Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023 | 2 a.m.
Betting on the NFL’s Week 1 slate for three months leading up to kickoff proved to be worthwhile.
It was not something I had ever done before, and I wasn’t totally sold on the idea upon starting to sprinkle in plays starting in May, but now it should become a staple based on how this year turned out. I went 5-1 on Week 1 plays shared in Weekend Wagers for a profit of $970.
It still wasn’t the big earner of last week, as a second straight NASCAR outright winner to go with a head-to-head matchup victory yielded $1,472 in profit on the race track. Another big weekend of sports is ahead that stretches far beyond just the gridiron, and the column is going to keep handicapping it all.
Read below for bets on seven sports and come back tomorrow evening for the Sunday Sweats column focused mostly on NFL exotics. Odds are the best currently available on the chosen side in Las Vegas at publication time. Plays outside the column will be linked and tracked at the bottom of the page.
Golf (5-12-1, -$970): Lucas Herbert -115 head-to-head in third round of Fortinet Championship vs. Mackenzie Hughes (SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas)
$230 to win $200
What a whirlwind first two rounds in Napa it was for the Australian golfer. Herbert went extremely low, nine-under par, to lead the field Thursday but then blew up with a three-over par to fall back on Friday. Somewhere in the middle is obviously where his true baseline rests, but the fact that he was able to have such a monumental round means more to me going forward than the mediocre one. It shows he’s got a much higher ceiling than Hughes, a longtime PGA Tour veteran. Herbert is probably too far back now — six strokes behind co-leaders Sahith Theegala and S.H. Kim — to make a real run at winning the tournament but he could easily threaten a top five or top 10 finish. He should be a bigger favorite over Hughes.
MLB (13-8, $1,080): Oakland A’s +140 vs. San Diego Padres (Wynn)
$150 to win $210
Oakland starter Mason Miller is a big-time prospect; San Diego starter Matt Waldron is not. Yes, there’s a lot of other personnel edges in the Padres’ favor that the A’s will need to overcome but I think it’s more likely than this line suggests. The A’s haven’t been the laughingstock recently that they were earlier in the season, including having gone 5-5 over their last 10 games. That’s the same record as the Padres, which have been a humongous letdown all season. What’s to stop San Diego from disappointing one or two more times in the final couple weeks of the season?
NASCAR (20-13, $6,602): Kyle Busch -110 head-to-head vs. Tyler Reddick in Bass Pro Shops Night Race (SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas)
$220 to win $200
Bristol Motor Speedway has been the local native Busch’s best track throughout his career, a fact that the betting market isn’t weighing enough going into tonight’s final race of the Cup series’ round-of-16 playoffs. Busch has eight wins lifetime on the short concrete track, which is a lot more meaningful than disappointing finishes in each of the last two years. He dealt with bad fortune out of his control in each of those races. Reddick has been nowhere nearly as effective at Bristol as Busch. He may have won last week, which I thank him gratefully for, but that doesn’t entitle him to be a pick’em with a legend of the sport at one of his best tracks.
NASCAR (20-13, $6,602): Kyle Busch to win Bass Pro Shops Night Race at 12-to-1 (STN Sports) and Kevin Harvick to win Bass Pro Shops Night Race at 16-to-1 (South Point)
$125 to win $1,500 on Busch and $95 to win $1,520 on Harvick
Well, Busch is covered above but a lot of the same superlatives could be extended Harvick’s way. The future Hall of Famer has three wins of his own at Bristol and several more races where he’s been in contention. Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing team has been picking up speed, and should be set up well to compete on Saturday night. Harvick is retiring after this season and desperate to pick up one last victory after having so far been shut out. He doesn’t deserve to be slotted alongside Busch or the race favorites like Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski, but this price is a little too far out. I’ll ride with the pair of veterans in the night race in hopes of hitting a third straight outright winner.
UFC (17-22, -$314): Paul Rosas Jr. by submission at -175 vs. Terrence Mitchell (Boyd Sports)
$525 to win $300
It’s not cheap, but this is biggest edge in the column this week. The UFC is serving up Mitchell as a showcase fight for the 18-year-old Rosas, and there’s no reason to think the locally-based, top-rated prospect won’t take advantage. Rosas lost for the first time in his career his last time out, to Christian Rodriguez at UFC 287, but Mitchell doesn’t have the skillset to threaten him as much. Rosas is too slick and athletic, and shouldn’t struggle too much to get Mitchell to the mat. Once there, Mitchell will be in Rosa’s world and a submission should soon follow.
WNBA (1-1, -$10): Chicago Sky +18 at Las Vegas Aces in Game 2 (Circa Sports)
$165 to win $150
The Aces looked scary in an 87-59 victory in Game 1 at Michelob Ultra Arena on Wednesday, but tacking two extra points onto the line from Game 1 to Game 2 feels like an overreaction. Chicago also shot incredibly poorly, and it wasn’t all because of the Las Vegas defense. The Sky missed open shots too. The only way this line could be justified would be if Chicago is already feeling defeated and quit facing an elimination game. That’s hard for me to believe. The Sky are outmanned and won’t beat the Aces, but they battled hard to secure the final WNBA playoff spot. They’re professionals and prideful. They’ll hopefully put up a fight.
