Scottsdale, AZ (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - Ryan Palmer fired a seven-under 65 Thursday to grab a one-stroke lead with the first round of the Phoenix Open suspended due to darkness. Palmer earned his third PGA Tour title at the 2010 Sony Open. However, he missed the cut at this event last year.
They were joined there by Bubba Watson, Spencer Levin and Jason Dufner. Watson and Levin both finished 15 holes, while Dufner is through 13.
The 35-year-old dropped his approach within 10 feet at the 18th and converted that birdie effort to get within two of Simpson.
That run of three straight birdies gave Palmer a two-stroke lead. His run ended on the seventh, where he tripped to a bogey to cut his margin to one. Palmer two-putted for par on the final two holes to cap his round.
"I had two great days preparing on Tuesday and Wednesday," said Palmer, who missed the cut in his first two events this year. "Getting the old putter back out, and getting the old feelings I've had in the past, the way the swing feels and the way the body feels, it was set up for a good day today."
Around the turn, Simpson sank a 12-footer for birdie on one and moved atop the leaderboard as he stuffed his approach inside a foot on the second.
"I really didn't feel like I hit a bad shot. I hit a chip that released a lot more than I thought it would, but other than that it was solid," Simpson said. "I think the thing that kind of held me in there all day was my putting. I made a bunch of putts, so I'm excited about that."
NOTES: This event needed a Monday finish last year after frost delays pushed everything back...Defending champion Mark Wilson is tied for 50th at minus- one...Former British Open champion Stewart Cink struggled to seven bogeys, three double-bogeys and a birdie in a round of 12-over 83...Forty-two of the 132 players that started did not finish their rounds.
Doha, Qatar (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - The heavy wind that sent scores soaring in round one, became too much in round two. The second round of the Qatar Masters was suspended on Friday due to high winds and unplayable conditions at Doha Golf Club. Officials shortened the championship to 54 holes.
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Michael Vick is back, Brett Favre isn't and the NFC East remains the best division in the NFC, maybe in all of football.
As players start to gather for the start of another season, some things change and some stay the same in the world of the NFL.
The NFC East has been the dominant division in the National Conference for a while, despite limited playoff success, save for the New York Giants surprise Super Bowl win two seasons ago.
Hell, there's a generation of kids in Texas who have never seen the Cowboys win a playoff game (last win was in 1996).
But collectively, the Giants, Eagles, Cowboys and Redskins (well, maybe not so much the Redskins) are as good as a division gets in an NFC conference that has struggled to stay competitive with the AFC side.
Sports bettors have both acknowledged the NFC East's dominance, as one glance at the NFL future odds menu will show.
Looking over the NFL betting odds at online sports book MySportsbook.com we see the top three teams listed to win the NFC Championship are all from the NFC East:
Dallas Cowboys - 7 - 1
Philadelphia Eagles - 13 - 2
New York Giants - 9 - 2
Slotting in behind these three are two teams from the NFC North: the Minnesota Vikings (15-2) and the Chicago Bears (10-1).
Again, despite the lack of recent playoff success, the Dallas Cowboys are popular with the sports betting community, as they hold 14% of all the money wagered on who will win the NFC Championship.
So far, the New York Giants are the bettors' favorite to represent their conference in the Super Bowl, as they have 24% of the overall NFC Championship betting volume.
And what about the Philadelphia Eagles? For the most part, the Eagles had a very productive offseason, the kind that could bring them back to the top.
They had a good draft adding the likes of WR Jeremy Maclin and RB LeSean McCoy.
Unfortunately, the team received a blow when long-time defensive coordinator Jim Johnson passed away on Tuesday.
But this team will make a real run at the division title this year. Going into the regular season, Philly is listed at +240 to win the division.
Last season the Eagles were 9-6-1 SU and 10-6 ATS.
Teams from the NFC East will play teams from the AFC West in the regular season and the Eagles haven't really been a good bet in the last 20 games against the likes of San Diego, Oakland, K.C. and Denver, only going 8-12 ATS.
Two seasons removed from that Super Bowl title, the New York Giants see themselves listed as the odds-on favorite in NFC East championship futures at +162.
Plaxico Burress is gone and with him all the bad publicity surrounding the gun in the sweatpants incident, but can they replace him in the offense?
Last season the Giants were a very reliable bet going 12-4 ATS.
In the Giants' last 20 games against fellow teams from the NFC East; they are 13-7 ATS.
Dallas is listed at +240 to win the division.
Dallas went 9-7 SU and 7-9 ATS last season and with the amount of talent the Cowboys have, a similar performance won't do.
The Cowboys have been atrocious against divisional rivals, going 6-14 ATS in their last 20.
The Washington Redskins are longshots to win the division at +550.