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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 Vegas Report - AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Welcome back to the PGA DFS Vegas Report. Webb Simpson stole the trophy away from Tony Finau late on Sunday, sinking an incredible 17-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff. The American then hit practically the same putt from a shorter distance on the first playoff hole to hoist the title. The victory was Simpson's sixth on tour but was just his first since winning the 2018 Players Championship.

While Finau continued his disappointing display of Sunday golf, it has been ironic that most of his shortcomings haven't been his own doing. I could argue that conservative play and an unwillingness to go for shots have held him back from accomplishing more in his career, but Finau had this event locked up nine out of 10 times by just paring in from 16 to 18.

We were able to connect on Simpson in the RotoBaller OAD contest to get back into contention, but I wasn't able to find my way to him in the outright market at 14/1. I didn't think the price was egregiously off, but the six-point disparity that I projected equaled about two percent of win equity when you get this high up the board. Xander Schauffele did give us a run for our money before exploding on Sunday, but I'd say it was an overall solid week with some positives to take away across the board, including hitting another head-to-head premium play to go to 7-2-1 on the season. 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 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

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!

 

Pebble Beach Golf Links

6,816 Yards - Par 72 - Greens Poa

After a week-long hiatus from having to deal with a split course event, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am will put us right back into another rotational week of golf. Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Golf Course and Monterey Peninsula Country Club will be our host venues, and the cut will take place after all players have played each track once. The top-60 and ties will make it to Sunday, and the field will play Pebble Beach Golf Links for the final round.

Pebble Beach is the only course that will feature Shot Link data and Shot Tracker, and we won't have much of an idea of what is going on at the other two properties. This creates two huge negatives. For starters, we will only have information about what is happening for a third of the players each day. That in itself is terrible from a viewing perspective, but it also hurts us when it comes to breaking down the event properly. With half the rounds at Spyglass and Monterey, we won't have any strokes gained numbers for the week, and most importantly, we won't have any long-term data to incorporate into our research pre-tournament.

Last season, Pebble Beach Golf Links was getting prepared for the U.S. Open, which meant the fairways were more narrow than usual, not to mention that the rough was thicker than past seasons here. We should go back to a more conventional setup this season, and golfers that can gain strokes with their approach shots (especially from between 100-150 yards) will put themselves in a better position to score. It is worth noting that the greens are some of the smallest on tour, and players will also need to be able to save par around the putting surface if they want to find success.

 

 

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

#1 - Kevin Na - 75/1

DraftKings Price: $7,700 / FanDuel: Price $9,500

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 5.1%

There are some weeks where you attack a card aggressively, and there are others where you either don't become invested or have very little exposure. Being able to show that discipline is a key step to growing your bankroll over time, and it is important not to force bets when the value isn't there.

I'm never going to post selections just for the sake of getting views. I bet everything I put into writing, and I realize exposure to these tournaments can add up quickly if you start too high up the board. For that reason, I much prefer taking a route of longshots for this event pre-Thursday and perhaps adding onto the card as the tournament progresses.

We have a weird dynamic that is taking place in the market this week. Dustin Johnson and Patrick Cantlay are soaking up nearly 20% of the win equity in my model, and we then have a handful of golfers that are coming in at around two to four percent each. The problem that this is presenting is that other than Cantlay, every player is yielding negative long-term value at their current price from the options 40/1 or below. When this happens, I typically will sit on the sidelines until Friday and let a tournament play out before becoming invested. I don't mind grabbing a few longshots that provide win equity at their price, but I'd rather look into players such as Branden Grace, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Paul Casey, Jason Day and Matt Kuchar once things are underway. That allows me not to inflate my exposure before the tournament and also leaves me an out if I decide I don't want to get invested if it looks as if Dustin Johnson might be an unstoppable train.

One player that is mathematically grading out profitably is Kevin Na. The American has admittingly struggled with injuries to start 2020, but two victories in the past nine months shouldn't be overlooked. Na is a superb golfer that is dangerous on or around the greens, and a venue such as Pebble Beach should highlight his strengths at a shorter tracker. There isn't a reason why Na should be higher priced than Adam Hadwin or Russell Knox, and I think we are being offered a 45/1 sort of golfer at 75/1.

 

#2 - Rafa Cabrera Bello - 50/1

DraftKings Price: $8,400 / FanDuel Price: $9,900

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 6.9%

Poor weekend rounds at Pebble Beach have hidden the fact of how good Rafa Cabrera Bello has been at the property. His 22nd place showing last season took a nosedive with a final round 74, and his 26th place result the year prior was halted by an even-par 72 on Sunday. If you change those performances to just being marginally below par, the Spaniard would have two top-10 finishes in back-to-back years, and the narrative would be different around him this week.

Cabrera Bello is a great par-four scorer that will give himself a plethora of birdie opportunities because of his pristine iron play, and even though he is still looking for his first victory in the states, the 45th-ranked player in the world is underpriced due to his lack of exposure on the PGA Tour. Pebble Beach is a venue that should highlight his links-style game, and the weather shouldn't be anything too out of the ordinary for him. At $8,400 on DraftKings, he makes for an excellent value play in all settings and can be easily paired with the likes of Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Patrick Cantlay or Paul Casey. I'd have priced him in the outright market at 40/1.

 

#3 - Harold Varner - 175/1 (Top-Five 28/1)

DraftKings Price: $7,000 / FanDuel Price: $8,500

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 4.3%

If you are looking for a great breakdown of what Harold Varner III did last weekend at the Waste Management Open, be sure to give Gianni Magliocco's article a read. As a quick synopsis, Varner parred his first 32 holes of the event to surpass KJ Choi's previous record of 27 but was unable to make the cut because of his lack of birdie upside.

In my opinion, Varner is an interesting golfer because he does a handful of things well. It isn't always possible to find players that are both long off the tee and solid with their short game, and that combination has consistently placed the American as one of the most steady players when it comes to bogey avoidance. There are some negatives that have held him back during his career, such as scoring, but HV3 has shown the ability to be explosive at times in his career.

Distance isn't a prerequisite at Pebble Beach, but I am curious to see how the 138th-ranked player will play in his first start at the property. Varner did not putt well last weekend, but Poa has historically been his better surface, not to mention that his three consecutive missed cuts have either come on the number or one stroke above that. Varner is playing better golf than the perception around him, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him unleash a hot round early in the event.

#4 -  Jason Dufner - 250/1 (Top-Five 35/1)

DraftKings Price: $6,800 / FanDuel Price: $8,000

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 3.3%

Similar to Harold Varner III, Jason Dufner hasn't been as bad as the current form might look. Eight missed cuts in 13 events isn't what you are hoping to see, but the American has barely missed the majority of the weekends by a shot or two over the last few months.

Dufner's biggest issue has been his lack of scoring chances, but I believe a lot of those woes can be chalked up to courses becoming a little too long for his game. When at his peak, Dufner was always a quality short iron player that could use his accuracy off the tee to find success, and much to the surprise of most, those numbers are still prevalent in his game.

Over his past 50 rounds compared to the field, the now 274th-ranked player in the world is ranked eighth in greens in regulation gained and is inside the top-30 when it comes to short iron proximity. I am willing to chalk up a lot of his misfortunes to difficulties at longer venues and will take a chance that he regains his ball-striking ability at a short track such as Pebble Beach.

 

#5 - Luke Donald - 300/1 (Top-Five 50/1)

DraftKings Price: $6,500 / FanDuel Price: $7,200

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 3.0%

This has been an abnormal card in general, and it will continue with a Luke Donald selection at 300/1. One of the most important things to think about when putting together outright bets is that we should have more volatility than a normal wager. We are certainly still looking for positive equity on all choices, but assuming we have that at our disposal, we are also attempting to find prospects that aren't so cut and dry in the market.

