Wednesday was a day mostly spent doing some editing duties for VSiN and taking care of some chores and errands in and around the Tuley’s Takes home office (it’s amazing how the little things add up when you’re following sports news and games all day and night long).
But it ended up being a profitable day, too, as we won our Best Bet on the Rockets +9 (closed +10) at the Raptors with a rare early-season NBA play. It was looking iffy with the Rockets trailing by 13 points at the end of three quarters, but they rallied enough to get in the back door.
Let’s get to the rest of our daily recaps plus our Best Bet for Thursday, and then we’ll do our usual rerun of our weekly Wednesday column (which replaces the one we used to do in “Point Spread Weekly” in which we give our takes on the full NFL Week 10 card.
NBA: Faves went 9-4 SU, but dogs led 7-6 ATS with upsets by the Magic (+8.5 vs. Mavericks), Jazz (+4.5 at Hawks), Kings (+4.5 vs. Cavaliers) and Suns (+2 at Timberwolves). The Rockets (+10 at Raptors), Spurs (+5.5 vs. Grizzlies) and Pacers (+5 vs. Nuggets) covered in SU losses. Road teams led 7-6 SU, but home teams led 7-6 ATS. Overs 8-5.
More NBA: On the season, faves lead 108-61 SU with 2 games closing pick-’em, but dogs lead 89-73-7 ATS (54.9%). Home teams dipped to 101-70 SU but improved to 85-79-7 ATS (51.8%). Overs retook overall lead in totals wagering at 85-83-3 (50.6%).
Faves went 2-0 SU and ATS in Wednesday night MACtion as my alma mater Northern Illinois beat Western Michigan 24-21 in a game that closed pick-'em. Central Michigan (-2.5) and Kent State (-2.5) both covered in their wins. Road teams went 2-1 SU and ATS. Unders led 2-1. Favorites lead 6-3 SU with 1 pick-'em in midweek MACtion games since they started in November, but underdogs still lead 6-3 ATS after a 6-1 ATS start. Road teams lead 6-4 SU and 7-3 ATS. Over/Unders back to .500 at 5-5.
NHL: Faves/dogs split 2-2 (but dogs still lead 14-7 the last 4 days, 31-17 the last 7 days) with upsets by the Canadiens (+140 vs. Canucks) and Panthers (+100 vs. Hurricanes). Home and road teams also split 2-2. Unders led 3-1. On the season, faves lead 113-92 with 6 PKs. Home teams lead 110-97 with 4 neutral-site games while Overs’ lead dipped to 104-101-6.
Panthers +8.5/Lions +8.5: We give more details on our reasoning in the Wednesday column below, but we basically recommend betting this before the Thursday Night Football game and using a 2-team, 6-point teaser to move the Panthers and Lions both through the key numbers of 3 and 7 so we just need both teams to stay within a TD of the Falcons and Bears, respectively.
And here's the rerun of our Wednesday column as we update our "takes" throughout the weekend:
Welcome to our weekly Wednesday column in which we give our “takes” on the complete NFL schedule.
Week 9 was one of our best of the season as we went 3-1 ATS with our Best Bets on the Jets +11.5 vs. the Bills, Lions +3.5 vs. the Packers and Titans +12.5 at the Chiefs with the lone loss on the Panthers +7.5 at the Bengals. We also swept our 2-team, 6-point teasers, led by our top plays on Jaguars +8.5/Seahawks +8 and Seahawks +8/Rams +8.5.
In addition, my Uncle Brent (Musburger) invited me to appear on his “Countdown to Kickoff” NFL pregame show at 9:45 a.m. PT Sunday to ask about my “dog-or-pass philosophy” in light of the fact dogs have been dominating. It was perfect timing as dogs went 7-4-2 ATS in Week 9 and completing the first half of the 18-week schedule at 74-54-6 ATS (57.8%).
Musburger asked me for my top play and I went with the Lions (who were up to +4 at that time) and they pulled the 15-9 outright upset. I also gave out the Jets and Titans on the show, plus the Seahawks-Rams teaser in the "afternoon session," going 4-0 overall.
It just continues to show that parity is alive and well in the NFL, though we’re certainly trying to guard against getting too cocky or over-confident and trying to still be selective in finding the right dogs to back.
Without further ado, let’s tackle the full NFL Week 10 card. Even if we don’t have a Best Bet on a game, I’ll give my “pool play” strategies for those in contests where you have to pick every game.
Note: Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of late Tuesday night unless otherwise noted. Check out VSIN.com's live NFL odds page here for current odds.
