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PGA DFS: Vegas Report - Waste Management Open


Welcome back to the PGA DFS: Vegas Report. World No. 1 Justin Rose shot four rounds of sub-70 golf at the Farmers Insurance Open to capture the title at Torrey Pines. The Englishman has been on a sensational run in the past 17 months, winning six times in his last 35 worldwide events while recording 26 top-10s and 34 made cuts. It has arguably been one of the most outstanding stretches of golf that we have seen since the days of Tiger Woods dominating in the early-to-mid 2000s, but for whatever reason, the sport has overlooked a lot of his accomplishments. We are so focused on the youth movement in golf as a whole that we have slightly bypassed his exceptional display of excellence. In fairness, the 38-year-old has been unable to capture a major championship during that duration of time -- which might somewhat diminish the magnitude of his achievements, but he has only had four attempts throughout this run so far and will have an additional four opportunities to find the winner's circle this year.

Our outright betting card faired better at the Farmers Insurance Open than it did during the Desert Classic, but it was another week of frustrating results. Gary Woodland (28/1) backdoored a top-10 showing, but we were never able to get anyone to pose as a real threat during the tournament. I wasn't a huge fan of these past two events rotating courses between days and am happy to get back into a more natural handicapping outlook.

The Waste Management Open possesses a quality field that will feature 23 players who are ranked inside the top 50 in the world. Gary Woodland is the defending champion of the event, winning the title last season at 18-under par, and Hideki Matsuyama, the 2016 and 2017 winner in Phoenix, will be making his return to the course after having to withdraw last season due to a left wrist injury. The field isn't as difficult as it was last weekend at Torrey Pines, but we still have seven players that are ranked inside the top 20 in the world to make the event an exciting shootout. TPC Scottsdale is the biggest party in golf, so without further ado, let's get right into some value plays we will be targeting at the Waste Management Open.

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!

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.

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 Waste Management Open - TPC Scottsdale

7,266 Yards - Par 71 - Greens Bermuda

Perhaps no other event deserves to be played on the same weekend as the Super Bowl more than the Waste Management Open. TPC Scottsdale provides the ultimate party-like atmosphere for both the spectators and the players.

A 7,266 yard Par 71, TPC Scottsdale is a relatively easy course by PGA Tour standards, ranking 32nd in difficulty out of 51 venues in 2018. 16-under par has been the average winning score for the past five years, and most of the scoring can be found on the back nine holes -- which helps to add to the wild experience of the event. The par-three 16th hole will garner a lot of the attention this week because of the loud environment and football-like atmosphere, but it only grades out ninth in terms of difficulty. Instead, the tournament will likely be won or loss on holes 13, 15 and 17. 13 and 15 are par-fives that yield close to a 40 percent birdie rate, and the par-four 17th is the ultimate decider. Measuring only 332 yards and surrounded by water on the left side, both eagle and bogey are in play depending on the drive.

Because water only comes into play on three holes, there aren't a ton of big numbers to be had. The rough is relatively nonexistent, and a little extra distance off the tee won't hurt. Par-five scoring will be essential since all three feature nearly a 40 percent birdie rate, and golfers that give themselves quality looks should be rewarded. However, the most important statistic that I will be pinpointing is ball striking. TPC Scottsdale is a ball-strikers course, which is evident by Woodland winning in 2018 and Matsuyama capturing the trophy in 2016 and 2017.

 

Waste Management Pick to Win

Justin Thomas - 10/1, DK Price $11,000, FD Price $12,100

In a tournament that has been relatively predictable over the years, it is difficult to ignore the top eight players in odds this week. A legitimate case could be made for all of them, and that isn't helping to find value on the board. Jon Rahm leads the way at 6/1, and while his Arizona ties from college and current form will help, he is probably the one guy from the group that I just can't get behind as a wager. 6/1 in a relatively stout field is way too shallow for my liking.

Justin Thomas (10/1) might be the ultimate boom-or-bust option. Two 17th place finishes and two missed cuts in his four attempts at the event help to tell the bust side of the story, but Thomas has shown extreme upside here, birding the first six holes during the third round last year, only to give all of those shots back on the 14th to 16th.

Hideki Matsuyama (14/1) speaks for itself. First, first, second and fourth since 2014 in Phoenix, but I would prefer to shift to Xander Schauffele at 14/1 if I were to take on one of the two. Schauffele faired well last week when grouped with Tiger Woods and posted a 17th place finish in his first attempt here last season. The American is the one guy of the eight that might fly entirely under the radar, and that makes him worth a double take.

