A star is bjorn at the PGA? Too good to be Trubisky in the NFL? Should you be contrarian about Cubs minus Contreras? Questions and answers to close out the week…
PGA Championship: Thorbjorn Oleson and Kevin Kisner may lead, but Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka are global market favorites
The first round is in the books at the 2017 PGA Championship. There were some surprising names on the crowded leaderboard (14 players within two strokes of Oleson and Kisner). But global bettors are still very much focused on golf’s most dynamic stars.
Futures prices heading into Friday’s second round were a combined reflection of “how good is he” and “how far behind is he?” Here’s a look at Thursday evening’s overseas “exchange” options from Betfair…
Rickie Fowler: plus 780 to win, -800 that he won’t win
Brooks Koepka: plus 780 to win, -800 that he won’t win
Hideki Matsuyama: plus 1000 to win, -1050 that he won’t win
Rory McIlroy: plus 1150 to win, -1200 that he won’t win
Dustin Johnson: plus 1150 to win, -1200 that he won’t win
Jordan Spieth: plus 1900 to win, -2000 that he won’t win
Jon Rahm: plus 1900 to win, -2000 that he won’t win
Kevin Kisner: plus 2100 to win, -2400 that he won’t win
Paul Casey: plus 2800 to win, -2900 that he won’t win
Jason Day: plus 2900 to win, -3100 that he won’t win
Tony Finau: plus 3100 to win, -3500 that he won’t win
Thorbjorn Oleson: plus 3500 to win, -3900 that he won’t win
The top seven is a list of familiar betting choices. Co-leader Kisner doesn’t show up until eighth. Oleson is still a longshot despite trailing nobody 18 holes into the event. The market doesn’t see him as a force of nature just yet (FYI: Thorbjorn means “Thunder Bear” in Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian).
Here are the updated futures prices heading into Round 2 from the South Point…
Rickie Fowler 6/1
Brooks Koepka 7/1
Rory McIlroy 8/1
Hideki Matsuyama 8/1
Dustin Johnson 13/1
Jordan Spieth 15/1
Tony Finau 15/1
Jon Rahm 18/1
Kevin Kisner 20/1
Paul Casey 20/1
Field (including Oleson) 20/1
Jason Day 25/1
VSiN Senior Editor Matt Youmans will post recaps after the second and third rounds on the home page of our website this weekend. You can be sure that daily broadcast coverage will also keep you abreast until a winner is crowned late Sunday. VSiN City will return Monday to recap golf’s final major from a market perspective. (For those of you who want to follow the live Betfair exchange updates on-the-fly all weekend, that link is here.)
NFLX: Sharp outing for Bears rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky highlights busy Thursday schedule, even though he lost!
In a game many of you watched live on the NFL Network, rookie Mitchell Trubisky looked very much like the Bears’ quarterback of the future in what turned out to be a 24-17 loss to the Denver Broncos. Yes, it was just a preseason game…meaning he was facing a vanilla defense consisting of backups. And, yes…many rookies have looked good in August only to struggle badly once the regular season starts. But in terms of the eye test, the physicality test and the leadership test, Trubisky made a good case to start the season opener.
Denver (plus 2) 24, Chicago 17
- Total Yards: Denver 281, Chicago 363
- Yards-per-Play: Denver 5.6, Chicago 5.0
- Rushing Yards: Denver 106, Chicago 173
- Passing Stats: Denver 17-22-0-175, Chicago 21-37-1-190
Let’s jump right into the quarterback stats. Trubisky’s performance popped because starter Mike Glennon was horrendous (compiling a passer rating of 0.00), and the other backup Mark Sanchez wasn’t much better.
QB Passing Lines
- Denver: Siemian 6-7-0-51, Lynch 6-9-0-42, Sloter 5-6-0-94
- Chicago: Glennon 2-8-1-20, Sanchez 1-4-0-4, Trubisky 18-25-0-166
Glennon’s interception was returned for a TD, which is part of how Denver could turn a 363-281 yardage loss into a scoreboard victory. So, Glennon and Sanchez were 3-12-1-24 in the air (two yards per attempt!) which helped make Trubisky look like a star. The former Tar Heel added three rushes for 38 yards. His accuracy did fade down the stretch as he was on the field for what turned out to be a failed rally attempt. Four of his seven incomplete passes came on a desperation drive (including one spike). Trubisky was 13-16-0-123 (81% completions, 7.7 yards-per-attempt) prior to that last possession of the game.
If Glennon doesn’t play any better next week, the decision for regular season starter makes itself. It's true!
Let’s run through the other Thursday night games in Nevada rotation order…
Miami (-1.5) 23, Atlanta 20
- Total Yards: Atlanta 279, Miami 318
- Yards-per-Play: Atlanta 4.4, Miami 6.1
- Rushing Yards: Atlanta 113, Miami 60
- Passing Stats: Atlanta 20-30-0-166, Miami 16-30-2-258
You were a bit lucky if you had the Over. Atlanta’s TDs were on drives of 36 and 31 yards. Then, Miami’s game-winner broke on a 99-yard TD pass. The Dolphins didn’t do much outside of that play (4.3 YPP). You’ll see in the passing lines that the starters barely played for both teams.
