Dustin Johnson enters the 2018 British Open as the global favorite. Plus…NFL “market” Power Ratings as presented Wednesday on “A Numbers Game”...and a preview of Cards-Cubs with MLB play resuming. Time to PLAY BALL in VSiN City!
British Open: Golf sharps spreading money among a variety of top challengers
Dustin Johnson is still the betting favorite to win the 2018 British Open. As you read this, first round play will already have started at Carnoustie. In the hours leading up to the first swing, DJ had maintained the top spot at the Betfair exchange overseas, while falling back to the pack from a return of plus 1300 to an even better plus 1500.
Here’s a listing of prices as of publication deadlines…
Dustin Johnson: risk $1 to win $15, risk $15.50 to win $1 on “no”
Justin Rose: risk $1 to win $19, risk $20 to win $1 on “no”
Rickie Fowler: risk $1 to win $19, risk $20 to win $1 on “no”
Rory McIlroy: risk $1 to win $22, risk $23 to win $1 on “no”
Jon Rahm: risk $1 to win $24, risk $1 to win $25 on “no”
Tommy Fleetwood: risk $1 to win $26, risk $27 to win $1 on “no”
Jordan Spieth: risk $1 to win $26, risk $27 to win $1 on “no”
Brooks Koepka: $1 to win $27, risk $28 to win $1 on “no”
Tiger Woods: $1 to win $29, risk $31 to win $1 on “no”
Alex Noren: $1 to win $33, risk $35 to win $1 on “no”
Francesco Molinari: $1 to win $35, risk $37 to win $1 on “no”
Justin Thomas: $1 to win $37, risk $39 to win $1 on “no”
Sergio Garcia: $1 to win $39, risk $41 to win $1 on “no”
Henrick Stenson: $1 to win $41, risk $43 to win $1 on “no”
Many golfers stayed the same. Justin Thomas and Henrick Stenson took surprising steps backward. We’ve added Francesco Molinari to our list because he jumped into relevancy since the prior update. The South Point here in Las Vegas had him listed at 12/1 Wednesday, up with the world elites.
You can click here to get fresh prices, which are updated on the fly as play unfolds. If this your first look at the exchange…the blue category is what gets returned to the bettor for a win (the $1 stake and the profit…so if you see a “20” in blue, that means the golfer is essentially 19 to 1 on the exchange). The pink category is the “no” category, what you risk to win a dollar (and that dollar is also counted in the price you see).
VSiN programming will provide live scoreboard updates throughout the day, beginning on “Follow the Money” with Matt Youmans and Amal Shah at 7 a.m. ET, 4 a.m. Pacific…and then on “A Numbers Game” with Jonathon Von Tobel and VSiN City at 10 a.m. ET, 7 a.m. Pacific as we continue filling in for Gill Alexander through the week.
NFL: As promised, the full listing of estimated “market” Power Ratings
On Wednesday’s show, we went game-by-game through point spreads for the Week 1 NFL schedule to show you how Jonathan Von Tobel and I tried to estimate how “the market” has all 32 teams rated entering the season. Here’s that listing.
(If you’re new to Power Ratings, this scale is based on current point spreads for Week 1. It can be used to project future point spreads. If we got it right, the scale represents neutral field perceptions. Add in three points for home field advantage).
85: New England, Philadelphia (with Wentz), LA Rams
83: Philadelphia (with Foles), Green Bay, New Orleans, Pittsburgh
82: Atlanta, Houston, LA Chargers, Jacksonville, San Francisco
81: Kansas City, Dallas, Seattle
80: Denver, Tennessee, Carolina, Washington, Detroit
79: Oakland, Baltimore
78: Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay (with Winston)
77: Arizona, Chicago, Buffalo
76: Tampa Bay (with Fitzpatrick), NY Jets
75: NY Giants, Miami
You may be thinking, “wait a minute…the Rams are equal to New England?” Maybe not. But the Rams are -3 at Oakland on the first Monday night of the season, which means they would be -6 on a neutral field. You have to stick that “couplet” six rungs apart. If you drop the Rams to 84, that puts Oakland down at 78. Are you comfortable with that? The Raiders are the same as Indianapolis and Cincinnati? Maybe. But, the combo of 85-79 made the most sense to JVT and I as we were building the table.
