Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
We were breathing a sigh of relief in the Tuley’s Takes home office on Thursday night as we had a lot of money tied up on the Bengals in six-points teasers (as we recommended in our regular “Tuley’s Takes” column in Point Spread Weekly, in this column yesterday and in the VSiN.com NFL Best Bet column on VSiN.com) as well as a couple of our entries using the Bengals in Circa Survivor.
Things weren’t looking too promising as the Jaguars took a 14-0 lead in the second quarter, but fortunately a Bengals goal-line stand late in the first half kept the game from getting away from them and they rallied in the second half to win 24-21. They didn’t cover as 7.5-point favorites, but you know we weren’t laying that many points.
We did lose a bet on the Marlins against the Mets, but that loss was nothing compared to the carnage if all my early teasers going into the weekend had been dead. Instead, we’re alive in teasers to the Falcons, Titans, Vikings, Saints, Chiefs and Ravens – and hopefully you are, too.
Let’s move to the general recaps of last night’s action and then continue our look forward to the weekend’s football action.
Thursday’s betting recaps
NFL: Bengals rallied to beat Jaguars 24-21 on a field goal as time expired on Thursday Night Football to kick off NFL Week 4, but the Bengals did NOT cover after closing as 7.5-point home favorites. The game stayed just Under the betting total of 46 points as prime-time Overs dipped to 8-2 with the last two Thursday games being the only Unders. Faves improved to 27-21 SU on the young season with 1 pick-'em (Buccaneers-Rams in Week 3) while underdogs improved to 30-18-1 ATS (61.5 percent). Home and road teams are now tied 24-24 SU with 1 neutral-site game (Packers-Saints in Week 1), but road teams lead 27-21 ATS (56.3 percent). Unders improved to 29-20 (59.2 percent) overall, but if you take out the prime-time games, Unders are 27-12 (69.2 percent in Sunday day games).
CFB: Virginia held off Miami-Fla. 30-28 as the Hurricanes missed a 33-yard field goal as time expired. The Cavaliers pulled off the ACC upset as 3.5-point road underdogs and + 141 on the money line The game stayed Under the betting total of 63.5 points.
MLB: The Orioles (+ 195) upset the Red Sox 6-2 Thursday night to further tighten up the AL wild-card race as the Red Sox fell into tie with idle Mariners for the second wild-card spot with Blue Jays 1 game back after losing 6-2 to the Yankees (+ 132). The Braves (-150) and Astros (-150) clinched their division titles with wins on Thursday night. The Giants (-220) and Dodgers (-225) also won in the NL West race as San Fran still has a 2-game lead with 3 games to play. Favorites went 8-4 overall on Thursday and lead 1,375-933 (59.6 percent) on the season with 55 pick-'ems. Over/Unders split 6-6 Thursday. Unders lead 1,138-1,117-102 (50.5%) on the season.
Mets (+ 107) at Braves: As I wrote earlier this week, teams are a great fade the day after they clinch a playoff spot/division/etc., especially if they’re locked into a seed like the Braves are as the No. 3 seed in the NL (note: the Astros also clinched the AL West on Thursday night, but they’re still trying to secure the No. 2 seed over the White Sox so they have home-field advantage when they face off next week). Because of the possibility of these clinching scenarios, the books had these Friday games off the betting boards overnight and I said in the original version of this column that I would update in the morning if we're playing it. Well, we're getting between + 105 and + 110 here in Vegas, so let's play it.
And now onto our weekend football picks. We mostly address the line movements here and how they impacts our picks made in Point Spread Weekly; for more details on my reasoning for each pick, see PSW or the NFL Best Bets file at VSiN.com:
Minnesota (+ 2.5) at Purdue: This line is still widely available from when I picked it on Tuesday and I doubt it goes to 3, but we’re looking for the Golden Gophers to pull the outright upset.
Georgia Tech (+ 3.5) vs. Pittsburgh: The 3.5s are gone, but I’d still take the Ramblin’ Wreck + 3 though again we’re counting on an outright upset.
Eastern Michigan (+ 2.5) at Northern Illinois: It pains me to go against NIU, my alma mater, but the program is down and the Huskies shouldn’t be favored here. Another minor upset.
Southern Miss (+ 3) at Rice: We wrote about this in Wednesday’s edition of Tuley’s Takes Today and we hope you heeded the advice as the 3’s are all gone across the country. Again, I feel we’re on the right side with the live underdog and looking for the upset.
Liberty (+ 1.5) at UAB: This line has actually moved higher with 75 percent of the bets coming in on the Blazeres of UAB, so I’m going to wait to see if this steams up to a field goal by gametime.
Northwestern (+ 11) at Nebraska: This line is also moving against us (which means we’re getting more value) as it’s up to 11.5, so we’ll wait to bet it until it reaches its peak.
Falcons (+ 1.5) vs. Washington:
We were expecting this line to have a change of favoritism. That hasn’t happened yet, though most books are down to 1 though some are still holding the line at Washington -1.5 (and Westgate up to -2). I’d bet ASAP, especially if teasing the Falcons up to 7.5.
Lions (+ 3) at Bears: We recommended in this space on Wednesday and Thursday to take the Lions ASAP. We’re starting to see more and more books going to + 3 -120, so it looks like it’s going to 2.5 sooner rather than later.
Vikings (+ 2) vs. Browns: This line is looking pretty solid at 2, which is fine with us, especially as we’re looking for Kirk Cousins to lead the Vikings to the outright upset as short home underdogs and get back to .500 at 2-2. However, you could wait to see if it goes to 2.5 – especially if you’re looking to include the Vikings with your six-point teasers.
Panthers (+ 5) at Cowboys: This line is down to 4.5 and a few 4’s are starting to pop up, so grab the best number you can if you’re with us on the Panthers.
Cardinals (+ 5) at Rams: The 5’s are also gone here, so grab the Cardinals ASAP to get as many points as possible just in case. The line is down to 4 at most books – another reason why you need to be reading Point Spread Weekly each week to be able to jump on some of these bets early.
Ravens (+) 1.5 at Broncos: We added this game to this list on Thursday as all the 1.5s were gone and some books even moving to pick-’em. We could definitely see a change in favorites here.
Good luck today (and every day!).