2021 RSM Classic Matchup Betting Picks: These 3 Players Have Value at Sea Island
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Webb Simpson.
Every week, I use Strokes Gained data, course history and a multitude of other data points to handicap the matchups offered by both DraftKings and FanDuel.
Using a computer simulation tool I built from scratch, I simulate each available matchup 10,000 times to determine each golfer’s probability of winning. Using that winning percentage, I am able to set my own line for every matchup, and compare it against what the books are offering.
The goal is to find value in the current betting lines and give ourselves a small edge over and over to churn out profit throughout the course of the year. I picked matchups at a 61% clip for the 2020-21 PGA TOUR season and hope to continue that momentum this season.
Below, I have outlined the matchups that have shown the most value in my simulations this week for the RSM Classic. For every matchup, I will provide the current line, what my simulations set the line at and why I believe it is a profitable bet.
All three of this week’s picks can be found on FanDuel. Let’s get to it!
Russell Henley (-126) over Alex Noren
My line: -172
This is the biggest edge of the week for me.
Henley enters the tournament ranked first in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach over his last 12 rounds and second over his last 24. His putting numbers bounced back last week after a five-week skid, and we’re on his preferred surface with Bermuda grass.
Noren, meanwhile, ranks 94th and 85th on approach over his last 12 and 24 rounds. He has a good history with finishes of 18th and 10th, but Henley has three top-10s in six career starts.
Henley is my best bet to win the RSM on our best bets for the tournament, so there’s great value here.
Webb Simpson (+112) over Scottie Scheffler
My line: -134
Simpson is No. 1 in my model this week. He has an amazing history at the RSM, having made the cut in all six of his starts at Sea Island with finishes of second, third and seventh on his resume.
This is a second-shot golf course that minimizes Scheffler’s biggest advantage over Simpson, which is distance off the tee. Approach and putting will be much more important. Simpson ranks 16th on approach and 24th in putting over the last 24 rounds in this field, while Scheffler is 24th and 125th in those categories.
Also, Simpson ranks No. 1 in the field in Strokes Gained: Total on courses that are under 7,200 yards, which both courses are this week.
Chris Kirk (-126) over Mackenzie Hughes
My line: -161
Kirk is the better overall player, whereas Hughes is more of a one-trick pony with his putter. Kirk also has three top-five finishes and a win at the RSM.
Over the course of their careers, Hughes has relied heavily on his putter to keep him in contention in golf tournaments. Over his last five tracked events, though, he hasn’t had a positive approach performance since August.
In every timeframe available, Kirk beats Hughes in all available ball-striking statistics. On a course that will require precision into greens to pile up birdie looks, I’ll take the ball striker.
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