Masters Friday Betting, DFS Angles: Buying DJ, Fading Finau, More
We’re one day into the Masters, and craziness has already ensued. Jordan Spieth reminded everyone that he’s the king at Augusta, Tony Finau dominated despite not having one of his ankles locked into place, and Sergio Garcia put the ball in the water FIVE TIMES at hole No. 15, finishing with a 13 on the par 5. I get once. I even get twice if you’re unlucky. But after two, I’m putting it the rest of the way.
Anyway, if you rostered or bet Sergio, or things just generally aren’t looking good for your investments so far, don’t worry: We can always get a little more action down. And that’s especially true this week, as DraftKings just unveiled new one-day tournaments for the Masters. They still have the weekend slates on Saturday, but they’re also offering single-round contests for Friday and Sunday. On that note, let’s dive in and discuss the best plays for Friday’s slate, intriguing future bets and matchup props that are sticking out, along with some guys to target in DFS.
Outside of Spieth, Finau was the story of the opening round. A day after dislocating his ankle, Finau fired a round of 68 and looked set for a share of the first-round lead before Spieth caught fire late in the day.
But Finau gained a ridiculous 5.199 strokes with his putter and hit only half of his greens in regulation.
— Ben Everill (@BEverillPGATOUR) April 6, 2018
This isn’t likely to be sustainable: Finau is not normally a good putter (ranking 133rd this season in strokes gained: putting), so for him to rely so heavily on his flat stick doesn’t set up well for future rounds.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello is available on Bovada at -115 against Finau, and I’m backing the Spaniard to come out on top there.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, Bernhard Langer is available at +210 against Finau, and I like that number as well. — Joshua Perry
I’m taking a similar approach as Josh to betting matchup props Friday, focusing on the putter. A lot of the guys who struggled with the short stick seem to be undervalued in the prop market. Patrick Cantlay, for example, is at -101 vs. Ian Poulter (-109) for Friday at 5Dimes. Here are some other ones sticking out to me. …
- Matt Kuchar (+115) over Phil Mickelson (-125)
- Dustin Johnson (-125) over Rafael Cabrera-Bello (+115)
- Jason Day (-105) over Henrik Stenson (-105)
- Bubba Watson (-109) over Henrik Stenson (-101)
The guys that teed off later in the day Thursday had a nice weather advantage, as it was in the low 40s at first tee time in the first round. The weather disparity won’t be as huge for the second round, although it will flip a bit. And when you even out weather and putting luck, I’m expecting some of the heavy hitters like Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas, and especially guys with awesome course fit like Watson and Day, to rebound Friday. And, thankfully, we can get them at very low odds after their struggles Thursday. — Bryan Mears
DraftKings Friday-Only Contests
By Bryan Mears
For the strategy section, I’ll keep thing short and sweet: I would mostly play things similarly to how you did in the weekend-long slate. I can understand being higher on a guy than you were yesterday at this time — new data is always a positive — but, in general, things haven’t changed much. If a player fits the course better than another, that’s true even after a round. I think there’s not a lot of strategy here, to be honest, other than it could pay to not use the full $50,000 salary cap. About 48% of the Millionaire Maker field in the weekend-long slate used the cap (per the PGA Contests Dashboard), which makes even using $49,900 one of the easiest ways to make your lineup have a higher expected value.
And that’s very true on this slate given the soft pricing. It was already soft for the major, and it’s ridiculously so for this Friday-only slate. The cheapest guys are pretty much the same price — Adam Hadwin is $7,100, Francesco Molinari is $7,000, Kevin Chappell is $7,200, etc. — but the most expensive guys are much cheaper. Dustin Johnson is the highest-priced option in this slate, like he is in the week-long slate, but he’s just $10,100 this time compared to $12,000. Thomas is $9,900, and Spieth is down at $9,700. You can build an absolutely loaded roster, which means you’ll have to find clever ways to be contrarian, and not using the full cap is probably the easiest way to do so.
Speaking of Spieth, he’ll likely be the chalk after cruising through Augusta in the first round. I’m expecting Stenson, who was a contrarian pick in the week-long slate, to be much more popular after posting a stellar 3-under first round. People will chase after guys like Marc Leishman, and popular picks Kuchar and Mickelson will be even more so.
One thing I’m curious of is whether people will go overboard with players at the top of the leaderboard. I’ve noticed that trend in weekend slates on DraftKings. On one hand, it makes sense: Guys at the top of the leaderboard are there for a reason … they’ve played better than the other golfers. On the other hand, in these one- or two-day slates, players get no points for finishing positions. It’s all about birdies and actual golf scoring. So if Spieth shoots 1-under Friday and Sergio shoots 5-under, they’ll still be very far apart on the leaderboard, but those who rostered Squirtle Garcia will win the contests. There could be a potential edge in rostering the players who laid an egg in the first round and hoping for regression at low ownership.
And it also makes sense to target the players who have gotten unlucky on the golf course. That’s somewhat difficult to tease out, but we do know that putting is the most volatile stat in golf. Take any player that teed up in the first round, and if a ball is aimed a centimeter left or right on a couple of holes, they might have a score three or four strokes better. Looking at the worst putters from the first round, it’s actually an intriguing group of golfers. Among the 10 worst putters Thursday in average strokes per hole, we have Adam Scott (that makes sense), Day, Dustin Johnson, Russell Henley, Watson, Louis Oosthuizen, Cantlay and Thomas. There are some absolute studs and bombers who could have been way up the leaderboard if their short stick hadn’t failed them. This could be very stupid, but I’m going to fade most of the golfers at the top of the leaderboard and instead focus on the studs at the bottom of the putting list.
By Joshua Perry
With Spieth (+275) jumping out to the early lead, a second green jacket feels inevitable. But don’t write off the big names lurking behind him. Rory McIlroy is next in line at +500, three strokes behind Spieth.
No other player is less than +1400. Mickelson, Justin Rose and Stenson are all available at that number, with Dustin Johnson available at +1600.
I’ve got plays on Stenson and McIlroy, so I like where they’re at, especially if Spieth can cool off with the putter, which helped him gain more than three strokes on the field.
Patrick Reed at +2000 caught my eye if you’re looking to jump in Friday. He’s also three shots behind Spieth, and with a slightly bigger number, he could present some value.
Pictured above: Dustin Johnson
Photo credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports