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PGA DFS: Vegas Report - Travelers Championship


By Keith Allison (Flickr: Jason Day) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Welcome back to the PGA DFS: Vegas Report. Gary Woodland captured the first major title of his career at Pebble Beach, outlasting Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose on Sunday with a final round 69. Woodland erred on the side of caution throughout most of the round, consistently pulling out three-woods and long irons off the tee, but the gameplan proved to be correct with the American eventually seizing a three-shot victory at 13-under par.

Woodland, who is often quiet and reserved, gained a ton of notoriety nationally this year when a video at the Waste Management Open went viral with over 22 million views. Woodland and Amy Bockerstette (a collegiate golfer who suffers from Down syndrome) played a hole together at TPC Scottsdale, and a mixture of magic and love overcame the often raucous party that is the par-three 16th hole.

Whether you want to chalk it up to Amy's fantastic par or Woodland's enthusiastic demeanor, the duo stole the show, and their friendship has continued since their first meeting. Woodland credited Amy after his victory on Sunday for inspiring him and even called her during his press conference to share another special moment. The 35-year-old is one of the good guys on tour, and all golf fans should rejoice in him being able to get the job done on Sunday - even if it wasn't financially beneficial from an outright or DFS perspective. Some things are just bigger than the game of golf.

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 Travelers 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.

 

TPC River Highlands

6,841 Yards - Par 70 - Greens Poa Annua (With Bentgrass)

The Travelers Championship provides with us a surprisingly star-studded field following the third major of the year. Thirteen of the top-25 players in the world will be making their way to Cromwell, Connecticut - including the number one player in the world Brooks Koepka.

TPC River Highlands was originally built in 1928 by Robert Ross but was re-designed twice in the 1980s by Pete Dye and Bobby Weed. There have been some discussions inside the industry of what kind of game will benefit the most from the layout, but it appears as if I will be in the minority with the mindset I will be taking this weekend. Strokes gained approach will always be a vital statistic for any event, and although TPC River Highlands measures in as one of the shortest tracks on the PGA Tour and is often lauded as a second shot course, I will be putting extra emphasis on strokes gained off the tee. That is not to say that approach statistics won't be crucial, but I would prefer to put my focus on ball striking and proximity from 125-175 yards if i were to attach a weight pertaining to second shots. If we start to add in strokes gained approach on top of those other categories, it seems like we will be too heavily weighting a statistic that might not be as important as it looks on paper.

Driving distance isn't the only thing that matters, but the ability to bomb and gouge might provide a small advantage for specific players. However, there will be another group that will be able to excel because of their ball striking abilities, so it is difficult to pinpoint any particular style in Connecticut. The event is usually played as a shootout, which means we will need to locate birdie makers, and the small greens should have us attaching a little weight onto scrambling. I wouldn't look too much into it because if you are continuously missing greens, you won't be competing for the title, but players will need to be able to save par with some of the tricky situations that can arise.

Travelers Championship Best Bets

#1 Jason Day - 20/1

DK Price $10,000, FD Price $11,100

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 10.3%

Jason Day is an intriguing player this weekend at the Travelers Championship. Despite being one of the biggest names in the field, most DFS players would rather spend up to grab Patrick Cantlay or move down to take Paul Casey or Justin Thomas. That leaves Day in a position where his $10,000 price tag could be overlooked, but I am not so sure the Aussie isn't the favorite to walk out of Connecticut with the title.

When we exclude some of the strokes gained approach metrics, Day starts to stand out from a statistical perspective. If we apply a 90 percent weight to 2019 statistics and 10 percent value to 2018, the Aussie comes in at seventh in strokes gained off the tee, 16th in driving distance, 13th in ball striking, sixth in par-four average and sixth in birdie or better percentage. However, the decision to back Day comes down to more than just a model spitting out a numerical ranking.

The 31-year-old has been one of the most notorious underachievers on tour in his career, but a switch to caddie Steve Williams has the 12-time PGA Tour winner motivated and eager to get back on top. Williams rose to fame with Tiger Woods, helping the American capture 13 of his major titles and was even able to benefit Adam Scott during his 2013 Masters victory. Day and Williams got their first start together last weekend at the U.S. Open, concluding the tournament in a share of 21st place, but Day has been adamant that hiring Williams will be what is needed to get him over the hump again.

Day was quoted saying, "I think the partnership only gets better as you get yourself in contention and around the lead at tournaments. Steve has a way of calming you down, and I'm hoping to get myself into contention (at the Travelers) and see what it is like with him standing next to you. He reinforces your good shots and even on missed putts reminds you that it was a good putt and to stay patient. I could feel that within four days at Pebble Beach, so it's up to me to try to listen, stay disciplined and hit it where he wants me to."

