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Tuley's Takes Today: Thursday recaps, Friday weekend football picks (10/22)

By Dave Tuley  ( senior reporter) 

October 22, 2021 04:17 AM

If we were putting together a clinic in the Tuley’s Takes home office on how to bet an NFL game, we’d have a great example to use with the Browns’ 17-14 win over the Broncos on Thursday Night Football.

If you bet this game, you should have won money, no matter how you played it.

The Browns opened as 6-point home favorites this past Sunday before all the reports came out of all of their injured players after their loss to the Cardinals. If you liked the Broncos, you should have grabbed them early in the week as the line was dropping. I picked the Broncos + 3.5 in VSin’s “Point Spread Weekly” issue that comes out on Wednesday morning as that was the most common line on Tuesday when we were putting together the issue. But even before the issue came out, I made a point of advising everyone in this daily version of my “Tuley’s Takes” column that was posted Tuesday night/Wednesday morning to grab the + 3.5 as they were quickly disappearing. Sure enough, it was announced Wednesday that Baker Mayfield was going to miss the game and the line dropped to Browns -2.

So, if you still liked the Browns, that was the perfect opportunity to lay less than a field goal. Meanwhile, I advised readers that while the value was gone on the Broncos to bet ATS, they were still a prime teaser candidate as you could tease them up over a touchdown to capture the key numbers of 3 and 7.

If you were following the betting markets at all, these were the only ways to bet this game, and they all won. In addition, the Over/Under was also dropping all week as it opened 44 and was down to 42.5 when we picked the Under on the VSiN NFL Consensus page in PSW and closed at 40. With backup Case Keenum starting for Mayfield, and the way the Browns’ defense has been playing this season, the Under was clearly the right side and the only way to bet the total.

As I mentioned, we hit the first leg of our teasers with the Browns at + 7.5 and + 8. I’d also like to point out another thing that makes a teaser play like this so strong (and it’s also a reason why we prefer betting underdogs, period). If you’re laying points, the favorite’s goal to just win the game isn’t in line with your goal of needing them to win by a certain margin. Trailing 17-14, we were in danger of not covering our teaser if the Browns were to score a late touchdown on their final drive. However, if you were watching the game, you saw Cleveland RB D’Ernest Johnson run for a first down and then give himself up instead of scoring a TD that would have given the Broncos a chance to rally. The play was called back, but we still saw that he wasn’t going to score the TD even if the Broncos let him.

So, that was a thing of beauty.

In addition, we also hit our play on the Dodgers -1.5 + 135 on the run line in their 11-2 rout. It was scary when they fell behind 2-0, but then the bats woke up like we expected and they rolled to the easy win and cover.

Let’s see if we can find more right-side winners like those, but first we’ll do our general betting recaps of Thursday’s action. I then have another MLB play on Friday, plus I’ll update the rest of my college and pro football best bets from Point Spread Weekly with where the lines are heading into Friday morning so we can time those wagers to maximize our chances.

Thursday’s recaps

NFL: Browns beat the Broncos 17-14 on Thursday Night Football to kick off NFL Week 7. The Browns covered after closing as 2-point home favorites (after they opened on Sunday as 6-point faves, so early Denver backers also cashed down to 3.5 as of early Wednesday. The game stayed Under the betting total of 40.

More NFL: Faves are 58-35 SU with 2 games closing pick-'em, but dogs lead 50-43 ATS (53.8 percent). Road teams dipped to 50-42 SU with 3 neutral-site games (Packers-Saints in Week 1, plus the 2 London games) and 53-39 ATS (57.6 percent). Unders improved to 51-42-2 (54.8 percent) while primetime Overs (which started the season 6-0) dipped to 11-7-1.

MLB: Dodgers (-130) routed the Braves 11-2 Thursday night to pull within 3-2 in the NLCS. The game went Over the betting total of 7.5 runs. Faves/dogs are tied 5-5 in this round, home teams lead 6-4 and Overs improved to 9-1. In LDS and LCS rounds, faves lead 17-10, home teams also lead 17-10 and Overs lead 18-9.

