There are no victory laps in gambling, so we’ll only briefly give the credit due to our panel of experts, four of whom marked Joaquin Niemann as their winner last week. We called it a consensus pick, a bold play in a golf field without big names such as Brooks Koepka or Rory McIlroy in the field. Niemann started the fall season strong for us with his Greenbrier victory, and we're onto finding the next winner.
Our collection of experts: an anonymous PGA Tour caddie offering insight from on-site at Sanderson Farms this week, thanks to our partnership with The Caddie Network; The Action Network's senior writer Jason Sobel, who writes for the sports handicapping site that offers premium analysis for bettors; two of the most respected experts in the daily-fantasy community, Pat Mayo of DraftKings and Brandon Gdula of FanDuel; Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports, which tracks DFS ownership and sentiment; and Columbia University senior lecturer and Ph.D. Lou Riccio, who uses predictive analysis and modeling to forecast winners in golf.
This expert panel correctly predicted last season's first tournament, too, so we're proud of that pattern. Alright, and allow us to brag just a little more: Our experts didn't lose any of their matchup bets last week (there was one push, the rest cashed), and Mayo hit a sizable 16-1 bet on a top-10 (Robby Shelton). OK, bragging is done. We're focused on continuing that momentum with a strong fall, including this week at the Country Club of Jackson.
2019 Sanderson Farms Championship picks to win (Odds from FanDuel Sportsbook)
PGA Tour Caddie Guest Picker of the Week: Sungjae Im (18-1) — Keep riding the Im train. This is a ballstriker’s course, and the rough isn’t that high. That might let in some guys who are crooked off the tee, but the greens are already quick – except the practice green (ha). They’re lightening quick and the forecast is calling for super-hot weather. I like Im. He’s young, the heat isn’t going to bother him and he’s ready to win.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National analyst: Scottie Scheffler (22-1) — Scottie Scheffler comes in HOT with four top 11 finishes, including a win (Korn Ferry Tour) in his past four starts. The rookie played here last year, and if you dig a little deeper into his numbers, you'll see why he might want revenge: He lost 9.4 strokes/putting. That's nearly impossible to do. He was fourth tee to green, and coming off a top 10 in the season opener, where he ranked first tee to green. If the young talent is just neutral on the greens, we might have a winner.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire editor: Scottie Scheffler (22-1) — Scheffler has a dozen top-11 finishes in 2019 and was seventh last week at the Greenbrier. His PGA Tour data is mostly before his true peak, but he grades out top-12 in both strokes gained/off the tee and strokes gained/approach in his PGA Tour sample to build on great greens in regulation numbers during his tenure on the Korn Ferry Tour.
Dr. Lou Riccio, Columbia University: Aaron Wise (42-1) — My model projects Aaron Wise's odds out at 24-1, so you're getting strong value at this number. Talent-wise, the 2018 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year also is underpriced compared to others in this area. Wise is a proven winner on courses where you need to control your ball off the tee and into the greens.
Jason Sobel, Action Network senior writer: Scottie Scheffler (22-1) — As I mentioned in last week’s preview, I always prefer going after younger players during these fall events, for a few reasons: 1) They’re hungrier and (largely) more motivated; 2) Most have played competitive golf more recently than veterans; and 3) They don’t yet grasp that marathon-not-a-sprint mentality of more seasoned peers. That strategy worked last week, and I think it could similarly work for another up-and-comer in Scheffler this week. He led the field in total driving last week and as we’ve seen from the last two Sanderson winners, you either have to drive it long or straight on this course. Both is even better.
Golf Digest editors: Brian Harman (28-1) — When certain players get on hot streaks on the PGA Tour, you want to keep riding them. Brian Harman is one of them. We saw his insane streak of top-10 finishes two seasons ago, which he kept going for about a three-month span. Quietly, Harman is on one of these tears. Harman finished T-3 last week at the Greenbrier, on the heels of a final-round 67. Looking at the stats, Harman is the best in the field over the past 24 rounds in strokes gained/tee-to-green; third in strokes gained/approach and fourth in strokes gained/around the greens. He just needs to get the putter a little hot, and he should contend again.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports golf expert: Brandt Snedeker (18-1) — Snedeker’s unique pop putting stroke works perfectly on Bermuda greens. In fact, he ranks third in the all-time stats in strokes gained on fast Bermuda greens. His form is also really strong, as he had two top-10s in his past three events, so in a field like this, Snedeker at 18-1 actually provides value.
Results from last week: Four of our experts correctly predicted Joaquin Niemann last week at the 2019 Sanderson Farms Championship (Pat Mayo, Brandon Gdula, Dr. Lou Riccio and Lee Alldrick, hitting him at 22-1). One reader shared that he won more than $3,500 on the bet, congrats to @MCondon!
