Gdula's Golf Simulations and Betting Picks: TOUR Championship
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.
Over the years, I have made plenty of tweaks to my original golf model, which uses a combination of the OWGR's field strength numbers and datagolf's field strength numbers to adjust each golfer's score relative to the field (on the PGA Tour, the European Tour, and the Korn Ferry Tour).
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. From there, a golfer's adjusted stroke data is combined with their round-to-round variance to see how the field is likely to perform when playing out the event thousands of times.
In addition to that long-term adjusted form, I factor in course-level adjustments for course fit.
I run a second model that uses more granular strokes gained data, which allows me to very easily adjust for course fit. The results are averaged out.
I let the data do the talking and don't make many tweaks -- if any. Golfers with a small sample get regressed to a low-end PGA Tour player to round out their samples. Data points are weighted more heavily toward recent performance.
Here are the most likely winners for the TOUR Championship, according to the models.
|Erik van Rooyen||$7,000||0.1%||6.9%||+21000|
Okay, so this week, we have some net scoring to deal with, as the field will be starting with strokes under par based on their FedEx Cup standings -- excluding the bottom five in the field, who start at even par.
This leads to some pretty wild swings in win odds.
The Round 0, Patrick Cantlay, should be the most likely winner, according to the models. Cantlay's odds are only +380, but he will have a two-shot lead on everyone in the field and a shot per round's worth over all but Tony Finau (8-under) and Bryson DeChambeau (7-under). Cantlay does rate as a positive expected value based on the model. He's not getting enough love with his advantage over the field, per the simulation model.
Jon Rahm will be starting at 6-under par and is rating out as 18.9% likely to net the win. He, Finau, and DeChambeau are ranking as overrated, though.
Value starts to emerge at 4-under, which is admittedly a tall task to overcome -- at least subjectively.
I'll have interest in Cantlay because the model likes him so much, but +380 odds don't really do it for me personally. Spieth, Cameron Smith (+2200, starting 5-under), Burns, Morikawa, and Brooks Koepka (+5000, starting 2-under) are where I'm honing in.