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Welcome back to the PGA DFS: Vegas Report. Francesco Molinari stormed the leaderboard on Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Classic to capture a two-shot victory over Matthew Fitzpatrick. Molinari's eight-under 64 on Sunday was reminiscent of how Rory McIlroy seized the title at Bay Hill in 2018, and only 14 players in the field were within five shots of his stellar performance on Sunday. Pin placements were extremely challenging during the final round, but the 36-year-old managed to make eight birdies and no bogeys en route to an astronomical 7.900 total strokes gained.

Our betting card was full of near misses last weekend. For the second straight week, eight of our 10 outright suggestions made the cut, which included five finishes inside the top-25. Tommy Fleetwood (35/1) and Rafa Cabrera-Bello (60/1) finished the event in a share of third place, presenting each-way backers with two separate scores. Unfortunately, each-way betting is not an option that is available to me in America, but this article has now provided 17 top-10 results, one victory and nine finishes that have landed within the top-five each-way payout zone, including seven ranging between 60/1 to 150/1.

While all of that is encouraging, we regrettably ended our streak of four straight head-to-head wins. Chesson Hadley (T17) narrowly missed out on catching Chris Kirk (T15), and we were incredibly unlucky not to get at least a push out of the wager. Kirk had to get up-and-down from 41 yards out on the final hole and proceeded to stick his approach to seven feet and drain a putt into the center of the cup. We discussed how Kirk possessed more upside than we would care for on a wager like this, but Hadley was still the right side in my opinion. The American finished first in strokes gained approach, earning 8.988 shots compared to the field but was undone on Friday when he shot a four-over par nine at the par-five sixth hole. That is sometimes the nature of the beast when it comes to gambling, and all we can do is move on to the next event. With the Players Championship on tap, let's dive into some value players we will be targeting at TPC Sawgrass.

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 Players Championship - TPC Sawgrass

7,189 Yards - Par 72 - Greens Bermuda

Golf's unofficial fifth major is back in March for the first time since 2006. Regularly held in May, the Players Championship's erratic nature of providing off-the-wall leaderboards might become even more apparent if the colder weather starts affecting scoring.

From a statistical standpoint, TPC Sawgrass is a tough nut to crack. The venue has historically been a second shot course, but Webb Simpson's runaway victory last season turned that narrative upside down. Simpson finished first in the field in driving accuracy and last in driving distance. He gained almost two more strokes putting than anyone else in the tournament and won while losing 0.7 strokes on his approach shots (92nd overall). Si Woo Kim's victory in 2017 also included a mundane 16th place in strokes gained approach, but before those two results, every player from 2012 to 2016 had concluded the event top-10 in approach.

The previous two results should be chalked up as an outlier, and TPC Sawgrass features some of the smallest greens on tour. Because of the restricted space, strokes gained around the green will be amplified, and only three players finished inside the top-25 last season by losing strokes with their short game. There are 88 bunkers on the facility and 17 water hazards, making mistakes possible at nearly every turn. At the end of the day, TPC Sawgrass should be considered a challenging Par 72 that walks a fine line between difficult and sadistic.

Players Championship Best Bets

The Players Championship isn't the easiest event to decipher, but its fickle nature over the years has rendered an archetypal display of as close to a perfect betting board as I have seen in a while. Only three players are rated under 20/1, and we have a slew of world-class golfers that are coming in at two or three times the price of a typical week.

From this point forward, I have decided to change up the dynamics of the article. Included below are 10 golfers that I would contemplate placing a wager on at TPC Sawgrass. 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 Players Championship.

 

#1 Tiger Woods - 28/1, DK Price $10,500, FD Price $11,100

Tiger Woods is not a recommendation that you will see from me very often. A lot of that has to do with the fact that the sportsbooks consistently make him an option that isn't bettable. Woods is the biggest name in the world of golf, and casinos make sure that they will never be exposed to the American with an incorrect price. Futures bets are challenging to begin with because sportsbooks charge way more than the five to 10 percent vig that they do on straight wagers. Depending on the book, it is not uncommon for them to have their outright card carry between 130 to 170 percent of implied probability. What that means is that casinos are holding a ridiculous 30 to 70 percent of the juice on these sorts of wagers.

