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Reed holds off challengers to win Masters

Jeff Fogle  
VSiN City newsletter

New masters in Augusta and Anaheim…as Patrick Reed wins a green jacket and Shohei Ohtani dazzles on the mound. Numbers and notes, plus playoff pictures in the NHL and NBA to launch a new week in VSiN City. 

Masters Golf: Patrick Reed excels from the tee and on the green to survive Sunday in Augusta
Masters winner Patrick Reed shot a solid 71 in Sunday’s final round to hold off Rickie Fowler (67), Jordan Spieth (64), and John Rahm (69) to claim a fabled green jacket. Rory McIlroy faded from second place after three rounds to a tie for fifth with a 74. 

Here’s a quick peak at the top finishers and their pre-tournament odds at the South Point a week ago today…

Final Results (South Point Odds from April 2 in parenthesis)
Patrick Reed -15 (40/1)
Rickie Fowler -14 (15/1)
Jordan Spieth -13 (10/1)
John Rahm -12 (15/1)

Reed dropped from 40/1 to 20/1 after shooting 69 on Thursday. He moved to plus 250 after a stunning 66 on Friday. A third straight round in the sixties dropped Reed to plus 120 heading into Sunday’s action. He couldn’t quite pull off posting a number in the sixties all four days, but did hold off several hard-chargers who enjoyed more market respect in the build-up.

How did Reed do it? Let’s look at the four stats ESPN isolates in its website coverage for the top four finishers. Reed was best of that foursome in three major areas. 

Putts-per-Green in Regulation
Reed #2
Fowler #3
Spieth #5
Rahm #12

Only Bubba Watson was better, and that was by 5 one-thousandths of a putt! Bubba edged Patrick 2.183 to 2.188. All four top finishers excelled here, with three finishing in the top five. Gotta make your putts on this course!

Driving Distance
Reed #6
Rahm #8
Fowler #25
Spieth #35

Reed was the only top four finisher who could combine top 10 putting with distance off the tee. We talked the other day about Spieth’s need to navigate the course successfully because he lacked distance compared to other top stars. Reed went low because he started and finished holes so well. 

Driving Accuracy
Reed #13
Fowler #14
Rahm #15
Spieth #26

And, at least of the four top finishers, Reed was also best at driving accuracy. An incredibly high level of execution for this course, under major championship pressure, with the best golfers in the world trying to chase him down. 

Greens in Regulation
Spieth #4
Fowler #7
Rahm #15
Reed #21

This is a big part of how Spieth and Fowler cracked the top four without big numbers off the tee. Even though Reed was worst of the group here, he was still top 21 of the 50-plus who made the cut. 

Let’s check on a few of the popular betting props…

*Lowest Round: 66
Five golfers bettered that, including Spieth with his 64 on Sunday. Paul Casey shot a 65 Sunday. In Saturday’s third round, Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm, and Rory McIlroy all shot 65. 

*Will there be a Hole-in-One? (Yes -135, No plus 115)
Charley Hoffman from UNLV came through fairly late in proceedings with an ace on #16 Sunday to cash for “Yes.” Hoffman tied for twelfth this week at 6-under par. 

*Big Six of Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, and Justin Thomas vs. the Field (opened pick-em, moved to Field -120)
Obviously “the field” cashed with Patrick Reed’s victory. The field actually grabbed spots 1-2-4 on the final leaderboard. Though, credit to Chris Andrews and his team for picking a big six that all finished in the top 17 (counting ties), with Spieth, Watson, and McIlroy all in the top five (counting ties).

Before wrapping up our Masters coverage, we wanted to check in with Coast2Coast (who you can follow in twitter @C2CHoops). If you were with us Friday, you know that C2C faded Jon Rahm with disappointing results. But, on twitter Sunday, he did alert followers to a what turned out to be an over-pricing of McIlroy over Reed in a Sunday matchup. Here’s his wrap-up of the weekend. 

I lost a little, but it was a great tourney. Rahm was impressive. I learned from that and upgraded his power rating a bit. The guys I bet against him (Casey and Bubba) played well, they just got beat by a hotter player.

I had a few one-day match winners and a push, but the prices were pretty fair all weekend on most of the matches. 

