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CBB • Thursday Service Plays • 2/18/16

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    NCAA Basketball Betting 3-Point Play: Three Interesting Feb. 18 Opening Lines
    by Alan Matthews

    It’s a potential payback night for national title contenders and 2015 Final Four teams Kentucky and Michigan State on Thursday night. Both the Wildcats and Spartans were knocked off at unranked schools earlier this season that they now get to host. And I assure you that coaches John Calipari and Tom Izzo will use those first games as plenty of motivation.

    Tennessee at No. 14 Kentucky (-14.5)

    SEC game tips off at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. I always find it somewhat amazing how different teams can be on the road compared to at home. Take Tennessee (12-13, 5-7), for example. The Vols fell to 1-11 outside of Knoxville with a 75-64 loss at Missouri, the SEC’s worst team that had lost nine straight games, on Saturday. The Vols just can’t seem to throw it in the ocean outside of their gym. They hit only 38.2 percent vs. the Tigers. Yet at home, UT is almost NCAA Tournament quality. And for proof I give you an 84-77 upset there of then-No. 20 Kentucky on Feb. 2. The Cats were up 21 points early in the first half and then UT totally flipped the script in its biggest comeback win since at least 2006. Kevin Punter, the SEC’s second-leading scorer, had 27 points for the Vols. It was the 18th time a Tennessee team outside the Top 25 beat a ranked Kentucky squad.

    Kentucky (19-6, 9-3) now simply needs to win out against all unranked teams — tough road games at Texas A&M, Vandy and Florida, however — to repeat as the SEC’s regular-season champion. The Cats are playing perhaps their most dominant ball of the season, winning three straight games by nearly 27 points per since that Tennessee loss. On Saturday, UK won at South Carolina by 27 and the Gamecocks are pretty solid; Calipari was ejected early in the first half after two technicals. UK sophomore guard Tyler Ulis set career highs with 27 points and 12 assists, while freshman Jamal Murray had 26 points. Both those guys need to be first-team All-SEC. Ulis probably loses out to LSU’s Ben Simmons for SEC Player of the Year.

    Key trends:
    The Vols are 0-4 against the spread in their past four road games. UK is 4-0 ATS in its past four at home. The home team is 9-4 ATS in the past 13 meetings.

    I’m leaning:
    Kentucky in a major blowout.

    No. 21 SMU at UConn (-2)

    American Athletic Conference game at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2. SMU (21-3, 9-3) is a half-game out of Temple’s lead in the conference, but the Mustangs aren’t eligible for the conference or NCAA Tournament so I’d imagine league officials are rooting for them not to win the regular-season title as that could only hurt the NCAA chances of other teams. SMU did perhaps help the at-large chances of some AAC bubble teams with a 69-60 home win over Gonzaga on Saturday in non-conference play. If the Zags don’t win the West Coast Conference Tournament, they are squarely on the bubble and that loss doesn’t help. Nic Moore led the Mustangs with 25 points and 11 assists against just one turnover while playing all 40 minutes. He could repeat as AAC Player of the Year.

    While the Mustangs are the best offensive team in the conference, UConn (18-7, 8-4) is No. 2 nationally in field goal defense. The Huskies are on the bubble, although ESPN lists them currently as a No. 9 seed in the Big Dance. They nearly blew a 20-point second half lead in Saturday’s 75-73 win over Tulsa; blowing big leads has been an issue this season for the Huskies. This is a payback game for UConn as well but for last season. It lost 62-54 to SMU in the AAC Tournament final, which basically kept the Huskies out of the NCAA Tournament and the chance to defend their national title. SMU is 2-1 all-time on the road at UConn but lost last year.

    Key trends:
    SMU is 2-6 ATS in its past eight vs. teams with a winning record. It is 0-4 ATS in its past four after a win. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings.

    I’m leaning:

    Wisconsin at No. 8 Michigan State (-10)

    Big Ten game at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN. Wisconsin (16-9, 8-4) looked dead in the water for an NCAA Tournament berth at 10-9 overall and 2-4 in the conference. But as you can see, the Badgers haven’t lost since. The most impressive of those victories was easily Saturday’s 70-57 win at No. 2 Maryland. Frankly, it wasn’t ever much in doubt as the Terps’ school-record 27-game home winning streak ended. Vitto Brown scored a career-high 21 points for UW. The Badgers’ win streak is the nation’s longest among major conference teams. Wisconsin is one of just five teams with a pair of Top-5 wins this season. The other was at home over No. 4 Michigan State, 77-76 on Jan. 17. That started this winning streak. Ethan Happ scored from in close with 10 seconds left. MSU star Denzel Valentine then missed a 3-pointer and Matt Costello’s last-second jumper bounced off the rim. The Spartans shot a higher percentage than Wisconsin from the field and 3-point range and outrebounded the Badgers yet somehow lost.

