Rocket Mortgage Classic Round 4 Betting Tips: Using Strokes Gained to Find an Edge
Photo credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Matthew Wolff
In 21-year-old Matthew Wolff‘s first PGA Tour victory back almost a year ago to the date, he finished 21-under par to hold off second-place Bryson DeChambeau.
A year later, he’ll likely have to be even better to hold off Bryson and the field, although he does enter Sunday with a three-stroke lead at 19-under.
The problem: A three-stroke lead at this course isn’t what it is on a regular event. We’ve seen guys routinely go way under par, and Wolff himself put up a stellar 8-under round thanks to hot putting to balloon his lead.
Will he be able to hold off the pack or will someone get hot and catch him? Let’s dive in.
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.
4 Golfers to Buy in Round 4
There are a bunch of guys playing some truly excellent golf right now, so it was hard to narrow it down to just a handful of guys to talk about.
Honestly, Wolff wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for his three-shot lead. Yes, he’s played amazing golf this week, sitting fourth in the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, although today’s round was mostly a hot putter.
The problem is that even if it regresses a bit, that cushion is awfully nice, especially given where his irons were prior to this round.
So let’s talk odds: He’s currently +125 at DraftKings, which is still plus money, but I’m not sure it holds a lot of value if you’re just handicapping that probability (44.4%) to his actual probability, which I’d have more in the 35-40% range given how low golfers have gone this week. If you’re able to find a booster to get him up to over +150, that’s about right, but I’ll probably pass on the current number as it stands.
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The two guys I think have the best chance of catching him are Bryson (+200) and Ryan Armour, who has a much better price at 11-1. I think if you’re looking to take a chance on a guy to catch him — which would require Wolff to shoot more in the 3-under range or worse — Armour gives the best odds vs. his probability.
And both he and Bryson have positive indicators: They were awesome ball-striking today, which bodes well for a low Sunday round. DeChambeau has done things more with his driver, which makes sense, and somehow sits at 16-under despite fairly average iron play.
But that’s the rub with Bryson: If he figures that out, it’s scary. He could absolutely put up an 8-under round tomorrow and really put the pressure on Wolff, who again is just 21-years-old.
And finally, Hideki Matsuyama is too far out at 12-under, but he’s finally looking like the Hideki we dreamed of a couple years ago. The ball-striking is always a major strength, and if he’s able to be even neutral with his short game, he’s one of the best golfers in any field.
One more: Wesley Bryan was my favorite sleeper coming in at 225-1. Alas, he’s too far out probably at 13-under, but his game was awesome today. One time, Wes?!
I wouldn’t bet him to win at this point, but he’s worth a DFS roster spot for Sunday’s showdown slate.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4
Chris Kirk was my big fade of Round 3, and it worked out well. He fell out of first place after just a 2-under round and now sits in fourth but a whopping five strokes back of Wolff for the lead.
And he’s a fade yet again today. Honestly, the 2-under round could’ve been even worse. He gained 2.69 strokes around-the-green, second-best in the field behind only Luke Donald, but was third-worst in Strokes Gained: Approach. Again, not a bullish indicator for Sunday.
It’s largely the same story for Seamus Power and Scott Harrington, both of whom are right around that top-10 mark but have been neutral or lost strokes on approach — those important second shots. I would look elsewhere in DFS.
Alright, enough talk. Here’s the data for all players for Friday.
Strokes Gained Data for Every Player in Round 3
(Note: The graph below is interactive. Click/hover to see data.)