Thursday was a pretty good day for yours truly in and out of the Tuley’s Takes home office. Did some writing, did some editing, did some chores and errands while waiting for the Thursday night game between the Chargers and the Chiefs.
Intermittently, I followed my MLB plays that I posted in Thursday morning’s column and won with the Rays 1st 5 + 110 vs. the Blue Jays as they led 4-0 after the first 5 innings on the way to an 11-0 blowout. Then, I also hit with the Marlins 1st 5 + 105 vs. the Phillies as they also led 4-0 through 5 innings and went on to win 5-3, so I knew it was going to be a profitable day regardless of what happened in the Chargers-Chiefs game.
My Best Bet of the day was on the Chargers + 4 and I felt like I had the right side early as they jumped out to a 10-0 lead and still led 10-7 at halftime. The Chiefs rallied to tie the game at 17-17, but the Chargers looked like they were going to take the lead again until Justin Herbert was picked off by KC DB Jaylen Watson, who returned it 99 yards for the go-ahead TD. Fortunately, the Chargers were able to stay with 10 points at 27-17 to give Herbert, who was taking a lot of hits and might have bruised or broken ribs, a chance to get the back-door cover by converting two 4th downs on the Chargers’ final drive as the Chiefs won 27-24 but we got the cash.
It’s a great feeling to start the football weekend off with a win as well as sweeping our MLB 1st 5 plays.
.Let’s do our regular (full-game) recaps of Thursday’s action, then post our Best Bets for Friday (two more MLB plays), and finally rerun our 2,500-word column from Wednesday when we give our “takes” on the full NFL 16-game card (and if we don’t have a strong opinion on a side, we still offer our “pool play” strategy for those who are in pools where you have to pick every game).
NFL: Chiefs rallied in 2nd half and then held off Chargers 27-24 on Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 2. The ViewFromVegas is the Chiefs did NOT cover after closing as 4-point home favorites as the Chargers scored a late TD to get the back-door cover. The game stayed Under the closing betting total of 52.5 points.
More NFL: Favorites improved to 11-5-1 SU so far in the regular season, but underdogs took a 9-8 ATS lead with the Chargers' cover. Road teams still lead 9-7-1 SU, but home teams dipped to 9-8 ATS. Unders are still dominating at 12-5 (including 4-0 in prime-time games on Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights).
MLB: Favorites/underdogs split 4-4 Thursday with upsets by the Reds (+ 234 in 3-2 win at Cardinals), Diamondbacks (+ 148 in 4-0 win vs. Padres), Rays (+ 117 in 11-0 rout at Blue Jays) and Marlins (+ 114 in 5-3 win vs. Phillies). Home teams went 6-2. Over/Unders split 4-4.
More MLB: Faves lead 1,271-833 SU (60.4 percent) on the season with 33 pick-'ems (faves usually win around 59 percent; still ahead of pace; gap had been narrowing but now back well over 60 percent). Home teams lead 1,128-1,017 (52.6 percent, usually closer to 54 percent but had been on the rise). Unders lead 1,052-982-113 (51.7 percent).
Twins 1st 5 TBD at Guardians: There was no overnight line posted (update: available at + 130 on Friday), but this is an anti-swagger play against the Guardians as they had their 6-game winning streak snapped on Thursday. The Twins hadn’t announced a starter earlier Thursday night, which is why the game was off the board at most books, but we now see we're getting Bailey Ober returning from a rehab assignment. Regardless, this bet is more about fading the Guardians in this let-down spot.
Reds 1st 5 + 200??? at Cardinals: This game was also off the board at most books late Thursday/early Friday (updated as available at + 230 on Friday afternoon). This is actually a swagger play on the Reds as they snapped a 6-game losing streak on Thursday. We saw the Reds around + 200 at some offshore books with Justin Dunn vs. Jack Flaherty (update: pitching change to Fernando Cruz), so hopefully we get that big of a price, though we might also check to see what we can get on 1st 5 innings + 0.5 (update: plus the half-run is + 145).
And now here's the rerun of our weekly "takes" on the full NFL card:
Welcome to the Wednesday edition of “Tuley’s Takes Today,” which is where we continue our popular, long-running NFL column where I give my “takes” on every game on the schedule each week.
