LAS VEGAS – Week 6 didn’t start so hot here in the Tuley’s Take home office with the Giants getting blown out 34-13 by the Eagles as 3-point home underdogs last Thursday night.
But thank God (or whatever deity you worship, if any) for NFL Sundays as we went 4-1 ATS on our best bets here in Point Spread Weekly with our only loss on the Raiders plus 3 while winning with the Cardinals plus 10.5, Steelers plus 2.5, Broncos plus 6.5 and Bills plus 10.
Now, I want to discuss that last one as the Bills-Texans game was off the board at the time we published PSW, but I wrote “add Bills at plus 7.5 or higher” so that’s why I’m counting that as a win, especially when it went as high as plus 10. This illustrates what we talk about a lot about monitoring the betting market to get your bets at the best numbers.
This also leads me into another winning play that isn’t included in my record here. On Sunday, I tweeted from my @ViewFromVegas account: “I didn’t pick Dolphins in #PointSpreadWeekly
@VSiNLive, but betting them now as 7-point home underdogs; I’m not a big Brock Osweiler fan, but feel this is an overadjustment to him replacing Ryan Tannehill (was Bears -3 before Tannehill rumors started)...agree? GLA”
I don’t want to sound like a broken record (for those who actually played “records” in their youth), but while I certainly try to give a comprehensive overview of the entire NFL card here in PSW each week, I really recommend you supplement this with “The Opening Lines Show” from 8-9 p.m. ET/5-6 p.m. PT Sundays on VSiN as well as my picks in the New York Post and updates via the VSiN City Newsletter and on the website, but sometimes the easiest way to get info to followers is on Twitter
Having said all that, we closed Week 6 with the 49ers plus 9.5 covering on Monday Night Football to officially go 5-2 ATS with our published best bets here to get back in black at 22-19-4 ATS. Over/under bets continue to fare better at 2-1 as we won with the Falcons-Buccaneers Over 57.5 and Ravens-Titans Under 41.5 while losing on Jaguars-Cowboy Under 40.5 to stand at 10-3 on totals.
So, look at me now, I’m just makin’ my plays as we look at the NFL Week 7 card, and then close with a few NCAA best bets. Even if I don’t have a best bet in the NFL, I’ll give a “pool play” for those who have contests where they pick every game. Lines are from the South Point as of Tuesday afternoon unless otherwise noted.
Broncos (-2) at Cardinals (o/u 41.5)
Tuley’s Take: If you follow my Tweets (and repeated in the VSiN City newsletter), you know that home underdogs are 20-8 ATS against my ViewFromVegas Consensus Closing Lines. I believe we’re seeing some market reaction to that as this line opened Broncos -2.5 (which I felt was too short) and is down to -2 as of this writing. The Cardinals covered for us at plus 10.5 last week at Minnesota and hopefully you were able to get that before it dropped. The Cardinals have covered four in a row for those who have gotten the best of the numbers; however, considering the Broncos covered in a 23-20 loss to the almighty Rams last week (a team that obliterated the Cardinals 34-0 in Week 2), we really should be getting more points, so I have to pass on the side. However, I do think the Cards can stay close like they did as home dogs vs. the Bears and I already bet a 6-point teaser with my other preferred teaser play of the week with the Saints plus 8.5. I believe it’s a solid play as long as you’re still getting the key number of 7 and tie to your favorite teaser plays the rest of the weekend. Best Bet: Pass, except for starting teasers with Cardinals plus 7.5 or better (pool play: lean to Cardinals but close to 50/50 in all SU & ATS pools that include the Thursday game).
Titans (o/u 45) vs. Chargers (-6.5) in London
Tuley’s Take: I originally didn’t think I would have an interest in this early start (9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT Sunday), but the more I look the more I like the Titans. Tossing out the no-show in last week’s 21-0 loss to the Ravens, the rest of the Titans games have all come down to one score and I expect their No. 8 defense to keep them in this game, too. The Chargers seem to have overcome their previous issues of covering as road faves with wins at Buffalo and Cleveland this year, but let’s not get too carried away as those were against the Bills and Browns and the Titans are better than either of those (and hopefully the trip across the pond also levels the playing field more than it did in last week’s Seahawks-Raiders game). Best Bet: Titans plus 6.5 (pool play: Titans around 80/20 in ATS pools, especially if it rises to plus 7.5, but still Chargers around 80/20 in SU contests).