I think Donald is worth discussing for a few reasons. The most obvious would be because the Englishman is running out of exemptions he can use, and there is some pressure for him to start achieving robust results again on the PGA tour, but the thing that attracts me to him the most is his style of game and how it coincides with Pebble Beach. Donald is one of the best players around the green in the world, and the three short tracks this weekend in California should emphasize his wedge prowess, as well as his touch when missing the putting surface.

Donald has struggled to generate many strong showings as of late, but his share of 10th at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in September does show that a more calculated test can still be in his wheelhouse.

 

Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained Approach 22.5%
  • Proximity From 100-150 Yards 17.5%
  • GIR Percentage 17.5%
  • Par-Four Average 15%
  • Strokes Gained Around the Green 15.0%
  • Par-Five Birdie or Better 12.5%

 

 

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

  • Scott Stallings-110 over Patrick Rodgers -110
  • Scott Stallings $7,600 price tag on DraftKings vs.Patrick Rodgers $7,400 price tag
  • Scott Stallings 12.9 percent projected ownership vs. Patrick Rodgers 7.1 percent projected ownership

1.10 Units to Win 1.00 Units

The one thing I like about golf betting so much is that every person can handicap an event differently. Some bettors/DFS players might use a site that has statistical data already built into the software such as Fantasy National, and others might create their own models to find slight deviations in how they want to interpret the information. In my opinion, both have merit and importance, and I would recommend doing as much research as possible, but the amazing thing is that we all have the same numbers available that can be weighted however we want.

I mention this because I have seen Patrick Rodgers' name pop up over and over again throughout the industry as not only an outright wager to consider but also as a head-to-head selection to target. I can't say that I necessarily like him for either option, but this is a perfect example of why futures and matchup wagers don't coincide. To some extent, I understand the infatuation around Rodgers this weekend in the futures market. Four straight made cuts and two consecutive top-16 results is intriguing on the surface for a golfer that is priced at 100/1, but outright prices don't take into account volatility or consistency into the number.

In fairness, Rodgers has provided a hot run as of late, but let's not forget that the American missed nearly 45 percent of his cuts on tour from 2016 to 2019. That isn't a reason to solely discount his upside for Pebble Beach this weekend, but if you are interested in Rodgers, it is going to have to come because of his putting prowess, par-five scoring ability and recent form.  I can understand the intrigue those statistics might bring to some, but there are a plethora of negatives that make the 278th-ranked player in the world as a prime candidate to miss the cut.

When incorporating a 70 percent weight onto 2019 statistics and 30 percent calculation to this season, Rodgers comes up short across the board. He ranks outside the top-100 compared to the field in strokes gained approach, GIR percentage and proximity from 100-150 yards, and he also has struggled to produce on par-fours or create birdie looks on anything but par-five holes. A missed cut at Pebble Beach last season mixed with his eighth-place showing the year prior does show the volatility we were discussing, but I am more than content to take Scott Stallings' consistent and systematic approach that has produced three straight top-14 results here, as well as seven made cuts in his previous eight tournaments. To me, their win equities aren't drastically different from one another, but we enter a different stratosphere when we start talking about made cut percentage or average finish.

With the way I have structured my betting card for this event, please follow me on Twitter @teeoffsports for any plays I may add throughout the week. I usually don't like handicapping the proceedings in such a manner because not everyone bets once the tournament starts, but this is an event that I believe is best suited for most wagers to come in after round one. Good luck this week and feel free to contact me if you have a question about any particular player in the field!

 

 

2020 Head-to-Head Record (7-2-1)

+4.85 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


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

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PGA DFS Vegas Report - Waste Management Open

Welcome back to the PGA DFS Vegas Report. Marc Leishman was able to capture his fifth career PGA Tour title, holding on in La Jolla with a one-shot victory over Jon Rahm at the Farmers Insurance Open. Leishman's success shouldn't come as that big of a surprise since we did see him enter the week as the 12th highest-ranked player in the field, but his 50/1 price tag was a substantial number for anyone sharp enough to back him in the futures market.

Personally, it was a frustrating handicapping weekend on my end. Leishman had been a player we had supported in multiple tournaments recently, including the previous time he teed it up to begin the year, but I made an absolute mess at the top of the board with my exposure to Hideki Matsuyama and Xander Schauffele. That left me with very little wiggle room to finish off the card, and for whatever reason, Leishman ended up being excluded. I can't place the blame on anyone but myself since the Aussie did grade out as a positive EV wager for me in my model, but there isn't much we can do now about the missed opportunity. I still think we are reading the boards well and look forward to getting back on track at the Waste Management Open.

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 Waste Management Open

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 to also read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS and betting articles to help you win big!

 

TPC Scottsdale

7,266 Yards - Par 71 - Greens Bermuda

Perhaps no other event deserves to be played on the same weekend as the Super Bowl more than the Waste Management Open. TPC Scottsdale provides the ultimate party-like atmosphere for both the spectators and players and will be a much-needed getaway for sports fans after last week's devastating NBA news.

A 7,266-yard Par 71, TPC Scottsdale is a relatively easy course by PGA Tour standards. Right around 16-under par has been the average winning score for the past six years, and most of the scoring can be found on the back nine holes -- which helps to add to the wild experience of the event. The par-three 16th hole will garner a lot of attention this week because of the loud environment and football-like atmosphere, but it only grades out ninth in terms of difficulty. Instead, the tournament will likely be won or lost on holes 13, 15 and 17. Thirteen and 15 are par-fives that yield close to a 40 percent birdie rate, and the par-four 17th is the ultimate decider. Measuring only 332 yards and surrounded by water on the left side, both eagle and bogey are in play depending on the quality of the drive.

Water does come into play occasionally in other places at the venue, but most of the hazards can be easily avoided off the tee. The rough is relatively non-existent, and a little extra distance off the tee won't hurt. Par-five scoring will be essential since all three feature nearly a 40 percent birdie rate, and golfers that give themselves quality looks should be rewarded. However, the most important statistic that I will be pinpointing is ball striking. TPC Scottsdale is a ball-strikers course, which is evident by Rickie Fowler, Gary Woodland and Hideki Matsuyama (X2) being the last four winners at this event.

 

Waste Management Open

#1 - Xander Schauffele - 18/1

DraftKings Price: $9,900 / FanDuel: Price $11,400

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 16.2%

Last week didn't go quite as planned with Xander Schauffele, but that level of volatility was always on the table as a potential outcome at a venue where he has struggled at in the past. Sometimes all the positive statistics in the world can't overcome whatever the issue is for a player at a course, but I believe we are being given four extra points of value because of his missed cut at Torrey Pines.

I was under the assumption in La Jolla last weekend that 18/1 was a pretty accurate number when we took into account the slightly stronger field and poor past results, but leaving the 26-year-old standing pat in value doesn't properly adjust the benefits that are now thrown back into his favor. Schauffele has provided two top-17 finishes here in his two career attempts and gets an opportunity to get back on Bermuda greens - a surface we have seen him dominate at during his past two efforts at East Lake and the Kapalua Plantation Course. In fact, his nearly five strokes gained putting at TPC Scottsdale last season placed him top-10 in strokes gained on the greens, and it shouldn't take that pronounced of an effort this year with the improvements we have seen him make as a whole.

I don't normally advocate viewing things in this sense because outright prices are often drastically incorrect for 95% of golfers in the field, but Schauffele teed off last season in Phoenix as the third betting option at 14/1. I realize his victory at the Tournament of Champions helped propel that number up marginally, but we are looking at a player that has provided three top-two performances in his last seven events. I have nothing against Webb Simpson, Rickie Fowler or Hideki Matsuyama, but the fact that we are getting Schauffele anywhere between two to four points higher than that mix doesn't make sense from a betting perspective. We are dealing with a case of the ninth-ranked player in the world receiving an inflation in odds because of what others priced around him have done in Arizona, not to mention a mix of what he failed to do last weekend in California. Those two things combined usually screams that value might be lurking, and I think we get a strong rebound effort and a chance at the title with the American this week.

