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Dark horse prevails in PGA Championship

Jeff Fogle
VSiN.com

Wanamaker moneymaker! Justin Thomas wins the PGA as a 35-1 shot, plus NFLX weekend recaps as we start a new week in VSiN City.

PGA Championship: Justin Thomas shoots final round 68 to win season's final major by two strokes
Perhaps the grind of leading through the middle rounds weighed too heavily on Kevin Kisner and Hideki Matsuyama (tied for first after Friday, first and second place after Saturday). Their scores rose to 74 and 72 respectively on a final Sunday that saw 15 golfers tame Quail Hollow at 69 or better. Justin Thomas shot a 68 to win the Wanamaker trophy at 8-under par. Tied for second at 6-under par were Francesco Molinari (67), Patrick Reed (67), and Louis Oosthuizen (70). 

Thomas was a popular dark horse pick from golf analysts, including our own Matt Youmans…who had him listed for a long shot look in his tournament preview last week at 35-1. Bettors could still get Thomas at 9/2 (plus 450) entering the final round. 

Pre-tournament global favorite Rory McIlroy finished tied for #22 at 1-over after a final round 68. He suggested his lingering rib injury may now keep him off the tour for an extended period of time. Jordan Spieth was the favorite at the South Point. He finished tied for #28 at 2-over. Dustin Johnson continued to disappoint in terms of contending for majors, but a final round 67 lifted him to a tie for #13 this week. Popular betting choice all season, Jon Rahm, could only manage a tie for #58. 

NFLX: Quiet weekend highlighted by legitimate offensive efforts from San Francisco and Seattle
As we continue our stat summaries from the first full week of exhibition action, not much to report from Friday-Sunday in terms of teams establishing that they’re going to care about putting points on the board. Only two teams gained more than 340 yards this weekend, or gained more than 5.5 yards-per-play.

  • San Francisco gained 434 yards on 6.1 yards-per-play at Kansas City
  • Seattle gained 458 yards on 6.9 yards-per-play at the LA Chargers

We’ll definitely see more intense offensive efforts in the dress rehearsal games in a couple of weeks. Let’s pick up where we left off last Friday with key stats and spotlights on potential second or third-string difference-makers…

Pittsburgh (plus 3.5) 20, NY Giants 12

  • Total Yards: Pittsburgh 226, NY Giants 242
  • Yards-per-Play: Pittsburgh 4.3, NY Giants 3.4
  • Rushing Yards: Pittsburgh 124, NY Giants 73
  • Passing Stats: Pittsburgh 10-22-2-102, NY Giants 23-42-1-169

Very ugly game. The G-men didn’t score a touchdown, while Pittsburgh got a cheap one a 28-yard drive after a turnover. You probably already knew that the Steelers don’t prioritize preseason results under this head coach. NYG played so poorly that they looked even worse than a team that was going through the motions. Won’t matter as long as Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning are ready to go in a few weeks. Neither saw action here. 

QB Passing Lines
Pittsburgh: Dobbs 8-15-2-100, Houston 2-7-0-24
NY Giants: G. Smith 10-16-1-114, Webb 8-16-0-67, J. Johnson 5-10-0-31

It’s pretty easy to compile decent completion percentages vs. vanilla defenses. Only Geno Smith could to that here…but he had an interception. Nothing here to suggest priority efforts in weeks two and four around the dress rehearsals. 

Cincinnati (-1.5) 23, Tampa Bay 12

  • Total Yards: Tampa Bay 330, Cincinnati 316
  • Yards-per-Play: Tampa Bay 4.7, Cincinnati 5.3
  • Rushing Yards: Tampa Bay 106, Cincinnati 140
  • Passing Stats: Tampa Bay 23-40-1-224, Cincinnati 17-22-1-176

Cincinnati won the second half 17-3, which might foreshadow something later in the month. Jeff Driskel in particular was playing like he had something to prove, which you’ll see in a moment. Tampa Bay seems most concerned with having Jameis Winston ready to go. 

QB Passing Lines
Tampa Bay: Winston 9-13-0-99, Fitzpatrick 6-13-1-45, Griffin 4-9-0-57, Liufau 4-5-0-31
Cincinnati: Dalton 4-5-1-38, McCarron 5-8-0-49, Driskel 8-9-0-87

Really ugly night for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Let’s keep an eye on Driskel next week. 

