Dinero Tracker – Feb. 22

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Last night's ATS Records
NBA: 0-0 | NCAA BB: 16-9

It was a busy Hump day over here despite the absence of NBA action for one last night. Louisville got embarrassed by Duke, Minnesota avoided a 10th straight loss and USC pulled away in its grudge match at Colorado. You won't read about those games below, but plenty of others since we went all over the board for a profitable day that still has action stuck in limbo. I'm on Seton Hall plus a point and under 148 in a game that was suspended due to condensation on the Dunkin' Donuts Arena floor with 13:03 remaining. The Pirates lead 56-47, so that total looks worrisome. Here's Wednesday's recap, complete with some of the highlights (and lowlights):


The pick: BYU/Portland OVER 137.5
Elijah Bryant really emerged for the Cougars once Moutntain West play began but has slumped some of late, scoring more than 14 points only once over his last five outings while shooting 21-for-54 (38 percent). We'll see if facing a Portland squad that he toasted for 22 points and a career-best 15 rebounds can get him to perk up, especially with Yoeli Childs healthy and running next to him following an injury scare. Portland has become reliable against the number under Terry Porter in 2018, coming in 8-1-1 against the spread over its last 10. This is in part due to the fact he often leaves starters in for a little cosmetic love, but his team has really done a nice job hanging around with most everyone in the WCC in February. Expect the over to come in here.


The pick: Boise State -7
This season has been a complete nightmare for the Colorado State, so don't expect a very productive ending to its season. Coming off a blowout loss at Fresno, the Rams won't be able to sustain 40 minutes of good basketball in order to hang around with the visiting Broncos, who have designs on at least a second-place finish in the Mountain West since Nevada is unlikely to be caught. Lay the points and ride Boise State.

Result: It warms my heart to release a stress-free freebie into the world to be shared among you. The Broncos were up 50-29 at the break and extended the lead to as much as 42 points in handing Colorado State its worst loss in over nine years, prevailing 87-54.


The pick: Virginia Tech -3.5
Although the Tigers made a run at Duke on Sunday, missing both Shelton Mitchell and Donte Grantham appears to be too much to overcome. I don't like the Tigers' chances on the road against the deeper Hokies, who should get a big game from Justin Bibbs to persevere here. Ride Virginia Tech and lay 3.5 points, guaranteed.

Result: After hanging around for most of this one, Virginia Tech took control with a 20-5 second-half run before surviving a few late missed free-throws to cover since the Tigers came up empty on their backdoor-chasing 3-pointers. Clemson head coach Brad Brownell admitted that his team just isn't the same without Mitchell and Grantham. Mitchell should be back from a concussion at some point, but the fact the Hokies won and covered despite shooting less than 35 percent tells you how tough the going is for the Tigers, who have now dropped three straight.


The pick: Georgia/South Carolina UNDER 131
This matchup features two of the SEC's top forwards in Yante Maten and Chris Silva. The first meeting saw Maten square 25 points while Silva went just 3-for-10, but the Gamecocks ended up with 35 free-throw attempts on the road to overcome 6-for-24 3-point shooting in a 64-57 win in Athens. Turnovers were the major culprit for the Dawgs at home, so they can't be trusted here even though taking the points with a team that has pulled off huge wins over Florida and Tennessee has them trending in the right direction. The Gamecocks put their best foot forward against Auburn, and there's no question Frank Martin will have them working hard on defense in what's likely to be a low-possession game. Ride the under.

Result: This was far more comfortable a cover than it probably should've been, since I anticipated the score being closer down the stretch, keeping possessions to a minimum. Instead, the Dawgs lost control just before the break as South Carolina used a 13-3 run to build a 42-27 lead, storming off the floor after a 3-pointer at the buzzer. The Gamecocks then pulled away again in the coaching stages, but Georgia didn't really play the foul game over the last two minutes, allowing seconds to harmlessly tick away in a 66-57 result that probably should've rendered a few more points.


The pick: George Mason +8
Otis Livingston II provided the Patriots' best moment of the season against the Hawks, beating them on a 30-footer at the buzzer in the first meeting. St. Joseph's has won consecutive games, which means that this spread is inflated as a result. Both teams are light on depth, which means this one should be heavy on runs. I recommend taking the points and riding George Mason.

Result: The Patriots beat the Hawks as the clock struck :00 for the second time in six weeks, getting a 25-footer from Ian Boyd to help prevent OT in a 79-76 win. George Mason had blown all of what had been a 20-point second-half lead before Boyd's heroics help cash what had been a +300 money-line win for most of the day. You know Mason probably loses by like a dozen if they play an extra five minutes, so the shot was a blessing.


The pick: TCU -5
The already short-handed Cyclones officially found out they would be without versatile forward Solomon Young and do-it-all wing Nick Weiler-Babb, so guards Lindell Wiggington and Donovan Jackson have to do the heavy lifting from here on out. The Horned Frogs should be able to take advantage of a team that has already lost four of five, especially since they're trying to get back even in Big 12 play and can really use this one. Back TCU and lay the points.

Result: This one was wild down the stretch, as the Horned Frogs came up huge at the free-throw line to help deliver this cover since we needed every single make in an 89-83 road win at Iowa State. Desmond Bane scored 27 points, putting in a crucial late dunk and some big free-throws to help the Horned Frogs hold on. The Tennessee/Florida finish was similar since the Gators were getting 4 points, but that one didn't go my way. The game never got closer than 3 points over the final four minutes as Gators PG Chris Chiozza failed to finish off a would-be 3-point play with 24.5 seconds left. Florida then foolishly then fouled Lamonte Bearden, who never misses, and Keith Stone came up empty on a 3-pointer with a few seconds left that would've likely locked in at least a push.


The pick: Alabama -8
The Crimson Tide should be able to give the Tigers a battle inside Auburn Arena, taking advantage of a depleted frontcourt that has now lost Anfernee McLemore in addition to their two most talented big men, who never were declared eligible. The Crimson Tide should be able to roll with the punches enough to be within range for Collin Sexton to steal this late. Take the points and ride Alabama.

Result: This looked great as tip-off approached after news that the Tigers would also be down wing Mustapha Heron due to a stomach bug. Auburn was depleted, but it made no difference, as the team was fueled by the energy of a raucous crowd and absolutely rolled the Tide, 90-71. The Tigers destroyed Avery Johnson's defense, which looked a step slow all night, getting huge games from point guard Jared Harper and Chuma Okeke, who will have to come up huge as the primary big going forward. Auburn folks were so geeked up that they rolled Toomer's Corner, a tradition typically saved just for football.


The pick: Villanova -19
The Blue Demons have gone all season without playing back-to-back true road games but must do so tonight, battling the slumping league favorites, who welcome back Phil Booth on the heels of a huge win over Xavier in Cincy to snap out of their funk. DePaul doesn't have a chance here. Lay the points and ride Villanova to win by 20-plus.  

Result: Booth scored 14 points in his return, helping fortify the bench in 16 minutes of action as 'Nova dominated, winning 93-62 on Senior Night behind Mikal Bridges 27 points. I held back on riding the over due to how lopsided I thought this would be, but the Wildcats got buckets from senior walk-ons Denny Grace and Tom Leibig to push the total over 154.

Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA or e-mail him at mejia@vegasinsider.com