2023 Valspar Championship Final Round Picks: Alex Smalley Holds Value Sunday

2023 Valspar Championship Final Round Picks: Alex Smalley Holds Value Sunday article feature image

Pictured: Alex Smalley. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Whenever we have more questions than answers heading into Sunday, that typically makes for a strong viewing experience.

Is Jordan Spieth winning? Can Tommy Fleetwood capture his long-awaited first title? Will someone else win the tournament?

In an ideal world, either Taylor Moore or J.T. Poston would with and I'd capitalize on the 75/1 and 100/1 totals I grabbed throughout the week. It isn't an inconceivable outcome that one of them will get across the finish line, but the data does point strongly in the direction of Spieth and Fleetwood — two golfers who carry slightly below 50% of the win equity.

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.

Valspar Championship Round Four Matchup

Alex Smalley -120 over Chad Ramey (Bet365)

From a statistical perspective, it hasn't been a perfect tournament for Alex Smalley. My model believes he is outperforming his baseline putting by 1.88 shots, and that is before we get to the around-the-green return that has boosted him 3.08 strokes above expectation.

Typically, that level of overperformance would leave me more concerned with what we should expect Sunday (I also don't think we are out of the clear of an implosion). Still, the matchup against Chad Ramey is too enticing to ignore since the same concerns stick out for the 30-year-old.

My pre-tournament model had these two priced about 40 points higher than we are receiving on Sunday (-162), and even if the numbers have regressed marginally into a range where my data says -150 is proper, we are still talking about a 30-point advantage — which gives us about a 5.5% implied probability edge. Remember, every point matters when trying to build a bankroll.

Smalley's recent improvement with his short game over the past 24 rounds was one of the main reasons I liked him enough to grab pre-event wagers inside the top 10 and 20. Catapulting himself up the board by nearly five shots over expectation may not be sustainable, but I also don't believe the two-year regression model I run weekly correctly tells of the improvement we have witnessed in 2023.

If markets want to move Smalley into a range against a golfer who was outside my top-100 players in this field before Thursday, I will consistently buy that value.

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