Shriners Hospitals for Children Open 2020 expert picks: Why Matthew Wolff will get revenge on DeChambeau
It’s funny how narratives can shift so quickly in golf. By outplaying Matthew Wolff over the final nine holes of the U.S. Open, Bryson DeChambeau’s win is being heralded as a “revolution in golf,” or something to the effect. How soon we forget Wolff was the 54-hole leader and on the precipice of history, and he trailed Bryson by just one stroke entering the back nine at Winged Foot.
This is not meant to take anything away from Bryson. But because the 2020 U.S. Open champ outplayed Wolff over those final nine holes, he now has all the hype—and odds to win of more than triple Wolff’s at this week’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. That doesn’t seem right. Our experts Pat Mayo and Brandon Gdula—who combined to pick 11 outright winners in this column last season—are buying into Wolff’s chance at redemption this week. After reading their analysis, we’re with them.
DeChambeau is a heavy 8-1 favorite this week—and those extremely low odds usually don’t translate to a win. Since 2019, there have been 25 full-field events where a favorite was a 8-1 favorite or lower. Just one time has that favorite won (and interestingly, it was DeChambeau at the Rocket Mortgage), per our expert Rick Gehman’s proprietary data at RickRunGood.com. Though the odds vary a bit based on the book, the point remains: In a field full of talented golfers, like we have this week to kick off our mini Vegas swing, it’s really tough to win with these high expectations.
We bring you the best analysis in golf gambling, week after week—a group that earned more than 230 units on outright, top-10 and matchup bets in the 2019-’20 season. This week, our anonymous PGA Tour caddie reports live from Las Vegas, where he likes a couple young guns to get the title. And he’s in agreement with most of our expert panel with who we’re fading.
Read on to see who we like this week at the 2020 Shriners Hospital for Children Open.
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open 2020: Picks To Win (Odds from FanDuel)
Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Joaquin Niemann (50-1) — Niemann gets forgotten amongst the young guns, but he’s an excellent driver of the golf ball, and he hits his mid irons well, both of which are key to victory at TPC Summerlin.
Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Matthew Wolff (28-1) — Wolff’s supreme ball-striking is supreme—it’s no wonder he plays well at the same courses as Bryson. Essentially, he can emulate the Cantlay playbook at TPC Summerlin with the way he’s been hitting his irons this summer. In a tie for 18th a year ago, Wolff was second in the field off the tee yet lost with his irons. Entering the week, he’s gaining on approach in six of his past seven starts, per Fantasy National.
Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Matthew Wolff (28-1) — Matthew Wolff does everything I’m looking for in a winner at TPC Summerlin: He’s long off the tee, his irons are trending toward elite, and he’s a good putter. He’s picked up at least 7.1 strokes from approach play alone in the two recent majors in stellar fields, and he’s fifth in the field in birdie or better rate gained over the past 50 rounds, via FantasyNational.com.
Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Bryson DeChambeau (8-1) — Rarely would I advocate backing a golfer this short, but the writing is on the wall for DeChambeau. If his style of play works at Winged Foot, of all places, it’s going to work everywhere. Especially at TPC Summerlin which has rough that will offer little resistance. DeChambeau has made three trips to TPC Summerlin in his career, has never finished outside the Top 10 and was the Champion in the 2019 season.
Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Scottie Scheffler (30-1) — I don’t claim to be nearly the expert of some of the great handicappers in this column. But there are some things I’ll take credit for. One thing I’ve been able to predict: When Scottie Scheffler will play well. My fellow Be Right boys Christopher Powers and Alex Myers were all over him at another desert layout earlier this year in Palm Springs, where he should’ve won. He’s proven he’s one of the best players in the world with his great play in the past two months. Final group of a major, two other top-five finishes. Sure, our experts were a full fade on Scottie last week as the heavy, 12-1 favorite in his return post-covid-19. We didn’t know what to expect. As expected, Scheffler didn’t contend—but he did fight hard and play decent on the weekend to finish middle of the pack. Now we get a huge discount on his number … I expect Scottie to play well and get Win No. 1.
Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Rickie Fowler (33-1) — I know, I know … I hate it too. But Fowler’s all-around game seems to be rounding back into form (gained 6.1 strokes tee-to-green and 3.5 on approach at Winged Foot), save for his putter, normally the best club in his bag. This week though, Fowler’s on bentgrass, his best surface statistically. He’s been putrid on the greens in his last 11 starts, with a high mark of 1.7 gained on the greens at TPC Boston. His last truly great putting performance came last February at TPC Scottsdale, where he gained 4.9 on those bentgrass greens. He also has good, albeit limited, history at the Shriners, with a fourth-place finish in 2018 and a 25th in 2015. I wish I knew how to quit you, Rick.
Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Webb Simpson (16-1) — Due to his performances on courses that are similar (like TPC Scottsdale), his superior approach game and excellent putting on fast, Bentgrass greens, Simpson might be a little underpriced based on the Bryson love. Webb has won here and has three other top 10s, proving he loves TPC Summerlin. Webb has three top-10s in his past four events, so this is a smash play based on his form matching his history plus the stats needed to excel.
Results from last season: Golf Digest's betting panel predicted 14 winners correctly last season, and collectively on outright winners, top-10 bets and matchups won and lost, our panel went up 225.30 units (the equivalent of being up $2,253 if you wagered $10 on all of our bets) last season. We correctly picked Bryson DeChambeau (28-1) to win the U.S. Open, and we’ve come close with Adam Long at the Corales and Doc Redman at the Safeway. Be sure to check this column every week for picks from the hottest betting panel in golf!
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open 2020 picks: Sleepers/Dark Horses (odds from FanDuel)
Caddie: Cameron Davis (65-1) — There’s only one way to get over the disappointment of losing a 54-hole lead—to experience some heartbreak. That’s past Davis now—and he was out of it early on Sunday. He shouldn’t be too scathed. This kid’s game is well-rounded, and that elite tee-to-green will be back to contending soon. There’s no reason it can’t be this week.
Mayo: Tyler McCumber (150-1) — After a string of seven missed cuts in a row, McCumber went to the Dominican Republic and figured it out. Now with consecutive top-10 finishes, granted against weaker fields, the game he’s flashed at those events is exactly what TPC Summerlin demands. Driving and irons have been there, get a hot putting week and we’re in business for an absolute bomb.
Gdula: Matt Kuchar (85-1) — I think the lack of respect on Kuchar has gone a little too far in a field such as this. We last saw him miss the cut at the U.S. Open, but he picked up 4.6 strokes from his approach play. The putter is usually good, and he’s a realistic candidate to lead a field in strokes gained/putting in any week, which we know will be important here and really helps with converting a win. Two years ago here, he gained 4.4 strokes tee to green, though he finished middle of the pack. We’ve seen some shorter hitters contend at TPC Summerlin.
Gehman: Denny McCarthy (75-1) — McCarthy is the best putter on the planet, and that’s not an exaggeration—he’s led the strokes gained/putting stat each of the last two seasons. McCarthy used to be a “one trick pony,” but something has happened since the 3M Open. The rest of his game is starting to turn a corner. In the six measured events since the 3M Open, McCarthy has gained a total of 12.93 strokes on approach. To put that into perspective, he lost 15.96 strokes on approach in the six measured events before that stretch. Going deeper, last week McCarthy finished T-6 at the Sanderson Farms Championship. It was only the second time in his career that he gained strokes in all four major strokes-gained categories, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. Denny is proving he’s ready to win, and soon.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Kristoffer Ventura (65-1) — I’m surprised this number isn’t down near 50-1 or so. There’s no reason to back off Ventura after his stellar Sanderson Farms showing, where we were all over him. He’s 12th in this field in his past 24 rounds in Birdies or Better and 13th in Eagles Gained, per FantasyNational.com. The young Norwegian has been elite off-the-tee, and that should be huge at TPC Summerlin.
Powers, Golf Digest: Patrick Rodgers (150-1) — Anyone who reads this experts column or listens to our “Be Right” podcast is aware of my love affair with P-Rodge. I’ve gone away from him for a while because A) his approach numbers stink and B) his odds were too short in these weaker fields. Now, Rodgers is back up to 150-1, a major overreaction to his missed cut at the Sanderson Farms. After a Thursday 75, Rodgers shot 68 on Friday, gaining over three strokes on approach and tee-to-green, by far the worst two areas of his game. Did he … find something? If so, watch out, because he’s been one of the best putters on tour over the last few months, and this week he gets to play on bentgrass greens, his favorite putting surface. It’s time for the former Stanford stud to get it done.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Harold Varner III (80-1) — HV3 has made his past four cuts here at TPC Summerlin, plus he ranks fifth in the field in strokes gained/tee-to-green over the past two months and third for Opportunities Gained, per FantasyNational.com.
Players to Fade This Week (who will disappoint)
Caddie: Patrick Cantlay (18-1) — I’m not saying Cantlay will miss the cut. His game just hasn’t been sharp, so I don’t expect him to be at the top of the leader board like these odds suggest.
Mayo: Webb Simpson (16-1) — It’s always tough fading Webb because the putter can get so hot. But the reason he earned these steep odds is because of the iron play the past year. Recently, that iron play has vanished.
