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PGA DFS: Vegas Report - Farmers Insurance Open


Welcome back to the PGA DFS: Vegas Report. 31-year-old rookie Adam Long won his first PGA Tour title by one shot at the Desert Classic. Long shot a final-round 65 to edge out Phil Mickelson and Adam Hadwin. The 417th-ranked player in the world had appeared in five career events, posting a share of 63rd place and four missed cuts along the way. Long's earnings during his career entering the tournament stood at just $13,568 on the PGA Tour, but he netted $1,062,000 with his victory and a two-year exemption, which includes berths into the Masters and Players Championship.

Our outright betting card, frankly, was a disaster. It was a tough tournament to breakdown with it being played on three courses, and it didn't go our way from the opening round. Our best result came from 80/1 Dylan Frittelli, who concluded the tournament in a share of 28th place. Fortunately, however, we did salvage the day with a head-to-head triumph of Anders Albertson -110 over Anirban Lahiri. Lahri was unable to make the 54-hole cut, and Alberton eventually settled into a share of 34th place on Sunday.

While we aren't entirely out of the woods yet with gimmicky events, the PGA schedule will begin to ramp up here shortly. The Farmers Insurance Open can be classified as the first real test of the season with 12 of the top 20 players teeing it up in San Diego. An additional 12 golfers ranked between 26-50 will also be here, and it will be nice to have a winning score that will play closer to 10-under par than the birdie fests we have seen so far this year. Torrey Pines is an iconic course, so without further ado, let's get right into some value plays we will be targeting at the Farmers Insurance Open.

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!

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.

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!

 

2019 Farmers Insurance Open - South Course

7,698 Yards - Par 72 - Greens Poa Annua

The Farmers Insurance Open is a much better event than we had last weekend at the Desert Classic, but we still have to deal with the tournament being played on multiple courses. The field will split 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.

Since 2011, every winner of the event has played the South Course on Thursday and the North Course on Friday. It is tough to identify why this trend has remained constant, but it could have something to do with the grueling nature of playing the South venue three straight days. The South Course plays nearly two shots more difficult and almost 440 yards longer than the North, ranking eighth out of 51 courses in 2018 for difficulty. The track 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. The significant difference is that Waialae's rough still allows short wedges into the green. The South Course has small greens, and most shots require a long iron into them because of the length of the holes.

The North Course can be viewed more as a plodders course. Good iron play and strokes gained around the green will be at of a premium. We can’t entirely discount the importance of the venue since 18 of the 72 holes will be played here, and players will need to make the most of their rounds with it being the more open track for scoring. Nine of the past 13 winners of the Farmers have finished the season inside the top-25 in driving distance, and seven of the eight Par 3s are over 200 yards between the two venues.

 

Farmers Insurance Pick to Win

Patrick Cantlay - 28/1, DK Price $9,200, FD Price $11,100

It is an interesting betting board this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. Jon Rahm (10/1) leads the way and is a compelling favorite. Rahm brings in momentum and a game that is ideally suited to compete at Torrey Pines, which is evident by his victory here in 2017. The Spaniard's odds are fair, but they are too shallow for me to take on in a stacked field. Tony Finau (18/1) has perhaps produced the best course history of any player in the event, recording four top-25 finishes in his four career attempts -- including two straight top-six results. I've always thought that Finau might find his big breakthrough at Torrey Pines, but it is hard to stomach taking on such minimal odds for a player that hasn't been able to discover the winner's circle in a prominent event. I wouldn't be shocked if we see Finau breakthrough this week, but I'd prefer him at 25/1 or above. Then there is Jordan Spieth at 40/1, who remains the elephant in the room. I think at his current odds you are forced to at least consider playing the American, but his game in Hawaii showed that there is still more work that needs to be done.

And so that leaves us with Patrick Cantlay, who I believe has the best combination of odds and form coming into the week. A California native, Cantlay has not demonstrated the most pristine course history at Torrey Pines, missing the cut in his first attempt six years ago while providing a marginal share of 51st place last season, but the mediocre results do not deter me from backing the 26-year-old on a course that should set up ideally for him.

