Thursday was an exciting opening day of the NCAA tournament here in Tuley’s Takes home office, though we wandered out to the books throughout the day, even though it was my 21st wedding anniversary. Sorry, honey, I had to work!
Things started a little slow, especially for underdog bettors as the chalk won and covered the first five games, but we knew it was the calm before the storm. No. 12 seed Richmond pulled the first upset of No. 5 Iowa (more details below) as the dogs started barking, also highlighted by No. 15 seed St. Peter’s knocking off No. 2 Kentucky. When the day ended, we were actually surprised that there were only 4 outright upsets as faves went 12-4 SU, though just 9-7 ATS as three other faves failed to cover vs. the closing line.
It was a disappointing day for yours truly as I lost not only my Best Bet of the day on Boise State as we dipped to 23-9-1 ATS the past 33 days with our top pick, but also my second-best play on Colorado State (my bad for counting on the Mountain West). The silver lining was I wrote in yesterday’s column that I liked all four of my Friday plays better than anything on Thursday, so I didn’t go too crazy with my bets. Make no mistake, I had a losing day, but it could have been a lot worse.
I also helped cut my losses as my recommended NHL 1P Over parlay on the Sabres-Oilers 1P Over -175 and Panthers-Golden Knights 1P Over -150 came in nicely as 2 goals were scored in the first period of both games.
Let’s get to the general recaps of Thursday’s betting action and then try to get back on the winning track as, just as I posted above, I like Friday’s NCAA card a lot better than yesterday.
CBB: Faves went 12-4 SU on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA tournament with outright upsets by No. 12 Richmond, No. 12 New Mexico State, No. 15 St. Peter's and No. 9 Creighton (more details below), but only 9-7 ATS with Gonzaga, Arkansas and UCLA failing to cover as chalk in their victories. Overs went 10-6.
More CBB: No. 12 Richmond upset No. 5 Iowa 67-63 as 10-point underdog and + 400 on the money line for the first upset of the NCAA tournament after the first games were covered by the favorites. Earlier, No. 11 Michigan beat No. 6 Colorado State 75-63 but it wasn't an upset as the Wolverines closed as a 1.5-point fave. Overall No. 1 seed Gonzaga (-22.5) broke open a close game to rout Georgia State 93-72 but did NOT cover as the Bulldogs dribbled out the clock to the delight of underdog bettors.
Even more CBB: In the early night session, No. 15 St. Peter's (+ 18.5, + 1500 ML) shocked No. 2 Kentucky 85-79 in OT. Other upsets were by No. 12 New Mexico St. (+ 6.5, + 235 ML in 70-63 win vs. No. 5 UConn) and No. 9 Creighton (+ 2.5 in 72-69 OT win vs. No. 8 San Diego St. Faves went 4-0 in the late session but just 2-2 ATS as Arkansas (-5 in 75-71 win vs. Vermont) and UCLA (-13.5 in 57-53 win vs. Akron) both failed to cover. Murray State (-2.5) escaped and covered in 92-87 OT win vs. San Francisco while Kansas (-22) covered in 83-56 rout vs. Texas Southern..
NBA: Pistons (+ 3) upset Magic 134-120 in lone game as most of the Association stepped aside for the college kids. Pistons improved to 12-0-1 ATS in their last 13 games (13-0 ATS if you got + 4.5 in their 106-102 loss vs. the Clippers on Sunday). The game went Over 219.5.
NHL: Faves and dogs split 5-5 with the upsets by the Golden Knights (+ 165 in 5-3 win vs. Panthers), Red Wings (+ 175 in 1-0 win at Canucks), Flyers (+ 150 in 5-4 win vs. Predators), Islanders (+ 120 in 2-1 win at Rangers) and Maple Leafs (+ 105 in 3-2 win vs. Hurricanes). Over/Unders split 5-5.
(Note: for the reasons behind why I like each pick, check out the VSiN Daily Best Bets file at VSiN.com as our main purpose here is making sure we get the best line value).
Colgate + 7.5 vs. Wisconsin: This line has bounced all over, but mostly settled at 7.5 early this week. Colgate has emerged as a popular underdog play, but I’m already pot-committed as I have Colgate advancing the farthest in my brackets among all lower seeds. Some + 8s have popped up, but it’s more likely to get bet down so I’d recommend to grab at least 7.5.
Virginia Tech + 1 vs. Texas:
This was the first bet I made on Sunday night when I saw some books going to pick-’em, though plenty of 1’s have still been available all week.
Montana State + 15.5 vs. Texas Tech:
The 15.5s are mostly gone (though available at Circa Sports early Friday), but 15 should be more than enough in this matchup that should be in the high single digits.
Delaware + 15.5 vs. Villanova:
I added this play on Tuesday for the VSiN Best Bets file at VSiN.com and it’s still looking solid at 15.5.
Panthers-Ducks First-Period Over 1.5 -150 BetMGM/-160 DraftKings: There are a couple of other games with game totals of 6.5 that I would also usually use, but I’m planning to just bet this one straight as I think it sticks out as the best NHL 1P Over on Friday. The Panthers are the No. 2 1P Over team at 42-19 (68.9 percent) behind the Wild and are on a 23-7 run. For those who want to do some parlays or a round-robin since they’ve been successful, the other 1P Over plays would be Flyers-Senators and Avalanche-Sharks.
Good luck today (and every day!).