(Note: this column has been updated with the updated lines for two of my college basketball plays as they weren't available overnight when this was first posted.)
Friday was another day of chores around the house (still catching up after the Super Bowl), plus doing more research in the Tuley’s Takes home office for the current and upcoming men’s college basketball conference tournaments.
The best part of the day was going to the local pizzeria with the wife and kids for dinner. The worst part was the Rockets not covering against the Nuggets as our Best Bet of the day. We gave it out in Friday morning’s column at + 13.5 and I was able to get it at + 14 before it closed at + 9 at most books. We felt we had the right side, but we’re not calling it a bad beat as the Nuggets did open up a 20-point lead in the third quarter. The Rockets did get back inside the spread, but came up short.
That dropped us to 16-3-1 ATS the past 20 days since the Super Bowl, when we started our hot run with the Bengals + 4.5. At least we did win our NHL First-Period Over 1.5 secondary best bet on the WIld-Sabres.
Let’s get to the major sports betting recaps from Friday, and then try to get back on the winning track with our best bet and additional plays for a very busy Saturday (note: also check out our “Team Tuley’s Thoroughbred Takes” column at VSiN.com/horses before noon ET if you’re interested in the ponies.
Note: I have two conference tournaments plays on Saturday night. We posted our original “takes” overnight before there were lines available as the games to set up the matchups weren’t played until Friday night, so we’ve updated those below.
NBA: Suns (-6.5) escaped with a 115-114 win late Friday vs. the Knicks on Cam Johnson's banked-in 3-pointer at the buzzer, but they didn't cover. Faves went 6-3 SU Friday, but dogs led 6-3 ATS as the 76ers (-8 in 125-119 win vs. Cavaliers) and Hawks (-6 in 117-114 win at Wizards) also failed to cover. The outright upsets were by the Magic (+ 8 in 103-97 win at Raptors), Pelicans (+ 5 in 124-90 rout vs. Jazz) and Pistons (+ 2.5 in 111-106 win vs. Pacers). The Bucks (-5 at Bulls), TImberwolves (-9.5 at Thunder) and Nuggets (-9 vs. Rockets) covered as faves. Unders went 5-4.
CBB: No. 22 Murray State was the only Top 25 team in action Friday night (which mostly involved smaller conference tournaments) and beat Southeast Missouri State 88-74 in the Ohio Valley semifinals, but failed to cover after closing as a 14.5-point favorite (Murray State opened between a 15.5- and 16.5-point fave).
NHL: Faves went 5-2 Friday with the only upsets by the Sabres (+ 175 in 5-4 win vs the Wild) and the Stars (+ 105 in 4-3 OT win at the Jets). Overs went 4-3.
Morehead State + 7.5 vs. Murray State: As I wrote in Point Spread Weekly and in this daily version of that column on Friday, I love betting conference tournament games, especially when I can get a live underdog fighting for a conference’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid against a team that is a lock to make the field, so they’re naturally not as motivated. We get that exact situation here. Morehead State is the No. 3 seed in the Ohio Valley tourney and not getting an NCAA bid without winning the conference. Meanwhile, Murray State (29-2) has been getting a lot of love from most bracketologists that they’re going to be in the field regardless; ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has them in as a No. 9 seed. Now, Murray State swept the season series, winning the first meeting by 11 points and the second meeting by just 4 points (we’re hoping for a repeat of the latter). In addition, I like that underdogs are 10-1 ATS in the last 11 Ohio Valley Conference title games. When we posted this overnight, we were hoping to get + 6 or 6.5, but we woke up this morning and were happy to see the line at a solid + 7.5 (and even + 8 at Circa Sports here in Las Vegas), do definitely shop around.
BYU + 3 vs. San Francisco: This is another play I’ve been anticipating. BYU is on the wrong side of the bubble while most have San Francisco in the field, so the play is on BYU as a short dog. These teams split their regular-season meetings with each winning on the other’s home court, and now the rubber match is in Vegas. The main thing keeping this from being my top Best Bet is because of that uncertainty of whether or not San Francisco is assured of getting an NCAA at-large bid. Their players could feel just as motivated if they feel they’re on the bubble. We were also worried that oddsmakers might be assuming the same things I was and end up making BYU a short favorite (in which case I would have passed), but I was also glad to get up Saturday morning and see BYU getting + 3 (and even + 3.5 at BetMGM), but again shop around during the day.
Canadiens-Oilers First-Period Over -1.5 -155: This is for those loyal readers still looking for my daily recommendation on these plays. The Oilers are 36-21 with 1P Overs this season with the Canadiens at 29-25 for a combined 65-46, best on Saturday’s NHL card. Beware of goods that go with Over 2 goals as I’m sure some followers on Friday got a push on Over 2 instead of getting the win with Over. 1.5). Overnight lines had this at -145 at BetMGM and -165 at DraftKings, so that’s why I’m assuming the average out there will be -155.
Good luck today (and every day!).