Tuley: Friday Best Bets, plus updated 'takes' on NFL super wild-card weekend

By Dave Tuley  (VSiN.com senior reporter) 

January 13, 2023 05:08 AM

Friday Best Bets, Thursday Recaps

Thursday was certainly different from the way we spent Thursdays in the Tuley’s Takes home office during the NFL regular season as the main focus was on hockey.

The personal highlight of the day was having s’mores with the family in our backyard firepit before our two oldest kids go back to college this weekend (while following my action on my phone, of course).

Unfortunately, I lost my first foray into the NHL First Period Over ice as I split with the Canucks-Lightning 1P Over 1.5 -174 and Flames-Blues 1P Over -145 (which is a loss with the way we bet these in parlays to turn them into a dog) at +166.

We also lost with the Sabres +110 vs. the Jets, but at least won with the Canadiens vs. the Predators at +153 to cut out losses just over half a unit overall.

Yes, we are 0-4 since Sunday with our top play of the day – as one troll of ours on Twitter @ViewFromVegas pointed out, but we’re happy there was only one as we trust the vast majority of our readers “get it” and have been very happy knowing we’ve been over 60% with our Best Bet of the day in the 70+ days since late October. As we’ve always said, no one hits over 60% in the long run in sports betting, though it’s certainly an admirable goal.

Let’s get to the recap of Thursday’s action and then look at Friday’s menu to try to get back on the winning track with our Best Bets. And then, as has become our custom around here, we’ll rerun our Wednesday column and update our “takes” on the NFL wild-card playoff games this weekend based on how the lines are moving.

Thursday Recaps

CBB: No. 8 Gonzaga beat BYU 75-74, but didn't cover as 6.5-point road favorite. No. 9 Arizona beat Oregon State 86-74, but failed to cover as 15.5-point road chalk. No. 7 UCLA routed Utah 68-49 and did cover as a 13-point home fave.

NBA: Faves went 5-1 SU and ATS with lone upset by the Thunder (+10, +360 money line in 133-114 rout at 76ers). Road teams 4-2 SU and ATS. Over/Unders split 3-3 with Mavericks-Lakers staying Under 236.5 in Mavs' 119-115 win despite 2OTs (Mavs also ended up covering -2.5).

More NBA: On the season, favorites lead 398-224 SU with 9 games closing pick-'em while underdogs still lead 315-289-18 ATS (52.2%). Home teams lead 384-247 SU and 327-287-17 ATS (53.3%). In totals wagering, Overs still lead 327-297-7 (52.4%).

NHL: Faves went 8-4 with upsets by Blackhawks (+275 vs. Avalanche), Kraken (+195 at Bruins), Canadiens (+153 vs. Predators) and Red Wings (+115 vs. Maple Leafs). Home/road teams split 6-6. Unders led 8-4. On the season, faves lead 382-246 with 19 PKs. Home teams lead 332-303 with 4 neutral-site games. Unders take 308-304-27 lead.

Friday NHL Best Bet

Devils-Ducks 1P Over 1.5 -160/Oilers-Sharks 1P Over -175 (+155): Let’s try again with a parlay on these two First Period Overs (and, remember, we don’t need to hit 50% overall with these plays to make a profit at plus-money unlike our ATS bets in other sports). There are the hottest teams in the NHL with these plays as the Ducks are on a 5-game 1P Over streak and a league-best 30-11 (73.2%), according to stats by @PSUOtto on Twitter, and the Sharks are 14-2 in their last 16 games and 26-17 (60.5%) on the season. The Devils and Oilers are right around 50% with 1P Overs, but the success of these plays on the Ducks and Sharks is they give up a lot of goals as well as scoring them.

Friday NBA Best Bets

Suns +3 at Timberwolves: We’re fading the T-Wolves in an mini-anti-swagger role as they just had a 4-game winning streak snapped Wednesday night in Detroit. Karl-Anthony Towns missed that game and Anthony Edwards missed the third quarter with a sore hip, so even if they play they'll be less than 100 percent. The Suns are short-handed as well (which is why we opted for the NHL 1P Overs as our top play of the night), but we’ll still fade the T-Wolves with the Suns as short home dogs. We also like the Clippers (in a swagger role after snapping a 6-game losing streak) vs. the Nuggets later Friday, but they were a 1.5-point home favorite overnight.

