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2019 Wyndham Championship Matchup Bets: Should You Back Morikawa and Hovland?

2019 Wyndham Championship Matchup Bets: Should You Back Morikawa and Hovland? article feature image

Brian Spurlock, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Viktor Hovland

  • The 2019 Wyndham Championship begins on Thursday, August 1 at Sedgefield Country Club in North Carolina.
  • Justin Bailey analyzes two matchups: Jordan Spieth vs. Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland vs. Cam Smith.

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 individual betting matchups for the 2019 Wyndham Championship.

Let’s dive into this week’s action.

All odds as of Tuesday afternoon.

Collin Morikawa (-115) over Jordan Spieth

I’m relatively neutral on Spieth this week, but I’m high on Morikawa heading to Sedgefield. Overall, Spieth has struggled this year, ranking 99th in Strokes Gained: Approach and 107th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.

Meanwhile, Morikawa ranks fifth in Strokes Gained: Approach and 12th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. Granted, the sample on Morikawa is smaller, there’s no denying how good he has been, and how mediocre Spieth has performed this year.

And in the FantasyLabs Player Models, Morikawa has been superior to Spieth in the metrics I am weighing, which are all course and field-adjusted to account for the difficulty of the course and field (Morikawa listed first):

  • Long-Term Adjusted Round Score: 68.1 vs. 69.9
  • Recent Adjusted Round Score: 67.6 vs. 70.2
  • Recent birdies per tournament: 22.0 vs. 16
  • Recent Adjusted strokes on par 4s: -7.6 vs. +1.5
  • Recent Adjusted strokes on par 5s: -6.8 vs. -4.5

Further, when you look at each golfer’s Strokes Gained data for the last 24 rounds, it gets even better for Morikawa:

  • Strokes Gained: Approach: 1st vs. 108th
  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee: 27th vs. 106th
  • Strokes Gained: Ball Striking: 3rd vs. 110th
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 3rd vs. 78th

Spieth has saved some of his rounds this year thanks to his putting and short game, but I’ll always side with the golfer who is striking it better off the tee and with his irons.

Viktor Hovland (-125) over Cameron Smith

This matchup stands out as I have Hovland as a core DFS play for me and Smith as an anti-course fit.

Let’s start with their long-term form (Hovland listed first):

  • LT Adj Rd Score: 69.3 vs. 69.7
  • Greens in regulation: 73.6% vs. 61.4%
  • Driving Accuracy: 75% vs. 57.1%
  • Birdies per tournament: 14.5 vs. 12.9
  • Adjusted strokes on par 4s: -0.5 vs. +1.3
  • Adjusted strokes on par 5s: -4.4 vs. -3.7

Smith’s +1.3 adjusted strokes on par 4s is the number that stands out to me the most since there are only two par 5s at Sedgefield Country Club. Playing the par 4s well will be crucial this week, and that’s something Smith hasn’t been great at.

Even when you account for the eight par 4s that are between 400-450 yards, Smith ranks 115th in his last 24 rounds from such yardages while Hovland ranks 27th. And for a short hitter, Smith sure does miss a lot of fairways.

Now the recent form:

  • Recent Adj Rd Score: 68.7 vs. 70.2
  • Recent GIR: 77.8% vs. 61.1%
  • Driving Accuracy: 76.1% vs. 62.9%
  • Birdies per tournament: 19.0 vs. 13.0
  • Adjusted strokes on par 4s: -2.8 vs. +1.0
  • Adjusted strokes on par 5s: -4.4 vs. -3.4

Point(s) Hovland.

Smith has managed to finish 12th, 20th and 29th over his past three tournaments, but over those 12 rounds, he still ranks just 120th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 66th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and 97th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.

On the flip side, Hovland ranks fourth in Strokes Gained: Approach, second in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and sixth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green over his last 12 rounds.

Hovland’s biggest fault this year has been his putting, and despite those woes, he has four top-16 finishes in his last five starts, and his only missed cut came at the Farmers Insurance Open in January.

Golfers do hit GIR here at an above-average clip compared to average tour events, which could help mask Smith’s struggling iron game, but again, I’ll side with the guy striking it as well as anyone right now.

Note: Strokes Gained data via Fantasy National

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