It was hard to top Thursday’s excitement from the college basketball tournament, but here in the Tuley’s Take home office we actually think Friday did it.
We might be a little biased as we personally had a great day with all the upsets (and some smaller tickets with some other dogs covering in losses), highlighted by hitting our Best Bet of the day on Indiana + 5 as the Hoosiers upset Illinois in the earliest game of the game, 65-63, in the Big Ten Tournament. While that was happening, our second-best bet of the day, Texas A/M + 9.5 was in the process of knocking off Auburn 67-62 in the SEC Tournament. We lost our other two posted plays on Wyoming and Rutgers, but felt good that we had more on our two two plays and even wrote that I was no longer high on Rutgers’ in their spot and didn’t make a straight bet (as I answered a reader on Twitter @ViewFromVegas, I only used the Scarlet Knights in some small parlays).
In addition, we hit our lone NHL First-Period Over on the Wild-Blue Jackets 1P Over 1.5 -125 (that was the overnight line at BetMGM, though it was mostly available around -150 to -160). We felt like we had extra pressure to win that bet as Pauly Howard mentioned he was with me on “Follow the Money.” The Blue Jackets scored the first goal 6 1/2 minutes in the game and we felt pretty good, but then had to sweat as the time ticked away until the Wild were given a power play and fortunately scored with 26 seconds to spare in the opening period!
Let’s get to the general recaps of Friday’s betting action, and then try to keep the good times rolling on Saturday.
CBB: Texas A/M (+ 9) upset No,. 4 Auburn (also SEC No. 1 seed) 67-62, Indiana (+ 6) upset No. 16 Illinois (also Big Ten No. 1 seed) 65-63, Creighton (+ 3) upset No. 11 Providence (also Big East No. 1 seed) 85-58, Michigan State (+ 3.5) upset No. 13 Wisconsin 69-63, Virginia Tech (+ 3) upset No. 25 North Carolina. San Diego State (-2.5) beat No. 23 Colorado State 63-58 and No. 13 UCLA (-6) beat No. 21 USC 69-59 in night games.
NBA: Faves went 7-3 SU on Friday but dogs led 6-4 ATS as Pistons (+ 14 in 114-103 loss at Celtics), Clippers (+ 7.5 in 112-106 loss at Hawks) and Knicks (+ 9 in 118-114 loss at Grizzlies) covered as dogs in SU losses. The upsets were by the Magic (+ 8.5 in 118-110 win vs. Timberwolves), Spurs (+ 5.5 in 104-102 win vs. Jazz) and Raptors (+ 5 in 117-112 win at Suns). Overs went 6-4.
NHL: Faves/dogs split 2-2 SU and ATS Friday with the upsets by the Blue Jackets (+ 170 in 3-2 shootout win vs. Wild) and Capitals (+ 100 in 4-3 OT win at Canucks). Penguins (-180 in 5-2 win vs. Golden Knights) and Islanders (-120 in 5-2 win vs. Jets) won as faves and also covered -1.5 puck line. Overs went 3-1.
We’re sticking with our time-honored approach of backing highly motivated teams on the bubble against teams that are locks for the Big Dance, and thus not as motivated (especially with the point spread taken into effect). Here are my plays for Saturday in order of preference):
Texas A/M + 6.5 vs. Arkansas: The Aggies came through for us big-time early on Friday with their upset of Auburn. They started the day on Joe Lunardi’s “Next Four Out” list and we felt they would be closer to the bubble, but he still had them on the same list after the upset, so they probably still need another win or to win the SEC. If their pressure D could contain Auburn, I love their chances against Arkansas. The two teams split their regular-season meetings with Texas A/M winning at home and losing on the road, though they took the Razorbacks to OT and lost by just 3 points, covering as 9-point dogs. Getting 6.5 on a neutral court is fair enough.
Virginia Tech + 6 vs. Duke: We won with the Hokies on Thursday as one of our best bets. I was remiss in not posting them again on Friday, though I added them to my personal portfolio at + 2.5 vs. North Carolina and they pulled another upset. As of late Friday, Joe Lunardi has them as the first team in the “First Four Out,” so we fully expect to get a top effort from them against Duke in the ACC title game. Duke continues to struggle on defense and it really looks like the players are feeling the pressure of being Coach K’s final team. The Blue Devils might get by on talent alone and win the conference title anyway, but I love Virginia Tech plus the points.
Tulane + 13.5 vs. Houston: Tulane, at 14-14, isn’t on many people’s radar, but it’s trying to steal a bid but now must face AAC regular-season champ Houston. The Green Wave’s run probably ends here, but I can’t pass up the 13.5 points with Tulane in this bubble-busting mode. Besides, Houston won the regular-season meetings by 11 and 14 points, so we know Tulane can stick with them close to the spread and hopefully the added incentive keeps it a little closer.
Saint Louis + 3.5 vs. Davidson: Saint Louis is on Joe Lunardi’s “Next Four Out” and needs to win the Atlantic 10 Conference title to make the NCAA Tournament. Now, it’s debatable whether regular-season champ Davidson is a lock to make the Big Dance if it loses this game, so that’s why this is lowest on my list.
Ducks-Devils First-Period Over 1.5 -150 (William Hill, but shop around): For those riding these 1P Overs with me, I like this bet the most on Saturday’s NHL card. As Pauly Howard and I have both been saying, the Devils are the gift that keeps on giving as they’re 39-19 with 1P Overs and 27-6 in their last 33 games (all betting stats from @PSUOtton Twitter, who also has the Devils at an incredible 26-3 on the “will there be a score in the first 10 minutes” prop for those who have been riding that). I’ll also probably parlay this with two other 1P plays as the Kraken-Canadiens are Over 1.5 -140 at WIlliam Hill while the Lightning-Oilers are Over 1.5 -145 overnight at BetMGM and -160 at DraftKings (1P Total is Over 2 at William Hill).
Good luck today (and every day!).