Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 2/23

Feb 6, 2021; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid (11) reacts with teammates after a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Oklahoma City won 120-118. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Locks

NCAA Basketball – Mississippi @ Missouri -3.5 (-110): 8:00 PM CT on SEC Network

This is a buy-low opportunity on a much better team in Missouri where we’re getting a discount because of recent performance.

Mizzou was a shell of their usual selves for two games without Jeremiah Tilmon in the lineup, costing them two losses and market perception. But they blew out South Carolina with him back on Saturday, and they need to continue making up lost ground here.

While Ole Miss had a nice run of four wins behind great defense and superhuman efforts by Devontae Shuler — including at home against this Tigers team — their usual anemic offense returned in their Saturday home loss to Mississippi State. This is a Rebels team that is 183rd in offensive efficiency, and when they struggle it gets ugly.

Against a Missouri team out for revenge and needs wins to secure a double-bye in the SEC tournament, I see a comfortable Tigers win here.

NBA – Wolves/Bucks Over 232 (-110): 7:00 PM CT on Fox Sports North

How hilariously bad has this Minnesota Timberwolves team been at closing games out lately? That shouldn’t be a problem tonight as I expect the Milwaukee Bucks to get back on track against them in a game that shouldn’t end close.

I was hoping this number would come in a little lower after Minnesota has struggled offensively in their past few games, but I still love the Bucks to put up 125-plus in this one — and I think the Wolves can cover the difference. Hopefully the new coach situation in Minnesota puts a little energy into this offense. My gut tells me this one ends around 127-115 so I’m going to roll with the over.

NBA – Celtics/Mavs Over 224 (-110): 6:30 PM CT on TNT

This one is pretty simple to explain for me: The Dallas Mavericks are 7-1 in their last eight to this total, and I think the Boston Celtics are plenty capable of scoring on their own against this suspect Dallas defense.

This total seems like it came in a little low, so again I’m jumping on the NBA over train for what should be a fun game between two of the best young players in the NBA in Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum.

NBA – Blazers/Nuggets Over 232 (-110): 9:00 PM CT on TNT 

How fun is it to spend a night cheering for points on a TNT double-header?

These two teams have ranked near the top in the league in pace and offensive efficiency while coming in on the bottom half in defensive efficiency. When Nikola Jokic, Damian Lillard, Jamal Murray, and Co. all take the court at the same time, it usually spills over.

This total seems just a little low once again so let’s root for points.

NCAA Basketball – St. Louis -3 @ VCU (-110): 5:00 PM CT on CBS Sports Network

This seems like a really bad spot for VCU, and the market agrees.

I watched the Rams play on Saturday and saw what the loss of Nah’Shon Hyland did to this team. VCU was collectively crestfallen, and a team that is inconsistent at best even with Hyland on the floor will really struggle without him as he’s the initiator of all their offense and leads their full-court “Havoc” press.

The St. Louis backcourt led by senior guards Javonte Perkins and Jordan Goodwin should be able to easily handle the lesser “Havoc” press, and a Billikens defense that’s only allowing 0.889 points per possession over their last three games will clamp down on this weakened Rams offense.

The earliest opening number for this game was VCU -2, so this big of a move through zero shows what no Hyland means, and I agree.

Degenerates 

NCAA Basketball – Illinois @ Michigan State +7 (-110): 6:00 PM CT on FS1

It really seems like Michigan State is trying its best to participate in the blue-blood resurgence that’s been happening over the last week.

In taking down an Indiana team that couldn’t afford a home loss, the Spartans looked like the team who was preseason No. 13 and supposed to contend for the Big Ten title. Probably best to never count out Tom Izzo, and I don’t think you should here either.

Illinois has struggled to put away inferior and downright bad teams in three of their last five games — with those three staying inside seven points. And after a huge blowout of Minnesota this feels like a bit of a letdown spot for the Illini. They’re also in the soft part of the schedule before finishing with an absolute murderer’s row, so they could easily be taking Michigan State too lightly.

I love this Illinois team in general, but seven points is a lot to lay on the road in the Big Ten, and I have to go with feel and narrative in this one.

NCAA Basketball – Kansas +2.5 @ Texas (-110): 8:00 PM CT on ESPN

This is a matchup of two teams headed in the exact opposite directions.

Kansas seems to be leading the blue-blood resurgence, with five straight wins and covers to revive their season. It’s all due to defense for the Jayhawks as they’re only allowing 56.4 PPG in those five games, and have posted the best defensive efficiency mark in the country over their last three games.

Texas had an ugly collapse against West Virginia on Saturday, part of a bigger pattern for the Longhorns. The only wins they’ve had in their past eight games have come against Kansas State twice and TCU, plus they’re on a 2-8 ATS run.

The frustration is obvious as Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones had to be separated in the team huddle on Saturday. The earliest and sharpest money came in on Kansas in this one, and I agree so I’ll roll with the team on the positive trajectory in what should be a hard fought game.

NCAA Basketball – LSU/Georgia Over 165 (-110): 6:00 PM CT on SEC Network

The metrics love the over in this game, and so does the respected money. Sharp bettors jumped on this total early, driving it up two points to here where I think it still has plenty of value.

Neither of these defenses are equipped to stop much of anything, as the Bulldogs and Tigers are 227th and 210th respectively in points per possession allowed. Those possessions should be maximized in this one as Georgia plays at the 11th fastest pace in the country. LSU plays fairly fast as well at 69th, but it’s their offensive efficiency that’s truly elite: 9th in the country and red hot in their last three games at 1.274 points per possession.

Additionally, these teams have combined for a 5-1 record to the over when their game totals are 160 or higher, so they score when they’re expected to score. I see another over for this high total as efficiency and pace combine to create a shootout.

NBA – Pistons @ Magic -3.5 (-110): 6:00 PM CT

These teams battled it out just two days ago with the Orlando Magic winning by nearly double digits. They come into this game with a further advantage, getting Evan Fournier and Michael Carter-Williams back.

Meanwhile, the Detroit Pistons return to action without their starting point guard, Delon Wright. Detroit have the size to deal with Nikola Vucevic and they’re 3-7 ATS in their past 10 road games. Lay the points.

Tiny Nick is 168-102 ATS (+61.4 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.

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Feb 6, 2021; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid (11) reacts with teammates after a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Oklahoma City won 120-118. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

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