Friday was another long day of sports betting action, including World Cup soccer in addition to the college football, NBA and NHL games we expect at this time of year.
Personally, I also had to juggle all this with my wife’s company holiday party held at a Dave & Buster’s here in Las Vegas.
Fortunately, the controller for the company is a sports fan (and of Brent Musburger and yours truly) and was in control of the TVs, so we had the Pac-12 Championship Game on the big screen. Ray also went to the University of Utah, so we both cheered the Utes to their 47-24 upset victory of USC as 2.5-point underdogs.
Utah was my Best Bet on Friday and improved my record to 24-11-1 ATS (68.6%) with our daily top play here in these columns since Oct. 27 and 17-8 ATS (68%) the last 25 days.
Let’s recap the rest of Friday’s betting action and then look for another Best Bet on Saturday. And, then, as has become our custom here, we’ll rerun our Wednesday column in which we give our “takes” on every game on the NFL Week 13 schedule. Even if we don’t have a Best Bet on a particular game, we give our “pool play” strategy, especially for those that are in contests where you have to pick every game. We always love to hear from readers that we help win contests and pools during the course of the season.
CBB: No. 11 Utah upset No. 4 USC 47-24 in the Pac-12 Championship Game in Las Vegas as a 2.5-point underdog and +125 on the money line. The game went Over the betting total of 68 points. Texas-San Antonio covered as 8.5-point favorite in 48-27 win vs. North Texas in the Conference USA Championship Game (went Over 70). Buffalo rallied to beat Akron 23-22, but did NOT cover as 12-point fave (stayed Under 55 points).
CBB: No. 6 Baylor upset No. 14 Gonzaga 64-63 as 2.5-point underdog (stayed way Under betting total of 161 points). No. 22 Maryland (-1.5) covered in 71-66 win vs. No. 16 Illinois (stayed Under 145.5).
NBA: Faves went 6-5 SU Friday and 5-5-1 ATS with the push in the Cavaliers (-11) win vs. Magic. The upsets were by the Rockets (+11.5 at Suns), Lakers (+8.5 at Bucks), Heat (+7 at Celtics), Hawks (+5 vs. Nuggets) and Hornets (+4 vs. Wizards). Home teams 7-4 SU and 6-4-1 ATS. Overs 7-4.
More NBA: On the season, faves lead 218-112 SU with 6 pick-’ems, but dogs lead 161-156-13 ATS (50.8%). Home teams improved to 210-126 SU and 173-150-13 ATS (53.6%). Overs improved slim lead to 171-160-5 (51.7%).
NHL: Dogs swept 3-0 with upsets by the Senators (+160 in 3-2 road win at Rangers), Predators (+142 in 4-1 road win at Islanders) and Blue Jackets (+176 in 4-1 road win at Jets). Road teams also swept 3-0 and Unders also swept 3-0. On the season, faves lead 214-153 with 10 PKs. Home teams’ declining lead is down to 191-182 with 4 neutral-site games. Unders improved slim lead to 186-180-11.
Saturday’s Best Bets
Ohio +3 vs. Toledo: This is the MAC Championship Game in Detroit. We did well with MACtion games again this season (I did matriculate at Northern Illinois University, after all) and love the dog here and I think the wrong team is favored. Its football program might have the better reputation, but Toledo (7-5) coming into this game off back-to-back losses to Bowling Green and Western Michigan while Ohio (9-3) is on a seven-game winning streak, including routs of those same Bowling Green and Western Michigan teams. Now, I’m assuming Toledo is favored because Ohio is going to have to play without star QB Kurtis Rourke, who suffered a knee injury two weeks ago, but dual-threat QB CJ Harris stepped in and had three rushing TDs in his first start vs. Bowling Green.
Kansas State +1.5 vs. TCU: This is a coin-flip and we know TCU is trying to clinch a berth in the College Football Playoff, but that extra motivation didn’t help USC. Remember: just because a team “must win” doesn’t mean it will win. I’m not getting enough points to call it my Best Bet, but it’s still worth a play.
Here's the rerun of our Wednesday "Tuley's Takes Today" column, including updates as odds change during the course of the week and we try to time our bets to get the best numbers possible:
Welcome to the weekly Wednesday version of my “Tuley’s Takes Today” column in which we go over the full NFL Week 13 schedule.
