THE CJ CUP 2022: First-Round Matchup Bet on Corey Conners and Sharp Money Report
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Corey Conners.
Over the past few weeks, we have conversed extensively in these articles about value. I don't think we have gotten a ton of betting boards that are incredibly conducive to producing long-term upside with the onslaught of no-cut events and Korn Ferry Tour graduates making up the vast majority of these fields. Consequently, we have taken some roundabout ways to try and pinpoint an advantage for these contests during the fall swing, and I hope that has allowed everyone reading this article to find a few successful wagers.
Unfortunately, there will be much of the same here for THE CJ CUP this weekend in South Carolina, as the 78-man field and data-sensitive approach will hang over our heads to begin the event. We did see Congaree Golf Club fill in last year as a replacement venue that hosted the Palmetto Championship, but a one-off dataset can be dangerous to weigh too heavily, especially when all golfers are guaranteed four days of golf.
That provides some trepidation since all sectors get reduced for different reasons when falling under those pretenses of limited data or reduced field sizes, but we will do our best to talk about value for day one at the track and see if we can find anything worth attacking in the market on Thursday.
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.
Where Is the Sharp Money Entering The Market?
We will leave most of the favorites alone for this piece since all the names near the very top are playable, but let's talk about some of the movement outside the first few names.
Matthew Fitzpatrick is experiencing massive shifts in the market in his favor, not only slipping into the 20/1 range at some books but also registering as an enormous favorite in full tournament matchups against Max Homa (-150) and Sam Burns (-170). Fitzpatrick's short game should play nicely for Congaree Golf Club, and he is one of those golfers whose distance is good enough not to be at a massive disadvantage, ranking 35th in the field.
Fresh off of a Presidents Cup-leading five points, Jordan Spieth will look to continue his recent hot run at a venue that could suit his game. I noted this on the Links + Locks podcast that I do with Roberto Arguello and Nick Bretwisch, but I had anything over 24/1 as a value on the American in the outright market. BetRivers' 33/1 price should more than hold its own when comparing it to any shop in the world.
Spieth has also slid out to -135 against Shane Lowry, another favorite of mine, and he is currently over -140 against Tom Kim and Collin Morikawa in full tournament options in the head-to-head market.
Kurt Kitayama is one more mover for everyone to consider as his odds have shifted at some shops from 100/1 to 65/1, providing an opening in the market if you can still find his opening price at your shop. I don't know if he can win in an event like this, so it isn't my preferred way to attack him on the card.
Perhaps a top-20 wager or a head-to-head that is slow to move is another more tangible route for you to consider if you are looking to gain exposure to Kitayama this week. He is currently listed as a betting favorite over Taylor Montgomery and K.H. Lee, but there might be other avenues to back Kitayama since I do somewhat like Montgomery myself.
Where Am I Going In Round One?
Corey Conners -120 over Andrew Putnam (DraftKings)
Yes, I am going against perhaps the hottest player on the planet on Thursday. While I realize this is a no-cut event, Andrew Putnam has provided eight straight weekend performances during his charge of high-end results, culminating over the last six tournaments with three top-12 finishes, including a second-place result last week.
All of that is great from an output standpoint and shouldn't be negated since the form matches the statistics, but there are a few reasons for hesitation, which together produce this red-flag profile that might struggle on a tougher test than recent courses like Congaree.
For starters, this is one of those situations I talk about frequently, where the long-term sample size tells a vastly different story than the most recent form. Putnam ranks 51st on my model when mimicking everything towards this week's test, and he slips to a troubling 65th when I remove the current production that is giving him a boost on my sheet.
This feels like an overcorrection in price that has slotted Putnam against a higher level of competition than we are accustomed to seeing him draw, and I always am down to fade that movement in these positions.
I also think the plethora of events in a row could catch up to him. Maybe not so much on Thursday, which is why I like staying on top of this and seeing if we can't find matchups against him throughout the event. Putnam has currently played every tournament this season, and the overseas trip back from Japan to take on a long, arduous test isn't an ideal setup for him to keep his game rolling, especially when he does have distance problems, ranking 69th out of 78 players.
It ultimately comes down to the fact that I like Corey Conners' profile this week. The Canadian ranks 15th in my model from an overall sense, and the bunker play and long-term data he has produced at long courses are high-end metrics that have him rated as an undervalued commodity for me in South Carolina.
I would have had this priced closer to -150, and I do believe we see this move quickly in the space because of the inflation Putnam is receiving from the public, which could be undone by some of the sharper bets that enter the market over the next 24 hours.