Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

River City Sharps

Texas Southern +4

We are scratching our heads here regarding the first round game tonight between Cal-Poly SLO and Texas Southern. Now we will readily admit that Poly plays in a better conference and Texas Southern is the worst of any of the AQ teams (other than Poly). With that said, Poly has no business being favored by 4 points over anyone! Texas Southern has won 9 straight games en route to their conference title, where they defeated Prairie View A&M. There are a couple of reasons we are taking a small position tonight with the underdog. For starters, we have a quick turnaround for a west coast team to come all the way east and play in Ohio, which could screw with their body clocks a bit. More important for us though is the fact that we don't think Poly is better than Texas Southern and getting 4 points is a gift. We are going with 2 units because of the fact that neither of these teams are really that good. We think Texas Southern wins this game SU and moves on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

Teddy Covers 

Charlotte at Brooklyn
Play: Charlotte +6

My clients and I have been making money supporting Charlotte all year, and tonight’s game provides another rock solid opportunity to cash a winning bet with this ATS juggernaut.  After all, the Bobcats are currently ranked #3 in the NBA (behind Phoenix and Toronto) for profitability this year. And Charlotte is in excellent current form, winners of four of five and six of eight.  That stretch includes wins over fellow playoff contenders Indiana, Minnesota and Washington.

But Charlotte was a no-show at home against Atlanta on Monday Night, losing by 14 in their worst shooting performance in any game since November.  Steve Cliffford’s squad is 9-3 SU in their last dozen tries coming off a loss, including wins over likely playoff teams, like the Pacers, Wizards, Mavs, Warriors and Raptors in this role.  And Charlotte has been nothing short of outstanding as a short underdog; 8-0 ATS in their last eight tries as dogs of +7 or less.

There’s no urgency here for Brooklyn, coming off a blowout win over Phoenix on Monday; 8-2 SU and ATS in their last ten ballgames.  The Nets hammered the Bobcats in a wire-2-wire 16 point win on Charlotte’s last visit, right before the All Star Break.  Don’t be shocked if Jason Kidd’s squad is a tad bit flat and sluggish tonight in a game where the Bobcats should be capable of hanging around for a long, long time.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

Joseph D'Amico

Illinois vs. Boston University    
Play: Illinois -3

Boston's last game was an embarrassing, 55-36 loss to American. Looking at the Terriers schedule, they really haven't played any solid squads. Even in the Patriot League, they posted just 71.5 PPG, hitting only 45.3% from the field, and 71.9% from the line. Their defensive numbers are even worse and have a ton of trouble on both the offensive and defensive boards. Guard, Maurice Watson jr. is the only true threat while Forward, Dom Morris is the team's only rebounder that is pulling in more than 4 RPG. Illinois started the season at 13-2 then went on a 10-game skid just to finish strong, going 4-1 SU and ATS in the regular season then beat Indiana by 10 and lost to Michigan by 1, covering both post-season contests. The Illini were 10-5-2 ATS on the road TY, and overall beat such notables as UNLV, Missouri, Indiana twice, PSU twice, Minnesota, Nebraska, MSU, and Iowa. They have a stifling defense that allows a mere 62.5 PPG and that is in the very talented Big Ten Conference. Rayvonte Rice will take this game on his shoulders and add to his 15.5 PPG and 6.0 RPG average. Rice, Ekey, and Egwu will devour the glass as the trio teams up for 17.1 RPG. Steals, blocks, and a ton of fewer TO's all give the edge to Illinois here. The Fighting Illini are 5-0 ATS their L5 games played on the road, 6-1 ATS their L7 games played against teams with a winning record, and 6-1 ATS their L7 games played overall.


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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

Sam Martin

Cal-Irvine at SMU
Prediction: SMU

Mustangs were one of the teams many thought were "deserving" to be in the NCAA Tournament, and while few would argue the top of this AAC is pretty legit with Louisville, Cincinnati, and Connecticut - the bottom of this league is horrendous and is really to blame for SMU's relegation to the NIT.

