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PGA DFS: Vegas Report - Houston Open


Kevin Na fed off the hometown crowd in Las Vegas to claim his third PGA Tour title in his past 30 events. The victory puts the 36-year-old on a shortlist of options for U.S. captain Tiger Woods to consider for the upcoming Presidents Cup, and his recent play is going to make it difficult for Woods to ignore him at a venue where putting will be valuable.

Na set a new record with his flat stick in Las Vegas, making 558 feet, 11 inches worth of putts over the duration of the tournament, eclipsing Ben Martin's 551 feet, two inches worth of putts at the 2015 Charles Schwab Challenge. In fact, Na's putting was so good that not only did he set a new mark for total strokes gained putting at +14.263, but he also became the first player since Bill Haas at the 2011 Tour Championship to win a tournament with negatives strokes gained tee to green for the week.

I mentioned during my Safeway Open writeup how the 24th-ranked player in the world was going to go underpriced during the fall season schedule but ended up being a week off of his victory after backing him during his missed cut in Napa Valley and failing to get back on board in Las Vegas. It is a little unfortunate to see the potential win coming in our rearview mirror but not executing it correctly to find the winners circle ourselves. With the Houston Open on tap for this week, let's dive back into the grind and see if we can't get ahead of the market once again.

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2020 Houston 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.

Golf Club of Houston

7,440 Yards - Par 72 - Greens Bermuda

A Rees Jones design in 2005 with the help of David Toms and Greg Muirhead, Golf Club of Houston is a lengthy Par 72 that measures in at 7,440 yards. The venues wide Bermuda fairways allow players to find the short grass at a higher rate than other stops on tour, but despite its length, this isn't necessarily a place that rewards longer hitters

As is always the case in Texas, wind can wreak havoc on the tournament, so you will need to monitor the forecast to see if you can find any advantages in the tee splits. The greens are big and fast and feature flat putting surfaces within 10 feet. The surface was quickened to mimic Augusta, but putting isn't overly difficult.

Water comes into play on 10 of the holes, but there is enough room on most shots that if winds don't pick up, we won't see an inordinate amount of balls enter the water. Golfers that can play well in the wind, gain strokes off the tee and hit their long irons well will find success in Houston.

Houston Open

#1 Keegan Bradley 50/1

DK Price $9,000, FD Price $9,800

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 8.4%

We have gotten off to a slow start to begin the 2020 PGA Tour calendar season, but I like our chances to get back on track at the Houston Open. The field in Texas looks like a dumpster fire after the past few weeks provided us with some of the top players in the world teeing it up, but the wide-open nature of the event is rendering value to be found throughout.

Although there are a handful of interesting options at the top of the board, I see no merit in starting our card there. Russell Henley, Daniel Berger, Brian Harman and Scottie Scheffler all grade out nicely this week at the Golf Club of Houston, but I can't bite at a sub-30/1 outright price. Instead, I'd prefer to drop down into the 50/1 range and open the festivities with Keegan Bradley.

In the past five years at this tournament, Bradley has made four of five cuts, which includes two top-15 performances in 2015 and 2017. Part of his success can be chalked up to his ability to play in the wind, but it doesn't hurt that the venue features flat greens from 10-feet and in. That makes putting easier for everyone in the field and puts an emphasis on ball strikers that can give themselves extra opportunities to score.

The 43rd-ranked player in the world enters the week having struggled recently, but a culmination of comfortability on the greens and prowess in the wind makes the 33-year-old a prime candidate to bounce back and compete. Bradley's 8.4% projected ownership is minimal when you consider his past results in Texas and even more generous when you take into account the fact that he is the third-highest ranked player in the field.

#2 Luke List 50/1

DK Price $8,500, FD Price $9,700

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 10.9%

The support that Luke List receives in the outright betting market has always been a little perplexing to me because the American is a 34-year-old journeyman that has never won on tour, but 50/1 in a field where his upside can't be matched by many is extremely intriguing. List quietly put together a share of 13th place last weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada, shooting three straight rounds in the 60s to climb up the leaderboard, and there is a lot to like again as he heads to the Houston Open.

I'm glad to see we are past the days of List being priced as a 30/1 choice in tournaments much stronger than this, but I believe we can use some of the past disappointments that others have experienced backing him to our advantage this weekend. The 98th-ranked player in the world is long off the tee, great in the wind and should be able to take advantage of the easier putting surfaces that the golf course provides. We want ball strikers that can gain a plethora of scoring chances, and that is exactly what List should provide us in Houston.

#3 Kevin Chappell 55/1

DK Price $7,900, FD Price $9,300

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 6.7%

I'm afraid Kevin Chappell might not be quite ready to win again on tour after missing nearly a year to treat an ailing back injury, but I've seen enough during his four-tournament return to take a flier on the American in a field as weak as we have in Texas.

