Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 02/27

Locks

NBA (0.75 Unit) Washington Wizards Team Total Under 116.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 6:00 PM CT on NBCS-BA

Washington is making a late push for worst team in the NBA, and that awfulness should show up again tonight. The Wizards are actually worse at home in all phases of the game, and only score 113.9 PPG in home games. I’m looking at several important injuries for this terrible team that should weaken that offense tonight, including Deni Avdija and Landry Shamet who they’ve relied on for a lot of scoring lately.

The Warriors come into this game off a rough Sunday loss and desperately need easy wins to improve their spot in the standings. They’ve been playing better defense on the road this season, so expect them to hold down an awful team that looks like it’s ready for the season to be over.

 

NBA (0.75 Unit) Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics -4 First Quarter (-110; Odds via Caesars): 6:30 PM CT on TNT

The Celtics are rolling while the Sixers are reeling, it’s almost just that simple. Philly is trying to tread water until Joel Embiid comes back, and I don’t think Boston will have any problem stomping on a vulnerable division foe. The Celtics have already run the 76ers out in the first quarter of all three previous meetings this season, and Embiid played in two of them. Leads after a quarter of 5, 8, and 15 points in those games highlight Boston’s league-leading average first quarter margin, and they’ll do it again tonight in this national TV spot.

 

NBA (0.5 Unit) Charlotte Hornets/Milwaukee Bucks Under 221 (-110; Odds via Fanduel): 7:00 PM CT on Bally Sports WI

I guess it was inevitable that Doc Rivers would get this Bucks team to play at least some defense, and they’ve done just that out of the break with two strong performances. Now they get an extremely weak Hornets offense to shut down, with Charlotte ranked 28th in offensive efficiency and likely down LaMelo Ball and other key scorers.

But the Hornets have had a complete style shift recently, finding ways to make games extremely ugly. The result has been 7 straight games under this total with just 205.0 PPG on average. The total here has been crashing because of it, but I still like the under at this number in what should be another ugly game.

 

NBA (1 Unit) Houston Rockets/OKC Thunder Over 235.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 9:00 PM CT on TNT

I was amazed to see this total open up just a point higher than where these teams landed in their Sunday meeting. It’s on the rise though because the change of venue to Oklahoma City is important. Houston is a strong under team in their own building, and the under snuck in for Sunday’s game, but on the road they actually have the 5th-highest plus/minus to the total.

The Thunder are the NBA’s best over team and they’re absolutely rolling offensively right now. A Houston defense that’s very different on the road will not have the same success they did on Sunday, and they still gave up 123 points. That should create a high-scoring game in what could very well be a blowout situation.

Bonus Bet (1 Unit) OKC Thunder -10 (-110; Odds via Caesars)

I do believe a comfortable Thunder win is coming here, and it could turn into another runaway. OKC has been dominant overall since getting embarrassed in Dallas a couple weeks ago, averaging 130.6 PPG in the 5 games since. That has translated to 5 double-digit wins where they’re covering the number by a 14.8 point average margin. Houston is the league’s worst ATS team on the road, so look for the Thunder to roll again here.

 

NCAA Basketball (1 Unit) Cincinnati @ Houston -7.5 First Half (-110; Odds via Caesars): 6:00 PM CT on ESPN2

Cincinnati is not a terrible team overall, but their offense is just too anemic to compete in this situation. It’s also a bad spot for them after getting run out on Saturday in a game that essentially slammed the door on their big dance chances. Houston just doesn’t miss in situations like this, especially considering they likely got an earful for almost blowing Saturday’s game at Baylor.

Their defense is too good, particularly at home, and will shut down the weak Bearcats offense early on tonight. Visitors to the Fertitta Center are only scoring 20.7 points before halftime, and the Cougars have been a wagon in first halves as a result. In their 7 conference home games, Houston has covered this number against everyone but my Cyclones, averaging a 15.1 point lead. I’m seeing another easy one tonight against one of the weaker Big12 teams.

 

NCAA Basketball (1 Unit) Buffalo @ Kent State -15 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 6:00 PM CT on ESPN+

Kent State is a better team than they get credit for, and I also expect them to be in a foul mood tonight. The Golden Flashes lost two tough road games to in-state rivals last week, so this is a good spot for them to take out frustrations on the conference bottom-feeder. Not only is Buffalo the worst team in the MAC, they’re also one of the worst in the country.