Mustangs have been very good at home this year - going 15-1 straight up including 10-2 against the spread and 10-1 ATS as a home favorite. They beat legit teams here in UConn, Memphis, and Cincinnati, and while the arguement here isn't whether or not SMU is 10 points better than Cal Irvine in a home setting - it's whether or not SMU will come to play after not making the NCAA Tournament. That decision has much to to with coaching, and with Larry Brown at the helm we'll back the Mustangs to come out firing and win big!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

Nelly

Quinnipiac + over Yale

Yale did manage to upset Harvard and Princeton once each in conference play this season but the Bulldogs closed the season dropping four of the final five games of the season. Yale has really struggled on offense this season with terrible shooting numbers all around and featuring one of the higher turnover rates in the nation. In non-conference play Yale was not competitive in its toughest games outside of playing close to nearby rival Providence. Connecticut, Mercer, St. Louis, and Vermont all handled Yale by double-digits. Quinnipiac won 20 games this season and playing in a very competitive Metro Atlantic should help the cause. The Bobcats beat Manhattan twice in the regular season before getting eliminated by the Jaspers in the conference tournament and Quinnipiac also picked up wins over Albany, Vermont, and Iona this season. While the Bobcats don't create many turnovers on defense this is an efficient offensive team that shoots well from outside and has some of best rebounding numbers in the nation. Quinnipiac will force a fast tempo in this game and Yale has struggled in higher scoring games this season. Quinnipiac won 10 away games this season while Yale was just 8-4 at home. These teams have played three times in the last six years with the Bobcats winning all three meetings and the Bobcats should be excited to be in the postseason after being left out last season. Quinnipiac can overcome the loss of Umar Shannon for a postseason win.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

Joe Williams

Southern Miss -7

Toledo hits the road for Hattiesburg, and they'll meet an angry Southern Miss team that dominated the Conference USA, winning 27 games. However, that wasn't enough to impress the NCAA Tournament committee. The Rockets are 4-9 ATS in their past 13 games overall, and 0-7 ATS in their past seven road contests. They're also 0-4 ATS in their past four road games against a team with a winning home record. The Golden Eagles are 11-2 ATS over their past 13 home games, and 5-2 ATS in their past seven overall. They're also a perfect 6-0 ATS in their past six home games against a team with a winning road mark.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

Larry Ness

South Dakota State vs. Old Dominion
Pick: South Dakota St.

Hard to argue that Old Dominion “earned” its way into the CBI, considering the Monarchs check in at 16-17...

Hard to argue that Old Dominion “earned” its way into the CBI, considering the Monarchs check in at 16-17, averaging 63.4 PPG (324th) on 42.7% shooting, including 32.6 on threes (both stats rank 260th). Throw in that fact that ODU ranks almost dead-last in FT percentage (61.4% is 348th of 351 teams) and it’s hard to make much of a case for them, even at home. Old Dominion had a mixed season, going on win streaks of four in a row on two separate occasions, but lost six straight in between those win streaks.

South Dakota State was 10-4 in the Summit League this year, losing in the semifinal round of the league tournament to finish 19-12. The Jackrabbits were defeated in the semis of the Summit League tourney by IUPU-Fort Wayne (64-60), a team which finished the season an impressive 24-11. The Summit League is pretty good and the Jackrabbits have a frontcourt pair in the 6-8 Dykstra (16.0-7.7) and the 6-9 Larson (13.1-6.9) which should be way too tough for ODU’s lone “big man,” the 6-6 Ross (9.5-7.1) to handle. Old Dominion’s best player is guard Bacote (16.1) and he’s got two double digit partners on the perimeter (Batten at 10.6 PPG and Palmore at 10.0 PPG) but SDSU features Carlson (15.1), White (9.7) and Bittle (8.5), who are more than match.

Road team takes this one fairly handily.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

Jeff Alexander

Utah Jazz +11½

Playing against double-digit favorites that held their last opponent to 80 points or fewer has resulted in a 51-18 ATS record since 1996 if they are facing a team that gave up 110 points or more last game. Additionally, double-digit road dogs with a .250 to .400 win percentage are 75-40 ATS since 1996 if they are off a road loss of 20 points or more and are playing a winning team. The Grizzlies are 4-12 ATS this season in home games against losing teams. They have won these games on average but only by 1.5 points. Memphis is also on an 11-26 ATS skid when laying 10 points or more.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

