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Jim Feist Comp

Kansas State vs Baylor
Pick: Baylor

The Kansas State Wildcats (17-8) have a good overall record...but not on the road, where they are 3-4. The Wildcats are 7-16 ATS in their last 23 road games and 0-8 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning record. It won't get any easier against a Baylor club that is 39th in the nation in scoring (75 ppg) and 31st in assists. Baylor shoots .481% as a team, 23rd in the nation, tops in Big 12 in three point shooting (38.9%), behind 6-11 sophomore Perry Jones (13.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 51%), 6-9 freshman Quincy Miller (12 ppg, 5 rpg) and 6-6 senior Quincy Acy (7 rgp) up front, with junior G Pierre Jackson (12.6 ppg, 5.8 apg) running the break. These teams met January 10th as Baylor won 75-73 at K-State, shooting 53%. Winning at home will be much easier; Play Baylor!
 
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Matt Fargo Comp

Texas vs. Oklahoma State
Play: Oklahoma St +2.5

Oklahoma St. does not possess the same home floor strength as in year's past but it is still pretty solid. The Cowboys are 9-3 at home this season and those three losses were actually pretty respectable as it started with a six-point loss against Virginia Tech and then an eight-point loss against Kansas St. and closing with a four-point loss against Baylor. Oklahoma St. does have strong home wins against Missouri and Iowa St. so it is more than capable of pulling off another big one. Texas has won four straight games after losing five of six games previous to that so it has picked a good time to pick up its game. The Longhorns are still pretty suspect in my opinion as they have been involved in a lot of close games and while they have been on the right side of the majority of those, this is not the dominating team we have seen in the past. Texas is a not tournament lock either as it is projected as a number 11 seed. This is not a must win though as it will not be a quality win nor will it be a non-quality loss. This game should mean a lot more to Oklahoma St. as the Cowboys will be out to avenge an earlier loss in Texas. The Cowboys offense is not a strong unit this season but they were held to 49 points in that first meeting which is their lowest point total on the season and teams take that personally. Since head coach Travis Ford took over as head coach at Oklahoma St., the Cowboys have a 52-8 record at home. Of those eight losses, six have been against ranked Big XII opponents and Texas does not fall into that category. Oklahoma St. has been playing solid defense and one big factor in its favor is its free throw shooting which can often make or break a game, or in our case, a cover. The Cowboys are second in the Big XII and 21st in the country in free throw percentage at 75.6 percent. In conference games only, that percentage improves to 81.9 percent, which leads the Big XII. Oklahoma St. is 4-0 ATS in its last four games following a non cover while Texas is 3-10 ATS in its last 13 games against teams with a losing record.
 
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David Chan Comp

Stars @ Coyotes
PICK: Under

The 29-25-3 Dallas Stars storm into Phoenix to take on the 28-21-9 Coyotes.

Dallas is coming off a 3-2 win over Calgary on Thursday.

The victory snapped a 1-3-1 slide.

Mike Ribeiro got the go-ahead goal:

“That was unbelievable, what an unbelievable individual effort by him. He’s so gifted, so talented,” Steve Ott said about Ribeiro’s amazing move to capitalize. “That was just phenomenal. I’m still in awe. I thought I blacked out on the bench.”

Ott had a powerplay goal; Adam Burish also scored.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 25-shots.

“It’s so ridiculously tight, the standings now,” Ott said. “Obviously, those cliches, playoff games the rest of the way, it’s so true. Those extra points become so valuable to make the playoffs. Last season we missed by one point and this year, we need to find a way to continue to stay in the race with those five or six teams we’re battling with. This one brought us a step closer.”

The Coyotes are coming off a 1-0 win over the Kings on Thursday.

Mike Smith continues to shine, and had 28-saves:

“We’re deserving to win right now,” Smith said. “At the start of the season, maybe we lost some games we didn’t deserve to win. But right now we’re finding ways to win, and we’re doing it the right way. That makes it feel that much better. It was another great job in front of me.”

It was Smith's fourth shutout of the year.

Whenever these divisional foes face off against each other, it's been a tight, rough affair, as evidenced by the fact that the O/U is 0-4-1 in their last five in the series.

All signs point to another low-scoring affair!
 
