Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, December 2

Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, December 2

River City Sharps

Florida +4.5

In a matchup of perennial powers, UConn hosts Florida tonight in a National TV game that looks to be a great matchup. UConn is undefeated this season at 7-0, while Florida has one blemish on their record with an early loss to Wisconsin. The Gators did nab a nice win this weekend over in-state rival Florida State and we think this looks to be a really good matchup for Florida. The reason is because UConn has been outrebounded in three straight games and is allowing an average of 14.7 offensive rebounds on the season. The Huskies surrendered 20 to Loyola - which had totaled just 12 over its previous two games. That is a strength for Florida,who have outrebounded each of their last five opponents while averaging 14 offensive rebounds. We think this one comes down to the end and we like Florida to cover this number, if not win the game outright.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, December 2

Jeff Scott Sports

2 UNIT PLAY

New Orleans/ Seattle Over 47.5: I will probably be in the minority, but I like the Over in this one. I see a shootout here. Drew Brees is having another great year and this game is huge for the saints so I really expect them to do what they do best and that is throw the ball all over the field. Now yes the Seahawks are tops in the league vs the pass, but they have played vs just one offense that was ranked higher than 13th in passing this year. The have not faced a passing offense even close to the Saints this year and they will be facing it with out their two best corners. The Saints will get their points in this one and that means the Seahawks have to score in order to keep up, so i look for them to open up their play book and put up some points on a Saints defense that has played pretty well this year, but could be in for a clunker tonight. The Seahawks have put up 32.4 ppg at home, so I do expect them to get their fair share as well. I look for a 31-24 type game in this one.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, December 2

DAVE COKIN

AUBURN VS IOWA STATE
PLAY: IOWA STATE -17.5

I generally don’t get involved with many big number games. But tonight’s clash between Auburn and Iowa State looks like one where laying the lumber might not be a bad idea.

Auburn is leaving its home court for the first time and Ames, Iowa isn’t exactly paradise for visiting teams. The Cyclones are off to a great start at 5-0, and they’re giving some serious indications they might be a legit Top 25 team this season.

Iowa State is certainly not going to be sneaking up on anyone this year. The Cyclones are off a a 23-12 season that included a Big Dance win over Notre Dame, and they’ve set their sights even higher this season. In spite of the fact this team lost some key elements to graduation, they have to be included on the short list of Big 12 contenders.

Auburn is out of the gate at 4-1, but this is not a good basketball team. I’ve got the Tigers pegged as the worst team in the SEC and their problems should begin tonight. Actually, Auburn is fortunate to have the record they do so far, as they were at least a little lucky to get wins against Murray State and Tennessee State.

Auburn is a fairly big team, but they’re simply not very skilled. The outside shooting has been dismal. The Tigers have done a good job of getting to the foul line, but that was accomplished in home game against lesser opposition.

Iowa State has the two close wins against Michigan and BYU, but the Cyclones hammered their three lesser opponents by 33, 30 and 59 points. Those are the types of wins you want to see when considering spotting a big number, as it indicates some killer instinct.

I see this game as a mismatch for the most part. The scheduling is no problem as the Cyclones have had a full week off and should be ready to push the ball tonight. Auburn will likely try to turn this into a little more of a grinder, but the fact they weren’t able to do so against racehorse Northwestern State in a 111-92 loss is a bad indicator.

Iowa State should have it all their way tonight. There’s always some concern that the big chalk goes into coast mode once they’re safely ahead, but I don’t see that happening here. Look for a blowout win and cover by the Cyclones.

