It’s Preakness Week, which is usually an exciting week at the Tuley’s Takes home office as everyone tries to figure out if the Kentucky Derby winner can complete the next step on the road to the Triple Crown, but we don’t have that this year with Country House (and disqualified winner Maximum Security) both skipping the Preakness.
However, it’s still a great betting week with the ongoing NBA & NHL playoffs in addition to the PGA Championship on Thursday through Sunday. Besides, the Preakness is actually looking like a very good betting race as we likely have a field of 12, the biggest field since 2011 when Animal Kingdom won the Derby at 21-1 as there’s not a superhorse to scare any owners/trainers from taking a shot at the $900,000 first-place prize in the $1.5 million purse and a replica of the Woodlawn Vase, not to mention a classic victory on the breeding resume.
The draw isn’t until 5 p.m. Wednesday (well after Point Spread Weekly should be in your hands), but with a smaller field than the Derby and jockeys better able to get the trip they want, I don’t expect to change my opinion on the entrants, so let’s get to the Preakness and then I’ll update my NBA & NHL “takes” and my foursome for the PGA.
TULEY’S TAKES ON PREAKNESS ENTRANTS
(alphabetical order; estimated odds before draw):
This is the obligatory local Maryland entry. These can usually be discarded, but Alwaysmining has a legitimate shot, especially with the top Derby contenders absent. However, even though he has a lot of 1’s in his running lines, he probably won’t be able to get to the early lead here as Warrior’s Charge and Market King have more early speed. Still, I expect him to still be in contention in deep stretch.
He has back-to-back runner-up finishes in the Sunland Derby and Lexington Stakes, but that puts him a tier below the top contenders here. I can see him hanging around and passing tiring horses in the stretch to fill out the trifecta or superfecta but don’t see him as serious win threat.
Like most of the runners in the 19-horse Derby, Bodexpress had a troubled trip and wasn’t able to make a run. His best race so far was second to Maximum Security in the Florida Derby and was flattered by the latter’s Derby performance. Regardless, Bodexpress’ best probably has him finishing outside the money here.
Bourbon War (10-1)
Fourth in the aforementioned Florida Derby, this is another horse whose projected win odds are lower than where I set their true odds. His best races have been against lesser competition and I’m not using him Saturday.
The losing Derby favorite at 4-1 (Maximum Security closed 9-2) is getting all the pre-Preakness attention as he was also the best Derby finisher (fourth after the DQ) to be heading to Maryland. He certainly fits, but is a clear underlay. I’ll still use him in my exotics but not putting on top.
Laughing Fox (20-1)
He comes off a win in the Oaklawn Invitational on Derby Day, but that was after all the best horses left Oaklawn for Churchill Downs. He was well back of Omaha Beach, Game Winner and Market King in the Rebel and Omaha Beach, Improbable and Country House in the Arkansas Derby. I could see some people taking a flier on him and hoping he’s a late developer, but I don’t think his best puts him in the mix.
Market King (30-1)
The last horse added to the Preakness field (as of Tuesday morning’s writing), I see him as a pace factor. Can he steal it on the front end? Anything’s possible, but don’t see him good enough to hold off the many quality closers in this field.
Here’s another horse that I feel is getting too much respect. Again, maybe a late developer off his Lexington victory, but even a repeat of that performance just has him picking up pieces in deep stretch.
With the two scratches in the Derby, Signalman could have been in the field if his connections had paid the $50,000 to put him on the also-eligible list. He woulda been in post #20, just outside eventual winner Country House and Bodexpress, but we’ll never know what would have happened. He’s obviously a fresh horse off his third-place finish in the Blue Grass and I have him as my top longshot play.
War of Will (3-1)
He was the horse actually cut off by Maximum Security; we’ll never know what would have happened if he wasn’t interfered with, but he’s been made the second choice here. He’s definitely a threat, but I still have him a cut below my top horses.
Warrior’s Charge (16-1)
A lot of people are questioning if this colt belongs in this race as he’s eligible for “non-winners of two other than maiden or starter” and hasn’t run in a stakes race yet. However, Warrior’s Charge is obviously improving at the right time and maybe we haven’t seen his best. He’s most likely just a pace factor, but I give him a better chance of sticking around than the other speed horses.
Win Win Win (8-1)
As mentioned before, most Derby also-rans have a legitimate excuse for not getting to run their race and Win Win Win is definitely one of them. He’s my top choice here off his second-place finish in the Blue Grass (where he overcame trouble unlike the Derby), but I really go back to his minor stakes win at Tampa Bay, even though it was at seven furlongs, for a race that puts him in contention and hopefully in the Win Win Winner’s circle.
