Gdula's Golf Simulations and Betting Picks: World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba

Volatility is the name of the game in golf, and picking winners isn't easy. With fields of 150-plus golfers sometimes being separated by how a putt or two falls each week, predicting golf can be absurdly tough.

We'll never be able to capture everything that goes into a golfer's expectations for a week, but we can try to account for that by simulating out the weekend and seeing what happens.

The Process

Over the years, I have made plenty of tweaks to my original golf model, which uses a combination of the OWGR's field strength numbers and datagolf's field strength numbers to adjust each golfer's score relative to the field (on the PGA Tour, the European Tour, and the Korn Ferry Tour).

The ultimate goal is to place a score from the Waste Management Open, the BMW International Open, and the Knoxville Open on level playing fields. This adjusted strokes metric lets me see how golfers are performing across all tours. From there, a golfer's adjusted stroke data is combined with their round-to-round variance to see how the field is likely to perform when playing out the event thousands of times.

In addition to that long-term adjusted form, I factor in course-level adjustments for course fit.

I run a second model that uses more granular strokes gained data, which allows me to very easily adjust for course fit. The results are averaged out.

I let the data do the talking and don't make many tweaks -- if any. Golfers with a small sample get regressed to a low-end PGA Tour player to round out their samples. Data points are weighted more heavily toward recent performance.

Here are the most likely winners for the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, according to the models, as well as their FanDuel Sportsbook win odds.

Golfer FanDuel
Salary Win% Top-
10% Made
Cut% FanDuel
Odds Abraham Ancer$11,4007.2%36.3%82.9%+1500 Viktor Hovland$11,8005.3%29.8%80.0%+1900 Justin Thomas$12,0003.0%22.2%75.1%+1600 Russell Henley$9,6002.9%21.6%74.4%+4200 Matt Fitzpatrick$10,8002.5%19.7%73.4%+3700 Brendon Todd$9,0002.4%18.1%72.0%+8000 Scottie Scheffler$11,5002.3%17.5%71.3%+3200 Billy Horschel$10,4002.3%19.3%72.2%+3500 Kevin Streelman$8,7002.2%17.5%71.3%+6000 Ian Poulter$9,0002.1%16.7%70.3%+8000 Brian Harman$9,2002.0%17.0%71.1%+7000 Tony Finau$11,6002.0%16.4%70.2%+3000 Christiaan Bezuidenhout$9,9002.0%14.7%68.2%+7000 Tyrrell Hatton$11,1002.0%15.4%69.1%+3500 Cameron Tringale$10,5001.9%15.5%69.0%+4500 Keegan Bradley$9,6001.8%15.4%69.1%+6500 Talor Gooch$10,3001.8%14.2%67.5%+4500 Patrick Reed$11,3001.7%14.2%67.8%+3700 Sergio Garcia$10,0001.6%15.4%69.0%+4900 Shane Lowry$10,7001.6%13.4%66.3%+3600 Chris Kirk$8,0001.6%13.0%66.7%+10000 Chez Reavie$7,6001.6%15.5%68.8%+8000 Aaron Wise$10,6001.5%14.9%68.1%+3400 Alex Noren$10,2001.4%12.3%65.4%+7000 Emiliano Grillo$9,1001.3%13.3%66.3%+6000 Brian Stuard$7,8001.3%12.7%66.0%+16000 Ryan Moore$7,8001.2%11.2%63.9%+17000 Guillermo Mito Pereira$9,8001.2%11.6%64.9%+4900 Justin Rose$9,9001.1%10.6%62.4%+8000 Brooks Koepka$11,7001.1%12.2%64.9%+3500 Kyle Stanley$7,3001.0%10.9%63.7%+16000 Maverick McNealy$9,7001.0%11.3%63.4%+4800 Will Zalatoris$10,9001.0%10.4%62.5%+3800 Russell Knox$8,9001.0%11.7%64.6%+6500 Joel Dahmen$8,3001.0%12.0%64.1%+8000 Joaquin Niemann$9,8001.0%10.6%63.3%+4100 Doug Ghim$8,0000.9%9.7%62.3%+19000 Seamus Power$9,7000.9%10.0%62.1%+7500 Harold Varner III$8,8000.9%11.4%63.9%+6000 Charley Hoffman$9,2000.9%9.2%60.6%+9500 Adam Hadwin$8,6000.9%10.1%61.9%+8000 Brice Garnett$8,1000.8%10.6%62.8%+16000 Pat Perez$8,5000.8%10.5%63.2%+10000 Tom Hoge$8,2000.8%9.4%61.3%+14000 Troy Merritt$7,8000.8%8.8%60.8%+19000 Henrik Norlander$8,5000.8%9.1%60.0%+14000 Michael Thompson$7,0000.7%8.7%60.5%+31000 Matt Kuchar$9,4000.7%8.4%59.9%+11000 Brendan Steele$9,4000.7%8.6%59.3%+11000 Carlos Ortiz$8,9000.7%9.2%60.8%+6500 Rickie Fowler$10,0000.6%8.5%59.0%+4800 Ryan Palmer$8,5000.6%6.8%56.4%+12000 Zach Johnson$8,0000.6%7.2%57.4%+19000 Martin Laird$7,4000.6%8.6%60.2%+19000 Jhonattan Vegas$9,0000.6%7.9%59.0%+8000 C.T. Pan$8,7000.6%7.8%58.4%+9000 Aaron Rai$8,1000.6%8.2%59.0%+19000 Stephan Jaeger$8,2000.6%7.7%57.7%+16000 Brandt Snedeker$7,7000.5%6.1%54.0%+25000 Gary Woodland$9,5000.5%7.3%56.9%+7500 Adam Svensson$7,4000.5%7.0%57.2%+25000 Patton Kizzire$8,3000.5%6.0%54.0%+16000 Adam Long$8,6000.5%6.2%54.9%+10000 Charles Howell III$8,3000.5%8.0%58.3%+13000 James Hahn$7,5000.5%6.4%55.6%+25000 Kramer Hickok$7,2000.5%6.0%54.9%+25000

It's weird to see that it isn't Justin Thomas (+1400) as the model's favorite (and actually to see Thomas at just 3.0%), but this course requires (or at least rewards) accuracy off the tee rather than driving distance.

That alters Thomas' baseline projection here and bumps up Abraham Ancer (+2000) as the model's favorite.

Ancer already shortened from +2700 to the +2000 mark, drawing near Viktor Hovland's (+1700) odds as the defending champion.

So, based on course fit, Ancer and Hovland make more sense than Thomas, and Ancer is a pretty sizable betting value in the simulations. It helps that the model views Thomas as overvalued. Hovland is an even value.

With Thomas, Tony Finau (+2500) and most of the 30s being overvalued, we do have plenty of plays who rate out as positive expected value bets: Russell Henley (+5000), Brendon Todd (+7500), Kevin Streelman (+7000), Ian Poulter (+8000), Brian Harman (+7000), and Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+4900).

Ancer at 20/1 will start the card, and I'll be skipping over most of the 30/1 range for some longer-shots -- given that accuracy-friendly courses keep a larger portion of the field in play.

Updates: We've seen massive shifts to the betting odds at the top. Ancer is now the favorite at 15/1 but still rates as a positive betting value because of the course fit. Hovland is now a slight value, but Thomas remains overvalued.