BlogSentry Sure Bet Results

Sentry Tournament of Champions

January 6th – 9th, 2022

Plantation Course at Kapalua

Kapalua, Maui, HI

Par: 73 / Yardage: 7,596

Purse: $8.2 million

with $1,476,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Harris English


by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:

Welcome to our first edition of Sure Bets.

Final Results on our picks for the final round and all four days

So how did we do with our picks for the Sentry Tournament of Champions?

4th round results
Have to say had a nice day of picking on Sunday. Of our four “Sure Bets,” we had three right and the fourth bet was tied.
Off the bat, Lucas Glover shot 69 to beat Jason Kokrak who shot 71. With Glover going off at +140 he earned us $12 on our $5 bet. Our second bet was a tie as K.H. Lee and Viktor Hovland shot 67. The same with our third $5 bet as our pick Max Homa shot 69 to tie Kevin Na.
Our fourth bet with the leaders saw our pick Cameron Smith shot 65 and nip Jon Rahm by a shot as Rahm shot 66. With our $5 bet we won $11 so for the day we cleared $13.

Now for the week, we, unfortunately, lost our three picks, $15 for top-ten as Xander Schauffele finished 12th, Jordan Spieth finished T-21st and Phil Mickelson finished T-30th.
In our matchup bets, we had 13 bets totally $65. Now of the 13 bets we lost only three times and were tied in three bets. So we ended up winning seven bets totally $72.28.

So in total, we had 16 bets (including our top-ten disaster) totally $80
With our three bets tied, we were refunded $15, and if you add our winnings of $72.28 to the $15 we earned 87.28 Subtract our cost of $80 and we won $7.28. Anytime we can show a profit, it’s a good day.

Hope you enjoyed this new feature and will join us for the first round of the Sony Open on Thursday.


3rd round results, picks for Final round

3rd round results, picks for the final round
A bit of a frustrating day. The bad news only won one bet when Matt Jones shot 62 to beat Bryce DeChambeau 67, with Jones being priced at +175 won $13.75. My second bet saw Keven Na and Sam Burns tie, thanks to Burns making birdie on the final round. With the tie, the bet was void, so add the $5 bet to the $13.75. The last bet was the frustrating bet of the day. Cameron Smith shot 64 but lost to Jon Rahm, who shot 61. So with the $13.75 win and no bet for the tie, we won $3.75 for the night.

Going into the final round, we have Cameron Smith and Jon Rahm at 26-under, the second-lowest opening 54-hole score to par in PGA Tour history (Best is Patrick Reed at 27-under in 2014 American Express). Smith and Rahm at 26-under, they are five shots ahead of Daniel Berger and six ahead of Patrick Cantlay, Sungjae Im, and Matt Jones. So it looks like the event will be a run between the top-two players. With very little wind in store for the final round, we will probably see more 61s and 62s shot. So with that, anything can happen, but don’t see Smith or Rahm folding. Along with Rahm’s 61, Justin Thomas also shot 61, so he went from last place with his first-round 74 to 3rd place in the final round.

So what does it look like for the final round?

In the first match of the day at 12:50, we have the field’s worst players, Lucas Glover, who is 6 under, and Jason Kokrak, who is 5 under. Both aren’t hitting the ball very well, and both are on the bottom of putting stats. So it should be a close match, I see that Glover does have more momentum going into the final round, and Glover is priced at +155. So with a $5 bet, the return is $12.75, so this is our first “Sure Bet” for the final round.
One of the big surprises has to be the poor play of Viktor Hovland. Hard to believe we were thinking so much about him on Thursday as he was leading the tournament after playing the first ten holes in five under. But since then, he is only 3 under par and is T-32nd. He plays on Sunday in a 1:10 pairing with K.H. Lee, who, after a poor start, had five birdies in his final nine holes on Saturday. So for our first bet like Lee at +155 over Hovland and with a $5 bet, the return would be $12.75.
Our third bet is the 2:55 match between Kevin Na, who is 16 under, and Max Homa, who is 15 under. Now both of these players are looking for a top-ten finish, but in the second and third rounds, I came very close to picking Homa. Unfortunately, I didn’t and would have won both times and had another opportunity to pick Homa in the final round. He is priced at +105, and the return on a $5 bet is $10.25, so that is our third bet.
Now I was a bit upset that Cameron Smith played so well on Saturday and lost to Jon Rahm, who shot 61. The final round between Cameron Smith and Jon Rahm will be good. Conventional wisdom and betting wise tell us that Jon Rahm will win the tournament. But it worries me that after shooting 61 on Saturday, going low to days in a row will be hard. I feel that Smith has another 64 or 65 in him, and looking at how Rahm has done historically the day after going low makes me think that Smith could win. In 2020 in the WGC-Mexico, Rahm shot a third-round 61 and shot 67 in the final round. In the 2018 American Express, Rahm shot an opening round of 62 and shot 67-70-67 after that. At the 2019 Farmers Insurance at Torrey Pines, Rahm opened with a 62 and shot 72-68-72, and at the 2019 WGC-FedEx St. Jude, Rahm opened with a 72 and shot 67-63-68. So with that said, this shows that it’s always hard to shoot 61 or 62 and come back with another low round. So despite Rahm on paper looking too good to beat, I like that Cameron Smith is priced at +120, which means a possible $11.00 return, so I am going with 4 bets for the final round


2nd round results, picks for 3rd round

Cameron Smith birdies his last four holes on Friday to shoot a 64. Smith looked terrible making bogeys at 1 and 2 but made an eagle at 5 and then had nine birdies on the next 13 holes. Now Smith accomplished a feat by playing better in the 2nd round than in the first round. On Friday, Smith hit 16 greens and made 27 putts. Like most past champions, the key to Smith playing well is with the putter. He not only leads in Strokes Gained Putting but has made 204 feet of putts the most of anyone in the field.
Now Jon Rahm hasn’t been a slouch in his first two rounds. Rahm shot another 66 with another bogey-free round of seven birdies and 11 pars to finish himself three shots back of Smith. Rahm has played a different game than Smith. Rahm has only missed two fairways and greens, and while Smith made 204 feet of putts, Rahm has only made 116 feet, 2 inches of putts. So while Smith is best in putting, Rahm ranked 32nd in feet of putts and 15th in Strokes Gained Putting.
Two players who turned their rounds around were Sam Burns and Patrick Reed. After a first-round 74, Reed shot 64 but is still nine shots back of Smith. Burns went from a first round 72 to shoot 64 on Friday with a bogey-free round of nine birdies and nine pars. Burns drastically improved all parts of his game. After hitting 12 of 18 greens on Thursday, he hit 17 of 18 on Friday and made 95 feet, six inches of putts. Despite the great round, Burns made up no ground on Smith and is still seven shots back.
Patrick Cantlay, who many, including myself, felt could be very rusty after not playing since the Ryder Cup proved us all wrong by shooting 67 and at 13 under, four back of Smith. Cantlay was flawless, hitting 18 of 18 greens, but only made 35 feet, 7 inches of putts, the worst performance of the day. For the week, he is 22nd in Strokes gained putting.
Now Viktor Hovland had a disappointing 69 on Friday and is T-22nd, nine shots back of Smith. Collin Morikawa shot 70 and is also nine shots back. Jordan Spieth, who many thought would have an intense week, did improve on Friday with a 69 but is 11 shots back. Justin Thomas made an excellent recovery from his opening round 74 with a 67 on Friday but is 12 back of Smith.

We won two of my three bets in our Sure Bets for the second round. Billy Horschel shot 67 to beat KH Lee’s 71, $5 bet, won $9. 2nd win Kevin Na shot 68 to beat Erik van Rooyen’s 70, won $9, a profit of $8 for the two matches. But on the 3rd bet, Abraham Ancer birdied the 18th hole to beat Jason Kokrak by a shot to result in a $5 loss, so the three bets wagered $15 and won $18 for a profit of $3.

So what does it look like for the third round?
Here are the round matchups for the third round from Draftkings:

In studying the pairings and the odd sheets from Drafkings, I can say that the really “Sure Bets” aren’t out there in the third round. So the strategy will be a bit different. I think I have found three matches in which the valuation is skewed too much that it’s worth taking a gamble on. If I score wins in two of the three will do well. If I win all three, the payouts will be very high. At the same count, if I only win one, it won’t be a total wipeout.
One matchup that I like the odds on is the 4:45 pairing of Bryce DeChambeau vs. Matt Jones. Both have had identical scores of 69-68 and are paired together at 9 under. But the odds are utterly wacko on this, DeChambeau is valued at -210 while Jones is valued at +175. That is a drastic advantage, bet $5 on Jones for a $13.75 return. I like that Jones has been better than DeChambeau with the putter this week. So sure, it’s not a “Sure Bet” but one that is achievable with a nice payday, so one that I can’t pass upon. Another one in which the odds are going to dictate jumping on is the 5:25 Sam Burns against Kevin Na. Now Burns shot 64 and is at 10 under, while Na is at 11 under with the most consistent rounds of 67-68. I just don’t see Burns going low two days in a row, and with Na priced at +125, that is a nice $11.25 payout for a $5 bet, so I am taking this.
My last bet is in the feature 5:55 grouping of leader Cameron Smith vs. Jon Rahm. I know that Rahm is outstanding, he has shown it this week playing bogey-free golf. At the same time, Cameron Smith has played great and has a three-shot lead on Rahm. I feel that Draftkings has not priced this match-up the way it should be as Smith is +145, so with a $5 bet, the return for a win is $12.25, so we have another pairing in which the possible payout tells us on to gamble.

