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Westgate SuperBook golf oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said they wrote twice as much action for the Masters as they did last year, showing that Tiger Woods is great for business.

Patrick Reed (-15) managed to stay ahead of a charging Jordan Spieth (-13) and Rickie Fowler (-14) down the stretch, which rewarded bettors at odds of from 60-to-1 to 40-1 if they wagered on him before teeing off last Thursday. Sherman did note last week Reed was a popular wager.

Woods was sluggish, but did make the cut and shot a 69 on Sunday to end the weekend at +1. Sherman’s best round for Woods was posted at 68.5. The Westgate immediately listed odds to win the US Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York, which tees off June 14.

Dustin Johnson, Spieth, and Rory McIlroy opened as the 10/1 co-favorites followed by Justin Thomas (12/1), Jason Day (14/1), Fowler (16/1) and John Rahm (16/1). Woods is 25/1 and Reed is 30/1.

Break up Buccos

It’s only nine games into the season, but the surprising Pirates are off to a hot start at 7-2 while leading the NL Central, a division they were expected to finish last and given 80/1 odds to win it outright. The Westgate SuperBook’s season win total had them at 73.5.

Yes, it’s early, but chances are the Bucs might be hanging around for a while just because of their upcoming schedule.

Pittsburgh plays three at Wrigley Field, which began Monday – the Cubs’ opening home series, but then it’s three at Miami, the Rockies visiting for three, four at Philadelphia, and then the Tigers and Cardinals visiting for three each before going to Washington. You get the idea.

The Pirates offered a great indication they’d be able to score some runs during spring when they posted the highest OPS (.804) among Grapefruit League teams (ball travels better in Cactus League). But the mashing continued into the regular season despite the cold weather they’ve been playing in. They’re No. 2 in baseball in the following hitting categories: .814 OPS, .283 batting average and have struck out only 54 times.

The Pirates are taking pitches, which is nice to see a team be so disciplined collectively. Manager Clint Hurdle has his guys believing in him. Gregory Polanco has come into his own with an MLB-best 13 RBIs, but there are a bunch of other key cogs to this hot start such as fill-in 3B Colin Moran who has 8 RBIs with a .345 average. Six starters are batting .300 or higher.

Switch-hitting 1B Josh Bell (.324) bats clean-up followed by newcomer, LF Corey Dickerson (.303), a lefty, and the duo have given pitchers fits. Just wait until CF Starling Marte (.257) starts hitting to his ability.

Former Pirates star Andrew McCutchen went 6-for-7 Saturday for the Giants with six RBIs and the game-winning 12th-inning homer, so let’s just say the off-season trade worked out best for both teams. The Giants’ season win total dropped to 69.5 when Madison Bumgarner got injured in spring.

The big concern about the Bucs this season was pitching, but so far, so good. Sunday, Jameson Taillon pitched a complete game shutout – a rarity these days – while allowing only one hit. Trevor Williams has also won his two starts allowing just two runs combined. This will likely be the area that becomes their eventual downfall.

What if ace Gerrit Cole was still around? He is pitching his all-time best right now for Houston. But if believing they have something cooking to last longer than a cushy April schedule, you should be able to find 100/1 odds for the Bucs to win their first World Series since 1979. You can wait and take 50/1 in June and let them sell you some more.

“Sho’ Off”

Here are some more baseball observations since opening day:

Anaheim’s Shohei Ohtani is the real deal! I haven’t had so much fun looking at combined pitching and hitting statistics since Rick Rhoden and Don Robinson, but Ohtani is on a completely new level in both hitting and pitching. He’s elite at both. On Sunday, he went seven dominant innings, hitting 100 mph on the radar, allowing no runs, one hit, and 12 Ks. He took a no-hitter into the seventh. Two starts, two wins.

As for hitting, he’s a game changer there, too, and hit a homer in three straight games last week, including one with an exit speed of 111 mph. He doesn’t hit when pitching and takes the next day off for armrest, but in between he’s a total beast at the plate. The Angels are 7-3 and it looks like Mike Trout finally has some help to lead the franchise, no offense to Albert Pujols.

LAA is better than the 84.5 wins that were posted because of Ohtani’s pitching alone. Look out Astros.

Boston is every bit as good as expected, maybe better. After starting 0-1, they’ve gone on to win eight straight through Sunday’s games. The Red Sox are 10/1 to win the World Series while the Yankees are 6/1, but have dropped to 5-5 overall after losing 8-7 Sunday in 12 innings to Baltimore.

New Yanks slugger Giancarlo Stanton already has two games where he struck out five times. That doesn’t happen too often. The Yankees bullpen has given up six homers already. Ouch! That was their strength. New York can make up or lose some ground quick this week at Fenway Park in a three-game series that begins Tuesday. This clash should be lots of fun, as always. Let’s call Boston -170 to win the series.

Atlanta is looking real good at 6-3 led by an MLB-best +29 margin of victory and MLB-best batting average (.285). They’re mashing and I don’t think their true team rating has caught up with them yet, which means there’s lots of upcoming value, in particular when Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 3.97 ERA) is starting. On Sunday, Sean Newcomb (1-1, 4.35) baffled the Rockies at Coors Field in a 4-0 win that paid out at +130. How does 200/1 to win the World Series sound?

This is why April baseball is so fun. No one is out of it yet, except maybe the Rays (1-8).

Arizona at 7-2 is in first-place despite Paul Goldschmidt batting only .100 with no homers and losing both of ace Zack Greinke’s starts. It’s Arizona’s only two losses and while the Dodgers flounder at the plate, the D’backs can build a nice lead in the NL West. Remember, they were in first last year until June 1.

The biggest concern I had before the season was the bullpen with Archie Bradley expected to be moved into the closer role leaving the critical set-up role void. But on the last day of spring, Manager Torey Lovullo inserted Brad Boxberger as the closer and left Bradley as the set-up. I like it, and Boxberger has performed flawlessly with no runs allowed in five appearances with four saves. No drama late, like 2017 closer Fernando Rodney.

The rotation is strong, so this could be a fun year, again, in Phoenix. They’re 30/1 to win the World Series.

The Dodgers are 3-6 thanks to a lineup that’s batting just .213 and averaging less than three runs per game. They’ve been doing the exact opposite as the Pirates; they swing at everything and rarely take pitches. Just four homers in nine games and they don’t even have the cold weather excuse like Cleveland does who have an MLB-worst .159 batting average.

The Tigers are faring better than expected at 4-4, but it’s apparent that at least every five days they have a great shot to win with a healthy Michael Fulmer starting. Detroit lost his first start, 1-0, against the hot-hitting Pirates as Fulmer went eight strong innings, and against the White Sox on Saturday didn’t allow a run in a 6-1 win.

Detroit has one of the lowest overall team ratings to make daily betting lines with so Fulmer is going to be an underdog most of the time he starts. Always try to get that plus-money in baseball behind a quality starter.

The amazin’ Mets (7-1) made a statement over the weekend by socking defending NL East Champion Washington right in the mouth with a sweep. Sunday’s +150 payout bumped the Mets up to +7.5 units of profits, the best in baseball. They also have the best team ERA in the NL at 2.40.

It’s no surprise to see the four worst ERA’s come from the Reds (6.13), White Sox (5.58), Marlins (5.48) and Rays (5.33), but Washington as fifth worst (4.83) is alarming.

The Mets are 30/1 to win the World Series, the Nationals 7/1.

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