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SPORTS WAGERS

SEATTLE -5 over New Orleans

The Saints may appear to be appealing taking back these points but a close look says they are not. The Saints are not a good road team. They’ve played just five road games and while they do have three wins, none of them were impressive. One of those victories came in Tampa Bay by two points, one came in Chicago that was close throughout and the other came in Atlanta by four points. The Saints two road losses occurred at the Jets and New England. Drew Brees is plenty prolific every week but he's never as good on the road as he is at home. In New Orleans he's scored 20 times over six home games but on the road it is just nine over the five away venues and this will be his toughest test to date. The Seahawks have not allowed more than two passing scores to anyone this year and at home Chad Henne's 235 yards was the only time a visitor passed for more than 200 yards. There have been runners with success in Seattle but they were always attached to bad teams - JAC and TB - when Seattle just mailed in the win. The Saints also have to worry about being just one game ahead of the Panthers with both meetings coming in weeks 14 and 16. What happens this week is less important than what happens in the two meetings with the Panthers.

When the Seahawks win at home and they always do (5-0 this season), they almost always win by a big margin. Aside from a three-point win over a Buccaneers squad that the Seahawks took lightly, their other home wins have been by 26, 28, 7 and 21 points, respectively.  The Saints rank well against the pass but have played some really bad offenses along the way that has their defensive numbers skewed. The Seahawks are down two cornerbacks with Brandon Browner suspended for a year and Walter Thurmond III out for four weeks on his own suspension and that may cause some people concern in playing the Seahawks. Don’t be among that group, as the Saints use their wideouts very little in road games and that’s not likely to change here. This venue is the toughest in the NFL for incoming teams to emerge victorious and on a Monday Night, you can double the difficulty. Lay the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, December 2

SPORTS WAGERS

PORTLAND +111 over Indiana

Indiana's numbers have been so good this season they look like a mistake. We still have 80 percent of the regular season left to play, but the first fifth has been thoroughly, masterfully and undeniably dominated by the Pacers. Indiana improved to 16-1 with Sunday's victory over the Clippers. The starting five of George Hill, Lance Stephenson, Paul George, David West and Roy Hibbert dominate for long stretches in every game. Unlike other star-studded teams, Indiana is composed of role players who happen to be really, really good at their roles. Hibbert might be the best defensive center in the league. West plays the roles of enforcer and vocal leader to perfection. George, the team's star, might be the best two-way player in the league. Stephenson is blossoming into a breathtaking playmaker. And Hill remains the steady, reliable hand at point guard. However, the Pacers have beaten up on a lot of weak Eastern teams. They lost to Chicago on the road by 16 and were also taken to OT by the Knicks at MSG. They sure didn’t have an easy time of it last night playing against the Clippers either. Not to take anything away from the Pacers but in case you hadn’t noticed, the Blazers have been almost as good playing a much tougher, West dominated schedule.

Portland is 14-3 overall. They are 4-0 on zero days rest and played last night in L.A against the Lakers. Wesley Matthews is benefiting from teams keying in on LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard by hitting a ridiculous 51 percent of his three-pointers and leading the league in true shooting percentage (70.5). The Trail Blazers have won 12 of their past 13 games and it’s time they started to be considered among the best. A 14-3 team that has lost one game at home this season is rarely a dog in their own barn and probably shouldn’t be. Give the Blazers at least a 50% chance of winning here.

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SPORS WAGERS

MONTREAL -½ +103 over New Jersey

Regulation only. We like the Devils and think of them as one of the more undervalued teams in the league. However, when the powers within, whether it be the coach or GM, insist on using Martin Brodeur instead of Cory Schneider that value is completely gone. Perhaps the Devils are doing Brodeur a courtesy for putting this team on the map and being a huge reason why they have two Cups under their belt. If that’s the case, fine but we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again that Schneider gives the Devils a significantly better chance of winning and it’s not close. Brodeur is slow, he’s old and it’s ludicrous that he plays more than Schneider. Brodeur has a 2.19 ERA in 15 games played this season and that looks solid on paper. However, he’s faced just 368 total shots, which is an average of just eight shots on net per period or 24 a game. His very average .910 save % tells the real story of a goaltender that plays on a great defensive team that doesn’t its goalie to surrender five goals or more because of the lack of scoring opportunities. The Devils allow the least amount of shots on net in the entire league but Brodeur has allowed nine goals against in the last 77 shots fired his way. Furthermore, the Devils offense creates the least amount of scoring chances in the NHL and they are dead last in the league in shots on goal per game with an average of 24.