QB Passing Lines
- Atlanta: Ryan 3-3-0-32, Schaub 2-2-0-20, Simms 10-20-0-104, Torgersen 5-5-0-19
- Miami: Moore 1-1-0-5, Fales 8-17-1-184, Doughty 7-12-1-69
Fales tossed that 99-yard TD pass, which means he was 7-16-1-85 except for a fluky play. All Dolphins fans learned tonight is that they don’t have much behind Jay Cutler and Matt Moore at the QB position. A walk-through for Atlanta.
Minnesota (-3) 17, Buffalo 10
- Total Yards: Minnesota 242, Buffalo 309
- Yards-per-Play: Minnesota 3.8, Buffalo 4.4
- Rushing Yards: Minnesota 90, Buffalo 127
- Passing Stats: Minnesota 19-31-1-52, Buffalo 24-44-0-182
If you were playing the “Minnesota’s coach almost always covers” trend, you caught a break here. You can see that the Vikings did almost nothing on offense most of the night. They had two TD drives, but otherwise punted the evening away.
QB Passing Lines
- Minnesota: Bradford 5-7-0-35, Keenum 11-16-0-121, Heinicke 3-8-1-20
- Buffalo: Taylor 5-8-0-46, Yates 6-11-0-48, Peterman 13-25-0-112
Not much to report from the QB’s here in terms of a backup that might engineer a cover later this month.
Baltimore (plus 2) 23, Washington 3
- Total Yards: Washington 138, Baltimore 267
- Yards-per-Play: Washington 2.9, Baltimore 4.0
- Rushing Yards: Washington 39, Baltimore 142
- Passing Stats: Washington 12-27-1-99, Baltimore 14-23-0-135
Almost a complete no-show for the Washington offense. It’s hard to gain less than 140 yards and 3.0 YPP unless you just don’t care! Baltimore accepted the gift, not doing much of anything themselves while grinding out a win.
QB Passing Lines
- Washington: Cousins 1-2-0-5, McCoy 6-13-1-40, Sudfeld 5-12-0-68
- Baltimore: Mallett 9-18-0-58, Vaughn 1-1-0-10, Woodrum 4-4-0-85
Worth noting that Mallett has trouble with accuracy. He could only manage 50% with the first team offense and less than four yards-per-attempt. Mallett keeps getting chances because he has a rifle. He still can’t figure out how to use it at this level yet.
Jacksonville (plus 3) 31, New England 24
- Total Yards: Jacksonville 447, New England 426
- Yards-per-Play: Jacksonville 8.1, New England 5.8
- Rushing Yards: Jacksonville 207, New England 116
- Passing Stats: Jacksonville 13-18-0-240, New England 30-41-0-310
Before you get excited about Jacksonville’s offensive numbers. They happened to bust free for a 97-yard TD pass, and a 79-yard TD run. That stuff can happen in August in a way that you can’t produce on command when everyone’s playing for real. Nice win…but they didn’t sustain offense to the degree yardage and YPP would suggest.
QB Passing Lines
- Jacksonville: Bortles 3-5-0-16, Henne 5-16-0-139, Allen 5-7-0-85
- New England: Garappolo 22-28-0-235, Brissett 8-13-0-88
Henne threw the 97-yard TD pass, which means he was a horrible 4-15-0-42 otherwise. A lot of sharp work for Garappolo, who still looks like he could thrive anywhere.
Green Bay (pick-em) 24, Philadelphia 9
- Total Yards: Philadelphia 322, Green Bay 261
- Yards-per-Play: Philadelphia 4.4, Green Bay 4.4
- Rushing Yards: Philadelphia 47, Green Bay 47
- Passing Stats: Philadelphia 35-54-2-275, Green Bay 22-36-1-214
Green Bay had a punt return TD, helping create the illusion of offense on the scoreboard. The teams combined for SEVEN turnovers (4 for Philly, 3 for the Pack), making this the sloppiest game of the exhibition slate so far by a mile. With Aaron Rodgers out for GB, and Carson Wentz only throwing four passes…not much relevant here.
QB Passing Lines
- Philadelphia: Wentz 4-4-0-56, Evans 3-8-1-22, McGloin 28-42-1-205
- Green Bay: Hundley 9-16-1-97, Callahan 10-16-0-103, Hill 3-4-0-62
McGloin sure got a chance to compete! That’s 42 passes from one guy in a preseason game. Not great to only total 205 passing yards on 42 attempts. Journeyman backup at best.