Results from last season: We correctly predicted eight of the season’s 36 events.
Sleepers/Dark Horses That Could Win the 2019 Sanderson Farms Championship (odds from FanDuel Sportsbook)
PGA Tour Caddie: Brice Garnett (90-1) — He’s had a top-10 here in the past (T9 in 2015). I think it’s a matter of time for him to peak his head through and win and I think he’s comfortable on this course.
Mayo: Andrew Landry (125-1) — A poor first round sunk him a week ago, but the same reason we liked him last week still applies, and now we get him in a weaker field at longer odds. He smashes par 4s from the 400-450 yard distance, and he has a win at the correlated Valero Texas Open. Good enough for me.
Gdula: Sebastian Munoz (60-1) — Munoz finished seventh last week at the Greenbrier, same as Scheffler, and each of them ranked top-four in strokes gained/tee to green. Munoz has gained strokes with his approach play in four of his past five events and has positive putting splits on Bermuda in his career.
Riccio: Ryan Brehm (130-1) — Brehm closed the Korn Ferry Tour season off strong, winning in July and recording three other top-25 finishes, including a T-5 in Boise. Brehm is consistent with his irons, ranking in the top 20 on tour in greens in regulation. My model is really high on him this week, making his expected odds closer to 25-1. So make sure you don't miss on this.
Sobel: Grayson Murray (70-1) — I was high on Murray in last week, too, and while he hardly triumphed with a T-36 result, he did drive the ball nicely throughout the week. He’s the prototypical high-ceiling/low-floor type of player, even if he didn’t show it last week. You might get a trunk-slam by a mile, but you just as easily might get a title contention.
Golf Digest editors: Wyndham Clark (45-1) — Your definition of a longshot might differ, and that's fine. 45-to-1 isn't the longest shot on the board, but we want to make sure you know how much we like Clark this week. He ranks 19th in this field in strokes gained/Bermuda over his past 50 rounds, per Fantasy National. Clark's heating up, with seven top-20 finishes last season, including a strong finish to the season. A win wouldn't surprise anybody.
Aldrick, FanShare Sports: Matt Jones (70-1) — Jones ranks second in the field for strokes gained/tee-to-green over the last two months. That's propelled him to two top-10s in his last four outings. Jones putts very well on fast Bermuda greens, ranking 20th in the field in strokes gained/putting. He doesn’t have the greatest course history round here, but this is the best golf he’s played for quite some while.
Players to Fade This Week (who will disappoint)
PGA Tour Caddie: Brandt Snedeker (18-1) — He’s been at home, hasn’t played since the Tour Championship and after a terrific 2018-19 season, I’m not sure how much he’s been working on his game at home. He’s out this week with a new caddie and that might be a little bit of a feeling out process. I don’t know what his normal regimen is this time of year, but again, after a really great season, I’m not sure he’s too inspired to be putting in extra work right now.
Mayo: Joaquin Niemann (12-1) — From a pick to win to a pick to fade. I love Niemann, but how much does he have left in the tank after last week? He might perform well, but asking him to win at this number is a bit much.
Gdula: Brandt Snedeker (18-1) — Snedeker hasn’t played since the Tour Championship and ranks just 105th in strokes gained/off the tee over his past 50 rounds. Most of that is due to a lack of distance, but he’s only 54th in fairways gained. If betting a favorite, I’d rather look to Scheffler, Beyong Hun An, or Lucas Glover for the superior ball-striking.
Riccio: Brandt Snedeker (18-1) — My projected odds on him are in the 60-to-1 range, so you have oddsmakers here inflating the numbers based on name recognition. This is a pass.
Sobel, Action Network: Brandt Snedeker (18-1) — He’s never before teed it up at this event. While I applaud him for putting a new one on his busy schedule, I can’t help but believe that a player of Sneds’ caliber might not be as inspired as we’d want the third man on the outright board to be this week.
Golf Digest editors: Cameron Smith (35-1) — These are really short odds for someone with not a lot of form. Fade him wherever you can this week.
Aldrick, FanShare Sports: Joaquin Niemann (12-1) — Niemann was great last week but it’s hard to follow up your first ever tour win the very next week. Add to that his poor track record putting on fast Bermuda greens and he’s an easy fade.
2019 Sanderson Farms Championship: Matchups
PGA Tour Caddie: Harris English (-125) over Cameron Champ (Sportbet) — Champ is defending his title this week, but he’s struggled mightily since that win. English, meanwhile, has struggled the last couple of years, but snapped out of the funk last week with a T3 – his first top 10 in a long time. He’ll take a little momentum into Jackson and I like him for that reason.
Mayo: Brian Harman (-110) over Cam Smith (DraftKings) — Harman comes in rolling, with his third top-10 finish in his past seven starts. The Aussie lost strokes with his irons for the fourth straight event, and the seventh time in his past nine starts. I'll continue to fade him.
