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PGA DFS Vegas Report - Players Championship (Premium Content)

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Welcome back to the PGA DFS Vegas Report. I just wanted to take a quick second to thank everyone who has signed up for the premium section here at RotoBaller. We have a great team in place with Joe Nicely, Josh Bennett, Tommy Bell and myself, and if you haven't had a chance to yet, be sure to check out the lineup optimizer and research station that can be found in the premium tools section.

While I take great pride in the research and energy I put into my selections from a mathematical standpoint, my numbers or information aren't always the law. If you have any questions about a particular player from a DFS or betting perspective, please feel free to contact me on Twitter. There are a lot of golfers that barely miss out on my final card released here by fractions of a percent, and I am more than happy to discuss my feelings or stance on anyone that may have caught your eye.

I am also excited to announce the release of my own Weekly PGA Cheatsheet. There you will find course history, current form and statistical data that you can sort and weigh on your very own spreadsheet. To do this, you will need to click the link above and make a copy under the file tab to get started. My calculations can be viewed by just clicking the link, but you won't have the ability to sort or construct your own work without making a copy. My free betting column, which includes first-round leader bets and some of the head-to-head wagers that just missed out on my Vegas Report, can be found here. And if you ever have any questions about a particular bet, player in the field or anything golf-related, be sure to contact me on Twitter @Teeoffsports.

 

2020 Players Championship

For an in-depth breakdown of the top DraftKings and Fanduel plays, check out Joe Nicely's weekly Horse For The Course that highlights the best fits for the week's course. Be sure also to read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS and betting articles to help you win big!

 

TPC Sawgrass

7,189 Yards - Par 72 - Greens Bermuda

TPC Sawgrass has always been a tough nut to crack. Typically walking a fine line between challenging and sadistic, the event played as a shootout last season in its first showing during March since 2006. Conditions will always be the ultimate decider of how difficult of a week we are going to get, but it does seem likely that the two-month move will help golfers receive a venue that is more well-equipped to find success.

In my opinion, TPC Sawgrass was initially created to be played in colder weather conditions. As we approach summer in May, dormant Bermuda grass can quickly turn the venue into a firm/fast test that isn't conducive for the shot shapes needed on holes. Before last season, one of the only ways to stop your ball on the putting surface would be to hit a run-up shot. Unfortunately, many holes at the facility aren't designed to be played in that fashion, causing GIR percentage to plummet from certain angles. However, all of that changes in March. The overseeded rye is favorable to how the property is set up and allows players to fly it and stop it with greater ease.

With all that being said, scoring will still be tricky at times. TPC Sawgrass features some of the smallest putting surfaces on tour, and because of the restricted space, strokes gained around the green will be amplified. The 17 water hazards and 88 bunkers provide trouble at every turn, but it is worth noting that the rough is not very penal. My biggest piece of advice would be to take some of the statistical breakdowns you read this week with a grain of salt. We don't have a significant sample size of the disparity between May to March, and there should be some skepticism when it comes to what is expected.

 

Players Championship

#1 - Bryson DeChambeau - 22/1

DraftKings Price: $9,100 / FanDuel: Price $11,300

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 18.1%

I find the betting board we were given this week to be a little disappointing. The Players Championship is one of the biggest tournaments of the season, and casinos released prices that equal roughly 150% in implied probability. To break that down into terms that would be a little easier to understand, correct odds for an outcome will always range somewhere between zero to 100 percent. You get to the outer end of each spectrum when the game is finally complete, but you will never be able to exceed 100 percent for obvious reasons.

Sports betting is slightly different. If casinos released wagers that totaled 100 percent win probability when taking into account all possible sides, places wouldn't be able to make money, and they would run a considerable risk of getting put out of business rather quickly. It is the reason why we see a vig of roughly 10 cents applied to start every matchup bet, and it becomes greatly enhanced when dealing inside the futures market. Some books take more of the hold than others, but I'd say 125% is typically standard for some of the more significant golf tournaments of the year. You will see that number deviate from place-to-place, but it helps explain why most losing gamblers are taking inferior prices that can't achieve long-term success.

Frankly, there is a lot of give and take when it comes to this concept. The top of the board typically gets the majority of the mispricing since casinos know that is where the public is most likely to place their bets. Sometimes we can receive an uptick deeper on the list if we do our research properly, and there is always a chance that our calculations don't coincide directly with what the books are releasing either, which can allow value to be found anywhere. Unfortunately, those opportunities begin to decrease significantly if too much of the hold is being taken upfront. All of that is fine and well since places need to protect themselves and make a profit long-term, but we run into massive issues as knowledgable gamblers if we are given betting boards that are nearly impossible to beat for a profit over any duration of time. It is unfortunate that route was taken this weekend because it wasn't needed with the amount of volume that comes from a tournament such as this, and we can chalk it up to greed.

All of that puts us in a slightly precarious spot this weekend. I do think that Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas received a decent percentage of the increased win probability that they accounted for in their totals, but that 25/1 to 40/1 range got somewhat short-changed themselves by being clumped together. On the surface, I don't believe we were given great value on too many selections in this area. Tommy Fleetwood, Webb Simpson, Sungjae Im, Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler look extremely short by my math, and I was hoping to acquire a better price on golfers such as Adam Scott or Hideki Matsuyama. I am not surprised either man was rated where they were, but it does take them off the board for me based on nothing other than poor win equity.

The first player that is extremely close to being considered value is Bryson DeChambeau. His opening price of 25/1 was nearly spot-on for where I had him in the market, but the three-point move has decreased him to about a half percent overvalued at his new 22/1 price. I typically will bypass anything that doesn't yield a number where I can expect profit over time, but I can make a pretty rationale case for why my initial estimates might have underestimated DeChambeau.

I run my models to incorporate a longer duration of time than most. I'm not a massive fan of overvaluing the present because a lot of the current form is already baked into the prices we receive, and it defeats the purpose in attempting to locate an edge. With all that being said, I am not sure if books are even properly evaluating where Bryson's game is at right now. The American bulked up during the off-season, adding extra muscle to his frame, and the results have been intoxicating from a driving standpoint. From January 1st to now, DeChambeau is recording the second-best season in PGA Tour history off the tee and gained more than two strokes in three different rounds at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational.

DeChambeau is going to be one of the most popular wagers this weekend, and I never love going down that road, but the casinos adjusting his price to account for the action they are receiving is positive that they are taking their exposure to him seriously.

 

#2 - Dustin Johnson - 28/1

DraftKings Price: $10,000 / FanDuel: Price $11,800

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 10.0%

Just because we receive a price on a player that we aren't accustomed to seeing, it doesn't mean that golfer is value. It oftentimes can be a trap set by the casinos to look like a fancy steak on the table and ends up being nothing more than a bait and switch TV dinner that steals our money.

Nevertheless, there are situations where sportsbooks make mistakes. They may be errors that are done on purpose because the public won't be interested at a lower price, so they try to drive a little buyback by increasing the value of the wager, but it also can be nothing more than an oversight on their part. I don't want to jump to conclusions for which avenue I believe this circumstance falls under, but I am more than willing to grab what I believe to be an incredibly generous price on Dustin Johnson.

Johnson is in the midst of one of his worst statistical seasons since turning pro in 2008, but it isn't all doom and gloom for the fifth-ranked player in the world. The American has gained strokes off the tee in his previous six events, around the green in his last two and has shown improvement with his irons as of late. For whatever reason, Johnson's ability to hit shots from inside 125 yards has become suspect, but he should be able to avoid that distance at TPC Sawgrass.

There are certain players on the tour where I don't need to see weekly progression that is obvious to all involved to become interested, and Johnson is one of those golfers. He is more than capable of winning anytime he enters an event, and the 35-year-old has finished inside the top-10 in three of his five worldwide starts this year. The lazy narrative is to point to his performance in Mexico or his Sunday implosion at Pebble Beach as to why something is still wrong with the big-hitter from South Carolina, but he was in contention to win the Pro-Am before his meltdown and was undone in Mexico by losing over six strokes on the greens. If we don't get either of those two outcomes, we are looking at a golfer that could be as low as 10/1 in this field. TPC Sawgrass has the potential to turn into a bomb and gouge show if the winds remain calm, and there aren't many in the world that play that style of golf better.

 

#3 - Xander Schauffele - 30/1

DraftKings Price: $9,400 / FanDuel Price: $11,200

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 11.7%

I'm going to recycle some of the words I used this week while writing about Xander Schauffele in my DraftKings article here at Rotoballer. I was going to restructure it and word it differently, but I believe the way it was written initially best helps to get the point across for why Schauffele is incredibly underrated entering the Players Championship.

I took a deeper dive into Xander Schauffele this week and looked at what exactly has transpired for him in his past few events. From a statistical standpoint, Schauffele always looks impressive. He hits a ton of greens in regulation, and you aren't going to find too many weaknesses in his game. However, there was an interesting trend that kept popping up over and over again. If we exclude Schauffele's victory at the 2019 Tournament of Champions - an event that saw him gain the fifth most strokes putting I could find for him on record - most of his success tends to come at facilities that feature smaller green complexes.