Gdula: Louis Oosthuizen (35-1) — Oosthuizen has four top-25 finishes in his past five starts but has done a lot of that with putting, gaining 5.2 or more strokes on the greens in two of them. The tee-to-green play is there, as well—don’t get me wrong—but the long-term form isn’t really on par with where it needs to be to back Oosthuizen at +3500. In a week with allure around a lot of the top guys, Oosthuizen isn’t really one of them.
Gehman: Patrick Cantlay (18-1) — This is an incredibly difficult fade considering Cantlay’s record in Las Vegas. In three trips, he’s won and finished second twice. There’s no one else in the field with that level of success. My concern for Cantlay lies in his recent form. Since the Memorial, six events for Cantlay, he’s been rather average. His only top-30 finish in six starts came at a smaller-field event (BMW Championship). He has flashed greatness, shooting a few low rounds, but he hasn’t been able to put four together. Maybe the friendly confines of TPC Summerlin is exactly the spark he needs, but I’ll need to see his game return to form first before investing in Cantlay.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Patrick Cantlay (18-1) — I’d be willing to bet on any of the other favorites in this field … I can’t back Cantlay blindly because of his course history.
Powers, Golf Digest: Bryson DeChambeau (8-1) — He’s officially in Rory and DJ territory now with these odds. No thank you. Too much value elsewhere, even at the top of the board.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Patrick Cantlay (18-1) — Cantlay will be a tempting pivot from Bryson or Webb this week, with his record of having a win and two runners-up here in the past three years. But his form entering this year’s event has not been good at all for a player of his caliber. He has not recorded even a top-10 finish in his past six events and ranks 127th for Opportunities Gained over the last two months, per FantasyNational.com.
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open 2020 picks: Matchups
Caddie: Cameron Davis (-112) over Zach Johnson (DraftKings) — Davis has a clear edge tee-to-green, and though Johnson has been in superb form lately, I prefer the firepower of Davis.
Mayo: Collin Morikawa (-110) over Hideki Matsuyama (DraftKings) — Both of Morikawa’s wins this year have come on bentgrass. And though Morikawa’s not one of the longest off the tee, he’s an elite driver of the golf ball. And you can say the same about his irons.
Gdula: Harris English (-114) over Sergio Garcia (FanDuel) — English is slightly better than Garcia in recent strokes gained/tee to green numbers, and the former Georgia Bulldog really separates himself in the short game, as he ranks second around the green and fourth in strokes gained/putting over the past 50 rounds. Garcia is 28th and 127th, respectively. English thrives on Bentgrass, too.
Gehman: Rickie Fowler (-118) over Jason Day (DraftKings) — This is a battle of two golfers who, for the most part, have underachieved in the last year. Jason Day had a few bright tournaments but mostly relied on a sensational short game to make noise. Rickie Fowler has been going through some well-documented swing changes and he has looked “close” to clicking recently. We haven’t seen him since the U.S. Open (T-49), so he’s had a few extra weeks to really get his game dialed-in. He’s made four trips to TPC Summerlin in his career, earning top-25 finishes in all four and finishing T-4 in his last appearance (2019).
Hennessey: Matthew Wolff (-125) over Jason Day (Sportsbook.ag) — In a birdie fest, give me the hot player who’s making birdies in bunches. It seems like J-Day’s hot stretch peaked at the PGA Championship. I’ll join the party in fading J-Day. Our experts expect Wolff to contend to win this week—and nobody is picking J-Day.
Powers: Emiliano Grillo (-106) over Matt Kuchar (DraftKings)— Kuchar just has not been good over the last two months, while Grillo has been putting together some decent finishes despite his woeful putting. If the Argentinian can just be mediocre on the greens this week, he should finish higher than Kuchar with ease.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Scottie Scheffler (-120) over Jason Day (Betway) — This is not a course fit for Jason Day, whereas Scottie Scheffler’s tee-to-green game is one of the best on tour right now. I really like this one.
Matchup Results from the Sanderson Farms: Alldrick: 1 for 1 (Charley Hoffman (+100) over Carlos Ortiz); Gdula: 1 for 1 (Sebastian Munoz (-105) over Sam Burns); Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Doc Redman (-115) over Adam Long). Everyone else: 0 for 1.
Matchup Results this season: Alldrick: 4 for 4 (up 3.60 units); Hennessey: 3 for 4 (up 1.63 units); Gdula: 2 for 4 (down 0.14 units); Gehman: 2 for 4 (down 0.18 units); Mayo: 2 for 4 (down 0.26 units); Caddie: 2 for 4 (down 0.27 units); Powers: 1-1-2 (down 1 unit).
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open 2020 picks: Top 10 (odds from DraftKings Sportsbook)
Caddie: Harry Higgs (+1200) — This kid is fearless, which goes a long way in this stupid game. He’s coming off that runner-up at the Safeway, where his approach play and off-the-tee game were stellar. That should translate to TPC Summerlin nicely.
