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PGA DFS: Vegas Report - Open Championship


Welcome back to the PGA DFS: Vegas Report. Dylan Frittelli punched the last ticket to this week's Open Championship with his resounding display of golf all weekend at the John Deere Classic. The South African managed to fire four rounds in the 60s, which culminated in a Sunday seven-under 64 to eclipse Russell Henley by two shots.

The 29-year-old has had an unusual journey the past few seasons, continuously performing better during his European Tour starts than his PGA Tour events. However, the victory in Illinois could provide Frittelli with confidence moving forward and should allow him to play more freely in the future.

With the Open Championship on tap for this week, the best players in the world will be in Northern Ireland for the last major of the year. Will one of the big guns like Rory McIlroy or Brooks Koepka claim the final grand slam of the year? Or will we see a breakthrough winner at an event that has been known to produce some wild results?

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 Open Championship

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.

 

Royal Portrush

7,334 Yards - Par 71 - Greens Bentgrass

With the PGA Championship moving to May, the Open Championship will get its first chance to shine as the last grand slam event of the year. Constructed in 1888, Royal Portrush was re-designed by Harry Colt in 1932 and upgraded in 2017 by Martin Ebert. Listed as a Par 71 that plays slightly over 7,330 yards, the course features massive undulations throughout and can become exposed to heavy winds because of its treeless design and coastal location.

The area has received extensive rain this summer, and the rough will be penal for those that miss the generous fairways off the tee. However, the setup isn't overly complicated if the weather remains calm. The amount of wind will decide just how accessible certain green locations will be this weekend, and players could turn this into a wedgefest shootout if we end up with a neutral weather report. As of right now, gentle breezes are in the forecast but keep an eye on the forecast because it could turn on a dime.

Because of the steep runoffs on the putting surface, strokes gained around the green will be a critical statistic to measure, but it isn't the only vital category for us to pinpoint. If we want a full picture of what to expect, we will need to incorporate scrambling, short wedge proximity, ball striking, strokes gained approach and strokes gained putting into our research. Assuming a little wind comes into play, I'd also try to target golfers who perform well in gusty conditions.

Open Championship Best Bets

#1 Tiger Woods - 20/1

DK Price $10,200, FD Price $11,700

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 7.7%

This major feels as wide-open as any I have ever seen. Part of it stems from the fact that the Open Championship has been known to provide wild leaderboards in the past, but I also don't believe we have a significant separation in values this week. Rory McIlroy leads the group as the betting favorite at 8/1, and while I too have the Irishman as the most likely person to walk out of Portrush as the winner, I'd need a minimum of four extra points before I'd consider backing the 30-year-old in the outright market.

I realize this is going to be a wildly unpopular take regarding Brooks Koepka, but the four-time major winner is one of the most overpriced options on the board for me at the Open. I don't believe the American is overrated when it comes to his skill set, but his recent run of success in major championships isn't sustainable, and his nonchalant attitude about practice is turning him into golf's version of Allen Iverson. Koepka is supremely talented and gifted, but this idea that he can turn his game on and off as he chooses is slightly comical. I'm sure there is some level of machismo and bluffing behind his statements, but 10/1 is far too shallow for me to be interested. I wouldn't count him out when it comes to scoring a top-10 or 20 finish, but I believe some regression is on its way for the 29-year-old.

And then we have Tiger Woods, who is perennially overpriced in the outright market but enters the Open Championship this week as a player that is drifting in price. I want to be careful when discussing this topic because I don't want to make it seem like bettors are ignoring the 81-time PGA Tour winner. Woods is still garnering top-six splits when it comes to both ticket count and overall money wagered, but Tiger doesn't quite move the needle at the betting window the way that he used to back in the day. Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood have all received more wagers this week, and Dustin Johnson, McIlroy and Koepka have drawn in more money.