I believe part of the reason behind that is due to Schauffele's more conservative nature on his approach shots. Yes, the 12th-ranked player in the world gains strokes with his irons consistently all over the globe, but the majority of that total comes from hitting a high percentage of greens in regulation. We then see Schauffele tend to lose strokes with his putter because of nothing more than the sheer length he is leaving himself on his first putt. Birdie opportunities are too far for us to expect him to make them with any regularity, which increases his chances of three-putting on larger surfaces. But a venue like TPC Sawgrass alleviates those concerns. When Schauffele takes a more conservative route at a site with smaller greens, his birdie putts tend to come from a shorter distance than he is accustomed to having. I don't have a great answer for why he has struggled recently around the greens, but his 0.769 strokes gained on Sunday at the API will hopefully get him back on track.

I've heard it expressed multiple times so far this season that Schauffele is a one-hit-wonder from last year and doesn't deserve to be in this same range as his counterparts, but we are once again dealing with sloppy information. There is no arguing that the 26-year-old doesn't look quite as crisp as we became accustomed to seeing in 2019, but when did four straight top-24 finishes and a second-place showing at the Tournament of Champions become less than ideal? A venue such as TPC Sawgrass requires golfers to provide a complete game to find success, and you aren't going to find many who are more sound with what they render from an ability standpoint.

 

#4 - Paul Casey - 60/1

DraftKings Price: $8,200 / FanDuel Price: $10,100

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 9.5%

When I was speaking earlier about the 25/1 to 40/1 range being clumped together, it did provide a boost to players behind them in the market. When we look at a golfer like Patrick Reed, he enters the week as the 16th highest priced option on DraftKings at $8,500 and is 33/1 in the betting market. Nothing sticks out as being overly outlandish from either of those two numbers, but it does become jarring when we drop down just $300 to Paul Casey. The Englishman's $8,200 price tag places him 19th overall for DFS purposes, but his futures price soars to 60/1.

Some of that explanation could be chalked up to there being a mispricing on DraftKings; however, I believe we can alleviate those concerns when looking at the distribution we have been given in the futures market. Eleven golfers enter the week rated somewhere between 22/1 to 35/1, but only six come in between 40/1 to 55/1. What we can derive from that analysis is that casinos placed the bulk of their exposure prevention towards the top of the board, allowing a handful of names to slip through the cracks. None of that is abnormally different than most weeks, although the precipitous decline from one range to the next does show books were forced to find a cutoff point where they would be forced to increase outright prices. Placing additional golfers inside the 40/1 to 55/1 range would only further enhance their hold percentage, and it reaches a point where they are creating a board that isn't even worth investing within if they go that route.

Casey has a few weaknesses that are apparent on the surface. Putting will always be a problem for the 24th-ranked player in the world, and his lack of an around the green game does provide extra concern if he finds trouble at TPC Sawgrass. You are never going to receive a perfect painting when handicapping this far down the board, but Casey does bring to the table his fair share of lavish brushes. Ranked inside the top-15 of my model both off the tee and with his irons, the 42-year-old adds to his impressive statistical resume by also placing inside the top-10 in ball striking, par-five birdie or better percentage and greens in regulation. The Englishman has been out of sight and out of mind for the past few weeks, and what should have been a 45/1 outright number has ballooned up to 60/1 after the likes of Tyrrell Hatton and Marc Leishman slotted their names into that section after a good showing at the API.

 

#5 - Tony Finau - 60/1 

DraftKings Price: $8,100 / FanDuel Price: $10,200

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 7.7%

There is no getting around the fact that Tony Finau was an unmitigated disaster last weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The 16th-ranked player in the world found a way to be horrendous with every aspect of his game, and it showed with one of the worst 36 hole stretches I have ever experienced from the American.

Perhaps that outcome should have been expected with Finau finding it difficult to locate his footing early in 2020 from a statistical standpoint, but if I am going to make a case that TPC Sawgrass has a chance to play as a bombers course because of the move from May to March, it would be nonsensical not to consider the 30-year-old.

It is tough to determine what has been wrong with Finau on par-fives as of late, but this week's venue has the potential to lessen the importance of driving accuracy if the big-hitter can miss to the correct side of the fairway, and he appears to check the boxes for most of the vital statistics you would be hoping to find in a potential longshot. Finau is 25/1 to win this year's Masters in one month but nearly 2.5 times the price at the Players Championship. Sure, we could blame course fit as one of the proponents behind this difference, but I am willing to stand behind my belief with how the venue will play, which begins to gravitate right into Finau's wheelhouse. A mere made cut last weekend would most likely have placed the Utah native at 35/1 this weekend, and while there are reasons to be concerned, I am willing to let bygones be bygones and remove his previous performance from my mental Rolodex.

 

Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained Off The Tee 15%
  • Par-Four Average 15%
  • Ball Striking 15%
  • Par-Five BOB% 12.5%
  • Strokes Gained Approach 12.5%
  • Proximity From 125-175 Yards 10%
  • Proximity From 175 Yards+ 10%
  • Strokes Gained Around The Green 10%

 

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

We are going to take one more week before coming back to our premium head-to-head selection. The Players Championship has too much volatility yearly, and I'd prefer to spend the event reconstructing my model because I still wasn't pleased with the results at the API.

 

2020 Head-to-Head Record (9-4-1)

+5.09 Units Year-To-Date From H2H Bets

Tournament Head-to-Head Bet Bet My Picks Finish Opponents Finish Result Total
Sanderson Farms Denny McCarthy -110 over Martin Laird -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 T18 (-11) MC (+4) Win 1
Safeway Open Cameron Percy -110 over Danny Lee -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 T7 (-12) MC (+2) Win 1
Shriners Open Bud Cauley -115 over Phil Mickelson -105 1.15 Units to Win 1.00 MC (-1) 61 (-9) Loss -1.15
Houston Open Jhonattan Vegas +100 over Aaron Baddeley -120 1.12 Units to Win 1.12 MC (+3) MC (+3) Push 0
Mayakoba Classic Denny McCarthy +110 over Kevin Kisner -130 1.00 Units to Win 1.10 T48 (-5) T76 (+1) Win 1.1
RSM Classic Brian Stuard -105 over Chris Kirk -115 1.05 Units to Win 1.00 T10 (-13) MC (-3) Win 1
Sony Open J.T. Poston -110 over Brendan Todd -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 MC (+3) T21 (-5) Loss -1.1
American Express Andrew Putnam -110 over Kevin Na -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 T10 (-18) T17 (-16) Win 1
Farmers Insurance Ryan Palmer -110 over Billy Horschel -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 T21 (-6) T68 (+1) Win 1
Waste Management Matthew Wolff -110 over Cameron Smith -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 MC (+5) MC (+6) Win 1
Pebble Beach Scott Stallings -110 over Patrick Rodgers -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 MC (-1) MC (E) Win 1
Genesis Invitational Cameron Smith +120 over Cameron Champ -140 1.20 Units to Win 1.44 MC (+4) MC (+6) Win 1.44
WGC Mexico Victor Perez +107 over Tyrrell Hatton -125 1.00 Units to Win 1.07 T53 (+3) T6 (-13) Loss -1
Honda Classic Corey Conners -120 over Wyndham Clark +100 1.20 Units to Win 1.00 MC (+8) T11 (-1) Loss -1.2

 


2020 Outright Bets That Have Finished Inside the Top-10

Player Event Odds Finish Position
Cameron Smith Sony Open 55 1
Patrick Reed WGC Mexico 50 1
Sungjae Im Honda Classic 35 1
Abraham Ancer American Express 50 2
Bud Cauley American Express 110 4
Joaquin Niemann Sentry TOC 50 5
Justin Thomas WGC Mexico 11 6
Dustin Johnson Sentry TOC 10 7
Russell Henley Honda Classic 100 8
Xander Schauffele ZOZO Championship 25 10
Andrew Putnam American Express 66 10
Dustin Johnson Genesis Invitational 15 10


Yearly Record:

2017 Golf Betting:
Head to Head Bets (10-2-2) +8.175 Units
Outright Winners (5)
Dustin Johnson Genesis Open (10/1)
Sergio Garcia Masters (50/1)
Brooks Koepka U.S. Open (45/1)
Justin Thomas PGA Championship (35/1)
Dustin Johnson Northern Trust (14/1)

2018 Golf Betting:
Head to Head Bets
(46-24-2) +24.49 Units
Outright Winners (5)
Phil Mickelson WGC-Mexico (22/1)
Bubba Watson WGC- Match Play (45/1)
Brooks Koepka U.S. Open In-Play Wager (14/1)
Dustin Johnson RBC Canadian Open (7/1)
Justin Thomas WGC-Bridgestone (30/1)

2019 Golf Betting:
Head to Head Bets
(16-9-2) +8.33 Units
Outright Winners (5)
Matt Kuchar Mayakoba Golf Classic (66/1)
Corey Conners Valero Texas Open (200/1)
Rory McIlroy RBC Canadian Open  (10/1)
Brooks Koepka WGC- St. Jude Classic (12/1)
Rory McIlroy Tour Championship (8/1)

 

Career Record (Excluding 2020 Season Results)

Head to Head Bets (72-35-6) +40.995 Units
Outright Winners (15)
Top 5s (Didn't Track in 2017)
2018 - 16
2019 - 26
Top 10s (Didn't Track in 2017)
2018 - 31
2019 - 41

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PGA DFS Tournament Preview: THE PLAYERS Championship

Hi RotoBallers! In our ongoing attempt to expand and improve our PGA coverage, we will be dropping a 'Tournament Preview' for some of the big events on the PGA Tour schedule. We're getting this new series kicked off this week with the 'Fifth Major', THE PLAYERS Championship!

