Dec 12, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) drives to the basket for a dunk while defended by Charlotte Bobcats forward center Byron Mullens (22) during the game at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN Streak for the Cash Picks and Analysis, December 15

The Florida Gators and guard Mike Rosario (3) head west to take on the Arizona Wildcats in a top-ten matchup in College Basketball. Their showdown is just one of the many ESPN Streak for the Cash picks on the board for today. Check out my favorites below. Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s with heavy hearts we enter this Saturday of sports after the horrific tragedy that happened in  Newtown, Connecticut. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those directly affected by this tragedy and we are all reminded once again of the brevity and the value of life. It reminds us to enjoy each day that we have, and to treasure those around us. As we enjoy our sports today with family and friends, let us not forget those who are unable to do so because of these events and take time to express our care for those who mean the most to us.

There’s no easy transition to the less-important matter of the games today, but here’s the matchups I like the most of the 24 that are on the board today and a quick reason why I’m picking the way I am.

Picks for 12/15

7:45- Manchester City: City has scuffled a bit with just one outright win in their last four EPL fixtures and six matches overall. They’ll head to St. James Park to take on Newcastle Uniteed who have lost their last two and will most likely be without winger Hatem Ben Arfa for this one. Machester will also be without a key contributor as Gareth Barry serves a one-match suspension. Despite their recent struggles, City still sits second in the table while Newcastle is all the way down at 14. City is 3-4-0 on the road and while a draw is a possibility, I don’t think they’ll get their first loss here. I think they’ll win and get things turned around a bit. Confidence Meter: (out of 10)

November 17, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Arizona Wildcats running back Ka

1:06- Ka’Deem Carey: Carey and Stefphon Jefferson meet in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl (full analysis here). Carey’s last three games he’s rushed for 366, 204, and 172 yards. Jefferson also finished the year strong running for 95, 128, and 139 in his last three games. The reason I like Carey here is that the Wildcats D has played better against the run lately despite their 97th overall rating. 97 out of 124 FBS schools is not good to be sure, but it’s still ranked above Nevada who sits at number 109 against the run. Confidence Meter: 7

2:02- Oklahoma: First thing to make sure you note is that the game is in Oklahoma City, so even the neutral court definitely favors the Sooners. Oklahoma is coming off its second loss of the season losing by just three on the road to a tough Arkansas team.  Their other loss came earlier this season against then-#17 Gonzaga. A&M is also off to a good start going 7-1 in their first eight with their only loss coming to St. Louis. The Aggies have yet to play a ranked team and only have traveled to one true road game in which they beat Houton. They do have one common opponent as they both hosted and beat the Northwestern State Demons. This should be an entertaining and close game between two teams on the fringes of the top 25.  The location of the game in OKC give OU the edge in this one. Confidence Meter: 5

2:55- Rushing TD: Both these teams are rush-heavy attacks. Arizona has scored 29 rushing touchdowns and 27 passing. Nevada has 21 passing touchdowns and an astounding 37 rushing touchdowns. There’s always the possibility of a return or defensive touchdown, but since both defenses are weak against the run (as noted above) I think this is a pretty solid pick. I have no idea why at the time of this article’s writing there are 88% of people picking Any other or No TD. Confidence Meter: 6

4:35- Utah State wins by Double Digits: Click here for my full analysis. The Aggie defense should be able to slow down Toledo while the Rockets defense has had trouble stopping anyone all season. Confidence Meter: 8

7:00- Atlanta Hawks: The Warriors are playing the second half of a brutal back-to-back after losing last night in Orlando. Both teams have won four of their last five and are among the biggest surprises of the early season. The facts that the Hawks are at home and have an extra day’s rest makes them the pick. Confidence Meter: 5 

8:05- Michigan wins by Double-Digits: Michigan has risen all the way to #3 in the nation due to their 10-0 start. Only two of those ten games have been decided by less than double-digits. The Wolverines beat NC State by seven and Pitt by five but have blown out most of their opponents. Things haven’t gone as well for the 4-4 Mountaineers coming of a loss to Duquesne. They lost earlier in the season to unranked Davidson and Oklahoma while getting blown out in the season opener against then-#19 Gonzaga. Michigan is better than the Zags who beat WVU by 34 so they should be able to get the double-digit win in this one. Confidence Meter: 7.5

8:30- LA Clippers: The Clippers are rolling. They’ve won eight in a row as they head into Milwaukee to face the surprising Bucks. Milwaukee’s backcourt of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings have been exceptional this season and have helped Milwaukee to their own four game winning streak. The Bucks played last night while LA hasn’t played since Tuesday. Confidence Meter: 4

9:00- Gonzaga wins by Double-Digits: The Zags look to bounce back from a tough loss at home to the then #13-Illini in their last time out as they play K-State in friendly Seattle.  While officially a neutral court game, the crowd will lead decidedly Gonzaga’s way. Before their last two games, Gonzaga had won all their games but one by double-digits. Two games ago they struggled against Washington State but pulled out a one-point win before dropping the game to Illinois a week ago. Kansas State also has only one loss, but their schedule has been fairly light and they almost lost their last time out to George Washington who are just 4-6 on the year. Gonzaga will be their second game against a ranked opponent after they lost to Michigan in New York by 14 in the finals of the preseason NIT. I think we’ll see a similar margin in this one. Confidence Meter: 7

10:00- Florida: In the best college basketball game of the day the unbeaten Florida Gators head to Tuscon to take on the also-unbeaten Arizona Wildcats. Florida has been crushing everyone with 13 being their narrowest margin of victory in their first seven wins. Going on the road to play a top-10 opponent is always tough especially athletic Arizona. Arizona has yet to face a ranked opponent or one that presses so effectively which I think will lead to a Gator victory in the desert. This game could easily be a Final Four or Elite Eight preview and should be a great game to watch. I’d stay away from picking it if you’re on a long streak since both teams are excellent. Confidence Meter: 4

December Results

Yesterday’s Picks: 4-1-1

December Total: 61-55-1

My Entry (most confident picks): 22-19-1

Current Streak: W1

Longest Streak of the month: W4

Tags: Bowl Picks College Basketball Picks NBA Picks Streak For The Cash Picks

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