Monthly Archives: February 2010

ACCENTURE MATCH PLAY ROUND 3

After his round Stewart Cink made one of the smartest comments a pro golfer will ever make when interviewed on the Golf Channel. He said something to the extent of there is almost no difference between 1-64 in this* field and 18 holes of golf is not a true determination of who is really a better golfer, just who is better on that day. True, true and true.

I mention this because the “underdogs” have been killing it this week. Well Clark over Kaymer and Villegas over Ogilvy were basically toss-ups and McIlroy over the last two years is much closer to Na and Wilson than Woods. I’m not saying there isn’t a difference between some of these players, it just isn’t that big and 18 holes isn’t enough to really determine it.

I’ve made 19 bets this week, 12 of which have come at +150 or better. Based on my numbers, only 7 of the 48 matches so far have a player who is +150 or worse. The biggest being Ross McGowan at +209. There is pretty clearly a huge disconnect between how good favorites are in this tournament.

*Sans Tiger. There is quite a difference between Tiger and the rest of the field.
ODDS:
20,000+ simulations(thanks XLSSports.)

MATCHES:
Thongchai Jaidee v. Ryo Ishikawa:
From what I’ve seen so far, the Golf Channel has crowned Ishikawa as the greatest player ever(what happened to Rory) in 5 years. That’s fine, but I’ll take Jaidee, his funny name, and a plus number.

Jeev Milkha Singh v. Ian Poulter:
This is a classic case of higher seed being ridiculously overrated. Poulter is better for sure and maybe better than my rankings indicate, but I seriously doubt -170 better.

Sergio Garcia v. Tim Clark:
Looks pretty fair, Sergio is a definite loser at this point, though.

Luke Donald v. Oliver Wilson:
Same thing here. I’ll have a strong rooting interest in Oliver Wilson who should provide and easier test on the 1% chance Sergio makes it through Tim Clark tomorrow.

Nick Watney v. Retief Goosen:
Have this one as pretty close to a toss-up and with two big names it’s not surprising Vegas agrees.

Camilo Villegas v. Ben Crane:
At no point in the last 4 months has Camilo Villegas been overrated. I think -175 drastically overstates how much better than Crane he is though. Villegas is probably a top-15 player, but Crane is no slouch.

Charl Schwartzel v. Stewart Cink:
Stewie has a strong history here, but Charl’s 2010 European campaign is probably strong enough recent form to take all the value out of this match-up.

Brian Gay v. Paul Casey:
This line is flat insane. Brian Gay is not some obscure Asian with 4 names and 2 appearances in PGA Tour events. This guy won twice last year, by a lot. I won’t argue Casey is better, but +170 is crazy. There is absolutely NO way this line would be that high if this was a Sunday pairing in some random PGA event.

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ACCENTURE MATCH PLAY ROUND 2 THOUGHTS

ODDS:

-forgot to change the column headers. First round, should obviously be second round.

BRACKET THOUGHTS:
-Same general idea as yesterday. Looks to be a lot of value on the underdogs in some of these match-ups as there just isn’t a huge difference in skill between this class of pro golfers.

-Luke Donald v. Robert Allenby is a brutal round 2 match-up.

-I got a bit lucky as Tom Gillis made an eagle from the fairway last week then finished in the top-10 by one shot. I gave that back today as Y.E. and Watney both holed out approaches.

-Camilo, Clark, Oliver Wilson, Nick Watney, Ben Crane and Mike Weir is my leans list. Not surprisingly, I think Furyk and Sergio are the best looks as favorites, though I probably won’t pull the trigger on those.

WINNER:
3 guys stood out to me as good looks to win.

-Jim Furyk
-Sergio Garcia
-Zach Johnson

Furyk is easily the best player left in the field over the past two years after Stricker’s departure. Schwartzel is an easier second round opponent than Mahan. That’s not a huge difference, but I think he is much more likely to win than the drop in odds from 35-1 to 28-1 would indicate.