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DOM CHAMBERS COMP

For my free selection, let’s take a look at the Los Angeles Clippers to cover against the San Antonio Spurs.

There is no denying the Spurs are on a nice run. They have won 9 in a row and it was not for “Lin-sanity,” they would be the talk of the league. But the Spurs have been flying under the radar. During the nine-game winning streak, there was a nice win against Oklahoma City, but since the Spurs have gone on the road, they have beaten the likes of Toronto, Detroit and New Jersey. We are talking about the bottom feeders of the league.

Now, they head to Los Angeles and face the Clippers.

That’s going to be a tough task.

There have been times the Clippers have been erratic this season, but at home, they are solid. The Clippers are 11-3 straight up at home and 10-4 ATS. It is going to be difficult for the Spurs.

The Clippers may not have won nine in a row, but have won four of their last five games. They rallied for a win over Portland on the road. The Rose Garden is one of the more difficult venues to win on the road. The Clippers will be glad to be home. The Clippers are 4-1 straight up in their last five games and 4-0-1 ATS.

It’s going to be hard for the Spurs to keep their winning streak going.

The Spurs beat the Clippers, 115-90 on Dec. 28. In that game, Manu Ginobili scored 24 points. He just got back from his injury and is still betting back in basketball shape. Plus, back in December, the Clippers were still trying to get it together with its new pieces. They are more comfortable with Chris Paul and are playing better as a team.

Take the Clippers.

3♦ CLIPPERS
 
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CHRIS JORDAN COMP

So let's get this straight, on a weekend where the top mid-majors in the country are taking a break from non-conference play for some buster event that may or may not open the eyes of the Selection Committee next month, a team like the UCLA Bruins have decided to leave Los Angeles for a non-conference game of their own.

Normally I wouldn't think anything of this.

Not if the Bruins were traveling 284 miles to Las Vegas to take on the UNLV Runnin' Rebels or something. Or maybe 135 miles south to San Diego to take on the San Diego State Aztecs

But this famed program, in the third week of February, roughly two weeks before the post-season tournament, the Bruins are traveling cross country to take on a rugged and scrappy Big East team in Manhattan.

From door-to-door, Pauley Pavilion to Madison Square Garden: 2,811 miles.

That's a jaunt. And quite frankly, it's the main reason I like the home underdog in this situation. I don't think UCLA can travel to the East coast an take on a team out of a conference I feel is much better than the Pacific 12.

The other factor is St. John's coach Steve Lavin, who used to coach UCLA is still in recovery from prostate cancer and was in attendance for practices this week with an upbeat attitude, reminding his players where his heart is now. He had just returned from here in Las Vegas and coincidentally L.A., for recruiting visits, and now his players can prove why Queens, New York is a better place to play than UCLA.

Though he'll be watching from a luxury box, his presence will be felt and I think his players will respond against what I think will be a travel-weary squad.

Take the home pup.
1♦ ST. JOHN'S
 
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SEAN MICHAELS COMP

Being here in Vegas I'm obviously a Runnin' Rebels follower. Now I didn't attend Tuesday's game against TCU (it was Valentine's Day after all, and I assure you I had better things to do that night that watch college hoops!), but I did watch the game later on tape. Talk about a total collapse. Up by 18, the Rebs lost 102-97 in overtime.

How do you lose a game when you shoot 53 percent from the field, hitting 48 percent of your three's? That's easy, just get hammered on the boards 46-31 like UNLV did as the Horned Frogs dominated on the offensive glass especially with 19 extra caroms. No surprise TCU held a 19-8 advantage in second chance points.

Now UNLV is faced with the prospect of heading to the Pitt in Albuquerque to take on the Lobos, who are seeking revenge for an 80-63 loss here in town back on January 21. That's one of only two losses New Mexico has suffered in its last 21 games. The other came against San Diego State and the Steve Alford's club just paid back the Aztecs for that one with a solid 77-67 road rout on Thursday night behind Drew Gordon's 17-point, 17-rebound effort.

I was at the first meeting between these two. UNLV shot lights out, hitting 52 percent from the field. The Rebels hassled New Mexico defensively all night, forcing 21 turnovers. But that was here on the strip. On the conference road, the Rebels are nothing special, losing by two at Wyoming and three at San Diego State while barely winning by two at Air Force and five at Boise, needing overtime to secure both victories.

