After getting some writing done on Thursday morning at the Tuley’s Takes home office, the rest of the day was spent on the road as I drove my oldest child, Jordyn, back to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff after Christmas break.
I was able to follow our best bets in the car, but unfortunately we lost with our top play on the Penguins-Flyers First-Period Under 1.5 goals as the Penguins jumped out to a 3-0 lead. At least we won our two other recommended plays on the Blue Jackets-Devils 1P Over 1.5 and the Jets-Avalanche 1P Over 1.5. We shoulda just stuck with the Overs (though the Penguins came through for us with the Under on Wednesday and was the hottest 1P Under team, so I don’t regret the play).
The cool thing is that Arizona has legal sports betting, so we don’t have to rush back on Friday to get our bets in. Now, I don’t like either NHL game on Friday’s short slate (all four teams are slightly better with 1P Unders, but not strong enough for a play). Instead, I found a college basketball home underdog on Friday night, plus we’re offering our updates on this Sunday’s NFL Week 18 card. Tons of lines are moving all over the place, so it’s imperative for bettors to figure out whether to bet right away or wait to get the best numbers.
But, first, let’s recap all of the Thursday betting action.
NBA: Favorites went 3-1 SU and ATS on Thursday night. The lone upset was by the Knicks in their 108-105 win vs. the Celtics as 2-point home dogs on RJ Barrett's banked-in 3-pointer at the buzzer. Pelicans (-1 vs. Warriors), Grizzlies (-13.5 vs. Pistons) and Suns (-10.5 vs. Clippers) covered as chalk. Unders went 3-1.
CBB: Indiana routed No. 13 Ohio State 67-51, but it was NOT an upset as the Hoosiers closed as 3.5-point home favorites. The game stayed Under the betting total of 138.5). No. 5 UCLA (-26) beat Long Beach State 96-78, but did NOT cover. No. 7 USC (-6 at Cal) and No. 23 Wisconsin (-3 vs. Iowa) covered as chalk.
NHL: Faves went 7-3 Thursday night with the upsets by the Wild (+ 140 at Bruins), Stars (+ 116 vs. Panthers) and Coyotes (+ 130 vs. Blackhawks). Overs went 5-4-1 with the push in the Golden Knights' 5-1 win vs. the Rangers with a betting total of 6 goals.
Friday’s Takes (including NFL Week 18)
Butler + 5.5 vs. Xavier: Xavier is 11-2 and ranked No. 22, so we get it that the Musketeers are the superior team. However, we have our reasons for liking Butler as a home dog on Friday night. While the Bulldogs are just 8-5 so far on the season, they are 6-2 at home, so they do get a bit of a home-court advantage in historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. We’re also hoping that Xavier comes in a little rusty as its last two games were postponed and the Musketeers haven’t played since Dec. 21 when they lost to Villanova to snap a seven-game winning streak.
(Note: We post our best bets in VSiN’s digital online magazine, Point Spread Weekly, that comes out on Wednesday. But oftentimes the lines move between then and when the games are played, so we like to post updates in these daily “Tuley’s Takes Today” columns to help bettors get the best value. If you’re looking for the reasons why I like each pick, check out PSW or the NFL Best Bets file at VSiN.com as here we’re most interested in whether to bet the games early or wait until closer to kickoff to get the best number.)
Lions + 4 vs. Packers: Actually, this wasn’t among my best bets in PSW as the line was bouncing all over with speculation about whether or not Aaron Rodgers and other Green Bay starters would play since they’re locked up the NFC No. 1 seed. I didn’t like the Lions at -2 as they were earlier in the week or even at + 2, but I’ll jump in at + 4.
Jaguars + 16 vs. Colts: We gave this out at + 16 but those have mostly disappeared. It’s probably best to grab the best number you can ASAP, though I’d still feel comfortable at + 14.5.
Texans + 10 vs. Titans: This number is looking pretty solid, but there are some indications that it could drop so I’d go ahead and grab 10 now instead of waiting to see if it goes back to 10.5.
Falcons + 4 vs. Saints: There are plenty of 3.5s out there so grab + 4 if you still can.
Steelers + 5 at Ravens: This has been bouncing all over, so I can understand waiting in case it jumps up to 6, but I’d want at least + 4.5 to make a play.
49ers + 4.5 at Rams: This also looks pretty solid, but Circa Sports is down to 4, so I’d grab the 4.5 ASAP.
Raiders + 3 vs. Chargers: This is also pretty solid, but a few books have started to add vig to the Chargers -3, so we should probably wait in case we eventually get the hook at + 3.5