Friday Best Bets, Thursday Recaps
Thursday was an interesting day for yours truly, spent mostly away from the Tuley’s Takes home office for a change.
I went to the gym with my wife. We also went to a movie (“Knock at the Cabin” – I give it a thumbs-up for escapism, but you’re not missing much if you wait for it to come to cable or streaming). But the highlight of my day was my first guitar lesson as I've always wanted to be a rock star. Being a sports betting journalist is nice and all and comes with a modicum of fame in our little world, but writing a hit song is on my Bucket List. When I’m a one-hit wonder, remember you read it here first!
I did make it home in time to watch my Best Bet on the St. Louis Battlehawks cash as the XFL kicked off Week 2 with its first Thursday night game. I gave out St. Louis in the VSiN newsletter yesterday morning, though I stressed that while the line was +3 that I was waiting for a better number as several books were adding juice to Seattle -3 with others going to 3.5. By the time I posted yesterday’s version of this column, several books were at St. Louis +4 and that’s what we got. I felt pretty good even though Seattle jumped out to a 12-0 lead, but St. Louis rallied and we were pretty safe for the cover even before the Battlehawks pulled out the 20-18 outright upset.
All in all, it was a pretty, pretty good day, but it wasn’t a total success as we lost our two NHL plays. Our straight play on the Wild-Blue Jackets 1P Under 1.5 lost as Marc-Andre Fleury and the Wild defense came through, but the Wild somehow scored 2 goals in the first 20 minutes and didn’t do anything else the rest of the game in a 2-0 victory. I hate when that happens. And we also lost our 1P Over parlay on Canucks-Blues and Flames-Golden Knights as both had 1-0 scores after the opening period.
At least we also hit our other posted recommendation (non-Best Bet) on the Pacers +8.5 as they took the Celtics to OT and held on for the cover.
Let’s recap the rest of Thursday’s (full-game betting action) and then look for more plays on Friday.
NBA: Favorites went 8-1 SU on the 1st day back from the All-Star Break, but only 5-4 ATS as the Pacers (+8 in 142-138 OT loss vs. Celtics), Pistons (+8 in 108-106 loss at Magic) and Thunder (+1.5 in 120-119 OT loss at Jazz) covered as underdogs in SU losses. The lone upset was by the Nuggets (+3 in 115-109 win at the Cavaliers). Home teams went 7-2 SU and 6-3 ATS. Unders led 5-4.
More NBA: Faves improved to 577-303 SU on the season with 13 games closing pick-'em, but dogs still hold a slim lead at 437-422-21 ATS (50.9%). Home teams lead 533-360 SU and 461-413-19 ATS (52.7%). In totals wagering, Overs’ slim lead dipped to 449-430-14 (51.1%).
CBB: No. 4 UCLA beat Utah 78-71 late Thursday, but the game pushed as UCLA closed as a consensus 7-point road favorite. Earlier, Illinois beat No. 21 Northwestern 66-62, but it wasn't an upset as the Illini closed as a 7.5-point home fave (but didn't cover).
NHL: Faves went 5-4 Thursday Oilers-Penguins game closing pick-'em in the Oilers' 7-2 rout. The upsets were by the Ducks (+270), Sabres (+190), Red Wings (+135) and Canucks (+102). Road teams went 7-3. Overs led 6-3-1 with the push in the Ducks' 4-2 win at the Capitals with a betting total of 6 goals.
XFL: St. Louis Battlehawks rallied to beat Seattle Sea Dragons 20-18 on a 44-yard FG as time expired to kick off XFL Week 2 on Thursday night. They did it after closing as 4-point road dogs and +160 on the money line (stayed just Under consensus closing total of 38.5 points).
More XFL: Favorites still lead 3-2 SU on the young season, but underdogs improved to take 3-2 ATS lead (Vegas covered as dog in SU loss in Week 1). Home teams also dipped to 3-2 SU with road teams also taking 3-2 ATS lead. Overs' early lead also dipped to 3-2.
Friday NHL Best Bets
Wild-Maple Leafs 1P Under 1.5 +115: There isn’t a strong enough combo of 1P Overs on Friday to put together a Best Bet parlay. The best option is Sabres-Panthers as they’re hitting a combined 56.9% (if you’ve noticed, we’ve mostly been using 1P Over teams that combine for closer to 60% because of the added juice on each leg), but I’m already seeing books going to 1P Over 2 on that game. Instead, let’s give the Wild another chance even though last night’s game snapped their 9-game 1P Under streak. They’re still 18-3 in their last 21 and a league-leading 36-22 (62.1%) and we’re getting a fair price.
Avalanche-Jets 1P Under 1.5 +110:
Let’s go with a 2nd separate 1P Under as the Jets are the No. 2 1P Under team at 34-24 with the Avalanche No. 6 at 29-26 for a combined 63-50 (55.8%) as we’re getting +110 on something that should be around -125.
Saturday XFL Best Bet
San Antonio Brahmas-Orlando Guardians Under 39: We gave this out early in the VSiN newsletter and the Thursday edition of this column and now there’s only 38s and 38.5s out there. I still think it’s playable at those numbers as we haven’t seen enough with these 1-, 2-, 3-point conversion options to make “key numbers” for Over/Under wagers. As we saw in Thursday night’s game, it was pretty much a coin-flip, so you need to shop around for the best number as every point (or 2 points or 3) counts.