November 11, 2015 (2:00 PM ET)
There are 2 picks tonight.
1) Take Philadelphia 76ers at +10 spread against Toronto Raptors for 3% of the bankroll.
The 76ers are off to another terrible start having lost all 7 games thurs far! That doesn't mean they have been money-burning machines however as opponents generally lay too many points against them and that makes them a decent bet in the right situations. We successfully backed them against the mighty Cavaliers in a scheduling spot that favored them back on Nov 2nd and expect similar results tonight. That's because while Toronto may find a way to win this game, it won't be easy and is unlikely to come by double-digits.
The Raptors started the season perfect by going 5-0 before dropping 3 consecutive games including last night's nail-biter! They gave it all they had less than 24 hours ago only to just short. That had to be frustrating especially since a couple of ref decisions did not go their way! Then they had to brush all that aside and hop on a plane to travel to Philly to play on back-to-back nights which makes it all the more challenging! Unlike their opponents, this young Philadelphia squad did not have to travel and should be well rested coming into this contest. They will be extremely motivated, much like the Pelicans were last night, to get their first win of the season! Not only that, they would like to prove to their Canadian divisional opponents that they are not doormats having dropping 8 straight games to them over the last 2 seasons! Coach Brett Brown has a personal trend to turn around as well against the Raptors as they are the only Eastern Conference team that he has yet to beat in his tenure! He and his roster are not only determined to finally give the home fans something to cheer about but they want to avoid being dominated by Toronto yet again. While they may eventually fall short as some of their players lack experience at this level, their efforts should be enough to keep this game competitive and within single digits.
Terrence Ross was injured shortly after being given a contract extension but what has hurt the Raptors more is the plantar fasciitis injury to big off-season acquisition, DeMarre Carroll. The former Hawk has missed the last 2 games and is likely to sit this one out as well. Even if he does play however, he's not at 100% and his production may not be worthwhile. On the other side, Jahlil Okafor has had a great start to his NBA career and may well win Rookie of the Year by the time the season has wrapped up. He'll present a challenge to European import, Jonas Valanciunas who looked quite tired in the 4th quarter of last night's Knicks/Raptors matchup!
Philly fans have already seen their team drop the first two contests of this 3-game homestand and the fact that they were not competitive in the last one means they will be extra pumped up to at least put up a good performance. Given that the 76ers travel to Oklahoma City and then San Antonio after this game, their losing streak is likely to reach 10 games if they don't win tonight! This home date with the fatigued Torontonians who are on the second night of a back-to-back may well be their best chance for a victory. It won't be easy but they know that their odds of getting a W on the road against a Western Conference opponent very slim. They realize that this is as good an opportunity as they will get to clinch that first elusive win of the season. They may not achieve that goal tonight but their performance should see them at least keep this contest competitive and avoid a double-digit loss! Back the unfancied 76ers against the Raptors as they reward their brave backers with a winning ticket.
2) Take Buffalo U at +7 spread against Northern Illinois for 3% of the bankroll.
The Northern Illinois Huskies are coming off arguably their biggest win of the season as they took down the previously undefeated Toledo Rockets on the road in their last contest. That was an extremely emotional win for the Huskies as they not only managed to get the outright win as underdogs, but did so without the services of their best receiver and starting quarterback. Freshman QB Ryan Graham stepped in and led his team on a game winning drive late in the fourth quarter to secure the win. It was certainly an impressive showing from the true freshman, but things are a bit different in this matchup.
Huskies QB Drew Hare is out for the remainder of the season which means Graham will be making his first start of his college career. While Graham performed admirably under duress last week, he has now had a full week to prepare to make the start. While many will think that will allow him time to become familiar with the offense, this could actually negatively affect the team and his performance. Graham has had a full week to let the magnitude of the situation sit in and could actually result in the freshman letting nerves get the best of him in this contest. It's completely different having to perform in the moment than it is to sit idly by and allow doubt to creep in.
The scheduling spot of this game also isn't ideal for the Huskies. This is the second game of back to back conference road games for Northern Illinois. They could suffer a potential letdown in this contest after handing Toledo their first loss of the season. This is a team that currently holds their own destiny in their hands in regards to potentially playing in the MAC title game and has a big showdown scheduled with another potential favorite to win the MAC this year in Western Michigan. With this game with Buffalo sandwiched in between, they could come into this contest potentially overlooking their opponents tonight and with them laying a TD on the road, a lack of focus could potentially cost them the cover late in the game.
The Buffalo Bulls have an incredibly tough front 4 and have allowed more than 28 points per game just once this season. They have made a habit of keeping games close and this matchup should be no different. They currently rank 4th in the conference in points allowed, which is one spot better than the Huskies. Buffalo also leads the nation with 6 touchdowns this season for its defense. If Graham is a bit shaky and nervous under center, the Buffalo defense will no doubt make his life difficult in this contest.
Northern Illinois has been a team that has plagued Buffalo in the past and is 0-5 in the last 5 meetings. There is no doubt that this team is interested in gaining some manner of revenge and this is likely the ideal opportunity with a freshman QB at the helm. Buffalo is a much better team at home going 13-5 in their last 18 home games. The perception of these teams is a bit skewed at the moment and the betting public absolutely loves this NIU team! There is no doubt that their win over Toledo has only elevated public perception, but this is the MAC Conference and anyone who has followed MAC football, especially in weekday events knows that strange things happen in these games. Buffalo is a solid team and has shown their ability to play their opponents close. Northern Illinois may get the win, but it will be Buffalo who cashes our tickets tonight as the points will likely come into play.
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