Friday Best Bets, Thursday Recaps
Thursday was everything we’ve come to expect from March Madness in the Tuley’s Takes home office and around Las Vegas and the city is again full of college basketball fans and bettors.
When the dust had all settled, favorites and underdogs split 8-8 against the spread on Thursday’s opening day of the first round while Unders led 10-6 (and 10-5-1 with first-half Unders).
As we’ll also go over in our regularly scheduled recaps below, the day started with seemingly every game coming down to the wire. The opening game was a No. 8 vs. No. 9 game between Maryland and West Virginia, so that fittingly came down to the end with Maryland pulling out the 67-65 victory and then No. 13 Furman following with its unbelievable 68-67 upset of No. 4 Virginia on a steal and 3-pointer with less than 3 seconds to play. But that wasn’t the biggest upset of the day as No. 15 Princeton busted even more brackets with its 59-55 win over No. 2 Arizona.
As for my posted Best Bets, I won my top play on Missouri +2 over Utah State as the Tigers pulled away for a 76-65 victory, but then I suffered a “bad beat” with College of Charleston +5.5 as the clock went to 0.0 and an apparent 61-57 loss for a point-spread cover; however, a ref called a foul and they put 0.7 seconds back on the clock and San Diego State player made both free throws for the 63-57 final score. Ouch!
I still had a winning overall day with some other underdogs, but it would’ve been a banner day if Charleston had covered.
I did lose my NHL play on the Canadiens +1.5 +125 as they scored first to give me brief hope but then were blasted 7-3 in the first period on the way to a 9-5 loss.
Let’s recap the rest of Thursday’s action and look for more Best Bets on Friday. I have just one official play for Friday, but other dogs I’m considering (but thought the lines were too short to call them Best Bets) include Iona +9 vs. UConn, Drake +2 vs. Miami-Fla. and Florida Atlantic +2 vs. Memphis. I also have an NHL 1P Over parlay for Friday and an XFL play for Saturday.
NCAA Tournament: Favorites ended up going 11-5 SU on Thursday (after going 7-1 in the night session), but split 8-8 ATS with 5 outright upsets (Maryland, Furman, Missouri, Princeton and Penn State). Unders went 5-3 in both early and late sessions for 10-6 overall.
More NCAA Tournament: No. 8 Maryland beat No. 9 West Virginia 67-65 as 2.5-point underdog and +130 on the money line (despite being the higher seed) in the first game of Thursday’s opening day, followed by No. 13 Furman upsetting No. 4 Virginia 68-67 as 5.5-point dog and +205 on the money line. Then, later in the early sessions, No. 15 seed Princeton upset No. 2 Arizona 59-55 as 15-point underdogs and +850 on the money line. In the night sessions, faves were 7-1 SU but 5-3 ATS as Louisiana (+11.5) covered in 58-55 loss to Tennessee and Northern Kentucky (+19.5) covered in 63-52 loss to Houston. The lone upset was by Penn State (+2.5) in a 76-59 rout over Texas A&M.
NBA: Faves went 3-2 SU on Thursday, but dogs led 3-2 ATS as the Magic (+8) covered in a 116-113 loss at the Suns. The upsets were by the Pacers (+12 in 139-123 win at the Bucks) and Kings (+3 in 101-96 win at the Nets). Road teams went 3-2 SU and 4-1 ATS. Overs led 3-2.
More NBA: On the season, favorites improved to 676-354 SU with 16 games closing pick-'em, but underdogs improved to 510-497-23 ATS (50.6%). Home teams still lead 611-435 SU and 529-496-21 ATS (51.6%). In totals wagering, Overs improved a slim lead to 527-504-15 (51.1%).
NHL: Faves went 8-3 with upsets by the Blackhawks (+211 in 2-1 win at Predators), Coyotes (+135 in 3-2 win vs. the Canucks) and Lightning (+115 in 4-3 shootout win at the Devils). Road teams led 6-5. Unders 7-4.
XFL: Seattle Sea Dragons beat former undefeated No. 1-rated Houston Roughnecks 21-14 as 5-point home underdog to kick off Week 5 (stayed Under 43). Favorites dipped to 13-4 SU and 10-6-1 ATS on the season while home teams improved to 11-6 SU and 9-7-1 ATS and Unders took a 9-8 lead.
Friday NCAA March Madness Best Bet
Kent State +4 vs. Indiana: With the way the Hoosiers swept Purdue, they’re certainly capable of being a Sweet 16 team; however, they also have the look of a possible one-and-done team when you consider their home-road dichotomy as they're only 7-9 away from Assembly Hall and all their shooting percentages were all down. The Mid-American Conference has been a one-bid league the past 20 years, but MAC champs have shown they can be dangerous as they're 11-3 ATS (78.6%) in their last 14 tries as NCAA Tournament dogs of 6.5 points or more (hat tip to VSiN colleague Steve Makinen for that stat). Indiana probably has the best player on the floor in Trayce Jackson-Davis, but Kent State can answer with Sincere Carry, who scored 21 and 26 points in the MAC semifinals and title game. In addition, Kent State lost by only 5 at Houston and by only 7 at Gonzaga despite holding late leads in both games, so we’re expecting the Golden Flashes to take this to the final horn and possibly pull the upset.
Friday NHL Best Bet
Sabres-Flyers 1P Over 1.5 -160 / Blue Jackets-Ducks 1P Over 1.5 -160 (parlay pays +164): The Sabres and Flyers are the No. 3 and 9 1P Over teams and combine to hit at 81-53 (60.4%) while the Ducks are still the No. 2 1P Over team and combine with the Blue Jackets to hit at 77-57 (57.5%).
Saturday XFL Best Bet
Orlando Guardians +7.5 at Vegas Vipers: I know the Guardians (0-4) are the worst team in the XFL, but the Vipers are also 0-4 and there’s no way there’s more than a TD between the worst and the second-worst teams in the league. Despite playing in more close games, the Vipers obviously haven’t shown the ability to win a game let alone any sign that they can win by margin. While Orlando is coming off its second blowout loss to Houston, the Guardians nearly beat the Arlington Renegades the prior week before losing just 10-9. The Vipers came up short in their 22-20 season-opening loss at Arlington, so I see no reason why this shouldn’t be a one-score game as well.
VSiN College Basketball Links
Previews of all First-Round Games
Greg Peterson’s Daily Lines
College Basketball Betting Splits
College Basketball Odds
Peterson’s Daily CBB Podcast
VSiN College Basketball Betting Podcast