Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 1/15

Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/The Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK
Locks

NFL (0.75 Units) Las Vegas Raiders +6 @ Cincinnati Bengals (-110): 3:30 PM CT on CBS

I actually think the Las Vegas Raiders might actually win this game. They’ve been through a lot this year and somehow here they are. The Bengals have played well as of late highlighted by their marquee win against the Chiefs but six points is a lot, especially against a team that just doesn’t quit like the Raiders.

Yes, the Bengals covered this number fairly easily in the first meeting, but it was extremely close until a wild fourth quarter. And as The Paris noted on my podcast the Raiders defense is one of the best at getting pressure without blitzing, something that bothers Joe Burrow and the Bengals immensely. Let’s also remember that Cincinnati has not won a playoff game since 1990, and the Raiders are 6-1 ATS (5-2 SU) their last seven games as an underdog. Whether it’s a tight game or a back door cover, the Raiders should have a good chance of covering this number.

NCAA Basketball (0.75 Unit) Gonzaga/Santa Clara Over 162.5 (-110): 3:00 PM CT on NBC Sports-BA

It’s admittedly square to have watched the last two Gonzaga games and then get lured into an over this high, but I just don’t care. Especially not against a team like Santa Clara who has the offensive firepower to turn this into an absolute shootout.

What else needs to be said about a Gonzaga team averaging 103.8 PPG the last four times out, including consecutive 110-plus outbursts? There are NBA teams that aren’t producing at that level. But those last two games have also seen their opponent score 83 and 84 points, something Santa Clara is extremely capable of matching or exceeding. The Broncos are the 15th-best shooting team in the country, 20th from long range, and have averaged 80.5 PPG in their last four games.

Behind Josip Vrankic, Jalen Williams, and the return of PJ Pipes this Santa Clara team is very dangerous offensively. If they’re able to maintain their recent scoring level – something that hasn’t been tough against Gonzaga – then this game will fly over the total.

NCAA Basketball (0.5 Unit) Tarleton @ Grand Canyon -9 (-110): 8:00 PM CT on ESPNU

The market is catching on to how good this Grand Canyon team can be, as this is a pretty high number for them to be laying in a conference game. But I love the spot for the Antelopes and think they make a statement here.

It’s not often a small private school gets a national TV audience for one of their home games, but that’s the case tonight with ESPN in the building. They’ll be showing off one of the most electric environments this side of Cameron Indoor, and it gives GCU a huge advantage over teams who normally play in small gyms. Tarleton is definitely one of those teams, and their anemic shooting and lack of size will really hurt them here.

The Texans are just 285th in shooting percentage, don’t make threes, and will be forced to contend with the massive front line of GCU. The Antelopes just mopped the floor with a far better opponent in Abilene this week, and are not afraid to put it on teams. Behind a raucous crowd and in front of a national TV audience, I see GCU delivering a blowout here.

NCAA Basketball (0.5 Units) 2-Team Moneyline Parlay (+110)

Murray St @ Belmont -250: 4:00 PM CT on ESPN+

Belmont does not lose conference home games, and they definitely don’t lose at home to Murray State. The Bruins have only dropped two OVC games at the Curb Event Center in the past four seasons. And neither of those were to the Racers, who have never once won on Belmont’s home floor.

Murray is once again looking like it will compete for an OVC title, but unfortunately, that road goes through the Belmont juggernaut. The Bruins offense is finally rounding into form, scoring 91.7 PPG to start league play, and the Racers defense simply is not ready for that level of offense. This rivalry is always hard-fought, but the edge usually lies with the home team so I’ll count on the Bruins to defend their home court.

BYU @ San Francisco -200: 10:00 PM CT on CBS Sports Network

After getting run over by the Gonzaga freight train late into the night on Thursday, BYU has another road game against one of my favorite mid-major teams this year. San Francisco has been outstanding, particularly at home, and is out for revenge after getting swept by the Cougars last season. I think they get it with BYU being in a tough scheduling spot and facing some matchup disadvantages.

In previous seasons the Cougars have had no answer for Dons guards Jamaree Bouyea and Khalil Shabazz, but USF struggled on the interior. That shouldn’t be such a problem this year with San Fran adding a ton of frontcourt depth behind forward Yauhen Massalski, who leads the WCC in field goal percentage and rebounding. The Dons have taken down a lot of tough teams as part of their 11-0 home record, I think they’re up for this game in a big way, and will come out with a convincing win.

NBA (0.75 Units) Nets/Pelicans Over 228 (-110): 6:30 PM CT on YES

Let’s start with the Nets. Brooklyn is 6-2 to this total so far in the month of January, and is hitting their stride offensively as evidenced by the beatdown of Chicago with their Big 3 in the lineup.

The Pelicans are incapable of dictating the pace in a game. Even though they’ve played better lately, their superior opponents have determined how games are played and that results in overs against offensive-oriented teams like the Nets. Keep an eye on the injury report, but if two out of Brooklyn’s big three play in this one take the over.

NBA (0.75 Units) Philadelphia 76ers @ Miami Heat -2 (-110): 7 PM CT on Bally Sports SUN

The Philadelphia 76ers are an organizational mess right now, and although they took care of business against Boston yesterday I think Miami covers here. Trade talks have swirled all season long for Philadelphia, leaving Joel Embiid to put the whole team on his back. But I see him being somewhat contained by a much better defensive club in the Heat.

Both teams are on a back-to-back here which makes things interesting, but two points is just such a small number for a Miami Heat team that has won its last four games by a combined 49 points. Again, keep an eye on the injury report to make sure guys like Jimmy Butler don’t randomly rest, but I’ll roll with the team that’s been as hot as their name indicates.

Degenerates

NCAA Basketball Norfolk St +4 @ Howard (-110): 3:00 PM CT No TV

I just really disagree that Norfolk should even be an underdog in this game. I’ve watched this Spartans team plenty this season, and have loved what I’ve seen. This is a spot where they should have a significant advantage against a Howard team that should be dealing with a lot of rust.

The Bison haven’t played since Dec. 21, a long layoff for a team that has relied on hot shooting this season. It will be tough for them to get right back to that level, particularly against a Norfolk team with the 16th-rated defense in the country. With their experienced and battle-tested stars, I see Norfolk keeping this tight and possibly getting the upset win.

Tiny Nick is 522-410 ATS (+82.2 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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Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/The Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

Locks NBA (0.75 Unit) Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat -1.5 (-110): 7:30 PM CT on ESPN Strangely enough, I kind of like Boston to win this series, […]

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