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Masters picks, best odds, sleepers & more predictions to win 2021 tournament at Augusta

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Masters picks, best odds, sleepers & more predictions to win 2021 tournament at Augusta

This week, the PGA tour shifts its sights to Augusta National — in my opinion, the crown jewel of them all — for the 2021 Masters. The course has bentgrass greens and measures at about 7,475 yards for a par 72. There are a ton of iconic holes, but nothing tops the Amen Corner stretch of 11, 12, and 13. Dustin Johnson, the defending champion, comes in as the betting favorite with +950 odds — understandably so, as he set a tournament record in 2019.

The field should feature 88 golfers playing for the iconic green jacket. When it comes to the weather, there are supposed to be, rain-free, perfect conditions (fingers crossed). The track itself is projected to play fast and firm. This year’s event will be a little different than last year, as fans will be allowed back at a limited capacity. 

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Per Rick Gehman, the two most correlated stats that lead to success at this event are “Driving Distance” and “Strokes Gained: Total.”

Betting on golf always seems to come down to the wire, which is why I’ve become hooked. I have a feeling this is going to be a classic, so I can’t wait. Let’s dig in and see if we can win some money this week.

When it comes to my betting picks below, you won’t find anything too groundbreaking, but aside from digging into the data on the RickRunGood.com database, I try to look for guys at solid values who have had past success at the particular course and/or players who are trending in the right direction coming into the event. 

MORE BETQL: Top six Masters prop bets

Masters picks, predictions 2021

*Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Best bets to win outright

I absolutely love Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth, but history says winning this tournament back-to-back (DJ) and winning two consecutive weeks (Spieth) are just tough to do. So, I’m going with a few other guys this week.

Patrick Cantlay +2050

I see value on Cantlay at this number. He is solid at every facet of his game and has been one of the best players in the game over the past six months. His “Strokes Gained: Tee-to-green” numbers are better than everyone else’s, and his long iron play is second to none. He’s also had past success at this course, finishing tied for ninth and 17th in his past two trips.

Cantlay also is in the top five of the RickRunGood Tournament Predictor. Guys that pop up at the top of his model simulations always tend to be in the mix come Sunday. It is not the end all be all, but it’s another tool to utilize when trying to narrow down the card. At this price, he is one of my favorite bets of the weekend.

Patrick Reed +3500

Getting 35-1 odds for a former champion is juicy. He won the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year, as well. Reed is one of those guys that gets up for these kinds of events, and I’m sure he is going to be coming in with a chip on his shoulder knowing that not many are picking him to win. The only big metric his game is lacking right now is “Driving Distance,” but hopefully he will be able to make up for it with his strong putting game and iron play.

Best sleeper/long-shot picks

I’m looking for guys who are longer than 35-1 odds for this section. These guys are studs in their own right, so it’s kind of crazy to call them long shots, but for this section, they serve their purpose. If any of them are in the mix come Sunday, I will possibly try to live bet and hedge a little to make sure I pocket some pizza money.

Matt Fitzpatrick +4000

Fitzpatrick has been one of the most consistent players on Tour this season with four top-11 finishes. He is driving the ball better and further, and he also ranks fourth among the field in “Strokes Gained: Total.” Those are two of the big metrics that usually call for success at this tournament, so at 40-1, I can’t resist. He also has a top-10 finish here in the past, which is the icing on the cake for me.

Will Zalatoris +7500

Zalatoris, the young phenom, is one of the leaders in “Strokes Gained: Total” and has played solid golf all season long. He’s also top 20 in “Driving Distance,” which is big here. The issue is experience. Like Collin Morikawa last year, no matter how well you are playing, this course takes some learning to beat. But at these odds, he is worth a small sprinkle.

Speaking of Morikawa, I bet him a while ago at +3000 thinking I’d get a better number. Unfortunately for me, his odds sit around the same price currently. I still think it’s a good time to buy high on him, as I love the kid and his iron play. His comments this week seemed to indicate that he learned a lot from his experience last year, which will be a big boost for him come this week.

I also took a small nibble of Brooks Koepka at +3000. Everything indicates he is going to play, but he is still coming back from knee surgery, so who knows? There’s just something about him and big events, though. He has that special ability to rise to the occasion, so I’ll take the bait. I’m already splurging this week, so what’s a couple more bucks? It’s Masters week, so let’s enjoy it.

There you have it. Hope you guys can enjoy this prestigious event and win some money on it at the same time.

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ESPN’s Holly Rowe speaks French and English in WNBA Draft interview; Twitter reacts

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ESPN's Holly Rowe speaks French and English in WNBA Draft interview; Twitter reacts

ESPN reporter Holly Rowe received many a “tres bien” from her confrères in media for conducting a bilingual interview with WNBA Draft pick Iliana Rupert, a France international, on Thursday night.

Rupert was chosen 12th overall by the Las Vegas Aces. With the draft being a virtual event for the second year in a row because of COVID-19, Rowe conducted the post-selection interview in an ESPN studio while Rupert was on camera remotely.

MORE: Why Paige Bueckers was ineligible for ’21 WNBA Draft

Rowe began the interview with “Bonsoir,” or “Good evening,” and asked Rupert in French whether she spoke English. Rupert responded in the affirmative and the interview proceeded in English.

“It’s always been one of my dreams and it’s amazing being recognized,” Rupert said. “I’m really happy to [represent] my country and I’m just excited to finally start this journey.”

After two more questions and responses in English, Rowe switched back to French for the interview’s conclusion, telling Rupert “Bienvenue,” or “Welcome,” to the WNBA. She also gave her regards to Rupert’s family.

Rowe’s media colleagues were quick with the compliments.

