Tiny Nick Game Pick: 2/5
NCAA Basketball (0.5 units) Iowa St +8.5 @ Texas (-110): 1:00 p.m. CT on the Longhorn Network
They are two of the absolute best defensive teams in the country, especially Texas when playing at home. But it does make games less marked and therefore tighter, which is what I think we’re getting with this one. With that natural value on underdog Cyclones here, asking Texas to win essentially double digits seems like too much to ask.
The Longhorns will be out for revenge in this one after a nine-point loss to Ames three weeks ago. But looking at the swing of that result at today’s line also seems extreme, even for this wildly inconsistent ISU team. The Cyclones play the underdog role well, going 8-3 ATS when catching points this season. Texas is still overrated from the preseason hype, and they have yet to beat a ranked team or one of the Big 12 quality teams. Bottom line: That’s too many points so I’ll take them.
NCAA Basketball (0.25 units) Towson -5 @ Northeastern (-110): 1:00 p.m. CT on FloSports
The Colonial title likely runs through Wilmington, although that excellent Towson team has something to say about it. The conference is definitely on the northeast, with the Huskies 0-11 in conference and 1-10 ATS. Ironically, that lone coverage came against Towson, who picked up a three-point victory after blowing a 15-point lead.
Those teams have gone in completely opposite directions since then, with the Tigers winning seven of their next eight games and covering six of them. Towson is by far the best 3-point shooting team in CAA and should have success against the 309th defense on 3-point percentage today. Those shots didn’t fall for Towson in the first meeting, but if they do today, the Tigers will run away with it like they should have four weeks ago.
NCAA Basketball (0.5 units) Utah Valley @ Sam Houston -2.5 (-110): 2:00 p.m. CT on ESPN+
Sam Houston may be third in the WAC standings, but they may be playing like the best team in the conference. They’re also a proven team, having played a very tough non-conference schedule and knocking out every top WAC team that visited Huntsville. The Bearkats have a plus-78 margin in those WAC home games and have covered nine of their 11 total conference games.
Savion Flagg went crazy in conference play to carry SHSU, and he should do it again today against a Utah Valley team that struggled on the road in conference play. This game immediately stuck with me considering the relative strength of the two teams and how they looked compared to the rest of the WAC. I think that’s the one bettors just sniffed at, as I see the Bearkats heading for a comfortable win.
NCAA Basketball (0.25 units) Penn St +8.5 @ Wisconsin (-110): 5:00 p.m. CT on BTN
Spot planning matters more in college basketball than any other sport, and this one is brutal for Bucky Badger. After their loss to Illinois on Wednesday, this Wisconsin team has this game at home before heading to Michigan State next week. Consider me skeptical that their focus will be entirely on the Nittany Lions here.
Trying to support Penn State in conference games on the road has been tough so far, but I strongly believe in PSU’s potential. It’s also worth noting that this is the shortest number they’ve caught in a conference road game all season, despite Wisconsin being one of the best teams they’ve faced. Quite often the number tells you something, and I’m listening here in what should be a closer game than expected.
NCAA Basketball (0.5 units) Northern Iowa/Drake Over 142 (-110): 5:00 p.m. CT on ESPNU
There’s so much to love about it from a trend perspective. Let’s start with the fact that each of the last five encounters has seen scoring increases, which may not be predictive but it’s still remarkable. Also note that UNI are 6-2 at most in road games, while Drake is 7-3 at most in home games. And MVC home games for the Bulldogs average 149.8 points, while conference road games for the Panthers average 146.4 points.
These teams also have the shot makers, offensive efficiency, and lack of defense to create far more offense than MVC deserves. And it comes in the form of a closely contested game, with the winner potentially taking the top spot in the conference standings. The first meeting two weeks ago also went into extra time, so another close game would mean fouls and late extra points. They may not need it, because I see a lot of violations for it to exceed the total.
NCAA Basketball (0.25 unit) Detroit Mercy @ Northern Kentucky -3 (-110): 6:00 p.m. CT on ESPN+
Why the punters haven’t caught up with the race in Northern Kentucky amazes me, but I’m not afraid to keep riding with them. The Norse refuse to lose right now, with their 6-game winning streak including victories over the three teams above them in the Horizon standings.
The market caught this heater for NKU, pushing that number up from the opener. I agree largely because it’s also a very tough place for Detroit. The Titans had to play last night due to weather that pushed Thursday’s game back a day. No rest is extremely rare in college basketball, especially with travel, and Wright State ran on them. Northern Kentucky should continue their solid game against the tired Titans who were already above their depth for this one.
NCAA Basketball (0.5 units) Gonzaga -12.5 @ BYU (-110): 9:00 p.m. CT on ESPN
This BYU team really picked a bad time to struggle. Their three straight losses, the last in ugly fashion at home, aren’t going to be easily overturned with the Gonzaga juggernaut in town tonight. The Bulldogs have won (and covered) all of their WCC games by more than that number, including the 26-point dismantling of BYU in Spokane.
I just don’t see little Cougars being able to handle the Bulldog Twin Towers, especially with their ability to play inside and out. BYU is also turning it around like crazy right now, possibly the worst thing to do against a Gonzaga team that wants to run all the time. BYU has only covered once in its last seven games, and moving just two points to them in the first meeting makes very little sense. Don’t overthink this, don’t get in front of Gonzaga just yet, but lay the dots here. I also like the most in this game with BYU who can’t stop Gonzaga, but who are a great shooting team themselves. With Game 1 hitting 194 points, I’ll sprinkle another 0.25 unit on the over 157 here.
NBA (0.75 unit) Memphis Grizzlies -7 @ Orlando Magic (-110): 4:00 p.m. CT on Bally Sports SE
Keep a close eye on Ja Morant’s status here as he’s questionable with foot pain. But with him in this game, the Grizzlies should run away like they did against just about everyone. The Grizzlies have destroyed particular teams that can’t keep up, and the Magic offense isn’t geared up for this game. Orlando is 28th in shooting and overall offensive scoring, making it difficult for them to do much against Memphis’ strong defense and keep up with the Grizzlies’ score.
I continue to look for opportunities where a Memphis team that leads the NBA in rebounding can capitalize on that advantage. Orlando ranks in the bottom 5 in this category, which gives the Grizzlies a huge advantage on the glass at both ends of the field. The Magic are the second-worst home ATS team in the league, while Memphis has the best road ATS record. Morant’s qualifier being available, I will put the points here.
NCAA Basketball Kentucky @ Alabama -1 (-110): 7:00 p.m. CT on ESPN
The Alabama hangout is a great opportunity to support the Crimson Tide, which probably deserves more credit than it gets. As inconsistent as this team is, it still boasts wins over Gonzaga, Houston, LSU and Baylor. The last three of them were in similar situations in Tuscaloosa, with a loss very close to Auburn, so this team is dangerous at home.
We’ve also seen Kentucky’s inconsistencies on the road this season, with losses to their toughest foes in the SEC and an inexcusable loss to Notre Dame. It is extremely important to note that this number started with Kentucky with two points and Alabama is now favored. That zero-crossing in a high-level game — going against the top-five team no less — is something I’ll almost always follow, so come back to the tide in this one.
Tiny Nick has a record of 566-451 ATS (+77.6 units) on his locks since joining Zone Coverage.
Each day it will offer its Locks and Degenerate choices. The locks are the games he trusts. Degenerates are fun but riskier choices.