Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:05 AM

Dinero Tracker - Feb. 7

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Last night's ATS Records
NBA: 4-3-1 | NCAA BB: 15-8

A fantastic start in college hoops -- at one point 8-1 before a few tight games went the other way - was capped by Boise State's riveting comeback to salvage my college guarantee. There were a few tough losses in the late games, but I'll take the continuation of a strong February run (82-45, 64.6%, +3252) that has featured only one losing day and a 55-27 run since that ill-fated Feb. 2. Four of six college in-game parlays (Penn/Princeton, Xavier/Butler, Davidson/St. Joseph's, Buffalo/CMU) came in. Success in the pros wasn't as great as I hoped it would be for numerous reasons, all detailed below. My NBA guarantee pushed the 230 I got in at 6 AM ET, but the line moved to 231 by the afternoon, so it was a disappointing final 50 seconds as the Thunder and Warriors wrapped up garbage time. The NBA lock is still 17-for-23 (73.9%) since Jan. 11 and riding a run of seven straight cashes after an unfortunate push. Here's Tuesday's recap, complete with some of the highlights (and lowlights):


The pick: Villanova -16.5
Wildcats head coach Jay Wright will certainly have an easier time getting his top-ranked team's attention thanks to Duke's weekend assist. The Blue Devils managed to lose to St. John's 81-77 at Madison Square Garden, looking like they couldn't be bothered to defend for an entire afternoon. The Red Storm are still 0-11 in the Big East but now carry a target on their back as a giant-killer that beat one of the nation's most talented teams. A 'Nova squad that surrendered 37 points to Shamorie Ponds in their Jan. 13 78-71 win at the Garden knows exactly what it could have on their hands at home if they allow him to find a rhythm, so I'd expect a focused effort to prevent this from being even remotely close. Lay the points and ride Villanova.


The pick: Buffalo -5.5
The Bulls bounced back from their first MAC loss, an 82-79 setback last Tuesday at Kent State, holding off Western Michigan 92-86. Tonight's game will be the first time they'll be back in someone else's arena and looks to be the toughest true road test, on paper, that they've got remaining on their schedule. Central Michigan's up-tempo style should help the visitors get comfortable, so we're laying the points and riding the MAC's top team. Back Buffalo. For the in-game parlay, ride the over.

Result: The Bulls delivered our third straight freebie win and led the entire game, going up 72-54 at Central Michigan after a CJ Massinburg 4-point play. The Chippewas chipped away and actually helped deliver the over by being extremely proficient at the foul game, closing to within six numerous times. Wes Clark delivered the cover with perfect free-throw shooting in the closing stages of an 88-82 win.


The pick: Boise State +1
The Broncos need to win to stay just behind Nevada for the Mountain West lead, so it will be interesting to see how they handle a great road atmosphere at the Pit in Albuquerque. The Lobos have won seven straight home games, which includes a victory over San Diego State in league play. This is a revenge game since they fell in Boise 90-62, but Chandler Hutchison is playing too well to fade and I think Leon Rice's squad holds up against the press in a hostile setting. Take the point and ride Boise State, guaranteed.

Result: This was bananas. New Mexico played an excellent game, building up a 13-point edge, but you never give up on a game until the clock hits :00. The Broncos didn't, capping a run holding the Lobos without a field goal for the final 7:33 when they were fortunate Anthony Mathis missed a great look at a layup to win 73-71. The comeback featured a 19-7 run to close it and a pair of steals that were converted into buckets by Hutchison, who combined with fellow senior Chris Sengfelder to score 47 points on 18-for-27 shooting. They added 20 boards and scored nine of Boise's last 10. We then had to sit through a skirmish because New Mexico's Joe Furtsinger was too forceful trying to frantically foul BSU's Marcus Dickinson, striking him near his throat. Benches cleared and video of the incident had to be reviewed before the game was finally called. Chicken dinner!


The pick: Oklahoma City/Golden State OVER 230
The Thunder held the Warriors to 91 points in a lopsided 17-point win when these Western Conference powers squared off in Oklahoma City on Nov. 22. Stopper Andre Roberson played a crucial role in that game and is now unavailable after being lost for the season. Since Jan. 20, they've allowed nearly 112 points per game, the last five of which have come without their stopper. Golden State will have had two days off since looking exhausted in Denver, so expect them to be ready to run. Ride the over (230), guaranteed.

