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PGA DFS: Vegas Report - Honda Classic

Welcome back to the PGA DFS: Vegas Report. Dustin Johnson captured his 20th career PGA Tour title at the WGC-Mexico Championship, outlasting second-place finisher Rory McIlroy by five strokes. The big-hitting American became just the fourth player in the past 10 seasons to lead the field in both GIR and strokes gained putting, and the victory on Sunday made Johnson just the fifth player in the last 50 years to reach 20 wins before the age of 35.

Johnson's career has gone through its fair share of ups and downs, but the 34-year-old hasn't always received the notoriety that he deserves. Perhaps it is his blase personality or lack of success during major championships, but Johnson has quietly strung together some impressive milestones that stand up to anyone in his era. Excluding Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy's 14 career PGA Tour victories is the closest anyone is to Johnson under the age of 48, and the 2016 U.S. Open champion has seized a title in all 12 years that he has been on the PGA Tour, helping him get to fifth on the all-time money leaders list with $58,544,641 in career earnings.

Johnson will need to capture a few more major championships if he wants to catapult himself into the discussion of being one of the 15 greatest players of all time, but his skill level justifies that sort of praise, so it is just a matter of putting it all together when the stakes are at their highest. Johnson's 81 weeks at No. 1 is fifth behind only Tiger Woods, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo and Rory McIlroy, and he will take over the top spot in the world after the tournament is completed this weekend. With the Honda Classic on tap, let's dive into some value plays we will be targeting in Florida.

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.

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. 

Sign Up Now!


2019 Honda Classic - PGA National

7,140 Yards - Par 70 - Greens Bermuda

The complexity of PGA National will come down to how extreme the wind conditions are this weekend. In 2018, the course played as the second most difficult on tour, and it has been one of the 10 most demanding tracks nine of the past 12 seasons. Early forecasts have the wind playing less of a factor than usual, but that can turn on a dime in Florida. Twenty-six water hazards are spread throughout the venue, and 13 of the holes have water come into play.

While the 'Bear Trap' holes of 15, 16 and 17 have played as the third hardest three-hole stretch outside of the majors at +0.64, holes five, six and seven are almost equally as challenging, coming in as the fourth most difficult three-hole stretch at +0.618. To make matters worse, 107 sand traps are littered throughout the venue, and golfers can begin to feel trapped by the unforgiving landmines.

The cut line has been +1 or higher in each of the past six years, reaching a high of +6 in 2018. Strategy off the tee will come into play, and players will need to know what holes they can be more aggressive on and when to lay up off the tee. PGA National is a second-shot course, and golfers that can gain strokes with their long irons will have an advantage. Ball striking, par-four scoring and bogey avoidance will also be necessary, and one bad shot can change the entire complexion of the event.

The Honda Classic Best Bets

The Honda Classic is a better DraftKings tournament than it is a betting card. Most of the prices are extremely jumbled together, and the books didn't do us any favors when it comes to outright numbers. There's a handful of golfers between 12/1 to 60/1 that could have a serious case made for them being on the final ticket, although most of the drawbacks on almost any player would be their sharp pricing.

With their being so many names to consider, I decided to change up the dynamics of the article this week. Included below are 10 golfers that I would contemplate placing a wager on at PGA National Resort & Spa. That doesn't mean you should bet every name listed, and in fact, it would be nearly impossible to have a winning week if you did. Instead, this is meant to serve as a tool for you to examine and try to piece together your own wagers. Remember, you want to try and win around the same amount on every player, so keep that in mind when putting together your choices at the Honda Classic. Consider this concept to be a one-week trial. But if you like this layout better, please let me know!

#1 Webb Simpson - 25/1, DK Price $9,600, FD Price

PGA National is a second shot course, and there aren't too many players in the world that are better with an iron in their hand than Webb Simpson. Simpson comes into the week ranked second in the field with 1.167 strokes gained per round on his approach shots, and he is one of the premier players in the world on Bermuda Greens, ranking second in the field with 2.552 total strokes gained per round. In both categories, the 33-year-old trails only Justin Thomas, but his price of 25/1 is five times the amount that you have to pay on Thomas' outright number of 5/1. If you are looking for any additional reasons to place a wager on the former Wake Forest product, he finished last season ranked first in the field in bogey avoidance and second in par-four scoring, which I'm sure you have guessed it by now, trailing only Justin Thomas

#2 Gary Woodland - 20/1, DK Price $9,800, FD Price $11,000

You could make a logical case for Webb Simpson and Gary Woodland as the core of your betting card and just piecing it together with a couple of longshot wagers. I'm not necessarily advocating that strategy, but it is within the realm of possibility. Woodland's ball-striking prowess is difficult to beat this week. The American is top-25 on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy, driving distance and greens in regulation percentage. That combination of skills is rare, and Woodland has not finished worse than a share of 17th in his past three starts.

