Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 12/06

Photo Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Locks

NBA (0.75 Unit) Dallas Mavericks/Denver Nuggets First Quarter Over 57.5 (-110): 9:00 PM CT on TNT

This feels like a massive discount given how both teams start games, plus the situation we find them in. Denver leads the NBA in first-quarter scoring both overall and in home games, averaging 32.3 and 33.9 points, respectively. And Dallas is far more potent on offense to start games, scoring 29.9 points on average and ranking 7th in the league for first-quarter scoring. That’s far different for both teams on the whole, as the Nuggets are 12th and the Mavericks 17th in full-game scoring.

It’s also a back-to-back spot for the Mavericks, who played a high-possession game last night and now have to travel, to elevation no less. That’s a tough situation for their defense, with legs and effort not likely to be there the way it usually would for a highly-rated defensive squad. With the current MVP in Nikola Jokic facing off against an MVP candidate in Luka Doncic on national TV, we should see fireworks early in this one.

NCAA Basketball (0.5 Unit) Coppin St./NC State Over 161 (-110): 6:00 PM CT on ACC Network

This is a perfect bounce-back opportunity for NC State after the Wolfpack lost an ugly game at home to Pittsburgh last week. It’s perfect in that it allows them an opportunity to play at pace and let their offense shine after Pitt stifled them. This Coppin State team that plays at the 20th-fastest pace in the country will allow the Wolfpack to get out and run the way they’re intended to do in Kevin Keats’ system.

Star guard Terquavion Smith should have a field day against a defense that’s 325th in points per possession allowed. That’s the biggest reason why Coppin is 7-2-1 to the over this season, but they’ve also shown the ability to hang with some of their toughest opponents behind guard Sam Sessoms. It would not surprise me to see NC State approach the century mark in this one like several Coppin opponents have done. But the Eagles take a ton of threes and NC State is just 173rd in defending beyond the arc, so expect Coppin to contribute plenty and get this over the high total.

NCAA Basketball (1 Unit) North Florida @ Houston -18 First Half (-110): 7:00 PM CT on ESPN+

This could easily be a sandwich spot for Houston, having just played a tough game against St. Mary’s over the weekend and having Alabama on deck this coming Saturday. So I could easily see the Cougars taking their foot off the gas in this game, even though the talent disparity says a blowout is coming. That has me looking to the first half, which Houston has been dominant in so far this season and North Florida has been dominated.

The Ospreys have faced tough competition so far, but it has played out as expected, with them trailing by 30 and 31 points at half to Gonzaga and Kentucky, respectively. For Houston’s part, they’ve been excellent at handling business early against cupcakes, leading by at least this margin and 24.6 points on average in all 5 of those games. North Florida comes in at 337th in defensive rating, so Houston should be able to run it up if they want, and the Cougars will be ridiculously dominant on the boards. I think Houston continues to hand out blowouts at the break in this one.

Degenerates

NCAA Basketball Iowa vs. Duke -2.5 (-110): 8:30 PM CT on ESPN

The rule with Iowa in the non-conference schedule is to always back them at home where they destroy cupcake opponents. But things tend to go wrong for them away from the friendly confines of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and that’s already been the case this season.

The Hawkeyes are just 1-2 ATS in road/neutral site games this season, and none of those opponents are at the level of this Duke squad. The difference in this game is going to show up in Iowa’s offense, which is 2nd in the country for efficiency. But that’s also been built up in home games, and the Hawkeyes are scoring 0.241 points per possession fewer when they’re not at home. In the wide-open Madison Square Garden with tough sightlines, against a Duke team that grinds the pace and plays strong defense, I’m seeing Iowa struggle offensively.

Iowa is never going to be a great defensive team, especially early in the season, so if they can’t overwhelm their opponent on offense they’re likely to struggle. That looks like the case to me tonight, so I’m backing Duke to get the win and cover the short number.

Tiny Nick is 969-810 ATS (+87.1 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: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

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