2023 Players Championship Final Round Picks: Don’t Bother Fading Scheffler
Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Scottie Scheffler.
The play at Sawgrass pulled a 180 on Saturday, as soft conditions and accessible pins made for a low scoring moving day at The Players. Tom Hoge broke the tournament record with a 10-under 62 to climb from on the cutline to inside the top 10. He was two shots better than the rest of the field, but it was Scottie Scheffler who was one of the players with an 8-under round and he separated from the field alongside Min Woo Lee.
Scheffler and Lee will enter the final round with two shots separating them. The Korean is two shots further clear of fellow Australian Cameron Davis in third.
While it appears to be a bit of a two-man race going into the final round, this is a course where big numbers can come out on nearly any hole. There are plenty of players that will be ready to pounce, but they will need some help.
Scheffler is obviously the man to beat, but no one is immune to mistakes around this track.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer has 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, SG: Ball Striking and SG: 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 are just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4
For the second week in a row I’m tabbing Scottie Scheffler as the winner on Sunday. He fell short last week, but I’m not exactly going out on a limb this time around for a player with a two-shot lead over Lee and a four-shot edge over the rest of the field.
Even when things don’t feel like they are really going all that well for Scheffler we find him around 4-under at the end of a round like he did to open the week on Thursday. He then finds another gear over the weekend, which he found to make this his tournament to lose.
Scheffler isn’t bulletproof in this spot, as we saw back at the Tour Championship and earlier last year at the Charles Schwab Challenge when he blew 54-hole leads. He did put those issues to rest by closing the win in Phoenix earlier this year, and any other winner would be a surprise at the end of the day on Sunday at Sawgrass.
Pick: Scottie Scheffler -230
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If I had to plant a flag with someone playing from behind, I’d go down to Tommy Fleetwood at 9-under. He is a world-class player who we know can go really low when he has his game just as he did with his 7-under 65 on Saturday.
Fleetwood is still seeking that elusive first win stateside, and I think this is the type of spot where he could get it because he won’t have the pressure of expectations. He’ll need a ton of help to even have a shot to share the lead during the round, but if things do go sideways for Scheffler, I think it could be a scenario where both players in the final group struggle.
We often see times where the final pair drag on each other a bit, and that is the best shot for someone else to walk through the door for The Players Championship.
The best markets for betting on Sunday will be highlighted by placement positions, as it is a crowded leaderboard outside of the top three. There are 39 players within five shots of the group at 9-under in a tie for fourth. Picking the right guys to separate in what are likely to be tougher pin positions in the final round could be a rewarding effort.
I’m going to continue to ride the hot final round play of Jason Day as my favorite bet in these markets. He’s +225 to finish in the top 10 on DraftKings, and I really like his opportunity to finish with a fifth consecutive top 10. As of this writing, BetMGM hasn’t released odds, but I will keep an eye out for that before things go off tomorrow morning as getting ties paid in full will be an important edge in this market tomorrow.
Day has gained 3.4 shots on average against the field in the final rounds over his past six months of play, which spans nine tournaments. He hasn’t really been in contention much to have an opportunity to win, but he is certainly closing strong to get the most out of his finishes.
As a former Players champion, we know he will be comfortable with all of the Sunday pins. Even with two shots to make up to get into position, I really like the opportunity for another first-page finish for Day.
Strokes Gained Data for All Players Through Round 3
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