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D.J. and Rose get off to big leads

Jeff Fogle  
VSiN City newsletter

Dustin Johnson now an even bigger favorite at the U.S. Open after other contenders crumble. Russia ignites World Cup with five goals. Plus, a very important post…about the Post…as we close out the week in VSiN City.

U.S. Open Golf: Dustin Johnson’s strong opening round makes him heavier favorite
You could tell right away it was going to be a long day for golfers in the opening round of the US Open at Shinnecock Hills. Bogeys galore. Strong winds that only strengthened. Showcase TV groups that kept hunting for balls in the rough. And, that was just in the first 30 minutes you watched…no matter when you first turned on the TV!

After lunch, Dustin Johnson went to the first tee and said “I got this.” He did. 

Yesterday we presented the Betfair exchange top 10 golfers. Here were their scores against par Thursday. 

Dustin Johnson: 1-under, tied for #1
Justin Rose: 1-over, tied for #6
Rickie Fowler: 3-over, tied for #19
Justin Thomas: 4-over, tied for #37
Brooks Koepka: 5-over, tied for #46
Jordan Spieth: 8-over, tied for #101
Tiger Woods: 8-over, tied for #101
Jon Rahm: 8-over, tied for #101
Jason Day: 9-over, tied for #114
Rory McIlroy: 10-over, tied for #128

The market was right to be bullish on Johnson and Rose through the week. Both maintained quality form, and made the adjustments necessary to at least tread water in the powerful whirlpool that was dragging others stars down to the bottom of the board. None of Spieth, Woods, Rahm, or Day could crack the top 100 out of a 156-man field. 

Here, now, are updated exchange Yes/No odds as of Thursday evening. Click this link for up-to-the-minute exchange prices as they change on the fly when action resumes. Remember to focus on the blue and pink columns, and to account for a $1 stake. (Subtract $1 from the blue column to see what the return is on a $1 bet. Subtract $1 from the pink column to see what you have to risk to win a buck that the player WON’T win.)

Exchange Odds Entering Second Round
Dustin Johnson: $1 earns $2.75 if he wins, risk $2.80 to earn $1 that he won’t
Justin Rose: $1 earns $6.60 if he wins, risk $6.70 to earn $1 that he won’t
Henrick Stenson: $1 earns $15 if he wins, risk $15.50 to earn $1 that he won’t
Ian Poulter: $1 earns $20 if he wins, risk $21 to earn $1 that he won’t
Justin Thomas: $1 earns $25 if he wins, risk $26 to earn $1 that he won’t
Rickie Fowler: $1 earns $22 if he wins, risk $23 to earn $1 that he won’t
Russell Henley: $1 earns $35 if he wins, risk $37 to earn $1 that he won’t

In exchange betting, Jordan Spieth now 179/1, Tiger Woods 269/1, and Rory McIlroy 299/1.

You’ll hear announcers talking early in the day about how yesterday’s disasters still have time to rally back within striking distance. Make the cut first…then pick up a few more strokes on “moving day” Saturday…and hope to hang around Sunday. While, it’s true that something like that could happen for McIlroy or Spieth…it’s much tougher to come-from-behind to win a championship when the first-round co-leader is the #1 player in the world. It’s not just that Spieth and the others are trying to rally from nine strokes (or more) off the lead. They’re trying to rally after giving DUSTIN JOHNSON and JUSTIN ROSE big head starts. 

Jeff Sherman of the Westgate tweeted updated odds to win Thursday evening…

Dustin Johnson 5/2 (29% win equivalent)
Justin Rose 5/1 (17%)
Henrik Stenson 12/1 (8%)
Ian Poulter 16/1 (6%)
Rickie Fowler 16/1 (6%)
Justin Thomas 20/1 (5%)

Be sure to watch VSiN coverage all weekend for the latest market developments in this annual Father’s Day Weekend TV spectacle. 

World Cup Soccer: Russia routs Saudi Arabia to kick off 2018 thrill ride 
Not a surprise that Russia won the first game of the 2018 World Cup. The hosts gets every perk imaginable in this event! Some acknowledged, others less so. But, the magnitude of the victory margin was a surprise. 

Russia 5, Saudi Arabia 0
Total Shots: Russia 13, Saudi Arabia 7
Shots on Goal: Russia 6, Saudi Arabia 0
Corner Kicks: Russia 6, Saudi Arabia 2
Possession Pct: Russia 41%, Saudi Arabia 59%
Estimated Goals: Russia 1.9, Saudi Arabia 0.2

The underdog never even got a shot on goal. Russia was much more dangerous when it had the ball, though content to let the Saudis run clock from behind.

You see “Estimated Goals” there. We’re grabbing those from the twitter account Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) run by soccer analyst/writer Michael Caley. We strongly encourage all of you to follow that account for game-by-game calculations posted throughout the tournament. Michael uses a formula that takes all the relevant data to calculate what a score “should” have been. Those estimates will often paint a more accurate picture of what to expect from the teams moving forward than the final score. Russia isn’t suddenly a juggernaut that’s going to pop big numbers every time out. They were about 1.7 goals better than Saudi Arabia Thursday, a half goal higher than the market line of about -1.2 goals.  

A point many observers mentioned on twitter today…because Russia ran up the score, and goal differential matters for tie-breakers, it may be incumbent on at least Uruguay, and maybe even Egypt to try to do the same when they face the soft, confused, constantly out-of-position defense of Saudi Arabia. That could trigger good “Over” scenarios, and help Luis Suarez of Uruguay in player goal scoring props. 

We’ll run box score summaries from Friday (3 games), Saturday (4 games), and Sunday (3 games) in our Monday report. Watch VSiN programming in the morning for broadcast updates as the games are being played. Then, check out “Russia 2018: The Tournament Show” Friday afternoon for a recap from a market perspective. 

