Saturday Best Bets, Friday Recaps
Friday was mostly spent on the road as I left the Tuley’s Take home office in the Valley of the Dollars for Phoenix in the Valley of the Sun for spring training games this weekend.
Last Saturday when my family celebrated Easter with both of my college-age kids home for spring break, my nephew Craig said we should plan a spring training trip next year and I replied “you only live once” or “there’s no time like the present” or some similar uncle-like platitude.
So, we hit the road Friday and were making great time until there was a stoppage on Route 93 between Wikieup and Wickenburg in Arizona. We waited for an hour before hearing confirmation of multiple fatalities and that the highway would be closed for several more hours, so we backtracked and had to take smaller roads to get around to Wickenburg and turned an under 6-hour drive into a 9-year ordeal.
But while that was certainly an inconvenience, the worst part of the day was getting to Phoenix just in time to witness my Best Bet on Princeton +10 fall in an 11-point, 86-75, loss to Creighton. I had made my bets before leaving Las Vegas, so I only got the Blazers +2.5 vs. the Bulls (closed +7.5 as Damian Lillard didn’t play, so I hope some followers passed) and also lost with Coyotes +1.5 in a 3-1 loss at the Avalanche.
I certainly hope Saturday is a better day overall.
Let’s recap the rest of Friday’s action (I was also bummed that I couldn’t make a case for San Diego State and Miami-Fla. in their respective upsets of No. 1 seeds Alabama and Houston) and then look for more Best Bets on Saturday.
NCAA Tournament: Midwest No. 5 seed Miami-Fla. upset No. 1 Houston 89-75 as 8-point underdog and +300 on the money line (went Over betting total of 140 points). South No. 5 San Diego State upset No. 1 Alabama 71-64 as 6.5-point dog and +275 on ML (stayed Under 137). In later games, Midwest No. 2 seed Texas beat No. 3 Xavier 83-71 to cover as 4.5-point favorite (went Over 148.5) while South No. 6 Creighton beat No. 15 Princeton 86-75 to just cover as 10-point fave (went Over 141.5).
More NCAA Tournament: Faves/dogs split 2-2 SU and ATS Friday and went 4-3 SU and ATS in the Sweet 16 round with 1 PK (Gonzaga-UCLA). Faves still lead 38-17 SU and 28-26-1 ATS with that 1 PK. Overs went 3-1 Friday, finished 6-2 in the Sweet 16, but Unders still lead 34-22 (60.7%) -- 37-23 if counting the First Four.
NBA: Faves dominated 9-1 SU and ATS Friday with the lone upset by the biggest dog of the day, the Hornets (+15.5, +750 on the money line), in their 117-109 win at the Mavericks. Home teams went 7-3 SU and ATS as the only road faves (Bucks -10 and Bulls -7.5) went 2-0 SU and ATS. Over/Unders split 5-5.
More NBA: On the season, favorites improved to 720-370 SU with 16 games closing pick-'em, but underdogs’ lead is gone as faves/dogs drop to .500 at 533-533-24 ATS. Home teams improved to 647-459 SU and 561-523-22 ATS (51.8%). In totals wagering, Overs still hold slim lead at 554-536-16 (50.8%).
NHL: Underdogs went 2-1 Friday (19-11 last four days) with upsets by the Blue Jackets (+194 in 5-4 OT win vs. Islanders) and Sabres (+156 in 5-4 win vs. Devils). The Avalanche (-450 in 3-1 win vs. Coyotes) was the lone chalk to win and also covered the -1.5 puck line. Home teams swept 3-0. Unders led 2-1.
Saturday NCAA Elite 8 Best Bet
Gonzaga +2 vs. UConn: Both of Saturday’s Elite 8 games are pretty evenly matched and the short point spreads reflect that. Gonzaga has the No. 1 offense in the country, according to kenpom.com, and UConn is right behind at No. 3. UConn has the No. 13 defense with Gonzaga at No. 73, but I don’t believe that’s going to hurt the Bulldogs as Las Vegas is pretty much a second home for Gonzaga and its fans. Admittedly, this is a coin-flip (and note that some +2.5 have been popping up, so shop around), but I keep going back to a dozen days ago when I was filling out my first bracket and had these two teams meeting and handicapped this game with Gonzaga going to the Final Four (and winning the title in my second bracket). I do believe there’s something to the fact that the pressure is off with lowered expectations compared to past seasons when they were the tourney favorite and came up short.
Saturday NHL Best Bet
Sharks-Flames 1P Over 1.5 -155 / Canucks-Stars 1P Over -150 (parlay pays +174): After taking a day off from these parlays (though maybe some chalk players did lay the -175 with Devils-Sabres 1P Over 1.5 as they combined for 5 first-period goals), but we like this combo for Saturday. The Sharks and Flames are both in the Top 10 of 1P Over teams and combine for 85-61 (58.2%) while the Canucks are still the No. 1 1P Over team at 52-18 (74.3%) and 18-5 in their last 23.
Sunday XFL Best Bet
San Antonio Brahmas +3 -115 at Arlington Renegades: When these teams met last weekend, I resisted taking the Brahmas as short 1.5-point home underdogs as the “dog-or-pass philosophy” paid off by saving me money as the Renegades won 12-10. The teams now have a rematch in back-to-back weeks with the line up to the Renegades being 3-point faves at home, so I now feel we’re getting enough points as this should again come down to a close one-score game. These teams are dead-even in my power ratings as San Antonio is better than its 1-4 record while Arlington isn’t as good as its 3-2 record (and only beat Orlando, the worst team in the league, 10-9 back in Week 3).