We love to hear from readers that we’ve helped have a successful football season. Last week was another winning one as we started with the Lions and Giants covering on Thanksgiving. Sunday was close to break even as my top plays went 1-3 ATS (losers on the Texans, Bears and Falcons, but a big win on the Raiders) but we swept all of our 2-team, 6-point teasers on the Panthers +8.5, Titans +7.5 and Eagles -1, plus had live teasers to the Steelers +8.5 on Monday Night Football.
Then, in Monday’s version of this column, we added Steelers +8.5/Over 33 for those who hadn’t jumped on the teaser gravy train yet.
That win improved our season-long record on our regular appearance on “The Greg Peterson Experience” (12:15 a.m. ET/9:15 p.m. Sunday nights) to 25-12 ATS (67.6%) and 12-3 ATS (80%) with our November plays, all of which have been NFL early lines for the next week.
Let’s get to the full NFL Week 13 schedule. Even if we don’t have a Best Bet on a game, we still offer our “pool play” strategy, especially for those in contests where you have to make a pick in every game.
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.
Buffalo Bills (-4) at New England Patriots
This is the first meeting this season between these AFC East rivals. The Bills (8-3) are tied for the division lead with the Dolphins while the Patriots (6-5) are a game out of the last AFC wild-card spot. I’ve had a lot of success fading the Bills (just 4-6-1 ATS) this season, including in their two recent losses to the Jets and Vikings and the non-cover at the Lions on Thanksgiving, so it’s tempting to take the Patriots here as home underdogs. However, this line is too short for my liking. I love to have a play on the Thursday night game each week, but I have to pass in this case.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Bills in all of my rare SU and ATS contests that use TNF games). Thursday update: line down to 3.5 at nearly all books with South Point down to 3 just after midnight, so would definitely pass now. Friday update: glad we passed even though it went up to +4 at the majority of Vegas books before kickoff!
New York Jets at Minnesota Vikings (-3)
The Vikings (9-2) continue to roll on in their dream season, but this game means a lot more to the playoff-hopeful Jets (7-4) as the Vikes have opened up a five-game lead in the NFC North on the second-place Lions (yes, you read that right). The Jets have had a roller-coaster of a season as their No. 5 defense helped them win games in spite of starting QB Zach Wilson. Coach Robert Saleh made the move to Mike White (22-for-28, 315 passing yards, 3 TDs) in Week 12 and it paid off in a 31-10 rout of the Bears. It shouldn’t necessarily get harder for White against a Minnesota defense that is No. 31 in yards allowed per game. The Vikings have a good enough offense to overcome the Jets’ defensive strength with Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, etc. After suffering just their second loss of the season (a 40-3 no-show vs. the Cowboys in Week 11), they bounced back nicely in their 33-26 win vs. the Patriots on Thanksgiving night. Jets backers were able to grab +3.5 on Sunday, but the line has settled at Vikings -3. We no longer like it at that number but would jump back in if it goes back to 3.5 (especially in contests).
Best Bet: Pass for now, waiting for Jets +3.5 (pool play: Jets 55/45 in ATS contests – higher at 3.5, flip to Vikings at 2.5 – but Vikings 60/40 in SU pools. Thursday update: line down to 3 with some books also charging added juice on +3, so doesn't look like we'll get that 3.5. Friday: we've decided we're playing the Jets +3 as we added it as a play in the VSiN NFL Best Bets file.
Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens (-8.5)
We actually jumped the gun a little by giving this out as Broncos +8 on “The Greg Peterson Experience” and in these early week columns as it’s actually been bet up to 8.5 at most books as of this writing early Wednesday morning. But I’m willing to bet this again at the highest number we can get. Granted, the Broncos have been a dumpster fire on offense this season, ranking No. 25 in yards per game despite the off-season acquisition of Russell Wilson while the No. 5 defense has kept them in several games. But this is more of a bet against the Ravens as they’ve led by 9 points or more in every game so far this season; however, they blew their fourth fourth-quarter lead in Sunday’ 28-27 loss to the Jaguars and are just 5-6 ATS as they tend to let teams stick around. Besides, if looking for a common opponent, the Broncos beat the Jaguars 21-17 in Week 8, so we see no reason they can’t stay within a TD of the Ravens.
