Dinero Tracker - Feb. 14
February 14, 2018
By Tony Mejia
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Last night's ATS Records
NBA: 2-4 | NCAA BB: 14-6
Tuesday's picks were on point, enough that I went to bed believing I "should've" gone 20-0 in college and 4-2 in NBA. Texas A&M came up just short at Mizzou, Western Michigan controversially melted down at Bowling Green and each of my four missed totals would've come in with a break or two. Of those games I mentioned, only the Broncos' loss and 'Huskers/Terps total wouldn't have covered in a teaser. I'll take that consistency on a 20-pick night. In NBA, we had two blowout losers, two losses that could've gone our way and a pair of winners that could've been losers. Both sets of guarantees came in after failing on Monday, making for a very profitable day. Here's hoping I can continue to spread the love on Valentine's Day. The NBA lock is now 19-for-29 (65.5%) since Jan. 11. Here's Tuesday's recap, complete with some of the highlights (and lowlights):
WEDNESDAY'S FREE SELECTION
The pick: Hornets -5
The Magic have been a tremendous team against the spread despite all their injury issues, covering the number in 12 of their last 15. They've been an underdog in all but one of those games and are 12-2 catching points, but both of those setbacks have come at home. With Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon ruled out until after All-Star break, look for Orlando to come up short against a Hornets team that it has lost two twice in Charlotte already this season. Dwight Howard is making his debut in Orlando with his latest team and has experienced a resurgence in his first season there. With Kemba Walker in a groove and set to face off against one of his first backcourt mates, D.J. Augustin, we're going to lay the points. Ride Charlotte.
TUESDAY'S FREE SELECTION
The pick: Michigan State -10
The Gophers sat key wings Amir Coffey and Dupree McBrayer the other night and just haven't been healthy enough to trust that they can turn a season that it now seems they're just attempting to soldier through into anything more than a series of learning experiences. They'll be plenty that winds up redeeming the next few weeks, but Richard Pitino isn't going to be able to do much with Minnesota against the Big Ten's best. That certainly would include the Spartans. The Gophers have lost to Purdue by 34 and Ohio State by 18 at home and comes of a 24-point setback at Indiana. Lay the points here and ride Miles Bridges-led Michigan State.
Result: The Spartans hit their first 6 3-point attempts, so the freebie improved to 4-1-1 over the last six rather easily. The Gophers made one push to start the second half, but were ultimately overwhelmed in an 87-57 loss. Freshman Jaren Jackson, Jr. scored a season-best 27 points, looking like a lottery lock since he's 6-11 and draining 3-pointers like a young Rasheed Wallace.
The pick: Nuggets -5.5
This is a tough situation for the Kawhi Leonard-less Spurs to find themselves in, playing the second of a back-to-back after already ruling out LaMarcus Aldridge and playing Dejounte Murray and Tony Parker coming off injuries. Look for the fresher Nuggets to utilize their depth and altitude advantage to pull off a lopsided victory. Lay the points and ride Denver, guaranteed.
Result: Murray and Parker each played well, helping the Spurs put together a strong start and had the visitors up by three entering the fourth quarter. Fortunately, expectations that the short-handed Spurs would run out of gas came to fruition since Will Barton, Gary Harris and Jamal Murray teamed with Nikola Jokic to help put together a 30-19 run in the fourth, winning 117-109 and covering the number. San Antonio losing Manu Ginobili to a third-quarter foot sprain proved too much to overcome.
TUESDAY'S OTHER LOCK
The pick: Virginia/Miami UNDER 121
The Hurricanes are in for a shock to the system given the opposition that they've run into of late. Decision-making is going to be critical for Jim Larranaga's squad to not be blown out in Coral Gables, so I think you'll see this wind up a low-possession game where Miami tests its own defensive mettle to try a firmer grip on the identity Larranaga wants them to adopt. With Bruce Brown out, UM is down a great athlete and elite scorer, so they have to be tougher. Ride the under, guaranteed.
