Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday January, 27

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday January, 27

Jim Feist

Thunder at Lakers
Pick: Over

Not really sure how the Lakers will ever contain this potent OKC Thunder club. Kobe himself has called the Lakers slow and old. Now they face one of the best if not best teams in the West in the Thunder. The Thunder have played the Lakers twice this season, scoring 116 in LA and 114 in OKC. In fact, the Thunder have scored over 100 points in nine of their last 12 games. Therefore, it's not surprising that OKC is tops in the NBA in points per game (105.9). Kevin Durant is leading this club with 29.5 ppg with Russell Westbrook also chipping-in 22.6 ppg. The Lakers have no remedy for this offense and it will show again here on Sunday evening. Sure, LA will get some points and that's why I don't think the oddsmakers will be able to post a high enough total on this contest. Take the over and enjoy the show.

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Dave Cokin

California at Colorado
Pick: Colorado

California heads into the back end of the altitude trip with a win at Utah safely tucked away. I don't see the Golden Bears completing the sweep. Colorado looks like they've righted the ship. The Buffs got out of synch following that ridiculous episode at Arizona and it sure looks like it stayed with them longer than it should have. But off two strong games, this team is looking as though they might be getting on a roll. Cal started the season winning six in a row. But ever since the blowout loss at Wisconsin, they simply have not been very good. The scheduling dynamics will also be working against the Bears here. I expect Colorado to win this fairly comfortably, so I'll spot the number with the Buffs.

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SPORTS WAGERS

L.A. LAKERS +3½  over Oklahoma City

The same theory as the early game applies here. The Lakers are seven games under .500 while the Thunder owns the Association's best record. OKC has also defeated the Lakers in four straight games, including two this season and one of those was a 16-point win at the Staples Center. This one looks too easy and you know the old saying.

The Lakers struggles have been well-documented the entire season and so has the ongoing chaos surrounding the puzzling hiring of Mike D 'Antoni, the play or lack thereof by Dwight Howard, the poor use of Pau Gasol and L.A.'s weak bench. With all that, the oddsmakers figure the Lakers to put forward their best game of the season and on this important betting day, we'll have to side with the true experts.


UTAH +114 over Stanford

The Cardinal are 11-8 overall and come in with a 2-4 conference record in a not so strong PAC-12. The Utes are worse in conference play with just one win in six tries. Based on their respective records, Stanford is billed as the chalk here but that may be misleading. Utah has been much closer in their games against top competition, losing at Arizona by just three and also by three against Arizona State in OT. Add a three-point loss at BYU and four point loss against UCLA and these Utes could have a much different record. They rank much higher than the Cardinal in many key categories, which include FG percentage and assists per game.

Stanford has one road win in five games and that came by a bucket against an awful Northwestern club. They were blown out by Colorado in its last game and really don't have a signature win on its schedule this year. Are they really deserving of being favored on the road against this 6-5 team at home that is likely better than they are? We think not.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday January, 27

SPORTS WAGERS

Buffalo +106 over WASHINGTON

OT included. Most publications had the Capitals challenging for the Southeast division. We suggested right away that the Capitals were the most overvalued team in the NHL and four games in, our position hasn't changed. The Caps picked up their first point of the season in New Jersey on Friday night after scoring two late goals with under seven minutes left in the game. Goaltender Michal Neuvirth stood on his head in that game otherwise it would've been much more one sided before the rally. The Capitals still lost it in OT. The Caps have shown less than any team in the NHL. Alex Ovechkin has one point. Their leading scorer is Mike Ribeiro, followed by Joel Ward. They've been outscored 17-8 and the best news is that they're favored over a Sabres team that are hungry for a victory.

Buffalo is coming off back-to-back losses to the Hurricanes. In the second game of that home-and home series, they were flying but ran into a super-hot Dan Ellis in net. This talented guest, with one of the best netminders in the game will now come in here looking to snap that two-game losing streak. Outside of that 6-3 loss to Carolina on Thursday, the Sabres had allowed just six goals against in their other three games and after playing the high-flying Canes in back-to-back games, this one should appear to be in slow motion for them. In terms of value, this one offers more than any on the board today, as the Capitals have been slower and less energized in the early going than any other team.