Result: There's no question I didn't expect Tuesday's events at Oracle to transpire as they did. The first quarter featured a 42-30 Thunder explosion and they took the game by the throat in the second half despite losing Carmelo Anthony to an injury. Still, our only interest was the total, which we jumped on at 230 but had moved to 231-231.5 by tipoff. Countless technical fouls helped get us to where we needed to be as both coaches finally pulled starters to start "garbage time," where we needed reserves who don't typically play to put the ball in the basket. Kyle Singler dusted himself off and did his part for OKC, while JaVale McGee and Kevon Looney scored around the basket to get us to 125-105 with 50 ticks left. Looney went to the line for the and-1, missed, and Singler fumbled OKC's final attempt to score. With one last chance, we were hoping Patrick McCaw would just drive to the rim and make it happen, but he deferred to McGee, who was in the mood to get frisky by trying to take Dakari Johnson off the dribble as if both were 6-2 guards. It looked as awkward as it reads, McGee ended up missing some ugly-looking fadeaway jumper that wasn't close and OKC rebounded and harmlessly dribbled out the clock. Frustrating. Hope you got in early enough to push.


The pick: Kansas/TCU UNDER 157
The Jayhawks have seen key figures step up over the course of the season, but aren't particularly deep, so the call here is that the pace will be slower than expected. The Horned Frogs haven't let the unfortunate loss of guard Jaylen Fisher derail them, but it should hinder the team here. Kansas is still favored by a little too much over TCU for my taste, but not enough to tempt me into taking points. Ride the under.

Result: This one was never in doubt, so I've hurt my arm patting myself on the back after recognizing that the number looked far too high for the game I expected. My analysis here was dead right since the Jayhawks (-7) wound up pushing when TCU missed a point-blank layup at the buzzer in the 71-64 win. Neither team scored much down the stretch as this became the grind-it-out affair I anticipated. I'd better stop before I dislocate my shoulder.


The pick: Rockets -10.5
After trading Tyler Zeller to Milwaukee, the Nets are committed to playing rookie Jarrett Allen and Jahlil Okafor down the stretch. This won't yield much success against the pick-and-roll. Since the Rockets are going to look to run, get Eric Gordon back and can punish teams with inexperienced defenses like Brooklyn, my expectation here is that we'll see a Rockets rout. Lay the points.

Result: The first quarter ended with the Rockets up 38-31, so this looked great early and then soured significantly. Brooklyn ended up making 16 3-pointers, the same amount that Houston made, and even led 84-80 late in the third before a late surge helped put the favored visitors in position to win going away. A James Harden layup made it 115-99 with 4:24 left, but the Nets scored eight straight, two on a pair of 3-pointers by undrafted ex-Boise State standout James Webb III, who was playing just his sixth NBA game. That set up garbage time intrigue where Harden closed the game out with a 3-pointer with 33 seconds left for the final 123-113 margin, leaving us with an empty feeling as he dribbled the clock out on a 36-point masterpiece that somehow couldn't prevent a Nets' cover.


The pick: Cavs -6.5
Unless you could pick on the Hornets or Trail Blazers by forcing them to play on a third straight night, the Magic are the team you would choose to play against if you had to win one game tonight, Feb. 6. Not only did Orlando pull off an upset last night, they saw one of their current catalysts, Jonathan Simmons, suffer an ankle sprain. He's currently the player best suited to defend LeBron James and would join Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, rookie Jonathan Isaac and Terrence Ross on the bench in a suit if he can't play. Coming off an embarrassing nationally televised loss to Houston, the Cavs are going to have no mercy tonight against a Magic rotation likely to feature G-Leaguers Wesley Iwundu and Khem Birch playing major minutes. Ride Cleveland and lay the points.

Result: As excellent as Tuesday night's wagering was as early results started coming in, this became Debbie Downer in all her glory. Think of all the teasers and money-line parlays that slipped away as the Cavs decided that one half of basketball was enough, retiring for the evening after building up a 67-51 halftime lead. How a team led by LeBron James can have such little chemistry that it allowed an Orlando Magic roster missing its two most talented players and fortified by G-leaguers to win the second half 65-31 is one of life's great mysteries. Head coach Tyronn Lue went out sick in the second quarter due to an illness, but that meltdown had little to do with coaching. There won't be a worse loss in the NBA the rest of the way.


The pick: Davidson -10.5 OVER 145.5
The Hawks have virtually no depth, with James Demery joining Shavar Newkirk in playing all 40 minutes against LaSalle despite a bum ankle. The Wildcats are too talented not to take advantage of a defense that can't afford to really foul, so look for Bob McKillop's team to continue a run that has seen them top 80 in consecutive games, winning by a combined 48 points. Ride Davidson and the over for the in-game parlay.

Result: This one was fun, one of those games you only have to check in on from time to time since it's clearly in cruise control. Peyton Alrdridge scored 29 first-half points, a figure that ranks behind only school legend Stephen Curry's exploits, helping the Wildcats built up a 51-28 edge against St. Joseph's. Phil Martelli lost the rest of his hair watching Davidson shoot 20-for-39 from 3-point range as his Hawks continued a rough stretch in a 91-62 setback.

Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA or e-mail him at [email protected]

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