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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.

Editor's Note: Our friends at Fantasy National have built some incredible DFS Golf lineup tools including a Lineup Optimizer, Stat Engine, Ownership Projections and Course Breakdowns. They are by far the best daily fantasy Golf tools in the industry. Seriously. You can read all about them here and see screenshots.  Sign Up Now!


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

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