I was out of the Tuley’s Takes home office last week as I drove my younger kids to summer camp near Yosemite National Park and spent the week in San Francisco with my wife and eldest child, Jordyn.
I’m sure it was similar to vacations the rest of you take, doing the touristy stuff during the day but making sure to get to a sports bar or restaurant with plenty of TVs to watch the nightly action in the NBA and NHL playoffs as well as MLB. I was still betting through friends and tracking my future wagers.
When we last gathered here in Point Spread Weekly two weeks ago, I wrote about going for the gusto and recommended many long-shot wagers, such as the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks to knock off the Philadelphia 76ers as + 250 series underdogs when that series was tied 2-2 (cha-ching!) as well as 20-1 to win the Eastern Conference and 66-1 to win the NBA Finals. I agreed with VSiN colleague Jonathan Von Tobel to back the Los Angeles Clippers to knock out the Utah Jazz at even money (again, cha-ching!) as well as + 240 to win the Western Conference and + 550 to win the NBA title. In the NHL, I recommended a flyer on the Montreal Canadiens to win the Stanley Cup at 28-1, though my similar wagers on the New York Islanders came up short.
As we entered this week, those future bets weren’t looking as strong as they were earlier, so I’d love to hear from readers who joined me on any of those bets whether you’ve started hedging. With the Hawks trailing the Bucks 2-1 heading into Tuesday night’s Game 4, the Clippers trailing the Suns 3-2 heading into Wednesday night’s Game 6 and the Canadiens trailing the Lightning 1-0 in the Stanley Cup Final, I’m starting to look at my options while still holding out hope.
Of course, I also kept up on the action so I could post my nightly betting results on Twitter @ViewFromVegas and in the next morning’s VSiN newsletter, so let’s do an update on those as we head into the rest of the week and the holiday weekend.
TAKES ON NHL PLAYOFFS
As mentioned, I’m still hopeful the Canadiens will be able to get back into the series, starting in Wednesday’s Game 2 as + 185 road underdogs or when the series moves to Montreal for Games 3 and 4 on Friday and Monday. The Lightning dominated in a 5-1 rout in Monday’s Game 1, but that kind of letdown isn’t out of the ordinary after a big long shot wins a hard-fought series, such as the Canadiens did against the Golden Knights. I expect a better showing the rest of the week.
As we’ve seen all during the playoffs, favorites were just 41-36 overall with three pick-’ems, way below how well faves are expected to perform. And don’t forget the Canadiens are a huge part of that as all four of their first-round wins over the Maple Leafs were at + 175 or higher. Their Game 1 win over the Winnipeg Jets in the next round was at + 130 before oddsmakers and bettors caught up to how well they were playing and made them favorites, and then all four wins over the Golden Knights were at + 150 or higher.
In totals wagering, Game 1 went Over, but Unders have been the way to go. Unders lead 39-34-7 (53.4%) in the playoffs after going 5-2-6 in the semifinals. Those six pushes are especially noteworthy as we’re rarely seeing games with totals of 5.5, so all those pushes have been coming on Over/Under 5. Wednesday’s total is also at 5, though several books are adding juice of -115 or -120. I doubt any will go to 5.5, but I’d grab Under 5.5 if one pops up — but be prepared to lay similar extra juice if it does.
TAKES ON NBA PLAYOFFS
Heading into Tuesday night, NBA playoff favorites were 47-27 SU (63.5%) with one pick-’em and 42-31-1 ATS (57.5%), so underdogs haven’t fared as well overall. However, while faves are 4-3 SU with the matchups in this round, dogs actually lead 4-3 ATS.
The lone pick-’em is relevant as that occurred in Game 4 of the Suns-Clippers series, which the Suns won 84-80 on Saturday to take a 3-1 lead, and that looks like the most common line for Game 5.
Even with fans back in the stands, home-court advantage hasn’t been worth much in this year’s playoffs, with home teams leading just 41-34 SU (54.7%) and 38-36-1 ATS (51.4%). In this round, home and road teams have split 4-4 SU, while road teams lead 5-3 ATS.
Similar to the NHL, we’ve seen a trend toward the Under in the NBA as they’re 5-3 in this round and lead 38-35-2 overall. Oddsmakers have adjusted as the total for Wednesday’s Suns-Clippers game is 214.5 after being in the 220s earlier in the series.
TAKES ON MLB
I’ve been getting questions from readers wondering why I post the straight-up records for MLB favorites in my nightly recaps since I usually don’t do that for the moneyline sports, in which the chalk is going to cash at well over 50%. I’ve been doing it this season because underdogs were barking so often early in the season that faves were hitting at much lower than the 57-58% we see most years.
Well, the favorites have been faring much better in the last month and were up to 660-470 (58.4%) with 36 pick-’ems through Monday, so right back to historical expectations. We’ll continue to monitor how these are faring and might discontinue season-to-date SU updates after the All-Star break if we’re back to normal.
The Over/Under running totals continue to be relevant. Unders started strong, and about a month ago I said to expect more Overs with the weather warming up, though I failed to predict MLB’s crackdown on pitchers using foreign substances. Through Monday, Overs held a relatively slim lead at 567-555-40 (50.5%) for the season.
Since the start of the crackdown June 21, Unders are actually ahead 42-39-4, so credit the pitchers for adapting — or credit the oddsmakers.