Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 12/09

Locks

NCAA Basketball (0.75 Unit) Louisville/DePaul Over 146.5 (-110; Odds via BetMGM): 1:00 PM CT on FS1

I’ve seen this total tick down from the opener of 149 on the idea that the offenses aren’t good enough to reach that level. But it’s the defenses here that have me expecting points, as DePaul in particular has simply cratered on that end of the floor. Opponents have averaged 92.3 PPG the past 3 against DePaul, good for 1.292 points per possession which is the fifth-worst mark in the country right now.

Louisville hasn’t been much better defensively, ranked 180th in adjusted defensive efficiency and getting into track meets with teams that struggle on defense. KenPom has this game right at 149 and the short spread suggests a tight game with late free throws, so I’ll fade the steam and go over here.

 

NCAA Basketball (0.75 Unit) Wisconsin/Arizona First Half Over 67.5 (-110; Odds via DraftKings): 2:15 PM CT on ESPN

This is a battle of contrasting styles, and the total here will be determined by which team’s style wins out. Wisconsin comes into this game 343rd in adjusted tempo, playing at their usual glacial pace. That’s almost the polar opposite of Arizona’s 8th-fastest adjusted tempo, but as the home team in a hyped spot I think they will set the pace at least early on.

The Wildcats have played two other high quality opponents in Duke and Michigan State who play slowly and have good defenses. Both games were away from the McKale Center, and cleared this total both times. Despite Wisconsin being a slow and defensive-oriented team, their offense is extremely potent at 14th in adjusted efficiency. Plus that excellent defense has clamped down more in second halves than first halves. If Arizona manages to create extra possessions early in this game, we’ll see this total that’s fairly discounted get cleared with ease.

 

NCAA Basketball (0.5 Unit) Gonzaga/Washington Over 160.5 (-110; Odds via BetMGM): 10:00 PM CT on ESPN2

Gonzaga has finally gotten to take their offense out on the highway the past couple of games, and I think it continues here. They just needed to face some up-tempo opponents to get things rolling, and Washington being 46th in adjusted tempo will keep the Zags in a free-flowing style tonight. The Huskies have some big time impact transfer talent on this team now, and it’s created an excellent offense in Seattle. They’ve gotten into some track meets this season against opponents you’d expect and actually not expect it to happen with, so I think we see plenty of offense between these teams.

 

Degenerates

NBA Indiana Pacers/LA Lakers Under 242.5 (-110; Odds via Fanduel): 7:30 PM CT on ABC

LeBron James desperately wants this title for his legacy, and we’ve been seeing vintage defensive performances from him and Anthony Davis as a result. That will be tough to replicate against the high-flying Pacers, but I think the situation will bring out more defense from both teams. This is also a number that is high by association with Indiana, but seems a little trappy like their semi-final against Milwaukee.

All it takes to fall short of this total is a few minutes where Indiana takes defense seriously, and I think they will with title-game stakes tonight. The Lakers are a top-10 defense in just about every category, including 3rd in opponent floor percentage which will help to slow down the red-hot Pacers. With legacy, money, and bragging rights on the line, expect this game to be more tightly guarded than such a high total implies.

 

 

Tiny Nick is 1765-1553 ATS (+90.4 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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