Mayo: Jason Dufner (+1800) — I’m back to the Dufner well once again. If I learned anything from Sergio’s win last week, it’s to stick with my good ball striker/terrible putter picks. Dufner once again gained in the ball-striking department at Sanderson Farms, but couldn’t make a two-foot putt. Par for the course. Maybe he’ll experiment with closing his eyes on the greens.
Gdula: Sebastian Munoz (+600) — Munoz has been a little hot-or-cold lately, but that’s fine for a top-10 bet because it takes a high-end outcome for someone to hit a top-10 regardless. Munoz has a balanced overall statistical profile that can keep him relevant for four days, and he racks up a ton of birdie chances.
Gehman: Kristoffer Ventura (+900) — Ventura is in the midst of the best stretch of golf in his young career. He’s made six consecutive cuts and has notched two top-10 finishes in his past three starts. En route to his T-6 last week, the young Norwegian was second in the field in strokes gained/tee-to-green, behind only Sergio Garcia, and he gained strokes in all four major categories. He doesn’t have much course history, but he did play this event last year and finished T-18.
Hennessey, Golf Digest: Matt Kuchar (+750) — Kuchar hasn’t done much since a runner-up at Riviera, but he showed some positive signs finally at Winged Foot. Kuchar gained 4.4 strokes on his approach shots, which is a positive sign for this week. Kuch can get hot on these bentgrass greens and return value here.
Powers, Golf Digest: Kristoffer Ventura (+900) — When you’re hot, you’re hot—and Ventura is scorching right now. He has a pair of top 10s in his last three starts on tour, and he gained strokes in every major category en route to a T-6 at the Sanderson. Wouldn’t be surprised if he wins this week. Something to think about at 90-1.
Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Harry Higgs (+1200) — Higgs is coming off his second-place finish at the Safeway Open in his last start and recorded an 11th-place finish three events before that. We have him ranked 16th in our course-suitability ranking per his elite tee-to-green game, so he has the excellent form paired with a course that suits. That’s a deadly combo.
Top 10 results from the Rocket Mortgage Classic: Everybody: 0 for 1.
Top 10 results from this season: Tour caddie: 1 for 4 (down 1.30 units); Everybody else: 0 for 4 (down 4 units each).
One and Done pick
Gehman: Matthew Wolff — This is actually a difficult decision for One & Done purposes. Almost all of the top players would be better served in bigger tournaments or they have more “natural fits”. Matthew Wolff’s game is maturing at such a rapid rate as evidenced by his (5) Top 25 finishes in his last seven starts, including a solo 2nd at the U.S. Open. His ability to bomb it off-the-tee, without regard for accuracy, should be well suited for TPC Summerlin. He finished T18 last year.
Previous weeks: Safeway Open: Joel Dahmen; U.S. Open: Jon Rahm; Corales: Denny McCarthy. Sanderson Farms: Sebastian Munoz.
Hennessey: Harris English — As I said above, I’m tempted to bet any of these favorites in this tier. I’d expect Harris English to be the least popular pick in your pools—thinking Wolff and Scheffler could be chalky—and let’s face it: English’s hot play could fade in 2021. But while he’s still playing great, use the opportunity to back the Georgia Bulldog.
Previous weeks: Safeway Open: Phil Mickelson; U.S. Open: Hideki Matsuyama; Corales: Adam Long. Sanderson Farms: Sam Burns.
Powers: Jason Kokrak — Kokrak should be confident coming off a strong U.S. Open performance at Winged Foot, where he proved he belonged for much of the week. The next step is a first PGA Tour win.
Previous weeks: Safeway Open: Brendan Steele; U.S. Open: Louis Oosthuizen; Corales: Adam Long. Sanderson Farms: Sam Burns.
By The Numbers:
Courtesy of Rick Gehman of RickRunGood.com:
0.33 — The improvement in average strokes gained/putting for Collin Morikawa since the TOUR’s restart. He lost 0.17 strokes per round before the shutdown and has gained 0.16 strokes per round since the restart.
3.16 — The average strokes gained per round by Patrick Cantlay at TPC Summerlin in the last three years. The best of any golfer in this field.
13 — The number of years, in the last 16, that the winning score has been 20 under par or better.
9 — The number of consecutive cuts made by Adam Schenk and Harris English. The longest active streaks in this field and fifth longest on TOUR.
About our experts
Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, owner of the Mayo Media Network and host of The Pat Mayo Experience. (Subscribe for video or audio. Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2020 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award, and was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 21 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo is on the board of governors at www.fantasynational.com.
Brandon Gdula, managing 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.
Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.
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 U.K.-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.