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PGA DFS: Vegas Report - The RSM Classic


In a day and age where it is difficult to win more than once in a season, Brendon Todd defied logic by capturing back-to-back titles at the Bermuda Championship and Mayakoba Classic. One could argue that the quality of these wins featured vastly different talent in the fields, but Todd's victory in Mexico tied him for the most titles on tour in 2019 with Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods and Jon Rahm. Who would have imagined that before the year started!?

I always find it amazing how small of a difference there is between struggling to maintain your tour card and competing weekly. Players such as Lanto Griffin and Todd have shown that to be the case in the fall, and it is essential to remember that careers can turn on a dime from one outing.

With that mentality in mind, let's see if we can turn our outright betting season around at the RSM Classic.

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!

2020 RSM Classic

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.

Sea Island Seaside Course

7,005 Yards - Par 70 - Greens Bermuda

Designed in 1928 by Harry Colt and C.H. Alison, the Sea Island Course is a tight venue that features substantial undulation, shaved run-offs and the propensity to be susceptible to winds. The facility was redesigned in 1998 by Tom Fazio, but the links-style nature remains as pronounced as the day it was constructed.

Unlike most of the recent fall tournaments, 152 golfers will be teeing it up this weekend, but there is one minor change to take into account if you are building models or handicapping this event. While three of the rounds will be held at the aforementioned Seaside property, players will be forced to play either their Thursday or Friday round on the Plantation Course. From my perspective, rotational events always make it more difficult to handicap the proceedings, and it is a little challenging to get a proper read on the Plantation Course with it being open only five weeks since being renovated. I will assume the new greens have some spring to them, but there is no point in trying to throw darts on what to expect there.

The greens at Seaside are larger than PGA Tour average, and that is usually welcomed with the venue exposed to extreme elements. Scoring will be easy if the winds remain calm, but scrambling is highly essential if the gusts do pick up. Distance off the tee isn't required, and it is all about finding fairways. On average, the field connects on 80 percent of their greens in regulation when hitting their approach shots from the short grass, which is right up there with the highest GIR percentage on tour. All in all, we are looking at a birdie venue that will reward ball striking, short game and par-four scoring between 400 to 500 yards. Eight holes fit this distance and range between some of the friendliest shots you will find at Seaside to the most complex in a matter of seconds.

RSM Classic

#1 Kevin Kisner 28/1

DK Price $9,800, FD Price $11,000

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 15.2%

The age-old question of course history versus current form. I normally venture towards the side that form is more important than anything else, but it is difficult to overlook Kisner this weekend in Georgia. A graduate of the University of Georgia in 2006, Kisner has posted four top-seven finishes at the Seaside Course in his past five starts, including a victory in 2015 and an impressive tally of no negative rounds when it comes to strokes gained tee-to-green in six years at the venue.

While I do believe course history buffs will keep Kisner's ownership percentage slightly elevated on DFS sites, his recent results could provide a marginal dip from where it would have been if he entered the week with solid form. I'll venture to guess that we see the American eventually settle at sub-15 percent, which could present an opportunity for his outright odds to gain a small spike. I've already seen Kisner drift from 25/1 to 28/1 in some markets and believe you could wait till closer to Thursday to put this wager in without any repercussions.

#2 Adam Hadwin 40/1

DK Price $9,600, FD Price $10,100

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 11.8%

I am not so sure I am buying into Adam Hadwin's projected ownership this weekend. Sure, cash-game participants will likely use the Canadian as one of the core members of their builds, but the 47th-ranked player in the world hasn't always been a consistent producer for high-end tournament results.

When we look at the golfers who surround him in DraftKings pricing, there are only so many options that can fit into the same roster construction together. One thing I like to do for my GPP research is to go to fantasynational.com and find the number of players that make up the first 90% of projected ownership. The reasoning for this is to try and figure out where the cutoff point is for contrarian builds if I were to start my lineup past that point.  This weekend, the top seven golfers produce a 91.7% projected ownership, which includes Webb Simpson, Billy Horschel, Matt Kuchar, Charles Howell III, Harris English, Kevin Kisner and Adam Hadwin. What that tells me is that if you started your lineup with Aaron Wise at $9,400, you might have some overlapping with someone who went with one of the 'big seven' players and Wise, but you should have a contrarian start to your team compared to other setups.

I point this out because Hadwin seems to be sandwiched in a dead zone with Wise and Alex Noren, and if Scottie Scheffler is actually as popular as he is projected to be at $9,200, it won't be easy for Hadwin to fit into most lineups with his salary. There is always a chance that gamers decide to take the same approach I did and start lineups with Kisner and Hadwin, but I do believe we see the Canadian come in at under 10% for most big-field GPPs. Hadwin has made six cuts in a row, including two top-four finishes in his past four events, and that is good enough for me to take a shot on him at a venue that rewards precision off the tee.

#3 Brian Harman 65/1

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

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 14.4%

The Georgia narrative is going to become old this week in almost all articles that you read. I do realize that I have Kevin Kisner and Brian Harman as two of my six outright selections, but neither guy was directly added to my card because of where they played their college golf or where they were born. It doesn't necessarily hurt, but I wish the masses weren't venturing towards their direction because it is taking away some of our advantages over the field.

Harman looked as if he had regained his form here recently with five straight made cuts and four top-20 results, but the 123rd-ranked player in the field has stumbled over his past two contests with a missed cut and a share of 72nd place. Homecomings tend to end well for players rarely, but Harman is as tough as they come mentally and should find Seaside to fit right into his wheelhouse with his driving accuracy and short-game prowess.

#4 Joel Dahmen 80/1

DK Price $7,600, FD Price $9,700

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 10.8%

Coming off of his best result of the season at the Mayakoba Classic, Joel Dahmen will look to keep the momentum rolling at the RSM Classic. The American quietly produced four rounds in the 60s last week, including a 66 and 65 during Sunday's 36-hole finale.

Dahmen has had multiple occasions in 2018 and 2019 of where he has collectively strung together a handful of quality results in a row, but the 100th-ranked player in the world has failed to take advantage of any of those results when it comes to finding the winners circle. Momentum seems to be key for the American, and I expect him to continue onwards this weekend in Georgia at a generous price of 80/1.

#5 Kyle Stanley 125/1

DK Price $7,200, FD Price $8,700

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 10.4%

I've noted recently in articles how players go through ebbs and flow with their pricing. There tends to eventually be a standard number that becomes acceptable for each golfer, but those amounts can deviate throughout both good and bad runs. With that being said, there are occasions where a golfer can get stuck in a rut for so long that his outright price steadily balloons past what is deemed as fair, and that is what has happened to Kyle Stanley of the course of the past few months.

I would consider the Sea Island Seaside Course to be a ball-strikers paradise, and there might not be a better player in the field at that than Stanley. Since 2017, the American has finished inside the top-three in ball striking on the PGA Tour twice, including placing first during his 2018 campaign. If you are into outright betting value, there might not be a better play on the board this weekend than the 102nd-ranked golfer in the world.


#6 James Hahn 200/1

DK Price $6,400, FD Price $7,600

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 0.9%

We will round out our betting card with James Hahn at 200/1, who has shown an inclination to find statistical success at short and easy venues in the past. During his past 50 rounds compared to the field at properties that are under 7,200 yards and feature easy scoring, Hahn is ranked fifth in Par-four scoring between 400-450 yards, eighth in ball striking and 12th in proximity between 150-175 yards. All of those analytics still make him a longshot to capture the title, but there is some value to be had at his 200/1 outright price.


Key Stats:
 Driving Accuracy +GIR 25%, Birdie or Better 20%, Prox. 12-175 Yards 20%, SG: Short Game 20% and Par-Four Average 15%

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


Head-to-Head Play of the Week

Brian Stuard -105 over Chris Kirk -115
Brian Stuard $7,400 price tag on DraftKings vs. Chris Kirk $7,600 price tag
Brian Stuard 9.6 percent projected ownership vs. Chris Kirk 9.2 percent projected ownership

1.05 Units to Win 1.00 Units

This is one of those situations where course history and where Chris Kirk played his college golf is being baked too densely into the price. I don't want this article to become about what Kirk has had to endure off the course in recent months because this piece isn't about publicizing players' off the course demons, but it is worth partially mentioning since I am recommending this as a wager and want to be as transparent as possible as to why I like the play.

The American announced earlier this year that he would be taking some time off from the PGA Tour to deal with alcohol abuse that had been troubling his life, and Kirk did just that with almost a 30-week hiatus from tournament golf before returning back to the festivities last weekend at the Mayakoba Classic with a share of 33rd place. Full props need to given to Kirk for not only getting his life back on track but also providing such a robust result in his first start, but a return to Georgia will most likely place some added pressure on the 34-year-old to perform.

Since 2014, Kirk has provided three top-18 results at this week's venue, including two top-four finishes in 2014 and 2017, but it is difficult to know where exactly his head is at with a quick turnaround from Mexico to Georgia. I am going to show Kirk some respect by keeping this as a standard wager to win one unit rather than anything more because of how prolific he has been at the Sea Island Seaside Course, but I'd have to imagine the rust, quick turnaround and environment all will play a factor this weekend. I think we eventually see Kirk post a missed cut when all is said and done, which would be all Brian Stuard would need after making the cut in eight of his past nine events.

2020 Head-to-Head Record (3-1-1)

+1.95 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


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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