As I wrote in the intro last week, I’ve written this column the last five seasons in VSiN’s digital online magazine, “Point Spread Weekly,” but we’ve rearranged how we provide our content to VSiN subscribers and we’re combining my weekly column into these daily columns so we can offer fresher opinions without the earlier "print" deadline (and we’ll keep it at the bottom of our columns throughout the weekend and be able to update our recommended wagers in case there are changes in the lines due to injuries, COVID issues, weather or any other reason, including plain market movements).
As a self-proclaimed “dog-or-pass” bettor, I was disappointed that I didn’t have more success in NFL Week 1 as faves and dogs split 8-8 ATS, so there were plenty of dogs out there but I just happened to land on mostly the wrong ones as I went 1-3 ATS with my Best Bets in last week’s column (the win was on the Steelers because they got to + 7 later in the week but I lost with the Patriots, Cardinals and Raiders. I did manage to go 2-3 in my major handicapping contests as I used the Vikings + 1.5 in the Westgate SuperContest and the Texans + 7 in the Circa Sports Million, but that was still disappointing.
In addition, we’ve had a lot of success over the years, including last year, with 2-team, 6-point NFL teasers, but we lost our “key” play on the Rams + 8.5 in the Thursday night opener vs. the Bills and then lost my two teaser plays on Sunday: Ravens -1/Colts -1 as the Colts tied the Texans 20-20 and the Vikings + 7.5/Cowboys + 8.5 as the Cowboys were routed 19-3 by the Buccaneers.
Hopefully we learned some valuable lessons in Week 1, and while we don't want to overreact to everything we saw in the openers, we can apply what we learned in Week 2. Without further ado, here come my “takes.”
Note: Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of Tuesday night unless otherwise noted. Check out VSIN.com's live NFL odds page here for current odds.
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-4)
We’ve got a great game on Thursday night (well, we thought we also had one last week with Bills-Rams, but the Bills turned that into a laugher). The line opened Chiefs -3 and has been up to -4 mostly due to the Chiefs’ 44-21 rout of the Cardinals, which is fine by me as I’ve already gone on record in saying that I think the AFC West is the best division this year and I’ll probably be on just about any team getting more than a field goal in divisional play. It didn’t work out last week with my play on the Raiders, though they had their chances, but I’ll take the Chargers as they’re pretty much a coin-flip vs. the Chiefs to win the division. I actually have them rated better with the Chiefs losing Tyreek Hill, though Patrick Mahomes sure didn’t look like he missed him with 5 TD passes last week). Regardless, + 4 looks like value to me in a game that could be decided by a field goal either way.
Best Bet: Chargers + 4 ***WIN*** (pool play: Chargers in all of my rare SU and ATS contests that use Thursday night football).
Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)
The Dolphins are a little tempting here off their impressive 20-7 win over the Patriots, but this number seems a little short to me. The Ravens were even better in their 24-9 win at the Jets yet this line has only been as high as 4? Still, I guess some think that’s enough as it’s bet down by half a point, but I’ll pass.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Ravens 55/45 in ATS contests and 67/33 in SU pools).
New York Jets at Cleveland Browns (-6.5)
The Browns gutted out a Week 1 victory over the Panthers as they showed they would at least be superior to the also-rans in the league before Deshaun Watson is able to return. There’s no reason to think Jacoby Brissett and Co. won't be able to take care of the Jets as Joe Flacco did look as mediocre as feared against his former team and I’m not getting enough points to back him here.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Browns 55/45 in ATS pools and closer to 80/20 in SU pools).
Washington Commanders at Detroit Lions (-2.5)
The Lions were getting dominated by the Eagles, but just like so many times last year, they battled back and got the back-door cover in a 38-35 loss as 4-point home dogs (they were 3-13-1 SU last season but among the best bets in the league at 11-6 ATS). However, they’re now in the role of favorites and I’d have to pass for anyone thinking of laying the short number. The Commanders rallied to win and cover in 28-22 win vs. the Jaguars as Carson Wentz (27-for-41, 313 yards, 4 TDs) spread the ball all around but it wasn’t impressive enough to get me to call for the upset here, but I’ll tease the Commanders up to + 8.5 (update: the game spread has been bet down to 1.5, so 6-point teaser would just go up to + 7.5) and use in my portfolio of 2-team, 6-point teasers along with the Saints + 8.5 vs. the Buccaneers, Panthers + 8.5 vs. the Giants, Steelers + 7 vs. the Patriots, Bengals -2 at the Cowboys and Vikings + 8.5 at the Eagles.
