Not a whole lot to choose from on the Friday night college slate. Since I don't really follow Stony Brook or Vermont to any extent, that leaves me just one game, the MAAC duel between Fairfield and Iona. Let's break it down and see how it goes!
01/18 06:00 PM CB (819) FAIRFIELD VS (820)
Take: (819) FAIRFIELD
It's the ultimate contrast in styles when Fairfield and Iona get together. Patience is the main virtue for the Stags. Iona wants to play racehorse and let outstanding guard Lamont Jones do his thing. So this figures to be the usual battle of wills, and whichever team gets the pace their way is probably going to win. If the Gaels are able to get into sprint mode, they're going to win comfortably. Iona might just be good enough to win at Fairfield's speed, but covering gets a lot dicier in that case. The Stags have to contain Jones, and they absolutely must not allow Sean Armand to get open looks from long range. Iona doesn't guard the three well at all, but that won't matter ...
Thursdays are generally good for me, as the schedule offers a wide array of games from the non-marquee conferences, and that's where I often produce my best results. Hopefully, that continues tonight as I will likely be on a good batch of plays. Here's the free look for Thursday, and it's actually on a team I will generally fade when I have the chance.
01/17 04:00 PM CB (515) DUQUESNE (516) MASSACHUSETTS
Take: (516) MASSACHUSETTS
Reason: Massachusetts is one of my least favorite teams in college basketball. The Minutemen have some legit talent, but they can only play at one speed, make too many bad decisions and frequently act as if playing defense is against the law. I'm not sold at all on Derek Kellogg as a head coach, and I think it's fair to say that UMass is a fraud despite an okay 11-4 record. If that all sounds like a team I want to play against, it usually is, particularly if they're favored. But this is a matchup that should allow UMass to succeed simply on the basis ...
The usual huge Wednesday college hoop card awaits, and while I doubt I'll have a financial stake in the outcome, I can't wait for the big MWC showdown between UNLV and San Diego State. Physically, it's a good matchup for the Runnin' Rebels, and these two teams usually go right to the wire. But it's so tough to trust UNLV on the road. So strictly a fan on that game. Here's one I like a little more.
(751) TOLEDO VS (752) WESTERN MICHIGAN
Take: (752) WESTERN MICHIGAN
Not much attention will be paid to this unattractive MAC hookup. But I see this as a decent spot for the home team. Toledo is ineligible for post-season play this season, so I've been trying to find spots that are meaningful and also searching for those that might not fall into that category. Coming off an OT win last time out, this could fall into the latter realm. But the impetus for this opinion is more on Western Michigan. The Broncos have a wide disparity in their home and away stats this season. Awful on the road, ...
Clean slate on Monday, albeit on a short card. More of the same on Tuesday, as there's (right now) just one college game I really like. I didn't find anything of value elsewhere on the college slate, but there's an NBA hookup that interests me, so I'll tab that as the free opinion.
NBA (511) MILWAUKEE BUCKS VS (512) LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Take: (511) MILWAUKEE BUCKS
Reason: Mike D'Antoni commented following Friday's lopsided loss to Oklahoma City that the Lakers season was starting Sunday. Ah yes, the old brand new start, we're 0-0 ploy. Thus, after shredding a bad Cleveland team on Sunday, the Lakers are now 1-0 in what amounts to D'Antoni's Part Two of the NBA season. Sounds good if I'm a Laker fan, I suppose, and I actually like the approach in terms of trying to rev up the players. But in truth the Lakers are 16-21, can't play defense, are shorthanded with injuries and are at best an average NBA team. The Bucks are a couple games on the right side of .500, and they're 3-1 since ...
Short slate on Monday in the colleges. There's really just one game that stands out to me, and obviously that's reserved for my clients. The Big Monday doubleheader should be fun to watch, however, and I've at least got a lean in the leadoff clash between Louisville and Connecticut, so that's the free play for the day.
By the way, if you'd like info on how to get my personal plays, just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(717) LOUISVILLE VS (718) CONNECTICUT
Take: (717) LOUISVILLE
Reason: UConn returns home off an impressive win at Notre Dame and the Huskies will be very fired up tonight as they host Louisville. I can certainly see where a good case can be made for the home dog. The two teams match up almost dead even in most categories. But there's one big strength on the Louisville side that is also the weak point for UConn. The Cardinals are exceptional on the offensive glass and UConn has a tendency to give up second chances. On the flip side, I would not expect the Huskies to ...
Okay results for me on Saturday, and it was nice to get the free play back on track after a few tough beats. Today's free opinion is on what is clearly the marquee tilt on the college slate. I can almost guarantee this will be the "sharp" side, which actually doesn't thrill me. I'm more at my best focusing on the games most bettors don't care about. Nevertheless, I think this is a pretty good spot on one side, so let's hope it gets there!
(821) MICHIGAN VS (822) OHIO STATE
Take: (822) OHIO STATE
Reason: Michigan is loaded. The Wolverines are one of my Final Four projected teams, and if they win it all, I sure won't be surprised. But right now this squad is in the uncomfortable position of being the last team standing, as the Wolverines are now the only unbeaten entry in the entire D-1 field. That's the ultimate target and I can see Michigan falling today. Ohio State is another powerhouse, and their joint is going to be insane today. I also think the Buckeyes are one of the few ...
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 email@example.com. 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.