winning run, however in terms of momentum they are starting to slip a bit with a 2-2 mark in their last four games and a 7-5 record in their last 12. That's not bad, but also not what we would consider a "hot streak" as the Wizards are clearly on right now.
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We are very aware of the lack of quality opponents Washington has faced in this winning streak, however, we are not going to look past Washington putting up 115, 134, and 122 points in their last three games either - and against an offensive-challenged Memphis squad (scoring just 93 ppg away from home this season) that offense is very appealing at this line of a virtual pick 'em (line is a pick 'em as of this writing late Sunday night). Confidence does wonders for a young team and with the home team usually able to dictate the game speed we'll back the Wizards to find a way to extend their winning streak tonight!

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Scott SpreitzerFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Chicago Bulls vs. Brooklyn NetsFORFREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Chicago Bulls +3½FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The Nets will want to exact a little revenge for a pair of ugly losses to Chicago earlier this season, but I don't believe they're in position to do so. Brooklyn is off a lengthy road trip and has not been able to figure out the formula for Chicago since Game-7 of their playoff series last spring. The Bulls have been piling up the points of late, but I suspect they'll get back to a defense-first effort in this one, facing a middle-of-the-pack Brooklyn attack. And while the Nets will attempt to get to .500 with a win tonight, the Bulls are playing the better brand of basketball having won four straight and nine of their last 10. The first two meetings were mismatches. Not only did the Bulls win by 16 & 17 points, but they held Brooklyn to 37% shooting, including 29.4% from behind the arc, and they dominated the glass, grabbing 90 rebounds to 66 in the two games, combined. I expect a fourth straight win for the Chicago Bulls as they clamp down on the defensive end. I'm recommending a play on the Bulls plus the points on Monday.

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Nick ParsonsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Grizzlies vs. WizardsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Play: Under 190FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The Grizzlies come into this game having won seven of their last ten, most recently a 110-96 victory over Cleveland on Friday. Zach Randolph would lead the way with 23 points and 14 boards.
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Randolph, along with Mike Conley and big man Marc Gasol anchor one of the league’s best defensive units, Memphis allows just 94.9 PPG this year, the fewest in the West.
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Washington plays with revenge tonight after these three defensive specialists shut it down in a 92-89 loss to the Grizzlies on February 11th.
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The Wizards come into this game in un-chartered territory, they haven’t won seven in a row in over nine years.
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As good as Washington has been on the offesnive end of the floor during its run (an average of 112.5 PPG), this is clearly a team which struggles against aggressive and athletic big men like the Grizzlies have.
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It’s interesting to note that Memphis has seen the total go “under” the number in five of six this year as a road fav of 3 points or less; also in six of nine after a victory by 10 points or more.
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And note that Washington has seen the total dip below the number in all four home games that it’s played this year as a home dog of 3 points or less and in 12 of 23 non-conference contests.
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I think there are many factors that point to the “under” as a possible investment opporunity this evening.

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Jim FeistFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Lakers at TrailblazersFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: OverFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The LA Lakers are on the verge of something they haven't done since 1960. That is compile the worst record in Lakers history since moving to the city of Angels in 1960. The Lakers still need double digit wins to not go down in the history books as the worst LA Laker version. The Lakers have lost seven of their last 10 games and are currently tied for last place (20-39) with the Sacramento Kings in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Portland is trying to hold off the LA Clippers and Houston Rockets for the third spot in the West. Portland currently holds a one-game edge over both opponents while trailing the San Antonio Spurs by 1 1/2 games and Conference leader Oklahoma City by three games. Portland leads the NBA in scoring offense (107.8 ppg) and is also first in rebounds (46.2 rpg). The defense isn't too good though, allowing a 25th ranked 102.9 ppg this season. This is a big reason why I'm taking the OVER here on Monday. Yes we have to fade a large total line (220 as of this writing), but the Lakers at least can score some points, coming off a 126 point performance against the Kings last Friday. The Lakers also give up a lot of points, allowing 108 or more in their last four games and 107 or more in six of the last seven. The top scoring Blazers should have little trouble piling-up the points here against this bad Laker defense. The Blazers have scored less than 100 points just one time in their last 10 games. And when these teams meet? How about three straight overs and a 7-1 Over/Under mark their last eight meetings. These clubs have already clashed once this season in LA and that was a Blazer win and over, 114-108. Can't back the Lakes here, but I will go OVER and enjoy the show as these clubs should be running and gunning all evening long.