Gary Woodland, Webb Simpson, Rickie Fowler and Tony Finau round out the group, with all coming in between the 18 to 22/1 range. Woodland is the defending champion and grades out as well as you would hope, but I worry about his mental capability to be able to win the event in back-to-back seasons. Simpson is slightly under the radar himself after missing the cut last season, but the 33-year-old provided three top-15 showings from 2014 to 2017 before that. And then we have Finau and Fowler. Two guys that can't seem to find the winner's circle but are respectably priced given their talent. I wouldn't be shocked to see either breakthrough, but I'd prefer to be on the outside looking in when they finally do win again. It is too complicated to predict when their victories will come.

After long and hard consideration, I decided to roll with Thomas at 10/1. It's not a price that I love, and it will probably force me to reduce my win totals across the board by about 30 percent this week because of his shallow outright number, but his upside is too tantalizing to ignore. The American has gained an average of 8.25 strokes on his approach shots during the first two events he has played this year but has come up short off the tee and with his putter to finish in a share of 16th at the Sony Open and third at the Tournament of Champions.

It hasn't been uncommon for the American to go through lapses of questionable production with those two facets of his game, but there aren't many places to find trouble off the tee in Phoenix. His length should be considered an advantage and will set up shorter approach shots all tournament. Theoretically, if his irons can remain dialed in, he is a hot putter away from having a chance to scorch the facility.

The tournament is probably better for those of you that have each-way betting, as it is difficult to avoid the top of the betting board this week, but I still feel like I can construct a full card with Thomas as my primary selection. His ownership should be somewhat reduced on DFS sites because of his shaky course history and the plethora of pivot options around him, but the American will roll if he can gain a few strokes off the tee and on the greens.

 

Waste Management Sleepers

Luke List - 70/1, DK Price $8,000, FD Price $9,400

While a missed cut at the Desert Classic and a share of 40th at the Farmers Insurance Open isn't anything to write home about for Luke List, the 34-year-old could find TPC Scottsdale to reward his ball striking nature. The American came frustratingly close last season in his quest to capture his first title PGA Tour title at the Honda Classic but was undone by a clutch performance from Justin Thomas.

The Honda Classic is played at PGA National on the Champions Course, and there are a few similarities between that and TPC Scottsdale. Before I get started, I don't want to get things confused. The Champions Course is a much more difficult test that has 26 water hazards and 78 sand traps littered throughout the venue, but it is a track that rewards par-four scoring, par-five scoring, long irons and ball striking. TPC Scottsdale will require that same skill set with its links feel but won't have the same big numbers that come into play.

I think List's outright number has become disproportionately priced due to his recent form, but the American is always a hot putter away from having a chance to capture his first title. He finished last season ranked 181st on tour in putting but currently sits 50th this year. If the books are going to keep offering List at this price, I am going to remain a buyer. The 62nd-ranked player in the world is the 22nd most expensive player on DraftKings, 35th on FanDuel and 24th in the betting market.

Ryan Palmer - 80/1, DK Price $7,700, FD Price $9,300

Ryan Palmer's success at TPC Scottsdale has been questionable, but I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for his past two missed cuts here. Last season, he experienced a grueling playoff loss to Jason Day at the Farmers Insurance Open and came into this event not bringing his best game, most likely due to a letdown situation taking place. In 2017, the American rode into the tournament having missed his previous two cuts and kept his negative momentum rolling with a 113th place finish.

However, if we remove those two appearances from existence, Palmer has been quietly producing in Phoenix. He made all five cuts from 2012-2016, which includes a second-place showing 2015 and a fifth-place effort in 2013. In four events this season, Palmer has generated three top-13 showings but isn't riding into Phoenix with a letdown on the horizon. The three-time PGA Tour winner is a birdie maker and should be able to find a ton of opportunities because of his length off the tee and pristine iron play. At $7,700 on DraftKings, Palmer is going to go slightly under the radar to players such as Emiliano Grillo, Luke List and Talor Gooch, and for that reason, he makes for an exceptional pivot option in GPP events.

Austin Cook - 80/1, DK Price $7,900, FD Price $9,700

Length off the tee should help players in Phoenix, but I don't mind pinpointing solid ball strikers that are going to be accurate off of the tee either. Austin Cook fits into this perfect mold of what we are looking for if you remove driving distance. The American is a great iron player and is going to put together impressive ball-striking statistics that should help to give himself an ample amount of opportunities on the greens.

Cook is only ranked 189th on tour this season in driving distance but has more than made up for it with his accuracy, coming in at 10th overall. I think his DFS and outright price are moderately indicative of what the industry is expecting from the 124th-ranked golfer in the world. He appears to be a little overpriced based on his current form, but at $7,900 on DraftKings and a less than five percent projected ownership, he makes for a legit cash-game and GPP option. Cook is going to be one of the lowest owned selections between $7,500-$8,000, but his game might be the best suited of anyone in that range to find success.

