Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, March 28

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, March 28

Craig Davis

Your free play of the day is on the Golden State Warriors over the Memphis Grizzlies in a crucial Western Conference NBA matchup.

One of my rare NBA losses this year was giving you the Grizzlies against Golden State back in December. But back then I had a good excuse... Memphis had won 11 straight in the series.

Well, that streak came to a screeching halt as Golden State pounded the Grizzlies, 102-82, in a game that wasn't even that close. So the Warriors broke the string of 11 losses and got some confidence back where it belonged.

But that's only one of the reasons I like Golden State tonight. Another reason is the fact the media is overplaying the recent demotion of assistant coach Brian Scalabrine to the D-League.

This announcement was made Tuesday, after the team had a 30-minute private meeting. HC Marc Jackson said it was simply a "difference in philosophies" and Scalabrine didn't disagree.

So while the media wants us to believe this will be a major distraction to the other coaches and players, I believe it gives us a bit of value in this spot.

This team is focused on the task at hand and not whether or not a coach was demoted. Remember, this is a five team race with only four playoff spots remaining after the Thunder, Spurs, Clippers and Rockets.

Golden State holds a one-game cushion over Memphis and finds themselves only one game behind struggling Portland for 5th place in the West. But let's not forget about Phoenix and Dallas either... they are all contenders and one of these really good teams is going to miss out on the post-season.

Golden State will do everything in their power to make sure it's not them. Take the Warriors as your free play of the day.

3♦ GOLDEN STATE

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, March 28

Jeff Benton

Your Friday freebie is the Pacers over the Wizards.

Indiana just played a war at home against Miami, and of course they could be in a letdown spot, but then again the Wizards aren't exactly looking that strong these days.

Washington is off a home loss to Phoenix on Wednesday, as the Wizards have now lost 4 of their last 5 games, and are on a 3-6 overall straight up slide their last 9 games.

As if that weren't enough, Washington has dropped the last pair to Indiana and are just 1-9 straight up the last 10 times these Eastern rivals have played one another.
It is important to remember that even with their win over the defending champs on Wednesday, Indiana is just 2-3 straight up their last 5. I am sure coach Vogel would like to see his team string together some wins, and tonight against the Wizards is the perfect chance to get the ball rolling.

Take Indiana over Washington.

3♦ INDIANA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, March 28

Gabriel Dupont

My free play for today is on the Cleveland Cavaliers (29-44), which is visiting the Brooklyn Nets (37-33) at a crucial time. It might be the perfect spot to catch the Nets off-guard and cover a boatload of points at Barclays Center.

Why the Cavaliers will cover this number - Cleveland is out of the playoff race, but isn't eliminated. And as long as it's still in the hunt, you can't ignore any type of win streak. The Cavaliers will be out to stretch their current winning run to four games, as they come in having won three in a row after losing four straight and eight of 10 contests. They had the night off after winning Wednesday, 97-96, over the Detroit Pistons.

Why the Nets will let Cleveland hang around - Brooklyn center Kevin Garnett will miss his 15th straight game tonight, due to back spasms, while forward Andrei Kirilenko will miss his third straight game due to a sprained left ankle. So while the Nets don't want to let this one get away, they also don't need anymore casualties and will be doing their best imitation of a prevent defense in the NFL tonight.

In conclusion, why the Cavaliers are my SMART PLAY in this game - Look, I know the Nets (37-33) have won 11 straight games at Barclays Center, and there really is no reason to believe they won't make it 12 against a Cavaliers team that will be without Kyrie Irving. But with Cleveland needing to win just as much as anyone else - if not more - I think you have to consider the big number a value play.

The home team has won the first two meetings, with Cleveland winning by four in October and the Nets winning by seven in January. The underdog has covered five of the last eight meetings, while the Cavs have covered six of their last eight in Brooklyn and six straight overall most recently. take the points.

2♦ CLEVELAND

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, March 28

Chris Jordan

My free winner is on the top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers tonight, as I'm taking the underdogs on the moneyline in this one, thinking if you're going to give me the No. 1 seed in the region as an underdog, I'll take it.