Best Bet: Broncos +8.5 (pool play: Broncos 67/33 in ATS contests, but Ravens still 75/25 in SU pools). Saturday update: this line is up to 9.5 at most books, so if we wait we might get +10 by kickoff on Sunday.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-1) at Atlanta Falcons
We’ve actually seen a change of favorites in this game as the Falcons were -1.5 on the advance line last week at the Westgate SuperBook and -1 when it reopened its Week 13 lines on Sunday afternoon. However, after the Steelers beat the Colts 24-17 on Monday Night Football, this has flipped to the Steelers -1. I’m going to wait to see if the line continues to move in that direction, at which time we’ll probably add it to our teaser portfolio, but I’m going to play the Falcons regardless as short home underdogs. Steelers (4-7) coach Mike Tomlin is trying to avoid his first losing season while the Falcons (5-7) have overachieved all season as they only trail the Buccaneers by half a game in the NFC South and are 7-5 ATS. The Steelers are No. 27 in yards per game while the Falcons are No, 28; however, Falcons have been far more efficient averaging 22.7 points per game compared to just 17.6 for the Steelers with RB/WR Cordarelle Patterson a threat to break off a huge run at any time (5.2 yards per carry) and with Marcus Mariota spreading the ball around to his receivers (or running himself).
Best Bet: Falcons +1 (pool play: Falcons 60/40 in all SU and ATS contests). Saturday update: this game has been moved to pick-'em at a lot of books; I'd still take that but pass as a favorite.
Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles (-5)
The Eagles continue to roll along with the NFL’s best record at 10-1, but after starting 3-1 ATS, they’ve been middle of the road at 3-3 ATS their last six games – and that includes a cover by half a point after closing as 6.5-point home favorites in a 40-33 win vs. the Packers on Sunday night. They’ve failed to cover in wins over the Lions, Cardinals, Texas and Colts in addition to their upset loss to the Commanders in Week 10, so I have no problem fading them against the Titans, who continue to get disrespected in the betting market despite overcoming an 0-2 start to stand at 7-4 SU and an even more impressive 8-3 ATS. And that includes losing 20-16 to the Bengals this past Sunday. Derrick Henry continues to set the tone as he’s second in the NFL with 1,048 rushing yards to make things easier for Ryan Tannehill’s play-action passes. I also trust Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel to have a scheme to contain Philly QB Jalen Hurts and keep the Titans in a one-score game if not pull the outright upset.
Best Bet: Titans +5 (pool play: Titans 67/33 in ATS contest, but still Eagles 60/40 in SU pools). Thursday update: Several books have moved to +5.5, so wait to see if it goes higher and, as always, shop for best line available. Saturday update: the line movement has reversed as it's back down to 4.5 at most books.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-1.5) at Detroit Lions
The Lions have been very good to us the past two years (11-6 ATS last year, 7-4 ATS this season including four straight covers), so there’s a decent chance I’m going to bet them as short dogs here or use them in my contests. But I feel even stronger about them to kick off our teaser discussion for this week as we can use 6-point teasers to move them up through the key numbers of 3 and 7. Except for the two-game slump on either side of their Week 6 bye week in blowout losses to the Patriots and Cowboys, the Lions have not lost by more than 4 points in any other game and are perfect when teasing the spread by 6 points (9-2 overall on season). The only thing giving me pause is that the Jaguars have certainly improved this season under coach Doug Pederson and with Trevor Lawrence coming into his own, including rallying to beat the Ravens 28-27 on Sunday with many clutch throws. However, we’ll note that the only times the Jaguars have been put in the unfamiliar favorite’s role this season was when they were upset by the Texans 13-6 in Week 5 as 7-point home chalk and upset 21-17 by the Broncos in Week 8 as a 1-point home fave. The teaser options are plentiful this week, so take your pick among Giants +8.5, Browns -1, Seahawks -1.5 and Raiders +8. My favorite 2-point, 6-point teaser in Sunday’s early slate of game is Lions +7.5/Giants +8.5
Best Bet: Lions +7.5 in teasers and probably also +1.5 (pool play: Lions 60/40 in all SU and ATS contests). Friday update: line has mostly settled at Jaguars -1, so hope most followers locked in better teasers though Lions +7 still acceptable.
