ESPN Streak for the Cash February 18, Picks and Analysis

In one of tonight’s Streak for the Cash picks, the Pittsburgh Panthers and guard Tray Woodall (1) take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame in what should be a good Big East matchup on Big Monday. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Happy President’s Day! Today is one of the slower holidays on the sports calendar, but there’s still greens to be found in Streak for the Cash. There’s options on the board today mostly from college basketball and the NHL with some early international soccer and a big game from the women’s college basketball rounding out the slate. Here’s the picks I’ll be watching today:

Streak Picks 2/18

12:30- OFI Crete: Crete is in the middle of the Greek Super League table and as solid at home with a 6-4-1 record. In this match, they’ll host Platanias who is near the bottom of the table and really struggle on the road with a 1-2-8 record. When the teams met earlier this season at Platanias’s home stadium Maleme, OFI Crete won 2-1. Platanias is trying to escape the relegation zone, but I don’t think they’ll get a result today in Crete where OFI has won their last four homegames outright. Confidence Meter: (out of 10)

Feb 16, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) celebrates his hat trick against the New Jersey Devils during the third period of an NHL game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

1:05- New York Islanders: The Islanders start out their five-game week by hosting the Flyers who have 13 points in 16 games played, the same number the Isles have in just 14 games. New York has won its last two over the Devils 5-1 on Saturday and over the Rangers in a shootout last Thursday. Overall, New York is still just 2-5-0 at home, but have been playing better lately. Philadelphia can’t seem to get any momentum and have lost their last two at New Jersey and Montreal. The Flyers are just 2-8 on the road and have lost three of their first four games on their six-game road trip. Confidence Meter: 5

3:00- Man U wins by 2+: The FA Cup brings Reading to Old Trafford today. Man U went on the road to take on Reading December 1 and one 4-3, but at home Manchester has been not surprisingly dominant this season. They’ve won each of their last eight home games and four have been by multiple goals. Reading has been playing better recently as they look to escape the relegation zone in the EPL. The odds would agree that Man U should win by multiple goals and with Reading focused on their EPL slate, I think the Red Devils cruise at home like they usually do. Confidence Meter: 6

7:03- Pittsburgh wins by double digits: The Panthers host Notre Dame in this Big East matchup on ESPN tonight. Pitt is favored by 10 1/2 as they try to bounce back from their loss on Saturday at Marquette. Before that game, Jamie Dixon’s Panthers had won three in a row and seven of eight. Five of those wins were by double digits including wins at home over then-#6 Syracuse, and on the road at then-#17 Cincinnati. Notre Dame came into last week ranked 21 but needed overtime to escape Depaul at home and then lost by 17 at Providence. All year Notre Dame has struggled away from South Bend: they lost at St. John’s and by 15 at Syracuse. Pitt should be able to roll past the Irish at home. Confidence Meter: 7

7:04- Norfolk State Spartans: The Spartans are one-point road favorites as they take on Hampton. They were able to defeat the Pirates at home by seven. Hampton is 7-3 in MEAC play while Norfolk State is undefeated in conference play at 11-0. Before going on their recent tear, the Spartans had lost five in a row. Hampton has had some rough patches too this season but has been able to win their last five. I’ll take the Spartans to pull off the road win and stay unbeaten in conference since so far they’ve been dominant and their last several games haven’t even been close. Hampton’s last game was a double-overtime win over Delaware State who Norfolk State beat by 22 just a couple weeks ago. Confidence Meter: 4

Feb 16, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak (42) celebrates his goal with defenseman Dion Phaneuf (3) against the Ottawa Senators at the Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Senators 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

7:35- Toronto Maple Leafs: Toronto has gotten off to a hot start at 9-6-0 and are in the top ten in goals scored per game and least goals against per game. They’re coming off a nice shutout win at home against Ottawa on Saturday as they travel way south to take on the Panthers in Florida. The Panthers have struggled  in their last six games going to overtime five times and losing all but one. They gave up five goals to Tampa on Saturday before losing in a shootout. Toronto has won five of their last six, and I think they’ll extend their dominance. In contrast to the Panthers, the Leafs have only played one overtime game all year and they won on the road in Buffalo. Overall, they’re 6-2-0 on the road and should be able to get a win in Sunrise tonight. Confidence Meter: 6

9:04- Kansas State wins by Double Digits: K-State is favored by 10 1/2 at home as they take on their former coach Bob Huggins and his new team West Virginia. The Wildcats bounced back nicely from their embarrassing loss at Kansas by beating Baylor by 20. When K-State traveled to Morgantown they won by only one, but since then the Mountaineers have struggled in Big 12 play. They lost by 20 at Baylor last week, and hav also lost big on the road to Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Purdue (out of conference). As bad as WVU has been on the road, K-State has been excellent at home in the Octagon of Doom where they’re 14-1. Confidence Meter: 4

Feb 16, 2013; Rosemont, IL, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Myles Mack (4) goes to the basket against the DePaul Blue Demons during the first half at the Allstate Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

9:05- Any Other Result: The Villanova Wildcats are favored by 10 as they host Rutgers tonight in The Pavilion. Villanova won by nine at UConn Saturday but has only won three Big East games all year by double digits. Rutgers has struggled in Big East play at just 4-9 in conference but they’ve been in games for the most part. They were blown out by Syracuse in their first game in the new year and lost by 10 to Cincinnati early in the season as well. In their last six games, only Louisville has beaten them by double-digits. They played within ten of UConn, Cincinnati, and Georgetown. Big East games tend to be close, so I think Rutgers keeps this one within 10. Confidence Meter: 3

February so Far

Yesterday’s picks: 4-4

All Picks this month: 112-89-1

Confident Picks this month 6+: 41-31

Longest Personal Streak this month: W9

Current Personal Streak: L1 (Illinois State)

Topics: College Basketball Picks, ESPN Streak For The Cash Picks, NHL Picks, Soccer Picks

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