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PGA Betting Advice: Sony Open - FRL and Head-To-Head Selections

Here at RotoBaller, we are always searching for ways to give our readers the best fantasy sports content possible. With that goal in mind, we are very proud to announce the arrival of our new column that will cover first-round leader bets and head-to-head plays for each PGA Tour stop.

If you are looking for a more in-depth breakdown, be sure to check out my PGA DFS: Vegas Report. There you will find my complete betting card, as well as my head-to-head play of the week. My premium head-to-head selections have gone an impressive (76-36-7), netting nearly 44 units of profit and a 68% success rate. On top of that, my outright wagers have yielded 15 winners since the inception of the article - including a 200/1 outright victor at the Valero Texas Open last season, making it a must-read for gambling enthusiasts.

In this feature, I will present a handful of head-to-head wagers that just missed out on being my best bet of the week and will discuss a few first-round leader bets that I believe are returning value to bettors. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me on Twitter @teeoffsports.

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 Sony Open

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.


First Round Leader Bets

#1 - Abraham Ancer 50/1

Fresh off of a stellar Presidents Cup, Abraham Ancer will look to keep the positive momentum rolling at the Sony Open. Ancer is a low-ball flight player that scores well on par-fours, and his confidence that he brings into the event makes him a dangerous player early in the week.


#2 - Brandt Snedeker 50/1

Let's not forget that Brandt Snedeker once put up a 59 to begin the Wyndham Championship in 2018. When you are looking for longshot wagers, it helps to pinpoint aberrational statistics where someone might overperform their expectation level. For Snedeker, that would mean providing a more robust round with his irons to help highlight his pristine putter. If the American can improve on his weakness with his approach game, there is a low round out there to be had.


#3 - Lanto Griffin 70/1

With winds expected to gust during the first round, locating golfers that don't generate a ton of APEX on their shots seems like a decent way to approach the board. Griffin ranked 192 out of 193 qualifying players in 2018 in terms of ball flight height, which could help him find birdie opportunities in the gusty conditions.


#4 - Scott Piercy 80/1

Living in Las Vegas shouldn't hurt Scott Piercy on Thursday. The American has been known to run hot and cold with his irons, but that isn't necessarily a deterrent when breaking down the slate into just one day. Honolulu's laidback nature fits with Piercy's demeanor, and it isn't a surprise we have seen him play well at Waialae in the past.


#5 - Daniel Berger 80/1

After a wrist injury derailed Daniel Berger's closing stretch in 2018, the Florida native struggled to find any rhythm in 2019. A handful of up and down performances ended up being the story of the year for him, but Berger has shown flashes as of late. The 155th-ranked player in the world opened up with a 67 and 66 at the ZOZO Championship in October and was able to do the same at the Shriners Open three weeks earlier. Berger's skills in the wind have been displayed throughout his career, and his past success at Waialae should help him to get off to a fast start.


#6 - Charley Hoffman 150/1

It is difficult to know where Charley Hoffman's game is at entering 2020, but the king of the first-round leader bet has a chance to surprise at an event that plays into his strengths. Hoffman has been written off for dead by the general public, but a quick start in windy conditions isn't out of his range of possibilities.


#7 - James Hahn 250/1

James Hahn's pricing doesn't directly correlate with his skillset. Hahn has slipped to over 800th in the world because of an elbow injury that kept him out of action for most of 2019, but he returned in the fall to make three of four cuts, including a top-25 at the Houston Open. Hahn's runner-up finish at Waialae in 2018 is promising, and his missed cut here last season should be discounted because it was right around the time his elbow began to flare up in the first place. I'm not so sure the American is ready to win again yet, but a quick start is definitely on the table.


Head-to-Head Wagers To Consider:

*** Full disclosure, some of these plays are bet by me weekly. I am extremely precise when it comes to my premium card of wagers and demand they meet a stringent set of criteria. If you were looking to play the entire board, these still yield long-term value, but they might present more volatility than I would care to have when releasing a condensed card.