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Big Kat SportsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn NetsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Chicago BullsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The Chicago Bulls will look for their fifth straight win when they travel to Brooklyn tonight to take on the Nets at The Barclay's Center. Chicago has been one of the hottest teams in the league, winning 9 of their last 10 and while the Nets have been playing better of late, they will be hard pressed to improve their record to .500 tonight with a win over Chicago. It will be the Nets first home game after a 7 game road trip and playing against teams that have had a long time away from home is something we look to do here at BKS. Despite being at home, these teams are sometimes not as focused as they would normally be due to the fact that they are trying to get back into their normal home-life, taking kids to school, dinner with the wife or girlfriend, etc.
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Most thought that once Derrick Rose went down, it was going to be a lost season once again for the Bulls but they have really played well as a team since his injury. They probably weren't beating the Heat or Pacers with Rose anyway and with him out, some other guys are getting a chance to shine. Jimmy Butler has really stepped up, showing that he can be an effective NBA starter and Joakim Noah has really shown that he can be a leader on this team.
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The Nets, on the other hand, were a mess for the first half of the season. They had a ton of new pieces to fit together, including Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett along with new head coach Jason Kidd, who gets out-coached almost on a nightly basis. Deron Williams has shed his me first attitude a bit, which can probably be attributed to being coached by one of the best PG's in history. Once Williams decided to get the team involved, they started playing better together as a whole. They have gone 19-10 since a Christmas Day loss to these same Bulls and currently sit in the 6th spot in the Eastern Conference which if the season ended today, would have them in a very winnable first round match-up with the Toronto Raptors.
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In addition to winning 9 of their last 10 games, the Bulls have been very good in the spot they are in tonight in the eyes of the gambling world. They are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a SU win and have covered 16 of their last 21 games against teams that have a losing record. The Nets, despite playing better of late have really struggled in the situation they are in here tonight. They are just 2-7 ATS when coming off a game that they covered and have posted a 6-14 ATS record in their last 20 home games following a road trip of 7 days or more. Throw in the fact that the Bulls have covered the number in 7 of their last 9 trips to Brooklyn and we'll take the 3.5 points, looking for a Bulls win and back to back.

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Jesse SchuleFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Memphis Grizzlies at Washington WizardsSERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: Memphis GrizzliesFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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The Washington Wizards come into tonight's home game versus Memphis riding a five game winning streak. On the surface, you could say that Washington is the hot team, playing at home against a team with a similar overall record, therefore they should be a favorite. If you dig a little deeper though, you will see that the Wizards won their last five games versus mostly bottom feeders in the Eastern Conference. They looked great against the Sixers, Cavs, Hawks, Pelicans .. and sure they beat Toronto in overtime, but none of those teams are of the caliber of Memphis. The Grizz own the NBA's 3rd ranked defense, allowing an average of just 94.9 points per game. Those stats were accumulated while playing against mostly Western Conference teams, far superior to the opposition that Washington has faced. The Grizzlies are also a very solid road team, with a road record of 15-11, giving them a better road win percentage than the Wizards have at home. Again, those numbers come against superior opposition. Memphis has taken eight of the last 10 head to head meetings, and I see no reason why they won't add to that total tonight.

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Don Best ConsensusFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Canadiens at KingsFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
Pick: OverFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Montreal goalie Carey Price is listed as questionable, but even if he plays this looks like a 4-3 type contest. The over is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings in Los Angeles. Montreal has had great success in LA and the over is 2-0 in as many games for the Canadians. An empty netter should push this to 6 or 7.