Washington Commanders (-2.5) at New York Giants
Speaking of the Giants’ teaser . . . .the only reason I’m not taking the Giants on the regular spread is it’s a little short for my liking due to the Commanders being on a 6-1 SU and ATS run, mostly due to Taylor Heinicke taking over for Carson Wentz. Well, there’s also the fact that the Giants were “doing it with mirrors” with their own 6-1 run to start the season and have been exposed a little bit lately, including losing three of their last four games with the only win in that stretch being against the lowly Texans. They did end up covering in their 28-20 loss as 10-point road underdogs at the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, so they should be able to stay within one score of the Commanders.
Best Bet: Giants +8.5/Lions +7.5 among other teasers. (pool play: Giants 55/45 in all SU and ATS contests). Saturday update: Most books down to 2, but it's still OK to tease Giants to +8.
Cleveland Browns (-7) at Houston Texans
Deshaun Watson is expected to make his long-awaited season debut for the Browns against his former team – but that’s about the only reason that people will be paying attention to this matchup (except for fantasy owners) as the Texans are 1-9-1 and again leading the race for the No. 1 draft pick while the Browns are 4-7 as Jacoby Brissett wasn’t able to keep them in the wild-card race while waiting for Watson’s player conduct suspension to run its course. I believe Watson will step right in and have success (and you can expect I’ll be using the Browns as dogs in the coming weeks vs. the Eagles and Vikings), but while I won’t lay a touchdown in any NFL game, I will tease the Browns under a field goal here.
Best Bet: Browns -1/Seahawks -1.5 among other teasers (pool play: Browns 55/45 in ATS contests and at least 80/20 in SU pools).
Green Bay Packers (-4.5) at Chicago Bears
Oh how the mighty have fallen. Aaron Rodgers has owned the Bears over the years, yet the Packers are only 4.5-point chalk in Chicago on Sunday after being 10-point home favorites when they beat the Bears 27-10 back in Week 2. The Packers have struggled since that victory while the Bears have shown improvement under second-year QB Justin Fields. However, we’re unsure if he’s going to return for this game. For that matter, there was some doubt about whether Aaron Rodgers would continue to play or if Jordan Love (who looked good in relief of Rodgers in the 40-33 loss at the Eagles on Sunday night), but in any case we think we’ll be avoiding this game.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Packers 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 70/30 in SU pools). Friday update: line down to mostly Packers -3.5, so definitely passing now. Saturday update: it looks like Fields is going to play, but I'll still pass as there's several dogs I like better in Week 13.
Seattle Seahawks (-7.5) at Los Angeles Rams
This matchup is between two teams heading in opposite directions. The defending Super Bowl champion Rams are 3-8 and on a five-game losing streak as they are in last place in the NFC West while the Seahawks are 6-5 and just one game behind the 49ers and in the thick of the NFC wild-card race. Another sign of the Rams’ underperformance is their 2-8-1 ATS record after failing to even cover after closing as 15.5-point home dogs vs. the Chiefs last Sunday. The Rams’ offense ranks a woeful No. 31 in the league at just 279.8 yards per game. There’s plenty of excuses to go around, including a cluster of injuries, but Sean McVay’s offense was struggling even before injuries to QB Matthew Stafford and WR Cooper Kupp. As of Wednesday morning, we’re still waiting to hear if Stafford will return from his concussion(s) or if he’ll be shut down for the season. It appears oddsmakers are doubting Stafford returns as the Seahawks are 7.5-point road favorites. Geno Smith has been a pleasant surprise in Seattle, but the concern for those looking to back the Seahawks is the defense is ranked No. 30 in the league, as evidenced by the 40-34 OT loss to the Raiders. We never lay more than a TD in any NFL game (and very rarely more than a FG), but we can tease the Seahawks under a FG and just count on them to win the game.
Best Bet: Seahawks -1.5 in 6-point teasers (pool play: Rams 55/45 in ATS contests on principle, but Seahawks at least 80/20 in SU pools). Friday update: line mostly down to Seahawks -7, but still teasable down to -1.
Miami Dolphins at San Francisco 49ers (-4)
This is one of the most intriguing Week 13 games as the Dolphins (8-3) are on a five-game winning streak and tied with the Bills atop the AFC East while the 49ers (7-4) are on a four-game winning streak and lead the NFC West. The Dolphins are tempting road dogs, but the 49ers haven’t allowed a second-half point in their last four games and just shut out the Saints 13-0, so I’m not in a hurry to fade them unless we’re getting more points.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: 49ers 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 75/25 in SU pools).