Best Bet: Commanders in teasers (pool play: Commanders 55/45 in ATS contests but Lions slightly more in SU pools, though close to 50/50).
Indianapolis Colts (-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Colts’ opening-game struggles against the Texans (result in a 20-20 tie as 7-point favorites) reminded me of their Week 1 loss at the Jaguars two years ago. Frank Reich just can’t get these Colts to break from the gate. The Jaguars showed a little life before getting run over by the Commanders, but I’m not quite getting enough points to feel comfortable with the Jaguars here.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Cots 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 70/30 in SU pools).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5) at New Orleans Saints
I mentioned on “The Greg Peterson Experience” on Sunday night (the game was off-the-board because the Bucs had just played the Cowboys on SNF) that the Saints’ have Tom Brady’s number and I was hoping to get the Saints around + 4 since I had seen some books around that number or just slightly lower before kickoff. The Saints swept the Bucs last year, so the secret is out as the line has already been bet down to 2.5. Instead, we’ll have this as our favorite option in our list of 2-team, 6-point teasers listed above (the “key” as I mentioned in the intro as I’ll use them with several other teams, especially the Commanders, Panthers and Steelers in Sunday’s early session of games) .
Best Bet: Saints in teasers (pool play: Saints 60/40 in ATS contest and I’ll also go around Saints 55/45 in SU pools).
Carolina Panthers at New York Giants (-2.5)
Baker Mayfield wasn’t overly impressive in his Carolina debut against his former team in Cleveland, but he still nearly pulled out the win with a 75-yard TD pass to Robbie Anderson (which really padded his stats to make them look more respectable) and a late FG by Eddy Piniero, only to be outfinished by the Browns. To the contrary, the Giants looked dead in the first half against the Titans only to rally in the 2nd half for one of the biggest Week 1 upsets. Again, the best option looks like we should tease the Panthers up through the two key numbers of 3 and 7 to + 8.5 (update: line down to 2, but teasing Panthers to + 8 is still acceptable).
Best Bet: Pass, except for Panthers in teasers (pool play: Panthers 55/45 in ATS contests but Giants 55/45 in SU pools).
New England Patriots (-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers
I’m trying not to be biased here as the Patriots really let us down in their no-show against the Dolphins while the Steelers came through for us in their upset of the Bengals. However, the Steelers showed us they can win now with Mitch Trubisky in the post-Big Ben era as coach Mike Tomlin always has his team ready no matter what (the same can usually be said of Bill Belichick and he’s always tough off a loss, so bettor beware). That being said, we’ll still take the Steelers as short home dogs though we’ll likely have more money tied with them in teasers just in case.
Best Bet: Steelers + 2, plus teasers (pool play: Steelers 60/40 in both SU and ATS contests).
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams (-10.5)
What is it with the Falcons and big leads, even with Matt Ryan gone? The Falcons led the Saints 16-7 at halftime and 23-10 midway through the third quarter, but squandered the lead and lost 27-26 as they still covered as 5.5-point dogs. Even while he was riding the bench the past few years, I always suspected Marcus Mariota might still be among the top half of the QBs in the league. I might not put him there yet, but he should be able to keep the Falcons within double digits here against the Rams who didn’t look so sharp in the opener (granted, it was against the Bills).
Best Bet: Falcons + 10.5 (pool play: Falcons 67/33 in ATS contests through Rams still 75/25 in SU pools, which means I give the Falcons a shot on the money like as it’s available at + 400 and higher). Update: line down to + 10 but we would still take it.
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (-10)
This is another early lean of mine from “The Greg Peterson Experience” on Sunday night/early Monday morning, and I’m thrilled that’s it’s not the + 8.5 I was expecting but now in double digits (update: for those who didn't + 10, the Seahawks are still playable at + 8.5). I was originally just fading Trey Lance and I’m not alone even at this network (Michael Lombardi, Mitch Moss, etc.) in saying he wasn’t ready to take over the 49ers’ starting QB job, and then I liked it even more after the Seahawks went toe-to-toe with the Broncos on Monday night in their 17-16 upset. Considering the lines have gotten shorter on my other early leans, this is probably my favorite play of the week.
