WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational Round 3 Betting Tips Using Strokes Gained

Credit:

Photo credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Brooks Koepka

Jul 31, 2020, 04:50 PM EDT

The good news for DFS and betting if you rostered/bet Paul Casey, Patrick Cantlay or Jon Rahm this week: You’re technically still live because there’s no cut at this WGC event. The bad news: You’re not really live.

Friday was quite a day, as a lot of players really struggled while a few, notably Brendon Todd, Ben An, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Kevin Na played very well, putting up 5-under rounds or better to move into weekend contention.

So where do we sit entering Moving Day? Who’s worth a bet. Let’s dive in, but first a note on Strokes Gained, which I’ll cite a lot in this article.

(Click here to skip to the analysis section.)

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.

Read more about Strokes Gained here.

3 Golfers to Buy in Round 3

Today highlighted why it’s so difficult to predict a single round of golf, along with the challenges of using one-round samples to do so.

Brooks Koepka looked as good as he ever has on Thursday, accelerating to a two-shot lead. But then Friday he had one of his worst putting rounds ever, losing an astounding 4.64 strokes on the green. It was actually semi-impressive that he still managed to shoot +1 and remain in the top-five.

I’ll go back to the well with him despite the poor play today. The rest of the game was just as good as Thursday, gaining 3.01 strokes with his approach. If he keeps up that play across the weekend and even is average with the short stick, he’ll make up the ground pretty quickly and be right there.

Justin Thomas and Chez Reavie are two other guys I think are interesting for the weekend after their first rounds of play. They’re third and fourth, respectively, in Strokes Gained: Approach behind only Brooks and Sung Kang.

Both golfers have been inconsistent with the short sticks, but JT in particular is an awesome putter and should get things going eventually.

Even though it didn’t work out today, I’m sticking to my same strategy in buying guys who excel in SG: Approach and SG: Tee-to-Green and fading those who are overperforming with the putter and struggling elsewhere. We’ll see how that goes; golf can be random!

3 Golfers to Fade in Round 3

Yes, I’m tentatively fading two of the best golfers of the day on Friday. Again: One round of golf can be quite random. Further, we can look at metrics that often regress and see whether golfers fit those criteria.

Todd, the current leader, and Fitzpatrick both do. I’ll be honest: Both golfers are very, very good putters, so it’s not surprising to see them lead the field so far in SG: Putting with +3.42 and +3.38 marks, respectively.

But will they remain that high throughout the final two days? Maybe they will, but that’s tough to do and they’ll need to in order to account for the rest of their games so far. Fitzpatrick especially has been mediocre elsewhere, actually losing strokes to the field with his approach.

Todd, meanwhile, has been fine with his approach but has lost strokes off the tee. In terms of overall tee-to-green games, there are numerous players with superior marks — they just haven’t gotten as hot with the short stick as these two guys. It’s hard to bet on that continuing.

Sungjae Im is the other guy I’m tentatively fading. He lost 1.34 strokes with his approach game Friday — the only player in the top-20 to lose more than a stroke in that regard. If that continues, he won’t stay in the top-10.

Alright, enough talk. Here’s the data for all players for Friday.

Strokes Gained Data for Every Player in Round 2

(Note: The graph below is interactive. Click/hover to see data.)

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