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Morning Coffee: Matthews chasing history; another PGA Tour longshot wins


The first Sunday after the NFL season was supposed to go different in the eyes of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. 

Silver had been vocal leading up to this year’s NBA All Star Game about wanting players to step up the level of competitiveness for the league’s annual showcase, but a final score of 211-186 in favour of the Eastern Conference summarized that not much defence was played Sunday in Indianapolis. 

If you wanted to see half-court shots, windmill dunks and just about everything else you can think of, you were probably happy.

But if you wanted to see the best in the world compete at a high level, it might not have been a great three hours.

Fortunately for myself and everyone else it was another busy weekend of hockey and golf to keep up entertained watching athletes compete in something with actual meaning. 

And oh, by the way, if you’re wondering where Domenic Padula, the usual author of this column, is. Have no fear. Our fearless leader has taken a much-deserved vacation and will be back next week. 

For the time being, he’s given me the keys to the car and told me not to crash it, so with all that being said. 

This is the Morning Coffee for Monday, Feb. 19. 

Matthews Chasing Gretzky 

The Toronto Maple Leafs are back in action this afternoon in St. Louis, just six days after a 4-1 win over the Blues. 

That night, it was forward Bobby McMann netting a hat trick, and he must’ve inspired Auston Matthews. 

Since then, Matthews has had hat tricks in both games, his fifth and sixth of the season. 

With six hat tricks on the season, Matthews is four shy of tying the record for most in a season, set by Wayne Gretzky twice. Once during the 1981-82 season and again during the 1983-84 campaign. 

The American has five goals in 13 games against the Blues in his career and is +2500 to record his seventh hat trick of the season tonight. 

Five other Canadian teams are in action tonight as the Canucks look to bounce back from a loss to Winnipeg as small favourites in Minnesota.

The Jets travel to Calgary looking to avenge a 5-3 loss to the Flames in December. 

And the Ottawa Senators hope to snap a two-game losing skid in Tampa Bay. 

Lillard, East dominate NBA All-Star Game 

It was a bad night to bet the under in Indiana. 

The Eastern Conference All-Star team set a record for points in the game with 211. 

Milwaukee Bucks point guard Damian Lillard was playing in the eighth All-Star Game of his career and made an impact in his first as a member of the Eastern Conference squad. 

Lillard led the East with 39 points and was named the game’s MVP after being +1100 to win the award heading into the night.

The MVP came just 24 hours after Lillard won the three-point contest Saturday night, making him the first player since Michael Jordan in 1988 to win All-Star MVP and an All-Star Saturday event in the same year. 

Karl-Anthony Towns led all players with 50 points in a losing effort. 

Another longshot winner on the PGA Tour 

It’s been the year of longshots so far on the PGA Tour, and the Genesis Invitational was no different. 

Hideki Matsuyama shot a bogey-free round of 62 on Sunday, the lowest recorded round on Sunday at Riveria Golf and Country Club in this event, to secure his ninth win on the PGA Tour. 

Matsuyama’s win meant another longshot winner on the PGA Tour this season. The first four winners of the year all had outright odds of 100-1 or longer. 

Since then, Wyndham Clark won Pebble Beach at 80-1, Nick Taylor won WM at 150-1 and Matsuyama yesterday, despite going off as a 75-1 longshot, became the player with the shortest odds to win a PGA Tour event in 2024. 

The win for Matsuyama also meant my first outright winner of the 2024 golf season. After getting skunked for six weeks, it sure was nice to wake up to a winning ticket this morning on FanDuel. 

Next week, the Tour heads to Vidanta, where Tony Finau looks to defend his 2023 title at the Mexico Open. 

Boogity, Boogity, Boogity, let's go racin' 

The 63rd edition of the Daytona 500 takes place this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. ET on TSN after it was postponed on Sunday due to rain. 

Joey Logano will start on pole looking to capture the second Daytona 500 of his career at +900 odds. 

However, it’s Denny Hamlin entering the race with slightly shorter odds than Logano at +850. 

Hamlin will start in eighth position and has a history of success in this race with three victories, including back-to-back wins in 2019 and 2020. 

All three of Hamlin’s wins have come from a worse starting position on the grid (11, 10, 21) than his spot on Monday.