NBA (1 Unit) Minnesota Timberwolves/Miami Heat Over 226 (-110): 7:00 PM CT on Bally Sports North
The Minnesota offense was continuing to produce in bunches until the second half last night when suddenly the wheels came off. I expect that to be just a slight bump in the road, and for the Wolves to return to their usual high-scoring road games tonight.
They’ll face a much tougher defense in Miami than they did in Orlando, but also a much better offense. One of the reasons Minnesota is the best road over team is that their 3-point defense takes a big step backward on the road, and that’s not good news when visiting the league’s top 3-point shooting team. With the Wolves being the highest-volume 3-point shooting team in the NBA, I see plenty of takes and makes from long range in this one.
All those points from threes, plus both teams being on a back-to-back where they’re a combined 18-5 to the over this season, has me seeing a lot of scoring here. Miami’s solid defense keeps this total down, but that just makes it more attractive to me with the NBA’s two best over teams squaring off.
NCAA Basketball (0.75 Unit) Kent State -1 vs. Akron (-110): 6:30 PM CT on ESPN2
This game will likely be a slugfest, with two teams that don’t like each other squaring off for an NCAA tournament berth. Suspensions this morning have caused the line to move towards Akron, but those players don’t mean much to the point spread and only adds to the rivalry that Kent State has the advantage in. Smart money recognizes the strength of the Golden Flashes though, betting the opening number up immediately overnight, and I like the Flashes here along with them.
Especially against an Akron team that has benefited in this tournament from uncharacteristically hot shooting, plus some self-destruction from their opponents. Kent State has the defense to slow the Zips down, just as they did in both their regular-season wins and covers over Akron. With now 14 wins in a row and the MAC POY in Sincere Carry, this team feels destined to go dancing next week. The Flashes have thrived all season against spreads of less than a possession, so I’ll back them on this short price again here.
NCAA Basketball (0.5 Unit) UCLA/Arizona Under 143 (-110): 8:00 PM CT on FOX
It’s easy to think of these teams as excellent offensively, particularly Arizona which can put up points against anyone. But they’re also both elite defensive teams, and I think that shows tonight with a conference championship at stake.
Arizona’s offense and fast pace get all the attention, but the Wildcats are 11th in defensive efficiency, as well as 6th in opponent shooting percentage. When they want to lock a team down they can, especially with their massive interior presence. But never discount a Mick Cronin-coached team’s defense either, especially this time of year. UCLA is 23rd in defensive efficiency and has the length to disrupt Arizona’s perimeter shooting.
It’s also important to note the absence of Kerr Kriisa for the Wildcats, the best shooter they have, and the most important key to their offense. That should all factor into making this a slower and very tightly-guarded game, even more so than the regular-season meetings that both stayed under this total.
NCAA Basketball (0.25 Unit) Long Beach St. +1.5 vs CSU Fullerton (-110): 10:30 PM CT on ESPN2
All season long I’ve been hoping to see Long Beach State get the Big West’s ticket to the dance, and I think they take the final step tonight. The Beach just plays a different brand of basketball than the rest of the conference, looking to out-pace the other teams that are so accustomed to playing at a crawl. Fullerton is one of those teams, as they play slow and aren’t a threat from outside.
That’s what cost them in the regular-season meeting, not being able to keep up when Beach hit the gas despite an off shooting night from LBSU. The Beach also did an excellent job in that game of bottling up EJ Anosike who is probably the best player on the floor tonight. If they can replicate that defensive effort along with getting shots to drop, Long Beach will punch their ticket. There’s a lot of steam hitting Fullerton here, but with a buzzer-beater last night, Beach is the hot team. I have to go against the line move with a team that’s been the Big West’s best all year.
No degenerates today.
Tiny Nick is 641-520 ATS (+78.9 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.