Sunday morning, with Reed up three strokes, EVERY host on the Golf Channel liked Rory to win. The betting line rose to Rory -210 vs. Reed. I thought this was too high. Plus 130 would have been a fair price on a typical match in any tourney. -170/plus 140 maybe could be justified based on the situation. But -210/ 170 was a sign the market thought Rory would charge and/or Reed would fold. Reed had shown he could handle the pressure of big matches, including having beaten Rory in the Ryder Cup singles. And Rory has a few Sunday demons in his Masters history. Reed had been very consistent all week. I did not expect him to collapse. I played Reed because the price was right.

I was thinking all weekend that Rory was playing well enough to win it. But I bet against him on Sunday, because I bet numbers, not players.

Thanks C2C. Congrats to everyone who cashed some tickets this past weekend. 

Major League Baseball: Japanese phenom is ready for the “Sho!” Ohtani perfect through six innings in second win as a pitcher
Skepticism has turned to awe, as Shohei Ohtani continues to perform at an extremely high level early in the regular season after a disappointing spring. 

Ohtani as a pitcher
2-0 record, 13 IP, 3 ER, 18 K, 2 BB, 2.08 ERA, 0.46 WHIP

That’s after throwing six-and-a-third innings of perfect ball Sunday against Oakland. He would finish the day with 12 strikeouts and only one walk. The speed gun clocked him at 100-plus on multiple occasions. That’s what has sharps buzzing. It’s not uncommon for pitchers to post a low ERA and WHIP over 13 innings. Sometimes it’s a mix of skill and good fortune. Well, you can’t luck your way to a 100-mph fast ball! Nor can you catch a lot of breaks to post an 18/2 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The skill set numbers are confirming all the hype from overseas. 

Ohtani as a hitter
.389 batting avg., .889 slugging pct., 3 HR, 7 RBI, in 18 at bats

Well, it’s still a longshot that Ohtani’s going to be the next Babe Ruth. But, he obviously can hit the ball a mile when he connects. And, that swing! Sometimes you see a home run and marvel at how hard the ball was hit. With Ohtani, you want to hang his swing in the Louvre. Obviously 18 at bats is way too small a sample size to draw long term conclusions from. The skill is clearly there. Can Ohtani continue to hit once pitchers develop a better sense of his strengths and weaknesses? 

The Angels are off to a 7-3 start for a profit fractionally better than four betting units. But, that’s 5-2 against an Oakland A’s team that isn’t destined for greatness. And, six of those first 10 games were at home. That said, taking two of three vs. Cleveland is impressive, and Ohtani taking Corey Kluber deep is a big story all in itself. 

Coming up for the LA Angels
Monday-Wednesday: at Texas
Thursday-Sunday: at Kansas City
April 17-19: vs. Boston
April 20-22: vs. San Francisco
April 23-25: at Houston
April 27-29: vs. NY Yankees

That’s a nice mix of challenges. A week on the road. Then three out of four series coming against AL powers Boston, Houston, and the NY Yankees. We’ll have a much better read on what Ohtani’s impact is going to be this season at the end of the month. Looks like he’ll miss the Boston series as a pitcher. 

Here’s a question for fans to ponder. Let’s say Ohtani is destined to be a top 10 starting pitcher…because guys who throw that hard and enjoy huge K/BB splits typically rank that high. How many home runs would Ohtani have to hit for you to consider him as the American League MVP? 

MLB Magnificent 7: Winning Sunday ends extended slump for power franchises
Even though both the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals lost Sunday as favorites in the -185 to -190 range, the Magnificent 7 as a group (the seven teams projected to win more than 90 games by the betting markets) did manage a winning day to end a recent slide. Here’s a look at the weekend…

Friday: 1-3, minus 5.95 units (0-4 on the run line)
Saturday: 4-3, minus 1.30 units (3-4 on the run line)
Sunday: 5-2, plus 1.30 units (3-4 on the run line)

It had been five straight losing days for the Mag 7 going back to last Tuesday. And, it took a heroic six-run rally for the Boston Red Sox (down 7-2 to Tampa Bay in the bottom of the eighth) to get over the top Sunday. 

