Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 02/04


NBA (0.5 Unit) Washington Wizards/Brooklyn Nets Under 229 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 5:00 PM CT on YES

There are plenty of headlines involving this Brooklyn Nets team and their Kyrie Irving saga, and I’m thinking that might have an underrated impact on tonight’s game. You have to wonder if the drama will impact Brooklyn’s focus here, and also if Irving even plays. He played in two of the previous three meetings this season, all three of which Kevin Durant played as well. But all of those games managed to fall well short of this total, averaging 215.3 points.

The only thing giving me any pause here is Washington being on a back-to-back after playing a high-possession game against Portland last night. But the Wizards have actually trended to the under on back-to-backs and with the rest disadvantage this season, so I’m less concerned. These are both teams that are bottom half of the league in scoring and pace, while top half of the league in defensive rating. I think the previous meetings are fairly predictive for this one, so I’m on the under here.


NBA (0.5 Unit) Denver Nuggets 1st Half Team Total Over 61.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 8:00 PM CT on Altitude

What an absolutely brutal spot for Atlanta here, playing on a back-to-back with travel, from one high-altitude location to another. That’s tough enough on its own, but now having to face the league’s most efficient offense should be brutal on a Hawks team that’s usually unconcerned about defense. Matched up against a rested Denver team that leads the league in first-half scoring, Atlanta should be in big trouble here.

The Hawks allow the 4th-most points in first halves on the road, and given the situational spot I’m seeing them let the Nuggets roar to a massive start. Monitor the status of Nikola Jokic here as he’s popped up on the injury report as questionable. But with him going, a tired Atlanta team will have no answer for the league’s best offense.


NCAA Basketball (0.75 Unit) Virginia/Virginia Tech 1st Half Over 60.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 11:00 AM CT on ESPN2

I talked earlier this week about the difference a healthy Hunter Cattoor makes in this Virginia Tech offense, and they promptly dropped 83 points in Miami with 44 at halftime. Back home now, where their offense scores 0.145 more points per possession, I’m seeing a strong enough offensive performance from the Hokies to help push this first half over the total.

I’m not concerned that they’ll be up against one of the country’s best defenses with Virginia visiting for the in-state rivalry. The Cavaliers have one of the most efficient offenses in the country too, and it doesn’t lose much pop on the road either. That’s why their 6 conference road games have averaged 63.7 points at halftime. And just over two weeks ago these teams combined for 71 first half points with a still-hobbled Cattoor. With him at full strength and in excellent form, these sneaky-good offenses should clear this first half number.


NCAA Basketball (0.75 Unit) Charleston -3.5 1st Half @ Delaware (-110; Odds via Caesars): 1:00 PM CT on FloSports

It’s sad to say, but it appears as though Charleston has played themselves right out of the at-large bid conversation with two straight losses. The problem for the Cougars though has been late collapses, as their usual hot starts don’t appear to be letting up anytime soon. That’s especially true on the road, where Charleston leads the country in average first-half margin at plus-9.9 points.

Being on the road again today, after those two losses, has depressed this full-game spread and thus the halftime number to where I’m seeing good value. Delaware really doesn’t have the defense, ranked 214th in adjusted efficiency, to slow down Charleston’s elite offense. The Blue Hens just allowed the country’s 3rd-worst offense to score over a point per possession against them on Thursday at Monmouth. That’s not the form you want to be in when you welcome one of the country’s best offenses that’s in a bad mood, so I’ll back the Cougars early in this one.


NCAA Basketball (0.75 Unit) Alabama -11.5 @ LSU (-110; Odds via Caesars): 3:00 PM CT on ESPNU

The LSU team that started the season 12-1 after a win over then-top-10 Arkansas doesn’t work here anymore. I can’t explain where they went, but the results have been horrific and my condolences if you’ve been backing them.

The Tigers have the 7th-worst ATS record in the whole country, along with the 7th-worst average ATS margin at minus-5.0 points. It’s not like being at home is any help either, with LSU just 3-11 ATS on their home floor and suffering losses of 18 and 21 points to the other top SEC programs that have visited.

While I think you’re buying at close to the top of the market with Alabama here after their demolition of Vanderbilt on Tuesday, this number is not outside their typical result. All of the Tide’s SEC road games have been double-digit wins, and they beat LSU by 40 just three weeks ago. If the focused and motivated version of Alabama from Tuesday shows up again, this will be another blowout.


NCAA Basketball (0.5 Unit) Syracuse -2.5 @ Boston College (-110; Odds via Caesars): 4:00 PM CT on ACC Network

If Syracuse is known for one thing, it might be their zone defense during the Jim Boeheim era. While they have not been nearly as fearsome a defensive team in recent years, this is a good matchup for them to have that defense carry them. That’s because Boston College is just not built to attack a zone with their offense. The Eagles are 335th in attempted three-pointers and 343rd in three-point percentage, are just 298th in assists so they don’t pass well, and finally are just 207th in offensive rebounding.

Strength in all of those areas are necessary to exploit a zone defense, and they just don’t have it. While BC beat a tough defensive team in Clemson on Tuesday, that’s a lockdown man defense. That win over the ACC leader also puts them in a letdown spot here, against a Syracuse team that’s undervalued off three tough losses. The Orange put it on Boston College in the first meeting on New Year’s Eve, winning comfortably by 14, and proving the tough stylistic matchup is something that should get them another win today.


NCAA Basketball (0.5 Unit) Eastern Washington -4.5 @ Portland St (-110; Odds via Caesars): 9:00 PM CT on ESPN+

I thought last time out for Eastern Washington was a spot where they might suffer their first conference loss. But the Big Sky leader crushed CS-Sacramento to remain undefeated, and this is a much easier matchup for them. The Eagles are one of the top shooting teams in the country, ranked 14th in effective field goal percentage. That should carry them here against a Portland State team that’s 337th in field goal percentage defense.

The Vikings also want to speed things up tempo-wise, ranked 23rd in adjusted tempo by KenPom ratings. That will only give Eastern more opportunity to score on their bad defense, and it’s a strategy that has failed miserably against the other competent offensive teams in the conference. Portland State is just 2-8 ATS in conference play, including a 12-point loss at Eastern a month ago. The Vikings are also just 1-8 ATS on their home floor, so I see the Eagles rolling to another win and cover tonight.



No degenerates today.


Tiny Nick is 1063-908 ATS (+88.5 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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