Thursday was another busy day in the Tuley’s Takes home office as I did a USC-UCLA betting preview for the L.A. Times and helped with editing/posting stories to the VSiN.com website.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: any sports bettor should really be availing themselves of all the sports betting content on our website every day (including my daily columns, which you’re obviously doing!). The site also includes Nigel Seeley’s World Cup betting previews, so check those out.
As for my own wagering, Thursday was a success as we had the Titans +3.5 at the Packers in their 27-17 upset. That was our fifth straight Best Bet winner and we’re 9-1 ATS the past 10 days, 13-4 ATS (76.5%) so far in November and 16-4-1 ATS (80%) the past three weeks overall.
We did lose a wager on SMU +3.5 at Tulane as the Mustangs were blown out 59-24, but it just counts as one loss – and that shows why it wasn’t our top play.
Let’s recap the rest of Thursday’s betting action and look for a Best Bet on Friday. Then, as has become our custom here, we’ll update our Wednesday column in which we give our “takes” on the full NFL Week 11 schedule.
NFL: Titans upset the Packers 27-17 on Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 11. The ViewFromVegas is the Titans did it after closing as 3.5-point road underdogs and +155 on the money line (game went Over the betting total of 40.5 points).
More NFL: Faves dipped to 88-60-1 SU on season with 2 pick-’ems, while dogs improved to 83-60-6 ATS (58%). Home teams lead 81-65-1 SU with 4 neutral-site games, but road teams improved to 72-69-6 ATS (51.1%). Unders dipped to 86-63-2 (57.7%) and primetime Unders dipped to 19-12-1 (61.3%).
CBB: Arizona State upset No. 20 Michigan in 87-62 rout as 7.5-point dog and +280 on the money line in Legends Classic at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Earlier, Murray State upset No. 24 Texas A&M 88-79 as a 13-point dog and +600 on ML at Myrtle Beach Invitational in South Carolina.
CFB: No. 21 Tulane routed SMU 59-24 to easily cover as 3.5-point home favorite in the only college football game on the main betting board on Thursday night. SE Louisiana (-13.5) routed Nicholls State 40-17 in an FCS game.
NBA: Faves went 2-1 SU on Thursday, but dogs led 2-1 ATS as the Nets (+2.5) upset Blazers 109-107 and Pistons (+11) covered in 96-91 SU loss at Clippers. The Kings (-7.5) covered in 130-112 win vs. Spurs. Home teams went 2-1 SU, but road teams led 2-1 ATS. Unders led 2-1.
More NBA: On the season, faves lead 142-77 SU with 4 games closing pick-’em, but dogs still lead 113-98-8 ATS (53.6%). Home teams lead 134-89 SU and 110-105-8 ATS (51.2%). Overs' lead in totals wagering dipped to 111-107-5 (50.9%).
NHL: Faves went 6-5 with Canadiens-Blue Jackets and Penguins-Wild closing pick-'em. The biggest upsets were by the Stars (+140 at Panthers) and Devils (+126 at Maple Leafs). Home teams went 8-5 while Unders led 7-6. On the season, faves lead 151-114 with 8 PKs. Home teams lead 144-124 with 4 neutral-site games. Unders improved slim lead to 134-131-8.
Friday’s Best Bet
South Florida +14 at Tulsa: Yes, we know South Florida (1-9, 0-6 and in last place in the American Athletic Conference) is terrible and on an eight-game losing streak. We’re not too thrilled to be putting our own winning streak on the line with the Bulls. However, Tulsa (3-7, 1-5) isn’t that great itself and has lost three straight games and six of seven. If this line was around a touchdown, we’d be passing for the first day since Oct. 26, but Tulsa shouldn’t be laying two TDs to anyone. In fact, the Golden Hurricane is 1-4 ATS as a favorite this season and the only game in this price range (-13.5 at Temple), it only won 27-16 but didn’t cover. USF needs QB Gerry Bohanon (6 TD passes, 9 INTs) to take better care of the ball, but Tulsa’s defense allows 32.5 points per game, so the Bulls should be able to stay close enough for our purposes here.
And here is our update of our Wednesday column on the full NFL Week 11 card:
Welcome to our weekly Wednesday column in which we give our “takes” on the complete NFL schedule.
Week 10 was another successful weekend in the Tuley’s Takes home office. Underdogs had another winning week in the NFL by going 8-6 ATS against the consensus closing lines from the books here in Las Vegas (and note that includes the Steelers closing as 1-point home favorites after being a short dog all week), but we fared even better as we went 4-2 ATS with Best Bets in last week’s column with wins on Broncos-Titans Under 38.5, Packers +4 vs. Cowboys, Chargers +7.5 at 49ers and Commanders +11 vs. Eagles but losses on Texans +4.5 at Giants and Jaguars +9.5 at Chiefs (though we warned readers we needed +10 to bet it and didn’t get it, but we’ll take the loss here as we did use it in some contests). We also had another winner with Vikings +7.5 from last Sunday night/Monday morning and hit all of our listed 2-team, 6-point teasers with Panthers +8.5/Lions +8.5, Seahawks +8.5/Lions +8.5 and Steelers +8.5/Lions +8.5 (we also recommended Cardinals in teasers, so hopefully some readers cashed in there as well).
I could go on and on about how well the “dog-or-pass philosophy” has been working this season, but you’re here for the picks, or maybe to see which dogs I’m unable to make a case for so you can bet the chalk. So, without further ado, let’s tackle the full NFL Week 11 card. Even if we don’t have a Best Bet on a game, I’ll give my “pool play” strategies for those in contests where you have to pick every game.
At the end, we’ll do an abbreviated version of our regular daily recaps on Tuesday night’s action (we hit our Best Bet on the biggest NHL dog of the day with the Sharks +240 over the Golden Knights) and then take a look at Wednesday’s betting card as we get ready for the weekend.
Note: Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of late Tuesday night unless otherwise noted. Check out VSIN.com's live NFL odds page HERE for current odds.
Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers (-3)
The Thursday nighter has lost some luster with the slow start by the Packers (4-6), but they are coming off their 31-28 come-from-behind win vs. the Cowboys as 5-point home dogs. I’ve done very well in Green Bay games whether I’ve been fading them (Week 1 at Vikings, Week 5 vs. Giants, Week 7 vs. Jets and Week 9 at Lions) or backing them (Week 3 at Buccaneers, Week 8 at Bills as they covered +10.5 in a 27-17 loss and Week 10 at Cowboys). We’re back to fading them here with the Titans, who rebounded themselves from a slow (0-2) start as they’re 6-1 straight-up since then with the only loss at the Chiefs in Week 9, though they covered as 14-point dogs in the 20-17 loss, so they’ve covered seven straight. Tennessee mostly relies on a strong defense (No. 8 in points allowed at 18.7 points per game) and RB Derrick Henry (second in NFL with 923 rushing yards), though QB Ryan Tannehill did return to the starting lineup and threw 2 TD passes in the 17-10 win vs. the Broncos that should be just the kind of low-scoring game that they’ll try to get into with the Packers here.
Best Bet: Titans +3 or better (pool play: Titans in all my rare contests that use the Thursday Night Football game). Thursday update: this line has been bet up to 3.5 at a couple of books (Circa, Golden Nugget, Stations) in Las Vegas and elsewhere, including DraftKings, so shop around. Friday update: WINNER on Titans at any number to start the weekend!!!
Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens (-12)
We gave this out on “The Greg Peterson’ Experience” on Sunday night and in Monday’s version of this column as we’ve said time and again this season that parity is alive and well even though the public perception out there is that there's a wide gap between the haves and have-nots. We feel validated by the fact that double-digits underdogs are 9-4 ATS against the closing lines. The Ravens usually lead by double digits in every game, but their defense has given up a lot of leads this year. The Panthers are playing better despite trading away RB Christian McCaffrey and are coming off a mini-bye after upsetting the Falcons 25-15 in the Week 10 Thursday nighter. I actually like the move to start Baker Mayfield over the injured PJ Walker as I believe that gives them the best chance to cover.
Best Bet: Panthers +12 (pool play: Panthers 67/33 in ATS contests, but Ravens still 90/10 in SU pools). Thursday update: this has been bet up to +13, which makes us like it even more.
Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills (-8)
I’m certainly tempted to fade the Bills again as I’ve cashed by going against them each of the last three weeks with the Packers, Jets and VIkings. As I’ve written before, they tend to play close games, but while Nick Chubb and the Browns’ running game gives them a chance to shorten the game and stay close, I’m just not comfortable trusting Jacoby Brissett to keep up with Josh Allen. With that being said, I think this is a good spot to start our Week 11 teaser portfolio with 2-team, 6 point teasers. Now, while this is a “Wong teaser” (I like to call them “advantage teasers”) as we capture the key numbers of 3 and 7, moving the favorites down hasn't been as strong this season. Regardless, I’ll pair this with my preferred dog teasers on the Raiders +8.5 at the Broncos and Vikings +7.5 (DraftKings down to Cowboys -1 as of early Wednesday, but some books are still at 1.5). Another possibility is teasing the 49ers down from -8 to -2 vs. the Cardinals in Mexico City on Monday night, though that’s a less-desirable play as I like the Cards as a live dog.
Best Bet: Bills -2/Raiders +8.5 in 2-team, 6-point teaser and others (pool play: Bills 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 85/15 in SU pools). Friday update: this game is being moved to Detroit because of a snowstorm hitting the Buffalo area, so check if you need to re-bet it at your book. Most books have dropped the line to Bills -1.5, so now we can tease them down to -1.5
Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5) at Indianapolis Colts
This is a similar situation to the Vikings last week when I took +7.5 on Sunday night and that disappeared when it was first reported that Allen wasn’t going to play. Later in the week in this column, I couldn’t give out the Vikings +3.5 in good conscience (with +7.5 in my proverbial pocket). This week, I gave out Colts +9.5 on Sunday night as I loved the value against an Eagles team that was undefeated at the time but was just 5-3-1 ATS with non-covering wins vs. the Lions, Cardinals and Texans. Of course, the Eagles went out on Monday Night Football and lost 32-21 to the Commanders, so this line has now been adjusted under a touchdown to Eagles -6.5. Personally, I’m not willing to bet on the Colts +6.5 when I already have +9.5 (and I don’t have to), but I’m left with a hard decision about whether to take them in my contests like the Circa Sports Million and Westgate SuperContest. I do like interim coach Jeff Saturday’ move to go back to Matt Ryan as the starting QB as it gives them the best chance to succeed. In fact, in last week’s column I wrote: “If Matt Ryan were to be put back into the starting QB job, I would be willing to take the points with the Colts, but not with Sam Ehlinger,” so my biggest regret of Week 10 was not taking the Colts. When it comes down to it, I’m probably going to take them in contests as regular readers will recognize this as an anti-swagger spot against the Eagles after having their 8-game losing streak snapped.
Best Bet: Colts +6.5 or higher even though we have better number in pocket (pool play: Colts 55/45 in ATS contests, but Eagles still 67/33 in SU pools). Thursday update: several books have gone to 7, which is certainly better than 6.5.
Washington Commanders (-3.5) at Houston Texans
This was looking like a game that most bettors would ignore in Week 11, but then the Commanders (5-5 SU, 5-4-1 ATS) upset the Eagles on Monday Night Football to put themselves in the thick of the NFC wild-card race. QB Carson Wentz has missed the last four games with a broken finger (Week 6 vs. the Bears) and the Commanders have gone 3-1 with Taylor Heinicke leading upsets of the Packers, Colts and Eagles. They were also beating the Vikings before losing 20-17 and pushing as 3-point home dogs. In fact, the Commanders are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games), so it’s no surprise that coach Ron Rivera said he wasn’t sure if Wentz would get his starting job back when he’s ready to return. The Commanders are also 2-0 SU and ATS when favored this season with wins over the Jaguars and Bears (note: we had them closing at pick-’em in their Week 2 loss at the Lions). The Texans (1-7-1 SU, 4-4-1 ATS) are worse than all those teams as they’re No. 29 in total offense and No. 30 in total defense – the NFL’s only team that ranks in the bottom four of both categories – so this line appears to be short at Washington -3 or even -3.5, so we have to pass on the underdog Texas, especially as they let us down last week at the Giants.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Commanders 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 75/25 in SU pools). Thursday update: we're still passing on the Commanders, but line is down to -3 at most books for those wanting to lay the favorite.
New York Jets at New England Patriots (-3)
The Jets are coming off their bye after upsetting the Bills 20-17 as 10.5-point home favorites in Week 9. That’s the only game they’ve played since losing at home to these same Patriots, 22-17, in Week 8. That doesn’t give me much confidence to take them here at such a low number, especially after RB Rhamondre Stevenson had 143 yards from scrimmage against them in that earlier meeting and we also expect Bill Belichick to have the correct game plan on both sides of the ball as they’re coming off their bye week, too.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Patriots 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 70/30 in SU pools). Thursday update: this is getting more tempting as Jets +3.5 now available.
