Tuley: My ‘takes’ on NFL Championship Sunday, plus Wednesday Best Bets


Welcome to our regular Wednesday “Tuley’s Takes Today” column where we give our breakdown of all the games on the NFL schedule, which this week is the two Conference Championship Games, and give our Best Bets and “pool play” strategy.
This week has a different feel to it as we’ve had a change of favorite in the AFC title game. Regular readers and those who caught my weekly Sunday night appearance on “The Greg Peterson Experience” – where my NFL early Best Bets have gone 22-12 ATS (64.7%) since the start of November – know that I gave out a 2-team, 6-point teaser on 49ers +8.5/Bengals +7.5 and advised listeners/readers to bet it ASAP due to the uncertainty of Patricks Mahomes’ high ankle sprain and the early action coming in on the Bengals.


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Sure enough, the money continued to come in on Monday and the spread flipped from Chiefs -1 to Bengals -1 and then -1.5, which is where it still sat as I’m writing this early Wednesday morning. I loved that play and those who hesitated missed it; however, as I’ll discuss further below, the value has probably flipped to the Chiefs +7.5 (and those who did jump in with us on the Bengals +7.5 now have a shot at a 14-point middle).
But let’s start with the NFC Championship Game at 3 p.m. ET/noon PT on Sunday.

San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5)

We have two great matchups on Sunday. I knew immediately when the lines came out that the proper play was to tease both underdogs through the key numbers of 3 and 7, so that’s why we went with 49ers +8.5/Bengals +7.5 as we expect both games to be one-score games.
As for this individual game, I also like the 49ers plus the points, though I’ve been waiting for it to get to 49ers +3 just in case they lose by a field goal. The line opened Eagles -1 and -1.5 at some books and was bet steadily higher to -2.5 with BetMGM going to -2.5 -120 before settling at -2.5 -115 as well as several other books, so we’re hoping the money keeps coming in on the favorites as 76% of the bets and 77% of the money at DraftKings was on the Eagles -2.5 as of early Wednesday on the VSiN Betting Splits Page (check back for current figures).
Even though the Eagles have been the best team in the NFC all season – and impressively returned to form in their 38-7 rout of the Giants in the divisional round – I still trust the 49ers more on their 12-game winning streak (8-4 ATS) as their No. 5 offense should have more success against the Eagles’ No. 2 defense and their No. 1 defense has a better chance of getting stops against the Eagles’ No. 3 offense.
I usually lock in my Best Bets for the week in these Wednesday columns (which used to appear in our “Point Spread Weekly” digital magazine), but it’s my column and just like how we’re able to wait for the best number in the real world, I’m reserving the right to make 49ers +3 a conditional pick.

Best Bet: 49ers +8.5 in teasers, plus 49ers +3 if we can get it (pool play: 49ers 55/45 in ATS contests – higher at +3 – but Eagles still 55/45 in SU pools).

Cincinnati Bengals (-1.5) at Kansas City Chiefs

I really see this game as a toss-up, with the Chiefs playing in their fifth straight AFC Championship Game against the defending AFC champion Bengals, who have overcome the “Super Bowl loser hangover” to go 14-2 SU (13-3 ATS) since an 0-2 start.
The big news has been Mahomes’ high ankle sprain, though he’s expected to play. But the fact is that his counterpart Joe Burrow is 3-0 against the Chiefs, all as underdogs, in the past 13 months, so the Bengals really have their number. It was an easy call to jump on the 49ers +8.5/Bengals +7.5 teaser on Sunday night.
Now that the line has flipped to the Bengals -1.5 as of Wednesday morning, the value has also flipped to the Chiefs +7.5 in teasers for those who missed the early bet (and too juicy to pass up the 14-point middle for those who did join us on Bengals +7.5). Even though we still believe the Bengals are the right side and the more likely winner, we also think that Mahomes will keep the Chiefs in the game – and even if Chad Henne is pressed into service, he again looked capable when he led a 98-yard TD drive against the Jaguars before Mahomes returned to the lineup. Regardless, we’re counting on a one-score game either way.