All those quotes are tremendous, but Day will need to implement that in action for things to start coming to fruition. TPC River Highlands short layout will be a place where Day can drive the ball with confidence and could provide the tandem with an opportunity to compete for the title on Sunday. The 18th-ranked player in the world tends to run hot and cold with not only his results but also in the betting market, and despite 18/1 being on the more shallow side of perceived value, this number would only get smaller if he were to get himself into contention this weekend.

A win feels like it is coming shortly, and I am okay with jumping the gun slightly to grab him at a venue that should suit his game. Day should probably be the second favorite on the board over Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth and Francesco Molinari, and that's before we even touch on Brooks Koepka at 6/1 and his potential for lack of motivation this week. The Aussie is my winner in Connecticut this week and could present us with value across the board.

 

#2 Marc Leishman - 30/1

DK Price $9,100 FD Price $10,500

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 10.9%

For all the discussions about particular players who have found success at TPC River Highlands, Marc Leishman has quietly gone under the radar this weekend. If we remove Leishman's missed cut at the Travelers Championship last season, the Aussie has provided six straight top-40 results - including a victory here in 2012. His two top-10s at the venue since 2010 are tied for the fifth most of all competitors, but his ownership projection hasn't seen the same spike as Kevin Streelman, Charley Hoffman or Paul Casey. Perhaps that has more to do with being in the same price range as Casey - who is projected to be the most popular selection on the board, but I believe Leishman makes for a fantastic pivot option from the Englishman and provides much more upside for success.

The 23rd-ranked player in the world has lacked a victory in 2019, but most have forgotten just how solid he has been in his 13 worldwide events. Eleven made cuts, five top-10 finishes and a runner-up showing at the Australian PGA Championship have highlighted his season, and Leishman appears to be peaking again for a late run at the end of the year. The four-time PGA Tour winner has gained more strokes than anyone else in the field at TPC River Highlands since 2012 at +22.73 and has posted 23 of 26 rounds of par or better in that same duration of time.

Even though we aren't putting a ton of weight onto approach statistics, the 35-year-old has also gained strokes with his approach shots in 11 straight trackable events. When we include a short game that is beginning to heat up, the Aussie provides us with a style of play that can rack up birdies in bunches due to his ball striking skills. His roughly 10 percent projected ownership puts him in the same range as the majority of his counterparts, but I believe he has the most upside of the bunch this weekend in Connecticut.

#3 Kevin Tway - 110/1

DK Price $7,400, FD Price $8,800

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 5.2%

My selection of Kevin Tway at the RBC Canadian Open drew some question marks in the RotoBaller 'One and Done' contest, but I actually believe he is equally in consideration this week at the Travelers Championship. That is obviously a little different than an outright selection, but it should go to show that the 103rd-ranked player in the world finds himself undervalued for the second straight tournament.

Tway is known as a bomber, but the one thing that most tend to ignore when breaking down his style is that he performs exponentially better at shorter tracks. A course such as TPC River Highlands is almost the perfect mixture for the American because it allows him to use his length as an advantage but doesn't possess a ton of slip-up spots off the tee. His victory at the Safeway Open provided a similar set up of a smaller course that allowed him to use his length with no real danger, and I think it helps to explain why Tway has posted a top-50 result in every showing at the Travelers Champion since 2014.

A sixth-place finish last season should be something that the 30-year-old can build from, yet he is going virtually unnoticed with five percent projected ownership. I'm not going to sit here and pretend like Viktor Hovland doesn't have more upside in his career than Tway, but in no world should Hovland be 70/1 in his first career professional start if Tway is priced at 125/1. I'd have made Tway more towards the 80/1 range myself and recommend him as both an outright and GPP option to consider.

#4 Si Woo Kim - 125/1

DK Price $7,400, FD Price $8,800

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 4.6%

Betting slips on Si Woo Kim have run a little rampant throughout the industry during the past few years. Part of that has to do with the fact that the South Korean was able to capture a total of two titles between 2016 to 2017, causing hysteria from everyone trying to get in on the action. However, that chase seems to have slowed down after a stretch of over 60 tournaments where the 58th-ranked player in the world has failed to find the winner's circle, but it appears as if the time to jump back on board might be right now.

Kim is not your average player. Yes, he is as streaky as can be and can be frustrating to support in certain situations, but the 23-year-old is a Pete Dye specialist who often doesn't get priced correctly on tracks that suit his game. I think the mentality around the industry is that most people either love to back Kim every week or won't touch him with a 20-foot pole. Unfortunately, that type of reasoning is what fails most sports bettors. Every situation is different, and we need to view information more in a vacuum for that particular event and ignore preconceived notions we may have about a golfer.