Here's the rerun of Wednesday column with our "takes" on all 6 wild-card games this weekend, and then we add our updates with new news and how the lines are moving:

Welcome to the weekly Wednesday edition of “Tuley’s Takes Today” where we usually go over the full NFL schedule and now do the same for playoffs starting with super wild-card weekend.

For those who don’t know, we’ll give our Best Bet for each playoff game using our “dog-or-pass” approach. A big emphasis is put on timing our bets to get the best numbers, so we hope readers have made a habit of catching our weekly appearances on “The Greg Peterson Experience” (12:15 a.m. ET/9:15 p.m. PT on Sunday nights or 15 minutes into the archive) as we’re 33-20 ATS (62.2%) since the start of football season and 20-11 ATS (64.5%) since the start of November with the vast majority being our early bets on the NFL and this week included the Dolphins +11 at the Bills and the Buccaneers +3 vs. the Cowboys.

Those numbers look like they’re long-gone, so we’ll still give our opinion of what bettors should do if wagering later in the week and weekend (and then we update our “takes” in the daily columns leading up to game day). I’ll also include my “pool play” strategies that I use to just do during the regular season as I’ve been receiving more invites for playoff contests where we have to pick every game and assume many of our loyal readers are getting involved with those as well.

Note: Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of early Wednesday morning unless otherwise noted. Check out VSIN.com's live NFL odds page for current odds.

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (-9.5)

The 49ers are arguably the hottest team in the league with a 10-game winning streak and 8-2 ATS even after having to go with third-string QB Brock Purdy. They have the No. 1 defense in yards allowed per game (and giving up just 16.3 points per game) and the No. 5 offense. Even with the line possibly going to double digits, it’s hard to pull the trigger. I don’t subscribe to the faulty “it’s hard to beat a team three times” when one team is clearly superior to the other as the 49ers beat the Seahawks 21-13 (covering as 3.5-point road faves) in Week 15 and 27-7 way back Week 2 in the game in San Francisco. The only play we like in this game in the Under as you can see both of the previous meetings were more than a touchdown Under this total of 42.5 as we expect the 49ers to shut down the Seahawks’ offense again and grind out a victory.

Best Bet: Under 42.5 (pool play: Seahawks 55/45 in ATS contests on principle, but 49ers 90/10 in SU pools).

Friday update: total is down to 42 at most books, so grab best number you can.

Los Angeles Chargers (-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars

After losing their season-opener to the Commanders and then shutting out the Colts 24-0 in Week 2, the Jaguars’ 38-10 rout of the Chargers in Week 3 is where they really showed that this wasn’t the same ole Jags. The Chargers are still more of a public team, but that’s really the only reason why they’re a road favorite here. The Jaguars average more points per game (23.8 to 23.0) and allow fewer points per game (20.6 to 22.6), so I’m really tempted to say the wrong team is favored here. However, we think the better way to play this is to tease Jacksonville through the key numbers of 3 and 7 in 2-team, 6-point teasers. This is a good time to list the other advantage teasers (aka “Wong teasers” for old-timers) as we’ll use Jaguars +8 with the Giants up to +8.5 or +9 at the Vikings, Bengals down from -7 to -1 vs. the Ravens and Buccaneers from +2.5 up to +8.5 vs. the Cowboys. 

Best Bet: Jaguars in teasers (pool play: Jaguars 60/40 in ATS contests and 55/45 in SU pools).

Thursday update: line has been bet up to Chargers -2.5, so the teaser on the Jaguars up to +8.5 is even stronger.


Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-9)

As mentioned in the intro, we grabbed the Dolphins +11 on Sunday night even though we weren’t sure who would be the QB for Miami. We’re certainly hopeful that it’ll be Tua Tagovailoa or at least Teddy Bridgewater and maybe the line move is indicative of “someone knows something.” Regardless, this is actually more of a play against the Bills, who we’ve had a lot of success against this season as they somehow always seem to let teams stick around as they’re 13-3 SU but only 8-7-1 ATS, including losing outright to these Dolphins in Week 3 and then only beating them 31-29 just three weeks ago and failing to cover as 7-point home favorites. Again, we’ll feel better about the Dolphins’ chances with Tagovailoa, but even though they didn’t score a TD in the 11-6 win vs. the Jets, Thompson did play turnover-free football and led the game-winning FG drive. And even though Tua played in the Week 16 game, don’t forget that Raheem Mostert rushed for 136 yards. Buffalo apologists will point out that Mostert is doubtful with a broken thumb, but Jeff Wilson Jr. ran for 143 vs. the Jets on Sunday. I know I’m in the minority (and I love being contrarian), but I still see the Dolphins as a live underdog. 

Best Bet: Dolphins +9 or better (pool play: Dolphins 67/33 in ATS contests though Bills still 75/25 in SU pools).

Thursday update: it was finally officially announced that Tagovailoa is OUT and this ballooned up to 13, which we like even more.

Friday update: line continued to climb to +13.5 at DraftKings and majority of Vegas books, so we continue to be in the minority (which is fine with us).

New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings (-3)

The Sunday afternoon NFC wild-card game is between two teams that have “done it with mirrors” all season as their records (Vikings 13-4 and winners of the NFC North; Giants 9-7-1) far exceed their statistics as they both had a knack to win close games. These two teams met just three weeks ago in Week 16 when the Vikings beat the Giants 27-24 but failed to cover as 4.5-point home favorites in a back-and-forth game that the Giants outyarded the Vikings 445-353 but needed a TD and 2-point conversion to tie the game with 2:01 left before Greg Joseph kicked a Minnesota record 61-yard, game-winning field goal as time expired. The line for Sunday’s rematch is the Vikings -3. Some books opened -2.5 but those were bet quickly to -3, which was the margin of victory in that first meeting. The line is too short for us to bet the Giants straight, but we still see this as a one-score game and will tease them up over a touchdown.

Best Bet: Giants in teasers (pool play: Giants 55/45 in ATS contests but Vikings 67/33 in SU pools).

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-7)

With the possible exception of the 49ers, the Bengals are the hottest team heading into the playoffs. They overcame the “Super Bowl loser hangover” and are 12-2 SU and 11-1-1 ATS since their 0-2 start with the push being on Sunday in their 27-16 over these same Ravens with an overly inflated closing line of -11. The line is back down to 7 even though it’s uncertain whether Lamar Jackson will be able to return for the Ravens. We have to think he will return even if he’s less than 100%, though it’s tough to back the Ravens in that case. Instead, we think the right play is to tease the Bengals under a field goal and just count on to advance with the win.

Best Bet: Bengals in teasers (pool play: Bengals 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 85/15 in SU pools).

Thursday update: it's looking more and more like Jackson might not be able to start, so the line steamed to Bengals -8.5. I'd advise that anyone with me wanting to use the Bengals in teasers do it ASAP as I could see books moving to -9 to deter 6-point teasers.

Friday update: as predicted, this line continued to rise Friday and it now up to -9.5.

Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Again, we grabbed the Buccaneers +3 on Sunday night as Tom Brady is still Tom Brady and we can’t resist taking him as a home underdog, especially against a Dallas team that we don’t trust. The Buccaneers’ defense is No. 9 in yards allowed per game – and we keep thinking back to the way it dominated in the 19-3 season-opening road win over the Cowboys – and has continually kept them in games to give Brady a chance at late-game heroics. Besides, the Brady-to-Mike Evans combo came through with 3 TD passes in the Week 17 division-clinching win vs. the Panthers, so hopefully that’s a good sign that a late rally won’t be needed. Marc Lawrence of playbook.com and Matt Youmans' “Circa Friday Night Invitational” also adds that playing against any away team in the wild-card round that is coming off a loss of 14 or more points is 14-1 ATS (93%) since 1980. We fully expect the Bucs to pull the minor upset, though we wouldn't blame those that missed the +3 to just decide to tease them up through the key numbers of 3 and 7 to +8.5.

Best Bet: Buccaneers +2.5 or better, plus teasers (pool play: Buccaneers 67/33 in ATS contests and at least 60/40 in SU pools).


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