Tuley: Sunday Best Bets in college basketball, NHL; Saturday recaps including NCAA March Madness

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Sunday Best Bets, Saturday Recaps

That’s more like it! After having a losing Friday, we returned to the winner’s circle on Saturday in the Tuley’s Takes home office (figuratively and literally).
What I mean is that while we had a winning day with our picks here in this column, we also had a winning day on the home front. Both of my college-age kids were home on Saturday for spring break and won’t be here on Easter Sunday next month, so we celebrated with an Easter egg hunt (even though our children are 20, 18 and 13, they take after their young-at-heart dad) and a ham dinner.
Of course, we were following all of our sports betting action as we won our Best Bet on Penn State +5.5 vs. Texas as the Nittany Lions stuck around and only lost 71-66. That landed on the closing line of 5, but we trust our followers were able to grab it earlier in the day. We also won our other NCAA round of 32 play on Tennessee +3.5 vs. Duke as the Volunteers pulled the 65-52 outright upset.
Saturday was better overall for underdog bettors as they went 4-3-1 ATS (and, again, if you got the Penn State +5.5, that improved to 5-3 ATS). Unders bettors also continued to succeed as Undesr went 6-2 to stay at 75% so far in the NCAA Tournament as they’re 30-10 overall. In fact, Unders were also 3-1 in the First Four/play-in games.
Actually, I’m a little disappointed I haven’t bet more Unders so far in the tourney because last Sunday night on “The Greg Peterson Experience,” Greg and I were speculating that Unders might have some value in the tourney but I’ve only gone 4-1 with my personal Under bets and feel I’ve left a lot of money on the table.
Anyway, I also won my other official Best Bet on the Orlando Guardians +7.5 at the Vegas Vipers in the XFL as the Guardians lost 35-32 to fall to 0-5 but covered as I knew the Vipers (who also entered the game at 0-4 before getting their first win) shouldn’t have been favored by more than a TD.

 

For good measure, my NHL First-Period Over/Unders – not official Best Bets but they were recommended plays (I suggested a smaller round-robin) – went 4-1, so anyone using them in 3’s or 4’s should have made a tidy profit.
To top off the day, I celebrated by meeting old friends John, Charlie and Dave (who have been coming to Vegas for March Madness for years) along with my nephew Craig for a late dinner at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab in the Forum Shops at Caesars. I hate to brag – oh, who am I kidding? – but it was a banner day that we all live for (and I got a chocolate bunny, too!).
Let’s recap the rest of Saturday’s and then look for Best Bets on Sunday. I have two NCAA Tournament plays, plus an NHL 1P Under (for those looking for other potential plays, I’d suggest the Jets-Blues 1P Under 1.5 +140 and/or the Canucks-Ducks 1P Over 1.5 -155).

Saturday Recaps

NCAA Tournament: Favorites went 5-3 SU Saturday but underdogs led 4-3-1 ATS with push in Texas (closed -5) 71-66 win vs. Penn State and Northwestern (+8) covered in 68-63 loss vs. UCLA. Unders went 6-2. Overall in the tournament, faves lead 39-11 SU and 21-18-1 ATS (53.8%). Unders still hitting 75% at 30-10.

More NCAA Tournament: No. 8 seed Arkansas upset No. 1 Kansas 72-71 as 4-point dogs and +160 on the money line (game stayed just Under closing betting total of 143.5 points). No. 15 Princeton (+6.5, +230 ML) upset No. 7 Missouri 78-63 (stayed Under 145.5). Earlier, No. 4 Tennessee upset lower-seeded No. 5 Duke 65-52 in the East Regional after closing as 3.5-point dog and +155 on money line (stayed Under 127 points). South No. 5 San Diego State (-4.5) easily covered in 75-52 rout of No. 13 Furman,

NBA: Faves/dogs split 4-4 SU and ATS with upsets by the Magic (+6.5 in 113-108 win at Clippers), Jazz (+4.5 in 118-117 win vs. Celtics), Bulls (+2.5 in 113-99 win vs. Heat) and Grizzlies (+2 in 133-119 win vs. Warriors). Home teams went 5-3 SU and ATS. Overs led 5-3

More NBA: On the season, favorites lead 686-360 SU with 16 games closing pick-’em, but underdogs still lead was cut to 517-506-23 ATS (50.5%). Home teams improved to 620-442 SU and 539-502-21 ATS (51.8%). In totals wagering, Overs improved slim lead to 535-512-15 (51.1%).

NHL: Faves went 11-2 with only upsets by the Canucks (+160 in 3-2 win at the Kings) and the Stars (+110 in 6-5 win at the Flames). Road teams went 9-4. Over/Unders split 6-6-1 with the push in the Coyotes’ 4-2 win vs. the Blackhawks with a betting total of 6 goals.

XFL: Vegas Vipers beat Orlando Guardians 35-32 but didn’t cover after closing as 7-point home favorites (flew Over betting total of 41.5 points). Earlier, DC Defenders beat St. Louis Battlehawks 28-20 in a game that closed pick-’em (went Over 42). Home/road teams split 1-1 SU and ATS. Overs swept 2-0. On the season, faves lead 14-4 SU and 10-7-1 ATS. Home teams lead 12-7 SU and 10-8-1 ATS. Overs take 10-9 lead.

Sunday NCAA March Madness Best Bets

Pittsburgh +5 vs. Xavier: I’ll admit I didn’t think much of Pittsburgh entering the tournament and expected the Panthers to get bounced by Mississippi State in the First Four/play-in game. But they not only won that but then shut down Iowa State 59-41 on Friday and I now give them a great shot to upset Xavier or at least stay within one score. I have a little bias vs. Xavier as I think I’m 0-2 ATS on the Musketeers, and it’s a small sample, but I don’t trust their offense to come through in the clutch. I know Xavier is No. 7 in offense efficiency according to kenpom.com, but I still believe the Pitt D keeps them right in this game, just like we saw Kennesaw State do in its 72-67 first-round loss to Xavier as 11.5-point underdogs.

Creighton +1 vs. Baylor: Baylor is the No. 3 seed in the South Regional with Creighton at No. 6, but I don’t see much difference between these two teams and really believe the only reason Baylor is seeded higher is because it played in the Big 12. The oddsmakers obviously agree with the Bears favored by just around 1 point on this neutral court in Denver. Baylor does have the edge on offense (No. 2 in offensive efficiency at kenpom.com) compared to No. 29 for Creighton, but the Blue Jays are much better on defense at No. 12 vs. No. 99 (and if you trust Ken Pomeroy’s numbers, Creighton is rated 2 spots ahead of Baylor so we’ll go ahead and say the wrong team is favored). Creighton is good at limiting 3-point shots and will make Baylor work for their points; meanwhile, Baylor doesn’t do a good job at protecting its rim and Creighton should be able to have a lot of success in the paint (the Bluejays are No. 22 in the nation in 2-point shooting percentage). That should prove to be the difference.

Sunday NHL Best Bet

Capitals-Wild 1P Under 1.5 +120: The Wild are still the No. 1 First-Period Under team at 40-28 despite going Over on Saturday, plus these two teams combine to hit at 76-61 (55.5%). That equates to -125, yet we’re getting +120.

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