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David GlisanFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Utah Jazz +1.5FOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Tyrone Corbin of the Utah Jazz won't win coach of the year (I think we can go ahead and give *that* to Jeff Hornacek) but he has earned my respect.  His team had every reason to quit on the season after a 1-14 SU start and with the Salt Lake City fans and media encouraging the Jazz to 'tank' in hopes of getting Marcus Smart or another top draft choice.  But the Jazz continued to play hard despite a lack of talent and depth and got a huge spark when rookie phenom Trey Burke joined the lineup.  Utah is 20-24 SU since then--a fact made even more impressive considering that they play in the rugged Western Conference.  Jazz can still be run off the court by superior talent but usually give a decent effort on most nights--they gave the Indiana Pacers fits in Indianapolis last night before losing by 3 and with anything near that level of play they'll get an outright win here.  Milwaukee is a mess--11-47 SU and dead last in the weaker Eastern Conference.  Bucks don't have much talent but even worse--they don't put up a good effort even in front of their home fans.  They're 6-24 SU/11-19 ATS.  They have covered 9 of their L12 (going 3-9 SU) but they were underdogs in 10 of those games favored only against lowly Philadelphia and Boston.  Jazz are much better than either of those bottom feeding teams and--for that matter--much better than the Bucks.  They should get the outright win here and that's all we need them to do.

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Chip Chirimbes

Kansas State at Oklahoma State
Play: Kansas State

So Oklahoma State has their 'mojo' back and are off 'our' Big-12 Game of the Year winner over Kansas last time out and that might just be too much for them to overcome in two days. The Wildcats were also a 'Hotline' win on Saturday defeating ranked Iowa State at home. Kansas State. The Cowboys might be in an 'emotional' lull. The Wildcats are 14-6 ATS in their last 20 games and get it done here.


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EZWINNERSFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Seton Hall +½ 1st HalfFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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Xavier is coming of off back to back wins over St. John's and then #9 Creighton on Saturday. This is a real flat spot having to travel with one day's rest to battle a 14-15 Seton Hall team. The Pirates have lost three games in a row. The first of those three was a heart breaking 72-71 loss at #11 Creighton and then a 65-50 loss in letdown spot at DePaul with the third coming by five points at Providence without their leading scorer, Senior guard Fuquan Edwin who is nursing a thumb injury. I like Seton Hall to get off to a good start in this game. Play on the Pirates for the first half.

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DAVE COKINFOR FREE SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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NORTH CAROLINA STATE AT PITTSBURGHVlSlT THESPREAD.COM
PLAY: NORTH CAROLINA STATE +10.5SERVlCE PLAYS VlSlT THESPREAD.COM
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North Carolina State is nowhere to be found on the list of NCAA Tournament bubble teams. The Wolfpack were certainly in the conversation a few weeks ago. But four losses in five games have pretty much moved NC State into the NIT zip code.
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Pittsburgh doesn’t have anything to sweat as far as getting invited to the Dance is concerned. But the Panthers aren’t exactly strutting their best stuff of late, either. Pitt is only 4-5 over its last nine games and needed overtime to secure three of those wins.
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In other words, what looked like it might be a really big ACC game just a little ways back has lost quite a bit of its luster. That said, I think this has a chance to be a pretty good battle that’s worth watching.
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This looks like a game Pitt should win comfortably based on the matchup. NC State cannot shoot the basketball from the outside, and earning points in the paint against Pitt is never easy. The Panthers are also a force on the offensive glass, and that’s an area that has been a real problem for the Wolfpack all season.
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On the flip side, Pitt just isn’t playing very well right now. And they’ve continued to be a massive money burner at home, where the Panthers are a woeful 17-35 against the spread. Contrast that with the fact that NC State has displayed some resiliency, with the Wolfpack covering each of their last six off a spread loss.
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The first meeting between these two was memorable from a Pittsburgh perspective. The Panthers nearly got run out of Raleigh in what was their very first ACC road game. They fell way behind, trailing early by 15, but rallied to post a convincing 74-62 win. But it’s important to note that the Panthers were playing at a Top Ten level back then, something they’re certainly not doing right now.
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There’s no way I can call for the upset here. NC State is a team that has loads of trouble closing. But unless they’re too far down in the dumps mentally off the two most recent losses to North Carolina and Miami, I think they ought to be able to compete with a Pitt entry that’s just not sharp right now.
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Please bear in mind that the Monday card is very thin, so there’s not much to choose from for today’s comp selection. I’m giving a shaky endorsement to NC State plus the points to hang in tonight, but this is not a game that’s going to make my personal play card.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, March 3

Sean Murphy

Calgary vs. Minnesota
Pick: Minnesota

The Wild are surging right now, but currently sitting in seventh place in a crowded Western Conference playoff race, they need all the points they can get. They simply can’t afford a letdown against a pesky but beatable Flames squad on Monday night.