Some players will consistently have course history baked into their price, but sportsbooks often fail to acknowledge specific design types. Kim has dominated on Pete Dye designs in his career, yet that isn't necessarily being incorporated into his price tag the same way as Charley Hoffman is being priced at 60/1 because of his success at TPC River Highlands. I do like Hoffman this week and think he will find some success, but if we are going put the UNLV product at 60/1, there is no reason not to have Kim in that same exact range. The two-time PGA Tour winner has provided two top-26 showings in his two attempts at the course and is one of the better values on the board at 125/1.

#5 Kyle Stanley - 125/1

DK Price $7,300, FD Price $8,900

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 3.7%

As you can tell with our bets for the Travelers Championship, we have included a mixture of bombers and ball strikers. I believe either style has a theoretical chance at finding success at TPC River Highlands, and I didn't want to exclude either when putting together the finishing touches to our official betting card. Kyle Stanley has historically been one of the better ball strikers on tour, although you wouldn't know that by his struggles in 2019. The American is currently ranked 94th on tour in strokes gained ball striking - a steep decline from his third-place ranking in 2018 and first place position in 2017.

Stanley has gotten off to an abysmal start in 2019, missing eight of 15 cuts but a share of eighth place at the Wells Fargo Championship in May has been somewhat masked by his recent struggles at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship. Bethpage Black should be thrown out the window because of his lack of length, and we can even somewhat overlook his share of 65th place last weekend at the U.S. Open because of his historical struggles in major championship events.

It is impossible to claim that 56th-ranked player in the world has rediscovered his game, but two top-20 showings at this venue in the past five years mixed with his recent performance in North Carolina is enough for me to take a shot on him at astronomical odds of 125/1. Stanley's less than four percent projected ownership on DraftKings is a bargain given his upside potential, and he is someone who could far exceed his price tag this weekend.

 

#6 Hudson Swafford - 750/1

DK Price $6,200, FD Price $7,200

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 0.3%

Hudson Swafford has hit a wall with his golf game over the past year, which includes missing seven of his previous eight cuts this season. However, there are reasons to optimistic when we look at how TPC River Highlands will suit his style. By no means is this anything more than a flier in the outright market or a longshot contrarian option to consider in GPP contests, but Swafford's price is roughly double of what it should be and presents us with a player who could get hot this weekend at virtually no ownership whatsoever.

Our friends over at Fantasynational.com have some unique filters where we can breakdown specific variables that we know to be true. These devices include yardage, grass types, course designers, and many other factors we can try to use to gain a better perspective on who might surprise in a given event. Even though most of these statistics would have been taken before Swafford's game had fallen off the map, he has shown a great ability to perform on Pete Dye designs and venues under 7,200 yards - ranking fifth in the field in driving distance and 14th in strokes gained off the tee during his past 24 rounds.

These sorts of wagers are always recommended as top-10 or top-20 bets above anything else, but I would have had Swafford closer to 275/1 to capture the title this weekend and will take a small gamble on the one-time PGA Tour winner being able to strike lightning in a bottle because of his length off the tee.

 

DraftKings GPP Play of the Week

Jason Day - $10,000

(See above for details)

DraftKings Cash-Game Play of the Week

Jason Kokrak- $8,300

Twenty-two straight made cuts for Jason Kokrak entering the Travelers Championship, and TPC River Highlands appears to be a venue that should suit the 69th-ranked player in the world. His $8,300 price tag on DraftKings allows you to start your card with him as your second option and should provide you with the freedom to pair him with whoever you like up top. Kokrak has been able to throw in some top-10 finishes during his recent run, but the goal for cash-games is to try and lock in a borderline top-25 result and move on. I believe Kokrak fits that narrative perfectly and is someone who won't break the bank for the safety that he possesses.

My Top 30 Ranked Golfers For The Week

Key Stats: SG OTT 20%, Par-Four Average 20%, Birdie or Better Percentage 20%, Proximity 125-175 Yards 15%, Ball Striking 15% and Driving Distance 10%

50% Stats/30% Form/20% History


Head-to-Head Play of the Week

We will be back next weekend for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

 

2019 Head-to-Head Record (14-8-2)

+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

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

Adam Hadwin

Canadian Open

70

6

Zach Johnson

RSM Classic

40

T7

Kevin Kisner

RSM Classic

40

T7

Webb Simpson

TOC

25

8

Jason Day

Players Championship

40

T8

Hideki Matsuyama

Players Championship

40

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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