Tuley's Takes Today: New column recaps NFL Week 1 and Vegas contests

By Dave Tuley  (VSiN.com senior reporter) 

September 13, 2021 02:59 AM

Welcome to the debut of “Tuley’s Takes Today.”

If you follow me on Twitter @ViewFromVegas or in my weekly “Tuley’s Takes” column in Point Spread Weekly, a lot of what we’ll be doing here will look familiar (recapping each day’s action, Las Vegas football contest updates, handicapping upcoming games, etc.). The best thing about this change is while PSW is great, there are limitations with it only coming out on Wednesday. I’ve written often about betting MLB teams on winning streaks (and against them the next game after having it snapped) and against teams on losing streaks (and, conversely, backing them after snapping a skid), but this column gives us an outlet to point out those teams on a daily basis). This will also come in handy during times like the NBA and NHL playoffs where I can see the actual lines instead of speculating days in advance.

We hope you check in every day. I’ve always a close relationship with my readers from my start on the sports betting beat at the GamingToday newspaper here in Las Vegas from 1998-2000, at Daily Racing Form as its full-time Las Vegas correspondent from 2000-2007 and then on a freelance basis from 2007-2014 while launching my ViewFromVegas.com website with its interactive Forum, and then onto ESPN.com from 2011 to 2017 and now VSiN.com since 2017. A lot of my readers were first introduced to my work in covering the football contests here in Vegas (I’ve also covered every National Horseplayers Championship since 2000, including playing in it for the first time last month, and every WSOP Main Event final table since 1999), so I’ll also include my news and notes on this season’s football contests as I’ve always been a huge proponent of contest play to supplement one’s betting portfolio.

We encourage feedback at tuley@vsin.com and I always love meeting readers if you’re making a trip to Vegas.

But enough of that. Let’s get to what we’re here for:

Sunday’s betting recaps

NFL: Underdogs went 10-4 ATS in Sunday’s Week 1 games with eight outright upsets despite the Rams beating Bears 34-14 on Sunday Night Football as 9-point home favorites (went Over the betting total of 46, though Unders led 9-5 on the day). Including the Cowboys (+ 9) covering in their 31-29 loss at the Buccaneers in the Thursday night opener, dogs are 11-4 ATS so far in Week 1 (Unders lead 9-6) heading into Monday Night Football.

More NFL: Dogs started the day by going 7-2 ATS in the early games, including six upsets (Steelers, Texans, Cardinals, Chargers, Eagles and Bengals, plus Lions (+ 9.5) rallying for the unlikeliest of back-door covers in a 41-33 loss vs. the 49ers. Early San Fran backers and contest players covered (the line was 49ers -7.5 in Circa Sports Million and the Westgate SuperContest), Unders started 6-3. In the afternoon games, dogs went 3-1 ATS with the Saints (+ 3.5) upsetting the Packers 38-3 in their relocated game in Jacksonville, Fla., the Dolphins (+ 3.5) holding off the Patriots 17-16 and the Browns (+ 5.5) covering in a 33-29 loss at the Chiefs. Unders were also 3-1 in the afternoon session.

MLB: Yes, there was also baseball action on Sunday in case you didn’t notice, and plenty of people betting it. Favorites went 9-6 Sunday, including the Mets (-118) beating the Yankees 7-6 on Sunday Night Baseball. The biggest upset was by the Rockies (+ 240 at Phillies). Faves lead 1,233-844 (59.4%) on the season with 49 games closing pick-’ems. Over/Unders split 7-7-1 with the push on that same Rockies-Phillies game (9). Unders still hold a slim lead at 1,019-1,010-91 (50.2%).

What were Tuley’s Takeaways?

1. Betting the underdogs was definitely the way to go in Week 1. Now, regular readers know us as a dog-or-pass bettor, so I had a pretty good weekend but not as good as I would like considering that 11-4 ATS mark. In my “Tuley’s Takes” column in PSW, my best bets are 2-3 ATS with my outstanding pick on the Raiders on Monday night -- and I do hope it’s outstanding! Rimshot, please!. Anyway, I was 2-2 ATS on the VSiN NFL Best Bets page (again, with the Raiders pending). I certainly hope that a lot of my readers had even better starts to the NFL season than yours truly if you were able to land on more of the live underdogs. However, in my defense, I will state that while I did have a losing ticket on the Lions + 7.5 from back in May, I bet more on them at + 8 and + 9, so if we’re talking about my actual ATS results this weekend, I was 3-2 ATS and 3-1 ATS with my biggest bets on those games (though I have to take a loss in PSW and in Circa Sports Million and the Westgate SuperContest with the Lions at + 7.5). In PSW, I also give a “pool play” for all games, especially when I don’t have a strong opinion on the game and those actually fare better at 6-3-1 ATS (the push being the Panthers -5 at time of publication). In fact, I did so well in one of my smaller pools that I clinched the weekly prize before the Sunday Night Football even kicked off. That shows you how poorly the public, which mostly bets favorites, did in Week 1. Now, I’m not going to tell all of you to start betting dogs (because I hope you’re already doing that as opposed to following the masses. Instead, the goal is to pick the stronger underdog plays and avoid the weaker ones. 

