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PGA All-Star - Lesson 02 - Statistical Tools to Help Build Lineups

As a fantasy player, the amount of information and statistics available can often be overwhelming.  Choosing what stats to ignore and what information to use in the creation of your lineup can be a difficult process.  One piece of information I recommend always taking into account…

As a fantasy player, the amount of information and statistics available can often be overwhelming. Choosing what stats to ignore and what information to use in the creation of your lineup can be a difficult process. One piece of information I recommend always taking into account when setting your PGA lineups is the actual betting odds for a given tournament. These stats are easy to use and can give you an accurate forecast of which golfers may be in for a good week, and more importantly, which one’s might be underpriced for fantasy purposes.

What to Look For

There are a ton of different betting odds available for each and every tournament that is played on the PGA tour. However, for our purposes I would suggest focusing on the “to win” odds and the “top 10” or “top 20” odds.

For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app, as news, injury reports and betting lines can change throughout the day. Value also unexpectedly can open up due to late lineup changes and late injury news, making it important to stay up to the minute with the DK Live app or DK Live desktop until lineups lock.

How to Use

One of the great things about using betting odds to help you make your team is that it’s oftentimes very simple. Looking at a player’s odds “to win” or finish in the top 10 or 20 of the tournament, and comparing them to the odds of another player with a similar price on DraftKings, will allow you to see exactly what the bookies and bettors think of a group of players’ chances for that particular week. Since sportsbooks have major incentive to ensure their forecast about the player is right (they pay out more if they’re wrong), betting odds are often a very reliable source of information to use to help create your lineup.

Using “To Win” Odds

Here’s an example of how to use the “to win” betting odds to your advantage. During the lead-up to the Northern Trust Open, J.B. Holmes began the week priced at various odds that ranged between 50-1 and 40-1 to win the tournament. At the same time, Holmes’ price on DraftKings was set at the beginning of the week at $8,800. However, after a day of betting, Holmes’ betting price shrank drastically to between 35-1 and 33-1. Clearly, his recent form coupled with his history at the tournament meant bettors felt he was being underpriced compared to the rest of the field. However, while Holmes’ betting price shrank, his price on DraftKings remained the same.

By looking back, we can see Holmes’s betting odds at the starts of the tournament were actually similar or even lower than some of the other players who were priced higher than him on DraftKings. At $8,900, Webb Simpson was being given 40-1 odds to win the tournament, while Charl Schwartzel, at $9,300 on DraftKings, was now being given similar priced odds to Holmes. Going up in price even further, we could see that some sportsbooks were giving both Bill Haas ($9,500) and Hideki Matsuyama ($10,200) similar or only slightly better odds to win than Holmes.

What this all means for fantasy purposes is the betting odds in this case were doing our work for us. Bettors had recognized Holmes’ great history at Riviera and recent stretch of good form and agreed that he was set too highly at 50-1. For fantasy players we could have used this line movement to recognize Holmes’ value on DraftKings without doing any other actual research except looking at his odds throughout the week. Seeing a player like Holmes with similar odds to win as his higher-priced peers on DraftKings was a great indication that he was a great value play for this particular week of golf.

— J.B Holmes went on to finish T22 in the Northern Trust Open, ahead of higher priced players Webb Simpson, Charl Schwartzel, Bill Haas and Harris English.

Using Other Odds

A similar strategy to the one applied above can also be used with top 10 and top 20 odds.

Looking at top 10 or top 20 odds can often be useful for finding hidden value plays in the lower price ranges. While a lower-priced fantasy player may not have great “to win” odds in a given week, certain golfers may have slightly higher odds to finish in the top 10 or top 20 in a tournament than some of his similarly priced peers on DraftKings. This sort of discrepancy by is often recognizing the fact certain factors may be working to a golfer’s advantage in a particular week to increase his shot at a high overall finish (and making him a potentially great fantasy play).

This sort of betting angle can often be seen during Master’s week. Since Augusta National is known for being excruciatingly tricky to navigate for first-time players, experience playing at the course is often valued quite highly. Because of this we often see older players or past champions play well there even though, for all intents and purposes, they are past their prime as pro golfers. Oftentimes, these players will still have very long odds to actually win the tournament, but their odds to finish in the top 10 or 20 will be decreased because of their past experience. The odds tell us these golfers might be unlikely to win the tournament but they stand a better chance than some of the other lower-priced fantasy players on DraftKings of making the cut or finishing in the top 10-30 percent of a tournament. Players such as Bernard Langer and Fred Couples — both well known for their ability to score well at Augusta but long past their prime in terms of challenging for the outright victory — are great examples of players who may fit this sort of description when the Master’s betting odds are released.

Comparing a player’s top 10 or top 20 betting value with other player’s in his price range on DraftKings is a quick and easy way of learning who some decent value plays are in the mid-to-lower-tiered salary range. This, in turn, should allow you a better chance of finding those elusive salary-saving players who can make the cut and score you some extra fantasy points on the weekend.


Hopefully this article was able to aptly describe how simply looking at the betting numbers each week and applying them to the salaries on DraftKings can give you some insight into the potential outcome for certain players. Odds are not the only stat you can or should look at, but, as described above, they can hold a lot of information inside a simple number. Try to use that information to your advantage whenever possible.

Continue Reading PGA Training Camp

PGA All-Star – Lesson 01 – Getting Past the Cut Line
PGA All-Star – Lesson 02 – Odds to Win, Place and More
NEXT LESSON – PGA All-Star – Lesson 03 – Distributing PGA Salaries
PGA All-Star – Lesson 04 – Using Recency to Draft
Return to PGA Rookie Lessons
Advance to PGA Hall of Fame Lessons

Geoff Ulrich is one of the lead PGA contributors to the DraftKings Playbook. You may see him playing at DraftKings with the username ‘wavegoodbye’ where he’s made a name for himself specifically playing daily fantasy golf, hockey and football. Follow him on twitter @thefantasygrind