Atlanta Falcons (-3) at Carolina Panthers
The surprising Falcons are 4-5 and tied for first place in the NFC South with the Buccaneers while the Panthers are just two games back at 2-7, but the perception of both teams is quite different as Carolina fired coach Matt Ruhle earlier in the season and traded away star RB Christian McCaffrey in a move that was viewed as giving up on this year and planning for the future. I could throw around a bunch of stats on both teams; however, the fact is they played just 11 days prior to this Thursday night’s game with the Falcons winning 37–34 in OT. That game was even more thrilling than the final score indicates as it looked like the Panthers were going to win on a late PJ Walker-to-D.J. Moore TD pass until Moore took off his helmet during his celebration in the end zone and the longer go-ahead PAT was missed. There’s no reason to believe this won’t come down to a one-score game again in Carolina. In fact, if Baker Mayfield (14-for-20, 155 yards, 2 TDs after subbing for Walker last week vs. the Bengals) was starting, I would probably be taking the Panthers plus the points or on the money line, but we’ll settle for some 2-point, 6-point teasers to some games on Sunday. Lions +8.5 at the Bears is my favorite “advantage teaser” (aka “Wong teaser”) of the week that captures the key number of 3 and 7 as I gave out on my regular appearance on “The Greg Peterson Experience” (12:15 a.m. ET/9:15 p.m. PT Sunday night). Other possibilities are the Seahawks +8.5 vs. the Buccaneers in Germany, Steelers +8.5 vs. the Saints and Cardinals +9 at the Rams.
Best Bet: Panthers +9/Lions +8.5 and other teasers (pool play: Panthers in all my rare ATS contests that include Thursday Night Football, but just 67/33 in SU pools). Thursday update: as we wrote about, the line is down to 2.5, but that's fine for our teasing purposes.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5) in Germany
As stated above, I like the Seahawks in teasers, either starting with the Panthers on Thursday night or kicking off our early-Sunday action as this game kicks off at 9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT with the aforementioned games later in the day. I’m also contemplating taking the spread with the Seahawks as we can certainly make the claim that the Buccaneers and Tom Brady are only favored here based on past reputation. The Seahawks are 6-3 and leading the NFC West and have been playing better than the Bucs all season, Of course, no matter how bad Brady is playing, he always seems to be around for a shot at the end -- as we saw again last week as he pulled out a 20-17 win vs. the Rams out of his magic hat -- so the safest play again appears to be the teaser.
Best Bet: Seahawks +8.5/Lions +8.5 and other teasers (pool play: Seahawks 55/45 in ATS contests but Buccaneers 55/45 in SU pools).
Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5)
The Chiefs (6-2) have won their last two games since losing to the Bills and are now the second-choice at 5-1 in Super Bowl futures at DraftKings. Patrick Mahomes has also become the 2-1 favorite to win MVP as he leads a KC offense that is No. 2 to the Bills averaging 415.3 yards per game and a league-high 30.4 point per game. The Jaguars, who rallied to beat the reeling Raiders 27-20 after not taking a bye week following their London trip, are improved in many ways in coach Doug Pederson’s first season, but they’re still just 3-6 and 3-6 ATS with an offense that ranks No. 8 at a surprisingly high 367.4 yards per game behind Trevor Lawrence, but a middle-of-the-road defense that allows 343.4 yards per game. For me, this comes down to the fact that the Chiefs usually let teams stick around (they’re just 3-5 ATS, including non-covering wins against the Chargers, Raiders and Titans just this past Sunday night). We can't help but think this line is going to be bet to double digits by the public, so we’ll wait for the line to reach its highest as DD dogs are coming off a 3-0 ATS week and 8-4 ATS on the season).
Best Bet: Pass for now, but waiting for Jaguars +10 or better (pool play: Jaguars 67/33 in ATS contests though Chiefs still 75/25 in SU pools). Thursday update: Treasure Island in Las Vegas and some offshore books have gone to 10, so we're holding out hope that others will do the same.
Houston Texans at New York Giants (-6.5)
The Giants (6-2) are one of the overachieving teams of the first half of the season, but a lot of people have been saying they’ve been doing it with mirrors and that belief was kinda validated when they were beaten 27-13 by the Seahawks in Week 8 before their bye week. The Texans are pretty much like everyone thought they would be at 1-6-1, but they’ve been more competitive than expected at 4-3-1 ATS, including covering as 14-point dogs last Thursday against the Eagles. This line has stayed pretty solid at 6.5, so we're not as confident that it’ll reach 7 (in games that have been right around +7 this season, the Texans are 2-1 ATS as they tied the Colts 20-20 and upset the Jaguars 13-6). We think they can also stay close to the Giants.
Best Bet: Texans +6.5 or better (pool play: Texans 60/40 in ATS contests, but Giants still 70/30 in SU pools). Update: this line is dropping, so grab the best number you can if you're with us; I would still play it at 4.5 or higher.
