NCAA Basketball (0.5 Unit) Minnesota -2.5 @ Pittsburgh (-110): 6:00 PM CT on ESPNU
The Gophers were almost universally picked to finish last in the rugged Big Ten, but they’ve impressed me so far in the non-conference schedule. They should be able to handle this Pittsburgh team that has looked ugly to start the season.
Pitt’s only two wins on the season have been relatively close calls against weak opponents. They’ve also already dropped two games against teams below 200th in KenPom, both on their home floor. The Gophers aren’t exactly a powerhouse going into the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but this team has been playing excellent defense (13th in defensive efficiency) and finding ways to win.
I’m also looking at conference strength here, with the ACC looking relatively weak except for Duke, and Pittsburgh being the bottom-feeder of the group. I see Minnesota grinding out another tough win tonight, so I’ll lay this short number with them.
NCAA Basketball (1 Unit) Indiana/Syracuse Over 147 (-110): 6:00 PM CT on ESPN2
This is a much different Syracuse team from years past, no longer relying on their lockdown zone defense and instead getting into shootouts. They should find a willing partner for that style in an Indiana team with an excellent offense.
In his twilight years, Jim Boeheim has started to let his team fire from anywhere, especially both of his sons who start for this squad. It’s resulted in Syracuse going 4-2 over this number to start the season, with the two unders coming against teams who refuse to play fast. Indiana will have no problem there, as the Hoosiers are 71st in pace and 19th in shooting percentage.
Indiana’s defensive metrics are inflated against some bad teams, but the times they’ve played fast-paced opponents, the game has cruised over this number. I see this as a track meet where the excellent shooters for both teams create an easy over.
NCAA Basketball (0.5 Unit) Pepperdine @ Nevada -13 (-110): 9:00 PM CT on MW Network
Nevada has really turned a corner as a team, and the results are showing on the court. They should be able to keep the blowouts coming against a Pepperdine team that’s been poor away from home.
All it took for the Wolfpack to turn things around was dismissing guard AJ Bramah from the team. After that decision, they recorded consecutive 19-point wins over opponents far stronger than they face tonight. Nevada’s fast pace and powerful offense should allow them to run away in this game against a Pepperdine team that is 322nd in offensive rating, only scoring 57.7 PPG their past 4 games.
The Waves have only been ripples on the road this season, losing their two true road games by 19 and 34 points. A confident and gelling Nevada team should hand out another beating here, so I’ll lay the big number.
NBA (0.5 Unit) Golden State Warriors/Phoenix Suns Under 222.5 (-110): 9:00 PM CT on TNT
Something has to give in this marquee Western Conference matchup, as both of these teams are excellent on both ends of the floor. But ultimately I’m seeing a defensive game here that continues the NBA under trend.
While Golden State is 2nd and Phoenix 5th in offensive efficiency this season, their defenses have been even better. The Warriors are 1st in points allowed and defensive efficiency, while the Suns are 8th and 3rd in those categories. Both teams have also combined for a 25-15 record to the under, with the Warriors cashing 6 straight unders on the road.
Totals in the NBA within 2 points of this number have gone 47-27 to the under this season, so it’s just been difficult to eclipse high numbers in the new NBA. I see both teams working hard on defense in this one given the high-profile spot, creating another under on what’s become a high total for this year.
NCAA Basketball Florida State @ Purdue -11 (-110): 6:30 PM CT on ESPN
I love this Purdue team and think they are exceptionally balanced in every facet. I’m not sure any team has an answer for Zach Edey and Trevion Williams inside, and while FSU has size they’re all very inexperienced and could struggle here.
The Seminoles just haven’t put it all together yet, while Purdue is firing on all cylinders. What the Boilermakers haven’t done yet though is run out a power conference opponent, with single-digit wins over UNC and Villanova. But the Seminoles were dominated by Florida, struggled with Boston, and could be in trouble here, so I’ll cautiously lay the points.
Tiny Nick is 466-361 ATS (+85.7 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.