 

#2 - Collin Morikawa - 35/1

DraftKings Price: $9,200 / FanDuel Price: $10,700

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 15.6%

There are a lot of names I like in this 30/1 to 40/1 range. Collin Morikawa was the route I decided to go, but I wouldn't necessarily talk anyone off of Sungjae Im or Bubba Watson. I believe Watson's price is a little shallow at 30/1 and would have preferred to back him in the 50s, but I am not sure if there is such a thing of getting him at a proper price in most fields. Sportsbooks do a good job of knowing where he performs, so you usually have to slightly overpay on the surface if you want in for the week. As for Sungjae, it just comes down to overall exposure. There is nothing to say that I can't go heavier with my financial vulnerability to this tournament, but I have a handful of names I like down the board, and Xander is eating up a lot of my business at the top.

My biggest worry this weekend for Morikawa is his long irons. They haven't been great when faced with shots from over 200 yards, but it hasn't necessarily stopped him from posting totals in the past. The youngster's ability to create birdie chances typically outweighs his poor proximity numbers from deep, and I do suppose the lack of trouble lurking from off the tee should help Morikawa to swing freely and get some extra distance on his drives.

It is always challenging to know how sustainable certain levels of success are for young players on tour, but the 22-year-old has a swing that is easily replicated and has shown promise that indicates we might not see him priced in this range for non-majors often in the future.  I don't ordinally find myself in this pricing area backing young players, but Morikawa is a unique talent that has a chance to continue his ascension in Phoenix.

 

#3 - Scottie Scheffler - 50/1

DraftKings Price: $8,500 / FanDuel Price: $9,900

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 13.5%

Scottie Scheffler has seen a 17-point decrease with his outright price between the Farmers Insurance Open and the Waste Management. Are we looking at too steep of a decline because of one missed cut? I certainly believe that to be the case.

Everything about Torrey Pines shaped up to be a potential disaster for the 53rd-ranked player in the world. I never love the idea of playing young players at facilities that have proven to be challenging, and Scheffler made an absolute mess of his Thursday round at the South Course by shooting a three-over 75. A 72 on Friday at the more accessible North wasn't much better in reality, but I'll gladly take almost a percent increase in win equity odds from 35 to 50 here in Arizona.

Scheffler has a perfect game that should be needed for TPC Scottsdale, as he not only scores on par-fours better than anyone in the field has been in recent months, but he also has the ball striking skills and distance off the tee to find birdie looks at a venue that doesn't have a ton of trouble around. I have him adequately priced at 35/1 and will gladly take my extra 15 points and run.

 

#4 - Matthew Wolff - 66/1

DraftKings Price: $8,000 / FanDuel Price: $9,800

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 11.7%

Matthew Wolff has rendered a mixed bag of results early in his career. We have seen him gain as many as 9.5 shots on the field with his irons during his 3M Open victory but also lose 6.4 strokes just two weeks after that at the Northern Trust.

A lot of the conversation around Wolff's chances will come down to how elite he is with a driver, but there needs to be a more consistent distribution with his complete arsenal, including his big stick that has been known to go wild at times. The reason I like Wolff as much as I do at TPC Scottsdale is because of the freedom of being able to bomb-and-gouge. There are places where you can find trouble at the track, but most of the peril is easily avoidable by going further right or left then you usually would. The rough isn't penal whatsoever, and Wolff's power off the tee should have him in a good spot to clear any of the bunkers that might come into play.

The 20-year-old is going to need to clean up his spotty around the green game if he wants to take the next step with his career, but this venue seems to highlight everything he does well while minimizing his flaws. Wolff runs hot-and-cold with his irons, and I am willing to take a chance on him dialing them in at a price that is most likely at least 20 points too high.

 

#5 - Corey Conners - 80/1

DraftKings Price: $7,900 / FanDuel Price: $9,600

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 12.4%

My man Corey Conners. Conners will forever hold a special place for me after winning the Valero Texas Open for us at odds of 200/1 last season. Since then, I haven't found myself really prone to go back to the Canadian in many spots because his outright price reached a level that I didn't find suitable, but we are starting to enter back into a territory that I find intriguing.

Conners is an elite ball-striker that sometimes can become derailed on the greens, but as has been mentioned numerous times throughout this article, putting very well may become neutralized to an extent. Conners' best putting surface is Bermuda, his best results come at birdie fests and his irons will always give him a chance to succeed. The 61st-ranked player in the world gained the second-highest total of his career with his flat stick the last time he teed it up in Hawaii, and if that happens again, we could see him lap the field.

Key Stats

  • Ball Striking 20%
  • Strokes Gained Approach 20%
  • Par-Five Birdie or Better 15%
  • Birdie or Better 12.5%
  • Par-Four Average 12.5%
  • Proximity 150+ Yard 10%
  • Driving Distance 10%

 

 

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

  • Matthew Wolff -110 over Cameron Smith -110
  • Matthew Wolff $8,000 price tag on DraftKings vs. Cameron Smith $8,100 price tag
  • Matthew Wolff 11.7 percent projected ownership vs. Cameron Smith 5.1 percent projected ownership

1.10 Units to Win 1.00 Units

I alluded to this being my play of the week during the additional head-to-head article that I release every Tuesday. Those three to five recommendations in that piece generally count towards what I label as my "free head-to-head suggestions." I designate it under those terms because it is an enhanced betting card of wagers that I may or may not find myself invested in financially. If you were looking to play the entire board, they should still yield long-term value, but they might present more volatility than I would care to have when releasing a condensed card as I have over the years. That is not to say that the free plays won't end up outperforming my top tip of the week, but they are lower in value for one reason or another.

My play in the Vegas Report is what I classify as my "premium selection." That is meant to signify my strongest play of the week that is returning the most long-term value (according to my math). I try to be as transparent as possible when it comes to the edge I think we have for all wagers in both articles, so it typically shouldn't be that difficult to identify what matchups I have stronger ratings on than others. Everything being released does check out mathematically, but I didn't want to combine the two sections since it can become confusing with how I have structured this article over the years, plus it would paint an incomplete picture if I am not posting every single play I make for an event.

For example, I have actual bets on both Justin Thomas +130 over Jon Rahm and Webb Simpson +160 over Jon Rahm this week, but the Thomas play hasn't been written up for either column. My goal isn't to tout these picks. Instead, they are meant to be used as a tool to identify where some of our most significant edges are in the market and how we can use that to our advantage. I hope that adds some clarity to the questions I have received about where specific information can be found, but all wagers posted will be tracked for individual article purposes. Be sure to check out both features weekly for any subtle hints that may be included, and thanks for all the support you guys have given me to begin 2020.

 

2020 Head-to-Head Record (6-2-1)

+3.85 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


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


Categories
Betting Picks - Sports Bets, Wagers, Advice Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) Lineup Picks Editor Note Featured Golf #2 Golf Analysis PGA Golf DFS DraftKings RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

PGA DFS Vegas Report - Farmers Insurance Open

Welcome back to the PGA DFS Vegas Report. Andrew Landry stunted our opportunity at capturing back-to-back victories during last week's American Express. Three of our outright recommendations of Abraham Ancer (50/1, second place), Bud Cauley (110/1, T4) and Andrew Putnam (66/1, T10) all concluded the event inside the top-10, but our run was not to be after Landry birdied the final two holes to narrowly escape Ancer's frantic comeback.

It has been an extremely fast start for us this season across the board. Cameron Smith's 55/1 outright victory at the Sony Open got us into the winner's circle early in the season, and our premium head-to-head betting record of (5-2-1) has kept the positive momentum rolling from years past.

