2023 Fortinet Championship Round 3 Odds, Picks: Value in Fading Lucas Herbert
(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
We might only be 36 holes into the fall portion of the year, but the heavy hitters teeing it up this week are in mid-season form.
All four pre-tournament favorites are inside the top six of the leaderboard, including our choice of Sahith Theegala (19/1), who shares a co-lead with S.H. Kim at 12-under par.
Most of that was to be marginally expected as the bottom of the slate was inferior in anticipated quality and experience, though it doesn't always play out that way when boards are top heavy. Still, these tournaments with more volatility and weaker fields are typically my preferred route for gaining extra exposure in all areas of the market.
We found ourselves getting across the finish line early with Nate Lashley (-120) over MJ Daffue after the South African failed to make the cut.
It's always nice to get off to a quick start, but it will be more of a battle with J.J. Spaun (-120) over Lucas Herbert. I'm hoping that the negative trajectory we saw from Herbert on Friday will continue over the weekend, but let's talk about the stats the field has delivered so far and look for some weaker spots in the market.
We're still waiting on most books to post matchups, but that doesn't mean we can't figure out who the potential over and underrated commodities will be.
If you haven't already, you can find me on Twitter (@TeeOffSports). There, I 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.
Davis Thompson -110 over Lucas Herbert (FanDuel)
Bookmakers are in football mode. I get it, but I don't love the lack of options we have available.
I sometimes tend to be aggressive with players who didn't grade well in my model throughout an entire event, even if they performed on the leaderboard. I trust my numbers and it takes a quality showing to shift numerically once the tournament begins. Players have the ability to change the narrative with high-end performances, but Herbert's six-under doesn't quite tell the story of his highly questionable irons.
Nothing he's done so far has been surprising. The Aussie ranks first in putting and has the longest tournament drive at 369 yards. I knew those two factors were his ace-in-the-hole to get in and out of danger and I highlighted those aspects when discussing a Spaun versus Herbert matchup play. However, the iron play that placed him last of all made-cut options (-4.42 shots) was nearly two strokes worse than the next player on the board (Ben Crane, -2.57).
If you are the type of person who doesn't want to continue fading someone you've already bet, I get it. I won't sit here and pretend Herbert can't put together another strong round to skyrocket back up the leaderboard, but head-to-head wagers are about the floor outcome.
Meanwhile, Davis Thompson is showing value in all facets of the game, except putting. His shaky putter has a chance to get blown out of the water Saturday if Herbert catches fire and Thompson goes cold, but the fact that Herbert needs such a specific outcome to find success makes me willing to fade him again.