We have posted all of the odds for the groupings, tell us who you like in our Speak You Mind box at the bottom to tell us who you want and don’t like.


1st round results, picks for 2nd round

So the first round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions is in the books, and I won two of my three bets and lost one. The wins saw Talor Gooch shoot 68 to beat Abraham Ancer, who shot 71 and, for my $5 bet, won $9.76. My second win saw Sungjae Im shot 67 to beat Cam Davis, who shot 69. With my $5 bet, I won $7.77, so I earned $7.53. But on my third bet, Si Woo Kim shot 71 and was beat by Branden Grace, who shot 69, which was a $5 loss.
We are thriving to get an 80% win margin, being two for three is a 66.7% margin, and I showed a slight profit of $2.53 on $15 of bets.
So we are looking to do a bit better and possibly get back to that 80% threshold. Lot’s of stunning results on players we thought would do better but didn’t. First is Justin Thomas, who has won twice in the last five years at Kapalua. He shot 74 on Thursday in a very messy round of four birdies but three bogeys and a double bogey. We are also surprised that Sam Burns had 17 pars and one birdie as he shot 72. Another disappointment was Jordan Spieth. He started slowly on the front and then had things rolling with four birdies on the back-nine before making a double-bogey 7 on the 18th hole to shoot 71. Also, I was disappointed in the way Viktor Hovland finished, he played his first ten holes in five under but played his final eight holes in one over, including an eagle on 15.
In some of the impressive rounds, Sungjae Im shot 7 in a round in which he hit 16 greens and took just 28 putts. The putts are a bit misleading, he led the field in greens hit but was 16th in Strokes Gained Putting and was 12th in putts per GIR. The good news, he is a person we will be watching. Kevin Na is also a player to watch, he hit 15 greens and took 28 putts. After opening up bogey-bogey, Na played his last 16 holes with eight birdies and eight pars. Another impressive first round was Patrick Cantlay, who hit 13 greens and took 25 putts. He was bogey-free after an opening bogey, making an eagle and six birdies. Cantlay was six-under in his last six holes, so we will be looking for him to keep things rolling on Friday. Jon Rahm was impressive in his bogey-free round of hitting 16 greens and taking 30 putts as he shot 33-33 for his 68.
Cameron Smith shot the best round. He hit 14 greens and took 26 putts in a bogey-free round. Now not putting the kiss of death on him, but in the two times he led after the first round, he shot 71 in the 2nd round and didn’t win.
So let’s see if we can get the right combination of good odds and wins. I like Billy Horschel over K.H. Lee. Both shot 72, but Lee’s round was all over the ballpark with four bogeys and five birdies. I like the odds, Horschel is -125, so on a $5 bet, a win returns $9, so that is our first bet.
Next is the 3.20 pairing of Abraham Ancer against Jason Kokrak. Both shot 72 in the first round. Kokrak is usually a good putter but didn’t do well with the flatstick, taking 32 putts, ranking 33rd in Strokes Gained Putting and T-25th in Putts Per GIR. This isn’t Kokrak, and I can see some improvement in the second round. Kokrak is -105, so with a $5 bet, a win returns $9.76, so like these odds.
My third bet is in the 5:25 pairing of Kevin Na against Erik van Rooyen. Na can win on this type, and I like how well he played the first round. Also, like that, Na is -125, so on a $5 bet, a win returns $9.00, so that is my last bet.

Now, this is being posted very late, but remember that Hawaii is five hours behind the east coast, so you have until around 2:30 to place a bet.


For the First Round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Sorry if a bit late but the good news because Hawaii is five hours ahead of the east coast, the first tee-off is 9:40 or 2:40 tomorrow afternoon. So you have plenty of time to place your bet.
We will do this for every round. Tomorrow will be the first round.

Off the bat, the first bets we want to do are for the tournament results, and it is good to go over to the Tournament Lines for the outcome. Now there are several ways to bet, you can do a player for a round, but I like the tournament outcome. There are several ways you can bet, first there are odds for a winner, Jon Rahm is the favorite, and if you place a bet on him to win, the odds are +750. So if you put $5 on him to win, the payout is $42.50, which is a lot on the surface, but you still need him to win, so I don’t call this a sure bet. Frankly, I can’t see any or never will “Sure Bets” for winning. Now more realistic odds is Rahm finishing in the top-10. He is at -200, so if you bet $5, a win gets you $7.50 or a profit of just $2.50. Realistically that is a good payout for a tournament with only 38 players and doesn’t have a cut.