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 wager, player in the field or anything golf-related, be sure to contact me on Twitter @Teeoffsports.

 

2020 Farmers Insurance Open

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 to also read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS and betting articles to help you win big!

 

Torrey Pines (South)

7,698 Yards - Par 72 - Greens Poa

Our split course rotational run will continue this week at the Farmers Insurance Open. The field will divide their time between Torrey Pines South and Torrey Pines North for the first two rounds before finishing at the South Course for the final two days.

Before Justin Rose's victory last season, every winner of the event had played the South Course on Thursday and the North Course on Friday since 2011. It is tough to identify why this trend remained constant for so many years, but it could have something to do with the grueling nature of playing the South venue for three straight days. The South Course plays nearly two shots more difficult and almost 440 yards longer than the North, ranking as one of the most demanding tracks on tour yearly. The South venue is the longest on tour at 7,698 yards and features fairways that are incredibly challenging to hit. Only 51 percent of all drives find the short grass, which is the second-lowest on tour to Waialae Country Club. The significant difference is that Waialae's rough still allows short wedges into the putting surface, as where the small greens here require a long iron into them because of the length of the holes.

The North Course can be viewed more as a plodders facility. Good iron play and strokes gained around the green will be at of a premium, but we can’t entirely discount the importance of the venue since 18 of the 72 holes will be played at the property. Nine of the past 14 winners of the Farmers have finished the season inside the top-25 in driving distance, and seven of the eight par-threes are over 200 yards between the two venues.

 

Farmers Insurance Open

#1 - Hideki Matsuyama - 20/1

DraftKings Price: $9,900 / FanDuel: Price $11,000

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 20.4%

I hate this event from an outright betting perspective. Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Hideki Matsuyama, Tiger Woods and Justin Rose are taking up so much of the win equity for me in my models that the rest of the board has been suppressed into a range that isn't very enticing to bet.

The way I see it is that we have three options:

1. We can take this week off altogether.
2. We can eat a bad number at the top.
3. We can lessen our exposure by betting a few longshots down the board.

Frankly, I dislike all three routes for one reason or another. Torrey Pines has proven to be a course where the best golfers in the world win, so I'd prefer to avoid adding a plethora of longshots to the card and draining money in that fashion. In the same breath, taking the week off isn't what anyone came here to read, although I do believe selective betting is what helps to flourish a bankroll.

I'm not so sure I ever envisioned myself starting a card with Hideki Matsuyama again at 20/1, but I don't consider the math is as off as you might think. Yes, the 23rd-ranked player in the world has notoriously been known to not win, but the ability he has to spit out top-10 finish after top-10 finish does indicate that we are looking at a golfer who is a breakthrough or two away from having the possibility to regain his status as a top-10 talent in the world.

I've always been on record that I think Matsuyama is as elite as they come, and it wouldn't surprise me to see the five-time PGA Tour winner recapture some of the magic from early in his career. My model always overweights Matsuyama's chances, but for what it is worth, I had him properly priced at 18/1. We have seen Hideki's odds shift in reverse from 16/1 to 20/1 so far this week, and it wouldn't shock me if we couldn't gain another two points of value before all is said and done. Matsuyama is going to be extremely popular on DFS sites, but I don't imagine most golf bettors are running to the window to bet him at 20/1 or less.

 

#2 - Xander Schauffele - 16/1

DraftKings Price: $10,100 / FanDuel Price: $11,500

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 16.0%

As I mentioned previously, I don't like the idea of taking a ton of longshots here. That doesn't mean you can't consider wrapping up your card with some names down the board, but the majority of your win probability should be made up from the top.

Unfortunately, there are only so many routes we can take. We will be overly exposed if we select McIlroy, Rahm or Tiger along with anyone else in that range, so it essentially comes down to one of those three or two between 16/1 to 30/1. I've decided to go the latter route, as I believe we can generate a better win equity per dollar invested ratio.

Xander Schauffele is intriguing to me this weekend, even if the hometown narrative hasn't always worked in his favor in the past. The 26-year-old has only made one cut in four attempts at Torrey Pines, but his 25th place finish here last season might be all that was needed to officially get him past whatever issues were preventing him from finding progress at the facility.

We are probably a little shallow for what is proper price-wise on Schauffele this weekend. I have him marked at 19/1 being proper, but this is a price that might shift up marginally as we approach Thursday. I don't love recommending long-term negative EV wagers, but this is a board that is going to take some creativity to find success, and Xander has as much talent as anyone in the field.

 

#3 - Byeong Hun An - 70/1

DraftKings Price: $7,700 / FanDuel Price: $9,600

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 9.1%

A missed cut at the American Express is apparently all it took for Byeong Hun An to go from 25/1 in that event to 70/1 this weekend. That statement is unfair since the strength of the field can drastically change win equity for an individual player, but when a golfer such as Tony Finau goes from 22/1 to 30/1 between the two tournaments, you have to at least wonder why Hun An has seen such a massive increase compared to other counterparts.

The answer to that comes down to recency bias, as there are a handful of additional examples that saw nonessential moves after a quality showing during last week's rotational venue, but Hun An's talent makes him that of a 50/1 golfer in this field. There are only two golfers in this field who rank inside the top-25 for both driving distance and strokes gained around the green when I attach an 80% weight to 2019 statistics and 20% to this year (Rory McIlroy is the other), and it is that skillset that might allow the 47th-ranked player in the world to breakthrough at a premium event like the Farmers Insurance Open if his putter cooperates. That is always asking a lot out of him, but Hun An is mathematically the best value on the board for me.

 

#4 - Kevin Tway - 250/1

(40/1 Top-Five, 18/1 Top-10, 7.5/1 Top-20)

DraftKings Price: $6,700 / FanDuel Price: $8,100

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 2.6%

These next two selections probably make for better top-five or 10 bets, but there is enough upside available for them to make the official card too.

Kevin Tway finished last season ranked 25th in driving distance and 54th in par-five birdie or better percentage and enters this week ranked 14th in strokes gained around the green. His three consecutive top-43 finishes at Torrey Pines makes him an interesting name to target deep in the odds, and his ability to putt on Poa greens shouldn't be ignored.

 

#5 - Luke List - 300/1

(50/1 Top-Five, 22/1 Top-10, 9/1 Top-20)

DraftKings Price: $6,700 / FanDuel Price: $7,700

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 2.4%

Most of the industry has written Luke List off for dead after his miserable past year on the PGA Tour, but when we dive into what has gone wrong, a poor around the green game can be chalked up as the main culprit. List went from 15th on tour in the statistic during the 2018 season to 108th in 2019. That precipitous fall exponentially increased his bogey rate and decreased his made cut percentage.

List is a longshot wager for a reason and hasn't shown a ton of signs of life recently, but his 5.3 strokes gained around the greens at the Shriners Open in October does indicate that things might be beginning to turn around. The American has usually done his best work at tracks over 7,400 yards, ranking top-four compared to the field over his previous 50 rounds in strokes gained off the tee, driving distance, par-five birdie or better percentage and strokes gained around the green. If someone is going to win out of nowhere, it is going to have to be a player that drives the ball well, and List fits the criteria if he can tie up some of his loose ends.

 

Key Stats

  • Off the Tee + Approach 25%
  • Proximity 175+ Yards 17.5%
  • Driving Distance 17.5%
  • Par-Five Birdie or Better 15%
  • Bogey Avoidance 12.5%
  • Strokes Gained Around the Green 12.5%
  • 50% Stats/30% Form/20% Course History

 

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

  • Ryan Palmer -110 over Billy Horschel -110
  • Ryan Palmer $8,000 price tag on DraftKings vs. Billy Horschel $8,100 price tag
  • Ryan Palmer 15.2 percent projected ownership vs. Billy Horschel 6.3 percent projected ownership

1.10 Units to Win 1.00 Units

Ryan Palmer -110 over Billy Horschel narrowly eclipsed Marc Leishman -120 over Jordan Spieth this weekend for our play of the week. To find my complete free betting card, click here. 

