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 701 NETS
 702 RAPTORS
4/19/2014 12:30 PM(et)
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194 
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194 
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 703 GRIZZLIES
 704 THUNDER
4/19/2014 9:30 PM(et)
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191 
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192½ 
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 705 HAWKS
 706 PACERS
4/19/2014 7:00 PM(et)
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187 
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186 
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186½ 
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 707 WARRIORS
 708 CLIPPERS
4/19/2014 3:30 PM(et)
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210½ 
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 709 MAVERICKS
 710 SPURS
4/20/2014 1:00 PM(et)
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207 
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 711 BOBCATS
 712 HEAT
4/20/2014 3:30 PM(et)
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 713 WIZARDS
 714 BULLS
4/20/2014 7:00 PM(et)
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 715 BLAZERS
 716 ROCKETS
4/20/2014 9:30 PM(et)
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216 
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 951 BRAVES
 952 PHILLIES
4/17/2014 1:05 PM(et)
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4/17/2014 3:45 PM(et)
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 956 PADRES
4/17/2014 6:40 PM(et)
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 957 BREWERS
 958 PIRATES
4/17/2014 7:05 PM(et)
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 959 CARDINALS
 960 NATIONALS
4/17/2014 7:05 PM(et)
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 961 INDIANS
 962 TIGERS
4/17/2014 1:08 PM(et)
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 963 BLUEJAYS
 964 TWINS
4/17/2014 1:10 PM(et)
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 965 MARINERS
 966 RANGERS
4/17/2014 2:05 PM(et)
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 967 YANKEES
 968 RAYS
4/17/2014 7:10 PM(et)
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 969 ROYALS
 970 ASTROS
4/17/2014 8:10 PM(et)
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 971 REDSOX
 972 WHITESOX
4/17/2014 8:10 PM(et)
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 973 BLUEJAYS
 974 TWINS
4/17/2014 7:10 PM(et)
-125
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8½p 
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+114
7½o 
-125
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8u 
-125
+105
8½u 
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8u 
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7½o 

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No College Basketball games scheduled.

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Kelso Sturgeon has been a professional handicapper for 40 years and has a deep understanding of all facets of the game, be it football, basketball, baseball or horse racing. He's worked as a football scout in the SEC and studied under Hall of Fame coaches like Alabama's Bear Bryant, winner of five national titles and Hank Stram of the Kansas City Chiefs, who won the 1970 Super Bowl. He's been a Regional Sports Editor for the Associated Press, worked as a successful jockey agent and authored several books teaching people how to be a handicapper, including the bestseller, THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO SPORTS BETTING. Kelso also understands that to be a successful handicapper means knowing the business of gambling, and to that end he is personal friends with most of the big linesmakers in Las Vegas and gets the daily scoop on what is happening on the other side of the counter. There is no one better qualifed to be your personal handicapper than Kelso Sturgeon.

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In the FCS Huddle: Primer for the FCS playoffs

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - CAA Football was supposed to have a close race, one that came down to the wire with important games littered throughout the October and November schedule.

However, those games weren't supposed to include Maine, Old Dominion and Towson.

Picked to finish in that order at the bottom of the CAA standings, the three schools have turned conference race upside down and joined the fray with some of the more traditional powers.

The race is so tight right now, that eight of the eleven teams still control their own destiny to make the FCS playoffs.

"It just gives you the ebb and flow from year-to-year," William & Mary coach Jimmye Laycock said. "Any team that has slipped for a couple years comes back up and vice versa. You've just got good teams and good coaches and good players. Things turnaround."

A 4-7 team last season, Maine has methodically made its way through conference competition, winning games as a team, not doing anything flashy or noteworthy, but just playing solid football.

"There might be better units out there," Rhode Island coach Joe Trainer said. "But, I think they're the best team we've played thus far."

Maine might be the best team anyone in the CAA has played this season. The Black Bears have been perfect against FCS competition - and gave Big East foe Pittsburgh a scare in Week 2 - and thoughts of a playoff run are entering peoples minds in Orono for only the second time since 2002.

