Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:05 AM
Dinero Tracker - Feb. 24
Editor's Note: Antony Dinero's NBA selections can be purchased daily on VegasInsider.com. Click to win!
Read the Dinero Tracker's mission statement here
Last night's ATS Records
NBA: 4-4 | NCAA BB: 10-4
It could've been a 13-1 night in college had a few timely shots fallen, but it was nonethless filled with prosperity. Meanwhile, a .500 night in the NBA carried grave consequences, from Jimmy Butler leaving with a non-contact knee injury to the annoying instance of getting in on a game too early. Take it as a lesson to always shop lines. Both guaranteed plays came in. Here is Friday's recap, complete with some of the highlights (and lowlights):
SATURDAY'S FREE SELECTION
The pick: Oregon -2
With Allonzo Trier sidelined, DeAndre Ayton's recruitment under scrutiny and Sean Miller potentially having already coached his last game given the taped conversations the feds have reportedly uncovered to doom him, Arizona is in shambles. Dana Altman's Ducks are in the midst of a successful l run as they try to land on the right side of the bubble and and won't have any sympathy for the plight of the Pac-12's leader. Ride Oregon.
FRIDAY'S FREE SELECTION
The pick: Celtics/Pistons UNDER 205
Brad Stevens has gotten the better of Stan Van Gundy in five of their last seven games. It's helped to have the better team, but since their first two meetings went OT and both coaches want their teams to lock down defensively after getting sloppy before the break, there's definitely a competitive vibe in play here over your typical first outing after All-Star. Marcus Smart returns to help the Celtics try and shore things up, so I expect this game to see defense tighten up and tempo to slow down. Ride the under.
Result: Most of you read this well after I posted, so in that case, you were fortunate and either pushed or won at under 208.5 when Greg Monroe missed a pair of free throws and Detroit's Dwight Buycks got denied in the final 24 seconds of Boston's 110-98 win. I didn't see the big bump coming, but still liked my chances up 105-90 with two minutes to go. I did not enjoy the finish.
The pick: Clippers/Suns OVER 229
After cashing with a big play on the Clippers' lack of defense last night, the expectation here is that this matchup against the Suns will yield a similar track meet. Devin Booker and Elfrid Payton are going to push at all costs, while the Clips are mindful that the only way that they're reaching the playoffs this season is to collect gimmes against teams like the Suns. Ride the over, guaranteed.
Result: L.A. raced out to a 19-0 lead, but once Phoenix started scoring, this game got on the right track. The Clippers did the heavy lifting in the first half by building a 79-50 lead, while a 72-point fourth quarter aided by a little Hack-a-DeAndre Jordan brought this in easily. The Clips won 128-117.
FRIDAY'S OTHER LOCK
The pick: Western Michigan/Ball State OVER 146
The Cardinals scored just 58 points in Kalamazoo when these teams squared off on Jan. 13, one of the three lowest outputs of the season, but they're a completely different team at home. Over the past four games, they've averaged 88 points, so don't expect the tempo to slow down in this rematch in Muncie, which should suit Thomas Wilder and the Broncos just fine. Ride the over, guaranteed.
Result: The Broncos caught the Cardinals from behind, pulling off an 87-80 upset. After a slow start, both teams got going as the respective stars for both teams, Thomas Wilder ande Tahjai Teague, each had big nights.
The pick: Brown/Columbia OVER 156.5
These teams played a 91-88 game in Rhode Island two weeks ago, and this game may get close to that number even if there's no OT. Columbia dominated Princeton last week and has scored 77 or more in seven of the last eight, while Brown is more than willing to run since they lack much size. Ride the over.
Result: The Lions and Bears gave us an early scare, but combined for 102 second-half points to easily clear this hurdle. Columbia won 89-82.
The pick: Hornets +3.5
The Hornets rocked the Nets last night and have come out of the break with a mission to try and work their way back into the East playoff picture. They'll run into a Wizards team that is playing only their second back-to-back since losing John Wall, which is bad news since they lack depth and have guys that aren't exactly built for the grind at the moment. Take the points and ride Charlotte.
Result: Charlotte took control early and never let go. Make a mental note of Washington back-to-backs going forward, because the Hornets rolled, hitting 17 3-pointers in a 122-105 win.
The pick: Indiana +2.5, IU/Ohio State UNDER 139
Ohio State has already secured a top-three seed in the Big Ten Tournament, while the Hoosiers will be playing on March 1 and can improve their chances of playing against a team that will have played the night before if they can win on Senior Night here. Archie Miller's first squad has been dramatically better in Bloomington than they've been away from home, so expect a competitive affair against a Buckeyes team that has dropped their last two road game. Take the points with Indiana and ride the under for the in-game parlay.
Result: The Buckeyes and Hoosiers flirted with delivering the under by each going cold down the stretch, but blew it up due to a failure to execute in the final minute. The teams even flirted with delivering the under in spite of playing a whole OT session, but went into a second one tied at 70. This would've been a total loss had I not waited until late and grabbed Indiana +2.5, allowing me to survive C.J. Jackson's game-winner in Ohio State's 80-78 win.
SWING AND A MISS
The pick: Timberwolves +9, Rockets/Wolves OVER 224.5
Tonight's nationally televised opening half of ESPN's doubleheader could very well be a playoff preview, but I don't anticipate we'll see a premium placed on defense coming out of the break. The expectation here is that the TImberwolves will be able to execute well and hang around all night via a rested Jimmy Butler, who controversially sat out All-Star Weekend despite remaining on the West roster. Ride Minnesota and the over for the in-game parlay.
Result: We'll find out what happens with Butler's knee soon, but it didn't look good. Hopefully, it's not season-ending. It was definitely wager-ending since the Rockets took control in his absence. We almost gained a split on the total, but Shabazz Muhammad fumbled away the Wolves final possession in a 120-102 loss.
PROOF OF CLAIRVOYANCE
The pick: Rhode Island -10.5
The Rams are definitely up for this nationally televised clash against a rival that was expected to provide the stiffest challenge to their A-10 dominance, so I'd expect them to be up for this one. Although the Flyers have dropped consecutive games, this is by far their toughest road trip of the conference season and I just don't trust them to hang within single-digits. Lay the points and ride Rhode Island. ?
Result: This started off rough since the Flyers came out intent on showing a little backbone, but that didn't translate to the second half. The Rams took control immediately after the break and coasted to an 81-56 win. Rhody -6.5 in the second half was an easy winner.
Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA or e-mail him at [email protected]