Betting, DFS Picks: Farmers Insurance Open
December 3, 2017; New Providence, The Bahamas; Tiger Woods reacts after his putt on the seventh hole during the final round of the Hero World Challenge golf tournament at Albany. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
After a few weeks of birdie fests in Hawaii and California, the PGA Tour will get a stern test at Torrey Pines. That’s right: the same Torrey Pines where Tiger Woods has won eight times in his career. You know what time it is.
Here’s everything you need to know from a betting and DFS perspective for the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open, including four guys with enticing odds to win the tournament, a slew of underpriced players in DFS, and a Tiger prop pick!
The Course: Torrey Pines
Torrey Pines South — a difficult 7,628-yard Par 72 course — hosts three of the four rounds of the Farmers Insurance Open, including the two most important rounds after the 36-hole cut. Each golfer will want to make the best of their one round on Torrey Pines North, which typically plays much easier than the South course.
I backtested all metrics found within our PGA Models at FantasyLabs. See here for the data, but the main takeaway is that birdies will be much harder to come by than they were last week. Of note, both Long-Term and Recent Greens in Regulation (GIR) and Driving Distance, as well as Recent Adjusted Round Score, Scrambling, and Birdie Average all hold some value. — Kelly McCann
Because of the length of the course, I’ll be paying close attention to driving distance and Strokes Gained: Off The Tee. Torrey Pines has a long history of producing winners who can bomb the ball, because few places force a player to hit driver more often. Tiger Woods has eight wins on the course. Defending champion Jon Rahm is one of the longest hitters on Tour. Bubba Watson and Jason Day have also claimed victories here. — Joshua Perry
Rahm enters as the favorite at +700 and is fresh off a victory at the CareerBuilder Challenge last week. He’s followed by Rickie Fowler at 10-1. Hideki Matsuyama and Justin Rose are next in line at 14-1, while Day is at 18-1 and Woods is available at 20-1.
Betting angle: Among the elite guys this week, I’ll be targeting Justin Rose. His price on most books at 14-1 is about as low as I ever like to go. If you shop around, you can probably find a 16-1 or 18-1 out there. Rose checks all the boxes with the driver. He finished in the top 20 in Strokes Gained: Off The Tee and averages over 300 yards. Rose was playing some of the best golf of anyone during the fall, winning three times and picking up top fives on two other occasions. The only concern would be traveling from Abu Dhabi to San Diego, but Rose picked up wins in China and Turkey in back-to-back weeks a few months ago, so it appears he knows how to manage his game despite some long flights. — Joshua Perry
DFS spin: Rahm ($11,800 DraftKings) is the defending champion here at the Farmers Insurance Open thanks to an amazing final round 65 in which he rolled in a 60-foot eagle putt on the final hole.
Wild Wednesday: Watch Jon Rahm’s impressive eagle putt on the final hole to win the Farmers Insurance Open. https://t.co/EUBFs5RSBv
— tgw.com (@TGW_tweets) February 1, 2017
Rahm is the highest-priced golfer. He’s finished in the top-two in each of his past three tournaments, and he fits the course like a glove, given his long distance off the tee (305.9-yard Driving Distance) and excellent all-around play. It’s no surprise that he’s the best Vegas value, and he should yet again be one of the highest-owned golfers in the field. If you want to do nothing more than maximize your odds of having the winner in your lineup, Rahm is easily the best value, even at his week-high price tag. — Kelly McCann and Bryan Mears
Read more on Bryan’s Vegas Bargain Ratings metric in this week’s piece at FantasyLabs.
Betting angle: Two guys I really like in this range are Patrick Cantlay (35-1) and Xander Schauffele (55-1). Both players drive the ball very well and have California roots, which will help them on the bumpy poa annua greens. Cantlay has had trouble out of the sand in the past. Bunkers are a primary defense for the South Course, so he’ll need a great week with the irons. Schauffele struggled during stretches in Hawaii with an equipment change, but he showed signs of improvement as the tournament wore on. Plus, the San Diego State grad should feel at home here. — Joshua Perry
DFS spin: Kyle Stanley’s 69.1 Long-Term (LT) Adj Rd Score ranks 12th, he has a top-30 LT Adj Birdie Avg (13.9), and he finished 10th his last time out at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Stanley hasn’t missed a cut on the PGA Tour since August of last year, and he has improved his finishing position at this event in each of the past three years. With that long term and recent resume, combined with his salary, Stanley should be strongly considered in cash games this week. — Kelly McCann
Read more DFS analysis in Kelly’s Farmers Insurance Open Breakdown.
Francesco Molinari is clearly the most mispriced golfer on DraftKings: He’s tied for the seventh-best LT Adjusted Round Score in the field (68.7), and yet he has just the 38th-highest salary at $7,400. He has a superior score to, say, Brian Harman, who is over $2,000 more expensive. It’s unclear why Molinari is so cheap this week, although perhaps it is due to slightly negative course history. He’s played at Torrey just twice: He finished 14th last year but missed the cut in 2016. Still, this is one of the best golfers on Tour, and he’s not even priced in the top-20 in salary in this field. — Bryan Mears
The Long Shot
Betting angle: I just have one guy I’ll be tracking in the triple-digit range this week. Andrew Landry (100-1) is coming off the best week of his career, finishing runner-up to Rahm in a playoff at the CareerBuilder. He’s also at his best when he gets to hit the driver, and while he’s not one of the longest guys off the tee, it’s the area of the game where he gains the most strokes. — Joshua Perry
The First-Round Wrinkle
One prop where we have an advantage is the first-round leader bet. As mentioned earlier, the South Course is one of the most difficult tests on Tour. The first two rounds are split up between the South and the much easier North Course, however. So with this play, we can realistically wipe out half the field and focus on players who draw the the North Course, which is around 400 yards shorter and played 1.5 strokes easier last year, on Thursday.
I also lean toward players with earlier tee times, since the greens will be in slightly better conditions. A few of the guys that caught my eye were Ollie Schniederjans (55-1), JJ Spaun (85-1), Patrick Rodgers (95-1), Chesson Hadley (100-1) and Harold Varner (125-1). Each has the ability to string a bunch of birdies together in a short span and also drew one of the first three tee times on the course. Both Bovada and Sportsbook are offering odds for the first round and prices can vary, so make sure to shop around on this bet. — Joshua Perry
Listen to the FantasyLabs PGA guys break down the Farmers Insurance Open on this week’s Daily Fantasy Flex podcast.
Will We See Red on Sunday?
You didn’t think we’d leave without dedicating a section to Tiger props, did you?
Tiger to make the cut (+110)
As I mentioned, Tiger has won here eight times. It’s one of his favorite spots on tour. So it’s hard to imagine that he’d be an underdog to make the cut here.
But those are the numbers that we’ve been given with the yes bet coming in at +110, while missing the cut sits at -140. All we have to go off is his exhibition run at the Hero World Challenge, but during those four days, Tiger looked healthy. If he is healthy this week, he’ll be able to maneuver around this course without much difficulty in relation to the field. To back the no side here, you’re betting that he’s not anywhere near 100%. When Woods is playing well, he’s nowhere near the cut line. — Joshua Perry
Photo via Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports