Bailey’s 2019 Players Matchup Bets: DJ vs. Rory, Sergio vs. Matsuyama and More

Bailey’s 2019 Players Matchup Bets: DJ vs. Rory, Sergio vs. Matsuyama and More article feature image

Jasen Vinlove, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Sergio Garcia

I’m not much of a longshot bettor when it comes to the PGA tour, so I tend to focus on head-to-head matchups instead.

The goal of this piece is to provide you with quick, actionable and easily digestible information, to help both of us make informed decisions on the head-to-head bets we place.

So, each week I’ll be using the golf metrics in the FantasyLabs Player Models, along with other golf metrics in search of potential mismatches along with other matchups I want to target for the upcoming tournament.

After last week’s crushing losses, I’ve decided to redo my matchup betting process. For starters, much less volume. Volume betting head-to-heads in a high-variance sport like golf isn’t going to be +EV in the long run.

Instead, I’ll focus on narrowing down the matchups to two-to-five of my favorite bets in a given week.

Let’s dive in!

All odds as of 9:00 a.m. ET Wednesday. 

Dustin Johnson over Rory McIlroy (-105)

DJ and Rory are presently co-favorites for The Players, and when there are two comparable golfers squaring off against each other, I’ll usually take the guy who is a better value.

That said, DJ’s -105 odds aren’t the only reason to take him. For starters, DJ has superior long-term metrics in every category I am looking at this week:

  • Long-Term Adjusted Round Score: 67.3 vs. 68.1
  • Birdies per tournament: 18.4 vs. 16.0
  • Adjusted strokes on par 4s: -3.2 vs. -1.7
  • Adjusted strokes on par 5s: -6.1 vs. -5.7

Furthermore, over the past 50 rounds, DJ ranks first in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and fourth in Strokes Gained: Approach.

Rory isn’t a slouch either, obviously, ranking second in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, but he ranks 35th in Strokes Gained: Approach.

Hideki Matsuyama over Sergio Garcia (+100)

Bettors and DFS players were perplexed by Hideki’s performance at the Arnold Palmer Invitational where he lost -8.3 strokes putting but gained 11.6 strokes tee-to-green and 6.7 strokes on approach.

But putting is a streaky stat and I’ll back Matsuyama again considering his overall metrics.

Over the past 75 weeks, he’s been the better golfer over Sergio, sporting a 68.6 Long-term Adjusted Round Score (LT Adj Rd Score) to Sergio’s 69.1.

He’s also been one of the best ball-strikers on tour over the past 50 rounds, ranking third in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking, fourth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, and first in Strokes Gained: Approach.

There are also five par 4s at TPC Sawgrass that check in between 450-500 yards and Matsuyama ranks 17th in par-4 efficiency in those yardages, compared to 83rd for Sergio (Fantasy National).


Xander Schauffele over Rickie Fowler (+105)

Fowler is obviously the better golfer compared to Schauffele as he possesses a 68.1 LT Adj Rd Score, but Schauffele’s 68.8 LT Adj Rd Score isn’t far off.

Rickie enters this tournament in excellent form (67.6 recent Adj Rd Score), but so does Schauffele (67.5 recent Adj Rd Score).

However, most of Rickie’s success of late has been due to his hot putter, ranking third in Strokes Gained: Putting, but 37th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and 49th in Strokes Gained: Approach over the past 24 rounds.

While those metrics still aren’t terrible, there’s a reason for optimism on betting Schauffele against him.

In the same timeframe, Schauffele has been putting well (seventh in Strokes Gained: Putting), but he’s also been solid everywhere else, ranking 13th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and 15th in Strokes Gained: Approach.

Given Xander’s slightly better form, I’ll side with him at plus-money odds.

Note: Strokes Gained data via Fantasy National

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