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PGA Best Bets for The Northern Trust: Xander Schauffele vs. Francesco Molinari

We’re back with more PGA best bets just in time tor the first week of the playoffs. The Northern Trust is the event, and we’re heading out to Liberty National Golf Course — a Par 71 that plays over 7,350 yards.

Books are offering Xander Schauffele (-120) vs. Francesco Molinari (+105) for the tournament. Even at -120, the model loves Schauffele this week.

Model Results

For an explanation of what the model numbers mean, head over to this article over on RotoViz, but we’re looking for the lower score, and Schauffele has a clear edge this week. 

Course Fit

Long par 71 courses don’t exactly scream Francesco Molinari. The 2018 Open Champion hasn’t fared well on courses above 7,300 yards. He hits fewer greens, gains fewer strokes tee to green, and putts worse (due to mediocre proximity) on longer courses, per the RotoViz Splits App. 

Schauffele, on the other hand, has strong splits on longer courses. This year, in particular, he’s outperformed his baseline on long courses, hitting more fairways, more greens, and gaining more strokes in all of our relevant categories for this week. 

Recent Form

Schauffele has a reputation for performing better in stronger fields. He hasn’t been totally on his A-game lately, but outside of a hiccup here and there, the ball-striking has been good.

He put together a strong final round in tough conditions at Royal Portrush to finish in 11th place the last time we saw him. His results lately leave a lot to be desired, though.

Since his collapse at the Masters, he’s made just a half dozen starts. Molinari has only finished inside of the Top 45 twice since then. 

Historical Matchups

Since Schauffele burst onto the scene, he’s dominated Molinari on a head-to-head since joining the tour. His current all-time record stands at 21-15-2 over the Italian, per Fantasy National. If you narrow that down to this year, it’s even worse with Xander holding a 6-3 record over the Molinari.

All roads point to Schauffele cruising in this matchup, and if the vig moves, I’d play it to -125. 

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