Cleveland (-3) 20, New Orleans 14
- Total Yards: New Orleans 320, Cleveland 312
- Yards-per-Play: New Orleans 4.8, Cleveland 4.6
- Rushing Yards: New Orleans 82, Cleveland 71
- Passing Stats: New Orleans 25-36-0-238, Cleveland 22-42-0-241
Browns backers cashed their tickets. But, there’s not a lot to be excited about in those numbers. The big news is in the QB lines, so let’s get to those…
QB Passing Lines
- New Orleans: Daniel 4-6-0-27, Nassib 10-14-0-110, Grayson 11-16-0-126
- Cleveland: Osweiler 6-14-0-42, Kessler 5-10-0-47, Kizer 11-18-0-184
Brock Osweiler was awful, with just three yards per pass attempt and less than 50% completions. Kizer won the game with two fourth quarter TD drives that rallied the Browns from 14-7 down. Great story for a youngster…but that’s against a third-team defense on a team that wasn’t prioritizing the game. Maybe if this game was on live TV instead of Trubisky’s, there would be more overnight buzz about Kizer. Maybe more “eye test” raves will come after the game replay airs.
We’re nine games into the 65-game preseason. Favorites are 4-3-1 with one game closing pick-em. Totals have gone 5-4 to the Over, with Denver’s interception return TD being the play that flipped it from 4-5 to the Under. We’ll cover the rest of this week’s action for you in our Monday report.
MLB: Cubs’ NL Central lead down to a game as they visit the D-backs, plus Red Sox and Yanks renew rivalry
In Thursday’s report, we previewed two big four-game series that were very important in the AL playoff picture (Cleveland at Tampa Bay and the LA Angels at Seattle). Today, we look at a pair of three-game series that will be grabbing headlines all weekend.
Chicago Cubs at Arizona
- Offense (wRC-plus): Cubs #5 in NL, Arizona #8 in NL
- Bullpen (xFIP): Cubs #3 in NL, Arizona #2 in NL
- Friday: Lackey (4.67 xFIP) vs. Walker (4.21 xFIP)
- Saturday: Lester (3.60 xFIP) vs. Corbin (3.88 xFIP)
- Sunday: Arrieta (4.04 xFIP) vs. Godley (3.27 xFIP)
Chicago’s lead in the NL Central is down to just a game, as the St. Louis Cardinals surged into second-place on the heels of a six-game winning streak. The Milwaukee Brewers are just two games back even though they’ve lost five in a row! The margin for error is gone…and Chicago’s catcher is gone with this week’s hamstring injury suffered by Wilson Contreras. A big edge the Cubs had over their divisional foes disappears with his absence.
Tough draw to have to visit Arizona (a team that would lead the Cubs by 4.5 games if they were in the same division). Though, maybe the D-backs will be flat off an emotional series with the rival Dodgers.
Solid pitching matchups, particularly if you think Arrieta is going to pitch better than that xFIP in crunch time. Of course, if the pitchers don’t have confidence in the new starting catcher, the whole staff may lose a bit of its ability to control its own destiny. True gut check for the visitors.
A reminder about who Cubs’ chasers are playing…
- St. Louis (1 game back) hosts Atlanta
- Milwaukee (2 games back) hosts Cincinnati
- Pittsburgh (3 games back) visits Toronto
Might be the defining weekend of the whole race when we look back in the rearview mirror next month.
Boston at NY Yankees
- Offense (wRC-plus): Boston #12 in NL, NY Yankees #2 in AL
- Bullpen (xFIP): Boston #3 in NL, NY Yankees #4 in AL
- Friday: Rodriguez (4.29 xFIP) vs. Garcia (4.20 xFIP)
- Saturday: Pomeranz (3.81 xFIP) vs. Severino (3.08 xFIP)
- Sunday: Sale (2.64 xFIP) vs. Undecided
Boston’s active eight-game winning streak has helped them lengthen their AL East lead to 4.5 games. They’d love to expand that this weekend while erasing some Yankees home games. Boston’s offense can be tricky to figure. We showed you the other day that they’ve been fine on the road. They don’t grade out well in this park-adjusted ranking though. Great for Sox fans to have Sale in the three-hole if needed to avoid a sweep, or possibly finish one off. If Aaron Judge doesn’t start making more contact, the Yanks will have to sweat a Wildcard spot after all.
AL Wildcard Race (top 2 teams qualify, ranked by games above/below .500)
NY Yankees plus 7
Tampa Bay plus 2
Seattle plus 2
Minnesota plus 1
Kansas City even
LA Angels even
Another great sports weekend ahead. And, that gets us even closer to SuperContest Weekend at the Westgate. VSiN broadcasters will be on hand live Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of next week for wall-to-wall coverage of the sign-up extravaganza. Saturday’s the day for that big drawing that will award a free entry to the SuperContest to one lucky VSiN City subscriber (a $1,500 value). If you haven’t already subscribed to receive free weekday morning email delivery, please click here.
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Root home some winners! We’ll see you again Monday.