Tuley-s Takes: NFL Week 1 and NHL/NBA Playoffs

NFL WEEK 1 (William Hill as of Tuesday)

BEARS -3.5 Packers

VIKINGS -4.5 Falcons

EAGLES -8.5 Redskins

JETS -3.5 Bills

Ravens -4 DOLPHINS

BUCS -1 49ers

Chiefs -5 JAGUARS

BROWNS -5.5 Titans

Rams -3 PANTHERS

CARDS PK Lions S

EAHAWKS -7.5 Bengals

CHARGERS -3.5 Colts

COWBOYS -7.5 Giants

PATRIOTS -6 Steelers

SAINTS -7.5 Texans

RAIDERS -2.5 Broncos

HOME in CAPS

The NFL released its 2019 schedule last week and sports books were quick to post Week 1 lines. You might have seen an article already about betting these openers and I’m sure this won’t be the last, but most of those other articles take the wrong approach. They’ll tell you which teams have improved from last year and why certain teams should cover, but they’re missing the point (and it’s all about the points!).

Sure, ultimately you want any of your wagers to be winners when the game actually gets played, but if you’re going to tie up part of your betting bankroll for 4.5 months, you need to view these lines not as a handicapper/bettor but as an investor.

Last year, if you had followed the advice in my Point Spread Weekly article, you could have had the Browns 7 vs. the Steelers (closed Steelers -3.5; Browns covered in 21-21 tie); the Giants 4 vs. the Jaguars (closed Jags -3; we lost this one 20-15); and the Bears 9 vs. the Packers (closed Packers -7; Bears covered in 24-23 loss). I’m not perfect as we actually took a worse line with the Buccaneers 7.5 vs. the Saints and it closed Saints -10, but we lucked into a 48-40 win thanks to Ryan Fitzpatrick.

So, you can see there’s value to be found at this time of year, so let’s look over the Week 1 schedule. Lines are from the William Hill books in Nevada (and elsewhere) as of Tuesday afternoon unless otherwise noted.

SPEAKING OF MIDDLES…

We alluded to this about setting up potential middle opportunities in September by locking in good numbers now, but if you were in New Jersey on Monday or Tuesday, you could have had a tailor-made middle as FanDuel was offering the Saints -6.5 and William Hill and PointsBet had the Texans 7.5. Check to see if it’s still available. And there was also the possibility of setting up a “side” (where you could win one side and push the other while just risking the vig on one bet) as the Raiders were -2.5 at most books with the Broncos 3 at FanDuel. Even if you’re not in New Jersey, it’s a good reminder to keep an eye out for such opportunities wherever you are making your wagers.

LINES NOT WORTH BETTING NOW

The season opener on Thursday, Sept. 5, features the Packers at the Bears, who are 3.5-point home favorites at William Hill and -4 at a few other books. Barring any major injuries, that’s right where this line should be hovering in September.

Two popular opinions are that the Ravens are going to rout the Dolphins (who many predict to be the worst team in the league) and the Chiefs are going to do the same to the Jaguars, but both are favored around -4 to -5 and those are unlikely to change by Labor Day. The same goes for the Browns (who everyone seems to be in love with for a change) vs. the Titans, but they’re in that same price range.

The Eagles are 8.5-point faves over the Redskins; that might waver a bit between 7.5 and 9.5, but no value in buying in this range unless you’re sure it’s going to 7 or 10. The Patriots -6 vs. the Steelers also looks solid.

And can you separate the 49ers-Buccaneers or Lions-Cardinals? Those are destined to stay between pick ‘em and -2.5 either way and should be avoided for now.

There’s one play we missed and that was the Rams -2.5 at the Panthers. That’s at -3 pretty much everywhere (and could cross the key number before gameday), so if you find a stale Rams -2.5, grab it.

One last play I was considering is the Bengals 7.5 at the Seahawks; however, I could see that line going higher, so I’ll wait.

FOUR GAMES TO BET NOW

Falcons 4.5 at Vikings: I have these teams power-rated closer to pick ‘em, so anything over a field goal is value. Some books have had it at 3.5, so I believe it’s much more likely to get bet down (and if it happens to get bet higher, it doesn’t hurt much to miss out on 5 or 5.5 as those are pretty dead numbers).  

Bills 3.5 vs. Jets: Some people are expecting the Jets to be better than the Bills (CG Technology set the Jets’ over/under season win total at 7 and the Bills at 6), but I don’t see that much difference between the teams – and certainly not enough to have the Jets favored by more than a field goal even with home-field advantage. I believe this is more likely to settle at 3 and I’d love to have the hook in this matchup.

Colts 3.5 vs. Chargers: Basically the same reason as above. These two teams are pretty even and the line will likely close at 3 and the hook is valuable; in fact, most books have gone to 3 so grab any 3.5s ASAP.

Giants 7.5 vs. Cowboys: It’s a similar case here as plenty of books are already at 7. It’s highly doubtful that this line steams any higher in this rivalry game, and we again have the hook working for us if it settles in at a touchdown.

TULEY’S TAKES ON NHL PLAYOFFS

This week’s Point Spread Weekly falls at an awkward time as we’re waiting for the first round to end and set up the schedule for the conference semifinals. We’re had a great start to the playoffs here in the Tuley’s Takes home office as we gave out the Stars 160 in their series against the Predators in our betting preview before the opening round (and also mentioned we were adding the Islanders 135 vs. the Penguins on VSiN’s “Follow the Money” show on Wednesday, April 10).

After finishing the last three months of the regular season at 56 units on 1st Period Over/Unders (mostly 1P Overs with the #FollowtheMoney6, plus the Stars as the top 1P Under team), we didn’t think “playoff hockey” would have an adverse effect and we forged ahead. We added another 8.5 units of profit the first week (led by the Blue Jackets-Lightning series, featuring FTM6 teams facing each other, going 3-1 with 1P Overs in their short series). The Penguins’ games also went 3-1 with 1P Overs. This past week didn’t go as well as we were reduced to playing straight bets (no parlays) with the Sharks 1P Overs and the Stars 1P Unders and gave back 3.5 units of profit, mostly due to the Stars having 1P Overs in Games 4 & 5 of their series with the Predators and the SharksGolden Knights 1P staying Under in Game 6 on Sunday. We cashed on the Stars’ 1P Under hit in Game 6 to finish the series at 4-2 before losing with the Sharks 1P Over in Game 7 on Tuesday to fall to 4-3 in the series and drop us back to 4.75 units in the playoffs.

As for the second round, I’m going to continue playing 1P Overs in games involing the Blue Jackets and the Sharks and the 1P Unders in the Stars’ games and hopefully we get some days where multiple teams are playing so we can parlay.

I’ll post an NHL playoffs update for all-access subscribers on the VSiN.com website when we have the full schedule set for the coming week. I’m not sure how many series bets I’ll have this round, but I’m already on the Stars again at 135 vs. the Blues.

TULEY’S TAKES ON NBA PLAYOFFS

We’re in the same boat with the NBA playoffs as we’re waiting for all the second-round matchups to be set as well as the daily schedules. I’ll also have an NBA playoffs update for all-access subscribers on VSiN.com.

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