Thursday was a pretty busy day in the Tuley’s Takes office.
It started by writing the USC and UCLA betting previews that we at VSiN provide for the Los Angeles Times (we don’t necessarily give picks in those stories as they’re mostly just general previews with an emphasis on the odds, though I did give a lean on the Under 58 in the UCLA-Colorado game on Saturday) and doing some editing for VSiN’s upcoming NBA Betting Guide.
We were excited about our Thursday night wagers, but we ended up disappointed because even though it looked like the Steelers would cover + 4.5 as our Best Bet, the Browns pulled away for a 29-17 victory. The Browns were already covering before tacking on a TD on the final play of the game on a desperation lateral play by the Steelers (see our regular daily recaps below for the gambling implications on that).
We also lost our CFB play on Virginia Tech + 1.5 vs. Virginia as they also hung around early but then got run over late in a 33-10 loss. At least we won our MLB 1st 5 bet on the Diamondbacks at + 0.5 + 110 as Zac Gallen gave up just 1 run to the Dodgers through the first 5 innings and it looked like we would win our 1st 5 money-line play as well, but he gave up 1 run in the bottom of the 4th to push that bet but we still cashed on the + 0.5 for the second day in a row with a tie.
Let’s recap the rest of Thursday’s (full-game) betting results and look for more plays on Friday (plus a few college football plays for Saturday). In addition, like we’ve started doing with this season, we’ll rerun our entire Wednesday column and update our plays throughout the weekend as the lines move for readers who are waiting to make their bets (but beware you’ll miss out on some better numbers at times, though in a lot of cases we do recommend waiting until closer to gameday to bet our underdogs as the public will often bet the lines higher).
NFL: Browns beat Steelers 29-17 on Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 3. The Browns also covered after closing as 4.5-point home favorites. The game went Over the closing betting total of 38 points on the Steelers' late FG, but then a fumble recovery for a Cleveland TD on the final play of the game (a desperation lateral play by the Steelers deep in their own territory) burned Pittsburgh and Under 6-point teasers (both would have cashed if score had stayed 23-17).
More NFL: Week 3 started with home SU/home ATS/fave SU/fave ATS/Over result. ON THE SEASON, faves lead 19-11-1 SU with 1 pick-'em, but dogs still lead 17-14-1 ATS (54.8 percent). Home teams improved to 18-14-1 SU and ATS (56.3 percent). Unders dipped to 21-11-1 (65.6 percent) while primetime Unders dipped to 6-2 (75 percent) on Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights.
CFB: West Virginia beat Virginia Tech 33-10 and Coastal Carolina beat Georgia State 41-24 as both covered as 2.5-point road favorites in the only #CFB games on the main betting board on Friday night. The former stayed Under 49.5 points while the latter went Over 63.5. In an “extra game,” Illinois beat Tennessee-Chattanooga 31-0 to also cover as a 20-point home fave (stayed Under 44.5).
MLB: Faves went 7-6 Thursday with the Dodgers (-215) rallying in the bottom of the 9th to beat Diamondbacks 3-2 on Mookie Betts’ walk-off, pinch-hit single. Biggest upsets on the night were by the Orioles (+ 170 in 2-0 win at Astros), Cardinals (+ 135 in 5-4 win at Padres) and Phillies (+ 122 in 1-0 win vs. Braves). Home teams were also 7-6. Unders 8-5.
More MLB: Faves lead 1,330-872 SU (60.4 percent) on the season with 35 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 1,183-1,062 (52.7 percent, usually closer to 54 percent but has been on the rise). Unders lead 1,102-1,028-117 (51.7 percent).
A’s 1st 5 + 0.5 + 105 vs. Mets: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Let go with a 1st 5 run line play and try to hit for a 3rd straight day, this time fading the Mets, who just had a 6-game losing streak snapped. Now, we usually prefer these plays the day after that happens, but the Mets had a travel day Thursday to head West to Oakland. But we’re going with it anyway as at least we have Cole Irvin (3-0 in his last 4 starts, though he has a high 1.89 WHIP). It’s tough fading the Mets’ Chris Bassitt, but we just need to have the A’s be tied through 5 innings and the A’s have been pretty good to me this summer including cashing with this same type of bet Wednesday night.