OTTAWA +105 over Pittsburgh

OT included. Pay more attention to the product than the hype. The Penguins are the face of the NHL. They're on the cover of just about every publication that previews the upcoming season. They have the most dynamic and recognizable duo in the game in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. They're also immensely popular with the betting public. However, they are just 2-2 after being outscored by Toronto and Winnipeg 9-4 in their last two games. The goaltending has been shaky, the loss of Jordan Staal has hurt them and defensively, they're making too many mistakes. Good team for sure but certainly not unbeatable.

By contrast, the Senators aren't getting any hype just yet. A 3-1 start is nice but two wins have come against Florida and the other one came on opening night in Winnipeg. When they played in Tampa Bay on Friday, they lost 6-4. However, Ben Bishop made his first start of the year in net. In its first three games, Ottawa outscored the opposition 11-2. The Sens are perhaps the most balanced club in the league with four strong lines that are capable of scoring. The Sens had nine players overseas during the lockout and when you combine that with Paul MacLean's system of relentless skating, this is one of the best, if not the best conditioned team in the NHL. No hype against all the hype gets our call here in what is going to prove to be one of the most difficult venues in the league to pick up a road win at.


ST. LOUIS -½ +108 over Minnesota

Regulation only. Coming into the season, the Wild were projected to be one of the league's most improved teams after adding the NHL's two most sought after free agents, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. After four games, they still look as average as they did a year ago. The Wild have two wins over Dallas and Colorado. The win over Dallas was by a 1-0 score. They're the only team this year to lose to Nashville and they were whacked by a struggling Red Wings team in their last game. Minnesota has scored five goals in its last three games, while surrendering eight.

St. Louis is coming off a 109-point season. Its only loss this year was at Chicago against the undefeated Blackhawks by a score of 3-2. The Blues are 4-1 and have played just two home games against Nashville and Detroit. They outscored that pair 9-0 and allowed a combined 27 shots on net. The Blue Notes are perhaps the strongest defensive team in the league (they set a record last year for fewest goals allowed) with the best goaltending duo of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott. They seldom lose at home and chances are they're not going to lose here either.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday January, 27

Spartan

Dallas -7

We've cashed twice in the past week with Lindsey Hunters revitalized Suns club, both at Sacramento and at home against the Clippers. However, they are unfortunately the victim of a tough scheduling stretch as so happens in the marathon known as the NBA regular season. Fatigue could catch up to the Suns tonight against a well rested Mavericks outfit playing in their own floor. I like this Suns team and the spirit they have been showing but cannot help but feel the right side here is with Dallas.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday January, 27

JR O'Donnell

Canisius -4

We will fade the Niagra Purple Eagles off a unreal cover vs the Siena Saints on the road last game.. The Griffins play D as after that steam rolling at Iona 91 points they have held their last three opponents (Manhattan, Siena and Rider) to an average of 51.3 points per game.. Strong D and rock solid  Senior guard play  Isaac Sosa will put the Oster on the home crew.... imo way too easy to grab a 5-0 streaking club Purple Eagles with 4 today... Canisius plays good D, is @ home and is very well coached. Purple Eagles give up points 72.2 ppg and that checks in @ 299th in the nation. Power rated @ Griffins by - 7.4 points. Griffins by 6 to 8

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Joe Gavazzi

Northeastern -1.5

The Huskies have turned around their season with 7 consecutive wins in Colonial play to lead that league with an undefeated mark. It all began when perimeter force Lee returned from injury in late December to give HC Coen a senior back court that is the best in a watered down league. It showed opening night in an 84-74 victory over the Patriots in Fairfax. They are now 4-0 SU in conference games decided by 5 or less points, an indication of the senior leadership at guard and the coaching of Coen. For GM 2nd year HC Hewitt continues to struggle with a lack of balanced scoring with only Wright a consistent performer. Following the opening night loss, the Patriots have gone 5-1 SU, ATS but remain 2 games behind these Huskies. Hewitt has never been a momentum coach posting a career mark of 30-58 ATS away following 4 or 5 wins in his previous 6 games and a mark of 4-15 ATS at George Mason following consecutive victories. Homestanding Huskies stay unblemished in Colonial play.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday January, 27

