2022 World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba: Value in Head-to-Head Market
Pictured: Martin Laird. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
It has been a hot start for us through the first two days of this event. My pre-tournament wager of Aaron Rai over Robby Shelton was a winner after 36 holes and increased my yearly record to 57-30-5, a robust 65.5% win rate in that sector. That is a market I have been advocating for everyone to become more invested in weekly as I believe it's the best return on investment wager in any sport for multiple reasons.
That is a long-form article for another day, but my secret to success has always been finding golfers I dislike for the contest and pairing them against opponents my model values. I do that in all head-to-head variations I can pinpoint and it generates multiple paths to success — as evidenced by this week's battle involving a missed cut versus missed cut, but still getting to the window.
It also was an excellent Thursday on the in-tournament front, which saw J.T. Poston survive day one against Cameron Champ. That is a secondary avenue of these matchups that has helped turn 2022 into a strong season.
It also doesn't hurt that Russell Henley,Links + Locks' favorite consensus outright wager (50/1), holds a three-shot lead at the midway point.
With all the early momentum in this tournament, I feel strongly about where my model stands entering Saturday, even though the lack of Stat Tracker makes it more challenging to uncover value. Regardless, let's continue to trust the pre-event research and see if we can keep the momentum rolling in the third round.
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 Three Head-To-Head:
Martin Laird (-145) over Harry Higgs (DraftKings)
Before we even talk about this wager, I want to note that I am not fond of these mass-juiced options in the daily head-to-head sector. When you see me going down this route for a card, it typically signifies more of my disdain for the board than anything else since I try to avoid laying substantial juice on one-day matchups. However, I will overlook that general rule here for two reasons.
For starters, the 30+ advantage my model shows is present in this situation. That means a line greater than -175 should have been the real going rate for this battle. Perhaps even more important, the 5.73% implied probability my model has of us taking this wager is the largest percentage I can find on the board.
When looking at all the golfers in my model, only two players who ranked 115th or worse made the weekend. One is Eric Cole (115th), who enters Saturday T55, and the other is Harry Higgs (118th), who is over-performing his baseline with his sixth-place mark entering Saturday.
To me, that signifies that my model did an excellent job of eliminating most of the bottom of the board. It adds an extra confidence boost to my numbers, showing this might be more of an anomaly that is boosting Higgs' odds in the market.
Higgs failed to land inside the top 100 of my data pre-event in five of seven categories, including critical statistics like weighted proximity, total driving and par-four scoring. While it's hard to know the exact expectation of what is going on since we don't have Stat Tracker, I always like these spots where one random round (Higgs' nine-under 62 on Friday) ends up propelling a golfer more than we expect.
As we know, it is hard to provide back-to-back quality showings for anyone in the field and I'd have to imagine that Higgs' 50% driving accuracy mark on Friday resulted in a handful of fortunate breaks.
Let's keep this as simple and small as possible by betting 1.25 units to win 0.86. I think that gives us a nice middle of avoiding extra exposure on a juiced-up battle I'd typically avoid, while also still listening to my math and playing the value.