Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:05 AM

Dinero Tracker - Feb. 26

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Last night's ATS Records
NBA: 5-3 | NCAA BB: 3-9

Following up a 29-11 day in college by going 3-9 wasn't ideal. There were some heinous finishes in the mix, so you can find the best details below. Following up an 8-1 night in NBA with a 5-3 was a decent follow-up, but the 76ers unexpectedly slumped on the road to keep it from being far better. Both sets of guarantees came in for a third straight day. Here is Sunday's recap, complete with some of the highlights (and lowlights):


The pick: Lakers ML -118
Although the danger existed that the young impressionable Laker lads might get swallowed up by Atlanta's evening delights, everyone should be in the mix to try and continue a road trip that hits Miami and San Antonio next. They'll have a few days in South Florida to monitor before the next move, but I like them to continue a surge that will produce their fourth winning streak of at least three games since 2018 began. They failed to win more than consecutive games over the season's first three months, but are clearly playing much better and won't regress with Lonzo Ball back. Atlanta just bought out Ersan Ilyasova, will be missing key backup Malcolm Delaney and will have to deal with the reality that there will be more Lakers fans in Philips Arena tonight than Hawks' faithful. Ride L.A. on the money line to avoid laying the 1.5 on the road.


The pick: Rockets/Nuggets OVER 228
Houston opens a stretch where it will play seven of its next eight games on the road, so the NBA’s current longest winning streak (11) isn’t likely to be extended too much longer since it will be up against three Western Conference playoff contenders over the next four nights. Denver opened with a clutch win over San Antonio and has won seven of eight outright, the last six of which have all come in games that eclipsed the posted total. There have been at least 223 combined points scored in each of the Nuggets’ last eight contests, a run which includes a 130-104 loss in Houston on Feb. 9. The Rockets also won at home 125-95 on Nov. 22, but will find this first venture into the Mile-High city this season to be far more challenging. They’ll still score a bunch, but Denver is better suited to keep pace, especially with Nikola Jokic dominating, having posted three straight triple-doubles. Expect both teams to fill it up in a competitive affair and ride the over

Result: The freebie came through in a big way, especially since the line moved significantly after I posted this column, so bettors who drove the number down are clearly not fans. Fortunately, the Nuggets didn't hang their heads against the Rockets, which gave them a chance to play catch-up in the fourth, increasing the pace to try and get the altitude to play a role in their comeback.


The pick: Bucks/Pelicans OVER 220.5
With Eric Bledsoe officially set to be a part of this one, this is officially Sunday's NBA lock. The Bucks can now push to take advantage of the presence of guys like Nikola Vucevic on the floor. Coming off a thrilling OT win over Toronto, the Bucks run into Anthony Davis in the midst of a ridiculous run. He's rested and looks as healthy as he's been all season, coming off 45 points on 34 shots, 17 rebounds, five steals and five blocks against Miami. Given how he's playing, there's no way I'm fading him even though that spread looks manageable. Ride the over, guaranteed.

Result: The Bucks were really sharp defensively in the first half, so there was a point where I questioned if I hadn't made the wrong decision by riding a total instead of Milwaukee's side. Fortunately, Jrue Holiday was tremendous and Rajon Rondo really got everyone in a flow in a 38-19 third quarter that flipped this game into the competitive affair I hoped for in the fourth. The 'over' came in without the need for OT, but the teams played on another five minutes in an eventual 123-121 New Orleans win.


The pick: Nebraska/Penn State OVER 137.5
The Nittany Lions need a strong showing to continue their push as they try to land on the right side of the bubble, while the Huskers are hoping improve to 13-5 in conference play to cement lock status. Count on this being competitive, which in the Big Ten often means a race to 65. These teams are each better offensively than they often get credit for, so expect a brisker pace and game extension to deliver a fun one. Ride the over, guaranteed.

Result: I couldn't have been more wrong here, so it's incredibly fortunate that the college lock run survived on a day where most close calls went the other way. Penn State sputtered out of the gate, so the 'Huskers had this one under control 34-17 at the break and it looked like this was going to wind up in the 65-50 range. Fortunately, Tony Carr got cooking, the Nittany Lions pushed tempo and pressed throughout the final minutes and those on the under took an awful beat. The line closed in the 138-138.5 range, so everyone on board prevailed when Nazeer Bostick put down an uncontested dunk with less than 10 seconds left to close out a 76-64 final


The pick: Temple/UCF UNDER 130
Despite no longer having Tacko Fall and his 8-foot wingspan patrolling the paint, UCF has managed to remain in the top-half of the American and really has maintained its defensive identity, practicing solid principles and being mindful of tempo. Look for this battle in Philly against Temple to wind up being a race to 65, which means you want in on the under.

