2020 Workday Charity Open: Best & Worst Betting, DFS Values

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Photo credit: Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Cantlay

Way back in 2016, I wrote about an idea called Vegas Bargain Ratings, which might sound more complicated than it actually is.

The basic premise: DraftKings salaries are highly correlated with odds to win a golf tournament, but it’s not a perfect fit. By highlighting the golfers for which it’s not correct — and this assumes that the liquid betting market is more efficient than static DFS salaries, which isn’t a hot take — we can identify mispriced golfers, or ones that the betting market thinks are undervalued.

We can do this exercise with a variety of metrics, including our catch-call metric, Long-Term Adjusted Round Score, which is the average strokes on a course with adjustments made to account for the difficulty of the course and the strength of the field.

So I can also compare Long-Term Adjusted Round Score to odds to win in order to identify the golfers who are underpriced in the betting market relative to their long-term play.

That shouldn’t be the end of the betting story — course fit and history are also important, as is recent play when there’s not a layoff like we’ve had — but it is a valuable data point in researching for this week.

Let’s start with the DFS side of things; betting will be in the section below.

The Best & Worst DFS Values According to the Betting Market

As usual, the best golfers in the field stand out as the best values according to the betting market. The reason is simple: The difference between the top golfer’s odds to win vs. the rest of the field is much bigger than the difference in their DFS salaries.

It’s because of the salary cap: If DraftKings or FanDuel perfectly priced players according to their win equity, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and the other top guys would be too expensive to roster unless those sites essentially took away the salary minimum ($6,000 on DraftKings).

All that means it’s highly advantageous in DFS tournaments to take a stars-and-scrubs approach: You’ll maximize your odds of rostering the winner — a near must in the big tournaments.

That’s not the end of the story, sure. Ownership is very important because having overlapping lineups really kills your expected value. But it’s definitely possible to create unique lineups using that approach, be it pivoting among the high-end golfers, taking low-owned longshots or leaving salary on the table.

When making lineups for big tournaments this week, I would definitely make sure to have a healthy dose of JT, Koepka, Patrick Cantlay, Hideki Matsuyama, Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele.

The Best & Worst Betting Values According to Adjusted Round Score

Again, we can do this same strategy with Long-Term Adjusted Round Score and outright odds. Using a regression, we can “predict” what a player’s implied probably should be and compare it to their actual implied probability to win.

I wrote about this idea more extensively in my course breakdown yesterday, but I’m actually quite hesitant of the golfers at the top of the above table.

Remember that all scores aren’t creating equally: A golfer could finish -3 while having six birdies and three bogeys, while another could have the same score while having just three birdies but pars the rest of the way.

Given how this course will likely play this week — expect another 20-under birdie-fest, I believe — I’d rather not take the guys who have great LT Adj Rd Scores due to consistency (Jim Furyk is a great example) and would rather focus on the guys who can really score, even if they’re boom-or-bust.

Some examples are Scottie Scheffler, Matthew Wolff, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Maverick McNealy, Harry Higgs and Lanto Griffin — to name a few.

Good luck this week!

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