2021 Houston Open Round 2 Betting Preview: Target Adam Scott, Patrick Reed; Fade Brooks Koepka

2021 Houston Open Round 2 Betting Preview: Target Adam Scott, Patrick Reed; Fade Brooks Koepka article feature image
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Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: Adam Scott.

The Houston Open got off to a slow start on Thursday as weather delayed tee times by two hours, which would inevitably cause issues in completing the first round. None of the afternoon wave had enough daylight to finish, creating a long Friday and likely Saturday for many players.

When the golf did start, it was Marc Leishman who set the pace. He went out in style with a birdie putt of more than 43 feet on his opening hole, and would add five more before dropping his only shot of the day on the last. The Australian’s final-hole bogey knocked him back into a tie for the lead with Talor Gooch and Russell Henley after the morning wave. As play stopped on Thursday evening, they would be joined by Luke List, who still has three holes left to try to take a solo lead into the second round.

We get a bit of an awkward break in the tournament to fully stop and analyze play to this point, which should provide us some betting value into Friday. There could also be a bit of an advantage for those yet to finish their round, if they can build some momentum and roll it right into their second 18 at Memorial Park.

Let’s take a look at who stands out through the stoppage in play and where we may find some value for Friday.

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Strokes Gained Explanation

Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.

Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.

Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.

In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)

In general, ball-striking and tee-to-green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.

You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.

3 Golfers to Buy in Round 2

One player who has shown his comfort through just over four and a half rounds at this course is Adam Long. He finished T11 at this event last year, where he shot even par or better across each round, including three rounds in the 60s. He is well on his way to a fourth round below par as he is 3-under through 11 holes of his opening round, but still listed a long odds to contend.

Long is ranking inside of the Top 10 in strokes gained on approach in his first round, with 1.79 shots gained through those first 11 holes. It hasn’t been all irons though as he has gained more than three shots on the field tee to green, and is gaining strokes in all metrics. The only place he is falling a bit short is with his putter where he is just below field average. I expect he finds better feel with the flat stick as the day goes tomorrow and at +6600 at BetMGM he makes a ton of sense as an add to our card before the weekend.

We know what we are getting into when we bet Adam Scott, but man it is hard to get away from him. He gained more than three shots ball striking on Thursday, and 3.89 strokes tee to green. He put himself in position for birdie look after birdie look, and the flat stick failed him time and again.

Scott lost 1.77 shots to the field on the greens on Thursday, but still finds himself just three shots back of the leaders going into Round 2. When I look back across the tournament history for the Australian, there he has actually only lost strokes putting in one of his last ten measured tournaments. That history gives us some hope that this may be the bad round of the week and that we can hope for some better putting numbers from Scott heading into the weekend. He’s worth a look at +2600 on FanDuel because if he finds consistency with the putter across the next three rounds, this is a course that should suit his game.

I was in on Patrick Reed as my favorite bet before the tournament, and I am going back here. He is now double the odds he was before he teed off on Thursday, but the numbers show he played better than his score.

Reed gained more than a stroke on approach in the opening round as he worked hard to grind back to even par on the day after an ugly double bogey at his fourth hole and a two-over front nine. He actually had less than 15 feet for birdie at the last to post an under-par round, as he played the more difficult back nine in two under. I may be grasping a bit to hold onto my bet on Reed, but I think he found something as the day went on and he could be set to get in position to contend this weekend.

3 Golfers to Fade in Round 2

There isn’t much we can do to fade the players that are still on the course. I’ll keep my focus here on the guys that finished during the morning wave on Thursday and that starts for me with Jason Dufner.

Duf has always been a ball striker and one of the worst putters on TOUR. He will occasionally put together rounds like Thursday with the flat stick, but I am not usually going to buy into it as sustainable. The Auburn alum gained 2.83 strokes on the greens in the opening round, which is more than three strokes better than his average last season. I’ll buy the variance in Dufner’s putter for Friday where I expect him to struggle to maintain his position near the top of the leaderboard.

The next player that fits a similar mold to Dufner and stands out for a fade for us is Lanto Griffin. He gained 3.32 strokes on the greens on Thursday en route to a 2-under round. My issue with the VCU Ram is that he lost nearly two strokes to the field on approach as he missed one third of the greens in regulation. He was certainly impacted greatly by a lost ball on his approach at the third hole, but it wasn’t like he was dialed in outside of that mistake. If he doesn’t find more consistency on approach he too will struggle in the second round.

Ok, maybe I will fade on guy still on the course. This one is less about betting value and more about highlighting the struggles of a big name. Brooks Koepka simply seems lost on the course right now. He missed the cut last week at the Mayakoba, on a course and in a field that a player of his caliber has no business missing the weekend. Now, here in Texas at a course he helped to renovate he can’t find his game.

Brooks is losing strokes to the field in ball striking and tee to green. He is still even par on his round through nine holes, but was seen grinding away under the lights on the range after they called it. This is a clear sign of struggle for a guy that has been open about his dislike for practice.

Strokes Gained Data for All Players in Round 1

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