GOLF Free Picks for
Posted Wednesday, June 21 at 11:45 AM EST.
Moved in the schedule last year to accommodate the Olympic Games, the Travelers is usually played a week after the U.S. Open and has that lull feeling to it. An angle of attack this week may be to bet on those players not in the U.S. Open field but that may be too general. The players that played last week face a 1,000 mile trip from Wisconsin to Connecticut – or four hours on a plane – and after playing in a tough major, that’s a tough assignment while trying to get acclimatized to the East Coast. For some, it's not so difficult.
Once again, the Travelers Championship will be hosted by TPC River Highlands, which happens to be one of the shortest tracks on the PGA TOUR at just 6,841 yards. It’s very much a different test to that experienced at Erin Hills – good news for those with aching shoulders and legs. TPC River Highlands is originally a Robert J. Ross design dating back to 1928, but is barely recognizable from then given that it has enjoyed not one but two overhauls since then courtesy of Pete Dye (1982) and Bobby Weed (1989).
TPC River Highlands is fairly nondescript in its looks and character. It features a number of different hazards, but greens are average sized and fairly slow, so really there aren’t that many demons lurking. Strategic shot placement and course management is the order of the day here. For spectators and anybody watching at home, the so-called ‘Golden Triangle’ of holes from 15-17 can serve up plenty of drama. They meander around a large lake, so water is very much in play with a risk-reward driveable Par 4, a Par 3 pitching over the water, and approaches played to the left and then back over the drink on the 17th.
Short, accurate hitters are what we’re looking for here. It’s noticeable that the bombers tried to rein in their natural instincts off the tee last year and were found wanting, while those that still gave it a bump didn’t quite get into the mix. None of the top five in the Driving Distance stat – Gary Woodland, Bubba Watson, Tony Finau, Bryson DeChambeau, and Jason Kokrak – finished any higher than 25th a year ago. Another angle to pursue is to dig out the SG (Shots Gained) stats from last year, find those that performed well from tee to green but perhaps didn’t putt so well. As we know, form with the short stick can come and go in a heartbeat.
There are plenty of big names in the field with Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Brandt Snedeker and Justin Thomas among others all making the trip but once again, we’re not interested in anyone under 30-1 because it’s proven that there is no value whatsoever in the favorites. Thus, we’ll look for some hidden value and hopefully one or more of the following will be in the mix on Sunday
Unless otherwise stated, the following bets to win outright will be placed at Bet365 because of their cash-out option during the event. Unless otherwise stated, the head-to-head match-ups will be bet at Pinnacle
David Lingmerth 66-1
Despite missing the cut at THE PLAYERS, Lingmerth has notched Top 21 finishes in five of his last six events played (including three Top 15s). He’s a solid player on the greens (which we all know will be important this week) with a TOUR rank of 28th in SG: Putting and a field rank this week of 12th. Lingmerth recently shot a round of 65 at Muirfield. We also like that he doesn’t over-exert himself. Lingmerth generally plays two events per month and he usually delivers something of value. In his last six events, he finished T21 (U.S. Open), T15, T12, T72, T18 and T12. His form is good, he’s a TOUR winner and this is a course he’s capable of slaying (Risking 0.2 units to win 13.2 units).
In the head-to-head matchup available, Lingmerth is up against Adam Hadwin but we also like Hadwin so we’re going to add an unrelated play here.
#7021 B. Harman +101 over C. Hoffman
Both Hoffman and Harman played in the U.S. Open last week and there is no question there will be some hangovers this week. Both players had the lead at one point on the weekend but that taxing course at Erin Mills is very likely going to have a bigger negative effect on the 40-year-old Hoffman than it will on the slim, 10-year younger Harman. Although bogeying the final hole to drop to 3rd place is not how you want to finish a major, we don’t think that will phase Harman coming into this week. Although he ultimately couldn’t maintain it, Harman did hold the U.S. Open 54-hole lead. He’s also played well here in the past with a 3rd place finish two years ago and he’s probably one of the most accurate guys in the field; which works well here. Given that putting is such an important stat this week it’s obviously also worth noting that Harman ranks 11th on TOUR in Strokes Gained Putting while Hoffman ranks 11th on TOUR in the most all-you-can eat buffets attended. After last year’s U.S Open, Hoffman took two weeks off. This week, he’s extremely likely to be fatigued and off his game.
