Tuley's Takes on NBA zig-zags, MLB dogs, USFL Unders

April 26, 2022 08:04 PM
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We continue to stay busy in the Tuley’s Takes home office with daily baseball, the NBA playoffs, the NHL regular season winding down, the addition of spring football with the USFL and looking forward to the Kentucky Derby a week from Saturday.

And, unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s also the NFL Draft finally coming to Las Vegas Thursday through Saturday.

Just like we did last week, let’s empty our reporter’s notebook about the sports we’re following and offer some bets along the way.

Tuley’s Takes on the NFL Draft

Regular readers have probably noticed the conspicuous absence of any NFL Draft bets in the daily version of this column (“Tuley’s Takes Today” on VSiN.com) and here in Point Spread Weekly.

I’ve made a handful of bets, but I have a problem with posting plays that have already lost their value, either in the numbers moving or the juice going higher. Personally, instead of people thanking me for the picks, more readers complain that they can’t get the same bets.

I’ve also written about the fact that the books here in Las Vegas are reluctant to post NFL Draft props (something that wasn’t even approved by the state’s Gaming Control Board until 2016) because there’s too much insider information out there and they put it under their “results must be determined on a field or court and be verified in a box score” rule.

So, I do encourage bettors to jump into the NFL Draft market as it is beatable, but you’re better off reading/listening to my VSiN colleague Matt Youmans and others in our daily broadcasts to pick up the latest news/rumors and be prepared to fire away ASAP with your bets before the market adjusts. Just beware that NFL teams consistently put out misinformation on who they intend to pick. But overall bettors who are quick to act and get the best numbers are likely to come out ahead, while those who follow the steam but lay much bigger prices are likely to lose, or win a lot less if they happen to still turn a profit.

Tuley’s Takes on the Kentucky Derby

It’s pretty much the same thing with the Derby.

I have people asking me all the time for my Derby pick this year. The honest answer is that I’ve already picked horses in future wagers with friends as I have pieces of Mo Donegal at 100-1, Simplification at 85-1 and Zandon at 20-1. Of course, that doesn’t help anyone now as Mo Donegal is 12-1, Simplification is 26-1 and Zandon is + 635 (best prices at Circa as of Tuesday morning).

I also don’t think it’s worth it to bet these or any other horses now until we’re 100% sure they’re in the field and make it through the draw. You’re better off waiting until Derby Day May 7 to bet in the pari-mutuel pools or shop around for books that offer fixed odds at better prices.

As for who I’m betting that day, I’m also waiting for the draw to see where my horses land in the starting gate and how the race is likely to set up from a pace standpoint.

Tuley’s Takes on the NBA playoffs

I’ve been talking a lot about the “zig-zag theory” — which says to bet the previous game’s SU loser against the spread in the next game — in my columns, on Twitter @ViewFromVegas and on my Sunday night appearances (10:15 p.m. ET/7:15 p.m. PT) on “The Lookahead” with Scott Seidenberg. But I hope readers and listeners also remember what I said about the zig-zag at the start of the NBA playoffs: it’s not as strong as it used to be, and it’s just another thing to consider when doing your handicapping. Basically, don’t bet it blindly.

So far this postseason, the zig-zag is 13-13 ATS through Monday’s games. Most readers know I pass on the favorites, though there’s been no edge so far as zig-zag dogs are 8-8 ATS and faves are 5-5 ATS. By being selective, I’m a profitable but unspectacular 4-3 ATS when playing my dogs in the role.

In fact, on Wednesday, I’m going against the zig-zag as I’m taking the Nuggets + 9 at the Warriors even though the Warriors lost Game 4 to even the series at 2-2. Most people are expecting the Warriors to come out and play (1979 movie reference) and bounce back, but most aren’t aware that they’re in an “anti-swagger” role as they just had an eight-game winning streak snapped. All the pressure is on them to bounce back and take control of this series, but I expect Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets to battle and take this game to the final horn and at least cover the inflated spread. And for those who say the spread’s not inflated and should be higher, I point to the fact that the Warriors were -6.5 at home in Game 1.

