Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 6/8

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Swinger (USA TODAY Sports)
Locks

NBA – 76ers Team Total over 114 (-110): 6:30 PM CT on TNT

One thing that’s surprised me about these playoffs is seeing the Philadelphia 76ers rely more on a fast-paced and high-scoring offense instead of their excellent defense. It’s one thing to average 124 points against the Washington Wizards defense in a first-round series. It’s a whole other thing to put up 124 to open the second round against a much better Atlanta Hawks defense, even in spite of a nightmarish first half.

That makes for an average of 117.8 PPG against Atlanta this season for the Sixers, who are 3-1 over this number including 3-0 with an average of 125.7 PPG in Philadelphia. This number represents the floor of Philly’s offensive output thus far in the postseason, and I think regardless of the game’s outcome it’s easily attainable for the Sixers. So in a game with a high total that’s on the rise, I see another offensive outburst from the Sixers as they try to make a statement in knotting this series at a game apiece.

NBA – Clippers/Jazz over 220.5 (-110): 9:00 PM CT on TNT

It’s really difficult to get a read on how totals will shape up in this series because of a lot of conflicting data points.

The regular-season series was 1-2 to the over against this particular total with those factors of lineup variety and schedule playing a big role, although the lone over was probably most similar to the lineup and style that we’ll see tonight. It’s telling that oddsmakers saw a season series average 107.3 PPG between teams with the 4th and 7th-best defensive ratings, yet hung a total this high.

I think I’m factoring in the same thing they are which is 3-point shooting. Neither team shot anywhere close to their average percentage from deep in the three regular-season games, critically important for two teams that are 1st and 4th in 3-point percentage. If this game sees significant mean reversion in that category, these teams who love to let it fly from long range will easily make up the gap in points.

Opening games of the second round have been higher scoring than I expected, so I’ll roll with another over here.

Bonus Bet: We all saw the Jazz go nuclear against the Memphis Grizzlies in Round 1, averaging 127 PPG once Donovan Mitchell returned. That was against a Grizzlies team ranked 8th in defensive efficiency and 11th in opponent shooting percentage, both of which are a few spots better than the Clippers. The Jazz averaged 110.7 PPG against the Clips in the regular season, but watching them shred Memphis and anticipating a hot, motivated start to Round 2 has me liking their team total to go over 112 points.

MLB – Diamondbacks @ Athletics Run Line -1.5 (+100): 8:40 PM CT on NBC Sports-CA

I don’t typically like laying the run line with a home team, especially one that’s burned me recently like the Oakland Athletics. I also don’t typically like the run line with a game that’s such a mismatch because usually you’re forced to lay juice.

All that said, this is an Arizona Diamondbacks team in freefall, and the even-money price has my attention. Arizona has fully collapsed, 3-22 in their last 25 games with 15 of those losses by 2-plus runs. The starter for the D’Backs tonight, Jon Duplantier, boasts a 9.35 ERA in two short starts against teams not known for great hitting. Conversely, A’s starter Chris Bassitt has been an excellent bet, with Oakland covering the run line in his last three starts and already beating Arizona 9-5 earlier this season.

And when Oakland wins they tend to cover, with 24 of their 35 victories this season coming by 2-plus runs including their last nine wins in a row. I would’ve preferred a plus price on this, but even money will be good enough given how truly awful Arizona is and Oakland’s tendency to win comfortably.

Degenerates

NBA – Clippers @ Jazz -2 First Half (-110): 9:00 PM CT on TNT

It’s tough to glean much information from the season series between these teams due to the variety of lineups and situational spots when they played. One important thing to note though is the one game played in Salt Lake City saw the Jazz jump on the Clippers early to lead by 9 points at the half. That’s part of a bigger trend for the Jazz as they were the best team in the NBA for first-half scoring differential, both at home and overall.

Once Mitchell returned for them in the first round, the Jazz torched the Grizzlies by an average of 15 points in the first half, and 22 points in the two home games. I simply don’t trust Playoff P and the Clippers, coming off a series that was much tougher than it needed to be, traveling to elevation, and facing a rested Jazz squad.

The injury issues for Mike Conley are concerning in a broader sense for the series, but I don’t think it matters as much in this more isolated scenario where the Jazz should be motivated and firing on all cylinders early.

Tiny Nick is 279-184 ATS (+83 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: Jeffrey Swinger (USA TODAY Sports)

Locks NBA – 76ers Team Total Over 114.5 (-110): 6:30 PM CT on TNT I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this number is […]

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