Golf is an analytical sport that allows us to number crunch. Our goal is to try and figure out what the win probability is for a particular golfer and then figure out if the market is providing value. We are so used to Woods' price coming in at about 12/1 that 28/1 may seem like the steal of the century. Unfortunately, that is not the case, but we might finally be in a position where Woods is showing slight value.

I have Tiger at right around 3.5 percent to win the event, which puts him at the 28/1 number that the books have provided, but I think his true odds are even a little better than that. The 43-year-old should be rested after missing last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational and assuming his neck doesn't stiffen up on him again, Woods is statistically well-suited for TPC Sawgrass. Compared to the field this season, he ranks fifth in strokes gained approach, second in scoring average and sixth in proximity. As far as DraftKings is concerned, we have become accustomed to Woods being one of the highest owned options every week, but he is currently projected to be just the 13th highest owned player. That may still seem like a lot, but it is a discount when it comes to the 80-time PGA Tour winner.

#2 Jason Day - 40/1, DK Price $9,200, FD Price $11,200

After a week of dominating Magic Kingdom guests at Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Adventures, Jason Day is ready to saddle up and compete with the big boys at the Players Championship. Day has never been a stranger when it comes to outlandish injuries and even freakier results, but the 31-year-old may have taken the cake with his escapades last weekend.

We can make a million jokes about the hilarity around the whole situation, but Day's injury has opened up a unique betting window for the 12-time PGA Tour winner. As I mentioned above, this is not uncommon for the Australian, and his 40/1 outright price is nearly double of what it would have been with all the uncertainty following him. I've seen Day go out and win events in the past when the whole world was questioning his health, and there is perhaps no golfer in the world more well-equipped to bounce back from last weekend's disaster.

Day was the champion here in 2016, and if he makes it to the tees on Thursday, I highly doubt we see the same thing transpire again. The 12th-ranked player in the world is a consummate professional and wouldn't jeopardize his health to tee it up if something was severely wrong. Day is projected to be under five percent owned on DraftKings and makes for an enticing GPP selection. I wouldn't mess around with the situation in cash-games because I don't think it is worth the risk that is involved when you can easily pivot to a steadier option, but the value is there for GPP and outright bets. The "Space Ranger" is a great contrarian play this weekend, and I am ready to fly with him to the winner's circle. "To Infinity... And Beyond!"

#3 Brooks Koepka - 22/1, DK Price $10,000, FD Price $11,500

I had a hard time deciding between Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka. Yes, I could have included both, but I am trying to provide a somewhat reasonable spread of golfers so that you can comfortably mix and match to complete your cards. That isn't to say that you couldn't bet both Koepka and Thomas, but with the Players Championship being such a fantastic betting sheet, I wouldn't want to overexpose myself at the top and not leave myself room for some of the players that I like down the ticket.

The Players is where Koepka got himself back on track last season. The American had missed nearly six months of action due to a wrist injury, and in his second event back at TPC Sawgrass, Koepka made a mad dash on Sunday to conclude the tournament in a share of 11th place. His final round performance included an albatross at number 16, and many sharp bettors started adding him to their U.S. Open cards from his one quality round.

This year, the big-hitting American will get a crack at the Players Championship in much better health. The third-ranked player in the world has provided two consecutive top-16 finishes at TPC Sawgrass and has never been a stranger when it comes to winning the most significant events in the world. Priced at $10,000 on DraftKings, Koepka is projected to be one of the lowest owned players at $10,000 or above and is a cheaper contrarian option to Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy.

#4 Hideki Matsuyama - 40/1, DK Price $8,300, FD Price $10,500

I haven't decided yet what I am going to do with Hideki Matsuyama on DFS sites because of his massive ownership projection, but 40/1 is too high of a number for the Japanese sensation, especially given the way he is currently striking the ball. Matsuyama enters TPC Sawgrass having gained strokes tee to green in his last 11 trackable events, which includes him earning over five strokes in eight of those contests. Sadly, though, the 27-year-old has failed to provide a victory during his stellar ball striking stretch, mainly stemming from his inability to make a putt.

