Tuley: Thursday NHL Best Bet, updated ‘takes’ on NFL Championship Games

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Thursday NHL Best Bet, Wednesday Recaps

Wednesday was just a typical hump day in and out of the Tuley’s Takes home office for your mild-mannered sports betting reporter.
After staying up late to post yesterday’s column, I had an early-morning appointment to receive the results of a recent “sleep study,” took a nap, had lunch with VSiN superfan Mike Palmeri at Pizza Rock in downtown Vegas, picked up my son Maddux at school as he stayed after for chess club and, of course, sweated out my bets.
I lost my posted Best Bet of Pacers +4.5 as they lost 126-120 to the Magic, though hopefully some followers received a push as +6 was widely available early in the day. It didn’t look like it would matter when the Magic jumped out to a 46-29 lead after the first quarter, but as we always say about the NBA: “everyone makes a run.” Unfortunately, that also happened with our Rockets +3 play as they built a 15-point lead over the Wizards but ended up losing 108-103.

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We also dropped our NHL First-Period Over play on Blue Jackets-Oilers 1P Over 1.5 -175/Canucks-Kraken 1P Over 1.5 -160 parlay as we split with the former losing and the latter winning.
Let’s recap the rest of Wednesday’s betting action and then look for a Best Bet on Thursday back on the ice. And then, as has become our custom around here, we’ll rerun our NFL column from Wednesday and update our “takes” on the Championship Games based on the current lines.

Wednesday Recaps

CBB: No. 13 Xavier beat No. 19 UConn 82-79, but it was an upset as the Musketeers were 6-point road underdogs. No. 2 Alabama rallied in the 2nd half to beat Mississippi State 66-63, but didn’t cover as 11.5-point home favorite.

NBA: Faves went 8-2 SU but split 5-5 ATS as Nets (+7.5 at 76ers), Nuggets (+12.5 at Bucks) and Grizzlies (+3 at Warriors) covered in losses. The upsets were by the Raptors (+3 at Kings) and Timberwolves (+2.5 at Pelicans). Home teams went 6-4 SU but road teams led 7-3 ATS. Unders led 6-4.

More NBA: On the season, faves lead 462-257 SU with 10 games closing pick-’em, but dogs still lead 364-336-19 ATS (52%). Home teams lead 438-291 SU and 377-335-18 ATS (52.9%). In totals wagering, Overs still lead 372-345-12 (51.9%).

NHL: Faves went 4-1 on Wednesday with the lone upset by the Blue Jackets (+310 in 3-2 OT win at Oilers)/ Home teams went 3-2. Unders led 4-1. On the season, faves lead 444-282 with 20 games closing pick-’em. Home teams 384-349 with 4 neutral-site games. Overs’ lead cut to 353-350-30.

Thursday NHL Best Bet

Blackhawks-Flames 1P Over 1.5 -135/Ducks-Avalanche 1P Over 1.5 -145 (parlay payoff of +194): The Flames are the third-best 1P Over team behind the Ducks and Canucks at 31-15 (67.4%) while the Ducks and Avalanche both came up short on Tuesday but they’re still a combined 57-36 (61.3%) on the season with the Ducks still 15-5 (75%) in their last 20 games. Hopefully this gets us back on the winning track.

Here’s the rerun of our weekly breakdown of the NFL schedule, with updates in italics:
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.
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).
Thursday update: more books have gone to Eagles -2.5 -115, but still waiting to get 49ers +3.

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).
Thursday update: the line moved to pick-’em at most books on Wednesday with reports of Patrick Mahomes making progress with his injured ankle, taking it out of the "teaser zone," while South Point moved to Chiefs -1 as of early Thursday.