Gdula's Golf Simulations and Betting Picks: Shriners Children's Open

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

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 Shriners Children's Open, according to the models, and their Golf odds win odds.

Golfer FanDuel
Win% Top-
Viktor Hovland$11,9004.3%25.1%74.6%+2000
Louis Oosthuizen$11,4004.3%24.4%73.9%+3000
Abraham Ancer$11,8004.0%23.6%73.1%+3000
Brooks Koepka$12,0003.6%22.6%72.2%+2000
Webb Simpson$11,5003.4%23.5%73.3%+3000
Paul Casey$10,7003.3%22.6%71.8%+3500
Scottie Scheffler$11,6003.2%23.2%73.2%+2500
Sam Burns$11,7003.1%21.7%71.2%+2500
Corey Conners$10,6002.8%20.3%70.4%+3500
Patrick Reed$10,5002.4%18.9%69.2%+3400
Hideki Matsuyama$11,0002.4%19.2%69.1%+3000
Will Zalatoris$11,2002.3%18.6%69.0%+3000
Harris English$10,9002.3%19.5%69.7%+3200
Joaquin Niemann$10,0002.2%16.6%67.5%+4800
Cameron Tringale$10,2002.0%17.8%68.5%+4500
Kevin Na$10,4002.0%17.4%67.6%+3000
Jason Kokrak$10,1001.9%14.7%65.0%+3700
Sungjae Im$10,8001.9%16.7%67.3%+3200
Brian Harman$9,7001.7%13.8%64.3%+7000
Charley Hoffman$9,7001.7%14.6%64.3%+4500
Talor Gooch$9,4001.5%12.7%62.2%+8000
Adam Scott$9,9001.4%12.7%62.6%+4900
Ian Poulter$9,2001.3%12.2%62.2%+13000
Si Woo Kim$10,3001.3%13.3%62.6%+3700
Russell Henley$9,5001.3%12.1%61.5%+7000
Kevin Streelman$9,4001.3%12.5%62.4%+8000
Maverick McNealy$9,6001.1%11.7%61.1%+4500
Marc Leishman$9,6001.0%9.0%56.6%+6500
Ryan Palmer$8,9001.0%10.0%58.0%+13000
Stewart Cink$8,3001.0%9.3%57.3%+13000
Erik van Rooyen$9,8001.0%10.2%58.5%+4400
Taylor Moore$8,6000.9%9.7%58.8%+15000
Aaron Wise$9,5000.9%10.8%59.4%+8500
Emiliano Grillo$9,1000.9%9.8%58.2%+9500
Mito Pereira$9,8000.8%8.8%56.7%+4500
Patton Kizzire$9,0000.8%9.7%58.3%+9500
Seamus Power$9,1000.7%8.5%56.3%+9500
Carlos Ortiz$8,9000.7%8.2%55.5%+9500
Doug Ghim$8,2000.6%7.2%54.2%+15000
Cameron Davis$9,2000.6%6.8%52.7%+9500
Stephan Jaeger$8,6000.6%7.5%53.8%+15000
Charles Howell III$8,4000.6%8.3%55.6%+20000
Lanto Griffin$7,6000.6%7.0%53.4%+15000
Brendon Todd$8,2000.6%7.0%54.0%+20000
Matt Jones$8,1000.6%6.7%52.7%+15000
Hank Lebioda$7,0000.6%6.5%52.3%+20000
Chad Ramey$7,9000.6%7.1%54.1%+15000
Pat Perez$8,8000.5%7.2%54.5%+13000
K.H. Lee$8,1000.5%6.8%52.8%+15000
Matt Wallace$7,6000.5%5.7%50.4%+20000
Joel Dahmen$8,4000.5%6.0%50.4%+15000
Lucas Glover$8,7000.5%5.8%50.7%+9500
Luke List$8,7000.5%7.4%55.1%+13000
Troy Merritt$8,0000.4%6.5%52.7%+15000
Sebastian Munoz$8,8000.4%6.8%52.9%+15000
Sahith Theegala$8,4000.4%6.7%52.5%+9500
Zach Johnson$8,0000.4%5.8%50.9%+20000
Charl Schwartzel$9,0000.4%6.6%52.6%+8500
Adam Hadwin$8,6000.4%6.2%51.6%+15000
Brendan Steele$8,3000.4%5.8%50.5%+20000
Kyle Stanley$7,4000.4%5.7%49.9%+20000
Rickie Fowler$9,3000.4%5.9%49.8%+8000
Martin Laird$8,1000.4%5.4%49.3%+15000
Roger Sloan$7,8000.4%5.5%50.0%+15000
Brandt Snedeker$8,2000.4%4.9%48.5%+20000
Russell Knox$7,6000.4%5.5%49.5%+25000

It's not too often we see no golfer with win odds shorter than +2000, but that's what we're getting on FanDuel Sportsbook this week with the Shriners Children's Open.

The model isn't too keen on Brooks Koepka (+2000) and would prefer Viktor Hovland at the same number, though both are slightly overvalued, all things considered. It's hard to knock them as the favorites, but the data just says they are a bit inflated.

That also applies to last week's winner, Sam Burns, and Scottie Scheffler at +2500. Despite the model telling me not to, I have a very strong inclination to bet Scheffler at a scoring-friendly course.

We see value pop a bit farther down the board with Louis Oosthuizen (+3000) and Abraham Ancer (+3000). I will be prioritizing Ancer at TPC Summerlin, where accuracy can provide a boost for golfers.

Other positive expected value emerging in the model comes on Paul Casey (+3500), Joaquin Niemann (+4800), Brian Harman (+7000), and Talor Gooch (+8000). They're all in play for me as outright win bets.

The model also likes a few more long shots, though I'm more inclined to stick with top-10 or top-20 options on these lower-upside options: Ian Poulter (+13000), Ryan Palmer (+13000), and Stewart Cink (+13000).