Do you want to lift New England to 86 so the Pats are clear of the field? We could see that. But, you then have to lift Houston up to 83 with second-year quarterback Deshaun Watson (equal to Pittsburgh, Green Bay, and New Orleans). New England is -6.5 over Houston on the opening Sunday. Three points apart (four wouldn’t seem right because a line of New England -7 would get bet right back to 6.5 given how long these numbers have settled). For New England/Houston, it’s either 85-82 or 86-83. We were most comfortable at 85-82.
Understanding how the market is rating teams gives you a shot to find soft spots you can attack. Several weeks for you to do that between now and the Atlanta-Philadelphia season opener Thursday night September 6.
Wednesday WNBA: League powers flex their talent
Two blowouts Wednesday featuring elites. Let’s take a quick peek at the numbers.
Seattle (-8.5) 101, Chicago 83
2-point Pct: Seattle 61%, Chicago 58%
3-pointers: Seattle 11/27, Chicago 8/26
Free Throws: Seattle 14/16, Chicago 9/13
Rebounds: Seattle 33, Chicago 31
Turnovers: Seattle 13, Chicago 16
One of those games where Seattle was a bit better than everything, and it added up to a blowout against one of the worst teams in the league. Seattle moves to 17-6 on the season, and is 6-1-1 ATS its last eight games. Several teams right now are surging or struggling vs. the spread in a way the market has lagged. Chicago falls to 7-16 this season. That’s four straight losses straight up and ATS for Chicago, 5-12 ATS its last 17 games.
Minnesota (-15) 89, Indiana 65
2-point Pct: Indiana 42%, Minnesota 55%
3-pointers: Indiana 2/7, Minnesota 9/19
Free Throws: Indiana 11/11, Minnesota 14/21
Rebounds: Indiana 24, Minnesota 36
Turnovers: Indiana 11, Minnesota 9
Complete mismatch. Still a miracle that Indiana actually won on this court not too long ago. The losers fall to 2-21 for the season…and are 0-5 ATS their last five, 1-9 ATS their last 10 (with the only cover being that outright shocker). Minnesota is still disappointing at 13-10 straight up given their championship hopes. ATS mark is up to 9-14 after a dismal start.
Quick update of our estimated “market” Power Ratings for the WNBA…
85: Minnesota, Los Angeles, Seattle
82: Washington, Dallas
79: Connecticut, Atlanta
75: Las Vegas
74: New York, Chicago
Note that the Las Vegas Aces visit Phoenix Thursday night.
Thursday MLB: Stage two of the season begins with Cards visiting the Cubs
Just one game on the schedule, so we can spend a little time on a stat preview. Note that some sharps are expecting St. Louis to come out with renewed intensity given the managerial change made last weekend.
Early Line: Chicago Cubs -150 (no total pending wind report)
Carlos Martinez (St. Louis): 3.08 ERA, but 4.60 xFIP
Kyle Hendricks (Chicago): 3.92 ERA, but 4.57 xFIP
Interesting that both pitchers are due to fall back to earth moving forward. Martinez in particular may be an illusion. The ERA suggests all-star, but the xFIP reflects mediocrity. Be careful with him until that stabilizes. Basically a wash in xFIP, which is the single best predictive stat for pitchers.
Road Offense (for cleanest read):
St. Louis: 4.7 runs/game, .736 OPS
Chicago: 5.0 runs/game, .749 OPS
We use “road only” offense this deep into the season because it gives the cleanest read on true talent. That takes home field influences out of the mix. Many handicappers will see a game and check out the “road” numbers for the visitor, and the “home” numbers for the host. It might seem weird at first glance, but those “home” numbers could be very polluted. Use “road only” data for BOTH offenses to create a “neutral” read, similar to how our NFL Power Ratings give you a neutral field scale of quality. THEN adjust for park factor.
Park Factor: Wrigley Field has increased offense 8% this season (#9 best hitters’ park)
Baseball fans know that Wrigley Field can be an extreme hitter’s park in certain conditions (day game, wind blowing out), and an extreme pitchers’ park in others (night game, wind blowing in, particularly in cooler months). Probably relatively neutral on a July evening unless extreme wind is in play.
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