Los Angeles Chargers (-2) at Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders were having a terrible season at 2-7 but have bounced back to pull back-to-back minor upsets of the Broncos and Seahawks the last two weeks. However, the Raiders have been in nearly all their games this season but were 0-6 in one-score games before their recent run. This is another case of a line being too short for me to take the dog with the points, but it’s in “teaser territory” for us to move the line up through the key numbers of 3 and 7. Also, while the Chargers are playing pretty well lately – suffering narrow losses to the 49ers and Chiefs as there’s no shame in that – we’re encouraged by the fact the Raiders only lost 24-19 to these Chargers in the season-opener as we’re counting on another one-score game. If you didn’t link any early games to this one, my preferred afternoon teaser would be with the Seahawks -1.5.
Best Bet: Raiders +8/Seahawks -1.5 and other teasers (pool play: Chargers 55/45 in ATS contests and only around 60/40 in SU pools). Friday update: this line is mostly down to pick-'em with some books even flipping to Raiders -1, so this is out of teaser territory (and getting close to Chargers being the preferred teaser side if you didn't lock in the Raiders already).
Kansas City Chiefs (-2) at Cincinnati Bengals
We continue our Week 13 theme here with another point spread that comes up a little too light for our liking with the underdog Bengals, though in this case we think we’re going to pass on teasing up the short dog as well. The Bengals are certainly capable of staying with the Chiefs and might get WR Ja’Marr Chase back, but the Chiefs are really hard to fade right now as they’re on a five-game win streak and also 3-2 ATS in that stretch. They did fail to cover in wins over the Titans and Chargers, but it’s harder to ask a team to cover as just 2-point dogs without being more confident in them pulling off the outright upset.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Chiefs 60/40 in ATS contests and 67/33 in SU pools).
Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys (-11)
This line has gotten way out of control (opening Cowboys -9.5 on Sunday afternoon prior to the Colts’ 24-17 Monday Night Football loss to the Steelers), but we’ll gladly take the Colts as double-digit underdogs. NFL double-digit dogs are 11-6 ATS (64.7%) so far this season – and that’s with the Texans +14 and Rams +15.5 both coming up short this past Sunday. The Colts haven’t been a DD dog until now, but the Cowboys just failed after closing as a 10-point favorite in their 28-20 win vs. the Giants on Thanksgiving. The Colts are playing much better since Jeff Saturday replaced Frank Reich, beating the Raiders and covering as 6.5-point dogs in a 17-16 loss to the Eagles before the MNF loss. If the Giants could stay within single digits, so can the Colts.
Best Bet: Colts +11 (pool play: Colts 67/33 in ATS contests, but Cowboys still 75/25 in SU pools). Friday update: this has mostly settled at Colts +10.5, but we still believe they're playable as long as they're still double-digit dogs.
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5)
We hope all our followers were listening to our weekly 12:15 a.m. ET/9:15 p.m. PT Sunday night appearance on “The Greg Peterson Experience” when I said I missed the +6.5 opener on the Saints but it was widely available at +6. I also gave it out in the Monday version of this column and in the VSiN daily newsletter, so hopefully everyone joined me as the line is now down to 3.5. If you haven’t bet it yet, I still like the Saints as long as the line is above 3 and will still use them in contests (you just have to assume the risk that the Bucs don’t win by 4, 5 or 6 points). The reasoning stays the same as Dennis Allen’s New Orleans defense is kryptonite to Tom Brady’s Superman. After going 0-4 against the Saints his first two years in Tampa (with 6 TDs and 8 INTs, including 2 pick-6s), Brady finally beat them 20-10 in this year’s first meeting in Week 2. But the defense still fared well, just like it did last Sunday in a 13-0 loss at the 49ers and another pocket QB in Jimmy Garoppolo. The Saints were obviously embarrassed by being shut out by the 49ers – especially as they squandered so many chances, including two goal-to-go opportunities on their last two drives in the fourth quarter. We expect the Saints’ D to keep them close and for the offense to bounce back.
Best Bet: Saints +3.5 (pool play: 67/33 in ATS contests and we’ll call for the outright upset at 55/45 in SU pools.). Thursday update: William Hill books in Nevada and DraftKings elsewhere have gone to Bucs -4, so we'll wait to get best number possible. Saturday update: DraftKings is back down to 3.5. but William Hill still at 4 in Nevada, so still shop around.