Friday NHL Best Bet, Thursday recaps
Thursday was spent getting NFL injury updates and monitoring the line moves for the upcoming Divisional Playoffs this weekend, but my midweek days are becoming more about our NHL Best Bets with First-Period Overs as this has been feeling like the winter/spring of 2019 all over again.
And if you’ve been following along, you know it takes some extra work to shop around for the best prices with the 1P Over 1.5 wagers as more books have been going to Over 2 with some of the hot Over teams.
On Thursday, we hit our Best Bet for the second straight day as we gave out Ducks-Blue Jackets 1P Over 1.5 -155/Lightning-Oilers 1P Over -145 for a parlay payoff of +178. The Blue Jackets jumped out to a 3-0 lead vs. the Ducks and the Oilers topped the Lightning 2-0 in the first 20 minutes to get us the cash.
Even though we don’t need to hit 50% to make a profit with these parlays, that improved our record to 4-2 for a profit of 4.94 units (note: the picks are 10-2 in the individual games for those willing to lay around an average of -160).
Let’s recap the rest of Thursday’s (full-game) action and then give our Friday Best Bet as we’ll continue to stay on the ice even though there are only two NHL games on Friday. And then, as has become our custom here, we’ll rerun our Wednesday column in which we give our “takes” on the upcoming weekend’s NFL playoff schedule with updates based on the current lines.
NBA: Faves went 3-2 SU but dogs led 3-2 ATS with the Warriors (+6.5) covering in 121-118 OT loss at Celtics. The upsets were by the TImberwolves (+4 in 128-126 win vs. Raptors) and Suns (+3.5 in 117-112 win vs. Nets). Home teams went 3-2 SU but road teams led 3-2 ATS. Unders led 3-2.
More NBA: On the season, favorites lead 434-239 SU with 9 games closing pick-'em while underdogs still lead and improved to 339-316-18 ATS (51.8%). Home teams lead 409-273 SU and 349-317-17 ATS (52.4%). In totals wagering, Overs' lead dipped to 354-318-10 (52.7%).
CBB: Loyola Marymount upset No. 6 Gonzaga 68-67 as a 16-point road underdog and +900 on money line, snapping Bulldogs' 75-game home win streak. No. 5 UCLA rallied in 2nd half and pulled away to beat Arizona State 74-62 late Thursday, covering as a 5-point road favorite.
NHL: Faves/dogs split 6-6 with Bruins-Rangers closing pick-'em (Bruins won 3-1). The biggest upsets were by the Blackhawks (+190 in 4-1 win at Flyers), Red Wings (+148 in 3-2 win at Golden Knights) and Ducks (+145 in 5-3 win at Blue Jackets). Road teams went 7-6. Unders led 7-6. On the season, faves lead 414-269 with 20 PKs. Home teams lead 359-333 with 4 neutral-site games. Overs' slim lead dipped to 335-332-29.
Friday NHL Best Bet
Senators-Penguins 1P Over 1.5 -155/Avalanche-Canucks 1P Over 1.5 -180 (payoff of +156): There are only 2 NHL games on the Friday schedule, but as luck would have it, these are both games where I would be betting the 1P Overs even on a full schedule as the Senators and Canucks are both on winning streaks of 6 straight 1P Overs (note: all these betting stats courtesy of @PSUOtto on Twitter). The Senators are also 28-16 on the season while the Penguins are 23-21 for a combined 51-37 (58%) while Canucks are a league-best 33-11 (75%) while the Avalanche is 23-20 for a combined 56-31 (64%).
Here’s the rerun of our Wednesday column with updates in italics:
Welcome to our weekly Wednesday column (the one that used to appear in “Point Spread Weekly”) where we give our “takes” on every game on the NFL schedule, this weekend with the divisional playoff round.
We give our Best Bet, or how we recommend to bet, on each game. Just like the regular season, even if we can’t come up with a specific play for a game, we’ll include our “pool play” strategy to give a gauge for those who play in pools where you have to make a pick on every game.
Again, as also did during the regular season, we’ll then update our posts in our daily columns the rest of the week and through the weekend.
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.
After being the AFC No. 1 seed and enjoying their first-round bye, the Chiefs come into Saturday’s divisional playoff round as 8.5-point favorites vs. the Jaguars and as the 3-1 Super Bowl favorites at DraftKings. Patrick Mahomes, the +350 MVP fave, of course leads the NFL’s No. 1 offense at 413.6 yards per game and 29.2 points per game.
These teams met in Week 10 with the Chiefs jumping out to a 20-0 lead before the Jaguars finally got on the scoreboard just before halftime. However, the Chiefs’ advantage never fell below 10 points as they won 27-17 and covered as 9.5-point home favorites. That dropped the Jaguars to 3-7, but after regrouping with their bye week, they went 6-1 (and 5-2 against the spread) the rest of the regular season to win the AFC South.
Then, in one of the worst playoff debuts you’ll see from a starting QB, Trevor Lawrence three 3 INTs in the first quarter as they fell behind 27-0 to the Chargers but somehow rallied to win 31-30 on a field goal as time expired.
