Faves & Fades Waste Management Phoenix Open

Faves & Fades: The 3 Best Players To Bet On and Avoid at the 2021 Waste Management Phoenix Open

Time for another installment of Faves & Fades. If you’re new to the program, my Faves are foundational high upside players I expect to contend to win the Phoenix Open, relative to their odds value. Fades are players I’m actively avoiding in DFS and targeting to pick against in Matchups due to poor Course Fit or Recent Form.

Before we begin, it’s important for me to note that I’m not actively fading anyone sub-40/1 this week (Rahm, JT, Xander, Rory, Webb, Berger, Hideki, Sungjae, English). It would not surprise me at all if any of them won this week, especially with the track record that OWGR Top-20 players have had here. But I’m not a high volume DFS player, nor am I someone that goes out and places sub-20/1 outrights, so the Faves I’ve highlighted below are the ones I’m ready to take a stand on and build my week around.

Since it’s Super Bowl week, I’d be remiss not to plug one of my favorite Sportsbooks, BetUS. They’re running some crazy sign up bonuses this week, and as someone who always shops for the best price out there, I definitely recommend checking them out before you lock in your card. I’m placing my Matchups bets on there this week, and if you’re interested, you can check out their odds here.

Faves

Xander Schauffele (+900 BetUS)

Gun to my head: JT, Rahm, or Xander, I’m going with the X man this week. Nothing against JT or Rahm, I’m sure they’ll finish T10 here, maybe even each T5. But there is just nothing about Xander’s game coming into this week you can’t poke holes in. He’s #1 in the Field SG: TOT whether you look at the last 36 or 50 rounds played, so we’re getting a slight discount on him as the 3rd favorite, +900.

If I’m looking for a path to leverage over the other top guys, JT is coming off a missed cut his last start in Abu Dhabi, sprayed his driver all over Kapalua in his last PGA start at the Sentry, and will continue to have to answer to questions about the Ralph Lauren F-bomb controversy. Jon Rahm has looked rock solid in 2021, but I still have some mild concerns with the equipment change, mainly his putting without the ole reliable Spider.

Xander comes in squeaky clean with back to back T5s and 3 T20s in his 3 career starts at the WMPO. If I go stars and scrubs this week, I’m starting with him.

Daniel Berger (+1800 BetUS)

I’ve been patiently waiting for the right time to jump on Daniel Berger and I can confidently say the time is now. Since the Phoenix Open last year, Berger has played 17 events and finished T10 in 9 of them. That includes back to back T10s in his last two events coming in and a T9 in his last trip to the WMPO.

On these unique greens at TPC Scottsdale, Berger ranks #2 SG: P. He’s an under-valued elite player in the field this week and if the putter stays hot along with his always strong T2G game, he’ll give us something to sweat come Sunday.

Hideki Matsuyama (+2000 BetUS)

Few players dominate a course as consistently as Hideki Matsuyama dominates TPC Scottsdale. In 6 career starts at the WMPO, he’s finished 16, 15, 1, 1, 2, 4. Even if he missed his last 3 or 4 cuts coming into this event, I think I’d still give him a hard look at 20/1 coming into this event. But he hasn’t. In fact, in his last 14 events, he’s gained strokes T2G in 11 of them, including a T2 Finish at the Houston Open and T3 at the BMW in that span. Of course with Hideki, there’s always the Putting to be concerned with, as he’s gained strokes Putting in only 3 of those last 14 events.

But as I’ve said all week, TPC Scottsdale is Putting purgatory, and the worst putters on Tour have still managed to find success here. Though Hideki is basically ranked dead last on Tour in recent Putting, he is 65th in this Field Putting at the WMPO. That’s above average! This is probably the only week of the year that I can say “I’m not too concerned with Hideki Matsuyama’s Putting”, and if we’re all past that, then his #1 T2G, Ball Striking, and Approach ranks at the Waste Management Phoenix Open speak for themselves.

Fades

Rickie Fowler (+3500 BetUS)

Nothing against Rickie Fowler the person, he’s a great standup guy and lifelong ambassador for the game of golf. If he wins this week, I’ll eat my words and give the man a standing ovation. But if we’re talking about value, I’m avoiding Rickie Fowler during Super Bowl week where more casual sports fans may come in to inflate his ownership and drive down his betting odds.

Sure, the Course History is good for the former 2019 champion who carries 3 other T5s to his name here. But I’m talking about current Rickie, not past Rickie, and we haven’t even seen a T20 from him in his last 10 starts dating back to August. He’s been toying around with equipment and swing changes and has slipped to the point where his OWGR ranking is in jeopardy of not qualifying for The Masters for the first time. So if he’s still going to gain public popularity, this is not where I want to buy low.

Jason Day (+5500 BetUS)

Fading Jason Day last week gave us a nice little pay day in the Australian Cage match Matchup vs Adam Scott. After what I saw last week, I’m ready to go back to the anti-Day well once again, especially at this 55/1 price. Day has gone through a well publicized revamp of his golf bag this year, with a Frankenstein mix of Ping Driver, SIM fairway woods, Mizuno irons, Artisan wedges, Odyssey Putter, and Bridgestone balls. That sounds like a veteran trying to experiment and find something, not a guy who’s dialed in to win a golf tournament in a loaded field like this.

Day has not played this event since 2013 where he finished T57 and has lost strokes T2G in 8 of his last 9 events.

The generous folks at BetUS are gift wrapping us Bubba Watson -150 vs Jason Day. When he misses the cut on Friday you can parlay those winnings over to your Super Bowl prop fund.

Matt Kuchar (+7000 BetUS)

The PGA Heel power rankings probably go Patrick Reed #1, Bryson DeChambeau #2, and Matt Kuchar #3. Since Reed and Bryson are off at the Saudi International this week, we’re left to pray on Kuch’s downfall at the Phoenix Open.

He’s gaining popularity this week because of his flawless Course History at the WMPO, which includes 7/7 Cuts made and 4 consecutive T20s. However, Kuchar comes into this event with some of the worst recent form we’ve ever seen from him. Normally a top-class putter, Kuchar has lost strokes Putting in 6 of his last 8 events, compounded by the fact he’s also lost strokes T2G in 5 of his last 8 events. His best finish in the last 5 months was a T34 at the Shriners.

This just isn’t the Matt Kuchar we’ve been used to seeing at these events in years past so I’m fading the chances of him tapping into any of the Course History magic this week.