Perry: Adding a Live Longshot at the Byron Nelson

Perry: Adding a Live Longshot at the Byron Nelson article feature image

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ryan Palmer on the eighth tee during the first round of the AT&T Byron Nelson.

  • Denny McCarthy is in the lead at 8-under after Round 1 of the 2019 AT&T Byron Nelson and Brooks Koepka isn't far behind (-6)..
  • Josh Perry likes another golfer -- Ryan Palmer -- as a live longshot.

When betting golf futures, you have to be prepared for droughts.

It’s easy to go months without hitting a winner, so that’s why we look at top 5/10/20s and head-to-head matchups to stem the tide.

The other place I’ve found a little value recently is adding a player live after the first day of the event.

We’ve made this play three times in the past two months and produced two winners with Corey Conners at Valero (100-1) and Keith Mitchell (220-1) in the Honda Classic. Pre-tournament plays haven’t been where I’d like, but those two picks ensured we’ll be in the black for the 2019 season.

It’s not a play I’ll make every week, but when the situation arises, I think there’s a chance after the opening round to take advantage of a leaderboard that will almost always look completely different than it does Sunday afternoon.

This doesn’t pop up every tournament for me because there are multiple factors that have to line up.

First I want a guy who is usually within three or four shots of what I consider the “true lead number.” This is completely my own opinion where I try to find the best player at the top of the board that I think can win the event. We’ll use this week at the Byron Nelson as the example. Denny McCarthy leads at 8-under par and he’s followed by both Tyler Duncan and Tom Hoge at 7-under.

None of those three have much of a track record on tour. They haven’t won yet between them. So when I’m looking at the board, I wipe them off the list. If they hold on for three more days, I’ll just tip my cap and move on to next week.

Instead, I’m looking at Brooks Koepka, who shot the true lead number at 6-under. If a guy is going to make a comeback from further down the board, that’s the biggest threat in my mind.

When Mitchell won, he was four back of Jhonattan Vegas, who isn’t the greatest course fit at the Honda, but was only two back of the next group of guys. Conners didn’t have this benefit as much. He was three back of Si Woo Kim, who is a real threat to win any tournament. But he was still within the basic range I’m looking for.

Next up, we’ll go back to the stand of finding good ball strikers who just didn’t putt well. Ideally, I’d like a player who gained a decent amount of ground on the field with both the driver and the irons and struggled around the green and with the putter.

We know the short game is more volatile day to day, so I’m just trying to find someone who put together a good round despite not firing on all cylinders. For me, it’s a sign that better things could be in store later in the week.

Lastly, I’m looking at the tee draw. Did they play in the harder wave and will the player get an easier tee time on Friday? We’ll look at the weather forecast and see if the wind is up in either wave where someone could get a shot or two advantage by simple playing at the correct time of day.

Most of the time, these will be players who went out Thursday afternoons and had to putt on less than ideal greens, leading to the poorer putting numbers. But then they come out Friday on fresh surfaces in the morning and able to match that ball striking from the day before with the putter.

All that leads up to Ryan Palmer this week. Palmer is at 3-under par, so he’s within striking distance of Koepka’s number. He’s tied for 37th after the first day, but sits in sixth in strokes gained: ball striking (a combo of driving and approach).

As for the draw, he’ll play in the afternoon on Friday, but with a look at the weather, it appears the morning could have some rain and will be a little windier. So there’s a decent chance he comes out later with less breeze and soft greens to attack.

All this is a lot of words to simply say I added Ryan Palmer at 120-1. The line moved very quickly and dipped down to 66-1 around the market, but it’s still worth a bet at that number. Make sure to shop around on live odds even more than normal, because there can be wild fluctuations from book to book.

Live adds

  • Ryan Palmer: 66-1 (.28 units)
  • Total Stake: 3.28 units
  • Season: -14.33