Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:05 AM

Dinero Tracker - March 30

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Last night's ATS Records
NBA: 1-6 | NCAA BB: 1-1 | MLB: 3-4

The baseball was exciting on Day 1. The basketball left much to be desired, from silly refs who think people come to games to watch them throw out superstars to unfortunate injuries to Otto Porter, unsuccessful hero ball out of OKC and the sad reality that the best game of the night ended up being Pacers-Kings. There's plenty of venting to do. I saw that Flavor Flav is still rocking that clock. Here's Thursday's recap, complete with some of the highlights (and lowlights):


The pick: Dodgers/Giants UNDER 7.5 -115
Johnny Cueto is looking to bounce back, but isn't likely to get much run support since the new-look Giants aren't likely to do a whole lot better against the talented Alex Wood than they did against Clayton Kershaw. Of course, the Dodgers can't be trusted since apparently Justin Turner's injury and subsequent absence has sapped all of their abilities at the plate. Ride the under.


The pick: Indians RL -1.5 +100
Felix Hernandez is only 31 years old as he takes the mound tonight, so this is isn't about him being over the hill. He's lost more than a step, but that's no reason he can't bounce back this season. I just don't think he's ready to make this Opening Day start after missing so much of spring training after catching a line drive to his forearm this time last month. He returned to start against the Cubs a week ago and hasn't faced any adversity. It makes a great story that he's making an MLB-best 10th straight start and Safeco provides a great backdrop, but he was just 4-3 there last year and is matched up with Corey Kluber, whose beard is in midseason form. He won four Cactus League games and has looked great, so let's not reinvent the wheel on the first day. Ride Cleveland to get 2018 off to a great start with a comfortable win over Seattle, laying 1.5 on the run line at even money.

Result: Hernandez got in a groove early, got run support from Nelson Cruz's early 2-run homer and then got Edwin Diaz to close the door after more trouble than he'll likely run into on most saves. He's a great one and I didn't expect to see him to end the night. Freebie lost. Kluber did his thing, throwing seven scoreless after his mistake, but the Tribe had very little and didn't get the big hit we needed in the 7th and 9th.


The pick: Penn State -4
The Nittany Lions will look to wrap up a season where they felt they had done in enough to get into the NCAAs by claiming the NIT at Madison Square Garden with another great performance. Justin Bibbins hasn't been shooting the ball well as it is, isn't going to get to the line 12 times, and can't be counted on to deliver in a second game in three nights, especially after 40 exhausting minutes. Here's your fun fact, on the second of either a back-to-back or two-game-three-night situation, Bibbins has shot 14-for-50 from beyond the arc. That's 28 percent and simply not worth banking on. Ride Penn State to win the NIT, guaranteed.  

Result: Bibbins had a decent night, scoring 15, while Sedrick Barefield helped keep the Utes in this game by draining his first four 3s, helping set a faster pace I didn't prefer since I double-dipped on the under. The Nittany Lions tightened up the defense and ran away, winning 82-66. Penn State was dominant in New York. After losing Mike Watkins, everybody took it upon themselves to do more.


The pick: Kings/Pacers UNDER 203.5
The Pacers were impressive in locking up the Warriors the other night, getting a key stretch where they'll play six of seven on the road off of a fantastic note. The Kings have only topped the century mark once in their last six games, have no homecourt advantage whatsoever due to the current protests and probably won't have Indiana native Zach Randolph playing too large a role after sitting him out entirely the other night after finally getting over a bout with the stomach flu. Ride the under, guaranteed.

Result: The Kings got a great first half from Willie Cauley-Stein and were only down 59-56 at the break, so this game got away quickly. The game finally slowed down to what I expected in the second half, but Victor Oladipo was too effective down the stretch and the Kings got really solid shot-making out of Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Frank Mason to foil the guaranteed winner and the cover. With three minutes left, the Pacers led 99-91 and it looked like knocking down both side and total had a chance with a few more stops, but it wasn't meant to be. Thad Young missed a pair of key free throws and the Kings caught life as a result, killing this bet.


The pick: Heat -13
All hands are on deck for the Heat tonight with Bam Adebayo and Tyler Johnson have been ruled in and Hassan Whiteside will in fact return. The Bulls have ruled out Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen, Paul Zipser and Cristiano Felicio and weren't planning on utilizing Zach LaVine, so this is really a game that the home team should and will control. Lay the points and ride Miami.

