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PGA DFS Vegas Report - Sentry Tournament of Champions


After nearly a one-month long break from PGA tournament golf, 2020 will begin with 34 winners from the 2019 season all vying to be crowned the champion of all champions.

If you are new here to the Vegas Report, I would like to welcome you in and give you a slight background for what this article hopes to accomplish. Our goal is always to locate value on the betting board (whether that be from outright bets or head-to-head wagers) and attempt to provide a long-term edge over the sportsbooks. With our outright winners, we will try to pinpoint the best positive equity bets of the week, and in the process, we hope this presents attractable DFS plays for you to consider. With our head-to-head selections, we will be looking at the most lopsided line of the event, which should not only provide long-term success but will also help to navigate some of the "who should I start?" questions from a DFS standpoint.

I am excited to be able to lead you guys as the conductor of this journey for another year, so without further ado, let's get right into the Sentry Tournament of Champions and see if we can't begin 2020 with a bang!

Editor's Note: Get our full-season PGA and DFS Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive Lineup Optimizer, DFS Tools, and weekly Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

2020 Sentry Tournament of Champions

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.

 

Kapalua Plantation Course

7,500 Yards - Par 73 - Greens Bermuda

Designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore 1991, the Kapalua Plantation Course received a minor toughen-up in 2019. Before we take that last statement too much to heart, we are still looking at a venue that has been dismantled for 30-under par or better twice in its history. It will be interesting to see how the small increase in difficulty changes the event, but I wouldn't start drastically changing my handicapping approach.

Only three par threes are on the property, making it a rare Par 73 at 7,500 yards, and wind can come into play at the hilly venue. Wide and generous Bermuda fairways stretch beyond 50 yards wide in some circumstances, and players will be hitting their second shots into huge, undulating Bermuda Greens.

All the par-fives leave a chance for birdies and eagles, and even though there can be an occasional gust of wind, it is an easy resort course that is meant to kick the year off in style.

 

Sentry Tournament of Champions

#1 - Dustin Johnson - 10/1

DraftKings Price $10,100 / FanDuel Price $11,200

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 26.7%

With only 34 players in the field, I wouldn't place too much emphasis on ownership percentage. That goes against my normal take of trying to find contrarian alternatives that are flying into the event under the radar, but it is going to be difficult this week to build a lineup for DFS sites that is not only unique but also still explosive.

I believe the more prudent route to take for the Sentry Tournament of Champions is attempting to find a way to fit multiple of the high-end talent options onto the same lineup (Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele, etc.) with a few longer shots that could still be bringing in their fair share of ownership. While players like Rahm and Johnson might both be garnering ownership levels that exceed 25%, most DFS players won't be able to construct a lineup that features both, which diversifies your build compared to the other setups that only have one of the two on a roster.

To me, Johnson is the ultimate wild card this weekend. The American has put together eight straight events where he has failed to exceed a 20th place finish, but I am willing to chalk most of his poor form up to a knee injury that required surgery after the Tour Championship. Johnson was able to return to the Presidents Cup two weeks ago, going 2-2 during his four matches, but he was able to close strong with back-to-back victories in both singles and foursomes play.

A healthy Johnson would have been priced as the favorite at around 4/1, so the decrease of about 15% in implied win probability is worth giving him a second look. The fifth-ranked player in the world has recorded the best scoring average at Kapalua through his 35 rounds played there and has placed within the top-10 in each of his past four trips. I don't want to make it seem as if there is no risk in backing Johnson this weekend because there is, but 10/1 is a price that is baking in all the negatives around his current form and not considering the upside that has shown he could lap the field.

 

#2 - Joaquin Niemann - 50/1

DraftKings Price $8,000 / FanDuel Price $9,500

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 20.1%

Joaquin Niemann's success at Kapalua is going to come down to how successful he can be with his putter. The 21-year-old has shown to be one of the best iron players in the world, ranking 31st on tour last season in ball striking and 25th in strokes gained approach, but his ranking of 141st on the greens held him back on multiple occasions throughout the year.

However, golf betting is all about value, and 50/1 is a price that is too inflated for Niemann's robust upside. I've stated in the past that the Chilean will find the majority of his success early in his career at venues that require pristine iron play and result in birdie shootouts, mostly because his flat stick still needs time to catch up to the rest of his game. Niemann qualified for the Tournament of Champions at The Greenbrier, a venue that saw him shoot 21-under par on his way to victory, and I believe Kapalua demonstrates a lot of the same elements that he conquered when he found his first victory in West Virginia.

Niemann's ownership projection of 20.1% does place him slightly on the higher side compared to the equivalent choices that are priced within $500 of him on DraftKings, but with that being said, he is still projected to only be the 16th most owned player on the slate. If Niemann can figure out a way to traverse the greens at the Plantation Course successfully, he's capable of making some noise this weekend in Hawaii.

#3 - Matthew Wolff - 60/1

DraftKings Price $7,900 / FanDuel Price $9,100

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 17.0%

Of all the golfers in Hawaii this weekend, Matthew Wolff is my favorite play on the board. Kapalua's broad fairways that stretch as much as 50 yards wide should play right into the former Oklahoma State products hands, as he ranks fourth on tour in driving distance and third in birdie or better percentage on par-fives during the year.

Wolff's inaccuracy off the tee that currently places him 198th on tour in 2020 won't be an issue with the wide-open areas to hit into, and the non-penal rough should further amplify his go for broke mentality. Wolff broke out in 2019 and nearly moved into the top-100 in the Official World Golf Rankings, but I think we see him take the next jump with his game this year and potentially end the season ranked inside the top-25.

Hawaii seems like the perfect venue for Wolff to use his driver as a weapon over the field, and even though the statistics won't admit it because of a few poor tournaments with his irons, he is also a quality iron player that should be able to provide himself with a plethora of birdie opportunities. It wouldn't shock me if this is one of the highest numbers we get on him going forward, which begs the question as to why are we receiving it in a 34-man field?

 

#4 - Keith Mitchell - 110/1

DraftKings Price $7,000 / FanDuel Price $8,000

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 14.9%

It is hard to get behind Keith Mitchell after the struggles he has demonstrated since winning at the Honda Classic in March, but the American has such an explosive game on Bermuda greens that I've always been a proponent of throwing out his splits entirely and just focusing on his course fit when placed on his favorite surface.

Over his past 50 rounds on Bermuda, Mitchell ranks inside the top-eight compared to the field in strokes gained approach, driving distance, strokes gained on par-fours and birdies or better gained. A lot of this stems from the fact that the 98th-ranked player in the world goes from one of the worst putters on tour on every other surface to just a marginally below-average player on Bermuda.

"Marginally below" is not the best way to describe someone's game that you are picking to have a chance to win a tournament, but Mitchell has an explosive game that is capable of going on long birdie stretches and features an outright price that is yielding some value in a small, no-cut event. If Mitchell can just be "average" with his flat stick in Hawaii, his off the tee prowess might be able to place him in contention.

 

Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained Approach 25%
  • Driving Distance 20%
  • Birdie or Better 20%
  • Par-Four Average 17.5%
  • Par-Five Birdie or Better 17.5%
  • 70% Stats/30% Form

 

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

No head-to-head play for the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

We will resume at the Sony Open next week.

 

2020 Head-to-Head Record (4-1-1)

+2.95 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

Houston Open

Jhonattan Vegas +100 over Aaron Baddeley

1.12 Units to Win 1.12

MC (+3)

MC (+3)

Push

0

Mayakoba Classic

Denny McCarthy +110 over Kevin Kisner

1.00 Units to Win 1.10

T48 (-5)

T76 (+1)

Win

1.10

RSM Classic

Brian Stuard -105 over Chris Kirk -115

1.05 Units to Win 1.00

T10 (-13)

MC (-3)

Win

1.00

 


2020 Outright Bets That Have Finished Inside the Top-10

Player

Event

Odds

Finish Position

Xander Schauffele

ZOZO Championship

25

10

 


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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