Here are current season-to-date performances…

Magnificent Seven Records/Money
Boston: 8-1…plus around 6.5 units
Houston: 8-2…plus around 3.5 units
Chicago Cubs: 5-4…minus around 2 units
NY Yankees: 5-5…minus around 3 units
Cleveland: 4-5…minus around 4 units
Washington: 4-5…minus around 4.5 units
LA Dodgers: 3-6…minus around 7 units

A combined 37-28, which would be 92 wins on a 162-game slate. Yet, a combined loss of more than 10 units because these projected powers are being priced so aggressively. And, if you’re a fan of one of the bottom five teams rather than Boston or Houston…your bankroll is surely feeling the pain. 

This past weekend’s poor 6-12 record on the run line (laying -1.5 runs at better vigorish) drops the full season mark to 27-38. 

None of the Magnificent 7 have run into each other yet. That will end Tuesday when the Yankees visit the Red Sox to renew that ancient rivalry. And, that series will be it until Friday April 20 when Washington begins a three-game set against the Dodgers in LA. 

National Hockey League: Playoffs begin Wednesday…matchups locked in after Boston loses Sunday night
Matchups for the 2018 NHL Playoffs weren’t completed until Boston lost at home to Florida Sunday evening. Had the Bruins won, they would have faced New Jersey. Instead, they face a tougher matchup against Toronto. 

Eastern Conference First Round
Tampa Bay vs. New Jersey
Boston vs. Toronto
Washington vs. Columbus
Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia

Western Conference First Round
Nashville vs. Colorado
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles
Winnipeg vs. Minnesota
Anaheim vs. San Jose

Be sure you watch VSiN broadcast programming all day Monday for the opening series prices, and updated odds to win the Stanley Cup from various Las Vegas sportsbooks. Seeing how the Golden Knights are priced will be very interesting. Here are futures prices from Sunday evening at Betfair overseas…

Odds to win Stanley Cup at Betfair
5/1: Nashville and Tampa Bay
6/1: Boston
8/1: Vegas Golden Knights
11/1: Washington, Toronto
12/1: Pittsburgh
13/1: Winnipeg
20/1: San Jose
22/1: Minnesota and Los Angeles
25/1: Columbus, New Jersey, Anaheim, Colorado, Philadelphia

We’ll begin daily coverage of the playoffs with our Thursday report, monitoring the market and box scores. Note that Andy MacNeil (@pucktails) will be a guest Monday on “A Numbers Game” with Gill Alexander. Andy will provide his gradings for first round series prices.

National Basketball Association: Western brackets still tight, Sixers can win third seed in the East
The NBA Playoffs don’t begin until Saturday. And, we’re still a couple days away from locking in first round matchups. Everybody has 1-2 games left. The races are very tight for several rungs on the ladder. 

Eastern Conference
1…Toronto will have home court throughout the East
2…Boston locked in
3…Philadelphia has a one-game lead over Cleveland
4…Cavs are 1.5 games ahead of Indiana
5…Pacers will be #5 at worst, and own the tie-breaker over Cleveland
6…Miami
7…Milwaukee, same record as Miami
8…Washington is one game behind both Miami and Milwaukee

Philadelphia has won 14 games in a row, and has become a fascinating wildcard with Toronto’s recent sluggishness and Boston’s lack of health. The 4-5 matchup is going to be a lot of fun whoever ends up there. And, the second round on will feature some intense basketball. 

Western Conference
1…Houston would have home court throughout the playoffs
2…Golden State is the #2 seed, currently a half-game behind Toronto for Finals HC
3…Portland is a game ahead of Utah
4…Jazz are a game ahead of the next three teams
5…New Orleans is tied with San Antonio and Oklahoma City
6…Spurs in that three-way tie
7…Thunder in that three-way tie
8…Minnesota, a game-behind tie, but knotted with Denver
9…Denver, loses a tie-breaker to Minnesota 

Obviously, Golden State has work to do in this conference before worrying about the Finals. But, their late-season listlessness might cost the Warriors home court in the championship series if they meet the Raptors. Everything below those two teams is a mess!

Monday’s important games (bolded teams in playoff mix):
Cleveland at New York (no line yet)
Oklahoma City (-2.5/214) at Miami
Memphis at Minnesota (no line yet)
Orlando at Milwaukee (no line yet)
Sacramento at San Antonio (-13.5/199)
Portland at Denver (-4/218)
New Orleans (-7/228) at LA Clippers 

We’ll pick our spots covering the most important games the next few days, as the bracket bedlam sorts itself out. 

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