I’m taking the family to Disneyland this weekend for Mickey’s Halloween Party, but it feels like we were already on a roller coaster last weekend in the Tuley’s Takes home office.
We went 1-2 with our NCAA best bets. Northwestern 28 got routed 52- 3 by Ohio State on Friday night. We won outright with Baylor 4 as we were proud to be contrarian to the whole world being on Oklahoma State as the Bears won 45 - 27. But then we lost with Tulane 4 as we were on the popular dog that got rolled 47-17.
On Sunday, favorites were dominating — they finished NFL Week 7 at 9-5 ATS. Yet we were 4-2 ATS through the afternoon games with our best bets here in Point Spread Weekly and 3-1 in the SuperContest, 2 -1 in the Circa Sports Million and 4-2 in the Golden Nugget. As we’ve been documenting all year, the dogs have been barking in the NFL, so it’s understandable that I’ve also been rolling along at about 60%. However, I actually feel better if I’m pulling a winning record out of a week like this when the chalk is coming in but I’m finding the rare live dogs. Unfortunately, the weekend didn’t end so well, with losses on the Eagles 3 and the Jets 9.5 in the Sunday and Monday night games. So, in the end, we went 4-4 ATS with our best bets here and dipped below 60% for the reason at 29-20 ATS (59.2%).
Let’s get to the NFL Week 8 card, and then I’ll try to get back on the winning track in college football and update my “takes” on other sports. (I hope all-access subscribers saw my “Tuley’s Takes Extra!” column on the World Series at vsin. com, especially with the Nationals winning 5-4 in Game 1.) For newbies, I give my “take” on each NFL game and—since I’m a huge proponent of contest play, as you could see in the intro—I’ll at least give my contest strategy for those looking for input on contests when they have to play the whole card. Lines are as of Tuesday afternoon (except where noted, especially for line-shopping purposes).
Takes on NFL
Redskins (O/U 42) at Vikings (-16) Tuley’s Take: The Redskins were only the fourth team in the Super Bowl era and first since 2007 to cover as double-digit underdogs despite not scoring a point as 10 -point underdogs vs. the 49ers on Sunday, so why can’t they do the same as 16-point dogs vs. the Vikings on Thursday night? That’s really not a rhetorical question, though I think it will still take a score or two from the offense — is averaging 12.9 points per game despite the shutout — to cover against a Vikings offense that has stepped up since the public flogging of Kirk Cousins. Still, the Redskins are at least playing well enough on defense to keep Minnesota under 30 points and get the cover
(24 -10 or 27-13 sounds about right, so I lean to the under too). Best Bet: Redskins 16 (contest strategy: Redskins in all my rare ATS contests that include TNF, but Vikings in all SU pools).
Giants (O/U 49.5) at Lions (-7)
Tuley’s Take: The Giants let down a lot of bettors in their 27 - 21 loss to the Cardinals in Week 7 (and were the No. 1 choice in SuperContest and Circa Sports Million), so a lot of people are trashing them. But I think that’s giving us value here getting a full touchdown. Granted, Daniel Jones has come back to Earth after his ballyhooed start, and the No. 28 defense is still atrocious, but the Lions shouldn’t be this big a favorite. As improved as they are, they’re still 2 -3-1 and ranked No. 31 in total defense, allowing the same 26.7 points per game the Giants allow. The Lions’ offense is better, but not by a touchdown, plus the Lions haven’t beaten anyone by more than three points this season. Best Bet: Giants 7 (contest strategy: Giants around 75/25 in ATS contests, including all if offered 7.5, plus 50/50 in SU pools).
Buccaneers (O/U 46.5) at Titans (-2.5) Tuley’s Take: I’ve cashed on the Buccaneers twice ( 6.5 at Carolina in Week 2 and 9.5 at the Rams in Week 4). But I passed on them in Weeks 5 and 6 as I thought the lines were too short
vs. the Saints and the Panthers in a rematch. I feel the same here. The Titans were - 2.5 vs. the Chargers last week but only -2.5 vs. the Bucs? As much as the Chargers have underachieved, I certainly still rate them higher than the Bucs, so I think this line should be more than a field goal. Best Bet: Pass (contest strategy: Titans in all SU
ATS contests, though I would flip to Bucs if offered 3.5).
Chargers (O/U 40) at Bears (-4.5) Tuley’s Take: Anyone want to bet either team after last week’s performances? Or their prior games, for that matter. I certainly don’t see why anyone would lay points with the Bears after their uncompetitive losses to the Raiders and Saints.
However, I’m still not willing to pull the trigger with the Chargers, as it’s probably not the best spot for them to sort out their problems on offense against the Bears’ defense. I would lean under, though the low total has me passing on that as well. Best Bet: Pass (contest strategy: truly 50/50 in ATS pools, with Bears around 67/33 in SU contests).
