By Chris Dell
Primer/Intro: Using strokes gained statistics allows us to find strong edges after Round 1 of a given PGA tournament when we combine them with a little math. Using our "Strokes Gained Scores" putting regression formula, we are able to determine top buys and top fades for head-to-head matchup bets, DFS strategy and live betting opportunities from round to round as well. Depending on certain courses we might look at some metrics more than others, but most weekends the primary focus will be on strokes gained off the tee strokes gained approach, strokes gained ball-striking and strokes gained tee-to-green.
The premise here is that strokes gained putting is wildly unpredictable and will vary from round to round, whereas strokes gained approach - as well as off the tee, ball-striking, and tee-to-green - are much "stickier" statistics which better indicate the golfers who are/aren't playing well in the moment.
Our "buy" golfers will be those with a strokes gained score of +1.0 or higher (rounded up from 0.95 if needed), while our "fade" golfers will be those with a strokes gained rating of -1.0 or lower (rounded down from -0.95 if needed). The goal for betting head-to-head matchups is to find two golfers whose SG SCORES combine to equal +1.0 or higher. For example, Golfer A's SG SCORE is +0.65 and Golfer B's SG SCORE is -0.50. Our SG MATCHUP SCORE then equals +1.10. I typically only bet these head-to-head matchups by using our "top fades" list and working my down to all golfers who have a -0.45 or SG SCORE or worse. This isn't always the case, however, as there is sometimes value in betting based off our top buys as well. I typically decide on which strategy to use depending on course predictability and other situational course factors, which can be found in greater detail on DataGolf.com and other websites.
Strokes Gained is broken down into four categories, and depending on a certain course/tournament, we will look to target certain stats specifically to determine out H2H, round to round matchup prop bets.
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)
Bonus "Top Fade" Matchup Best Bet: Round 2 (Charles Schwab Challenge)
+2.47 Aaron Rai > Hayden Buckley @ Unibet -109
Bonus "Top Buy" Matchup Best Bet: Round 2 (Charles Schwab Challenge)
+2.44 Justin Rose > Sam Burns @ BetOnline -120
RD2 Top Buys - Strokes Gained Scores
B. Griffin +1.54
Hun An +1.23
Si Woo Kim +1.22
RD2 Top Fades - Strokes Gained Scores
Van Rooyen -2.45
Seonghyeon Kim -1.30
B. Taylor -1.20
*All golfers with an asterisk to the left of their name have at least buy trait AND at least one fade trait, OR they have a buy/fade strokes gained score overall but have zero other buy or fade traits to go along with that strokes gained score. Moreover, these are weaker buys/fades compared to others in my model.
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Strokes Gained Ratings Key/Abbreviations
Strokes Gained Putting
Strokes Gained Ball Striking
Strokes Gained Tee To Green
Strokes Gained Gained Net Rating - Ball Striking
Strokes Gained Net Rating - Tee To Green
SG SCORE = Strokes Gained Score
BS = Ball Striking
OTT = Off The Tee
APP = Approach
PUTT = Putting
ARG = Around The Green
T2G = Tee To Green
Chris Dell is a lifelong sports journalist and news editor who has written for The New York Times, New York Daily News and Yahoo Sports, among other publications. He’s also the fantasy football/player props director and co-founder of The Betting Predators. For more of Chris’ sports content, which includes NFL fantasy rankings, player prop analysis, golf betting, DFS strategy and more, visit www.bettingpredators.com