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‘It shows how exciting we can be!’ – Saka says Arsenal have real chance of winning Europa League after Slavia rout

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'It shows how exciting we can be!' - Saka says Arsenal have real chance of winning Europa League after Slavia rout

Bukayo Saka says Arsenal have a real chance of winning the Europa League after their rout of Slavia Prague, and claims their latest performance “shows everyone how exciting we can be”.

Arsenal bounced back from a disappointing 1-1 draw against Slavia in the first leg of their quarter-final tie at Emirates Stadium by picking up a comprehensive 4-0 victory in the Czech Republic on Thursday night.

Saka was among the scorers as the Gunners booked a last-four clash with Villarreal, and he is confident they can now go all the way in the competition after flexing their attacking muscles at the Sinobo Stadium.

What’s been said?

“It was fantastic from start to finish. We did it for all the fans, they all deserve it for all the support they give us. We are really happy to progress,” the Arsenal winger told BT Sport.

“We showed real character. The first one was disallowed, Emile deserved a goal, we kept going and got the first one again. We pretty much killed the game in the first half.

“In the first leg we played well but weren’t clinical, credit to the manager and coaching staff, the way we set up, pressed, they couldn’t get out.

“It shows everyone how exciting we can be, when we play like this it is so amazing to be involved in. We have a chance of going to the final and winning this competition, it is up to us. We look forward to the next opponent.”

Arsenal put Slavia to the sword

The Gunners went at their Czech opponents right from the first whistle in the second leg clash, and found themselves in front after just 18 minutes when Nicolas Pepe dinked the ball into the net after being teed up by Emile Smith Rowe.

Alexandre Lacazette then doubled the visitors’ account from the penalty spot after Saka was fouled in the box, and the teenager got his goal moments later when he cut in from the right-wing before firing the ball low past the goalkeeper at his near post.

Lacazette added extra gloss to the final scoreline with a trademark finish 13 minutes from time as Arsenal progressed to the semi-finals 5-1 on aggregate.

What’s next?

Arsenal will now turn their attention back to the Premier League, with a home fixture against Fulham scheduled to take place on Sunday.

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What pressure? Arsenal sweeps Slavia Prague aside to set up a reunion with Emery

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What pressure? Arsenal sweeps Slavia Prague aside to set up a reunion with Emery

Slavia Prague 0-4 Arsenal: Match statistics

What was all the fuss about?

It was billed as the game that would define Arsenal’s season, a night that could even shape Mikel Arteta’s future at the club.

The pressure was supposed to be on against Slavia Prague but within 25 superb minutes, the Gunners were in cruise control.

Last week’s 1-1 draw at Emirates Stadium had left the Gunners with a very simple equation going into the second leg of their Europa League quarterfinal in the Czech capital: score a goal.

Arteta’s side knew failure to find a way through a Slavia side that was unbeaten at home in all competitions this season would send it crashing out of the tournament and leave an already disappointing season in tatters.

Serious questions were being asked of the players after the way in which they threw away a lead in the closing stages of the first leg to hand Prague the advantage going into Thursday night’s return fixture.

But in the space of six scintillating first-half minutes, those questions were answered in emphatic style.

The brilliant Emile Smith Rowe had already had a goal ruled out for the tightest of offside calls before Nicolas Pepe gave the visitors the lead on 18 minutes, thus canceling out Slavia’s away goal.

Alexandre Lacazette then struck from the penalty spot three minutes later to make it 2-0 on the night before Bukayo Saka added a classy third goal – all within 24 minutes of the game getting underway.

It was game, set and match Arsenal before we had even reached the half-hour mark.

Even in his wildest dreams, Arteta would never have imagined such an impressive start from his side, especially with his captain and talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missing due to contracting malaria while away with Gabon on international duty.

This was a major statement from his side and another example of why there is genuine belief within the club that things are heading in the right direction under the Spaniard.

Getty/Goal

The abject performances throughout November and the majority of December may have led to a hugely disappointing Premier League campaign, but the improvement since Christmas has been undeniable.

Since beating Chelsea 3-1 on Boxing Day, Arteta’s side sits fourth in the form table, with only Manchester City, Manchester United and West Ham picking up more points.

And now the Gunners have booked their spot in the Europa League semifinals, where they will meet Unai Emery’s Villarreal.

Clearly, there is still much for Arsenal to improve on and failure to go on and win the Europa League will more than likely leave it facing up to a season without European competition for the first time in 25 years.

For a club of Arsenal’s stature, that is not good enough, but there are still plenty of reasons for optimism and they were all on show as Prague was blown away in its backyard.

Arsenal’s homegrown youngsters have been the catalyst for the improvement since Boxing Day and one again they led the charge – with academy graduates Smith Rowe and Saka proving far too good for the Czech champions.

Immediately after seeing a goal ruled out for offside, Smith Rowe waltzed through the Slavia defense before working the ball to Pepe, who showed wonderful composure to score his fifth Europa League goal of the season.

Saka then took center stage, winning a penalty, which was converted by Lacazette, before scoring the third himself with a fine finish from the edge of the box.

At that point, the game was done and dusted. Arsenal had done its job and it cruised through the remainder of the quarterfinal, with Lacazette putting the gloss on a fabulous night’s work with a fourth goal on 77 minutes.

All eyes now turn to the semifinal against Villarreal and the return of Emery, the man Arteta replaced just over 16 months ago.

Emery led Arsenal to the Europa League final in 2019 and now he is the man standing in their way of repeating the trick two years later.

A return to the Champions League is now within touching distance for Arsenal. Just three games stand between the Gunners and a seat back at Europe’s top table.

They went to Prague with their season on the line and they return to London with the dream still alive.

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