San Francisco (plus 4) 27, Kansas City 17

  • Total Yards: San Francisco 434, Kansas City 187
  • Yards-per-Play: San Francisco 6.1, Kansas City 4.1
  • Rushing Yards: San Francisco 188, Kansas City 31
  • Passing Stats: San Francisco 18-32-0-246, Kansas City 18-30-1-156

Wow…big rushing edge! You don’t see many games like that in August. Clearly a smash mouth mentality. And, then good passing numbers from game finisher C.J. Beathard. San Francisco won the second half 18-10. You’ll sometimes see young teams coming off a bad season get results in August against veteran-laden opponents who don’t care much. 

QB Passing Lines
San Francisco: Hoyer 1-4-0-3, Barkley 10-17-0-168, Beathard 7-11-0-101
Kansas City: A. Smith 4-6-0-48, Mahomes 7-9-0-49, Bray 5-8-1-63, Stave 2-7-0-10

Barkley’s playing like he wants to win a job, and Beathard knows that he’d better impress or he’ll just get a cup of coffee. Okay numbers on very safe passes for Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs. 

NY Jets (plus 1.5) 7, Tennessee 3

  • Total Yards: Tennessee 223, NY Jets 251
  • Yards-per-Play: Tennessee 3.7, NY Jets 3.7
  • Rushing Yards: Tennessee 136, NY Jets 56
  • Passing Stats: Tennessee 14-31-1-87, NY Jets 23-35-0-195

Awful game, with both teams apparently going through the motions. Though, the Jets could just be this bad and it’s showing up already. Though, projected regular season starter Josh McCown did produce in his limited time. 

QB Passing Lines
Tennessee: Mariota 2-3-0-15, Ferguson 1-1-0-4, Tanney 11-27-1-132
NY Jets: J. McCown 3-4-0-72, Hackenberg 18-25-0-127, Petty 2-6-0-16

Christian Hackenberg is an interesting case study for analysts. His most striking positives to scouts are that he’s listed at 6’4” and is still only 22 years old (won’t turn 23 until after the Super Bowl…Bryce Petty is 26!). The main negative is that he can’t get his teams to the end zone. In his last two years at Penn State, he only had 28 touchdown passes in 26 games. Truly dangerous QB’s can rack up high TD counts vs. Big 10 weaklings and non-conference foes. 

LA Rams (plus 2) 13, Dallas 10

  • Total Yards: Dallas 248, LA Rams 271
  • Yards-per-Play: Dallas 4.3, LA Rams 4.4
  • Rushing Yards: Dallas 48, LA Rams 105
  • Passing Stats: Dallas 23-41-0-200, LA Rams 22-31-0-166

Dallas did have a one-week head start. But the Cowboys didn’t play as if their back-ups were doing much with that extra time. Plus, the news of Ezekiel Elliot’s suspension may have been casting a dark cloud over the afternoon. 

QB Passing Lines
Dallas: Moore 8-17-0-69, Rush 9-11-0-104, L. McCown 6-13-0-31
LA Rams: Goff 3-4-0-34, Orlovsky 1-2-0-3, Mannion 18-25-0-144

Kellen Moore was a disappointment, because his unit should have been much sharper than what they showed. Nice day for Cooper Rush, who threw the only Cowboys TD pass. McCown’s attempts to win the game late became comical…as if his teammates hadn’t met until halftime but he was still trying to call audibles. Goff did what was asked then grabbed a clipboard. 

Arizona (-4) 20, Oakland 10

  • Total Yards: Oakland 252, Arizona 291
  • Yards-per-Play: Oakland 5.3, Arizona 4.9
  • Rushing Yards: Oakland 72, Arizona 113
  • Passing Stats: Oakland 20-33-0-180, Arizona 20-32-0-178

Arizona was exploiting its one-week head start while jumping to a 17-0 first half lead in sharp fashion (no punts until the second half). But they called off the dogs after that. Surprising since Blaine Gabbert looked so sharp vs. Dallas the prior week. 