Patriots (-3.5) at Bears (o/u 49.5)
Tuley’s Take: We already discussed how the market overrated the Bears last week and how lines for home underdogs are getting tighter. And here we have a combination of the two as this opened at a ridiculously low Patriots -3. The move to -3.5 was a formality, but still too short for me to take this inconsistent Chicago team even against New England in a possible letdown spot. Maybe I would be tempted if the Bears’ defense was living up to the early hype that we saw after Khalil Mack arrived, but if Brock Osweiler could come off the bench and lead the Dolphins’ weak offense to 31 points, what is Tom Brady going to do with an offense that’s just getting into midseason mode. Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Patriots at least 70/30 in ATS contest and in all SU contests).
Browns (o/u 49.5) at Buccaneers (-3.5)
Tuley’s Take: I’ve been slow to get on the Cleveland bandwagon, which has cost me a few winners but saved me last week as they were overmatched by the Chargers. That shouldn’t be the case here and I’ll be using them in a lot of my contests (and certainly like the side better with the move to plus 3.5); however, I feel the much stronger play here in on the Over! Baker Mayfield should have a lot easier time against the Bucs’ No. 31 defense (allowing 439.8 yards per game and a league-worst 34.6 points per game). But I also expect Tampa Bay’s No. 2 offense mostly due to Ryan Fitzgerald’s red-hot start, but Jameis Winston can also putting up solid numbers against a Cleveland defense that I don’t think is as good as a lot of people have been saying (No. 25 in yards per game), so I’ll mostly be cheering for points. Best Bet: Over 49.5 (pool play: Browns around 80/20 in ATS contests, especially at plus 3.5, and about 60/40 in SU contests as well).
Lions (OFF) at Dolphins (OFF)
Tuley’s Take: This game was off the board as of Tuesday as oddsmakers await an update on the status of Miami QB Ryan Tannehill. I don’t quite get that as we saw last week that’s there’s not a ton of difference between him and Brock Osweiler. The advance line at the Westgate last week was Lions -2, so I expect it to be somewhere around that. I’ll have something in the VSiN City Newsletter if I land on a side later in the week. Best Bet: Pass (pool play: lean to Lions off their bye but close to 50/50 in all SU & ATS pools).
Panthers (o/u 45.5) at Eagles (-4.5)
Tuley’s Take: The Panthers are one of the teams that are hard to figure out from week to week (granted, we could say that about nearly the whole league), but I just don’t feel confident in them covering against the Eagles. You might think I’m overly relying on their 23-17 loss at Washington last week after closing as 1-point road favorites, but I’m more concerned about the common game against the Giants. Two weeks ago, the Panthers barely beat the Giants 33-31 and needed a 63-yard FG by Graham Gano at the buzzer to do it, while the Eagles then dominated the Giants 34-13. Best Bets: Pass (pool play: Eagles in all SU contests and around 75/25 in ATS pools).
Bills (o/u 43) at Colts (-7.5)
Tuley’s Take: What world are we living in where the 1-5 Colts are favored by more than a TD? Note: I was originally planning to pass on this game if Nathan “Pick Six” Peterman was going to start for Buffalo, but while I was typing this writeup on Tuesday afternoon, Ron Flatter did a news break on VSiN to say Derek Anderson was getting the start. Anderson has always been serviceable, so even if he’s rusty I feel confident he’ll take care of the ball (certainly better than Peterman). Keep in mind that the Bills have quietly been playing decent defense, No. 3 with only 311.7 yards allowed per game and should keep them in the game with a chance at another upset like they did against the Vikings and Titans (and nearly doing it again last week in spread-covering loss to the Texans). But make no mistake, this is more of a bet against Indy, which is in the favorite role the first time this season. Best Bet: Bills plus 7.5 (pool play: Bills in nearly all ATS pools as long as getting plus 7.5, and 50/50 in SU contests).
