Genesis Open Betting, DFS Picks: Rory’s Outlook, Tiger Props, More
Feb 8, 2018; Pebble Beach, CA, USA; Rory McIlroy reacts after making a birdie chip shot on the seventh during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament at Spyglass Hill Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Three of the top-550 golfers in the world will be paired together for the first two rounds of the PGA Tour’s Genesis Open, and Golf Twitter promises to be lit. Seriously.
Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, and some slouch named Tiger will certainly cause a ruckus at posh Riviera Country Club, but are any of them worth a bet this week?
Here’s everything you need to know from a betting and DFS perspective, including four guys with enticing odds to win the tournament, three Tiger props to bet, and a slew of underpriced players in DFS.
Betting angle: A par 71 measuring 7,322 yards, Riviera plays longer than the yardage suggests because of No. 1 and No. 10. The opening hole is a 500-yard par 5 that essentially plays as a long par 4. Players will have a lot of eagle and easy birdie opportunities to start the round. No. 10 is the iconic 315-yard par 4. Many players will attempt to drive the green for a chance at birdie. Outside of those two holes, however, Riviera is a beast. Six of the par 4s are in the 450-500 yard range, while the other two par 5s are in the 580- and 590-yard range.
Because of Riviera’s length, people may be inclined to believe that it’s a bombers’ course. But the rough is also very difficult to navigate, so players can’t be reckless. I’ll be looking at the total driving metric a lot this week, because I want guys who are long off the tee and are also finding a good number of fairways. — Joshua Perry
DFS spin: I backtested all of our DFS metrics within our PGA Models to find which ones have been valuable here at Riviera. Focusing on players with strong driving distance who can also hit greens in regulation and have been playing well recently looks to be a good way to uncover some value this week. — Kelly McCann
Here’s a visualization to what Kelly is mentioning above. Using the Trends tool at FantasyLabs, we can see how the average golfer has performed at Riviera in terms of DraftKings points per tournament. And since odds to win are so strongly tied to DFS salaries, I think this is a fruitful exercise. After getting the baseline, we can compare it to how golfers in the top-20 percent in each metric have performed. For instance, players in the top-20 percent of Long Term Driving Distance have outperformed the baseline golfer at Riviera by 5.68 DraftKings points or 66.9 percent. Using this method, you can find the type of golfer you should be targeting in both betting and DFS. — Bryan Mears
We have a strong field this week with Dustin Johnson (+500), Jordan Spieth (+1200), McIlroy (+1200) and Thomas (+1600) coming in with the shortest betting odds.
Beyond them, we have the legends, Woods (+4000) and Phil Mickelson (+2200), along with a few more European stars: Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey, Alex Noren and Thomas Pieters are all available in the +2800 to +4000 range.
Betting angle: Of the big four names, I’d recommend McIlroy. He’s one of the best drivers in the world and has a couple of top-three finishes on the European Tour already this season.
I’m not going to hold a missed cut at Pebble Beach in last week’s Pro-Am against him. It was his first time playing the event, and it featured two courses that he’d likely never seen before. — Joshua Perry
DFS spin: Rory will likely be the lowest-owned DFS player among the studs, so he has a ton of upside in GPPs. Thomas ($10,700) is also an intriguing option. He doesn’t have great history on this course (never finished higher than 39th), but JT’s 68.3 Long-Term (LT) Adj Rd Score ranks fourth in the field. He’s also tied for ninth with a 308.8-yard LT Driving Distance, third overall in LT Adj Birdie Avg (16.1), and he hasn’t finished outside of the top-25 in three starts in 2018. — Kelly McCann
Read more of Kelly’s DFS breakdown here.