Same story with Zach Johnson. He went from 50-1 pre-tournament to 44-1 after round 1. I’m not sure his path got any easier with what happened in the opening round, but Johnson should be higher than this. Also, Zach Johnson has been better than Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer over just the past year, so if you’re putting any weight into that as a reason why they are so ridiculously priced than I think you have to apply the same to Johnson.

Sergio is guaranteed to suck me in at some point in any tournament. Realistically he has no shot at winning and we all know he will choke. Theoretically, he is a better player than the very overrated Kaymer and McIlroy and his biggest challenge will come from Big Shot Bob as they trade 7, 8s ad 9s down the back nine of their elite 8 match-up.

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2010 ACCENTURE WORLD MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP

If you would like to see what I have already played, click here. Most of that falls into the category of obscure player vs. insanely overrated player and I knew I would be playing when I first set up the brackets last week.

-All numbers below come from 25,000 simulations on a tournament simulator provided by XlsSports and using my latest 2 year rankings.

JONES:

Stricker(-279) v. McGowan(+254):
I think this just misses the cut for my first round of action, but its close and if I add on, McGowan seems to be a good option. Stricker is in no way as overrated as some of the other top names, but McGowan is probably a borderline look.

Ryo Ishikawa (+111) v. Michael Sim(-121):
This has to be one of the most intriguing match-ups in the first round, but I doubt this line isn’t pretty fair. I only have 31 rounds for Ishikawa, so its hard to accurately project(I find it doubtful you can find value backing Ishikawa) him like other players in the field, but this line seems pretty fair.

Robert Karlsson(-135) v. Rory Sabbatini(+125)
A few weeks ago, this might have been a decent opportunity to grab a favorite in Karlsson. Now, with a win on his resume this year, I don’t think that’s the case. I think -130 is a perfect estimate for the true value of this line.

Ross Fisher (-187) v. Thongchai Jaidee(+172)
Ross has faired much better in big name US events than his overall level of play indicates. Throw in a final four last year, and the fact that Thongchai sounds like a guy you’ve never heard of, I think this is one of the more solid round 1 looks.

Padraig Harrington (-196) v. Jeev Milkha Singh(+182)
I think there has to be some kind of bias here based on the top names and high seeds and the comparison to the NCAA Basketball tournament. This is completely different in that(without Tiger playing) basically all these guys are pretty similar in terms of overall ability. Anything over +150, is probably worth a look. Jeev was in India last week, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is much closer to Padraig than most people realize.

Anthony Kim (-138) v. Matt Kuchar(+128)
This is interesting as Kuchar appears to be creeping up on Kim in the rankings after a down year from Kim. Still, I have a hard time believing Kim is really overrated enough to take Kuchar, based on what I’ve seen this year.

Ian Poulter(-155) v. Justin Leonard(+145)
Leonard is definitely on the second level of plays I might consider later. I have Poulter(-107) as a slight favorite, but I think its reasonable to say he is a little stronger than that given a better 2009 than 2008 and the books continued high opinion of him. That being said, I be hard pressed to say +145 isn’t at least a little value.

Angel Cabrera(-135) v. Adam Scott(+125)
The highlight of this match for me will be the potential of Leonard against either one of these clowns in round 2.

HOGAN:

Martin Kaymer(-172) v. Chad Campbell(+162)
I have this one in the same boat as Leonard/Poulter. Kaymer is more well known and younger, so its hard to say my Kaymer -112 estimate is entirely fair, but really is there that much difference? Gut feeling says no, but I want to reconsider this one as well.

Tim Clark(-151) v. Vijay Singh(+141)
I have this as a toss-up over the last two years so the books must be assuming Vijay is dead. I can’t say I think Vijay over Clark screams value, though.

Sergio Garcia(-128) v. David Toms(+118)
Sergio gets as much disrespect as any elite player in the world, but Toms has played well enough to make this a pretty fair looking line.

