The Best & Worst DFS, Betting Value For the 2020 3M Open

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Photo credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: Jhonattan Vegas

Way back in 2016, I wrote about an idea called Vegas Bargain Ratings, which sounds 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 whom 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 who 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.

Best & Worst DFS Values According to Betting Odds

The usual spiel: If we assume that the betting market — because it’s moving and liquid — is efficient, then we can use that data to spot DFS inefficiencies. And the story always suggests that the highest-priced golfers are the best “values,” even if that seems like a weird word to use considering these guys are costing $10,000 or more on DraftKings.

But think about it this way: The difference between, say, Tony Finau and Ryan Moore is much larger in the betting market than it is with DraftKings salaries, simply because the latter uses a salary cap. If they wanted to price golfers solely by their win equity according to that market, they’d either have to really expand the salaries, either by lowering the lowest golfers below $6,000 and spreading it out more or to raise the highest’s salaries.

As a result, given that regression, the best values are the four guys at the top: Dustin Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka. They’re all below 20-1, which means they should be priced anywhere from around $12,000 on DraftKings up to over $13,000 for DJ given his tournament-best odds.

You can see given his exercise why it can be beneficial to take a stars-and-scrubs lineup approach in big tournaments. You’ll likely need the winner in your lineup, and building around two of the studs is the best way to maximize your chances of doing so. That lineup strategy has definitely worked in recent weeks with guys like Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau winning of late.

It also means that some of those guys in the $8,000 and $9,000 range — Bubba Watson, Henrik Norlander and Russell Henley, to name a few — are a bit overvalued on DraftKings just given their win equity for this tournament.

Of course, perhaps those guys will be low-owned, in which case perhaps it’s actually +EV to roster them in big tournaments. But if they’re not, then you’re likely paying a premium and not really maximizing win equity. That’s tough.

Best & Worst Betting Values According to Adjusted Round Score

Again, we can do the same exercise with Long-Term Adjusted Round Score to try to spot some inefficiencies in the betting market. Usually it highlights the mid-to-low tier golfers who have played really well in the long-term but have depreciated in price simply because of the strength of the field.

I will say that this is just a piece of the puzzle. Sure, it can spot guys who are undervalued given their long-term form and talent, but it doesn’t factor in course fit, which I think will be quite important this week.

Still, you can find some guys here who fit Twin Cities, which will cater to guys who can really gain strokes off the tee. Examples are Aaron Wise and Jhonattan Vegas, who might be my favorite value play of the entire week.

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