Cantlay has been magnificent over his past 15 events, which includes four straight top-nine results. His share of ninth place during last weekend's Desert Classic is going under the radar due to a sloppy one-under 71 on Sunday, where he lost 3.420 strokes putting. His approach play placed him first overall in his two trackable rounds on the Stadium Course, unveiling that he is dialed in with his irons, and a return to Poa greens should help neutralize some of his poor putting.

The 17th-ranked player in the world is going to be a popular choice on DraftKings because of his consistency, but I think we see him used more widely in cash-games than anything else. That should open up a slight advantage in GPP tournaments and makes him an astounding bet at 28/1. For those of you competing in a 'one and done' contest, Cantlay is an intriguing option. He is going to be popular, but after not being able to close the deal last weekend, I think players will gravitate towards the likes of Finau and McIlroy, leaving the young American as an attractive alternative.

 

Farmers Insurance Sleepers

Gary Woodland - 28/1, DK Price $9,000, FD Price $10,600

Gary Woodland hasn't been shy about his love affair for Torrey Pines in the past. The 36-hole leader in 2016 and the 54-hole leader in 2014, Woodland has failed to find the winner's circle in San Diego primarily due to his inability to close out events late. However, fast forward to 2019, and the American looks like a different version of himself. He captured the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February of 2018 and started the 2019 PGA Tour calendar season with two second-place finishes at the CJ Cup and Sentry Tournament of Champions.

The significant difference in his improvement has been his scoring in the final round. The 34-year-old shot a nine-under 63 during the CJ Cup, and while he did lose the overnight lead at the Tournament of Champions, his five-under 65 was deserving for the title that day. Xander Schauffele rampaged the track with an 11-under 62 to steal the trophy, but Woodland has found consistency when it matters most.

There are a plethora of quotes from Woodland regarding his affinity for the venue, so I won't bore you with an entire passage of comments, but here are a few that caught my attention from 2016:

Q. How important is it to get off when you play the North Course first, how important is it to get a good round out there?

GARY WOODLAND: It is. You definitely think about it a little bit, because you know the South Course is a big boy golf course. But the South Course is one of my favorite golf courses we play all year. Most holes go left-to-right, so I’m excited about playing well today and excited about the weekend.

Q. Is that because you have a fade?

GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, I like to hit the driver left-to-right. And the holes really that go right-to-left are the short holes that allow me to hit iron off the tee. So it’s a golf course that suits me very well off the tee box, it gives me a chance to be aggressive.

Q. Interesting you having said that, because like people talking to Dustin after the round today, guys like you and Dustin, who bomb it, there’s this assumption that Torrey Pines is just made for you guys. But there’s a lot more to it than length, right?

GARY WOODLAND: Yeah, you got to drive the ball in the fairway. The greens are very firm, the rough is definitely thick and up. If you miss fairways, you’re going to give your self a tough chance to make par. So, it’s nice to have the length, because I’m able to hit irons into some of these par-5s that guys aren’t getting home to. That gives a huge advantage. I’m able to hit iron off some of these shorter holes, which gives me a chance to get the ball in the fairway a lot easier than a lot of guys.

I don't think 28/1 is the best number we have taken on all season with an outright selection, but with the momentum that he is carrying and newfound ability to perform late, I am fine investing in a price that might be considered by some to be a long-term negative expected value wager. I am not the guy who puts much stock into course history, but if a player likes a venue the way that Woodland loves Torrey Pines, his odds should be slightly reduced. On top of that, we are getting an increase in price from where it would have been after his 80th place finish at the Sony Open. I'd have preferred 30/1 on the 24th-ranked player in the world but don't want to miss out on the win over two points.

Luke List - 70/1, DK Price $7,700, FD Price $9,700

After a missed cut at the Desert Classic, we will find out way back onto Luke List at the Farmers Insurance Open. List is an exceptional ball striker that failed to do much of anything in his opening two rounds at La Quinta last weekend. The American combined to shoot a two-under par on the two easiest courses the PGA Tour has to offer on Thursday and Friday before concluding his Saturday round with a five-under 67.