NFL (5-2, $870): Colts +7.5 and 49ers -1.5 6-point teaser at -125 (STN Sports)
$250 to win $200
I went 1-1 on teasers written up in Week 1 — though banked a small profit courtesy of the larger one hitting — and I’m going back to firing on a couple for Week 2. There are just too many strong options available. Check the Sunday Sweats tomorrow evening for the second, but let’s lock this one in first because the odds seem more likely to move out of range. The Colts are better than the Texans all over the field, and I find it hard to believe they’ll go off the board as a slight underdog instead of a slight favorite. Getting them through the 7 is a steal. San Francisco meanwhile was more dominant than anyone could have imagined in a 30-7 season-opening victory over Pittsburgh. And the Steelers have a better overall roster than the Week 2 opponent Rams, who may keep it close but seem like a giant long shot to pull off an upset.
College football (1-3, -$487): Western Kentucky to win Conference USA at +110 (BetMGM)
$500 to win $550
Conference USA always shaped up to be the worst league in the nation this season, but somehow, it’s looked even worse than anticipated through two weeks. The Hilltoppers are the only team that’s even looked decent. Their perceived top competition — Liberty, UTEP and Louisiana Tech — have all played worse than expected and are dealing with major issues. Liberty might be the only team that someone could make a real case for, but Western Kentucky conveniently gets that game at home next month. You’ll hear a lot about the dangers of overreacting to the early part of the college football season from bettors, but not as much about under-reacting. Not having Western Kentucky as an odds-on favorite to win Conference USA is an under-reaction from the early portion of the season.
Weekend betting columns year to date: 97-119-3, $9,835
Weekend betting column all-time: 575-614-10, $28.344
Previous pending wagers: Texas to win the College Football Playoff at 30-to-1 ($100 to win $3,000); Tanner Mordecai to win the Heisman Trophy at 200-to-1 ($30 to win $6,000); Atlanta Braves at 5-to-1 to win the National League ($300 to win $1,500; Atlanta Braves at 10-to-1 to win the World Series ($300 to win $3,000); Buffalo Bills at 9-to-1 to win Super Bowl 58 ($300 to win $2,700); LSU to win the College Football Playoff at 20-to-1 ($150 to win $3,000); Philadelphia Eagles to win Super Bowl 58 at 9-to-1 ($300 to win $2,700); Nolan Smith to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year at 20-to-1 ($100 to win $2,000); Kansas to win 2024 NCAA Tournament at 14-to-1 ($200 to win $2,800); Buffalo Bills at 10-to-1 to win Super Bowl 58 ($100 to win $1,000); Lamar Jackson to win NFL MVP ($150 to win $2,700); Ohio State to win the College Football Playoff at 8-to-1 ($350 to win $2,800); Carson Beck to win the Heisman Trophy at 30-to-1 ($100 to win $3,000) Las Vegas Aces to win WNBA Championship at -115 ($575 to win $500); William Byron to win NASCAR Cup Series championship at +750 ($300 to win $2,250); Edmonton Oilers to win 2024 Stanley Cup Final at 12-to-1 ($250 to win $3,000); Mississippi State under 6.5 wins at -145 ($435 to win $300) Colorado under 3.5 wins at -130 ($260 to win $200); Miami over 7.5 wins at +125 ($200 to win $250); Myles Garrett to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year ($300 to win $2,400); Florida over 5.5 wins at -120 ($240 to win $200); Kentucky over 7 wins at +110 ($200 to win $220); Mississippi State under 6 wins at Even money ($100 to win $100); Oklahoma State over 6 wins at -140 ($280 to win $200); Texas Tech under 7.5 wins at -120 ($240 to win $200); UCF over 7 wins at Even money ($200 to win $200); West Virginia under 5.5 wins at -180 ($360 to win $200); Air Force to win the Mountain West at 5-to-1 ($200 to win $1,000); Colorado under 3.5 wins at -120 ($120 to win $100); Oregon State under 8.5 wins at -135 ($135 to win $100); USC under 10 wins at Even money ($150 to win $150); Washington over 9 wins at -120 ($180 to win $150); Ohio State over 10.5 wins at Even money ($150 to win $150); Penn State under 9.5 wins at +130 ($150 to win $215); Iowa under 8.5 wins at -115 ($230 to win $200); Nebraska under 6.5 wins at -110 ($220 to win $200); Purdue over 4.5 wins at -140 ($210 to win $150); Duke under 6 wins at +125 ($200 to win $250); Miami over 7.5 wins at +116 ($200 to win $232); North Carolina under 8.5 wins at -150 ($300 to win $200); Syracuse over 6 wins at +105 ($200 to win $210); Boise State under 8.5 wins at -130 ($260 to win $200); New Mexico over 3 wins at -130 ($260 to win $200); Fresno State under 8.5 wins at -150 ($300 to win $200); Hawaii over 3.5 wins at -130 ($260 to win $200); Anthony Richardson to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at 9-to-1 ($200 to win $1,800); Zay Flowers to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at 30-to-1 ($65 to win $1,950); Miami Dolphins to not make the playoffs at +105 ($300 to win $315); Cleveland Cavaliers to win Central division at 3-to-1 ($300 to win $900); Derrick Henry to lead the NFL in rushing yards at +850 ($200 to win $1,950); Justin Herbert to lead the NFL in passing yards at +550 ($200 to win $1,100); Europe to win the Ryder Cup at +120 ($200 to win $240); New England Patriots +2.5 in Week 2 vs. Miami Dolphins ($220 to win $200); San Francisco 49ers to win the NFC West at -165 ($660 to win $400)
Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or