That's why they call them sharps

By Jeff Fogle  (VSiN City newsletter) 

High scores in the NFL . . . low scores in the PGA . . . surprising scores in Major League Baseball . . . and scores of stars destined to collide in the WNBA playoffs. We have the numbers you need to know right now in VSiN City!

NFL Preseason: Turned out those were “hard knocks” for sports books

As we discussed yesterday, sharps POUNDED the Cleveland Browns in their exhibition opener against the New York Giants. Cleveland moved from being a 3-point underdog to a 1-point road favorite. If you watched the game, you saw the power of having a quarterback war inspire the offense. Cleveland scored early, lead most of the night, and dominated the stats.

Cleveland (-1) 20 NY Giants 10 

Total Yardage: Cleveland 372, NY Giants 310

Yards-per-Play: Cleveland 5.9, NY Giants 4.4

Rushing Yards: Cleveland 50, NY Giants 134

Passing Stats: Cleveland 18-29-0-322, NY Giants 22-45-0-176 

Turnovers: Cleveland 1, NY Giants 0

TD Drive Distance: Cleveland 66-72-78, NY Giants 14

New York’s only touchdown came on a very short field after recovering a fumbled punt. Cleveland had three TD drives of 66 yards or more. Nice passing volume for the Browns as well. Let’s break the quarterbacks down individually. 

Cleveland Quarterback Stats

Tyrod Thomas: 5-5-0-99

Baker Mayfield: 11-20-0-212

Brogan Roback: 2-4-0-22

Thomas was sharp in leading the Browns down the field for their first TD. Ball didn’t hit the ground once. About 100 passing yards on just five completions. Baker Mayfield led two TD drives, more than holding his own. Roback is out of Eastern Michigan, and has been getting some time on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series. Hometown crowd will probably love him. 

NY Giants Quarterback Stats

Eli Manning: 4-7-0-26

Davis Webb: 9-22-0-70

Kyle Lauletta: 6-9-0-48

Alex Tanney: 3-7-0-49

Main lessons here were that the Giants aren’t particularly concerned about rushing Eli into Pat Shurmur’s offense. They have all month. Webb was disappointing because 13 incomplete passes is way too many against exhibition defenses. Giants are hoping he can develop into a reliable backup now, and Manning’s replacement eventually. Others aren’t seeing it. Lauletta is a rookie out of Richmond. Tanney a 30-year old who played at Monmouth, and keeps getting August snaps because he’s 6’4.”

Both teams play again next Friday. Cleveland hosts Buffalo. Giants visit Detroit.  

NFL Preseason: Overs galore on first busy night of exhibition action

With the huge evening schedule, we won’t have room to run full stat boxes for every game. Let’s run total yardage and turnovers from the other early finishers. Surprising number of points on the scoreboard. Maybe defenses are backing off because they don’t want to get any “blow to the head” penalties. 

Carolina (plus 3) 28, Buffalo 23 

Total Yardage: Carolina 342, Buffalo 430

Turnovers: Carolina 0, Buffalo 1

Josh Allen was 9-19-0-116 in the air. Not Mayfield’s volume. And, frankly 10 incomplete passes in this game is a disappointment because all the other QBs were much sharper. Neither defense showed up with fire. All four Carolina TD drives were legit. Just not much else on their other drives. 

Cincinnati (pick-em) 30, Chicago 27

Total Yardage: Chicago 423, Cincinnati 447

Turnovers: Chicago 3, Cincinnati 1

Bears had an interception return TD. Mitchell Trubisky was just 2 of 4 for four yards. Very clear that Chicago is going to bring Trubisky along slowly this month. He didn’t play in the Hall of Fame game, and only threw four passes when his team was enjoying a one-week head start on their opponent (you saw the potential power of that in Baltimore’s rout of the LA Rams). Bad turnover loss for the Bears in context, particularly for a new head coach who’s supposed to fix that issue. 

Tampa Bay (plus 3) 26 Miami 24 

Total Yardage: Tampa Bay 399, Miami 393

Turnovers: Tampa Bay 1, Miami 2

Both offenses made a run at 400 yards. Under bettors spent a lot of the evening yelling at scoreboards.

Pittsburgh (plus 3) 31, Philadelphia 14 

Total Yardage: Pittsburgh 346, Philadelphia 325

Turnovers: Pittsburgh 1, Philadelphia 3

Wait…PITTSBURGH scored 31 points and won huge?! The Steelers often no-show exhibition games. Steelers helped by those three Eagles turnovers. Note that none of Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Wentz, nor Nick Foles saw action in this one. 

New Orleans (plus 2) 24, Jacksonville 20

Total Yardage: New Orleans 265, Jacksonville 271

Turnovers: New Orleans 0, Jacksonville 1

More normal yardage totals for August. Went Over the market total anyway. Visitors dominated the early batch of action straight up and against the spread (5-1 both ways). That was about to end. 

