We hope all our readers had as great of a Thanksgiving as we had in the Tuley’s Takes home office.
It wasn’t the most profitable day as we split with our best bets on the Raiders and Saints, but at least we liked the Raiders more and used them in more of our contests.
But, no, football wasn’t the only focus of the day (though it was a big part of it, as it always is in the Tuley household) as we also devoted it to family and food. We ate and drank all day long, played games with the kids (“OK Boomer,” with the adults beating the kids over and over!) and even took a nap during the first half of the Bills-Saints game when the tryptophan kicked in from the turkey.
Let’s recap Thursday action, including Contest Corner with more carnage in Circa Survivor, and then update our college and pro football best bets for the weekend, including one on Friday morning.
NFL: Faves went 2-1 SU on Thanksgiving, but dogs led 2-1 ATS as the Lions (+ 2.5) covered in a 16-14 loss as the Bears won on a FG as time expired but did not cover. The upset was by the Raiders (+ 7) in their 36-33 OT win at the Cowboys. The Bills (-7) were the only fave to cover in their 31-6 rout at the Saints. Road teams went 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS on the day as home-field advantage continues to be negligible. Unders went 2-1.
More NFL: Faves lead 98-66-1 SU on the season with 3 games closing pick-'em, but dogs still lead 94-70-1 ATS (57.3 percent). Road teams lead 88-76-1 SU with 3 neutral-site games and 98-66-1 ATS (59.8 percent) overall. Unders lead 94-72-2 (56.6 percent) while primetime Unders now lead 17-16-1 after an 0-6 start
CFB: No. 9 Mississippi beat Mississippi State 31-21 Thursday night in the annual Egg Bowl, but it was actually an upset as Ole Miss did it after closing as a 2.5-point road underdog. The game stayed Under the betting total of 65 points.
CBB: Iona (+ 12.5, + 525 on ML) upset No. 10 Alabama 72-68 in the ESPN Events Invitational in Orlando. Michigan State (+ 2.5) upset No . 22 UConn 64-60 in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas, one day after UConn needed 2 OTs to beat No. 19 Auburn 115-109.
VFV of NBA and NHL: I was so focused on family, food and football on Thanksgiving that I didn’t even realize that there weren’t any pro basketball or hockey games on the schedule until I went to do my nightly recaps.
Circa Survivor is down to just 40 live entries after 94 were eliminated in "Thanksgiving Week" with the Cowboys (80 as the clear No. 1 choice) and Lions (14) losing. Those using the Bears (21), Bills (15) and Raiders (4) advance to the weekend where they have to pick another SU winner on a shortened schedule with no big point spreads.
For those interested in a little Circa Survivor history from its inaugural season last year: the Cowboys also were the No. 1 pick last Thanksgiving as 90 of the 209 contestants entering “Thanksgiving Week” were eliminated when the Washington Football Team routed them 41-16. One other contestant was eliminated because they prematurely put in a play earlier in the week on the Steelers and then the Steelers-Ravens game was moved from Thanksgiving night to Sunday due to a coronavirus outbreak in the Baltimore organization, thus out of the “Thanksgiving Week” window.
Kansas State + 3.5 at Texas: This game kicks off at noon ET/9 a.m. PT, so don’t get shut out. I gave this out in Point Spread Weekly at + 3.5 those are mostly gone. I made the pick because I expect Kansas State (which actually plays some defense, allowing 21 points per game) to pull the outright upset and not just because we were getting the hook. QB Skylar Thompson may or may not start for K-State (it’s been tough to get updates with the short week of practice and the holiday thrown in), but the Wildcats will rely on RB Deuce Vaughn (four straight 100-yard games, 1,115 rushing yards on the season, 14 TDs).
Here’s the rest of my best bets from PSW. Remember, we’re mostly concerned here with how the lines are moving so we can bet our plays ASAP or wait for a better number closer to kickoff.
Virginia Tech + 7 at Virginia: This line has looked pretty solid all week, so not sure we’ll get 7.5.
Miami-Ohio + 1 at Kent State:
Grab the point if you still can as most books are at pick-’em. I would even lay a point or two if Miami-Ohio is moved to favoritism, but obviously we always want to get the best number we can.
Tulane + 6 at Memphis:
A few books have dipped to 5.5 so grab 6 if you can ASAP.
Western Kentucky + 2 at Marshall:
This line is mostly down to 1 so get the best number you can.
Middle Tennessee State + 4 at Florida Atlantic:
This is down to 3.5 at most books, so again get what you can.
Titans + 6.5 at Patriots: When we picked this in PSW, we were hoping it would get to 7 and it sure did on Wednesday as everyone is jumping on the New England bandwagon. Can we get + 7.5 by Sunday? The betting has leveled off at 7, so I’m thinking that might be all we get (but I believe it’s more than enough).
Steelers + 4.5 at Bengals:
This wasn’t looking like it was going any higher earlier in the week, and I recommended “betting it sooner rather than later.” It’s down to 4 at most books with even a few 3.5s out there, so grab the best number you can
Vikings + 3 at 49ers:
Most books have gone to 49ers -3 -120 and the South Point has moved to 49ers -3.5, so try to shop around for that hook.
Browns + 4 at Ravens:
This was at + 4.5 early Tuesday, but has been gradually been getting bet down, so I would grab + 4 ASAP if you still can, though I’m expecting + 3.5 to be fine in a game that comes down to a FG.
Good luck today (and every day!).