NBA (0.75 Unit) Minnesota Timberwolves/Golden State Warriors 1st Quarter Over 61.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 7:30 PM CT on NBATV
There’s hope that the Wolves might be at full strength for this game tonight, and that would make for a very entertaining game. What I definitely think we get is an entertaining first quarter, as both these teams love to start fast. Pace is certainly going to be the biggest factor, with the Warriors playing at the NBA’s fastest tempo and the Wolves close behind in fourth.
It’s why the Wolves score the second-most points in first quarters on the road, and the Warriors the seventh-most in home games, both averaging above 30 points. It’s no surprise then that both teams are top-5 in cashing first-quarter overs, and have averaged 66.3 first-quarter points in their 3 meetings.
I prefer the first quarter here because both teams have excellent scorers in their starting lineups, especially if the Wolves are at full strength. But the second units are weak by comparison, putting a drag on second quarter scoring and thus the first half and full game. But I expect these teams to play fast and score at will early on, so take the first quarter over.
NBA (0.75 Unit) Memphis Grizzlies/Atlanta Hawks 1st Quarter Over 60 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 5:00 PM CT on NBATV
This Hawks team is a trip, fully embracing no defense, frenetic pace, and firing away from deep. After yesterday’s 143-point outburst, while also allowing 130 to a shorthanded Pacers team, I’m seeing plenty more offense today and I’m seeing it right away.
That’s because Atlanta first quarters have reached or exceeded 70 points in 7 straight games, so 60 seems like a bargain from that standpoint. It’s also discounted compared to the full-game total which it’s less than 25% of. Memphis will have to do their part and I think they will, as the Grizzlies have looked a lot better in their half-court offense lately, plus their past 5 road games are 4-1 to the first quarter over.
But their preferred transition game will be very much available against the Hawks who have the third-worst defensive rating in first quarters the past 10 games. And watch out for Trae Young going wild today after getting ejected yesterday, which should only boost scoring for this first quarter.
NCAA Tournament (0.5 Unit) Miami vs Texas -3.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 4:05 PM CT on CBS
You have to give a lot of credit to Miami for their run so far, as their excellent guard play and hot three-point shooting have carried them. But Texas is a totally different kind of test, and perfectly suited to defending Miami’s strengths while also exploiting their weaknesses. And, once again, we have the best team from my favorite conference going up against a team from an ACC that had a down year.
The Longhorns should be able to slow down Miami’s hot perimeter shooting here, as so far in the dance they’ve beaten the teams that were 1st, 4th, and 7th in three-point percentage, holding them to a collective 30% from deep. And if the Canes have a weakness it’s defensively, as they’re outside the top-100 in adjusted defensive efficiency. I mentioned on Friday that I liked Texas over Xavier because the Musketeers were 288th in defending the mid-range. Well Miami is 360th in that category, so a hot-shooting Horns team should exploit that all day on their way to the Final Four.
Bonus Bet (0.5 Unit): Texas Team Total Over 76.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars)
These are certainly correlated bets, but they also hedge against each other somewhat while offering the opportunity for a double-dip. I think Texas can score at will against the Canes, just as they did in eclipsing 80 points against Colgate and Xavier who have similar defensive issues.
Whether we see a high or low-scoring game overall, and almost regardless of outcome, Texas should be able to score with ease on their preferred mid-range jumpers. The Longhorns are ridiculously hot in this tournament with a 58.1% effective field goal rate, and against maybe their weakest defensive opponent I’m seeing plenty more scoring.
No degenerates today.
Tiny Nick is 1173-1015 ATS (+76.3 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.