2024 Valero Texas Open Round 2 Data-Driven Picks: Bet Martin Laird as Long Shot

2024 Valero Texas Open Round 2 Data-Driven Picks: Bet Martin Laird as Long Shot article feature image

(Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) Pictured: Martin Laird.

Akshay Bhatia's incredible nine-under round in the afternoon Thursday catapulted him into a three-shot lead over Justin Lower and Brendon Todd.

Bhatia has shown this acumen in the past, evidenced by his 12th-place rank in this field for birdie or better percentage and top-10 marks for ball striking.

We will see if he can continue his scorching start Friday when he starts his second round at 8:15 a.m. Texas local time.

If you haven't already, you can find me on Twitter (@TeeOffSports). There, I provide a link to my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user input 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.

2024 Valero Texas Open Predictions

Martin Laird (Outright +25000, Top 20 +350)

We are going to deviate from our regular in-tournament routine of discussing head-to-head wagers and dive into some placement market value for round two. Don't worry, my typical structure of this article will return next time. I just didn't see any matchup value to discuss here tonight.

I talked on "Links and Locks" this week about how Martin Laird was an intriguing option because of his statistical fit for TPC San Antonio. One of the things I noted during that podcast was how it felt like markets were going marginally against him because of the robust returns he had produced with his short-game metrics — something I always mention to be unsustainable long-term.

To simplify that answer, overachieving with that portion of your game has to return closer to its norm before long.

We saw that come to fruition Thursday after Laird landed 139th around the green and 133rd with his putter. I know Jason Sobel always hated when I would use the term "positive regression" when talking about the likelihood of someone returning closer to their baseline projection, but let's remember we are still looking at a top-25 projected player in this field when diving into both those aspects of his game.

All of that tells some small portion of the story, but the biggest highlight that I want to talk about here tonight is how Laird ranked first in my model on Thursday for expected scoring output when combining his actual ball striking for the round and long-term baseline short-game metrics.

Sure, he isn't the only player who didn't get the most out of his round, but here is what a re-projected leaderboard would look like if all players achieved their anticipated around-the-green and putting stats over the past two years. You can also see where each golfer landed when comparing that "Baseline Putt + ATG Rank" to their "1st Round Score." All totals are run to the hundredth decimal place.

Laird is 250/1 to win this title for a reason since he has set himself massively behind the eight ball. Still, three of his four career PGA Tour titles have either come here (one) or at TPC Summerlin (two). The latter of those two venues is 10 minutes from my home in Vegas and was widely used as my best corollary track for what players will get this weekend in Texas.

It isn't going to take much risk to get some decent exposure on either the outright or placement bet, so let's take a swing on Laird returning closer to what we had seen for the past month on the greens. If he does that, the ceiling is rather high.

OutrightOddsUnit RiskPotential Win (Units)
Martin Laird2500.025
Martin Laird T203.50.280.98

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