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.
LAST 42 CBB PICKS
24-17-1 LAST 42 CBB PICKS | +530
The Cyclones prefer to play up-tempo, with a heavy reliance on three-point shooting. Against Baylor last month, it was a case of checkmate. The long, lanky Bears tend to keep foes in the 60s, as they did in a two-point win over Iowa State last month at home. Today?s total is 12 points higher than the 128 scored that day. Iowa State has exploded in many games -- 130 versus the Citadel -- but a dogged defense like Baylor?s can reel them in.
24-17-1 in last 42 CBB picks | +530
After Miami opened at +1, the line shifted because, well, Duke is Duke. The public cannot imagine the haughty Blue Devils dropping two in a row following the buzzer-beating banked three-pointer at Syracuse. I can imagine it, but believe the Hurricanes? unimposing home-court atmosphere -- they have covered in three of the past 14 home dates -- will ease the Devils? task. PG Ja?Quan Newton is back from a three-game suspension, but the Canes intend to open with him on the bench.
Horned Frogs coach Jamie Dixon is building this up as his team?s most important game of the season. If TCU responds, this one will be a nail-biter. The Mountaineers won the first matchup by 12 points at home, but will be missing forward Esa Ahmad (back), their No. 2 scorer and a cog in the relentless defense. TCU has stumbled four consecutive times outright, but is 13-4 at home straight-up and 8-7 ATS. Score one for a desperate team clinging to the NCAA Tournament bubble.
The trend-watchers are on Tennessee?s side. The Vols have covered in six of the eight most recent visits to Columbia, and the Gamecocks have not covered in their five latest games. But Tennessee guard Jordan Bowden (illness) will sit for the second straight game. The Volunteers scratched out just 56 points without him in their last outing, and their only straight-up victory in the last four came against SEC bottom-feeding Missouri. South Carolina?s ravenous defense will gobble them up.
Let?s pick a final score at random: 93-83. A shootout, right? Indeed, but the Under would cash nonetheless. This selection is based partly on common mathematical sense, meaning the unlikelihood of so many points crammed into 40 minutes. Yes, the teams collaborated for 183 last month when the total was 179.5. But UCLA is actually playing a bit of defense nowadays. And the Sun Devils recently slogged through a game with 111 points. Play the Under.
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