Sunday Best Bets, Saturday Recaps
Saturday was an incredibly busy sports betting day in and out of the Tuley’s Takes home office. There was something for everyone from wall-to-wall college basketball with conference tournaments as well as the major conferences wrapping up their regular seasons, plus NBA, NHL, golf, UFC and so on.
I won my Best Bet of the day on Indiana State +3.5 vs. Bradley in the Missouri Valley Conference tourney as they lost by just 71-70, but it was a losing day overall for yours truly as I lost my other main plays on the Lightning-Sabres/Maple Leafs-Canucks First-Period Over parlay, Spurs +1.5 vs. the Rockets and Blues +180 at the Kings as well as whiffing on my horse racing plays.
Let’s recap the rest of Saturday’s action in the major team sports and then look for more Best Bets for Sunday. I don’t have any NHL 1P Over plays or underdogs and I'm also passing in college basketball, but I do have plays in the NBA and XFL plus a trio of NASCAR bets I’ve already made on the Pennzoil 400 (we still call it the “Las Vegas 400” since it’s had so many name changes over the years) here at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
CBB: No. 4 UCLA (-5.5) beat No. 8 Arizona 82-73 late Saturday and covered. In earlier games between Top 25 teams, No. 24 Texas A&M (-1) beat No. 2 Alabama 67-61 and No. 9 Texas (-4) beat No. 3 Kansas 75-59 but they were NOT upsets while No. 16 Miami-FL (-7.5) beat No. 25 Pitt 78-76 but didn't cover.
More CBB: Top 25 teams went 6-5 SU vs. unranked teams on Saturday, but the unranked teams led 8-3 ATS. Iowa State (+7) upset No. 7 Baylor 73-58 and Oklahoma (+2) upset No. 22 TCU 74-60. West Virginia (-5) and Auburn (-2.5) beat No. 11 Kansas State and No. 12 Tennessee, respectively, but those weren’t upsets as the unranked teams were favored (and covered).
NBA: Bucks had their 16-game winning streak snapped in a 133-130 loss vs. 76ers, who closed as 4.5-point road dogs and +165 on the money line. Faves went 4-2 SU and ATS on Saturday with the other upset by the Timberwolves (+3.5) in a 138-134 win at the Kings. Road teams 4-2 SU and ATS. Overs led 4-2.
More NBA: On the season, favorites lead 619-326 SU with 15 games closing pick-'em, but underdogs still lead 466-457-22 (50.5%). Home teams still lead 568-392 SU and 491-449-20 ATS (52.2%). In totals wagering, Overs improved their slim lead to 476-470-14 (50.3%).
NHL: Favorites went 8-4 Saturday with the upsets by the Canucks (+180 in 4-1 win vs. Maple Leafs), Sabres (+140 in 5-3 win vs. Lightning), Wild (+138 in 3-0 win at Flames) and Jets (+100 in 7-5 win vs. Oilers). Home teams went 9-3. Unders led 6-5-1 with the push in Rangers-Bruins (6).
XFL: Seattle Sea Dragons rallied to beat Vegas Vipers 30-26 to kick off Week 3. They pushed after closing as 4-point road faves (game flew Over the betting total of 37 points). On the season, XFL faves lead 6-3 SU but are tied 4-4-1 ATS. Road teams now lead 5-4 SU and 5-3-1 ATS. Overs took 5-4 lead.
NBA Best Bet
Wizards +4 vs. Bucks: Regular readers (including @Buckeyefan80 on Twitter) knew this “anti-swagger play” was coming when the Bucks had their 16-game winning streak snapped on Saturday by the 76ers. This is a big letdown spot for the Bucks, especially after not having a night off. This is a write-in game that was originally scheduled for Monday but was moved up a day to accommodate the rescheduling of a Wizards-Pistons game that was postponed on Feb. 1. Regular readers will note that there's also a “swagger play” on Sunday as the Rockets also snapped their 11-game losing streak on Saturday in San Antonio. Now, they get to carry that momentum again as they complete a Texas home-and-home series by hosting the lowly Spurs on Sunday, but I’m passing due to my "dog-or-pass philosophy" as the Rockets are 2.5-point home chalk.
Kyle Busch (8-1, Circa): Yes, this is the “chalk,” but it's a fair enough price at 8-1 at Circa, so shop around as we see him at 6-1 at other books. Busch is also the triumphant returning hometown hero as a Vegas native. We also cashed with him at 8-1 last week at Fontana, so we’re betting the hot hand. This is also a little like playing a number to hit a second time in a row in roulette. Vegas, baby!
Kevin Harvick (29-1, Circa): This two-time Las Vegas winner usually runs well here (13 Top 10 finishes in 27 starts) and he’s in the second-tier of drivers on the odds board. Most books have him around 18-1, so again shop around. In NASCAR races, I don’t like to bet multiple drivers at under 10-1 and I like Harvick’s chances as much as other top contenders such as Kyle Larson (8-1), Joey Logan (8-1) or Ross Chastain (9-1) but at a much better price.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (125-1, Circa): After he won the Daytona 500 for the first time, I had a small bet on him last week and the few times I tuned in during the race he was around the Top 10. I would hate to not have a ticket on him if he was in contention again late in this race.
XFL Week 3 Best Bet
San Antonio Brahmas +4 at Houston Roughnecks: I gave this out last Sunday night/Monday morning and it went 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 before it dropped back down. 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 last 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 (now 5-3-1 ATS after Seattle’s push on Saturday), 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.