Tiny Nick’s Gambling Picks: 03/04

Locks

NBA (0.5 Unit) Portland Trail Blazers/Minnesota Timberwolves First Half Over 108.5 (-110; Odds via Fanduel): 7:00 PM CT on Bally Sports North

Books have adjusted this number significantly throughout the season series between these teams. But the three games have gone 2-1 over tonight’s number, and I think we see it get over again. The Wolves and Blazers have averaged 110.7 first half points against each other, despite a 14 and 15-spot from Portland in the first quarter of two games. The Wolves should be angry after a sluggish performance in yesterday’s loss, and if they want to step on the Blazers early again they can.

That should fuel scoring here, as should some of the relevant trends for these teams. Minnesota being on no rest puts them in a spot where they’re 6-2 to the over this season, while Portland having a rest advantage is the only split I know of where they have a positive record to the over. With second-half scoring tending to slow down when these teams meet, I’ll focus on the first half for a solid offensive output.

 

NCAA Basketball (0.75 Unit) Queens/Florida Gulf Coast Over 154 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 6:00 PM CT on ESPN+

The metrics sites are projecting a couple points less than where this total is, yet it’s been on the rise. That sharp action is a good sign that this game is headed over the total for one key reason: it’s March.

This is the first conference tournament game of the year, and that always means desperation fouling that often starts with plenty of time on the clock. And with the ASUN using campus sites, it’s important to note that Gulf Coast is the home team here, and the previous meeting in Fort Meyers saw 172 points compared to 153 at Queens.

There’s also not likely to be much defense in this game, with Queens 342nd and FGCU 311th in opponent effective field goal percentage. The Royals also play at a breakneck pace, ranked 8th in adjusted tempo, which I don’t see them changing just because it’s possibly the final game of the year. So I’m following the smart money here that recognizes the conference tournament game style which metrics sites aren’t accounting for.

 

NCAA Basketball (0.5 Unit) Texas/Baylor Over 145.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 8:00 PM CT on ESPN

It’s not quite conference tournament time for these teams, but that won’t stop them from having a big night of scoring. Texas has been a very reliable over team in Big12 play, going 12-4 to the over including 6-2 in road games. That also includes the first meeting with Baylor, a 75-73 win for the Longhorns. I think we see a similarly close game tonight which brings in the potential for late foul game points.

That might not be needed though if both teams stay hot offensively, especially Baylor whose elite three-point shooting exploits a weakness of the Texas defense. With the Longhorns also able to score well inside which is Baylor’s defensive weakness, I think we see plenty of easy buckets to push this one closer to the metrics projections of the 150-point range.

 

NCAA Basketball (0.75 Unit) Montana Team Total Over 74.5 (-110; Odds via Caesars): 8:00 PM CT on ESPN+

This Montana offense is sneaky good, led by a legitimate bucket-getter in Aanen Moody, and they should have no trouble scoring easily tonight. The Grizzlies love to attack the paint and score off the dribble, which is a big key against Idaho State in this game. The Bengals allow the 13th-highest percentage of their opponent’s points to come inside the arc, courtesy of the country’s 340th-ranked effective field goal defense.

Idaho State also has a fouling problem, committing fouls on 23.9% of defensive plays in road games, which is the 88th-highest rate in the country. Against a Grizzlies team that’s the second-best free throw shooting team in the country, that will lead to lots of easy Montana points tonight. With Montana averaging 79.4 PPG in Big Sky home games and already putting 76 on the Bengals this season, look for the Grizz to clear this team total tonight.

 

Degenerates

No degenerates today.

 

 

Tiny Nick is 2100-1894 ATS (+104.3 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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