CFB: No. 21 SMU (-13.5) covered in 55-26 win vs. Tulane. Lafayette (-18) beat Arkansas State 28-27, but did NOT cover. Florida Atlantic (-6.5) and San Jose State (-6) did cover in wins over Charlotte and UNLV, respectively.

NBA: Warriors beat Clippers 115-113 late Thursday, but did NOT cover as 4-point home favorites. The game stayed just Under the closing total of 228.5 points. NBA favorites (all at home) went 3-0 SU, but only 2-1 ATS with the Warriors' non-cover. Hawks (-2.5 vs. Mavericks) and Heat (-3 vs. Bucks) did cover. Unders went 2-1. 

NHL: Favorites went 6-3 Thursday (and all 6 winning faves covered -1.5 puck line) with Sharks-Senators closing pick-’em. The upsets were by the Blue Jackets (+ 125 vs. Islanders), Rangers (-105 at Predators) and Canucks (+ 115 at Blackhawks). Unders went 8-1-1 with the push in the Oilers-Coyotes (6) game. 

Friday’s Takes

Astros (-102) vs, Red Sox: The Astros opened as the favorite in Friday night’s Game 6 in Houston. The money has been coming in on the Red Sox and Nathan Eovaldi to even the series, but I’m fading the move and took the Astros as a short -102 home dog early Friday morning. As I’ve written before, the Astros average an MLB-best 5.41 runs per game and I just trust their bats more. It’s just a murderer’s row of Jose Altuve, Alez Bergman, Michael Brantley, Yordan Alvarez, Yuli Gurriel, etc. that keeps coming at you. And while J.D. Martinez chased Houston starter Luis Garcia with his grand slam in Game 2, the Astros have seen plenty of Eovaldi to get to him like they did in his Game 4 relief stint. 

And here's our football picks for the weekend:

Texas State (+ 10.5) at Georgia State: Line is pretty solid at 10.5, but a few books have dipped to 10 so should probably grab the 10.5 now. 

East Carolina (+ 13.5) at Houston: Line is pretty solid, but waiting to see if it goes to 14  

Colorado (+ 9.5) at California: Line has been coming down and mostly at + 8.5, so grab that now in case it goes lower. 

Kansas State (+ 1) at Texas Tech: This is down to pick-’em at most books, so grab that before the Wildcats are favored. 

LSU (+ 9.5) at Mississippi: We’ve been waiting all week to see if Matt Corrall will be able to start for Ole Miss. The line has dipped a little, but I’m making sure I don’t take worse than 8.5 (so I’d advise betting ASAP unless you’re sure you’ll be able to find out the Corrall update before the books). If you think he’s going to start, I’d wait as the line would probably hit double digits.  

Nevada (+ 3) at Fresno State: This line is up to 3.5 at most books, so I’d advise to take Nevada plus the hook as the line looks more likely to drop back to 3 as opposed to going to 4. 

Bengals (+ 6.5) at Ravens: A few books have dropped to Ravens -6, so it’s looking less likely we’ll get + 7, so grab the + 6.5 now. 

Lions (+ 15.5) at Rams: This line continues to climb with several Vegas books at Rams -16 and some at Rams -16.5, so I’ll wait until the line peaks.

Bears (+ 12.5) at Buccaneers: We were hoping this line would go higher, but it’s leveled off at 12.5 with a few books dipping to 12. I wouldn’t take any lower than + 11.5 at this point.

Colts (+ 4) at 49ers: I didn’t include this on the VSiN NFL Best Bets page, but I’m still betting it and adding it here. Circa has dipped to 3.5 -120 while BetMGM is up to 49ers -4.5, so really don’t know this is going. Otherwise, the + 4 looks solid, but obviously grabbed 4.5 if you can. 

Seahawks (+ 5) vs. Saints: This is mostly down to 4.5, so grab + 5 if you still can, but + 4.5 is still fine.

Good luck today (and every day!).

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