Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 01/21

Locks

NFL (1 Unit) 2-Team 6 Point Teaser (-110; Odds via Caesars)

This is maybe the most obvious teaser I can remember. Seemingly everyone is on it or giving it out as a top play, making me somewhat nervous but not enough to back away. I’m really not interested in backing either of these top seeds on the regular spread, as teams with the #1 seed in the Divisional Round are on a 13-25-1 ATS run, including 8-22-1 ATS when favored by single digits. But those teams do tend to win at a high rate, and that’s what this teaser essentially boils these lines down to.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs -3: 3:30 PM CT on NBC

Once again I’m able to get Patrick Mahomes from an inflated spread to a number he does much better against. I feel like a broken record at this point, but it’s worth noting again that Mahomes is only 30-36-1 ATS when favored by more than a field goal margin, but 17-6-1 ATS in all other games. Being able to get this line below that magic number is key, especially against a Jaguars team that’s excellent as a dog, and Doug Pederson who’s 6-0 ATS as a playoff underdog. But I just don’t see any way that a rested and prepared Chiefs team doesn’t come away with a win by at least a field goal here, against a Jags squad that’s extremely lucky to still be playing at all.

NY Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles -1.5: 7:15 PM CT on FOX

You could make the case to tease this spread in either direction, with the Eagles 14-3 and the Giants 14-4 on a 6-point tease this season. But once again I’ll trust the rested, prepared, and top-seeded Eagles at home to essentially win the game. Both meetings against New York this year saw the Eagles win in dominant fashion, but Daniel Jones is too good as a road underdog for me to lay the full-game spread of more than a touchdown. When Jalen Hurts starts, Philly is 5-0 against teams that made the playoffs this season, and I expect another win here. The Giants may have beaten a fraudulent Vikings team last week, but their surprising season ends here against one of the league’s premier teams.

 

NFL (0.5 Unit) Kansas City Chiefs 1st Half Team Total Over 15.5 (-110; Odds via BetMGM): 3:30 PM CT on NBC

As nice of a story as the Jaguars have been, they’ve definitely benefited from some favorable matchups for their defense. Several of their games down the stretch have come against backup quarterbacks and/or weak offensive teams, and they’re still 27th in first-half points allowed on the year. But when facing strong offenses late in the season they’ve surrendered a ton of scoring before halftime, including 23 to Detroit, 21 to Dallas, and 27 last week.

A Kansas City team with time to prepare might be the most dangerous offensive opponent yet, especially with the Chiefs ranking 3rd in first-half scoring. It’s why we saw the Chiefs hang 20 points before half on Jacksonville in the regular season meeting despite two first-half turnovers. The Jags rank 30th against the pass by DVOA metrics, so a rested and prepared Chiefs offense should clear this total as they look to build a big lead today.

Bonus Bets (0.25 Unit Each): Travis Kelce Over 6.5 Receptions (-110)/Over 79.5 Receiving Yards (-110)/2+ Touchdowns (+370; Odds via DraftKings)

The touchdowns bet is a flier pick, as it’s obviously difficult to score two touchdowns in a game. But if anyone can do it, Kelce can, especially against a Jaguars team that is dead last in DVOA metrics against the tight end position. That would make it seem like an anytime touchdown bet is the way to go with Kelce, but that requires laying juice which just isn’t smart in the fluky touchdown market.

The KC star hasn’t found the end zone since Thanksgiving weekend, but did in the first meeting against the Jaguars. A small bet is worthwhile that he breaks out of his slump in a big way against the best matchup he can ask for in the whole league. In order to get there, he’s likely to surpass these other prop totals, so I’ll be playing them as well.

 

NFL (0.75 Unit) NY Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles -4.5 First Half (-110; Odds via BetMGM): 7:15 PM CT on FOX

The Eagles are just a bad matchup for the Giants, especially early in the game. It’s because they’re the top rushing offense by DVOA metrics while New York ranks dead last in run defense, and before half is when Philly can unleash that rushing attack during the most scripted part of the game.

