2017 Dell Technologies Championship: TPC Boston (8/30/17)
The PGA Tour Playoffs move into their second week at the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston. The field, now shortened to the top 100, will compete for the Tour Championship. After this week, 30 players will be cut to reduce the field to 70 golfers headed into the BMW Championship.
As usual, I've gone through the key metrics at TPC Boston to find which players have value. Historically, TPC Boston has been a refuge for top players. The previous winners include Rory McIlroy (2x), Rickie Fowler, Chris Kirk, and Henrik Stenson. The key component this week will be play off the tee, mid-iron approaches, and general tee-to-green play. Again, putting is nearly irrelevant at TPC Boston, though it always has a small impact on the winner.
I'll break down the top Favorite, Long Shot, and Dud with a number of valuable other players in each category. Favorites will be considered as those with better than 50 to 1 odds, Long Shots will be 50 to 1 odds and greater, and Duds will be better than 50 to 1 odds players to avoid. Odds will be courtesy of Bovada.
I want to be clear: Dustin Johnson is a clear-cut favorite again this week. However, his odds have been cut in half in comparison to last week. I still think there's some value there, but there's much more backing Paul Casey this week. As I mentioned above, the key aspect will be mid-iron play at TPC Boston. Of the golfers in the field this week, Casey ranks 17th in proximity from 150 to 175 yards, first from 175 to 200 yards, and fourth from 200 to 225 yards. Casey also ranks third in strokes-gained on approach shots and seventh in strokes-gained tee-to-green.
Though TPC Boston does not typically play to the best putters, Casey has been a slightly below-average putter this season, but he's fluctuated around tour-average for the last few seasons. Thus, he should fare well enough on the greens if his mid-iron play continues. The one downside to Casey's game is his lack of distance off the tee. Casey ranks 61st in driving distance at 296.7 yards. For being a shorter hitter, he doesn't hit fairways at an elite level, either, at 64.0%.
Casey has yet to win this season, and his best finish is a third place in the first event of the season. However, he's finished in the top-25 in 15 of his 21 events. I am still confident Casey will compete at the top of the leaderboard and can break through this week as this course is the most fitting for his game. If he finds a way to drive it in the fairway, he has a great chance to win.
Other Favorites with value in order of preference: Dustin Johnson (+700), Sergio Garcia (+4000), Justin Rose (+4000)
For the same reasons I love Casey this week, I love Molinari. Francesco has been the best approach player on tour this season, just edging Jordan Spieth, according to strokes-gained. Molinari has five top-10s in 19 events this year including a T2 at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, a course shorter, but not too dissimilar to TPC Boston.
Like Casey, Molinari doesn't drive it long, by any standards, ranking 99th in driving distance. He does drive it straight, hitting 70.3% of fairways which is 7th overall. Molinari is a tour average putter, as well, but his results, especially as of late, have not been too promising. He's missed three of his last five cuts although he did sprinkle the T2 at the PGA in there. Nonetheless, at 80 to 1 with a shortened field, I think you're getting plenty of value with Molinari.
Other Long Shots with value in order of preference: Tony Finau (+8000), Gary Woodland (+8000), Daniel Berger (+6600)
Jason Day has been on the rise as of late. The former world number one has finished T27, T24, T9, and T6 leading up to this week. He is likely getting healthy, and his game is coming to form. Why is he in the Duds section this week? For starters, 16 to 1 is a pretty minimal price for a player who hasn't won this year and has only found four top-10s.
Day still ranks 18th overall in total strokes-gained; however, he's been a negative approach player, ranking 124th on tour. The other surprising aspect of Day's missing game is his 58.2% scrambling success percentage (110th). Essentially every aspect of Day's game has gotten worse this year, and although it's better as of late, I find it difficult to jump on 16 to 1 odds until I see him competing late into the fourth round.
Other Duds without value in order of avoidance: Patrick Reed (+2500), Brooks Koepka (+2800), Matt Kuchar (+2800)