6-3 'Bounce-back' the last two days. Passing in the NBA but CBB 10* Conference Game of the Year (5-2, 71% Y-T-D).
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My free play is on Duke at 9:00 ET.
Duke was ranked 9th in the AP's preseason poll but the Blue Devils will welcome Georgia Tech to Cameron Indoor Coliseum on Tuesday with a 5-5 overall record, including 3-3 in the ACC. Duke dropped out of the AP top-25 on Jan 17, ending a steak of 91 consecutive rankings. Duke returns home stuck in a three-game skid after losses on the road at Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh and Louisville. In contrast, Josh Pastner's Yellow Jackets are 7-4 (3-2 in ACC), although Ga Tech had a five-game winning streak halted with Saturday night's 64-62 loss at first-place Virginia.
Ga Tech head coach Josh Pastner is in his fifth season with the Yellow Jackets, after SEVEN years at Memphis. His first four seasons have not gone well (just 65-67) and this year's team is as noted, 7-4. Returning PG Alvarado (17.4-4.3-2.6) and SG Devoe (13.9-4.5-3.3) have been excellent plus returning big man Wright (17.0 & 6.5) present an excellent trio. 6-7 USC transfer Usher (11.5 & 5.1) helps out up front plus VMI transfer Parham (8.3 & 3.6) adds to the team's backcourt depth. That's a solid five-man rotation but the Yellow Jackets have little depth.
If Duke is able to make a turnaround, it will likely involve the play of Coach K's three freshmen. The 6-7 Jalen Johnson (11.6 & 6.4) has had fluctuating performances in three games since returning from a foot injury; two points at Virginia Tech, 24 points (and 15 rebounds) at Pitt and nine points at Louisville. "He's a human being so you're not going to play well all of the time. But if you can correct whatever you are doing not so well while the game is going on, that is a key thing," Krzyzewski said of Johnson. "We were not able to do that. We need him." 6-9 sophomore Hurt (19.4 & 8.2) has been Duke's best player plus freshman guards Steward (13.1 & 4.4) Roach (10.0 & 3.1 APG) have been solid all season.
The Blue Devils haven't had a four-game slide since the end of the 2006-07 season and this marks their first home game since a Jan 9 victory against Wake Forest. Lay the points.
|Texas Tech vs West Virginia||West Virginia -1 -110||Top Premium||87-88||Push||0||Show|
|Syracuse vs Virginia||Virginia -7 -109||Top Premium||58-81||Win||100||Show|
|Raptors vs Pacers||Pacers -2½ -112||Top Premium||114-129||Win||100||Show|
|76ers vs Pistons||Pistons +7 -110||Top Premium||104-119||Win||100||Show|
PICKS IN PROGRESS
My 10* AAC Game of the Year is on Memphis at 7:00 ET.
13-1 Houston is now ranked No. 6 in the latest AP poll and with an 8-1 record in the AAC is unquestionably the league's dominant team.8-2 SMU, 8-5 Memphis and 8-4 Wichita St are all 4-2 in conference. The SMU Mustangs are 3-0 on the road for the first time since starting 5-0 in 2015-16 and will look to extend that streak on Tuesday at Memphis. Tim Jankovich took over after Larry Brown once again left a program in tatters and in his first full season (2016-17) went 30-5. However, the Mustangs were just a combined 51-44 the previous three seasons. Jankovich was running a low-grade fever and two other assistants were back in Dallas as part of contact tracing when SMU won 78-65 at UCF on Saturday.
Penny Hardaway is in his third season coaching at his alma mater. He went 22-14 in his first season and the Tigers were 21-10 last season before the season was shut down. Memphis its first three games of 2020 postponed due to COVID issues but the Tigers own a pair of blowout wins over Wichita State and East Carolina. The Tigers have held their last FIVE opponents under 60 points, the longest such streak since a run of seven consecutive games in January 2008.
The Mustangs returned the outstanding guard duo of Davis and Jolly but Jolly's been battling personal issues and made his first appearance of the current season in Saturday's win at UCF (scored five points in minutes). Will he contribute the rest of the way? TBD. PG Davis (19.3-4.6-7.8) has been great and three other starters are averaging in double digits. The group includes guard Bandoumel (11.8) plus a pair of 6-9 forwards in Hunt (12.2 & 8.6) and Chargois (10.1 & 6.1).
Memphis lost centr James Wisman after just three games last season and PF Achiuwa (15.8 & 10.8) after the season (both are now in the NBA as 1st round picks). Va Tech transfer, the 6-7 Nolley (12.8 & 3.5) leads the Tigers in scoring. He's joined in the starting lineup by the 6-9 Williams (10.5), guard Quinones (10.1 & 5.2) and the 6-10 Cisse (7.5 & 7.6). Coming off the bench is the 6-7 Jefferson (10.4 & 6.2).
