Gdula's Golf Simulations: Mayakoba Golf Classic

The Mayakoba Golf Classic is up for grabs. Which golfers offer he best betting value this week?

Volatility is the name of the game in golf, and picking winners isn't easy. With fields of 150-plus golfers sometimes being separated by how a putt or two falls each week, predicting golf can be absurdly tough.

We'll never be able to capture everything that goes into a golfer's expectations for a week, but we can try to account for that by simulating out the weekend and seeing what happens.

The Process

I'll keep it simple: I track weekly results from the PGA Tour, the European Tour, the Korn Ferry Tour, and the Japan Golf Tour.

Using a combination of the OWGR's field strength numbers and datagolf's field strength numbers, I adjust each golfer's score relative to the field. The ultimate goal is to place a score from the Waste Management Open, the BMW International Open, and the Knoxville Open on level playing fields. This adjusted strokes metric lets me see how golfers are performing across all tours.

Their adjusted stroke data is combined with their round-to-round variance to see how the field is likely to perform when playing the event out thousands of times.

Here are the results for the Mayakoba Golf Classic.

Top Win Odds

Golfer Wins FanDuel
Golfer Wins FanDuel
Matt Kuchar 3.5% +1600 Billy Horschel 3.3% +2200
Viktor Hovland 3.1% +1400 Jason Day 3.0% +1600
Tony Finau 2.6% +1600 Kevin Kisner 2.2% +3700
Joaquin Niemann 2.1% +2700 Chez Reavie 2.1% +4100
Rory Sabbatini 2.0% +5000 Scottie Scheffler 2.0% +3300
Scott Piercy 2.0% +8000 Charles Howell III 1.9% +3100
Keegan Bradley 1.8% +4100 Vaughn Taylor 1.6% +10000
Keith Mitchell 1.6% +12000 Dylan Frittelli 1.6% +4500
Russell Knox 1.5% +3300 Brian Harman 1.4% +5000
Harold Varner III 1.3% +5000 Abraham Ancer 1.3% +2900
Jhonattan Vegas1.3% +10000 Kevin Streelman 1.2% +7000
Mark Hubbard 1.2% +12000 Lanto Griffin 1.2% +4500
Joel Dahmen 1.2% +10000 JT Poston 1.2% +4500
Kevin Chappell 1.1% +12000 Juan Sebastian Munoz 1.1% +5000
Denny McCarthy1.0% +4500 Aaron Wise 1.0% +3100
Emiliano Grillo 1.0% +3400 Fabian Gomez 1.0% +9000
Cameron Champ 1.0% +5000 Matt Jones 0.9% +10000
Cameron Tringale 0.9% +6000 Harris English 0.9% +5500

With 33 golfers owning at least a 1.0% win chance -- and nobody above 3.5% -- this is a week to target value when we can find it.

The low win equity at the top also makes the favorites -- Viktor Hovland (+1400 on FanDuel Sportsbook), Matt Kuchar (+1600), Jason Day (+1600), and Tony Finau (+1600) -- look overpriced from an expected value standpoint. Billy Horschel (+2200) doesn't outperform his odds in the win model but is closest to do so among the top five.

Picking one to back and soaking up value lower down the list is a viable way to build a betting card this week, though.

Kevin Kisner (+3700), Chez Reavie (+4100), and Keegan Bradley (+4100) are right around break-even in the win simulations. Reavie has finished top-26 here in three straight years. Kisner missed the cut last year. Bradley has two top-15s in as many tries but hasn't played El Camaleon since 2016.

Scott Piercy (+8000) stands out as a value play but has lost strokes in six of his past seven events, so I don't think I'll be trusting the model here. Likewise, Vaughn Taylor (+10000) rates out well but has lost strokes in four straight events. Really, trusting the long-term form is most predictive, so I could be scaring myself off of strong plays, but they'd be better suited for top-10s and top-20s based on the recent form.

Loading up on long shots isn't the worst play this week. Keith Mitchell (+12000) in particular. He has a 1.6% chance to win the Mayakoba. The dreadful putter should get an advantage on the slow paspalum greens. The model also (and always) likes Jhonattan Vegas (+10000).

Kevin Chappell (+12000) is a third long shot in play based on the model. Chappell had lost strokes tee to green in two of his events since returning from a 10-month layoff before picking up 2.0 at the Houston Open.