We hope this preview will give you a head start on your PLAYERS research. If you aren't already utilizing RotoBaller's amazing weekly PGA content, fix that right now by joining us this week and throughout the rest of the PGA Tour season.

Access to tons of RotoBaller's PGA content is COMPLETELY FREE and we also now offer a PGA Premium subscription for those of you that want to take your game to the next level! You can sign up now using Promo Code: NICE at checkout to receive a discount.

 

RotoBaller Weekly PGA Article Schedule

Monday: You can find out all you need to know about TPC Sawgrass with Josh Bennett's Course Breakdown (Premium) and find out which golfers have thrived at THE PLAYERS in the past with Joe Nicely's Horse For The Course.

Tuesday: We kick your DFS research into high gear with articles from Spencer Aguiar and Tommy Bell! Spencer will highlight his favorite DraftKings Plays of the week and offer great tips with his Head-To-Head Betting Preview, while Tommy drops some salary savers in his DraftKings Value Plays (Premium) article.

Wednesday: Things start getting intense on Wednesday and we've got you covered! You can check out RotoBaller Staff One And Done selections and get inside the mind of our team with our PGA DFS Expert Roundtable. We also have two of the most popular articles in the PGA DFS industry with Spencer Aguiar's Vegas Report (Premium) and Joe Nicely's DraftKings Core Four (Premium). You can also check out Josh Bennett's DFS Cheat Sheet (Premium) for a quick cram session!

 

Tournament Overview

THE PLAYERS Championship

As I mentioned in the intro, this event is widely considered golf's 'Fifth Major'. THE PLAYERS routinely draws a major championship-caliber field and this year is no different, as we have golf's elite making their way to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. This is the second PLAYERS to be held since the PGA Tour decided to revamp its schedule, with this tournament moving up to March from the May slot it had held on the schedule since 2007. We can expect the change to alter course conditions a bit...with TPC Sawgrass less baked out from the hot Florida summer and March weather possibly becoming a factor, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the course to continue to play slightly more difficult this year. In addition to a stacked field, THE PLAYERS also has one of the highest prize purses of the year at $15 million. Players are eager to grab both the prestige and riches that come with winning this tournament.

THE PLAYERS is held on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass and this Pete Dye design has produced an eclectic group of winners over the years. We've seen several different styles of play have success here, but the one constant among winners is managing to avoid the big numbers that can happen quickly on this course that seemingly has trouble lurking everywhere. The Stadium Course's most iconic hole is the Par 3 17th with its 'Island Green' that is surrounded by water. The title can be won or lost on this short hole that should be simple to the best golfers in the world, but the combination of pressure and the psychological effect it has on players always seems to make the 17th extremely difficult when Sunday afternoon rolls around.

Rory McIlory outlasted a surprising group of contenders last year that included Jim Furyk, Jon Rahm, and Brandt Snedeker, to win his first PLAYERS Championship. He heads into his title defense in sharp form and having regained the top ranking in the OWGR, but history tells us McIlroy will have a tough time trying to repeat, as there's never been a back-to-back winner at the PLAYERS.

Recent Winners
2019 - Rory McIlroy (-16)
2018 - Webb Simpson (-18)
2017 - Si Woo Kim (-10)
2016 - Jason Day (-15)
2015 - Rickie Fowler (-12)

Event Details
Purse: $15 million ($2.7 million to the winner)
FedEx Cup Points: 600 (Winner)
Field: 144 Players
Cut: Top 65 and ties move on after the first two rounds
Watch: Thurs & Fri - Golf Channel 1-7 p.m. ET, Sat - NBC 2-7 p.m. ET, Sun - NBC 1-6 p.m ET

 

Course Breakdown

THE PLAYERS Championship - Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
TPC Sawgrass (Stadium Course) - Par 72 - 7,189 Yards - Greens: Bermuda
Designers: Pete & Alice Dye - Opened: 1982

Designed by legendary course architect Pete Dye, the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass was truly the first of its kind. Its 'stadium' design changed the way golf was viewed by on-course spectators. I wanted to give Alice Dye her proper design credit, as the course's most iconic hole, the Par-3 17th 'Island Green', was her idea. This will be the first PLAYERS Championship played since Mr. Dye passed away earlier this year.

At just under 7,200 yards, the Stadium Course is one of the shortest courses on the PGA Tour schedule, but it is no pushover and annually ranks as one of the tougher tracks the pros face. In true Dye fashion, it's a second-shot golf course that has danger lurking around every corner. Tree-lined fairways, water hazards, and bunkers are the norm at TPC Sawgrass. As you can imagine, players can often find themselves in big trouble with huge numbers a very real possibility.

THE PLAYERS is a very difficult tournament to peg from a DFS perspective and that's by design. Dye created the Stadium Course layout with a directive from former PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman to design a course that would favor no particular player or style of play. Dye's efforts succeeded and resulted in an almost maddeningly balanced golf course that has holes of every length in every category, both left and right doglegs, and a layout where no two consecutive holes ever go in the same direction. Due to these challenges, it's hard to favor either distance or accuracy off the tee when constructing lineups, and the fact that there has never been a repeat winner at THE PLAYERS speaks to how difficult this tournament is to project each year.

 

Fantasy Outlook

THE PLAYERS is a huge event and the DFS sites are rolling out the red carpet for us. There are tons of great tournaments to choose from this week. In addition to the many offerings, the sites have once again posted 'major championship-like' pricing for THE PLAYERS. It will be hard to construct a DFS lineup that looks bad this week. While it's tempting to attempt to 'play everybody', do your best to keep your core of players as tight as possible. As you can probably gather from the course breakdown, there is no 'magic bullet' this week, but there are some qualities that do translate strongly.

TPC Sawgrass will present several challenges to the golfers in this field and can expose any weaknesses in a players game. I will look to target players that are solid from tee to green, with an emphasis on ball striking and strokes gained on approach.

There is no "magic bullet" at TPC Sawgrass, as we've seen several different styles of play be successful over the years...but the necessary constant is sharp ball striking, accuracy off the tee, and strong approach play. A decent short game and the ability to avoid bogeys or worse will also be important this week. I'm giving almost no weight to distance here, but I will look for players that have fared well on other Pete Dye-designed courses on the Tour schedule.

 

Key Statistics To Target

  • Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
  • Bogeys Avoided
  • Strokes Gained: Short Game (Around the Green + Putting)
  • Performance on Pete Dye courses

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PGA DFS Vegas Report - Arnold Palmer Invitational (Premium Content)


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Daily Fantasy Golf DraftKings Picks (PGA DFS): WGC Mexico

Welcome back, RotoBallers! Adam Scott found the winner's circle inside of the United States for the first time since 2016, outlasting what felt like the entire field down the stretch at Riviera Country Club. Aside from Scott's double bogey slip-up at the fifth hole on Sunday, the Aussie presented himself as the most composed and consistent golfer at the event en route to his 14th career PGA Tour title. The 39-year-old gained strokes with all facets of his game to help him earn a tournament-best 11.972 shots on the field, and his 305-yard driving average placed him 15th for the week.

Gamers did a fabulous job, for the most part, of avoiding Bubba Watson, as the American only garnered a 14.6% ownership percentage in GPPs. I'd have anticipated that number being higher, but we did have a plethora of spots to misstep with Sungjae Im, Justin Thomas and Watson, all accumulating at least 14 percent of the usage rate and not making the weekend.

As far as this article is concerned, we positively highlighted Adam Scott, Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Harold Varner III and only whiffed on our recommendation of Justin Thomas being an option to consider. Like always, the purpose of this piece is to help you put together your optimal daily fantasy golf lineups for DraftKings, whether that be from a GPP perspective or a cash-game mentality. If you have any questions before the tournament starts on Thursday morning, feel free to contact me via Twitter @Teeoffsports. And be sure to read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS articles to help you win big!

 

WGC Mexico - PGA DFS Overview

Club de Golf Chapultepec

7,330 Yards - Par 71 - Greens Poa

To the naked eye, last week's Genesis Invitational held at Riviera Country Club is going to look identical to this week's venue of Club de Golf Chapultepec. Both courses are Par 71s that play around 7,330 yards and feature Poa Annua greens and Kikuyu grass, but that is where the comparisons stop, as the two properties could not be further apart in the way they play.

Riviera's yardage was hidden, meaning its short par-fives and driveable par-four masked the total length of the facility. To make up for that distance, six of the par-four holes had the capability to play over 450 yards, and an additional two par-fours came in at over 430 yards. However, the same can't be said about Club de Golf Chapultepec. Measuring almost 7,500 feet above sea level, the ball will fly nearly nine percent further for the week, turning the venue into a 6,700-yard test when you account for the elevation.