Baltimore (-3.5) 33, LA Rams 7

Total Yardage: Los Angeles 170, Baltimore 403

Turnovers: Los Angeles 2, Baltimore 0

Jared Goff didn’t play for the Rams. Joe Flacco did see some action for the Ravens after taking last week off. Big edge in sharpness for a coach that usually cares about getting results in August…helped by that one-week head start. Lamar Jackson was skittish again. He was 7-18-0-119 yards. 

New England (-2.5) 26, Washington 17

Total Yardage: Washington 333, New England 301

Turnovers: Washington 1, New England 1

Washington jumped ahead 17-0, meaning a few dog lovers counted their money too early. Patriots did get a cheap TD late (one-yard TD drive). Nice games for Colt McCoy and Brian Hoyer as Alex Smith and Tom Brady took the night off. That’s seven of eight games going Over so far. 

Green Bay (-2) 31, Tennessee 17

Total Yardage: Tennessee 302, Green Bay 445

Turnovers: Tennessee 1, Green Bay 1

Make it eight of nine. Green Bay threw almost 50 passes even though Aaron Rodgers didn’t play. Packers trailed 7-0 before winning the rest of the game 31-10. 

Houston (plus 2.5) 17, Kansas City 10

Total Yardage: Houston 272, Kansas City 294

Turnovers: Houston 0, Kansas City 1

Deshaun Watson only threw one pass. Pat Mahomes was a safe 5-7-0-33 for the Chiefs. Kansas City has an interesting QB rotation moving forward. Both Chad Henne and Matt McGloin would like to show teams they can be a trusted #2 or a #1 in the right circumstances. (Not saying VSiN City agrees with that…but the PLAYERS are likely to show some intensity in their positions). Might be worth remembering the rest of the month after neither made an impact here. Both want to make an impact. 

We’ll run some more weekend NFL numbers for you Monday in our next edition. We’ll also get caught up with Canadian Football on Monday. Thursday night football north of the border was a late finisher this week. 

PGA Golf: Several favorites still in the hunt after first round at Bellerive

Though longshot Gary Woodland leads the way after shooting a 65 in the first round (par 71), you’ll recognize many top threats within three strokes.

PGA Championship: Round 1 

Gary Woodland -6

Rickie Fowler -5

Brandon Stone -4

Zach Johnson -4

Dustin Johnson -3

Justin Rose -3

Jason Day -3

(Eight others also at -3)

A huge crowd at three-under. A total of 32 golfers finished at -2 or better, 47 broke par. Not a particularly demanding day, though the course was far from easy. The Betfair Exchange overseas is still showing respect to big names. 

Overnight Betfair Exchange Prices

Dustin Johnson: risk $1 to earn $5.60…risk $5.80 to earn $1 that he won’t win

Rickie Fowler: risk $1 to earn $6.80…risk $7 to earn $1 that he won’t win

Jason Day: risk $1 to earn $11…risk $11.50 to earn $1 that he won’t win

Justin Rose: risk $1 to earn $15.50…risk $16.50 to earn $1 that he won’t win

Gary Woodland: risk $1 to earn $16…risk $16.50 to earn $1 that he won’t win

Rory McIlroy: risk $1 to earn $25…risk $26 to earn $1 that he won’t win

Jon Rahm: risk $1 to earn $26…risk $27 to earn $1 that he won’t win

Justin Thomas: risk $1 to earn $28…risk $29 to earn $1 that he won’t win

Francesco Molinari: risk $1 to earn $29…risk $31 to earn $1 that he won’t win

Brooks Koepka: risk $1 to earn $29…risk $33 to earn $1 that he won’t win

For live updates as you watch the tournament Friday and all weekend, please click here. The number you see in blue represents odds to win. Remember to subtract $1 for the initial stake. If you see a 20 in blue, that means the golfer is 19/1 to win. The number in pink is what you have to lay that the golfer WON’T win. A 20 in pink means you must risk $19 to win $1 that the particular golfer will fail to lift the Wanamaker trophy. 

If weather doesn’t become a factor, we could have a very tight leaderboard Sunday. Best of luck as you watch and bet golf’s final major of 2018. 

MLB Thursday: Nats salvage a split with Braves, Dodgers and Mariners open important four-game series with road wins over Rockies and Astros

Three main games to key on from Thursday. Let’s run the numbers. 

