We’ve hit the part of the PGA Tour season where we see some pretty weak fields. This week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic certainly qualifies under the ‘weak field’ distinction, which means we’ll have to take some chances with our betting picks. The Detroit Golf Club, which is a classic Donald Ross design, is also at a new course that we haven’t seen before, further adding to our handicapping difficulty. I already mentioned how weak the field is, but there will be a few top-end players taking the trip up to Detroit, as Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker, and Hideki Matsuyama are the headliners. This is a week where we aren’t going to be getting a discount on any of the top players in the betting markets, so frugal bettors will likely need to either pick one of the players at the very top and sprinkle the rest of their card with longshots or try and load up on some of the players in the 30/1-50/1 range whose odds are shorter than they typically are in events with stronger fields. Interested in sports betting? Tell us what YOU want from a mobile sportsbookDetroit Golf Club is a moderate length, 7,350-yard, Par-72 layout that features tree-lined fairways and plenty of holes that gently dogleg in both directions. It’s hard to tell what type of player that Detroit Golf Club will favor, but I see some similarities between DGC and courses like East Lake (Tour Championship), Chapultepec (WGC-Mexico), and Aronimink Golf Club. Total driving is likely to be crucial given both the length of the course and the tight nature of the fairways. If players are able to drive the ball well, then I believe that they will have a great chance to score well at DGC, as most of the green complexes appear to be fairly straightforward. MORE ROTOQL: Lineup Builder | Rocket Mortgage DFS adviceBefore we get into the Rocket Mortgage Classic picks, we always like to remind you that plenty of strategy goes into cashing winning DFS lineups and winning betting tickets. By now you should know the best place to start is RotoQL’s DFS tools and the BetQL Mobile App. Our easy-to-use RotoQL PGA Lineup Optimizer gives you a big advantage when you’re putting together DFS lineups, and our BetQL Trending Picks and Public Betting tools provide a massive edge when you’re making bets, regardless of bankroll size.I’m always ready to help, too, so check me out on Twitter (@DFSBenj) for even more NFL, NBA, MLB and PGA daily fantasy content and gambling advice.Key Stats for Detroit Golf ClubPar 5 Scoring Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee Birdie or Better Percentage Poa PuttingRocket Mortgage Classic betting adviceOutright Bets to Consider*odds via DraftKings SportsbookDustin Johnson 5.5/1 I hate betting on mega favorites, but this week I’m making an exception. Johnson is by far the class of this event, and I’m going to pull the trigger on him at 5.5/1 simply because I think he can blitz this field. DJ had a nice ball-striking week at the U.S. Open but struggled badly on the greens, and I think he’ll benefit from an easier layout with slower greens this week. Detroit Golf Club looks like a course that will place an emphasis on off-the-tee and Par-5 scoring, two things that Johnson does as well as anyone in the world. I’m going to take my chances with a big bet on DJ and then sprinkle the rest of my exposure on some long bombs with upside. Joaquin Niemann 70/1 Niemann was off to such a great start to his PGA career last season, but until recently has been struggling for form in 2019. He has started to improve as the weather has started to heat up, and he capped off a great week at the Travelers Championship with a T5 finish — his best of the season. This week, Niemann’s tee-to-green game sets up well for a driver-heavy course like Detroit Golf Club, and this seems like the perfect type of field where he could grab his first PGA Tour victory. I was hoping to get Niemann closer to 90/1, but I can stomach his 70/1 odds considering how weak the middle of this field is.Luke List 90/1 I never bet List. I never play List in DFS. But all good things must come to an end, and I’ll finally be looking at List at 90/1 this week. List is a bomber who should feast on these Par 5s, and I’m praying that this is a week where his putter decides to show up. List is very much a boom-or-bust player, so I’m not particularly worried that he missed his past two cuts. His last two top-10 finishes this season came after a missed cut and a T65 finish. Danny Lee 150/1 Lee is a player who I like to bet on in these types of weak-field events, as he has a “if you’re not first, you’re last” type of mentality. We only get paid in these outright bets if our bets win the whole tournament, so I could care less if he finishes T140 and misses the cut by eight shots if he isn’t winning. There isn’t a whole lot to like in the 150/1-and-over range this week, so we’re going to go with a player who has flashed winning upside a few times in his career.
