Tuley's Takes Today 9/19: Monday Best Bets, NFL Week 3 leans, Contest Corner

By Dave Tuley  (VSiN.com senior reporter) 


Everybody makes a run!

That’s been a cliche about the NBA for a long time as it’s not uncommon for 20-point leads to disappear, but I was saying it repeatedly during Sunday’s NFL card.

In the early games, the Ravens were routing the Dolphins 35-14 entering the fourth quarter and the Browns were up 30-17 on the Jets after the two-minute warning – but both ended up not only letting the Dolphins and Jets get back-door covers but pulling off outright upsets. The Lions almost suffered the same fate as they led the Commanders 22-0 at halftime and had to withstand a rally, but at least they still won and covered.

In the afternoon games, the Raiders led the Cardinals 20-0 at halftime as Kyler Murray looked helpless, but then he almost single-handedly rallied the Cards to tie the game 23-23 and send it to overtime where they also pulled a shocking upset. The Rams led the Falcons 28-3 (hmm, the Falcons are familiar with that score) early in the third quarter, but had to hold off a furious rally as the 10-point underdog Falcons got the back-door cover for their backers with a 31-27 final.

When all the dust had settled, underdogs went 8-3-1 ATS against the consensus closing lines in Vegas as we’ll detail in the recaps below. Note: we graded the Commanders-Lions closing at pick-’em, so that would be another covering fave if you choose to grade it that way. In addition, the Giants closed as a consensus 1-point home dog against the Panthers after being a short fave all week.

Personally, I went 2-1 ATS with my Best Bets that I posted in Sunday’s column as the Falcons and Texans both covered, but I lost on the Seahawks and also lost my top teaser play on the Saints + 8.5/Steelers + 8.5. Including my Thursday night pick on the Chargers, I went 3-2 ATS overall with my Best Bets in last week’s column. Unfortunately, I went 2-3 with my main contest plays as I used the Saints instead of the Falcons, so I didn’t benefit as much as I should have from all these barking dogs.

We’ll also recap how contestants did in the major Las Vegas handicapping contests. Despite all the upsets, the carnage in Circa Survivor wasn’t as bad as it was in Week 1, but more than two-thirds of the original 6,133-entry field has been eliminated.

Finally, we’ll give our Best Bets for Monday’s action in the NFL doubleheader and MLB, plus provide a couple of early NFL Week 3 plays we gave out on “The Greg Peterson Experience” on Sunday night at 9:15 p.m. PT (15 minutes into the show if listening to the archive).

Sunday’s recaps

NFL: Packers beat Bears 27-10 on Sunday Night Football, covering as 10-point home favorites. The game stayed Under the betting total of 42 points. Underdogs still led 8-3-1 ATS on Sunday with 1 pick-'em (Commanders-Lions) while faves/dogs split 6-6 SU. Home teams went 8-5 SU and 6-6-1 ATS while Unders dominated again at 8-4-1.

More NFL: Including the Chiefs' non-cover in their 27-24 win vs. the Chargers on Thursday night (and another Under), faves are 7-6 SU overall in Week 2 but dogs lead 9-3-1 ATS. Home teams are 9-5 SU but road teams lead 7-6-1 ATS. Unders are 9-4-1. On the season, faves are 17-11-1 SU but dogs lead 17-11-1 ATS (meaning there have been 6 times that a dog has covered in a loss). Home teams are 15-14-1 SU and ATS. Unders are 20-9-1 (5-0 in primetime games). 

NFL day games: Underdogs went 4-2 SU and 4-1-1 ATS in Sunday’s early games with Commanders-Lions closing pick-'em. The outright upsets were by the Dolphins (+ 3.5 at Ravens), Jets (+ 6.5 at Browns), Jaguars (+ 3 vs. Colts) and Giants (closed + 1 vs. Panthers after being faves all week). The push was the Patriots closing -3 at the Steelers and winning 17-14, though some may grade that as a covering fave as the Pats were -1.5 to -2 most of the week. Road teams went 4-3 SU and 3-3-1 ATS. Unders 4-3.

