Scott Dargis

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Jordan Spieth betting favorite heading into the TOUR Championship

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It is mathematically possible for Jordan Spieth to capture the FedExCup title – and the $10-million bonus – without winning the TOUR Championship. Perhaps that might be a prod to look beyond laying chalk for the PGA Tour playoffs’ finale.

Spieth, who’s first in the FedExCup standings, is listed as a +500 betting favorite to win the TOUR Championship, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Like Spieth, four others in the 30-man field converging on the 7,385-yard par-70 layout at East Lake in Atlanta would win the FedExCup automatically by winning the tournament. That includes (in order of seeding, not price), Justin Thomas (+1100), Dustin Johnson (+750), Mark Leishman (+1800) and Jon Rahm (+1200).

Spieth’s average finish since June has been 7.7, so it’s a safe bet he’ll continue his strong play. But a situation could arise where, if none of the other top five seeds are in contention, he might focus on the Cup and not the tournament itself, which has a slightly smaller payout of $8.8 million.

Johnson has been outside the top 15 in his last two starts, so it might be best to fade him. Leishman (+1800) is coming in hot after his five-shot win in the BMW Championship, but do remember this will be just his second time in the event. If you’re basing your pick on recent performance, Rahm has three top-5 finishes in a row and is in the top 20 on tour in strokes gained: approach-the-green, which is a good quality on a long par-70 such as East Lake.

The highest price of any player outside of those top five seeds belongs to Rickie Fowler (+1000). He was 10th at this event in 2015, the last time he played in it, and he’s second on the entire Tour in strokes gained.

Likewise, Justin Rose (+1200) has two second-place finishes at the TOUR Championship in the last four years.

Incidentally, Hideki Matsuyama (+1800) is ninth in the approach-the-green stat, which might make him a wild card this weekend even though his results have been inauspicious of late. Another darkhorse play with an enticing price on the golf betting lines is Matt Kuchar, who has had three top-10 finishes in the last four tournaments and is very steady, a handy trait to have at a par-70 course.

Each of the past seven FedExCup champions has secured it by winning the TOUR Championship. The law of averages would indicate that streak might end sooner rather than later.

WWE’s Kairi Sane wants to make women feel strong

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Kairi Sane became the inaugural Mae Young Classic winner after defeating Shayna Baszler in the final match of the tournament last night in Las Vegas.

I had the chance to speak with her about winning the tournament, her world famous elbow drop, and the differences between working in front of a Japanese crowd versus and American crowd.

Note: The interview was done through a translator

Me: What went through your mind as you stood in the ring as the first-ever winner of the Mae Young Classic?

Kairi: “I was very proud of myself to be there as one of the finalists. It was surprising that I made it so far. I felt nervous, but it was such a happy day for me.”

What made you want to peruse a career in professional wrestling?

“To help become a professional athlete, what’s been very important for me is my audience. They are there for me, watching me perform and I want to give them courage, challenge and then my vitality if possible, especially in this tournament.

My female fans, they touch my heart all of the time and I want to give them the message that women are strong.”

Your elbow drop has become world famous, how did you come up with such a unique variation of a move that’s been around forever?

“I’ve been doing this for about six years now and at first the diving elbow drop did not work. I got injured and it wasn’t my finisher at first, but the move was important to me. I wanted to win using my elbow, so now it has become my form. It’s my favorite thing to do when I perform.”

What are some differences between working in front of an American audience as opposed to a Japanese audience?

“I have to say American fans make me happier. I love their reactions. It’s very exciting and fun. It’s as if they’re fighting together with me.”

How has the world of acting helped you in the world of wrestling?

“It’s relevant because when I perform as a professional athlete, it’s very important to me that I encourage my audience and fans by giving them the vitality I have. I believe that’s my role. For example, my facial expressions will show if I’m happy and having fun or if I’m disappointed. I want to make sure that my audience sees those expressions.”

Twitter: @ScottDargis 

Golovkin Favored Against Alvarez In Middleweight Unification Title Fight

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Gennady (GGG) Golovkin might have looked mortal his last time in the ring four months ago, but respect for the undefeated middleweight champion dictates that he is a betting favorite against Saul (Canelo) Alvarez for their championship fight on Saturday.

Golovkin is listed as the -155 betting favorite to win with Alvarez coming back at +125 for their bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Golovkin was listed at -350 when books first began giving odds on spec two years ago and was at -165 when both sides agreed to the fight this spring.

There is the theory that Golden Boy Promotions would not have put the fight together if they didn’t think that Alvarez was capable of beating Golovkin, who had his first-ever 12-round fight in May when he took the unanimous decision against Daniel Jacobs.

Alvarez, a 27-year-old Mexican who excels at defusing attacks and counter-punching, is 49-1-1 with 34 knockouts. His only career defeat, against Floyd Mayweather in September 2013, was also the last time he was an underdog.

If Alvarez is to win, it would be on the strength of using his quick hands to throw combinations and out-point Golovkin, who may have to meet a higher bar to satisfy observers. In method-of-victory prop betting, Alvarez is offering +215 for a win by decision.

Backers of Golovkin, who has offered value above -1000 in four of his last 17 fights, can fall back on the 35-year-old Kazakh’s total package of power, precision and dainty footwork, which has enabled him to go 37-0 with 33 knockouts. He’s also never been knocked down as a pro or amateur.

If the high-for-him price on Golovkin still isn’t sweet enough, he is paying +165 for a win through knockout, technical knockout or disqualification. The Jacobs fight did show Golovkin – who could have been holding back – could handle 12 full rounds. Golovkin pays +280 for a win by decision.

The big payoff for boxing bettors is calling the winner and round. It likely will take a good handful of rounds for Golovkin to wear down Alvarez’s defences. The prices on him in Round 1 through 4 are teasingly high, but remain at +2500 in Round 7, +2200 in Round 8 and +2000 in Round 9

That will be right around the time it becomes apparent whether the bulk Alvarez has added for the fight has affected his stamina.