New Mexico is playing with confidence. And the Lobos have a rotation that goes 10 deep. That's so important this late in the conference campaign. UNLV's confidence had to be shaken after Tuesday's collapse against TCU. With revenge at stake, and first place on the line, I've got to lay the five points or so with the hotter team, and that's the Lobos.
4♦ NEW MEXICO
 
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MATT RIVERS COMP

Bonus Play on the Maryland Terrapins as the road dog at Virginia.

The Cavaliers have lost three of their last four, as Tony Bennett's club is stuck on 19 wins coming into today's tricky game against Maryland.

The Terrapins may have lost point-guard Pe'Shon Howard, but that didn't stop them from rolling a Boston College team that had been playing competitive ball last time out.

Maryland has won outright in three of the last four series meetings, and with the points today they should be golden once again.

Virginia sets the tone with their defense, so unless the Cavaliers are going to erupt for a big number today, it is going to be hard for them to pull away from the capable Terps this afternoon.

The Cavaliers are just 4-5 against the spread in Charlottesville this year, so look for Maryland plus the points to keep it closer than expected against UVa in this ACC battle.
3? MARYLAND
 
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SCOTT DELANEY COMP

My free winner for today is on the Missouri Tigers, as they visit Reed Arena in College Station, Texas to take on the Texas A&M Aggies. And even though the jungle stripes have struggled on the road this season, I trust they're going to be able to come in here and maul the tamed-bulls today, with a balanced effort at both ends of the court.

Missouri comes in riding a six-game win streak, including this past Wednesday's rout of the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who saw the Tigers push a second-half lead to almost 35 in an 83-65 win over the Cowboys, who were the last team to beat Mizzou, back on Jan. 25.

But this past Wednesday we saw exactly what I expect today - the team's incredibly amazing team balance, as five players scored in double figures.

Today the Tigers have a chance to expose an A&M team that has struggled recently, even though it just snapped a four-game losing skid with a 47-38 road win at Texas Tech on Tuesday. But still, I mean, 48 points... really? I don't think that'll be good enough to hang with the third-ranked team in the nation.

This would be a monumental win for Missouri's senior class, as it's never won inside Reed Arena. I'm not saying it's going to be simple, but it's not difficult with the way the Tigers have been playing, either. Thus, this would be a huge boost for motivation, as they'd be able to notch a win in a rival arena the program hasn't won since 2001, plus shake some road woes.

Give me the road chalk in this one, as Missouri gets it done.
1♦ MISSOURI
 
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JEFF BENTON COMP

Your Saturday freebie is the Cincinnati Bearcats at home over Seton Hall.

No doubt the Hall is a dangerous team, as Seton Hall appears to be blowing hot once again, as the Pirates have followed a six game losing streak with wins in each of their last three games to improve to 18-8 for the season.

Cincinnati also stands at 18-8 for the season, as both teams are looking for the elusive invite into the Big Dance in less than a month. I am leaning towards the Bearcats to hold serve at home this afternoon, as Seton Hall has been inconsistent on the Big East road, losing four of their last five conference road games straight up, while covering only twice in those five games.

The Bearcats did win and cover the last series meeting on their home floor versus Seton Hall, and have claimed two of the three series meetings both straight up and against the spread at home versus the Pirates.

Must win for both in my mind, but only one can claim that win, and it will be Cincinnati that gets the much-needed "W" today in the Queen City.
1♦ CINCINNATI
 
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CRAIG DAVIS COMP

Tonight's Bonus Play is on Arkansas over Florida at home in the barn.

This one is pretty simple if you ask me. Look, I realize Florida is a very good basketball team and could make a deep run in the tournament, but they are running into a team today playing for their post-season lives... a team that is an amazing 17-1 at home.

It's funny, because if you look at their overall and conference record, you wouldn't believe they were as good as they are at home... but it's true. They've won games recently vs. LSU, Michigan, South Carolina, Vandy and Auburn were their last five home wins, and although it's not the greatest resume, they beat two ranked teams (Vandy and Michigan).

Florida has had its fair share of struggles on the road, posting just a 3-5 overall road record, including losses at Tennessee and Rutgers. They haven't had a ton of tough road games in conference because the SEC is down, but this might be the toughest game they've had on the road aside from Kentucky.

