ESPN Streak for the Cash February 14 Picks and Analysis

In one of tonight’s Streak for the Cash picks, the Los Angeles Clippers and Blake Griffin (32) take on the  Los Angeles Lakers and Dwight Howard (12) for the third time this season. With the Clippers getting healthy and the Lakers continuing to struggle, I think the Clippers make a pretty good pick. Find out who else I’m watching in the post below. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Valentine’s day! Hopefully you didn’t forget and have secured the gifts you need for today. ESPN’s Streak for the Cash is in a pretty giving mood too, apparently, since there’s a solid top-to-bottom board today with some pretty nice matchups from the PGA Tour, UEFA Europa League, EuroLeague basketball, the NHL, College Hoops, and even the last pre-All-Star games of the NBA season. Whether you’re watching sports on this Valentine’s Day to distract you or with your special someone, it’s always good to have your streak picks locked in, and these are the matchups I’ll be watching today:

2/14 Streak Picks

Sep 29, 2012; Medinah, IL, USA; United States golfer Phil Mickelson (left) congratulates his partner Keegan Bradley on sinking a birdie putt on the tenth hole during the morning session of the 39th Ryder Cup on day two at Medinah Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

10:11- Keegan Bradley or tie: This is a good matchup between Bradley and his former Ryder Cup teammate and partner Phil Mickelson. I think both these golfers will do well this week at the Northern Trust Open. Click here for my full fantasy golf preview of the event which highlights both these players.  Phil was dominant two weeks ago, but struggled last week. The only reason I’m taking Bradley is that he’s getting the tie option and I don’t see much separating these two meaning take the tie in a quick nine-hole prop. Confidence Meter: (out of 10)

12:00- Zenit St. Petersburg win: Liverpool has to go on the road to Russia just three days after an ugly loss to West Brom in EPL play. Road teams don’t do well in Russia and Liverpool’s a pretty young squad with a decided lack of experience in international play. St. Petersburg has been on Winter Break and hasn’t played a competetive gamess since mid-December. Zenit is a solid home team historically, and I just don’t trust the Reds to get a win at Petrovski Stadium where St. Petersburg is tough. Confidence Meter: 3

3:01- Luke Donald or Tie: As I wrote earlier this week, Donald has an impressive history here; “ five top 15′s at this event including a pair of top 3′s.” Neither player has played much recently and both are making their tour debut for the season at the Northern Trust. I’m a fan of McDowell’s but I’ll take the tie and the history of Donald in this one. Confidence Meter: 5

3:05- Tottenham Hotspur win: At home, the Spurs take on Lyon in this UEFA Europa League Second round match. Tottenham has won three of their last four matches at home with their only non-win a quality draw against Manchester United. Lyon is playing well in Ligue 1 trailing PSG in the top French league. However, Lyon has stumbled a bit lately losing their last two games outright to Lille and Velenciennes who are mid-table squads. They’ll need to refocus to hold onto the second spot which is an automatic Champions League bid for next year. Lyon will be more focused on that than this Europa game and at White Hart Lane I think Tottenham can get the win in this 1st Leg. Confidence Meter: 6

Feb 11, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Phil Kessel (81) and right wing Colton Orr (28) and center Jay McClement (11) react on the bench after the Maple Leafs scored a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Flyers 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

7:00- Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs will be out to avenge an earlier season defeat as they take on the Hurricanes at Carolina. On February 4, Carolina took out Toronto 4-1 but since then Toronto has ben on a roll  winning four in a row by a combined score of 17-6. The ‘Canes haven’t fared quite as well going 3-1 and surrendering multiple goals in each game, but this will be their first game home after a six-game trip.  Confidence Meter: 4

7:00- LSU Tigers: The Tigers head to SC where they’re one point underdogs. even though they’ve won three of their last four and four of their last six. They opened SEC play 0-4 including a home loss to the Gamecocks in overtime 82-73. South Carolina  has only won one other SEC game beating Arkansas by 21 at home four games ago. The Gamecocks have dropped six of seven since beating LSU and have fallen to second-to-last in the SEC standings. I’ll take the team with some momentum on their side as they look to earn a season split with SC in Columbia tonight. Confidence Meter: 5

7:03- Minnesota Golden Gophers: The Golden Gophers have tumbled all the way to below .500 in Big Ten play as they get ready to host Wisconsin. The Gophers are favored by five and will be desperate for a win after dropping back-to-back games at Michigan State and at home to Illinois. Overall, Minnesota has lost six of their last eight including a one-point loss in Madison on January 26. Traevon Jackson scored with four seconds left to down the Gophers in that one, and Minnesota will look to avenge that loss and regain some of their early season momentum. Minnesota needs this game badly, and I think they’ll get it at home. As good as the Badgers have been at home, the’r just 3-4 on the road with losses at Ohio State, Iowa, Marquette, and Florida. Confidence Meter: 6

8:00- Nashville Predators: The Predators and Coyotes meet in a rematch of their Western Conference Semifinal in Nashville. The Preds and Coyotes met earlier this season out West and Phoenix lead a 4-0 beatdown on the visiting Predators. Since then, Nashville has won five of seven behind some steller defense. Phoenix has been playing well also going 4-3 but only two of those wins have come in regulation. Nashville has the best Goals Against Average and the worst Goals Per Game average so don’t expect many goals in this one. Nashville is coming off a big win over San Jose and has a good home ice record at 2-1-2. I think they’ll get the win at home against the Coyotes who are 2-2-1 on the road. Confidence Meter: 3