#7021 B. Harman +101 over C. Hoffman (risking 1 unit to win 1.01 units).
Kevin Streelman 70-1
Streelman did not have to make the travel arrangements from Erin Hills to TPC River Highlands. After sitting last week out, Streelman has been preparing for what may be another historic run on a course that he has dominated in the past. He’s accurate off the tee (44th in driving accuracy) but occasionally struggles with the flat stick. We’re hoping his recent trend of T18-T3 will transition over to a strong performance this week for the returning 2014 champion. Every so often, the narrative of bringing a course to its knees is tossed around and usually in the context of an implication that there's only one dragonslayer out there. It's obviously true that it takes only one to wear the badge and there's only one winner in any PGA TOUR event, but it would be foolish to ignore Streelman for that role here. Streelman methodically beat down this course in 2014 and it would not surprise us one bit if he did it again in 2017 (risking 0.2 units to win 14 units).
#7035 K. Streelman +116 over J. Lovemark (Risking 1 unit to win 1.16 units).
Adam Hadwin 80-1
Not long ago (Dean & DeLuca), Hadwin had an $8,400 DFS price tag and this week he’s dropped to a $6,800 price tag. Here’s a guy with four Top 10s this season and seven Top 25s with 16 of 18 cuts made so obviously we trust that he’s been grossly undervalued. That’s when we like to step in. Hadwin is a horse and usually makes it to the weekend, which is all we can ask for. Once you make the weekend, anything is possible but we trust Adam can give us much more than just a cut made this week. As far as key stats go, he ranks 8th in the field (14th on TOUR) in scrambling and sits at 28th on TOUR in SG: Total. His putter is usually hot and we’ll certainly take a guy like Hadwin who ranks 36th on TOUR with an average drive of 292 and who has very few flaws in his game. This is a great price on a great pro. (Risking 0.2 units to win 16).
In the head-to-head matchup available, Hadwin is up against Lingmerth so we’re going to add an unrelated play here
#7024 K. Stanley -103 over T. Finau
A modest 3-for-7 record at TPC River Highlands doesn't tell Kyle Stanley's entire story since two of those paydays went for a top 20. The more recent was in 2015 (T20). This season, Stanley has missed only three of 18 cuts and sits 39th in the FedExCup standings with four top 10s. He recorded two in his last four starts, including a season-best T4 at THE PLAYERS. Ranks third in total driving, second in greens hit, third in proximity to the hole, fifth in strokes gained: tee-to-green and 11th in adjusted scoring. Meanwhile, Finau is a bomber that isn’t in great form and that doesn’t do well on short courses.
#7024 K. Stanley -103 over T. Finau (Risking 1.03 units to win 1).
Michael Thompson 250-1
Talk about a ‘Super-Long Shot’ Sleeper and one need not look further than Michael Thompson. Here’s the horse in the race with the broken leg but somehow still has a chance to make people a lot of money, as he could be real close on Sunday so we’ll have the “cash-out option available and for DFS players, he costs $6,500 which frees up tons of roster space for big names up top. But it’s not just Thompson’s price tag that we’re after. He also ranks 2nd on TOUR in SG: Putting and 1st in this week’s field. Given how important putting will be this week, that alone makes him worthy of getting behind. Despite the hot putter, his ‘off-the-tee’ stats are not impressive but we don’t think that should matter on such a forgiving course like TPC River Highlands. He hasn’t made much noise this year but like we said, anything can happen with a hot putter on a course that produced a score of 58. Thompson is just 32 years old. He’s been off since June 8 so he figures to be fresh and well-prepped for this event and it’s not like he’s been silent all year. He shot -12 and finished T13 at the RSM Classic. After a two-month layoff from November to January, he returned and shot -12 again and finished T20 and the Sony Open. In March, Thompson shot -15 at the Puerto Rico Open and finished T10. Finally, he shot -17 at the Zurich Classic and finished T14. Put him in the “bet small, win big" category and don’t leave him out (Risking 0.2 units to win 50 units).
