Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 02/29

Locks

NBA (0.5 Unit) OKC Thunder/San Antonio Spurs Over 236.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 7:30 PM CT on Bally Sports OK

These teams have played twice this season with two very different results. The Thunder have wrecked the Spurs in both meetings, rolling 123-87 in OKC and 140-114 in San Antonio. I think the big difference in terms of the total is the Spurs being at home, where they both score 4.6 more points and allow 0.9 more points. The Thunder are also a much worse defense on the road, allowing 2.5 more points per game. It helps explain why the Spurs have a much better over record at home than away overall, and in this series. With the Thunder eviscerating everyone right now, that should play into these trends and help push this game over the total.

 

NCAA Basketball (0.5 Unit) Nebraska/Ohio State Over 144.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 5:30 PM CT on FS1

Just like last night with the Gophers, this Nebraska team is in a positive regression spot that should lead to a higher-scoring game. The Huskers didn’t find the range until well into their Sunday game against Minnesota, but they always seem to eventually and it creates points in a hurry. This team is extremely reliant on three-point shooting, ranking 30th in attempts per game, and surprisingly their shooting travels well.

Nebraska actually shoots a slightly higher percentage from deep on the road, and should have no problem tonight against an Ohio State squad ranked 304th in three-point percentage defense. But the Buckeyes have found new life with their interim coach, playing a more free-flowing style that should lead to points. Nebraska has some defensive issues on the road, and their Big10 road games against teams with a pulse offensively have flown over this number, so expect another tonight.

 

NCAA Basketball (0.75 Unit) UMBC/NJIT Over 151.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 6:00 PM CT on ESPN+

This is very much off the beaten path of college basketball, but no less valuable an opportunity. Nobody is going to play any defense in this game, as UMBC is 342nd in adjusted defensive efficiency, while NJIT is 331st. The question becomes which team dictates tempo, as UMBC plays with their hair on fire at 7th in adjusted tempo with the second-shortest offensive possession length.

NJIT is much more measured, but had no problem playing an up-tempo game in the first meeting. They also erased a 22-point deficit in that one to shock the Retrievers, so expect UMBC to be out for revenge. That should drive the pace up in this game, and absolutely terrible defense should justify why metrics sites project this in the upper 150s tonight.

 

NCAA Basketball (0.5 Unit) Michigan/Rutgers Under 137.5 (-110; Odds via Fanduel): 7:30 PM CT on FS1

I do not expect this to be pretty basketball. Rutgers home games rarely are, but two struggling teams like this should not put together much offense tonight. They only combined for 128 points in the first meeting, and now head to Piscataway where the Scarlet Knights own the country’s 5th-best defensive efficiency in home games. Michigan struggles to score away from home, averaging just 62.5 PPG their past 6 road games. With Rutgers one of the absolute worst shooting teams in the country, look for them to lean on the defense, shut down the shorthanded Wolverines, and keep this under the total.

 

NCAA Basketball (0.5 Unit) Stanford Team Total Under 73.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 7:30 PM CT on PAC12 Network

Stanford has jumped up and bitten a few teams with surprise performances this season, not the least of which was dropping 100 on Arizona on new year’s eve. It’s games like that which have inflated Stanford’s shooting metrics, especially their three-point shooting, but it’s not indicative of who they really are. I’ve watched this team a couple times and I’m always amazed by what I’d call being just not clutch.

Regression has come for the Cardinal’s shooting lately, going under this team total in their four straight losses with 65.5 PPG on average. They’re also 7-2 under this number the past 9 games, showing the trend line heading down for this squad. While Utah is no great defensive team, especially against the three, I’m really just counting on Stanford to keep missing here. With an inflated total that’s expecting the Utes to want to blow out the Cardinal in a revenge game, I think that pulls Stanford’s isolated total up too high.

 

NCAA Basketball (0.75 Unit) UMKC/Denver Over 153.5 (-110; Odds via Fanduel): 8:00 PM CT on Summit League Network

Games in Denver just tend to get wild, and this one should be no different. The Pioneers dial the pace way up at home to maximize their altitude advantage, and this UMKC team is a pace-taker instead of dictating anything themselves. That should create a lot of more possessions and scoring chances against two pretty bad defenses, especially Denver who is 355th in adjusted defensive efficiency.

UMKC is going to take fire a ton of three’s, attempting the 20th-most from deep in road games, and go up against a Denver defense that’s 354th in opponent three-point percentage. These teams combined to shoot just 26.5% from deep in the first meeting this season and still put up 156 total points. The pace is going to be there again, and with positive shooting regression we should see a game that flies over this total.

 

NCAA Basketball (0.75 Unit) Saint Mary’s/Pepperdine Over 137.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 10:00 PM CT on CBSSN

This Saint Mary’s team just does awful and terrible things to the bottom-tier teams of the WCC, often leading to surprisingly high scoring outputs by their standards. One of those instances came in the first meeting of these teams, with the Gaels rolling 103-59 in a game where they could not miss from deep. That three-point effectiveness is no accident against Pepperdine who is 360th in opponent three-point percentage.

The Waves have one of the worst shooting defenses in the country, so expect Saint Mary’s to continue getting whatever they want offensively. That porous defense is why Pepperdine is 12-3 over this total in WCC play, and another should be coming here. With Saint Mary’s hosting Gonzaga for a massive game on Saturday, look for them to run it up early with plenty of scoring, then let the subs take over who won’t be nearly as good defensively. I think that kind of gameplan really works in favor of the over, so that’s what I’m on here.

 

Degenerates

No degenerates today.

 

 

Tiny Nick is 2086-1886 ATS (+101.2 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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