Friday Best Bet, Groundhog Day Recaps
Thursday was Feb. 2, which of course is Groundhog Day, which was ironic as I’ve felt like I’ve been reliving a personal Groundhog Day loop myself.
The three previous days, I had what I felt were live underdogs (and they were) but lost all three in heartbreaking fashion against the spread down the stretch. On Thursday night, my Best Bet on San Francisco +12.5 looked fated for the same result as the Dons fell behind Saint Mary’s by 10 with 17:44 to play in the second half and the game stayed within a bucket or two of the spread for the next five minutes before San Francisco rallied and then held on for a 68-59 loss and point-spread cover.
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow to predict six more weeks of winter, but I started to wonder how many more weeks of Tuley’s Takes Today we were going to have. Last year, we did 289 straight days of TTT (a Groundhog Day-type run of its own at more than 41 weeks!) from the start of football season until the end of the NHL and NBA playoffs in July, spurred on by a lengthy 60% ATS run for several months from the Super Bowl through the spring. We’re approaching 200 straight days since mid-July and was thinking we wouldn’t continue much past the Super Bowl if we’re not consistently giving out winners again (though hoping to get a boost when our NHL 1P Overs return after the All-Star Break).
Further breaking our recent Groundhog Day-like slump was the fact we also hit our NBA money-line parlay with the Mavericks -190 ML vs. the Pelicans and Bucks -190 ML vs. the Clippers as we turned those favorites into a collective underdog with a +133 parlay payoff.
Let’s recap the reset of Thursday’s action, and look for another Best Bet for Friday. Then, as has been our custom here, we’ll rerun our NFL “takes” column from Wednesday with our early Super Bowl bets.
Groundhog Day Recaps
NBA: Faves went 6-1 SU Thursday but only 3-3-1 ATS with push in Mavericks (-5) 111-106 win vs. Pelicans. The lone upset was by the Knicks (+3 vs. Heat). The Pacers (+2.5 vs. Lakers) and Clippers (+4 at Bucks) covered in SU losses. Home teams also went 6-1 SU and 3-3-1 ATS. Unders led 5-2.
More NBA: On the season, faves lead 496-276 SU with 11 games closing pick-'em, but dogs still lead 390-362-20 ATS (51.9%). Home teams lead 470-313 SU and 401-364-19 ATS (52.4%). In totals wagering, Overs still lead 394-375-14 (51.2%).
CBB: No. 18 Saint Mary's beat San Francisco 68-59 late Thursday, but Dons covered as 12.5-point road dogs (cha-ching! as we were feeling like "Groundhog Day" after losing Best Bet 3 days in a row in close ATS losses). UAB beat No. 19 FAU 86-77, but it wasn’t an upset as UAB also covered as a 2.5-point home favorite.
Friday NBA Best Bet
Kings -150 ML at Pacers/76ers -425 ML at Spurs (+106 parlay payoff): We did this yesterday by turning two faves into a dog with a +133 parlay (but wasn’t sure about using it as a Best Bet and instead went with the CBB play), but we’re emboldened to do it again even though we don’t have any swagger or anti-swagger plays on Friday night. We’re actually fading the Pacers, who are on a 4-game losing streak, and the Spurs, who have lost 7 straight. We also get the current No. 3 seeds in each conference as Sacramento is on a 9-3 SU and 8-4 ATS run and Philadelphia has been even more consistent as the 76ers are on a 21-6 SU and 16-11 ATS run, but again we just need them to win straight-up.
Here's the rerun of Wednesday's column, with an update on our early Super Bowl bet:
Tuesday was mostly spent doing some chores around the Tuley’s Takes home office (including vacuuming out our pool after some recent inclement weather – though we didn’t have snow in our part of the Las Vegas valley) and following the Super Bowl line movement.
As we Tweeted out Tuesday afternoon, the Wynn was the last Vegas sportsbook at Eagles -2 as they dropped into line with the rest of the books at -1.5 while the Over/Under remained at a consensus 49.5 points with Circa Sports and Resorts World the only books to go up to 50.
If you’ve been a regular reader of my columns this season (or the prior 6 years in our digital magazine “Point Spread Weekly”), you know that Wednesday is when I give my weekly NFL “takes” on the full schedule. I was planning to wait until next week to post our official Super Bowl Best Bet since we’re more than 11 days until Super Sunday, but I figure there’s no time like the present.
