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Can ultimate bridesmaid Tony Finau break through at Masters?

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Is it really true nobody remembers who finished second? The reality is it’s sometimes tough to forget, especially for those who bet on golf and have a twisted affinity for Tony Finau.

A case can be made that Finau is currently the best player on the PGA Tour who’s never won a major. He’s just desperate to win a tournament, any tournament, and his empty-handed betting supporters are becoming a thinning herd.

With the Masters looming in early April, Finau is in exceptional form and must be considered a contender at Augusta National. “Top Ten Tony” often contends but rarely wins. Since his lone PGA Tour win at the Puerto Rico Open in 2016, Finau has been a top-10 finisher 37 times, including 10 runner-up finishes worldwide.

Finau entered Saturday’s third round at the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession near the top of the leaderboard, tied for 11th. He’s too talented not to win one, yet he frustratingly finds ways not to win. Circa Sports is offering Finau at 40/1 odds to win the Masters, and it’s tempting to take the bait.

Tony Finau reacts after missing a putt while Max Homa putts during a playoff at the Genesis Invitational on Feb. 21, 2021.
Tony Finau reacts after missing a putt while Max Homa putts during a playoff at the Genesis Invitational on Feb. 21, 2021.
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“Finau makes a lot of sense,” said Brady Kannon, host of VSiN’s “Long Shots” golf betting show. “You have to figure he’s going to be there again.”

Unlike horse racing, golf futures have no win-place-show wagering options. You either win or lose, though you could bet on Finau to finish in the top 10. In 2019, when Tiger Woods won at Augusta, Finau tied for fifth, two strokes back. In 2018, he tied for 10th.

In last Sunday’s final round at the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles, Finau fired a 64 for the lowest score of the day and forced a playoff with Max Homa. But Finau (30/1) again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, missing a 7-foot putt to clinch, and Homa (70/1) won on the second extra hole.

Francesco Molinari
Francesco Molinari
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Still, the depressing result is a positive indicator for Finau as he looks ahead because players who thrive at Riviera Country Club typically fare well at Augusta. Finau has figured out each course, but he must overcome the psychological hurdle of being the bridesmaid instead of the champion.

“It’s one of the wildest correlations on tour,” Kannon said. “Both courses make you work your ball in both directions. You have to be able to hit all of your shots, and you have to be very creative around the greens. I don’t think you see more similarities than those two courses. One of the things about Augusta, and it’s similar to Riviera, is you have to play five or six times to get experience. It’s a tough puzzle to figure out.”

“I just couldn’t bet Finau,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said. “I don’t think he’s putting well enough to win at Augusta. I would only take a monster price on him, not what’s offered.”

The price is always important when betting golf futures. Kannon said he has played a few Masters futures simply by targeting higher-than-market prices. He has long-shot bets on Matthew Fitzpatrick (100/1), Francesco Molinari (125/1) and Jason Kokrak (170/1). Fitzpatrick and Molinari finished in the top 10 at Riviera, where Kokrak was near the top of the leaderboard Saturday before fading.

Dustin Johnson, who won his first green jacket in November, is the Masters favorite at +735 at Circa. Jon Rahm is the second choice at 15/1. Each recorded top-10 finishes at Riviera. As the PGA Tour left California and turned east to Florida, it’s a good time to search for value on the Masters futures board.

It’s too late to buy low on Jordan Spieth, who has an impeccable track record at Augusta. Spieth was priced in the 60/1 range before his recent revival moved the odds to 25/1.

Kannon is optimistic about Justin Thomas (17/1) and Patrick Cantlay (30/1). Xander Schauffele (22/1) and Jason Day (60/1) are intriguing options.

“You have to try to time the guys who are going to peak at the right time,” Kannon said. “Thomas is on a progressive trend at Augusta, and the timing could be right come April when hopefully he’s peaking.”

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Bulls’ Zach LaVine called cops on ‘obsessed’ fan at his home

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Zach LaVine had an unwanted visitor.

The Chicago Bulls star had to call the police after an “allegedly obsessed” woman showed up to his Chicago home and refused to leave on Thursday night, according to TMZ. 

The woman reportedly traveled from out of state, demanding to speak with the first-time All-Star, who was home at the time.

Police took her a local hospital for mental evaluation, and she has not been formally arrested or charged with a crime.

LaVine, 25, wrapped up first-half action with the Bulls on Wednesday and was drafted to Kevin Durant’s All-Star side for Sunday’s festivities in Atlanta.

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Blake Griffin a free agent after Pistons buyout

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Blake Griffin will be free to sign with the Nets or another interested NBA team after agreeing to a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons.

The six-time All-Star forward “has interest from most of the NBA’s top playoff contenders and is expected to make a decision on his next team after conversations with prospective teams,” ESPN reported.

The Nets, Lakers, Heat, Warriors and Clippers – his former team — are among those that have expressed interest, according to the New York Times. ESPN.com added that the Blazers are interested

The 31-year-old Griffin hasn’t played since Feb. 12 while the Pistons attempted to trade him before the March 25 deadline, but they found no takers due to the remainder of his $36.6 million salary for this season and the $39 million he’s owed for 2021-22.

Blake Griffin was released by the Pistons on March 5, 2021
Blake Griffin was released by the Pistons on March 5, 2021
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Griffin is averaging a career-low 12.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in 20 games this season. He was dealt by the Clippers to Detroit in 2018, during the first season of a five-year extension worth $171 million.



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Broncos send a pretty strong warning to Drew Lock

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Drew Lock is no lock to remain the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback in 2021.

General manager George Paton and coach Vic Fangio both said Thursday that the team expects to bring in competition for Lock, possibly with the ninth pick in the NFL Draft.

“Obviously we’re always looking to bring in players at all positions that can raise the level of competition, and the quarterback is no different in that regard,” Fangio said, according to the team’s website.

“Until we get or until Drew proves to be the next great quarterback, like the ones that the Denver franchise has been used to in years past or certain teams around the league … are used to, we’re going to always try and bring in competition. But I have confidence that Drew can continue to improve.”

Lock made 13 starts in 2020 and tied with Carson Wentz for the league lead with 15 interceptions. He finished 32nd in the league among qualifying quarterbacks with a 75.4 passer rating, ahead of only Dwayne Haskins, Wentz and Sam Darnold.

Drew Lock faces the Patriots on October 18, 2020.
Drew Lock faces the Patriots on October 18, 2020.
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“Very talented, was inconsistent at times, has a lot to work on,” Paton said Thursday. “But I’ve spoken with Drew, I see him every day. He’s here early. He’s working. He really wants to be great. And we’re always going to try to bring in competition at every position, and quarterback as well. But I like the track that Drew’s on.”

Lock, the Broncos’ second-round pick in 2019 out of Missouri, had started five games as a rookie, winning four of them. Denver went 4-9 with him as the starter last season.

“I’m confident that Drew’s going to continue to improve,” Fangio said. “Drew’s had a great offseason up to this point. There’s not a lot you can do, but he’s working hard on his own, coming over here and getting workouts, and I know he’s doing a lot at home by himself, watching video by himself. He’s got a good setup over there. And he’s doing anything and everything he can to improve, even in February and now in March.”

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