NFL afternoon games: Faves went 3-2 SU in the later games, but dogs led 4-1 ATS with upsets by the Cowboys (+ 7 vs. Bengals) and Cardinals + 5.5 at Raiders), plus the Falcons (+ 10 at Rams) and Texans (+ 10 at Broncos) covered in losses. Home teams went 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS. Unders were 3-1-1 with the push in the Cardinals' 29-23 OT upset of the Raiders with a betting total of 52.

MLB: Faves went 11-3 Sunday with Twins-Guardians closing pick-'em. The only upsets were by the Reds (+ 210 in 3-0 win at Cardinals), Orioles (+ 175 in 5-4 win at Blue Jays) and Rockies (+ 105 in 4-3 win at Cubs). Road teams went 9-6. Unders 8-7.

More MLB: Faves lead 1,303-847 SU (60.6 percent) on the season with 34 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 1,157-1,035 (52.8 percent, usually closer to 54 percent but has been on the rise). Unders lead 1,079-1,000-115 (51.9 percent).

Contest Corner

Circa Survivor is down to 2,012 live entries with 40 on the Bills and 2 on the Eagles in Monday's games. Sunday's eliminations were on the Browns (358), Bengals (192), Raiders (77), Colts (13), Ravens (5), Steelers (3), Panthers (2), Commanders (1) and Seahawks (1).

Circa Sports Million Top 5 Most-Selected went 3-2 in NFL Week 2 (6-4 on season) with wins on top choice Jaguars + 4 vs. Colts, Patriots -2 at Steelers and Packers -10 vs. Bears. Losses were on the Bengals -7 at Cowboys and Saints + 2.5 vs. Buccaneers.

SuperContest Top 5 Most-Selected went 3-2 in NFL Week 2 (6-4 on season) with wins on Patriots -2 at Steelers, Packers -10 vs. Bears and Jaguars + 3.5 vs. Colts. Losses were on top choice Saints + 2.5 vs. Buccaneers and Bengals -7 at Cowboys.

Monday’s Takes

Titans + 10 at Bills: I know the Bills were impressive in routing the Rams in the Thursday night opener and the Titans blew their early lead vs. the Giants (“everybody makes a run”), but this line has been overinflated after it was Bills -7 and -7.5 on advance lines. The balanced attack of Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry should keep the Titans in the game, plus defending coach of the year Mike Vrabel can be trusted to have a gameplan to slow down Josh Allen and Co.

Mets/Scherzer 1st 5 -105 at Brewers/Burnes: This is the marquee pitching matchup on Monday. The books opened the Mets as short favorites but it’s flipped to the Brewers; however, I’ll fade the early bettors as I think the oddsmakers had it right. The Mets have lost the last 3 games started by Max Scherzer, but that’s mostly been due to a lack of run support as he still has a 2.89 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in those starts.

Early NFL Week 3 plays:

Lions + 7.5 at Vikings: As I gave out on “The Greg Peterson Experience), grab this ASAP as it opened 7.5 but it’s already 7 at Circa Sports. I like the Vikings and have them at + 3 on Monday night against the Eagles (that number is long gone after we gave that out last Sunday night with Greg Peterson, so it pays to listen); however, they shouldn’t be favored by this much against a Lions team that certainly looks much-improved early this season. Also, remember that the Lions were 11-6 ATS last season despite a 3-13-1 SU record, so they usually stick around and play hard to the end.

Dolphins + 4.5 vs. Bills: I can’t help but be impressed by the Dolphins’ 2-0 start, especially the comeback to beat the Ravens. As I also said on Peterson’s show, with the Bills favored by 10 points on Monday night, this line isn’t likely to go much higher even if the Bills win in a rout. But if they struggle or it’s a close game as we’re hoping for with our Titans wager, this line could be adjusted downward.


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