Friday NBA, NHL Best Bets; Thursday Recaps
We’re finally entering the home stretch of the two-week gap between the NFL Conference Championship Games and the Super Bowl in the Tuley’s Takes home office and the “Big Game” can’t get here quick enough.
That’s what the sportsbooks here in Las Vegas used to have to call the Super Bowl for our viewing parties and odds sheets – and we’re reaching a major milestone with Sunday’s game being the first played in a state with legalized sports betting.
On Thursday, we didn’t see any movement on the side or total as the Super Bowl point spread remained a consensus of Eagles -1.5 over the Chiefs with the South Point, Treasure Island and Station Casinos staying at Eagles -2. The Over/Under also remained at 51 at the majority of Vegas sportsbooks with BetMGM and Resorts World the only books at 50.5 while Treasure Island was on the high end at 51.5.
When I helped South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews post his “Inside the betting action” column at VSiN.com earlier this week, he predicted that he would probably stay at Eagles -2 until the majority of tourists arrived in town, and that’s where he’s still sitting heading into Friday. We have tons of betting insight like that – as well as picks – in our Betting Guides and on the VSiN.com website. There’s also the VSiN Help Desk if you want to see some Q&A with our subscribers or submit your own question.
As for our bets in other sports while waiting for the big weekend, we lost our Thursday Best Bet on Iowa +7.5 at Purdue as the Boilermakers didn’t show any ill effects from having their 9-game winning streak snapped (I wasn’t too thrilled about the layoff from last Saturday, so wish I had talked myself into passing on that one). At least we won with the Golden Knights +105 at the Wild, but lost our NHL 1P Over parlay as the Flames only led 1-0 vs. the Oilers and the Flames-Red Wings first period was scoreless.
Let’s recap the rest of Thursday’s (full-game) action, and look for some more Best Bets on Friday. Then, as has been our custom here, we’ll rerun our NFL “takes” column from last Wednesday with our early Super Bowl bets including some related props.
CBB: Loyola-Marymount upset No. 15 Saint Mary's 78-74 in OT as 6.5-point home underdog late Thursday. Earlier, No. 1 Purdue (-7-5) covered in 87-73 win vs. Iowa. No. 7 UCLA (-15) beat Oregon State 62-47 and pushed vs. consensus closing line, covering for those laying -14.5.
NBA: Favorites/underdogs split 2-2 SU and ATS. The upsets were by the Magic (+5 in 115-104 win vs. Nuggets) and Nets (+2.5 in 116-105 win vs. Bulls). The Hawks (-8 vs. Suns) and Bucks (-8 at Lakers) covered as chalk. Home teams went 3-1 SU and ATS. Unders swept 4-0.
More NBA: On the season, favorites lead 533-289 SU with 11 games closing pick-'em, but underdogs still lead 415-386-21 ATS (51.8%). Home teams lead 496-337 SU and 428-386-19 ATS (52.6%). In totals wagering, Overs still lead 418-401-14 (51%).
NHL: Underdogs went 4-3 Thursday night with upsets by the Canucks (+188 in 6-5 win at Islanders), Flyers (+165 in 2-1 shootout win vs. Oilers), Red Wings (+135 in 2-1 win vs. Flames) and Golden Knights (+100 in 5-1 win at Wild. Home teams went 5-2. Unders led 5-2.
Friday NBA Best Bet
Bucks +1 at Clippers: The Bucks are on a 9-game winning streak, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday. Both teams have some players out coming off trades, but barring any other load management issue (Antetokounmpo was listed probable overnight with a knee issue), I’d make the Bucks the favorite, so gimme any points.
Friday NHL Best Bet
Penguins-Ducks 1P Over 1.5 -145/Coyotes-Blackhawks 1P Under 1.5 +120 (parlay payoff +272): We weren’t too thrilled with Thursday’s First Period options, and it’s the same on Friday’s short four-game slate. This seems to be the best option as the Ducks have been good to us, but have come up short twice in a row (Ducks and Penguins still hitting 1P Overs at a combined 60.8%) while Coyotes-Blackhawks are a combined 53% with 1P Unders but getting plus-money to make this worth a shot with the juicy payoff.
Here's the rerun of Wednesday's column, with an update on our early Super Bowl Best Bet and more props:
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 [Monday update: see my note below about the South Point moving back to Eagles -2 early Sunday]
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 six 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 are 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 eight games and gave up just seven 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 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.
Monday update: South Point went to Eagles -2 on Sunday morning, so it might be a sign that Chiefs teasers might go a little higher.
Tuesday update: Treasure Island joined South Point at Eagles -2 to add more value if you can tease Chiefs to +8, though Over also rising to 51 at most books to take away some value there.
Prop bets tied to my prediction of a close game
Game tied after 0-0 (following PATs) -110: In the recent era with Super Bowl points spreads relatively close to pick-’em, we love this prop as we just need to get tied during the whole game. It hasn’t cashed the last two years, but before that, it hit four Super Bowls in a row (LI through LIV) and is a still-profitable 5-3 the last eight years. It can happen as early as 3-3 in the 2019 game between the Patriots and Rams or as late as 28-28 in 2017 when the Patriots famously rallied to catch up with the Falcons with 57 seconds left in regulation. The Eagles and Chiefs are pretty evenly matched as the low point spread indicates (and some books opened the Chiefs as small faves, so this is the definition of a coin-flip game) and we expect this to be a close, back-and-forth game with Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts both fully capable of matching scores at some point.
Largest lead Under 14.5 points -140: This is another prop tied to our prediction of a close, back-and-forth game. Since joining VSiN, I’ve gone 4-1 with this prop (and 6-2 the last eight years with the only losses being the Buccaneers’ 31-9 rout of the Chiefs two years ago and the Falcons’ infamous 28-3 lead vs. the Patriots six years ago). Again, we’re counting on Mahomes or Hurts to rally his team if falling behind by two scores. We’re not crazy about the increased juice, but we’re actually relieved as we feared that oddsmakers might lower the number to 13.5 with the spread so close to pick-’em.
Halftime Tie/Eagles Win 16-1 and Halftime Tie/Chiefs Win 18-1: This is basically a bet on there being a tie at halftime, again based on our prediction of this being a close, back-and-forth Super Bowl. Since we don’t see “Will the game be tied at halftime?” prop offered anywhere, we play this “Double Result” at the Westgate SuperBook and bet both the “Halftime Tie/Eagles Win” at 16-1 and “Halftime Tie/Chiefs Win” at 18-1 options. If the game is tied at intermission, we know we’re going to end up with a net profit of +750 if the Eagles win or +850 if the Chiefs win. This has been a long-term profitable play as we cashed three years ago when the Chiefs-49ers Super Bowl LIV was tied at 10-10 and the Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl XLIX that was tied 14-14.
Shortest TD Under 1.5 -160: We used to get a nice, juicy plus price on this each year, but this has cashed for us eight of the last nine years and the oddsmakers have slowly made it a favorite. But it’s still worth playing as -160 is still cheap considering how often it comes in (plus we’re playing with house money). This can cash multiple ways: organically with a team moving the ball to the 1-yard line and punching it in or having a defensive pass interference call in the end zone place the ball at the 1-yard line. Note: it’s much more rare, but it also would cash if an offensive player falls on a fumble in the end zone for a 0-yard fumble recovery or if a defensive player were to score on a fumble recovery or interception in the opposing team’s end zone for a 0-yard score.