Tiny Nick’s Playing Picks: 2/9

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Locks

NCAA Basketball – Alabama/South Carolina Under 156.5 (-110): 5:30 PM on SEC Network

The reputation of this Alabama offense seems to be getting a little out of hand and is pulling their totals too high. It’s easy to remember the Tide’s 105-point outburst against LSU, but this team has cooled off considerably since, with four straight unders and seven of their last eight actually coming in under this total.

A big reason is a drop in their accuracy from deep, only 32.5% over their last three games, which has led to a meager 0.887 points per possession in that stretch. But Alabama has quietly been playing great defense. They’re the 19th-best team in defensive efficiency and 16th in opponent effective field goal percentage. Against a South Carolina team that has lots of empty possessions and is only 205th in offensive efficiency, this should be a much lower-scoring game than public bettors will assume.

NCAA Basketball – West Virginia/Texas Tech Over 140 (-110): 8:00 PM on ESPN

West Virginia seems to have come off their COVID pause with a new personality that embraces outside shooting and high-scoring games. There is a definite trend as the Mountaineers have seen their last four games and eight of the last 10 go over the posted total and this number. Included in that stretch was an instant classic game between these teams two weeks ago with 175 total points.

While I don’t see that many points again, I do see two highly efficient offenses squaring off. Tech ranked 44th in the country in points per possession, and West Virginia posted a very high 1.104 PPP rate in their last three. With a faster pace and worse defense, these new-look Mountaineers should allow plenty of opportunities to a Red Raiders team that scores well and is out for revenge.

Degenerates 

NCAA Basketball – Creighton @ Georgetown +7.5 (-110): 8:00 PM on CBS Sports Network

I don’t see what business Creighton has laying this many points to anyone right now, especially not a team it just lost to at home a week ago. While that was an unlikely loss for the Blue Jays, it’s part of a pattern with this team as they’re on a 1-6 ATS run and are only 2-5 ATS when giving points on the road.

As can happen with a team like Creighton that excels offensively, there have been too many defensive lapses. Over their last three games the Jays are allowed a 51.1% effective field goal rate and 1.028 points per possession. Georgetown is a hot team, coming off a COVID pause to win two of three and cover in all three.

They’ve also been very good when catching points at home, 4-1 ATS, and with three possessions’ worth of points in hand, I’ll take the Hoyas to at least keep it close against a team they already know they can beat.

Tiny Nick is 151-89 ATS (+57.7 Units) on his Locks since joining Zone Coverage. 

Every day he will offer his Locks and Degenerate picks. Locks are the games he’s confident in. Degenerates are entertaining but riskier picks.