Streak for the Cash Picks-February 1, 2014

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Jan 29, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) pumps his fist as Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) walks back to the bench during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the first of the month which means all entries on ESPN’s Streak for the Cash are reset and we start the month with a clean slate and a fresh start.  There’s no better way to do that than on a jam-packed Saturday of sports action with picks from around the world of sports on ESPN’s Streak for the Cash. If you haven’t played the ESPN mini-game before, it’s very simple to understand but very difficult to succeed at.  All you have to do is pick winners in sports games, props, and matches from a variety of sports events.  Your goal is to build up as many consecutive wins as possible.  There are monthly cash prizes for most total wins and most consecutive wins in the overall contest.  There is also a newly-minted Fansided group which is open to the public and free to join by clicking here of by searching for Fansided in the Group Directory page.  The game is totally free to play and all you need is an ESPN ID to get started picking today!

Throughout the coming months, I’ll be posting my picks each morning and doing my best to keep you updated with new picks that are added late @ZT_Sports on twitter. Due to the volume of picks, I’ll keep my analysis brief and speak to the one statistical nugget that I think is the most relevant. For the sake of you planning your picks, I’ll also include my confidence in each selection on a scale of 1-10 with 10 representing themost confidence. Feel free to comment on any picks you like in the comments at the bottom of the page, and lets string together some wins this month!

Today’s board features a nice variety of options from the NHL, NBA, soccer around the globe and a ton of college hoops with a total of 46 picks as of this morning. With that many picks, the college basketball summaries are a little shorter than usual. Here are my picks in those matchups for this Saturday:

2/1 Streak Picks

10:00- Stoke City win/draw: There always seems to be an early month surprise, and I think Stoke can get a result at home where they got at least a draw in seven of their last eight EPL games including an upset win over Chelsea.  Man U lost to Chelsea just over a week ago and has dropped two of their last four EPL games although the did get a win when they played earlier this week which could lead to fatigue. Confidence-3

Jan 29, 2014; Madison, WI, USA; The Wisconsin Badgers bench cheers after a three-point basket is scored during the game against the Northwestern Wildcats at the Kohl Center. Northwestern defeated Wisconsin 65-56. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

11:00- Richmond wins or Single Digit Loss: VCU hosts Richmond as nine point favorites, but it’s a rivalry game so I think it will be close. Confidence-5

12:00- Wisconsin Badgers: Wisconsin is -5 as they host the Buckeyes in a Big Ten showdown between two teams who have faded fast. Confidence-5 1/2

12:30- St. Johns Red Storm: St Johns is favored by a deuce at home against Marquette and they’ve won three of their last four including a win at Butler on 1/25. Marquette just lost at Butler on 1/18 and are 2-5 in true road games this season. Confidence-4 1/2

12:30- Dayton Flyers: Dayton is favored by 3 1/2 as they host GW. Don’t just chase the percentages here, go with the home team that’s favored. Confidence-4

1:00- Providence Friars: The Friars are five-point favorites as they travel to DePaul. Confidence-5

1:00- Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens and Lightning have split their first two meetings both needing shootout before reaching resolution. Montreal just knocked off Boston in an impressive win and host this one, so they’re the slight favorite in my mind. Confidence-4

Jan 30, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins right wing Loui Eriksson (21) skates with the puck during the third period against the Montreal Canadiens at TD Banknorth Garden. The Montreal Canadiens won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

1:00- Boston Bruins: The Bruins are looking to bounce back from an ugly home loss to their rival Canadiens and are heavily favored over Edmonton. At home Boston is 20-6-2 while the Oilers are just 8-18-4 on the road. The two teams met earlier this season with Boston getting a 4-2 win in Edmonton. Confidence-7

1:03- Kentucky WildcatsThe Wildcats are two-point favorites on the road and need to bounce back after a tough home loss to LSU. Confidence-5

1:05- Toledo Rockets: Ohio is favored by two as the host Toledo, but the 18-2 Rockets will be a tough challenge coming in off six straight wins. Toledo ranks 13th in the nation averaging 83.2 points per game while Ohio scores just 70.7 which puts them at 213th. Confidence-3 1/2

