Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 4/5

Photo Credit: Kyle Terada (USA TODAY Sports)
Locks

NCAA Basketball – Gonzaga/Baylor Over 159.5 (-110): 8:20 PM CT on CBS

For anyone that listens to my podcast, when this whole thing started I took Baylor to win it all against Gonzaga.

Although I’m still rolling with Baylor, I think there’s a safer play in this game with two high-octane offenses taking the stage. It’s the title game we’ve all wanted since December, and I don’t think it will disappoint for points. No question these are the two most consistently high-powered offenses in the country, 1st and 2nd in offensive rating and more capable of lighting it up than any other teams.

For a team that’s 15th in defensive efficiency, Gonzaga actually struggles to guard the 3-point line (89th in opponent 3-point percentage), so the best-shooting team from deep in Baylor should be able to generate plenty of points from downtown. Conversely, Baylor struggles to guard from inside the arc (120th nationally), so the best 2-point percentage team in Gonzaga should thrive on easy looks.

What also seems to be getting missed in this number is how tightly contested the game should be. Gonzaga has been scoring 86.8 regulation PPG in the tournament, but the blowouts they’ve had before Saturday caused a 2-3 record to the over as Gonzaga preferred to grind out second halves. Baylor has the potential to out-Gonzaga the Bulldogs and make this a back-and-forth type game. We saw with UCLA what that will do to a total so take the over here.

Bonus Bet 1: Another defense/offense mismatch in this game is Gonzaga’s lack of athletic rim protection versus Baylor’s ability to attack the rim, both off the bounce and with lobs to their bigs. I see Baylor being able to take advantage of that with their elite athleticism. Add in what should be a 3-point barrage from the Bears and I like their team total of 77.5 to go over. Or just be like me and take Baylor’s moneyline and hope for the best.

Bonus Bet 2: I mentioned on Saturday that Gonzaga has been running it up in first halves during the tournament, averaging 45.3 first-half points going into the UCLA game. Another 45-point outburst on Saturday night kept that trend going. So I was stunned to see their first-half team total in this game at only 39.5 and love the Bulldogs to go over that number again here.

Degenerates

No degenerates today.

Tiny Nick is 214-138 ATS (+68 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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Photo Credit: Kyle Terada (USA TODAY Sports)

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