2023 Travelers Championship Picks, Predictions: Model Sees Value on Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Sungjae Im
Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Cantlay.
I've always been a big proponent of strategically structuring my cards in a fashion that isn't so heavy on outrights. You'll likely notice a better ROI once you take on less action in the volatile markets and add more stable bankroll-building zones like matchups and placements.
None of that suggests that outright bets are bad and can't be adequately attacked, but it's important to note that the higher hold percentages in that area have continued to rise in the space over the past year and are making things much more challenging to beat.
There are still openings, though, which I found firsthand last week after hitting Wyndham Clark to win the U.S. Open at 100-1, not to mention all of the countless outright wagers our Action Network team has hit over the past few months.
Still, I just want everyone to be aware that a betting board doesn't stop at who's going to win the contest. In fact, I'd say that should be the least pressing concern when looking at overall exposure.
We will talk about a few outright wagers this week to try and follow up on the Clark hit, but you can also tune into "The Gimme" show I did with Jason Sobel or Links & Locks with Roberto Arguello if you would like to get a deeper rundown of this slate.
If you haven't already, you can find me on Twitter @TeeOffSports. There, I will provide a link to my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user inputs to create custom golf rankings. That sheet is released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.
2023 Travelers Championship Picks
Patrick Cantlay +1200 (DraftKings)
We will go with 12-1 here since it's still the most readily available price in the market if you shop around. I grabbed 13-1 on Monday inside the enhanced market at bet365, but there are easy enough ways to grab boosts on Cantlay to get this number more into the 15-1 range if you take these books up on their promotions.
Cantlay did something inside my model that I haven't encountered in quite some time, dethroning Scottie Scheffler as my projected favorite.
That's a wild answer to give for a model that never finds itself veering too far off course near the top, but the fact that he captured the top-ranked output for me in all three iterations of my sheet meant a ton to an overall profile that still managed to find value in this 12-1 range.
I'd probably give a similar answer to Jon Rahm, another golfer who continues to skyrocket for me with every update I run. However, like always, I will trust my data that believes Cantlay is the best birdie-maker on these short and positional Pete Dye tracks.
Add that to his first-place rank for TPC properties and total driving, and you get a golfer knocking on the door to win at TPC River Highlands.
Tony Finau +3300 (BetMGM)
I've been a broken record here in 2023 that Finau has been an underpriced commodity on nearly every board. My math sees that play out weekly when we get odds of 30-1 on a golfer who should be 25-1 or 28-1.
Typically, the deviation of those prices will only translate to a slight win equity difference, but my data did believe we had one of our larger discrepancies this week.
You can do better than this price listed if you have access to certain shops. I grabbed Tony Finau early in the week at 35-1, although there are legitimate locations where 38-1 is still readily available for consideration.
While it might not sound like much, the over 1% variation (roughly 25-1 versus 38-1) translated into a substantial total since my model believed Finau had a 3.85% implied probability of capturing this title versus numbers that stretch into that 2.56% area when we look at any of those 38-1 prices.
Remember, it's important to forget the downside when you're playing in these markets because a last-place result is as good as a second without each-way betting present. I always think people play things too safely on wagers like this because they don't want to encounter the downside, which just naturally decreases the upside.
I'm going to continue gambling on what my model considers to be a price-point error, but please note that Finau's floor is not for the faint of heart. His potential to miss the cut is as high as anyone you can find in this section.
Sungjae Im +5000 (bet365)
It's hard to say what has happened in the past four events for Sungjae Im to miss three of four cuts and produce a 41st-place finish. None of that is ideal for safer markets because of his newfound volatility, but it goes back to the what I just mentioned for Finau.
The floor is another missed weekend that never gets out of the starting blocks, but the things I always try to highlight when finding longshot winners kept firing on Im when I ran my data.
My model found an increased projection for weighted tee-to-green for TPC River Highlands over a generic course, and it also located the second-ranked forecast when combining Pete Dye and TPC courses into one metric.
We've seen this number drop since it sat at 60-1, but I thought anything 50-1 or better was still playable from a long-term perspective.