Washington (-120) 6, Atlanta 3 

Total Bases Plus Walks: Atlanta 14, Washington 18

Starting Pitchers: Sanchez 2 IP, 0 ER, Gonzalez 7 IP, 1 ER

Bullpen: Atlanta 6 IP, 6 ER, Washington 2 IP, 2 ER

Anibal Sanchez left the game for the Braves after getting hit in the leg with a grounder. Big deal because the bullpen wasn’t ready to throw so many innings in the fourth game in three days. Gio Gonzalez held the fort, allowing Washington to pull back three games over .500 at 59-56. Atlanta falls to 62-50. 

LA Dodgers (-130) 8, Colorado 5

Total Bases Plus Walks: Los Angeles 29, Colorado 19

Starting Pitchers: Stripling 6 IP, 1 ER, Anderson 6 IP, 1 ER

Bullpen: Los Angeles 3 IP, 4 ER, Colorado 3 IP, 7 ER

Brutal stretch for the Rockies, who are 2-7 their last nine games. A few bullpen implosions along the way. Game was 1-1 through six innings. Dodgers move to 64-52. Colorado falls to 60-55. Big weekend for both.

Seattle (plus 130) 8, Houston 6

Total Bases Plus Walks: Seattle 30, Houston 19

Starting Pitchers: Paxton 5.2 IP, 4 ER, Verlander 2 IP, 6 ER

Bullpen: Seattle 3.1 IP, 2 ER, Houston 7 IP, 2 ER

Mariners got to Justin Verlander for six runs in the first two innings. And, those runs weren’t cheap! Three homers, two doubles, and a triple. Like he was tossing in the Home Run Derby. Market had expected a pitcher’s duel with an Over/Under of 6.5. Minute Maid not quite the pitchers’ park this year it’s been in the past. Huge win for Seattle, who moves to 66-50. Houston falls to 73-43. Mariners still trail by seven games. 

Other Thursday surprises…San Diego (plus 160) scored six runs in the top of the ninth to shock Milwaukee 8-4, Toronto (plus 140) beat Boston 8-5.

WNBA: Big win for Washington, while Atlanta receives horrible injury news

Three games on the Thursday ticket. Let’s run the boxes in Nevada rotation order…

Washington (-1.5) 100, Seattle 77 

2-point Pct: Seattle 44%, Washington 65%

3-pointers: Seattle 9/26, Washington 12/26

Free Throws: Seattle 22/24, Washington 12/14

Rebounds: Seattle 23, Washington 33

Turnovers: Seattle 9, Washington 9

This was a day game. Seattle fell behind early, then threw in the towel. Elena Delle Donne scored 30 points for the victors. Washington moves to 19-11. Seattle has already clinched a top two seed, which means a bye past the play-in games into the semifinals. Now 23-8 after this loss. 

Atlanta (plus 1) 79, Los Angeles 73 

2-point Pct: Los Angeles 46%, Atlanta 57%

3-pointers: Los Angeles 6/19, Atlanta 4/12

Free Throws: Los Angeles 9/14, Atlanta 17/23

Rebounds: Los Angeles 30, Atlanta 33

Turnovers: Los Angeles 12, Atlanta 19

Just before the game, Atlanta announced that Angel McCoughtry would miss the rest of the season with a torn knee ligament. Point spread moved from Atlanta -1 to Atlanta plus 1. Inspired effort from her teammates to win a huge home game when so many teams are trying to chase the Dream down for the second seed. Another win and cover for betting’s Dream team (12-1 ATS their last 13). Season record is now 20-10, two games clear of Los Angeles at 18-12. Several future hall-of-famers are going to be involved in play-in games once the postseason begins. 

Minnesota (plus 1) 89, Las Vegas 73 

2-point Pct: Minnesota 53%, Las Vegas 38%

3-pointers: Minnesota 8/19, Las Vegas 5/14

Free Throws: Minnesota 9/13, Las Vegas 20/22

Rebounds: Minnesota 40, Las Vegas 30

Turnovers: Minnesota 10, Las Vegas 11

Minnesota isn’t having a banner season. But it knows how to clamp down on defense. Lynx held Aj’a Wilson to 4 of 16 from the field, Kayla McBride to 3 of 9. Though many will point to the airline issue as a catalyst for the Aces recent slide…they were going to be underdogs anyway to the good teams they were facing. Not a playoff caliber team. Minnesota is in at 17-13, though it will probably have to deal with a play-in game. Las Vegas falls to 12-18.

If the playoffs started right now. Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner would have to face Maya Moore in a play-in game for the right to play another survival game against Candace Parker or Elena Delle Donne. Wow.

An update of our estimated “market” power ratings. We’re going to allow some leeway in these final games for fatigue scenarios. 

87: Seattle 

84: Los Angeles

83: Washington

82: Minnesota, Connecticut

81: Phoenix

80: Atlanta (no McCoughtry)

78: Las Vegas (home)

77: Dallas, Las Vegas (road)

75: Chicago

72: New York, Indiana

That’s it for a busy Friday morning. Have a great weekend!

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