The Bulls are down to 348th in KenPom, and they’re terrible on both ends of the floor. Kent State’s biggest strength is shooting the three, and they rely heavily on it, so a Buffalo team that’s 324th in opponent three-point percentage is going to have trouble slowing them down. Buffalo was buried under a ton of three’s in the first meeting which spiraled into a 31-point rout by the Flashes. Kent State is capable of replicating that if they want to here, and I think an angry team rolls at home.

 

NCAA Basketball (0.75 Unit) UMass/George Washington Over 157.5 (-110; Odds via Fanduel): 6:00 PM CT on ESPN+

The UMass offense needs to get back on track, and this is the perfect opportunity against an awful defense. George Washington can’t and won’t defend anything, ranked 286th in adjusted defensive efficiency, and giving up 85.0 PPG the past 10 games. Their extremely fast-paced style at 28th in adjusted tempo should create another layup line for a Minutemen squad that has no problem playing fast themselves. But GW is also going to jack up a lot of three’s, and UMass has issues guarding the perimeter at 257th in opponent three-point percentage. Those factors are why the metrics sites are projecting a game in the 160s here, so I’m on the over for this one.

 

NCAA Basketball (0.5 Unit) Wake Forest @ Notre Dame +6.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 8:00 PM CT on ACC Network

This is an ugly home dog as the Irish are having a rough year to say the least. But they’ve been playing better in recent games, and this is a situational spot you just have to jump in on. There’s been too much court-storming talk surrounding Wake Forest after their big win over Duke this weekend, and that creates the perfect distraction/let-down spot tonight.

There’s no question that Wake is the better team, but the Deacs basically locked up their ticket to the dance with that win so this game is less important to them. They haven’t been great on the road in ACC play, so look for Notre Dame to stay competitive in this one.

 

NCAA Basketball (1 Unit) Penn State/Iowa Over 162 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 8:00 PM CT on BTN

The handicap here is extremely similar to the one from Iowa’s game on Saturday, and should result in a similarly high-scoring game. The Hawkeyes are fully bought-in on scoring with two-pointers, and used it to their advantage against an Illinois team that allows a lot of points inside the arc.

Now Iowa gets to face a Penn State team that is 314th in opponent two-point percentage, and is 338th in the percentage of opponent points that come via the two. The Nittany Lions have found something offensively though even without Kanye Clary, putting up 90 and 83 in the two games without him against defenses much better than Iowa has.

The Hawkeyes also find themselves in a revenge spot here after losing 89-79 at Penn State last month. That should encourage them to run it up here, especially since they need statement wins for their shaky tournament resume. Expect an up-tempo game tonight where easy buckets fuel plenty of scoring.

 

NCAA Basketball (1 Unit) Boise State Team Total Over 71.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 8:00 PM CT on MW Network

Let’s start with how hot Boise’s offense is, putting up 90, 82, and 92 in their past three games. Those came against some Mountain West bottom-feeders, but the Broncos have made a habit of that all season, averaging 84.7 PPG and going over this team total in all 6 games against the bottom 4 teams in the league standings. This is their last regular season game against a poor opponent, and they should make the most of it.

Boise put up 94 on Air Force in the first meeting, so they know how to get whatever they want against the Falcons. Most teams do, as Air Force is 304th in adjusted defensive efficiency, 331st in opponent effective field goal rate, and allowing 76.7 PPG in conference play. MW opponents are 10-4 over this team total against them, and it should be a let-down spot after their shocking win at New Mexico over the weekend. Boise wants and needs statement wins, so look for their hot offense to light it up tonight.

 

NCAA Basketball (0.5 Unit) Nevada/Colorado State First Half Under 66 (-110; Odds via DraftKings): 9:30 PM CT on FS1

Keep an eye on the status of Kenan Blackshear for Nevada tonight, as the star guard has been in a walking boot since an ankle injury on Friday night. This Wolf Pack offense really revolves around him and his ability to break down defenses, score inside, and kick out to perimeter shooters. If Blackshear isn’t able to go tonight, the Nevada offense is going to struggle out of the gates.

It will be a tough task no matter what given the strength of Colorado State’s defense. The Rams are up to 25th in adjusted defensive efficiency, and have been clamping down at home. CSU is only allowing 28.6 first half points in conference home games, and Nevada’s offensive efficiency drops significantly on the road. Neither team plays anything close to up-tempo, so I’m seeing a feeling-out period early on given Blackshear’s injury that keeps this low-scoring.

 

Degenerates

No degenerates today.

 

 

Tiny Nick is 2077-1878 ATS (+101.3 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. 

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