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The 2018 Dell Technologies Championship Picks and Preview

The 2018 Dell Technologies Championship Picks and Preview

The Top 100 in the FedEx Cup head to Massachusetts this week to play the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston. After this week, only the Top 70 will advance to next week’s BMW Championship. Currently there’s some big names on the bubble including Matt Kuchar, Charley Hoffman, Branden Grace and Jason Dufner, so they’ll have their work cut out for them as they look to survive and advance.

Don’t let the name of TPC Boston fool you – it’s actually located closer to Foxborough. The golf course opened in 2003 and was first designed by Arnold Palmer before Gil Hanse completely overhauled the joint in 2007. Sometimes renovations and redesigns go poorly, but Hanse’s was an absolute gem. As a result of his endeavors, the course was named Best Remodel in 2007. Hanse was able to exploit the natural New England landscape to shape the golf course into an interesting track that both the club members and the PGA Tour pros thoroughly enjoy.

That’s not just me sugar coating it either – it really does look like a fun golf course to play. Much of the golf course feels like a trek through the New England woods where the golfers are asked to navigate around wetland hazards to land the ball on small, fast, bentgrass greens. And despite all the trees the course plays a lot more open than it looks, meaning that the golfers can pull drivers on many holes.

Front Nine:

Back Nine

The golf course also looks great on television. Too often we see a cookie-cutter parklands golf course, but with the distinct New England feel TPC Boston is usually my favorite stop on FedEx Cup schedule. That’s what makes it a shame that starting next season the playoffs will only make a biennial stop at TPC Boston as the schedule shrinks from four events to three. The Northern Trust will shift between the New York City area and TPC Boston every other year starting in 2019.

As far as this year’s event, it’s a little easier to handicap than last week’s Northern Trust in that there’s much more data to work with. Unlike last week, this week is all about elite-ball striking. Typically the top of the leaderboard at TPC Boston is filled with guys who annually rank highly in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green and Strokes Gained – Approach. The course plays a little longer than the 7,342 yard scorecard suggests because of the positioning of hazards and doglegs, so I’ll have a slight bias on longer hitters and those who excel in approach shots over 175 yards.

Here’s who I like this week (with DraftKings values and odds courtesy of mybookie.ag):

The Favorites:

  • Dustin Johnson – 9/1, $11,600
  • Justin Thomas – 11/1, $11,400
  • Brooks Koepka – 14/1, $11,000
  • Rory McIlroy – 16/1, $10,600
  • Jason Day – 16/1, $10,400
  • Tiger Woods – 18/1, $9,700
  • Jordan Spieth – 20/1, $10,000

Starting right at the top, if you want Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green monsters look no further than Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka. Since the U.S. Open, only once have they each failed to eclipse over a stroke gained tee-to-green. It’s no surprise that they’ve combined to win four times since then.

With such a deep field there’s not much value in betting them for the win, but I think there’s some value in grabbing both Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas at plus odds over Dustin Johnson in a head-to-head matchup. Koepka and Thomas have been a little better than Dustin Johnson of late on their approach shots, and given how crucial that part of their game will be it should be enough for both of them to fare better than Dustin.

The streak of fading Tiger Woods ends for me this weekend. Tiger was very mediocre at Ridgewood Country Club last week, especially on the greens. But the greens at TPC Boston run quick, which is just how he likes it. And in a week where golfers who possess elite ball-striking with their irons should fare well, there’s no one hitting their approach shots better than him. Tiger followed up his blistering iron play at the PGA Championship by racking up 1.42 Strokes Gained – Approach at the Northern Trust, which is what saved him from a probable missed cut last week.

Even if Tiger struggles off the tee again, the rough off the fairways isn’t quite as punishing as what he saw last week. Over on mybookie.ag you can grab Tiger -130 over Jon Rahm, who’s a golfer really struggling with his iron play right now.

Other Contenders:

  • Patrick Cantlay – 30/1, $9,000
  • Hideki Matsuyama  – 33/1, $8,900

Last week I spotlighted Patrick Cantlay as a guy to target at the Northern Trust and he certainly didn’t disappoint with his T8 finish. Unfortunately, his matchup prop I suggested was against Adam Scott, who of late seems like he stole Steve Stricker’s putting ability like he was one of the monSTARS from Space Jam and clipped Cantlay by one.

Not to be deterred, I like Cantlay again this week. He’s paired up against Bryson DeChambeau in matchup props, so I’ll avoid that as I like Bryson as well. But I like him in DraftKings and he should deliver another solid performance for your lineup.

It’s a season to forget for Hideki Matsuyama as he’s only notched one Top 10 and has fallen from #5 to #19 in the world rankings. But in looking at his form of late, I think he may be starting to turn things around. His ball striking has improved over his last four tournaments, averaging about a stroke gained tee-to-green and on approach during that stretch. He shouldn’t be highly owned on DraftKings as he doesn’t have much past success at TPC Boston and his finishes of late should keep him under the radar. You can also grab him at -120 over Patrick Reed, who’s now had three straight tournaments where he’s lost strokes to the field on his approach shots.

Longhots:

  • Kyle Stanley – 90/1, $7,100
  • Keegan Bradley – 100/1, $7,200
  • Joel Dahmen – 270/1, $6,400

You wouldn’t know it by the results of his last few events but Kyle Stanley is absolutely piping the ball right now. Over his last three tournaments he’s averaged 1.88 Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green and 0.77 Strokes Gained – Approach. Not only is his DraftKings price tasty, but so is his -130 price over Alex Noren in a head-to-head matchup. Noren’s ball-striking has been brutal over his last few tournaments, so Stanley should have the advantage over him at TPC Boston.

New England Patriots fan Keegan Bradley will have a home field advantage being a stones throw away from Gillette Stadium, but the reason you should like him is his recent form. Not only does Keegan rank 2nd in Strokes Gained – Approach on the season, he’s also averaged over a stroked gained in that department in his last five tournaments. Where he’s struggled this season is on the green, but if his ball-striking is as good as it has been of late he should post a solid finish on the leaderboard.

Joel Dahmen put up a clunker in last week’s event, but before that he recorded over a stroke gained tee-to-green in three of his last four tournaments. And for a guy who’s as cheap as him in DraftKings, he checks a lot of boxes as a dark horse. On the year he’s 43rd in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 52nd in Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee and 37th in Strokes Gained – Approach. Given how solid his ball-striking has been this year, he’s a perfect candidate to stick at the end of a lineup if you’re scrambling with a very lean budget.

Dell Technologies Championship DraftKings Lineup #1

  • Justin Thomas – $11,400
  • Hideki Matsuyama – $8,900
  • Henrik Stenson – $8,600
  • Rafa Cabrera-Bello – $7,300
  • Keegan Bradley – $7,200
  • Joel Dahmen – $6,400

Dell Technologies Championship DraftKings Lineup #2

  • Brooks Koepka – $11,000
  • Patrick Cantlay – $9,000
  • Tommy Fleetwood – $8,500
  • Daniel Berger – $7,200
  • Byeong Hun-An – $7,000
  • Ryan Moore – $7,000

Dell Technologies Championship DraftKings Lineup #3

  • Tiger Woods – $9,700
  • Tony Finau – $8,800
  • Bryson DeChambeau – $8,700
  • Billy Horschel – $8,100
  • Zach Johnson – $7,500
  • Kyle Stanley – $7,100

Golf analyst for SportsGamblingPodcast.com, providing insight on news and betting tips for the PGA Tour, as well as commentary and banter on the World of Sports. Follow him on Twitter @SteveSchirmer

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