2023 3M Open Round 1 Matchup Odds & Pick: Bet Austin Eckroat Over Matt Kuchar

2023 3M Open Round 1 Matchup Odds & Pick: Bet Austin Eckroat Over Matt Kuchar article feature image

Pictured: Austin Eckroat. (Photo by Eston Parker/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

With only two weeks left until the FedExCup Playoffs start, players will be making a last-ditch effort to position themselves for the 2023 finale.

That means names like Justin Thomas and Billy Horschel are forced to tee it up since they are currently outside of the top 75 standings. However, it stretches beyond golfers who may be outside the qualifying zone, as you have a plethora of fringe qualifiers at this moment in need of a good finish at TPC Twin Cities to help punch their ticket.

I don't know if any of that necessarily renders a betting advantage since every person handles pressure differently, but let's use my model to see if we can find some value on Thursday to attack the head-to-head sector of the market.

If you haven't already, you can find me on Twitter (@TeeOffSports). There, I will provide a link to my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user input to create custom golf rankings. That sheet is released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.

3M Open Round 1 Matchup Bet

Austin Eckroat -115 Over Matt Kuchar (bet365)

I've talked a lot about my feelings on Matt Kuchar this week during "The Gimme" with Jason Sobel and "Links and Locks" with Roberto Arguello and Nick Bretwisch.

To me, it feels like one of those situations where Kuchar is benefiting from name recognition rather than current form. When we dive into his statistical profile, he has red flags looming at every turn.

You might not realize what he has been producing because of his three made cuts in five starts, but Kuchar has lost off-the-tee in nine of his last 11 appearances and in four of five with his approach metrics.

None of that is ideal for a venue with water coming into play on 15 holes, but the concern stems from more than a few subpar rounds that may have barely placed him under those qualifying zones of losing shots. Instead, we get this massive downfall of giving away a minimum of 4.6 shots with his irons in four of 14 events, including losing 6.5 and 7.5, respectively, during two of his past five encounters.

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Kuchar does possess some positive trajectory for upside inside my model because of his success at TPC tracks. However, the reduction that the field experiences for scrambling is pronounced since you can't salvage your score from the bottom of a lake if your driver or irons go wayward. This makes the American the largest overachiever in my sheet when comparing his outright and DFS price with my projected going rate.

The best way to play anything involving the 45-year-old is probably from a full-tournament standpoint since I believe he eventually finds trouble between Thursday and Sunday. Still, I would be surprised if he makes it to the weekend because of his poor statistical fit. He could be in for a long Round 1 if his current form tees off in the morning.

In general, I would say I am less bullish on Austin Eckroat than the public seems to be weekly. Nonetheless, my model still believes he generated top-25 safety marks in this field because of the adequate increase that he experienced in my model after climbing from 97th to 79th in projected weighted proximity.

That is a total with some concerns of its own for how he may handle the water, but I believe this is the best way to try and gain exposure to Eckroat this week by grabbing him against a declining asset here in 2023 and trying to bet on the safety numbers without 20% of DFS users also jumping onboard.

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