For yet another week, Johnson dominates the field in implied odds to win. He’s at 18.2 percent as of Wednesday morning (he moved up this morning from 16.7 percent) after winning this event by a ridiculous five strokes last year. Of course, all this means that he should be expensive, and DraftKings indeed priced him as the most expensive golfer at $11,900, but that’s nowhere close to where he should be. Based on the regression formula for the field’s odds versus salary, DJ’s 18.2 percent odds should give him a price tag of $17,200 on DraftKings and $23,700 on FanDuel. That’s not possible given the salary cap, so instead he’s ridiculously underpriced relative to his win equity. He’ll be incredibly popular — he was around 35 percent owned in tournaments last week — which could make him a worthy fade in GPPs. But Johnson provides unreal value in cash games. — Bryan Mears
Read more of Bryan’s Vegas Bargain Ratings breakdown here.
Betting angle: Three mid-tier players I’ll be betting this week: Tommy Fleetwood (+3000), Alex Noren (+4000) and Keegan Bradley (+6600). All three of these players are strong off the tee and hit their irons well. The questions come with the putter, especially for Bradley, who is 196th on tour this year in strokes gained: putting. If any of them can get rolling with that club, though, all the tools are there to contend on Sunday. I’ll be adding top-five plays on all off them, as well. Fleetwood is +600, Noren is +800, and Bradley is +1200. — Joshua Perry
DFS spin: Patrick Cantlay ($7,600) was $8,900 at last week’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am and $9,500 at the Farmers Insurance Open the week prior to that, so it’s safe to say he presents solid value this week. Perhaps Cantlay’s two missed cuts (back in 2012 and 2013) at Riviera threw a wrench into DraftKings pricing algorithm? Cantlay’s LT Adj Rd Score (68.5) is tied for fifth in the field, while his LT GIR Percentage (69.7) is tied for 16th and LT Adj Bird Avg (15.4) ranks seventh. — Kelly McCann
I totally agree with Kelly on Cantlay. I don’t know why he got a price decrease this week, but I’m looking to take advantage of it in all contest formats. Another mid-tier player I’m eyeing is Francesco Molinari. He’s yet again underpriced on DraftKings at $7,200. This is one of the best golfers in the world: Molinari’s 68.7 Long-Term Adjusted Round Score is seventh in the entire loaded field, and yet he has just the 49th-highest salary. For reference, he has the exact same LT Adj Rd Score as Rory, who is $11,100. Part of the reason Molinari is cheap this week is his course history at Riviera: He’s missed the cut in two of his four visits, and in the other two he finished 52nd and 40th. The biggest reason he’s struggled of late has been his putter, which is concerning, given that Colin Davy, on the PGA Flex podcast, suggested that putting is unusually important on this course. Still, buying low on one of the most talented golfers on Tour seems like a profitable long-term strategy. — Bryan Mears
Betting angle: I like Sam Saunders at +12500 in this range, and I’ll also be playing a top-20 at +400. Saunders has been consistent in all aspects this season and is gaining strokes in all four categories. This is a tournament where the long shots can steal a win, as evidenced by James Hahn and John Merrick winning in the past five years. — Joshua Perry
DFS spin: Not many players have navigated their way around Riviera better than Sang-Moon Bae ($7,200), who has finished eighth, eighth and 12th in his past three trips. Bae’s 67.7 Course Adjusted Round Score ranks third among players with more than one start here. — Kelly McCann
This hasn’t been a great course for Tiger in the past. It’s one of the few places he’s never won, though he did finish as the runner-up twice. He also hasn’t played here since 2006. Because of that, I’d lead toward fading Tiger in all spots. I’ve picked out a few props of interest below (odds via BetDSI).
First-round fairways: Over/under 4.5 (both -115)
We saw at Torrey Pines that he really struggled with the driver, so the under on the fairway prop is worth a look.
Will Tiger be within five of the lead on Sunday (must make the cut for action)? Yes +140; No -170
I’d be surprised if he’s within five here on Sunday as well, but this could easily push, because he miss the cut. Speaking of …
Will Tiger make the cut? Yes -140; No +110
We saw Tiger grind though a tournament a few weeks ago because he knew Torrey Pines inside and out. He won’t have that advantage this week. — Joshua Perry