Masters Saturday Mega Guide: Fowler, Spieth Primed to Go Low?

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Sergio Garcia managed to stay out of the water, but things were just as eventful on Masters Friday. Patrick Reed went off for a ridiculous 6-under on Friday and now leads the tournament by two strokes over Marc Leishman and is at least four up on all other players. We’re set for a beautiful weekend, as the top-10 currently includes the likes of Henrik Stenson (+900), Rory McIlroy (+580), Jordan Spieth (+580), Dustin Johnson (+1025), Justin Thomas (+1090) and Rickie Fowler (+3300). Reed is the rightful favorite at +310, but he’ll have to earn it with so many talented golfers on his heels.

On that note, let’s dive into our betting/DFS analysis for what should be an awesome Masters Saturday.

Betting Angles

By Joshua Perry

Reed has shown the ability to handle the pressure at the Ryder Cup, but this is his first solo lead heading into the weekend at a major, so it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure that comes with that.

And if Augusta wasn’t tough enough, Mother Nature looks to have a curveball in store for Saturday. Assuming the forecast holds, the final groups will have to deal with some rain and wind gusts in the 25 MPH range. It’s tough to break par under ideal conditions at the Masters, so this weather could make for scoring conditions closer to what we’d see at a U.S Open, where even-par is a great round.

In those conditions, it could be one of those rounds where all Reed needs to do to maintain his lead is shoot 73 or 74, so I’d look to bet an over-par round for the overnight leader. I’m also backing Leishman over Reed at even money. Leishman has a little more experience contending in majors, making a playoff at the 2015 Open Championship. Meanwhile, Reed has been one of the hottest putters in the field (he’s had the fewest putts through two rounds) and it’s tough to expect that to keep up in poor weather conditions.

It’s hard to identify who will benefit from these conditions beforehand. Usually it comes down to guys getting off to solid starts and then are more willing to grind out a round. A few early bogeys can snowball in bad weather and a round can really get out of hand.

One longshot to look at is Jason Day at 150-1. He’s been good in the wind in the past, and leads Future of Fantasy’s strokes gained in windy rounds stat. He’s way off the pace, 11 back of Reed, but if he can go out a post a 67 or 68 and get to 2- or 3-under par, that’ll likely be enough to get him in the mix on Sunday.

Saturday-Only DraftKings Slate

By Bryan Mears

In yesterday’s piece, I predicted that the guys at the top of the leaderboard would be overvalued on DraftKings for a couple reasons. The first is that DraftKings’ one-day contests don’t include finishing position and only real golf scoring, which means that Spieth got no extra points for starting the day at first and finishing T4. In fact, although he still sits ahead of DJ and JT, he scored far fewer fantasy points than those guys on Friday. They were owned in around 10% of tournament lineups, while Spieth was at nearly 50% in the biggest DraftKings Friday-only GPP. Fade the leaders, indeed.

The second reason the top guys were overvalued? Thursday leaders are ones who probably got a little unsustainably hot with the putter. And proved true: Tony Finau led the field on Thursday with 1.28 average putts per hole on Thursday, and he regressed in Round 2, averaging a poor 1.78. He finished at 2-over on the day and was not a great play in DraftKings tournaments.

The opposite also proved thru on Friday: The guys who got unlucky with the putter on Thursday saw some positive regression Friday. Day, Russell Henley, Johnson, Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen and Thomas ranked among the 10 worst putters on Thursday. Many of those guys turned things around on Friday, especially the studs in DJ, JT, and Bubba, who shot 4-under, 5-under, and 3-under, respectively, in the second round.

In Saturday’s contests, which have very similar pricing to Friday’s contests, I’m again fading the hot putters and skewing away from the public’s recency bias. I couldn’t fade Reed harder, who is pretty much the only golfer to putt well both days: He leads the field with 1.41 putts per hole, and he’s one of the rare golfers so far to not three-putt. Considering that his career marks putting are merely average and Augusta is one of the premier putting courses, I am banking on some regression much like I did with Finau. I’ll doing the same with Leishman to a similar extent.

And the beautiful thing about these one-day contests is that you fade the public and use the same golfers who are perfect fits for Augusta, getting them at low ownership. DJ, JT, and Watson were all low-owned Friday, especially compared to Spieth, and, while they’ll be higher after dominating Friday, there are still values to be had. I’m looking to jump back on Spieth, whose 33 putts on Friday were his most ever at Augusta and ranked bottom-10 in the field. Yeah, that’s not happening again this weekend. Next to Spieth at the bottom of the Friday putting list is Rickie Fowler, who three-putted thrice and posted the exact same putts per hole mark as Spieth. As people load back up on Reed, Leishman and Stenson at the top, I’ll also fire back JT and Watson again.

Pictured above: Rickie Fowler

Photo credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports