DFS Army: UpNorth’s PGA Preview – Players Championship Advice

The Players Championship takes it’s new spot on the PGA Tour calendar this week! Can Webb Simpson defend his title? 

My name is Josh Thomas, and I am a PGA and NFL Coach here at DFS Army! Welcome to the 2019 PGA Season! We here at DFS Army have got you covered this year for DFS golf with my weekly preview out on Sunday Nights, Chalk Donkey article breaking down the ownership projections, where to pivot, and GPP strategy out Tuesday Nights, and our Research Station that is full of more information than you could ever need!

What a week!! The Arnold Palmer Invitational was a fantastic week for DFS Army VIPs with huge wins on the DFS and the betting side! This article is FREE every single week and last week we tipped our first outright winner of the young season with Francesco Molinari making a huge charge on Sunday with a 64 to post a score of -12 and he held on to win. It was capped by a bomb of a birdie putt on 18 to give him just enough breathing room to take it down.

It was a huge week for all our tips, with all five of them making the cut and 4 of the outrights finishing inside the top 25! Only Keegan Bradley (who was in the final group in RD 3 and in true Keegan fashion blew up over the week to finish T46).

Not only did we have a big week on the betting side, but we also had multiple huge wins on the DFS side as well. DFS Army VIP Oysterdood one-upped my 1k win on Friday ‘s Showdown slate with a 5k takedown in the Saturday showdown contest! He used the notes we provide our VIPs after each round of the tournament to build this lineup that took the contest down by .4 points!

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As fun as last weekend was and as good as it was for our VIP’s bankrolls, it’s time to move on to the Players Championship and the HUGE GPP’s that go along with the ‘Fifth Major’!

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Course Breakdown:

The Players Championship takes place at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The tournament takes place a full two months earlier than it’s traditional slot on the PGA tour calendar as we get the PGA Championship moved up to May. This jump up the schedule will affect the course a bit, but more on that later.

At 7,289 yards, TPC Sawgrass is a short, gettable par 72 for those who keep it in the fairway and is what many would consider a ‘ballstrikers’ paradise. TPC Sawgrass is a Pete Dye design that has been some golfers dream and some’s night mare over the years. Pete Dye is known for making daunting tee shots, and having difficult sight lines. He’s also known for bringing the short and medium par 4’s back into play on courses. Typically with a Pete Dye design, length isn’t necessarily a huge bonus and many of the golfers will be hitting shots from similar landing areas.

The greens here will be TifEagle Bermuda that has been overseeded with Poa and Bent. That won’t be too different from what the players are used to in May, though they may be a bit more receptive. The big difference will be around the greens and the collection areas. They won’t be as firm and fast and the overseed of the bermudagrass should make them a bit easier to chip off of. As a whole, the course shouldn’t play near as firm as the players are used to in May, and in fact, they may be able to hit a few more drivers than they are used to as well.

Rumor has it (from Phil Mickelson who is the ultimate troll) that the rough here is nowhere near as long as the players are used to and that could bring some of the more…’wayward’…drivers like Phil into the mix here. If that’s the case, I think we see the scores go even lower than they were last year, and also hurt some of the shorter hitters.

So what does that necessarily mean for the course? The sight lines won’t change. Pete Dye is diabolical. He’s going to make you second guess yourself everywhere. But the penalty for missing the fairway won’t be near as much as it normally is. Add in that the course will likely be a little less firm and fast than when the tournament is in May and you have what I think may be a pretty soft test. We do have some data though on the course in March as the Players was playing March up until 2016.

What we see here is that the scoring average was actually a little higher in March. I take that with a bit of a grain salt as the scoring average as a whole is better now than it was then as the improvements in equipment, even in the last ten years has been drastic.

There are five par 4’s of over 450 yards this week and they all rank within the 10 hardest holes on the course. That being said, there is no real edge here in terms of targetting a specific skill set that we can target as TPC Sawgrass, like any Pete Dye course, is a true test of ALL facets of your game. The one area may be strokes-gained approach like usual. Add in that we have some of the smallest greens on tour this week, putting yourself in position to score will be huge. Anyone who strikes the ball well and puts just a little bit will be in contention this week.