Chalk it up to a little rust for the slow start, but the 34-year-old has seen his odds nearly double after the poor performance. List can bludgeon a course when he is in form, and Torrey Pines could set up flawlessly for his length. In his last 50 rounds compared to the field, the 64th-ranked player in the world grades out first in strokes gained off the tee, fourth in driving distance and a surprising eighth in strokes gained around the green. List has a big boy game that is capable of winning at a big boy course, and it is difficult to ignore one of the longest hitters on tour at odds of 70/1. His ownership projection has been somewhat suppressed to around 10 percent on DraftKings, and there is enough upside to warrant being overweight to the field in GPP events.

Kevin Tway - 110/1, DK Price $7,200, FD Price $9,600

With it being another split course event, I tried to stack my betting card to avoid golfers starting Thursday on the North Course. Nobody has come from that setup to win since 2010, and I don't want to take on a trend that I can't refute as being a fluke. However, I find it too difficult to ignore Kevin Tway at 110/1 odds this week, even if he does have the perceived wrong wave split.

The American finished last season ranked 13th in driving distance on the PGA Tour and has been brilliant around the greens in 22 rounds this year, ranking 21st overall. The blend of power and touch gives Tway a unique skill set to try and conquer the behemoth course thrown in front of the players this weekend. The 30-year-old has been trending in a positive direction when it comes to par-four scoring, bogey avoidance and proximity to the hole from over 200 yards or more and seems to be mispriced by around 20 points due to his missed cut at the Sony Open two weeks ago. I'd avoid Tway in cash-games because of his negative course draw, but the upside is still there as an outright bet or GPP selection.

 

Bonus Bomb

Dylan Frittelli - 110/1, DK Price $7,400, FD Price $8,200

Dylan Frittelli flew slightly under the radar last week at the Desert Classic. After shooting an even-par 72 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course -- which is the second easiest venue on tour, Frittelli catapulted his way up the leaderboard the next three days to finish in a share of 28th place. It has been a slow maturation process for the South African, who has underachieved so far during his PGA Tour career, but four consecutive cuts to begin the 2019 season has him trending in the right direction.

With the South Course playing nearly 7,700 yards, Torrey Pines is a venue that should reward his ability to gain strokes off the tee. In Frittelli's last 24 rounds compared to the field, he is ranked sixth in strokes gained off the tee and has earned strokes in that category during 11 of his past 12 trackable PGA Tour events. Similar to Tway, the 28-year-old has drawn the wrong course draw, but I think it strangely could benefit him if he can get off to a quick start on the North Course Thursday. At $7,400 on DraftKings and a three percent projected ownership, Frittelli is only in play as a GPP option, but his breakout is on the horizon, and it could start here in San Diego.

 

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

J.B Holmes +130 over Branden Grace -150
J.B Holmes $7,900 price tag on DraftKings vs. Branden Grace $7,600 price tag on DraftKings
J.B. Holmes 14 percent projected ownership vs. Branden Grace 3.0 percent projected ownership

Risk 0.70 Units to Win 0.91

The head-to-head card is extremely thin in value this week. Most of the favorites seem adequately priced, and I don't see a ton of value in any egregiously priced mismatches. The books did an outstanding job of mitigating an edge almost across the board. I think as we get deeper into the season, more substantial spots will begin to stick out, but it has been tough sledding the first handful of weeks to find a ton of poorly priced options.

This week, J.B. Holmes (+130) is more of a number grab than anything else. In 54 career tournaments that these two have played together, Grace holds a 34-19-2 head-to-head lead against Holmes. That obviously doesn't sound promising for our wager, and the line is priced to reflect that sort of mentality that Grace should be the favorite in this matchup. However, course history does matter when it comes to a head-to-head bet, and I think the odds aren't taking into account a lot of the current variables that we have in front of us.

For reference sake, I would have enlisted Holmes as a very slight favorite in this matchup, but even if we consider this to be a dead heat 50/50 wager, the implied probability gives us a 6.5 percent long-term edge on the wager -- which is a considerable advantage for a 50/50 bet. Once we shift Holmes to what I think his true price should have been of -115, the return catapults to a whopping 10 percent in implied probability. The issue with viewing a wager from this perspective is that we still are going to lose this bet somewhere around 46.5-50 percent of the time. That, of course, is assuming we were correct in our initial assumptions, but it makes for short-term volatility that should yield long-term results.

