Tuley's Takes Today: Thursday recap, weekend football best bets (12/31)

By Dave Tuley  (VSiN.com senior reporter) 

December 31, 2021 04:43 AM

Thursday was the next-to-last day of the year – and an exciting one at that – here in the Tuley’s Takes home office.

We were glad that we added Purdue as a best bet in Wednesday’s column, though we gave it out at + 6 and it climbed to + 8.5 at most books by kickoff. It didn’t look so good early as the Volunteers jumped out to leads of 7-0 and 21-7 and looked like they might blow Purdue off the field, but the Boilermakers rallied behind QB Aidan O’Connell and pulled out a thrilling 48-45 victory in overtime.

Before getting to Friday’s best bet (and the rest of our CFB bowl plays through the holiday weekend as well as updating our NFL best bets for Sunday), let’s recap all of Thursday night’s betting action.

Thursday’s recaps

CFB: Wisconsin beat Arizona State 20-13 in the Las Vegas Bowl at Allegiant Stadium late Thursday. The Badgers did NOT cover after closing as 8.5-point favorites as they ran out the clock instead of punching in the covering TD, though they did cover earlier numbers. The game stayed Under the betting total of 42.5 points. Earlier Thursday, No. 10 Michigan State beat No. 12 Pittsburgh 31-21 in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. The Spartans ended up covering after closing as 3.5-point favorites after it looked like Pitt would at least cover while trailing 24-21 and driving into FG range for a potential tying or go-ahead score, but a pick-six with :22 left gave Sparty backers the cover.

More CFB: In Thursday’s other two bowls, South Carolina (+ 12.5, + 360 ML) upset North Carolina 38-21 (went Over 57.5) and Purdue (+ 7.5, + 235 ML) upset Tennessee 48-45 in OT (flew Over 66.5). Faves/dogs split 2-2 SU on the day, but dogs led 3-1 ATS; Over/Unders split 2-2 on day.

Even more CFB: Faves lead 19-8 SU this bowl season with 1 game closing pick-'em (Western Kentucky-Appalachian State) and faves still lead 15-12 ATS (55.6 percent) with that 1 PK. Overs lead 17-11 (60.7 percent) overall.

CBB: No Top 25 teams were in action for the 2nd straight night as No. 4 Gonzaga, No. 7 USC, No. 5 UCLA and No. 9 Arizona had games postponed (the latter 2 vs. each other). The biggest upset on the betting board was by Saint Joseph's (+ 12, + 550 money line in 83-56 win at Richmond).

NBA: Faves went 2-1 SU and ATS with the upset by the 76ers (+ 5 in 110-102 win at Nets). Wizards (-4 vs. Cavaliers) and Bucks (-14 at Magic) covered as chalk. The Warriors-Nuggets game was postponed. Unders went 2-1.

NHL: Faves went 6-0 Thursday night with Predators-Blue Jackets closing pick-'em. The Panthers, Hurricanes, Islanders and Flames also covered on the -1.5 puck line. Unders went 4-3.

Friday’s Takes (and the weekend)

Cincinnati + 13.5 vs. Alabama: I actually bet Alabama -13 when this matchup was first announced as I fully expected the public to bet it over two TDs and give us a shot at the middle as I expect to bet twice as much on Cincinnati plus as many points as I can get. Even if I don’t get 14 or higher, I’ll bet back on the Bearcats + 13.5 as I really feel they showed they can play with the big boys from their 24-21 loss to Georgia in last season’s Peach Bowl.

Oklahoma State + 2.5 vs. Notre Dame: This wasn’t among my original best bets (similar to Purdue), but I’ll still be betting it on Saturday to kick off the New Year as the line appears headed toward 3, so shop around for the best price you can find.

Baylor + 1.5 vs. Mississippi: The Sugar Bowl is another marginal best bet (I only added it to my plays on the VSiN CFB Best Bets page in Point Spread Weekly this week because some of my other best bets (Washington State and Central Michigan) had their games canceled, but it’s another short dog that has a great chance at the upset.


Raiders + 7 at Colts: When we were putting together Point Spread Weekly, this line was down to 1.5 and then adjusted back to 6.5 when it appeared that Carson Wentz might start after all. Either way, we expect the Raiders to stick around and stay away within a field goal.

Falcons + 14.5 at Bills: The Bills have straight out their season, but I still don’t think they should be big faves over the Falcons, who continue to fight for an NFC wild-card spot.

Cardinals + 6 at Cowboys: There teams are seemingly heading in opposite directions, but I still don’t believe the Cowboys should be favored by this much over a still-dangerous Cardinals team.

Bengals + 5 vs. Chiefs: The Chiefs are up to the No. 1 seed in the AFC, but the Bengals need this game just as much and Joe Burrow and Co. can certainly match the Chiefs score for score.

Broncos + 6.5 at Chargers: We would prefer Teddy Bridgewater, but we’ll still go with Drew Locke, though hoping this drifts up to 7 by gametime.

Texans + 12.5 at 49ers: If the Texans (led by Davis Mills and Rex Burkhead) could knock off the Chargers, there’s no reason to doubt they can make a game of it against the 49ers, especially if Trey Lance is forced to start.

Lions + 7 at Seahawks: The Lions continue to cash for us, so no reason to stop.

Vikings + 7 at Packers: This line was at 6.5 when we wrote this week’s Tuley’s Takes for Point Spread Weekly, but we’re back on it with the line moving back toward 7.

Happy New Year’s from all of us in the Tuley’s Takes home office and VSiN.

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