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Welcome back to the PGA DFS: Vegas Report. Phil Mickelson captured his 44th PGA Tour win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, eclipsing second-place finisher Paul Casey by three strokes. The victory marks Mickelson's fifth title at the event and moves him slightly closer to the distinguished achievement of 50 wins on tour. Only seven players have ever reached that milestone, and while it remains highly improbable that Lefty would be able to pick up enough titles throughout the rest of his career to achieve that accomplishment, it is at least a number that is within reach. Mickelson's career has now endured a 28-year gap between his first career victory and 44th, and he has been winning tour events longer than four of the top 10 players in the world have been alive.

From a betting perspective, we didn't have much exposure to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Bad weather, split courses and long rounds had us enjoying the weekend without much financial liability, but it was an exciting week for our staff in the PGA 'One and Done' article that is written weekly. Both Gianni Magliocco and I correctly selected Mickelson for a cool $1,368 million. Our staff puts in a lot of time and effort trying to figure out optimal game-theory decisions regarding OAD contests, and it is always interesting to see the different routes that can be taken weekly. Anyone can hastily make a decision for their selection, but we pride ourselves in thinking about the game more strategically.

This week's Genesis Open will finally get us away from a rotational venue and back to standard proceedings. The event will feature 14 of the top 20 players in the world and is without a doubt the best tournament of the season so far. We have spent enough time recapping last week, so without further ado, let's jump right into some value plays that we will be considering at Riviera Country Club.

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.

To see who the RotoBaller staff is selecting in the weekly 'One and Done' contest, click here

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. 

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2019 Genesis Open - Riviera Country Club

7,322 Yards - Par 71 - Greens Poa

Riviera Country Club plays a lot longer than the 7,322 yards would indicate. The three par-fives are the easiest holes at the venue and are relatively short by today's standards. There is also a short par-four at the tenth that measures just 315 yards. But while it is short in length, it is one of the best risk/reward holes that we have on tour. There is almost a 24 percent birdie or better rate each year but also a 21 percent bogey or worse percentage. Understanding the pin placement on a given day will be vital for players. It is a hole that should be attacked when the pin is accessible but laid up on when the flagstick is going to cause problems to come into play.

If you exclude the four holes mentioned above, you have to make the length up somewhere to get to over 7,300 yards, and that is what makes Riviera so challenging. Six of the par-four holes stretch over 450 yards, and an additional three par-fours come in at over 430 yards. In total, the field will need to deal with 11 par-fours, and none are particularly that easy.

With length needed off the tee for most holes, bombers should have an easier time traversing the course, but that doesn't mean shorter hitters aren't in play. Only 53 percent of drives find the short grass at Riviera, which is one of the lowest totals on tour, and the course also has some of the smallest putting surfaces in America -- featuring just a 57 percent GIR rate (nine percent lower than tour average). Golfers will need to be able to gain strokes around the green to salvage their score and must avoid three-putting.

 

Genesis Open Pick to Win

Hideki Matsuyama - 30/1, DK Price $9,300, FD Price $11,100

What a brutal week to try and take on the top of the board. I could make a legitimate case for Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy, but I will instead attempt to build a brigade of six golfers to take on the favorites. If you were leaning towards any of the four names mentioned above to start your card, all are viable routes to take. Each is adequately priced, and while there is nothing wrong with beginning there, I am going to try and find a little extra value down the board.

Hideki Matsuyama is slightly more popular than I would ideally care to see on sites such as DraftKings, coming in as the second-highest projected owned player on the slate, but the 28th-ranked player in the world will most likely go a little under-the-radar when it comes to finding outright tickets. A share of 15th place at the Waste Management Open is somehow being viewed as a bad result because of the lofty expectations coming into the event, but Matsuyama has finally regained his form after dealing with a nagging wrist injury for much of 2018.

The Japanese sensation gained a ridiculous 6.8 shots on the field with his approach shots in Phoenix but continued to struggle on the greens, losing 4.1 strokes over the four days. The abysmal putting is something that has impeded his ascension into the upper echelon of golfers for the past few seasons, but Matsuyama is striking the ball as well as anyone in the world and should be helped by the Poa Annua greens. Poa is a grass that is known to alleviate some of the disparity in skill level on the putting greens, and it is the only surface where the 26-year-old has gained strokes putting.

