Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 5/20

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Locks

NBA (0.5 Unit) Dallas Mavericks @ Golden State Warriors -6 (-110): 8:00 PM CT on TNT

This looks like the same Dallas team that got run out in Games 1 and 2 against Phoenix so that probably means this will turn into a tight series. But I don’t see it looking that way tonight, as Golden State should roll here again. The road woes for Dallas are picking a bad spot to show up again, especially since the Warriors are 7-0 at home this postseason with a plus-16 point average margin.

There are also rumors of Luka Doncic dealing with both injury and illness ahead of tonight’s game, which would be the nightmare scenario for Dallas here. But even with a fully healthy Doncic, what the Warriors did to Dallas in Game 1, constantly switching defensive looks, should carry over here. That helped bring the 3-point shooting regression that was due for the Mavericks, a team that’s mediocre at best in road-game shooting this season. As long as the Warriors avoid one of their lapses in concentration, they should once again dominate on their home floor and take a 2-0 series lead.

Bonus Bet (0.75 Unit): Jalen Brunson Over 18.5 Points (-110)

Hopefully, Brunson doesn’t get called back to his other job of helping with chocolate factory tours, which might be the only thing that could hold him under this number tonight. While he hasn’t looked the way he did in the first round lately, he’s still averaging 22.3 PPG in the postseason and is 9-5 over this number.

If you believe in the every-other theory, Brunson has alternated under and over this number the past 7 games, with two of the unders landing right on 18 points. I see him improving on a poor shooting night in Game 1 to get back over this number here.

MLB (0.5 Unit) St. Louis Cardinals -1.5 @ Pittsburgh Pirates (+110): 5:35 PM CT on Apple TV+

The Cardinals should be much bigger favorites here, and the fact that there’s a plus-money return on the run line is too good to pass up. Pittsburgh has been a great fade on the run line all season, as 18 of their 21 losses have come by multiple runs. We’ve already seen St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright dominate the Pirates this season in a 9-0 victory to start the season, and the Buccos have really only gotten worse.

Wainwright also has a dominant history against Pittsburgh. Their current lineup owns a .112 career average against the Cardinals righty. The St. Louis hitters should be poised to break out here as well after being mostly held in check by the excellent Mets rotation. Pirates starter Zach Thompson is known for control problems, which is bad news against a patient and powerful Cardinals lineup.

And if you think the Cardinals are going to win they’re likely going to cover the run line, as 15 of their 20 victories have come by 2-plus runs. I see this as an easy one for St. Louis, and I love the plus-money takeback for them to cruise again here.

MLB (1 Unit) LA Dodgers Team Total Over 4.5 (-110): 6:05 PM CT on ESPN+

Payback is a….well, you know. That’s what I see the Phillies being in for tonight after they outslugged the Dodgers in their series a week ago. Philadelphia putting up 33 runs across the 4-game set was very impressive, but their offense has fallen off a cliff since then. Only scoring 3 total runs in a 3-game series against San Diego this week is a product of absences for Bryce Harper and Jean Segura, both of whom are expected out again tonight.

That scared me off the full-game over here, but I still love isolating the team over for the Dodgers. They’ll be highly motivated to return the favor and stack up runs against the Phillies in this series. This team total shouldn’t be a problem for the highest-scoring team in baseball with a stacked lineup, especially since they’re 24-13 over this number on the season. Los Angeles has also cleared this total in 8 of their past 10 games and 5 straight.

You also shouldn’t discount the fact that Philadelphia will miss the defense of Harper and Segura in addition to their bats. So I see this powerful Dodgers team slugging their way to some retribution and another over tonight.

MLB (1 Unit) Tampa Bay Rays -1.5 @ Baltimore Orioles (+120): 6:05 PM CT on MASN

Death, taxes, and the Rays beating up on the Orioles. Tampa went 18-1 against Baltimore last season, with 15 of those wins by the run line. It’s already happening again this year, with the Rays opening the season with a sweep of the Orioles and a plus-11 total run differential. Tonight’s starter for the Orioles, Tyler Wells, was responsible for the most lopsided of those games. He gave up 4 runs before getting pulled in the second inning.

Wells has shown improvement in spots, but 5 of his 7 starts have resulted in multi-run defeats for Baltimore, as have 17 of the team’s 24 losses overall. I also get to fade Baltimore off an emotional walk-off win yesterday, which stopped a 6-game losing streak and likely kept this number from getting out of control. But the bottom line here is that Tampa simply dominates this team on an incredibly consistent basis. And to again be getting a plus-money return by fading one of baseball’s bottom-feeders is too good to pass up.

MLB (1 Unit) Minnesota Twins (-120) @ Kansas City Royals: 7:10 PM CT on Bally Sports North

Hopefully, the offense that the Twins discovered on Wednesday in Oakland sticks around for a little bit longer this time, since the inconsistent bats have made this team a struggle to bet on. That inconsistency was on full display in their first series against Kansas City this season, only scoring 4 total runs across the 3 games. But the positive signs are there, and getting Carlos Correa back into the lineup means a ton to this team.

That should help power them against Royals starter Daniel Lynch, who shut them down in that previous series. But as a lefty, he should be vulnerable to the Minnesota bats, which have been far better against left-handed pitching this season. Devin Smeltzer should also do his usual magic act of confusing hitters, especially with the current Royals having very little experience against him and Salvador Perez still out of their lineup. So kick back, crack a hard Smeltzer, and enjoy this Twins win as they take advantage of a weak Royals squad.

Degenerates

No degenerates today.

Tiny Nick is 725-598 ATS (+79.9 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: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Locks MLB (0.5 Unit) Atlanta Braves -1.5 @ Philadelphia Phillies (+115): 6:05 PM CT on MLB Network The Braves are facing another left-handed starter, and I’m jumping […]

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