The Kikuyu fairways will suit pure ball-strikers, and placement off the tee is more important than distance. Tree-lined parklands are in place to impede your second shot if you miss on the wrong side with your drive, and golfers will be blocked and forced to layup to get themselves out of danger. Overall, Chapultepec is a strategic course that does have small, undulating greens with the same makeup as Riviera did last weekend, but there will be more of an emphasis on short iron play than the long iron test that we saw play out in California.

 

Let's take a look at the stats:

Stat

Chapultepec

Tour Average

Driving Distance

299

283

Driving Accuracy

58%

60%

GIR Percentage

65%

65%

Scrambling Percentage

58%

57%

Average Three-Putts Per Round

0.80

0.54

In Vegas, as of Monday, Rory McIlroy leads the way at 7/1 and is followed by Dustin Johnson at 7.5/1, Jon Rahm at 10/1, Justin Thomas at 10/1, Webb Simpson at 18/1 and Adam Scott at 18/1. Johnson has won this event two of the three years it has been held at Chapultepec and is the only defending champion here this weekend with Phil Mickelson not qualified for the tournament.

 

Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained Approach 25%
  • Ball Striking 17.5%
  • Par-Four Average 15%
  • Par-Five Birdie or Better 12.5%
  • Strokes Gained Around the Green 10%
  • Three-Putt Avoidance 10%
  • Proximity 100-150 Yards 10%

 

Fantasy Golf Lineup Picks for DraftKings (PGA DFS)

High-Priced DFS Players 

There are five players this week priced above $10,000:

Rory McIlroy ($11,500) - Rory McIlroy is quite possibly the most elite player in the world at any venue on tour, but the dominance he shows at tree-lined tracks such as Chapultepec doesn't always get mentioned the way it should. McIlroy has been on record over the past ten years quite often about his affinity for any course that features a tree-lined setup, and his two top-seven finishes here in his career should raise some eyebrows that the hottest player in the world is the deserving favorite to capture the title. The no-cut feature of the WGC Mexico could turn this into a potential stars/scrubs mindset, and I'd be looking to start a large percentage of my builds with the man from Ireland.

Dustin Johnson ($11,000) - What do you trust more? Course history or current form? That answer should tell you a lot about how to treat Dustin Johnson this weekend in Mexico. The American has finished first, seventh and first in his three attempts at Chapultepec, but there was no questioning that something was incredibly wrong with Johnson's game for the vast majority of the tournament at Riviera last weekend. It must be noted that despite his issues, the 35-year-old still had a chance to hoist the title down the stretch at the Genesis Invitational, but his shaky irons will need to get dialed back in if he is going to make his $11,000 salary worth the price of admission.

Justin Thomas ($10,800) - Seven of Justin Thomas' 12 career victories have either come outside the core 48 states or at a no-cut event, making the WGC Mexico a prime spot for the American to rebound from his missed cut at the Genesis Invitational. That knowledge that the public has of his excellence throughout a guaranteed four rounds will exponentially increase his ownership percentage, but I'd be more worried about building the top of my lineup the way I find to be ideal and looking to diversify myself elsewhere.

Jon Rahm ($10,600) - Make it 16 of 17 straight worldwide events that Jon Rahm has finished inside the top-17 in the field. However, despite his strong run of recent success, the Spaniard's ownership percentage might finally dwindle slightly this weekend in Mexico. Rahm has only come better than 20th place here once in his three attempts, but I wouldn't use that as a reason to fade the third-ranked player in the field. Rahm checks out firmly across the board and is thoroughly entrenched as someone to consider.

Hideki Matsuyama ($10,000) - I'm not sure if consistency is something that many DFS players are looking for when touting the top of the board, but Hideki Matsuyama has a style of game that knows how to produce results. A lack of winning upside has held the Japanese sensation back from achieving more throughout his career, but anytime a venue requires ball-striking excellence, you should at least give the 21st-ranked player in the world a second glance. In my opinion, this is the exact sort of track that could allow Matsuyama to get himself back over the hump.

 

Mid-To-Low-Priced DFS Players

Webb Simpson ($9,800) - It is hard to identify why Webb Simpson has struggled as badly as he has over the years at this venue. Simpson is a quality ball-striker who is capable of making birdies in bunches, but his 8.8 strikes lost off the tee in his two showings at Chapultepec is alarming. If we look back this year at how players have fared in their next start after finding the winner's circle, we haven't seen anyone finish better than 43rd place. That, combined with his poor statistical results, will have me owning very little of Simpson this weekend.

Adam Scott ($9,600) - While this does go against what I just mentioned in Webb Simpson's column about players failing to record a finish better than 43rd place in their next start after a win, Adam Scott checks too many boxes to ignore. The Aussie has been known throughout his career to string together a handful of quality results in a row, which is evident by him taking down back-to-back worldwide tournaments in his two most recent starts. Scott is going to receive his fair share of DFS players fading him off of a win, but I am more than ok with going back down the well again.

Xander Schauffele ($9,400) - At the time of writing this article on Monday, Xander Schauffele is projected to be the highest owned player on the slate. I get it with his track record of success at no-cut events, but everyone needs to realize that the American is more than just some flavor of the month that can only produce results at a specific type of track or setup. Schauffele's finishes of 14th and 18th place here in his two starts (along with his 25% projected ownership) will have me looking elsewhere this weekend, but that doesn't mean I won't be right back on the bandwagon if everyone decides to jump off after one event.

Tommy Fleetwood ($9,200) - There is no denying the fact that Tommy Fleetwood has seen a statistical regression in recent years when playing on the PGA Tour. I don't want to look too much into those results because we haven't been given a consistent enough sample size to weight the slide fully, but it has stunted more robust results as of late. For Fleetwood to regain his stature as one of the premier players in the world, we will need to see him improve his short iron proximity numbers and par-five scoring percentage, but I wouldn't put either of those two things past him this weekend. Fleetwood has provided three top-19 results here in his three attempts and could be a hot putter away from having a chance to challenge the top of the leaderboard.

Paul Casey ($8,700) - There is a lot to like about Paul Casey when you throw away his recent putting woes. Casey has struggled on the greens, surrendering a total of negative-9.3 shots to the field, but his ball-striking acumen has remained as steady as ever. The Englishman's around the green game will also need to see a substantial increase if he wants to compete for the title, but his three top-16 results in his three attempts at Chapultepec has a great chance to get mimicked once again.

Collin Morikawa ($8,500) - How good is Collin Morikawa!? Twenty straight made cuts to begin his professional career, providing seven straight top-26 results and a victory in July at the Barracuda Championship. Pretty damn good if you ask me. Morikawa's most significant deterrent has been his putter, which has cost him shots in four of his previous five events, but his irons remained dialed in as the best on tour.

Patrick Reed ($8,400) - I always worry most about how Patrick Reed is striking his irons because if his putter gets hot, he has a chance to win any event he tees it up at weekly. Reed has gained strokes in three straight events with his approach game and has improved at Chapultepec in every start. The American has yet to provide a top-10, but I wouldn't count that possibility out this time around.

Jordan Spieth ($8,000) - Fading Jordan Spieth is going to come back and bite everyone one of these weekends, but a tree-lined test is a location where I am ok with that potential repercussion. Spieth's erraticness off the tee leaves him a possibility to get stymied quite often for his second shot, and there are some big numbers to be had if you find yourself deep into the forest.

Shane Lowry ($7,800) - Since Shane Lowry's victory at the Open Championship, we haven't seen much of him inside of the United States. Luckily for us, we might be able to use that to our benefit, as Lowry has an elite skill set to find success at virtually no ownership percentage. Consider the Irishman a sneaky GPP play that has a chance to get hot and come out of Mexico victorious.

Victor Perez ($7,600) - I just don't think most people know who Victor Perez is or how good he has been over in Europe. Perez has moved up to 38th in the world with his seven top-20 finishes over his previous nine events, which includes a win at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and two second-place results in Abu Dhabi and Turkey. The French golfer has a chance to be this week's Cinderella story and has the iron skills to make a run up the leaderboard.

Corey Conners ($7,500) - Corey Conners' missed cut last weekend in California should subside his ownership total, and it won't hurt that Tyrrell Hatton is going to go off as one of the highest owned golfers on the DraftKings slate at his $7,400 price tag. While Hatton does have stellar course history here, I believe there is a chance you are going to find yourself disappointed if you select the Englishman at over 20% ownership. Give me Conners for virtually the same price.

Scottie Scheffler ($7,100) - There are two parts worth discussing here for Scottie Scheffler. I do think he is mispriced and too cheap, but the 51st-ranked player in the world is probably going to be the most owned person under $8,000 (aside from Tyrrell Hatton). To me, Scheffler makes a ton of sense as a cheap fill-in option for cash-game lineups, but I find it difficult to stomach his 15%-plus ownership total in GPP events.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout ($6,900) - Christiaan Bezuidenhout has an interesting backstory for why we haven't heard about him sooner. Bezuidenhout was banned two years (later moved down to nine months) in 2014 as an amateur for taking a banned substance. The initial thought might be to throw the book at the South African because of a failed drug test, but the now 25-year-old had a good reason for doing what he did. When Bezuidenhout was the age of two, he accidentally consumed rat poison, giving him a stutter. Ashamed and full of anxiety for what he deemed to be a flaw, he notified all parties involved that he was going to take beta-blockers that would help him with not only his stutter but also with his anxiety level. While that should have been the end of that story, Bezuidenhout was still banned - even after filing all the proper papers. The now 48th-ranked player in the world has put all of those concerns behind him in the past few years and has been a force around the world, finishing inside the top-20 at the last WGC event to go along with two top-two results in his previous three starts.