Result: This was incredibly annoying. Miami finally took this by the throat to open the fourth, leading 91-72 with 8:27 left. The Heat could never shake the Bulls, but took a 103-90 lead with 1:05 left, got the ball back immediately after a miss and a turnover and sat on both possessions. They didn't even attempt to run offense despite a few back cuts that would've scored, then gave up an uncontested layup at the buzzer. Bobby Portis put it in to make it 103-92. Hideous.


The pick: Astros/Rangers UNDER 9.5
Historically, Justin Verlander's least effective month is April, but as you get older, you tend to be more diligent in getting your body ready. He's owned some of the hitters he'll face today (Odor/Gallo are a combined 1-for-27) and had a great spring, while Cole Hamels has really fared well against George Springer and Carlos Correa (3-for-36) and has fared well in Arlington, so we'll take a shot that the pitching will hold up on Opening Day despite the power in both lineups. Ride the under.

Result: Verlander was fantastic in surrendering just four hits over six innings and the bullpen held down the Rangers, limiting them to one run in the ninth in a 4-1 win.


The pick: Dodgers -1.5 RL -135
Clayton Kershaw hasn't allowed a run all spring and his career ERA vs Giants is 1.60, so you take your chances that the Dodgers are going to be able to scratch together enough runs to win this comfortably. Giants lefty Ty Blach's career ERA vs Dodgers is 2.23 over 7 games and even better if you consider he's surrendered just five runs over 30 innings in his last five outings, all starts. Ride the Dodgers on the run line -1.5.

Result: This result knocked off most money-line parlays since the game's top pitcher is so reliable. The Dodgers couldn't buy a clutch hit in losing 1-0 because Kershaw gave up a fluke homer to Joe Panik.


The pick: Orioles ML -118
Dylan Bundy showed off a fantastic fastball to close out the spring in order to secure this Opening Day start, so he should be in good shape in this matchup against former Tampa Rays starter Jake Odorizzi. This looks like the best bet for the price on Thursday, so it rides as the first 2018 MLB guarantee. The Orioles should see Manny Machado, Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop string together hits in playing rude host against the Twins. Back Baltimore.

Result: Odorizzi pitched a great game, stranding Manny Machado a couple of times, but the Birds got a clutch two-run double from Caleb Joseph and were in a position to cash easily before blowing the save. I wished great relief pitiching on all of you and immediately caught a Brad Brach bad break. Fortunately, despite a really uncomfortable few innings that included Jonathan Schoop hitting into a bases-loaded double play, Adam Jones came to the rescue in the bottom of the 11th with a walk-off blast off Francisco Rodney. Hallelujah.


The pick: Wizards +1
This was supposed to be Blake Griffin's first run against the Wizards all season since he missed the one meeting when with the Clips and hasn't faced them since putting on a Pistons uniform. It looks like he'll miss out against the Wiz all season after being ruled out with an ankle injury. Although they won't have John Wall back until the weekend, this is a great situation for guys to step up and ensure they stay in Scott Brooks' rotation when the team is back intact. Ride Washington.

Result: Although Washington took advantage of Griffin's absence early, Detroit hung around thanks to Andre Drummond's work and simply took over once Otto Porter left the floor unable to put weight on his leg. The Pistons won handily 103-92.


The pick: Cubs RL -1.5 -119
The Marlins will open at home, but given how disgruntled the fan base is, the odds of Fish backers outnumbering Cubs fans aren't great. With JT Realmuto and Cameron Maybin not in the lineup, a gutted squad takes the field against Jon Lester, who should get support against Jose Urena. Ride Chicago -1.5 on the run line in Opening Day's first offering.

Result: Jay Happ left the yard on the game's first at-bat and Chicago rallied after surrendering a 4-1 lead, ultimately doubling up the Fish 8-4.


The pick: Spurs/Thunder UNDER 208
With LaMarcus Aldridge in, there's likely to be less ball movement than what would've been the case with a lineup featuring Rudy Gay and Kyle Anderson up front, which I believe will bog this game down. Gregg Popovich should be able to keep Russell Westbrook from attacking how he'd like to, which should lead to a lower-scoring affair than expected. Ride the under.

Result: Aldridge looked much sharper than I expected him to as he dominated the first half with 19 points, but the game did slow down in the second half, allowing us to overcome a 115-point first half in pulling this out thanks to Russell Westbrook failing to share down the stretch. The Spurs won 103-99.

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

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