#3 Emiliano Grillo - 40/1, DK Price $8,900, FD Price $10,300

Junior golf will always raise an eyebrow when it gets mentioned as being proof of a player having course history, but Emiliano Grillo has finished first in stroke play three times at PGA National as a junior. Grillo grew up playing during the 'Golden Age' of junior golf, facing the likes of Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele weekly. However, it has taken the 26-year-old slightly longer to find his rhythm on the PGA Tour than his counterparts. Grillo is a world-class iron player and ball-striker, but his putting statistics have been hit-and-miss yearly. It is just a matter of the Argentinian putting together all facets of his game at the same time, and Grillo's eighth-place finish last season at the Bear Trap shows that this is a venue that fits his eye.

Here is a victory of his during a 2009 junior event at PGA National

#4 Daniel Berger - 40/1, DK Price $9,400, FD Price $10.400

The lack of wind in the forecast could be a disadvantage for Daniel Berger, who is better suited for success in blustery conditions, but Florida is when the American usually starts to peak, and he finally showed some life at the Puerto Rico Open last week. Berger's share of second place was highlighted by leading the field in putts per green in regulation, even though he only hit 11 GIR per round. 40/1 is not the best price in the world on the Florida born golfer, but he ranks first this season compared to the field in proximity from over 150 yards and second in bogey avoidance. I'd have preferred an extra 10 points, but his playoff loss here in 2015 mixed with his form last week has him slightly overpriced but still in consideration. Berger's hefty $9,400 price tag on DraftKings will suppress his ownership, and we should be in a situation where the two-time PGA Tour winner is under 10 percent owned.

#5 Graeme McDowell - 80/1, DK Price $7,600, FD Price $9,100

After a slow start to the season because of a left wrist injury, Graeme McDowell appears to be past his ailment and ready to work his way back up the world rankings. McDowell concluded the Pebble Beach Pro-Am at the beginning of February in a share of 18th place and logged a T42 last weekend at the Puerto Rico Open. However, it is his history at PGA National that is most encouraging. The 39-year-old has recorded four top-10 finishes and a share of 14th place in his last eight starts at the venue and is ranked inside the top-20 this season on tour in putting, driving accuracy and ball striking. McDowell might not be the same player that captured the 2010 U.S. Open, but 70/1 is a generous price on the former major winner.

#6 Scott Piercy - 50/1, DK Price $8,100, FD Price $10.000

Scott Piercy is a much better golfer than his world ranking of 106th would indicate. Piercy has provided nine straight made cuts to go along with four top-10 finishes, but it is his statistical prowess that grabs my attention. On the season, the Las Vegas resident is ranked inside the top-20 on tour in par-three and par-four scoring, coming in nearly seven-tenths of a stroke under par for both. All four par-threes at PGA National play over par, and eight of the 12 par-fours are on the wrong side of even too. Piercy is an elite ball-striker that uses accuracy off the tee and pristine iron play to create scoring opportunities, and if his putting can just be mediocre for the week, the 40-year-old has a chance to find his name at the top of the leaderboard. Piercy's best statistical putting surface has been Bermuda in the past, and the potential for blustery conditions would only help to amplify his chances in Florida.

#7 Lucas Glover - 60/1, DK Price $8,800, FD Price $9,700

If you exclude Lucas Glover's missed cut at the Waste Management Open, the American has produced six top-17 results during the 2019 calendar season. Glover is ranked first in GIR, third in ball striking, second in par-four scoring and first in bogey avoidance on the year. While 60/1 can be viewed as a slightly shallow price for a player that hasn't captured a victory since 2011, the field at the Honda Classic is weaker than usual, and Glover is playing the best golf he has in years. Despite a moderately expensive $8,800 price tag on DraftKings, the 39-year-old is still expected to be one of the more popular options on the board, but his 14.6 percent projected ownership isn't a deterrent for me in GPP events.