Lucas Glover - 110/1, DK Price $7,200, FD Price $9,700

Lucas Glover has made five or his last six cuts at the Waste Management Open but has failed to record a top-25 during the process. That sounds much more like a low-priced cash-game option than a potential GPP selection, but Glover brings in form and a game that should be tailor-made for TPC Scottsdale. The 127th-ranked player in the world has recorded five straight top-17 finishes on tour and has been impressive statistically, ranking sixth this season in par-four scoring and ball striking.

While there is a lot to like about where Glover's game is trending, he has taken a beating with his long irons and has been nowhere near the hole all year (no pun intended). I worry slightly that the raucous crowd could get under the three-time PGA Tour winners skin this week, but as a GPP selection, I am willing to take a gamble that he can tune out the noise. I'd probably avoid him in cash-games for that reason, though.

 

Bonus Bomb

Joaquin Niemann - 125/1, DK Price $7,200, FD Price $8,900

I remember discussing Joaquin Niemann during the Mayakoba Championship in November. The basis of the discussion revolved around what a proper price would be on the Chilean star weekly. I mentioned this during the article, "The question becomes: at what number can we safely bet Niemann and expect it to be successful long-term?" My initial inclination is that anything above 60/1 is probably a profitable wager, but sportsbooks are too wise to offer us that in a non-major event."

Well, fast forward two months and Niemann has now entered a territory that is more than double what I thought our best price would be on him going forward. Part of that has to do with the fact that he has struggled in his last four events, posting nothing better than a share of 60th place, but the 20-year-old remains ideally suited for birdie tracks that don't feature a ton of danger.

Niemann has been horrible on the greens since the John Deere Classic in July, losing strokes putting in eight of his last nine trackable events, but Phoenix has been a spot that bad putters have found success in the past. Since 2016 -- granted it has just been Woodland once and Matsuyama twice, no player has ranked inside the top 100 in strokes gained-putting during the season that they won the title. (Niemann enters ranked 213th. Matsuyama was 174th during his 2017 victory). If the books want to keep listing the former No. 1 ranked amateur in the world at odds of over 100/1, I am going to keep betting Niemann anytime he is at an easy, low scoring track.

 

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

Ryan Palmer +105 over Kevin Tway -125
Ryan Palmer $7,700 price tag on DraftKings vs. Kevin Tway $7,100 price tag on DraftKings
Ryan Palmer 9.5 percent projected ownership vs. Kevin Tway 4.4 percent projected ownership

Risking 1.00 Units to Win 1.05

Similar to the past few weeks, the Waste Management Open is a challenging betting card. Ryan Palmer (+105) over Kevin Tway is a bet that has moderate value this week but looks to be our best bet that we can find on the board. The biggest mismatches have extreme vig attached to them, ruling them out as options, and while this specific wager does have long-term equity attached to it, we are most likely looking at a situation where both players will make the cut.

Anyone who follows this article regularly will know that I don't love putting myself in a position to survive four rounds of golf. A lot can happen during the weekend, and I always attempt to find mismatches that should emphasize our steady selection versus an opponent that is liable to miss the cut.

We have done a superb job of identifying an antagonist this season, correctly opposing seven out of 10 golfers that failed to make the weekend. Unfortunately, however, we still have managed to lose three times in that exact scenario because our selection has faired even worse. In my opinion, it should be chalked up to nothing more than bad luck, but it doesn't make me thrilled to let variance play itself out on a selection that I have both players providing moderately decent showings.

With all that being said, Tway is still far from a guarantee. He missed the cut in 2014 and was only able to provide a 57th place finish last season. I believe there are a few reasons for his struggles. For starters, he fails to stand out in any one statistical category that will be needed for the course. In his last 50 rounds compared to the field, the American ranks 23rd in par-five scoring and 61st in ball striking. Those aren't such a calamity that his chances are ruined in Phoenix, but they also aren't helping to provide the consistency that he will need. The second thing that stood out to me was his ineptitude on Bermuda statistically. Using the same 50 round threshold, Tway graded out 89th in strokes gained approach and 113th in opportunities gained.

I would have priced Palmer at -120, so I still think we have about a five percent edge on the wager long-term.

 

2019 Head-to-Head Record (6-3-2)

+4.00 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

 


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

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

Shubankar Sharma

CIMB Classic

150/1

T10

Golf DFS News and Player Outlooks

 

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