Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 1/22

Photo Credit: Cary Edmondson (USA TODAY Sports)
Locks

NCAA Basketball (0.25 Unit) Colorado St. @ Air Force +10.5 (-110): 1:00 PM CT on FS1

Betting on service academies has been a fairly profitable angle this season, and I’m backing one here that’s really turned things around.

We just saw this matchup less than 3 weeks ago where a short-handed Air Force team kept it inside this number on Colorado State’s floor. That was the first warning sign that this Rams squad is not the same after their lengthy COVID pause, and the lethal offense that carried them into the top-25 simply hasn’t been there lately.

But the Falcons have been beating expectations lately, covering 5 straight and winning outright as a 6-point underdog Thursday night. That extended their home underdog record of 4-0, as well as 8-3 overall when catching points. These teams appear headed in opposite directions, so this many points is plenty of cushion for me to back a dangerous home dog.

NCAA Basketball (0.25 Unit) UNC Wilmington +10 @ Towson (-110): 1:00 PM CT on FloSports

These teams are both red hot, and this game determines first place in the Colonial standings. That should make it a hard-fought and tight battle where catching double digits presents a lot of value.

Wilmington enters this game on a 6-0 ATS run, 5 of those as an underdog, which has been the product of turning around some horrific early-season shooting numbers. Those metrics are holding down the profile for the Seahawks, creating too wide of a spread here. Towson has certainly looked excellent, but the current form for Wilmington shouldn’t be getting disrespected with this wide of a number.

This also shapes up as a slow game, with Towson 324th and Wilmington 274th in pace. If the Seahawks can continue to make shots in a low-possession game, they’ll keep this within single digits.

NCAA Basketball (0.25 Unit) Idaho St. @ Southern Utah -16 (-110): 3:00 PM CT on ESPN+

The absolute worst team to back so far in this college basketball season is Idaho State, and the Bengals are in for another beating today.

At 2-12 ATS on the year, Idaho State has the worst record against the number in D1, and their ATS plus/minus of -9 points is the worst in the country as well. This team doesn’t just lose, they get blown out, especially on the road. The Bengals haven’t kept a road game inside single digits for 8 straight, and are losing by an average of 19.4 points away from home.

Southern Utah hasn’t exactly been blowing teams out of the water, but this game is just different given the poor opponent. The Thunderbirds have a key edge here in that they’re 26th in pace, and that up-tempo style will allow them to easily pull away from a Bengals team that’s 338th in shooting. It’s a big number, but I’m laying it against the best team to fade in college basketball.

NCAA Basketball (0.25 Unit) NC Central -8.5 @ Delaware St. (-110): 3:30 PM CT No TV

Moving on to another contender for the worst team in the country, fading Delaware State has also been one of the more profitable angles of this season.

The Hornets have the unenviable distinction of owning the worst average scoring margin in the country at -24.5 points. They are also one of the worst offensive and defensive teams in the country, so it’s no wonder they’ve lost their last 4 games by an average of 35.3 points. Included in that miserable stretch was a 33-point loss to this NC Central team, in a game that featured this exact point spread.

The Central Eagles have been down this season, but they have flashed some solid defense throughout the year, ranking 18th in steals. That should continue here against the 2nd-worst team in the country for turnover rate. They already know how to blow out this DESU train wreck, as does everyone else, so I see another wide margin here.

NCAA Basketball (0.5 Unit) Coppin St. @ Norfolk St. -6 (-110): 5:00 PM CT No TV

Staying in the same conference we find one of my favorite teams of the season in Norfolk State, who still isn’t getting the respect they deserve.

The Spartans have looked impressive all year, and have been beating market expectations with a 10-3 ATS record that gives them the 8th-best cover rate in the country. I’ll give Coppin State some credit for coming out of a long COVID pause and getting two conference road wins. But those came against bad teams, and this Norfolk defense will give them a lot of problems.

Norfolk is 10th in defensive rating this season and 57th in opponent effective field goal rate. That should continue here and allow them to control a Coppin offense that’s 329th in efficiency and 339th in shooting. This is Norfolk’s conference to win, and I think they show it today on their home floor.

NCAA Basketball (0.25 Unit) Hartford @ Vermont -17 (-110): 6:00 PM CT on ESPN3

It seems like an annual tradition that Vermont gets into an incredible groove this time of year, and right on schedule, they appear to be in it again.

The Catamounts have started off conference play with a bang, beating up on teams by an average 22.5 point margin and covering in all four games. They’re also on a 7-1 ATS run with four of those being covers of double-digit spreads. The market just hasn’t adjusted for how much Vermont turns it on at this point in the season.

I see them getting another blowout win here against a Hartford team in a tough spot. The Hawks came off an almost month-long COVID pause this week, and while they beat a bad New Hampshire team this is just another level of opponent. I don’t see a 338th-rated Hartford defense being able to contend with a red hot Catamount offense, and with Vermont usually showing no mercy they should run away with this one.

NCAA Basketball (0.25 Unit) Seattle +2 @ Tarleton St. (-110): 7:00 PM CT on ESPN+

I’m going back to the well here with a Seattle team that just keeps treating me right and rewarding their backers overall.

Their outright win as 6 point underdogs at Abilene on Thursday put the Redhawks on a 7-3 ATS run and put them at 5-0 both ATS and straight up in WAC play. Hot 3-point shooting has carried Seattle all season, and I see that carrying them here as well against a Tarleton defense that’s 257th in defending the three.

A couple of wins against upper-tier WAC teams early on seems to have inflated Tarleton’s profile, which is the only explanation I can find for them laying points here. I don’t see their weak and slow-paced offense being able to keep up with the excellent Seattle shooting, so I think the dog is live here, and I’ll take the two points of insurance.

NCAA Basketball (0.5 Unit) South Dakota/St. Thomas Over 147 (-110): 7:00 PM CT No TV

South Dakota last season was an automatic over bet, and even though it’s taken a while they appear to be rounding back into that form. I see them getting into another shootout against a St. Thomas team that loves to let it fly from deep.

These teams just aren’t very good defensively, with the Coyotes 253rd in defensive rating and the Tommies 314th on that end. What South Dakota really struggles with is defending beyond the arc, ranking 351st in opponent 3-point percentage. That really spells trouble against a St. Thomas squad who takes the most 3-pointers in the country and makes them at the 10th-best percentage.

If shots are dropping for the Tommies tonight, they’ll score with ease against that bad SoDak defense. But their own defensive woes will allow the Coyotes to keep pace. Neither of these teams wastes possessions with turnovers, so I see the scoreboard lighting up tonight.

Degenerates

NFL San Francisco 49ers/Green Bay Packers Under 47.5 (-110): 7:15 PM CT on FOX

It’s difficult to take this under with the potential of a mad and motivated Aaron Rodgers wanting to make a statement against his career-long nemesis team. But the style I’m envisioning in this game is making me lean to the under, especially given colder weather tonight. That colder weather should keep Jimmy Garoppolo and his banged-up shoulder from trying to do too much through the air.

The 49ers and their excellent run game should get chunk plays on the ground against a Packers defense that’s 31st in the NFL in yards per rush allowed. I see that keeping the clock running and allowing San Fran to play ball control, similar to how they kept the elite Cowboys offense off the field last week. If they can contain Rodgers and the Packers, this should be a much lower-scoring game than the regular-season meeting.

Tiny Nick is 529-423 ATS (+75.5 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: Cary Edmondson (USA TODAY Sports)

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