Gdula's Golf Simulations and Betting Picks: THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT

There's a new course on the PGA Tour for this week's event. How does that impact the betting model?

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 CJ CUP, according to the models.

Golfer FanDuel
Win% Top-
Justin Thomas$11,9004.2%29.0%100.0%+1300
Jordan Spieth$11,6004.1%26.5%100.0%+2000
Xander Schauffele$11,8003.9%27.7%100.0%+1300
Dustin Johnson$12,0003.7%26.4%100.0%+1200
Louis Oosthuizen$10,3003.6%27.9%100.0%+3000
Viktor Hovland$10,9003.6%27.5%100.0%+2700
Paul Casey$9,4003.6%25.2%100.0%+4100
Cameron Smith$9,8003.5%26.0%100.0%+3400
Rory McIlroy$11,4003.0%24.4%100.0%+1800
Tony Finau$11,0002.9%23.5%100.0%+3000
Sam Burns$10,8002.8%24.6%100.0%+2800
Scottie Scheffler$10,4002.8%24.6%100.0%+2700
Abraham Ancer$10,0002.8%21.6%100.0%+3500
Webb Simpson$10,2002.3%20.8%100.0%+3800
Brooks Koepka$11,1002.2%20.8%100.0%+3200
Collin Morikawa$11,5002.2%21.2%100.0%+1400
Sungjae Im$10,7002.2%21.0%100.0%+2900
Tyrrell Hatton$9,6002.0%19.8%100.0%+4500
Harris English$9,9001.9%18.8%100.0%+3800
Shane Lowry$9,5001.9%18.4%100.0%+4500
Patrick Reed$9,3001.8%16.7%100.0%+8000
Sergio Garcia$9,2001.7%17.9%100.0%+7000
Cameron Tringale$8,8001.6%15.9%100.0%+6500
Kevin Na$9,0001.6%15.7%100.0%+5500
Hideki Matsuyama$10,5001.6%17.8%100.0%+3800
Joaquin Niemann$9,0001.4%16.8%100.0%+6000
Alex Noren$8,6001.4%15.1%100.0%+6500
Jason Kokrak$9,4001.3%14.9%100.0%+4800
Charley Hoffman$8,2001.2%13.8%100.0%+8000
Brian Harman$8,5001.2%14.1%100.0%+8000
Max Homa$9,1001.2%13.3%100.0%+7000
Adam Scott$8,9001.1%13.5%100.0%+7000
Talor Gooch$8,8001.1%14.5%100.0%+5500
Aaron Wise$8,9001.1%13.1%100.0%+7000
Tommy Fleetwood$9,5001.1%13.4%100.0%+4500
Marc Leishman$9,1001.0%11.9%100.0%+4400
Justin Rose$9,3001.0%12.0%100.0%+7000
Maverick McNealy$8,6001.0%13.4%100.0%+6000
Keegan Bradley$8,3001.0%12.1%100.0%+10000
Harold Varner III$8,7001.0%12.5%100.0%+8000
Kevin Streelman$8,2001.0%11.6%100.0%+10000
Russell Henley$8,7001.0%13.2%100.0%+6000
Ian Poulter$8,0000.9%11.5%100.0%+12000
Siwoo Kim$9,2000.9%11.6%100.0%+5000
Emiliano Grillo$8,1000.9%10.4%100.0%+12000
Jhonattan Vegas$7,8000.8%10.9%100.0%+9000
Chris Kirk$7,7000.8%10.7%100.0%+12000
Jason Day$8,5000.8%10.2%100.0%+9000
Erik van Rooyen$8,4000.7%9.6%100.0%+8000
Carlos Ortiz$7,9000.7%9.1%100.0%+12000
Branden Grace$7,9000.7%8.5%100.0%+10000
Kyoung-hoon Lee$7,8000.7%9.8%100.0%+12000
Stewart Cink$7,6000.6%8.3%100.0%+15000
Matt Jones$7,5000.6%7.9%100.0%+15000
Patton Kizzire$8,0000.5%8.1%100.0%+12000
Charl Schwartzel$7,7000.4%6.9%100.0%+15000
Mackenzie Hughes$7,6000.4%7.1%100.0%+15000
Cameron Davis$8,1000.4%8.1%100.0%+9000
Rickie Fowler$8,3000.4%6.3%100.0%+12000
Gary Woodland$8,4000.3%7.1%100.0%+15000
Tom Hoge$7,5000.3%5.3%100.0%+41000
Sebastian J Munoz$7,8000.3%6.2%100.0%+15000
Lucas Glover$7,5000.3%6.4%100.0%+21000
Harry Higgs$7,3000.3%5.8%100.0%+41000
Rasmus Hojgaard$7,6000.3%4.5%100.0%+15000

Coinciding with the win odds at Golf odds, the sims have this one rating out pretty flat at the top. That makes for minimal value among the favorites, however, and it isn't until Viktor Hovland (+2700) until we hit a break-even point.

That works for me because I like Hovland's blend of accuracy and distance this week. He also has the scoring potential to pick apart The Summit Club.

Value is popping up for Louis Oosthuizen (+3000) just because his form is consistently good, and that makes him somewhat appealing but probably not a place I'll actually get. That's because I prefer the big-hitting Tony Finau (+3000) who should be able to score low at a course such as this.

But it's Cameron Smith (+3400) where I'm really drawn this week. The large greens at The Summit Club should correlate with a de-emphasis on iron play, and that helps Smith, who is a competent-but-not-elite ball-striker. He sits first in birdie rate over the past 50 rounds, as well, per FantasyNational.

Paul Casey (+4100) sets up for a bounce-back play, as well. He missed the cut last week due to poor putting, which is always in his range of outcomes. However, the tee-to-green play for Casey and long-term form makes him a good bet this week for at least a top-10 if you can't get yourself to go all-in on Casey to convert a win.

Other golfers whosee odds in the simulations meet or exceed their betting odds include Cameron Tringale (+6500), Sergio Garcia (+7000), Patrick Reed (+8000), Charley Hoffman (+8000), and Brian Harman (+8000). Reed at that number is extra appealing if we play the angle of the large greens making approach play less vital than usual.

With history not being kind to true long-shots in no-cut, loaded fields, I'm going to be reserving any true long shot bets to top-10s and top-20s: Cameron Davis, Harold Varner, and Kevin Streelman.