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PGA DFS: Cognizant Classic 2024 - Betting Picks + Fantasy Golf Deep Dive

This week we have the Cognizant Classic (formerly known as the Honda Classic), this event is typically a "grind it out" type event for both golf fans but more importantly for golfers. That is due to the difficulty of the course. This event has also typically taken place at a time in the schedule that most of the top level golfers on the tour do not want to play at it, which what we are getting again this week.

A few of the top golfers that we have in the field, Rory, Fitzpatrick, and Cameron Young we have not seen a lot of this season thus I think we have a pretty level playing field in terms of talent, which is something that we see at this tournament.

As a whole this tournament is easy to predict who will do well, but in terms of picking an outright winner or top 5 finishes it can be a little bit random. We should be able to pick who will make the cut somewhat easily, but picking a winner will be difficult. I think looking at the last 3 winners at this tournament is a good example of that.

Chris Kirk, Sepp Straka, and Matt Jones were all good plays, but not great and they were all correctly priced. Now we did hit Matt Jones 3 years ago at 70/1 but also I gave out 9 recommended outright bets that week. Sepp Straka was ranked as a Low Exposure play when he won, and Chris Kirk was a Mid Exposure play when he won. I feel like this properly paints the picture of the week that we have.


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Below you will see my breakdown this slate, calling out what data points we will be looking at to determine which golfers are the best plays this week and it will show why. The NineToFive Data is all curated data to specifically tell us and show us why a golfer is a good or bad play this week. I will be going through and putting my analysis to how the NineToFive Data views those plays and whether or not I agree with those plays. If you would like access to this great data, or the plethora of data that NineToFive offers click the join now button below and signup for just $10 a month.


Key Stats:

*Based off of which key stats led to golfers winning but also making the cut in previous years at the course tournament. When no course history is available I will difficult to compare course history. I look for which one or two Strokes Gained stats matter the most. Look to see whether this is a wedge fest or a long iron event. (175-125 stats don't really matter in terms of predicting who will play well in a given week) Find out which scoring stat matters the most (BOB, B2B, or BA). Find if this is a course in which accuracy or distance matters the most.

  • Bogey Avoidance (BA)

  • Ball Striking (BS)

  • Total Driving (TD)

  • Wedge (combo stat of SG ARG, Scoring from <100, and Scrambling)

The most important key stat this week is going to be Bogey Avoidance, at least that is what we have seen in the past. This is a stat that basically tells us which golfers are smart golfers that won't put themselves in risky positions.

How do golfers avoid Bogeys? But pointing the ball where they want to thus looking at Total Driving and Ball Striking is huge this week. Lastly due to the course being a little bit shorter, and due to balls tending to land around the green a lot looking at Wedge scoring will be key as well.

Course History:

Going forward Course History for an event with go by H1, H2, H3, and H4. For most weeks that will simply be 2023, 2022, 2021, and 2020 course history. (Last 4 years is course history is when the data is the most significant)

(Honda Classic last 4 years)


Slate confidence rating is a way of looking at the slate in terms of predictability. Red will be a week in which I am reducing my units bet. Typically this will mean entering the same amount of lineups but in a contest where the entry $ amount is less. A Yellow week is a standard week. Green is a week that appears to be very easy to predict, these are weeks in which we typically have a full field event that is loaded. (Majors) thus it should be very easy to make a good profitable lineup. **Note for betting my strategy does not change per week.

This week the lineup process feels somewhat straight forward, with one or two potential pivots you can make. We have another soft pricing this week this week thus we could go fair and balanced or more studs and duds. Either option should work out though.


Looks like steady winds this week, which should not lead to a specific tee time advantage. Weather should not be an issue this week.

Betting Picks

First Round Leader

AM Tee Times

I will be targeting AM Tee Times that rank out top 7 for FRL betting using the NineToFive betting sheet until further notice (basically if weather tells us not to)

3 Ball Bets:

Available by clicking on either the Ownership Leverage, or Props page on NineToFive, then click on the 3 person Icon.

Outright Bets:

Picture 1 = Golfers that are the statical best Outright Bets. This is determined by looking at which data points were the most predictable in regards to players that won the past two seasons. These golfers meet at least 80% or more of the statical thresholds used to determine winners.

I am fine with Chris Kirk as an outright bet, but at the same time golfers rarely repeat, and I just do not see that happening with him this week.

  • Russell Henley

  • Stephan Jaeger

  • Eric Cole

  • Alex Noren

  • Beau Hossler

  • Carson Young

  • Justin Lower

  • Byeong Hun An

Core Plays + Outright Bets

Core Plays are the golfers that I am prioritizing the most


The top 4 plays to me when considering price this week are pretty clear. Eric Cole lost in a playoff at this event last year but still love to see that in his first start here he dominated. I also like the fact that Cole ranks 10th in the field in Bogey Avoidance. He has one recent missed cut but since that missed cut has finished 14th, 49th, and most recently 10th.