Consider me marginally surprised that sportsbooks have released Palmer and Horschel -110 to begin the week. I'm not one that generally agrees with the masses, but if DraftKings ownership is any indication of where this line should move by the start of the event, I'd have to imagine we see some money sprinkle in on Palmer throughout the week.

In my opinion, the head-to-head golf market is one of the weakest sectors for sportsbooks. There is a reason why some Vegas books only give you access to the biggest names in the field faced off against one another, but things start to spiral for them slightly when going down the board. Golf is the one sport where win equity and made cut equity can vastly differ, and it allows an edge to be had if we can find what golfers are being priced out of their correct range.

Horschel's two top-eight showings here during his past four trips have placed him at about 60/1 to win the event, but his statistical deficiencies mixed with his current form tell a different story than we have seen from him in the past. Horschel has provided two consecutive missed cuts on tour and lacks the long irons or par-five scoring you would want to see out of someone as a head-to-head wager. I don't disagree that Palmer and Horschel have similar win equity in this field, but we do have a vastly different expected consistency rating for the two men at a long test such as Torrey Pines.

 

2020 Head-to-Head Record (5-2-1)

+2.85 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

 


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


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Betting Picks - Sports Bets, Wagers, Advice Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) Lineup Picks Editor Note Featured Golf #2 Golf Analysis PGA Golf DFS DraftKings RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

PGA DFS Vegas Report - American Express

Welcome back to the PGA DFS Vegas Report. Cameron Smith captured his first solo victory at the Sony Open, providing himself with a 1.18 million dollar payday and us with a 55/1 outright victor.

Smith's success in Hawaii is the 16th outright winner recommended to date and gets 2020 off to the blazing start that we can hopefully keep going at this week's American Express.

If you ever have any questions about a particular wager, player in the field or anything golf-related, be sure to contact me on Twitter @Teeoffsports.

 

2020 American Express Open

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.

 

PGA West TPC Stadium Course

7,200 Yards - Par 72 - Greens Bermuda

There is an interesting DFS angle to be had for the American Express this week. Players will rotate between La Quinta Country Club, the PGA West Tournament Course and the PGA West Stadium Course over the first three days. On the final day, the top-65 golfers (including ties) will head over to the Stadium Course one last time to conclude the festivities.

Rotational venues do make handicapping difficult because not only do we not have shot tracking capabilities at two of the properties, but we also get an extra day of golf for every player in the field. That allows the mentality of taking a more aggressive approach since we know we are guaranteed three rounds with every player that doesn't withdraw early, and it sometimes can lead to a stars-and-scrubs strategy being advantageous.

The TPC Stadium Course is the hardest of the three properties by nearly two strokes. Water comes into play on nine of the holes, and there is extensive bunkering throughout that makes it vital to either hit the fairway or clear the sand traps with distance. The winner of the event has not finished worse than 20-under par since 2007, so birdies and scoring opportunities will be vital if you want your picks to compete for the title.

 

American Express

#1 - Abraham Ancer - 50/1

DraftKings Price $8,900 / FanDuel Price $10,200

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 10.7%

There's a lot to decipher this week for the American Express. Split rotations, amateur playing partners and a lack of shot tracking would be the most notable culprits, but we have also been given a betting board that mimics the who's who of players that can't seem to win on tour. Rickie Fowler, Sungjae Im, Paul Casey, Tony Finau, Byeong Hun An and Charles Howell III make up the top six options in terms of odds, and it's a territory that I'm going to bypass when starting my card because of the lack of win equity presented. That doesn't mean that I can't make a logical case for a few of these selections, most notably Casey and Hun An, but I'd prefer not to chase after decreased win probability.

As we traverse down the board, there are a few choices that mathematically are closer than you may think. Scottie Scheffler at 28/1 is about one percent off from where I have him being correctly priced, and even an unproven commodity such as Jason Kokrak is getting overweighted in my model. If Scheffler wins this weekend, it will have to come without me, but the lack of winning upside with all 156 players puts golfers back into play that I usually wouldn't target.

Similar to the Sony Open, the first player to show up as a positive EV wager for me was Abraham Ancer - an option who scorned us along the way last weekend in Hawaii. It does worry me slightly that his poor form could continue in California, but gambling is about letting bygones be bygones.

Looking back on it, the difficult conditions in Hawaii were not conducive to his game, and I believe the PGA West Stadium Course is a better fit for him to find success. The 39th-ranked golfer in the world has shown the propensity to play well in the wind, but I may have underestimated just how difficult the venue would play over the four rounds, which not only hurt his scoring chances but may have frustrated him along the way.

I had Ancer priced at 33/1 to win at a much more challenging field in Waialae, and there really isn't a reason we should see that price get any worse in a watered-down American Express. Ancer makes for an interesting off-the-radar selection in OAD contests this week and is one of the best values on the board in GPP and outright markets.

#2 - Jason Kokrak - 45/1

DraftKings Price $9,100 / FanDuel Price $10,300

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 13.0%

If you follow my articles weekly, this may come as a shock to your senses. Jason Kokrak is FAR from my prototypical selection, as he does just about everything contrary to what I advocate looking for weekly. He has demonstrated no winning upside, which has been shown from his inability to capture a title on tour since becoming a full-time pro in 2012, and it comes at the cost of us paying a rather large premium to back him at his 45/1 outright price.

While all that remains true as traps to avoid falling into, I absolutely love the way Kokrak's game fits in California. We have seen two of the past three winners at this event bludgeon the ball off the tee, and the American should be able to take advantage of the short par-fives with his length. The 34-year-old has provided two straight top-18 finishes at the PGA West Stadium Course and has shot under par in all eight rounds.

When attaching an 80 percent weight to 2019 statistics and 20% to this year, Kokrak ranks eighth in strokes gained off the tee and ninth in strokes gained approach. The most significant selling point for most is how any style can find a path to victory at this venue, and you aren't going to find many players that can provide such an array of talent with multiple facets of his game. I think the stigma around Kokrak not being able to win on tour ends in 2020, and it very well might come this weekend.

 

#3 - Lucas Glover - 60/1

DraftKings Price $8,200 / FanDuel Price $9,700

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 9.7%

Sometimes how heralded a player is for an event has a direct correlation with where they are priced compared to other popular choices on the DraftKings slate. I realize this stretches deeper than that since Lucas Glover hasn't won an event since 2011, but it didn't help his cause that he got priced around Brian Harman, Russell Knox and Vaughn Taylor.

Glover does fall into the classification that I'd prefer to avoid when making outright picks, which is a low-variance selection that fails to provide the amount of upside needed to meet his price, but there are moments as a gambler where you have to trust your math and avoid preconceived notions.

Glover's 9.7% ownership projection on DraftKings makes him a solid pivot option off of Knox and Taylor, and his outright win equity of 1.6% by the books is shallow for where I have it forecasted. Would it be safer to play him as a top-20 bet? Sure. And I wouldn't talk you out of taking that route also. But I am happy to grab him at a price that feels as if all the negative hoopla around him is getting overly baked into his going rate.

 

#4 - Andrew Putnam - 66/1

DraftKings Price $7,800 / FanDuel Price $9,600

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 6.5%

Poor weekend rounds at the Sony Open has helped to hide the fact that Andrew Putnam flirted with the top of the leaderboard for the opening two days. Many golf fans will not be aware of that if they just look at his share of 57th place finish, but the 51st-ranked player in the world should be taken seriously as a contender for the rotational venue.

Putnam's 14 straight made cuts place him fourth on the current leaderboard, and his collection of recent robust results have come during a plethora of different events. The narrative can sometimes become boring when we see a golfer steadily going about their business in a similar fashion, but Putnam's recent run isn't something to be ignored.

