2023 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play PGA DFS: Unique Format Poses Unique Challenges

The format for this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event poses unique challenges for PGA DFS. Like any week, DFS players need to roster six golfers within a $50,000 salary cap on DraftKings and $60,000 on FanDuel. However, the match play format creates a dilemma since golfers will be eliminated in each round as the tournament begins with sixteen group’s of four golfers, then moves to a Top-16 in head-to-heads, Top-8 and so on until a winner is crowned.

It’s the perfect golf analog to March Madness, with a bracket that resembles the NCAA Tournament.

Fans can get excited for the new format, but PGA DFS players need to be careful. Once a golfer is eliminated, they can’t accrue points. A lineup that includes two golfers facing each other will be guaranteed to lose a spot with no possibility for a 6/6 heading into the round of eight. Those lineups are in effect, drawing dead.

Capturing the randomness of volatility in any sporting event is often best done by an optimizer, and those using Fantasy Cruncher or any other optimizer will want to be aware of this going in. In fact, Fantasy Cruncher is making this easy by integrating custom settings designed for match play to insure lineups are built with at least one golfer that can enter distinct rounds of eight.

DFS players are getting sharper and becoming more aware of how to build for PGA match play events. But according to DFS pro’s James McCool and Jeremy King who did some digging into last year’s numbers, roughly 20% of the field built lineups that simply couldn’t be optimal. That means you can get an edge just by building lineups that can hit the optimal.

Doing so is absolutely necessary in mid- to large-field DFS tournaments. In cash games or very small contests you can stick closer to the optimal projected lineup. But as PGA DFS GPPs get larger you will need to build to hit the optimal. Given that there are only 64 golfers in the field and that a significant portion of DFS players are aware of how the match play format impacts lineup construction, the optimal is going to be necessary.

Likewise, DFS players must be mindful of duplication in this format. The number of plus EV lineups is much lower than normal weeks. Stokastic’s PGA DFS ownership projections will be crucial this week. And check out the Stokastic PGA DFS projections, which has both scoring data and PGA DFS ownership projections. Stokastic PGA DFS projections come out on Monday and will be updated throughout the week.

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Projections and optimizers are critical to sound DFS play. It’s also important to get a feel for the qualitative elements that affect a tournament, and those course dynamics and histories, recent play stats and other key insights that lie behind the numbers. Stokastic’s early look for Dell Match Play covers all this from a DFS perspective for DraftKings and FanDuel. We’ll continue to have updates until lock on Wednesday.

And if you’re looking for other PGA best bets? OddsShopper’s shop pages allow you to find the lines and data you need to make your best PGA bet.


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