Saturday, April 29, 2023 | 2 a.m.
Weekend Wagers isn’t immune to the football craze sweeping across Las Vegas, and the rest of the nation, after the first two days of the NFL Draft.
NFL games don’t kick off for more than four months but that doesn’t seem to matter as opinions are widespread after finding out where the biggest-name rookies are heading. I’ve got a few of my own, and one will cap today’s football-heavy column.
Three of the eight bets below fall into the football category with a future on both college football and NFL to go with a straight bet on this weekend’s XFL semifinal game.
Read on for this week’s weekend wagers. Odds are the best currently available in Las Vegas on the chosen side at publication time with the sports book notes. Plays outside of the column will be linked and tracked in the record at the bottom of the page.
MLB (2-2, $40): San Francisco Giants +155 at San Diego Padres (Wynn)
$160 to win $248
It’s important to note that this game, and Sunday’s contest to follow, is taking place in Mexico City at Alfredo Harp Helu Stadium. It’s uncertain what kind of effect the unfamiliar venue will play, but it will likely only help the underdog. And the Giants are too large of an underdog here. There’s not too big of a discrepancy between Padres starter Joe Musgrove and Giants starter Sean Manaea, especially not with the former still working his way back from starting the season on the injured list. The Padres have been overvalued and one of the worst bets in baseball on a game-to-game basis this year. That trend will continue if they keep getting priced this highly.
NHL (2-5, -$630): Toronto Maple Leafs -101 in Game 6 at Tampa Bay Lightning (Circa)
$202 to win $200
I didn’t seek to add more exposure on the Maple Leafs with a series bet on them already pending, but there’s nothing else I particularly like on the hockey slate today. Toronto has been the better team so far in the series, and could reasonably improve in Game 6. There are some obvious lineup tweaks they need to make but coach Sheldon Keefe was resistant to do so after three straight wins. He should be more willing to make changes off of a loss. Toronto has been cursed with repeated first-round exits over the last decade but that pessimism is not predictive. The negativity might be seeping into the betting market with the number this low. It might not be a comfortable bet to make, especially with money already riding on Toronto, but the Maple Leafs are the right side today.
UFC (8-5, $1,028): Jake Collier +110 vs. Martin Buday at UFC Fight Night (Caesars/William Hill)
$200 to win $204
I must not have learned my lesson about betting on heavyweight fights with a big loss a week ago. But this line has moved too far to ignore. Stock is down on Collier after two straight losses including an ugly performance in a TKO loss to Chris Barnett his last time out, but he’s a better overall fighter than Buday. Collier is more tested and should be able to bounce back and outgrapple Buday, who’s only in his third UFC fight. Buday has won each of the first two, but that run isn’t going to last forever. He’s not championship material. Collier isn’t either but he deserves more respect than to be sitting at a plus-price.
XFL (3-3, $0): Seattle Sea Dragons +3 at D.C. Defenders (STN Sports)
$165 to win $150
The last XFL bet in Weekend Wagers was a loss in this same matchup, but I can’t get away from Seattle. The Sea Dragons had to sneak into the playoffs, and today’s North Division Championship, because they lost a couple close games but their underlying numbers are stronger than any team’s in the league — including the Defenders. They had high expectations coming into the revamped XFL season with many calling for big production from quarterback Ben DiNucci to wide receiver Josh Gordon. They’re beginning to live up to that, and at this rate, should find themselves in the XFL Championship Game next week.
NASCAR (3-3, $90): Ross Chastain -110 head-to-head vs. Kyle Busch in Wurth 400 (Caesars/William Hill)
$220 to win $200
Busch might be getting too much credit in the market for winning at Talladega last week to bank his second victory of the season. But neither Talladega nor Fontana, where he won in February, should have anything to do with Sunday’s race at Dover Motor Speedway. It’s not a venue where the local-legend driver has been historically strong. Chastain, on the other hand, tore it up at Dover last year en route to a third-place finish. He hasn’t been quite as fast so far this season, but Dover is a unique track and this is where he could find his speed. He’s better set up for success than Busch.
NBA (6-7, $295): Boston Celtics to win the Eastern Conference at -160 (Caesars/William Hill)
$480 to win $300
Weekend Wagers already has a position on Boston to win the title; now it’s time to establish one on the Celtics getting there too. It’s available at quite a low price tag considering how much better they are than the other three teams remaining in the East — the Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks and Miami Heat. Philadelphia, Boston’s next opponent, may look like a challenge on paper but it’s got a major concern with the health of soon-to-be MVP winner Joel Embiid. Even with Embiid, the Celtics have mostly handled the 76ers recently. The Knicks and Heat may have played the Celtics tougher, but there’s a big talent gap if the teams are playing in their top form. It’s the playoffs so they should be playing in their top form. Boston should be a much more prohibitive favorite than this.
College football (0-0, $0): LSU to win College Football Playoff at 20-to-1 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
$150 to win $3,000
Georgia is the team to bet in college football for the third straight season, but based on reports out of spring football, it looks like Texas and LSU might be two of teams closest behind the Bulldogs. I already placed a long-shot future on Texas. Now it’s time to add LSU before the price surely decreases. The Tigers have much of their offense back including quarterback Jayden Daniels. They should arguably be favored in every game outside of a November trip to take on Alabama. That includes a Week 1 showdown against heavily-hyped Florida State. But LSU should beat up Florida State in the trenches, grab a big win and shoot to the top of the polls. The key to future-betting is getting ahead of moves like that, and this is an attempt.
NFL (0-1, -$100): Philadelphia Eagles to win Super Bowl 58 at 9-to-1 (BetFred at Virgin Hotels)
$300 to win $2,700
I picked the Eagles and Bills to square off in Las Vegas’ first-ever Super Bowl nearly three months ago, and probably should have just bet both back then. Fortunately, I can still lock in bets on both at 9-to-1. I’ve already bet the Bills, and now it’s time for the Eagles to join the portfolio. Odds shouldn’t traditionally move much out of the first night of the NFL Draft but this year with Philadelphia is a special case. The Eagles strengthened significantly on Thursday with the additions of Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter and Georgia edge rusher Nolan Smith. They look like the best team in the NFC by far and, because of that, should sit as the favorite to win the Super Bowl. The AFC is the tougher league and a number of team could conceivably come out, but the NFC again runs through its defending champions.
Weekend betting column year to date: 30-37-1, $718
Weekend betting column year to date: 509-534-6, $18,844.95
Previous pending future wagers: Vegas Golden Knights at 15-to-1 to win the 2023 Stanley Cup ($200 to win $3,000); Giannis Antetokounmpo to win NBA MVP at 7-to-1 ($300 to win $2,100); Minnesota Timberwolves to win Western Conference at 15-to-1 ($100 to win $1,500); Minnesota Timberwolves to win NBA Finals at 33-to-1 ($75 to win $2,475); Boston Celtics to win the NBA Finals at 7-to-1 ($300 to win $2,100); Luka Doncic to win NBA MVP at 4-to-1 ($450 to win $1,800); 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); Manchester City to win English Premier League at +125 ($200 to win $250); New Orleans Breakers to win USFL title at 7-to-1 ($200 to win $1,400);Toronto Maple Leafs to win series against Tampa Bay Lightning at -158 ($316 to win $200); Patrick Cantlay to win PGA Championship at 24-to-1 ($100 to win $2,400)
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