[News] Travelers Championship odds, projections, and modeling

By winning the 2022 U.S. Open at The Country Club, Matt Fitzpatrick joined Jack Nicklaus as only the second player to win the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open at the same venue.

Fitzpatrick used a Sunday 68 to claim the year’s third major by a shot over Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris, the latter of which finished second for the second straight major.

Now, the tour will make a short trip from Boston to Cromwell, Connecticut, for the 2022 Travelers Championship. And considering it’s the week after a major, what a field we have!

Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler (+1000) lead the way on the odds board and are followed closely by Justin Thomas (+1200) and Patrick Cantlay (+1600), both of whom rank inside the top-six of the OWGR. Concluding the top five on the futures board is Sam Burns (+1800).

But, before we get into our plays for this week’s event at TPC River Highlands, we begin, as always, with our key stats and statistical modeling approach for the event. This week, I’ve identified 11 stats of varying emphasis that, in my opinion, will inform success here.

With that in mind, let’s dive in.

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Stat #1 – Strokes-Gained: Ball Striking (20 percent emphasis)

Correlated Stats: Strokes-Gained: Approach (10 percent emphasis), Good Drives Gained (5 percent emphasis)

Defined as the combination of strokes-gained: off-the-tee and strokes-gained: approach, SG: Ball Striking will be paramount at The Travelers.

Although it sets up as one of the shortest courses on tour at only 6,852 yards, accuracy off the tee is more correlated with finishing position than driving distance. Per datagolf.com, driving accuracy correlates at a 39.4 percent rate while distance correlates at only a 10.7 percent clip.

Plus, the historical penalty for a missed fairway here is 0.43 strokes, the sixth-highest penalty amongst all regular PGA Tour stops.

Once in the fairway, players will need to be extremely accurate with their approaches. The greens are, on average, 5,000 square feet, a measurement that is approximately 1,600 square feet below the tour average. That’s why I’ve chosen to include an extra emphasis on approach play as I believe it trumps off-the-tee play in terms of the two grouped metrics.

Here are the leaders in strokes-gained: ball striking over the last 24 rounds:

  1. Keegan Bradley (+3500)
  2. Sungjae Im (+3500)
  3. Justin Thomas (+1200)
  4. Adam Svensson (+20000)
  5. Patrick Cantlay (+1600)

Odds shown here are provided by Caesars Sportsbook

Justin Thomas during the final round of the RBC Canadian Open
Justin Thomas during the final round of the RBC Canadian Open
Getty Images

Stat #2 – Greens in Regulation Gained (15 percent emphasis)

Correlated Stats – SG: Around the Green (5 percent emphasis), Sand Saves (5 percent emphasis)

Historically, hitting a high percentage of greens at TPC River Highlands is exponentially more important than at the average tour event.

On average, players hit about 65.6 percent of greens on tour. Here, the metric rises to 68 percent, per fantasynational.com. Additionally, four straight winners at this event have ranked 18th or better for the week in GIRs gained while two of the last four have ranked inside the top-seven for the tournament.

Considering the aforementioned small greens at this Pete Dye-design, I want to emphasize players that consistently find the putting surface. That said, I’m also using strokes-gained: around the green and sand saves — a staple of most Dye tracks — to account for players’s misses.

With that in mind, here are the 24-round leads in GIRs gained:

  1. Russell Knox (+12500)
  2. Sungjae Im (+2800)
  3. Luke List (+12500)
  4. Adam Svensson (+20000)
  5. Tony Finau (+2800)

Odds above are provided by BetMGM

Key Stat #3 – Birdies or Better Gained (15 percent emphasis)

Correlated Stats – Putting: 5 to 10 feet (5 percent emphasis), Putting: 10 to 15 feet (5 percent emphasis)

Unlike at the U.S. Open, golf bettors should witness a low-scoring birdie fest this week at TPC River Highlands.

All of the last four winners in Connecticut have reached -13 for the week, while three of the last four have produced a winning score of -17. As a result, birdies or better gained becomes a pivotal stat. The historical underlying tournament data further support that statement — the last four winners at this event have ranked T-9th, T-2nd, T-4th and T-3rd in this metric.

It’s also worth mentioning that there are quite a few holes at TPC River Highlands that surrender birdies easily. Historically, seven of the 18 holes have a birdie percentage higher than 19 percent while half of the 18 holes have played under-par historically.

With that established, here are the leaders in birdies or better gained over the last 24 rounds:

  1. Adam Svensson (+28000)
  2. Justin Thomas (+1100)
  3. Seamus Power (+4800)
  4. Charley Hoffman (+34000)
  5. Mackenzie Hughes (+10000)

Odds above are provided by FanDuel


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Key Stat #4 – Strokes-Gained: Par 4’s (10 percent emphasis)

Correlated Stat – SG: Par 4’s – 400 to 450 yards

Given TPC River Highlands is a Par-70 setup, over a majority of the holes will be Par 4’s, That makes past scoring on these holes pivotal at The Travelers.

Expectedly, there’s a strong correlation between finishing position and overall efficiency on the 12 Par 4’s at TPC River Highlands. The last four winners at this track — Harris English, Dustin Johnson, Chez Reavie and Bubba Watson — ranked sixth, first, first and T-1st, respectively, in SG: Par 4’s for the week.

In terms of the scoring opportunities, there’s a good mix. Historically, six of these 12 holes — numbers 2, 3, 9, 12, 14 and 15 — have played under par while the remaining six par 4’s — holes 1, 4, 7, 10, 17 and 18 — are historically more challenging.

But, the common thread between eight of these holes is that they fit the distance profile of the correlated metric, hence the inclusion of that qualifier.

Here are the 24-round leaders in SG: Par 4’s entering the Travelers:

  1. Seamus Power (+4500)
  2. Mackenzie Hughes (+12500)
  3. Lanto Griffin (+15000)
  4. Justin Thomas (+900)
  5. Troy Merritt (+20000)

Odds above are provided by PointsBet

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