Gdula: Corey Conners (-108) over Cam Smith (FanDuel) — Conners ranks first in the field in strokes gained/tee to green and second in strokes gained/approach over his past 50 rounds on the PGA Tour. Smith ranks 99th in both of them and doesn’t have the accuracy to make up for it.
Riccio: Byeong Hun An (-110) over Scottie Scheffler (DraftKings) — I'll temper the Scottie Scheffler love a little bit. Let's not forget how good Ben An has been this year. Stats-wise, he is consistent both off the tee and around the greens, which is a recipe for success. And he has a larger sample size than simply the past two months or so like Scheffler.
Golf Digest editors: Brian Harman (-110) over Cam Smith (DraftKings) — This feels like oddsmakers haven't caught up to Brian Harman's form, and how weak Cam Smith has been with his irons recently. We're on this with Mayo.
Aldrick, FanShare Sports: Brandt Snedeker (-135) over Joaquin Niemann (Sportbet) — Not only is it very difficult to follow up your first PGA Tour win the very next week but, statistically, Snedeker gains a shot per round on Niemann putting on fast Bermuda greens, so this is a strong play.
Matchup results last week: PGA Tour caddie: 1 for 1 (Scottie Scheffler (+115) over Byeong Hun-An); Mayo and Gdula: 1 for 1 (Each was on Scottie Scheffler (+100) over Cam Smith; Sobel/Action Network: Robert Streb (+100) over Tom Lewis; GD Editors: 1 for 1 (Cameron Tringale (-110) over Branden Grace); Alldrick/FanShare: 1 for 1 (Joaquin Niemann (-115) over Marc Leishma); Riccio: Pushed (J.B. Holmes and Sepp Straka tied).
Matchup results last season: GD Editors: 19 wins, 12 losses, two pushes; PGA Tour Caddie: 19 Ws, 14 Ls; Riccio: 15 Ws, 15 Ls; The Action Network: 11 Ws, 4 Ls; FanShare Sports' Alldrick: 6 Ws, 1 L; Mayo: 14 Ws, 15 Ls, 2 ties; Gdula: 11-19-2
Top 10 (odds from DraftKings Sportsbook)
PGA Tour Caddie: Matt Jones (+500) — He had a top 10 at Greenbrier last week, so we’ll plan for another one this week. He’s a really good ball striker and most Australians putt really good on superfast greens. If they leave them alone, the way it’s trending, the greens are going to be really fast this week in Jackson.
Mayo: Zack Sucher (+2200) — After hitting a long-shot for a top-10 last week, we might as well follow up a long shot Top 10 with another. Like Scheffler, Sucher can’t putt, but he ranks out among the best from the back end of the pack in ball-striking. His 6.4 strokes gained/ball-striking, per Fantasy National, had him eighth in the field at the Greenbrier a week ago. Just pray for some putting luck and you can cash at YUGE odds.
Gdula: Vaughn Taylor (+500) — Taylor has strong finishes at Country Club of Jackson to his name and checks the box in terms of driving accuracy, which can provide a leg up at this course. Taylor also grades out 18th in birdie or better rate over the past 50 rounds on the PGA Tour, according to FantasyNational. Golfers should need to score to contend.
Riccio: Denny McCarthy (+500) — We've seen shorter hitters who hit it consistently off the tee, but are hot putters, win here before -- Peter Malnati, Cody Gribble, Ryan Armour. Denny McCarthy is one of the hottest putters on tour. This is the kind of event where he could continue to shine.
Sobel, Action Network: Emiliano Grillo (+450) — In a way, Grillo reminds me a bit of Rickie Fowler, who sometimes needs to play an event with a weaker field, just to gain some confidence in being one of the most talented players there. He’s sort of in this purgatory where he’s not quite on the same level as the elite players on the PGA Tour, but he’s more talented than most others. Throw in the fact that his lone win came during the fall part of the schedule four years ago, and I like him to ooze that confidence this week.
Golf Digest editors: Vaughn Taylor (+500) — We're on this with Gdula. Taylor's results in the past at Country Club of Jackson, plus his form this year, lead us to some attractive odds at 5-1.
Aldrick, FanShare Sports: Harris English (+750) — English comes in off of an excellent third-place finish last week. He’s now missed just one cut in his last 12 PGA Tour events. The timing of this hot streak is perfect as he’ll be teeing it up this week at a course that uses his favorite putting surface. English ranks 6th in the field in strokes gained/putting on fast Bermuda greens.