The same thoughts are being developed at Towson, as the Tigers have seemingly turned around a program that was the CAA's doormat the past four seasons.

Of course, traditional powers are still making their presence known.

James Madison, New Hampshire, Delaware, William & Mary and Richmond may all trail Towson and Maine in the standings, but the usual powers of the CAA will get their shot at the current leaders within the coming weeks.

Either way, it's bound to be an exciting second half of the season as conference championships and FCS playoffs berths turn from ideas to reality.

The following is a conference-by-conference breakdown of each championship race and the possible playoff field:

BIG SKY

With four games left in the Big Sky schedule, Montana State (6-1, 4-0) is pretty close to a lock to at least share the conference title. While the Bobcats could certainly lose out, it's unlikely, which turns our attention to the four-team race for likely two at-large playoff spots.

If the season were to end today, Montana (5-2, 4-1) would get the nod. However, with a Division II school still on the schedule, the Grizzlies need to win at least two of their final three Big Sky contests to reach seven Division I wins, which they likely will need to be a playoff qualifier if they don't win the conference title.

Sacramento State (3-3, 2-2) did itself a huge favor by upsetting Oregon State in Week 1, giving the Hornets a little bit of cushion to reach seven Division I wins. The rest of the schedule is manageable, with four of its last five games at home, Sacramento State needs to win at least four games against opponents that have a combined 12-20 record.

Of course, Weber State (3-3, 3-1) and Eastern Washington (3-4, 3-2) also could be playoff eligible, but it's a tough road ahead. The defending champions must win out, which starts with a huge game against Sacramento State this weekend, while Weber State would have to beat Montana or Montana State, perhaps even both rivals.

Champion: Montana State

Playoffs: Montana State (automatic bid), Montana (at-large), Sacramento State (at-large)

Last team out: Eastern Washington

BIG SOUTH

Technically, the Big South is wide open at this point in the season. However, in all reality, it should turn into a winner-take-all battle the last week of the season when Liberty visits Stony Brook.

Liberty (4-3, 2-0) visits winless Charleston Southern before hosting Presbyterian and VMI, all games that should be wins for the Flames before a bye week to prepare for Stony Brook.

For Stony Brook (3-3, 1-0), the schedule is slightly more difficult to navigate as a trio of road games and a home date with Coastal Carolina lay ahead in the coming weeks. With the more taxing schedule and Liberty's luxury of bye before the Nov. 19 meeting, it looks like the Flames will be headed to the playoffs.

Unfortunately for the Big South, it doesn't look like a second-place Liberty or Stony Brook would get an at-large bid.

Champion: Liberty

Playoffs: Liberty (automatic bid)

Last team out: Stony Brook

CAA FOOTBALL

With nine teams ranked in the Top 25 and eight that could still finish playoff-eligible (Massachusetts, due to its FBS transition, can't make the playoffs), this is by far the toughest conference to dissect.

Right now, the surprise teams leading the very talented pack are Maine (5-1, 3-0) and Towson (5-1, 3-0). However, even with the Tigers' turnaround this season, it seems Maine is the team more likely to sit atop the standings at the end of the season.

With no disrespect to Towson's impressive start, you can't to anoint the Tigers as a CAA contender until they deal with one of the toughest four-week stretches in the country: William & Mary, Delaware, Maine and New Hampshire.

After Maine, it appears James Madison (5-2, 3-1) and New Hampshire (4-2, 2-1) each have the most manageable paths, while Delaware (4-3, 2-2) and William & Mary (4-3, 2-2) each have the potential to win out and finish tied as the conference leaders.

Old Dominion (5-2, 2-2) could still make a run, but with three games in a row against James Madison, Richmond and William & Mary to end the season, it seems unlikely the young Monarchs will finish playoff-eligible.

A puzzling team, Richmond (3-3, 0-3) has yet to win a conference game and it doesn't look like the Spiders are ready to reach the playoffs in interim head coach Wayne Lineburg's first season. However, Richmond could easily throw a wrench into the system by making a run or upsetting a team like Maine, Delaware or William & Mary.

