Sobel, Sleeze, and Davy: Our Favorite PGA Championship Matchup Props

Sobel, Sleeze, and Davy: Our Favorite PGA Championship Matchup Props article feature image

Jan 7, 2018; Maui, HI, USA; PGA golfer Dustin Johnson reacts after winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions golf tournament at Kapalua Resort – The Plantation Course. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

  • Colin Davy builds a model every week to analyze the best matchup props and former pro Drew Stoltz and golf expert Jason Sobel use their knowledge to pick some of their own.
  • Sometimes the men and the machine disagree, but sometimes they are aligned and that points to value.
  • Below are several matchup props that include the likes of Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia that our experts -- and the machine have opinions on.

If you’ve heard the The Action Network Golf Podcast, you know that the man (Sleeze) and the machine (Davy) battle it out with their golf takes. Colin Davy builds a model every week to analyze the best matchup props, whereas Drew Stoltz (aka Sleeze), a former golf pro, relies on his inside-the-ropes knowledge. Often they disagree, but sometimes they don’t. And those times are when you’ll want to pay attention.

This piece will detail Sleeze’s picks and Colin’s data on those. Of course, we had to add our golf expert, Jason Sobel, into the mix as well. For more analysis, check out our breakdowns on the top 80 golfers in the field.

Sleeze’s Picks

Patrick Cantlay (-145) over Alex Noren

Cantlay has had an incredibly solid year and is quickly becoming one of the most consistent players on tour. He has finished outside the top 25 in only two of his past nine starts, and he’s made 16 of 18 cuts this year. Three consecutive top-15 finishes find him in perfect form heading into the year’s final major. Noren has been no slouch himself with 14 of 16 cuts made, but the soft conditions and Cantlay’s advantage in iron play (35th vs. 158th in Greens in Regulation) make me confident that Cantlay is the play here.

Davy’s Model: Cantlay (-216) over Noren

The Verdict: Agree

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Ian Poulter (-140) over Sergio Garcia

On paper this is a complete mismatch. These players couldn’t be more on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of recent form. Poulter has had a monster resurgence this year and has finished out of the top 25 only once in his past seven starts (Open Championship). Garcia, on the other hand, has missed seven of his past nine cuts, with his best finish being a 39th during that stretch. I could not be more heavily invested on shorting Garcia this week, especially against a guy as hot as Poulter. Back the Brinks truck up on this matchup — Poulter all the way.

Davy’s Model: Poulter (-143) over Garcia

The Verdict: Agree

Charles Howell III (-155) over Andy Sullivan

Charles Howell III is one of the easiest guys to predict on the PGA Tour. We can be almost certain that he will strike the ball as well as nearly anyone in the field and will be mediocre on the greens. That is a fantastic combination this week at Bellerive, where putting should be less important due to the softness of the greens; that will put ball-striking at a premium. Sullivan hasn’t played at all on the PGA Tour this year, spending most of his time on the European Tour, and the type of golf he will see this week in St. Louis will be almost the polar opposite of the type of golf he is accustomed to playing in Europe. Howell III is a great play here.

Davy’s Model: Howell (-109) over Sullivan

The Verdict: Disagree on line

Sobel’s Picks

Dustin Johnson (-205) over Justin Rose

Sure, you’re betting two units to win just one here, but a win is a win. Course conditions should be perfect for DJ, who can bomb and gauge his way around this track, making it look pretty toothless. Meanwhile, Rose is fresh off a WD due to a lingering back injury. It’s hard to think he’ll scare DJ this week.

Davy’s Model: Johnson (-221) over Rose

The Verdict: Agree

Thorbjorn Olesen (+105) over Phil Mickelson

One guy is fresh off a final-round 64 at Firestone, a course which should correlate fairly well to Bellerive. The other has spent his summer raking putts and dad-dancing. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with Phil these days. He keeps insisting he’s close, but his heart doesn’t seem into it. Give me Thunderbear in this one.

Davy’s Model: Olesen (-118) over Mickelson

The Verdict: Agree

Webb Simpson (-150) over Bubba Watson

It’s time we all come to a realization we should have had a long time ago: If Bubba isn’t playing one of the 3-4 courses on which he’s familiar and completely comfortable, he doesn’t play well. Because of those two Masters titles, people often confuse him for a great major competitor, when the truth is what I found in my piece comparing players in majors and non-majors – he has the biggest negative differential of anyone. It only helps that he’s matched up with Simpson, who, on the contrary, is enjoying a better year than most people realize.

Davy’s Model: Simpson (-162) over Watson

The Verdict: Agree

Jason Kokrak (-110) over James Hahn

Sure, the big names are licking their chops over these conditions, but so is Kokrak, whose mash-‘em-and-chase-‘em game emulates those players on a lower level. The more it rains, the more I like Kokrak as a potential top-20 prop or even top 10. Hahn, meanwhile, owns just one major result inside the top 40 in 10 appearances.

Davy’s Model: Kokrak (+118) vs. Hahn

The Verdict: Disagree

Haotong Li (-115) over Eddie Pepperell

I picked Pepperell as first-round leader at Carnoustie, but he instead posted the lowest final-round score, which means FRL was also FML. He’s a solid performer on links-style tracks found overseas but should struggle flighting his ball in these conditions. Haotong, on the other hand, is a rising stud, ready to start popping up in these major conversations very soon.

Davy’s Model: Li (-103) over Pepperell

The Verdict: Non-juiced line agrees

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