Mike Tierney

Top Dog

A veteran sportswriter whose work appears periodically in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, Mike Tierney has covered the NFL for decades and reported from seven Super Bowls. Mike does not consider himself a pet lover. But he likes 'dogs, preferring to evaluate each game from the underdog's point of view. In 2016, Mike went 45-32-4 (58 percent) on NFL picks. For Mike Tierney media inquiries, contact SportsLine@CBSInteractive.com.

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UNDER 153.5UNDER 153.5

Gonzaga 65 vs N. Carolina 71
4/03
GONZAG 65 vs UNC 71
4/03
WIN
Sun 4/2

Hmm. This total is a half-tick higher than for UNC-Oregon even as the Tar Heels bump up against the nation?s most efficient defense. OK, the Bulldogs did not live up to that distinction Saturday but are still 7-3 on Unders in their past 10 neutral-site, NCAA and all games. Plus, UNC guard Joel Berry II (2-for-11 Saturday) cannot hit the broad side of a dome. These Zags have been assigned totals higher than this one five times and went Under all but once, including the NCAA opener that wound up a whopping 45 points below. Nerves often affect shooters in title games, and a few misguided attempts by over-adrenalized players means the Under at the Final Four will score. Finally.

UNDER 153UNDER 153

Oregon 76 vs N. Carolina 77
4/01
OREG 76 vs UNC 77
4/01
PUSH
Sat 4/1

The total for these giddy-up teams has been pushed up 3.5 points to a stratospheric number. Dead-on shooting accuracy is a pre-requisite, and a dome does not offer favorable conditions for lofty percentages. The Tar Heels are 11-5-1 to the Under in their prior 17 games, while the latest seven NCAA outings for the Ducks have fallen shy of the total. Oregon?s Jordan Bell will prevent points with his blocks and inside presence, same as UNC?s big men at the other end. A mini-block party could ensue, with the Under prevailing.

UNDER 137.5UNDER 137.5

S. Carolina 73 vs Gonzaga 77
4/01
SC 73 vs GONZAG 77
4/01
LOSS
Sat 4/1

The Bulldogs are the most efficient defensive team in the land, just ahead of the Gamecocks. Hoops will be hard to come by, even as South Carolina is scoring at a rate of 10 points higher in the tourney than the regular season. Under coach Frank Martin, SC has developed a pattern, going Under in two-thirds of its last 60 games. The Bulldogs are 4-1 Under in their previous five. Factor in the dome setting, which all but guarantees lower shooting percentages, and the Under appeals.

St. Peter's -1.5STPETE -1.5

St. Peter's 62 @ Texas A&M-CC 61
3/31
STPETE 62 @ TXAMCC 61
3/31
LOSS
Thu 3/30

Way back in December, both teams dove into the deep waters of play against Power Five conference schools. The visiting Peacocks accounted well of themselves, losing to eventual NCAA Tournament participants Maryland by 10 and Notre Dame by eight. The Islanders? Not quite as well, falling to Texas A&M by 17 and Oklahoma State by 22. The Isles might be 16-1 straight-up at home, but the Peacocks are 10-7 away and a dazzling 14-1 ATS. Where to now, St. Peter?s? To the CIT title.

Wyoming -8.5WYO -8.5

Coast. Car. 59 @ Wyoming 83
3/31
CSTCAR 59 @ WYO 83
3/31
WIN
Thu 3/30

A case for Coastal Carolina can be made. The Chanticleers have been afforded a few days to adjust to the sky-high altitude in Laramie that left them gasping for breath in the Cowboys? 24-point win in Game 2 of the CBI championship series. Their coach, Cliff Ellis, is a master. But he cannot heal gifted guard Colton Ray-St. Cyr (knee) in time for Friday?s tip-off. We cannot ignore Coastal?s straight-up road record of 3-11 and its current 1-5 ATS slide. The points are plentiful, but these and other factors fall into Wyoming?s favor.

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