Calgary has gone an impressive 7-3 over its last 10 games, but perhaps not quite as impressive when you consider that four of those victories came in overtime or a shootout. The Flames are still just 11-15-4 on the road this season – not terrible, but certainly not close to matching the Wild’s terrific 21-7-2 home mark. Minnesota’s last home loss came back on January 14th in a pk’em game against Ottawa. The Wild have gotten healthier since, and are expected to welcome back another key cog in Mikko Koivu on Monday.

There’s little chance we’ll see Minnesota overlook Calgary in this spot – not after suffering an overtime road loss against the Flames just over a month ago.

After tonight’s game, the Wild will enjoy four days off before next taking the ice on Saturday in Dallas. This is a strong motivational spot for a quality team, at home no less, and I believe the price we’re being asked to lay is reasonable.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, March 3

Larry Ness

Lafayette vs. Loyola-Maryland
Pick: Lafayette

Loyola-Md plays at home but I believe the Greyhounds' first foray into the Patriot League postseason ends right here...

Lafayette went 10-4 in the Patriot last season and then won twice in the tourney before losing to Bucknell in the championship game to finish 19-15. Meanwhile, Loyola-Maryland went 12-6 in the MAAC but lost to Manhattan in its first tourney game. However, the Greyhounds were invited to the CBI where they won two home games before losing at East Carolina to finish 23-12.

Loyola-Maryland moved to the Patriot League this season, led by do-everything guard Dylon Cormier (16.4 PPG and a 1st-team All-MAAC selection). He was even better TY, averaging 21.2 PPG but was lost for the season on Feb 1 (broken hand), leaving Loyola with a six-man rotation of players averaging between 6.0 and 8.3 PPG. The Greyhounds are 6-12 in league play (11-18 overall) but won a tie-breaker with Lafayette (also 6-12 in league play and just 10-19 overall) for the right to host this game.

Lafayette is one of CBB's shortest teams with just the 6-9 Trist (13.5.6) playing and contributing anything of note. However, with leading scorer Seth Hinrichs (16.3-5.9) back healthy from missing 10 games with a knee injury, he's part of a four-guard unit all averaging more than 30 MPG. The other three all also average in double figures,, as Scott checks in at 11.5 PPG, Ptasinski at 11.4 PPG plus PG Lidner at 10.9 PPG and 4.0 APG.

Loyola-Maryland plays at home but I believe the Greyhounds' first foray into the Patriot League postseason ends right here. Take the small road favorite.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, March 3

Bryan Power

Kansas St. vs. Oklahoma St.
Pick: Oklahoma St.

The Pokes are 3-0 since Marcus Smart returned from suspension and could prove to be a dangerous "under-seeded" team come NCAA Tournament time.   They are off a big win over Kansas Saturday night and tonight go for revenge for a three-point loss to Kansas State...

Despite beating KU, Oklahoma State still has work to do.  They are only 7-9 SU in Big 12 play, seven of those losses coming in a row, three of them w/out Smart.  But five were also by six points or less.   The loss to Kansas State did NOT come during that stretch, but was by just three points in the conference opener. Neither team shot well.

Kansas State is also off a big win Saturday as they beat Iowa State at home.  But as we know the Wildcats are not as good away from the "Octagon of Doom."  They are only 2-6 SU in "true" road games with the two victories coming against the two worst teams in the Big 12, TCU and Texas Tech.  They lost by 13 at Oklahoma two weeks ago and by six here in Stillwater last season.  Look for OSU to continue to roll w/ Smart back in the lineup.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, March 3

Jimmy Boyd

Minnesota Timberwolves -5½

Minnesota should be playing with plenty of motivation tonight when they take on the Denver Nuggets. The Timberwolves have a chance to go above .500 for the first time in over a month if they can pick up a win over the lowly Nuggets. The Timberwolves finally have a healthy roster, and they have the luxury of facing a Denver team that has lost 10 of its last 11 games straight up, and 10 of their last 12 games against the spread.

The biggest problem for the Nuggets this season has been their defense. They are surrendering 104.7 points per game, and with a superb scoring unit like Minnesota's in town this game screams blowout. The Timberwolves are averaging 105.1 points per game this year, but over their last five games that number has jumped up to 108.1 points per game. Minnesota has won five of its last six games and posted a 5-1 record against the spread during that stretch.

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