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PGA DFS: Vegas Report - WGC-HSBC

Welcome back to the PGA DFS: Vegas Report. Brooks Koepka captured his fifth career PGA Tour title at the CJ Cup in South Korea. The victory makes it three wins during the 2018 calendar year for Koepka, and maybe more importantly, it propels the big-hitting American to reach No. 1 in the world for the first time in his career. Koepka put on a dazzling display of golf all tournament long. His 21-under par performance placed him four shots clear of second place finisher Gary Woodland, which was highlighted by a final round eight-under 64 to get the job done. Koepka has proven himself to be one of golf's premier late-game closers, and the sky continues to be the limit for the 28-year-old.

Jason Day, our pick to win the CJ Cup, concluded the event in a respectable share of fifth, and Ryan Palmer, our top sleeper selection at odds of 150/1, posted a rich T3 finish that included a 10-under par 62 on Sunday - the best round of the tournament for any player. Our outright picks have gotten off to a blazing start to begin the 2019 season, but we are still looking to find our way into the winner's circle.

On the head-to-head betting side of things, Paul Casey +100 over Marc Leishman -120 turned into a fight to the finish on Sunday. Casey held a four-shot lead over Leishman going into the final round, but the two ended up pushing with both players finishing the event at eight-under par. After a fast start to 2018, our head-to-head bets have been in neutral for the past few weeks. However, we were due for some negative regression after getting off to a quick start that wasn't ever going to be sustainable. For the season, we are 47-25-3 for +24.49 units. Follow me on Twitter @teeoffsports if you would like a more thorough explanation into how I structure my units or any other questions you may have.

For a full review of the DraftKings PGA Slate, check out Seth Finkelstein's column reviewing picks at every price point.

And for a more in-depth breakdown of the top DraftKings and Fanduel plays, check out Joe Nicely's weekly "Horse For The Course" column 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. 

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2018 WGC-HSBC - Sheshan International Golf Club - 7,261 Yards - Par 72 - Greens Bentgrass.

Sheshan International is a private club that was designed and built in 2004 by Robin Nelson and Neil Haworth. Located about 25 miles west of Shanghai, China, Sheshan International is a reasonably sized course that measures out to be a 7,261 yard par-72.

Fairways are of average width, but long-hitting golfers (especially those with length and accuracy) should find the course to fit right into their style. The venue is full of slopes and undulations, but you will find a few flat spots on the greens. There are also many false fronts that will run balls back into a collection area.

Water will come into play on 11 of the holes and experience at the course doesn't appear like it will mean much. Dustin Johnson, Russell Knox, Phil Mickelson, Y.E. Yang and Charles Howell III all won on their first visit here. Overall, it should be a relatively easy test for the longer hitters, and we should expect the winning score to hover around 20-under par. Aside from distance off the tee, we will be trying to pinpoint solid ball-strikers that can use their long irons to score on the easier par-five holes.

Pick to Win

Dustin Johnson (9/1, DK Price $11,500, FD Price $12,600)

"Hell hath no fury like a golfer scorned."

Ok... I may have slightly changed the translation of the famous quote, but for Dustin Johnson this week, it may as well have been said like that. Johnson enters the WGC-HSBC with numerous factors making it feel like it is him against the world. And to be quite honest, my favorite version of Johnson is the one that takes no prisoners and plays for blood.

The American's usual happy-go-lucky demeanor, in my opinion, is why we haven't seen the 34-year-old capture more than one major title during his career. His lackadaisical nature has probably been as much of a deterrent to his progress as it has been a positive source of his success. But every once in a while, Johnson locks in like a natural born killer and decides he no longer wants to deal with the inferior quality around him.

I noticed during Johnson's reign as the No. 1 player that he used his ranking as a root of empowerment. His confidence was higher than I had ever seen it, and he took pride in saying he was the best player in the world, even if the 19-time PGA Tour winner didn't have the major titles to so boastfully express that claim. I also felt like it was the one thing that kept his friendship with Brooks Koepka as steady as it was. Koepka may have had more major titles, but Johnson had the No. 1 ranking.

Media tabloids will say or do anything to sell a story, so who knows exactly what happened between the "Bash Brothers" during their now infamous Ryder Cup "fight/disagreement." But I will say this, regardless of what took place in France, Johnson will not be ok with Koepka taking the top spot in the world away from him, even if the two are truly fine with one another. There is a competitive fire that each of them is capable of lighting underneath the other, and the duo can potentially become the sports best rivalry.

If his quest for number one isn't enough motivation, Johnson will have some demons to exorcize after last year's collapse at Sheshan International. The American held a six-shot lead over Koepka and an eight-shot advantage over Justin Rose entering the final round. But a Sunday 77 for Johnson mixed with a superb closing stretch for Rose saw the Englishman steal the title by two shots.

Despite the sour taste that will be in Johnson's mouth from faltering last year, he loves Sheshan International and has three top-five finishes in his previous four attempts, which includes a victory in 2013. DJ's the highest priced player on both DraftKings and FanDuel and will garner substantial ownership for each site. However, with this being a no-cut event, I'd rather eat the chalk with Johnson and try to differentiate myself elsewhere.

Our betting card will come to a close with taking a golfer at less than 10/1 odds. I don't see many longshots with value in the field this week and think the winner will come from a select group of players. Thomas Pieters at 100/1 does intrigue me slightly, but I'd prefer to limit my exposure when the cream should rise to the top.

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

Thomas Pieters +120 over Kevin Na -140
Thomas Pieters $7,100 price tag on DraftKings vs. Kevin Na $7,400 price tag on DraftKings
Thomas Pieters 12.0 percent projected ownership vs. Kevin Na 8.9 percent projected ownership

No-cut events make things difficult from a head-to-head betting perspective, and this week is no different. Instead of trying to lay a large amount of juice on a marginal wager, I like the alternative of trying to find some value where the market is offering a number that is relatively too large.

Thomas Pieters +120 over Kevin Na -140 provides that exact scenario for us this week in China. In my opinion, the Belgian should have been around -115 in this matchup, so a 35 point disparity looms rather large here with us gaining an eight percent edge from where we think the number should have been. (The wager has to win 53.5 percent of the time at -115 to break-even versus just 45.5 percent at +120.) Trying to find incongruities between those specific two numbers is one major component to finding value. That, of course, assumes you are correct in your assumptions.

Pieters ability to score on par-fives can be a dominant resource for him. Four of the six easiest holes come on the par-fives, and the other two holes are short par-fours that the 26-year-old can take advantage of with his length. In his last 100 rounds compared to the field, he ranks ninth in strokes gained on par-fives and 12th in strokes gained approach. Na, on the other hand, grades out just 36th in strokes gained on par-fives but is a respectable ninth in strokes gained approach.

Here at the PGA DFS: Vegas Report, our goal is to find wagers that present value. Sometimes these will have more significant disparities than others, but the goal is to always put ourselves in the best long-term position that we can. Don't go breaking the bank this week on Pieters, but I think he makes for a profitable head-to-head wager and is a nice pivot play for those looking to save a couple of hundred dollars on DraftKings.


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