    Michigan State (21-5, 8-5) bounced back from a tough OT loss at ranked Purdue last Tuesday with a hugely impressive 88-69 home win over Indiana on Sunday. Valentine had 30 points and 13 assists, and Costello a career-high 22 points with 11 rebounds. Valentine was named Big Ten Player of the Week for the fourth time this season and he’s your conference player of the year favorite again. He leads the Big Ten in scoring (19.5) and assists (7.1) and is tied for sixth in rebounds (7.1). MSU got some bad news from that Indiana win in that reserve freshman forward Kenny Goins suffered a knee injury and will miss 2-4 weeks. Michigan State has lost three straight to Wisconsin but has won eight in a row vs. the Badgers in East Lansing. It’s UW’s first visit since 2013.

    Key trends:
    MSU is 6-0 ATS in its past six games. UW is 2-8 ATS in the past 10 meetings.

    I’m leaning:
    Michigan State.


    Wiseguys share the hottest spot bet opportunities of the week
    By Ben Burns

    Spot bets are classic handicapping practices that have proven profitable no matter what sport you’re betting. Whether it’s a team looking past this week’s opponent, one coming off a hard-fought victory, or a rough patch of schedule, bettors can find value picking their spots. Ben Burns points out a few of his favorites.

    Letdown spot

    Wisconsin is rolling these days. In fact, the Badgers enter Thursday’s game at Michigan State off seven straight wins, covering the spread in all seven of those games. One of those victories came at Illinois, a 63-55 Badger win on 1/31.

    Off the big game versus the Spartans, and off a big upset win at Maryland in their previous game, it may be easy for the Badgers to suffer a letdown against the lowly Illini. Keep in mind that Maryland and Michigan State are the top two teams in the conference while Illinois (11-14) is third from the bottom. Consider grabbing the points with revenge-minded Illinois on Sunday afternoon.


    College Basketball

    NC-Wilmington won its last 11 games, closest of which was 97-94 OT win at home over Wm & Mary Jan 16; Seahawks made 13-27 on arc in snapping six-game series skid- they lost last three visits here, by 6-23-4 points. W&M allowed 92.5 ppg in losing its last two games- they won five of last six home games. CAA home favorites of 4 or less points are 4-10 vs spread. Five of last nine UNCW wins were by 6 or less points.

    Hofstra made 12-24 on arc, drilled Towson 90-58 on road Jan 2, second series win in row after five straight losses. Tigers won last three visits to Long Island by 7-6-14 points. Hofstra won five of its last six road tilts; their subs play least minutes of any bench in country- they’re 5-2 as a home favorite. Towson won seven of last ten games; they’re 3-2 as road underdog. CAA home favorites of 7 or less points are 7-11 vs spread.

    SMU split its last six games after starting season 18-0; Mustangs are 4-1 vs UConn in AAC play, losing 81-73 here LY after winning 64-55 in ’14. Mustangs lost two of last three road games- they’re shooting 42.3% on arc, #3 in country. UConn won seven of last nine games; they won five of last six home games, losing only to Cincinnati. AAC home favorites of less than 5 points are 4-2 against the spread.

    UL-Lafayette beat Tex-Arlington 90-75 at home Jan 30, ULL outscored Mavericks 29-13 on line in game that was tied at half. Cajuns are 5-1 in series, winning 92-89/81-70 in two visits here. ULL is 9-1 in its last ten games; only three of nine wins were on road. UTA won ilast three games by 21-12-31 points; they’re 4-1 at home in Sun Belt, losing to UALR by 6. Sun Belt home favorites of 4 or less points are 3-7 vs spread.

    Kentucky won last three games by 19-34-27 points, since losing 84-77 at Tennessee Feb 2, when Vols made 30-34 on line, storming back from early 34-13 deficit. Vols lost last eight visits here, with four of last five by 12 or less points. Kentucky is 5-1 as home favorite, with five wins by 19+ points. Tennessee is 1-4 as road dog, with only one road loss by more than 11 points. SEC home favorites of 13+ points are 2-5.

    Michigan State won five of last six games, pounding Indiana by 19 in its last game; Spartans lost 77-76 at Wisconsin Jan 17- Badgers outscored State 29-12 on foul line- they’re 4-1 in last five series games, but lost last eight visits here, with last one in ’13. Badgers won last seven games, with three top 25 wins; they’re 2-1 as Big 14 road underdog. Big 14 home favorites of 8+ points are 21-13 against the spread.