Russell Henley does seemed to be slightly too high, but when you think of an ideal course for Henley this is it. It makes sense why he is the second best specialist in the field, and has two top 10 finishes here in 2022, and 2021. The biggest issue with Henley this week is his price. You will see we have Noren, and Hossler as cheap plays that we could play in lineups with Hun An, Jaeger, and Cole instead of paying up for Henley.

Hun An is looking like a clear-cut play this week at his price after finishing 21st, and 4th at this tournament over the past 4 years. He has made 11 straight cuts on tour showing upside during that stretch. He is one of the best stat fits in the field, and a top specialist.

Jaeger is another play that just feels too easy to play at his price he finished 48th at this tournament in his first start here, and 14th at this tournament last year. He has one of the longest made cut streaks on the PGA Tour, which is great but a lot of the time did not show upside during this stretch, that changed recently having two top 3 finishes over his past 3 starts. His game does not have any flaws for this course. He should be a safe play that hopefully provides upside.

High Exposure

Players that I am still going out of my way to roster, but have a slight pause for whether that be course history, recent form, stat fit, safety, upside or price. (*This is based off of the the NineToFive Data Tag, which accurately marks a slight flaw in a great play thus why they would only be high exposure plays)


Pavon was a play that I initially over-looked but that does feel like a mistake because thus far in 2024 he has been on a great run finishing top 10 3three times. He is currently the best stat fit in the field as well. (I phrase it this way because he doesn't have that many starts going into it) He makes a lot of sense in fair and balanced builds.

Beau Hossler has been playing great golf for a long time now, and has great course history here making the cut in 3 straight tries. He has been some of the best form in the field as well. If it he was a little better in Total Driving and Ball Striking he would be coming in checking all the boxes.

Noren is a little bit more proven on harder tracks than Hossler, and his course history proves that with a top 10 finish here 3 years ago. Both Hossler and Noren are great plays and super cheap plays in comparison to how they are projected to play. After that I do think there is a slight dip in golfers we want to be targeting.

Adam Svensson is a golfer that I have ended up on a lot this week and he does seem like a solid play. I am more than happy to play him at this price.

After that Carson Young, Brandon Wu, and Justin Lower are all too cheap compared to how they are projected to play. All three have been playing good golf recently. Young and Lower are in better form than Wu, but Wu is a better stat fit who also has the best finish at this tournament. All three are great plays this week at their prices. All three should be at least $500 more expensive.


Mid Exposure

Players that are still good plays but have more than one flaw to them as a play this week. This could be due to recent form, stat fit, course history, injury uncertainly or just due to the fact that their are better plays around their price tag.


This is what I mean about the field being pretty open this week, I could make a strong argument for all of these golfers as great plays, and I could see all of them putting themselves in contention to win this week. The issue with all of them is I like some other plays around them much more.

Low Exposure

Risk/Reward Plays, Plays to get a made cut, Shoulder Shrug Plays, or Fomo Plays


Picture One) These picks are all a little bit too risky to trust as more than GPPs plays but they are all plays that hold a lot of upside.

Picture Two) These are plays that are obviously all value plays, but they are all plays I could either see have huge upside or make the cut.

Chan Kim, and Andrew Novak have both recently shown big upside. Aaron Baddeley feels almost like a safe play at this price, he has made 3 straight cuts in a row, and feels too cheap. The data really like Dylan Wu this week. Parker Coody has played really well over his last 2 starts, and he had made 3 cuts over his past 4 starts.


Player Pool

Player Pool Breakdown:

Player Pool is rank in order of how I am prioritizing a golfer as a play this week


(Finalized on Tuesday Member Writeup)

Cash Play: Highest Likelihood to make the cut.

GPP Play: Reduced Likelihood to make the cut, but if they do they have a high likelihood to exceed their salary.

Cash: Core + High Exposure

GPP: Thompson, EVR, Billy Ho, Berger, Cam Young


*This is a sample lineup for you to use as a reference tool. This is typically the first look lineup that I get onto for the week. Most of the time my main lineup will be adjusted throughout the week as I do a deeper dive. (Finalized on Tuesday Member Writeup

This is a lineup that I keep coming back to as it feels like it has both safety and upside.

Ownership Leverage

Taking a look at the players that are under-owned, and too high owned. Talking about why. \

*Tool Update Alert* New to 925s Ownership Leverage Tool - Return Value for Finishing Position: Measuring where a golfer needs to finish to return value based on their current ownership projection at their price point.

As of posting this we do not have enough ownership to pull in prop projections.


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