Top-10 results last week: Mayo: 1 for 1 (+1600 on Robby Shelton); Sobel: 1 for 1 (+350 on Scottie Scheffler); everyone else: 0 for 1
Top-10 results last season: Mayo: 10 for 31; GD Editors: 10 for 30; Gdula: 7 for 29; Riccio: 6 for 30; PGA Tour Caddie: 6 for 31; Action Network: 4 for 13; FanShare: 4 for 7
Mayo: Along with Scottie Scheffler, there’s Corey Conners at 9,600. Conners was a winner at the Valero and second here last year. He's another tee to green monster who can’t putt. Conners is first in ball-striking over the past 50 rounds, his saving grace on the greens may be the switch to Bermuda. He’s not a good putter on Bermuda but, it is his least worst surface. Kevin Streelman is accurate, has also had success at Valero in the past and seems wildly underpriced in a field comprised of rookies and non-TOUR members. Plus, he’s fifth in strokes gained/ball-striking in this field over the past 50 rounds.
Here's who I'd build my lineups around on DraftKings this week: Scottie Scheffler ($9,900); Corey Conners ($9,600); Kevin Streelman ($7,900); Andrew Landry ($7,000); Zack Sucher ($6,600).
Riccio: My lineup this week:
Joaquin Niemann ($11,300); Aaron Wise ($8,500); Bronson Burgoon ($8,200); Luke List ($8,000); Chesson Hadley ($7,300); Ryan Brehm ($6,700).
Golf Digest Editors: We're fading the entire $10,000 range here, willing to bet that Joaquin Niemann doesn't repeat, and Brandt Snedeker doesn't take this down. Even if he does, we see all six guys making the cut. You have strong win equity in the top three plays, and Sebastian Munoz has been solid all year, so he's a safe bet to make the cut. Cameron Tringale is a favorite DFS play of late, too, with his return to form. And we're willing to bet D.J. Trahan brings his hot Korn Ferry results into a venue where he finished T-7 last year and T-10 in 2015.
Scottie Scheffler ($9,900); Brian Harman ($9,700); Wyndham Clark ($8,400); Sebastian Munoz ($7,900); Cameron Tringale ($7,300); D.J. Trahan ($6,800).
Alldrick: Here's a lineup build I like this week: Brandt Snedeker ($10,700); Vaughn Taylor ($9,300); Harris English ($7,800); Matt Jones ($7,600); Jason Dufner ($7,500); Jimmy Walker ($7,100).
FanShare Sports' Under The Radar DFS Pick of the Week — Jimmy Walker (FanDuel: $8,400; DraftKings: $7,100) — You can buy low on Walker, who has missed his last four cuts. However, just extend the framing out a little, and the stats paint a bigger picture. The 2017 PGA champion ranks 10th in the field this week for Opportunities Gained over the last two months. And he ranks 12th in the field this week for strokes gained/putting on fast Bermuda surfaces, which means he should be able to convert those opportunities.
Here's a look at who's buzzing this week, according to FanShare Sports.
Gdula: Joaquin Niemann ($11,800) should be a lock for your head-to-head and double-ups but should be rostered on nearly half of all tournament lineups. You can gain a leg up if you avoid him in large tournaments and he has a post-win letdown.
I’m building lineups around second-tier options Scottie Scheffler ($11,000) and Vaughn Taylor ($10,200) this week and eyeing up Cameron Tringale ($8,800) and Brian Stuard ($8,400) as top-tier value plays.
Riccio: My FanDuel lineup: Joaquin Niemann ($11,800); Aaron Wise ($9,800); Luke List ($9,700); Bronson Burgoon ($9,500); Chesson Hadley ($8,900); Ryan Brehm ($8,200).
About our experts
Dr. Lou Riccio, a PhD senior lecturer, teaches rational decision making at Columbia's Graduate School of Business and has served on the USGA's handicap research team for three decades. His predictive analysis and modeling helps him make expert picks for our column.
Pat Mayo is known as one of the pre-eminent experts in daily-fantasy sports and golf handicapping specifically. Mayo is a 17-time fantasy sports-writers association finalist, the most of any writer this decade, and Mayo won the 2019 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Podcast of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Video award. Mayo is on the board of governors at www.fantasynational.com. Here’s a link to watch his complete DraftKings preview of the 2019 Wyndham Championship.
Brandon Gdula, a senior editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 fantasy sports-writers association Golf Writer of the Year (congrats, Brandon!). Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast.
Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports started out writing an article highlighting the best bargain plays for fantasy golf under his twitter handle @DKGolfBargains. His success at this prompted FanShare Sports to enlist him as a guest writer, which evolved into him writing the weekly Under The Radar article. As a UK based expert, Alldrick’s insight into European Tour regulars and low priced, low owned plays has provided an invaluable edge for readers when it comes to DFS GPPs.
Jason Sobel is a senior writer for The Action Network. To read The Action Network's full betting breakdown for the Sanderson Farms, click here.