Sorry, must I've been battling a head cold and sore throat for the past week and I've got no voice today. That dreadful loser on the Pistons last night only made it worse. Naturally I did go 3-0 with the free picks though on Wednesday.

Free Pick # 1 - Bulls (-9) at LA Lakers

LA was minus Kobe in a 113-93 Christmas day loss in Chicago as ex-Laker Pau Gasol led the way with 23 points and 13 rebounds. He's coming off a monster game (18 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 blocks) at Golden State as the Bulls snapped the Warriors' 19-game home winning streak with a 113-111 overtime upset Tuesday as a ridiculous 11 1/2-point underdog.

The Bulls were sharp defensively in that game, holding the Warriors to just 43.5 percent shooting from the field while outrebounding them 61-48.

The Lakers are coming off a ninth straight loss as they coughed up a 19-point lead in a 98-92 home setback to road-weary Washington Tuesday. They've averaged just 88.9 points during the losing streak.

Can't imagine this is going to be a letdown spot for the Bulls, who prior to the big Golden State game were humiliated by Miami at home in a 96-84 loss as a 7 1/2-point chalk.

Free Pick # 2 - Utah (-5 1/2) at UCLA

The Utes are just 3-3 on the road, but there's no shame in those losses since they came against Arizona, Kansas and San Diego State, with the latter two by a combined seven points. 

First time these two met in Salt Lake back on January 4, the Utes toyed with the Bruins, holding them to their lowest point total since 1967 in a 71-39 drubbing as a 12-point favorite.

No big surprise when you consider Utah is third in the Pac-12 in scoring at 75.1 points a game as its hits 49.9 percent of its shots (No. 6 in the nation). 

The Utes also excel on the other end of the floor as they're tops in the Pac-12, and No. 10 in the nation, in scoring defense with a per game yield of 56.5 points on 37.9 shooting.

While Utah is off to a 6-1 start in conference play, the Bruins continue to flounder and are coming off road losses by 18 at Oregon and 11 at Oregon State. They are 2-0 at home in Pac-12 play this season, beating a bad Cal team by 19 and rallying late to upset Stanford in double overtime, but the Utes are the superior club in this match-up and this price is only cheap because Utah is 0-2 at Pauley Pavilion since joining the Pac-12 with the losses coming by a combined 41 points. 

To good of a discount on a chalk to ignore.

Free Pick # 3 - Memphis (-10 1/2) vs. Denver

Denver snapped a seven-game skid with last night's upset win at New Orleans. But now the Nuggets are playing their second set of back-to-backs in a five-day stretch. And the opponent, Memphis, is itching for payback after getting trounced 114-85 in the season's first meeting January 3. 

Zach Randolph missed that game because of a knee issue, but he's back tonight and the Grizzlies are a better team offensively since Jeff Green was acquired from the Celtics. They're 7-1 since his arrival and he's averaged 13.6 points and 4.3 rebounds since switching uniforms.

Memphis is on a 6-1 roll at home overall and has taken six of the last seven series' showdowns on its home floor. 

A 10th game in 16 days proves to be too much for the Nuggets as a defensive heavyweight seeking revenge awaits them tonight in Memphis. 



9 of 12 Winning Football Seasons

(NFL & College Combined)


169-138-13 NFL Roll
past five years combined
+209.75 Dimes
(FYI - 99% of my plays are rated between 5 and 15 dimes)

with highest rated 30 Dime NFL releases
past five years combined

Most Recent Releases
9/7/14 - Philadelphia (-10') 34-17 over Jacksonville
10/5/14 - Philadelphia (-7) fails vs. St. Louis, 36-28
1/18/15 - Seattle/New England Teaser - Winner

71-56-7 Run
with NFL 15 Dimers past six seasons


Biggest NBA Plays Since 2009


15 Dime Releases


50-35-3 Record


Payment Types

Winning Day # 10 out of 15

College Winner # 6 of 7

Cal-Santa Barb at UC Davis

Matches my 15 Dime winners on
Oakland over Cleveland State Monday,
Villanova over Creighton Sunday and
Oregon over UCLA Saturday


Buy Now Buy Now $75
Hands down, no doubt about it, my 15 dimer on the Pistons last night was my absolute worst best of the entire basketball season to date.

