The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – AT&T Byron Nelson

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte May 16, 2018 03:42

Another notch in the belt for the Crystal Ball this past weekend made us all a lot of money in what was probably the least stressful sweat I have ever had in my life. I have been talking about it for weeks so hopefully it is starting to resonate with you: Jeff puts in the time doing the research in the fall to make your lives easier when the new year rolls around. He absolutely killed it in 2016 & 2017 and is now on his way to another epic year in 2018 after a bit of a slow start. Just in the last six weeks, we’ve hit Patrick Reed (60-1) at The Masters, Andrew Landry (150-1) at Valero, Alexander Bjork (40-1) in China and now Webb Simpson (80-1) at The Players Championship. Plus, we had plenty of hedge equity in place with Bryson DeChambeau and Aaron Wise at the RBC Heritage and Wells Fargo Championship meaning that if you have played your cards right, you could have locked in a winning week for each of the last six weeks!

I bring this up as this has already been a monumental week in terms of the Supreme Court decision which overturned PASPA, the former law that put the lockdown on states from legalizing sports gambling. This law was complete trash when it was instituted and the court was absolutely correct in determining that while Congress has the power to regulate sports gambling directly, but they cannot stop states from allowing it. Whatever your thoughts are on government in general, there is nothing that makes me more angry than flagrant inconsistencies in how laws are applied across the country. How it has always been okay to turn a blind eye to Nevada for sports gambling, but to then put the clamps on other states made my head spin. Listening to the leagues trying to make the argument that they needed to protect the ‘integrity’ of game was absolutely laughable. Even now, the owners within each league are sticking their greasy hands out trying to take as big of a slice of whatever fees come along with the new legislation in each state. Estimates peg ‘illegal’ sports gambling in the US to be anywhere from $150-400 BILLION per year depending on who you are quoting as a source. That’s B as in BILLION, folks. The ship has sailed on protecting the integrity of the game from gambling. If gambling is going to affect the outcome of contests, then the framework that has been in place for decades has been about as poor of a system as possible for protecting the sanctity of sporting events with about 95% of the action taking place on the black market where there is no ability to monitor it in any meaningful way.

So what does this mean for you moving forward as a citizen and a consumer? If you live in the right state, you are in luck. New Jersey led the fight for state’s rights and is going to be ready to go after passing a law four years ago to legalize sports gambling. They estimate that they should be able to be up and running within a matter of weeks so congratulations to the Garden State on having its act together and being ready to go. Pennsylvania, Delaware, Mississippi and New York look to be following closely on the trail blazed by New Jersey and I would expect each of those states to have something in place by the end of the year and opening the doors by 2019. How about your home state? Well, that’s where things get tricky. If you live in a state like Minnesota, this is where you circus music kicks in and we get to watch with baited breath as some of the dumbest coalitions in all of politics come out of the woodwork to slow legislation to a grinding halt.

In Minnesota, the DFS debate could not be more comical than what we have seen in recent years. After passing a bill with overwhelming support in the House in 2016, the 2018 version was roundly defeated last month in a bill that would have clarified the legal standing here in the state. Though Minnesota has dozen of ways in which individuals can play the lottery or lose money at the many casinos around the state, we still get to hear wisdom such as this: “My concern with this is that we have many of our constituents that have issues with compulsive gambling,” Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Mpls) said. “A bill like this needs to have additional resources attached to it. We need to be treating this illness.” Other beauties included this from Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) said there isn’t “any groundswell from Minnesotans who want” the bill. The fantasy sports industry, he said, is “utilizing government” to make itself legitimate. “I’m not hearing any support of this bill from any one of my constituents. Not one,” he said. “This is full of swamp water.” Swamp water? I guess the logic here is that if the folks in Mazeppa aren’t clambering for it then it is not worth getting educated on. I would expect nothing less from the legislators that run our state.

Why do I bring up this debate? It is coming to your state and if it is anything like we have seen the last few years, you can expect to feel a range of emotions depending on how intellectually honest your local reps are willing to be about the issue. Most states allow some (many) forms of gambling to take place whether it be through lotteries, pull tabs, brick and mortar casinos or racetracks. In Minnesota, we have all of the above. Betting on sports seems like a logical extension of what is already in place. However, if your state is like mine, much of the fight will revolve around how much control the Native Americans end up with when the laws pass in each state. While anything outside of sitting at my phone or computer is of little interest to me, the tribes will do everything they can to make sure that the money flows through their doors which will slow the progress of many of the bills for years. You will see politicians of all parties suddenly finding reasons why gambling should not be expanded while receiving contributions from groups like these behind the scenes. Protectionist democrats will form absurd coalitions with those on the right who simply oppose any sort of gambling and we will see efforts stall in many states over the next few years. You will need to be vocal on this issue in order to make sure that these coalitions can be broken. What was a great victory for us yesterday is only the beginning of a long battle which is now in front of us.

What does this mean for DFS? It likely means that most states will see efforts to curtail it as a waste of time now that the writing is on the wall for ‘games of skill’ and gambling moving forward. We are already seeing momentum in a couple of new states this year to pass some type of sports gambling legislation so overall, I think that this decision will help to foster a certain amount of confidence that DFS is here to stay and that while gambling on games and golfers may grow much more dramatically, that this should spur a moderate amount of growth in the DFS world as a niche way for fantasy lovers to get in on a specific type of action.

