We’ve obviously been very busy in the Tuley’s Takes home office early this week as we make our NCAA Tournament first-round bets and enter dozens of bracket and handicapping contests.
Hopefully, my followers heard me on VSiN’s “The Lookahead” with Scott Seidenberg late Sunday/early Monday as we talked about early line moves, our brackets and some best bets. I believe I’ll be on again this Sunday night to help kick off the show with a recap of the first- and second-round action and look ahead to the Sweet 16.
But enough about that!
When it was time to decide what to write about for this issue, I was told by the powers-that-be that we wanted to keep all the March Madness content in our Bracket Strategy and Tournament Betting Guides, saving Point Spread Weekly for everything else. So here’s my look at everything else.
Tuley Takes on the NFL
We all know football is king, especially when it comes to sports betting. It’s obvious during the season as everything else takes a back seat, but the fact was proven even more when Tom Brady announced his unretirement on Selection Sunday and nearly overshadowed it.
The Buccaneers went from Super Bowl outsiders to 10-1 and even 8-1 at some books. The Bills are still the favorite at most books at around 7-1 with the Chiefs a close second choice, but the Buccaneers join the next tier of teams that includes the Packers, Rams, 49ers and Cowboys.
The Brady news also caused the odds on the rest of the NFC South teams to skyrocket.
Right after the Super Bowl, I did my annual column on value plays for next year’s Big Game. I went with the Titans at 25-1 and the Falcons at 80-1 as the best long shots. I didn’t bet the Falcons yet because I remember giving them out as my top play at 40-1 in 2016 and they drifted up to 100-1 during the offseason. Lo and behold, they’re now 200-1 at the SuperBook, so this looks like the time to take that flier on the Falcons.
Note: I would do it ASAP as I heard the rumor that Atlanta is interested in trading for Deshaun Watson while writing this column, though it might just be to drive up the price for division rivals New Orleans and Carolina, who are reportedly the front-runners to sign Watson.
Tuley’s Takes on MLB
The big MLB news in recent weeks, obviously, was that we’re going to have a full baseball season after all.
I love baseball, but I have to admit I had no problem ignoring the day-to-day negotiations (or lack thereof) as we had plenty of other things to handicap these past few months. As with most off-the-field happenings, I only care if there’s an impact on the betting markets. My feeling is “Wake me when it’s done.”
Players are now in a shortened spring training, so I know I’ll have to get back to work on this season with Opening Day on April 7, which is fine by us and our purposes here in PSW as we don’t have to do our season betting preview until that other thing ends.
However, there was one news item that caught my eye as it was announced that Padres star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. suffered a fractured left wrist during the offseason and is expected to miss three months.
Last year, I bet the Padres to win the NL West, NL pennant and World Series only to see the Giants come out of nowhere to win the NL West, and the Dodgers went on to win the National League title and World Series. I was thinking maybe the Padres were the proverbial “year away” and was planning to bet them again this season. Fortunately, I hadn’t made the bet yet because we didn’t know if there would be a season.
This Tatis news clearly hurts their chances, but I believe it’s a good time to buy low on the Padres as their World Series odds have drifted up to 18-1 at the Westgate SuperBook in Vegas while most books still have them at 10-1. DraftKings was also at 15-1. I’m trying to decide if it’s worth it to take 3-1 to win the NL West after giving the Dodgers a head start, but assuming Tatis comes back as strong as ever, this is likely the best price we’ll see on the Padres to win the World Series.
Tuley’s Takes on the NBA
In addition to that other sport we’re not supposed to mention, we’ve continued to roll along with our swagger and anti-swagger plays in the NBA. I need to go back to figure out exactly what our record is with these picks in the Tuley’s Takes Today column, but it has to be around 70 percent as our Best Bet of the day has gone 21-8-1 ATS (72.4 percent) on all sports in the 30 days since we started our hot run with the Bengals + 4.5 in the Super Bowl on Feb. 13.
On Monday, we hit with the Blazers + 12.5 (closed at + 14) covering in a 122-113 loss at the Hawks as a swagger play after they snapped their six-game losing streak on Saturday. We did lose an anti-swagger play against the Bucks, who had their six-game winning streak snapped on Saturday. We gave out the Jazz + 1.5 before they ended up going off as a 2-point home favorite (at which time we would have implemented our “dog-or-pass” mantra if we hadn’t already made the bet) and losing 117-111.
For those wondering what NBA plays we might be recommending later this week, the biggest current losing streak, and thus a swagger play once they snap it, heading into Tuesday’s games is the Thunder at six straight losses. The Wizards are next at four straight. On the other side of the ledger, the Warriors have the association’s longest current winning streak at four games with the Nets, Grizzlies and Raptors at three.
Please check out Tuley’s Takes Today each morning on VSiN.com.
Tuley’s Takes on the NHL
Regular readers know that my longtime preferred hockey plays are NHL first-round Overs. It’s been an up-and-down season for the most part as we went 3-0 on Friday but then 0-3 on Sunday. Most of the feedback I get from readers is they enjoy playing these, even it’s a very intense bet to sweat for about a half-hour. However, we do have the occasional detractor. The other day on Twitter, a reader posted: “The NHL bets drag down the Tuley’s Takes column as a whole.” I could see where he was coming from, especially compared with how well the basketball picks have been doing.
I explained to him that I’ve long conceded that these first-period Overs haven’t been as lucrative as winter/spring 2019, but we’re still grinding out a profit thanks to our winning nights making up for the losing days like Sunday, so we’re going to keep providing them to our readers that enjoy playing them.
I also don’t see the harm as I’ve also been clearly relegating them to secondary status with college basketball and NBA plays being listed as our Best Bet most days.
And one thing I didn’t say is that, with the way we tend to parlay and round-robin these first-period Over plays to minimize our risk, we actually welcome the extreme volatility in the results as we cash out much bigger when going 3-0 and 0-3 than we would if we went 2-1 and 1-2, or even if we went the seemingly better 2-1 and 2-1.
Tuley’s Takes on horse racing
For our horse racing followers out there, we continue to post our weekly “Team Tuley’s Thoroughbred Takes” column each Saturday at VSiN.com and the dedicated page at VSiN.com/horses.
We hope to pick up some more followers leading up to the Kentucky Derby on May 7, as we’ll be heavily involved in the Derby prep races in the coming weeks.
In addition, we’re hoping to add John Avello, DraftKings director of race and sportsbook operations to the team. He’s been busy with the Super Bowl and now March Madness, but we’re hoping he’ll be able to add us to his busy schedule coming soon.
Longtime readers have probably noticed that I’ve rarely ever had a sportsbook director giving sports picks. That’s because I know if I do, there will be trolls saying, “Why would you take betting advice from a bookmaker since they want you to lose?” and “If they were any good at handicapping, they’d be betting instead of booking.” While I believe most bookmakers would give an honest opinion, it’s not worth opening that can of worms.
But horse racing is different. Since most horse wagering in this country is still done via the pari-mutuel system, there’s no doubt that the race book operator doesn’t care if they give out winning bets since they get their cut of the fixed takeout of the handle regardless. In fact, the race book operator wants you to win because he knows you’re likely to keep betting more and the book will earn more on the “churn” as winnings get bet back into the system.
So, along with my other horse-playing friends Ed Sehon and John Lauro, we’ve been happy to have Rampart race and sportsbook manager Duane Colucci contribute his plays to our horse racing column, which started two years ago this month when the pandemic shut down nearly all other sports.