That’s why the Eagles led 24-7 and 16-0 at halftime of the regular season meetings. Philadelphia is the NFL’s top scoring team in first halves, while the Giants are 23rd. And in the home games that Jalen Hurts has started, the Eagles are 7-1 against this number with a plus-9.9 average first half margin. I see the Eagles leaning on those advantages in the run game to build another solid halftime lead tonight.

 

NBA (0.5 Unit) Houston Rockets/Minnesota Timberwolves Over 235.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 7:00 PM CT on Bally Sports North

Once again, I’m only playing this over if Rudy Gobert sits tonight with his groin injury, so keep a close eye on the injury report. His absence has let both the Wolves and their opponents run offense a lot more freely, with the past 3 games all going over this total with ease. As for Houston, exactly what you might expect from their lack of defense has been playing out recently, with Rockets games averaging 240 points and going 5-2 over this total the past two weeks.

One of the games that failed to hit the over came against Minnesota, and unsurprisingly, Gobert played the full game. He missed the first matchup this season however, a game that saw 246 points, so this season series is a microcosm of the Gobert impact on scoring. Monitor his status closely today, and if he remains out, I like this game to get over the total with two teams built to play up-tempo basketball.

 

NCAA Basketball (0.25 Unit) Texas Tech +5 @ Kansas St (-110; Odds via Caesars): 1:00 PM CT on ESPN2

There are no easy games in the Big12, far and away the best conference in college basketball. Even when winless Texas Tech comes to town, nothing is guaranteed, and I think Kansas State finds that out the hard way today. Riding high after a court-storming win over in-state rival and defending national champion Kansas, the Wildcats find themselves in the prototypical letdown spot here. I think that makes two possessions worth of points just a little bit much for them to be laying, and the smart money has agreed with heavy action on the dog.

Especially against a tough Red Raiders squad that’s as hungry as you can get after plenty of close calls in conference play. Tech is also getting healthy for the first time all season, and has finally added Fardaws Aimaq to the lineup. If they outwork a K-St team prone to lapses in focus and hustle, they’ll give the home team all it wants here. The Wildcats have beaten expectations all season but have finally reached a point of being overvalued, and in a sleepy spot against an underrated opponent, I’ll take the points here.

 

NCAA Basketball (0.5 Unit) Hampton/Monmouth Under 138.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 1:30 PM CT on FloSports

There’s something unnerving about this total seemingly being so high, but I have to play the under here. This total is not much lower than Monmouth’s last game, which came against one of the elite offensive teams in the country with Charleston in town. Hampton on the other hand is squarely on the other end of the spectrum, ranking 269th in scoring, 317th in efficiency, and 357th in shooting percentage.

The Pirates are also terrible on defense, but I just don’t believe that Monmouth is the team to take advantage, as they’re worse than Hampton in every offensive category. As I mentioned on Thursday, the Hawks are somehow even worse offensively at home, and after that game moved to 7-0 to the under in home games. Neither team plays at a high tempo, so with such poor shot-making ability on both sides, I just don’t see how it gets over this total.

 

NCAA Basketball (0.75 Unit) Pepperdine/Portland Over 160.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 5:00 PM CT on WCC Network

Pace, shooting, and a general lack of defense should be the story again as another Portland game finds its way over the total. I’ve loved this Pilots offense since the end of last season, and I still think it’s undervalued because of injuries dragging down their season-long metrics profile. But as I mentioned on Thursday when they cashed an over with ease, Portland is now at full strength and firing on all cylinders offensively.

It doesn’t take all cylinders to score at will against this Pepperdine defense though, as the Waves are 346th in points allowed, and surrender 85.9 on average in road games. They also play at the 9th-fastest tempo in the country and are excellent from long range. With both teams struggling to guard anything, but especially the perimeter, points will pile up in a hurry here.

Pepperdine is 6-1 to the over in road games, while Portland is 8-2 to the over at home. So both the splits and statistics are clearly saying that this will be another high-octane game with plenty of scoring.

 

Degenerates

No degenerates today.

 

Tiny Nick is 1031-879 ATS (+85.9 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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