Daily Fantasy PGA Picks and Betting Guide for DraftKings & FanDuel – Sentry Tournament of Champions
Chris will be bringing you weekly PGA picks, analysis, and breakdowns to help you cash on DraftKings and FanDuel. As every week in DFS PGA changes with the course setup, field of players and weather, Chris will be providing a range of different picks for cash games as well as upside plays for tournaments. If you have any questions to lineup lock you can reach him a variety of ways. Leave your question/comment below in the comments section, find him in the DFSR Chat room or hit him up on Twitter(@Jager_Bombs9). Chris is also providing his DFS PGA Weekly cheatsheet where he provides stats, course history, current form, fantasy points, and much more. Grab your copy today and edge out the competition.
Sentry Tournament of Champions
Christmas and New Years have come and gone and that means it is time to get back to the DFS PGA grind. The fall season was an exciting stretch of golf that closed with two golfers ending long winless streaks as Matt Kuchar won the Mayakoba Classic and his first tourney since 2014 and Charles Howell III won the RSM Classic which was his first win since 2007. We also saw two first time winners in Kevin Tway(Safeway Open) and Cameron Champ(Sanderson Farms Championship) while Brooks Koepka(CJ Cup) and Bryson DeChambeau(Shriners Open) continued their dominance after seasons with two and three wins respectively.
The 2019 portion of the PGA Tour season kicks off, as always, with somewhat of an All-Star game as each player who hoisted a trophy last season is invited to the Plantation Course in Kapalua for the Sentry Tournament of Champions. There is not much difficulty at this course as demonstrated by the winning scores which average -23 over the last five years. The fairways are huge and the greens are very easy to hit so, for the most part, this turns into a second shot and birdie fest. Because of this, I will be looking heavily at Strokes Gained: Approach and Birdie or Better % for my stats model. The other thing I noticed when breaking down the last few years leaderboards is that the winner has separated himself in Par 4 Scoring in a big way so that will also be near the top of my stats this week.
This event is also a no-cut event with just 36 players so upside is key not only when constructing GPP lineups but cash games as well. Separating yourself in GPP's is a lot harder with a small field but one of the best ways to do this is by leaving some salary on the table. You don't have to go crazy and leave $1,500 out there but even $500 is enough to help ensure you have a more unique lineup. Let's now jump in and take a look at the course, previous winners, top stats, and then dig into the picks.
The Plantation Course - Kapalua, Maui
Par 73 - 7,452 Yards
Greens - Bermuda
**Click the image above to see a hole by hole breakdown from PGATour.com**
Previous Five Winners
- Dustin Johnson(-24)
- Justin Thomas(-22)
- Jordan Spieth(-30)
- Patrick Reed(-21)
Top Stats in the Model
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Par 4 Scoring
- Birdie or Better %
- Par 5 Scoring
Top Tier Targets
Johnson checks off every box and is easily my #1 in my overall model this week. He returns to the Plantation Course with some excellent course history winning the event last year which was his second Tournament of Champions victory and he has finished Top 10 here in six of his seven trips. The key for him last year was the Par 4's where he gained 10.9 strokes on the field while second in that category gained just 4.9 strokes. He is coming off a season where he didn't win a major but did finish with three wins(RBC Canadian Open, St. Jude Classic, Tournament of Champions) and closed strong with a 3rd place finish at the Tour Championship at East Lake. Not only is he dominant when looking at my stats model on my cheatsheet but he is also #2 on my customer model on Fantasy National(Over last 24 Rounds) ranking 4th in SG: APP, 11th in SG: Par 4, 7th in BoB Gained, and 1st in SG: Total at this course. DJ is my core play on both sites in all formats.
