Best Bets: Tampa Bay Stakes, NBA First-Half Under

Eclipse Sportswire

America’s Best Racing and handicapper (and avid gambler) Monique Vág team up to provide horseplayers with their best bets of the weekend.

Vág will identify her top picks as well as at least one longshot play of the weekend, a nice opportunity to swing for the fences on a win bet or to take a shot with a show bet. She also will occasionally look for strong exacta plays for the weekend or try to spot a nice opportunity for other wagers.

This Weekend’s Bets

Saturday, Feb. 8

Best Bet

Tampa Bay Downs, Race 8, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes, 3:59 p.m. ET

#7 Got Stormy: The price will be short on this mare at post time, but she deserves to be the favorite in here off her most recent winning effort in the Matriarch Stakes and strong runner-up effort in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile. She’s at her best working out a stalking trip, and should be able to execute that perfectly sitting just behind Jehozacat (#3) who appears to be the probable pacesetter.

Longshot Play

Tampa Bay Downs, Race 9, $150,000 Suncoast Stakes, 4:29 p.m. EST

#3 Two Sixty: She’s had some issues minding her manners and staying straight down the stretch; however, she’s flaunted a ton of talent and a nice bit of early speed she can certainly use to her advantage. She gets a new rider in Tyler Gaffalione and returns to racing at a route distance, where I would argue her best efforts have come at. Expect her to be put into play early and loom as a major contender to pull off the upset.

Longshot Play

Tampa Bay Downs, Race 10, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes, 4:59 p.m. ET

#7 Hembree: He should offer a very fair price at post time (hopefully somewhere around the 6-1 range), and could definitely serve as a value bet. This horse is at his best tracking faster early fractions, and that appears to be exactly what he’ll get to do with quite a bit of speed among this field. Look for this horse to be flying late, and hopefully he’ll be able to pick off some tired horses late in deep stretch.

Best Bet

Tampa Bay Downs, Race 11, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, 5:29 p.m. ET

#4 Independence Hall: He looks to remain undefeated while making his fourth career start. This colt was exceptionally impressive in his debut, and then went on to make light work of graded stakes company in his second career start. Talent-wise, he appears to be a standout and should be put into play early. He definitely looms as the one to beat, and looks like a very worthy single among your exotic wagers.

Favorite Sports Pick of the Weekend

Saturday, Feb. 8

NBA: San Antonio Spurs @ Sacramento Kings

PICK: First-half game total Under (odds + total TBD): Both the Spurs and Kings have gotten out to very slow starts this season with San Antonio averaging only 51.3 points per first half over their most recent three, and the Kings 52.4 on their home court. In three of the last six games between these two, one team has been held under 100 points for the entire game.

Although the Spurs can on occasion put up points in a hurry – mostly due to their great 3-point shooting – expect both teams to get out to a sluggish start. Expect the first-half total to be somewhere around the 115 points mark, and bet the Under.

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