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Djokovic wins a record fourth Shanghai Masters title

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SHANGHAI (AP) Novak Djokovic won a record fourth Shanghai Masters title with a 6-3, 6-4 win over 13th-seeded Borna Coric on Sunday.

The second-seeded Djokovic has won all four Shanghai finals he’s contested in his career (2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018). He previously shared the record of winning three Shanghai titles with Andy Murray.

Djokovic holds an 11-0 overall record in finals played in China, where he also won the Beijing tournament six times and the 2008 year-end Tennis Masters Cup held in Shanghai.

“Maybe I was Chinese in the past life,” said Djokovic, smiling, in explaining impressive record in the country. “I wouldn’t be surprised, to be honest, with the way I feel here and the way I communicate and have relationship with the people.

“It’s all very, very positive, for more than ten years that I have been coming to China. There is something special about this place that makes me feel like at home.”

Djokovic dominated opponents behind his powerful serve, winning all 47 of his service games during the tournament.

“Well, to be honest, I’m not sure whether it has happened ever, you know, that I go through a tournament without dropping one service game,” Djokovic said. “I’m sure that it hasn’t happened too many times if it did. So this was definitely one of the best service weeks that I had in my career.

“But for me serve was always, so to say, a hidden weapon, the shot in the game that is obviously very important, “the” most important. But I always try to use it with an accuracy and efficiency rather than speed and power.”

The Serb offered 13th-seeded Coric one break point in the match, in the sixth game of the second set. Coric, who has yet to win a set against Djokovic in three matches played, sailed a forehand wide to miss out on the rare opportunity.

“It was really tough,” Coric said. “I didn’t know what to do exactly. I thought I was playing actually really well, which is in that moment not good because if I play bad, okay, I know I need to start playing better, need to change something.

“I’m just happy with the whole week. I think it was a really good week for me.”

Djokovic, who has now won four titles this season, will move up one ranking spot to No. 2, pushing Roger Federer back to No. 3.

The victory extended his winning streak to 18 matches, the longest of the season by any male player. Federer and Nadal both had 17-match winning streaks during the year.

Coric, who had his right thigh wrapped throughout the match, saved three match points on his own serve in the ninth game of the second set.

But the Croatian couldn’t prevent Djokovic from snatching the title on a fourth match point in the next game. Djokovic won the final game to love when Coric sailed a backhand long.

Sunday Night Football odds favor Patriots hosting unbeaten Chiefs

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It’s rare for an unbeaten team to be an underdog this far into the NFL season, and the Kansas City Chiefs have thrived when they get points.

The New England Patriots, led by Tom Brady, are 3.5-point favorites on the Sunday Night Football odds against Kansas City with a 59.5-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The line isn’t entirely based on mystique, as the OddsShark NFL Database shows that the Patriots are 10-0 straight-up and 9-1 against the spread in their last 10 home games with an average winning margin of 16.0 points, as well as 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games at night. However, the Chiefs and dynamic young quarterback Patrick Mahomes II also have some eye-popping trends, such as being 7-1 SU and ATS in their last eight games as an underdog.

The Chiefs, who have covered every week this season, are also 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games after consecutive ATS wins.

Kansas City, which is 5-0 SU and ATS on the year, has not been contained offensively for four quarters this season, with Mahomes showing one of the livest passing arms the NFL has seen since Aaron Rodgers came into the league. Mahomes and his blocking group will be facing a limited pass rush with the third-fewest sacks in the NFL, although New England is holding opponents to 6.6 yards per pass, third-best in the league.

Running back Kareem Hunt torched the Patriots during a Kansas City win in 2017, and the Patriots’ focus on tight end Travis Kelce could create favorable matchups for Tyreek Hill. The bottom line is that the Chiefs have the capability to win a shootout.

Only three quarterbacks under age 25 have defeated the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in the Bill Belichick era – the Baltimore Ravens’ Joe Flacco and the New York Jets’ Mark Sanchez in 2009 and 2010 playoff games, and Colin Kaepernick in 2012 when the San Francisco 49ers were an eventual Super Bowl runner-up.

