U.S. Open at Torrey Pines

It’s US Open week! Jon Rahm opens as the favorite at 10-1 or so. He is the in form player and had a 6 stroke lead after 3 rounds in the Memorial. We’ll see if that was a sign of things to come or if he pulls another Jon Rahm, which is to fall out of contention and squeeze out a backdoor top 10. The smart money is on the latter so if you’re on Rahm, you should target matchups or the (severely deflated) T10 and T20 odds. He’s quickly becoming another Xander, one of those guys who keeps having those +3.0 SG weeks but never seems to have those +4.0 SG weeks that turn into victories.

I’m surprised that Rory is going off at 20-1. I guess the bookmakers aren’t buying that his long game is permanently fixed. Rory is the type that wins in bunches, but we haven’t seen the steamroller version of Rory since 2014. That was when he won 3 in a row and was the closest thing we’d seen to Tiger at his peak since 2008.

The focus is on the big bombers but this is the PGA Tour, there are 50 guys that can bomb it far enough to win. Guys like Reed, Schauffele, and Cantlay aren’t exactly short so I don’t think they will be at a big disadvantage over players like DeChambeau, Koepka, and McIlroy.

So far I’m picking Higgo at 90-1, big price for a potential superstar. There are guys who hit good shots, there are guys who know how to score, and then there are guys who know how to win. Higgo is in the last category. Maybe this is his coming out party.

I’m contemplating McIlroy but haven’t jumped the fence quite yet.

Played Mickelson to miss the cut at +120, I think the magic runs out. Shades of Westwood earlier in the season where he caught lightning in a bottle and lost it just as quickly.

Christopher Crawford going off at -380 to miss the cut at FanDuel.
I’m not sure I buy the 97.5% probability from Datagolf, but surely -380 is a gift?
My best bet of the week.

Any thoughts on the hole in 1 wager?

I took a shot on the “Yes” at -112. I think it’s the percentage side but no way to be sure

I expect at least a few easy pins this week because if they don’t do that the players complain

I played Niemann -152 over Mickelson (FanDuel)
Anything can happen in golf, but surely this is value?

Picked off McIlroy at 22-1 in the in-running market before he teed off. Fingers crossed.

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Cashed out with Higgo in the in-running market. Got my money back after he was +1 after 5. Lucky to avoid a loss there.

According to Data Golf, Matsuyama to be top Japanese Player is a STRONG play at -600. Not sure how good Hoshino is but I’m guessing Matsuyama is about 1.5-2 strokes better per round on average.

Matsuyama looking strong so far, a top 20 will probably secure this prop.

Hope you didn’t put your mortgage on it.

Well it’ll be a flesh wound if it doesn’t succeed
I’m willing to try wagers like these 10 times and accept that I’ll lose 1 time out of 10
It’s not over yet, but I treat every wager as a sunk cost. The instant I make a wager I move on and am looking to make 10 more

So you admit to knowing nothing about Hoshino, yet are happy taking -600 on Matsuyama beating him?

If Datagolf’s odds were 100% accurate, they wouldn’t be running significantly lower than expected value on tournament match-ups, two balls and three balls for the last three years.

Recommending that people smash into these massively odds-on events in these circumstances is madness.

Well, we have a lot of data on Hoshino, actually.

There probably isn’t a model in the world that doesn’t incorporate the market, i.e. is totally independent, that will have EV = actual ROI in the long-run. For that to be true you require that the market is unable to add anything to the predictive power of your odds. I don’t think anyone here thinks that the DG model can’t be improved upon (Daniel doesn’t; he’s said as much elsewhere on the forum).

If we wanted to, we could just make the final odds we use to bet with equal to a 50-50 weighted average of the our model output and the market odds – this would make EV line up with actual ROI. But, we want to give people the unaltered model output and they can do whatever they like with it.

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after re-reading your post, I’ve realized the above is mostly unrelated to your point. So it’s mainly an aside. But, I do wonder whether you see something particularly problematic with high-likelihood bets. As long as you allow for a reasonable margin of error for the model’s predictions, I don’t see what else is different.

Speaking of using the data…I grabbed Hoshino in a “Top Asian” prop at +2800 before the tourney started. Nice little plus EV bet. I have regularly found value (and made $$) in these props using the Datagolf model.

