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PGA DFS: Valero Texas Open - Betting Picks + Fantasy Golf Deep Dive (Core Plays, Bets, Lineup Process, Ownership Leverage, and Fades)

The Valero Texas Open is looking like one of the better fantasy golf weeks we have gotten thus far in 2024, we have a lot of golfers that are being both over and under valued compared to how they are projected to play.


The biggest concern that I have for this week is the high end golfers showing up, as this will be the week before a major. Basically if they do not show up with their A game enough to compete for a win, will they really grind out a top 20 finish or even a made cut. Still the appeal that we have this week is in the discounted plays 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.


  • Birdie to Bogey Ratio (B2B) - KS1

  • Ball Striking (BS) KS2

  • Good Drive % (GD%) KS3

  • Par 5 Scoring (Par) KS4

  • 200 + scoring KS5


This tournament is all about playing good, safe, controlled golf. See Matt Kuchar's course history if you need to know why. But yes this is a tournament where limiting one's mistakes and capitalizing on Par 5s his huge.


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)


Years: 2023, 2022, 2021, and 2019


SLATE CONFIDENCE RATING: Yellow/Green

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.


I am on the fence of going after it this week or not, and I could be getting that feeling simply because in comparison to the last 3 weeks this one is much more appealing on paper, and because the last 3 weeks were not that appealing I did not play as much. But I really like the soft pricing that we are getting this week. A hesitation that I have this week is that the plays I want to be on are extremely concentrated, and we really do not have good pivots, so if one or two of the easy plays we have on paper do not come through it could be a rough week.


Weather:

Weather has been all over the place thus far in terms of when it will be windy, but it seems safe to say that either Friday or Saturday could experience some wind.


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.

This week I really do like these first two bets as outright bets. My only pause is that I actually like Hideki much better as a bet next week, and I could argue that he is more motivated to play well next week as compared to this week, but there is no denying how good Hideki looks on paper.


I am a little bit shocked at how much the data likes Aaron Rai this week, but at the same time his worst data point coming in is his missed cut two events ago where he just had one bad round.


My Outright Bets:

  • Aaron Rai

  • Corey Conners

  • Lucas Glover

  • Alex Noren

  • Hun An

  • Harris English

  • Martin Laird


Core Plays + Outright Bets

Core Plays are the golfers that I am prioritizing the most

Takeaways:

The first three golfers I have listed as Core Plays are pretty straight forward Hideki, Conners, and Noren are coming in checking all the boxes minus a WD from Hideki. I feel like those three plays are just extremely easy to play.


Both Lucas Glover and Martin Laird are Core Plays in the sense that I think they are both too cheap. For the most part Glover has been playing great golf, especially for this price tag the fact that his one missed cut recently was on the number as well makes me feel good about him as a play. The biggest appeal for Glover is his course history as he has made 4 straight cuts here with 3/4 of those finishes being top 20 finishes.


Martin Laird is basically a slightly worse version of Glover as a play except he has made 5 straight cuts in a row on tour with mutliple top 10 finishes, and he also has one missed cut at this event. The missed cut with last year however which is slightly concerning, he made 3 cuts prior to that finished top 40 in those made cuts here. I also think he make for a great top 40 bet.


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)

Takeaways:

The high exposure plays all pose great upside, and I would argue really any of these golfers I could see winning this week.


Aberg really does not have a knock minus the missed cut at this tournament when he was still in college, but that is also what makes him appealing as a play this week as well. He has made a start at this course before, whereas a lot of his great finishes recently have been at courses he has never made a start at. He did go to school at Texas Tech which is around 6 hours away from where this tournament is being played so I do not believe he has played this course too much in the past. Still great stat fit, and he is in the best form in the field.


This feels like a get right spot for Jordan, and we know that this is a course that Jordan loves, and even though he has been terrible I still think his upside is him winning thus I do want to take a risk on him as play. He is a GPP only play though.


Hun An would look much more appealing as a play if not for his missed cut in his last event. Prior to that he had been playing great golf, and he has played great golf at this tournament making 2 out of 3 cuts here, with those two made cuts being top 10 finishes. The upside is there for him to win this week.


You guys all know I have a soft spot for Harris English, but that should be for good reason this week. He ranks out top 10 or better in three of the key metrics this week, with his only knock being a missed cut at this event 5 years ago. Most weeks we wouldn't even be paying attention to that. I really like English this week.


Aaron Rai is not a perfect play this week, but that is why he is priced this cheap, and with this cheap price tag he becomes so much more appealing. He has made 2 cuts here finishing top 30 in both. His form has been pretty solid minus one missed cut two starts ago. He should be a great play at a great price tag.


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.

Takeaways:

I think Russell Henley and Matt Fitzpatrick are two of the better risk/reward plays we have. Fitzpatrick might have found something in his game which could be related to a change in his driver that he made, which I could buy into. Besides his form he does look like a great play.


Henley is always a bit hit or miss, but we know he has top 10 upside when he is one.


CBez I like a decent amount this week, if he were a better stat fit I would be on him much more than I am. He ranks top 20 or better in the other key metrics that we look at, including recent form where he ranks out 7th in the field. He made a start at this tournament finishing 28th.


McCarthy and Putnam are safer options for their prices. Both should at the very least give you a made cut sweat.


Low Exposure

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

Takeaways:

These are all golfers that I really would not be surprised to see in contention on Sunday, at the same time they have been a little bit to hit or miss for me to see them winning. Now Billy Horchel is appealing with his recent finishes, but not as appealing as English, or Henley.


Beau Hossler has played great at this event, and the data really likes him, I could potentially be too low on him.


Other Picks I like: KH Lee, Kuchar, Greyserman, Novak, Stanger, Stevens, Ben Martin, Lanto Griffin.

 

Player Pool

Player Pool Breakdown:

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

CASH AND GPP PLAYS:

(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 + Putnam, McCarthy, C Bez

GPP: Jordan, Fitz, Hun An, Aberg, Henley, Hossler, Mitchell


SAMPLE LINEUP:

*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

The reason why I think this week is more Yellow(ish) is because closing out builds is still a bit of a question mark. I think Bezuidenhout makes the most sense here in cash but you also have Aaron Rai there that looks like a great play, McCarthy seems safe, Hossler, EVR and Mitchell are great GPP plays as well. So there are a lot of different ways I could see myself going here.


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.


Most weeks I do not put a ton into ownership, but this week I think I will be specifically for Joran and Billy Horschel as both plays I feel like are more risky than their ownership % are suggesting. I would rather get to a lower owned Hun An and Fitzpatrick over Jordan. Billy Horchel being higher owned than Russell Henley and Aaron Rai is strange, and I think those are both players to get overweight on the field.

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