QB Passing Lines
Oakland: Manuel 10-12-0-107, Cook 10-21-0-82
Arizona: Palmer 4-8-0-39, Stanton 11-15-0-112, Gabbert 5-9-0-53

Derek Carr sat out for the Raiders. Normally, you’d be looking at the Stanton/Gabbert combo for “August value” in upcoming action. But if the coaching staff is going to coast through second halves, then their projected sharpness off the head start may not matter. 

Detroit (pick-em) 24, Indianapolis 10

  • Total Yards: Detroit 336, Indianapolis 230
  • Yards-per-Play: Detroit 5.5, Indianapolis 3.4
  • Rushing Yards: Detroit 96, Indianapolis 52
  • Passing Stats: Detroit 23-35-1-240, Indianapolis 24-45-0-178

Indianapolis almost cancelled the game because of another “paint on the turf” issue (similar to last year in Canton). Instead, the Colts played like the game had been cancelled anyway. Awful offensive numbers. Detroit was up 17-3 at the half and coasted. 

QB Passing Lines
Detroit: Stafford 2-3-1-36, Rudock 12-21-2-142, Kaaya 8-11-0-71
Indianapolis: Tolzien 2-5-0-24, Walker 9-20-0-86, Morris 13-20-0-94 

Word is that the Colts aren’t expecting Andrew Luck back until the regular season, and maybe not even right away. If this is any indicator, they may spend August biding their time. Probably a good idea to go against Tolzien in the dress rehearsal. 

Seattle (-1) 48, LA Chargers 17

  • Total Yards: Seattle 458, LA Chargers 322
  • Yards-per-Play: Seattle 6.9, LA Chargers 5.8
  • Rushing Yards: Seattle 133, LA Chargers 72
  • Passing Stats: Seattle 22-28-1-325, LA Chargers 15-31-2-250

The score is a little misleading because Seattle did get some cheap points. They had a pick-six touchdown and a 1-yard drive. But you can see they they still crushed the game stats anyway. Very sharp passing…and obviously some aggressive defense that forced four turnovers (this coach is prone to rush the passer more aggressively than other head coaches in August when the mood strikes). 

QB Passing Lines
Seattle: Wilson 3-4-0-41, Boykin 12-15-1-189, Davis 7-9-0-108 
LA Chargers: Rivers 5-6-1-56, Clemens 4-10-2-100, C. Jones 2-9-0-50, Bercovici 4-6-0-68, 

Really sharp passing numbers for Seattle’s backups outside the one interception by Boykin. 

Week Two of the exhibition slate will begin Thursday with a tripleheader. Just one game Friday (though Minnesota at Seattle could have a real intense first half given the mindsets of those head coaches). Then, nine games Saturday, two Sunday, and one Monday.

On the “can those kid quarterbacks do it again” watch:

  • Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans plays Saturday vs. New England
  • Mitchell Trubisky of the Chicago Bears plays Saturday at Arizona
  • Deshone Kizer of the Cleveland Browns plays Monday vs. the NY Giants

We’ll pick up our NFL coverage again Thursday. 

CFL Review: Edmonton stays undefeated despite injury issues
We’ll continue to run Canadian Football League boxscores on Mondays as long as the calendar permits. Should be through August at least. 

Week 8 Stat Summaries 

Edmonton (plus 2) won at Ottawa 27-20

  • Total Yards: Edmonton 483, Ottawa 288
  • Yards-per-Play: Edmonton 7.3, Ottawa 5.5
  • Pct/Plays Incomplete Passes: Edmonton 17%, Ottawa 21%
  • New Records: Edmonton 7-0, Ottawa 1-6-1

Against the spread: Edmonton 3-4, Ottawa 5-3

The line moved about four points through the week because Edmonton’s offensive line had been decimated by injuries. Then, the shorthanded team crushed as a road dog, almost winning yardage by 200! Really tells you the difference between West and East right now. And, it’s probably good evidence that Edmonton should be getting more respect in futures prices. Edmonton and Calgary are probably co-favorites at even strength. Wondering if Ottawa was worn down by all those draining heartbreaking losses. Even after a bye they lost as home favorites to Winnipeg and Edmonton. 

