Friday Best Bets, Thursday Recaps
Thursday was a roller-coaster of emotions in the Tuley’s Takes home office with our sports betting action as we ended up pretty much breaking even.
I was running around doing some errands and also had my second guitar lesson during the early afternoon. I was also following a tennis bet on Tomas Martin Etcheverry +135 vs. Francisco Cerundolo that I picked up from VSiN colleague Gill Alexander on “A Numbers Game.” As I think most of my readers understand, I mostly rely on my own handicapping, but I’m a firm believer that “we’re all in this together” in trying to beat the books, so I’m not above getting input from other handicappers either from our shows or the VSiN.com Best Bets page, especially in the sports I don’t follow closely. Etcheverry won the first set 6-3 against his fellow Argentine, lost the second set 6-3, but then prevailed again by 6-3 to win the match at a decent price.
After getting home, I enjoyed watching my Best Bet of the day as the Spurs came through as a big swagger play (after snapping their long 16-game losing streak on Tuesday) vs. the Pacers. It also wasn’t easy as Indiana led 29-21 after the first quarter, but the Spurs cut it to 2 by halftime and took over in the third quarter before coasting to the 110-99 outright upset as 4.5-point home underdogs.
My other two plays of the day were also back-and-forth affairs, but they didn’t go my way. Lipscomb (+4.5) fell behind early in its Atlantic Sun semifinal match at Kennesaw State, then rallied in the second half to get within the number and still trailed only 74-71 with 1:33 left, but then didn’t score the rest of the way to lose 80-71 and fail to cover. Meanwhile, our NHL 1P Over parlay was looking great as we hit our first leg with the Kraken and Red Wings trading goals in the first 3:07 of their game, then the Flames scored a short-handed goal just 2:32 into their game vs. the Maple Leafs, but the two teams were scoreless the rest of the opening period to lose our parlay.
Let’s recap the rest of Thursday’s (full-game) action in the major team sports and then look for more Best Bets for Friday. Note: I can’t remember the last time it was so hard to find a play as we have relatively short cards in the NBA, NHL and college basketball compared to what we’ve had all week and will have again over the weekend.
CBB: No. 5 Purdue beat Wisconsin 63-61 but didn’t cover as 3.5-point road favorite. No. 1 Houston (-17 vs. Wichita State) pushed vs. consensus closing number in 83-66 win. No. 4 UCLA (-11 vs. Arizona State) and No. 8 Arizona (-2.5 at USC) covered in their wins.
NBA: Dogs went 3-1 SU and ATS on Thursday with upsets by the Spurs (+4.5 in 110-99 win vs. Pacers), Warriors (+3 in 115-91 win vs. Clippers) and Wizards (+2 in 119-108 win vs. Raptors). The Mavericks (-3) covered in a 133-126 win vs. the 76ers. Home teams swept 4-0 SU and ATS. Over/Unders split 2-2.
More NBA: On the season, favorites lead 607-322 SU with 15 games closing pick-’em, but underdogs improved to lead 461-446-22 (50.8%). Home teams still lead 561-383 SU and 485-439-20 ATS (52.5%). In totals wagering, Overs still hold slim lead at 468-462-14 (50.3%).
NHL: Faves/dogs split 5-5 with upsets by the Predators (+189 in 2-1 win at Panthers), Penguins (+144 in 5-4 OT win at Lightning), Senators (+135 in 5-3 win at Rangers), Blues (+102 in 6-3 win at Sharks) and Maple Leafs (+105 in 2-1 win at Flames). Road teams went 8-2. Overs led 6-4.
College basketball Best Bet
Murray State-Drake Under 142: I’m guessing you’ve heard about the long-running trend of Missouri Valley Unders – our VSiN colleague Steve Makinen had totals of 131.5 or higher going 30-12 (71.4%) in the last 9 MVC tourneys in his mid-major betting trends piece and it was also mentioned by Mitch and Pauly on “Follow the Money.” Well, with the oddsmakers obviously knowing this and setting the totals low, Overs went 3-1 in Thursday’s first round (though only 2-1 with totals above 131.5). However, we expect this to return to form with the semifinals on Friday with the top seeds playing the first-round survivors. The play we like the best is in the Murray State-Drake game. Drake easily won both regular-season meetings, and if we get a similar blowout, we don’t expect there to be a foul-fest at the end to spoil the Under.
NHL Best Bet
Jets-Oilers 1P Under 1.5 +145: Again, it’s slim pickings on Friday, but we feel this is worth a play at a decent price. The Jets are the No. 3 1P Under team at 35-26 (57.4%). The Oilers are more of an Over team with Connor McDavid (though only 34-28 this season), but some books have set the total at Over/Under 2 goals with -135 on the Under. I don’t want to lay the extra juice as we also think there won’t be more than 1 goal and will take the plus-money on the Under 1.5.
XFL Week 3 Best Bet
San Antonio Brahmas +4 at Houston Roughnecks: I gave this out Sunday night/Monday morning and was bet up to +4.5 at BetMGM and Resorts World here in Vegas as well as DraftKIngs in other states, so hopefully followers were able to grab that as it’s mostly back to +4 as of Friday morning. Houston was middle-of-the-pack in preseason XFL futures but they were made the +350 favorite at Circa Sports after routing Orlando 33-12 in the season-opener and beating Arlington 23-14 on Sunday night. Meanwhile, San Antonio lost only 18-15 to preseason favorite St. Louis in the opener and then nearly beat Orlando (30-12) by as much as Houston did. Road teams are 5-3 ATS so far in the XFL, so I think Houston is being given too much for home-field advantage in a game that I feel should be closer to pick-’em, or at least under a field goal.