Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 5/23

Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Locks

NBA (0.75 Unit) Miami Heat/Boston Celtics Over 206.5 (-110): 7:30 PM CT on ABC

Miami’s playoff games have only hit the over 5 times out of 14 opportunities, but 3 of those have come in this series. The other 9 unders are what seem to be holding this number down so low, despite this series averaging 222 points per game. Saturday’s Game 3 didn’t get over this number by much, but I don’t see that result as indicative of any trend.

These teams have been excellent at creating offense from their strong defenses in this series, getting out in transition for easy points more than either squad is used to. A very disjointed flow in Game 3 seemed to blunt that pace, as far too many stoppages and injuries prevented a free-flowing game. That was an anomaly for this series as a whole and the game still went over, so I see a return to the even higher-scoring style tonight.

It also didn’t help overall scoring for Jimmy Butler to hardly play and Jayson Tatum to play so poorly. With Butler intending to return tonight and Tatum looking to bounce back, overall scoring should be buoyed by the contributions of the two best scorers on the floor. As this series gets into elimination scenarios, I’d expect this total to be much more reasonable and unders to start coming in. But for tonight, I see the tempo and style maintaining the run of high-scoring games.

Bonus Bet (0.5 Unit): Al Horford Over 11.5 Points (-110)

Big Al’s visit to the fountain of youth for this postseason hit a snag with his COVID absence for Game 1, and fewer minutes in Game 2’s blowout. But he was back to his rejuvenated self in Game 3 with 20 points, and his shooting has been impeccable in this series at 75% overall and 80% from deep. The Celtics are dealing with a lot of questions around the health of other significant contributors tonight, so look for Horford to turn in another big game and get over this low number.

MLB (1 Unit) Toronto Blue Jays @ St. Louis Cardinals ML (-115): 6:45 PM CT on Bally Sports Midwest

It’s amazing that the Blue Jays can’t score with this lineup, but that’s simply the truth. Dangerous hitters all throughout the order should have them better than 25th in scoring and 21st in on-base percentage. Why exactly that’s the case is above my pay grade, but I’ll happily take advantage of it here.

Toronto is up against Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas tonight, whose advanced metrics say he’s one of the best pitchers of this season so far. The Blue Jays are mediocre-at-best against right-handed pitchers like Mikolas, with an overload of right-handed bats in their lineup. Mikolas has been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball against right-handed hitters, ranking in the top 20 or better in stats such as ERA, WHIP, OPS, and batting average against.

His counterpart, Jose Berrios, has struggled this month and is particularly bad on the road, owning a 6.43 ERA away from home. The Cardinals have become one of the best hitting and scoring teams in the league and should provide enough support here for Mikolas to continue his dominance. At a cheap price to exploit a significant pitching and hitting mismatch, I’ll gladly back St. Louis to continue their strong run tonight.

MLB (0.25 Unit) NY Mets ML (+125) @ SF Giants: 8:45 PM CT on NBCS-Bay Area

With 6 losses in their past 8 games, you’d have to consider a team as good as the Giants to be in a significant slump at this point. The pitching simply hasn’t been there, as San Fran has allowed 7.1 runs per game over that stretch, and now their offense’s ability to compensate takes a big hit with the loss of Brandon Belt. Their starter tonight, Alex Cobb, has been part of the problem with a ballooning ERA this month, and he has a poor history against the Mets as well.

The Mets aren’t a team you want to see if your pitching is struggling either, as they lead the majors in hits and are 3rd in average. They also have a sneaky-good pitching matchup tonight with David Peterson getting the start. The left-hander is pitching extremely well this season and gets to face an injury-riddled Giants lineup that’s just 21st in batting average against lefties. At this kind of plus-money return, it’s worth a small shot to see if Peterson and the Mets can extend San Francisco’s woes.

Degenerates

No degenerates today.

Tiny Nick is 733-605 ATS (+79.3 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: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

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