Greeting fellow gamblers, it's Chris Bengel arriving into your inbox yet again.
Everybody had Florida Atlantic, San Diego State, Miami (Fla.), and Connecticut in the Final Four in their March Madness brackets, right? I do feel good knowing that I actually had UConn winning it all in one of mine. But I'm also kicking myself for not placing a futures ticket on UConn to win the national title when I had one in my betslip just before the NCAA Tournament began.
Regardless of the gambling implications, this has been one of the craziest tournaments in quite some time. Stories like Florida Atlantic and San Diego State don't come around too often, so we just have to enjoy the ride, despite what bets we might have placed along the way.
Let's get to Tuesday's picks, which have a distinct NBA flavor.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Heat at Raptors, 7:30 p.m. | TV: TNT
- The Pick: Raptors -3.5 (-110)
- Key Trend: The Raptors are 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine home games.
Toronto is victorious in five of their last seven games and one of the biggest reasons is Fred VanVleet. He is averaging 21.8 points-per-game and shooting 39.6 percent from three during the month of March. He's connected on at least three shots from long-range in 10 of his 12 games this month. The inside-outside duo of VanVleet and Pascal Siakam could prove to be too much for a Heat team that yields a 37.1 percent shooting clip from beyond the arc (22nd in the NBA).
Meanwhile, the Heat have struggled in their recent meetings against the Raptors, as Miami is 1-5 ATS in the last six matchups. In addition, Miami possesses a 3-7 record ATS over their past 10 road games, including dropping two of its last three contests on the road. On top of the trends being in the Raptors' favor, the Heat also are the league's worst-scoring team at 109.1 points-per-game. Don't overthink this -- take Toronto.
💰 More NBA Picks
Magic at Grizzlies, 8 p.m. | TV: NBA TV
The Pick: Under 231 (-110) -- When two of the league's better defensive teams go head-to-head, it's a no-brainer. In the last 21 meetings between these two teams in Memphis, the under has an impressive 16-5 mark. Additionally, the under is 7-3 in the Magic's last 10 road games and 4-1 in the team's last five games overall
During that five-game stretch, the Magic are surrendering 108.6 points-per-game and have held the opposition to under 110 points in four of those contests. The Magic rank 17th in overall defense (allowing 114.2 points-per-game), but really excel in defending the perimeter, holding their opponents to a 35 percent shooting clip from three, which is good for eighth in the entire NBA.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies are an even more stellar defensive unit. Memphis is currently giving up 112.4 points-per-game, good for seventh in the league. Memphis has also defend the three pretty well as they're holding opponents to a 35.1 percent clip from beyond the arc (10th in the NBA). Sure, the Grizzlies' offense is capable of big numbers, especially with Ja Morant back in the lineup. However, I believe these teams will be able to do enough to slow each other down for periods of time, and the under will cash for us.
Key Trend: The under is 7-2-1 in the Grizzlies' last 10 home games
Pelicans at Warriors, 10 p.m. | TV: TNT
The Pick: Brandon Ingram Over 27.5 Points (-108) -- This season hasn't exactly been kind to the defending NBA champion Warriors. They are fighting to avoid the play-in tournament and have had their fair share of struggles defensively. That's why I'm more than happy to attack Brandon Ingram's points prop tonight.
The Pelicans star has netted at least 29 points in each of his last four games. On top of how well Ingram is scoring the basketball, the Warriors are allowing their opponents to shoot 36.6 percent from beyond the arc this season, which is 20th among NBA teams. Golden State also yields 117.7 points-per-game (23rd in the NBA), so giving up an abundance of points is in their DNA this year.
Key Trend: Ingram has recorded at least 28 points in five of his last six games