2022 PLAYERS Championship: Adjusting Our Betting Edges After Rain-Soaked Day 1
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Jon Rahm
There’s a famous scene in the movie, “The Princess Bride,” which features the character Vizzini attempting to outwit the Man in Black, who’s ostensibly placed one poisoned drink between the two of them.
“Are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy’s?” he asks. “Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.”
Playing some theoretical mind games with his foil, Vizzini misdirects his attention, switches the glasses, then smugly takes a sip, only to speak a few more words before keeling over to his death.
I’ve already been reminded of this scene a few times this week, as one of my rental house colleagues has unironically brought it up while trying (often successfully) to win my chips during a few late-night poker games.
I’m again reminded of it now, though, as it pertains to THE PLAYERS Championship and how we might attack some live betting opportunities.
Allow me to start from the beginning: Throughout the week, the forecast has always predicted thunderstorms during the first two days of this event. Initially, there might have been some thought to giving an edge to the wave of players who were originally teeing off early-Thursday/late-Friday, as any lengthy delays would let those in this draw complete their second rounds on spotless greens Saturday morning.
That idea didn’t last long, however, as the forecast for Saturday not only includes more rain, but wind gusts of more than 35 mph, a stark departure from the gettable conditions of the first two days.
In this scenario, the advantage would go to the late/early wave, as these players could finish their second rounds on Friday, leaving the early/late guys to deal with the brutal winds to start the weekend.
In fact, there were plenty of bettors and DFSers who undoubtedly stacked their plays in favor of this draw, hoping to avoid those playing extra golf on Saturday.
Just like Vizzini trying to outsmart his nemesis, though, this might turn out being a situation where that’s what they wanted us to think, so clearly we should’ve chosen the other option.
That’s because after a Thursday which included a delayed start by one hour and a four-hour, 15-minute suspension of play in the middle of the day, more thunderstorms are expected to roll through Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., on Friday — and according to the forecast, they could be just as powerful, if not more.
On a TPC Sawgrass facility which is already close to the saturation point, more storms could lead to even lengthier delays.
With 17 players at the end of the original late wave yet to even start their rounds and 55 players with more than nine holes remaining, there’s a potential scenario in which Friday is fraught with delays as well, potentially leaving many in that initial late/early wave possibly still finishing their opening rounds in the tougher conditions on Saturday, then turning around and playing their entire second rounds that day, as well.
That’s an absolute mouthful, and hardly an exact projection, but perhaps those already in the house could get an entire day off Friday, then a late second-round tee time Saturday, offering a bit of an advantage.
Among those who could prosper from this scenario are Keith Mitchell (+4000), Sam Burns (+3500), Cameron Smith (+3500), Corey Conners (+9000) and even Jon Rahm (+1400), who posted an opening 3-under 69 and still saw his odds drift to a slightly longer price.
It’s all dependent, of course, on choosing the correct theoretical goblet, trying to outwit everyone else. That’s a daring concept and a dangerous game. After all, as the Man in Black revealed after Vizzini’s death, “They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.”
Or, in betting terms, sometimes you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
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