Champion: Maine and James Madison

Playoffs: Maine (automatic bid), James Madison (at-large), New Hampshire (at- large), Delaware (at-large), William & Mary (at-large)

Last team out: Towson

GREAT WEST

In the final year of the Great West, there is only one concept for which we can be certain: Southern Utah will not be the champion. Despite being tabbed as the preseason favorite, the Thunderbirds have already lost three conference games.

North Dakota (4-2, 1-0), South Dakota (4-3, 1-0) and Cal Poly (3-3, 1-0) have all picked up wins against Southern Utah, while UC Davis has yet to play a conference game, giving us a very small sampling to make judgment.

Schedule-wise, North Dakota has the easiest path, getting South Dakota and Cal Poly at home, where the Fighting Sioux have yet to lose this season. Meanwhile, South Dakota has to visit Cal Poly as well, and the Coyotes have yet to win on the road this season.

Barring Cal Poly running the table to finish the season, which would require a win over a desperate Eastern Washington team and a long trip to South Alabama, the Great West won't even have a team considered for the playoffs.

Champion: Cal Poly

Playoffs: None

IVY LEAGUE

Another league that won't get a playoff berth, but by its own design rather than being excluded, the Ivy League race is shaping up to be a three-team race between Harvard (4-1, 2-0), Yale (3-2, 2-0) and Penn (3-2, 2-0).

Of those three, Harvard has been the most impressive, reeling off four straight wins after opening the season with a loss to Holy Cross. While it's often a dangerous way to look at things, all three schools have played Lafayette, with the Crimson pulling out the only victory against the Leopards.

Brown (4-1, 1-1) has lost to Harvard, but could factor into the race as well.

Champion: Harvard

Playoffs: None

MEAC

Only once has a team won the MEAC with two losses, which means this race will likely come down to Norfolk State, North Carolina A&T, Morgan State and South Carolina State.

Ranked for the first time since 2007, Norfolk State (6-2, 4-1) hosts North Carolina A&T (4-2, 3-0) in an Oct. 29 match-up that could decide the fate of the conference.

Thanks to a loss to Norfolk State, South Carolina State (4-3, 3-1) must win out and hope North Carolina A&T falls at least once, which could set up a three-way tie for the conference championship.

Morgan State (4-3, 3-1) is technically still in the race, but the Bears' schedule seems to much to overcome the rest of the season.

Champion: Norfolk State and South Carolina State

Playoffs: Norfolk State (automatic bid)

Last team out: South Carolina State

MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE

A top-heavy conference this season, the MVC has three teams ranked in the Top 25, but two of the three are legitimate FCS title contenders.

Both ranked in the Top 3, Northern Iowa (5-1, 4-0) and North Dakota State (6-0, 3-0) are both undefeated against FCS competition and the winner of the Oct. 29 game will likely win the conference and earn the automatic berth.

However, the loser of that game played at North Dakota State is still a virtual lock to reach the playoffs. You also can expect the Indiana State (5-2, 3-1) to make the playoffs, especially since the Sycamores' only losses might be to the two MVC powers and Penn State.

Champion: North Dakota State

Playoffs: North Dakota State (automatic bid), Northern Iowa (at-large), Indiana State (at-large)

Last team out: None

NORTHEAST CONFERENCE

With wins against Duquesne and Robert Morris, Albany (4-2, 3-0) is in the driver's seat to win the conference and make its first FCS playoff appearance. Even if the Great Danes were to lose a game, they still would hold the tiebreaker against Duquesne (5-2, 3-1) and Robert Morris (2-4, 2-1).

Champion: Albany

Playoffs: Albany (automatic bid)

Last team out: Duquesne

OHIO VALLEY CONFERENCE

It appears Jacksonville State (5-1, 4-0) is a more-than-comfortable choice to represent the OVC in the playoffs. Whether another team can earn a bid is still up in the air as Tennessee Tech and Murray State both have potential to get in if they were to have a fantastic final five weeks of the season.

