Sony Open Bets, DK Own, Wild Card Notes
+ Golf & NFL Props
SONY OPEN PICKS
Thanks everyone for filling the One and Done this year. Hopefully we can build on. the 500K that was guaranteed for next year.
Made a last second add of Billy Ho to the card. Those odds just seem too deep for this course and field. Hopefully he’s not trash like a week ago. Since I won’t be able to get my First Round Leader fix for a couple weeks after this, with multiple courses coming into play three of the next four week, I went a little overboard. Whatever.
I may be overthinking this, but there could be tremendous value with some of the first round props at Prize Picks. One of their categories is “Fairways Hit” for the single round and a lot appear, to me at least, to be pretty high totals for the circumstances.
Consider that field driving accuracy is around 53%, and a lot of these over/unders are 7.5 or 8 (out of 14 fairways), if a few of these options play to their career averages at Waialae, it screams under city. Problem is, you need at least one over in the mix to make it count, so I just went with Jason Kokrak over 4.0 birdies or better in Round 1.
Leishman, Smith, Si Woo, Palmer have all lost to the field in accuracy at Waialae in their careers, and each of their over/unders is set at above 50%. Of course in one isolated round that can flip, but I’ll go with the averages and try to hit nice Day 1 score.
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Seamus Power 50/1
Power picked up a victory at the Barbasol alternate event in 2021 and just kept his momentum through the swing season, notching top-25 finishes in 11 of his past 15 starts. He was fine (T15; -20) at Kapalua, and while he’s never experienced much success at Waialae in the past, he seems to have jumped a level in talent at this point. He picked up a T11 at Mayakoba in November and should continue to cruise at a course that fits his skill set.
Jason Kokrak 55/1
Like Ancer, nothing from a Kapalua points to a good week from Kokrak. No big deal. When Na and Kuch won two of the last three years, they too were awful at the Tournament of Champions. Kokrak has been the king of the spike putting week the last 18 months, and when that happens he’s been great at closing the door, notching three wins over that span.
Joel Dahmen 70/1
Another holdover form Kapalua, the shorter course plays much better into Dahmen’s skills. Per Fantasy National, Dahmen ranks Top 20 in this field in approach, opportunities gained, Par 4s Gained, and Good Drives gained over the past 50 rounds, and has improved on his finishing placement in each of his three Sony starts.
Why Fade — Hideki Matsuyama
You can most definitely make the case the Master champ is the best player in the field. It really would’t be that tough of a case to build actually. Issue is, looking at his wins, this isn’t the type of tournament where Deki excels. Unless we get unexpected weather like in 2020, the winning score is going to be well into -20s. Hideki just doesn’t make enough putts to get there, especially on Bermudagrass. Looking back at his victories, the mid-teens, mainly on Bent is the Hideki sweet spot. One hot putting week can chance that, obviously, but we’ve seen no reason to believe this will be that week.
Wild Card NFL Slate
Prize Picks doens’t have its entire slate of Props released at the moment, but there’s still enough to attack. Immediately, Elijah Mitchell’s over against Dallas seemed like a no brainer simply based on his volume. He’s averaging 23.6 carries over his last five starts, meaning, if he just goes to his average usage he only needs to generate 3.4 ypc to hit the over. Granted, SF won four of those five games, and were leading in the loss to Seattle most of the way, fostering a run-heavy game plan. Yet, unless you think Dallas smokes the 49ers (which would be odd considering it’s the tightest spread of all six Wild Card games), Mitchell, barring injury, should get 20+ carries.
Since I’m wrong about these things so often, I decided to run a simulation of the game 10,000 times at Run The Sims to see what results I would get and I was happy.
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With Jacobs, it’s all about game flow. I know LV is going to be a popular underdog pick this week, but if the Bengals can get out ahead by anything early it’s going to become check down city from Carr to Jacobs. Since the beginning of November, Jacobs is averaging 3.75 targets in the Raiders four wins and 6.2 targets in the Raiders five losses. Cincy’s implied probably of a win is around 68% based on the money line, so the over of 17.5 receiving yards should very much be in play.