Ryan Fox ($6,400) - The bottom of this board gets thin rather fast. It doesn't mean we don't have options with it being a no-cut event to take random swings, but there are a lot of poor values to be found. One player that does pique my curiosity is Ryan Fox, who comes into the week hot with three straight international top-30 results. The Australian did struggle here in his one start in 2019, but it looks as if he did the majority of his collapsing once he was out of contention on the weekend.

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PGA DFS Vegas Report - WGC Mexico (Premium Content)


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RotoBaller PGA: One And Done Staff Picks - WGC Mexico & Puerto Rico Open

Here at RotoBaller, we are always searching for ways to give our readers the best fantasy sports content possible. With that goal in mind, we are very proud to announce the weekly PGA “One and Done” column will be back for a second season. In this feature, our golf staff of Joe Nicely, Spencer Aguiar and Josh Bennett will provide their weekly golf picks every Wednesday. The purpose of this article is to present you with alternative options to consider and hopefully make your selection a much easier process weekly. With that plan in mind, let's get started!

The Genesis Invitational was our first real slip-up spot of 2020 for the entire team. While Joe suffered a missed cut with Bubba Watson, I don't think he should be too upset about the outcome of the entire event, as Dustin Johnson provided an error-filled day on Sunday to finish in a share of 10th place for both Josh and myself. Johnson's $234,825 payday is fine on the surface, but you always hope for a little more bang for your buck when deploying one of the best golfers in the world. This competition is still as wide open as it can be, and it will be interesting to see who the guys will use in our first WGC event of the year. Every person in the field is guaranteed a payday, so will that change how any of the three of us treat the week? Let's find out!

For an in-depth breakdown of the top DraftKings and FanDuel plays, check out Joe Nicely's weekly Horse For The Course that highlights the best fits for the week's course. And you can also find out who the smart money is on by checking out Spencer Aguiar's PGA DFS: Vegas Report every week. Be sure to also read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS and betting articles to help you win big!

 

One and Done Selections

Joe Nicely - Dustin Johnson

Alternate - Tommy Fleetwood

I’m not gonna lie...last week hurt! I spent days grinding over my OAD decision for the Genesis, but my (bad) choice ultimately resulted in my first missed cut of the year in this competition, as Bubba Watson bogeyed his final hole of the second round to miss the cut by a shot. Frustrating!

This week I’m going with another player that’s won multiple titles at the event for which I’m choosing to play him. Dustin Johnson has emerged victorious from the WGC Mexico Championship in two of three years since this tournament was moved to Mexico City from Miami. DJ hasn’t necessarily been in beast mode, but he’s played well in 2020 since recovering from an offseason procedure on his knee. Johnson gained an impressive 6.3 strokes T2G last week at Riviera in what was his most complete performance of the new year. I love his chances this week in the high elevation of Mexico City which only enhances his legendary ability off the tee. As an added bonus in this contest, Spencer & Josh both used DJ last week, which means I have a great opportunity to gain some ground on them with a strong performance in this WGC event that has some juicy payouts!

Puerto Rico - Alex Noren

Alternate - Cameron Davis

Like almost everyone else, the Puerto Rico Open is on the backburner for me this week. Most of us will spend our time and energy on the WGC Mexico Championship and its elite field, but there are some interesting players teeing it up in the opposite-field event. Viktor Hovland is a young player that I love and rostered many times in DFS formats at the end of last season, but the young star hasn’t looked as elite (yet) in 2020. So, my selection is the other “elite” level player in the field, Alex Noren. The Swede would normally be teeing it up in this week’s WGC event, but a truly disastrous 2019 took its toll on his OWGR standing. He seems to have regained his form over the last few months and I expect big things from him against this watered-down field. - Joe Nicely

Yearly Earnings - $1,352,718

Yearly Cuts Made - 5/6

 

Spencer Aguiar - Justin Thomas

Alternate - Jon Rahm

After a few weeks of sticking to a conventional script, did you really think I wasn't going to shake things up again?! I realize Justin Thomas isn't completely off the beaten path, but I do think most gamers will be hesitant about going back in his direction after a missed cut last weekend at the Genesis Invitational.

When we look at the kind of tracks and situations where Thomas has historically found success, we find a ton of the same underlying factors. Seven of Thomas' 12 wins have either come outside the core-48 states or at a no-cut event, and it doesn't hurt that we have both of those circumstances coming into play in Mexico.

The American has provided two 62s in his 12 rounds at Chapultepec and has a chance to challenge for the title if he can get his putter to cooperate for him once again. If you are worried about the missed cut Thomas generated last weekend, just remember that his only WGC victory at the Bridgestone in 2018 came after a failure to make the cut in his prior event.

Puerto Rico - Jhonattan Vegas

Alternate - Xinjun Zhang

Jhonattan Vegas' high price tag on DraftKings is going to take a lot of people off of him this weekend, but it shouldn't alter your thought process for OAD contests. Vegas graded out fourth for me in my model when I attached a 65% weight to statistics from 2019 and 35% onto this year, and he was the only player inside the top-10 for me who wasn't expected to generate lofty ownership percentages for DFS contests.

While the two things aren't directly correlated, knowing he will be under-owned on DFS sites should allow us to grasp that he won't be a popular pick for other contests either. Vegas has three career PGA Tour wins and possesses the firepower off the tee and consistency to score on par-fives that should generate a ton of birdie looks. - Spencer Aguiar

Yearly Earnings - $1,843,914

Yearly Cuts Made - 6/6

 

Josh Bennett - Tommy Fleetwood

Alternate - Shane Lowry

It feels like a short field and no cut events should be easy to pick but I found this one difficult. A lot of guys at the top of the board with good history in this event I either have ideas for them for future events or I’ve used them up already. This course really benefits guys with good short games because of the handful of drive-able par 4’s and small greens on the non-drive-able par 4’s, so that personally limits my choices even more. I also think if you don’t have a long hitter that can carry trees and cut holes even shorter that you need a great ball-striker. All of these facts landed me on Tommy Fleetwood.

Tommy is a world class ball-striker, plus has some decent length off the tee (that part doesn’t matter as much to me). He should be able to keep it in play off the tee and he’s got one of the best short games in the event. I also like that he can get on some wild birdie streaks which is key in a no-cut event for both overall leaderboard position as well as DFS. My last point to liking Tommy this week is there is a very limited amount of events he plays on the PGA Tour so I want to catch him at an event he’s shown he can compete in before. He finished second here three years ago and topped off the last two years with two top 20 finishes, so he’s shown his style of play works here so that’s good enough for me to pull the trigger on him.

Puerto Rico - Alex Noren

Alternate - Maverick McNealy

Not only is the WGC event a good place for a guy with a good short game, so is the event in Puerto Rico this week. Alex Noren is at the top of the class in this event and he’s also got the right skill set to make a run at a win in this event. He has an elite short game and he’s a decent ball striker, both of which will at least keep him in the hunt for the week. He’s been playing in some of the bigger PGA events this season and has done very well in those events, so I think he goes into a field much weaker than what he’s used to seeing and makes a run at a victory. - Josh Bennett

Yearly Earnings - $2,149,612

Yearly Cuts Made - 6/6

 

Running Totals

Joe Nicely Spencer Aguiar Josh Bennett
Sony Open Webb Simpson $455,400 Abraham Ancer $27,390 Webb Simpson $455,400
American Express Sungjae Im $162,475 Paul Casey $63,399 Sungjae Im $162,475
Farmers Insurance Tiger Woods $181,875 Hideki Matsuyama $22,950 Jon Rahm $817,500
Waste Management Jon Rahm $170,768 Webb Simpson $1,314,000 Hideki Matsuyama $97,212
Pebble Beach Jason Day $382,200 Patrick Cantlay $181,350 Jason Day $382,200
Genesis Invitational Bubba Watson $0 Dustin Johnson $234,825 Dustin Johnson $234,825

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PGA Betting Advice: WGC Mexico - Head-To-Head Selections

Here at RotoBaller, we are always searching for ways to give our readers the best fantasy sports content possible. With that goal in mind, we are very proud to announce the arrival of our new column that will cover head-to-head plays for each PGA Tour stop.

If you are looking for a more in-depth breakdown, be sure to check out my PGA DFS: Vegas Report. There you will find my complete betting card, as well as my head-to-head play of the week. My premium head-to-head selections have gone an impressive (81-37-7), netting over 48 units of profit and a 68% success rate. On top of that, my outright wagers have yielded 16 winners since the inception of the article - including a 200/1 outright victor at the Valero Texas Open last season, making it a must-read for gambling enthusiasts.

In this feature, I will present a handful of head-to-head wagers that just missed out on being my best bet of the week for my Vegas Report article. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me on Twitter @teeoffsports. Be sure also to read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS and betting articles to help you win big!