World Cup Soccer: An update of estimated “market” Power Ratings group-by-group
We’ve tweaked the group numbers first presented a week ago today, looking at our “goal supremacy” scale based on game-by-game market odds. You can use the numbers to project the goal differential (in fractions) for any matchup. If you’re wondering whether or not England is really threatened by Tunisia for second place in Group G, you can see that the market has England favored by 1.3 goals in their head-to-head. Or, if you’re thinking Spain may be likely to play Russia in the Round of 16 (B1 vs. A2), you can see that Spain would currently be favored by 0.9 goals (just under a goal).  

Group A: Uruguay 1.9, Russia 1.5, Egypt 1.1, Saudi Arabia 0.3
Group B: Spain 2.4, Portugal 2.0, Morocco 1.1. Iran 0.9
Group C: France 2.5, Denmark 1.7, Peru 1.5, Australia 0.9
Group D: Argentina 2.5, Croatia 2.0, Nigeria 1.3, Iceland 1.1
Group E: Brazil 2.7, Switzerland 1.5, Serbia 1.4, Costa Rica 1.2
Group F: Germany 2.7, Mexico 1.6, Sweden 1.5, South Korea 1.2
Group G: Belgium 2.3, England 2.1, Tunisia 0.8, Panama 0.3
Group H: Columbia 1.9, Poland 1.7, Senegal 1.5, Japan 1.2

We’ll update these often through the event as new perceptions of strengths and weaknesses are reflected in the global marketplace. As we get closer to the knockouts, we’ll scout out some advance possibilities for the brackets. 

MLB Thursday: Astros still road warriors! Now 26-11 away from home after sweeping Oakland
Though the adjustment back to prior norms in ball construction has taken some of the air out of Houston’s historic road offense numbers in 2017, the Astros are still a true juggernaut away from home in 2018.

After finishing off a sweep of Oakland Thursday afternoon (which came on the heels of a four-game sweep of Texas in Arlington), Houston is now 26-11 on the road this season. The Astros just outscored the A’s and Rangers 50-26 in their own ballparks. Kansas City, you’re up next. You’ve been warned!

Houston (-200) 7, Oakland 3
Total Bases Plus Walks: Houston 25, Oakland 13
Starting Pitchers: Verlander 7 IP, 3 ER, Montas 5.1 IP, 5 ER
Bullpen: Houston 2 IP, 0 ER, Oakland 3.2 IP, 0 ER

Justin Verlander moves to 9-2 this season. His ERA is a paltry 1.61, and his WHIP of 0.76 shouldn’t even be possible this deep into a season. Analytics data is suggesting he’s been pitching with some good luck. A combination of elite talent and some breaks creating numbers so low. 

Frankie Montas takes his first loss of the season. He’s only made four starts. A decision in each has yielded a 3-1 record. 

Houston is now 45-25 on the season, still neck-and-neck with Seattle at the top of the AL West. Oakland falls back under .500 at 34-35 with this badly timed series sweep. 

WNBA Thursday: Indiana stays winless, Atlanta Unders may deserve a look 
Just one game on the board Thursday. Here’s a quick recap and some notes for Over/Under bettors. 

Atlanta (8.5) 72, Indiana 67
2-point Pct: Indiana 41%, Atlanta 43%
3-pointers: Indiana 4/17, Atlanta 3/21
Free Throws: Indiana 13/17, Atlanta 23/30
Rebounds: Indiana 44, Atlanta 37
Turnovers: Indiana 13, Atlanta 8

Indiana does hang around well enough to get the cover. So, 0-10 straight up this season, but 5-5 against the spread. Atlanta’s also 5-5 ATS. This game stayed Under the market total by 14 points. That’s noteworthy because Atlanta is now 2-8 to the Under this season.

Often, when you see a stat like that, you assume it means the team is playing “slow” basketball. They must be moving at a slow pace for the games to go Under 80% of the time. Not true in this case. Atlanta is the fourth fastest team in the WNBA in pace factor. What’s happening here is actually pretty simple. 

*Atlanta has the worst offense in the WNBA on a points-per-possession basis. And, it’s not close. Really bad offense! (91.1 efficiency ranking)

*Atlanta has the best defense in the WNBA on a points-per-possession basis. Again, this is in fairly dramatic fashion. An elite, disruptive defensive unit. (92.7 efficiency ranking)

Moving forward, don’t make the mistake of thinking this 2-8 Under mark is about pace. Focus on how Atlanta’s strengths and weaknesses may impact both team side options and Over/Unders. 

VSiN News: VSiN sports betting tips now appearing daily in the New York Post!
VSiN announced Thursday that it was partnering with the New York Post to help create sports betting content for a local audience now able to bet legally in the state of New Jersey. The announcement coincided with the debut edition. Click here to see the Twitter announcement that features the jam-packed two-page layout. 

VSiN City will provide a daily handicapping or market-related tip under my byline. These will be designed specifically for the betting interests of a New York audience, and created exclusively for the Post (you can’t read them anywhere else!). VSiN hosts and writers will also provide selections and occasional special features. Amal Shah was first up Thursday. 

William Hill will be providing betting odds on games, props, and futures options every day as well. 

VSiN is thrilled to be partnering with the New York Post on this pivotal project…the very cutting edge of evolution in the fast-changing world of sports media.

Have a great weekend. Happy Father’s Day! See you again Monday.

VSiN Business Center
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*If you haven’t yet enrolled for your FREE subscription to the VSiN City newsletter you’re reading right now, click here to do so. June will be packed with MLB and World Cup coverage, along with some bonus surprises (maybe some Canadian Football League recaps next week!). 

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