We may only be 36 holes into the fall part of the year, but the big hitters playing this week are in mid-season form.
All four pre-tournament favorites are in the top six of the leaderboard, including our pick of Sahith Theegala (19/1), who shares the co-leadership with SH Kim at 12-under par.
Most of that was marginally to be expected, as the bottom of the board was inferior in anticipated quality and experience, although that’s not always the case when the boards are heavier. Still, these tournaments with more volatility and weaker fields are typically my preferred route to gain additional exposure to all areas of the market.
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We found ourselves crossing the finish line early with Nate Lashley (-120) over MJ Daffue after the South African failed to make the cut.
It’s always good to get off to a fast start, but it will be more of a battle with JJ Spaun (-120) over Lucas Herbert. I expect the negative trajectory we saw from Herbert on Friday to continue into the weekend, but let’s talk about the stats the field has put up so far and look for some weak spots in the market.
We’re still waiting for most of the books to post matchups, but that doesn’t mean we can’t determine who the potentially overrated and underrated products will be.
If you haven’t already, you can find me on Twitter (@TeeOffSports). There, I provide a link to my pre-tournament model, a powerful, interactive data spreadsheet that allows users to input data to create custom golf rankings. That sheet is published every Monday, so be sure to check it out and build your own numbers from my database of information.
Davis Thompson -110 over Lucas Herbert (FanDuel)
The bookmakers are in football mode. I get it, but I don’t love the lack of options we have available.
I sometimes tend to be aggressive towards players who didn’t rank well in my model for an entire event, even if they performed in qualifying. I’m confident in my numbers and it takes a quality performance to turn things around numerically once the tournament starts. Players have the ability to change the narrative with high-level performances, but Herbert’s six-under par doesn’t tell the story of his highly questionable irons.
Nothing he’s done so far has been surprising. The Australian ranks first in putting and has the longest drive of the tournament at 369 yards. I knew those two factors were his ace in the hole getting in and out of danger and I highlighted those aspects when discussing a matchup play between Spaun and Herbert. However, the iron play that placed him last of all cutting options (-4.42 shots) was almost two strokes worse than the next player on the board (Ben Crane, -2.57).
If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to keep fading someone you’ve already bet on, I understand. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that Herbert can’t put together another strong round to climb back up the leaderboard, but head-to-head betting is all about the outcome of the field.
Meanwhile, Davis Thompson is showing value in every facet of the game except putting. His shaky putter has a chance to fly out of the water on Saturday if Herbert catches fire and Thompson goes cold, but the fact that Herbert needs such a specific result to be successful makes me willing to fade him again.
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