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PGA Tour predictions: Two matchups to bet at this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson tournament

With the start of the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch only a day away, we share our two favorite head-to-head matchup bets for the tournament.

Matt Kuchar of the United States plays his shot from the third tee during the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Country Club on May 07, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Matt Kuchar of the United States plays his shot from the third tee during the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Country Club on May 07, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina.Read moreGregory Shamus / Getty Images

Before the AT&T Byron Nelson begins Thursday from TPC Craig Ranch, we’re set to provide a pair of PGA Tour predictions.

Scottie Scheffler headlines a relatively weak field a week out from the PGA Championship, but that doesn’t mean there’s any less money to be earned on the wagering front. Here, we’ll focus on one specific market available to bettors: the head-to-head matchup.

For those less familiar, this simply asks bettors to pick which golfer from a predetermined pair finishes higher on the leader board. Using a custom stat model (see below), I’ve identified two markets that offer bettors a good chance to cash a ticket.

Odds courtesy of BetMGM and are reflective at time of writing. Subject to change.


Before we get to the picks, here’s a look at the custom model I constructed to help sort the field:

  1. Strokes-Gained: Tee-to-Green (15%), Driving Distance (5%)

  2. Strokes-Gained: Approach (20%)

  3. Birdies or Better Gained (15%), Bogey Avoidance (10%)

  4. Par 4 Efficiency (10%), Par 4 Efficiency: 450-500 yards (5%)

  5. Par 5 Efficiency (15%), Par 5 Efficiency: 550-600 yards (5%)

Additionally, any subsequent references to “correlative courses” pull data from the following tracks: La Quinta CC, Pebble Beach, Port Royal GC & St. George’s Golf & Country Club).

AT&T Byron Nelson matchup bet: Davis Riley (-125) over S.H. Kim

By no means is there a huge gap between the two players, but Riley ends up with the final advantage.

Kim owns two top-25 finishes in his past three starts, but ranks 50th or worse in the 24- and 50-round model samples; Riley is 30th and 26th, respectively, in those categories.

Hone in on the 24-round projection and it’s quite alarming for Kim, who is 93rd on approach and 112th in birdies or better gained. Although Riley is 112th in bogey avoidance, there are other factors mitigating that ranking.

For example, Riley sits 38th in SG: TOT on “easy” courses dating back to 2021, good for four spots ahead of Kim.

Additionally, take into account rounds at TPC Craig Ranch and the aforementioned correlative courses and bettors will find Riley ranks 16th in the field in SG: TOT while Kim is a distant 66th.

Kim also owns no course history at TPC Craig Ranch while Riley produced a T-9th finish here last year.

With Riley 26 spots ahead in the final model, back him at -135 or better this week.

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AT&T Byron Nelson matchup bet: Matt Kuchar (-130) over Adam Scott

Much like the above matchup, not a lot separates these two players, but Kuchar presents himself as a trusted favorite.

Despite finishing ahead of Scott by only 21, 13 and four spots in the 12-, 24- and 50-round samples, Kuchar owns a big edge as a function of his record on easy setups. Since 2021, Kuchar ranks 20th in SG: TOT on qualifying setups while Scott is 70th overall in this field.

Additionally, Kuchar is outstanding at both TPC Craig Ranch and correlative courses. In all rounds at those setups, he’s eighth overall in the field while Scott is 40 spots behind.

In terms of individual stats, there’s a lot of concerns with Scott. Over his past 24 rounds, he’s 42nd tee-to-green and 98th on approach. Even if those positively regress at an easy track, he still makes bogey at a higher rate than Kuchar and is less efficient on the Par 5s — sixth for Kuchar vs. 37th for Scott.

Add in Scott’s T-32nd as his best finish at TPC Craig Ranch compared to two top-17 finishes for Kuchar and I’ll back the American up to -135.

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