Sunday Best Bets, Saturday Recaps
Saturday was a roller-coaster of a day in the Tuley’s Takes home office as we tried to follow the action in the race and sports books with the start of the regular portion of the NBA playoffs, a full MLB slate, plus two spring football leagues with the XFL and USFL seasons overlapping.
The day started with an early kickoff in the Vegas Vipers-Houston Roughnecks game in the XFL. I was able to grab the Vipers at +7 and that’s how we gave it out here and on the VSiN PRO Best Bets page, though we made the point that followers could still take +6.5 as we felt it was safe with the XFL’s extra-point rules making 7 less of a key number (I regret making that statement as I should have stressed to only bet it if getting the best of it). Anyway, the Vipers grabbed an early 12-0 lead to make all bets look great, but then the Roughnecks rallied to lead by 10 at 25-15 and cover all numbers. The roller-coaster ride wasn’t over as the Vipers got back within the spread at 25-21 but then the Roughnecks kicked a field goal to put it back on the 7-point margin at 28-21. That ended up the final score after the Vipers had a TD pass bounced off a receivers’ fingers on the final play of the game.
Next up was my MLB play on the Blue Jays -115 (yes, I bet the favorite despite my self-proclaimed “dog-or-pass philosophy”) vs. the Rays, who were in a classic “anti-swagger” spot after having their 13-game winning streak snapped the day before. I should have bet the First 5 wager as well as the Blue Jays led 3-1 after the first 5 innings on the way to a 5-2 victory. Never let it be said I never bet the chalk! I want you all as my witnesses LOL!
Meanwhile, we were following the horse racing action, especially at Keeneland (my second-favorite track in the U.S. after Arlington Park as I lived in Lexington in 1993-94). I gave out two plays in my “Team Tuley’s Thoroughbred Takes” column, including Hello Hot Rod in the Frank Y. Whiteley Stakes at Laurel Park in Maryland. Hello Hot Rod nearly stole the race at 11-1 but held on to finish second and paid a healthy $12.60 to Place (we also hit the $229.80 Exacta, though I didn’t give that out in TTTT).
Unfortunately, I lost my supposed Best Bet of the day on the Warriors +1 at the Kings as they lost 126-123 in Game 1 of their series in a game that could have gone either way. Of course, our goal is to avoid coin-flip results, but overall it was a very fun and profitable day.
Let’s get to our daily recaps of Saturday’s betting action in the major team sports and and then look for more winning wagers on Sunday with the second set of NBA Game 1s plus another full slate of MLB as well as another XFL play (still passing on the USFL for now, which we were glad we did Saturday as faves went 2-0 SU and ATS as you’ll see below).
NBA: Kings beat Warriors 126-123 and covered as 1-point home favorites (game went Over the betting total of 237.5 points). Home faves went 3-1 SU and ATS on the first day of the main part of the playoffs. The lone upset was by the Knicks (+5 in 101-97 win at the Cavaliers). The 76ers (-8.5 in 121-101 win vs. Nets) and Celtics (-10 in 112-99 win vs. Hawks) covered as chalk. Over/Unders split 2-2.
MLB: Faves went 10-4 with Orioles-White Sox closing pick-'em. Home teams went 11-4. Overs led 9-5-1 with push in PIT-STL (9). The upsets were by the Pirates (+165 at Cardinals), Tigers (+132 vs. Giants), Red Sox (+100 vs. Angels) and Reds (+100 vs. Phillies). Faves lead 137-82 on season with 3 pick-’ems. Home teams improved their slim lead to 116-106. Overs improved to 119-93-10 (56.1%).
XFL: San Antonio Brahmas (-2) pushed in 25-23 win over the Orlando Guardians (game went Over betting total of 38.5 points). Earlier, Houston Roughnecks (-6.5) beat Vegas Vipers 28-21 and covered vs. closing number, though some Vegas bettors pushed on +7 (went Over 44).
More XFL: Faves went 2-0 SU to start Week 9, but just 1-0-1 ATS. Home teams also 2-0 SU and 1-0-1 ATS while Overs swept 2-0. On the season, faves lead 24-9 SU and 17-15-2 ATS with 1 PK. Home teams took a 18-16 SU lead but home/road teams now tied 16-16-2 ATS. Overs took 17-16-1 lead.
USFL: Faves went 2-0 SU and ATS to start season as Philadelphia Stars (-3.5) beat Memphis Showboats 27-23 (went Over total of 40 points) and Birmingham Stallions (-5) beat New Jersey Generals 27-10 (stayed Under 40.5). Home/road split 1-1 SU and ATS. OverUnders also start 1-1.
Sunday NBA Best Bet
Timberwolves +8 at Nuggets: We don’t expect the Timberwolves to upset the Nuggets in this series, but I’m counting on them to have a winning record ATS starting with Game 1 on Sunday. Play-in tournament survivors are 6-3 ATS in Game 1 of their subsequent series as we think this does show that those teams are sharper from continuing to play vs. a top seed gathering rust from resting. These teams split 2-2 SU in the regular season (home teams won all 4 games) with the T-Wolves leading 3-1 ATS thanks to a spread-covering 122-118 loss as 9-point road dogs on Jan. 18.
Sunday MLB Best Bet
Brewers First 5 +140 at Padres: I’ve never been a fan of Yu Darvish (0-1, 4.76 ERA) and certainly willing to fade him with Wade Miley (1-1, 2.45 ERA) and the Brewers’ offense that I’m confident can get him early run support off Darvish. The other MLB play I was considering was the Diamondback F5 +115 at the Marlins with Zac Gallen on the mound for Arizona, but I respect Miami’s Sandy Alcantara more and see that as more of a coin-flip.
Sunday XFL Best Bet
Seattle Sea Dragons-St. Louis Battlehawks Under 46: I think this total is more than a field goal too high. Both teams average right around 23 points a game while St. Louis allows just 18 points per game and Seattle gives up 19.5. If you average out all those, you come up with a score of St. Louis winning 21.3-20-5 (so the 1-point spread is pretty much right on), However, that only adds up to a total of 41.8. In addition, these two teams met in Week 2 with St. Louis winning 20-18, so I would pass if the total was listed anywhere from 38 to 42, but see value at Under 46.