I take away a few interesting things from those numbers I just listed out. Rickie Fowler, who is consistently one of the most backed golfers, is being ignored by bettors so far this week. We will see if I place a wager on the American myself, but it would seem fitting that Fowler would win the week that all his usual backers quit supporting him. The second thing that caught my eye was Johnson's splits. When you are looking for wise guy action, a lower ticket count and larger bet intake amount generally signifies sharp wagers. I won't be backing Johnson myself since his price has moved to 12/1 at the time of writing this article, but I do believe 16/1 is a price that allows value on the American if it does happen to move back up.

As far as Tiger is concerned, he appears to be somewhere in the middle of both counts, but the thing that is driving up his price is the fact that McIlroy, Koepka and Johnson have taken in so much money themselves. While casinos do sometimes price the futures markets out to exceed 150%, there just isn't enough room for all four players to stay where they are in value, and Woods has been the recipient of the price bump. I do have concerns that the wet and frigid weather won't be beneficial to Tiger because of his back, but the course is an ideal fit for the fifth-ranked player in the world, and I've never seen Woods enter a major with less fanfare. His ownership projection on DraftKings will be higher than seven percent because of the casual players that will want a rooting interest on him this weekend, but I think the days of him being the most widely owned player are over until he wins another event.

#2 Rickie Fowler - 30/1

DK Price $9,300, FD Price $11,100

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 8.2%

I've never been shy when it comes to calling Rickie Fowler the most overpriced and overhyped option on the board weekly, but for the first time in what feels like forever, the American enters a major with no real expectations.

Sports betting has a lot more to do with statistical data than public perception, and while Fowler's form appears to have taken a turn for the worst, the five-time PGA Tour winner has been better than his results. In his previous 13 PGA Tour events, the 30-year-old has gained strokes tee to green in 12 of those occasions. However, if we are just window shopping his results, one top-15 finish in his past five events wouldn't instill much confidence from your average public bettor - which in and of itself is hilarious since Fowler has drawn more public bets than any golfer not named Tiger Woods in his career.

Trust me - I get the hesitation when it comes to placing a wager on Fowler. I've gone 10 years without falling into the trap a single time, but we have to leave our preconceived notions behind when value presents itself. I've always believed the American would be most likely to win on foreign soil because of his expertise of playing in windy and wet conditions, and after all these years of being mispriced, I'd argue that the Oklahoma State product is finally in the correct price range for the first time in 10 years. If everyone wants to jump off his bandwagon now, I am more than happy to take the wheel this weekend in Ireland.

#3 Patrick Cantlay - 33/1

DK Price $9,000 FD Price $10,800

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 16.9%

I'm pretty sure everyone in the world is aware of Patrick Cantlay's potential this weekend at the Open Championship. He graded out number one for me in my statistical model and enters the week ranked first compared to the field in scoring average and par-four scoring, not to mention being ranked second in bogey avoidance, strokes gained total and scrambling. In theory, Royal Portrush is an ideal fit for Cantlay - which is evident by nearly 17 percent of DraftKings lineups targeting the 27-year-old.

I do believe there are a plethora of potential pivot spots available in large-field GPP events if you want to avoid Cantlay this weekend, but for all the talks about his safety in DFS lineups, not many want to back the American in the outright market. I guess that is somewhat understandable when you consider the fact that Cantlay has only won twice during his PGA Tour career and most would prefer to select him in a contest where winning isn't everything, but the UCLA product has arguably been the best player on tour this season. Make no mistake about it, his days of being priced in the 30s are coming to an end here shortly, and I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see him this high again for a very long time.

#4 Jason Day - 40/1

DK Price $8,600, FD Price $10,400

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 9.5%

If you read this article weekly, you will know that I believe Jason Day is closing in on a big score. Will it come this weekend in Northern Ireland? I am not sure. But Day is hungrier than ever to get back on top and has the background and pedigree to compete at a windy and rainy test like Royal Portrush.

In eight career Open Championship attempts, Day has yet to miss a cut and has finished no worse than a share of 27th place over the past four seasons. Part of the reason for his success stems from the fact that he is arguably the best player in the world in adverse conditions. If we look at how players have performed in moderate to severe winds during their past 50 rounds, only Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy have gained more strokes than Day. In fact, when we add in who the top performers have been in rainy conditions since 2014, Day ranks fourth - behind only McIlroy, Stenson and Koepka.

