We’ve been enjoying the NBA and NHL playoffs here in the Tuley’s Takes home office along with the daily grind of MLB, and this week we get the U.S. Open added for our viewing and betting pleasure.
This week’s theme is “going for the gusto,” and I’ve been getting inspiration from the 1996 movie “Tin Cup,” starring Kevin Costner as washed-up golf pro Roy McAvoy. He qualifies for the U.S. Open before flaming out in spectacular fashion (my apologies for the spoiler, but it’s been a quarter-century). But the moral of the story is he went for it against all odds and he got the girl.
Regular readers know I don’t play it safe by betting favorites, so this fits right in with my dog-or-pass approach.
Even without Tiger Woods, this has been an exciting golf season, with plenty of winners at nice prices. I’ve been betting here and there but also play in three season-long contests in which you pick one golfer a week and can’t reuse him the rest of the year.
Most golf bettors like to play it safe and bet the top-ranked players and those who have won majors. That leads to the question: Why didn’t more bettors put something on Phil Mickelson in the PGA Championship? But the value in the majors the last few years has been on first-time winners, so I like to look at the list of best players who’ve never won a major.
At the top of any such list is Jon Rahm. Of course, he’s the betting favorite around 10-1 to 12-1. Other playing-it-safe bets to win their first major titles are Xander Schauffele at 16-1 and Tony Finau and Patrick Cantlay around 25-1, but I’m taking my shots with Marc Leishman at 60-1, Lee Westwood at 150-1 and Ian Poulter at 250-1.
And if you’re like me and still kicking yourself for not having Mickelson at 200-1 in the PGA, he is available at 60-1 to win the U.S. Open. It’s not as juicy a price as it would have been before his historic victory as the oldest to win a major, but it’s worth a shot. He’s very familiar with Torrey Pines and just as likely as anyone else to be able to put together four solid rounds.
VSiN colleague Mitch Moss said Tuesday he would go over some long-shot possibilities on Wednesday morning’s “Follow the Money,” so check out the archived replay of that episode along with the usual must-listen weekly “Long Shots” show with Brady Kannon, Wes Reynolds and Matt Youmans.
Takes on NBA playoffs
If you’ve been following our nightly betting results on Twitter @ViewFromVegas or in the free VSiN morning newsletter, you probably know that NBA favorites were 11-5 SU and 9-6-1 ATS in the second round and 41-18 SU and 37-21-1 ATS (63.8%) overall in the playoffs heading into Tuesday night’s action.
The Suns swept the Nuggets, but the other three conference semifinal series were tied at 2-2 and pretty much up in the air. The NBA playoffs are usually pretty formful, especially with best-of-seven series as the cream rises to the top, and we see that from the betting results so far. But there’s also a lot of uncertainty with star players ending up on the injury reports on what seems to be a daily basis.
This looks like a time to take a chance on some long shots. The one I like best is the Atlanta Hawks, who are around + 250 to win their series against the Philadelphia 76ers after being down 2-0 and then winning twice at home. I’m also taking flyers on the Hawks at 20-1 (Westgate SuperBook in Vegas and DraftKings in other states where they’re licensed) to win the Eastern Conference and 66-1 (Circa in Vegas and DraftKings) to win the NBA Finals.
VSiN’s NBA guru, Jonathan Von Tobel, has been touting the Los Angeles Clippers. They’re only even-money underdogs to knock out the Utah Jazz after getting back into their series and + 240 (DraftKings) to win the Western Conference and + 550 (DraftKings and William Hill) to win the NBA title.
Takes on NHL playoffs
In the NHL, the Vegas Golden Knights and Tampa Bay Lightning were huge favorites in the Stanley Cup semifinals, though the Lightning were upset 2-1 by the New York Islanders in Game 1 of their series Sunday.
Playoff hockey is always ripe for upsets, especially if you have a hot goalie. Favorites were just 34-30 straight up with three pick-’ems this postseason heading into Tuesday night’s Islanders-Lightning Game 2, so you can see how chalk players are probably not faring too well overall.
We think the Islanders are worth a shot at + 500 (Westgate) to win the Stanley Cup with the series heading to New York.
I hope some of you joined me on the Golden Knights around + 380 to win their series against the Colorado Avalanche as I wrote when they were down 1-0. I didn’t re-bet them when they fell behind 2-0, but I’ve heard from some readers who did, so kudos to them for going for the gusto! If you’re looking for a real big long shot now, the Canadiens are + 2800 (William Hill) to win the Stanley Cup if you believe they can keep up their improbable run and keep pulling upsets over the Golden Knights and the Lightning-Islanders survivor.
Takes on MLB
For those following the streaks, as we wrote about two weeks ago, we hope you’ve been betting against the Diamondbacks and Pirates lately. The D’backs were on an 11-game losing streak heading into Tuesday night, while the Bucs had lost eight straight. The longest winning streaks heading into Tuesday were the Reds, Rays and A’s at four straight. And don’t forget about betting on a team after snapping a long losing streak (“swagger play”) and against a team after having a long winning streak end (“anti-swagger play”).