There are no head-to-head matchups available for Thompson so we’ll play an unrelated one here.
We are going to play Brandt Snedeker in two separate head-to-head matchups:
It’s actually a surprise that Snedeker has never won this tournament. Put simply, he ticks all the boxes. To do well here you need to find a lot of fairways - check! You need to be able to hit the ball close with a mid or short-iron in your hands - check! Oh yes, and you need to be able to putt - check! In other words, if you were asked to put together the identikit golfer to win here, the person you would come up with is Brandt Snedeker and we also like his easy going demeanor after last week’s major event.
#7015 B. Snedeker -116 over B. Watson (Risking 1.16 units to win 1).
#7013 B. Snedeker -110 over M. Leishman (Risking 1.10 units to win 1).
For Fantasy Players:
We don’t bet on favorites to win any event because there is no value but DFS is different. We like to pick one “horse”, which is a top tier golfer and this week’s horse is Brandt Snedeker, as previewed above.
Others worth considering (NOT HORSES) that are undervalued.
The career arc is a funny thing regardless of pedigree. Harris was on cruise control during his first five seasons. A continuation of that this season could have been classified as a glass ceiling, but a professional golfer arguably learns more about who he is inside the ropes when facing adversity. In other words, stagnation may not be as valuable as a rut because clarity and refined focus can be a byproduct of failure. As he encroaches on his 28th birthday (July 23), the two-time PGA TOUR winner is out there battling for his card for 2017-18, and he'd be winning in a decision right now. With glimmers in his last three starts, including a T10 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, he's 102nd in the FedExCup standings and poised to pile on at TPC River Highlands where he's 4-for-4 with a T7 in 2014 and a T25 in 2015.
The wiry 23-year-old from Denver is making his PGA TOUR debut and might need to downshift right out of the gate on relatively short TPC River Highlands. He's fresh off Player of the Year honors in the Pac-12 Conference.. He claimed the individual title by three shots. It was the perfect conclusion to a phenomenal and, at times, heartbreaking college career that began at Oklahoma State. While enrolled in Stillwater, he lost his mother to breast cancer. Oregon presented a fresh (re)start for his senior season. He's since secured status on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada and a sponsor exemption into the John Deere Classic, just as he did for the Travelers Championship.
He's missed the cut both times he's played here, but Kraft is having the best season of his young career and is nails from the key approach range for this course. Kraft has been very inconsistent, but his three best finishes this year (2, 3, 18) have come following missed cuts. A better putter than his ranking supposes, Kraft is very high-risk/high-reward
This very talented ball striker can drive fantasy owners crazy by missing cuts when he looks like a great pick, but we need to have a selective memory when it comes to daily fantasy golf. DeLaet has enormous upside with two top 10s in his last five starts this season and two top-5 finishes in his last three starts at TPC Highlands. He's priced too low this week based upon his odds so there is plenty of value in this pick.
TOTAL RISK for this event is 6.09 units and we'll update it when the event is officially over.
4 golfers to win outright @ 0.2 units each = -0.8 units
B. Harman +101 over C. Hoffman (risking 1 unit to win 1.01 units) = -1 unit
K. Stanley -103 over T. Finau (Risking 1.03 units to win 1) = 1.03 units
Streelman +116 over J. Lovemark (Risking 1 unit to win 1.16 units) = +1.16 units
B. Snedeker -116 over B. Watson (Risking 1.16 units to win 1) = +1 unit
B. Snedeker -110 over M. Leishman (Risking 1.10 units to win 1) = + 1 unit
3.16 units (wins) - 2.83 units (losses) = a net profit of 0.33 units for this event.
Open an account today at Pinnacle Sports and take advantage of their -104 style pricing on sides and totals, which is 60% better than other sportsbooks.
Travelers Championship (Risking 6.09 units - To Win: 0.00)
GOLF Historical - Totals
|Last 30 Days||3||2||0.00||+6.84|
|Season to Date||14||11||0.00||+32.40|