Although we have our mainstream “major” sports around the corner, I’ve spent the past few months in the golf space. An avid golfer, and a follower of the sport for years — wagering on this beautiful game was always an afterthought. After intaking some golf content earlier this summer, making a few friends on #GamblingTwitter, I came out guns blazing picking two outright winners in consecutive tournaments. While hitting outrights each week is not sustainable (nor very likely) I have found handicapping and projecting golf to be an exciting new project of mine.
Last week was “rough” (it’s a golf joke). The majority of the golfers struggled mightily with Muirfield Village. The question “How different can a course be from week-to-week?” was asked hundreds of times, and boy… Did Jack Nicklaus show us. Without picking an outright winner, most of us (myself included) lost on the week. I lost multiple matchups in the final four holes of any given round, and saw three T20 bets fall I out of contention by posting scores over +5 on Sunday. As we say in New England … “We’re onto
The GVD Process:
Last week I detailed my process on how I wager/stake golf in great detail in my first golf article.
If you want a refresher, click here.
I also was fortunate enough to join in on two podcasts last week to talk golf, golf betting and the 3M Open.
The first, was hosted by Marc Belleville & Steven Lewis of Unwrapped Sports. The link to that podcast can be found here.
The second podcast I joined was our very own, Moose Dawgs at Home. The link to that podcast can be found here.
TPC Twin Cities is an Arnold Palmer designed course. Ever heard of him? Well, in addition to one of the most storied golf careers in the history of the sport — Arnie established himself as one of the premier Golf Course Designers, curating some of the world’s most renowned tracks.
TPC Twin Cities is a Par 71 course, spanning just shy of 7400 yards from the tips. The fairways, like many TPC courses, are lined with water as well as fairway bunkers. Golfers who tend to slice or hook off the tee — may find themselves swimming to retrieve their balls on 13 of the 18 holes. Players will need the ability to get out of sand traps if they land there, but won’t need Phil Mickelson-esque wedge shots to compete.
The bent grass greens are fast, and likely more firm than we saw at last year’s 3M Open, but this course averages less 3-putts than the standard PGA course — meaning that any tour-average (or better) putter has the ability to win this tournament. The greens are also easy to hit. Last year’s event featured players hitting the green in regulation at almost a 75 percent clip, which is up considerably versus the average tour event.
Because of the design of this course, we often view this course as one friendliest to those with straight tee shots, world class iron play, an ability to get out of bunkers when necessary and to not lose a significant amount of strokes putting. Although this course favors that particular profile of golfer, those with long tee shots and the ability to keep their shots on target, but less emphasis on iron play are not to be overlooked. Golfers with weak iron play, or errant tee shots should be avoided completely. The winner of this tournament will post a better score than Rahm did last week, and we should see a deeper cut-line, so be on the lookout for any golfers who can go low.
As a final note on the course design, with some easy Par 5s, you want a golfer who avoids bogeys while gaining birdie or better opportunities. The Par 4s tend to be more difficult, so those ball strikers with accurate irons will be most likely to succeed.
Enough of the fancy golf talk, we all are here for the picks, right? I’ll break down a selection of offerings from most portions of my card (excluding Round 1 Matchups). My full card will be found at the base of this article and if you have questions — shoot me a message on twitter.
Odds are as of when I placed the bets. Golf is a fickle market, do your homework in shopping around for the best possible odds.
NOTE: As of writing this, my card is not finalized, check my twitter on Wednesday evening for the full card.
Paul Casey (+2500): The Englishman, Paul Casey is one of the premier ball strikers on tour. In a depleted field, he is a popular pick, but it makes sense. He has only missed one cut in 2020, and has gained strokes on approach in nine of his last 10 tournaments. Casey should be in the hunt come Sunday, and I’ll take him at 25-1 pre-tournament versus closer to even money on Sunday.
Harris English (+3500): If you’re new to following me, you don’t know about my love affair with this golfer I have dubbed “Harry”. Mr. English is an elite ball striker, both with his irons and off the tee. While he doesn’t always score the lowest, his knack for avoiding bogeys is something that is paramount for a course like this.
Chesson Hadley (+12500): Here is an absolute bomb. (Bomb (adj.) A golfer at 100-1 odds in the outright market). In addition to his Birdhouse building ability, Hadley happens to rank in the top 10 in my pre-tournament numbers. Courtesy of superb ball striking (#7 in my rankings), ability to gain birdies (#1), and strong tee-to-green performance (#18) Chesson just might surprise some folks this week.
Chesson Hadley (Top 20 +500): For all the reasons above, Hadley is phenomenal value at top 20. While winning outright would certainly be a bomb, of epic proportions… Him placing top 20 would not be the wildest thing to occur.
Chase Seiffart (Top 20 +450): Seiffart has gained strokes on the approach in every tournament dating back to last October. He was thrust into the spotlight at the Workday Charity open where he placed fourth. With weather conditions over the weekend in Minnesota likely bringing wind into the picture, Seiffart is a good choice to back as he has done well previously in windy conditions.
Full Tournament Matchups
Emiliano Grillo -1.5 o Tom Lewis (+115): This matchup can be explained very quickly. It. Makes. No. Sense. Grillo ranks as the 37th golfer in my recent-form based model, while Tom Lewis ranks 137th. This is the largest variance I’ve seen in a posted matchup. While both could miss the cut, I trust Grillo to perform much better than Lewis.
Scott Stallings -1.5 o Alex Noren (+110): Alex Noren is absolutely a respectable golfer, however I just simply don’t feel his profile is a good match for this score. Typically Noren does best on courses where tee shots and iron play are not the focus and short game comes at a premium. In a course like this, Stallings as a great ball striker who plays very well on long par 4s (#8 in Strokes Gained: Approach) is the better play here. I will happily take this at plus-money and hope to see Stallings finishing near top quarter of the leaderboard.
Tony Finau -1.5 o Brooks Koepka (+115): Both these guys are likely priced entirely too high in the outright market, however in a matchup I am siding with Tony Finau and fading Brooks for the first time in my betting career. While Brooks Koepka is my favorite golfer (whose name isn’t Tiger Woods), the knee and the recent form troubles me. Brooks hasn’t always been known for having a ton of interest in competing in some of these lower-quality field tournaments. Finau, on the other hand will likely be eager to shake off his struggle-fest at the Memorial Tournament, where his Sunday performance saw him drop completely out of contention. Finau will be one of the longer drivers in the field (as well as Dustin Johnson) so it will be fun to see how he plays this course.
Richy Werenski -1.5 o Wyndham Clark (+100): Similar to my analysis of Grillo vs. Lewis, this is heavily lopsided by my numbers. Werenski ranks inside the top-25, while Wyndham Clark sits at a lowly 84 ranking. Clark is an awful iron player and struggles off the tee, a recipe for disaster at this course that will likely cause him to miss the cut. Another note, Wyndham Hotels are very ‘bleh’ in case you needed another reason to fade Clark.