Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:05 AM
Dinero Tracker - March 3
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Last night's ATS Records
NBA: 3-2 | NCAA BB: 13-11
The college game had some nasty surprises in store to keep me from a huge night. From losing the guarantee by a half-point to faltering on four money line plays that featured a meltdown, a missed-game winner at the buzzer and two other games that went down to the wire and went the other way, that huge swing kept it from being a festive Friday. The Ohio/Miami (OH) total managed to push when RedHawks freshman wing Jalen Adaway got frisky attempting to throw down a fierce tomahawk jam at the buzzer and missed. Not fun. Here is Friday's recap, complete with some of the highlights (and lowlights):
SATURDAY'S FREE SELECTION
The pick: USC -5
Controversy and depth issues have made for a difficult season for both L.A. schools, who both enter this one on the bubble and badly in need of a win. The Bruins need a big night from Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate Aaron Holiday to win at Galen Center, but Jordan McLaughlin is going to put on a show on Senior Night after going 2-for-8 in the first meeting at Pauley, which should make the difference here. Ride USC.
FRIDAY'S FREE SELECTION
The pick: Clippers/Knicks OVER 226.5
The Clippers will once again be without Danilo Gallinari and Avery Bradley, but have enough depth to handle the Knicks. What they do lack is any hope of playing perimeter defense, since their personnel on that end of the floor isn't adept at picking up Bradley's slack. That makes the Knicks dangerous since they're streaky and certainly capable of filling it up at Stpales, having scored an average of 114 points over the last four. New York has given up an average of 119.3 in losing three of those games. Ride the over.
Result: New York managed just 18 third-quarter points to put this total in jeopardy, but the fact the Clippers didn't rest on their laurels helped this deliver. With 42.4 left, people's champion Boban Marjanovic got it to 126-99 with a jumper, setting the stage for Troy Williams to win us this wager with a 3-pointer. Boban answered back to pile on, only to have Trey Burke deliver one last 3-pointer for cosmetic purposes. A big final minute delivered the over in L.A.'s 128-105 win.
The pick: Jazz -6.5
After winning their first two games without him, the Wolves looked like they badly missed Jimmy Butler on Thursday night. It's going to be difficult to get back off the mat on the second night of a back-to-back without him against a Jazz team that should control the paint and usually plays their best at home. Look for a lopsided result here and ride Utah laying the points as Friday night's guaranteed NBA winner.
Result: Karl-Anthony Towns got ejected in the third quarter, but the Wolves still made a run to get within a bucket at 94-92. Fortunately, Utah took control from there, winning 116-108.
LOCK THAT DIDN'T CLICK
The pick: Texas-Arlington -3.5
It seems extremely likely that these teams will wind up on different sides of the Big Sky Tournament bracket, but the Bears clearly have more to play for as they try to catch Eastern Washington for the No. 4 seed that would get them a bye into the quarterfinals, avoiding a first-round date with league doormat Northern Arizona. This will be their first look at Portland State, which presses relentlessly for 40 minutes and has won four of their last five despite the absence of top scorer Deontae North, who is rumored to have left the program. Look for a high-scoring game in this one, since Northern Colorado has managed to pour in 79 points or more in 17 of 21 games since December began. Ride the over, guaranteed.
Result: Nothing to see here. The Mavericks led by 9 points with a minute to go, Texas State released a ridiculous flurry of long-range shots to get even thanks to the help of missed UT-A free throws and we looked headed to OT. Kevin Hervey, who will play in the NBA next season, had other ideas, pulling up from close to 30 feat. Texas-Arlington won 85-82. The hook is often harsh.
BAD BEAT BULLETIN
The pick: Ball State ML -160
The Cardinals come off a disappointing road loss at Central Michigan where they scored just 51 points, but look for them to bounce back against a Northern Illinois squad has dropped 8 of 10 and has lost their last two games by a combined margin of 59 points. Ride Ball State on the money line to avoid laying the possession on the road.