#8 Russell Knox - 60/1, DK Price $7,800, FD Price $9,700

Russell Knox has historically played better at more difficult courses, and I think there are a few reasons for that being the case. For starters, Knox's lack of scoring and putting aren't as directly affected when the winning score is 10-under par or less. In a birdie shootout, those are two things that can quickly put you behind the eight-ball, but in a more difficult event, the Scottish golfer's superb proximity numbers and propensity for bogey avoidance can shine through. Knox has struggled at PGA National in the past two seasons, but two top-three finishes in 2014 and 2015 highlight the fact that he is capable of competing at the 'Bear Trap.'

#9 Bud Cauley - 150/1, DK Price $7,200, FD Price $8,900

If you are looking for a particular spot where Bud Cauley's season began to spiral in 2018, the Honda Classic would be one of the tournaments to highlight. Cauley was forced to withdraw because of a wrist injury after round 1, but you could argue that his 10-over 80 was the real reason why the Alabama product left Florida early. A broken leg in June further set the 28-year-old back, but Cauley has quietly shown some form this season. Four top-30 results in eight events, including two top-15 finishes at the Farmers Insurance Open and Shriners Open. Cauley resides in the Florida area and posted a 27th place finish in his first attempt at PGA National in 2017. His $7,200 price tag on DraftKings has him projected to be only five percent owned, and he makes for a nice contrarian option with upside.

#10 Jason Dufner - 200/1, DK Price $7,200, FD Price $8.700

Jason Dufner at 200/1 is a complete dart throw, but there are reasons to be optimistic that the American can magically regain some form. It has been 17 tournaments since Dufner has posted a top-20 result, but when we look at courses that are difficult to score at and feature wind, the 163rd-ranked player in the world begins to pop up frequently. In his previous 95 rounds compared to the field under those settings, Dufner is ranked first in ball striking, first in par-four scoring and third in strokes gained approach. It is possible that the 41-year-old is a lost cause at this point, but I'm willing to bite the bullet because of his three top-17 results at PGA National in the past four seasons.


Key Stats: SG Approach (30%), Ball Striking (25%), Proximity From 150+ Yards (20%), Par-Four Average (15%) and Bogey Avoidance (10%) 

50% Stats/30% Form/20% Course History

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

Zach Johnson -115 over Kiradech Aphibarnrat -105
Zach Johnson 8,700 price tag on DraftKings vs. Kiradech Aphibarnrat $8,200 price tag on DraftKings
Zach Johnson 10.0 percent projected ownership vs. Kiradech Aphibarnrat 4.3 percent projected ownership

1.43 Units to win 1.25

Often in sports, we see one quality performance drastically change the narrative around a player or team. When this happens, the value tends to shift away from the side or athlete that has had previous success and towards the opposing foe. The reason for this is simple but commonly misunderstood. Sportsbooks are fast to react to what they have seen, and your average bettor tends to fall into the same trap of trying to piggyback off of earlier achievements.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat's third-place showing during last week's WGC-Mexico Championship is a prime example of this situation. It doesn't mean the Thai golfer won't be able to find success again at the Honda Classic, but his price has been reduced across the board because of his last outing, making it more difficult to find value on him this week.

There are two main things books will do to reduce his long-term expected value after an impressive showing. For starters, they will place him against someone that is slightly out of his perceived range. That is not to say Aphibarnrat is a worse golfer than Zach Johnson, but at this particular event, the books expect Johnson to be the favorite. And we can see that just by using DraftKings as an example. Johnson comes into the week priced at $8,700, while Aphibarnrat is at $8,200. It is a relatively small difference in price, but DraftKings has already taken into account Aphibarnrat's third-place showing from last week and still have Johnson priced higher. The second thing books will do is create low-vig situations. We won't see them open a number with Johnson at -180 and Aphibarnrat at +150. All they would be doing is defeating the purpose of why they have chosen the particular matchup that they have.