8:00- Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder and Heat meet in the second and final rematch of last year’s NBA Finals tonight in OKC. Both teams are playing at a very high level coming into this one although the Thunder had their four-game winning streak snapped at Utah on Tuesday. I think they’ll bounce back in this on on their home court, to get payback for their Christmas Day defeat. The Heat have been playing well too, but still lack the depth that the Thunder have showcased. Confidence Meter: 5

Feb 9, 2013; South Bend, IN, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Russ Smith (2) dunks against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame defeats Louisville 104-101 in five overtimes. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

9:05- Louisville wins by 15+: The Cardinals host St. John’s at the KFC Yum! Center after their epic five-overtime loss to Notre Dame. St. John’s was on the road too, but no overtimes were needed as Syracuse buried them by 17. Louisville will look to duplicate that result as they come in as 17.5 point favorites. Coach Rick Pitino’s team definitely has the fire-power to cover this 15-point prop since six of their seven Big East wins have been by that large a margin. the five-overtime game was long enough ago that I don’t think fatigue will be a factor as Louisville comes out at home and runs away from the Johnnies. Confidence Meter: 7

9:05- Penn State single-digit loss or Win: The Iowa Hawkeyes are starting to push their way into the fringes of the NCAA Tournament talk and can’t afford a setback as they head to Penn State favored by eight. Iowa defeated Northwestern by 14 in their last game and played very close games at Minnesota and Wisconsin. They beat the Nittany Lions at home 15 days ago but only by nine. Penn State is 0-11 in Big Ten play, but they have played relatively close with good teams at home. At home, they’ve stayed within ten of Purdue, Nebraska, and Michigan State in conference play so I think they’ll stay within ten of the Hawkeyes. The Nittany Lions aren’t a good team, but they play hard at home and if its close will be hungry to get a conference win for the first time all season. Confidence Meter: 4

10:05- Arizona Wildcats: In a rematch of one of the best and most controversial finishes of the season Arizona heads to the Coors Event Center to take on the Colorado Buffaloes. Many feel that Colorado should have won their first meeting when officials used replay to overturn a game-ending bucket that looked to be out of Sabatino Chen’s hands at the buzzer. Arizona went on to win by nine in overtime and come into this one as 2 1/2 point favorites. Colorado will be fired up to get the win they feel was stolen from them  and the crowd will be fired up. The Buffaloes will be playing their first home game after a three-game road trip on which they played three close games losing at Utah and winning at Oregon and Oregon State. The Wildcats had their four-game winning streak snapped in their last game as Allen Crabbe dropped 31 as Cal came into Tuscon and got a big win. For most of the season, Arizona has looked like a top ten team and I think they’ll be able to go on the road into this hostile environment and get the win. In my mind, too much would have to go right for the Buffs to be in a position to win again. Confidence Meter: 5

10:40- LA Clippers: The Clippers are all healthy and should be back to dominating like they were earlier this season as the take on the Lakers as three-point favorites in the Staples Center tonight. The Lakers are officially the home team but without Pau Gasol they’ve continued to struggle. Kobe and Dwight have shown zero to negative chemistry and LA continues to struggle along. They dropped two of their last four and barely made it past Charlotte and Phoenix in their two wins. Meanwhile, the Clippers made it look easy last night against the Rockets in LA and have now won three in a row. This win would be their third in three tries against their in-city rivals as they beat the Lakers 105-95 on November 2 and 107-102 on January 4. Kobe struggled offensively, and even though I think he’ll bounce back, I don’t think it will ultimately be enough against a good, deep, and dominant Clippers team that’s back to full strength. Confidence Meter: 6

11:oo- Saint Mary’s Gaels: In what should be one of the best college games of the day, a West-Coast rivalry takes center stage in the late game in Moraga as Saint Mary’s hosts Gonzaga. Vegas has it as a pick’em game, and unless you’re in the red I suggest you pass on this one. However, I definitely don’t suggest you miss this game since it should be a good one. Saint Mary’s is 10-1 in the WCC with their only loss coming to Gonzaga at Gonzaga earlier this season. The Gaels hung right in with the then-#9 Zags in that one before falling 83-78. They’ll look to flip the script and split the season series as now-#5 Gonzaga comes in 10-0 in conference play. Gonzaga has had some close calls winning by just one at San Diego where Saint Mary’s won by 10, and losing at Butler in a non-conference game in the middle of conference play. I think this will be a great game and come down to the last few possessions, but ultimately it pays to be at home in rivalry games and across the board in college basketball this season. I’ll take the homecourt Gaels to get the win and even the series headed to a presumptive rematch in the WCC final. Confidence Meter: 2

February so Far

Yesterday’s picks: 6-4

All Picks this month: 86-68-1

Confident Picks this month 6+: 29-26

Longest Personal Streak this month: W9

Current Personal Streak: W1 (‘Cuse took down my nine-gamer, but Providence got me back in the green)

Topics: College Basketball Picks, NBA Picks, NHL Picks, PGA Tour Picks, Soccer Picks, Streak For The Cash Picks

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