Meanwhile, Carey Price is one of the best in the game and that gives the Canadiens a huge edge in net. Huge. Additionally, the Habs are playing outstanding hockey right now with 11 out of a possible 12 points over their past six games and 16 out of a possible 20 points over their past 10. Over their past three home games, Montreal has outscored Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Toronto by a count of 13-6 and now get an opportunity to fire away on the worst goaltender in the game today.

Philadelphia +131 over MINNESOTA

OT included. The Minnesota Wild has one regulation win over their past seven games. That lone victory (4-3) occurred against Ottawa in a game the Wild were outshot 37-25. Minnesota has lost four straight. Over that span the Wild have scored four goals. Their 68 goals this season ranks them dead last in the Western Conference. The Wild play a strong defensive game but they have one outstanding line and three other lines that are far below average. As a significant favorite in poor form, the Wild have little appeal.

In the first 15 games of the season the Flyers scored a total of 22 goals. No team in NHL history had scored fewer goals in that span at the start of a season. Entering this one, the Flyers have scored 34 goals in their last 10 games, an average of 3.40 per contest, nearly triple their early-season output. Since that slow start in the first 15 games, the Flyers have averaged 34 shots on net per game and that coincides with their recent success of eight wins and 1 OT loss over their past 11 games. The Flyers checking line of center Sean Couturier along with Steve Downie and Matt Read has been one the NHL’s best lines since they were put together following the acquisition of Downie. Not only is that trio producing points but they are also keeping the opposition’s best line at bay. That bodes well here, as Craig Berube will have them out there all night against Minnesota’s only scoring line. Regardless of outcome, all the value here is on the Flyers, a team that is shooting up the standings, is in much better form than the Wild and that is playing with great skill and confidence.   

Pass CBB

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, December 2

Wunderdog

Mercer at Oklahoma
Pick: Under 161

Oklahoma is off to a 5-1 start with the sole blemish an 11 point defeat to #1 Michigan State. They have enjoyed the up tempo style, and face a Mercer team off a game that finished 117-108 in overtime. Mercer has shown the desire to run vs. the weak teams on the schedule, but they have gone to battle with two BCS conference opponents in Seton Hall and Texas, and they slowed things down considerably. Mercer was 56-56 vs. the Hall before overtime, and finished with a total of 149 points scored against Texas. The Sooners are 10-2 to the UNDER after 90+ in their last game, and 5-0 to the UNDER after 100+. Mercer has to slow this one down, make the play on the UNDER.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, December 2

Andre Gomes

Orlando Magic +7

Nene Hilario returned to the team and of course, with that Washington's offense improved big time once again. The Wizards had just scored 73 points at Indiana the night before without him, but with Nene back in the lineup, the Wizards had a great offensive game against Atlanta. Their pick and rolls, spot ups and transitions worked well, but then their starters were on the floor for a very heavy number of minutes! On the other side, Orlando didn't stand a chance against San Antonio, even though they were playing without Tony Parker. The Spurs' depth and confidence were the key for this game, besides the fact that Tim Duncan had finally a big game with 8-13 FG, 3-3 FT, 19 points and 9 rebounds in 23 minutes, while also stopping Nikola Vucevic, who had just 4-12 FG and 8 turnovers! In fact, Orlando ended the game with 0-7 FG on post ups, which shows the Magic's inability to score near the basket against the Spurs' elite rim defense. On the other hand, the Magic's perimeter shooting was at a nice level, but that wasn't enough to beat the Spurs.