A 59 was undone at the Greenbrier nearly three weeks ago after Chappell failed to break 71 during his other three rounds and a share of 40th at the Safeway Open featured him stuck in neutral for most of the four days, but when you consider that Chappell has competed in four tournaments on the PGA and Korn Ferry Tours since his return, it is encouraging to see that the now 252nd-ranked player in the world has made every cut and progressively gotten better with each start.

Chappell is a world-class player off the tee when healthy and perhaps even better in windy conditions. His lone win on tour came at the Valero Texas Open in 2017, and the American is ranked first compared to the field in par-five scoring between 550-600 yards and third in par-four scoring during his past 50 rounds. That includes some of his pre-injury statistics, but even if we condense his numbers down to include just his past 12 rounds, Chappell is grading out inside the top-10 in strokes gained approach, proximity from 200+ yards and par-five scoring from the same distance mentioned above.


#4 Jhonattan Vegas 75/1

DK Price $7,600, FD Price $8,900

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 12.6%

Projected ownership of 12.6% for a player that hasn't produced a top-30 result in 11 events isn't necessarily what you want to see, but I'm ok with the idea of fading Jhonattan Vegas in DFS contests and backing him in the outright market at 75/1.

Vegas' best putting surface is Bermuda, his best results come in the wind and his game is tailor-made for a venue that requires dominance off the tee. In his past 50 events compared to the field, Vegas is ranked third off the tee and has provided two top-20 showings at this tournament in the past three years. With the number of people playing him on DFS sites, I wouldn't be surprised to see this price drop slightly over the next few days, so you might want to grab a 75 while it is still available.


#5 Austin Cook 80/1

DK Price $7,500, FD Price $8,900

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 5.0%

Before starting my research, the two names that intrigued me the most were Austin Cook and Andrew Landry. My attachment to Landry eventually trickled down after seeing his past result here and his current statistical form for the course, but Cook's potential for success became even more transparent as I continued to dive a little deeper.

The American managed to produce an 11th place showing here in 2015, and his recipe for hitting fairways and using his long irons should be able to help him find success on his preferred surface of Bermuda. Three straight missed cuts entering the week will get the masses off of him, but Cook has a chance to rebound nicely at virtually no ownership percentage. That makes him a great GPP play and interesting outright bet at odds of 80/1.

#6 Doc Redman 100/1

DK Price $7,200, FD Price $8,400

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 10.9%

Sometimes the perception of value is lost by those making outright wagers. The futures market is remarkably difficult to beat because of the amount of vig the casinos hold on these bets, and the discrepancies between numbers are never as drastic as they appear.

I have Doc Redman priced at 60/1 this week in Houston, which you will never see me complain about value, but I do think it is important to note that the books are only about a half of a percent off from what I deem to be his true number. Yes, being offered a price that indicates a one percent win likelihood versus what I believe to be closer to 1.66% is something that I am going to take a position on when given the opportunity, but it is crucial to remember that the advantages are never quite as large as they appear when dealing with futures bets. Redman will be a popular choice this week, so as is the case with Jhonattan Vegas, this number could decrease ever so slightly by Thursday.

 

Key Stats: Strokes Gained Off The Tee 25%, Proximity 200+ Yards 20%, Par-Five Birdie or Better 15%, GIR 15%, Par-Five Birdie or Better 15% and Par-Four Average 10%

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


Head-to-Head Play of the Week

Jhonattan Vegas +100 over Aaron Baddeley -120
Jhonattan Vegas $7,600 price tag on DraftKings vs. Aaron Baddeley $8,100 price tag
Jhonattan Vegas 12.6 percent projected ownership vs. Aaron Baddeley 4.2 percent projected ownership

1.12 Units to Win 1.12 Units

We have a lot more volatility than I would care to have in a head-to-head wager with our decision to back Jhonattan Vegas, but I'm willing to go out on a limb because I think Aaron Baddeley is flirting with disaster this weekend in Houston.

What Baddeley has going for him is that he is an excellent wind player that enters the event with decent form after posting two straight top-37 results, but I believe strokes gained off the tee will be a vital statistic this weekend, and that might be the reason that Baddeley's current run comes to an end. The Australian has lost strokes off the tee in nine of his past 10 events, and he has only provided one top-70 result at this tournament in his past five attempts. Yes, Vegas is a little boom-or-bust for a head-to-head wager, but I'm willing to take the gamble on a price that I think is nearly 25 points off from where it should be. Good luck at the Houston Open, and I will see you again next weekend for the CJ Cup.

2020 Head-to-Head Record (2-1-0)

+0.85 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

2020 Outright Bets That Have Finished Inside the Top-10

None through three events.

 

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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