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AT&T Byron Nelson modeling strategy, predictions, golf bets

Max Homa is your 2022 Wells Fargo Championship winner and now the AT&T Byron Nelson takes center stage in the final PGA Championship tune-up.

Taking place at TPC Craig Ranch, a 7400+ yard par-72, this year’s Byron Nelson features a stacked field. Masters champion Scottie Scheffler (+1000) arrives as the consensus favorite and is closely followed by Justin Thomas (+1200). Rounding out the top five on the odds board are Jordan Spieth (+2000), Sam Burns (+2000), and Dustin Johnson (+2200).

But, before we dive into best bets for the week in Dallas, we’ll begin as always with a modeling strategy and key stats for this week’s event. Before we begin, though, I’m adding two sorting factors in addition to the six stats: “easy” scoring relative to par and “bent” greens.



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Key Stat #1 – Strokes-Gained: Approach (20 percent emphasis)

We begin as we usually do, with the strokes-gained: approach, which once again correlates the strongest with finishing position.

Per datagolf.com, there’s a 58 percent correlation between SG: approach and finishing position at the AT&T Byron Nelson, 17 percent more than the next-most correlative stat. Just at the 2021 event, winner K.H. Lee ranked second for the week in SG: approach while six of the top eight for the week finished 10th or better.

For those two reasons, this category will receive my highest emphasis for the week. Here are the leaders in SG: approach across the last 36 rounds with betting odds for the week:

  1. Chez Reavie (+15000)
  2. Justin Thomas (+1200)
  3. Cameron Percy (+40000)
  4. Adam Scott (+6600)
  5. Brian Stuard (+20000)

Odds provided by BetMGM

Key Stat #2 – Strokes-Gained: Tee-to-Green (18 percent emphasis)

Just like SG: approach, this stat carries some weight in deciding the finishing position.

Again per datagolf.com, SG: OTT has a 41 percent correlation with finishing position. Just last year at TPC Craig Ranch, runner-up Sam Burns and winner K.H. Lee went 1-2 in this category with nine of the 10 best players in this category finishing inside the top-20.

It should be worth noting that hitting fairways is relatively easy here as the average width is 40.3 yards — 5.6 yards wider than the average on tour — and there’s not much of a penalty for a missed fairway — only 0.03 strokes lower than the tour average.

Here are the SG: T2G leaders across the last 36 rounds with their betting odds for the week:

  1. Justin Thomas (+1500)
  2. Dustin Johnson (+1900)
  3. Sam Burns (+1900)
  4. Bubba Watson (+5500)
  5. Luke List (+9000)

Odds provided by FanDuel Sportsbook

Justin Thomas
Justin Thomas
Getty Images

Key Stat #3 – Strokes-Gained: Par 4’s (17 percent emphasis)

The 10 Par 4’s at TPC Craig Ranch represent a majority of holes and are fairly easy to score upon.

At the 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson, only three played over-par for the week while two of 10 played at least 0.3 strokes under-par for the week. In fact, six of the 10 holes played amongst the 10 easiest holes for the week.

Thus, an ability to score well on these holes will be critical for final finishing position — 2021 winner Lee ranked second in Par 4 efficiency — and a big reason why I’m giving it so much emphasis. Here are the 36-round leaders in SG: Par 4 with their betting odds for the week:

  1. Seamus Power (+5000)
  2. Justin Thomas (+1200)
  3. Brian Stuard (+20000)
  4. Lee Westwood (+15000)
  5. Dustin Johnson (+2200)

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Key Stat #4 – Birdie or Better Gained (17 percent emphasis)

Unlike last week’s Wells Fargo Championship, this tournament should prove a birdie-fest with a low winning score.

In 2021 at TPC Craig Ranch, K.H. Lee won with a score of -25 while runner-up Sam Burns posted -22 for the week. Between wide fairways and large greens — they run north of 6700 square feet — there’s little resistance to be found at this course, so players should find plenty of birdie opportunities this week.

As a result, I’m placing a high amount of emphasis on players’ past ability to gain opportunities on the field. Plus, all five leaders in this category last year finished fifth or better.

With that said, here are the birdie or better-gained leaders over the last 36 rounds with their current betting odds:

  1. Justin Thomas (+1200)
  2. Dustin Johnson (+2200)
  3. Ryan Palmer (+12500)
  4. Sam Burns (+2000)
  5. Morgan Hoffmann (+75000)
Sam Burns
Sam Burns
AP

Key Stat #5 – Strokes-Gained: Par 5’s (15 percent emphasis)

Only four Par 5’s fill out the scorecard at TPC Craig Ranch, but these holes could prove of extreme importance.

All four ranked among the five easiest holes in last year’s event with all four surrendering at least 40 percent birdie or better on the scorecard for the field. Plus, none are particularly long — the longest of the four stretches 569 yards — so there will be opportunities galore to get on the green in two.

Last year’s winner K.H. Lee played these four holes to -11, but runner-up Sam Burns was a whopping -15 on these four holes, so there’s a path for players to post a good finish just on the par 5’s.

With that in mind, here are the SG: Par 5 leaders over the last 36 rounds with their betting odds for the week:

  1. Sam Burns (+2000)
  2. Joseph Bramlett (+25000)
  3. Henrik Stenson (+25000)
  4. Martin Laird (+20000)
  5. Bubba Watson (+6600)

Key Stat #6 – Bogey Avoidance (13 percent emphasis)

Why include bogey avoidance in a week that will feature a lot of birdies? Simply put, I want players who can maintain momentum in a round.

Plus, 2021 winner Lee ranked T-2nd last year in bogey avoidance, successfully avoiding five squares on the scorecard. In fact, Lee and runner-up Burns combined to card only seven total bogies at last year’s event. Jordan Spieth, who finished T-9 last year, carded six bogies on his own.

So although it’s not the most important stat this week, this will likely carry some weight. Here are the bogey avoidance leaders over the last 36 rounds as well as their betting odds for the week:

  1. Charles Howell III (+10000)
  2. Danny Willett (+15000)
  3. Henrik Stenson (+25000)
  4. Peter Malnati (+25000)
  5. Alex Noren (+6600)

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