Best Bet: Bengals +7.5 in teasers for those who got it; now, Chiefs +7.5 in teasers (pool play: Chiefs 55/45 in ATS contests assuming they’re listed at +1.5, though Bengals 55/45 in SU pools).

Here’s the abbreviated version (though it’s not so short LOL) of our regular daily column as we recap Tuesday’s action and give our Best Bets for Wednesday.
We lost our Best Bet on Tuesday on the Ducks-Coyotes 1P Over 1.5/Blackhawks-Canucks 1P Over 1.5 as both games were only 1-0 after the first 20 minutes though they went on to have 7 goals total in each game (I hate when that happens!). That dropped our record to 4-5 with these parlays – so they’re not as strong as they were in the winter/spring of 2019 – but since these are at plus-money, we’re still up 1.94 units.
Our NBA plays fared better as the Pelicans closed +3 vs. the Nuggets and covered in their 99-98 loss while those willing to lay the short number with the Heat -2.5 vs. the Celtics also covered.
Let’s recap the rest of Tuesday’s betting action and then look for Best Bets on Wednesday as we’ll have another play on the ice, though we’re making an NBA swagger play our top pick of the day.

Tuesday Recaps

CBB: No. 12 Iowa State beat No. 5 Kansas State 80-76, but the ViewFromVegas is it wasn’t an upset as the Cyclones closed as 5.5-point home favorites, though they didn’t cover the spread.

NBA: Faves went 4-3 SU on Tuesday but dogs led 4-3 ATS with Pelicans (+3) covering in 99-98 win vs. Nuggets. The upsets were by the Wizards (+7 in 127-126 win at Mavericks), Knicks (+3.5 in 105-103 win vs. Cavaliers) and Pacers (+1.5 in 116-110 win vs. Bulls). Home teams went 4-3 SU and 5-2 ATS. Unders led 4-3.

More NBA: On the season, faves lead 454-255 SU with 10 games closing pick-’em, but dogs still lead 359-331-19 ATS (52%). Home teams lead 432-287 SU and 374-328-18 ATS (53.3%). In totals wagering, Overs still lead 368-339-12 (52.1%).

NHL: Faves went 8-3 with upsets by the Sabres (+115 in 5-3 win at Blues), Ducks (+108 in 5-2 win at Coyotes) and Predators (+100 in 2-1 win vs. Jets). Home teams went 7-4. Overs 5-4-2 with pushes in MIN-TB (6) & BOS-MON (6). On the season, faves lead 440-281 with 20 games closing pick-’em. Home teams lead 381-347 with 4 neutral-site games. Overs’ slim lead improved to 352-346-30.

Wednesday NBA Best Bets

Pacers +4.5 at Magic: This is a swagger play on the Pacers, who just snapped a 7-game losing streak on Tuesday night as they rallied from a 21-point halftime deficit vs. the Bulls led by rookie Bennedict Mathurin (26 points and the go-ahead basket with 29 seconds left). That should give them their swagger back. Besides, I don’t see why Orlando is favored by this many points. We also have another swagger play Wednesday with the Rockets +3 the Wizards after snapping their 13-game losing streak Monday vs. the Timberwolves. Basically, I trust the Pacers more than the Rockets, plus feel safer fading the Magic more than the Wizards.

Wednesday NHL Best Bet

Blue Jackets-Oilers 1P Over 1.5 -175/Canucks-Kraken 1P Over 1.5 -160 (parlay payoff of +155): I still like this, but not enough to make it our Best Bet of the day over the NBA plays. The Oilers have six straight 1P Overs and are on a 17-4 run, so they’ve been good to us. Although the Canucks fell short last night, they’re still tied at a league-leading 34-13 (72.3%) in 1P Overs with the Ducks. The Kraken are a respectable 27-19 (58.7%).