Some books opened this line closer to the spread in the earlier meeting, but it looks like it has settled in at 8.5 as of Tuesday afternoon. With the way Andy Reid usually wins off a bye with extra time to prepare, we can’t quite pull the trigger on the dog. Based on that prior game and the Jaguars falling behind again on the national stage against the Chargers, the First-Half bet on the Chiefs -5 will be popular as well as teasers taking the Chiefs below a field goal.
But we’ve talked ourselves into the Under 53 being the Best Best of the game. Even though only 44 points were scored in the first meeting (and the teams’ combined averages on the season come to around 47.5), this is the highest total of the weekend at 53 points, so the value is on the Under if you believe the defenses (Jacksonville allowed 20.6 points per game in the regular season with the Chiefs allowing 21.7) can get the occasional stop. With Overs going 5-1 on Super Wild Card Weekend, all of the totals appear to be a little over-inflated.
Best Bet: Under 53, plus Chiefs in teasers (Jaguars 55/45 in ATS contests, but Chiefs at least 80/20 in SU pools).
Friday update: William Hill books in Nevada and elsewhere have gone to 52.5, so we advise those with us to grab Under 53 ASAP.
On Sunday night’s “The Greg Peterson Show” on VSiN, I almost gave Chiefs -2.5/Eagles-1.5 as a 2-team, 6 point teaser, though there were some books that were deterring teasers on the Chiefs by going to -9 and even -9.5. That line has apparently settled at Chiefs -8.5, so I fully recommend teasing the two No. 1 seeds to take care of business and at least win straight-up.
However, I’m also taking the underdog Giants plus the points. This is as much of a play against the Eagles, who were 8-9 ATS in the regular season despite their lofty 13-4 SU record as they often let teams stick around. There was a stretch of the season when fading them wasn’t as successful (Week 12 and 13 in routs of the Packers and Titans before blowing out this Giants team 48-22), but then finished the season 0-4 ATS down the stretch including an ATS loss in their 26-22 win vs. these same Giants, though that was with Gardner Minshew replacing Jalen Hurts.
Regardless, this Giants teams has kept themselves in games all season long and are 14-4 ATS, including a perfect 3-0 ATS when getting more than 7 points (27-22 upset of the Packers in Week 5 as 9-point road dogs, 28-20 upset of the Cowboys in Week 12 as 10-point road dogs and the aforementioned 26-22 cover in the Week 18 loss to the Eagles as 16.5-point dogs).
Saquon Barkley mostly carries the load for the Giants, but QB Daniel Jones has been coming through a lot more lately to shed the label of “game-manager.” The Giants also have the familiarity angle that we saw with the Dolphins and Ravens covering in losses to division rivals in the wild-card round.
Best Bet: Giants +7.5, though also Eagles in teasers to hopefully hit a middle on -1.5 and +7.5 (pool play: Giants 67/33 in ATS contests but Eagles 70/30 in SU pools).
We gave this out on Sunday night after missing the +5 opener at some books, but it’s now back to 5 at the majority of books and +5.5 at South Point here in Las Vegas as of early Wednesday mornings. Bengals are live dogs in this game that should be closer to pick-’em. Besides, this is just as much of a bet against the Bills, who we faded successfully again with the Dolphins (+14 in their 34-31 loss) as they continually let teams stick around.
Of course, this is the rematch of the Week 17 Monday night game that was suspended after Buffalo’s Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field, and then canceled. A lot of people are saying that the Bills have the motivational edge, but it was actually the Bengals who were deprived of a chance to pull the upset that night and feel they should be hosting this game or at least have it on a neutral field.
Regardless, it’s what Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ offense does on the field that has me on them as they were moving the ball at will in that earlier meeting. A lot of people are making a big deal about the Bengals’ injuries on the offensive line, but it’s not like they’re going to be playing with only two offensive linemen and they’ve worked around this problem before.
This should come down to a field goal one way or the other. In fact, I’d say it’s just as likely that the Bengals win by a touchdown or more.
Best Bet: Bengals +5 (pool play: Bengals 67/33 in ATS contests and let’s call for the outright upset at 55/45 in SU pools).
Thursday update: the line continued to climb as it's up to Bill -5.5 at most books even though the majority of bets have come in on the Bengals. Let's see if it gets to +6.
Friday update: line is up to 6 at the South Point and Wynn in Las Vegas, so as always be sure to shop for the best number you can get between now and game time.
This line is too short for me to take the Cowboys against a 49ers team that has won 11 straight games (and 9-2 ATS) even after having to go with third-string QB Brock Purdy. The 49ers just have too many weapons with Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, etc. I also don’t trust that the Cowboys’ defense is back to mid-season form after shutting down the Buccaneers. Before that, the Dallas D had allowed 113 points in the four prior games (28.3 points per game).
On the other side of the ball, the 49ers have the No. 1 defense in the league and allow just 16.3 points per game. I don’t see Dak Prescott able to match the 49ers score for score.
Best Best: Pass (pool play: 49ers 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 75/25 in SU pools).