There seems to be this perception that has formed around the Australian that he is a hard pass any time he tees it up because of some injury concerns that have crept up on him over the years, but I believe that Day is on the precipice of regaining the same form that made him the number one player in the world. Golf is all about ebbs and flows, and it wouldn't shock me to see the 31-year-old return to the Open Championship next season as the defending champion.

#5 Tony Finau - 80/1

DK Price $7,800, FD Price $9,800

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 6.5%

Tony Finau isn't the style of golfer you would expect to have success at an Open Championship, but the American has yet to finish outside 27th place in his three attempts at the major. I'm not abnormally surprised by that statistic because Finau does tend to perform better when expectations are tempered somewhat, but I did find it surprising that only Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth had produced a better average finish since 2014 of players who had teed it up at least three times.

Finau's game is sometimes misunderstood. Yes, he is most definitely a bomber, but the 29-year-old has a style that has proven to be successful at almost any venue. The Utah native had a sensational Ryder Cup on foreign soil in 2018, teaming up with Brooks Koepka to defeat Justin Rose and Jon Rahm during Team Match Play before ending Tommy Fleetwood's winning streak during the singles portion by a result of 6 & 4.

His recent form has been questionable with three missed cuts in four events, but a share of 23rd at the 3M Open did have the 17th-ranked player in the world looking more like his typical self. The $7,500 to $7,800 price range on DraftKings has three players who are projected to be over 10 percent owned - Marc Leishman 12.2%, Webb Simpson 14.2% and Rafa Cabrera Bello 11.8% - and Finau does provide us with an opportunity to target upside at a contrarian and reduced ownership percentage.

#6 Eddie Pepperell - 100/1

DK Price $7,600, FD Price $9,400

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 7.1%

After battling back issues for about seven weeks, Eddie Pepperell didn't need long to regain his quality form - positing a share of fourth place in his first start back at the Irish Open. Pepperell followed up his result last weekend with a share of 43rd place at the Scottish Open, and if his back can hold up for three weeks in a row, the Englishman is a sleeper to keep in mind at the Open.

Pepperell's ability to play in the wind was emphasized by his victories in Qatar and England last season, and the 35th-ranked player in the world has come close on multiple links courses around Europe. Pepperell's self-proclaimed drinking habits have somewhat taken away from the fact that he has shot up over 100 spots in the world rankings since the start of 2018, but don't let his fun-loving demeanor fool you - the 28-year-old nearly captured the title this season at the Players Championship and has a game that can cause real celebration to happen if he puts it together at Royal Portrush.

#7 Haotong Li - 140/1

DK Price $7,300, FD Price $9,000

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 4.8%

When you look at the names Haotong Li has either taken down or almost taken down over the past year; you begin to realize that the 23-year-old has the potential to transform into a top-10 player in the world himself. A one-shot victory over Rory McIlroy during last year's Dubai Desert Classic put him on the map, but Li has also experienced a few excruciating close calls to go along with his victory.

A playoff loss to Justin Rose at the Turkish Open and a narrow defeat to Dustin Johnson at the Saudi International have somewhat suppressed his odds from completely breaking out, but let's not forget that Li was able to take down Koepka during the WGC-Match Play en route to a Sweet 16 loss to the eventual champion Kevin Kisner.

Li might be a better wager for those that can get him in the each-way market, but the two-time European Tour winner has shown that he has a dynamic game that has come close in the past after a third-place showing at this major in 2017. Li leads the European Tour in birdie average and possesses the upside to make a run up the leaderboard all week.