Red Dog Sports

Cal Poly vs. Texas Southern
Play: Under 130

Our free play on on the under. Both games in Dayton stayed under the total last night. The game is played on a neutral court and both are far from home without many fans in attendance. Cal Poly SLO likes a slow pace so much they should be called Cal Poly SLOW. Texas Southern wants to run and get into a high scoring game but there should be nerves involved being in the NCAA Tournament First Four and being on national TV.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

Dave Price

Utah Valley State +13

It will be tough for Cal to get up for this game. The Golden Bears returned four starters from a team that won an NCAA Tournament game last year but weren't able to punch their ticket to the Big Dance. Not getting in is a big letdown for this team. Utah Valley State, meanwhile, will relish an opportunity to play a school from a major conference. Plus, they are extremely happy to still be playing after missing out on the postseason last year. Cal is 0-7 ATS in its last seven games overall and 0-5 ATS in its last five home games. Take the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

SPORTS WAGERS

Detroit +7½ over DENVER

It’s been a rather satisfying stretch for the Nuggets, as they have victories this past week over Miami and the Clippers. Denver has now won three of its past four games and after those two aforementioned wins, its stock is higher than it should be. Truth be told, the Clip Joint showed up in Denver and played perhaps their worst game of the year and seemed completely disengaged. That victory for the Nuggets occurred upon their return home from a five game trip and this is their second game back. An emotional and physical letdown for the Nuggets here is a distinct possibility. The Nuggets are a team that has to hit a high percentage of their shots in order to win by a margin because their defense is that bad. That’s a big risk in a difficult situational spot and one we’ll attempt to take advantage of.

The Pistons stock is extremely low after losing five of six and 13 of their past 15 games. What’s so unusual about their current run is that Detroit’s last 14 games have ALL been decided by eight points or more. You might have to go through five years of archives before you find you another team in the Association that has gone that long without a closer game than eight pints for 14 straight games. Win or lose, the Pistons are way overdue for a close game and this is a game they have a great chance to win outright. Detroit is coming off an OT loss to the Pacers in a game they led by 25 points. That has potential lingering effects but the Pistons are still in the playoff hunt and will embark on a crucial 4-game trip beginning here that could ultimately decide their fate. The Pistons have just 16 games left and 11 are on the road. Knowing that, Detroit figures to leave nothing on the table here in what has to be considered one of, if not their most important road game of the season. We’re buying low.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

SPORTS WAGERS

Cal Irvine +9½ over SMU

After defeating UConn and Central Florida back in early March the Mustangs of SMU were ranked #18 in the country with a game against Louisville on deck. The Mustangs hadn’t participated in the main even since 1993 and were almost a sure bet to get an invite this year. Two straight losses to Louisville and Memphis was a bit of a setback but certainly not disastrous. Disaster struck in SMU’s final game of the regular season when they blew a 14-point lead against Houston at home and were subsequently snubbed by the selection committee.

This is what followed: An estimated crowd of more than 1,200 SMU fans was at Moody Coliseum to watch the NCAA selection show, which ended with SMU players either putting their heads in their hands or staring up at the overhead screen in disbelief as the final teams were revealed. They all were gone when the NIT announcement was made a couple of hours later.

It wasn’t supposed to end this way for the Mustangs now they’re being asked to win by a significant margin when they figure to show up in body only. Playing in the NIT Tournament and not the NCAA Tournament is a huge disappointment but for the Mustangs that’s a big time understatement.

The Anteaters of Cal Irvine won 10 of their past 12 games and while they are clearly the inferior team here, what they can do is score points and that at least makes them dangerous. That said, this isn’t about playing on Cal Irvine. These are college kids from SMU that had a chance to play on National TV on the biggest stage there is. In other words, the Mustangs had their hearts ripped out and that’s not the time to be backing a team laying significant points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

SPORTS WAGERS

Tampa Bay -½ +147 over TORONTO

Regulation only. The Leafs got a bit unlucky last night but if everything equals out over time than there might be many more “unlucky losses” upcoming because Toronto has been the NHL’s most fortunate team. The Leafs have been able to avoid prolonged slumps this season but in terms of being outplayed on a nightly basis, no team, not the Islanders, Oilers, Panthers or Flames have spent more time in their own end than the Maple Leafs.  Suddenly Toronto is not close to locking up a playoff spot. After two lucky victories against Anaheim and Los Angeles, the Leafs dropped consecutive games to Washington and a depleted Red Wings’ squad last night to conclude its trip with a 2-3 record. Not bad, but they left four points on the table by losing games to very beatable teams. Now the Leafs return home from said trip and they could be running on fumes. This will be the Leafs sixth game in nine nights and they’ve had to board a plane in all of them while the Lightning arrived in Toronto yesterday. 