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Wild Card Notes
The Raiders created pressure when not blitzing at a 27.7% rate (a top-10 rate) this regular season and were even better in the finale against the FeinBolts (29%). Who do you think leads the Bengals in catches when the line allows pressure? That’s right, CJ Uzomah. He’s caught 72.2% of such targets while all other Bengals catch 54.8%. He’s $1,000 cheaper than any other starting TE on the Saturday slate and does allow for some roster mobility.
NFL Betting Intel
Raiders at Bengals: Overs are 6-2-1 in Bengal home games this season (2-6 when Cincy goes on the road).
Patriots at Bills: The Bills are 4-1 ATS this season when the over/under fails to cross 45 points.
Eagles at Buccaneers: During the Brady era, the Bucs are 7-2 ATS in the winter (December or later) when the over/under exceeds 47 points.
49ers at Cowboys: The Cowboys are 7-4 ATS this season when the total is 50+ while the 49ers are 1-2.
Steelers at Chiefs: Mahomes is 2-5 ATS in his past 7 starts as a double digit favorite. In all seven of those games, the spread was “off” by at least 7 points.
Cardinals at Rams: The Rams have covered 9 of their last 10 against the Cardinals, with each of their past 3 covers against the divisional rival coming by more than a touchdown.
GALAXY BRAIN: Jason Kokrak
The first real event of the season always come with excitement and cashing a good sized ticket would help extend that through these winter months. Each week, I’ll be using Fantasy National to run an eliminator or sorts: basically, it’s me using data to pair down a massive field down to a single player. Obviously, as I narrow the field, I like the players more. In this event, betting any of the guys that made my Final Five is good by me. And it’s not an all encompassing list, but if you like my logic … this is your short list.
Cam Smith in 2020 was a bit of an outlier at this event. We caught some crazy week pre-cut and that messed up the numbers a bit. So let’s look past that. The other three times this course has been played since 2018, the winner has been an elite SG:APP player that did not need form entering the event (they just needed to be an elite approach player over the previous season as a whole). So I started my list (“Round 1”) with the top-15 players in this field in SG:APP. Simple.
Now using that set of 15 as my player pool, I narrowed my view to those that thrive in birdiefests, something I very much expect to be the case this week (“Round 2”). Only five of our 15 players graded as strong Birdie Or Better players over their past 50 rounds. The five that I advanced in this exercise were all top-10 in BoB among those in this field last season … the 10 eliminated players all ranked outside the top-25.
Reminder, we are excluding the Cam Smith win from the “building a winner” profile. The past three non-Smith winners combined to gain an average of 3 strokes in the Sony Open on putts from 5-20 feet. In a birdie fest where driving accuracy isn’t critical, there are going to be a lot of golfers in scoring spots this weekend … but who is going to cash them in (“Round 3”)? Two of our remaining five have been top-40 in each of the individual distance markers (5-10 feet, 10-15 and 15-20) over their past 50 rounds. The three eliminated players ranked outside the top-40 in at least two of these distances.
To crown a champion, I took at look at Par 3 scoring, as there are four on this course. The longer ones drew my eye for this course and the winner came into focus (strokes gained on Par 3’s by key distance over their past 50 rounds):
Historic First Round Leaders
Peter Malnati 62 (-8)
Jason Kokrak 62 (-8)
Joaquin Niemann 62 (-8)
Collin Morikawa 65 (-5)
Matt Jones 67 (-3)
Ryan Palmer 67 (-3)
Ted Potter, Jr. 67 (-3)
Sam Ryder 67 (-3)
Adam Svensson 61 (-9)
Andrew Putnam 62 (-8)
Matt Kuchar 63 (-7)
Chris Kirk 63 (-7)
Zach Johnson 63 (-7)
Vaughn Taylor 64 (-6)
Kyle Stanley 64 (-6)
Talor Gooch 64 (-6)
Brian Harman 64 (-6)
Looking to maximize birdie chances, here are the field leaders in Opportunities Gained/Per Round over a player’s past 12 rounds only at Waialae.
Sony DraftKings Ownership Guesses
Since lock isn’t until 1:10pm ET on Thursday, so there’s time for ownership to crystallize even more around the popular picks
Rick and I talked through the “Play the Best Plays Lineup” and the Webb/Conners start is going incredibly popular as it’s still pretty simple fill out a roster. Here’s what we came up with…