Memorial Tournament Round 4 Betting Tips: Using Strokes Gained to Find an Edge
Warren Little/Getty Images. Pictured: Jon Rahm
Yesterday I wrote that Jon Rahm is definitely a candidate to just put this tournament away, and man did he pretty much do that in Round 3, putting up a solid 4-under outing which gives him a four-stroke lead entering Sunday.
Of course, no lead is completely safe at Memorial — remember the quints we had on Thursday and Friday! — and Tony Finau and Ryan Palmer, both at 8-under, will try to put the heat on the young Spaniard.
How should you treat Rahm vs. the field? Let’s break down what’s to come Sunday. But first, a quick explanation on Strokes Gained data and what it means for golf handicapping.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly playing by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.
Using the millions of data points it has, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.
Every situation in golf is different — Strokes Gained measures how players handle them relative to the situation.
In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics…
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)
In general, ball-striking and tee-to-green are more stable long-term, and often you can find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well but just not getting putts to drop, which is more random. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4
For full transparency, I have Rahm outright; he was my favorite bet and pick to win this week. I also recommended him yesterday entering Moving Day, so I’m sufficiently leveraged here.
And apparently some books think the lead is pretty insurmountable. DraftKings, for example, on their futures page is listed outright odds as “Winner without Jon Rahm.” Finau is the favorite, as you might expect, at +150 odds.
Given what we know about Rahm, his game and his personality, I’m not expecting him to pump the brakes here. He’s the shark of the Tour: When he smells blood, he’ll have no problem attacking. While some players might take 3-wood off the tee and try to just hang on the for the win, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rahm try to balloon his victory even more.
So my advice on Rahm, if you’re clamoring for some action, is to monitor books’ boosters. Over the past three days, DraftKings, for example, has offered a 30% profit boost on golf bets. It’s unclear whether you’ll be able to get any action on Rahm there, but if so you’ll take a highly minus-odds bet and make it +EV simply because of the boost.
OK, one last note on Rahm: The big potential thing that could spoil his chances on Sunday is the weather. It looks like it will be quite windy all day in Ohio, and especially in the afternoon. If you’re playing DFS showdown slates, the earlier tee times are the way to go.
But all in all, it should be pretty windy all day, and weather is fickle: Who knows whether it will change or when gusts will come. I’m being a little hesitant fading Rahm — I get the narrative in the public right now is that the wind will just randomize things and neutralize his lead. Maybe that’s the case, but four strokes is still a big deal, and he can definitely play as well as anyone in the tough conditions.
Anyway, of the other two guys, I actually think Palmer is a little undervalued vs. Finau, who is priced as a pretty significant favorite against him.
To be fair, Finau is the more talented golfer; the dude is going to win somewhere soon. But in terms of play this week, Palmer has been more sustainable given his ball-striking and all-around play, whereas Finau got really hot with the putter on Thursday and has been treading water ever since.
If you’re looking for a guy to potentially target in DFS showdown slates, don’t forget about Tyler Duncan, who is behind only Palmer this week in Strokes Gained: Approach. He’s lost a lot of strokes on the greens, and perhaps that continues, but I’d bet he grinds his way with his irons into a solid Sunday showing.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4
The three golfers I’m fine fading in DFS on Sunday are guys who have run really hot with the putter all week but have struggled with the rest of their games, particularly with approach shots. And given how we’ve seen Memorial play — uh, really freaking hard with really tough pin placements — I’m not actively looking to buy guys who are erratic with second and third shots.
Mackenzie Hughes actually leads the entire field this week in Strokes Gained: Putting and has lost strokes with his approach. He shot over par today but still held onto a top-10 spot; I’d bet that he’ll finish outside the top 10 by Sunday evening.
Matt Wallace, meanwhile, dominated with his putter today specifically, gaining nearly four strokes on the green. He was fairly neutral off the tee but lost strokes with all his other shots. Not a great sign going into a tough Sunday round; like Hughes, I wouldn’t bet on a top-10 finish given his play.
And dipping down just a bit, Dylan Frittelli is another guy who has been a negative tee-to-green player this week but has managed to hang around the top-20 line simply because of short game play. Again, he could keep that up, but at Memorial I’ll play the averages and fade him across DFS lineups.
Alright, enough talk. Here’s the data for all players for Saturday.
Strokes Gained Data for Every Player in Round 3
(Note: The graph below is interactive. Click/hover to see data.)