Gdula's Golf Simulations and Betting Picks: Olympic Men's Golf Competition

What do thousands of simulations have to say about this week's men's golf competition in Tokyo?

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 men's Olympics, according to the models.

Golfer FanDuel
Win% Top-10% FanDuel
Win Odds
Xander Schauffele$11,8009.9%55.0%+900
Collin Morikawa$12,0008.9%53.1%+700
Viktor Hovland$11,4008.3%50.7%+1100
Paul Casey$11,0006.6%43.9%+1400
Justin Thomas$11,6005.9%43.9%+1000
Patrick Reed$11,1005.8%40.8%+1400
Abraham Ancer$10,7004.9%39.2%+2000
Corey Conners$10,2004.5%38.3%+2700
Cameron Smith$10,5004.2%34.7%+2000
Rory McIlroy$11,5004.1%36.0%+1200
Joaquin Niemann$10,3003.9%35.2%+2000
Hideki Matsuyama$11,3003.3%32.9%+1100
Sungjae Im$10,0002.4%27.1%+2200
Christiaan Bezuidenhout$9,7002.4%25.5%+3700
Shane Lowry$10,6002.2%27.5%+2000
Alex Noren$9,2001.8%22.2%+5000
Siwoo Kim$9,0001.7%23.2%+4200
Carlos Ortiz$8,4001.7%21.9%+6000
Tommy Fleetwood$9,9001.7%21.7%+2900
Marc Leishman$9,8001.4%18.6%+3100
Jhonattan Vegas$8,5001.2%19.8%+5000
Guido Migliozzi$8,9001.1%17.5%+4500
Sebastian Munoz$8,2001.0%16.3%+6500
Antoine Rozner$8,1000.9%16.5%+9000
Guillermo Mito Pereira$7,8000.8%15.4%+8000
Thomas Pieters$8,7000.8%15.5%+5000
Garrick Higgo$9,3000.8%14.1%+4100
Matthias Schwab$8,0000.7%12.3%+10000
Mackenzie Hughes$8,6000.7%14.7%+6000
C.T. Pan$7,7000.6%12.3%+13000
Sepp Straka$7,5000.5%10.7%+21000
Yuan Carl Yechun$7,4000.5%6.4%+21000
Kalle Samooja$7,3000.5%9.4%+21000
Thomas Detry$8,3000.4%10.4%+6500
Rasmus Hojgaard$7,9000.3%7.5%+13000
Henrik Norlander$7,8000.3%9.1%+10000
Jazz Janewattananond$7,7000.3%7.4%+12000
Fabrizio Zanotti$7,0000.3%6.5%+21000
Anirban Lahiri$7,6000.3%8.1%+21000
Joachim B. Hansen$7,1000.3%6.7%+27000
Adri Arnaus$7,6000.3%5.9%+18000
Ryan Fox$8,0000.3%7.9%+10000
Rory Sabbatini$7,5000.3%6.0%+15000
Adrian Meronk$7,2000.2%6.8%+27000
Wu Ashun$7,0000.2%4.4%+32000
Maximilian Kieffer$7,3000.2%4.5%+27000
Rafael Campos$7,0000.1%4.2%+42000
Scott Vincent$7,1000.1%3.1%+27000
Kristian Krogh Johannessen$7,0000.1%3.9%+42000
Rikuya Hoshino$7,9000.1%3.9%+10000
Sami Valimaki$7,2000.1%3.5%+21000
Hurly Long$7,0000.1%2.1%+42000
Romain Langasque$7,4000.0%3.0%+21000
Renato Paratore$7,0000.0%1.9%+21000
Jorge Campillo$7,3000.0%2.7%+27000
Ondrej Lieser$7,0000.0%1.2%+42000
Udayan Mane$7,0000.0%0.6%+50000
Juvic Pagunsan$7,0000.0%0.6%+42000
Gunn Charoenkul$7,0000.0%1.0%+42000
Gavin Green$7,0000.0%0.1%+32000

Among the favorites, the model views Xander Schauffele (+900 on FanDuel Sportsbook) as a slight negative value but a much better one than Collin Morikawa (+700).

Viktor Hovland (+1100) and Paul Casey (+1400) are fair values, and Abraham Ancer (+2000) is a slightly positive value himself.

The heaviest value option on the board is Corey Conners (+2700), whose odds should be +2100, according to his simulation odds.

Other golfers with longer odds who rate out well include Carlos Ortiz (+6000) and Alexander Noren (+5000).

I'm finding myself pulled toward Patrick Reed (+1400) despite his underperformance in the win simulation model simply because of his success representing the United States and in smaller field events. He does have some travel concerns, for what it's worth.

Reed, Conners, Oritz, and Mito Pereira (+8000) will all be on my card this week.