Workday Charity Open Round 4 Betting Tips: Using Strokes Gained to Find an Edge

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Photo credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Thomas

Welp, if you also have a Collin Morikawa 33-1 ticket, Saturday wasn’t your best day. The youngster who had dominated the first two rounds shot an even round, which meant he got surpassed by two studs in Justin Thomas and Viktor Hovland.

JT sits two shots ahead of Hovland, who is at 14-under and sits in alone in second place. Morikawa is at 13-under, and the rest of the field is at 11-under or worse. It definitely seems like this is a three-man race at this point.

Will JT wrap things up or is worth buying the other two? Let’s break it down.

But first, a quick explanation on Strokes Gained data and what it means for golf handicapping.

(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 4

To start, I obviously think JT is going to win this thing. I didn’t include him, because, well, why would you “buy” maybe the best player in the world who has a two-shot lead going into Sunday?

And to be honest, I don’t think his odds of -159 on DraftKings are that bad. That’s just over a 60% chance of winning, which is probably about right. I don’t think you’re getting excess value there, but I also wouldn’t judge anyone for jumping on the ship at this point given his talent and lead.

Hovland and Morikawa are +350 and +650, respectively, which I actually think provide some value here.

Think about it this way: If you agree that it’s a three-man race, then you can essentially limit the rest of the field in to-win odds. And if you do that, adding JT, Hovland and Morikawa together doesn’t equal 100% — which means you’re automatically getting potential value without even thinking about juice.

Of the two, Hovland is a stroke closer and has been impressive for weeks on end at this point. I think he has the better chance of going low on Sunday and would probably slightly prefer his odds to Morikawa’s.

But Collin isn’t out of it, and I still believe in his game despite the poor Saturday round. He lost 1.53 strokes on his approach game today, and that’s like a bottom 10% outcome for him given his iron play. I would definitely bet he gains strokes in that regard tomorrow — the question is whether he’ll be able to gain enough to overcome the deficit.

And finally, I don’t think Hideki is worth buying in the to-win market, but definitely in DFS and perhaps in the top-10 market. He’s right in line with JT on the week in approach and head of Morikawa and Hovland in that department.

3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4

MJ Daffue is a very nice story. He’s had quite the career and is taking full advantage of his recent qualifying streak.

I’ll be cheering for him, but unfortunately I’ll be fading him in DFS. He actually played well all around Saturday, but he’s done most of his damage with his putter, which I feel fine fading in a tough Sunday sweat.

And it’s largely the same story for Zach Johnson and Charley Hoffman, the latter who gained nearly four strokes putting on Saturday. Hoff is a fine putter, but average doesn’t get you those scores on a regular basis. Given that he lost a ton of strokes with the rest of his clubs, I don’t think he’ll find as much success tomorrow.

ZJ has been more consistent with his putter, but unlike, say, Ian Poulter, who has similarly been excellent on the greens, I’m skeptical that will hold up long-term given his overall form.

Of course, my usual disclaimer: Golf in one round is very random, and even if a guy is due for regression it doesn’t mean it’ll come the next day. Make sure you remember that in DFS contests especially: It’s probably wise to play the ownership game moreso than the prediction game in showdown slates.

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.)

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