Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:05 PM
Dinero Tracker - Mar. 11
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Last night's ATS Records
NBA: 2-2 | NCAA BB: 18-14
The locks both hit but the freebie took an ugly beat. There were strides made in college leading up to March Madness. Here is Saturday's recap, complete with some of the highlights (and lowlights):
SUNDAY'S FREE SELECTION
The pick: Mavericks +10
The line was set to be 12.5 here, but the expectation is that James Harden sits this game out to avoid working on back-to-back nights with a home game scheduled against the Spurs tomorrow. Although Chris Paul has done just fine when he's had to carry the Rockets without his All-Star backcourt mate, there should be a letdown coming since the Raptors relieved some pressure off the Rockets by snapping their 17-game winning streak on Friday night. The Mavs are playing well and squashed Memphis easily enough last night that they should be up fro this challenge in front of a home crowd that considers the Rockets a bitter rival. Take the points and back Dallas.
SATURDAY'S FREE SELECTION
The pick: Clippers -11
Aaron Gordon is unlikely to come out of concussion protocol and Evan Fournier has already been ruled out due to a concussion, so the Magic will follow up last night's brutal effort in Sacramento by getting blown out at Staples Center. The Clips have enough depth that playing on a second night of a back-to-back isn't likely to be a hindrance. Ride the Clippers and lay the points.
Result: This was a strange game and we lost. The Clips got out to a 10-0 lead, trailed at the break and to start the fourth and then went on a run that put them in position to cover after a DeAndre Jordan follow made it 111-100 with 2:29 left. The Magic won the final minutes 5-2 and we officially failed to even push once Milos Teodosic misfired on a 3-point look on L.A.'s final possession.
The pick: Arizona -3
USC has been tremendous defensively through this entire tournament and had a great shooting night to drop Oregon, but they're about to come up in weight class significantly. The Wildcats survived a great effort from UCLA, overcame blowing a lead and being forced into OT and appear destined to win a second straight conference tournament crown. Lay the points and ride Arizona, guaranteed.
Result: DeAndre Ayton showed anyone who hadn't seen him yet why he'll be the No. 1 pick in June's NBA Draft. For the second straight game, he scored 32 points and made USC's very good college big men look completely helpless. The 'Cats won 75-61 and we got in on the under for the in-game parlay too.
SATURDAY'S OTHER LOCK
The pick: Mavs -9.5
The Jazz exhausted the Grizzlies last night, holding them to 78 points in a lopsided win. With Marc Gasol likely resting and the Mavericks doing their best at home to try and make sure the fan base stays engaged during what is undoubtedly the ugliest portion of the Mark Cuban era, the Mavs are a strong Saturday night play as they look to move to 4-1 ATS at home since the All-Star break. Ride Dallas -9, guaranteed.
Result: It's the best when you don't really have to sweat one of these. The Mavs scored the first quarter's final 13 points and cruised to a 114-80 romp.
BAD BEAT BULLETIN
The pick: Hornets -12.5
The Hornets won't have Cody Zeller again, but that's a fair trade off when you consider that TJ Warren and Josh Jackson have been ruled out and Devin Booker is unlikely to play due to a triceps injury he's testing out in warmups. The Suns have no shot here. Ride Charlotte and lay the points.
Result: This should've belonged with Mavs/Griz among games we shouldn't have had to worry about since it was 94-72 after three quarters, but the Suns outscored Charlotte 43-28 in the fourth behind the contributions of Troy Daniels and Davon Reed. Harsh. The Hornets held on 122-115.
The pick: St. Bonaventure/Davidson OVER 143.5
Matt Mobley put on a ridiculous shooting display to help the Bonnies gain separation in yesterday's rout of Richmond, but Davidson is going to be tougher to handle. It's going to be hard for St. Bonaventure to contain the Wildcats since Peyton Aldridge also looks like he's digging the sight lines in DC's Capital One Center. Ride the over in this A-10 semifinal.
Result: We got the fireworks we needed in an 82-70 Davidson win. St. Bonaventure should reach the NCAAs.
The pick: Texas-Arlington +6
The Mavericks underachieved most of the season, but the prospect of getting to an NCAA Tournament with so much talent after reaching the NIT quarterfinals is still possible if they can put together a big afternoon in New Orleans. The Ragin' Cajuns have been great all season, but big man Jakeenan Gant was too ill to play more than a few minutes yesterday, which doesn't bode well for him faring well today. Take the points with Texas-Arlington in the Sun Belt final.
Result: Mavericks eliminated the Ragin' Cajuns, holding off a comeback bid after squandering a lead, regrouping to advance with a 71-68 upset.
The pick: San Diego State -4, SDSU/New Mexico OVER 149.5
The Aztecs played their most complete game of the season against Nevada and should have similar advantages against New Mexico in this Mountain West tournament title game. Neither team was expected to be in this game, much less play in an NCAA Tournament, which is the fate that awaits the winner. Look for San Diego State to take full advantage and label points, riding the over for the in-game parlay.
Result: In one of the day's best games, the Aztecs got a fantastic game from senior leader Trey Kell to pull away, succeeding against the Lobos pressure and then holding on via Malik Pope free-throws for an 82-75 win that we only covered once New Mexico's final 3-pointer didn't connect.
SWING AND A MISS
The pick: West Virginia ML -120, Kansas/WV UNDER 148.5
The Mountaineers have been terrific defensively throughout this tournament and should capitalize on the fact that the Jayhawks haven't really been tested, taking advantage of depleted K-State yesterday. Although winning in Kansas City won't be easy, Bob Huggins' Mountaineers should pick up the win behind Esa Ahmad. Ride West Virginia on the money line and the under for the in-game parlay.
Result: Bill Self rode his small lineup to success, winning the Big 12 Tournament without starting center Udona Azubuike thanks to terrific 3-point shooting. Devonte Graham, Malik Newman and Svi Mikhailuk took turns hitting a parade of back-breakers, turning this game into one I didn't expect to see.
PROOF OF CLAIRVOYANCE
The pick: Virginia ML -155
Between having to play an extra day as the No. 5 seed and being forced to work against Miami and Duke on back-to-back nights, UNC's stamina will definitely be tested. The Tar Heels were scoreless for over 7 minutes to start the game against the 'Canes and nearly got caught from behind by Duke, so being forced to work against a pack-line in addition to defending an offense that doesn't beat themselves should prove too much to overcome. Lay the points and ride Virginia to wrap up the NCAA Tournament's No. 1 seed in style, claiming an ACC Tourney title. I recommend riding the money line to avoid laying the 3.5.
Result: UNC felt the strain of their workload down the stretch and fell 71-63. The Cavaliers definitely flirted with giving up a backdoor cover due to miscues, but their excellent free-throw shooting helped stave off the comeback.
FURTHER PROOF OF CLAIRVOYANCE
The pick: Thunder -3.5
The Spurs aren't holding leads and have an added problem here since Pau Gasol is available to play, which means the Thunder can take advantage of his pick-and-roll defense. Corey Brewer has made an impact since being signed and Steven Adams should make life uncomfortable for LaMarcus Aldridge. At home, lay the points and ride Oklahoma City.
Result: Gasol was a minus-11 in his return -- only Danny Green's -16 was worse -- and the Thunder got a great effort from Russell Westbrook on both ends, setting the tone and posting a triple-double. Jerami Grant going for 5-for-5 certainly helped in a 104-94 win.
Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA or e-mail him at [email protected]