The home team is 9-1 SU and 8-2 ATS the last 10 meetings between these two and I see no reason for that not to continue. Take Arkansas at home to cover this number... even if they don't win... as your Bonus Play of the day.
3? ARKANSAS
 
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CHUCK O'BRIEN COMP

Wichita State is one the nation's hottest teams right now, and even though Davidson has 'been there-done that,' I love what coach Gregg Marshall is doing right now with the Shockers and will take a look at them as my Bonus Play today.

The Shockers beat No. 11 UNLV by 19 earlier this season, and also defeated Creighton by 21 last Saturday. I do know the Wildcats have a road win against No. 4 Kansas in Kansas City, Mo., but overall this isn't about the non-conference wins to me right now. This is more about which team has had a bit more of a trying conference schedule, and I'd have to say that's been Wichita State.

I mean, let's face it, the Wildcats are in off an 82-54 rout of Samford while the Shockers upended a respectable Missouri State team by a final of 73-58. The Missouri Valley Conference, albeit still a mid-major league, is bigger and better than the SoCon.

Wichita State has outscored opponents 78-63 this season and has been a consistent and dependable model of near-perfection from all comers of the court. And what's great about this team is it has the ability to shoot it out in an uptempo game, or D it up and play tight against physical teams. Against Missouri State Wednesday, the Shockers nailed 59.5 percent of their shots, including 11-of-19 from long-range.

Davidson has been the team with the reputation of a team that can put the ball in the basket, as it averages 79 points on 45 percent shooting. The difference in this game is the Wildcats aren't going to find it as easy to outdistance their foe. They're used to giving up points, but generally it has been a non issue with big leads, as eleven conference games have been decided by more than double digits. Wichita, however, doesn't give up big leads; it paces games.

I personally believe the Shockers are much more balanced with their ability to play defense, which Davidson doesn't have.

And while the Wildcats are mired in ATS slides of 9-22 ATS on Saturdays and 1-5 in their last six non-conference games, the Shockers are in on ATS streaks of 4-1 five games winning teams, 5-2 after an ATS win and 7-3 after a straight-up win.

Play the Shockers.
1? WICHITA STATE
 
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Charlie Scott Comp

Wichita State vs. Davidson
Play: Under 150.5

Early start time + travel + a first time playing in new arena for Wichita St with a high Total all add up to playing UNDER. Wichita St plays very good defense & rebounds well, but struggles shooting from outside at times. While Davidson plays at a slower pace is sound fundamentally and will give a good effort on defense.
 
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Jimmy Boyd Comp

1 Unit Michigan +5.5

The Wolverines aren't getting the respect they deserve with this line. Ohio State won the season's first meeting by 15 points Jan. 29, but Michigan is a different team at home where it is 14-0 with a 12.5-point average margin of victory. Ohio State just lost to a Michigan State team at home by double digits that Michigan defeated on its home floor. This tells me the Wolverines can certainly get the job done tonight. Michigan has been a terrific investment at 36-17-1 ATS in its last 54 games overall. It is 34-16-1 ATS in its last 51 games as an underdog, 20-7 ATS in their last 27 home games and 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games as a home underdog. It is also worth noting that the Wolverines are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games as a home underdog of 6.5 points or less. Ohio State has been heavily overvalued in this series and is just 1-6 ATS in the last 7 meetings as a result despite going 6-1 SU. We'll take the points as Michigan has an excellent opportunity to win this one outright.
 
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Sam Martin Comp

San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers
Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers

San Antonio has been cruising through the first five games of their extended nine-game road trip, winning all five of those game and they come in with a nine-game winning streak overall. But all good things must come to an end eventually and we look for their winning streak to be snapped tonight against a very good home team in the Clippers. LA is coming off a rare game where they shot under 40% from the field - just the third time they've done that since December. And they've always responded well the following game, winning outright against Dallas as a home underdog and then beating Charlotte by 25 points in the two previous chances in this situation. LA is 11-3 straight up on their home court (10-4 ATS) and are playing very good defensively (three of last four opponents held to under 40% shooting), and that defensive effort should prove invaluable against a Spurs team that will start to wear down from this road trip. Clippers pull away late to a comfortable win!
 
