2022 Presidents Cup: Expert Makes Day 2 Picks for Every Matchup
Pictured: Max Homa. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
We talked about the disastrous game theory used by International captain Trevor Immelman in yesterday’s article, and we saw the ramifications from the plethora of mistakes come to fruition on Thursday, as the USA squad jumped out to a 4-1 lead during foursome action.
In a competition where the chips were already stacked against them from a talent perspective, any small error was always going to get magnified and my model quickly realized that the -195 price that was being offered on FanDuel for the Americans to lead after Thursday was about 105 points off from what it believed to be accurate. With matchups now set for four-ball action on Day 2, let’s see if we can find any similar incongruities in the market.
If you aren’t doing so already, you can find me on Twitter @TeeOffSports, where I 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.
Model Team Power Rankings for Day 2
Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas -210 vs. Adam Scott/Cameron Davis +165 (BetRivers)
The International squad finally got something right with this pairing of Scott and Davis. The Internationals took advantage of what was probably an error from the United States contingent when it didn’t start with Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.
I realize I was critical of Immelman yesterday for the reverse of this decision when the Internationals began with their best team, but it is a little different when you have the deck stacked in your favor and can safely deploy the top unit of the event.
Sure, it was a minor mistake on the surface, but let’s give the Internationals some credit for responding with Scott/Davis, although I genuinely believe they might have done the same if the selection had been Cantlay/Schauffele.
When we look at how these teams match up next to each other, there’s a ton to like about this Aussie duo. My model expects them to be the top-rated weighted proximity tandem of the day, with each ranking inside the top five of the event from the critical distances, and while the overall team grade for the American side is stout, a lot of that has to do with Thomas carrying the mantle.
In the eight critical metrics I ran for four-ball simulations, Scott/Davis each graded better than Spieth in four of those categories, and there was only one statistic (strokes gained around the green) where one of the two didn’t eclipse his projected output.
Consider the American partnership a slight favorite mathematically since Thomas has the ability to control his own ball, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Spieth leaves his partner stranded on an island one too many times.
Verdict: Scott and Davis might not win, but I almost guarantee this +165 number will dwindle a few points before the round begins Friday. I have this matchup as a 50/50 proposition.
Scottie Scheffler/Sam Burns -150 vs. Sungjae Im/Sebastian Munoz +130 (DraftKings)
I’ve gone back and forth on if I wanted to make this an official wager with my tracking totals since I do have the allotted threshold of 25 points of value that I am looking for on any particular bet.
However, I am not a gambler who wants to lay a ton of juice on head-to-head matchups. It is not something I have done historically, so let’s pass on Scheffler/Burns. I believe that’s the right side, though it isn’t a price I feel comfortable backing.
My model does like the upside Munoz provides in a format where he can be aggressive, which is one of the reasons I decided to stand pat. However, I thought the American duo were unfortunate losers on Day 1 and should be in a nice bounce-back spot Friday.
Verdict: I wouldn’t be shocked to see Scheffler/Burns close around -170 or higher.
Cameron Young/Kevin Kisner -135 vs. Mito Pereira/Christiaan Bezuidenhout +115 (DraftKings)
I know the American team wants to get its players into as many matches as possible, but leaving Tony Finau out of the day was a colossal mistake, according to my model. Not only was Finau the safest golfer to put into any format of this competition, but it was a shocking decision to see options like Young and Max Homa get the start over him Friday.
I would imagine that means Finau will be back in action Saturday and partnered with Homa in foursome play and likely with Collin Morikawa in four-ball, but some of these 50/50 matchups have the potential to swing the pendulum back into the favor of the International side.
With all that being said, this is likely a stay-away spot for me. Pereira and Bezuidenhout are my weakest combination of all 10 teams and the outcome could go either way since each unit has strengths and weaknesses that will bite them on Friday.
Verdict: No bet for me. The price feels accurate.
Xander Schauffele/PatrickCantlay -165 vs. Hideki Matsuyama/Tom Kim +140 (DraftKings)
I wanted to find spots to fade Matsuyama at the Presidents Cup and we have now gotten back-to-back matchups of him facing off against Schauffele and Cantlay.
So much for the potential I was hoping to uncover, but I expect much of the same out of the American duo Friday. Schauffele/Cantlay grade as the top-rated teammates of this entire contest.
Verdict: I loved the passion from Kim on Thursday, but my model hasn’t been sold on his fit for Quail Hollow.
Billy Horschel/Max Homa -130 vs. Corey Conners/Taylor Pendrith +110 (DraftKings)
There are a lot of boring answers from me in the four-ball piece tonight, but not every wager presents value for us to attack.
I have Horschel/Homa as the lowest-rated American pairing of the day, but it is not as if my model is as bullish on Conners/Pendrith as others.
If you are looking for GIR dominance, the Canadian side ranks first amongst the 10 teams. If you are looking for quality putting, the Americans climb up into third.
Verdict: I usually trust ball striking over putting when running my numbers, although this is a coin-flip battle that does slightly favor Homa/Horschel.