Dinero Tracker – Feb. 5Editor's Note: Antony Dinero's NBA selections can be purchased daily on VegasInsider.com. Click to win!
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Last night's ATS Records
NBA: 2-3-1 | NCAA BB: 12-3
My Super Bowl did not go as planned. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was true to his word in remaining aggressive with QB Nick Foles at the controls, which I didn't fully buy. Given the presence of Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia running New England's defense with nearly two weeks of preparation time to work with, I expected more. I certainly didn't see Malcolm Butler's benching coming, which immediately set off red flags as a panic move reminiscent of Avery Johnson switching hotels in the '06 NBA Finals. Read about last night's big whiff for further details. Sunday's results basketball-related results featured a pair of NBA games where the final basket settled matters and an 80 percent day in college hoops. Ventures into the MAAC produced a 5-0 sweep, while the NCAA guarantee got back on track after a rough run. The NBA guarantee pushed in soul-crushing fashion, so it's 16-for-22 (72.7%) since Jan. 11 with six straight cashes. Here are some of the highlights (and lowlights):MONDAY'S FREE SELECTION
The pick: Fairfield -9
Let's stay hot in the MAAC by fading the Saints, who lost top scorer Nico Clareth for the season last month and open this one with freshman point guard Roman Penn dealing with a cyst on his heel that could keep him out for weeks. They'll battle defensively and have slowed tempo down the past few weeks, but they're on the road against a well-coached team that should effectively utilize their depth to wear down Siena. The Stags are looking for their third consecutive win and beat Iona in OT at Webster Bank Arena last Monday. Lay the points and expect Fairfield to win by double-digits.
SUNDAY'S FREE SELECTION
The pick: Tulsa -7.5
The Golden Hurricane won their first American conference road game on New Year's eve at Tulane but hasn't been able to pick up a win away from home since. This will be their best chance, coming off a home upset of SMU and entering the friendliest portion of their schedule as they try and get up into the American's top-four, which is certainly within reach given how tightly-packed the league is. Junior Etou and Corey Henderson will be tough for USF to stop. Ride Tulsa and lay the points.
Result: Yesterday's freebie sure was an adventure. The Golden Hurricane led by 14 with less than 10 minutes remaining but pulled back offensively to milk the clock and nearly paid for it as the Bulls drew closer with an 11-2 run over the final minutes, pulling within 57-52 with 1:21 left. Etou put Tulsa back on track up eight with a huge 3-pointer with 45 seconds left. A pair of last-ditch misses helped preserve our cover.
The pick: Illinois-Chicago -6
Detroit comes off an upset of IUPUI on Friday night, but guard Corey Allen is dealing with a flu bug and there are a number of issues that head coach Bacari Alexander has to juggle as a superior UIC squad comes to town. The Titans have lost 15 of 18 and face the Flames for the first time. Marcus Ottey should control the action to help his team move to 9-1 over their last 10. Ride Illinois-Chicago -6, guaranteed.
Result: Allen sat, so this line moved to 7 by tip-off. Although the Titans hung around thanks to Josh McFolley and Roschon Prince stepping up and combining for 48 points when they average one-third of that, Illinois-Chicago took control thanks to Detroit shooting 4-for-27 from 3-point range. We had to sweat out the foul game to pull this out, but UIC did us right by shooting 17-for-21 from the stripe, helping make up for a rough day from Ottey.
LOCK THAT DIDN'T CLICK
The pick: Trail Blazers +1
The Celtics have been able to survive playing short-handed without Kyrie Irving this week, thriving thanks to Terry Rozier's emergence, but they should run out of luck today. With CJ McCollum likely to have a big game and Jusuf Nurkic set to make smaller Al Horford work hard on defense, this is a tough matchup at home for short-handed Boston. Ride Portland plus the point, guaranteed.