You could make a case that his history of performing better on challenging tracks takes him out of the equation here, but his lack of strength off the tee works better when you have broad fairways and big greens. That is what all three tracks give us this weekend, and it won't take much improvement with his driver to place him into contention.

 

#5 - Bud Cauley - 110/1

DraftKings Price $7,300 / FanDuel Price $8,7000

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 8.9%

It doesn't take much statistical convincing for me to make an argument for Bud Cauley during most weeks. Cauley's accolades are endless and demonstrate a golfer that should have achieved more success than he has at this point in his career. Whether you want to point to him being the former number-one ranked junior in the world or a three-time First-Team All-American during his three years at Alabama, you can start to gain the sense that the now 29-year-old should have more than a career-high ranking of 53rd.

It is difficult to tell why it has taken Cauley as long as he has to put the pieces together. You can place some of the blame on his car accident in 2018 that broke five of his ribs, collapsed his lung and fractured his lower leg, but Cauley was struggling to find consistency even before that moment.

There is no guarantee that talented players such as Cauley ever quite figure it out in their careers if it doesn't click immediately, but 110/1 is an astronomical price for a golfer that has secured three top-14 results here since 2016. To me, Cauley is perhaps the best value on the board when it comes to mispricing, and I can make a strong argument for him as a selection that should be closer to 70/1 in this field.

 

#6 - Bronson Burgoon - 200/1

DraftKings Price $6,800 / FanDuel Price $8,000

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 7.5%

One of the biggest misconceptions that I see weekly is the idea that volatility is a negative component. Sure, it affects you when you are dealing with head-to-head plays or cash-game options, but a boom-or-bust nature is what we should be striving to pinpoint in the outright or GPP markets.

Many will look at Burgoon's stretch of missing 10 of 12 cuts last season and instantly take him off their board of consideration, but I'd much prefer someone with a more extensive range of outcomes than your cut-makers that provide minimal winning potential.

There is an argument to be made that the three venues don't reward his off the tee prowess the way that some facilities would, but the 32-year-old is more of a complete player than his results would lead you to believe. Burgoon has earned a minuscule total of strokes with both his driver, irons and putter over his previous 75 tournaments, and it just takes him being able to put it all together for four days.

 

Key Stats

  • Birdie or Better 22.5%
  • Strokes Gained Approach 20.0%
  • Par-Five Birdie or Better 17.5%
  • Proximity From 100-175 Yards Yards 16%
  • Par-Three Average 14%
  • Strokes Gained Off the Tee 10%
  • 50% Stats/30% Form/20% Course History
  • (I do believe 50/30/20 is more of a cash-game approach this week. Tournament history is tough to gauge with the rotational setup, and I wouldn't mind going a more aggressive 70/30 type of approach.

 

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

We beat the closing line last week by over 50 points but still failed to win when J.T. Poston missed the cut. I will be taking this week off from my lengthy premium selection write-ups in this article, but you can find some of my head-to-head choices that caught my eye here, including the play I will be using as my play of the week.

 

2020 Head-to-Head Record (4-2-1)

+1.85 Units Year-To-Date From H2H Bets

Tournament

Head-to-Head Bet

Bet

My Picks Finish

Opponent Finish

Result

Total

Sanderson Farms

Denny McCarthy -110 over Martin Laird

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T18 (-11)

MC (+4)

Win

1.00

Safeway Open

Cameron Percy -110 over Danny Lee

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T7 (-12)

MC (+2)

Win

1.00

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

1.10

RSM Classic

Brian Stuard -105 over Chris Kirk -115

1.05 Units to Win 1.00

T10 (-13)

MC (-3)

Win

1.00

Sony Open

J.T. Poston -110 over Brendan Todd -110

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

MC (+3)

T21 (-5)

Loss

-1.10


2020 Outright Bets That Have Finished Inside the Top-10

Player

Event

Odds

Finish Position

Cameron Smith

Sony Open

55

1

Joaquin Niemann

Sentry TOC

50

5

Dustin Johnson

Sentry TOC

10

7

Xander Schauffele

ZOZO Championship

25

10

Career 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


Categories
Betting Picks - Sports Bets, Wagers, Advice Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) Lineup Picks Editor Note Featured Golf #2 Golf Analysis PGA Golf DFS DraftKings RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

PGA DFS Vegas Report - Sony Open

Welcome back to the PGA DFS Vegas Report. Justin Thomas got the job done in Hawaii for the third time in his career, but it didn't come without a little uncertainty down the stretch. The American played the final three holes in two-over par, which includes nearly handing Xander Schauffele the victory on the 72nd hole when his second shot found the native area.

Fortunately for Thomas, Schauffele also had issues closing the show after three-putting from 35-feet - setting up our first three-man playoff of the year between Thomas, Reed and Schauffele. Thomas' eventual two birdies on the 18th hole during the playoff was good enough to crown him the winner at the event for the second time in his career, and he will look to provide a carbon copy of how he celebrated his 2017 title by going into the Sony Open and capturing back-to-back victories.

Our outright betting card of Joaquin Nieman (50/1), Dustin Johnson (10/1) and Matthew Wolff (60/1) all flirted with the top of the leaderboard throughout the tournament, but a few poor weekend rounds took us out of contention late. With the Sony Open on tap, let's see if we can't continue the strong start to the year, and perhaps get ourselves over the hump with a triumph of our own.

 

2020 Sony Open

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.

 

Waialae Country Club

7,044 Yards - Par 70 - Greens Bermuda

A 15-minute drive from Honolulu, Waialae Country Club was designed by Seth Raynor in 1925 and was enhanced to feature restorations that mimicked the original layout by Tom Doak in 2016.

Just like Kapalua last weekend, Waialae is one of the easiest courses on tour, but it will play vastly different than its predecessor. Kapalua featured hilly terrain, stretching nearly 7,500 yards in length, while Waialae can be best described as a flat, boring bayside track that will emphasize par-four scoring and ball-striking at just slightly over 7,000 yards. The only line of defense for the venue is wind, which can cause approximately a three-shot difference per day in calm versus windy conditions. However, the fairways are lined with trees that do mitigate some of the weather. Driving accuracy is well below the tour average, but the rough is innocuous, and players will have clean second shots as long as they avoid the trees.

There are 12 par-fours on the course, with 10 of them ranging between 400-500 yards. The four par-threes extend between 173-200 yards and the two par-fives play 497 and 548 yards, respectively. The par-fives are the easiest holes to score on, featuring roughly a 71 percent and 55 percent birdie or better percentage. Those holes are reachable in two shots for just about every player in the field, so golfers that can give themselves an opportunity for quality eagle looks should make a few during the week. In general, Waialae is a second shot course that will reward players that are good with their irons and can score on par-fours.

 

Sony Open

#1 - Marc Leishman - 40/1

DraftKings Price $9,200 / FanDuel Price $10,600

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 7.7%

It is a weird betting card this week. Justin Thomas is eating up a ton of win equity with his 6/1 price tag, but it is not a route that I can get myself to go down. It wouldn't shock me to see the American go back-to-back in Hawaii, but this is one of those spots where I am ok opposing him and tipping my cap if he beats me.

The rest of our options in the sub-35/1 range also don't scream VALUE! Webb Simpson is one of my favorite DFS plays of the week, but there is a big difference between playing him in a cash-game/GPP contests and betting him as an outright selection at 12/1. Simpson has only won once on tour since 2013, and I don't think his upside is as great as some are leading you to believe. That doesn't mean he can't win, but you would need to inflate his odds by 2.5x for me to become interested.

The first player that returns positive win equity based on my math is Marc Leishman at 40/1. The Aussie is going to enter the week at under 10 percent owned on DFS sites because of his inconsistent run as of late, but Leishman is a world-class wind player that has been known to find success in birdie shootouts.

