Gdula's Golf Simulations and Betting Picks: ANA Inspiration
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.
Unfortunately, data for the LPGA Tour isn't nearly as robust as it is on other professional golf tours, so my simulations are based on long-term, round-by-round scoring, with each round adjusted for the field average for the given day. Golfers without a robust sample will have their data regressed to a Tour-average mark to avoid any extreme outliers.
Unsurprisingly, the Women's World Golf Rankings (WWGR a.k.a. the Rolex Rankings) correlates strongly to adjusted strokes gained average, so with simple regression analysis, I can apply it to generate an estimated strokes gained average. I combine the two and use it to simulate out the event.
Here are the most likely winners for the ANA Inspiration, according to the model.
|Jin Young Ko||5.1%||+900|
|Sei Young Kim||4.5%||+2000|
|Hyo Joo Kim||2.9%||+1200|
|So Yeon Ryu||1.9%||+2000|
|In Gee Chun||1.7%||+2900|
|Jodi Ewart Shadoff||0.7%||+10000|
|Sung Hyun Park||0.7%||+9000|
|Nanna Koerstz Madsen||0.5%||+27000|
|Mi Hyang Lee||0.5%||+15000|
|A Lim Kim||0.5%||+9000|
|Emily Kristine Pedersen||0.5%||+10000|
|Mi Jung Hur||0.5%||+12000|
Inbee Park is understandably the chalk at +800 on FanDuel Sportsbook. She's a seven-time major winner (including the ANA Inspiration back in 2013) and just won the Kia Classic last week. Still, +800 odds are hard to get behind from a strict, value-based standpoint.
Nelly Korda (+1100) and Danielle Kang (+1400), according to the model, are both a bit overrated but less so than Park and Jin Young Ko (+900). A win for Korda would be a breakthrough victory for the 22-year-old, as she has a top-10 in four of the five LPGA majors and a top-25 at all five already. Kang won the Women's PGA Championship in 2017 and has finished top-11 at the ANA Inspiration in each of the past two seasons.
Sei Young Kim (+2000) rates out as the strongest value among the favorites (despite still being a tad overvalued). Kim won the 2020 Women's PGA Championship by five shots over Park. She finished 14-under par, and only eight total golfers were under par.
Really, the value starts to pop up around Carlota Ciganda (+6500) and Sophia Popov (+8000). Ciganda as finished top-10 in all five majors at some point in her career by age 30. Popov won the AIG Women's Open at Royal Troon last year at seven-under par. Only four other golfers were better than even.
Other long shots who could be in the mix for top-10 bets the major is keeping me off of many long shot bets) include Jennifer Song, Mel Reid, Anna Nordqvist, Caroline Masson, and Georgia Hall.
Because it's a major, I don't want to dig too far down the board. My favorite outright plays this week are Danielle Kang, Sei Young Kim, Carlota Ciganda, and Sophia Popov.