1:05- North Carolina State wins or Single Digit Loss: NC State visits their rivals UNC as the bipolar Tar Heels come in favored by 9 1/2. I just don’t trust the Tar Heels to live up to their hype and blow them out so I’ll take the points. Confidence-4

2:00- Southern Methodist: Don’t get caught up in the ranking, SMU is favored by two at thome and have a pretty solid team although they did just have their five game winning streak snapped. Confidence-3

2:00- Colorado Buffaloes: Colorado is favored by three and usually a good home team. They’ve lost just one home game all season although they have dropped four of their last five overall in a brutal Pac-12 stretch. They’ll host Utah in this one who have also struggled lately losing three of their last five. Confidence-5

Jan 27, 2014; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Marcus Smart (33) reacts during the game Oklahoma Sooners at Lloyd Noble Center. Oklahoma won 88-76. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

2:05- Oklahoma State wins by Double Digits: Baylor has fallen off the map lately losingfive in a row and six of their lats seven. OSU has its issues but they typically take care of business at home and should dispatch Baylor with relative ease. Confidence-5 1/2

3:00- Colorado Avalanche: Colorado is 18-7-3 at home as they host the Sabres who are 6-15-3 on the road.  The Avs come in in better form (7-2-1 in their last ten) and should get the win on their home ice. The first day of the month usually contains a few of these “gift” picks but sometimes they come back to bite Streakers. Confidence-9

3:05- Wichita State wins by 20+ Points: This pick is right on the spread since most sites have the Shockers favored by 20. Evansville is just 3-6 in conference play and will have their work cut out for them against 22-0 Wichita State. With such big numbers, a backdoor cover is always a threat, but I’d five the points in this one. Confidence-3 1/2 

3:05- Florida State wins by Double Digits: The Seminoles are 8 point favorites as they host Clemson. Even though FSU has lost three of their last four (all on the road) they beat the Tigers by 15 on the road so should be able to win by 10 or more at home. Confidence-4

4:00- Arizona State Sun Devils: ASU comes into Stanford as four-point road underdogs, but I think they’ll get the win extending their winning streak to four straight. The Cardinal have played tougher competition lately but are just 5-5 in their last ten and have lost two of three. Confidence-3

4:00- LA Kings: Both teams come in having won just three of their last 10 games, but since the game is at Staples Center where the Kings are 16-8-3 on the year they make the most sense in this pick although it’s not as clear-cut as the overall records make it look. Confidence-5

4:05- Kansas Jayhawks: The Jayhawks look to stay undefeated in the Big 12 as they take on newly ranked Texas. The Longhorns have beaten three straight ranked opponents, so tread carefully with KU as four-point road faves. Confidence-4

4:30- Houston Cougars: The Cougars are 3 1/2 point underdogs as they roll into Rutgers where the Knights are just 8-13. I’d avoid this game if possible, but take Houston if you have to take it. Confidence Meter-2

5:05- LSU Tigers: The Tigers are five point favorites as they host the Razorbacks and are coming off an impressive road win over Kentucky. Confidence-5

5:05- United States win: This is purely an exhibition in Carson, California. I’ll take the US to get the win, but be careful with friendlies since teams motivation levels can vary. Confidence-4

6:00- Washington Huskies: It’s a rivalry game, and the Huskies are only three point favorites as they travel to Wazzu.  Washington State is just 1-7 in conference play, though. Confidence-5 1/2

6:00- Massachusetts Minutemen: UMass is ranked but they’re still 2 1/2 point underdogs as they roll into St. Joe’s. They’ve dropped their last two true road games, but I think they’ll bounce back against the Hawks who face the teeth of the A-10 in a brutal stretch starting with this game. Confidence-3

Jan 29, 2014; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Tyler Ennis (11) lays the ball up during the second half against the Wake Forest Deamon Deacons at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Syracuse won 67-57. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

6:30- Syracuse Orange: The Orange host Duke in one of the biggest games of the year so far in what should be a thrilling ACC rivalry for years to come. The Orange are 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 point favorites and should be able to stay unbeaten since this game’s at home and they’ll have a raucous crown behind them. Confidence Meter-6

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