Jeff Scott Sports

4 UNIT PLAY

Michigan/ Illinois Under 137: This game has the feel of the Ohio State game, where the Wolverines and Buckeyes combined for just 109 points. it wont be that low, but Im not sure these teams will hit 130 points. This has been a ow scoring series with the last 7 meetings combining for just 115.3 ppg and not one of those games put up more than 133 point. Michigan is one of the better defensive teams in the nation, allowing just 50 ppg, while in Big 10 play they have given up just 60.7 ppg. Illinois is no slouch on defense, especially at home, where they allow just 62.1 ppg on 41.2% shooting. Illinois has struggled offensively of late, averaging just 63.6 ppg on 40.6% shooting in their last 5 games, while Michigan has averaged just 66.5 ppg in their last 4 games. Should be another low scoring game between these two teams. 

3 UNIT PLAY

Virginia Tech +11.5 over CLEMSON: The Hokies have been blown out in 3 of their last 4 games on the road, but I don't expect that to happen here. This has been a close series, with 8 of the last 10 being decided by 5 points or less, while not one of those ten were decided by more than 11 points. Clemson plays at a pretty slow pace and they score 69.6 ppg at home, while also putting up just 55.6 ppg in their last 5 games overall. That gives Tech an excellent shot at keeping it close, because they do average 74.6 pg overall and 75 ppg on the road. The Hokies do allow 82.2 ppg on the road, but Clemson just doesn't have the kind of offense to take advantage. The Tigers do allow 54.6 ppg at home, but still I expect the Hokies to score in the 60's here while the Tigers will also score in the 60's as well. Should be a close one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday January, 27

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAYS

Boston/ Miami Under 187.5: This will not be like the first meeting, in which 227 point were scored. Both teams are playing very good defense at the moment an that should keep the scoring down. Miami has allowed 97.7 ppg on the road this year, but just 91.2 ppg in their last 6 away from home, plus they have allowed 91.1 in their last 10 games overall (regulation only). Boston comes in struggling on offense, having averaged just 88 ppg (regulation) in their last 6 games overall. Defensively Boston has been stout of late, allowing just 89.8 ppg in their ast 13 games during regulation, plus they allow just 93.2 ppg at home on the year. Miami can score some points, but they also have taken too many days off offensively off late and that should allow Boston’s defense to keep their scoring down. Should be a tough defensive battle with around 180 points being scored.


Oklahoma City -3 over LAKERS: Are the Lakers back yet? Well they are playing better, but they are not in the same class as the Thunder yet. Despite playing better the Lakers have gone just 1-4 in their last 5 games and have struggled on offense over that stretch, putting up just 94.2 ppg. That won't get it done vs the leagues leading scoring team. The Thunder score 105.9 ppg and are just not a team that many can slow down. the Lakers have been better on defense of late, but have still been inconsistent, allowing 99 points ot more in 3 of gheir last 5 games. Statement game for the Thunder here. They have edges at both ends of the floor and should win this one by at least 8 points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday January, 27

Charlie Scott

Michigan vs. Illinois
Play: Under 

I expect Michigan to control the pace of this game, and the slower the pace the better for Michigan. Illinois offense is basically having their quality Guards jack up 3's some good, some bad. Both Teams will give a good effort on defense.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday January, 27

AC Sports Advisors

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles
Play: Los Angeles Lakers   

It is Sunday in LA everybody who is anybody is going to this game and it is Nationally televised, This is the Lakers last stand if they can't get this one the air in the balloon is going to burst. so look for LA to play a good game and win this one out right.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday January, 27

Harry Bondi

IOWA (+3) over Purdue

It's important to look closely not only at the results of games but the quality of the opposition. One of the reasons we had NC State as our Lock of the Month over North Carolina yesterday was that although the Tarheels had won three straight, it was against the weakest teams in the ACC. We knew the Wolfpack had a big talent edge for the first time in years and would be ready to take it to their in-state rival. Wolfpack blew out to a 20 point lead and then got lazy but held on for the 91-83 win and cover. Similar situation in today's free game. Purdue has played well against the dregs of the Big 10 but gotten pounded by the good teams. Hawkeyes are only 2-4 in the Big 10 but those loses were to seventh-ranked Indiana, second-ranked Michigan, 13th-ranked Michigan State, and 14th-ranked Ohio State. Despite starting three freshmen and a sophomore, Iowa is a good team and has been Wisconsin and Northwestern similar quality teams to the Boilermakers. Hawkeyes are undefeated when they score more than 70 points and they will be able to get that against a mediocre defensive team this afternoon at Mackey Arena. Take the better team plus the points!