My Top 30 Ranked Golfers For The Week

Key Stats: 20% Strokes Gained Approach, Scrambling 17.5%, Ball Striking 17.5%, Strokes Gained ATG 17.5%, Proximity 100-150 Yards, Strokes Gained Putting 12.5%

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

 

2019 Head-to-Head Record (15-9-2)

+6.97 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

Genesis Open

Hideki Matsuyama -110 over Jordan Spieth

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T9 (-7)

T51 (+1)

Win

1.00

Honda Classic

Zach Johnson -115 over Kiradech Aphibarnrat

1.43 Units to Win 1.25

T59 (+3)

MC (+10)

Win

1.25

Arnold Palmer

Chesson Hadley -110 over Chris Kirk

0.82 Units to win 0.75

T17 (-5)

T15 (-6)

Loss

-0.82

Players Championship

Tiger Woods +105 over Rickie Fowler

0.75 Units to win 0.79

T30 (-6)

T47 (-3)

Win

0.79

Valero Texas Open

Trey Mullinax -110 over Justin Harding

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

MDF (+1)

MC (+4)

Win

1.00

Masters

Bubba Watson -115 over Louis Oosthuizen

1.15 Units to Win 1.00

T12 (-8)

T29 (-4)

Win

1.00

Wells Fargo Championship

Joel Damen +120 over Chez Reavie

0.75 Units to win 0.90

2nd (-12)

T18 (-5)

Win

0.90

Byron Nelson

Trey Mullinax -105 over Brian Stuard

1.05 Units to Win 1.00

MC (+5)

T59 (-7)

Loss

-1.05

PGA Championship

Dylan Frittelli -105 over Cameron Champ

1.05 Units to Win 1.00

MC (+8)

T54 (+9)

Loss

-1.05

Memorial Tournament

Jason Kokrak -110 over Kyle Stanley

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T62 (+3)

MC (+2)

Win

1.00

Canadian Open

Ollie Schniederjans -110 over Nick Taylor

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

MC (+1)

-6 (T27)

Loss

-1.10

U.S. Open

Tiger Woods +160 over Rory McIlroy

1.00 Units to Win 1.60

T21 (-2)

T9 (-5)

Loss

-1.00

3M Open

Lucas Glover +100 over Charley Hoffman

1.25 Units to Win 1.25

T7 (-16)

MC (E)

Win

1.25

John Deere Classic

Talor Gooch +100 over Beau Hossler

1.25 Units to Win 1.25

MDF (-2)

T26 (-12)

Loss

-1.25

 

2019 Outright Bets That Have Finished Inside the Top-10

Player

Event

Odds

Finish Position

Matt Kuchar

Mayakoba Golf Classic

66

1

Corey Conners

Valero Texas Open

200

1

Rory McIlroy

Canadian Open

10

1

Chesson Hadley

CIMB Classic

110

T2

Dustin Johnson

Masters

12

T2

Adam Scott

Memorial

33

2

Ryan Palmer

CJ Cup

150

T3

Sam Ryder

Shriners Hospitals

80

3

Chez Reavie

Sony Open

80

T3

Justin Thomas

Waste Management

10

3

Tommy Fleetwood

Arnold Palmer

35

T3

Rafa Cabrera-Bello

Arnold Palmer

60

T3

Scott Piercy

RBC Heritage

150

T3

Xander Schaufele

U.S. Open

28

T3

Lucas Glover

Honda Classic

60

T4

Brooks Koepka

Byron Nelson

7

T4

Jason Day

CJ Cup

13

T5

Sergio Garcia

WGC-Match Play

45

T5

Jason Day

Masters

40

T5

Marc Leishman

Memorial

66

5

Kevin Tway

Travelers

150

T5

Adam Hadwin

Canadian Open

70

6

Zach Johnson

RSM Classic

40

T7

Kevin Kisner

RSM Classic

40

T7

Troy Merritt

3M Open

175

T7

Lucas Glover

3M Open

90

T7

Webb Simpson

TOC

25

8

Jason Day

Players Championship

40

T8

Hideki Matsuyama

Players Championship

40

T8

Jason Day

Travelers

20

T8

J.B. Holmes

Safeway Open

60

9

Gary Woodland

Farmers Insurance

28

T9

Hideki Matsuyama

Genesis Open

30

T9

Shubankar Sharma

CIMB Classic

150

T10

Troy Merritt

RBC Heritage

250

T10

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