Sunday 2/12/12 service plays chatter/comps/requests & gm strategy...

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VEGAS EXPERTS

Illinois at Michigan
Play: Michigan

With losses in five of its last six games, Illinois is fading fast in the Big 10. Their lone win during this stretch came by one point, at home, against Michigan State. Things are not likely to change course Sunday afternoon in Ann Arbor where the Illini is just 2-8 ATS last 10 visits. The host Wolverines are a perfect 13-0 at Chrisler Arena this season where they allow an average of just 54.1 PPG. Illinois is averaging only 63.8 PPG on the road this season.
 
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MARC LAWRENCE COMP

Washington @ Oregon State
PICK: Oregon State -3

Don’t look for OSU to play the perfect host here: Craig Robinson’s squad will be aching to get even for a 95-80 whipping administered by U-Dub at Seattle in late December. The Beavers were defenseless in that game, allowing six Washington players to score in double figures as the Huskies rolled to a 50-point first half. Our powerful database suggests a repeat performance is not likely as the visitors own a weak 9-17-2 ATS mark on the road versus a foe with same-season double-digit loss revenge. On the flip side, the Corvallis Crew has gone 17-7 ATS in the series when playing with two or more days rest and stood a profitable 6-3-1 ATS in home games this season. The Beavers also catch Washington in a big letdown off its showdown with Oregon. With Pac-12 scoring leader Jared Cunningham showing the way, OSU puts on an offensive clinic and sends the Huskies straight to the doghouse. We recommend a 1-unit play on Oregon State.
 
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BRYAN POWER
Bonus Play

Miami @ Atlanta
PICK: Miami -4

Of late, being the road team in this Southeast Division rivalry has been the way to go with the visitor taking five straight between Miami and Atlanta. The teams split a pair of games early last month with Miami winning on this floor as advertised, 116-109, avenging a 100-92 loss on their home floor just one week prior. The Heat were without both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade when they beat Atlanta. Therefore, look for the road team to make it six straight with the Heat laying just a short number Sunday evening at Phillips Arena against a Hawks team that went just 1-3 SU/ATS on its most recent home stand and is 3-7 SU/ATS L10 meetings overall with Miami. Atlanta is also 11-26 ATS off back to back wins.
 
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JIMMY BOYD COMP

1 Unit Washington Wizards +6

The Wizards have been awful this season, but the Pistons haven't been much better. Detroit certainly hasn't done anything to deserve laying this many points.

The Pistons took it to New Jersey last game, winning 109-92, but they are just 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games following a win of more than 10 points. The Pistons have been favored by 5 points or more twice this season and lost both of those games straight up. They are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall as a favorite.

There is also a rock solid system in our favor here. Consider that plays on underdogs that have been beaten by the spread by 54 or more total points in their last ten games, provided they are playing on Sunday, are 80-43 ATS since 1996. Teams fitting into this situation have been underdogs of 6.7 points on average but have only lost by an average of 3.7.

Basically, this system shows the way odds makers react to teams who aren't covering the number. The value increases with each ATS loss. Off 5 consecutive ATS defeats, and matched up against a Pistons squad off 5 consecutive ATS wins, the Wizards are showing value Sunday.
 
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JIM FEIST COMP

Rockets vs Warriors
Pick: Over

The Houston Rockets have been one of those teams this season that seem to play much looser defense on the road and then tighter up at home. Only four of the club's 13 home games have gone OVER while they have a 6-7 O/U mark on the road. This will be even more exaggerated tonight, as they play an up tempo Warriors team. Golden State has scored over 100 points in four straight games and six of their last seven. Golden State is ranked fourth in the NBA in scoring. But almost as important, the Warriors are dead last in points allowed in the NBA with a 100.9 average. Houston is sixth in the league in scoring and you couple that with Golden State's bad defense and high scores and it's a recipe for an OVER. I'm going OVER in this game on Sunday.
 
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MATT RIVERS COMP

Bonus Play winner this Sunday in the NBA on the Chicago Bulls as the road favorite in Boston.