The one continuous narrative you will hear this week is that participants at the Sentry Tournament of Champions are more likely to win this weekend in Honolulu. I can't argue that stance since seven of the last eight winners of this event played the week before, but I do want to put my own spin on that take. It is important to note that the Presidents Cup allowed a handful of golfers to garner some early season form, even if it isn't shown on an official tournament record.

I have Leishman priced at 25/1 in this field, providing him a rather large window of value at his current bloated number of 40/1. His 7.7% projected ownership on DraftKings makes him a fabulous GPP option to consider, and his third-place showing here last season confirms that Waialae fits his game when he is in form.

 

#2 - Abraham Ancer - 50/1

DraftKings Price $9,000 / FanDuel Price $10,400

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 4.7%

I've alluded to Abraham Ancer a lot this week in my other articles here at RotoBaller, but I want to dive a little deeper than the rudimentary information I have provided so far. Good form is key for players early in the season since many come into the year slightly out of place with their game, and it is why golfers that shake off their rust at the Tournament of Champions get rewarded with robust finishes here in Honolulu. However, there may be no player in the world that is peaking more than Ancer is at this moment.

The 38th-ranked player in the world became the first golfer from Mexico selected for the President's Cup in December, where all he was did was finish in a tie as the top-scoring international player after going 3-1-1 for the week. His battle on the final day against Tiger Woods in the singles portion of the competition placed him on the biggest stage he has been on in his career, and Ancer literally answered all questions during his showdown against Woods, eventually falling 3-and-2 on the day to the best player of all time.

At no point in that match did Ancer appear to be out of place or overwhelmed, and not enough credit was bestowed on Woods for his excellent match play form that prevented the Mexican golfer from dethroning the king. Perhaps that display when it matters most is why Woods is viewed as being superhuman, but the confidence that Ancer earned the entire weekend can't be artificially gained or purchased. I believe we see the 28-year-old continue to add onto his career-changing weekend in Australia, and I look for him to remain hot after providing two straight top-10 showings to end 2019.

 

#3 - Brandt Snedeker - 50/1

DraftKings Price $8,600 / FanDuel Price $10,100

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 6.2%

It isn't often that you see me recommend Brandt Snedeker for my card, but I love the way Waialae Country Club sets up for the American.

Snedeker's course history is a little sneaky because while he did miss a cut here in 2017, he does have two top-16 showings since 2015 - including a second-place finish in 2016. When we look at those 10 rounds over the past five years at Waialae, only once has the 47th-ranked player in the world not broken par, which came when he missed the cut in 2017 and provided an opening day even-par 70. That means that every round he has recorded here since 2015 falls into the range of 63 to 70, with nine of those efforts landing in the 60s.

That is a quiet narrative that not too many people are pointing towards, making it likely that if the American can establish an aberrational few days with his irons, his putter has the chance to carry him towards the winner's circle. Snedeker's 6.2% projected ownership on DraftKings makes him a sneaky GPP play, and his 50/1 outright price might go overlooked because of his inconsistent approach shot numbers. Longshot selections always need an outside the norm result to take place with their games if they want to find success, and Snedeker has gained strokes with his irons each event here since 2015.

 

#4 - Cameron Smith - 55/1

DraftKings Price $8,500 / FanDuel Price $9,900

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 6.9%

Cameron Smith's shaky iron play may end up being the ultimate obstacle that prevents him from breaking through this weekend, but the Aussie has rendered three consecutive top-27 finishes here in Waialae. Smith's boom-or-bust nature with his approach game isn't a negative for those looking to find GPP upside, and the lack of real trouble off the tee shouldn't hurt either.

Despite his consistent results in Honolulu, the 26-year-old is someone I am only considering as a GPP choice on DraftKings, as I do think his range of outcomes spreads widely with his uncertain approach game. Still, though, Smith's 55/1 outright price has inflated too much from his opening number and is worth backing at a venue that should reward his birdie-making style.

 

#5 - Daniel Berger - 125/1

DraftKings Price $7,300 / FanDuel Price $9,000

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 6.8%

It has been a precipitous fall for Daniel Berger, who enters the week ranked 155th in the world. That ranking is a far cry from his career-high mark of 18th back in 2017, but the American has shown signs of life as of late.

While his lack of upside has been discouraging, Berger has made the cut in 15 of his past 17 events, which does include three top-23 results over his previous four tournaments. Add to that the fact that Berger has started two of his last three tourneys with rounds of 66 and 67, respectively, and you can see that the wrist injury that derailed his career seems to be finally behind him.

Berger has contributed four made cuts at Waialae in his four attempts, leading to two top-15 results in the process. If the two-time PGA Tour winner can return to his form of dominating par-fours - a category he ranked inside the top-15 in both 2016 and 2017 - his pristine play in the wind might be able to shine through.

 

Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained Approach 25%
  • Par-Four Average 22.5%
  • Birdie or Better 17.5%
  • Proximity Over 125 Yards 15%
  • Par-Five Birdie or Better 10%
  • Strokes Gained Putting 10%
  • 50% Stats/30% Form/20% Course History

 

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

J.T. Poston -110 over Brendan Todd -110
J.T. Poston $8,100 price tag on DraftKings vs. Brendan Todd $8,300 price tag
J.T. Poston 16.4 percent projected ownership vs. Brendan Todd 7.4 percent projected ownership

1.10 Units to Win 1.00 Units

*** This line has moved dramatically since the construction of the article. I tweeted about the potential for this shift on Tuesday morning and have downgraded the stake to a min-bet to account for a new total that isn't accessible at this moment. Follow me on Twitter @teeoffsports to avoid missing any pertinent information that may affect the piece going forward.

I am a little surprised to see Brendan Todd not projected to be owned at a higher percentage. I've seen a lot of people touting him early in the week, and while I do understand the narrative of attempting to go back to the well on the hottest player in the world in the outright market, head-to-head betting is a different game. Of any golfer priced above $8,000 on DraftKings, Todd, Kevin Kisner and Alex Noren have the highest missed cut percentage for me. Joaquin Niemann, surprisingly, is fourth on that list, but it does make some sense given his volatile nature.

Some of Todd's victories have happened at events where statistical tracking wasn't possible, so take these totals with a grain of salt, but the American has ranked 114th compared to the field in strokes gained approach over his past 36 rounds. With Waialae demanding excellence with an iron in your hand, that raises major concerns that the 61st-ranked player in the world might be in for a doomsday scenario. I have -140 on Poston being closer to the correct value on this wager and believe we are getting a gift handed to us to start the season. Good luck at the Sony Open, and let's hope we can start 2020 with a bang!

 

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

+2.95 Units Year-To-Date From H2H Bets

Tournament

Head-to-Head Bet

Bet

My Picks Finish

Opponent Finish

Result

Total

Sanderson Farms

Denny McCarthy -110 over Martin Laird

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T18 (-11)

MC (+4)

Win

1.00

Safeway Open

Cameron Percy -110 over Danny Lee

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T7 (-12)

MC (+2)

Win

1.00

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

1.10

RSM Classic

Brian Stuard -105 over Chris Kirk -115

1.05 Units to Win 1.00

T10 (-13)

MC (-3)

Win

1.00

 


2020 Outright Bets That Have Finished Inside the Top-10

Player

Event

Odds

Finish Position

Joaquin Niemann

Sentry TOC

50

5

Dustin Johnson

Sentry TOC

10

7

Xander Schauffele

ZOZO Championship

25

10


Career 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


Categories
Betting Picks - Sports Bets, Wagers, Advice Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) Lineup Picks Editor Note Featured Golf #2 Golf Analysis PGA Golf DFS DraftKings RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

PGA DFS Vegas Report - Sentry Tournament of Champions

After nearly a one-month long break from PGA tournament golf, 2020 will begin with 34 winners from the 2019 season all vying to be crowned the champion of all champions.

