Thursday was spent in the Tuley’s Takes home office reporting on the fact that Nevada sportsbooks broke their annual handle and win records in 2021 despite a sub-par December, and then we settled in for another mid-winter night of sports betting action.
I did lose my best bet (and my one and only wager) on Minnesota + 6.5 vs. No. 16 Ohio State. The Golden Gophers stuck around most of the game, but ultimately lost the battle of the boards and didn’t shoot well enough as the Buckeyes pulled away in the second half for the 75-64 win and cover. In retrospect, I should have taken another Big Ten home team vs. a ranked opponent as Nebraska covered as a 9-point home dog in a 73-65 loss to No. 11 Wisconsin.
But if I had bet that game, I probably would have made the other bets I considered and that wouldn’t have worked as well as neither the Lakers or Timberwolves covered as NBA dogs and the NHL First-Period Overs I was contemplating went 1-3, which wouldn’t have fared well whether playing straight or in parlays.
So, as I’ve said before, it pays to “pass” when taking the “dog-or-pass” approach – or any other approach.
Let’s recap the rest of Thursday’s betting action and try to find the best bet on the Friday night card. In addition, we continue to track our best bets for the NFL conference championship games on Sunday.
NBA: Favorites went 2-0 SU and ATS on Thursday as the 76ers (-6) routed the Lakers 105-87 and the Warriors (-6.5) beat the Timberwolves 124-115. Over/Unders split 1-1 as the 76ers-Lakers game stayed Under 215.5 while the Warriors-Timberwolves went Over 229.5.
CBB: Stanford upset No. 15 USC 64-61 late Thursday as an 11-point road underdog and + 500 on the money line. No. 11 Wisconsin won 73-65 at Nebraska but did NOT cover as a 9-point road favorite. No. 2 Gonzaga (-29), No. 6 Purdue (-2.5), No. 7 UCLA (-13) and No. 16 Ohio State (-5.5) covered in their wins.
NHL: Faves went 6-4 with the upsets by the Kraken (+ 280 at Penguins), Blue Jackets (+ 169 vs. Rangers), Kings (+ 114 at Islanders) and Canucks (+ 159 at Jets). Unders went 6-3-1 with the push in the Flames-Blues (6) game.
Friday’s Taks (and NFL picks for Sunday)
Knicks + 9 at Bucks: We know the Knicks are having a pretty mediocre season at 23-26 SU (No. 11 in the Eastern Conference) and 24-25 ATS. However, this bet is more about fading the defending champion Bucks, who have a tendency to let lesser teams stick around. They’re 30-20 SU but just 21-29 ATS (42 percent). We used the Bulls against the Bucks last Friday night and they covered as 11.5-point dogs in a 94-90 loss. Since then, the Bucks beat the KIngs 133-127 but failed to cover a 8-point home faves and also lost 115-99 at the Cavaliers as 4-point road faves. That’s three straight non-covers and they’re just 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games, outscoring their opponents by an average of just 1 point per game. The Knicks are 4-6 in their last 10 games and getting outscored by 1 point per game, so I expect Julius Randle and R.J. Barrett to be able to keep the Knicks close.
Note: for reasons why I like both underdogs, check out Point Spread Weekly or our VSiN NFL Best Bet file later in the week at VSiN.com. In this case, we’re more interested in when to bet as the market moves during the weekend and into the weekend.
Bengals + 7 at Chiefs:
We love the Bengals + 7, but we’ve already seen BetMGM go to 7.5 (though -120 on Bengals + 7.5) and several other books go to -7 with added juice and other indicators that this line is heading higher, so we advise waiting to get the hook.
49ers + 3.5 at 49ers: Likewise, we’re OK taking + 3.5 with the 49ers even if we would have to lay -120 to get it, but more books have gone to 3.5-flat (-110 both ways).
Good luck today (and every day!).