As the end of the first round neared, Newsome and DeCosta decided it was time to make a move. They called Howie Roseman, GM of the Super Bowl-champion Eagles and owner of the No. 32 overall pick, who was willing to trade back to No. 52 as long as the Ravens gave up their 2019 second-round pick in addition to their 2018 second-rounder.To the surprise of everybody but Newsome and DeCosta, the Eagles and Ravens had a deal. Baltimore traded into the last pick of the first round and selected Jackson.”We didn’t share what we were going to try and do with anybody,” DeCosta said. “Drafts are strange like that. It’s just Ozzie and me at the end of the table, the only ones who really know. When you’re trying to make a decision as important as that, you try and keep it as quiet as you can. Because it’s not that you don’t want to share it with people, but the downside — which would be losing the player — is much greater than the upside of sharing the information with somebody that you care about.”Added DeCosta regarding the aftermath of the Jackson selection: “I think it’s probably the first time in my 24 years that you could hear cheering outside the draft room. You could hear the coaches and you could hear the scouts. That was a powerful moment for us.”LAMAR VS. LUKA: Who will own the next decade in sports?It’s clear now those emotions were warranted. The Ravens, who earned the AFC’s No. 1 seed with a 14-2 record in the regular season, led the NFL with 3,296 rushing yards, the most by a team in a single season in league history. They also led NFL with 206 rushing yards per game, making them the first team since the 1977 Bears to average more than 200 rushing yards per game. And we all know why.Jackson broke Michael Vick’s single-season NFL rushing record for a quarterback with his 1,206 yards on the ground. He also led the league with 36 touchdown passes. As a result, the Ravens easily led the NFL with 33.2 points per game. They put up 40 or more points in five games.So, yeah: Good thing Newsome and DeCosta can keep a secret. In an interview with NBC Sports’ Peter King following Baltimore’s blowout win over Houston in November, a game in which the second-year QB continued his MVP-caliber season with four passing touchdowns, DeCosta told the story of Jackson’s selection on Day 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft. Jackson, 22, was the fifth quarterback taken at the end of a first round that featured four others (Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen) going in the top 10. Turns out that’s exactly how Newsome and DeCosta hoped the draft would play out.MORE: Jackson dominates player voting for Offensive Player of the Year”We wanted quantity that day,” said DeCosta, whose team entered the draft holding the 16th overall pick and who, along with Newsome, “secretly loved” the QB from Louisville. “With the way the draft fell that year, we saw a way to really improve our offense. We were hoping the phone was gonna ring, starting at 16.”Thanks to the Bills, the phone did ring, and Baltimore in a trade with Buffalo moved back to No. 22. “We get to 22, and all of the players we liked are still there,” DeCosta said. “So we traded again.”The Ravens utilized a deal with the Titans to move back to No. 25, where they selected tight end Hayden Hurst, a player DeCosta said they “loved.” Jackson, though, was still available. King asked DeCosta whether he and Newsome were worried another team might swoop in and draft him.”We were. We were,” DeCosta allowed. “But I think you’ve got to stay as clinical in the moment as you can, and really just go with all your best information and the plan. So yeah, you’re always nervous. You accept that you’ll lose some players working this way.”DeCosta told King the league-wide doubt surrounding Jackson’s prospects as an NFL QB was helpful. (Looking at you, Bill Polian). The Ravens also felt confident they could land Jackson thanks to their sneaky approach to evaluating him prior to the draft.”We didn’t even interview Lamar at the Combine because we didn’t want to be associated with him,” DeCosta said. “We didn’t want rumors about us and him to start. They didn’t. We were proud of that.” In a way, Lamar Jackson was the final gift former Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome gave to the franchise. The 63-year-old retired after the 2018 season, months after he and heir-apparent GM Eric DeCosta used the last pick of the first round to draft the quarterback who’s now wrecking the NFL.And yes, it’s Newsome and DeCosta, not an entire department of scouts and talent evaluators, who are primarily responsible for the draft pick that changed the Ravens’ future for the better. (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/db/be/lamar-jackson-102019-getty-ftrjpg_11e9yupqse03l1s3cp7jvt5ylo.jpg?t=-328499691&w=500&quality=80
Stock-pile of cut woods to be processed for shipping The Joint Implementation Committee of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) that is expected to host its sixth sitting today, will bring together government officials and partners, particularly the European Union (EU) to look at critical issues affecting the country’s forestry sector, to include its proper governance.The VPA is a legally-binding bilateral trade agreement that aims to improve forest governance and promote trade in legal timber from Liberia to the EU. Additionally, it gives timber producing countries market access, not only to the EU, but to other markets that are looking for legal timber.It aims to guarantee that any wood exported from Liberia to the EU comes from legal sources and helps the country to stop illegal logging by improving forest governance and regulation.The instrument also promotes legal trade of forest products between Liberia and the EU as well as promotes sustainable forest development, while developing economic opportunities for the present and future generations.Today’s meeting, which marks the sixth sitting of the Joint Implementation Committee is intended to oversee the implementation of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreement between Liberia and the EU.Furthermore, it will also foster dialogue and the exchange of information on matters covered by the Agreement, including the implementation, which Liberia is committed to executing fully as part of efforts to strengthen law enforcement within the forestry sector.As part of the two-day event, the technical and preparatory discussions will be co-chaired by Alberto Menighini of the EU Delegation, and C. Mike Doryen, Forestry Development Authority (FDA), while EU Ambassador Hélène Cavé and Harrison S. Karnwea, FDA Board of Directors are expected to co-chair the formal session and sign the aide memoire.Several partners, including the European Forest Institute, United States Agency for International Development, United Kingdom, Department for International Development, and the World Bank will attend the meeting.Participating stakeholders from the Liberian side will include nine ministries and agencies, civil society organizations, the Liberia Timber Association and the National Union of Community Forestry Development Committee.It can be recalled that the agreement came into force in December, 2013. Proper management and governance of the country’s forestry sector has been a major challenge for past governments over the years as it is expected that with the new international partnership and mechanism put in place since 2013, the direct beneficiaries (the people) will soon feel the tangible impact.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)