Result: The Owls raced out to a 16-0 lead, which was unfortunate for my Knights, but made me feel really good about this total call. UCF typically trusts its defense to get it back in games and wasn't going to turn on a press or come out of its tempo, but the Owls were unexpectedly aggressive and efficient. They attacked the paint as if celebrating Fall's absence, doing so early enough in possessions they would've ordinarily milked clock on that it made me wonder if there was anything personal there. Ultimately, that put us in position to lose a game that should've been in control given how it played out. Lots of fouls, too. Temple won 75-56. Yep, lost by 1.


The pick: St. Peter's/Siena UNDER 122.5
The Saints have resorted to slow-down tactics given the loss of their top two guards, so Jimmy Patsos will likely welcome the grinder that is to come here. Although the Peacocks don't seem to be as physical as recent versions have been, they still work on clock and attempt to contest and deny on every possession. Expect a race to 60 and ride the under.

Result: The Peacocks scored 65, but their second-half dominance helped prevent much game extension, even though Siena did try to press unnecessarily for a few minutes late. The 65-48 result was nonetheless comfortable throughout.


The pick: UCLA ML -130
This line opened with the Buffs getting four points, so it was quickly bet down to a bucket as money piles on the home team since they already beat the Bruins in Pauley earlier this season and now catch them in the altitude in Boulder coming off a loss at Utah. Don't discount Aaron Holiday's ability to be a driving force here alongside Jaylen Hands. Look for one of those guards to make a big play down the stretch in helping secure the team's 20th win. Ride UCLA on the money line to avoid laying the bucket on the road.

Result: I hated myself for this call after the first 10 minutes or so. Colorado took full advantage of depth, mismatches and elevation in an 80-76 win that shouldn't have even been that close since the Bruins made a desperate run late. Bad call.


The pick: N.C. State/Florida State OVER 165.5
This is a big one in the ACC, but don't expect your typical reaction to meaningful college game since this is more likely to speed up instead of slowing down since it better fits the personality of both teams. Kevin Keatts' Wolfpack definitely feels more comfortable at home due to their guards settling in, but FSU is deeper and more athletic, so they'll hang with a fast tempo. Ride the over in a game likely to be extended.

Result: The Wolfpack blew away the Seminoles and sustained their pace throughout, getting a big game from Allerik Freeman and seeing Sam Hunt go unconscious from the perimeter. It was a party, and I wish it could've been more festive for me since the Pack executed with a precision that would've easily seen them top the century mark if they were pushed. Instead, FSU shot 0-for-15 from 3-point range and single-handedly kept us from getting where we needed to with this score. N.C. State won 92-72, leaving us a bucket short. Sickening.


The pick: 76ers +2, Wizards/76ers OVER 213
The Wizards have scored over 100 points in 12 straight games, so the over is 8-4 in that stretch for them. The 76ers have played in three straight games that have topped the posted total and have cleared the century mark in seven straight. The first three meetings between these teams have all gone ‘over,’ with the last two totals set in the same ballpark as tonight’s number (212.5).
Washington will be looking to split the season series with a victory here after dropping the last two meetings, both of which were played without Wall. With Joel Embiid in the mix, look for the 76ers to win on the road. Ride Philadelphia and the over for the in-game parlay.

Result: The 76ers shot the ball poorly, which blew this up. Washington won 109-94, getting an impressive performance from Otto Porter. Philadelphia shot 36 percent, making 9-for-33 from 3-point range. As impressive and Embiid and Simmons can be, the 76ers must knock down the long ball to make the most of the spacing they provide. JJ Redick, Dario Saric and Robert Covington were a combined 5-for-20.


The pick: Houston -21
Look for a name-your-score situation here against a small Pirates team that is down their biggest player with 6-10 senior Jabari Craig sidelined with a foot issue. Kentrell Barkley got himself suspended again, so the Pirates come in with a six-man rotation against a Cougs squad that can embarrass you and won the first meeting 65-49 in a game that wasn't even that close. Ride Houston and lay the points.  

Result: The Cougs led 62-13 at the break and won 109-58. So, yeah, 21 wasn't too many points to lay.

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

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