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Free NCAA Pick Tuesday

#625 Davidson +6 over Richmond 6:00 PM CT

Richmond has won seven of the past eight games to stay relevant in the NCAA Tournament bubble chase. The Spiders turned in an emphatic 96-71 win over UMass at home on Saturday but this team has lost a pair of A-10 home games and this will be a huge game for Davidson who had a miserable shooting game in a home loss vs. Richmond earlier in the season. Coached by offensive genius Bob McKillop, Davidson can post big numbers but is reliant on hitting outside shots. On the season Davidson is among the nation’s best with a 37 percent 3-point percentage while even stronger than that in A-10 play as the top team in the conference beyond the arc. Richmond has good numbers defending the 3-point shot but the Spiders have also played one of the weakest schedules in the conference. Davidson was humbled by Dayton in its last game on Friday but has had a nice turnaround to prepare for this opportunity and the Wildcats are 8-4 since losing the first meeting against Richmond. In that span are a 4OT defeat and a one-point road loss as Davidson could easily be a few games higher in the standings. Davidson has several recent wins in this building and with good size the Wildcats are an attractive underdog with the ability to put together big scoring runs. Seven of the past nine meetings between these teams have been decided by single-digit margins as the underdog points are appealing.

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Free NCAA Pick Saturday

#638 Tennessee +1 over Florida 1:00 PM CT

With 10 losses Florida has been a disappointment this season with a roster many expected could compete for a national title. A big March run remains possible for the Gators but this valuation is a bit lofty for the Gators coming off a huge win over LSU with the current 6-2 run featuring mostly the worst teams in the SEC including a pair of wins over Vanderbilt. The only three road wins in SEC play for Florida came vs. foes that grade worse than Tennessee and after a run of back-to-back huge games vs. top conference contenders this could be a flat spot. Tennessee has had a challenging season coming off being a national force last year, with the loss of Lamonte Turner as season-changing blow. Tennessee has limped to a 7-8 SEC run but not without several competitive showings and still a formidable home court. Tennessee has won its last two home games and the team enter this game off a rare lopsided loss losing badly at Arkansas Wednesday after beating the Razorbacks soundly at home earlier in the month. Tennessee has not lost three consecutive SEC games all season and this game is critical given that a road trip to Lexington is up next Tuesday night. Florida has faced the 14th ranked SEC schedule for a favorable path that inflates the numbers and Tennessee has featured an outstanding interior defense this season that is among the best in the SEC. Tennessee allows less than 32 percent from 3-point range as well as the Gators aren’t likely to hit their season averages against a bigger Volunteers lineup. Tennessee has won four of the last five in this series with Florida last winning in Knoxville in 2014.

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Free NCAA Pick Wednesday

#841 Miami, FL +4.5 over Virginia Tech 8:00 PM CT

It has not been a strong season for the ACC and Jim Larranaga is on his way to another disappointing season at Miami. The Hurricanes have as many conference wins as last season already however and have played its best in the past week with consecutive wins. Miami does have an ACC road win and has had to play mostly heavyweights on the road taking losses at Louisville, Duke, and Florida State in ACC road games. Miami won by 10 hosting Virginia Tech with a big edge in rebounding and interior scoring and those advantages should again show up with a massive frontcourt size edge for the Hurricanes. A transition season for Virginia Tech was expected but the team picked up a big November win for Mike Young beating Michigan State. A respectable 5-3 start in ACC play followed but the Hokies have now lost five of the past six while losing four times at home in ACC play. Virginia Tech beat Pittsburgh last weekend to snap a five-game slide but offensive rebounding was a clear problem with the Hokies the worst in the conference on the offensive glass. Virginia Tech takes care of the ball but is a lousy 3-point shooting team despite being more reliant on shots beyond the arc than any team in the ACC. Virginia Tech has also struggled despite opposing teams shooting only 66 percent at the free throw line against them. Miami has played the most difficult ACC schedule at this point in the season and is only one win short of the Hokies who have had one of the lightest conference paths. Another win for the Hurricanes won’t be a surprise in this series.

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Free NCAA Pick Saturday

#673 Virginia +7.5 over Louisville 3:00 PM CT

At 11-1 Louisville appears to have control of the ACC but the path has been one of the lightest in a down year for the conference. The Cardinals are balanced but there are few things in ACC play that the team has been the best at among the 15 teams. The one exception is an outrageous 45 percent 3-point shooting rate that won’t be sustainable. That is five percent better than the 40 percent season average for Louisville that checks in at fourth nationally.

Louisville has played many of the worst teams in the ACC already and still is mostly playing close games with five of the past eight games decided by 10 or fewer points including a big comeback on Wednesday night at home vs. Wake Forest. Virginia has won three in a row to climb back into the NCAA Tournament discussion while still a viable threat to finish in a top tier spot in the ACC. As usual this is one of the nation’s best defensive teams holding foes to 29 percent 3-point shooting. Virginia has five wins away from home this season including three ACC road wins while the team’s four ACC defeats are by 7, 8, 4, and 2 points respectively.