Justin Thomas makes an excellent pivot off of Dustin Johnson in the top tier this week and comes at a nice discount on both sites. It has been a roller coaster ride for JT here at the Plantation Course finishing T21(out of 32) in 2016, T22(out of 34) last year but does have a win under his belt here back in 2017 where he cleared the field by three strokes. He won in a similar fashion as DJ did last year, dominating the Par 4's and finished the week gaining a whopping 10.2 strokes over the field, five more than anyone else. He is coming off another successful season missing just one cut(OPEN Championship) and qualified for this event with two wins(Bridgestone Invitational, Honda Classic) with 10 total Top 10 finishes. Looking at the last 24 rounds data(via Fantasy National), Thomas comes into this event ranking 3rd in SG: Tee to Green, 2nd in SG: Approach, and 6th in Birdie or Better. He has an excellent shot at winning this event and/or crushing value with a ton of birdies and will be one of my core plays in GPP formats.
Mid Tier Targets
Sitting right behind DJ in my overall model this week is Bryson DeChanmbeau and if salary was factored in, he would likely be#1 as he comes in the sub $9K range on DraftKings this week. Like DJ, he is coming off a three-win season including the first two playoff events(Northern Trust & Dell Tech Championship) and opened the 2018-19 season with a win at the Shriners Open in November. He didn't fare so well here last year finishing 26th after struggling on the Par 4's(-3.1 strokes gained) but the good news is that he is coming in hot ranking 3rd in the field in Strokes Gained: Par 4 over the last 24 rounds. Bryson also ranks Top 5 on my sheet in Par 4 and 5 scoring, Strokes Gained: Approach, and Birdie or Better %. He is poised for another huge season on the PGA Tour and it starts this week where he is an elite PTS/$ play and I will also be betting him outright at 12-1 odds.
World Golf Ranking (#15)
Vegas Odds (18/1)
Reed never really stands out when looking at stats models and is usually under-owned with his lack of popularity which makes him an excellent GPP target in the mid-range this week. He didn't have the greatest of seasons a year ago with just seven Top 10's but qualified for this event with a huge win at the Masters, his first career major championship and also finished Top 5 at the US Open. He now returns to the Plantation Course where he has experienced a ton of success with a T16 in 2014 followed by a win in 2015, T2 in 2016, and T6 in 2017. With Cameron Champ and Bryson DeChambeau likely taking up most of the ownership in this range, Reed will be one of my top GPP plays in this range and at 18-1 he makes a nice outright bet as well.
World Golf Ranking (#153)
Vegas Odds (100/1)
Piercy finished T24 in his only trip to the Plantation Course back in 2016 but does stand out this week a nice value play to tie your lineups together. He is very cheap on both sites and has started out the 2018-19 season on a roll coming into this event with three straight Top 10 finishes at the Mayakoba Classic, Shriners Open, and CJ Cup. In those events, he averaged over 75% Greens in Regulation and had 18 or more birdies in each shooting rounds in the 60's in nine of the 12 rounds. I fully expect a better showing here in Hawaii this time around and at these prices, he will be core value play for me in DFS and I will also be betting him Top 10 at 4-1 odds.
World Golf Ranking (#35)
Vegas Odds (40/1)
Horschel comes in at #13 in my overall model and has the best odds to win the event of any golfer in the value range(sub $7.5K on DraftKings). He returns to the Plantation Course after finishing 11th here last year and also has a T6 under his belt back in 2014. He has been consistent over the fall portion of the PGA Tour season and looking at the last 24 rounds data(via Fantasy National), he ranks 5th in SG: Tee to Green, 1st in SG: Approach, and despite ranking 22nd in Birdie or Better gained he ranks 8th in opportunities gained so some positive regression could be on the way. He is an excellent value in all formats this week.
Tournament Update Thread
**Weather Update(click on image to link to Winderfinder.com to get an up to date forecast**
Chris Durell has been playing Daily Fantasy Sports for six years and fantasy in general for more than a decade. He is an active player in college football, NFL, MLB, NASCAR, NHL and of course PGA. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife and two daughters. You can follow him on Twitter at @Jager_Bombs9 for advice, strategy, answers to any PGA questions and how he copes with the winters up north.