Thursday Best Bets, Wednesday Recaps
Wednesday was again spent tying up some loose ends in and out of the Tuley’s Takes home office to clear our schedule for the big weekend, including running around Las Vegas to enter March Madness contests as well as filling out a bunch of brackets.
As for my bets on the day, I won my top play on Sam Houston State +4.5 vs. Santa Clara in the NIT as we felt we had the right side pretty much the whole game with just a little bit of a scare late (and cheering against overtime!) as the Bearkats not only covered but pulled off the 58-56 upset despite being the higher seed.
We did lose our secondary play on the Wild-Blues First-Period Under 1.5 as four goals were scored, but it was still a profitable and productive day.
But it was all just a prelude to Thursday’s wall-to-wall basketball with the first day of the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Let’s recap the rest of Wednesday’s action and look for Best Bets on Thursday as we have our two NCAA Tournament Best Bets posted earlier in the week, plus I also add an NHL play.
NCAA Tournament: Arizona State (-2) routed Nevada 98-73 and easily covered in the final First Four game Wednesday night (the game flew Over the betting total of 135 points). Earlier, Fairleigh Dickinson (+2) routed Texas Southern 84-61 (stayed Under 148.5 points). Faves/dogs split 1-1 SU and ATS on Wednesday and finished the First Four at 2-2 SU and ATS. All games were played on a neutral court in Dayton, Ohio. Over/Unders split 1-1 Wednesday, but Unders finished 3-1 in the First Four.
NIT: Faves/dogs split 4-4 SU and ATS in Wednesday’s conclusion of the first round, but dogs led 5-3 ATS as Youngstown State (+5.5) and Alcorn State (+17) covered in losses at Oklahoma State and North Texas, respectively (faves finished 10-6 SU in the round but dogs led 9-7 ATS). The upsets were by Sam Houston State (+4.5 at Santa Clara), Central Florida (+2.5 at Florida), Utah Valley (+5.5 at New Mexico) and Morehead State (+15.5 at Clemson). Home/road teams split 4-4 SU on Wednesday, but road teams led 6-2 ATS (home teams went 9-7 SU in the first round, but road teams led 9-7 ATS). Unders swept 8-0 and lead 12-4 overall.
NBA: Faves went 6-1 SU Wednesday and 5-2 ATS as the Timberwolves (+4) covered in a 104-102 home loss vs. the Celtics. The lone outright upset was by the Rockets (+2.5) in their 114-110 home win vs. the Lakers. Road teams went 4-3 SU, but home teams led 4-3 ATS. Overs 4-3.
More NBA: On the season, favorites improved to 673-352 SU with 16 games closing pick-’em, but underdogs still lead 507-495-23 ATS (50.6%). Home teams lead 609-432 SU and 528-492-21 ATS (51.8%). In totals wagering, Overs improved still lead to 524-502-15 (51.1%).
NHL: Faves went 3-1 with the lone upset by the Avalanche (+121 in 2-1 win at the Maple Leafs). The Capitals (-123 in 5-4 shootout win vs. Sabres), Wild (-132 in 8-5 win at Blues) and Islanders (-200 in 6-3 win at Ducks) all won as chalk. Road teams went 3-1. Overs led 3-1.
NCAA March Madness Thursday Best Bets
Missouri +2 vs. Utah State: I actually had my eye on Utah State as a potential first-round upset candidate, but obviously oddsmakers were high on the Aggies as well as they opened them as short favorites despite being a No. 10 seed vs. a No. 7. They’re certainly going to be a popular bracket pick, but I don’t like the matchup here and feel Missouri should be favored, so I’ll take the points with the higher-seeded team. Utah State has a balanced attack – and supporters love that the coach is Ryan Odom, who led Maryland-Baltimore County to the only No, 16 upset of a No. 1 seed (Virginia) in 2018 – but Missouri will have the best player on the floor with emerging star Kobe Brown (15.9 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game, 45.3% on 3-pointers). He also has a strong supporting cast as they took care of Tennessee in the SEC Conference Tournament before running into Alabama. This should be a shootout with neither team excelling on the defensive end, though oddsmakers have protected themselves from Over bettors by setting this as one of the highest totals of the first round at 154.5 points.
College of Charleston +5.5 vs. San Diego State: It’s a cliche to take a No. 12 seed vs. a No. 5, so I really had to convince myself that I wasn’t just playing College of Charleston just because of the seedings. You don’t go 31-3 in any conference without being sound on both ends of the floor and Charleston plays defense and has five players that average in double figures, so they fit the bill. San Diego State was the class of the Mountain West, which sent four teams to the Big Dance, but the conference has struggled in the NCAAs in recent years and the Aztecs – who I don’t feel are as good as some of their recent teams – are a vulnerable favorite. Charleston’s defense gives it a chance against SDSU’s methodical offense, especially as the Aztecs can have scoreless stretches if their mid-range jumpers aren’t falling. But as is the case with most March Madness upset bids, this probably comes down to whether Charleston hits its 3-pointers.
Thursday NHL Best Bet
Canadiens +1.5 +125 at Panthers: There aren’t any 1P Over plays that I like on Thursday’s NHL card, but we have this underdog as the Canadiens are a “swagger play” as they snapped a 7-game losing streak on Tuesday at Pittsburgh. We feel more comfortable with the puck line as we’re still getting a plus-price, but as regular readers know, we’ll also add a little on the money line at +295.
NCAA March Madness Friday Best Bet
Kent State +4 vs. Indiana: With the way the Hoosiers swept Purdue, they’re certainly capable of being a Sweet 16 team; however, they also have the look of a possible one-and-done team when you consider their home-road dichotomy as they’re only 7-9 away from Assembly Hall and all their shooting percentages were all down. The Mid-American Conference has been a one-bid league the past 20 years, but MAC champs have shown they can be dangerous as they’re 11-3 ATS (78.6%) in their last 14 tries as NCAA Tournament dogs of 6.5 points or more (hat tip to VSiN colleague Steve Makinen for that stat). Indiana probably has the best player on the floor in Trayce Jackson-Davis, but Kent State can answer with Sincere Carry, who scored 21 and 26 points in the MAC semifinals and title game. In addition, Kent State lost by only 5 at Houston and by only 7 at Gonzaga despite holding late leads in both games, so we’re expecting the Golden Flashes to take this to the final horn and possibly pull the upset.