During last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, Matsuyama lost an astounding 8.3 strokes on the greens, terrible by even his standards. We are in a position where practically the whole industry is touting the five-time PGA Tour winner in some fashion, and I hate joining the masses because when everyone backs a particular player, it usually doesn't end well. Unfortunately, I don't see how to find my way off of him this week. He is a hot putter away from presenting us with a runaway win, and the value is too good to sit on the sidelines this week.

#5 Henrik Stenson - 66/1, DK Price $7,800, FD Price $9,600

After losing strokes putting in five consecutive PGA Tour events, Henrik Stenson has now gained strokes on the greens in his previous three tournaments. Erratic putting has plagued the 42-year-old for his entire career, but Stenson has shown the ability to catch fire with his flat stick.

The Swede enters the week ranked eighth in strokes gained approach compared to the field and second in driving accuracy. His combination of consistent drives and immaculate iron play should present him with a plethora of birdie opportunities, and his ranking of third in proximity and fifth in greens in regulation will allow him to avoid some of the big numbers that TPC Sawgrass can provide. Stenson's $7,800 price tag on DraftKings has him projected to be around 11 percent owned, but it is not incredibly out of line with a lot of his counterparts in that range. Stenson is far from a contrarian option but still provides incredible value at 66/1 in the betting market.

#6 Ian Poulter - 66/1, DK Price $7,600, FD Price $9,800

Similar to Hideki Matsuyama, Ian Poulter brings high projected ownership and quality form with him to the Players Championship. The runner-up in 2017 and last year's 11th place finisher, Poulter possesses the kind of game you need to succeed at TPC Sawgrasses' grueling test. On the season, Poulter ranks 11th in strokes gained around the green compared to the field, sixth in good drive percentage and ninth in sand save percentage.

If you were looking for a reason to fade Poulter because of his high ownership projection, early reports have the venue playing longer than usual with the colder weather and wet course. And while that could become an issue, I just don't think TPC Sawgrass is lengthy enough for that to become a massive concern. It might affect strategy on a hole or two, but it isn't going to have me deviate from the players that I perceive to have value. Poulter's 16 percent projected ownership isn't ideal for GPP events, but I still like him as a cash-game play and love his 66/1 outright number.

#7 Byeong Hun An - 100/1, DK Price $6,800, FD Price $8,700

Where do we begin with Byeong Hun An? The 27-year-old has gained strokes tee to green in his previous 10 trackable events on the PGA Tour but has lost shots on the green eight of those times, many resulting in astronomical losing efforts. Essentially, Hun An has transformed into a worse version of Hideki Matsuyama.

When we look at some of the South Korean's close calls in his career, there are a few things that stand out to me. On the PGA Tour, Hun An has posted nine top-10 finishes in his career. Six of those have resulted in him either losing strokes with his putter or gaining less than 2.5 shots. His three outliers came from him earning 3.6, 3.3 and 4.3 strokes.

Beyond anything else, it just accentuates the fact that he is a terrible putter, but it also shows that he doesn't need to be great with his flat stick to put himself into contention. Many in the industry are beginning to catch on to how great of a ball-striker the South Korean is, and it has resulted in him garnering nearly 12.5 percent projected ownership this weekend on DraftKings. His 100/1 outright price is slightly easier to stomach than joining the masses on DFS sites, but Hun An is a name that you should start looking into weekly, and I think his breakthrough is just around the corner.

#8 Russell Knox - 155/1, DK Price $6,900, FD Price $8,600

Russell Knox has been relatively steady this season in most of the vital statistics that will be needed at TPC Sawgrass. He enters the week ranked inside the top-30 compared to the field in strokes gained approach, strokes gained around the green, total proximity, sand saves and he barely misses out when it comes to bogey avoidance.