So, here’s my 1-2-3-Longshot picks. I’ll probably just have win money on Win Win Win and Signalman, then box these horses in exactas, trifectas and superfectas, with some smaller tickets subbing in Anothertwistafate, Warrior’s Charge and War of Will:
1-Win Win Win (8-1)
TULEY’S TAKES ON NBA PLAYOFFS
This is an update of what I posted Monday morning on the VSiN.com website (and in the free VSiN daily newsletter (if you’re not reading it every day, you really should).
It took a while – including two pretty entertaining Game 7’s on Sunday – but the NBA’s version of the Final Four is finally set. This is my Tuley’s Takes update from last week’s Point Spread Weekly as we set the table before this week’s issue.
Series: Blazers ( 380) vs. Warriors (-475)
Game 1 (Tuesday): Warriors -8, O/U 218.5
Tuley’s Take: I was sitting at 19-16-1 ATS in the playoffs heading into Tuesday’s night’s series opener. I trust everyone saw my play on the Warriors Friday night in the VSiN daily newsletter after the line was overadjusted following Kevin Durant’s injury in the prior game. I still can’t believe the Rockets went off as 7.5-point home favorites in that game. But now we move on to this intriguing series and I’m back to fading the Warriors. These teams split the regular-season series 2-2 but all the games took place before Jusuf Nurkic was hurt for the Blazers and of course before Durant’s injury. I’m not sure the Blazers can win 4-of-7, so I’m passing on the series price, but on a game-to-game basis, this is going to come down to which team is hitting more of its 3-pointers and I feel that the Blazers will have a better ATS record in the series (like I said with the Rockets vs. the Warriors last round and they were 4-1 ATS before I flipped to the Warriors). So, I’ll start with the Blazers plus the points in both games in Oakland on Tuesday and Thursday and expect to take them as short home underdogs when the series moves to Portland on Saturday and Monday. (Note: I’m sticking with this plan despite the rout by the Warriors in Game 1.) Series: Raptors ( 250) vs. Bucks (-300) Game 1 (Wednesday): Bucks -6.5, O/U 218 Tuley’s Take: This is another intriguing series, but I’m actually less confident in the underdog Raptors to win this series or cover a majority of games. Most of my doubts come from the fact the Bucks went to Toronto and swept those two meetings on the road; so even though the price is shorter, I like the Bucks’ chances better to advance to the NBA Finals. So, I’m taking the Raptors as road dogs in Games 1 and 2 on Wednesday and Friday, but I’ll flip to the Bucks if they’re road dogs in Games 3 and/or 4 in Toronto on Sunday and next Tuesday.
TULEY’S TAKES ON NHL CONFERENCE FINALS I
haven’t posted any NHL plays the past week because I finally backed off on our 1st Period Over/ Under plays, plus I was pretty sure the favored Boston Bruins would be too much for the Hurricanes. I kinda liked the St. Louis Blues as short series underdogs vs. the San Jose Sharks but didn’t feel the price was high enough to make it worthwhile; however, with the Blues down 1-0 heading into Monday’s Game 2, I took 2-1 odds on the Blues to win the series and I hope readers followed along as they won 4-2 Monday and are now favored between -125 and -130. I know some will be tempted to take the Sharks around 110 to win the series before Wednesday’s Game 3 to lock in a profit, but with the Blues holding home-ice advantage, I’m going to let it ride.
TULEY’S TAKE ON PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
As I wrote prior to the Masters, I’ve had my share of successes in golf’s majors, including giving out Dustin Johnson at 12-1 to win the 2016 U.S. Open at ESPN. com and followed that up with Henrik Stenson at 25-1 to win the British Open, and then last year here at VSiN.com, I had some close calls, especially Zach Johnson leading The Open after Friday’s second round at 75/1 and then had Tiger Woods, who held the lead on Sunday afternoon, at 20/1 along with Justin Rose, who made a late run at 17/1. So, I get a ton of inquiries for my live longshots when the majors roll around. I like to pick a foursome to cheer for with future bets, but these can also be used for head-to-head matchups as well as the ever-increasing golf contests that can be part of your wagering portfolio.
Francesco Molinari (25-1)
He broke my heart by outlasting my contenders in The Open last year, but I gained a ton of respect for his game. He was leading the Masters heading into the final round and I expect him to be in contention again (at a more than fair price).
Bryson DeChambeau (35-1) I’ve been on him in a lot of majors (unfortunately, not betting him on any of his five Tour wins), but he’s still a bettable price.
Paul Casey (50-1)
When going down the list of “best golfer to not win a major,” there are many with much shorter odds (Jon Rahm 16-1, Tony Finau 20-1, Tommy Fleetwood 25-1, etc.) but the best overlay price of the bunch is Casey at 50-1.
Zach Johnson (200-1)
I know he’s just as famous now for accidentally hitting his ball on a practice swing at this year’s Masters, but the two-time major winner is always a live longshot when he’s on his game. And, if the books are offering 200-1, I’m taking it in case this is the weekend he puts it all together again.
Best of luck with whatever you’re playing this week