Tuley: Thursday NHL Best Bets, updated 'takes' on NFL wild-card playoffs

By Dave Tuley  (VSiN.com senior reporter) 

January 12, 2023 04:39 AM

After posting my weekly breakdown of the full NFL schedule for the opening weekend of the playoffs, Wednesday was spent, believe it or not, getting caught up on the NHL season.

Longtime readers will remember the winter/spring of 2019 when NHL 1st Period Overs were our personal ATM, including the “Follow the Money 5.” Great times! We’ve had success with these plays the last couple of years, but nothing like that run.

Since mid-week college football games dried up after bowl season, I’ve been paying more attention to the NHL and NBA as we’ve been needing to continue my daily top plays that have been so hot. I’ve been mostly relying on swagger and anti-swagger plays as I’ve had a lot of success with those, but when NHL 1P Overs went 10-0 on Tuesday, that was a wakeup call that I really needed to pay attention to those again.

I wish I had shared the Ducks 1P Over yesterday as they improved to a league-best 30-11 (75%) with 1P Overs on Wednesday (note: all NHL betting stats I’m posting here are from @PSUOtto on Twitter unless otherwise noted as he’s also part of the “Follow the Money” Army over the years), as I lost my NBA Best Bet on the Pacers +5 at the Knicks. That lost 119-113, but I’m not going to call it a Bad Beat as the Pacers trailed 37-21 at the end of the first quarter and by 21 at 62-41 at halftime and I thought I was drawing dead, but – as I’ve written dozens of times: “in the NBA, everyone makes a run.” So, the Pacers actually pulled with 95-92 with 9:13 remaining in the fourth quarter, 105-103 with 3:10 left, 112-109 at the 1:22 mark and even 117-113 with 11.1 seconds left before giving up a dunk to lose the cover.

That dropped our record to 43-30-2 ATS (58.9%) with our daily top play the past 75 days since late October. But since longtime readers know that I like to parlay 1P Overs at plus-money, I’m going to be less concerned with win percentage and more about winning money.

Let’s get to the recap of Wednesday’s action and then look at the NHL card on Thursday for our Best Bets and we hope you’ll see what I mean. And then, as has become our custom around here, we’ll rerun our Wednesday column and update our “takes” based on how the lines are moving.

Wednesday Recaps

CBB: No. 4 Alabama beat No. 15 Arkansas 84-69, but it was an upset as Bama was 1.5-point road underdog. No. 25 Marquette (+2.5) upset No. 6 UConn 82-76. No. 10 Texas (-6.5) beat No. 17 TCU 79-75 but didn't cover. No. 1 Houston beat USF 83-77 but didn't cover either.

NBA: Faves went 6-2 SU on Wednesday and 5-3 ATS with the Spurs (+13.5) covering in 135-129 loss at Grizzlies. The upsets were by the Pistons (+6.5 in 135-118 win vs. Timberwolves) and Wizards (+1.5 in 100-97 win vs. Bulls). Home teams went 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS. Overs led 5-3.

More NBA: On the season, favorites lead 393-223 SU with 9 games closing pick-'em while underdogs still lead 314-284-18 ATS (52.5%). Home teams lead 382-243 SU and 325-283-17 ATS (53.5%). In totals wagering, Overs improved to 324-294-7 (52.4%).

NHL: Faves went 3-1 with the lone upset by the Flyers (+157 in 5-3 win vs. Capitals). The Maple Leafs, Oilers and Kings won as chalk. Home teams went 3-1. Overs led 3-1. On the season, faves lead 374-242 with 19 PKs. Home teams lead 326-297 with 4 neutral-site games. Over/Unders back to .500 at 300-300-27.

Thursday NHL Best Bets

Canucks-Lightning 1P Over -175/Flames-Blues 1P Over -145 (+166): The Canucks are 29-11 (72.5%) with 1P Overs, right behind the Ducks. They’re facing the Lightning, who aren’t in that stratosphere but they are 23-16 (59%), so combined they’re 52-17 (65.8%). The Flames-Blues game isn’t quite so strong (58.5%), but I like it to complete the parlay at a nice juicy price of +166, so we’re turning two faves into a collected dog to keep with our “dog-or-pass” philosophy.

Sabres +110 vs. Jets: This is a mini-anti-swagger play against the Jets. My bigger bet on Thursday is the 1P Over parlay above but I’m also playing this as well as the Canadiens +125 vs. the Predators and counting on at least a split for a tidy profit.

Here's the rerun of Wednesday column with our "takes" on all 6 wild-card games this weekend, and then we add our updates with new news and how the lines are moving:

Welcome to the weekly Wednesday edition of “Tuley’s Takes Today” where we usually go over the full NFL schedule and now do the same for playoffs starting with super wild-card weekend.

For those who don’t know, we’ll give our Best Bet for each playoff game using our “dog-or-pass” approach. A big emphasis is put on timing our bets to get the best numbers, so we hope readers have made a habit of catching our weekly appearances on “The Greg Peterson Experience” (12:15 a.m. ET/9:15 p.m. PT on Sunday nights or 15 minutes into the archive) as we’re 33-20 ATS (62.2%) since the start of football season and 20-11 ATS (64.5%) since the start of November with the vast majority being our early bets on the NFL and this week included the Dolphins +11 at the Bills and the Buccaneers +3 vs. the Cowboys.

Those numbers look like they’re long-gone, so we’ll still give our opinion of what bettors should do if wagering later in the week and weekend (and then we update our “takes” in the daily columns leading up to game day). I’ll also include my “pool play” strategies that I use to just do during the regular season as I’ve been receiving more invites for playoff contests where we have to pick every game and assume many of our loyal readers are getting involved with those as well.

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.

