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PGA Betting Breakdown: 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic

Ben Rasa

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Our PGA betting card will head to Michigan this week for the Rocket Mortgage Classic set to take place from Detroit Golf Club. The situation with COVID is rapidly developing, but so far the Tour has seemingly been able to handle any positive tests that flare up. That’s something we cannot control and have to approach the field like everyone is playing all four rounds. Last week we hit Dustin Johnson at 28-1, which shows the strength and depth of that field, whereas this week we have a lot fewer top-end players choosing to tee it up.


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Futures/Outright Winners

Hideki Matsuyama 20-1

Unlike some players who are going for their fourth straight week of competition, his will be just the second tournament Matsuyama is playing post-COVID. We saw him at Heritage, but only for 36 holes as he was terrible and wasn’t even close to making the cut. The five shots lost putting didn’t help his cause and that, in addition to the ball striking, will have to improve if Matsuyama wants to get in the mix here.

When one loses that many strokes putting, it is hard to take much from 36 holes of play, which is why I think Matsuyama is coming in under the radar. Maybe he is that rusty and needs work, but if that’s the case, then the outright versus a top-five or 10 won’t make a difference as he isn’t ready to compete. I’ll take a shot with the biggest upside at 20-1 since I know that Matsuyama‘s top form is more than enough to blow a field of this caliber away. He gets four par 5’s to attack with his long irons and with people overreacting to a bad Thursday/Friday at Harbour Town, we get a generous number in the market.

Lucas Glover 66-1

Glover has been striping the ball since his return and that is why there has to be interest at 66-1 in this field. The results so far in the three events have been solid with three top-25 finishes in consecutive weeks. We are going to need more upside from Glover to get in the real mix and that has to come in the form of the putter. That’s not exactly reassuring as he isn’t a great short-game player, but as we often talk about, the putter can get hot randomly with any player. His approach game is already on fire as Glover gained 7.3 strokes last week.

Since this course only has one year of data, we may see too much made of how guys played last year. Glover wasn’t in the field, but he should fit this type of golf course with wide-open fairways and the ability to lean on his irons. The winning score could be insanely low which is why he needs to hole some putts, but at 66-1, I’ll back a guy striking it this well any day of the week.

Top 10

Harold Varner III +550

I just finished talking about how good Lucas Glover is striking it, but don’t tell that to Varner who is equally as dangerous right now. Varner comes into this week off a 32nd finish at Travelers, but he crushed on the approach with 7.2 strokes gained. So far over three weeks, he’s made two cuts and gained another 5.7 at Charles Schwab with the irons. Heritage and this course couldn’t be further from each other, so the missed cut there means absolutely nothing to me. Varner seems to have his tee-to-green game in form and now he gets a weaker overall field to contend with.

In the outright market, we have Varner sitting at 70-1 if you are looking for the big payout with a lot more risk. We have seen Varner contend in a variety of tournies, but so far he has been unable to close the door. That is why I find myself gravitating towards a top-10 finish here for +550, which is still a generous line. Varner has already shown he is more than capable of cracking the top 10 in fields much better than this and he’s another guy that should benefit from the par-72 track they will see here.

Matchup

Patrick Reed (-105) vs. Tyrrell Hatton

With this field being weaker, these two guys are on the short list for the top tier of this tournament. Bryson DeChambeau is the man to beat, but both Reed and Hatton are in the top-five shortest prices in the outright market. None of that matters here as we are talking about a matchup and I’m willing to back one of these guys against the other for basically a coin flip price.

We first start with Reed who closed in style at Travelers with a final-round 64. Reed is a grinder so playing four straight weeks won’t affect him and he has shown time and time again how hot he can get with the putter. He saw this course last year (tied for fifth) and I have no real concerns about where his game is coming off the layoff.


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On the other side of this matchup, Hatton is playing out of his mind even though we haven’t seen much of him. He won at API back in March and then return three months later at RBC Heritage where he finished third. You cannot argue against the results, but that form brings a price hike and seeing him as a slight favorite over Reed is a little surprising. First off, as I mentioned, I don’t take much of anything from RBC Heritage week. Even with that, it is just four rounds of golf that we have seen for Hatton. Add in that he gained 9.3 strokes with the putter and that’s even tougher to expect him to replicate. Finally, that putting performance was on Bermuda which isn’t what they will see here and is the preferred putting surface for Hatton. This is a perfect spot to expect some regression with Hatton and I will be shorting him in matchups against players of Reed’s caliber.

Quick Notes

If you are unfamiliar with PGA betting or are just looking to dive into it for the first time, make sure to try and understand each type of bet and how to properly allocate bankroll for each. When choosing a few outrights at long odds, we are hoping to hit one of those a year as it would pay for the entire season and then some. Think of that as the large-field GPPs where you hope to tread water and then rely on a big hit once every year or so to do major damage.

On the other side, we have head-to-head bets which naturally are more like cash games or head-to-heads in DFS where you aren’t going to win a huge multiplier of your money but also should be hitting them at a reasonable clip. Getting a clearer picture of what each bet is like is important as this is a long season with a lot of opportunities to take some stabs in the PGA betting markets.


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*Ben Rasa (aka Jazzraz)* has been involved with sports and numbers for quite some time dabbling in the poker world , sports wagering and of course finding a home in the DFS world. While he enjoys playing NFL, NCAAF and NBA he has found his best advantage on the links with PGA and the Euro Tour. Jazzraz focuses on GPPs and uses a analytical approach to try and find pricing inefficiencies as well as trying to go against the grain to find those under owned lesser know players that can make the difference in giant field tournaments. You can contact Ben by emailing support@awesemo.com.

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