You are going to hear A LOT about some players not being able to play at TPC Sawgrass. That their skill set doesn’t work here. That it’s a mental thing. I don’t believe that for a second. It may be a mental block for some guys, but that doesn’t mean they can get around that. I actually love playing the exact opposite of that narrative this week. Phil Mickelson can’t play here? Fine, give me double the field. I’ll take my chances on a world-class golfer figuring it out for the week (especially with the move back to March where for all intents and purposes it should play easier).

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Key Stats: 

Key Stats to look for this week –  Driving Accuracy, SG – Approach, Birdies Gained, Long Par 4 Scoring, Par 5 Scoring, Course History, and Projected Course Score.

You can find all of these key stats in our DFS Army research station accessible ONLY for our VIPs.

–> PGA Research Station <–

The Field:

In this section, I’ll cover who is in the field this week, the odds, any pricing discrepancies, and a few of my favorite plays on first look!

What a stacked field…can we go back to back this week with outrights?! We also get early Draftkings/Fanduel pricing because its the ‘fifth major’.

The world number one Dustin Johnson comes in with the shortest odds this week at +1200 as he returns to a course he has had a bit of success at recently with finishes of T17 and T12 in his last two go-rounds at TPC Sawgrass. He’s coming off a win in Mexico and if we look at areas where DJ has struggled here in the past, it’s with SG: Approach. He’s coming off a week where he gained over 7 strokes approach on similarly sized greens so while typically we don’t see the studs dominate here, there’s no reason to think DJ can’t win this week, especially if the rough isn’t as penal as recent years. His length off the tee likely won’t be as big of a deal, but regardless having a short iron into a lot of these greens should be huge for him.

Anytime we talk about ball-striking tournament, Justin Thomas is the first name that pops into my mind.  Even including a disastrous week with his irons at the Honda Classic, he’s gained over 3.5 strokes approach in his last five tournaments. He just crushes with the irons in his hands. Another key here this week will be being able to get up and down when you miss the greens, and JT has been fantastic in that aspect this year, gaining over 2 strokes ARG in his last five. He has finishes of 11, 75, 3, 24 in his four trips here and he’s been knocking on the door of a win all season long, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him contend this week.

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A player of Paul Casey’s caliber and form (3rd, 25th, 2nd, 2nd in his last four) should NOT be priced at 45-1 and $7900 on DK. Incredibly cheap for a player who also has back to back top 25 finishes here. He’s absolutely crushed it with approach lately. Putting has been a bit of an issue but on the overseeded Bermuda it should be a bit easier go for him here.

Deep on the odds board, there are a couple of players who are piquing my interest. Matt Wallace looks to capitalize on the form of last week that we were on and will likely continue that here as Sawgrass is an excellent fit for his game. We’ve seen TPC Sawgrass dominated by international players over the years and Wallace fits that bill. Other guys down below 90-1 that I find interesting are Byeong Hun An, Sungjae Im , Adam Hadwin, and Emiliano Grillo. 

There are a couple of obvious misprices on Draftkings that we can take advantage of this week. Paul Casey is the first, but also Gary Woodland and Lucas Glover. All three prevent great values considering their odds to win with those priced around them and throw in their course history here and we have a recipe for a great play.

The one thing about Draftkings and Fanduel this week though is that because this is considered the “5th Major” we get soft pricing. Meaning that it’s very easy to build a lineup that you love. In fact, you can build a lot of lineups you love and leave quite a bit of salary on the table. Playing the ownership game is going to be vitally important this week and I can’t wait to break it down more in depth, including ownership projections and pivots, in my weekly ‘Chalk Donkey’ article for our DFS Army VIPs!

