2022 Shriners Children’s Open Final Round Picks: The Best Head-to-Head Bet to Make

2022 Shriners Children’s Open Final Round Picks: The Best Head-to-Head Bet to Make article feature image

Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured: Taylor Pendrith.

The average winning score at the Shriners Open over the past four years has been 23-under par, so if you are looking for a Sunday chaser, it is essential to see if your golfer can get to that number before all else comes into play.

That likely eradicates all players that aren't starting the day at a minimum of 14-under par, and while that sounds good from a game theory standpoint to eliminate some of the Sunday hopefuls from contention before they tee off, the leaderboard is stacking up to be a tough come-from-behind spot with Patrick Cantlay and Tom Kim leading the festivities at 19-under par.

Both players have been brilliant throughout the week, but it was Cantlay who stole the show on Saturday, firing a tournament-best 60 to put himself back into contention. None of that should come as a surprise for a golfer that has posted a victory here in 2017 and back-to-back runner-up showings in 2018 and 2019, but it is essential to keep in mind that Cantlay did shoot a 73 the last time he teed it up here on a Sunday in 2020 to slip down to eighth on the leaderboard.

I want to make it clear that I am not predicting that sort of a jaw-dropper finish this go-around after what we have seen from the American not only this week but also over the past handful of years, and it does feel like a situation where a final round 66 could get the job done for either Cantlay or Kim. It remains up in the air if either of them can get to that number, but you are asking for a whole bunch of fireworks from others to dethrone the two players with the most confidence in this field. 

If you aren't doing so already, you can find me on Twitter @TeeOffSports. There I will provide my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user inputs to create custom rankings for golf. That sheet is free and released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.

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Head-To-Head Bet To Consider

Taylor Pendrith -120 over Maverick McNealy (Bet365)

I realize every article I have written this week has turned into the Taylor Pendrith show since I continue looking for matchups involving him, but I don't see a point in changing the script when it is paying dividends. Pendrith's matchups this week have presented us with opponents below my projected output when comparing both golfers in every occurrence, which is essential to note since it means markets are failing to account for his current form and overall talent level.

We can safely proclaim that to be accurate when looking at head-to-head wagers against the likes of Rickie Fowler and others over the last few days, and the reason for that slow movement comes down to his perceived failure to produce on the leaderboard. A 32nd-place rank after three days is something books are considering marginal, at best, but the data is telling a much more powerful story that we might want to dive a little deeper into tonight.

Over the first three days of the event, the Canadian has earned what has become the second-best strokes gained off the tee return of any golfer in the field, adding to an already strong profile that had him yielding top 10 value in my model pre-event. When we add that back into the mix to his consecutive days of gaining with all critical non-putting metrics/his flat production nature of expected performance versus actual score, we get a golfer that is delivering top-five predicted value in my model but is being priced as a virtual underachiever for the week.

All of that would already have us looking to find Pendrith an opponent for Sunday, keeping us on the path that you have heard from me anytime I have written an article this week, but the stance takes a strong double-down nature when we notice his opponent on Bet365.

Yes, I realize TPC Summerlin is Maverick McNealy's home course. And yes, I know we have a golfer who understands the facility's nuances better than almost anyone in the field. It is one of the reasons he has survived the week with some of the worst ball-striking I have ever seen from him in his career, but at what point is the market overreacting to the home game narrative?

McNealy's negative-4.32 shots over the first three days with his driver and irons has him ranked better than only Tyson Alexander, Andrew Landry and Trevor Werbylo, leading me back to my point of when is the perceived pre-tournament value not being adjusted on a golfer struggling to find his form?

I will gladly take a shot against McNealy and his +9.08 putting total, +7.77 strokes above his two-year baseline projection, and my model has this matchup priced closer to -150, providing us the 30-point threshold I am looking for on these head-to-head battles.

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