Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 10/16

Photo Credit: Reinhold Matay (USA TODAY Sports)
Locks

NCAA Football (1 Unit) UCF @ Cincinnati -21 (-110): 11:00 AM CT on ABC

Last week we learned that Cincinnati is fully focused and truly on a mission to crash the CFP party. They’re looking the part of a top-4 team and need another big win here against a Central Florida team that carries some brand-name recognition.

The Bearcats know that style points count and have shown they’re willing to accumulate them in beating teams by 28.8 PPG this season, along with beating the spread by 9.7 PPG. This is also the point in the season when Cincy has gotten into their groove in years past, and they’re catching this UCF team in a bad spot for the Knights. By losing quarterback Dillon Gabriel, UCF lost the ability to have a balanced offensive attack as Mikey Keene simply can’t produce through the air. I also see Desmond Ridder going off in this one as UCF struggles against dual-threat quarterbacks.

This game is on national TV, an excellent showcase opportunity for the Bearcats. I see them being focused on this higher-profile opponent, along with the optics of beating expectations and therefore the point spread.

NCAA Football (0.75 Unit) Duke @ Virginia -10.5 (-110): 11:30 AM CT on ESPN3

This Virginia team looks like they’ve turned the corner after consecutive 20-point losses at the hands of Wake Forest and North Carolina. They’ve won back-to-back tough conference road games, and now get a very poor Duke team at home.

The Blue Devils are not your typical 3-3 team, with all their wins coming at home against the awful lineup of NC A&T, Northwestern, and Kansas. Despite that weak schedule, Duke owns the 105th pass defense in the country and now has to face the nation’s passing yards leader in Brennan Armstrong. The Cavaliers threw all over a similarly-styled Illinois team last month en route to a 28-point win, and I see them being able to do the same things here. Let’s not forget these teams met last year in Charlottesville, and Virginia handled a Duke team with a better offense than this version 38-20.

I’m finding it interesting that the total is set at 70 in this game. With Duke only scoring 34 total points in their 2 ACC games this season and both teams only reaching that total once each, that to me is a tell that this one is headed for a blowout.

NCAA Football (0.75 Unit) Pittsburgh -4.5 @ VA Tech (-110): 2:30 PM CT on ESPN2

This is an absolutely terrible spot for Virginia Tech here, coming in off a crushing last-minute loss to Notre Dame. I’m skeptical of their energy level here, and the last team you want to come out flat against is Pittsburgh.

The Panthers lead the country in scoring and are 3rd in total yards behind Heisman dark-horse Kenny Pickett at quarterback. They’re also quietly the 2nd-best team in the country for plus/minus against the spread at +12.3, not that far behind Georgia who’s playing the best football anywhere. Pitt definitely has some issues defensively, but a Hokies team that’s 105th in yards per play won’t be able to exploit the weaknesses well enough. A Pitt offense that’s 14th in the same category should pull away against a Tech defense that was exposed last week.

This is also just an afternoon game in Blacksburg, a far less hostile and intimidating environment than the Hokies present at night. I trust this elite Pittsburgh offense to be prepared for this game off a bye and keep rolling to get them the win and cover.

NCAA Football (1 Unit) Hawaii @ Nevada -8 First Half (-110): 9:30 PM CT on CBS Sports Network

If you’re a fan of Bad Beats, this Nevada team was on the wrong end of an ugly one last week by allowing 21 fourth-quarter points to let New Mexico State inside a big number. The Wolfpack also started slowly in that game before exploding for 52 consecutive points, so I think this veteran team will come out of the gates strong here.

Strong because they have quarterback Carson Strong, likely a first-round pick next spring and leading an offense that’s 7th in passing yards and gets 81% of its production through the air. That makes for a strength-on-weakness matchup here with Hawaii ranking 119th in passing yards allowed. Strong and big-play receiver Romeo Doubs should torch this Warriors defense early and often, especially with this being a revenge spot after Nevada lost on the island to mar a 5-0 start last season.

The last time we saw Hawaii they were defeating a ranked Fresno team at home, but they’ve been much worse on the mainland. In their two visits against competent programs, they’ve found themselves trailing at the half by 17 and 28 points. They simply won’t be able to stop what Nevada does best, and I see the Wolfpack motivated after a week of getting the wrong kind of attention.

Degenerates

NCAA Football Ole Miss/Tennessee Under 82.5 points (-110): 6:30 PM on SEC Network

Let’s take a look at what is required to clear a total this high. First off you need 41.5 points per half, and therefore 20.75 points per quarter, so a minimum of 3 touchdowns in every quarter. That scoring needs to be sustained for all four quarters with no letting up.

If you look at the points-per-drive rate of both these teams in terms of the matchup against each other, what’s needed to clear this total becomes an even taller task. Each team’s offense versus the other’s defense averages out to about 2.75 points per drive, so dividing the total by that number gets an even 30 drives. So far in conference play, Tennessee is averaging 11.7 drives per game while Ole Miss averages 12 per game, so the combined 23.7 is woefully short of the number needed to produce this much scoring.

Additionally, so far this season two-thirds of games with a total of 65 or higher have gone under. This is a unique matchup where these teams could feed off each other in a true shootout, and honestly, I’d love to watch that kind of game. I’m leaving this as a degenerate for that reason, but the numbers are pretty clear that this total is too high.

Tiny Nick is 402-306 ATS (+88.4 Units) on his Locks since joining Zone Coverage. 

Every day he will offer his Locks and Degenerate picks. Locks are the games he’s confident in. Degenerates are entertaining but riskier picks.

Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 11/29
By Nick Hamaty - Nov 29, 2021
Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 11/28
By Nick Hamaty - Nov 28, 2021

Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 11/27

Photo Credit: Reinhold Matay (USA TODAY Sports)

Locks NCAA Football (0.5 Unit) Indiana @ Purdue -15.5 (-110): 2:30 PM CT on FS1 This is an in-state rivalry game with a weird trophy on the […]

Continue Reading