 

Head-to-Head Wagers To Consider:

Full disclosure, some of these plays are bet by me weekly. I am extremely precise when it comes to my premium card of wagers and demand they meet a stringent set of criteria. If you were looking to play the entire board, these still yield long-term value, but they might present more volatility than I would care to have when releasing a condensed card.

*** I am not a fan of no-cut events. We lose a lot of our edge that we gain by strategically finding missed cut potential and not having to worry about four rounds. There are no odds out at the time of me writing this section, but I wouldn't anticipate a substantial card this weekend.

 

Paul Casey +115 over Louis Oosthuizen -135

Reasons I Liked the Play: I believe we are catching a good number here on Paul Casey, who is getting slightly disrespected by the market after consecutive poor results at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and Genesis Invitational. Casey hasn't always demonstrated winning upside of his own, but the dynamic of this being a no-cut tournament does alter the way we need to handicap the proceedings. There is no arguing that Louis Oosthuizen comes into the week with blazing hot form, but I am willing to gamble that his lack of upside and bloated price tag have him marginally overvalued against a fellow world-class player.

Reasons It Didn't Make the Premium Card: There are just too many uncertainties with this wager for it to be considered anything other than a number grab. I do think there to be about a 3.5 percent edge in terms of implied win probability, but it is a marginal spot that gets even further decreased at a no-cut event like the WGC Mexico. Oosthuizen isn't someone I am actively looking to fade, although I do expect this price to start gravitating towards Casey as the week progresses.

1.00 Unit to win 1.15

 

Last Week's Results:

1-0-0 ( 1.10 Units)

We ended our cold run at the Genesis Invitational by just getting back to the basics of finding missed cut potential on the opposite side of the wager. Ryan Palmer +110 over Corey Conners gave us a rather large edge of about six percent in terms of implied win probability, which is a substantial amount for this article. To put that into perspective, our premium play in the 'Vegas Report' typically hovers around that total, but the 10 percent edge we got on Cameron Smith (+120) over Cameron Champ pushed everything down the pecking order for the week.

 

Year-To-Date Free Head-To-Head Results:

10-8-0 (+3.52 Units)

Tournament Head-to-Head Bet Bet My Picks Finish Opponent Finish Result Total
Sony Open Scott Piercy -110 over Russell Henley 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 T45 (-1) MC (+5) Win 1
Sony Open Russell Knox -115 over Carlos Ortiz 1.15 Units to Win 1.00 T32 (-3) T53 (E) Win 1
Sony Open Abraham Ancer -110 over Kevin Kisner 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 T38 (-2) T4 (-9) Loss -1.1
Sony Open Webb Simpson +160 over Justin Thomas 1.00 Units to Win 1.60 3rd (-10) MC (+3) Win 1.6
Sony Open Dylan Frittelli +105 over Rory Sabbatini 1.00 Units to Win 1.05 MC (+4) T21 (-5) Loss -1
American Express Cameron Tringale -115 over Adam Long 1.15 Units to Win 1.00 T43 (-12) MC (-6) Win 1
American Express Talor Gooch +100 over Brian Stuard 1.00 Units to Win 1.00 T17 (-16) 72 (-6) Win 1
American Express Andrew Putnam -110 over Kevin Na 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 T10 (-18) T17 (-16) Win 1
Farmers Insurance Marc Leishman -120 over Jordan Spieth 1.20 Units to Win 1.00 1st (-15) T55 (-1) Win 1
Farmers Insurance Lanto Griffin -110 over Cameron Champ 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 MC (+3) T16 (-7) Loss -1.1
Farmers Insurance Joaquin Niemann +100 over Brandt Snedeker 1.00 Units to Win 1.00 T49 (-2) T3 (-12) Loss -1
Waste Management Keegan Bradley +110 over Billy Horschel 1.00 Units to Win 1.10 T49 (-3) T9 (-11) Loss -1
Waste Management Webb Simpson +160 over Jon Rahm 1.00 Units to Win 1.60 1st (-17) T9 (-11) Win 1.6
Waste Management Ryan Palmer -115 over Brendan Grace 1.15 Units to Win 1.00 MC (E) T9 (-11) Loss -1.15
Pebble Beach Nick Watney -105 over Charley Hoffman 0.70 Units to Win 0.67 MC (-2) MC (-1) Win 0.67
Pebble Beach Paul Casey +160 over Patrick Cantlay 0.50 Units to Win 0.80 T64 (+3) T11 (-7) Loss -0.5
Pebble Beach Adam Hadwin +105 over Cameron Champ 0.60 Units to Win 0.63 MC (-1) T55 (E) Loss -0.6
Genesis Invitational Ryan Palmer +110 over Corey Conners 1.00 Units to Win 1.10 67th (+10) MC (+3) Win 1.1

2020 Premium Head-to-Head Record (9-2-1)

+7.29 Units Year-To-Date From H2H Bets

Tournament Head-to-Head Bet Bet My Picks Finish Opponents Finish Result Total
Sanderson Farms Denny McCarthy -110 over Martin Laird -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 T18 (-11) MC (+4) Win 1
Safeway Open Cameron Percy -110 over Danny Lee -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 T7 (-12) MC (+2) Win 1
Shriners Open Bud Cauley -115 over Phil Mickelson -105 1.15 Units to Win 1.00 MC (-1) 61 (-9) Loss -1.15
Houston Open Jhonattan Vegas +100 over Aaron Baddeley -120 1.12 Units to Win 1.12 MC (+3) MC (+3) Push 0
Mayakoba Classic Denny McCarthy +110 over Kevin Kisner -130 1.00 Units to Win 1.10 T48 (-5) T76 (+1) Win 1.1
RSM Classic Brian Stuard -105 over Chris Kirk -115 1.05 Units to Win 1.00 T10 (-13) MC (-3) Win 1
Sony Open J.T. Poston -110 over Brendan Todd -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 MC (+3) T21 (-5) Loss -1.1
American Express Andrew Putnam -110 over Kevin Na -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 T10 (-18) T17 (-16) Win 1
Farmers Insurance Ryan Palmer -110 over Billy Horschel -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 T21 (-6) T68 (+1) Win 1
Waste Management Matthew Wolff -110 over Cameron Smith -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 MC (+5) MC (+6) Win 1
Pebble Beach Scott Stallings -110 over Patrick Rodgers -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 MC (-1) MC (E) Win 1
Genesis Invitational Cameron Smith +120 over Cameron Champ -140 1.20 Units to Win 1.44 MC (+4) MC (+6) Win 1.44

2020 Premium Outright Bets That Have Finished Inside the Top-10

Player Event Odds Finish Position
Cameron Smith Sony Open 55 1
Abraham Ancer American Express 50 2
Bud Cauley American Express 110 4
Joaquin Niemann Sentry TOC 50 5
Dustin Johnson Sentry TOC 10 7
Xander Schauffele ZOZO Championship 25 10
Andrew Putnam American Express 66 10
Dustin Johnson Genesis Invitational 15 10


2017 Golf Betting:

Yearly Record:

Head to Head Bets (10-2-2) +8.175 Units
Outright Winners (5)
Dustin Johnson Genesis Open (10/1)
Sergio Garcia Masters (50/1)
Brooks Koepka U.S. Open (45/1)
Justin Thomas PGA Championship (35/1)
Dustin Johnson Northern Trust (14/1)

2018 Golf Betting:
Head to Head Bets
(46-24-2) +24.49 Units
Outright Winners (5)
Phil Mickelson WGC-Mexico (22/1)
Bubba Watson WGC- Match Play (45/1)
Brooks Koepka U.S. Open In-Play Wager (14/1)
Dustin Johnson RBC Canadian Open (7/1)
Justin Thomas WGC-Bridgestone (30/1)

2019 Golf Betting:
Head to Head Bets
(16-9-2) +8.33 Units
Outright Winners (5)
Matt Kuchar Mayakoba Golf Classic (66/1)
Corey Conners Valero Texas Open (200/1)
Rory McIlroy RBC Canadian Open  (10/1)
Brooks Koepka WGC- St. Jude Classic (12/1)
Rory McIlroy Tour Championship (8/1)

 

Career Record (Excluding 2020 Season Results)

Head to Head Bets (72-35-6) +40.995 Units
Outright Winners (15)
Top 5s (Didn't Track in 2017)
2018 - 16
2019 - 26
Top 10s (Didn't Track in 2017)
2018 - 31
2019 - 41

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RotoBaller PGA: One And Done Staff Picks - Genesis Invitational

Here at RotoBaller, we are always searching for ways to give our readers the best fantasy sports content possible. With that goal in mind, we are very proud to announce the weekly PGA “One and Done” column will be back for a second season. In this feature, our golf staff of Joe Nicely, Spencer Aguiar and Josh Bennett will provide their weekly golf picks every Wednesday. The purpose of this article is to present you with alternative options to consider and hopefully make your selection a much easier process weekly. With that plan in mind, let's get started!