Tennessee Tech (4-2, 3-1) is second in the OVC standings, but it seems the Golden Eagles have scheduled themselves out of the playoffs. One of the two non-Ivy League teams playing 10 games and with a win against a lower-level opponent, it seems the only chance of making the playoffs would be to upset Jacksonville State on Oct. 29.

For Murray State (4-3, 2-2), the path to a playoff berth would likely require a clean sweep through the rest of the season, including difficult back-to-back victories against Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee Tech.

Champion: Jacksonville State

Playoffs: Jacksonville State (automatic bid)

Last teams out: Tennessee Tech and Murray State

PATRIOT LEAGUE

The conversation in the Patriot League starts and ends with Lehigh (6-1, 1-0). While other teams may have decent records (Bucknell and Georgetown), the Mountain Hawks are by far the class of the league.

Champion: Lehigh

Playoffs: Lehigh (automatic bid)

Last team out: None

PIONEER FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Appropriately, San Diego hosts Jacksonville the last week of the season, as the winner will more than likely be crowned Pioneer League champion. The Toreros (6-1, 4-0) have a relatively easy schedule until the season finale, while the Dolphins (5-2, 4-0) could be tested when they visit Drake on Nov. 5.

Either way, neither team will even get a sniff at a playoff berth, as Jacksonville already has two losses and San Diego lost to a struggling UC Davis team.

Champion: Jacksonville

Playoffs: None

SOUTHERN CONFERENCE

The option is king in the SoCon this season, as Georgia Southern (6-0, 5-0) and Wofford (5-1, 3-0) have used the attack to run around, over and through opponents this season. It's likely the winner of the Nov. 12 meeting between the schools could be crowned the SoCon champion.

However, you can't forget Appalachian State (4-2, 2-1). The Mountaineers have already lost to Wofford, but a victory against Georgia Southern on Oct. 29 could set up a potential three-way tie for the title.

After the power trio on top of the standings, Samford, Elon, Furman and Chattanooga all are having decent seasons, but would likely need to upset an FBS team or one of the top teams in the conference to get consideration for a playoff berth.

Champion: Georgia Southern

Playoffs: Georgia Southern (automatic bid), Wofford (at-large), Appalachian State (at-large)

Last team out: Samford

SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE

It looks like the Sam Houston State-Central Arkansas game on Sept. 17 might prove to have been the conference championship game. One of the three remaining undefeated teams in the FCS, Sam Houston State (6-0, 3-0) may have the best chance of any team in the country to finish the regular season undefeated.

Meanwhile, Central Arkansas (4-3, 3-1), McNeese State (3-3, 2-1) and Northwestern State (4-3, 3-1) still have Southland title aspirations, but would need a stumble from the current leader in the clubhouse. If that stumble occurs, which would be most likely this weekend at McNeese State, it would become a wide open race with possibly four one-loss teams.

Of those one-loss teams, Central Arkansas would have the easiest path to a title, since the Bears play only one more Southland team with an above-.500 record.

Champion: Sam Houston State

Playoffs: Sam Houston State (automatic bid)

Last team out: Central Arkansas

SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Unlike the other conferences, SWAC teams are playing for a berth in the SWAC Championship Game rather than a chance at the FCS playoffs, and in one division it seems like the spot is wrapped up already.

Alabama State (6-1, 6-0) has stormed through SWAC competition this season, and with Jackson State (4-1, 6-1) ineligible for the championship game, it seems the Hornets' last regular-season test comes Oct. 29 against Alabama A&M (5-2, 4-1).

In the SWAC West, it appears Prairie View A&M (4-3, 4-2) and Arkansas-Pine Bluff (4-3, 3-2) are jockeying for position in the race for the championship game. The Golden Lions already hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Panthers, but have a tough stretch to close out the season, including Jackson State and Grambling State.

For Prairie View A&M, the road is even tougher due to the tiebreaker in Arkansas-Pine Bluff's favor. The Panthers still have a pair of difficult conference games against Jackson State and Alabama A&M.

Championship game: Alabama State vs. Arkansas Pine-Bluff

Playoffs: None

10/21/2011 8:00:15 AM