We’re past horse racing’s Triple Crown, which really puts us in “summer vacation season” in the Tuley’s Takes home office (well, that and the temperatures hitting 100 degrees here in Vegas).
We still have the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final to wrap up to officially put a bow on those seasons, so I’ll lay out my betting strategies below. I’ll be taking next week off from this Point Spread Weekly column as I’ll be in San Francisco with my wife and oldest child while the younger kids are at summer camp at Yosemite (note to thieves: I have a housesitter and two chihuahua guard dogs, so don’t get any ideas!).
For those interested, I will continue with “Tuley’s Takes Today,” the daily version of this column at VSiN.com (275 straight days without a day off as of this writing) each morning until the Stanley Cup is awarded.
So, let’s clean out my reporter’s notebook.
Tuley’s Take on Belmont/Triple Crown
Mo Donegal won the Belmont after going off as the 5-2 favorite, so you know I didn’t bet him. From an objective standpoint. I had mixed emotions as I have a friend who was part of owner Mike Repole’s 70-plus group in the winner’s circle, but I had a bitter taste in my mouth because me and another friend, John Lauro from my “Team Tuley’s Thoroughbred Takes” column, had Mo Donegal at 100-1 in the Kentucky Derby futures, and I kept wishing he had put in that performance five weeks earlier.
In the end, I prefer to be philosophical about such things and look at the big picture. I’ve written many times that I would rather be early on a horse (or team or athlete), as that’s when you get the best odds in futures or in a given race, as opposed to waiting until everyone else is on the bandwagon. It didn’t pay off this time, but we’ll stick to that approach.
Tuley’s non-Take on U.S. Open/LIV
I guess I should comment on the elephant in the room as this week’s U.S. Open is being overshadowed by the current war between the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series, even though my opinion is mostly “no comment.” It’s not that I don’t care, but my approach to this and most other off-the-field matters such as labor negotiations, pandemic impacts on schedules, big contract news, stadium deals or relocations, etc., etc., etc., is that I just want to know who’s playing and then I’ll handicap accordingly. Most of this stuff is trivial in my world and I’ll wait for the appropriate parties to sort out whatever they need to sort out, and we’ll just concentrate on the action on the field, court, course, ice, etc.
As for handicapping the U.S. Open, I’ll mostly defer to VSiN’s “Longshots” podcast and the golf coverage in this issue of PSW by my colleagues Wes Reynolds, Brady Kannon and Matt Youmans. Though, having said all that, I’m considering plays on Dustin Johnson (33-1, Circa), Patrick Reed (135-1, Circa), Bryson DeChambeau (132-1, Circa) and Phil Mickelson (375-1) as they seem to be overadjusted based on their LIV affiliation and it would be great drama if any of them were in contention on Sunday.
Tuley’s Takes on NHL
I’ve already gone on record on “The Lookahead” show on Sunday night and the “Tuley’s Takes Today” columns with the Lightning + 155 series price against the Avalanche (note: I believe this is the first U.S. sports championship series that pits two mascots named after natural phenomena as opposed to animals/people since the 2012 NBA Finals when the Heat beat the Thunder). The Avalanche will be a tough out, but the two-time defending champion Lightning have the edge in experience as well as the better goaltender in Andrei Vasilevskiy. It’s always a tough handicap to try to determine if a team on a long layoff like the Avalanche will benefit from the rest or suffer from rust, so we’re just going with the series price and counting on the Lightning to steal one of the first two games in Colorado.
I also lean to the Over throughout the series. We’ve seen most playoff games be lined at 5.5 or 6.5 this postseason, but the oddsmakers set this total at six goals. At that number, I see the Over going something like a profitable 3-2-1 if this series goes six games.
Tuley’s Takes on NBA
We’re still sitting on our Celtics series bet, though it doesn’t look as good as when they were up 1-0 and 2-1. They now trail 3-2 heading into Thursday’s Game 6 and need to win the last two games to win the title. I caught some heat on Twitter last Wednesday when, with the Celtics leading 2-1 and seemingly in control of the series, I made a mini-hedge/shot-at-middle with the Warriors + 3.5 in Game 4, but it turned out to be the right call as they won 107-97 to even the series.
Even though the Celtics are now back at home and in the zig-zag role (40-31 ATS overall in this year’s playoffs after going 7-3 ATS in the conference finals and starting 3-0 ATS in the Finals before the Celtics failed on Monday), I think I’m going to take the Warriors again in Game 6 as 4-point road underdogs. If they win, I cut my losses on the series bet; if they lose, it keeps my series bet alive. Obviously I’m hoping for a Boston win between one and four points, even though we know how unlikely that is as only seven of the 86 games this postseason have had the point spread come into play (fave win but not cover).
Tuley’s Takes on MLB
The dog days of summer haven’t been good for the dogs lately — or at least the dogs we’ve been backing.
Since we last met here in PSW last Wednesday, MLB favorites went 49-32 (60.5 percent) through Monday’s games, and that includes dogs coming out ahead 9-7 on Saturday and 8-7 on Sunday. On the season, faves are hitting at 60.7 percent through Monday when they’re usually closer to 59 percent.
Our swagger/anti-swagger plays have been in a bit of a slump, too, though we had the Brewers + 135 versus the Mets pending on Tuesday.
For those following along with the streaking teams, the Braves had a 12-game winning streak heading into Tuesday’s action (they were -255 chalk at the Nationals) while the Yankees and Giants had more modest winning streaks at four apiece. On the losing side of the ledger, the Pirates and Cubs both had seven-game losing streaks heading into Tuesday (Pirates had a doubleheader at the Cardinals while the Cubs hosted the Padres).
Tuley’s Takes on USFL
We split our two Unders last weekend, which makes sense as the totals market has leveled off after a topsy-turvy regular season. As we predicted, Unders started strong at 8-4 through the first three weeks and then the books overadjusted and Overs went 11-1 the next three weeks. They went 2-2 in Weeks 7 and 8, and then Unders went 3-1 in Week 9 for their first winning week since Week 3.
This is the final weekend of the 10-week regular season and I’m still trying to figure out if it’ll be similar to the traditional NFL Week 17 (and now Week 18).
I’ll post my official plays closer to the weekend in “Tuley’s Takes Today” at VSiN.com.