For the record, after last night's split, underdogs in the sweetness round are on an 18-8 ATS win streak. Yes, Michigan State is full healthy, and yes Tom Izzo has the experience to lead the Spartans into the final weekend, but these boys need to convince me against the ACC champs.

Point blank - I am forcing the Spartans to beat me in this game. Besides, it's a free play, and my hard-earned big money is on the Bluegrass-state showdown, you already know that..

Look, Michigan State is dredged in a 3-7 SU skid against No. 1 seeds dating back to 1996, and now it has to take on a disrespected Virginia team that rides in on an 18-1 SU win streak. And, allow me to mention that top seeds are in on a 13-4 SU run against No. 4 seeds after Florida beat UCLA last night.

I'm sorry, but I think it's insane that everyone in the world has Michigan State inked into damn near the title game on their brackets. The Cavaliers, who have covered five of six on a neutral court, 17 of 21 against winning teams and 18 of 23 overall, are the top seed and deserve respect.

Moneyline play on Virginia.

1♦ VIRGINIA

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, March 28

Brad Wilton

Am I missing something with this line on Kentucky-Louisville?

Yes, the Cardinals are the defending champions, but as good as they are, this is not the same team that went all the way last April. Heck, this isn't even the same team that LOST outright 73-66 in Lexington in the month of December.

That loss by the Redbirds means they have dropped 5 of the last 6 Bluegrass Battle meetings, and while they may be able to edge the 'Cats in this meeting in Indianapolis, I doubt they will be able to cover the impost.

The light has finally gone on for the preseason #1 ranked Wildcats, and they played their most complete game of the season in their comeback win over undefeated Wichita State on Sunday. Before that, Kentucky gave #1 seed Florida all they could handle in the SEC tourney championship game.

This promises to be a memorable meeting, and I will gladly take the points with the Wildcats in this one.

4♦ KENTUCKY

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, March 28

Harry Bondi

LOUISVILLE (-4) over Kentucky

We have picked up a ton of cash for all of our phone service clients in March and will continue the winning in the NBA & Baseball in April so make sure you call 1-877-332-0077 to reserve your spot on the "Steam Team" for the NBA & MLB. Yesterday we cashed another FREE WINNER on Florida telling you, among other things, that Billy Donovan is 5-1 in "Sweet Sixteen" games. The only coach with a better "Sweet Sixteen" track record is the guy who taught Billy the Kid the game at Providence, Rick Pitino. Slick Rick is 11-0 in Sweet 16 games, a tribute to his ability to develop solid game plans with several days to prepare. Kentucky is playing it's best ball of the season and has excelled from 3 point land but Louisville has the perimeter quickness to give them fits on the perimeter. Cardinals have allowed opponents to shoot just 29% from 3 point land which is second best in the nation. Kentucky won at home 73-66 over Louisville earlier this year because Cardinal guard Russ smith had his worst shooting night of the year. that is not going to happen again. Revenge for Louisville as Pitino stays perfect in the "Sweet Sixteen.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Friday, March 28

OC Dooley

Blazers +4.5

You will see at the bottom of this analysis that Portland’s current extended road swing actually makes them an outstanding percentage wager.  The Blazers actually have been struggling of late including a few night’s ago hitting an absolute low by losing straight-up against woeful Orlando.  However the Blazers recovered quickly from that debacle as they traveled to Atlanta just last night and snapped an 0-3 skid with what turned out to be a 15 point margin of victory.  The big news for Portland last night is that their best player LaMarcus Aldridge (back) finally returned from a lengthy injury absence and made his mark with a 25 point performance where he also hauled down 16 rebounds.  Ironically it was four months ago when Portland defeated Chicago in a game where the Bulls top player Derrick Rose went down with a season-ending knee injury.  During their three-game losing skid prior to last night the Portland offense had been putting up just 90 points per game which was a full 16 points below their season average, but as just mentioned Aldridge (back injury) is back in the fold.  In this series the Blazers have defeated the Bulls in 10 of the most recent dozen meetings and my database research indicates that trend will continue.  Dating all the way back to the 1996 campaign when the team is playing ROAD game #4 in a five-day span Portland has gone a dazzling “20-4” ATS

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