Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:05 AM
Dinero Tracker - Feb. 15
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Last night's ATS Records
NBA: 4-5 | NCAA BB: 13-8
Wednesday's picks went reasonably well, but there were a few moments that swung results. On the positive side, OT prevented a loss on the FSU/Clemson total and I managed to avoid getting burned on a Florida/Georgia under bad beat since I held back late. There were some bullets I couldn't dodge, and the freebie crowd caugtht it too, right in the chest at the bitter end. Both sets of guarantees looked like they were coming in for a second straight day, but the college lock came up painfully short. That theme was present in the pros too, with two setbacks coming by a single point. The NBA lock managed to squeak by and is now 20-for-30 (66.7%) since Jan. 11. Here's Wednesday's recap, complete with some of the highlights (and lowlights):
THURSDAY'S FREE SELECTION
The pick: Arizona/ASU OVER
The Sun Devils will look to try and split the season series, but won't be able to slow down DeAndre Ayton, which is what took them down in the first meeting. With Dusan Ristic supplying yet another huge body Arizona State isn't equipped to deal with, they're going to look to run. Tra Holder scored 32 points and should have plenty of help pushing tempo, so the expectation here is that this game will wind up higher-scoring than the first meeting, an 84-78 'Cats win on Dec. 30. Ride the over.
WEDNESDAY'S FREE SELECTION
The pick: Hornets -5
The Magic have been a tremendous team against the spread despite all their injury issues, covering the number in 12 of their last 15. They've been an underdog in all but one of those games and are 12-2 catching points, but both of those setbacks have come at home. With Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon ruled out until after All-Star break, look for Orlando to come up short against a Hornets team that it has lost two twice in Charlotte already this season. Dwight Howard is making his debut in Orlando with his latest team and has experienced a resurgence in his first season there. With Kemba Walker in a groove and set to face off against one of his first backcourt mates, D.J. Augustin, we're going to lay the points. Ride Charlotte.
Result: The freebie is now 4-2-1 over the last seven, but looked like we had a push after a pair of Jeremy Lamb free-throws gave the Hornets a 104-99 lead with 2.3 seconds left. With no timeouts remaining, the Magic just threw a fullcourt baseball pass that Marvin Williams tried to deflect and overran, leaving Marreese Speights to catch and knock down a 3-pointer that just beat the buzzer. St. John's lost a cover (-2) against DePaul in similar fashion later in the night, so we'll take solace in not being on the receiving end of that one too.
The pick: Pacers -4
The Pacers should take advantage of the fact that the Nets are still attempting to work in Jahlil Okafor and they haven't had D'Angelo Russell get back up to speed off his injury. With Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson out again, quality depth is likely to be an issue against a team with a strong second unit. Lay the points and ride Indiana, guaranteed.
Result: We were fortunate to pick up a cover here, since Indiana was down three points with 5:52 left but ended up winning the fourth 35-24. Cory Joseph finished just 4-for-7 from the stripe and left the door wide open for Brooklyn, but Spencer Dinwiddie returned the favor with a free-throw miss of his own with 4.5 seconds left, resulting in a 108-103 final. The total closed 212, so it would've been interesting to see if the Nets would've fouled had Dinwiddie not missed. A push on both side and total would've been like kissing your sister on both cheeks, Euro-style, twice.
LOCK THAT DIDN'T CLICK
The pick: Nevada/Boise State OVER 150
This is for first place in the Mountain West, providing the Wolf Pack an opportunity to really strengthen their position as we head down to the wire in the regular-season race. Eric Musselman's team has been fantastic on the road, but the Broncos haven't lost at Taco Bell Arena and are fueled by an improving probable lottery pick in impressive wing Chandler Hutchison, who didn't shoot well from beyond the arc in the first meeting but did end up scoring 27. With Caleb Martin not 100 percent, Nevada won't be able to defend like it would want to on the road, but they can put the ball in the basket and will extend this at the very least. Ride the over, guaranteed.
Result: Outside of watching Lindsey Drew tragically tear his Achilles, this was a fantastic game that ended up putting on the best show on the entire college card. Both teams made big shots down the stretch, but the Wolf Pack persevered and pulled off a 77-72 win. Hutchison had a clean look at a short jumper that would've tied the game at 74 and then missed a great look at a 3-pointer on the same possession, keeping our over call from coming in. The Wolf Pack missed a free-throw that would've delivered a push, Boise turned over its last possession and the ball ended up in Caleb Martin's hands for a smooth 360 celebratory breakaway dunk that was slammed down a good second after the final buzzer. Martin was booed anyway, so we would've appreciated if he hadn't hesitated slightly before throwing down.
The pick: Indiana/Illinois OVER 141.5
This is a revenge game for the Hoosiers, who fell by a bucket in Champaign on Jan. 24, supplying one of the few highlights of Brad Underwood's first season at Illinois. Indiana is a different team at Assembly Hall, but this strikes me as just too many points to count on covering at home. The over is the safest bet here.
Result: This worked out well since the Hoosiers ended up covering the 9.5 with a 78-68 win that would've been too stressful to sit through as an interested party. The game extension down the stretch delivered the over far more comfortably.
The pick: Auburn -9
This isn't likely to be a fun night for Kentucky, which still has time on its side but is likely to hit rock bottom with a double-digit loss here. Bryce Brown is set to play and the Tigers are playing a fourth consecutive home game. The 'Cats come off an 11-point loss in College Station and will drop their fourth straight here. Lay the points and ride Auburn.
Result: Auburn opened 1-for-16 from the field and actually trailed 59-58 with 6:15 remaining before they took over. Bryce Brown hit big shots to help the Tigers close on an 18-7 run in a 76-66 win. This is now Kentucky's first four-game losing streak since 2009 and first under John Calipari, but it was in this game for the bulk of it and isn't a lost cause just yet. Auburn is just better and came through on the home cover.
SWING AND A MISS
The pick: Virginia Tech +10.5, VT/Duke OVER 162
The Hokies will test Duke's porous defense and will benefit from the continued absence of star forward Marvin Bagley III, who leads the entire ACC in scoring and rebounding. Without his presence on the floor, look for Virginia Tech to be more successful attacking the paint, holding up well in Durham in what should be a higher-scoring game than even this lofty number can cover. Ride Virginia Tech plus the points and back the over for the in-game parlay.
Result: The Hokies managed to score 52 points in getting blown out and left Hubie Brown puzzled as to why they were complicating matters for themselves on offense. Duke clamped down, but with Bagley sidelined, it should've been in for a tough game from a Virginia Tech team that took down UVa. Grayson Allen took Tech's heart early. Didn't see that coming.
PROOF OF CLAIRVOYANCE
The pick: Xavier -6, XU/Seton Hall OVER 157.5
The Pirates have had a lousy February so far, losing at home to Villanova and Marquette and dropping their most recent game at Georgetown. They make tough shots, but seemingly always fall into a self-imposed trap, something that will always trip you up on the road in Cincinnati. Lay the points with Xavier and ride the over for the in-game parlay.
Result: An inability to stop Trevon Bluiett provided Seton Hall's latest insurmountable obstacle, as he went for 37 points and shot 8-for-11 from 3-point range, helping his team out to a 42-22 lead. The Pirates were down big, did manage to rally behind Myles Powell and Desi Rodriguez combining for 50 points, but their nightmare month continue. The Muskies won 102-90, coasting comfortably after JP Macura ended the Hall's comeback bid with a late dagger 3, XU's 14th on the night.
Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA or e-mail him at [email protected]