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Bailey’s 2019 PGA Championship Matchup Bets: Keep Fading Jordan Spieth?

Bailey’s 2019 PGA Championship Matchup Bets: Keep Fading Jordan Spieth? article feature image

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar

  • Justin Bailey uses metrics from the FantasyLabs Golf Models to make two matchup bets for the 2019 PGA Championship.
  • He dissects Dustin Johnson vs. Brooks Koepka, plus Jordan Spieth vs. Matt Kuchar.

In this piece, I’ll be using the golf metrics in the FantasyLabs PGA Models as well as other golf metrics in search of potentially exploitable matchups each week.

Let’s dive into this week’s action at the PGA Championship.

All odds as of Tuesday morning.

Dustin Johnson (-140) over Brooks Koepka

It’s not that I’m low on Koepka this week. It’s that I love DJ. He rates as the best golfer in my FantasyLabs Model, and he just measures better in every metric that I am looking at this week (DJ listed first):

  • Long-Term Adjusted Round Score: 67.3 vs. 68.5
  • Scrambling rate: 63% vs. 60.8%
  • Adjusted strokes on par 4s: -3.1 vs. -0.8
  • Adjusted strokes on par 5s: -6.3 vs. -5.6

Not only is DJ’s LT Adj Rd Score 1.2 strokes better than Brooks, but par-4 scoring is one of the metrics I am weighing the most this week and DJ has the edge on Koepka by 2.3 strokes over the past 75 weeks. Additionally, he trounces Koepka in the various yardages that the par 4s are at Bethpage.

There are four par 4s from 400-450 yards, four from 450-500, and two from 500-plus yards. DJ ranks 23rd, 14th and 27th in par-4 efficiency from those yardages, compared to 35th, 41st and 82nd for Brooks, respectively (Fantasy National).

DJ also has the superior approach game, ranking eighth in Strokes Gained: Approach, compared to 45th for Koepka over their past 50 rounds.

The approach game and par-4 scoring is the deal-breaker for me on this matchup.

I’d bet this down to -165.


Matt Kuchar (-145) over Jordan Spieth 

I’ve had a lot of success fading Spieth in matchup bets this season, and I don’t plan on quitting now, especially against someone as consistent as Kuchar.

Their long-term metrics in the FantasyLabs Player Models are similar, although Kuchar has a slight edge (Kuchar listed first):

  • Long-Term Adjusted Round Score: 68.8 vs. 69.0
  • Scrambling rate: 62.7% vs. 58.6%
  • Adjusted strokes on par 4s: -1.0 vs. -0.4
  • Adjusted strokes on par 5s: -4.9 vs. -4.6

However, when you started digging into the strokes gained data over their past 50 rounds, Kuchar demolishes Spieth and it’s not even close.

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee: 70th vs. 141st
  • Strokes Gained: Approach: 10th vs. 84th
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 26th vs. 113th
  • Total Strokes Gained: 9th vs. 80th
  • Strokes Gained: Par 4s: 12th vs. 91st
  • Strokes Gained: Par 5s: 8th vs. 78th

While Kuchar’s Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee is nothing to write home about, Spieth’s rank of 141st is almost the worst mark in the field. Combine that with his mediocre approach game, and it’s hard to find a reason why he could top Kuchar in this spot.

Spieth has finished 29th or worse in nine of his 10 tournaments this season, while Kuchar has just one finish outside the top 30 in his 10 appearances this year.

I’d be this down to -180.

Note: Strokes Gained data via Fantasy National

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