Matsuyama has settled into a betting range that is more suited for long-term value, and he has come inside the top-25 at Riviera three times in his four attempts. A 121st place showing in 2017 seems to be an aberrational result based off of his course history, and I expect the five-time PGA Tour winner to continue his hot form in Los Angeles. Matsuyama is steady across the board and is coming in as the 10th most expensive player on DraftKings, ninth on FanDuel and 12th in the betting market.

 

Genesis Open Sleepers

Tony Finau - 30/1, DK Price $9,100, FD Price $10,600.

Tony Finau feels like one of those machines at an arcade that counts your tickets. You spend an exorbitant about of money playing the games, but when you go to cash in your winnings, it quickly eats up all of what you have earned. When you get the printed ticket of how much you have won, never do you do as well as you thought you might have done, and you're left feeling like you wasted your hard earned money. However, despite knowing that Finau is a vacuum cleaner to your bankroll, I can't shake this persistent need to bet him anytime he is at 30/1 or above. I like to call this disease Finauitis.

Every course with length will always feel like it is going to be the venue that Finau finally captures his big breakthrough, but Riviera requires quite a few things that will further amplify his chances. While distance off the tee will be at a premium, most second shots are still going to require a long iron into the greens. The 29-year-old is so transcendent off the tee that his GIR percentage from 175-200 yards barely ever gets tested, but he is one of the premier players in the world at locating greens from a distance. Finau is currently ranked seventh on tour in GIR percentage from 175-200 yards. Interestingly, for all the criticism that the 12th-ranked player in the world receives for his poor putting, he is one of the most consistent players around the green, ranking 11th on tour this year in strokes gained around the green.

As I mentioned above for Matsuyama, Poa is the great equalizer to minimizing disadvantages on the putting surface, and Finau has shown great potential at Riviera by concluding last year's event in second place. In reality, he should have been the winner if it weren't for his struggles scoring on the par-fives all week, but that isn't something that I worry about most weeks for Finau. We can go back and forth all day on what is and isn't value with the one-time PGA Tour winner. But anytime I can get Finau at 30/1 or above at a venue that will highlight his skill set, I have to spend more money at the arcade and hope that this time I hit the jackpot when it counts my winnings.

 

Louis Oosthuizen - 50/1, DK Price $8,000, FD Price $10,000

Louis Oosthuizen is always a risk to withdraw and has never won in America, but with the current form he has exhibited and experience on Kikuyu grass, the 36-year-old is looking to be a rather hefty price at 50/1. Kikuyu grass is synonymous with the South African area, and Oosthuizen should feel right at home on the surface.

Oosthuizen enters the week having produced four consecutive top-seven finishes on the European Tour, including a victory in his home country of South Africa. And even though it is only through eight rounds this season on the PGA Tour, the 26th-ranked player in the world is ranked second in par-four scoring average, first in scrambling, first in bogey avoidance and first in greens in regulation percentage.

Oosthuizen provided a 122nd place finish at the Genesis in 2014, but he has always been a player that will randomly pop up out of nowhere without form and just as quickly disappear the next week. However, rumors do have it that the nine-time European winner is taking a much more serious approach to golf lately and that his string of results stem from the hard work he has been putting in off the course. If Oosthuizen has committed himself to golf over the past few months, 50/1 is way too large of a number for a borderline top-25 golfer in the world. At a price tag of $8,000 on DraftKings, he is only projected to be 4.6 percent owned and makes for a great GPP flier to consider. I'd avoid him in cash-games because of his potential to withdraw, but the upside is there for King Louis to find his throne in California. That, of course, is assuming his bed makes it there on time.


Jason Kokrak - 80/1, DK Price $7,600, FD Price $9,200

Jason Kokrak has always been an excellent player in California, ranking 17th in strokes gained in the state compared to the field. His performance at Riviera in 2016 placed him one shot behind the eventual winner Bubba Watson, but Kokrak didn't do much wrong in the process. He shot a three-under 68 on Sunday to keep himself in contention, but a few mistakes down the stretch did cost him a chance at the title. Kokrak's ball-striking has been world-class over his previous 100 rounds, and if his putter can catch fire this weekend, he has a legitimate chance to take down a world-class field.

The Canadian is projected to be one of the highest owned players on DraftKings with his cheap price tag of $7,600. Game-theory would suggest fading the 33-year-old this weekend because of his affordable price and high ownership percentage, but that is a whole other narrative to discuss. At 80/1 in the outright market, Kokrak's upside is too good to ignore, and I think we are getting an extremely fair price on the 114th-ranked golfer in the world.


