CONGRATULATIONS to Frank Sawyer's regulars who have profited from his 34 of 52 (65%) Soccer mark including his 25* La Liga Match of the Year winner on Sunday along with CA$HING tickets on Jon Rahm at 20-1!
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PICKS IN PROGRESS
At 8:00 PM ET on Friday, we will be playing the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (455) plus the points versus the University of Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners (456). THE SITUATION: Middle Tennessee (0-2) is winless so far this season after getting crushed at home to Troy by a 47-14 score as a 1.5-point underdog last Saturday. UTSA (2-0) is unbeaten this season after they defeated Stephen F. Austin on Saturday by a 24-10 score as a 17-point favorite. This game was scheduled just last Saturday after Memphis canceled their game with the Roadrunners due to COVID-19 and the Blue Raiders had an open date today after Old Dominion canceled their football season last month.
REASONS TO TAKE THE BLUE RAIDERS PLUS THE POINTS: Middle Tennessee is struggling — having their two high-profile transfer running backs in Amir Rash from Florida State and Martell Pettaway from West Virginia opt-out to play this season left head coach Rick Stockstill without a credible rushing attack to complement dual-threat quarterback Asher O’Hara. Opposing defenses are not being punished for backing off defending the Blue Raiders ground game to pay more attention to O’Hara’s running threat or their passing attack. And the Middle Tennessee defense is getting pounded. The Blue Raiders managed just 241 yards of offense last week against the Trojans while being on offense for just 24:15 minutes of that game. Well, in Stockstill I trust to right-the-ship. Middle Tennessee has rebounded to cover the point spread in 14 of their last 21 games after a loss by at least four touchdowns. And while the Blue Raiders were outgained by a whopping 255 yards last week, they have then covered the point spread in 15 of their last 22 games after being outgained by at least 225 yards. Furthermore, Middle Tennessee has covered the point spread in 16 of their last 21 games after failing to score more than 20 points in their last game — and they have covered the point spread in 4 of their last 5 games after failing to score more than 14 points in their last contest. The Blue Raiders have also covered the point spread in 5 of their last 6 games after failing to gain more than 275 yards in their last game. Better production on offense will take the pressure off the Middle Tennessee defense that allowed 496 yards last week. The Blue Raiders have covered the point spread in 4 of their last 5 games after allowing at least 475 yards in their last game. And while they also allowed 42 points to Army in the opening game of the season, they have covered the point spread in 4 of their last 5 games after allowing at least 31 points in two straight games. UTSA has failed to cover the point spread in 5 of their last 6 games after a straight-up win — and they have also failed to cover the point spread in 6 straight games after not allowing more than 20 points in their last game. The Roadrunners remain a team that was just 4-8 last season — and those four victories were against teams that accrued only three victories against FBS opponents last season. UTSA has failed to cover the point spread in 8 of their last 9 games in September. Furthermore, the Roadrunners are just 4-13-1 ATS in their last 18 games at home — and they have failed to cover the point spread in 10 of their last 11 home games against teams with a losing record on the road.
FINAL TAKE: Don’t be surprised if junior quarterback Chase Cunningham gets more snaps under center for Middle Tennessee as he is a better pure passer than O’Hara. UTSA has failed to cover the point spread in 9 of their last 12 games as a favorite — and they have failed to cover the point spread in 17 of their last 24 home games when laying the points. 10* CFB Friday Daily Discounted Deal with the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (455) plus the points versus the University of Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners (456). Best of luck for us — Frank.
At 8:30 PM ET on Friday, we will be playing the Boston Celtics (716) minus the points versus the Miami Heat (715) in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals. THE SITUATION: Boston (57-30) hopes to stave off elimination tonight after getting upset in Game Four of this series to the Heat on Wednesday by a 112-109 score as a 3.5-point favorite. Miami now owns a 3-1 lead in this series. This game will be played on a neutral court in Orlando.
REASONS TO TAKE THE CELTICS MINUS THE POINTS: Complacency has been the hobgoblin for this Boston team in this series. The Celtics are too often letting up in their intensity and focus. After falling behind by a 2-0 margin, they got Gordon Hayward back in Game Three who helped them with that game by a comfortable 117-106 score. And while many pundits commented on how Hayward was a series-changer with him being the right piece to counter the Miami zone defense, I worried about Boston’s determination after avoiding a disastrous 0-3 start to the series. And the Celtics came out flat on Wednesday. Jayson Tatum scored zero points while failing to get to the free-throw line even once in the first twenty-four minutes of the game. Boston went into the locker room at halftime trailing by a 50-44 score — this was their first deficit at halftime since the opening round of these playoffs. If head coach Brad Stevens is going to accomplish just one thing tonight, it will be to get his team to come out with more fire. The Celtics are still outscoring Miami by +19 points in the 1st quarter of this series. Boston has also covered the point spread in 10 of their last 12 games away from home after an upset loss. Additionally, the Celtics are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games after a straight-up loss — and they are 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 games after a point spread setback. And while Game Four finished above the 212 point Total, Boston has then covered the point spread in 18 of their last 26 games away from after a game that finished Over the Total. The Celtics are outshooting and outrebounding the Heat in this series while also shooting better from behind the arc. The reason why both these teams have each scored exactly 441 points in this series is that Boston is turning the ball over which is giving Miami additional scoring chances. The Celtics are averaging 16.0 turnovers per game while coughing the ball up in 16.4% of their possessions in this series. The Heat are averaging only 11.3 turnovers per game which is helping them take 6 more shots per game than Boston. That’s the series. Only Cleveland had a worse turnover percentage during the regular season. Stevens should be able to impart the importance of Boston paying more attention to protecting the basketball. The Celtics turned the ball over in just 13.6% of their possessions in the regular season. And Boston is scoring at a healthy 114.6 points per possession rate in this series when not turning the ball over. Hayward’s ability to knock down 3s to break the Miami zone defense still exists — the Celtics were +4.9 points per possession better with Hayward on the floor during the regular season. Boston has lost and failed to cover the point spread in four of their last six games. But the Celtics have covered the point spread in 13 of their last 16 games away from home after losing four or five of their last six games — and they have covered the point spread in 8 of their last 10 games after failing to cover the point spread in four or five of their last six contests. Miami has failed to cover the point spread in 9 of their last 13 games after an upset victory. And while the last two games have finished Over the Total, the Heat have then failed to cover the point spread in 18 of their last 26 games away from home after playing two straight Overs. Miami received a stellar effort from Tyler Herro who scored 37 points on Wednesday — and while I have appreciated that the former Kentucky Wildcat is emerging as a star, he is unlikely to replicate that performance tonight. The Heat also have an issue with Bam Adebayo not being at 100% with a wrist injury. While it looks like he will play, it is unclear how productive he can be.
FINAL TAKE: Boston has covered the point spread in 13 of their last 18 games away from home when avenging an upset loss. 25* NBA Friday ESPN Game of the Year with the Boston Celtics (716) minus the points versus the Miami Heat (715). Best of luck for us — Frank.