What I am really excited about is to watch the transition for both DraftKings and FanDuel over the next few years. Both have stated that they will enter the sports gambling side of the business as soon as possible and with the infrastructure already in place, I am hoping that in the years ahead, we will be able to play our DFS contests and make all of our wagers through these sites directly. Gone will be the days where we are forced offshore to a handful of shady sites where we get mediocre odds at best and downright awful odds at worst. With sites like DK and FD competing with each other as well as other players entering the space, it will force the oddsmakers to be competitive with their numbers each week which will be hugely favorable for our pursuits in the golf world.

What that means for you as a member of Team FGI is that we are going to be doing everything we can to devote even more attention to the betting side of professional golf. Obviously, not everyone will be able to take advantage of this immediately, but it will be something that we continue to expand upon throughout the remainder of the year and into 2019. If you have specific ideas for content or tools that you would like to see, be sure to shoot us an email and we will take note of everything that comes through to us as we want to make sure that we continue to offer you the best coverage and tools available.

With all of that said, there is still the tournament to talk about this week. Fortunately, we had that big news from the Supreme Court to lead in with as the tournament this week has one of the softer fields that we have seen all year outside of Punta Cana. The AT&T Byron Nelson takes place down in Dallas and although there are a handful of notable names at the top of the salary tiers that week, the solid players that we usually see in the middle range between $7500-9000 are largely absent this week. Often times I like to talk about the Matt Kuchar spectrum of pricing on DK because it varies so much due to field strength. At a major, we might get Kuch for $7,600. At an event like this, he is $10,700. Based upon where Kuch is priced for an event, you can almost immediately figure out how strong or weak that field is for the tournament. This week, he is the second highest priced golfer which means that the field is incredibly weak.

Events like this are an interesting opportunity for DFS golf owners. The initial instinct is to shy away and maybe not play too much, but I would say that if you enjoy the GPP structure to go ahead and play your usual amount or even a little more than normal. I say this as a true fan of the sport. If you are like me and you are spending time each and every week watching these events, regardless of who is playing, you should be developing a certain level of expertise about the players in the field, even if it is a little weaker than normal. The fact that it is weaker may even offer a distinct advantage as other owners fumble around without as many obvious plays on the board. Now, if you are more of a novice, I would say it is better to take it easy this week and to start gearing up more for the Memorial in a couple of weeks. This is not the time to get fancy with a lot of cash games when the field is so full of landmines. There will be plenty of $8k and up players that miss the cut this week so building a cash roster is really not going to be a lot different than that for a GPP. We want to play more cash games when we can take advantage of softer pricing and more predictable cut conditions. On a new course for the tournament and with a weak field, the 50/50 contests lose their luster for me this week.

The course itself is Trinity Forest, a landfill just a few short years ago and now one of the most unique stops on tour this year. Go ahead and take a minute to look at some images of the course online. My first impression is that it reminds me of a few of the other links style courses that we have seen in recent years at Chambers Bay, Whistling Straits and Erin Hills. Things are wide open off the tee with expansive, rolling fairways with strategically placed bunkers all around that will need to be carefully avoided. There is no rough to speak of here so if by chance you do get a little wild, you are going to be in one hell of a mess. Now, the key here, as is the case with other links style courses is whether or not the wind comes into play. There are no trees on this course so when the winds are up, they are going to create havoc for the players, but as we saw last year at Erin Hills, these types of courses can also be vulnerable to a lot of scoring if the winds stay away. In looking at the weather, my guess is that we will get a lot of scoring on Thursday as the winds are not at all a factor in the opening round for either the AM or PM wave. Friday, the gusts are high up to around 22 mph for most of the day, but the steady state are supposed to be much lower Friday morning going from 6 mph at 7am up to 16 mph by 4pm. My thoughts on tee times would be to favor the PM/AM wave and to build roughly 20-25% of your teams based upon that with 5% as AM/PM just as a small contrarian hedge since it is unlikely many other owners will think to do that.

The course is a Par 71, and just under 7,400 yards with three Par 5 holes. There is no water this week so that eliminates one of the headaches we have had to deal with in recent weeks, however, when you see the words ‘unknown’ or ‘native area’ this week, your heart should sink as these are going to be very challenging brush filled areas to hit out of. This is a second shot course. Off the tee, the fairways will play fast and with all of the hills and undulation, it is almost looks like you are firing the ball into a pinball machine. Placement off the tee is important in avoiding unusual or difficult lies on the fairway as this is a course of angles so certain parts of the fairway will set up much more favorably than others for an approach shot. The greens here are enormous, the biggest we will see on tour all year and sloped at the edges with difficult bunkers guarding many of them. It’s not quite like other links courses where you can play a bump and run style around the greens as many of them appear to be raised making precision iron and wedge play more important than normal as well as scrambling as the greens are set up to cause the players high levels of frustration.

Key Stats

Strokes Gained Tee to Green: 25%
Strokes Gained Putting: 15%
Birdie or Better Percentage: 15%
Srambling: 15%
Par 5 Scoring: 10%
Proximity: 10%
Strokes Gained Approach: 10%

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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte May 16, 2018 03:42

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