Tuley's Takes: Saturday Best Bets in USFL championship game, plus 2 MLB First 5 plays

By Dave Tuley  (VSiN.com senior reporter) 

July 1, 2023 02:36 AM


Friday Best Bet Results

Friday was like Thursday in a lot of ways in the Tuley’s Takes home office. We again enjoyed continuing to share the NFL Betting Guide with our VSiN subscribers as we’re so excited about the upcoming football season – and then MLB underdogs went 9-5 after going 7-5 on Friday.

As for our Best Bets, we also had our second winning day in a row. Our top play on the Reds First 5 Innings +110 vs. the Padres pushed 1-1 after 5 innings, but the Reds went on to win 7-5 in a thrilling 11-inning battle for those who bet my plays on the full-game money line. Those bettors were sweating as we needed a 2-run homer with 2 outs in the bottom of the 10th to stay alive.

Our second play on Diamondbacks First 5 +135 at the Angels was easier and even more profitable (and guaranteed a winning day) as the D-backs jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, added 4 runs in the top of the 2nd and coasted to a 5-0 lead after 5 innings and coast to a 6-2 victory.

The 1-0-1 mark for Friday makes us 2-0-2 the last 2 days and helps cut the losses from an ugly month of June as we went 23-37-10 overall for a net loss of nearly 11.4 units, according to the VSiN Pro Picks page (thanks to our plus-money dogs as it could have been worse as 14 games below .500 usually means you lose more than 15 units) after winning 15.6 units in May.

Let’s try to get July off to a winning start with our Best Bets for Saturday, starting with the USFL championship game and then some more MLB First 5 Inning plays. Note: For those looking for my horse racing plays for Saturday, especially after I gave out a 28-1 winner last Saturday, I'll be posted "Team Tuley's Throroughbred Takes" later Saturday morning after early scratches.


USFL Saturday Best Bet

Pittsburgh Maulers +7.5 vs. Birmingham Stallions: I’ve been waiting all week to make this bet and we’re finally locking it in on gameday for Saturday night’s title game in Canton, Ohio. As we discussed with VSiN colleague Greg Peterson on “The Greg Peterson Experience” show on Sunday night, the Birmingham Stallions opened as 6-point favorites over the Pittsburgh Maulers. I wanted to play the underdog but was hoping the line would be at least 7.

In the Monday morning version of this column, I wrote “I fully expect to get that later in the week as the public will probably be looking to bet the Stallions as the defending champions, plus anyone cashing on them as the chalk in their rout on Sunday won’t be deterred from betting them again at any price.” While some books went to Birmingham -6.5 on Monday, Circa Sports went to 7 and most books followed suit. I saw a +7.5 on Tuesday, but there was a -125 attached, so we continued to wait. On Wednesday, Circa and some other books went to 7.5 but the majority of bets were still coming in on the Stallions, so we continued to wait. We still might get +8 (as of late Friday night, Birmingham is still getting 86% of the bets an 94% of the handle at DraftKings), but we love this as long as we’re getting more than a full touchdown.

The Maulers have the No. 1 defense in the USFL, allowing 18.6 points per game. And don’t forget that the Maulers only lost 24-20 to the Stallions in Week 4 and were leading 20-17 before Birmingham returned a kickoff for a TD (so it wasn’t even the D that gave up the deciding score). In addition, Pittsburgh intercepted league MVP Alex McGough twice. And the Maulers, who were 2-6 just a month ago, are playing better now with three straight wins.

For those wanting to point out that Birmingham is the defending USFL champion and has been the best team all season, also remember that the late-blooming Arlington Renegades won the XFL title back in May as 8.5-point dogs over the DC Defenders, who were the best team all season.


MLB Saturday Best Bets

Twins First 5 Innings +110 at Orioles: The Twins are in a “mini-swagger” spot after snapping a 3-game losing streak on Friday with a confidence-building 8-1 win over the Orioles, who have lost 3 straight to fall 6.5 games behind the Rays (though they still lead the AL wild-card race). We also like the pitching matchup with Bailey Ober (4-4, 2.97 ERA) vs. Kyle Bradish (4-3, 3.75 ERA).

Red Sox First 5 Innings +125 at Blue Jays: The Red Sox are in a little bit better of a “mini-swagger” spot after snapping a 5-game losing streak on Friday in a 5-0 victory. We’re not thrilled with fading Toronto’s Yusei Kikuchi (7-2, 3.75 ERA), but feel this line shouldn’t be this high with Kutter Crawford (2-4, 4.01 ERA).


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