Tigers 1st 5 + 150 at White Sox: Our other MLB play for Friday is on the Tigers. The White Sox start Luis Giolito (10-9, 5.07 ERA, 1.49 WHIP), but he’s not as dominant as he’s been in recent years. The Tigers counter with Eduardo Rodriguez (3-5, 4.35 ERA, 1.33 WHIP), whose stats are better than Giolito’s except for his W-L record, though that’s only because he pitches for a worse overall team. However, we just need him to keep the Tigers in it like he has in his other two starts vs. the White Sox this season.
CFB Takes (Saturday)
Notre Dame + 1.5 at North Carolina
Boston College + 17.5 at Florida State
Hawaii + 4.5 at New Mexico State
Utah State + 3 vs. UNLV
And here's the rerun of Wednesday's column with my "takes" on the full NFL Week 3 card. 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.
Baltimore Ravens (-3) at New England Patriots
The Ravens’ also blew a big lead in their Week 2 loss to the Dolphins as they were rolling along before the collapse. This line also looks like it could be on the rise as the NFL Betting Splits page on VSiN.com (with info from DraftKings) shows 90 percent of the bets and money on the Ravens early this week. But even if this gets to 3.5, I don’t think I’ll be able to pull the trigger on the Patriots, who lost 20-7 to that same Miami team and haven’t shown the same offensive firepower (7 points vs. Dolphins, 17 vs. the Steelers) to keep up with a Baltimore offense that is averaging 31 points per game behind QB Lamar Jackson. Update: sharp money came in on Wednesday and this line has actually dipped to Ravens -2.5 at some books.
Pass (pool play: Ravens 60/40 in ATS contests – higher if contest uses -2.5, lower if it uses 3.5 – and closer to 75/25 in SU pools).
Buffalo Bills (-5.5) at Miami Dolphins
This was one of the plays I gave out on “The Greg Peterson Experience” (my weekly appearance is 12:15 a.m. ET/9:15 p.m. PT Sunday night, or 15 minutes into the archived version) and in my earlier columns this week as I thought we wouldn’t get any better than Dolphins + 4.5. I was wrong about that as the Bills routed the Titans 41-7 on Monday night and this line has been adjusted up to 5.5, but that’s OK with us as 5 is less of a key number than 4, so we’ll let our original bet ride. It’s scary to fade the Bills again with how dominant they’ve been in routs of the Rams and Titans, but Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins showed they can get in a shootout with anyone.
Best Bet: Dolphins + 5.5, though if you haven’t bet yet, I’d wait to see if we can get + 6 (pool play: Dolphins 60/40 in ATS contests, but Bills still 67/33 in SU pools).
Cincinnati Bengals (-5) at New York Jets
The Bengals are certainly suffering from the Super Bowl loser hangover as they’re off to an 0-2 start. They should get in the win column here, that is as long as Joe Burrow doesn’t keep having to face pressure from a porous offensive line. The Jets were certainly impressive in rallying to beat the Browns behind Joe Flacco (and the Browns failing to run out the clock), but I can’t trust either of those things to happen two weeks in a row so I’m also passing on this home dog.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Bengals 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 80/20 in SU pools).
New Orleans Saints (-2.5 -120) at Carolina Panthers
The Panthers have been more competitive than expected (though both of their games against the Browns and Giants have been lined around pick-’em so it shouldn’t be too surprising), but I believe they’re taking a step up in class here against the Saints. I can’t take them at such a short price, but they’re a prime teaser play as we can move the line up over a touchdown. This is a good place to list the preferred teaser plays for this week (though they’ve been underperforming for us so far) as I’ll use the Panthers in a 2-team, 6-point teaser at + 8.5 in combination with the Titans + 8.5 vs. the Raiders in Sunday’s early games. Other potential teaser plays include the Packers + 8 at the Buccaneers, Falcons + 8 at Seahawks, Broncos + 7.5 vs. the 49ers on Sunday night and the Cowboys + 8.5 at the Giants on Monday night. Update: most of these dogs have seen their lines drop, but I'd still tease if you can go up to + 7.5.
