Sunday was yet another long day in and out of the Tuley’s Takes home office as we continued covering (and betting) NFL Super Wild Card Weekend.
I started the day at my usual Sunday spot in the Westgate Theater and ended it at the Circa sportsbook, where I also made my regular weekly appearance in the VSiN Studio on “The Greg Peterson Experience” (12:15 a.m. ET/9 p.m. PT Sunday nights, or 15 minutes into the archived version).
I won my Best Bet of the day (and the entire weekend) on the Dolphins +14 at the Bills in their hard-fought 34-31 loss. That improved our record on Peterson’s show to 34-20 (63%) since the start of the football season and 21-11 ATS (65.6%) since the start of November, with the vast majority being on early bets on the NFL. We still have Buccaneers +3 pending from last Sunday night’s show. More on that below.
It was a banner day for underdog bettors as they swept 3-0 ATS on Sunday and are 4-1 ATS heading into the Monday night game. That’s despite favorites leading 3-2 SU. With the Bills and Bengals both failing to cover, we weren’t hearing anything on Sunday night from the "you just have to pick the winner because either the fave will cover or the dog will win outright" and "point spreads don't matter in the NFL Wild Card Round" crowds. Crickets.
We also cleaned up on 2-team, 6-point teasers as we had the Jaguars +8.5 from Saturday night carrying over to the Giants +9 (they upset the Vikings 31-24) and the Bengals -2.5 (they beat the Ravens 24-17), plus the Buccaneers +8.5 on Monday night. More on that below.
Let’s recap the rest of Sunday’s action and then give out Best Bet for Monday Night Football (pretty much the worst-kept secret as, like I said, I gave it out last Sunday night and in my columns every day since as well as the VSiN daily updates and the VSiN Best Bets compilation story at VSiN.com). I also have an early play for the divisional playoff round, plus an NHL First-Period Over play for Monday.
NFL: Bengals held off Ravens 24-17 Sunday night with the pivotal play being Sam Hubbard's 98-yard fumble return for the go-ahead TD when the Ravens were trying to go ahead on a QB sneak. But the ViewFromVegas is the Bengals did NOT cover after closing as 7.5-point home favorites (game went just Over the consensus closing total of 40 points, though it opened 43.5 and early Under bettors cashed).
More NFL: Faves led 2-1 SU on Sunday and lead 3-2 SU so far in the Wild Card round, but dogs swept 3-0 ATS and lead 4-1 ATS overall. Home teams led 2-1 SU on Sunday and are 4-1 SU overall, but roads teams swept 3-0 ATS & lead 3-2 ATS overall. Overs swept 3-0 on Sunday and are a perfect 5-0.
Even more NFL: Bills held off Dolphins 34-31 in Sunday's first Wild Card Game. The ViewFromVegas is they did NOT cover after closing as 14-point home favorites (game flew Over betting total of 44.5 points). Giants upset Vikings 31-24 as 3-point road underdogs and +133 on the money line (went Over 48 points).
NBA: Faves went 6-2 SU on Sunday, but just 4-4 ATS as the Magic (+11) and Lakers (+5.5) covered in their SU losses vs. the Nuggets and 76ers, respectively. The upsets were by the Bulls (+6 vs. Warriors) and Thunder (+4.5 at Nets). Home/road teams split 4-4 SU and ATS. Overs led 4-3-1.
More NBA: On the season, favorites lead 416-230 SU with 9 games closing pick-'em while underdogs still lead 327-301-18 ATS (52.1%). Home teams lead 394-261 SU and 337-301-17 ATS (52.8%). In totals wagering, Overs' lead improved slightly to 338-308-9 (52.3%).
CBB: St. John's upset No. 6 UConn 85-74 as 14.5-point road underdog and +750 on the money line. No. 12 Xavier beat No. 25 Marquette 80-76 and covered as 3-point home favorite on late free throws.
NHL: Dogs went 2-1 with upsets by the Canadiens (+315 in 2-1 win at Rangers) and Canucks (+235 in 4-3 shootout win at Hurricanes). Road teams went 2-1. Unders led 2-1. On the season, faves 393-255 with 19 PKs. Home teams 339-316 with 4 neutral-site games. Overs' slim lead dipped to 316-315-28.
Monday NFL Best Bet
Buccaneers +2.5 vs. Cowboys: 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 a healthy Dak Prescott – 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 versus the Panthers, so hopefully that’s a good sign that a late rally won’t be needed. Marc Lawrence of playbook.com and a contestant in my VSiN colleague 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 tease them up through the key numbers of 3 and 7 to +8.5 (could use with next weekend’s games as you can tease Eagles down to -1 vs. the Giants or Chiefs down to -8.5 at a lot of books. (Note: as I mentioned on the Sunday night show, I almost added a Best Bet on a Chiefs -2.5/Eagles -1 teaser, but some books had Chiefs at -9 or -9.5, which would take them out of the "teaser zone" for 6-point teasers.)
Early NFL Divisional Best Bet
Bengals +4.5 at Bills: We gave this out on Sunday night. Bengals are live dogs in this game that should be closer to pick-’em. They have injuries on the offensive line, but they’ve worked around that problem before. Besides, this is just as much of a bet against the Bills, who we faded successfully again with the Dolphins as they continually let teams stick around.
Monday NHL Best Bet
Ducks-Penguins 1P Over 1.5 -165/Flames-Predators 1P Over 1.5 -145: Ducks have hit six straight 1P Overs and are on a 12-3 run. They’re also 31-11 (73.8%). Again, all stats from @PSUOtto on Twitter. Flames are 29-13 overall with Predators at 23-19, so a combined 51-31 (62.2%). Beware: these plays have been hitting so well that several books have gone to Over 2 in games involving some of these teams, so shop around.