Detroit Lions at New York Giants (-3)
This is another game where we were able to give out the opening line of Lions +4 on “The Greg Peterson Experience” (another shameless plug, but we feel we’ve proven that it pays to bet the opening lines if you have a good feel for how they’re going to move during the week). In this case, the line has been bet down to Giants -3, but we’re planning to stick with the Lions in our contest plays as long as the line doesn’t go any lower. The Giants (7-2 SU, 7-2 ATS) are arguably the biggest overachieving team so far in the NFL season, and now are just one game out of the NFC East lead after the Commanders’ upset of the previously undefeated Eagles. Many say the Giants are “doing it with mirrors” as they rank just No. 23 in total offense – relying mostly on league-leading rusher Saquon Barkley (931 rushing yards with QB Daniel Jones in game-manager mode) and No. 18 in total defense. The Lions also haven’t been too shabby of a team to back (5-3-1 ATS this season, 11-6 ATS last year) and are coming in off two minor upsets of the Packers and Bears when they closed as 4- and 3-point underdogs, both of which were right around this 3-point spread. The Lions, who were the NFL’s No. 1 team in points per game through the first four weeks of the season before being shut out by the Patriots, still rank No. 6 in total offense at 371.2 yards per game, so we’re counting on them to be able to win a shootout, or even a 15-9 game like they did against the Packers.
Best Bet: Lions +3 or better even though we have +4 in pocket (pool play: Lions 67/33 in ATS contests – even higher if offered +3.5 – and we’ll call for outright upset at 55/45 in SU pools as well).
Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints (-4)
A lot of people expected the Rams to have a hard time defending their Super Bowl title, but I don’t think anyone expected them to be 3-6 and ranking a woeful No. 31 in total offense at a mere 282.7 yards per game. Star WR Cooper Kupp has been put on IR and QB Matthew Stafford is still in concussion protocol as of this writing, but we’re not sure we would have been backing them anyway – certainly not with John Wolford starting again.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Saints 55/45 in ATS contest and 70/30 in SU pools).
Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons (-3)
This game is certainly more appealing than it would have been a few short weeks ago. The Falcons are in the NFC wild-card hunt and were actually tied with the Buccaneers for the NFC South lead before losing to the Panthers 25-15 a week ago Thursday. Meanwhile, the Bears have gone from having one of the worst offenses in the NFL to a team that upset the Patriots 33-14 in Week 7, lost to the Cowboys in Week 8 but still scored 29 points against a pretty good defense, scored 32 in a loss to the Dolphins and 30 points in a loss to the Lions thanks to dual-threat QB Justin Fields running wild and looking much improved in the passing game as well. I’m not expecting the Falcons to shut him down, but this number is still too short to take the Bears.
Best Bet: Pass for now, possibly would take Bears at +3.5 (pool play: Bears 55/45 in ATS contests, but Falcons still 60/40 in SU pools). Thursday update: several books have gone to Falcons -3 with added juice, so we might get the +3.5 on the Bears.
Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos (-2.5)
When the Broncos acquired QB Russell Wilson and the Raiders added WR Davante Adams, many expect the AFC West to be the NFL’s strongest division, but both teams have underachieved with the Broncos at 3-6 and the Raiders at 2-7 (0-6 in one-score games) and pretty much playing out the string. The Broncos have been able to stay in most of their games thanks to the No. 2 defense (allowing just 290.4 points per game) that allows the fewest points (16.6 per game). The downside is the Broncos’ offense is dead-last with 14.6 points per game with Wilson not coming through in the clutch like he has throughout his career. Denver is 1-5 in its last five games with the only win being over the Jaguars in London. The Raiders are 1-4 in their last five games since beating the Broncos 32-23 in Week 4, but oddsmakers have still installed the Broncos as 2.5-point favorites. I’m not willing to take the Raiders at such a short price; however, their 0-6 record in one-score games at least shows their ability to stay close, so we’re certainly willing to tease this up over a touchdown.
Best Bet: Raiders +8.5/Vikings +7.5 in 2-point, 6-point teasers in “afternoon games” (pool play: Raiders 55/45 in ATS contests, but Broncos 55/45 in SU pools).
Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5) at Los Angeles Chargers
This game has actually been flexed to the Sunday Night Football spot – and with good reason. However, here’s another underdog that is just a little too light as we really feel the oddsmakers are shading the lines a little lower due to the fact so many dogs have been covering this season. The Chiefs are starting to hit their stride with three straight wins over the 49ers, Titans and Jaguars – with the only non-cover being when favored by 14 vs. the Titans. We’ve had a lot of success fading the Chiefs in recent years as they still continue to play a lot of close games despite Patrick Mahomes and a lot of offensive weapons, including the Chargers covering 27-24 in their earlier meeting this season. I am concerned with all the injuries the Chargers have been battling, though they were still able to come through for us on Sunday night at the 49ers as 8-point dogs in a 22-16 loss. So, even though the line is a little short, I’ll probably still be on the Chargers.
Best Bet: Pass for now, but hoping for Chargers +7 (pool play: Chargers 55/45 in ATS contests – higher if offered +7 or +7.5 – but Chiefs still 75/25 in SU pools). Thursday update: line actually moving down to 6 and even 5.5 at some books, so definitely passing now.
Dallas Cowboys (-1) at Minnesota Vikings
We loved the Vikings +7.5 early last week vs. the Bills as they have the offensive firepower with Kirk Cousins spreading the ball around to Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, etc., and we expect them to do the same even with the Cowboys having the No. 5 scoring defense, allowing just 18.2 points per game. This line opened at Cowboys -1.5 at a lot of books, including -2 at Circa Sports in Las Vegas, but support has been coming in on the Vikes as it’s down to 1 at DraftKings and most other books, though some books (Circa, BetMGM) are holding the line at +1.5 as of early Wednesday, which makes them teasable up through the key numbers to +7.5.
Best Bet: Vikings in teasers if you can take +1.5 up to +7.5 (pool play: Vikings 55/45 in ATS contests while Cowboys 55/45 in SU pools). Thursday update: most books back up to 1.5, so tease away.
Cincinnati Bengals (-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Bengals have battled through the “Super Bowl loser hangover” as they lost their first games of the season to these same Steelers and the Cowboys, but they’re 5-2 SU since and 6-1 ATS with the only bad game in that stretch being a 32-13 loss at the Browns as they’re hoping to keep that momentum going until WR Ja’Marr Chase can return from his hip injury. Meanwhile, the Steelers had an up-and-down season at 3-6 SU and 4-4-1 ATS, though we’re certainly encouraged by that Week 1 upset in Cincinnati and we love getting points in rematches where the dog actually showed they can beat the favorite. The Steelers are also coming off a 20-10 win vs. the Saints in which they played their first complete game since their Week 6 upset of the Buccaneers as 9.5-point home dogs. We haven’t mentioned this yet this week, but home dogs are 29-22-4 ATS (56.9%) with 23 outright upsets this season.
Best Bet: Steelers +5 (pool play: Steelers 60/40 in ATS contests though Bengals still 55/45 in SU pools). Thursday update: line down to 4 at most books -- I wouldn't take any fewer points than that.
San Francisco 49ers (-8) at Arizona Cardinals
The Monday nighter is being played on a neutral site in Mexico City. The advance line on this game over the summer was around 49ers -1.5 and was still under a touchdown last week. However, the San Fran bandwagon has been filling up since acquiring RB Christian McCaffrey even though they’ve been routed by the Chiefs 44-23 and beaten the Rams and Chargers (and didn’t cover as 8-point favorites) since then. So, this line is now up to 49ers -8 and I can’t resist taking the Cardinals plus the points even though it’s tempting to tease the 49ers down to -2 (which we’ll probably also do and have a nice shot at a middle). The Cardinals have also received a boost from an added offensive player as WR DeAndre Hopkins missed the first games of the season due to a PED suspension. The Cardinals’ offense has opened up as their point totals in the last four games are 42, 26, 21 and 27 for an average of 29 points per game. Anything around that should keep them within a TD of the 49ers. .
Best Bet: Cardinals +8 (pool play: Cardinals 67/33 in ATS contests, but 49ers still 67/33 in SU pools). Friday update: our only concern is Hopkins missing practice on Thursday, but hopefully that's just precautionary and he'll be able to play Monday.