Besides, this is looking like it’s going to be the biggest betting game to this date in sports gambling history with such a great matchup, plus being the first Super Bowl in a U.S. state with legalized betting (Arizona) as well as being the first Super Bowl with legal betting in Ohio, Massachusetts and Kansas.
It’s also going to be the most over-analyzed game ever. I would rather go on record with my reasoning for my Super Bowl wagers or else I fear that if I wait until next week that it’ll sound like I’m copying other people’s analysis.
Frankly, there’s only so many different ways you can handicap this game. The people on favored (at least for now) Philadelphia are going to say the Eagles have the better defense and best all-around team at this point, plus they’ll point out the injuries on the Kansas City side. After the opening Super Bowl LVII line settled at Eagles -2.5 on Sunday night, I made my regular weekly appearance on VSiN’s “The Greg Peterson Experience” and gave Chiefs +8.5/Over 43.5 (2-team, 6-point teaser) as my early Super Bowl Best Bet. We repeated that in our Monday and Tuesday columns as well as in the VSiN daily email updates and on the website. With the line coming down, we also want to lock in our teaser play in case the line moves any lower or the Chiefs get bet to favoritism. I’ll also list some prop bets that are in line with my prediction of a close game. We’ll add more of our reasons for these plays, plus add others, as the prop market settles down, but I’m listing them in case readers want to shop around early.
Tuley’s Take: Before Sunday’s NFC and AFC championship games, most sportsbooks with advance Super Bowl lines had this matchup at pick-’em or the Chiefs -1. I’ve also had the Chiefs power-rated a few points ahead of the Eagles all season, so even though I understand the reasons for the Eagles being bet to favoritism on Sunday night, I side with those oddsmakers that opened the Chiefs as the chalk.
Now, I’m picking the Chiefs to win the game (leaning toward a predicted score of Chiefs 27, Eagles 24), but I’m very respectful of the Eagles on both sides of the ball and see this as a coin-flip game that could go either way. That’s why I feel the Best Bet is to make a 2-team, 6-point teaser on Chiefs +7.5/Over 43.5 as I fully expect this to be a one-score game either way.
Kansas City coach Andy Reid has a well-earned reputation (dating back to when he coached Philadelphia) of winning off a bye week, so we’re counting on that as well as the two-week gap to help the Chiefs get healthier (note: this didn’t work two years ago when the Chiefs were dominated 31-9 by the Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV after two weeks to prepare).
A lot is being made of the Eagles’ having a big edge on defense as they ranked No. 2 in the NFL in yards allowed per game while the Chiefs ranked No. 11. The Eagles also allowed 20.2 points per game, but their supporters point out that since giving up 33 points to the Packers in Week 12, they’ve allowed an average of fewer than 16 points in their last 8 games and gave up just 7 points in each of their NFC playoff routs of the Giants and 49ers.
But these aren’t the 1985-86 Bears (who posted back-to-back playoff shutouts of the Giants and Rams). The Eagles’ defensive stats have received a lot of luck from the schedule makers and their playoff draw as they’ve faced a relatively weak schedule and weaker QBs down the stretch. Let’s look at the list: Titans with Ryan Tannehill, Giants with Daniel Jones, Bears with Justin Fields, Cowboys with Dak Prescott, Saints with Andy Dalton. Giants with Davis Webb, Giants again with Jones and 49ers with Brock Purdy/Josh Johnson/Christian McCaffrey.
Seriously, the only top offense they faced in that stretch with a healthy QB was the Cowboys in Week 16 and lost 40-34 while allowing 419 yards. They’re taking a big step up in class now as they face Patrick Mahomes and the league’s No. 1 offense
As I said above, I’ve made my biggest bet on the teaser as I expect a close game. I’m going with the Over 43.5 as the second leg of the teaser as we also expect a shootout. Jalen Hurts and the Eagles’ No. 3 offense will also have their share of success. It also helps with the indoor fast track in Glendale, Ariz, plus the long TV timeouts to get in all those Super Bowl commercials also helps the offenses set up big plays.
Best Bet: Chiefs +7.5/Over 43.5 (2-team, 6-point teaser), plus Chiefs +1.5 and +105 on the moneyline.
Thursday update: Bet teaser ASAP as Over/Under has continued to rise, so get Chiefs +7.5, Over 44.5 if you still can.
Prop bets tied to my prediction of close game
Game tied after 0-0
Largest lead Under 14.5 points
Double result: halftime tie/Chiefs win (also halftime tie/Eagles win, just in case)