New England, which is 3-2 SU and 3-2 ATS, typically rounds into form around this stage of this season, as evidenced by a record of 10-2 SU and 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 home games in October. Brady’s offense is facing a Chiefs defense that is hollowed-out at a linebacker and safety with Justin Houston (hamstring) and Eric Berry (heel) both considered doubtful.

The Chiefs have allowed the most yards in the NFL and New England, based on its track record, should be closer to the sum of its parts in the passing phase with tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receivers Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon playing their second game of the season together.

Kansas City’s defensive issues could affect the total, although perhaps not in the way one might expect. The Chiefs are yielding an NFL-worst 5.8 yards per rush and the Patriots may try to grind down the tempo with Brady’s short passing game and runs by rookie running back Sony Michel.

The total has gone OVER in 10 of the Chiefs’ last 14 games at night. The total has gone OVER in six of the Chiefs’ last eight road games as the underdog. The total has gone OVER in seven of the Patriots’ last 10 games at home against teams with winning records.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

College Football Odds: Notre Dame, Georgia headline betting favorites

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The Georgia Bulldogs are the first team in almost a decade to go into LSU’s fabled Death Valley laying more than a touchdown, but they are a reliable cover as a heavy road favorite

Georgia, with an offense led by sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm, are 8-point road favorites against the LSU Tigers with an 50.5-point total for Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The line is the largest against LSU in a home game at Tiger Stadium since 2009 when they were 10-point underdogs against Tim Tebow-led Florida.

Georgia is 8-1 straight-up and 6-3 against the spread since 2014 as a road favorite of at least 7.5 points. Georgia is also 10-1 SU and 9-2 ATS in its last 11 road games against teams with winning records. However, LSU is 8-1 ATS in its last nine games against its conference. Six of the last seven games in this matchup have gone OVER, with an average combined score of 59.43.

Elsewhere this weekend, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are 21-point betting favorites against the Pittsburgh Panthers with a 54-point total. The visiting team is 7-2-1 ATS in its last 10 games in this matchup. The total has gone UNDER in four of Notre Dame’s last five home games, with an average combined score of 43.2.

The Washington Huskies are 3-point road favorites against the Oregon Ducks with a 57.5-point total. Washington is 1-7 SU and 1-6-1 ATS in its last eight road games against Oregon. Oregon is 0-4 ATS in its last four home games.

The Michigan Wolverines are 9-point favorites against the Wisconsin Badgers with a 49-point total. Wisconsin is 9-1-1 ATS in its last 11 games against Michigan, according to the OddsShark College Football Database. Michigan, coming off of a decisive win at Maryland, is 1-11 ATS in its last 12 games after an ATS win. The total has gone OVER in six of Michigan’s last seven home games, with an average combined score of 55.57.

The Ohio State Buckeyes are 29.5-point favorites against the Minnesota Golden Gophers with a 59.5-point total. Minnesota is 2-9 ATS in its last 11 games against its conference. The total has gone OVER in 10 of Ohio State’s last 14 games against its conference.

The Penn State Nittany Lions are 13.5-point favorites against the Michigan State Spartans with a 53-point total. Michigan State is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 road games. The total has gone OVER in 16 of Michigan State’s last 19 games against Penn State, with an average combined score of 59.16.

The Alabama Crimson Tide are 28-point favorites against the Missouri Tigers with a 73.5-point total. Missouri is 11-4 ATS in its last 15 road games against teams with winning records. The total has gone OVER in seven of Missouri’s last nine games against its conference. The total has gone OVER in six of Alabama’s last seven games, with an average combined score of 68.71.

The Auburn Tigers are 15-point favorites against the Tennessee Volunteers with a 47-point total. The total has gone OVER in five of Tennessee’s last seven games against its conference. Auburn is 1-4 ATS in its last five games.

The Texas Longhorns are 14-point favorites against the Baylor Bears with a 60.5-point total. Baylor is 4-1 ATS in its last five road games against Texas. Texas is coming off a dramatic win against rival Oklahoma but is 1-4 ATS in its last five games after an ATS win. The total has gone UNDER in Baylor’s last five games against Texas.

And the West Virginia Mountaineers are 6.5-point road favorites against the Iowa State Cyclones with a 56-point total. West Virginia is 3-9 ATS in its last 12 road games in October. Iowa State is 6-2 ATS in its last eight games.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.