Best Bet: Seahawks + 10.5 (pool play: Seahawks 67/33 in ATS contests though 49ers still 67/33 in SU pools).
Cincinnati Bengals (-8) at Dallas Cowboys
Both teams are off to 0-1 starts as the Bengals suffered the Super Bowl loser hangover right out of the gate as they nearly rallied to beat the Steelers (who gets a potential game-winning PAT blocked?), but the Cowboys looked even worse in their 19-3 loss to the Buccaneers and that was even before Dak Prescott injured his right hand in the fourth quarter. The advance line on this game was Cowboys -2.5, but with backup Cooper Rush being pressed into duty the Bengals are 7.5- to 8-point road favorites. A lot of bettors will use a 6-point tease to move the Bengals under a field goal (that’s my preference), but those who feel the line has been overadjusted will gladly take more than a TD on the home dog (I’m just not sure I can do it). Update: the line is down to Bengals -7.5, so you can tease them down to -1.5.
Best Bet: Pass, except Bengals in teasers (pool play: Bengals around 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 85/15 in SU pools).
Houston Texans at Denver Broncos (-10)
The Broncos came up painfully short in their Monday night loss to the Seahawks (everyone still stunned that new coach Nathaniel Hackett took the ball out of Russell Wilson’s hands and preferred the leg of Brandon McManus on a 64-yard FG attempt). Meanwhile, Davis Mills and the Texans should have beaten the Colts but came away with a 20-20 tie easily covering as 7-point dogs. I can’t pass up the added points here against a Denver team that still isn’t going to be as good as the Colts..
Best Bet: Texans + 10 (pool play: Texans 67/33 in ATS contests though Broncos still around 70/30 in SU pools).
Arizona Cardinals at Las Vegas Raiders (-6)
I know the Chiefs are the Chiefs and Andy Reid is gold with time to prepare (Week 1s, off a bye, etc.), but I was still most disappointed in myself for getting sucked into backing the Cardinals after the line went to + 6 vs. the Chiefs. I’m not going to fall for the banana in the tailpipe again, especially as I expect the Raiders to bounce back from their loss to the Chargers.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Raiders 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 75/25 in SU pools).
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-10)
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense wasn’t in sync (hmmm, maybe showing up at OTAs and playing at least some in the preseason might not be a bad idea), but he owns the Bears at 22-5 SU and 20-7 ATS in his career so it’s a little hard to pull the trigger even with the Bears getting double digits. Besides, we’re trying to figure out if the Bears are “mudders” and really benefited from playing in the slop in their 19-10, come-from-behind upset of the 49ers. If the line continues to get steamed to 10.5 because of support for Rodgers, I’ll probably add this to my list of Best Bets, but for now I’ll pass.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Bears 55/45 in ATS contests – increase to 60/40 if your contest has + 10.5 – but Packers still 80/20 in SU pools).
Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills (-10)
The Titans let me down big-time in their opener as they were dominating the Giants 13-0 at halftime and that lead looks safe with Derrick Henry is usually able to help control the clock and grind out wins from that point. I thought I was sitting pretty in my Survivor pools, but they let the Giants rally for the 21-20 upsets. Still, as dominant as the Bills were in their 31-10 rout of the Rams on opening night last Thursday, I can’t pass up the 4th double-digit dog on this week’s card.
Best Bet: Titans + 10 (pool play: Titans 67/33 in ATS contests, though still using Bills 75/25 in SU pools).
Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5)
The Vikings were my favorite early bet on the Week 2 when the line was bet up to + 3 on Sunday night (and hope listeners/readers were able to grab it as someone sure did as it’s hard to find better than + 2 now). The Vikings’ offense was clicking with Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, etc. and can match the Eagles score for score. The Eagles looked impressive at times, though they let the Lions get the back-door cover (so I won’t be worried even if the Vikings fall behind). With the + 3s probably long gone, we’ll stick with the Vikings as the last leg in our teasers.
Best Bet: Pass, except for Vikings in teasers (pool play: Vikings 60/40 in ATS contest and probably slightly more than 50/50 in SU pools).