PGA DFS is in full swing! Sports betting pro @realfrankbrank uses his model to identify top plays in each price range for your GPP lineups!!
The Course: Muirfield Village
The official course preview by @friedeggpaulie can be found here. As we saw Bryson Dechambeau win last week entirely on driving and putting, I’m here to tell you they mean far less than the other two major categories (approach and chipping) this week.
In fact, in the years that we have strokes-gained data, the top players in the field at Muirfield Village have gained more strokes around the greens than off the tee. That’s quite a difference from the average PGA Tour course.
Hence, we’ll be emphasizing those that are good at the inbetween game throughout this week.
Jon Rahm: $10,900 (+$796)
Last Ownership: 16%
The lockdown has cooled down Jon Rahm’s rapid pace towards the top player in the world golf rankings. Since coming out of the layoff, Rahm has posted a missed cut and two top-30ish finishes. That’s nothing to scoff at considering the small sample, but it is quite the difference for one of the hottest golfers on the planet at the beginning of the 2020 season.
However, I think it is now time to jump back on the Rahm train. My model sees Rahm, Cantlay, and Thomas as essentially co-favorites this week at about a 7% chance to win for each of them. Despite his recent struggles, Rahm comes in as the 12th-best ball striker, 5th-best tee to green player, and 9th-best short game in this field.
In this middle ground field, Rahm probably gives you the best odds at winning at the lowest ownership rates at the top of this board compared to Cantlay or Thomas.
Patrick Cantlay: $10,600 (+$1,328)
Last Ownership: 14%
Similar to Bryson’s price last week, DraftKings just wasn’t able to make Cantlay’s price high enough this week. Cantlay is the previous winner and has great course history overall at Muirfield Village. He comes in at 13/1 odds to win the tournament, and as I said above, essentially a co-favorite. Yet his price is still just $10,600.
Per my model, Cantlay is the 6th-best approach player in the field, 4th-best tee to green, and 11th-best short game. His one deficiency that separates Cantlay from being an elite player in the world is his driving, which takes a bit of a hit this week compared to the other aspects of his game, which are absolutely elite.
Nonetheless, Cantlay’s ownership tag is likely too much to get me interested when Rahm is likely going to gather less ownership and have similar odds to win.
Viktor Hovland: $9,500 (+$153)
Last Ownership: 23%
I mentioned last week that my model saw Hovland as the best ball striker and tee to green player in the field and potentially in the world. His pathetic putting has and continues to hold back his potential. In the last two weeks, Hovland has played tee to green better than anyone and has lost over three strokes putting in each of the last two events. For comparison, Dechambeau gained 11.3 strokes more than Hovland putting in his victory last week.
With his success on the leaderboard in recent weeks and the attention he’s receiving, his ownership will probably hold steady in this 20% range, which puts him in a situation where you want his elite ball striking consistency but his putting inability makes it a difficult decision.
If the excess value was a bit higher, I would be more sold on Hovland this week; however, at this price range, there’s more to love further down the board.
Patrick Reed: $8,800 (+$806)
Last Ownership: 17%
Like the young star in a chick flick, my model cannot quit on Patrick Reed. It’s to the point where it’s embarrassing and our friends are making fun of their relationship. Since the return of the PGA Tour, Reed has finished T7, MC, T24, MC. His ownership last week was quite a bit higher than expected, which makes me more likely to play him this week.
Muirfield Village is not necessarily a track you’d expect Patrick Reed to overperform at; however, if the putter gets hot, as he likes to do when he wins, he can win anywhere. As more of a “faders” golf course, Reed’s typical draw may not play that well here.
Nonetheless, you may not find a ton of chances to grab a guy who wins or has a good chance to win a handful of times a year at this price in a medium to weaker field.
Adam Hadwin: $8,200 (+$204)
Last Ownership: 18%
With his higher than expected ownership last week combined with a push on Sunday to finish T4, Adam Hadwin will maintain somewhere around this level of ownership this week. The field is quite a bit better than last week’s, which should keep his ownership somewhat at bay compared to the increase one would come to expect.
Nonetheless, Hadwin is hard to look beyond this week. When driving talent takes a hit, Hadwin’s ball striking and putting can really shine. My model sees Hadwin at a bit better than his listed 50/1 to win this week, but even at that number, he ranks 19th in this field in approach and 11th in putting. Hadwin’s only missed one of eleven cuts in the 2020 season, which includes three top-10s.
Joel Dahmen: $7,700 (+$592)
Last Ownership: 9%
It’s inexcusable to have Dahmen in this $7k range. He’s missed just two of sixteen cuts this season. He’s finished T25 or better in half of his starts this season, including four T10 or better finishes.
To be blunt, Dahmen’s short game is pretty pathetic. He’s very similar to Hovland, but he’s slightly worse tee to green and slightly less pathetic on and around the greens. Nonetheless, it’s impossible to pass up the 5th-best ball striker in this field for $7,700.
Overall, Dahmen ranks 8th in my model this week and his 100/1 odds should be drastically reduced throughout the week, especially in this average field.
Brian Stuard: $7,100 (+$349)
Last Ownership: 12%
Stuard’s ownership was quite high last week given his price point and potential upside. His consistency to make cuts because of his decent all-around game keeps his value for cash games rolling. However, at 12% ownership, or anything close to that, frankhe’s likely not that playable considering his win equity.
Russell Henley: $7,300 (+$290)
Last Ownership: 1%
Russell Henley has missed about half the cuts in the events he’s played since last year. He also has a ton of boom or bust potential. Henley’s upside left his game when his putting began to struggle since the beginning of last year. What hasn’t left him, though, is his approach game.
Again, the main aspect of focus this week is strokes gained approach, where Henley ranks 13th on the PGA Tour this season and second in my predictive model for this field this week.
As usual, there’s a ton of golfers throughout this range to take some shots at. However, I’ll list out my best perceived options below.
Brice Garnett: $6,600 (+$1,046) | Cameron Percy: $6,200 (+$810) | Carlos Ortiz: $6,400 (+$801)
Feel free to reach out on Twitter (@realfrankbrank) with any questions or sample lineups you may have. Below are some sample lineups of my own.