Lucas Glover(-134) v. Anders Hansen(+124)
A Hansen against the defending US Open Champion seems like it should be better value. I have Glover as a small favorite in this, but I’m not sure its enough value on Hansen to make the first cut.

Rory McIlroy(-235) v. Kevin Na(+215)
Let’s assume that my rankings have a pretty fair opinion of Kevin Na given that he plays mostly on the PGA Tour and they are pretty accurate reflections of other players in those circumstances. For this to be a fair line, you have to consider Rory as a better player right now than Tiger over the last two years. That’s not true at all and this is probably the best single line of the first round.

Miguel Angel Jimenez(-102) v. Oliver Wilson(-108)
Have this as a dead toss-up, though Ollie will inevitably crumble when MAJ lights up his 11th cigar of the day on the back nine.

Robert Allenby(-142) v. Peter Hanson(+132)
Not surprisingly when two pretty good players who don’t get near enough attention meet, you get a pretty fair line.

Luke Donald(-133) v. Graeme McDowell(+123)
Hard to say this line hasn’t been influenced a little by two strong showings from Donald in the past two weeks, but I’m not sure its enough that taking G-Mac at +123 is a good idea.

PLAYER:

Lee Westwood(-223) v. Chris Wood(+203)
I don’t think taking Chris Wood in normal tournaments is a good idea as he is a young guy who has gotten a lot of attention early in his career. Still, I just don’t think there is as much difference between these two players as 1 v. 16 might indicate. Westwood is a favorite for sure, but I think -150 is more reasonable.

Nick Watney(-215) v. Yuta Ikeda (+195)
I have no idea who Yuta Ikeda is, and is ranking is probably super inflated by winning a bunch of events on the Japanese Tour, but Nick Watney would only be -180 against the average NW Tour player so I have to say this is value. Whether Yuta is better than the average NW Tour player will be in question when he is 3 down after 4.

Ernie Els(-145) v. Ryan Moore(+135)
I will pay about as much attention to this one as Cabrera/Scott.

Retief Goosen(-148) v. Soren Hansen(+138)
This is on the second level of plays I will seriously consider. This is much closer to a toss-up than most people would be willing to admit.

Henrik Stenson (-163) v. Ben Crane(+153)
Laughably, I have this one as Stenson -103. The reason seems to be Stenson plays well sometimes in big tournaments and gets too much credit for it, but I still have a hard time believing this is a coin flip. This is looking more and more like Ben Crane will be a play.

Y.E. Yang(-111) v. Soren Kjeldsen(+101)
Given how I’ve done fading Y.E. since the PGA I have no problem saying the wrong person is favored here. Still, Soren should only win this around 53% of the time.

Geoff Ogilvy(-225) v. Alex Noren(+205)
Forget every price on Noren you’ve seen on the European Tour for the past month. He is clearly viewed as much different by the PGA bettors than EPGA bettors. Add in a defending champ, and this is probably #2 on my round 1 list.

Dustin Johnson(-114) v. Camilo Villegas(+104)
Dustin has been on fire his last two outings, but over two years(way more meaningful) Camilo should be the favorite(-126). DJ certainly has some upside, but I don’t think you should view Camilo any differently.

SNEAD:

Jim Furyk(-171) v. Scott Verplank(+161)
How is it that Furyk ends up with the only reasonable line for a 1 v. 16 match-up? Both these guys are perceived as boring players, but they still are about the same level of similar seeds and this line is way more in line with reality.

Hunter Mahan(-109) v. Charl Schwartzel(-101)
If you could find a + number, I think Mahan and his indifferent start is a good look against Schwartzel’s two wins(weak fielded Euro events) this season. Mahan is better for sure, but I don’t think there is enough of a difference to make this a good option at -109.

Sean O’Hair(-147) v. Simon Dyson(+137)
Not a huge Dyson fan, looks like a stay away.

