With the West Coast swing finally concluding with an epic playoff finish at the Riv, it is officially that time of the year where golf is getting serious. The cream of the crop of the European Tour will finally make its way to the states as the Florida swing officially begins. The 72 no cut player field will head down to Florida a week earlier than expected for the WGC-Workday Championship. Usually played in Mexico at the Club de Golf Chapultepec, the PGA Tour will be Debuting the beautiful Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida for the first time ever due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Jack Nicklaus designed course is a par 72 playing nearly 7,500 yards with wide fairways, challenging greens, and no parallel fairways making it hard to judge the wind. We are going to focus solely on a few key statistics to keep an eye on this week, strokes gained approach, strokes gained on Par 5’s, strokes gained putting, and two of our plays are Jack Nicklaus designed course horses.
Last week we won two of our three matchups and hit ourselves a mammoth T10 at +670 on the eventual winner in Max Homa to get us positive for the Genesis. But as always time to get back to the drawing board and we are ready to start the Floridan swing off with a BANG!
2021 Golf Schedule:
- 1) Sentry Tournament of Champions (+3.5U)
- 2) Sony Open (-8U)
- 3) American Express Open (-3.4U)
- 4) Farmers Insurance Open (-8.5U)
- 5) Waste Management Phoenix Open (-9.5U)
- 6) AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (+23U)
- 7) Genesis Invitational (+0.55U)
Tier 1 (A Favorite)
- 1) Justin Thomas +1700 (2.5U to win 42.5U)
It almost seems too good to be true to get Justin Thomas at these odds in a 72-player field tournament. The two-time WGC champion is coming off a surprise cut last week at Riviera and I believe these odds are a product of an overreaction to his performance. The world’s #3 ranked golfer is in unreal form aside from the missed cut last weekend and has made 7 of 8 cuts altogether to start the season with all 7 of those cuts accumulating to nothing worse than a T13 finish. Coming into this week ranked 11th in total shots gained on the tour due to his approach (16th ranked) and around the green (28th ranked) skills, Thomas is the complete package. But the main factors that enticed me into taking Thomas this week were his +50.1 strokes gained on Jack Nicklaus designed courses over the past 24 rounds placing him second in that category, and his #1 overall ranking in Birdie average of 5.17 birdies per round on the Tour. The model fits JT to a tee (no pun intended) and with a projected birdie fest this weekend in a no-cut event, Thomas seems to be the best bang for your buck.
Tier 2 (Mid-Tier Plays)
- 1) Webb Simpson +3000 (1.75U to win 52.5U)
I will always take Webb Simpson at anything +3000 or over. The guy is as rock-solid as they come and is in great form to boot making 8 straight cuts to start the year with six T25’s and three T10’s. Though Simpson will never wow you with any of his skills, he excels in the dirty work. Ranked 25th in around the green strokes gained and 14th in total putting strokes gained on the PGA tour, Simpson seems to fit this style of course well as we are expecting firm but tricky greens this weekend. Last but not least, the main attraction we have to Simpson this week is his 13th ranked Par 5 scoring average and his 25th ranked both birdie and eagle average on the PGA Tour. Like we said, if it is indeed a birdie fest this weekend, expect Simpson’s consistency over four days to show.
- 2) Collin Morikawa +4000 (1.25U to win 50U)
It is the same old song and dance for young Morikawa. Coming into this weekend ranked 3rd in approach to green strokes gained and 8th in total ball-striking, he again fits what we are looking for this week. Morikawa is also ranked 10th in GIR %, 19th in Par 5 scoring, and 1st in approach to the green 175-200 yards away. On a decently long course with multiple 450+ yard par 4’s, that is a very important stat and makes me believe matched with his stellar GIR %, Morikawa has a chance to go low any day this weekend as long as he figures out this funky new putting stroke he’s got going on.
Tier 3 (Longshot Value Plays)
- 1) Cameron Smith +5500 (1.5U to win 82.5U)
Cameron Smith is a stud, plain and simple. Though the stats will not back it up, if you have been watching golf recently, you can tell this kid has the “it” factor. His skills will not wow you, but he does everything above average particularly around the greens. Like most foreign golfers, Smith has soft hands which see him rank inside the top 30 in strokes gained around the green. The main stat I was intrigued by with Smith is his #2 overall ranking in Par 5 scoring which I believe will play a big factor this weekend. Some sites have him at +6000 which is insane to me cause even at +5500, I love the value here.
- 2) Harris English +6000 (1.5U to win 90U)
This is the first time I have ever bet on Harris English and that is not to say I dislike him, but this is more of the range I feel comfortable betting him in. After missing back-to-back cuts at Torrey Pines and TPC Scottsdale, English took a few weeks off to regroup and get ready for the Florida stretch. Aside from that, English has five Top 10’s this season and a win at the STOC in Hawaii to see himself rise to 19th in the OWGR rankings and 5th in the Fed Ex Cup rankings. English is the definition of “drive for the show, putt for the dough” as he ranks within the top 25 in both categories (putting and off the tee strokes gained) on the tour. Like we stated earlier if it is a birdie fest this weekend expect English to contend come Sunday with his 8th ranked Birdie average and 8th ranked par 5 scoring average.
- 3) Adam Scott +7000 (1.25U to win 87.5U)
Another play that the stats do not really back up, but I just could not pass up on the value. The 40-year-old Australian is in pretty solid form right now to boot but has nothing really to show for it. Making 7 of 7 cuts is a good sign to start the season but with only two Top 25 finishes he clearly is not playing up to his 14-time winning abilities. Like English, Scott excels in his off-the-tee skills (22nd in driving distance) and top 50 putting strokes gained, specifically on Bermuda Grass greens. Lastly, Scott is that other Jack Nicklaus design course horse we were talking about earlier as over the past 24 rounds, Scott ranks 3rd in strokes gained with an eye-popping +45.0.
PROP BET TIME
Placing Finishes (Top 5)
- 1) Rory McIlroy Top 5 +350 (1U to win 3.5U)
Another guy I think is getting overreaction odds because of the surprise cut last week ending his streak of 25 consecutive cuts made since the 2019 Open Championship. With that being said, Rory seems like a very good bounce back this week with his 2nd ranked strokes gained off the tee. 6 for 7 on cuts made with six T25’s this season, I expect a good weekend for Rory who seems to love playing in Florida throughout his career.
Placing Finishes (Top 10)
- 1) Bryson DeChambeau Top 10 +200 (1.75U to win 3.5U)
Another guy getting overreaction odds cause of the missed cut last week, DeChambeau seems like an ideal bounce-back opportunity this week. DeChambeau is a horse for the course with his 1st ranked strokes gained off the tee, 15th ranked approach to the green strokes gained, and 1st overall in eagle average on the PGA Tour. This bet almost seems like way too much of a lock it is kind of concerning.