Best Bet: Panthers-Titans in 6-point teaser, plus other teaser plays (pool play: Panthers 55/45 in ATS contests but Saints 55/45 in SU pools).
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (-6)
This is the other early Week 3 pick I gave out Sunday night and in my columns as I took the Lions + 7.5. There were some + 7s in the market and I advised listeners/readers to be it ASAP and sure enough it was gone by Monday morning. After the Vikings lost 24-7 to the Eagles on Monday night, the line has since dropped to + 6. Part of me believes I should pass at the current number, but I think it’s going to still be one of my Circa/Westgate contest plays, so I guess that means I still think the Lions are worth a bet at + 6. The Lions were 11-6 ATS last year as they were competitive in most of their games despite a 3-13-1 overall record, and they’re off to a 2-0 ATS start this year with their back-door cover vs. the Eagles in Week 1 and their 36-27 win vs. the Commanders this past Sunday. Jared Goff has never looked better in spreading the ball around to all his weapons and the defense is good enough to contain the Vikings’ potent offense.
Best Bet: Lions + 6 or better (pool play: Lions 60/40 in ATS contests, but the Vikings still 67/33 in SU pools).
Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5) at Indianapolis Colts
There’s probably no team that’s off to a more disappointing start than the Colts, and that includes teams off to the dreaded 0-2 start. The Colts were expected to win the AFC South and be a Super Bowl contender but have opened with a 20-20 tie at the lowly Texans and were blown out 24-0 by the lowly Jaguars. I would normally love a team in this spot as a home underdog but I just can’t pull the trigger with how bad Matt Ryan and the Indy offense has looked along with how good Patrick Mahomes and the KC offense has looked. I’m passing on using the Chiefs teased down to virtually pick-’em, but I’m sure others will take that option.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Chiefs 55/45 in ATS contests and closer to 75/25 in SU pools).
Las Vegas Raiders (-2) at Tennessee Titans
Both these teams are off to disappointing 0-2 starts. This isn’t quite a must-win game for either team, but it’s close. The Raiders were in complete control at halftime against the Cardinals and were the victim of one of Sunday’s biggest collapses as they couldn’t contain Kyler Murray. The Titans should also have a win as they dominated the Giants in the first half of their opener before a similar collapse, and then were routed by the Bills. I still have the Titans rated as the better overall team, but will go with the aforementioned 2-team, 6-point teaser.
Best Bet: TItans + 8.5/Panthers + 8.5 (pool play: Titans 55/45 in SU and ATS contests).
Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5) at Washington Commanders
We have yet another home underdog (nine in all as of early Wednesday), and while I’ve only been willing to tease a couple of them, I’m going to dive in with the Commanders, though I’m waiting for the line to hopefully reach + 7. This line was Eagles -3 on the advance line last week but has steamed to 6.5 after their impressive 24-7 win vs. the Vikings on Monday night. VSiN’s NFL Betting Split page shows 90 percent of the best and 85 percent of the money on the Eagles, so I don’t see how the public doesn’t continue to bet this to a full TD. Carson Wentz is playing like the Colts should have kept him at QB as he rallied the Commanders past the Jaguars in the opener and nearly brought them back vs. the Lions last week. We’re expecting the back-door cover to be open late in this game as well.
Best Bet: Commanders + 7, but will settle if it stays at 6.5 (pool play: Commanders 60/40 in ATS contests – higher if offered 7 or especially 7.5 – though Eagles still 75/25 in SU pools).
Houston Texans at Chicago Bears (-3 EV)
Both teams have been very competitive with the Texans tying the Colts in Week 1 and getting the back-door cover in a 16-9 loss at the Broncos in Week 2 while the Bears upset the 49ers in Week 1 and nearly covered at the Packers in Week 2 (Justin Fields sure looked like he broke the plane of the goal-line on his late QB sneak that would have probably led to a back-door cover). This would be closer to pick-’em on a neutral field so it makes sense for the Bears to be favored by 3 at home (DraftKings has this juiced toward the Texans, so it could dip to 2.5; update: this line has indeed dropped to -2.5 at most books). Some might see that as a buy sign on the Bears -2.5, but I’d be more inclined to tease the Texans up to + 8.5.