Seahawks (-7 EV) at Falcons (O/U 51) Tuley’s Take: This game was off the board at most books on Tuesday due to Matt Ryan’s uncertain status with a sprained ankle. The odds above are from Circa and appear to assume Matt Schaub will be playing in his place, as the Westgate went with the Seahawks - 3.5 on Sunday afternoon. However, I think I’d need the 7 with Ryan and closer to 10 with Schaub to trust that defense (or offensive line) against the Seahawks. Best Bet: Pass (contest strategy: Seahawks in all SU pools while ATS will depend on the line, but probably Seahawks in all contests at less than 7 and Falcons in all contests offering more than 7).
Jets (O/U 41.5) at Jaguars (-6)
Tuley’s Take: The Jets looked pathetic Monday night, but keep in mind that teams are 15-6 ATS (71.4%) off a home shutout loss since 2009. (This trend also applies to the Redskins on Thursday night.) We all know the NFL stands for Not For Long as we see reversals of form from week to week, so I’m expecting the Jets to look more like the team we saw beat the Cowboys 24 -22 two weeks ago as opposed to the one that was routed 33-0 by the Patriots. Besides, it’s not like the Jaguars can be trusted to cover this many points as they were actually losing to the Bengals in the fourth quarter last week before pulling away. Best Bet: Jets 6 (contest strategy: Jets around 75/45 in ATS contests, but Jaguars around 60/40 in SU pools).
Eagles (O/U 43) at Bills (-1.5)
Tuley’s Take: I gave the Eagles as a potential play on the “Opening Lines” show on Sunday night about the same time the Cowboys were completing their 37-10 whipping of the Eagles. The Westgate had posted the Bills -1.5 for the hour before the Sunday night game kicked off, so I was hoping that with that poor performance the line might get reposted at Eagles 3. That hasn’t happened, so I’m not as thrilled with taking the Eagles plus the short number. I felt compelled to take the Eagles on the VSiN NFL Best Bets page elsewhere in PSW, but when it comes to actually betting this game, I’ll probably be more inclined to tease the Eagles up to 7.5. Best Bet: Pass, except for Eagles in teasers (contest strategy: Eagles around 60/40 in all contests).
Rams (-13) vs. Bengals (O/U 48.5) in London
Tuley’s Take: The Bengals are 0-7 and most people are rushing to fade them, but they’re actually a respectable 3-4 ATS and have been competitive in five games, including leading the Jaguars 10-9 last week heading into the fourth quarter. The Rams certainly looked better in routing the Falcons 37-10 to snap their three-game losing streak, but I think it’s a stretch to expect them to win by two full touchdowns again. And you never know how teams are going to perform in London. Best Bet: Bengals 13 (contest strategy: Bengals around 75/25 in ATS contests, though Rams around 90/10 in SU pools).
Cardinals (O/U 48) at Saints (-10)
Tuley’s Take: The Saints have won and covered Teddy Bridgewater’s five starts since replacing the injured Drew Brees, and most people are saying they’re not going to fade them anymore. But I’m not most people. I believe we’re finally seeing where they’re being overrated. Yes, I know the Saints are the far superior team, but the Cardinals have been pesky underdogs (5 -1 ATS in that role this season). The last time they were double-digit road underdogs was Week 2 at Baltimore, and they lost only 23-17. That looks good to me. Best Bet: Cardinals 10 (contest play: Cardinals in nearly all ATS contests, though around 67/33 if offered only 9.5, but Saints around 75/25 in SU pools).
Raiders (O/U 51.5) at Texans (-6.5) Tuley’s Take: The Texans are untrustworthy as home favorites (1-2 ATS, with only cover vs. the lowly Falcons), but I’m not willing to take the Raiders at such a short number and still don’t think I would bite at 7. The Raiders laid an egg in getting shredded by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers despite coming off their bye, and I expect Deshaun Watson and crew to do the same. The over is tempting, but it’s set a little too high for me. Best Bet: Pass (contest strategy: Texans around 67/33 in ATS contests and 90/10 in SU pools).
Panthers (O/U 41) at 49ers (-5.5)
Tuley’s Take: I took the Panthers on the VSiN NFL Consensus page elsewhere in PSW, but I’m not that confident of the play. Sure, I successfully faded the 49ers last week, but I liked the number a lot better with the Redskins as home dogs as opposed to the Panthers getting less than a TD on the road. The lean is still to the Panthers, who have rallied around Kyle Allen in place of Cam Newton, but I don’t like them enough to fade the undefeated 49ers this time. Best Bet: Pass (contest strategy: Panthers around 55/45 in ATS contests but 49ers around 75/25 in SU pools).
Broncos (O/U 44) at Colts (-6)
Tuley’s Take: The Colts took over first place in the AFC South last week with their 30- 23 win over the Texans, and my first thought is to fade them, but no thanks with the Broncos. Most people are focusing on their loss to the Chiefs despite Patrick Mahomes being knocked out of the game, but I’m more disappointed in their offense, which scored only six points against a soft K.C. defense and only 20 and 16 in a prior two-game winning streak. I just can’t trust them to score enough to get the cover. Best Bet: Pass (contest strategy: Colts 67/33 in ATS contests and around 90/10 in SU pools).