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FYI, at the time I made the bet, Matsuyama was done at -2 after the first round and Hoshino was through 14 holes in the first round at E, and play was suspended with an 11 foot par putt on the 15th hole.

Well Matsuyama still has a chance so we’ll see. It’s far from over.

A lot of bettors have an aversion against betting chalk, I know. I’m kind of immune to the risks since I play lots of them. If you play like 100 of those and miss like 10 while profiting from the plays on average your perspective changes.

FYI I wagered a much larger amount on Christopher Crawford to miss the cut. That one was a much better play than the Matsuyama one and I did mark that as the best bet of the week.

FYI, my point about Data Golf isn’t about the flaws in the model, it’s that there are aspects in sport that cannot be captured by a statistical model. Things like sudden changes in form or injury are impossible to capture.

Data Golf does a better job than most. I’ve seen statistical models try to predict the NCAA Basketball tournament or the playoffs in major sports leagues. Those fail hard because the playoffs is literally a different sport compared to the regular season.

Speaking of form I think there is something is wrong with Jordan Spieth. He may have gone from being a +2.2 SG golfer to a +0.2 SG golfer overnight. There are rumors about swing issues and ankle injury, but more importantly the swagger is gone. His driving is not quite as solid and he’s not hitting 5 circus shots a round anymore. Without the Spieth magic he’s basically another Cameron Tringale, a fairly solid player with issues off the tee and has problems playing his best on Sunday.

I’m not sure that in your published results you’ve ever backed a player as short at 1/6 for any market.

I primarily use the site to bet top 20s, top 40s and players to miss/make the cut. For those markets to be profitable, you’ve basically got to nail the quality of 80-90% of the field. Because of all the intangibles (motivation, injury, rapid increase/decrease in form a la Spieth and Brooks), a head to head market is so much trickier to get right.

In this case I see an incredibly difficult golf course on which players will effectively give up as the week goes on. In the red corner we’ve got Matsuyama who faded dreadfully a couple of weeks ago on a course he loves and if you remove the Masters win has been fairly poor in 2021.

In the blue corner we’ve got a largely unknown Hoshino, who at the very least has won two of his last four starts on the Japanese Tour to be ranked inside the top 80 of the world. He has almost never played in America, and he’s only 25 years old. For DataGolf’s ratings of “how good is this player”, in this field he’d have to be one of the players with the most amount of uncertainty. At the time the bet was placed we were almost certain that at the very least he’d make the weekend.

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In my case I’m not defending my pick, I took a shot because Data Golf seemed to indicate it was a good play and my back-of-the-envelope calculation was in accord with their findings.

I’m willing to take risks and try new things, you never get better otherwise.

I’ve made many chalk wagers using Data Golf as a tool and it’s undoubtedly been a winner over hundreds of plays, so I’m confident that it’s a winning strategy over the long run. I don’t bet them blindly either, by the way.

Sometimes you get a real gift, like Crawford to miss the cut. I looked at the odds and realized it took a solid player on the Korn Ferry Tour to make the cut 20% of the time. There was no way that Crawford had a 20% chance of making the cut because if he did, he’d be playing on the Korn Ferry Tour. I did think that he had a better than 2.5% chance of making the cut that Data Golf gave him, but based on this and other numbers I felt 15% was the absolute ceiling, and that was enough to make -380 an exceptional play.

As for Hoshino, he’s a solid professional and would have a decent chance of making the top 125 in the PGA Tour if he made the move. Even if he doesn’t he can get into a few PGA Tour events and in a few European Tour events as well. He’s good enough to be receiving invites and appearance fees in Europe (and Australia).

Give Spieth a break will you. Of course something was wrong with him-he came down with Covid just a short time ago!
In any case , I hope you’re watching JS in R3 today. I can see what you call the ‘swagger’ (l prefer ‘confidence) returning: Thru 10 he had 3 approaches inside 5’ (made just 1), and another 3, 5’ to 8’, making 2. He’s 3. Had he putted like Casey, his playing partner, no question he’d be headed to a round for the ages today. Look to tomorrow for something like Johnny Miller’s winning 63 at Oakmont.

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