Tampa has snapped out of it. They were in a funk but have now won three in a row and have picked up points in five straight. Thing is, they are still not playing as well as they were earlier in the year but they’re getting closer to that level with each passing game. The Bolts have their confidence back, Steven Stamkos is producing again and the Lightning has scored three goals or more in five straight. Rested with restored confidence, not only are we getting the better team here by a wide margin, we’re also getting a small tag on the team in a far better situational spot.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

LT Profits

Radford vs Oregon State
Pick: Radford +14

Forget about the NCAA Tournament, there could be a hidden gem in the CBI Tournament tonight when the Radford Highlanders visit the Oregon State Beavers. Radford is one of three 20-win Big South teams still playing and one of them, VMI, upset Canisius on the road in the CIT last night. Radford is a good shooting team with an effective field goal percentage of 51.6 percent and it protects the ball well, ranking 38th in the entire country in offensive turnover percentage at 16.0 percent vs. a national average of 18.3 percent, while Oregon State is 332nd in defensive turnover percentage at 15.2 percent. Thus Radford should be able to do what it wants, including shortening this game by milking clock. Oregon State finished 10th in the Pac-12 and cannot be too excited about playing in a minor tournament. Underdog Radford is 5-1 straight up its last six road games.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

Scott Delaney

Let's take a look at my complimentary play for tonight, as I like the Quinnipiac Bobcats plus the points at Yale.

Don't know anything about the 'Cats? Well let me tell ya, this is the fourth time in the last five seasons, Quinnipiac (20-11, 14-6 MAAC) has qualified for a postseason tournament, and this is an intriguing first-round matchup in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT). The 'Cats tavel to play cross-town rival Yale at the John J. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven, and I'm betting Quinnipiac will have a strong following in the stands.

Quinnipiac's has been out to prove something all season, and had a very respectable showing in its inaugural season in the MAAC. The team's quest for the biggest dance of them all came to an end in the MAAC Tournament Semifinals, where they bowed out gracefully to Manhattan.

Now the Bobcats look to improve on yet another 20-win season, and I think they'll give the Bulldogs (15-13, 9-5 Ivy) all they can handle in this game. Quinnipiac is 4-0 all-time against Yale and come in leading the country in all three major rebounding categories: rebounds per game (45.5), offensive rebounds per game (16.8) and rebounding margin (11.8). That could pose major problems for the Bulldogs, who will find themselves down big if they can't keep up on the boards.

Looking at the tale of the tape, Quinnipiac shoots better from the field, it's better from long-range, it's better from the charity stripe, it outrebounds by the Bulldogs by double digits and it scores about 13 more points per game than Yale.

I'm putting my money on the underdog in this one, as the Bobcats are the better team overall, and traveling across town is much different than traveling across the state line.

2♦ QUINNIPIAC

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

Craig Davis

Your free play of the day is on the Iowa Hawkeyes over Tennessee as these two try to work their way into the tourney.

These two teams are polar opposites of each other, as the Vols want to play stout defense, they want to beat you up inside and try to get to the free throw line on the other end of the floor.

Meanwhile, Iowa wants to increase the pace, running up and down the floor over and over again, scoring as many points as they can while shooting several three-pointers in the process.

The great thing about having these two teams play each other is the fact that their differing styles could lead to a lot of transitions baskets on one end, forcing the other team (Tennessee) into a type of game that they really don't want to play. Don't get me wrong, they definitely have the athletes to run if need be, but that will get them out of their comfort zone and will be a positive for our side.

Yes, I realize I'm taking a bit of a gamble going against the hotter of the two teams, but as I look at these two teams I see a decided advantage for Iowa on the free throw line and on the glass.

Tennessee was on a roll until Kentucky ended that in the SEC tourney. Iowa ended the season struggling, losing six of their last seven. The Vols are lucky to be here while Iowa is hanging on by a thread after believing they could be a three-seed just a month ago.