In Wednesday’s other game, I’m taking the Bulls + 12 in the zig-zag role at the Bucks as they also try to avoid elimination. It’s not the most comfortable bet after watching the Bucks win by 30 and 24 points in Games 3 and 4 in Chicago, but remember that the Bulls covered as 10.5-point road dogs in their Game 1 loss and then won outright as 10-point dogs in Game 2. The Bulls, hopefully, won’t go down without a fight and the Bucks should be content with a single-digit win.

On Thursday, I’m passing on the Jazz + 1.5 as a zig-zag dog vs. the Mavericks as I think that line’s too short and expect the Mavs to close out the series. The Raptors are an interesting choice as 1.5-point home dogs vs. the 76ers, who are actually in the zig-zag role and trying to keep from going to a Game 7 after leading this series 3-0. We’ll probably also be on the Pelicans plus the points at the Suns regardless of what happens Tuesday night. We’re also waiting to see if there’s a Game 6 in the Hawks-Heat series on Thursday.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s plays are also contingent on what happens in the coming days.

Tuley’s Takes on the end of the NHL regular season

In “Tuley’s Takes Today,” we’ve been talking about how favorites have been dominating lately. Books have been taking it on the chin with multi-team parlays, especially when teams playing for playoff spots or seedings are playing also-rans. We’ve been dabbling in these but not as much as we should have. Anyway, keep an eye out for opportunities but be prepared to lay heavy juice — though that hasn’t been much of a deterrent lately.

As I told Seidenberg on Sunday night, I have a dry erase board on which I keep track of the winning and losing streaks in each sport for swagger/anti-swagger purposes. Heading into Tuesday’s action, the longest losing streaks in the NHL were the Coyotes at 10 game and the Canadiens at nine. I’ve been waiting for them to “get some swagger back” by actually winning a game so I could bet them the next game, like the Flyers did on Sunday with a 4-1 win vs. the Penguins after snapping a six-game losing streak. But they’ve been so bad lately that they might not even manage a win to give us a chance. That’s what happened in the NBA with the Blazers and Pacers taking 11- and 10-game losing streaks into the offseason.

The longest winning streak heading into Tuesday belonged to the Wild at five games, so we’ll see if they drop one before the end of the regular season and give us an anti-swagger play.

Tuley’s Takes on MLB

We had been struggling with our baseball dogs early this season, but we were glad to show profits with our plays for four straight days from Friday through Monday. We took the Reds + 1.5 -120 vs. the Padres as a swagger play after they snapped an 11-game losing streak on Sunday; we’ll see how that turned out.

Congrats to my VSiN colleague Ben Fawkes, a Minnesota fan, as the Twins have a four-game winning streak heading into Tuesday along with the Giants. The Yankees and Mariners are on more modest three-game winning streaks, but as I answered a Twitter follower the other day, we usually wait until a streak gets to at least six games before considering it for a swagger or anti-swagger play.

On the losing side of the ledger, the White Sox are the next potential swagger play as they have a seven-game losing streak heading into Tuesday. We’ll look to back them after they win and get some swagger back. The Nationals could be next in line as they’ve lost five straight heading into Tuesday.

Be sure to check my daily “Tuley’s Takes Today” at VSiN.com for updates.

Tuley’s Takes on the USFL

We split 2-2 with our Unders in Week 2 as scoring picked up a little bit, but USFL Unders are still 5-3 (62.5%) on the young season.

I’ve been fearing that the oddsmakers would keep lowering these Over/Unders, but they haven’t been overreacting as much as I thought, so I think we’ll roll the dice with the four Unders again this weekend. Note: all four of the totals closed lower than what I posted in last week’s PSW, so until we see the market reacting any differently, you should bet these sooner than later:

— Bandits-Gamblers Under 39

— Stallions-Breakers Under 44.5

— Maulers-Panthers Under 38.5

— Generals-Stars Under 40.5

As for sides, we don’t feel too confident in our power ratings with these teams, so I’m mostly just betting the totals. I do have the Breakers as my No. 1 team, so I’m not fading them as 3.5-point favorites against the Stallions on Saturday. If I’m going to bet one side, it’s probably the Generals over the Stars in a pick-’em game on Sunday.

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