Sunday Best Bets, Saturday Recaps
Saturday was a day we’d rather forget in the Tuley’s Takes home office.
It was a chalky day at the horse racing tracks we were playing with our long-shot pics in our “Team Tuley’s Thoroughbred Takes” column and in the qualifying tournament we were playing to try to earn a seat in the National Horseplayers Championship for the 2022 season to be held in March at the Horseshoe (formerly Bally’s).
I also lost my Best Bet on the sportsbook side during the afternoon as No. 1 Purdue lost at Indiana as a 1-point road dog, and then also lost my second-best play on Gonzaga as its game against West Coast Conference rival Saint Mary’s went to overtime and our +3.5 wasn’t enough to cover.
As I’ve written before: we miss football!
As for the Super Bowl side and total, those haven’t budged so far over the weekend as the Eagles remain 1.5-point favorites over the Chiefs with the Over/Under at 50.5 points except for a couple of books (Caesars and Station Casinos) holding the line at 50.
Let’s recap the reset of Saturday’s action, and look for some better Best Bets on Sunday. Then, as has been our custom here, we’ll rerun our NFL “takes” column from Wednesday with our early Super Bowl bets plus adding some prop bets.
CBB: No. 18 Saint Mary's rallied to force OT and then beat No. 12 Gonzaga 78-70 late Saturday as the Gaels ended up covering as 3-point home favorites. Earlier, No. 21 Indiana knocked off No. 1 Purdue 79-74, but it wasn't an upset as the Hoosiers closed (and covered) as 1-point home favorites.
More CBB: Virginia Tech knocked off No. 6 Virginia, but it also wasn’t an upset as the Hokies closed as 2-point home faves. No. 2 Tennessee held on to beat No. 25 Auburn 46-43 but didn't cover as a 9.5-point home fave (stayed way Under low total of 131.5). No. 10 Texas (-1.5) beat No. 7 Kansas State 69-66 and covered the short number.
NBA: Faves went 8-1 SU and 7-2 ATS with the Mavericks (+10.5) covering in their 119-113 loss at the Warriors. The lone upset was by the Nets (+1) in a 125-123 win vs. the Wizards. Home teams went 7-2 SU and 6-3 ATS. Overs dominated at 8-1 with lone Under (228.5) in the Suns' 116-100 win at Pistons.
More NBA: On the season, faves improved to 510-279 SU with 11 games closing pick-'em, but dogs still lead 399-370-20 ATS (51.9%). Home teams lead 479-321 SU and 410-372-19 ATS (52.4%). In totals wagering, Overs improved slim lead to 406-380-14 (51.7%).
NHL: Atlantic beat Central 7-5 as a -125 favorite in the “All-Star Game” title game, which went Over the closing betting total of 9.5 goals with 7 goals in the last 2:46. Central beat Pacific 6-4 in the 1st semifinal that closed pick-'em (stayed Under 13 goals) and then Atlantic beat Metropolitan 10-6 as a -130 favorite in 2nd semifinal (flew Over 11.5).
Sunday NBA Best Bets
Pacers +4.5 vs. Cavaliers: As you can see above, it’s been tough to find live underdogs in the NBA (though we did catch an anti-swagger play against the Wizards on Saturday when the Nets closed as 1.5-point home underdogs). There is a swagger play on Sunday as the Pelicans snapped their 10-game losing streak on Saturday vs. the Lakers, but they were 1.5-point faves overnight so we’ll see if that line flips. Meanwhile, I’ll take the Pacers as a mini-swagger play as they snapped a 4-game losing streak (we usually require 6 games for these plays) vs. the Kings as Buddy Hield scored 21 points to beat his former team and hopefully they can carry that momentum into Sunday’s game as they’re getting 4.5 points vs. the Cavaliers.
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 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 6 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’s 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 8 games and gave up just 7 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 also 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.
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 the 2017 when the Patriots famously rallied to catch up with the Falcons with :57 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 8 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 around 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 8 of the last 9 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.