When we dive a little deeper into this wager, there are a few things that stick out to me. Johnson and Aphibarnrat have played in 29 tournaments together, with the American coming out ahead in 23 of them. That's a 79.3 percent win rate, which would place the correct vig at -383.3. The sample size is too small for that number to be considered proper, but it is beginning to show how the Thai golfer has been put into a range that is above his weekly expectations.

The question then becomes: If the matchup is incorrect, what should the actual price have been? -115 indicates that Johnson has a 53.5 percent implied probability of winning this week. However, I would have put him closer to -150, which equates to exactly a 60 percent probability for success. That puts us at a 6.5 percent difference in implied probability, but we would need to do the math a little differently if we wanted to know our expected value.

The formula looks like this: (Probability of Winning) x (Amount Won per Bet) – (Probability of Losing) x (Amount Lost per Bet)

If we were betting to win $100 per contest, it would look a little something like this:

(Probability of Winning) x (Amount Won per Bet) -
                  .60                                              $100

(Probability of Losing) x (Amount Lost per Bet)
                  .40                                              $115

To break it down into easier to understand terms, we think the wager has a -150 chance to win, which equals the 60 percent win rate, and because of operations, we would multiply that by the $100 we would earn when it does indeed become a victory, leaving us with $60. We then do the same by multiplying the 40 percent probability of losing by the $115 we would have to risk to win $100 at the current odds of -115, which equals $46. Lastly, we would take the $60 and subtract it from $46 to find that our expected value for placing this wager is $14. What that means is that we can expect to make $14 every time we see this exact spot. It might not seem like much, but if we could find this exact situation 100 times, we would expect to profit $1400 from the edge that we have. I am sure this is more math than you would ever care to see in an article, but it is essential to figure out your advantage before placing a bet if you want to be successful. Good luck at the Honda Classic, and I hope we can find the winner's circle this weekend!


2019 Head-to-Head Record (8-3-2)

+6.05 Units Year-To-Date From H2H Bets


Head-to-Head Bet


My Picks Finish

Opponent Finish



Safeway Open

Sangmoon Bae +130 Over Chris Kirk

1.00 Units to Win 1.30

MC (+2)

MC (E)



CIMB Classic

Kevin Na -120 over Kevin Tway

1.50 Units to Win 1.25

T19 (-17)

T27 (-13)



CJ Cup

Paul Casey +100 over Marc Leishman

1.25 Units to Win 1.25

T18 (-8)

T18 (-8)




Thomas Pieters +120 over Kevin Na

1.00 Units to Win 1.20

T18 (-1)

T54 (+10)




Austin Cook +100 over Russell Henley

1.00 Units to Win 1.00

MC (+1)

MC (-1)




Kevin Chappell +100 over Charley Hoffman

1.25 Units to Win 1.25

T41 (-9)

MC (+2)



RSM Classic

Patrick Rodgers -105 over Bronson Burgoon

1.05 Units to Win 1.00

2nd (-19)

MC (+2)



Sony Open

Jimmy Walker -115 over Kevin Na

1.15 Units to Win 1.00

T51 (-6)

Did Not Start



Desert Classic

Anders Albertson -110 over Anirban Lahiri

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T34 (-14)

MC (-8)



Farmers Insurance

J.B. Holmes +130 over Branden Grace

0.70 Units to Win 0.91

MC (+4)

MC (+3)



Farmers Insurance

Jordan Spieth -110 over Alex Noren

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T35 (-7)

MC (E)



Waste Management

Ryan Palmer +105 over Kevin Tway

1.00 Units to Win 1.05

T60 (E)

MC (E)



Genesis Open

Hideki Matsuyama -110 over Jordan Spieth

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T9 (-7)

T51 (+1)




2019 Outright Bets That Have Finished Inside the Top-10




Finish Position

Matt Kuchar

Mayakoba Golf Classic



Chesson Hadley

CIMB Classic



Ryan Palmer

CJ Cup



Sam Ryder

Shriners Hospitals



Chez Reavie

Sony Open



Justin Thomas

Waste Management



Jason Day

CJ Cup



Zach Johnson

RSM Classic



Kevin Kisner

RSM Classic



Webb Simpson




J.B. Holmes

Safeway Open



Gary Woodland

Farmers Insurance



Hideki Matsuyama

Genesis Open



Shubankar Sharma

CIMB Classic





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