New Orleans Saints (-2.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
I’m not that confident in the Steelers pulling the outright upset or covering as this small of a dog, but this is another advantage teaser. Pittsburgh's offense should see improvement with Kenny Pickett as they were happy enough with their WR depth with Diontae Johnson, George Pickens and Steven Sims to trade Chase Claypool to the Bears while the Steelers’ defense should also get a lift with the expected return of sackmaster T.J Watt (66 sacks in his last 63 games). We saw Monday night that the Saints are still too inconsistent on offense to be expected to beat a team like the Steelers by more than a TD. I mean, if they can stay close to a potent offense like the Dolphins as they did in a 16-10 loss in Week 7, why can’t they do the same vs. the Saints?
Best Bet: Steelers +8.5/Lions +8.5 and other teasers (pool play: Steelers 55/45 in ATS contests but Saints still 55/45 in SU pools). Update: line is down to 1.5 at a lot of books, but teasing to +7.5 is still OK.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (-2.5)
After cashing with the Lions vs. the Packers on Sunday, I was going over the Week 10 lines for my Sunday night appearance on “The Greg Peterson Experience” and this was the first one I circled as a teaser play. I’m also tempted to take the Lions as a Circa Sports MIllion or Westgate SuperContest play (especially as it’s looking like this line is creeping up to 3 at a lot of books), but there’s no doubt we believe the Lions will stay within a touchdown like we need with the 6-point teaser. The Lions haven’t been putting up ridiculous stats like they did in the first four weeks of the season when they had the No. 1 offense, but they did showed more of that in their 31-27 loss vs. the Dolphins two weeks ago and should return to that form against the Bears’ defense. Our main trepidation about taking the short line vs. the Bears is the emergence of Justin Fields and the offense, so the teaser is the safer play.
Best Bet: Lions +8.5/Steelers +8.5 and other teasers (pool play: Lions 55/45 in ATS contests though Bears 55/45 in SU pools).
Cleveland Browns at Miami Dolphins (-3.5)
The Browns are tempting here as a dog, especially as we’re getting the hook at +3.5 in case this comes down to a field goal (especially as four of the Browns games have been decided by 3 points or less). The Browns are coming off their bye week after their 32-13 rout of the Bengals on Monday Night Football, but I just can’t trust them to keep up with the Dolphins’ offense with Tua Tagovailoa spreading it around to Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, etc.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Dolphins 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 75/25 in SU pools).
Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills (-5)
OK, this game is the poster child for why I think everyone should be tuning into my weekly appearance on “The Greg Peterson Experience" (another shameless plug for the show and my spot at 12:15 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT Sunday night or 15 minutes into the archive). We missed the Vikings +9 and +8.5 earlier in the night, but grabbed the +7.5 and gave it out on the show as the Vikings (7-1) have had as good of a first half of the season as the Bills (6-2) and Kirk Cousins has the offensive weapons in WR Justin Jefferson, WR Adam Thielen and newly acquired TE T.J. Hockenson to keep up with the Bills. Of course, it was also learned that Buffalo QB Josh Allen has an elbow injury and might miss this game, so this line has plummeted to -5. We can no longer recommend a play on the Vikings (and those who joined us on the Vikings at +7.5 don’t need to take less than a TD) at this lower number, even if Case Keenum has to make a start against his former team.
Pass if you didn’t get early Vikings number (pool play: BIlls 55/45 in ATS contests at the depressed number and closer to 75/25 in SU pools). Update: this line continues to plummet to 3.5, so we're really glad we grabbed it early.
Denver Broncos at Tennessee Titans (-3)
The Titans (5-3), who had their five-game winning streak snapped in their 20-17 OT loss at the Chiefs on Sunday night, still lead the AFC South thanks to the Colts, Jaguars and Texans all being below .500. The Broncos (3-5) are coming off their bye week after beating the Jaguars 21-17 in London two weeks ago. This line opened Titans -2 at DraftKings and is up to -3 at most books as of Tuesday afternoon, possibly an indicator that someone knows that Tennessee QB Ryan Tannehill (ankle) will be back after rookie QB Malik Willis filled in the past two weeks or at least speculating that will be the case. Regardless, the Titans’ offense is last in the league at just 278.5 yards per game as it relies mostly on RB Derrick Henry, who leads the NFL with 870 rushing yards. They now face the Broncos’ No. 2 defense, which allows just 288.4 yards per game. The Denver D has kept the team in most games, but QB Russell Wilson and the offense have been inconsistent, averaging just 15.1 points per game, so I’m not sure I’ll be including the Broncos in any teasers. The Over/Under is set low at 38.5, but it might now be low enough as the Broncos are 7-1 with the Under, including four in a row, while the Titans are on a five-game Under streak and 6-2 on the season.