Advantage Iowa. Take the Hawkeyes as your free play of the day.

3♦ IOWA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

Jeff Benton

Your Wednesday freebie is the Bulls over the Sixers.

I guess Philly will win a game somewhere between now and the end of the season, but I don't think it will be tonight.

The Sixers last straight up win comes on January 29th, and Philly is just 3-8 against the spread their last 11 games.

Chicago is off a St. Patrick's Day loss to Oklahoma City, but they have been able to handle their business against Philly, winning and covering in 5 of the last 7 series meetings overall.

I expect the Bulls defense to put the clamps down on the 76ers and to pull away for the lopsided road win and cover as Philadelphia drops to 3-9 against the spread their last dozen games, and loses its 22nd in a row overall.

2♦ CHICAGO

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

Gabriel Dupont

We continue with into Double-A Ball for the college basketball postseason, and feed off last night's win on Georgetown, with tonight's game between the South Dakota State Jackrabbits and OId Dominion Monarchs. My free-pick will be on the 'Rabbits in this one, as I think they're going to win this game.

Why South Dakota State is the right side of this game - The Jackrabbits are proving there is life after Nate Wolters, and even though they didn't make it back to the dance, this is certainly still a good spot for them. They have always been a team that can travel well, and will be able to give the Monarchs fit tonight.

Why Old Dominion won't win this game - The Monarchs come into this tournament with a 16-17 record after losing to Middle Tennessee State in the second round of the C-USA Tournament last Thursday. I'm not so sure about that record and can't be so sure they even belong in the postseason, to be quite honest. They just don't have as talented a team as South Dakota State.

Basically, why the Jackrabbits are my SMART FREE PLAY in this game - As much as I loved watching Wolters play, I think the Rabbits have benefitted with him graduated, as they've been a much more balanced team. South Dakota State's roster up and down has learned to lean on one another, rather than just one person to take over. Jordan Dykstra, Cody Larson and Brayden Carlson have led the charge, but the Rabbits have talent up and down this roster.

For instance, the Jackrabbits scored a season-high 28 bench points versus Western Illinois on March 9. They will also play out the rest of this season with a trio of 1,000-point scorers for the first time since the last two games of the 2010 campaign. Take the road team here, either plus the one point or on the moneyline - it doesn't matter.

3♦ SOUTH DAKOTA STATE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

Chris Jordan

My free play for tonight is on the Wyoming Cowboys in the opening round of the CBI Tournament, catching points at Texas A&M. Beware people - DO NOT SLEEP ON THE POKES.

No. Larry Nance Jr. won't be in uniform tonight. But the same team that was down 13 to UNLV in the Mountain West tournament, with 3:08 left, and closed the gap quickly and lost by only four, is headed to Corpus Christi for this game. And I love the matchup problems Wyoming poses for A&M.

Defensively, the Cowboys ranked second in the MW and 19th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 61.8 points per game, while they were fourth in the league in field goal percentage defense at 41 percent. Wyoming's 32 percent 3-point defense was fifth in the conference and 51st in the nation.

And if you haven't seen sophomore guard Josh Adams shoot yet, set your glims on him tonight, as he is deadly from the field, and will be looking for redemption after falling short against the Runnin' Rebels a week ago. Adams has averaged 24.0 points over the last four contests, and will be looking to continue his 20-points per game streak in this one.

Senior guards Nathan Sobey and Jerron Granberry are also dangerous options, while junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. bangs in the paint as well as any other frontcourt presence I've seen on the West coast.

I don't think the Aggies run deep enough to challenge Wyoming. Take the road dog here.

2♦ WYOMING

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Wednesday, March 19

Brad Wilton

Great value tonight with the Indiana Pacers as they play in New York against the streaking Knicks.

New York comes into this home game having won their last 6 games, but the only win of the bunch that comes against a team with close to a winning record was the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Major step-up tonight for New York, and the fact the Pacers have won 4 in a row to make it a 50-17 record for the entire season.

The Pacers have also won 3 in a row and 6 of the last 8 series meetings both straight up and against the spread versus the Knicks.

Litmus Test time for the Knicks, and I do not think they pass the test tonight - even at home.

Go with the Pacers as the small road favorite as your Wednesday freebie.

4♦ INDIANA

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