One week of this new column is in the books, and we hope we’ve helped our readers have a profitable week with our underdog-or-pass approach, especially as dogs continued to bark in the NFL on Sunday.
Our best bets on Sunday (which were the same plays we gave out Wednesday in our regular “Tuley’s Takes” column in VSiN’s “Point Spread Weekly” digital magazine) went 4-2 ATS with winners on the Panthers, Texans, Raiders, Vikings and Cowboys, plus the Over in the Chiefs-Ravens game on Sunday Night Football. The Panthers, Raiders and Cowboys also won outright, which was a nice bonus. This came on the heels of going 4-2 ATS on Saturday’s college football card with all four winners winning outright.
Let’s get to the general betting recaps and a look at the early results in Las Vegas’ high-end handicapping contests before going through some of my “takeaways” from Sunday’s action and then my “takes” for Monday:
Sunday’s betting recaps
Ravens rallied to beat the Chiefs 36-35 on Sunday Night Football as 3.5-point home underdogs and + 170 on the money line (flew Over the closing total of 53.5 points as NFL prime-time games are now 5-0 with the Over to start the season. Favorites went 9-5 SU on Sunday, but dogs led 8-6 ATS. Unders also went 8-6 on Sunday. Including the Giants’ cover in their SU loss at Washington on Thursday Night Football, faves are 10-5 SU with dogs leading 9-6 ATS so far in Week 2 and 21-10 ATS (67.7%) on the season; road teams 9-6 ATS on the week, including #TNF, and 18-12 ATS (60%) on season; Unders 8-7 on week and lead 17-14 (54.8%) on season
MLB: Favorites went 11-4 on Sunday, including the Cardinals (-112 vs. Padres) winning their 8th straight game. The biggest upsets on the day were the Indians (+ 270 at Yankees) and Tigers (+ 230 at Rays). Faves lead 1,289-878 (59.5%) on the season with 51 games closing pick-’em. Overs went 8-7 Sunday, cutting Unders' very slim lead on the season to 1,059-1,053-100 (50.1%).
SuperContest Top 5 Most-Selected Teams went 0-5 in Week 2 (that’s right, the five most popular choices all lost) with the Chiefs joining the Steelers, Eagles, Rams and Cardinals. The SC Top 5 is 2-8 through the first two weeks after going 2-3 in Week 1. The SuperContest Gold Top 5, which comes from the $5,000 version of the SC and is considered to have a sharper clientele, only went 1-4 with the lone win on the Panthers. The losses were on the Eagles, Steelers, Chargers and Chiefs. The SC Gold Top 5 is only 3-6-1 through the first two weeks.
Circa Sports Million Top 5 Most-Selected Teams went 2-3 in Week 2. The Panthers won as the top choice, but the only other winner was the Patriots. The point-spread losers were the Steelers, Chiefs & Cardinals. Through two weeks, the Circa Sports Million Top 5 is 5-5 after going 3-2 in Week 1.
Circa Survivor, which drew 4,080 entries at $1,000 apiece for its guaranteed $6 million prize pool, had 3,397 alive entering NFL Week 2. After Sunday;s games, there were 2,986 entries still alive with 778 needing the Packers on Monday Night Football. The most-selected team was the Browns with 1,180 entrants using them in Week 2 and they survived a scare from the Texans before winning 31-21. The most entrants were eliminated Sunday by the Steelers at 252 with another 126 exiting on the Seahawks. Sunday’s other eliminations: Chargers (10), Chiefs (3), Texans (3), Eagles (1) and Saints (1).
Tuley’s NFL takeaways from Week 2
Underdogs were again the way to go as we saw that oddsmakers and bettors haven’t figured these teams out yet. This is further illustrated by the fact that the five most popular SuperContest picks went 0-5 (and 2-3 in Circa Sports Million, which mostly picked up its wins on the Panthers and Patriots because they offered half a point better). This is similar to when you see 80% to 90% of bets being made on a given team, it’s time to look the other way. Now, we know this isn’t going to last forever and favorites will probably have a similar two-week run at some point this season, but try to take advantage while the public is consistently on the wrong side.
NBC’s Cris Collinsworth mentioned that home-field advantage is back after the Ravens’ upset of the Chiefs on Sunday night -- and I heard similar comments from play-by-play announcers and analysts during isolated incidents. However, the numbers don’t bear that out with dogs being 18-12 ATS (60%). Heck, at 14-16, home teams aren’t even hitting at a .500 clip straight-up. For every time someone says the home-field helped a team, I can point to games like Vikings-Cardinals and Cowboys-Chargers where it sure sounded like road fans outnumbered the home crowd or the fact the “12th Man” couldn't bring home the win for the Seahawks, who lost in OT to the Titans.
The “NFL” stands for “Not For Long,” as in there’s going to be a lot of reversals of fortune. After Week 1, we heard that the Saints and Eagles were world-beaters and the Titans were trash. And then the Titans turned around and upset the Seahawks while the Saints and Eagles came back to Earth. Don’t be quick to rush to judgement of what we saw in Week 2 either. Are the Dolphins as bad as their 35-0 loss to the Bills? No, they’re not. Are the Panthers, Raiders and Broncos as great as they looked in victory. No, they’re not either.
Lions (+ 10.5) at Packers: That’s the line I had to pick against in Point Spread Weekly on Tuesday (for publication on Wednesday), but I’ve been advising readers all week to wait for the best line. It went to 11 in the middle of the week, then to 11.5 over the weekend. Let’s wait to bet the Lions until we see the line start to reverse at some books (indicating buy-back on the underdog) or leveling off.
Cardinals (+ 190) at Brewers: The Cardinals are riding an eight-game winning streak to put them into the second wild-card spot in the National League, yet we’re getting nearly 2-1 against the Brewers, who have all but clinched the NL Central and are pretty much locked into the No. 2 seed.
Good luck today (and every day!).