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Scott Spreitzer Comp

Florida Atlantic at Middle Tennessee
Prediction: Middle Tennessee

It's senior night at Murphy Center and the Blue Raiders are hosting a struggling visitor. Mike Jarvis' Owls were expecting much bigger results this season, but instead they have disappointed and enter today's contest on a 0-7 ATS slide. FAU couldn't find open looks against the hard-nosed denial style defense of the Blue Raiders on January 14. MTSU won the game 67-54, holding the Owls to 14 of 45 shooting, while making 27 of 51 themselves. The results should be no surprise, MTSU is the SBC's top FG percentage team at both ends of the court. They enter this one with the full understanding that they can't slip up despite their 23-4 SU record. They're doing everything they can to garner a NCAA at-large bid. MTSU has had 6 days off since wrapping up the SBC East and will now look to put the clinching touches on the regular season Sun Belt title. The Raiders are a perfect 14-0 SU at home this season. They're 4-0 SU/ATS at home when laying less than 12 1/2 points, including a 68-56 win over SEC entry Ole Miss. MTSU is 7-0 SU in conference action, holding their SBC conference guests to 37.7% shooting, including 31.9% from behind the arc. And while the Blue Raiders take care of the rock, they have forced those 7 teams into 15.6 turnovers, while allowing just 8.3 assists per game. LaRon Dendy goes unmatched in this one and I expect his team to roll to a big win and cover. I'm laying the points with MTSU on Saturday.
 
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VEGAS EXPERTS

UNLV at New Mexico
Play: New Mexico

The Lobos probably own one of the top home court edges in the land at "The Pit" in Albuquerque, but lately it hasn't mattered where they play. The team is off a 77-67 win over San Diego State, their sixth straight win and cover. That puts New Mexico at an outstanding 17-4 ATS when laying points this season and we see that streak continuing here against a Rebels team off an OT loss at TCU (blew 18 pt lead), dropping them to 1-8 ATS away from Vegas this season. Lay the points.
 
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EZWINNERS COMP

Los Angeles Clippers -3

After being in eighth place in the West following a 101-100 overtime defeat at Dallas on January 29th, the Spurs (21-9) have won nine straight games to vault into second place in the West, one game ahead of Pacific Division leading Clippers (19-9). San Antonio had little trouble slowing down the Clippers in the first meeting between these two teams this season, a 115-90 home win on December 28th, but Griffin and Chris Paul have since had seven weeks to further develop their chemistry. This is a huge game for LA against the vetern Spurs who still need to prove they can beat good teams on the road. The young front court of "Lob City" is a tough match up for the Spurs and I look for the young Clippers to make a statement in this game. Lay the points.
 
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Sean Murphy Comp

Louisiana-Lafayette @ North Texas
PICK: North Texas -6

We won with North Texas in its 35-point rout of Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday, and we'll go right back to the well with the Mean Green Eagles on Saturday.

UNT continues to be one of the most undervalued commodities in college basketball, sporting a 15-4-1 ATS record this season, and a near perfect 11-0-1 ATS mark dating back to December 31st.

Teams in smaller conferences like the Sun Belt can fly under the radar for quite some time - it happens every year.

I'm not convinced that Louisiana-Lafayette is the team to stand in the way of North Texas' stellar ATS streak. The Ragin' Cajuns have dropped the cash in six of their last eight games, and as far as I'm concerned, they're not nearly as strong as their 9-5 Sun Belt record would seem to indicate.

Keep in mind, four of ULL's nine conference wins have come in overtime. The Ragin' Cajuns have taken care of business in the games they should on the road, but haven't had much success stepping up in class. Case in point, Thursday's 25-point loss at Denver.

There's no reason for North Texas to let its foot off the gas today, as it remains just 8-5 in Sun Belt play, a half-game behind ULL.

I really like what I've seen from the Mean Green Eagles here at home in conference play. Since opening with a loss against Arkansas-Little Rock, they've gone a perfect 6-0 ATS. Their only SU loss over that stretch came against Denver, one of the conference's best teams.

ULL has taken the last two meetings in this series, but keep in mind, both of those came at home. The last time the Ragin' Cajuns traveled to Denton, they were handed an 80-63 beatdown last January. This one might not be quite as lopsided, but I'm confident we'll see another excellent effort from a surging UNT squad.
 

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