Montreal (-7.5) beat Toronto 21-9

  • Total Yards: Toronto 296, Montreal 316
  • Yards-per-Play: Toronto 5.5, Montreal 6.6
  • Pct/Plays Incomplete Passes: Toronto 19%, Montreal 19%
  • New Records: Toronto 3-5, Montreal 3-4
  • Against the spread: Toronto 2-6, Montreal 4-3

Robby Ray couldn’t go at quarterback for Toronto. We had guessed around Montreal -3 for the line if he was available. About a four-point market adjustment for the backups (Cody Fajardo of the Nevada Wolfpack and Jeff Matthews). Wasn’t enough. Each backup played a half. Neither led the Argos to a touchdown. It’s very hard in this league to not score a touchdown over 60 minutes because the defenses are spread out so wide and deep. Montreal takes over first place in the beleaguered East. These teams have an immediate rematch next week. Toronto covered two of its first three games, but is 0-5 ATS since. 

Winnipeg (-1) won at Hamilton 39-12

  • Total Yards: Winnipeg 402, Hamilton 188
  • Yards-per-Play: Winnipeg 6.6, Hamilton 3.8
  • Pct/Plays Incomplete Passes: Winnipeg 16%, Hamilton 24%
  • New Records: Winnipeg 5-2, Hamilton 5-2
  • Against the spread: Winnipeg 0-7, Hamilton 2-5

So much for Hamilton finally getting its first win of the season. They were squashed like a bug, as usual. A shame Winnipeg can’t play in the East. They’ve just won three straight against Montreal, Ottawa, and Hamilton, after beating Toronto two weeks before that. Hamilton's still helpless. 

Saskatchewan (plus 3) beat British Columbia 41-8

  • Total Yards: British Columbia 347, Saskatchewan 408
  • Yards-per-Play: British Columbia 6.2, Saskatchewan 8.0
  • Pct/Plays Incomplete Passes: British Columbia 39%, Saskatchewan 8%
  • New Records: British Columbia 5-3, Saskatchewan 3-4
  • Against the spread: British Columbia 4-4, Saskatchewan 4-3

Some intangibles favoring Saskatchewan came into play (revenge from last week, strong home/road split) just as Jonathan Jennings returned from a long layoff to QB British Columbia. Jennings was as rusty as could be. BC seemed to stick with him just so he’d be ready to go next week in a big game vs. Edmonton. Almost 40% of BC’s offensive plays were incomplete passes! That includes five interceptions. Clear edge to the Roughriders in the stats. Turnover differential helped magnify the blowout. Saskatchewan now 3-1 straight up and ATS at home, 0-3 straight up and 1-2 ATS on the road. 

After a couple of Over weeks, Unders swept the board. Underdogs split out, bringing the full season mark to 20-13 for CFL dogs (treading water after the early barrage). 

This week’s schedule…
Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET): Edmonton at Winnipeg 
Friday (7:30 p.m. ET): Ottawa at Hamilton
Friday (10:30 p.m. ET): Calgary at British Columbia 
Saturday (4 p.m. ET): Montreal at Toronto

That Edmonton at Winnipeg game could be really good, Calgary at BC has a chance to be very interesting because “peak” BC can play with anyone. Montreal at Toronto is important in terms of divisional positioning, but it’s a much lower class of football. 

Back with you Tuesday to get caught up in Major League Baseball and the English Premier League, and to update our CFL “market” Power Ratings once the betting lines have settled. 

If you haven’t yet subscribed to VSiN City (it’s free!), time is running out if you want to be eligible for the special drawing this Saturday. One lucky subscriber will win a free $1,500 entry to the Westgate SuperContest. That will be one of the many highlights of SuperContest Weekend that kicks off live on VSiN Thursday. All of our broadcasts Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will emanate from the Westgate. 

If you’re an out-of-towner wondering about entering the many special football contests available in the gambling capital of the world, please contact our sponsors footballcontest.com for details on how to use a proxy through the season. 

Click here to follow us on twitter. Click here to drop us a note with any questions or comments about programming or the newsletter (or use the Facebook widget below). And be sure to check out the special visit from Gavin Maloof on Monday at 7 p.m. ET, 4 p.m. in Las Vegas midway through “My Guys in the Desert” with Brent Musburger and Ron Flatter. You can bet they’ll be talking about the $880,000 wager on Floyd Mayweather to defeat Conor McGregor that was placed at the South Point late last week. 

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