2022 Sony Open Matchup Picks & Preview: Webb Simpson Headlines 3 Value Bets in Honolulu
Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Webb Simpson.
- A plethora of players are making their 2022 debut on the PGA TOUR at the Sony Open this week.
- One of them, Webb Simpson, highlights Bryan Berryman's three best matchup picks.
- Check out his picks and breakdowns below.
We started 2022 going 1-2 because of some incredible surges over the weekend from Marc Leishman and Collin Morikawa, the latter of whom also benefited from a subpar final round from Bryson DeChambeau.
We’re island hopping from Maui to Honolulu this week for the Sony Open, which is a great event for bettors. We have a ton of historical data to draw from, given the event has been played at Waialae Country Club as far back as the data goes.
Using a computer simulation tool I built from scratch, I simulate each available matchup 10,000 times to determine each golfer’s probability of winning. Using that winning percentage, I am able to set my own line for every matchup, and compare it against what the books are offering.
The goal is to find value in the current betting lines and give ourselves a small edge over and over to churn out profit throughout the course of the year. I picked matchups at a 61% clip for the 2020-21 PGA TOUR season and hope to continue that momentum this season.
Below, I have outlined the matchups that have shown the most value in my simulations this week for the Tournament of Champions. For every matchup, I will provide the current line, what my simulations set the line at and why I believe it is a profitable bet.
Let’s get to it!
Webb Simpson (-134) over Hideki Matsuyama (FanDuel)
My line: -180
The reigning Masters champion is downgraded in my model this week because of his long-standing putting issues on Bermudagrass. Matsuyama is losing 1.925 strokes per tournament on the greens at the Sony Open. Because of that, Matsuyama has missed the cut three times at this event in eight starts, and he’s without a top-10 finish.
On the other side, there’s so much reason to believe that Simpson will thrive this week. Here are the results from his last six Sony Open starts, dating back to 2015: fourth, third, fourth, 13th, 13th, 13th. He has never missed a cut in 11 career starts at Waialae.
Unlike Matsuyama, Simpson thrives on Bermuda grass. He ranks 20th all-time in this field in Strokes Gained: Putting on that surface, while Matsuyama is 134th of 144.
Putting isn’t everything, obviously, but the Strokes Gained: Approach numbers are similar and the disparity on the greens is so great. It makes sense to take advantage of the matchup, which favors Simpson.
Seamus Power (-126) over Billy Horschel (FanDuel)
My line: -169
Horschel was downright awful last week in Maui, losing 8.4 strokes on approach to the field. He’s been struggling since winning the Match Play last March, with only one top-10 finish since then.
On the other side of things, Power burst onto the scene last year with five top-10 finishes and his first career win at the Barbasol Championship in July. He continued that momentum over the fall and delivered a solid showing last week in an elite Tournament of Champions field, finishing T15.
At this moment, Power is simply the better golfer, and recent data backs that up. Over the last 50 rounds, the Irishman is ninth in this field in Strokes Gained: Approach, while Horschel is 106th.
Chris Kirk (-110) over K.H. Lee (DraftKings)
My line: -138
This one shapes up to be somewhat of a pillow fight between two golfers who have been very average over the last year or so.
Lee struggled mightily in Maui, finishing dead last in the field by losing strokes in almost every statistical category en route to a T33 in the 38-man field. It doesn’t help that in three career starts at the Sony, Lee has missed the cut twice.
Kirk, meanwhile, has the better history at Waialae. He has three top-five finishes, including coming in second to Kevin Na last year.
Kirk hasn’t played since the RSM Classic in November, so we are flying blind in terms of his data, but the historical numbers point to him being the superior player, as well as having the better course history. I’ll take that bet this week.