Knox has lacked any strong worldwide showings since his victory at the Irish Open last July, but the 64th-ranked player in the world has produced 10 consecutive made cuts and has recorded two top-14 results in his previous four events. Knox's par-five scoring and opportunities created does leave a lot to be desired, but at 150/1 in the outright market and priced at $6,900 on DraftKings, Knox is one of the cheaper options under $7,000 that you could theoretically use in any fashion on DFS sites.

#9 Bud Cauley - 200/1, DK Price $6,600, FD Price $8,800

Bud Cauley missed the cut last season at the Players Championship in his only attempt at TPC Sawgrass, but the 28-year-old might have a few tricks up his sleeve to record a better finish this time around. Cauley enters the week ranked third in strokes gained around the green, trailing only Byeong Hun An and Tyrell Hatton and has provided five top-30 finishes in his past nine events. In fairness, the 181st-ranked player in the world has also missed four cuts, but we aren't looking for consistency when it comes to GPP or outright selections.

The one thing I do find interesting about Cauley's recent string of variance is that the former Alabama product hasn't always been this unsteady. Between 2017 to 2018, Cauley made 72 percent of all worldwide cuts, and I believe it is an encouraging sign that he is still providing quality results mixed in with his dud like performances. The former No.1 ranked amateur in the world is priced at $6,600 on DraftKings and is only projected to be 1.4 percent owned. The American makes for a perfect GPP longshot selection or outright bet at 200/1.

#10 Troy Merritt - 400/1, DK Price $6,100, FD Price $7,400

Troy Merritt is an extremely dangerous selection this week -- which should be implied by his 400/1 outright price. The American will be making his first start since a missed cut at the Sony Open in early January. While absences are very rarely a positive thing, Merritt's was scarier than most. The 33-year-old had to have his top-left rib removed after being diagnosed with Thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition that ultimately led to a blood clot in his arm last year.

Before his missed cut in Hawaii, the 196th-ranked player in the world had produced six straight made cuts to go along with a victory at the Barbasol Championship earlier in the season. It is tough to tell how Merritt is going to perform in his first event back after undergoing such a potentially life-threatening scare, but he has shown great ability to maneuver around the greens and was one of the better par-five scorers on the season before his surgery. Merritt's odds are correct given all the uncertainty surrounding him, but his game does warrant heavy consideration at a price tag of $6,100 on DraftKings and 400/1 outright price. Merritt is projected to be around 0.5 percent owned and would make for a great story if he could deliver a run at the title this weekend.


MY TOP 30 RANKED GOLFERS FOR THE WEEK

Key Stats: SG Approach (20%), SG Around The Green (18%), Par-Four Average (13%), Par-Five Birdie Or Better Percentage (12%), Proximity From 125-175 Yards (12%), Scrambling (10%), Bogey Avoidance (8%), Proximity Over 200 Yards (7%)

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


Head-to-Head Play of the Week

Tiger Woods +105 over Rickie Fowler -125
Tiger Woods 10,500 price tag on DraftKings vs. Rickie Fowler $9,700 price tag on DraftKings
Tiger Woods 14.6 percent projected ownership vs. Rickie Fowler 8.7 percent projected ownership

0.75 Units to Win 0.79

Tiger Woods (+105) over Rickie Fowler (-125) is more of a bet based off of value than anything else. Many who read this article weekly might be surprised to see me have two premier golfers included since I always advocate avoiding coin flip situations like this, but I think we have a unique spot where we can grab a slightly under-the-radar Woods at a plus number. Fowler was the champion at the event in 2015 but has not finished better than 60th in his other five attempts since 2013.

These head-to-head write-ups sometimes can be extremely in-depth and lengthy, but there isn't much to say that I haven't already about Woods. I think he is going to win the event, and I am happy to grab him against a golfer that I believe has a whole ton of boom-or-bust to his game this weekend.

2019 Head-to-Head Record (9-4-2)

+6.48 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

 

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

Tommy Fleetwood

Arnold Palmer

35/1

T3

Rafa Cabrera-Bello

Arnold Palmer

60/1

T3

Lucas Glover

Honda Classic

60/1

T4

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

Hideki Matsuyama

Genesis Open

30/1

T9

Shubankar Sharma

CIMB Classic

150/1

T10

 

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