For tonight's game, I believe Orlando will be more competitive because Washington's interior defense has nothing to do with the Spurs. If San Antonio is allowing 57% FG at the rim and 38.5% FG from 4-9 feet, Washington is allowing 64% FG and 43% FG in those areas! Another important factor has to do with the bench. If the Magic hang around with the Spurs' starters and only San Antonio's bench outplayed them, things will be different with Washington's poor bench, who won't outplay anybody. Therefore, I expect a close game in here and so, I'll be taking the Magic tonight.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, December 2

Harry Bondi

New Orleans / Seattle Over 47.5

What a match-up on Monday night! Saints head coach Sean Payton knows his defense is not good enough to shut down Seattle's offense so the only way he can win this game is in a shootout. Seahawks have a number of back-ups starting in the secondary because of injuries and drug suspensions so we expect Drew Brees to test them early and often. Throughout his coaching career, Sean Peyton has always tried to win games in which his team is an underdog in a shootout. Saints are 8-0 to the over the last 8 times they have been underdogs including going over in their only underdog role this year prior to tonight's game a 30-27 shootout loss to New England. Seahawks have averaged 33 points at home this year and will be able to score at least that at home tonight. Go Over.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, December 2

Red Dog Sports

UC-Irvine vs. California    
Play: UC-Irvine +8

Take UCI +8 as Cal is off a trip to Hawaii last week where they lost 2 of 3 games against decent teams. Cal only beat Oakland at home by 64-60 earlier in November. UCI is led by Ndiaye, Young, Nelson, McNealy and Will Davis who all average between 9 and 12.2 points per game. Look for UCI to be motivated against a Pac 12 team that is off 3 games in 3 days in the islands of Hawaii.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, December 2

Bruce Marshall

Indiana Pacers at Portland Trailblazers
Pick: Indiana Pacers

Who would have pegged this a matchup of the hottest teams in the league a month ago? Maybe Indiana's inclusion would have been no surprise, but Portland continues to excel, its win streak at 11 (9-2 vs. line in those game) prior to Nov. 27 tilt at Phoenix. Pacers will have to pay attention to LaMarcus Aldridge, who had totaled 48 points and 35 rebounds despite shooting 14 for 41 in his last two games thru Nov. 26. But not sure we want to buck the equally-hot Pacers, who, after ranking 10th with 94.4 ppg allowed in 2011-12 and second with 90.7 last season, have been better while giving up a league-best 87.4 this year. The Pacers also top the NBA with a 39.2 defensive field-goal percentage, well below last year's league-leading mark of 42.0. Indiana won 13 of 14 to open a season for the first time in franchise history, including its ABA days with Mel Daniels & Co.

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Mid-Major Matt

Wright State at Morehead State
Pick: Morehead State -3

Morehead State hosts Wright State in an intriguing battle of mid major teams. The Eagles are 6-3 and are returning home after a weekend in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Invitational. Morehead has won two of their last three and is 2-0 at home with wins over Mid-Continent and Marshall. They have been tested with games against Xavier and UCLA already this season. Angelo Warner leads four double digit scorers this season putting up 17.3 points per game. Wright State is 5-3 out of the Horizon League. The Raiders begin the first of four on the road. SO far they've lost away from home to Georgetown, DePaul and South Alabama. Wright State is led by AJ Pacher who scores 11.4 points per game. They have failed to cover in all five of their lined games this season. Meanwhile, Morehead State has covered in four of six. Last year, Wright State held to form at home beating Morehead 66-57. The Eagles get revenge and the win on Monday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday, December 2

OC Dooley

Blazers +1.5

For those who follow the NBA visiting Indiana (16-1) has been an amazing story, but tonight’s line is near a pick-em due to the fact that Portland (14-3) on a much quieter level is off to an excellent start as well.  The difference between these two sides comes on offense where the Pacers are averaging just 97 points per game and will have problems keeping up with a Blazers attack that is led by reigning rookie-of-the-year and sensational point guard Damien Lillard.  Portland as a team are hitting more than 41% percent of their long range attempts from behind the three-point stripe.  For the entire season to date after playing a game on the road, Portland has made investors (8-1 ATS) a fortune.  I will admit that Indiana has also been sensational (7-1 against the spread on the road) where it counts, but they have faced only ONE team that currently has an above .500 record which makes “strength of schedule” the key with this particular pick.

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