2. Unders were also the way to go in Week 1 at 9-6 heading into Monday night. I’m a little bummed I didn’t see this trend coming. With the shortening of training camps, and reduction of preseason games from four to three, we saw our fair share of sloppy play that could’ve passed for exhibition games. I thought many of the totals seemed to be set too high, but unfortunately I didn’t pay as much attention to the totals. While I believe we’ll continue to find underdogs at fair prices, I think the window will close pretty quick on the NFL Unders with all the rule changes favoring offense.

3. The most common thing you’re going to hear this week on VSiN programming is: “Don’t overreact to what you saw in Week 1.” That’s always good advice. I’m sure there are many bettors who will forgive the Packers for their horrific Game 1 performance, but won’t give teams like the Titans, Falcons and Jaguars the same benefit of a doubt. Remember that no team is as good as it looks in victory nor as bad as it looks in defeat. The key is to properly adjust your power ratings for what we saw in Week 1 without going overboard, and then finding where the oddsmakers -- and ultimately the betting public -- have overreacted.  

Contest Corner

Circa Sports Million III made its $4 million guarantee for Circa Sports owner Derek Stevens with 4,087 entries at $1,000 apiece. The contest actually broke the Vegas record for number of entries in a “high-end” football contest, which we define as one with an entry fee of $1,000 or more. The record was previously held by the Westgate SuperContest, which had 3,328 entries in 2019 at $1,500 apiece. The Top 5 Most-Selected teams started 2-2 in Week 1 with wins by Panthers -3.5 and 49ers -7.5 (contest lines don’t change after being posted at 10 a.m. PT on Thursdays). Washington lost as the No. 1 choice, as did the Packers -4. The last Top 5 play of the week is the Raiders +  4 vs. the Ravens on Monday Night Football.

Circa Survivor, with a guaranteed pool of $6 million by Stevens, drew 4,080 entries at $1,000 apiece, leaving an overlay of $1.92 million for players. The contest is down to 3,394 heading into MNF with 19 on the Ravens and 3 on the Raiders. The top four choices all won (some easier than others) as the Rams (1,287) were the top choice, followed by the 49ers (935), Panthers (578) and Buccaneers (471). Here are the teams that let their backers down: Jaguars (179), Falcons (163), Bills (101), Vikings (75), Patriots (62), Packers (29), Titans (22), Washington (19), Giants (2), Jets (2), Lions (1) and Bears (1).

The Westgate SuperContest drew 1,972 entries, up from 1,172 last year when it was bypassed by Circa Sports Million, at $1,000 apiece. SuperContest Gold drew 87, up from 72. The SuperContest Top 5 Most-Selected Teams went 1-3 Sunday with 49ers -7.5 the lone winner (contest lines don’t change after being posted Wednesday afternoon). Washington was also the No. 1 choice here, but lost as did the Patriots -3, and Packers -4. The last Top 5 play of the week is the Raiders + 4.5 vs. the Ravens on MNF.

Monday’s Takes

Raiders + 4 vs Ravens: I originally bet this back in May when the line opened as high as Ravens -5.5. I really felt that by this week, bettors were going to jump on the Raiders since this is the first home game in Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium with fans and maybe bet it down to 3 for a nice middle. Well, it hasn’t gone quite that far though it was down to 3.5 at South Point, Wynn Las Vegas and Station Casinos here in Vegas with plenty of 4s still widely available.

Giants TBD vs. Padres: The Giants have MLB’s longest current winning streak at 7. The Brewers are second with a streak of five wins. With Monday’s short schedule, I would normally just parlay these two chalks, but the Brewers are idle on Monday. The Giants-Padres game was off the betting board early Monday morning, so I’ll take the Giants with Dominic Leone (3-3, 1.48 ERA, on the money line if oddsmakers make them an underdog vs. the Padres with Yu Darvish (8-9, 3.95 ERA). If the Giants are favored, I’ll turn them into underdogs by playing them on the run line at -1.5 runs and plus-money.


Good luck today (and every day!).

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