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NHL Predictions

Ottawa Senators +106

The Penguins have lose two straight games to open the season 2-2. Their losses came against Winnipeg and Toronto and the Penguins managed just 2 goals in each of those games. They are in Ottawa to take on the Senators who are 3-1 on the season, with their lone loss on Friday in Tampa Bay. The Senators have scored 3+ goals in each of their 4 games, and their expected starter Craig Anderson is 3-0 with a 0.67 GAA and .976 SV %. Marc-Andre Fleury is 1-1 with a 3.01 GAA and .882 SV%. Ottawa took 3 of their 4 meetings with Pittsburgh last year including both games in Ottawa, and they've been the better team so far this year.


New Jersey Devils -104

The defending Eastern Conference champs are 3-0 to start the year with wins over Washington, Philadelphia, and New York Islanders. Montreal is 2-1 with two straight wins vs Florida and Washington and their loss coming to Toronto. These two teams met 4 times last year with New Jersey winning the last three going 3-1. The Devils are actually 12-2 in their last 14 games in Montreal and 39-14-3 in their last 56 meetings with the Canadiens. Note that the Devils are 19-7 in their lsat 26 vs Eastern Conference opponents while the Canadiens are just 6-15 in their last 21 vs the East. This should be a good game with two hot goalies, but I like the Devils to stay undefeated.


Tampa Bay Lightning -134

Philadelphia has won two straight games since starting 0-3 to move themselves to a respectable 2-3 to open the year. They played last night and beat an injured Panthers team easily by a score of 7-1. Tonight will be a different game as they head into Tampa Bay to take on a hot Lightning team. The Lightning are 3-1 to start the year with 19 goals scored in 4 games. They are 2-0 at home with wins over Washington and Ottawa where they scored 6 goals in each. Tampa Bay took 3 of their 4 meetings last season, including 5-1 and 2-1 wins in Tampa Bay. Note that Philadelphia is 2-6 in their last 8 on 0 days rest and are 3-7 in their last 10 in the third game of a 3 games in 4 days situation. Tampa Bay is 6-2 in their last 8 vs the Flyers and I expect another big home win tonight for the Lightning.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Sunday January, 27

Charlie Sports

Atlanta Hawks at New York Knicks
Play: Atlanta Hawks

The (25-18) Atlanta Hawks of the Eastern Conference Southwest division will take on the (26-15) New York Knicks of the Eastern Conference Atlantic division in 2013 NBA action. Atlanta has won their last 3 NBA games straight up and are 5-4-1 Against The spread their last 10 overall. The New York Knicks were lost by 17 points last night at Philadelphia and have covered 4 of their last 5 ATS vs Atlanta. Atlanta gets the road cover.

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James Patrick Sports

Penguins vs. Senators
Play: Over

This is the third game in four days for the Senators and the team's website reported a standing-room crowd attended the Penguins practice Saturday at Bell Sensplex in Ottawa. Last season, Ottawa won the final three of four matchups by combined score of (19-9). The Over is (7-1) in the last (8) meetings in Ottawa, (5-0) in Senators last (5) Sunday games and (16-6-4) in Penguins last (26) road games.

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Hollywood Sports

Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Clippers
Prediction: Portland Trail Blazers

These two faced off yesterday in Portland with the Trail Blazers (22-21) pulling the 101-100 upset as a 1-point underdog. Portland should build off their momentum here as they have covered the point spread in 4 of their last 5 games after a victory. The Trail Blazers have also covered the point spread in 4 straight games on the road. And in their last 9 games against teams with a winning percentage over 60%, Portland is 8-0-1 ATS. Los Angeles (32-13) has failed to cover the spread in 8 of their last 10 games after a loss. The Clippers have also failed to cover the spread in 4 straight games after a point spread defeat. Additionally, Los Angeles has failed to cover the spread in their last 4 games at home in the Staples Center. Take the points with Portland in this one.

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