Stewart Cink(-150) v. Edoardo Molinari(+140)
I doubt you’ll find any value in the defending British Open Champ or Molinari who has been one of the rising players on Euro Tour and JV Euro Tour over the past two years.

Paul Casey (-182) v. Stephen Ames(+169)
Rumor has it, Ames has been talking trash about Casey’s driving skills. Obvious 7&5 loss aside, This is another one that is not a favorite right away, but its highly unlikely there is this much difference between the two players.

Alvaro Quiros(-137) v. Mike Weir(+127)
I completely overlooked this one, but wow, I’m not sure how you justify Quiros being a better player than Mike Weir at this point.

Kenny Perry(-130) v. Brian Gay(+120)
The worst part about this match-up is that one of these players will have to advance and leave me with an awkward situation on two players I have no idea how to properly value at this point.

Zach Johnson (-132) v. Francesco Molinari(+122)
Zach Johnson doesn’t have a flashy game at all, but he is close to a top-10 player in the world. This line is definitely a testament to the other Molinari brother and how good he may be.

BRACKET WINNERS AND OUTRIGHTS:
I don’t think it’s worth doing any of this. There is a ton of juice on the bracket options and while most of it seems to be distributed to the favorites, It makes it tough to find anywhere. Gun to my head, I’d say Noren and Na each at 35-1 are my favorites but I’m not going to worry about it for now.

I guess you could make a case for my usual cast of characters as outrights, but I’d rather pass on a total crapshoot event like this and just take the individual match-ups.

Updated sims will run throughout the week.

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ADJUSTED LEADERBOARD

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MAJestic

Thanks to some generous pricing mid tournament Miguel Angel Jimenez winning the Dubai Desert Classic made a pretty nice week for me. Unfortunately, Hurricane Steve doesn’t drain 5-footers like MAJ makes 20 footers in playoffs.

It does bring up an interesting point as I have been looking for players with “upside” to take as my winners. That’s fine, and I think a good way to stay consistent, but it might just be semantics, too.

Consider the following list of tournaments since the PGA Playoffs where a player with “value” by my numbers(against 5dimes has won).

MAJ-Dubai Desert Classic
Steve Stricker-Northern Trust Open
Robert Karlsson-Qatar Masters
Ryan Palmer-Sony Open
Robert Allenby-Australian PGA
Robert Allenby-Nedbank Challenge
Tiger Woods-JBwere Masters
Lee Westwood-Portugal Masters
Matt Kuchar-Turning Stone
Phil Mickelson-Tour Championship
Tiger Woods-BMW Championship
James Kingston-Mercedes-Benz Championship(Euro)
Heath Slocum-Barclays
Steve Stricker-Deutsche Bank Championship

I’m not sure how much that means, but its interesting to consider. You could probably argue that all of those players are underrated in some way, but it’s not exactly the Villegas/Noren/Sergio/Hurricane Steve/Donald group that I keep backing.

There will be nothing for the Avantha Masters for right now. Mitch Lowe National Pro Am breakdown up later.

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TOUGHNESS>ME

West Virginia 75 (-5.5), Villanova 82

I actually prefer the the game where WVU has no shot from the start to the up-and-down-roller-coaster-lose-by-two-points-at-the-end type of game. There were two highlights of this one for me:

-At halftime, I found out that Mitch Lowe is making his triumphant return to the PGA Tour at this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am. No he is not a celebrity amateur, either.

-This game ended approximately 50 minutes before Jack Bauer took a knife that he had been stabbed with out of his abdomen, threw it across the room and hit the generic Russian henchman in the jugular. Good work, Jack, you deserve two starting spots on Villanova.

Providence looks like a good option tonight. I like to Purdue too, although I’m a little scared off because of Michigan State’s recent play.

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HE’S BACK

Courtesy of YahooSports Leaderboard.

5Dimes has him listed at 1000-1.

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