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Corey Conners leads Wells Fargo Championship best derivative bets

Having shared our statistical modeling strategy for the Wells Fargo Championship, we’re now able to begin sharing some picks.

I’ll begin as always with my favorite derivative plays for the week, which were genuinely difficult to narrow down to a trio. All told, six players modeled out higher than their lowest plus-money finishing position for this week’s event.

But, I ultimately settled on the following three markets for this week’s event at TPC Potomac. All odds come courtesy of Fanduel Sportsbook and are reflective at time of writing.

Best Bet #1 – Corey Conners Top 20 Finish (+120)

The Canadian has played extremely well of late and should have his game fit this course well.

Across his last five starts, Conners has posted three top-20 finishes — including a T6 at the Masters and T12 at the RBC Heritage — and five consecutive made cuts. He’s also gained strokes tee-to-green and in approach in five straight events.

Overall, my model likes him quite a bit this week. Conners sits fifth overall in both my 36- and 24-round models while ranking first in the field across the last 12 rounds. Just in the latter model, Conners ranks no worse than 29th in any of the six individual categories, but is critically third in SG: approach and sixth in good drives gained over those 12 rounds. Plus, Conners is seventh overall in the field in SG: Par 4’s across the last 24 rounds.

Corey Conners
AP

Although Conners was T41 at the 2018 Quicken Loans National, there are positives to take from that performance at TPC Potomac. For the week, Conners gained 4.1 strokes T2G and 3.1 strokes on approach, but was let down by his putter (-2.6 SG: putting for the week).

Plus, Conners has demonstrated an ability to score well on short courses. Across his last 50 rounds on courses under 7,200 yards, Conners is ninth overall in the field and first in the field in SG: ball striking. Lastly, in his last three events at courses less than 7,200 yards, Conners has posted finishes of 12-MC-11.

For all those reasons, I would play Conners up to -105 on his top-20 market.

Best Bet #2 – Keegan Bradley Top 30 Finish (+115)

There’s less wiggle room with Bradley based on my modeling, but I still think there’s a lot to like with the American this week.

In an appearance at the 2017 Quicken Loans National at TPC Potomac, Bradley finished T5 and ranked second in the field in strokes-gained: tee-to-green. Plus, much like Conners, Bradley’s recent results have been outstanding. In his last four starts, Bradley has posted three top-11 finishes to go along with a missed cut.

Additionally, Bradley has now gained strokes tee-to-green in eight of his last nine events, a skillset that should come in handy at TPC Potomac. Further, Bradley is second in the field in SG: approach over his last 12 rounds and 15th overall in that model. Although Bradley doesn’t rate out particularly highly in the five remaining categories – his next best ranking is 21st in SG: Par 3, the least emphasized category – he’s no worse than 54th in the field in five of six.


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However, Bradley simultaneously ranks 10th or better in SG: ball striking and SG: approach across his last 36 rounds on courses under 7,200 yards. With that in mind, I’m going to trust my projections and back Bradley at what I have rated a good price.

Best Bet #3 – Marc Leishman Top 30 Finish (+120)

Leishman is one of few players in the field that has two tournament’s-worth experience at TPC Potomac with both producing positive results.

Leishman recorded a T5 finish at the 2017 Quicken Loans National before recording a T13 at the 2018 version played at this week’s course. Plus, the Australian rates out very highly in a number of my models. Across the last 12 rounds, Leishman is fourth overall in the field. Across his last 24 qualifying rounds, Leishman is ninth overall in the field.

Those rankings are largely predicated on Leishman’s strength in three of the four most emphasized statistical categories. Over his last 24 rounds on qualifying courses, Leishman ranks ninth in SG: approach, ninth in SG: Par 4’s and 26th in bogey avoidance. He’s also slightly above-average in good drives gained, ranking 37th in the field.


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But, I’m not too concerned about that ranking as Leishman is simultaneously 27th in SG: T2G over his last 24 rounds on courses under 7200 yards.

Lastly, expanding the sample size with Leishman in terms of the model sees his individual rankings drastically shrink. He’s still fifth in the field over the last 50 rounds, but is no worse than 28th in any of the six statistical categories. As a result, back Leishman at +100 or better for a top-30 finish.

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