Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 03/18

Locks

NCAA Tournament (0.5 Unit) Furman +6 vs San Diego St (-110; Odds via Caesars): 11:10 AM CT on CBS

Nothing is going to stop me from fading the Mountain West in the tournament. With the Aztecs the lone remaining team from that perennial disappointment of a conference, that sets my sights directly on taking the points with this great story of a Furman team. The Paladins will be another test for SDSU and their excellent three-point defense, but are also a better all-around team.

Furman pulled off the stunning upset over Virginia with its best player, Mike Bothwell, sidelined with foul trouble. Keeping him on the floor today will make Furman even more competitive, especially on offense with his perimeter shooting ability. Curiously, this line is just about the same as what SDSU was laying to Charleston, which required last-second point spread shenanigans to cover. I’ll take the same number with a deeper, more talented, and definitely more experienced Paladins squad.

 

NCAA Tournament (1 Unit) Arkansas vs Kansas -3.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 4:15 PM CT on CBS

This number should be closer to two full possessions, but I think is being held down by the absence of Bill Self from the sideline. But I don’t see Kansas needing his in-game acumen to take care of an Arkansas team that often does a good enough job of beating itself. The Razorbacks got by an Illinois team that couldn’t throw the ball into a lake, and were fortunate to not need to score. They’ll need to here, but I don’t see it happening very well against this Jayhawks defense.

Kansas is one of the few teams in the country that plays better per-possession defense away from home, so that will help them in this neutral site venue. And they’ll be able to compact their defense against an Arkansas team that doesn’t even try to shoot from outside, much less make any when they do. And with defensive stalwart Kevin McCullar back for KU in the tournament their defense gets even better. This should be a defensive game, but the Jayhawks have the edge there along with a much more consistent offense, and that should carry them to a win and cover.

 

NBA (1 Unit) Philadelphia 76ers @ Indiana Pacers Over 230 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 6 PM CT on League Pass

These 2 teams have played twice since the start of 2023, averaging 272.5 points in those matchups. With Tyrese Haliburton out due to injury the Pacers will depend largely on rookie Andrew Nembhard who has shown throughout the season that he is more than capable of putting up points when called upon. Ironically, the other Tyrese (Tyrese Maxey) will have to have a big day in James Harden’s absence. 230 is just too low for two teams that play with pace so throw in how bad the Pacers defense has been this year and this is a no-brainer.

 

NBA (1 Unit) Minnesota Timberwolves @ Toronto Raptors -9 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 6 PM CT on Bally Sports North

Let’s just think about this for a second. Where is Minnesota going to get their points from? They haven’t had Karl-Anthony Towns in months and now Anthony Edwards is out with what looks to be a serious ankle injury. Not only was Edwards the teams leading scorer, he’s arguably the heartbeat of the team and has one of the highest usage rates in the entire NBA. The Rudy Gobert experiment has gone absolutely horrible and at this point I don’t know how much worse it can get for Minnesota this year. Barring some Naz Reid heroics this should be an easy cover for a Toronto team that still has playoff aspirations. Take Toronto’s 22-13 home record and put that up against Minnesota’s abysmal road record of 15-18 and this should be a pretty easy win for the Raptors.

Degenerates

NCAA Tournament Auburn/Houston Under 132 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 6:10 PM CT on TBS

Betting on totals the past two days has been an absolutely mind-bending and maddening experience, so I approach this with a lot of caution. But unders in the round of 64 were the dominant trend at 24-8, and I’m seeing another here. Auburn’s opening round game was one of those that went over, but only thanks to the foul game producing 26 points in the final 3 minutes. The Tigers are not a great shooting team by any stretch, ranked 218th in effective field goal rate, so they won’t be erupting offensively here.

And with Marcus Sasser and Jamal Shead dealing with injuries, what choice does Houston have but to grind this game down and play excellent defense? The Cougars’ offensive limitations without their star guards were on full display Thursday night, and now they’ll face an even better and more athletic defense. With Houston being one of the slowest teams in the country already, I see methodical possessions and struggling offenses further the under trend.

 

Tiny Nick is 1158-1004 ATS (+75.1 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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