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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.

Editor's Note: Get our full-season PGA and DFS Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive Lineup Optimizer, DFS Tools, and weekly Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

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

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