So let’s look at some really “Sure Bets” under our tournament lines

I really like Jordan Spieth, and I believe he will have a great week. I think he will win, and if I wanted to bet him to win, I would get +1,800, so a $5 bet earns back $95.00 or a profit of $90. But again, we are looking for “Sure Bets,” something that has an 80% probability for a win. I place the likelihood of Spieth winning at about 7%, so I won’t take that bet. Now for finishing in the top-five, you can get +330, so a $5 bet gets back $21.50 or a profit of $16.50. But the odds of Spieth finishing in the top-five are still too high. I like Spieth to finish in the top-10. The odds are +130, so a five-dollar bet will return $11.50 a profit of $6.50. So that is our first bet.
Are there any other top-10 bets I like? In his last three starts, Xander Schauffele has finished T-5th last year, T-2nd in 2020, and won in 2019. In 12 rounds at Kapalua, he has broken par 11 times, so I kind of like him, even though last month he finished T-12th at the Hero World Challenge. Nothing to worry about in that, 2019 Xander finished T-10th at the Hero and won at the Sentry TofC. This week, he will be using a new driver and ball. Usually, that is a worrisome fact, but for this week, no problem. The last time he switched balls was before the Olympics, and he won. Historically Schauffele says he always uses a new driver at Kapalua, and we can say he plays well. Schauffele is -120 for a top-ten finish, so betting $5 gets us back $9.16 or a $4.16 profit, and I say that is a “Sure Bet.”

One last person for Tournament Lines, I am going out on a limb and saying that Phil Mickelson will have a top-ten finish. Now Phil hasn’t played at Kapalua since 2001 and has not told many good things about Kapalua. But it was primarily due to the high winds, and back in 2001, the course was considered significantly different. So Phil decided to play this week, hey he won the PGA Championship on a quirky course by the sea in winds. I like the bet because the winds won’t be that bad, now I wouldn’t consider this a “Sure Bet,” but at +550, a $5 bet will net me $32.50, think for the first time out, I can gamble $5 to win $27.50 on Phil Mickelson.

First-round Matchup “Sure Bets”

So now we are going to round matchups, you look at the pairings, and each player has odds on him. Now I am a bit surprised because, in these bets, they have two odds. If the match ties, you get your money back and another where you can bet on a tie match. Frankly, this is a sucker bet. Of course, the odds are better, but there is always a chance of a tie, and you don’t want to lose on that, so bet only that a tie you get your money back.
In looking at the pairings, the first one that intrigues me is the 4;35 matchup of Sungjae Im versus Cam Davis. Im finished T-5th last year, and Davis has never played in this event. I’m had a great fall, including a win at the Shriners, and was T-9th at the CJ Cup. Since winning the Rocket Mortgage on July 4th, in ten starts, his best finish is T-28th back in July. He ended his fall campaign missing the cut at the RSM Classic and Houston, so I would say that a “Sure Bet” is I’m beating Davis on Thursday. The only problem, which could for many be a deal-breaker Im is that he is -180, so a $5 bet will only win you $2.77. But I feel this is too good to pass on, so that is our first-round matchup bet.
In looking through the list, I see a couple of “Sure Bets,” but the odds make it not a smart bet.
Two other matchups catch my fancy, so the first is the 3 pm Talor Gooch match with Abraham Ancer. Now Ancer finished T-17th at Kapalua last year, while Gooch has never played Kapalua. Ancer has been ok in the fall, in five starts has three top-14th finishes, with the best being a T-7th a Mayakoba. Gooch has played great in the fall with five top-11 finishes, including a win at the RSM Classic. He has been looking forward to this week, so I think he can beat Ancer tomorrow. Gooch is -105, so a $5 bet would return $9.76, so I am taking that. Our last “Sure Bet” for the first round is taking Si Woo Kim over Branden Grace. Kim was T-10th in his last Kapalua start in 2018 and played ok in the fall. Grace played at Kapalua in 2017 and finished 32nd, only breaking par once. After finishing T-7th at the Zozo Championship in Japan, he missed the cut at Houston and RSM, so I like a Kim victory on Thursday. Kim is -125, so a $5 bet returns $9.00, so a $4 profit.

Check back with us tomorrow after the first round to see how we are doing and figure out some “Sure Bets” for Friday.

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