Grace is a wild-card at Torrey Pines; he has never played the event and has a mixed bag of outcomes that are possible. Winning the tournament isn't out of the question while missing the cut is in play too. The South African isn't the longest off the tee and struggles to score on par-fives, which should be good for us, but he is solid with his long irons and does a great job of avoiding three-putts.

On the other hand, Holmes has been fabulous at Torrey Pines, posting five straight top-35 results -- including three top-sixes thrown into the mix. In his previous 100 rounds compared to the field, Holmes is ranked seventh in strokes gained off the tee and 13th in driving distance, although he has continued to struggle with his bogey avoidance and par-five scoring.

This price will surely drop before both players tee off on Thursday. Holmes is projected to garner 11 percent more ownership on DraftKings and is priced $300 higher than Grace. None of that means he is the right side and, if anything, it makes me more concerned that Holmes is as popular as he is this week. But on a card that I can't seem to find much value, the implied probability of the wager as it currently stands is too much to pass up.

 

*** Adding Jordan Spieth -110 over Alex Noren 
1.1 Units to win 1.0 

While Jordan Spieth hasn't been great in the past 18 months, Alex Noren has hit a similar wall himself on the PGA Tour. Noren continues to have some success on the European Tour but has been erratic in America, missing two of his past three cuts in full-field events. In Noren's last 50 rounds compared to the field, he ranks 95th in par-five scoring and 150th in proximity to the hole from over 200 yards. Torrey Pines is the longest course on tour, and Noren could find himself struggling to find scoring opportunities because of the issues he is experiencing with his long irons. Spieth's downfall has been slightly exaggerated, and I think we are getting a superb number on the American based on Noren's playoff loss to Jason Day here last season. I am willing to take a gamble that Spieth will provide a turnaround in San Diego.

 

2019 Head-to-Head Record (5-2-2)

+3.70 Units Year-To-Date From H2H Bets

Tournament

Head-to-Head Bet

Bet

My Picks Finish

Opponent Finish

Result

Total

Safeway Open

Sangmoon Bae +130 Over Chris Kirk

1.00 Units to Win 1.30

MC (+2)

MC (E)

Loss

-1.00

CIMB Classic

Kevin Na -120 over Kevin Tway

1.50 Units to Win 1.25

T19 (-17)

T27 (-13)

Win

1.25

CJ Cup

Paul Casey +100 over Marc Leishman

1.25 Units to Win 1.25

T18 (-8)

T18 (-8)

Push

0

WGC-HSBC

Thomas Pieters +120 over Kevin Na

1.00 Units to Win 1.20

T18 (-1)

T54 (+10)

Win

1.20

Shriners

Austin Cook +100 over Russell Henley

1.00 Units to Win 1.00

MC (+1)

MC (-1)

Loss

-1.00

Mayakoba

Kevin Chappell +100 over Charley Hoffman

1.25 Units to Win 1.25

T41 (-9)

MC (+2)

Win

1.25

RSM Classic

Patrick Rodgers -105 over Bronson Burgoon

1.05 Units to Win 1.00

2nd (-19)

MC (+2)

Win

1.00

Sony Open

Jimmy Walker -115 over Kevin Na

1.15 Units to Win 1.00

T51 (-6)

Did Not Start

Push

0

Desert Classic

Anders Albertson -110 over Anirban Lahiri

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T34 (-14)

MC (-8)

Win

1.00

 

2019 Outright Bets That Have Finished Inside the Top-10

Player

Event

Odds

Finish Position

Matt Kuchar

Mayakoba Golf Classic

66/1

1

Chesson Hadley

CIMB Classic

110/1

T2

Ryan Palmer

CJ Cup

150/1

T3

Sam Ryder

Shriners Hospitals

80/1

3

Chez Reavie

Sony Open

80/1

T3

Jason Day

CJ Cup

13/1

T5

Zach Johnson

RSM Classic

40/1

T7

Kevin Kisner

RSM Classic

40/1

T7

Webb Simpson

TOC

25/1

T8

J.B. Holmes

Safeway Open

60/1

9

Shubankar Sharma

CIMB Classic

150/1

T10

Golf DFS News and Player Outlooks

 

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Premium DFS Golf Tools and Lineup Optimizer

Our friends at Fantasy National have created some game-changing DFS Golf tools, and you can read all about them here. They are hands-down the best daily fantasy Golf tools in the industry.

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