Virginia is 14-3 all-time vs. Louisville with nine straight wins in this series including four straight wins on the road. Only once all-time has Louisville defeated Virginia by more than three points and that was back in 1990. The offensive numbers for Virginia are problematic but the Cavaliers will slow the pace of this game to a crawl to minimize the possession count. Louisville has had trouble scoring inside this season and the 3-point shooting rate for the Cardinals looks certain to go down in this contest as the points will be appealing.

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Free NCAA Pick Wednesday

#809 Alabama +5.5 over LSU 6:00 PM CT

LSU has certainly had some good fortune on its way to a 15-4 mark, rebounding nicely amidst lower expectations after a Sweet 16 season a year ago that was marred by controversy surrounding Will Wade. After a mediocre 7-4 start to the season the Tigers have won eight in a row including a perfect 6-0 start in SEC play. The noteworthy wins over Arkansas, Mississippi State, and Florida all came at home and all came by a grand total of five points combined. LSU has now won six straight games by no more than four points including an overtime win but will lay at least five tonight hosting Alabama.

Alabama is 12-7 behind new head coach Nate Oats who led Buffalo to NCAA Tournament wins the past two seasons. Alabama has won four straight games and has six top 100 wins in the last month for a nice run that puts the Tide into the NCAA Tournament conversation. Only the season opening loss came outside the nation’s top 100 and the Tide have four wins away from home this season. Alabama defeated Auburn and lost close games with Florida and Kentucky in matchups vs. top SEC contenders.

An Alabama offense that pushes the pace will go up against a LSU team that ranks 11th in the SEC in defensive efficiency despite the perfect record while Alabama is actually second in the conference. No team has been better in the SEC against 2-point shots while no SEC defense has been worse than LSU in defending the 3-point shot allowing over 27 percent. Alabama takes a great deal of 3-point shots and should have favorable looks in this matchup.

LSU’s ability to close out close games makes the Tigers a worthy favorite but given the slim recent margins vs. similar or lesser caliber teams the points are appealing in this rivalry that is usually much more consequential on the football field.

Nelly’s is on a 10-2 run since January 21 and we had a pair of underdogs that both won outright last night. We went 3-0 in Wednesday’s 2/3 offer last week and we hit 83% on top plays last season. Join us for a big play tonight or sign up for all picks through Feb. 29 for $199 with Nelly’s posting a winning record in 12 of the past 15 months of February including a 53-33 combined record the past two years.

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Free NCAA Pick Wednesday

#796 Indiana -12.5 over Northwestern 6:00 PM CT

Indiana is just 1-2 in Big Ten play and is in a critical spot knowing this weekend’s game with Ohio State is a very difficult draw. The Hoosiers needed overtime to beat Nebraska in its only conference win and in the past six games has not won by more than six points with a 3-3 run erasing an 8-0 start to the season for Archie Miller. All eight of those wins came at home but all also came by double-digits including impressive results vs. Louisiana Tech and Florida State as this hefty spread is attainable for the Hoosiers in what remains a great home court. The Hoosiers are a great interior scoring team with a huge jump in the offensive numbers from last season even without Romeo Langford. This team has great size and depth that should test a shorthanded Northwestern squad Wednesday night. The Wildcats have had unimaginable injury luck so far and will again be shorthanded having now lost four straight games and six of the past eight. The Big Ten losses have come by 14, 5, and 9 but Sunday’s closer finish at Minnesota was misleading, trailing by 23 at one point before incredibly scoring 34 points in the final 10 minutes. Northwestern is a poor scoring team and isn’t likely to get to the line often in this matchup to take advantage of good foul shooting numbers for one of the only strong suits for the offense. Northwestern won only four Big Ten games last season but one of those games was vs. Indiana and this should be a game that has the attention of the Hoosiers, especially coming off an ugly loss on Saturday by 16 points.

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Free NCAA Pick Friday

#622 Virginia Tech +7.5 over Duke 6:00 PM CT

As usual Duke looks like one of the most talented teams in the nation and the 8-1 record through nine games features a pair of very impressive wins at the bookends, beating Kansas in the opener and besting Michigan State on Tuesday with both of those games away from home. Going from Tuesday’s huge win in East Lansing vs. the preseason #1 to facing the ACC opener on the road will be a difficult turnaround for the young Blue Devils who have struggled with turnovers and free throw shooting. Virginia Tech also beat Michigan State and is already 1-0 in ACC play for new head coach Mike Young who took over after Buzz Williams left for Texas A&M. The longtime Wofford coach won 30 games last season including a NCAA Tournament win over Seton Hall last March. A 6-0 start with the Hokies has spoiled to 6-2 but the team has had a long layoff of more than a week to prepare for one of the biggest games of the season. The Hokies lost only twice at home last season including beating Duke 77-72 before ultimately ending its season with a two-point Sweet 16 loss to the Blue Devils as there will be no shortage of motivation even if the roster has turned over considerably. The Hokies are starting three freshman but Young’s impact has been instant with some of the best numbers in the nation shooting and taking care of the ball, including an over 43 percent 3-point shooting clip so far. Cassius Stanley is out of action for Duke to take out a possible matchup edge against a smaller Hokies team and at +7 one of the best shooting teams in the country is worth a look at home with Duke coming off a huge win on the national stage.