Vikings (-3.5) at Jets (o/u 47)
Tuley’s Take: Here’s another home underdog and another one I’m planning to take a pass. I was happy to cash with the Cardinals plus 10.5 at Minnesota, but I still recognize that the Vikings are playing better than they were earlier in the season, especially after the low point of losing to the Bills, which served as a wake-up call. They lost 38-31 to the Rams and there’s no shame in that, but the 23-21 win over the Eagles really proclaimed that they’re back. The defense is middle-of-the-pack at No. 16 but should have plenty to contain Sam Darnold and the Jets’ offense, which has been getting fat on facing the Broncos’ surprisingly porous D and the Colts. I think the total has been set a little too high and expect the Vikes to grind out the victory, so I’m on the Under (though waiting as I see some signs it might go higher). Best Bet: Under 47 (pool play: Vikings about 70/30 in ATS pools and nearly all SU contests).
Texans (o/u 42.5) at Jaguars (-4.5)
Tuley’s Take: Most readers know the Texans were my Super Bowl value bet at 22-1 (and 25-1) before the season. They certainly didn’t justified my love with an 0-3 start, but I re-upped last week at 60-1 as they’ve clawed their way back into the AFC South race and this is suddenly a key game as they’ve won three straight (though they failed to cover in the last two wins over the Cowboys and Bills). They’re still not playing well, but now they’re in the underdog role against a Jacksonville team that has lost three of four since its upset of the Patriots. In addition, think back to last year and the two best games by Deshaun Watson and it was as an underdog at New England and Seattle. I can see him having another breakthrough performance this week. Best Bet: Texans plus 4.5 (pool play: Texans around 70/30 in ATS pools and probably more than 50/50 in SU contests).
Saints (o/u 49.5) at Ravens (-2.5)
Tuley’s Take: I already tipped my hand on the Saints as part of my Cardinals/Saints teaser from the Thursday night game, but I give them a great shot to pull the outright upset as well. They’ve won four straight since the season-opening loss to the Buccaneers. The Ravens are off to a strong start as well at 4-2 SU & ATS, but the losses to the Bengals and Browns show they’re still not at the elite level. The Ravens do have the No. 1 D at 270.8 yards allowed per game, but I don’t see them shutting down the Saints’ No. 3 offense at 424 yards per game. Something’s gotta give, and I’m emboldened by the Saints already winning on the road at the Giants and Redskins. One final note in favor or Sean Payton/Drew Brees: the Saints are on a 7-2 SU & 8-1 ATS run after their bye week. Best Bet: Saints plus 2.5 (pool play: Saints around 70/30 in SU & ATS contests).
Cowboys (o/u 41.5) at Redskins (-1.5)
Tuley’s Take: This is suddenly an important game in the NFC East as the winner has a much better chance of trying to keep up with the Eagles. In a weird trend, both teams have alternated wins/losses each game so far and if that continues the Cowboys should win (and Redskins lose), but I’m not willing to back the Cowboys on the road. Look at their three prior trips away from Jerry World: 16-8 loss at Carolina, 24-13 loss at Seattle, 19-16 loss at Houston. That offense (No. 29 overall in yards per game) doesn’t travel well at all. Meanwhile, both defense has been surprisingly solid (Dallas No. 4 in total D, Washington No. 5), so I don’t think the oddsmakers have set this number low enough. Best Bet: Under 41.5 (pool play: lean to Redskins but close to 50/50 in all SU & ATS contests).
Rams (-10) at 49ers (o/u 52.5)
Tuley’s Take: I already gave out this play on “The Opening Lines Show” on Sunday. I said, “If you think I like NFL double-digit underdogs and home dogs, I really love NFL double-digit home dogs.” Of all the trends that come and go over the years, this one has hit better than 60%. It takes a great team going against a pretty weak team for home-field advantage not to keep the line in single digits, but this is what it’s taking for oddsmakers to get action on the 49ers (though mostly they’re needing action against the Rams). But I’m glad to take the overinflated line, especially as we saw how the 49ers went into Green Bay and nearly knocked off the Packers, and even though the Rams are 6-0 SU, keep in mind that oddsmakers have already caught up to them as they’ve failed to cover their last three games: push in 38-31 win over the Vikings, 33-31 as 7.5-point road favorites at Seattle and 23-20 as 7-point faves at Denver. Now, they’re traveling for third straight week and have to cover double digits? Grab it while you can as it looks like it’s dipping below 10 (which removes the “double-digit” tag, but still feel we’re on the right side at anything over a TD). Best Bet: 49ers plus 10 (pool play: 49ers 80/20 in ATS pools, though slightly lower if it’s plus 9.5, and Rams still around 80/20 in SU pools).