Best Bet: Under 38.5 while passing on side (pool play: Broncos 55/45 in ATS contests, but Titans 60/40 in SU pools, higher if Tannehill returns). Update: we again beat the market as the Over/Under has been bet down to 36.5. We would pass at that number.
Indianapolis Colts at Las Vegas Raiders (-6.5)
This is another game where I’m a little torn on what to do. I usually love dogs that get a new head coach and we have that with the Colts against a Raiders’ team that has underperformed almost as much as the Colts. I mean, I also love fading a team like the Raiders (2-6 SU, 3-5 ATS) that is put into the favorite’s role, especially as they’re 2-4 ATS as chalk this season. If Matt Ryan were to be put back into the starting QB job, I would be willing to take the points with the Colts, but not with Sam Ehlinger.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Colts 55/45 in ATS contests just on principle, but Raiders 70/30 in SU pools).
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (-3)
It’s frustrating how many dogs this week are just below the points that I would be willing to back them. I really think this is because oddsmakers are shading the numbers just a little overall in reaction to underdogs doing so well this season. OK, I’ll get off my soapbox to say I’ll pass on the Cardinals here as there are other dogs I like better on the card, even though it is tempting to fade the underachieving defending Super Bowl champion Rams (3-5, 2-5-1 ATS). However, I wouldn’t be surprised to add the Cards to my teaser portfolio closer to game day, so please check my updates in these “Tuley’s Takes Today” columns through the weekend.
Best Bet: Pass for now, possibly Cardinals in teasers (pool play: Cardinals 55/45 in ATS contests, especially at +3 or higher, though Rams still 55/45 in SU pools).
Dallas Cowboys (-5) at Green Bay Packers
The Packers have been one of the most disappointing teams of the first half of the season, though not for yours truly as I’ve made a fair amount by fading them in most of their games and also jumping on them when they covered as 10.5-point road dogs at Buffalo in their 27-17 spread-covering loss on Sunday Night Football in Week 8. After fading them again vs. the Lions in Week 9, I’m back on them again here as Aaron Rodgers certainly plays better at Lambeau Field (Marc Lawrence of playbook.com – and also a contestant in the Circa Friday Football Invitational on VSiN – passes on the tidbit that Rodgers is 29-10-2 ATS against teams coming off a SU and ATS win, including 4-0-1 ATS as a dog). The Cowboys (6-2 SU, 6-2 ATS) have certainly earned the right to be favored here, but Rodgers should be able to do enough to get the cover if not the outright win.
Best Bet: Packers +5 (pool play: Packers 60/40 in ATS contests, though Cowboys still 60/40 in SU pools).
Los Angeles Chargers at San Francisco 49ers (-7)
The whole world seems to be jumping on the 49ers’ bandwagon since the trade for RB Christian McCaffrey. I know he’s a stud, but the 49ers have had plenty of capable RBs yet are still only 4-4 this season and I don’t see why this spread is so high. It opened -6.5 on Sunday afternoon and was quickly bet up to 7, so that’s when I grabbed it. Meanwhile, the Chargers are 5-3 SU and ATS and have kind of become an overlooked team even though they’re just one game behind the Chiefs in the AFC West. They still have an overall roster that’s just as talented as the 49ers and should be able to keep this a one-score game with a great shot at the outright upset.
Best Bet: Chargers +7 (pool play: Chargers 60/40 in ATS contest – even higher at 7.5, lower if only offered 6.5 – but 49ers 67/33 in SU pools).
Washington Commanders at Philadelphia Eagles (-11)
Here we go again. The Eagles are the NFL’s last remaining undefeated team and oddsmakers must inflate their lines to try and balance the betting action. Despite being perfect on the scoreboard, the Eagles are only an above-average team to back at 5-3 ATS with non-covering wins vs. the Lions, Cardinals and Texans in their 29-17 win as 14-point chalk in the Week 9 Thursday nighter. Granted, the Eagles did rout Washington 24-8 in Week 3 as 6-point road faves, but the Commanders (4-5 SU, 4-4-1 ATS) have been playing better since then as they had a three-game winning streak against the Bears, Packers and Colts and then had the Vikings on the ropes this past Sunday before losing 20-17 and pushing vs. the closing line of +3. The Eagles’ main priority is to win and move on just like they did against the Texans, so we’re confident that even if the Commanders don’t keep this within one score like we want them to, the back door will still be open for Taylor Heinicke.
Best Bet: Commanders +11 (pool play: Commanders 67/33 in ATS contests, but Eagles still 75/25 in SU pools).