Best Bet: Pass for now (pool play: Texans 55/45 in ATS contests, but Bears 60/40 in SU pools).
Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers (-7)
We’ll add any potential play on this game later in the week as we’re still waiting for official word on Chargers QB Justin Herbert. He was beat up pretty badly and suffered fractured rib cartilage in the loss at the Chiefs last Thursday night, but he still gutted it out to get Charger backers the back-door cover. Coach Brandon Staley might opt to rest Herbert and start Chase Daniel instead. That would definitely have an impact on this line. While the temptation is also to tease the Chargers down to virtually pick-’em, I would be interested in the much-improved Jaguars if Herbert starts and this line ticks up higher than a TD. Check out columns here through the rest of the week to see what I decide to do.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Jaguars 55/45 in ATS contests – higher if offered + 7.5 or better – but Chargers around 75/25 in SU pools).
Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5)
Here we come with our top teaser options in the Sunday afternoon session of games, starting with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers as short road dogs at the Buccaneers, who are battling a bunch of injuries (update: add the 1-game suspension for Bucs WR Mike Evans for escalating the brawl vs. the Saints). Granted, Tom Brady usually gets the job done with whomever he has to work with, but Rodgers is also working with his patchwork group of receivers and should keep this within a touchdown.
Best Bet: Packers + 8.5/Falcons + 8 teaser (pool play: Packers 55/45 in ATS contests but still Buccaneers 55/45 in SU pools). Update: this teaser is gone for those who didn't grab it Wednesday as the Packers and Falcons are both down to + 1 at most books and even pick-'em at some others.
Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks (-2)
This is the second half of the above teaser (as originally posted) as the Falcons are another team that has been surprisingly competitive in the early going as they barely lost to the Saints in Week 1 and then got the back-door cover in a 31-27 loss to the Rams in Week 2. Marcus Mariota has stepped back into a starting role and is spreading the ball around for the Falcons while the Seahawks took a step back in their 27-7 no-show vs. the 49ers after upsetting the Broncos in Week 1.
Best Bet: Falcons + 8/Packers + 8.5 teaser (pool play: Falcons 55/45 in ATS contests, though Seahawks 55/45 in SU pools). Again, the advantage teaser is gone.
Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) at Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are an enigma as they let us down in Week 1 as they were routed by the Chiefs, and then they trailed the Raiders 20-0 at halftime this past Sunday before Kyler Murray single-handedly (and with both of his feet) rallied them to a 29-23 OT shocker. The Rams bounced back from their opening Thursday loss to the Bills as they looked better in beating the Falcons 31-27, though they did fail to cover. I do expect the Rams to have a better game plan to contain Murray, so I’m passing on the Cards for now but might add them later in the week (we’re waiting to see if this gets bet back up to 4)
Best Bet: Pass for now (pool play: Cardinals 55/45 in ATS contests though Rams still 60/40 in SU pools).
San Francisco 49ers (-1.5) at Denver Broncos
The Sunday nighter gives us the 9th home dog of the week. The advance line on this game was Broncos -3, but now it’s flipped to the 49ers -1.5. I believe this validates my earlier comments (and I wasn’t the only one) that the 49ers were a better team if Jimmy Garoppolo stayed the starter instead of Trey Lance, who is now lost for the season with a fractured right ankle. But while the 49ers are now in better hands, the play is to tease the Broncos up over a TD even though Russell Wilson’s Denver debut hasn’t gone as well as planned.
Best Bet: Pass, except Broncos in teasers (pool play: Broncos 55/45 in both SU and ATS contests).
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-2.5)
We close out Week 3 with another lukewarm opinion about a short dog that we’re going to tease up over a touchdown. The Giants are a surprising 2-0 with narrow wins over the Titans and Panthers, but I’m still not sure they should be favored here. The Cowboys, with Cooper Rush, really stepped up (especially on defense) to upset the Bengals 20-17 as 7-point home dogs and there’s no reason they can’t do the same against the Giants. Update: after writing that last sentence originally in Wednesday's column, I've been liking this play more as we've moved toward the weekend and now considering the Cowboys one of my favorite dogs in Week 3.
Best Bet: Cowboys + 1 as we're adding it Friday (pool play: Cowboys 67/33 in SU and ATS contests).