Result: This game made us very happy, since it went down as expected with Virginia winning 59-50. The 'Canes really struggled to adjust to the pack-line early and scored just 16 first-half points. Larranaga got exactly what he wanted to see from his team in the second half as Miami showed some backbone, actually winning the final 20 minutes 34-32. After closing within 10 down the stretch, the U also spared us having to sweat out an unnecessary game extension since it elected not to play the foul game with the outcome having already been decided due to their first-half scoring droughts.
The pick: Kansas/Iowa State OVER 152
The Cyclones will surprisingly get Nick Weiler-Babb back into the mix despite nursing a knee injury that was threatening to end his season as recently as late last week. The Jayhawks are likely to keep pushing tempo since no result is safe on the road, so look for this one to end up high-scoring. Ride the over.
Result: Despite the Cyclones struggling through a 3-for-16 effort from 3-point range and getting overwhelmed in the paint by the more athletic Jayhawks, they predictably hung around at Hilton Coliseum and even covered in an 83-77 loss. For our purposes, Iowa State's poor defense helped get the Jayhawks into a rhythm, which ensured we'd clear the total since they could never shake their hosts and had to remain aggressive. Weiler-Babb gave the Cyclones a boost with 14 points and five assists. Nice to see him back.
The pick: Rutgers +3.5, RU/Northwestern UNDER 123
The Wildcats have struggled to score effectively, so they're in for a tough time at the RAC as they try to continue a rescue attempt on a disappointing season that's gone off the rails. The Scarlet Knights have Mike Williams and Eugene Omoruyi back and grinding, so expect the home team to show up. Ride Rutgers plus the points and back the under for the in-game parlay.
Result: We were obviously hoping this game would end in regulation as we came down the stretch. Rutgers was down 56-50, but Corey Sanders got fouled on a 3-pointer, made all of his shots and then had the ball back in his hands with five seconds left, draining a long 3 to tie things. Northwestern could've won the game on Gavin Skelly's layup attempt at the buzzer, but didn't go up as naturally as he should have on a nice out-of-bounds play call from Chris Collins. Rutgers won OT 11-2 to snap a seven-game losing streak in its 67-58 win, but that was a bucket too rich for our under call.
SWING AND A MISS
The pick: Raptors -7
The Raptors have won each of their last five games by double-digits, winning by at least 15 points. The Heat are excited to have Dwyane Wade back, but the had lost five straight before outlasting the Bucks in a playoff atmosphere due to Wade's return last Friday and should struggle on the road since they haven't played outside Miami since Feb. 3. Ride Toronto and lay the points.
Result: Toronto took a 112-96 lead on a Kyle Lowry 3-pointer with 4:42 left, so this one looked great until it didn't, when the Heat ran off a 13-0 run to pull within a single possession with 56.9 seconds remaining. Lowry and DeMar DeRozan then each missed free-throws in the final minute despite usually being incredibly reliable in late-game situations, and DeRozan was trapped into a turnover that led to Wayne Ellington's cover-clinching 3-pointer with 6.8 left. After CJ Miles wasted one last free-throw attempt, Toronto survived Miami when Josh Richardson's last-ditch effort was missed. There's no way this final should've ever been as close as 115-112, so I'm still salty about the details.
PROOF OF CLAIRVOYANCE
The pick: Texas Tech -7
Chris Beard's Red Raiders have dominated the Big 12 over the last few weeks, carrying a six-game winning streak into this showdown with the Sooners, who they lost to in Norman on Jan. 9. The teams have gone in opposite directions over the past few weeks, and with Tech coming in undefeated at home and looking to take apart the team that's scored the most points against them in league play. Lay the points and ride Texas Tech.
Result: I held back on doubling up here with the total, so there's regret over that since my numbers liked the over. Still, watching the Red Raiders clamp down to pull away from Oklahoma in the closing minutes was definitely satisfying. Tech's defense harrassed Trae Young into 0-for-9 3-point shooting and benefited from a crucial turnover in the closing stages when he lost a ball out of bounds. We ultimately picked up the cover in the 88-78 win when he passed on one last look from beyond the arc and settled for a runner that would've still left us with the cover if he knocked it down. He missed. Not his night. It was much better for us.
Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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