Sunday, June 9, is a day we won’t soon forget in the Tuley’s Takes home office, though we spent it away from home all day at the Circa sportsbook as we put on our reporters’ hat (actually a Cubs hat) and covered the final day of the Circa Survivor and Circa Sports Million contests.
It was thrilling to watch 6 millionaires be made (at least before taxes!) as I lived vicariously through their day of trying to have their predictions come true on a typical NFL Sunday with tons of unpredictable results, all heightened with so much money on the line.
When I put my handicappers’ hat on (actually the same hat), it was also a banner day as my NFL best bets posted in Point Spread Weekly and here in these daily columns the last few days on the Jaguars, Lions, Texans, Falcons, Steelers, 49ers and Raiders went 6-1 ATS with 5 outright upsets (wish I had parlayed those!!!) and the Texans covering in their loss to the Titans. The one loss in there was the Falcons + 4 against the Saints, but I didn’t mind losing that game as I’m the Circa Sports Million proxy for DURBIFY (alias of Tony Gordon of California), who I was watching the games with on Sunday as he won the $1 million first-place prize thanks in part to his pick on the Saints -3.5 in the contest. It was worth it to sacrifice that game for the greater good.
Per usual, let’s recap the betting action across the NFL (including Contest Corner on the winners of the major football contests in Vegas), NBA, NHL and CBB and then offer a play on Monday night’s CFB Playoff National Championship Game.
NFL: Raiders beat Chargers 35-32 in OT to wrap up the NFL regular season and clinch the last wild-card spot. The Raiders won as 3-point home underdogs and + 143 on the money line even though a lot of people were hoping (and had bet on) the game to end in a tie so both teams could qualify for the playoffs. We thought we were watching a soccer match with both teams playing for a tie to advance out of pool play. Anyway, faves and dogs split 7-7 SU on the day, but dogs led 9-5 ATS. Home teams were 8-6 SU and ATS while Overs went 9-5.
More NFL: Sunday's 7 outright upsets were by the Jaguars (+ 14 vs. the Colts), Dolphins (+ 6 vs. Patriots), Lions (+ 4 vs. Packers), Steelers (+ 3 at Ravens), Seahawks (+ 5.5 at Cardinals), 49ers (+ 3 at LAR) and Raiders (+ 3 vs. Chargers). Including Saturday, Week 18 faves were 9-7 SU but dogs led 10-6 ATS. Home teams went 8-8 SU and 9-7 ATS while Overs dominated at 11-5.
NFL regular-season wrap: Faves finished 167-99-1 with 5 pick-'ems but dogs led 139-125-3 ATS (52.7 percent). Home teams led 136-132-1 with 3 neutral-site games (Packers-Saints in Week 1, plus 2 London games), but road teams led 140-126-3 ATS (52.6 percent). Unders led 146-124-2 (54.1 percent with primetime Unders going 29-24-1 after 1-8 start.
NBA: Faves went 7-3 SU but dogs led 7-3 ATS as the Magic (+ 7 vs. Wizards), Pelicans (+ 7 at Raptors), Thunder (+ 7 vs. Nuggets) and Spurs (+ 9.5 at Nets) all covered as dogs in SU losses. The upsets were by the Clippers (+ 4 vs. Hawks), Grizzlies (+ 3 at Lakers) and Blazers (+ 1.5 vs. Kings). Unders went 7-3.
CBB: No. 13 Ohio State beat Northwestern 95-87 and made late free throws to barely cover as 7.5-point home favorite. No. 23 Wisconsin beat Maryland 70-69 after nearly blowing 21-point lead, but it was actually an upset as the Badgers closed as a 1-point road underdog.
NHL: Faves went 2-0 as Blues (-150 in 2-1 home win vs. Stars) and Ducks (-130 in 4-3 home win vs. Red WIngs) both won as home chalk. Over/Unders split as Stars-Blues stayed Under 6 goals and Red Wings-Ducks went Over 5.5.
The last 5 Circa Survivors all won in NFL Week 18 to claim $1.2 million apiece from the guaranteed $6 million pool. I wrote a full story on it at VSiN.com, so let me just direct you there.
DURBIFY (alias of Tony Gordon, 45, of Atascadero, Calif.) won Circa Sports Million 1st-place prize of $1 million and a blue blazer as he went 3-2 in Week 18 and finished the contest at 63-27 ATS (70 percent) with his top entry to bypass HANNIBAL BARCA, who was in 1st and 3rd with his top 2 entries entering the final week but used the same plays on both and went 2-3 to allow DURBIFY, who was half a point behind heading into Week 18, to claim the title. DURBIFY’s second entry – on which he went opposite of his top plays to maximize his chance to have both his entries finish high – still finished in a tie for 10th place.
More on Circa Sports Million: Mad Russian went 5-0 to match DURBIFY's 63-27 record, but after the 1st tiebreaker of most wins on season (both had 63 as neither had a push the whole season), the next tiebreaker is number of winning weeks during the 18-week contest and Durbify won that 17-14 as he only had 1 losing week the whole season). Mad Russian collects $325,000 for 2nd. HANNIBAL BARCA settled for $275,000 for 3rd.
The Westgate SuperContest was also won on a tiebreaker as SPORTSHANDICAPPER caught LITOFSKY CLAN at 62 points, but SPORTSHANDICAPPER (62-28, 68.9 percent) had a 12-3 record in the last 3 weeks of the season to win the $335,800 top price while LITOFSKY CLAN (61-27-2, 69.3 percent) was 11-4 down the stretch and settles for $100,740 in 2nd place.
Alabama-Georgia Under 52.5 points: I hope my regular readers also check out our picks in Point Spread Weekly each Wednesday. If you do, you probably saw I used Alabama + 3 and Under 52.5 on the VSiN CFB Consensus page and then Under 52.5 on the VSiN CFB Best Bet page. You also probably noticed I didn’t do a write-up in my regular “Tuley’s Takes” column or in the Best Bets file at VSiN.com later in the week. That’s because it’s a very lukewarm opinion that I didn’t feel strong enough about to write about as a “best bet” as the stats for both teams actually say it should go Over this number, but it’s more of a gut feeling that this game will be tighter after the previously highly touted Georgia defense was embarrassed in the SEC Championship Game. But, hey, as I’m sitting here late Sunday night, I can’t imagine I won’t have a bet on Monday night’s game, so while it’s not usually to the level of confidence I like for a best bet, it’s my best bet for Monday. (Besides, the one NHL 1st-Period Over play I was considering on the Kraken-Avalanche looks like it’s going to be Over 2 goals, so I don’t like that play as much).