Thursday Best Bets, Wednesday Recaps
Wednesday was a roller-coaster on hump day in the Tuley’s Takes home office as I had a lot of ups-and-downs and pretty much ended up where I started.
I almost drove the 4 hours to Flagstaff, Arizona, to go to a “watch party” for the NAU men’s basketball team that was playing for an automatic NCAA Tournament in the Sky Belt Conference after a 9-22 regular season but ended up staying home (the Lumberjacks ended up losing 85-78 to push as 7-point underdogs).
My Best Bets from yesterday’s column also ended up pretty much even as the VSiN Pro Picks page had me going 1-2 for a net profit of $12 based on a $100 unit.
I lost my posted Best Bet on Wisconsin +2 vs. Ohio State as the Buckeyes built a 27-point lead before the Badgers rallied and actually had a few shots that would have pulled them within 2 points before falling 65-57. I also lost another roller-coaster of a game with the Blackhawks +195 at the Red Wings as Chicago jumped out to a 2-0 lead and took a 3-2 lead in the 3rd Period before losing 4-3. That one hurt.
But we did win our NHL First-Period parlay at +212 as there was only 1 goal scored in the first period of the Wild-Jets games with our 1P Under 1.5 and then each team scored in the first 14:44 of the opening 20 minutes of the Ducks-Canucks game to cash our parlay at a great price.
Let’s recap the rest of Wednesday’s (full-game) action in the major team sports and then look for plays on Thursday. I’ll say right here that I don’t have any official Best Bets in the NHL or NBA as everything I was considering is chalk and I have to rely on my “dog-or-pass approach.” But for those who have been following my “swagger/anti-swagger” plays and other picks, the ones I’m passing on are the King -4 vs. the Knicks (in an anti-swagger role after having 9-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday), Lightning -160 (in a mini-swagger role after snapping 5-game losing streak on Tuesday) vs. the Golden Knights and Kraken -140 vs. Senators (in a mini-anti-swagger spot after having a 5-game winning streak snapped on Monday). In addition, the only NHL 1P play that I like on Thursday is the Senators-Kraken 1P Over 1.5 at -140 but there’s no other good choice with which to parlay it. We’ll track how those plays perform even though I’m personally passing.
NBA: Faves went 5-2 SU on Wednesday but just 4-3 ATS as the Wizards (+3) covered in 122-120 loss vs. Hawks. The upsets were by the Bulls (+9 in 117-96 win at Nuggets) and Pelicans (+2.5 in 113-106 win vs. the Mavericks). Home teams went 4-3 SU and 5-2 ATS. Unders led 5-2.
More NBA: On the season, favorites lead 640-336 SU with 15 games closing pick-’em, but underdogs’ lead dipped to 484-469-23 (50.8%). Home teams lead 584-407 SU and 506-464-21 ATS (52.2%). In totals wagering, Overs’ slim lead was cut to 493-483-15 (50.5%).
CBB: There were no Top 25 teams in action on Wednesday as they all had byes in the big conference tournaments that started. Faves went 27-7 SU in conference tourneys on Wednesday and 21-11-2 ATS after going 18-7 SU but with dogs leading 18-7 ATS on Tuesday for a combined faves leading 45-14 SU but dogs leading 29-28-2 ATS the last two days.
NHL: Favorites went 2-1 on short Wednesday card. The upset was by the Wild (+125 in 4-2 win at the Jets). The Red Wings (-235 in 4-3 win vs. Blackhawks) and Canucks (-250 in 3-2 win vs. Ducks both won as chalk but neither covered -1.5 puck line. Home teams went 2-1. Overs led 2-1.
College basketball Best Bets
North Carolina +2 vs. Virginia: Basketball blue-blood UNC has been on the outside looking in all season, but can still work its way into the NCAA Tournament field with another win (or maybe needing two) in the ACC Tournament as the Tar Heels are in the “First Four Out,” according to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi. Virginia is a tough draw, but I like that North Carolina has a game under its belt with an 85-61 rout of Boston College on Wednesday. The Tar Heels split with Virginia during the regular season with a win in the most recent meeting.
Penn State +2.5 vs. Illinois: With Wisconsin probably dropping off the NCAA bubble with its loss to Ohio State, the winner of Thursday’s Rutgers-Michigan game will probably be the Big Ten’s 8th NCAA bid with Penn State – which is on Joe Lunardi’s “Last Four Byes” – probably needing to beat Illinois to also clinch its spot in the field. Penn State handled Illinois 93-81 in their only regular-season meeting.
Oklahoma State +6 vs. Texas: Oklahoma State beat rival Oklahoma for the third time in the opening round of the Big 12 tournament, but probably still needs another win to earn the conference’s 8th NCAA tourney bid as Joe Lunardi has them right on the “Last Four In”/”First Four Out” cut line. The Cowboys face a Texas team that is solidly in the field and only 14-17-2 ATS on the season, so the Longhorns usually let teams stick around.
XFL Week 4 Best Bet
San Antonio Brahmas +3 at Seattle Sea Dragons: San Antonio let us down on Sunday night, but that was against the league’s top team in Houston and now the Brahmas get a step down in class against Seattle, which picked up its first victory against a winless Vegas team (and needed a spectacular play from Josh Gordon or they’d be 0-3). Circa opened this line Sunday night and I actually think the wrong team is favored as the market is overrating Seattle and underrating San Antonio. Despite a 1-2 record, San Antonio is tied for No. 2 in scoring defense at 17.3 points a game while Seattle allows the third-worst at 22.7. We jumped the gun too soon on this as the line went up to Seattle -4.5 by Tuesday, but that’s OK as we love being contrarian and will bet it again at the best number we can get.