An eight-point road favorite loses by 20 at Philadelphia?

I still can't believe it.

And, naturally, didn't I go 3-0 with my free picks as Arizona, Richmond and Temple all won by double digits.

But in a way, that's reassuring because it tells me my research and analysis has been on the mark. I just simply screwed up and bet the wrong team in Detroit.

Trying to erase some of this week's deficit with 15 dime college winner # 6 of 7 n the Big West game between UC Davis and Cal-Santa Barb, a play that matches the normal top-rated release in any sport for me and equals the 15 dime winners I had Monday on Oakland over Cleveland State, Sunday with Villanova over Creighton and Saturday with Oregon over UCLA.

I also have a bonus 5 dimer on UAB-UTEP. I won my last 5 dimer on Saturday with Indiana State over Loyola-Chicago.

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Every Play I've Got for 30 Days

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Steve Budin, Bryan Rosica &

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do NOT release plays everyday

Trace Adams' pay after you win pick is excluded

Al DeMarco's Rating System

Over the 25 years I've been doing this, one of the biggest misconceptions I've encountered from customers is their belief that winningpercentageactually matters in this business. Bottom line is that a straight-up winning percentage means absolutely nothing when your handicapper - such as myself - releases rated selections. Read further and you'll understand why.


I use the "dime" rating system, going in 5 dime increments, generally keeping those plays between 5 and 50 dimes. Yes, that's a wide range, but truth be told, I usually max out around 30 dimes, rarely venturing into the rarefied air toward 50 dimes unless I've built a substantial bankroll. Doing anything different would be irresponsible bankroll management on my part and a total disservice toward you, my clients.


I like to keep it simple from a money-management system so my customers can always know exactly how they should beallocatingtheir bankroll in proportion to the rating I assign to a selection.


Obviously, a 50 Dime play is five times stronger than a 10 Dime release and twice as strong as a 25 Dime pick.


And each day when you see my compiling or mentioning my NET profit figures, keep in mind I've computing them based on the following formula:


Net Profit = Wins - Losses- Vig


Of course let's not forget my golden rule of gambling: Never bet more than you can afford to lose. No rating system - including mine - is effective unless you pay attention to that rule. By heeding my advice you can never fall into a financial abyss from which there is no escape.


A question gamblers always pose is "How much should I be playing?" Obviously, there is no set, firm answer, but my advice would be to follow my money management system and base the size of your wagers on a percentage of your total bankroll.


Let me explain further...


Take your total bankroll - the amount you can afford to lose in an absolute worst case scenario on a single day. Let's say it's $400 on a college football Saturday. And on that Saturday I release a 50 Dime play and two 20 Dime picks.


Let's do some quick math...I've got atotalof 90 dimes of action on the table (one 50 dime play and two 20 dimers).  You've got amaximum one-day bankrollof $400. Simply divide the $400 by the 90 dimes and you've got a per dime wager of $4.44.


Now it's time for some simple multiplication. If a dime is worth $4.44, my 50 Dime rated release equals approximately a $222 wager on your part. And my two 20 Dime rates picks equal approximately $88.88 wagers each. Add everything back up and you've got your initial $400 bankroll all over again.


This obviously all applies to a single wagering day. It's up to you to figure out how to allocate your bankroll over the course of a week or month.


Now, back to how inconsequential winning percentages can be: Let's say I have a 50 Dime play and three 10 Dime releases on an NFL Sunday. If I win the 50 Dime play and go 0-3 with the 10 Dime releases, my overall record is a dismal 1-3 but my net profit is a healthy 17 dimes. Conversely, let's say I lose the 50 Dime play and go 3-0 with the 10 Dime releases. My overall record is an impressive 3-1, but my net profit is a negative -25 dimes.


Which would you prefer, the losing record and winning day, or the winning record or losing day?


Believe what you want, but I'm telling you the truth: Winning percentage means nothing in this business as the above illustration will prove time and time again. Of course, crafty salesmen masquerading as handicappers can spin gold using the second scenario, but I feel it's my job to educate you about what is the TRUTH in this business - whether you become my customer or not.

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Matt Rivers 

do NOT release plays everyday

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