Browns (O/U 46) at Patriots (-13)
Tuley’s Take: I’m still recovering from the Patriots not giving me any hope in their 33-0 rout of the Jets on Monday night when I had the Jets 10
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and in all my big contests. But the silver lining is the opening line for this game Sunday was Pats -10, and now we’re getting another field goal.
We know the Browns have performed well below the lofty expectations (2-4 SU & ATS, and I’ve been happy to fade them a couple of times). But this reminds me of their game vs. the Ravens in Week 4, when everyone was writing them off and they came in and played their best game in a 40-25 rout. I don’t expect an outright upset like that, as there’s still clearly a coaching mismatch, but the Browns’ best effort should get us the cover. Best Bet: Browns 13 (contest strategy: Browns at least 90/10 in ATS contests, but Patriots still around 75/25 in SU pools, though I’ll be taking some shots).
Packers (-4.5) at Chiefs (O/U 47.5) Tuley’s Take: This game has lost a lot of luster unless Patrick Mahomes makes a miraculous recovery, but I think we have a live home underdog in prime time Sunday. If you think back to Andy Reid’s days in Philly, he’s always been pretty good getting backup QBs ready. I expect the same with Matt Moore — and he certainly has plenty of weapons even if he’s no Mahomes. I’m also still skeptical of the Packers’ defense, which is getting a lot of hype yet is still allowing 381 yards per game (similar to the Chiefs). Best Bet: Chiefs 4.5 (contest strategy: Chiefs around 75/25 in ATS contests and 50/50 in SU pools).
Dolphins (O/U 43) at Steelers (-14) Tuley’s Take: How did this get scheduled for Monday night? Regardless, I’ll take the points with the Dolphins, who are still the worst team in the league, but they’ve been playing hard and covered the last two weeks vs. the Redskins and Bills. Ryan Fitzpatrick has kept them relatively competitive and should keep them within two touchdowns of the Steelers, who have won by more points than this spread only against the lowly Bengals. Should they really be favored by 14 points even with Mason Rudolph returning from concussion protocol? Best Bet: Dolphins 14 (contest strategy: Dolphins in all ATS contests, though Steelers in all but a few SU pools).
Takes on College Football
As mentioned in the intro, we suffered another losing weekend in college football at 1-2 ATS to drop to 14-13-1 ATS on the season after a strong start. Fast fact: My non-best bets on the VSiN CFB Consensus page are hitting at the exact same percentage at 42 -39-1. Anyway, this part of the season is usually when I do my best, so I hope that continues this year.
Syracuse ( 10.5) at Florida State
Neither team is as good as we’re used to seeing, but I’m having a hard time understanding why the Seminoles are favored by two scores. They look pretty even with their records and stats and were rolled by Clemson by similar scores. Florida State does have a win over NC State, which beat Syracuse, but I’ll still take the 10.5-point head start even if Orange QB Tommy DeVito is unable to start. Backup Clayton Welch led Syracuse to two TDs in the loss to Pitt last week.
Ohio ( 2.5) at Ball State
Ball State has been the surprise of the MAC this season at 4-3 SU (3-0 atop the MAC West) and
5-2 ATS, while Ohio has underperformed at 3-4 SU and a woeful 1-6 ATS. But Ohio is 2- 1 in conference play and tied atop the MAC East and should show why it was the preseason favorite. Neither defense offers much, and I’ll count on Ohio QB Nathan Rourke to pull the minor upset.
Auburn ( 11) at LSU
I know it’s scary to fade this LSU team. LSU is 7-0 SU and 5-1-1 ATS, with its only non-covers being a 65-14 rout of Northwestern State as
a 51.5-point favorite and the push in its 42-28 win over Florida. The Tigers still have Heisman candidate Joe Burrow at QB and a very good defense. However, we have Auburn (6-1 SU and ATS), which lost to Florida but has the athletes to match up with LSU and keep this within one score.
Takes on other sports
I took the Nationals to win the World Series and recommend them in any game as underdogs (and especially in the first five innings), as their starting pitching matches up well with the heavily favored Astros.
— The NBA season started Tuesday night. I don’t get too involved during the regular season except for situations when a team is coming off a blowout loss (sort of similar to my Eagles and Jets recommendations this week in the NFL) and situations when you can catch big points against top teams that could be resting starters. I definitely recommend the VSiN NBA Betting Guide for those who want to delve into the early basketball season. I’ll see you at playoff time.
— I’ve had a little success with NHL first-period over/unders as I’ve hit some nice parlays to make up for the losers. But it’s nowhere near the daily
ATM it was last season, partly due to oddsmakers adjusting and setting a lot of the desired first-period overs at 2 goals, which turns a lot of wins into pushes. Again, if you’re interested in more on those wagers, including second- and third-period betting trends, check out my colleagues on VSiN’s
“Follow the Money” with Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard.
— This time of year is busy, busy, busy, but
here’s a heads-up that I’ll have another “Tuley’s Takes Extra!” column at vsin.com on Halloween (Thursday, Oct. 31) for the Breeders’ Cup that Friday and Saturday as we look for the live long shots on the best two days of horse racing.