Bengals (o/u 58.5) at Chiefs (-6)
Tuley’s Take: This has been flexed to the Sunday night game (which is why it’s out of rotation order) and with good reason as these are two of the feel-good stories this season. That’s especially true for the Chiefs, who lost for the first time in New England on Sunday night (no shame in that – and they covered to come through for their supporters to improve to 6-0 ATS). However, they could certainly be in a letdown spot after that marquee matchup, and now face the Bengals who are exceeding expectations and are coming off a near-win over the Steelers themselves. They were favored in that matchup and I certainly prefer them getting points here. While the Cincy offense isn’t as prolific as KC’s, the Bengals still average 29 points per game and have a better defense (not by a huge margin, but I do trust it more). Best Bet: Bengals plus 6 (pool play: Bengals around 67/33 in ATS pools and taking a shot at close to 50/50 in SU contests).
Giants (o/u 54.5) at Falcons (-5.5)
Tuley’s Take: I’ve sworn off the Giants (1-5 SU & 2-4 ATS) for the foreseeable future, plus I still think the Falcons (despite being nearly as bad at 2-4 SU & ATS) are a decent team and should roll to victory. I’m basing this mostly on liking their performances against two common opponents as they beat the Panthers while the Giants lost to them (though that was on the road and the Panthers needed the aforementioned 63-yard FG to beat them) and the Falcons’ loss to the Saints than the Giant’s loss to the Saints. What all those games had in common was that they were high-scoring, so I’m going with the Over here as well. The Falcons’ No. 8 offense should exceed 30 points while even a struggling Eli Manning should rack up the yards and points against Atlanta’s No. 30 defense (allowing 30 points per game). Best Bet: Over 54.5 (pool play: Falcons around 60/40 in ATS pools and at least 80/20 in SU contests).
Tuley’s Takes on College Football
I didn’t fare as well with my best bets last weekend in the colleges as I went 0-3 ATS with Arizona on Friday and Colorado and Hawaii on Saturday night. I can’t explain it as I went 4-3 in the College Pick ‘Em contest at William Hill, but someone I swept my lesser plays while losing the best bets here to drop to a disappointing 8-12 ATS (40%). I’m certainly trying to post the best plays here, but I’ll add “leans” at the end of the column in case those lesser plays continue to fare better.
Cincinnati (plus 3.5) at Temple: In retrospect, one mistake I made last week was all three of my best bets were big spreads. Now, that’s not bad on its own, but it’s indicative that I was relying more on teams covering against those big numbers as opposed to picking teams I really believed had a great chance to win outright (though I did feel that way about Colorado vs. USC, but hopefully you get what I’m saying). I bet Cincy as a 14-point road dog at UCLA in the season opener and the Bearcats pulled the 26-17 upset. They’ve been favored ever since and are still undefeated at 6-0. I feel they’re not getting enough respect here as they’re back in the role of underdogs against a decent by unspectacular Temple squad. I’ll take the points but hopefully won’t need them.
Buffalo (PK) at Toledo: If you read VSiN’s “College Football Betting Guide,” you may recall that Buffalo was my 12-1 darkhorse pick to win the Mid-American Conference and the best bet to go Over 6.5 wins. Well, the Bulls are 6-1 and atop the East Division of the MAC and facing a Toledo team that was expected to compete for the West title but is struggling at 3-3. I liked this matchup two months ago (though I thought I’d be getting some points), but like it even better now as we just need the better team to prevail.
Minnesota (plus 4) at Nebraska: This favorite surprises me most of all. Nebraska is 0-6 (and 1-4-1 ATS); Minnesota is having a much better season at 3-3 (and 4-2 ATS). So, why is Nebraska favored at all? It’s not even like its strength of schedule is that much tougher. Are the Cornhuskers really getting that much credit for taking Northwestern to overtime last week before pushing as 3-point road dogs? The Cornhuskers’ lone cover in a 41-24 loss to Wisconsin as 17.5-point dogs even pales in comparison to the Golden Gophers playing Ohio St. to a 30-16 final as 30.5-point road dogs last week. It’s going to be weird calling this an upset when the winless team loses again.
My NCAA leans: Wake Forest (plus 10) at Florida State, North Carolina State plus 16.5 at Clemson, Memphis (plus 9.5) at Missouri, Mississippi State (plus 6.5) at LSU.