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (-9.5)

The 49ers are arguably the hottest team in the league with a 10-game winning streak and 8-2 ATS even after having to go with third-string QB Brock Purdy. They have the No. 1 defense in yards allowed per game (and giving up just 16.3 points per game) and the No. 5 offense. Even with the line possibly going to double digits, it’s hard to pull the trigger. I don’t subscribe to the faulty “it’s hard to beat a team three times” when one team is clearly superior to the other as the 49ers beat the Seahawks 21-13 (covering as 3.5-point road faves) in Week 15 and 27-7 way back Week 2 in the game in San Francisco. The only play we like in this game in the Under as you can see both of the previous meetings were more than a touchdown Under this total of 42.5 as we expect the 49ers to shut down the Seahawks’ offense again and grind out a victory.

Best Bet: Under 42.5 (pool play: Seahawks 55/45 in ATS contests on principle, but 49ers 90/10 in SU pools).

Los Angeles Chargers (-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars

After losing their season-opener to the Commanders and then shutting out the Colts 24-0 in Week 2, the Jaguars’ 38-10 rout of the Chargers in Week 3 is where they really showed that this wasn’t the same ole Jags. The Chargers are still more of a public team, but that’s really the only reason why they’re a road favorite here. The Jaguars average more points per game (23.8 to 23.0) and allow fewer points per game (20.6 to 22.6), so I’m really tempted to say the wrong team is favored here. However, we think the better way to play this is to tease Jacksonville through the key numbers of 3 and 7 in 2-team, 6-point teasers. This is a good time to list the other advantage teasers (aka “Wong teasers” for old-timers) as we’ll use Jaguars +8 with the Giants up to +8.5 or +9 at the Vikings, Bengals down from -7 to -1 vs. the Ravens and Buccaneers from +2.5 up to +8.5 vs. the Cowboys. 

Best Bet: Jaguars in teasers (pool play: Jaguars 60/40 in ATS contests and 55/45 in SU pools). Thursday update: line has been bet up to Chargers -2.5, so the teaser on the Jaguars up to +8.5 is even stronger.


Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-9)

As mentioned in the intro, we grabbed the Dolphins +11 on Sunday night even though we weren’t sure who would be the QB for Miami. We’re certainly hopeful that it’ll be Tua Tagovailoa or at least Teddy Bridgewater and maybe the line move is indicative of “someone knows something.” Regardless, this is actually more of a play against the Bills, who we’ve had a lot of success against this season as they somehow always seem to let teams stick around as they’re 13-3 SU but only 8-7-1 ATS, including losing outright to these Dolphins in Week 3 and then only beating them 31-29 just three weeks ago and failing to cover as 7-point home favorites. Again, we’ll feel better about the Dolphins’ chances with Tagovailoa, but even though they didn’t score a TD in the 11-6 win vs. the Jets, Thompson did play turnover-free football and led the game-winning FG drive. And even though Tua played in the Week 16 game, don’t forget that Raheem Mostert rushed for 136 yards. Buffalo apologists will point out that Mostert is doubtful with a broken thumb, but Jeff Wilson Jr. ran for 143 vs. the Jets on Sunday. I know I’m in the minority (and I love being contrarian), but I still see the Dolphins as a live underdog. 

Best Bet: Dolphins +9 or better (pool play: Dolphins 67/33 in ATS contests though Bills still 75/25 in SU pools). Thursday update: it was finally officially announced that Tagovailoa is OUT and this ballooned up to 13, which we like even more.

New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings (-3)

The Sunday afternoon NFC wild-card game is between two teams that have “done it with mirrors” all season as their records (Vikings 13-4 and winners of the NFC North; Giants 9-7-1) far exceed their statistics as they both had a knack to win close games. These two teams met just three weeks ago in Week 16 when the Vikings beat the Giants 27-24 but failed to cover as 4.5-point home favorites in a back-and-forth game that the Giants outyarded the Vikings 445-353 but needed a TD and 2-point conversion to tie the game with 2:01 left before Greg Joseph kicked a Minnesota record 61-yard, game-winning field goal as time expired. The line for Sunday’s rematch is the Vikings -3. Some books opened -2.5 but those were bet quickly to -3, which was the margin of victory in that first meeting. The line is too short for us to bet the Giants straight, but we still see this as a one-score game and will tease them up over a touchdown.

Best Bet: Giants in teasers (pool play: Giants 55/45 in ATS contests but Vikings 67/33 in SU pools).

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-7)

With the possible exception of the 49ers, the Bengals are the hottest team heading into the playoffs. They overcame the “Super Bowl loser hangover” and are 12-2 SU and 11-1-1 ATS since their 0-2 start with the push being on Sunday in their 27-16 over these same Ravens with an overly inflated closing line of -11. The line is back down to 7 even though it’s uncertain whether Lamar Jackson will be able to return for the Ravens. We have to think he will return even if he’s less than 100%, though it’s tough to back the Ravens in that case. Instead, we think the right play is to tease the Bengals under a field goal and just count on to advance with the win.

Best Bet: Bengals in teasers (pool play: Bengals 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 85/15 in SU pools). Thursday update: it's looking more and more like Jackson might not be able to start, so the line steamed to Bengals -8.5. I'd advise that anyone with me wanting to use the Bengals in teasers do it ASAP as I could see books moving to -9 to deter 6-point teasers.

Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Again, 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 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 vs. the Panthers, so hopefully that’s a good sign that a late rally won’t be needed. Marc Lawrence of playbook.com and 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 decide to tease them up through the key numbers of 3 and 7 to +8.5.

Best Bet: Buccaneers +2.5 or better, plus teasers (pool play: Buccaneers 67/33 in ATS contests and at least 60/40 in SU pools).


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