Loaded card today, and some outstanding situational spots to hopefully take advantage of along the way!
Here's one such scenario in the Big West, and I'll make this my free opinion for Saturday.
(681) CAL SANTA BARBARA VS (682) UC DAVIS
Take: (681) CAL SANTA BARBARA
Reason: Tough times for the Gauchos so far this season, and I really don't think they're much of a team. But this looks like a spot where UCSB will have a decent shot at notching a road win. UC-Davis has surprised me this season, performing well above my expectations. But they're off a tremendous comeback win against Cal Poly that they won at the buzzer. Tough enough for a good team to avoid flattening out off such a win. For a squad not really used to winning a whole lot of games, it's even tougher. Under normal conditions, I'd pass this, but it's a nice fade the host scenario, so I'll gran the points with UC-Santa Barbara.
Free plays in 2012 were ridiculously successful. Well over 60% for the entire year. Not so hot out of the 2013 gate. Hopefully, better results coming, starting tonight!
My top Thursday play was San Diego getting points at San Francisco in a WCC hookup. Looked like a nasty rerun of Wednesday's William & Mary disaster, as the Toreros squandered a big lead and the dreaded dog in OT scenario became a real possibility heading to the regulation finish line. Fortunately, USD held on for the 70-66 win. That saved those sitting nearby in the crowded restaurant I was dining in from a lengthy stream of profanity that was simply going to be unavoidable. On we go to Friday, and a pretty obvious NBA spot, but one nonetheless worth looking at.
(819) PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS VS (820) GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Take: (820) GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Reason: If I had a vote for first half NBA Coach of the Year, it would go to Portland's Terry Stott. On paper, this is a mediocre lineup with ...
Not the best of results for me on Wednesday, mostly due to an incredible bad beat on William & Mary. The Tribe, five point dogs at Towson, appeared to have this game just about locked up. Leading by a healthy nine points with only two minutes to play, my side managed to turn it over five times in those last 120 seconds. And rather than just lose outright and at least cover, the game naturally went to overtime. Then double OT, at which point W&M got blown out by 13. Losses don't come much tougher than that, but the only way to deal with it is to just forget and move on.
(539) MASSACHUSETTS VS (540) SAINT LOUIS
Take: (540) SAINT LOUIS
Major clash in styles here, as UMass wants to play as fast as they can and Saint Louis prefers to grind. I don't think it's at all likely that the Minutemen will be able to get the Billikens out of their comfort zone, and that's when things have a tendency to go awry for Massachusetts. They're what I call a low IQ team as they ...
(797) MISSISSIPPI VS (798) TENNESSEE
Take: (798) TENNESSEE
Reason: I'm not sold on Cuonzo Martin as a head coach at this level. I'm not impressed with the hoop IQ of this Tennessee team. My pre-season opinion that the Volunteers were overrated and nothing more than a middle of the pack SEC team looks accurate, especially with Jeronne Maymon now apparently redshirting due to injury. Ole Miss is playing good ball and just on the numbers, they're the better team here. All that said, I'm looking at this as a statement game for the hosts. Off the disappointing loss to Memphis, I'll call this a major character check for Tennessee. Figures close but with the knowledge that Maymon isn't going to be putting on the jersey this season, I'm sensing a major effort from the Volunteers tonight, so I'll chance Tennessee as small chalk.
The college football season is now complete, and while I wish it could have concluded differently, I did not have a good showing in the bowls and finished up on a sour note with a bad call on Notre Dame.
The good news is that the NFL continues to be very strong, and I won both personal plays this weekend with the Ravens and Seahawks. As for hoops, the NBA has been outstanding, and the colleges are definitely heating up after a rough stretch. The onset of conference play is where my numbers begin to offer true value, and the results have accordingly improved.
For info on how to get my personal plays, simply drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just to be up front on the cost, you need to be playing at least a couple hundred per play to make this pay.
(509) LOS ANGELES LAKERS (510) HOUSTON ROCKETS
Take: (510) HOUSTON ROCKETS
Reason: Things continue to unravel for the Lakers. They can't play defense, the bench is substandard and now they're hitting the road extremely shorthanded. ...
(705) SAN ANTONIO SPURS VS (706) NEW ORLEANS HORNETS
Take: (705) SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Reason: There's basically no such thing as value when playing San Antonio. The numbers on the Spurs are usually tilted a bit simply due to their popularity with bettors. That doesn't matter very often, as the Spurs just roll merrily along, winning by margins and cashing tickets for their backers. San Antonio is a stellar 22-13-1 ATS this season despite constantly being a little overpriced. As for New Orleans, the Hornets have been pretty bad when playing off a win, particularly at home with a slate that reads 0-6 SU, 1-5 ATS. That's good enough for me, and I'll side with the Spurs minus the points.
(813) TEMPLE VS (814) KANSAS
Take: (814) KANSAS
Reason: Temple is a very solid team, and the Owls are not going to be a pushover against too many teams. But Kansas is playing at an absolutely elite level right now, and that's on both ends of the court. The Jayhawks are actually a little underpriced here based on their current form. Temple is good enough to turn this into a battle, but until the Jayhawks hit a bump in the road, it's either play on them or leave it alone. I'll take my chances with Kansas minus the points as the Sunday free play.
(595) MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE VS (596) SOUTH ALABAMA
Take: (595) MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
One of my favorite angles in college basketball is the big bounce. Simple enough. Look for a team off an uncharacteristically bad shooting performance of they're up against a team that had a lights out effort last game. Middle Tennessee was 19/59 in the OT loss at Arkansas State on Thursday. South Alabama slipped past UL-Monroe that same evening thanks to nailing a blazing hot 26/44 from the field. I'll look for the bounce here and I'll back Middle Tennessee State to get the win and cover against the Jaguars.
(827) CLEVELAND STATE VS (828) VALPARAISO
Take: (828) VALPARAISO
Valparaiso is a bit of a disappointment so far, but this looks like a spot for the Crusaders to bust out. Cleveland State has lost its last four D-1 games by a whopping 101 points, and I see the Vikings getting whacked again here. Valpo minus the points tonight.