2022 World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba: Back Jason Day in Head-to-Head Market
Pictured: Jason Day. (Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images)
If you have read or listened to any of the content I have provided for Action Network this week, you know Sunday has a chance to be a big day if Russell Henley can get the job done and hold onto his six-shot lead.
Henley's 50/1 outright price pre-event was one of my favorite values on the board because of his top-10 output totals for both weighted proximity and recalculated total driving. In fact, we've seen him use those two intangibles in unison over the opening three rounds, shooting scores of 63, 63 and 65 to pull away from the rest of the pack.
It is worth noting that the past 14 winners I have tracked have been inside the top three on the leaderboard entering Sunday, and the furthest deficit we have seen flipped has been five shots by Tony Finau. While none of that suggests Henley's lead is 100% safe, we are in a spot where almost any round under par should get the job done.
Additionally, his flawless scorecard with zero bogeys for the week does place him in a position of strength if he can continue to locate fairways off the tee, something he's been doing so far (78.57%).
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.
Round 4 Head-To-Head:
Jason Day (-120) over Nick Hardy (DraftKings)
Some of you might accuse me of living in the past when it comes to Jason Day, but it is time for me to jump back into my role as the lead conductor of the Day train for another memorable finish.
Sure, it won't account for an outright victory this time around — even if it did numerous times in 2015 — but we have to start somewhere when it comes to showing the Day/Aguiar connection can still work.
Let's slowly start building back up that trust with a matchup of Day (-120) over Nick Hardy on DraftKings. Can you feel the nostalgia in the air?
The Aussie is a golfer who my model believed was a top-20 value on the board in almost any iteration of how it was run. But, as I always say in these pieces, the matchups come down to the opponent and it just so happens that Hardy was one of the five most overvalued commodities on the board from a pre-event stature. With limited data available for how golfers are earning their shots so far, I am going to trust my early research for a few reasons.
The 26-year-old appears to be overachieving this week with his putter, averaging 1.714 shots to the field. However, the more significant concern comes with the driving accuracy and GIR percentage outputs he has provided this week, two metrics that are multiple percentage points below yearly averages at this course.
That isn't necessarily a reason for concern with every player because I trust the long-term data over a random three-round sample size, but when the returns start mimicking the expectation — even if the score is enhanced from more inconsistent areas salvaging the day — the red flags start to pop in my model.
Hardy's 112th-place grade for weighted proximity and 64th-place mark in total driving means more challenging Sunday pin locations could add a wrinkle to his plan. That combines the idea my model had pre-tournament that Hardy could randomly be more inclined to find trouble.
We probably have a situation here where Day's upside has helped this become a play since it has made Hardy's statistical data points look worse when directly comparing, but I am ready to start winning with the Aussie again and hope it starts Sunday.
Final Pre-Tournament Grades Compared To The Field
I would be fine playing this up to about -140, but the safety grades from both make this closer than I typically bargain for when recommending a wager. The overall complexion of the board on Sunday felt properly priced in a lot of spots, but this particulate wager is still taking into account Day's weighted proximity of 106th, a total that looks nothing like his current measurements.
If Day continues the surge we have seen so far this year, this wager would take another jump in win equity and become slightly safer.