Result: The Blazers dominated the first half as Nurkic got off to a dominant start and led 54-38 at the break. Boston nearly wiped out the entire deficit in the third quarter and took control in the fourth before a Damian Lillard flurry had the result rescued until Al Horford's game-winning turnaround jumper as time expired. If I'd gotten in before books adjusted the opening line (Boston -2), this would have been another winner. Portland ended up favored in some spots, so we'll take the push despite the sting of seeing the money slip away at the bitter end.
The pick: Iona/Marist OVER 153
The Gaels have really picked up their level of play in the MAAC over the past few weeks and should help push tempo and take out Marist on the road. Look for a big game from Rickey McGill and expect a lot of points in this one, so lay the points with Iona and ride the over for the in-game parlay.
Result: This one was never in doubt thanks to the Gaels racing out to a 26-9 lead on the strength of a game-clinching 15-0 run. Iona's 55 first-half points were a season-best and they ended up making 15 3-pointers in coasting past overmatched Marist. Even though the action slowed down over the final minutes, Iona attacked and took its chances deep into the game and the Red Foxes were able to score enough to help deliver on our total.
The pick: Arizona State -8
Today's final action prior to the Super Bowl sees the Sun Devils looking to avoid coming up empty in Washington after falling against the Huskies in Seattle on Thursday night. Following a tremendous start, Bobby Hurley's team has really slumped and needs to turn it up to help make the most of their early success by securing a high seed in the NCAAs. Tra Holder should have a big game with ASU feeling a sense of urgency. Lay the points and ride Arizona State.
Result: This didn't start well, since the tenacity I expected to see from the Sun Devils to open the game just wasn't present, leading to a 17-9 early deficit. Shannon Evans helped shoot ASU back in it, while freshmen Romello White and Remy Martin were terrific in the second half to help the visitors pull away. Washington State was ahead with less than seven minutes remaining and had its chances to earn at least a backdoor cover late as ASU nursed a 7-to-10-point lead over the final four minutes. It was looking like a fortunate day on the hardwood, especially since Josh Jackson salvaged a Suns cover on a meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer against Charlotte. The football was then served.
SWING AND A MISS
The pick: New England - 4/UNDER 48.5
The Patriots and Eagles are playing the Super Bowl indoors, so the frigid Minnesota weather won't have any effect on the fact we're likely to get a low-scoring, winner-take-all affair at the new U.S. Bank Stadium. Both teams are looking to avoid turnovers and shorten the game, so count on points to be harder to come by than they were in last year's big game. Ride the under, guaranteed. For the in-game parlay, back New England.
Result: Both teams scored on their first possession, but despite being able to move the ball effectively, each team had to settle for field goals. I still felt confident as I expected both defenses would settle in, but Pederson's decision to consistently push the envelope aggressively doomed my picks and empowered Nick Foles to trust his instincts and gain a rhythm he sustained all night. Tom Brady was masterful in keeping pace until the Eagles' pass rush was finally able to get home to close out a win. The over came in before the fourth quarter arrived and although the Patriots took a 33-32 lead, they were never in a position to cover. Great game, but it's hard to be too enthusiastic when you're dead wrong.
PROOF OF CLAIRVOYANCE
The pick: Wisconsin +8.5
The Badgers suffered a tough blow when center Michael Cekovsky landed awkwardly after a dunk in practice, suffering a heel injury that will keep him out here. With guards Anthony Cowan (thumb) and Dion Wiley (ankle) not at 100 percent, the Terps will have a tough time putting this home game in the win column if Ethan Happ can excel at both ends. Take the points and ride Wisconsin.
Result: Although the Terps snapped a three-game losing streak, Wisconsin came out with great purpose in the second half after suffering through a 17-2 run and quickly imposed its will to make this anybody's game down the stretch. Kevin Huerter helped snap a 60-60 tie with big baskets and Cowan helped put the game away by outplaying Badgers freshman Brad Davison, who sealed the cover with a clutch 3-pointer with 10.4 seconds left. Happ finished with 18 points and nine boards and gave the Badgers a chance.
Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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