If you are new here to the Vegas Report, I would like to welcome you in and give you a slight background for what this article hopes to accomplish. Our goal is always to locate value on the betting board (whether that be from outright bets or head-to-head wagers) and attempt to provide a long-term edge over the sportsbooks. With our outright winners, we will try to pinpoint the best positive equity bets of the week, and in the process, we hope this presents attractable DFS plays for you to consider. With our head-to-head selections, we will be looking at the most lopsided line of the event, which should not only provide long-term success but will also help to navigate some of the "who should I start?" questions from a DFS standpoint.

I am excited to be able to lead you guys as the conductor of this journey for another year, so without further ado, let's get right into the Sentry Tournament of Champions and see if we can't begin 2020 with a bang!

 

2020 Sentry Tournament of Champions

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.

 

Kapalua Plantation Course

7,500 Yards - Par 73 - Greens Bermuda

Designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore 1991, the Kapalua Plantation Course received a minor toughen-up in 2019. Before we take that last statement too much to heart, we are still looking at a venue that has been dismantled for 30-under par or better twice in its history. It will be interesting to see how the small increase in difficulty changes the event, but I wouldn't start drastically changing my handicapping approach.

Only three par threes are on the property, making it a rare Par 73 at 7,500 yards, and wind can come into play at the hilly venue. Wide and generous Bermuda fairways stretch beyond 50 yards wide in some circumstances, and players will be hitting their second shots into huge, undulating Bermuda Greens.

All the par-fives leave a chance for birdies and eagles, and even though there can be an occasional gust of wind, it is an easy resort course that is meant to kick the year off in style.

 

Sentry Tournament of Champions

#1 - Dustin Johnson - 10/1

DraftKings Price $10,100 / FanDuel Price $11,200

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 26.7%

With only 34 players in the field, I wouldn't place too much emphasis on ownership percentage. That goes against my normal take of trying to find contrarian alternatives that are flying into the event under the radar, but it is going to be difficult this week to build a lineup for DFS sites that is not only unique but also still explosive.

I believe the more prudent route to take for the Sentry Tournament of Champions is attempting to find a way to fit multiple of the high-end talent options onto the same lineup (Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele, etc.) with a few longer shots that could still be bringing in their fair share of ownership. While players like Rahm and Johnson might both be garnering ownership levels that exceed 25%, most DFS players won't be able to construct a lineup that features both, which diversifies your build compared to the other setups that only have one of the two on a roster.

To me, Johnson is the ultimate wild card this weekend. The American has put together eight straight events where he has failed to exceed a 20th place finish, but I am willing to chalk most of his poor form up to a knee injury that required surgery after the Tour Championship. Johnson was able to return to the Presidents Cup two weeks ago, going 2-2 during his four matches, but he was able to close strong with back-to-back victories in both singles and foursomes play.

A healthy Johnson would have been priced as the favorite at around 4/1, so the decrease of about 15% in implied win probability is worth giving him a second look. The fifth-ranked player in the world has recorded the best scoring average at Kapalua through his 35 rounds played there and has placed within the top-10 in each of his past four trips. I don't want to make it seem as if there is no risk in backing Johnson this weekend because there is, but 10/1 is a price that is baking in all the negatives around his current form and not considering the upside that has shown he could lap the field.

 

#2 - Joaquin Niemann - 50/1

DraftKings Price $8,000 / FanDuel Price $9,500

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 20.1%

Joaquin Niemann's success at Kapalua is going to come down to how successful he can be with his putter. The 21-year-old has shown to be one of the best iron players in the world, ranking 31st on tour last season in ball striking and 25th in strokes gained approach, but his ranking of 141st on the greens held him back on multiple occasions throughout the year.

However, golf betting is all about value, and 50/1 is a price that is too inflated for Niemann's robust upside. I've stated in the past that the Chilean will find the majority of his success early in his career at venues that require pristine iron play and result in birdie shootouts, mostly because his flat stick still needs time to catch up to the rest of his game. Niemann qualified for the Tournament of Champions at The Greenbrier, a venue that saw him shoot 21-under par on his way to victory, and I believe Kapalua demonstrates a lot of the same elements that he conquered when he found his first victory in West Virginia.

Niemann's ownership projection of 20.1% does place him slightly on the higher side compared to the equivalent choices that are priced within $500 of him on DraftKings, but with that being said, he is still projected to only be the 16th most owned player on the slate. If Niemann can figure out a way to traverse the greens at the Plantation Course successfully, he's capable of making some noise this weekend in Hawaii.

#3 - Matthew Wolff - 60/1

DraftKings Price $7,900 / FanDuel Price $9,100

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 17.0%

Of all the golfers in Hawaii this weekend, Matthew Wolff is my favorite play on the board. Kapalua's broad fairways that stretch as much as 50 yards wide should play right into the former Oklahoma State products hands, as he ranks fourth on tour in driving distance and third in birdie or better percentage on par-fives during the year.

Wolff's inaccuracy off the tee that currently places him 198th on tour in 2020 won't be an issue with the wide-open areas to hit into, and the non-penal rough should further amplify his go for broke mentality. Wolff broke out in 2019 and nearly moved into the top-100 in the Official World Golf Rankings, but I think we see him take the next jump with his game this year and potentially end the season ranked inside the top-25.

Hawaii seems like the perfect venue for Wolff to use his driver as a weapon over the field, and even though the statistics won't admit it because of a few poor tournaments with his irons, he is also a quality iron player that should be able to provide himself with a plethora of birdie opportunities. It wouldn't shock me if this is one of the highest numbers we get on him going forward, which begs the question as to why are we receiving it in a 34-man field?

 

#4 - Keith Mitchell - 110/1

DraftKings Price $7,000 / FanDuel Price $8,000

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 14.9%

It is hard to get behind Keith Mitchell after the struggles he has demonstrated since winning at the Honda Classic in March, but the American has such an explosive game on Bermuda greens that I've always been a proponent of throwing out his splits entirely and just focusing on his course fit when placed on his favorite surface.

Over his past 50 rounds on Bermuda, Mitchell ranks inside the top-eight compared to the field in strokes gained approach, driving distance, strokes gained on par-fours and birdies or better gained. A lot of this stems from the fact that the 98th-ranked player in the world goes from one of the worst putters on tour on every other surface to just a marginally below-average player on Bermuda.

"Marginally below" is not the best way to describe someone's game that you are picking to have a chance to win a tournament, but Mitchell has an explosive game that is capable of going on long birdie stretches and features an outright price that is yielding some value in a small, no-cut event. If Mitchell can just be "average" with his flat stick in Hawaii, his off the tee prowess might be able to place him in contention.

 

Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained Approach 25%
  • Driving Distance 20%
  • Birdie or Better 20%
  • Par-Four Average 17.5%
  • Par-Five Birdie or Better 17.5%
  • 70% Stats/30% Form

 

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

No head-to-head play for the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

We will resume at the Sony Open next week.

 

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

+2.95 Units Year-To-Date From H2H Bets

Tournament

Head-to-Head Bet

Bet

My Picks Finish

Opponent Finish

Result

Total

Sanderson Farms

Denny McCarthy -110 over Martin Laird

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T18 (-11)

MC (+4)

Win

1.00

Safeway Open

Cameron Percy -110 over Danny Lee

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T7 (-12)

MC (+2)

Win

1.00

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

1.10

RSM Classic

Brian Stuard -105 over Chris Kirk -115

1.05 Units to Win 1.00

T10 (-13)

MC (-3)

Win

1.00

 


2020 Outright Bets That Have Finished Inside the Top-10

Player

Event

Odds

Finish Position

Xander Schauffele

ZOZO Championship

25

10

 


Career 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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