Penny was an exciting offensive player in college (Memphis) and in the NBA but he's a defense-first head coach. He EXPECTS his team to be one of the nation's top defensive teams. Memphis enters having allowed 61.8 PPG (20th) on 37.7% shooting (7th), including 27.2% on threes (9th). FYI, Memphis allowed opponents to shoot 36.1%, including 28.0% on threes last season. I'm on Penny and the Tigers.
Age: 65 (turns 66 in November).
Years in handicapping: Larry entered his 36th year as a professional handicapper in August of 2019.
Achievements in handicapping: 1985 Castaway’s Pro Football Challenge Champion, then the most prestigious handicapping contest in Las Vegas; 1999 Stardust Invitational semi-finalist.
A member of the original cast of Proline (began in 1985), the nation’s longest running pre-game handicapping show on the USA-TV network (also hosted Sports Desk on the same network from 1996-98). In then joined the panel of The Winning Edge in the early 2000s. Although well-known on TV for his expert game analysis and no-nonsense handicapping style, Larry may be best known for his radio work. He hosted his own syndicated call-in radio show, Sports Central. It aired live from Bally's Casino in Las Vegas in the early to mid-90s and at one time was heard in more than 100 markets.
Systems used for handicapping a game: Fundamental and statistical analysis. "I'm not typically a trend and system kind of guy," Ness says. "I look at team strengths and weaknesses and compare them. It’s an all-encompassing thing and over 35-plus years, you get good at it."
Star Ratings: 9 and 10*s are considered "Best Bets." All other plays are rated between 6 and 8*s, depending on strength and/or price.
Release Times: Larry releases "daily sports" (MLB, NBA, NCAAB and NHL) on the day of the game. His full card is almost always available by 10:00 ET (save Late-Breaking games). In the FB season, Larry begins releasing plays as early as Tuesday. His full CFB card is typically complete by Thursday (on Friday, at the latest) and his full NFL card will be mostly complete by Friday (definitely by Saturday at 3:00 ET). 36-Club Play: It represents Larry's 36 years in the business and gets his highest star rating (10*s). Expect no more than one of these plays per month, per sport during the regular season. LEGEND Play: Larry's often been referred to as a Las Vegas legend and he's 'borrowed' the title for his other "signature play.". Larry's LEGEND Plays were previously available to only a select group of private clients but they are now available to all, via the internet. Like his 36-Club plays, expect no more than one play per month, per sport (rated 10*s). Game of the Month and Game of the Year Plays: Always rated 10*s. Las Vegas Insider: Throughout his 36 years "in the business," Larry has become known as "the ultimate Las Vegas insider." The contacts he's developed over more than three decades (on both sides of the 'counter'), are arguably "unmatched!" He confers daily with 'his 'friends' and when "all the stars align on the same game," Larry releases an exclusive Las Vegas Insider (rated between 7 and 10*s). Oddsmaker's Error Plays: Larry uses this term with "great respect" (and not very often), as he counts among his very closest friends many of Las Vegas' most famous and respected Sport Book directors (past and present). However, when Larry feels "the line is significantly off," he'll release one of these "not to be missed" plays (rated 9 or 10*s). Situational Stunners: Larry's a fundamental handicapper at heart but he does pay attention to team and situational trends (especially in MLB). When his fundamental handicapping and a strong trend or situation match up, he releases a Situational Stunner. He began releasing these plays in MLB '09 and he's expanded them since,to all sports (rated from 7-10*s, based on strength and/or price for moneyline sports). PERFECT STORM: Larry just added these plays the last few years and his accompanying expert analysis makes these popular plays self-explanatory (typically rated 9 or 10*s but moneyline sports may be rated 7 or 8*s due to price). Weekly and Weekend Wipeout Winners: Larry added this self-explanatory moniker just a few years ago. They've become immensely popular and why not? Who wouldn't want a game that has "blowout written all over it," supported by Larry's expert analysis (rated between 7 and 10*s, depending on strength and price). Superstar Triple Play: Over the years, many of Larry's regular clients have clamored for more three-game reports. You asked for it and Larry's responded. Back in the late 1980s and into the mid 1990s, 900-numbers became "the rage." While a panel member of Proline (see above), Larry created the Superstar Triple Play. One call got you three Superstar Triple Plays (in a particular sport). For almost a decade, anywhere from 1,500 to 3,500 callers responded each weekend, when Larry offered his famous "Superstar Triple Play" pitch on Proline. Starting in 2009, Larry began going "Back to the Future!" Look for 3-game reports this FB season on Saturday (college) and Sunday (NFL). Get three plays on a single report from Larry (many will be TV games), the originator of the "Superstar Triple Play!". Late-Breaking Plays: Larry will always go back and take a "second look" at each day's card, after posting all his games. When he finds something he missed the first time around, he'll release a Late-Breaking Play. These plays are more prevalent in sports like baseball and basketball than football (typically rated at 8 or 9*s).
Quote: "No one works any harder and my work-product speaks for itself," Ness says. "I have a no-nonsense style and my logic is easy to follow. Anyone buying my plays will know exactly what I was thinking when I made the selection. After 34 years, the Larry Ness brand is instantly recognizable and my analysis ranks with the best in the industry."