Chicago is proving their younger legs are well-equipped for the rigors of this compressed season, as all they do is win.

The Bulls hit Beantown having won their last five games, and having covered in each of their last four wins. This will be the last of Chicago's massive nine game road trek, and they catch Boston having lost their last pair of games, including a rather shocking loss on Friday at Toronto.

The Celtics are just 7-10 against the spread at home this year, while the Bulls have gone a money-making 13-6 against the spread on the road this season.

Chicago has turned the tables on the aging C's, winning and covering the last three series meetings, including a nine-point win at home in early January.

Looks to me like the Bulls are the team to beat in the East Conference, and I don't see Boston being able to slow Chicago down.

Take the Bulls as the road chalk this Sunday.
4? CHICAGO
 
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DOM CHAMBERS COMP

For my free selection, let’s take a look at the Chicago Bulls to cover on the road against the Boston Celtics.

This is a case of two teams heading in opposite directions.

The Bulls are playing the finale of a nine-game road trip and have won their last five games. They won the last four games by at least 20 points each game.

And the Bulls whipped the Charlotte Bobcats without Derrick Rose. The status for Rose for today’s game is uncertain.

The Bulls have been on a roll even without Rose. And defense is the name of the game for the Bulls.

And that does not bode well for the Celtics, who have dropped two disappointing games. The Celtics are 1-10 when failing to score 88 points and they have not topped that plateau their last two games. And the Celtics may have a hard time scoring against the Bulls.

The Bulls are 14-5 on the road and 13-6 ATS. They have the league’s best record and need to keep the winning pace going because the Heat is not far behind and home-court advantage in the playoffs is a huge advantage.

At home, Boston is 10-7 straight up, but only 7-10 ATS.

The Celtics are in a scoring funk, averaging only 88.8 points in their last five games.

The Bulls, on the other hand, have been averaging 102.2 in their last five games.

Everything’s pointing to the Bulls having a big edge.

3♦ BULLS
 
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CHUCK O'BRIEN COMP

My free winner is on the Washington Wizards in Motown tonight, as I like the road points against the Detroit Pistons, who have won four straight on the wood and five straight at the window.

Streaks like that don't scare me when we're talking about crap teams.

Washington is 5-22 and Detroit is just 8-20. That means before this streak the Pistons were just 4-20.

So because the Pistons are streaking, they're suddenly a six-point favorite? I'm not falling for that, as Washington might be 1-6 SU and ATS the last seven meetings, but it's also due for shocking win.

The Wizards come in a bit more battle-tested in this clash of cellar dwellers, as they've played the Bulls, Magic, Clippers, Knicks and Heat over the course of the last seven games. On the other hand, the Pistons are streaking against the Nets, Hornets and Bucks. And in their past five games, they've played New Jersey three times.

Detroit is mired in ATS slides of 2-5 on Sundays, 3-10 when playing on one day's rest and 1-4 when laying points at home.

Take the road dog.
2♦ WASHINGTON
 
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CHRIS JORDAN COMP

My free winner is on the Atlanta Hawks catching points at home against the Miami Heat. Don't be surprised is the Hawks win this outright, in fact, I'm going to take them on the Moneyline, thinking they can get it done.

After all, the Hawks are 9-4 at home this season, and as I notice the road team has won this matchup five straight games, I have to believe it's time for that trend to be broken. The Heat come in for their third straight road game, after playing in Orlando on Wednesday and our nation's capital on Friday.

The Magic caught the Heat off-guard, the Wizards weren't so lucky. Today I have a feeling Atlanta will have their number.

The Hawks have won two straight, both on the hardwood and against the number. And in knowing what's at stake, they're going to put their best foot forward tonight at home, looking to steal one while keeping pace in the Southeast Division.

Atlanta has already been on top of this division, while the Heat were struggling, but it's now two games back of Miami. But it's also 5-1 in Southeast Division-play, and it's won five of its last eight.

And I wouldn't be too surprised if the Heat are a bit laid back tonight, as this is the first of three straight road games in as many days. Every team will be playing back-to-back-to-back nights this season - some of them doing it twice or three times this season. Miami plays in frigid Milwaukee tomorrow night, and Indianapolis on Tuesday.