It was another successful week for the RotoBaller crew at last week's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am! Though none of us tabbed Nick Taylor, both Josh and I had Jason Day, who logged a solid solo-fourth finish that was good for a nearly $400k payday. Spencer was coming off a win with Webb Simpson at the Waste Management and followed it up nicely with a T11 effort from Patrick Cantlay at Pebble Beach.

To put it simply...this is a tough crowd. The three of us have combined for a perfect 15 of 15 cuts made with each of us well over the $1 million mark. This week's Genesis has a major-like quality to the field and offers some very nice payouts. With this OAD contest being so fiercely contested, none of us can afford a huge miss this week. Let's see who the guys are rolling with at Riviera!

 

For an in-depth breakdown of the top DraftKings and FanDuel plays, check out Joe Nicely's weekly Horse For The Course that highlights the best fits for the week's course. And you can also find out who the smart money is on by checking out Spencer Aguiar's PGA DFS: Vegas Report every week. Be sure to also read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS and betting articles to help you win big!

 

One and Done Selections

Joe Nicely - Bubba Watson

Alternate - Patrick Cantlay

I feel like I've been in cruise control so far this season. Each week I've determined my pick fairly easily and have been rather decisive in my choices. Unfortunately, that has most certainly not been the case for the Genesis. This is the best field we've seen in 2020 - with nine of the world's top-10 players set to tee it up at Riviera - and is most likely the strongest collection of golfers that we'll see until The Players Championship. There is no shortage of options this week and we also must take into consideration how and where we want to use these guys throughout the rest of the season.

That's the ultimate deciding factor for me in selecting Bubba Watson this week. Bubba is very, very good on very, very few courses...and the window to use him for OAD contests closes quickly after the Masters. For that reason, I'm rolling with the enigmatic lefty at Riviera, a course where he's won three times over the past six years. In addition to the ridiculously-good course history, Bubba brings some extremely sharp form to Los Angeles. Watson has gained strokes in every major area in his last two starts at the Farmers (T6) and the WMPO (T3). So while there are tons of great options this week, Bubba is the right choice for me in this situation.
- Joe Nicely

Yearly Earnings - $1,352,718

Yearly Cuts Made - 5/5

 

Spencer Aguiar - Dustin Johnson

Alternate - Justin Rose

In two years of doing this contest at RotoBaller, this is the first time I have felt entirely lost on making a selection for the week. Maybe it has to do with the plethora of options available in this stacked field, but I also am terrified of being the only member of this group that doesn't roll out Dustin Johnson at the Genesis Invitational. I'm not one that usually plays defensively and might regret doing so, but I've decided to cover my bases and avoid the potential of being the lone wolf for another week.

While it is always scary to burn one of the best players in the world when his current form doesn't exactly exude confidence, you aren't going to find too many spots that are better to use the American. I've made the mistake in the past of playing him at majors, and frankly, we lose almost all win equity when going that route. WGC's are firmly on the table as a location to use him, but we are still going to have to bypass challenging fields to find success there.

From past results, Johnson has shown Riviera Country Club to be one of his favorite stops yearly, making nine out of 11 cuts since 2009. His eight top-10 results are highlighted by his victory in 2017, and his style of play makes him ideally suited to find success again. I don't anticipate being the only one that will be on DJ this weekend, but I can at least hope that I won't have to share him with both Joe and Josh. -Spencer Aguiar

Yearly Earnings - $1,609,089

Yearly Cuts Made - 5/5

 

Josh Bennett - Dustin Johnson

Alternate - Bubba Watson

This is a week where it’s really easy to overthink picks because of the stacked field and how many golfers are still left in the pool to choose from. There are a lot of guys playing this week with good course history, are in good form, and check off the statistical boxes. We’re starting to run out of courses that Bubba Watson tends to show up on so I am just assuming a lot of people will lean to him and save all the bigger-named players for majors and end-of-season events. For that reason, I’ll keep him in the holster for another tournament I have in mind and go with another guy with crazy good history here that is playing really well.

Dustin Johnson has one of the best records at this course next to Bubba and when he’s at the top of his game he’s almost impossible to beat. For the most part, hitting the ball really far on this course gives you a significant advantage. DJ obviously checks that box and is likely the primary reason he does so well here every year. In addition to his good history, he’s in great form too. Even though his finish last week doesn’t look great on paper, he only had one bad round that is an obvious outlier in an otherwise very good stretch of golf so far in 2020. Dustin Johnson in top form is not someone you want to miss out on, so I’m not going to do that. He can lose his putter and battle that issue for multiple tournaments in a row, so I want to jump on him now while he’s playing well at a course he’s good at. Don’t overthink it!! – Josh Bennett

Yearly Earnings - $1,914,787

Yearly Cuts Made - 5/5

 

Running Totals

Joe Nicely Spencer Aguiar Josh Bennett
Sony Open Webb Simpson $455,400 Abraham Ancer $27,390 Webb Simpson $455,400
American Express Sungjae Im $162,475 Paul Casey $63,399 Sungjae Im $162,475
Farmers Insurance Tiger Woods $181,875 Hideki Matsuyama $22,950 Jon Rahm $817,500
Waste Management Jon Rahm $170,768 Webb Simpson $1,314,000 Hideki Matsuyama $97,212
Pebble Beach Jason Day $382,200 Patrick Cantlay $181,350 Jason Day $382,200

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PGA DFS Vegas Report - Genesis Invitational

Welcome back to the PGA DFS Vegas Report. Nick Taylor became the first Canadian to capture the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am with his wire-to-wire victory last weekend in California. Not only does the triumph net him a cool 1.4 million dollars, but it also will book his ticket to the Masters in April.

Betting can sometimes be fickle, and even if you handicap the proceedings correctly, you can miss something along the way. I feel as if that is what happened with Taylor for me last weekend. When running a long-term model, the 31-year-old graded out inside the top-40 for me compared to the field in practically every metric I measured, but never made my shortlist of options to consider, for one reason or another.

I think that partially shows just how deep these fields are in talent that I was able to construct a list of four additional 100/1-plus longshots who instead made my final card, but it also displays the importance of checking each and every box. Most dark horses don't come entirely out of left field, and it is our job to find the hidden information that might be getting overlooked by others. I try to be as transparent as possible when writing these articles, and even though we were able to connect on Cameron Smith at 55/1 at the Sony Open in January, I don't believe we have done a great job so far this year of breaking down outright wagers. The head-to-head selections have remained locked in with a record of (8-2-1), but there is some fine-tuning needed for us to get back to the levels we have become accustomed to over the years. My free betting column, which includes first-round leader bets and some of the head-to-head wagers that just missed out on my Vegas Report, can be found here. And if you ever have any questions about a particular bet, player in the field or anything golf-related, be sure to contact me on Twitter @Teeoffsports.

 

2020 Genesis Invitational

For an in-depth breakdown of the top DraftKings and Fanduel plays, check out Joe Nicely's weekly Horse For The Course that highlights the best fits for the week's course. Be sure also to read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS and betting articles to help you win big!

 

Riviera Country Club

7,322 Yards - Par 71 - Greens Poa

Measuring in at 7,322 yards, Riviera Country Club plays a lot longer than the yardage would indicate. Most of the distance is hidden with the par-five first and driveable par-four 10th playing substantially shorter than tour average, but that length is quickly made up at holes two, 12, 15 and 18. All four locations at the venue are par-fours that average a scoring total of 4.19 shots to 4.34, making them the four most challenging opportunities at Riviera.

While the par-four 10th only measures 305 yards, it is one of the better risk/reward holes that we have on tour. The bogey rate did get drastically lowered last season, but its 25 percent birdie or better total features practically no eagles and slightly over a 16 percent bogey percentage. Understanding the pin placement on a given day will be vital for players, and it is a hole that should be attacked when the pin is accessible but played as a two-shot setup to the green when the flagstick could present issues.

With length needed off the tee, it makes logical sense that bombers should have an easier time traversing the course, but that doesn't mean shorter hitters aren't in play. Only 53 percent of drives find the short grass at Riviera, which is one of the lowest totals on tour. Add to that some of the smallest greens in America, tallying just a 57 percent GIR rate (eight percent lower than tour average), and you start to get a picture that shows length is welcomed but not the only necessity. Golfers will need to be able to gain strokes around the green to salvage their score, and three-putting is a prevalent statistic - even if the small greens would have you think otherwise.

Genesis Invitational

#1 - Dustin Johnson - 15/1

DraftKings Price: $10,000 / FanDuel: Price $11,800

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 16.2%

You really can't go wrong with anyone at the top of the board, but it is Dustin Johnson that stands out as a value play at his 15/1 price tag. I get that there is some trepidation given Johnson's recent perceived form, but have we forgotten that the big-hitting American is one of golf's elite players?

I am fully aware that the strength of Pebble Beach's field doesn't quite rival that of the Genesis Invitational, but there isn't a course suited for Johnson more than Riviera Country Club. The fifth-ranked player in the world was one of the most tipped golfers last weekend at an outright price of 6.5/1, and if it weren't for his final round 78, I believe casinos would have listed him about four to six points shorter.

