2023 FedEx St. Jude Championship Round 1 Picks: Bet Cameron Davis Over Sahith Theegala
Pictured: Cameron Davis. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
I track until the end of the calendar year, but it's safe to say 2023 has been a grind. We've seen a lot of ups and downs to get to +11.814 units. However, the head-to-head market has been one of our steadier performers (65-42-11).
That level of success may seem unsustainable, but it goes back a point I've mentioned on countless podcasts — golf betting presents a niche market that allows a much better win percentage than you see in top-level football, baseball or basketball betting.
However, I have concerns that the days of us hitting anywhere near 60% may be a thing of the past.
For starters, books are better than ever at pricing matchups. Many of our advantageous "fade" candidates have been getting placed against similar foes for the week. My other significant concern stems from the new PGA Tour schedule, which is focused on condensed fields, better players and no-cut setups.
A lot of my matchup betting strategy focuses on finding missed-cut equity. When we add the removal of that to the enhanced quality of participants in the field, many of these wagers will have the propensity to turn into a star versus star battle that lacks the edge we have become accustomed to on a weekly basis.
We will have to be cognizant of that and adapt, but the changes we're seeing in golf will have massive ramifications from a long-term betting standpoint.
Round 1 Matchup
Cameron Davis -120 over Sahith Theegala (Bet365)
I wish this wager could last over four days instead of one because Sahith Theegala possesses one of the largest disparities in floor versus ceiling output of any golfer in the field.
Admittedly, I do have concerns that Theegala will blitz this course because of his high birdie-or-better percentage and propensity to catch fire with the putter. However, the implosion rate is equally articulated from a modeling perspective and highlights the stark contrast in expectation.
Theegala's wide range of anticipated outcomes is seen in the fact that he graded inside the bottom 10 in avoiding mistakes and inside the top 15 for creating opportunities.
An answer like that may not always matter since not every course is capable of both high-end birdie percentages and disastrous outcomes. However, I think Theegala will have one round where he could lead the field in scoring and may quickly follow it up with the worst performance on the course.
That puts us in a situation where we are hoping to avoid the one-off day when he shoots a 63.
Still, I like the ability to grab Cameron Davis because we have seen the Aussie average 6.95 shots to the field tee-to-green over his past two starts on tour. That gives us the upside potential to match Theegala if Thursday ends up being the round he catches fire. Additionally, the long-term ball-striking data is heavily weighted in Davis' favor.