Tonight the Heat take it easy, while Atlanta takes it to them. Play the Hawks on the Moneyline.
2♦ ATLANTA MONEYLINE
 
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DEREK MANCINI COMP

For today's Bonus Play I'm siding with the Warriors, as they host the suddenly surging Rockets in Sunday night action. Given how well Houston has played of late, 4-1 roll SUATS, this line sticks out like a sore thumb. Is this an error by the oddsmakers (by favoring Golden State) or is there something else going on here? Clearly, I believe the latter, and the fishy line is my first indication.

The second thing we have to look at is the Warriors recent win at Denver. This is a great sign for their backers because they've been awful on the road, and a solid win away should translate well at home tonight. The Warriors defense still allowed 100+ points, but they held Denver to 43% shooting and blocked 14 shots. Their offense was impressive, dropping 109 points on 52% from the field and 3-point. My point is for all the talk about how well Houston is playing, the Warriors played well against OKC and upset Denver in their last two games.

Finally, I just don't believe Houston will be able to maintain their defensive discpline in a game like this. In other words, I see Golden State sucking them into playing an up-and-down game, which plays right into the Warriors hands. Golden State is averaging 108 ppg on 47% shooting (almost 44% from 3-point) over their L5 games, and that should be more than enough to throw Houston off their game. Take Golden State over Houston Sunday.
2? GOLDEN STATE
 
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SCOTT DELANEY COMP

Golden State is in triple revenge in this game, as the Rockets have won three straight meetings. The straight-up winner in this series has covered the last five meetings, and eight of the last 10. The home team is 4-1 SU and ATS the last five meetings.

Houston will be playing its fifth straight road game, spanning the last nine days, as the Rockets have been to Minneapolis, Denver, Portland, Phoenix and are now up in Oakland. That's quite a zig-zag, up and down the country, from the Midwest, to the Rockies, to the desert and to West coast.

Golden State plays tough at home, albeit the Warriors are just 6-8 in Oakland this season. But the home team is 5-1 the last six meetings in this series, while the favorite has covered the last five meetings.

My money is on the home team getting it done.
1♦ GOLDEN STATE
 
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JEFF BENTON COMP

Your Sunday freebie is the Michigan Wolverines as the home favorite over the Illinois Fighting Illini.

Let us start with the fact that the home team in this series is 18-4 against the spread the last 22 series meetings. That alone is reason enough to back the host Wolverines, but when you consider that John Beilein's team is a perfect 13-0 straight up at the Crisler Arena, covering six of their ten lined home games, the choice becomes clearer.

Illinois has had their struggles on the road where they are just 4-6 both straight up and against the spread, and the Illini have also had their struggles of late, as Bruce Weber's team is on a 1-5 slide both straight up and against the spread their last six games.

Michigan has played their last pair of games on the Big Ten road, and they have also played five of their last six games on the conference trail. The lone home game in that stretch is a 12-point home win and cover over Indiana. I do not feel Illinois presents much of an offensive threat at this writing, and I see Michigan stretching this margin to double-digits come the final buzzer.

Sunday freebie on the Wolverines minus the points.
4♦ MICHIGAN
 
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CRAIG DAVIS COMP

Today's Bonus Play is Michigan.

When they're at home, it's always a safe proposition to at least consider the Wolverines. They are a perfect 13-0 at home and 18-7 overall and right there in the thick of the crowded Big 10 race, and I just can't fathom them dropping a home game to a team like Illinois that has lost five of their last six games. Granted, they did beat Ohio State and Michigan at home (the top two teams in conference), but you can't ignore some of the losses they've suffered.

Michigan not only dominates at home, but the home team has won nine of the last 10 meetings between these two and Michigan has covered the last two meetings between these two. Illinois has one chance to cover this game... and that's if Brandon Paul goes nuts like he did against Ohio State.

Sorry, I don't see it. Michigan wins 64-55. Take the Wolverines as your Bonus Play of the day.
3? MICHIGAN
 

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