I always find it useful to see what the sportsbooks will need to happen to have their best week possible, and it looks as if the three most significant liabilities for them right now would be Patrick Cantlay, Bubba Watson and Tony Finau. I find it marginally surprising that more wagers aren't on Johnson, but it does make some logical sense with the books willing to price the 20-time PGA Tour winner at 15/1 after his disappointing conclusion at Pebble. Betting shops don't make mistakes with their numbers often, so when a price seems off on the surface, you can either chalk it up to it being a trap bet or potential buyback spot to help alleviate some of their exposure elsewhere. With Cantlay, Finau and Watson all hovering in the same territory number-wise, we can correctly assume Johnson's odds have been inflated to account for their exposure on those three golfers.

#2 - Xander Schauffele - 22/1

DraftKings Price: $9,200 / FanDuel Price: $11,300

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 17.6%

I am not so sure that I fully buy into the narrative that Xander Schauffele will garner almost 18% ownership on DraftKings. We see him consistently bypassed in both the outright and DFS markets, and I'd expect gamers to either pay up to grab Patrick Cantlay/Bubba Watson or down towards Tony Finau. We will see if that ends up being the case, but I can make a strong argument that anything under 20 percent is a bargain for the California native.

Head-to-head wagers should have no direct correlation to futures bets, but we can use those numbers to decipher value on DraftKings. At the time of writing this article, Schauffele is currently priced at -126 over Brooks Koepka ($9,400) and a staggering -188 over Bubba Watson ($9,600). Personally, that number has become too much of a runaway train against Watson and is yielding value on the lefty golfer, but it does show that people backing Watson in the outright market might want to do a strong double take and consider pivoting onto Schauffele instead.

The American has sputtered in recent starts at the Farmers Insurance Open and on Sunday at the Waste Management Open, but it is about time that the general public puts some respect on Xander's name and includes him into the same realm as the upper-echelon options. Schauffele has achieved more career success than Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm and has shown to be a better closer than the majority of players on tour. Riveria's firm and fast conditions should suit his game, and a victory here might finally give him the stature that he deserves.

#3 - Justin Rose - 45/1

DraftKings Price: $8,500 / FanDuel Price: $10,700

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 13.8%

One of the biggest deterrents I have seen from people for why they aren't playing Justin Rose has to do with his current form. It is easy to point to his missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open as an example of his struggles, but we have to do better as an industry of diving deeper into statistics.

I'll begrudgingly accept the notion that his lack of recent PGA Tour rounds might make some hesitant to consider the former number one player in the world, but we are talking about a golfer that has made 18 straight worldwide cuts before his slip up at Torrey Pines, and that doesn't even get into the discussion of how he hadn't finished worse than 34th in nine consecutive outings.

If we look at what went wrong in La Jolla, Rose shot himself out of the tournament after a horrific start at the South Course. He did recover on Friday at the North to pencil in a two-under 70, but the damage was already done from his opening round 75. The question then becomes: What went wrong? And is it something that can get corrected this quickly? For starters, Rose lost 2.1 shots with his irons on Thursday, the most strokes he has given up with his approach game since the American Express in 2019. I never worry about the Englishman's irons in general, but in case you were wondering how he responded to the lousy effort he displayed a year ago, Rose went out in his next start to capture the daunting Farmers Insurance Open that we are using as the sole reason for his current woes. The 10th-ranked player in the world is a premier ball striker that excels with his long irons, and a test such as Riveria fits right into his wheelhouse.

 

 

Key Stats

  • Driving Distance 17.5%
  • Strokes Gained Tee to Green 15%
  • Three-Putt Avoidance 15%
  • Proximity From 150+ Yards 15%
  • Par-Four Average 15%
  • Par-Five Birdie or Better 12.5%
  • Strokes Gained Around the Green 10%

 

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

  • Cameron Smith +120 over Cameron Champ -140
  • Cameron Smith $7,500 price tag on DraftKings vs. Cameron Champ $7,400 price tag
  • Cameron Smith 4.2% percent projected ownership vs. Cameron Champ 5.8 percent projected ownership

1.20 Units to Win 1.44 Units

I thought Cameron Smith had about a three percent edge when the line opened -110 both ways, but we have now entered a different realm after this matchup has seen 30 points of movement. A lot of times I can justify a move and partially explain it, but I have no answer for why substantial money has caused this line to deviate the way it has early in the week.

I run my head-to-head models a few different ways before pinpointing prices for each matchup. One of the things I like to do is attach a consistency rating to each player in the field. By doing this, I usually can find incongruities for golfers that are more liable to find a missed cut out of the week. For the sake of parity, Smith finished as the 21st safest golfer for me on the card, whereas Cameron Champ barely cracked my top 80 players.

I assume the narrative most are using for their belief in Champ is that he has made eight straight cuts, and it doesn't hurt that anytime someone hears length is required at a venue, the youngster immediately comes to mind. The problem behind that thought process is that most of Champ's recent starts have included a late slip-up. We can chalk some of that up to nerves, but there is still a level of volatility that backers of the 77th-ranked player in the world will need to avoid.

One of my biggest concerns for Champ at Riviera Country Club comes down to his lack of a short game. When attaching a 70% weight to statistics in 2019 and 30% to this season, Champ grades out almost dead last in this field for both three-putt avoidance (114th) and strokes gained around the green (117th). The 24-year-old is typically able to avoid that becoming an issue because of his length, but this week's track is so difficult because the distance it plays is magnified. Extended par-fours (86th in par-four average) require long irons into the greens for all players (69th in proximity over 150 yards), and the issue for Champ is that most holes demand you to hit a specific location off the tee, making it impossible to bomb-and-gouge freely. I've had a feeling for the last few weeks that Champ might have his hands full the next time he gets a venue that reduces his distance at times, and I think we see the lack of short game that he possesses catch up to him in California.

Good luck this weekend, and let's try to keep the positive momentum rolling!

 

2020 Head-to-Head Record (8-2-1)

+5.85 Units Year-To-Date From H2H Bets

Tournament Head-to-Head Bet Bet My Picks Finish Opponents Finish Result Total
Sanderson Farms Denny McCarthy -110 over Martin Laird 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 T18 (-11) MC (+4) Win 1
Safeway Open Cameron Percy -110 over Danny Lee 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 T7 (-12) MC (+2) Win 1
Shriners Open Bud Cauley -115 over Phil Mickelson 1.15 Units to Win 1.00 MC (-1) 61 (-9) Loss -1.15
Houston Open Jhonattan Vegas +100 over Aaron Baddeley 1.12 Units to Win 1.12 MC (+3) MC (+3) Push 0
Mayakoba Classic Denny McCarthy +110 over Kevin Kisner 1.00 Units to Win 1.10 T48 (-5) T76 (+1) Win 1.1
RSM Classic Brian Stuard -105 over Chris Kirk -115 1.05 Units to Win 1.00 T10 (-13) MC (-3) Win 1
Sony Open J.T. Poston -110 over Brendan Todd -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 MC (+3) T21 (-5) Loss -1.1
American Express Andrew Putnam -110 over Kevin Na -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 T10 (-18) T17 (-16) Win 1
Farmers Insurance Ryan Palmer -110 over Billy Horschel -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 T21 (-6) T68 (+1) Win 1
Waste Management Matthew Wolff -110 over Cameron Smith -110 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 MC (+5) MC (+6) Win 1
Pebble Beach Scott Stallings -110 over Patrick Rodgers 1.10 Units to Win 1.00 MC (-1) MC (E) Win 1


2020 Outright Bets That Have Finished Inside the Top-10

Player Event Odds Finish Position
Cameron Smith Sony Open 55 1
Abraham Ancer American Express 50 2
Bud Cauley American Express 110 4
Joaquin Niemann Sentry TOC 50 5
Dustin Johnson Sentry TOC 10 7
Xander Schauffele ZOZO Championship 25 10
Andrew Putnam American Express 66 10

 

Yearly Record:

2017 Golf Betting:
Head to Head Bets (10-2-2) +8.175 Units
Outright Winners (5)
Dustin Johnson Genesis Open (10/1)
Sergio Garcia Masters (50/1)
Brooks Koepka U.S. Open (45/1)
Justin Thomas PGA Championship (35/1)
Dustin Johnson Northern Trust (14/1)

2018 Golf Betting:
Head to Head Bets
(46-24-2) +24.49 Units
Outright Winners (5)
Phil Mickelson WGC-Mexico (22/1)
Bubba Watson WGC- Match Play (45/1)
Brooks Koepka U.S. Open In-Play Wager (14/1)
Dustin Johnson RBC Canadian Open (7/1)
Justin Thomas WGC-Bridgestone (30/1)

2019 Golf Betting:
Head to Head Bets
(16-9-2) +8.33 Units
Outright Winners (5)
Matt Kuchar Mayakoba Golf Classic (66/1)
Corey Conners Valero Texas Open (200/1)
Rory McIlroy RBC Canadian Open  (10/1)
Brooks Koepka WGC- St. Jude Classic (12/1)
Rory McIlroy Tour Championship (8/1)

 

Career Record (Excluding 2020 Season Results)

Head to Head Bets (72-35-6) +40.995 Units
Outright Winners (15)
Top 5s (Didn't Track in 2017)
2018 - 16
2019 - 26
Top 10s (Didn't Track in 2017)
2018 - 31
2019 - 41

Golf DFS News and Player Outlooks