    Stanford snapped 4-game skid by upsetting Oregon in last game; they’re 5-1 in last six games with Washington State, but lost four of last six trips to Pullman- they lost 89-88 here LY. Wazzu lost its last 11 games, five of which were at home; they’re 2-9 vs spread in those 11 games, 1-5 as a home underdog. Pac-12 home underdogs of 3 or less points are 11-3 vs spread. Cardinal lost its last four road games, all by double digits.

    UCLA is 3-5 in last eight games, with home losses to Washington and USC; home side won five of last six Utah-UCLA games- Utes lost three in row in Westwood, by 27-14-10 points. Utah won seven of last nine games, but lost last two on road; they’re 0-2 as Pac-12 dogs. Bruins are 3-2 at home in Pac-12, 2-2 as a home favorite. Pac-12 home teams are 15-10 vs spread in games with spread of 3 or less points.

    St Mary’s split its last four games after an 18-2 start; they beat Portland 89-74 at home Jan 23, shooting 70.3% inside arc– Pilots were 11-24 on arc, and +8 in turnovers, still lost for 10th time in last 11 games with the Gaels, who won last four visits here, by 27-22-9-10 points. WCC home underdogs of 8+ points are 5-9 vs spread. Portland lost last three home games, allowing 89.7 ppg; they lost nine of last 12 games overall.

    Young Washington team is 2-5 in its last seven games after starting 13-5; Huskies lost last four games with Cal, losing last three series games here, by 3-13-2 points. Golden Bears are 0-5 on Pac-12 road; home side beat spread in their last six games. Cal won its last three games overall, all by double figures after getting its PG Wallace back. Pac-12 home teams are 15-10 vs spread in games with spread of 3 or less points.

    UT-Martin lost 82-74 at Eastern Illinois Jan 28; Skyhawks were -8 in turnovers (!5-7) as home side won for 4th time in last five series games. EIU lost by 7-30 points in last two visits here. EIU got swept at home by bad teams LW after winning four in row before that; they’re 3-3 on OVC road. OVC home favorites of 7 or less points are 10-17 vs spread. UT-Martin won its last five games after starting OVC play 2-5.

    Morehead State lost 77-76 at Tennessee State 12 days ago, Tigers made 58% inside arc, but other than McCall, only 8-21 on foul line. TSU lost six of last seven visits here, losing 72-57 here LY. Eagles are 4-3 as home favorites; five of their last six games were decided by six or less points. Tennessee State is 6-0 vs spread on OVC road, 3-0 as road dog, 4-2 SU. OVC home favorites of 7 or less points are 10-17 against the spread.

    South Dakota State-Fort Wayne are tied atop Summit League; State won first meeting 92-76 at home Jan 14- they shot 56.8% inside arc, FW just 29.7%. Home side won last five series games; Jackrabbits losing by 7-10 in last two visits here. State won six of last seven games, split six road games in league. Fort Wayne is 5-1 at home, losing to IUPUI by a hoop. Summit League home underdogs of 5 or less points are 6-3 vs spread.


    StatFox Super Situations™ – FoxSheets

    Play Under – Road teams against the total after allowing 80 points or more 3 straight games against opponent after a combined score of 125 points or less 2 straight games
    41-15 since 1997. ( 73.2% | 24.5 units )
    3-1 this year. ( 75.0% | 1.9 units )

    Play Against – A favorite vs. the money line (MARSHALL) good FT shooting team (69-73%) against an average FT shooting team (65-69%) after 15+ games, red hot shooting team – 3 straight games making >=50% of their shots
    47-49 since 1997. ( 49.0% | 38.9 units )
    1-4 this year. ( 20.0% | -3.0 units )

    Play Under – All teams where the first half total is 65.5 to 70.5 in a game involving two average defensive teams (42.5-45%), in a game involving two average rebounding teams (+/-3 reb/game)
    196-116 over the last 5 seasons. ( 62.8% | 68.4 units )
    46-28 this year. ( 62.2% | 15.2 units )


    Basketball Crusher

    Wisconsin +9.5 over Michigan State
    (System Record: 51-3, won last 3 games)
    Overall Record: 51-57-3

    Minnesota +10.5 over Maryland

    Georgia State +5 over Arkansas-Little Rock

    Washington State +1.5 over Stanford



    100* Tulsa -1

    100* UCLA -1


    Totals 4 U

    Totals 4 You NCAA Selections for Thursday, February 18th

    February’s College Basketball Shootout of the Month!!!!!
    California/Washington – Over 158 1/2

    ‘Best Bets’

    Tennessee/Kentucky over 151

    SMU/Connecticut under 136

    Wisconsin/Michigan State under 135 1/2

    Utah/UCLA over 147


    HSG – Houston Sports Group

    Thursday’s Double Bet Play
    William & Mary Tribe -2









    2* Marshall

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