Sometimes I think I should have a reality TV show. The life of a sports betting journalist might not seem exciting and glamorous, but after a week of churning out copy with my weekly Tuley’s Takes column in Point Spread Weekly and this daily column, plus recapping Nevada’s sports betting figures that were released Wednesday morning and some other writeups that you might not even be aware of (2 NFL picks each Friday in the New York Post “Bettor’s Guide” and betting previews for UCLA and the Chargers in the L.A. Times), I was making the rounds around Las Vegas on Friday night.
Earlier, I had gone to a Halloween party (I went as a plague doctor, complete with mask, gloves, etc. – when I wore this in 2019, it was ahead of its time as hardly anyone knew what COVID-19 was) at the Springs Preserve (look it up if you’ve never heard of it). Afterward, I went to Jerry’s Nugget Casino in North Las Vegas for the prime rib. Then, I had some proxy duties to take care of as the Golden Nugget’s “Ultimate Football Challenge” has a 10 p.m. PT deadline on Friday nights and I also put in plays for me and some friends in the “College Pick’Em” at William Hill.
In between all this I was sweating out my bets on the Astros in Game 3 of the World Series and Navy + 11 at Tulsa. The Astros’ bats were cooled off by Ian Anderson and the Braves’ bullpen in a combined 2-hitter and a 2-0 loss, but at least Navy came through by not only covering against Tulsa but winning outright, 20-17.
I wasn’t allowed to wear my full face-covering mask in the casinos, but I wore it out in the open air of the Fremont Street Experience. The funny thing was, as much attention that I get when wearing my full get-up of the plague doctor costume just about anywhere, the scene on Fremont Street was so outlandish (half-naked nuns whipping a pedestrian – and getting tips for doing it, just to name one example) that I barely warranted a second glance.
And if you made it this far without skipping ahead to the picks, that just proves there’s an audience for my reality show!
So let’s get to all the betting recaps from Friday night’s action. And, then, just as we’ve been doing all week, we’ll update our college and pro football best bets for the weekend as we try to time the best time to make our wagers, especially as there’s been more line movement than normal this week.
MLB: Braves (-122 home faves) beat the Astros 2-0 Friday night on a combined 2-hitter to take a 2-1 lead in the World Series. The game stayed way Under the betting total of 8.5 runs. Faves and home teams are both 2-1 in the series while Unders lead 2-0-1. Overall in the playoffs (not counting wild-card games), faves improved to 20-12, home teams are 21-11 and Overs dipped to 18-13-1.
CFB: Nevada (-19) covered in 51-20 home win over in-state rival UNLV, who had rallied from 41-0 deficit to almost get in the back door at 41-20 before Nevada pulled away late; earlier, Navy (+ 11, + 350 on money line) upset Tulsa 20-17.
NBA: Favorites went a perfect 7-0 SU on Friday, but they were just 5-2 ATS as the Magic (+ 9.5 at Raptors) and Pacers (+ 8.5 at Nets) covered as dogs in SU losses. Home teams went 6-1 SU on the night, but only 4-3 ATS. The Kings (-1.5 at Pelicans) won and covered as the lone road fave. Unders went 5-2 on the night.
NHL: Favorites went 5-1 on Friday night with the only upset by the Senators (+ 166 at Stars). Unders went 4-2 on the night.
Iowa + 3.5 at Wisconsin: I hope everyone grabbed the 3.5 on Friday like I wrote yesterday as most books are now at 3. If you didn’t get + 3.5, maybe you can still get + 3 (EVEN).
Indiana + 6 at Maryland:
Again, it pays to follow this column every day and grab some early lines as this is now down to 4.5 and even 4 at some books..
Virginia Tech + 4 vs. Georgia Tech: Still looking pretty solid at 4 as it’s barely budged all week.
Florida State + 10 at Clemson:
I advised to grab the 10 if you could; it’s down to 9.5 just about everywhere. You lose the insurance of a push if it landed on exactly 10, but I still say we have enough of an edge to play it down to + 8.5.
Penn State + 18.5 at Ohio State:
On Wednesday, I wrote “I’m waiting as this looks like it’s going higher” and it certainly has as we see some 19’s out there late Thursday and now it’s 19.5 late, late Friday night/Saturday morning. I’m still waiting to see if it steams to 20.
Updated teaser approach: We lost our teasers starting with the Cardinals on TNF, but there’s been plenty of line movement this week that impact our teaser portfolio. We advised teasing the Colts from + 1 to + 7 in PSW, but now the line has flipped to the Colts being favored and the Titans being the preferred teaser side from + 2.5 to + 8.5. Likewise, with news on Friday coming out that Dak Prescott might not be ready to return Sunday night, if you used the Vikings + 8.5, that’s no longer available with the Vikes favored by 2.5, so the preferred teaser became is the Cowboys from + 2.5 to + 8.5. I advised readers on Friday to tease them with the Titans. Of course, the Vikings have gone to -3, which makes the Cowboys a less-attractive teaser play as it’s technically not a “Wong” or “advantage” teaser anymore as you’re paying a half-point you really don’t need. With an absence of any true premium teaser plays, I’m also considering combinations using the Panthers teased up from + 3 to + 9 at the Falcons, Lions from + 3.5 to + 9.5 vs. the Eagles and Steelers from + 3.5 (several books at Browns -4) to + 9.5 (or + 10).
Lions + 3.5 vs. Eagles: Some books have dipped to 3, so grab the hook ASAP in case the line starts dropping again.
Steelers + 3.5 at Browns:
We were waiting to see if we could get Steelers + 4 – and we now can with the news that Baker Mayfield will probably start. But that’s OK with us.
Patriots + 5.5 at Chargers:
Here’s another one we warned about as this is down to 4.5 at all books, and even some movement to 4. As I wrote Thursday, I wouldn’t take any lower than + 4.5.
Giants + 10 at Chiefs:
Some books dipped to 9.5 but many returned to 10 as of early Friday. I advised to take the + 10 and stand by that. As popular of a team as the Chiefs remain, there’s certainly a lot of people turning on them now, so I’m less certain of this rising to 10.5 over the weekend.
Good luck today (and every day!).