Nelly’s hit 62% in November basketball and we cashed with Furman in college hoops last night, nearly upsetting Auburn in overtime as a massive underdog. We’ve hit 64 percent in the NBA this season already – join us for a Friday night side play or consider signing up for an extended subscription as we are well on our way to a third huge season in basketball in a row.

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Free NCAA Pick Tuesday

#655 North Dakota +6.5 over Milwaukee 7:00 PM CT

Milwaukee won just nine games last season including closing the season with 11 consecutive Horizon League defeats. That was a veteran team and only two starters have returned. Illinois transfer Te’Jon Lucas was a big addition for the program and the team has much more promise this season.

The 3-1 start has featured two non-division I wins however and also includes a home loss to Western Michigan. The only division I win came Friday vs. UMKC, a nine-point result despite a big rebounding and free throw shooting edge. North Dakota rates similarly to the two teams Milwaukee has split with but is 1-2 on the season having had to play road games with Gonzaga and Valparaiso.

The numbers are meaningless for the Fighting Hawks so far this season given the tough assignment with Gonzaga and this is a team in a coaching transition after a long run under Brian Jones as Paul Sather is leading the team this season. This squad has a mix of experience with two seniors and two freshmen in the starting five but this year’s team is less reliant on 3-point shooting and should have opportunities against the shaky defense for the Panthers.

The presence of Lucas has overvalued Milwaukee so far this season and he can’t do it all and the limited size and depth for the Panthers could be a problem in this matchup as another close game looks likely.

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Free MLB Pick Monday

#961/962 ‘UNDER 10.5’ Boston Red Sox (Rodriguez) at Cleveland Indians (Plesac) 6:10 PM CT

In his last 14 starts Eduardo Rodriguez is 9-2 with a 3.36 ERA, posting good strikeout numbers and pitching nearly as well on the road. Zach Plesac doesn’t have the strikeout potential of his rotation mates but he has been effective with a 3.13 ERA on the season. He pitched well against Boston in his MLB debut and while he has benefitted from weak opposition in many of his starts he has provided a capable path to the great Cleveland bullpen. Yesterday Cleveland won 7-3 but they were inches away from losing 4-3 and the game was 3-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. The Indians are on a 43-18 run since the start of June but few of those results came vs. quality teams with the Indians 21-25 vs. above .500 squads on the season. Cleveland owns a great record vs. left-handed starters but only a .736 team OPS vs. southpaws as they have benefitted from several Detroit and Kansas City left-handers to boost that win count, ultimately going 22-7 vs. those teams this season. Rodriguez is an above average starter and the Boston bullpen has steadied with a 3.60 ERA the past 10 games. Cleveland home games have averaged 8.4 runs per game this season with a sharp lean to the ‘under’ in all Indians games and the ‘under’ is 5-1 in Cleveland home games with a total of 10.5 or higher.

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Free MLB Pick Wednesday

#905 Washington Nationals (Ross) -105 over San Francisco Giants (Anderson) 2:45 PM CT

Joe Ross looked like a future star for the Nationals making solid appearances in 2015 and 2016 but the 2011 1st round pick’s career has been derailed the past few years. He has worked his way back to the big leagues but holds an 8.10 ERA in 30 innings this season. Walks have been the big issue with 18 allowed but Ross can still generate strikeouts and he has had bad luck with runners on base scoring 40 percent of the time as well as a .376 BABIP. Ross has pitched well in his two starting efforts including allowing one hit in over five innings in his last start in Arizona last Friday. Pitching in a favorable ballpark against a light-hitting Giants team should be beneficial as Ross can deliver a steady outing. Washington has had bullpen issues all season but the team made several additions and currently is a deeper and stronger relief unit than the numbers suggest. San Francisco made a big run in July to get into wild card contention but dealt several relievers and signaled that the team wasn’t going after the playoffs this season. San Francisco has responded in kind going 4-8 the past 12 games. This team was lucky to get back to .500 with great fortune in one-run and extra-inning games and the bullpen no longer has the weapons to continue to win those games consistently. Rookie Shaun Anderson isn’t that much younger than Ross despite being drafted in 2016 and he has a K/9 below 6.0 and faces a Washington lineup that rarely strikes out today. His ERA has climbed to 5.08 and he has allowed at least three runs in six consecutive outings. While Washington is a stronger hitting team vs. left-handers, the Nationals have scored nearly 6.0 runs per nine vs. right-handers in the past 10 games compared to a 3.3 runs per nine average for the Giants. San Francisco is only 25-30 at Oracle Park while the Nationals are a winning road team and a team that continues to play for the postseason.

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