Cameron Champ - 90/1, DK Price $7,600, FD Price $9,300

It is funny how a few weeks can completely change the dynamics of a players value. Just one month ago, Cameron Champ had reached a territory of going off as one of the favorites in a handful of events. But now, after a few poor showings in a row, the young American has drifted all the way back to 90/1 at a course that should suit his game.

Not surprisingly, Champ is ranked first in driving distance over his previous 24 rounds, but it is some of his other statistics that raise an eyebrow for potential success. This season compared to the field, Champ is ninth in three-putt avoidance, 15th in greens in regulation percentage, 12th in par-three average, fourth in par-five birdie or better percentage and fourth in birdie or better rate. While all of that is encouraging, the 23-year-old is only ranked 122nd in strokes gained around the green, which is a flaw that could come back to bite him at Riviera Country Club.

Champ is the 29th most expensive player on DraftKings and 30th overall in the betting market. His $7,600 price tag on DraftKings has him projected to be owned at around five percent, and he makes for a fabulous pivot option off of Adam Hadwin, Jason Kokrak and Sung Kang. Champ has a big boy game that can win at a big boy course, and despite his recent instability, the American could find himself in contention very easily at Riviera.

 

Bonus Bomb

Keegan Bradley - 100/1, DK Price $7,300, FD Price $9,300

When we look at venues that share Riviera's Kikuyu grass and Poa Annua elements, Keegan Bradley has excelled in the past. The American finished second here in 2012 and fourth in 2015, but his success goes well past just Riviera. Bradley finished fourth and fifth in his past two attempts at Torrey Pines, a course that features similar components that he will face this weekend.

The Los Angeles area is expected to receive a handful of rain this week, and the 32nd-ranked player in the world has found success on a wet, soft golf course. He finished fourth at Glen Abbey on Bentgrass/ Poa Annua mixed greens and won the BMW Championship in September in a very damp Aronimink. Outside of perhaps Cameron Champ, and I believe it is still too early to tell if the putting prowess he has shown has been aberrational or not, but all my selections this week feature the same inability to putt. Bradley is no stranger to struggling on the greens, but at an event that doesn't usually turn into a putting contest, we could see the 32-year-old flourish on receptive, wet greens.

 

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

Hideki Matsuyama -110 over Jordan Spieth -110
Hideki Matsuyama 9,300 price tag on DraftKings vs. Jordan Spieth $9,200 price tag on DraftKings
Hideki Matsuyama 18.7 percent projected ownership vs. Jordan Spieth 6.1 percent projected ownership

1.10 Units to win 1.00

I do believe that Jordan Spieth's game is beginning to creep back to where it was around a year ago, but it is difficult to trust the 25-year-old whatsoever right now. His putting woes have been somewhat overblown by the media, but Spieth is a mess off the tee and has lost strokes in his previous six events tee to green.

At the AT&T Pro-Am, the American lost 4.1 strokes OTT and 2.3 strokes with his approach shots. Pebble Beach is a challenging venue if you are struggling with your game, but Riviera Country Club can be a downright disaster. The course is longer than Spieth would care to see, and with players only hitting 53% of fairways, the 23rd-ranked player in the world could find trouble often if he starts spraying it off the tee.

As mentioned above, Matsuyama is my selection to win the event, and if I am going to be able to target a player that has been struggling to find success of any kind recently, this is a nice spot to unearth a little value. I would have made the Japanese star -130, so I think there is currently around a 4.1 percent implied probability difference. I don't believe that Spieth is necessarily going to miss the cut and have him around 75 percent to play the weekend. But I'd anticipate him faltering throughout one of the four days, and if it happens on Thursday or Friday, all the better. A 4.1 percent edge is probably not enough to exceed a one unit wager, and I'll be risking a minimum amount of 1.1 units to win 1.0 units on Matsuyama over Spieth. Good luck this weekend on your selections at the Genesis Open, and I hope we can find a winner in Los Angeles.

 

2019 Head-to-Head Record (7-3-2)

+5.05 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

Farmers Insurance

J.B. Holmes +130 over Branden Grace

0.70 Units to Win 0.91

MC (+4)

MC (+3)

Loss

-0.70

Farmers Insurance

Jordan Spieth -110 over Alex Noren

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T35 (-7)

MC (E)

Win

1.00

Waste Management

Ryan Palmer +105 over Kevin Tway

1.00 Units to Win 1.05

T60 (E)

MC (E)

Win

1.05


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

Justin Thomas

Waste Management

10/1

3

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

Gary Woodland

Farmers Insurance

28/1

T9

Shubankar Sharma

CIMB Classic

150/1

T10

 

 

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