“Always Bet with Your Head, Not Your Heart”

Jeff Bergerson
By Jeff Bergerson December 9, 2014 18:11

I have always had the “Action” gene in my body. By “Action” I mean betting, gambling, laying odds, putting money on, etc. I can remember as a young child picking NFL games with my Dad every Sunday morning, where whoever picked the most winners won the grand prize pool of $2. At that time all I was really basing my picks upon was the coolness of each team’s logo on their helmet. How cool were the Patriots old helmets by the way? As I began to follow the actual games closer and became more capable of formulating an opinion based upon watching and research, I started including the spreads and strategically brought in my Mom and sister into the contest every weekend to increase the pot size ($4).

My thirst for “Action” continued through grade school as I would bet on anything and everything with my best friends, Zach, Tony, and Rocky. From basketball games in my parents driveway, to intense billiards games, to fantasy football starting in1986 (we were 8 years old), to betting on Trivial Pursuit (yes I said we bet on Trivial Pursuit). We had to have money riding on everything. In high school, I would set the lines on games and proposition bets that would rival a Las Vegas sportsbook. Being from Minnesota, everybody in school was of course a homer and rooted for the Twins, Vikings, and Timberwolves and thus wanted to always bet on them. Not me, because my Dad always taught me to “always bet with your head, not my heart”. So I took advantage of my classmates hometown bias and bet against the Minnesota teams all of the time. For those of you who are familiar with Minnesota sports at all, you will quickly realize I made a lot of money. It is alright to disclose that I bet frequently in school, right? There must be some sort of statute of limitations at this point I would think.

Anyway, what is the whole point of telling you about my wagering filled childhood and how in the world does it help you become a better fantasy golf player? It is all based upon my Dad’s advice “always bet with your head, not your heart”. Phil Mickelson is easily the most likable golfer on the PGA tour and has been for many years. He is personally my favorite golfer as I just love his demeanor and overall temperament. I bet that guy signs more autographs, shakes more hands, and tosses out more of his golf balls than the rest of the players on the PGA Tour combined. Lefty always answers reporter’s questions without being snide or smug no matter how ridiculous the questions may be. His popularity is enormous and this is evident by how many people pick him while playing fantasy golf event after event, no matter how poorly he is playing. In 2014 Mickelson played in 21 tour events, missed 3 cuts, withdrew from 3 events, and only placed in the top 10 one time. From missing five foot puts consistently to going back and forth over the green from bunker to bunker at The Masters, he clearly could not find his A game (or C game for that matter). Yet, people continued to pick him week after week, for undoubtedly no other reason than they like him and they want to root for him.

Is there another golfer that you can think of that people seem to root for no matter what? HMMMM let me think. I will give you one guess. You got it, good old Eldrick. I am absolutely baffled as to why people continue to pick him in season long leagues as well as daily fantasy golf contests despite his year plus long slump. Oh yeah, for those of you who don’t know Eldrick is Tiger Woods. All those memories of his fist pumps, major victories, clutch putts, miraculous shots, and his golf ball posing on the edge of the cup before dropping, all stick in people’s hearts. Not mine. I have not picked Tiger on any team, in any league, for any reason in over 12 months. Those people who bet with their hearts and continued to pick Tiger in 2014 were disappointed and lost their money. He was an absolute disaster and up until the writing of this article still has not found the form he had in 2013. I recently entered a tournament on Draftkings for the Hero World Challenge in December featuring 18 golfers including Tiger Woods. The tournament cost $200 to enter and had 60 fantasy golfers in the contest. Keep in mind that coming into that event, in his previous 7 tournaments throughout 2014, Tiger had missed 2 cuts, withdrawn from 2 events, and did not make a single top 10. Yes, he did have surgery, which was supposed to fix all his problems, but nobody had seen him yet. What percentage of the fantasy golfers do you think chose Tiger Woods on their roster for that tournament? The answer: 25% of the field. 15 fantasy golfers of the 60 player field chose Tiger Woods. You cannot seriously tell me that those people were betting with their heads. They obviously could not escape all those fond memories in their hearts of Tigers past dominance. Anyway, if you do not recall, Tiger Woods tied for 17th place in the Hero World Challenge, dead last. His game was obviously not sharp as his chipping looked like mine around the greens after I have hit up the cart gal for cocktails multiple times already. Yet, I guarantee despite that performance, people will still continue to choose Tiger Woods in their fantasy golf contests the next possible time they can.

Let me be clear, I am in no way saying that I will never again pick Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods or anybody else that comes along that is a favorite of the masses. What I am saying is that I will not choose them for the reason that I like them and want to be able to root for them to have success. If their current form is good, I see them as a value pick, or there are signs that they are on the cusp of a breakout, I will back them with my hard earned money. But not before then and not because I want to be able to cheer for them.

I continue to see people pick their favorite golfers despite all evidence pointing in the direction to avoid them. Just like my fellow high schoolers who year after year thought that it was the season that the Twins or Vikings would win the big one. The lesson to be learned from this article is that no matter what golfer you love to watch and root for today or into the future, be sure to separate your feelings from your fantasy golf. If the statistics and your research say that your favorite player belongs on your roster, please take him, but only do it for that reason.
If your goal is to put your money on a player that you want to root for rather than make money on, I wish you the best of luck. I however am going to keep acting on the valuable advice that my Dad taught me at an early age to “bet with my head, not my heart” and continue to make money.


Jeff Bergerson is a co-founder of Fantasy Golf Insider.com, fantasy golf expert and has been following and writing about fantasy golf for over five years. He is a member of multiple season long fantasy golf leagues as well as an avid daily fantasy golf player. In the past 12 months he has won over $63,000 playing fantasy golf on Draftkings.com as jtbergerson. Feel free to contact Jeff at jeff@fantasygolfinsider.com or visit Fantasy Golf Insider.Com

Jeff Bergerson
By Jeff Bergerson December 9, 2014 18:11

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