Scott Piercy -110 over Russell Henley -110

Reasons I Liked the Play: Scott Piercy is a quality wind player that has shown the propensity to find success at venues that yield birdie opportunities. Add to that the fact that Russell Henley has exhibited an inclination during his career to go through long droughts when things turn the wrong direction for him. I'd have made Piercy closer to -122 for their matchup

Reasons It Didn't Make the Premium Card: While Piercy has been steady at the event over his career, his current volatility doesn't far enough outweigh Henley's downside. I believe there is about a 2.5% edge long-term if you can get a clean -110, although books have already started moving Piercy's price to coincide with my projections.

1.10 Units to win 1.00


Russell Knox -115 over Carlos Ortiz -105

Reasons I Liked the Play: Russell Knox has produced three top-13 results at the event since 2015. Carlos Ortiz, on the other hand, has a 29th and two missed cuts in the same time frame

Reasons It Didn't Make the Premium Card: Ortiz's form is not exactly something I want to oppose. Yes, the Mexican golfer has one of the highest chances of missing the cut for me of a player at 80/1 or less, but I also have his winning upside higher than most. I think this is one of the better plays on the board if you are looking to lose your opponent before the weekend, but I am not willing to bet against Ortiz's upside.

1.15 Units to win 1.00


Abraham Ancer -110 over Kevin Kisner -110

Reasons I Liked the Play: Kevin Kisner's course history is being overly baked into his price. Kisner's current form doesn't warrant being in this range, and we have seen a big blow-up day from him consistently over the past month.

Reasons It Didn't Make the Premium Card: A lack of faith in Abraham Ancer's consistency. Ancer hasn't shown a great deal of success putting on Bermuda greens recently and carries some boom-or-bust potential of his own. I think there is value here, but there is also uncertainty with the Mexican golfer being a better outright wager than head-to-head play.

1.10 Units to win 1.00


Webb Simpson +160 over Justin Thomas -185

Reasons I Liked the Play: Webb Simpson is my number one rated golfer this week. I know, how shocking to not have Justin Thomas at the top of my board. That doesn't mean I think Simpson is more likely to win the event than Thomas, but what it does mean is that my power rating on the 12th-ranked golfer in the world has him as a safer head-to-head play if we consider all factors.

Reasons It Didn't Make the Premium Card: The value might be there with Simpson's +150 price tag, but fading Justin Thomas just isn't something that makes a whole ton of sense when I only release one top play for my premium article. I think the price is right to oppose the American, but this is one of those wagers that helps if you are betting every spot where you find an edge.

1.00 Units to win 1.60


Dylan Frittelli +105 over Rory Sabbatini -125

Reasons I liked the play: Value grab. Dylan Frittelli's price of +105 places him nearly 15 points below where I have his value. Somewhere between -110 and -115 would be closer to what I find proper, and there is a minute edge being presented to those that seize every advantage they can.

Reasons it didn't make the Premium card: It is essentially a 50/50 wager that features a very small chance we get Rory Sabbatini to miss the cut. That isn't what I am looking for with my head-to-head play of the week.

1.00 Units to win 1.05


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

+2.95 Units Year-To-Date From H2H Bets


Head-to-Head Bet


My Picks Finish

Opponent Finish



Sanderson Farms

Denny McCarthy -110 over Martin Laird

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T18 (-11)

MC (+4)



Safeway Open

Cameron Percy -110 over Danny Lee

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T7 (-12)

MC (+2)



Shriners Open

Bud Cauley -115 over Phil Mickelson

1.15 Units to Win 1.00

MC (-1)

61 (-9)



Houston Open

Jhonattan Vegas +100 over Aaron Baddeley

1.12 Units to Win 1.12

MC (+3)

MC (+3)



Mayakoba Classic

Denny McCarthy +110 over Kevin Kisner

1.00 Units to Win 1.10

T48 (-5)

T76 (+1)



RSM Classic

Brian Stuard -105 over Chris Kirk -115

1.05 Units to Win 1.00

T10 (-13)

MC (-3)




2020 Outright Bets That Have Finished Inside the Top-10




Finish Position

Joaquin Niemann

Sentry TOC



Dustin Johnson

Sentry TOC



Xander Schauffele

ZOZO Championship



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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