Result: Ball State blew this too, leading nearly the entire second half, which included a six-point bulge with 1:33 left. NIU took advantage of a turnover and two missed free-throws by Cardinals leading scorer Tayler Persons to break off a 7-0 run, winning 66-65 behind Eugene German's late heroics.
The pick: Harvard/Columbia OVER 140
Cornell needs a win here to try and overcome Columbia in a tight race for the final available spot in the Ivy League Tournament. Harvard is 8-1 at home and will be quite comfortable executing against Cornell's porous defense, while the Big Red are likely to press the issue as they chase an upset. Ride Harvard and the over for the in-game parlay.
Result: These teams worked into double-OT, but this number was cleared in regulation at 77-all. Harvard got one back of our bad-beat back for us by winning the second extra session 11-1, covering with a 98-88 win.
The pick: Quinnipiac -9
Anyone who has watched a lot of MAAC action this season can tell you that Reggie Witherspoon's Golden Griffins have been the class of the conference alongside Rider all season. Watching the Broncs struggle with Saint Peter's, potentially resulting in an upset as I write this with about 10 minutes left in the second half, should result in them serving as a cautionary tale to ensure the favored No. 2 seed puts their foot on the gas pedal. Lay the points and expect Canisius to win by double digits.
Result: They're having themselves a carnival up in Albany. Someone unexpected is going to get themselves a bid with the top two seeds sent home. Baker Dunleavy, who will likely be coaching at a major program sooner than later, helped lead seventh-seeded Quinnipiac to a 72-69 upset.
The pick: Bradley ML -150, Bradley/Drake UNDER 138.5
The Bulldogs won both regular-season meetings but are an underdog here. I have to agree with that sentiment, especially with Darrell Brown playing through an ankle injury and reportedly looking no worse for the wear after an injury suffered last weekend placed his availability for this contest in doubt. Look for a deliberate pace to win out as Bradley typically pays attention to detail on the defensive end and knows it must keep Reed Timmer from getting it going. Ride Bradley on the money line and back the under for the in-game parlay.
Result: In the closing seconds, a game that was a nail-biter throughout was even at 61 as Brian Wardle drew up a final play. I figured if they didn't get the win here, they would go on to lose in OT and the under was a certain goner, so it was fantastic to see Donte Thomas come up with a rebound of a Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye missed runner, putting it in softly with 1.2 seconds to go to give Bradley a 63-61 win. Drake's last-second heave was too close for comfort, but missed.
SWING AND A MISS
The pick: Nuggets -8
The Grizzlies count on an engaged Marc Gasol giving them whatever he can against Nikola Jokic, but there just isn't enough around him to expect them to avoid a lopsided loss at the Grindhouse. Andrew Harrison and JaMychal Green joined Tyreke Evans in being scratched from tonight's lineup, so a deep Nuggets team that will feed off Will Barton's excitement to play a large role in his home city should lead to a big nigh on the road. Lay the points and back Denver.
Result: Denver won each of the first three quarters, leading by 11 points entering the fourth, so we were looking great here against the depleted Grizzlies. The lead grew to 15 points before an 11-0 run in a 2-minute span that saw Mario Chalmers hit a 3-pointer before Gasol hit two. The Nuggets never had a shot to cover again.
PROOF OF CLAIRVOYANCE
The pick: Buffalo -7.5, Buffalo/Bowling Green OVER 161
The Falcons were having a great season until losing to the Bulls 95-82 on Feb. 16, starting a four-game losing streak they take into this regular-season finale. Part of the struggles are related to their top two players being young, since they're led by freshman Justin Turner and sophomore Dylan Frye. That's one reason that Bowling Green has been so good at home, which should result in them attempting to hang around here for the duration. The Bulls are just too talented however, so the call here is to lay the points with Buffalo and ride the over for the in-game parlay.
Result: The Bulls hung 50 on the Falcons in each half and look like the class of the MAC by a lot. Buffalo won 100-70.
Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA or e-mail him at [email protected]