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MLB Spring Training “Quick Hits” Advice for DFS Draftkings March 11th

Beat the Bookie Betting Card:

Something new I’m adding each week to this article is my personal betting card for the week for Outrights, First Round Leaders, Top 5’s and Top 10’s. The real bread and butter with golf betting is a tournament and round matchups but I’m saving those for our Beat the Bookie VIPs!

As a rule, I typically don’t bet many outrights under +3500 unless its an extremely weak field (DJ at the FedEx St. Jude last year comes to mind) It’s just not a +EV most weeks when you think about 156 guys teeing it up. Hitting 3-4 outrights a year is a fantastic year for most golf bettors. The return on investment of hitting an outright at 50-1 can pay for a long dry spell (which is fairly typical in golf betting if you are only playing Outrights, FRLs and T5/T10).

Last week was a HUGE week for this article and our bets that we provide for FREE every single week! +37.5 units!! Boom. That pays for a couple months of golf bets right there! Let’s see where we can get some value this week and try to hit another outright winner!

Starting off my card this week is an underrated Paul Casey. Casey has been on an absolute tear here in 2019 and while he hasn’t cracked the top 20 here yet, he is coming off two straight top 25’s. This is a great track for him and his only real struggle here over the years has been his around the green game, which seems to be a bit improved over the last year or so. I have some interest in Sergio Garcia who is a bit shorter here at 33-1 but Casey is about as low as I’m willing to go at this point.

Emiliano Grillo has been fantastic in his three trips around TPC Sawgrass and even the year he got cut he was great, just putted like an absolute donkey. Since that MC he has finished 11th and 37th and I make him a pretty good value at 90-1. Current form isn’t great, and I would like to get him at that 150-1 number on Bovada, but I’ll settle for 90-1 at a track he seems to love.

Matt Wallace finally found a way to contend…in his third start. He’s going to be a Ryder Cup regular and one of the players that come over and contends for a couple of months and at the majors every single year for the foreseeable future. I think 90-1 is pretty fair in this field, and even a bit of value.

Ballstrikers course? Benny An. I just auto bet him at this point. We’ve seen multiple players get their breakthrough win at this course and maybe its Benny’s time. He’s coming off one of his best performances putting of the year in rounds 2-4 (just forget about round one) at the API and hopefully he can continue to roll here.

Finally, Chesson Hadley rounds out my card of outrights. Chesson is 2 for 4 here in cuts made here over the years and got off to a HOT start last year as the first round leader. A tough round 3 left him fighting back on Sunday where he finished 11th. He’s playing some excellent golf right now including back to back top 20 finishes, mostly on the back of some unbelievable approach game. He struggled off the tee a bit though and this is a bit of a gut play though as he still hasn’t gained strokes off the tee at this event At 160-1 I like it.

I’ll have Head to Head and full tournament matchups posted for our Beat the Bookie VIPs on Wednesday. And there are some reaaaaly juicy ones this week! These are truly where you can make your money in golf betting, while not as sexy or as big as an outright win, they are much more profitable.

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Final Thoughts: 

This is a really fun week but there WILL be CARNAGE. It’s a Pete Dye Course with some of the best in the world, they can’t all make the cut. It’s still a great week for all formats, cash, gpp, multipliers, play it all but just temper expectations a bit. Crazy stuff happens. Tony Finau was well inside the cut line two years ago, coming off an eagle on 16 and made a quad on 17 hitting two water balls and missed the cut by one.

We will have content for you all through the week at DFS Army. Our research station and domination station optimizer will be updated on Tuesday and I will have my full Chalk Donkey article breaking down all the ownership and GPP strategy for our VIP’s on Tuesday night! If you aren’t a VIP yet, use code UPNORTH for 20% your first month!

Also, give me a follow on twitter @dfsupnorth as I’ll be posting updates there as well as useful retweets leading up to this weeks event!

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Editor’s Note – Simply click this link >> FREEROLL << for your share of a nearly overlay-guaranteed shot at free money courtesy of FantasyDraft and DFS Army….