By: Edward Egros

July 2018

The "Reliable" Open

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Colloquially, Carnoustie might be considered the toughest test of all courses that are part of the Open's rotation. Often when the course adds to the already high degree of difficulty a major provides, those who reliably do well at majors become natural favorites when picking a winner and putting together fantasy lineups.

In the last five years, when measured, the winner of the Open finished in the Top 25 in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green, and the only reason why it isn't even more selective is because of Phil Mickelson's 2013 victory when he hovered around the 25th position in both metrics.

Perhaps the most intriguing option for a winner is Henrik Stenson. In the last five years, the player with the lowest score to par in the Open is Stenson, who won the 2016 championship in what was essentially match play that Sunday. However, he is battling through an elbow injury and even claimed he is not 100%. The second lowest score in the last five years belongs to the man Stenson beat that year, Mickelson. Given Stenson's price in DFS, I'm willing to take a risk on him and make a "preliminary" favorite to win.

If, for some reason, his injury prevents him from playing to his potential, my pick to win is Justin Thomas. He currently ranks 4th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and has performed well in other majors that were played on links style courses, such as the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in 2015 and the U.S. Open at Erin Hills in 2017.

Here are my two DFS lineups:

Justin Thomas
Patrick Cantlay
Marc Leishman
Luke List
Francesco Molinari
Henrik Stenson

Keegan Bradley
Tony Finau
Sergio Garcia
Rory McIlroy
Alex Noren
Xander Schauffele

World Cup Finale

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Just like with statistics themselves, analyzing the results of any model can be manipulated and spun to fit a narrative. On the one hand, our World Cup model was not perfect when it came to picking the result of every match correctly. Again, our ground rules were to correctly predict if the designated "home team" would win, lose or draw in the group stage and win or lose in the knockout stage. Here are our results:

Group Stage: 27/48 (21 results were one of the two other outcomes than predicted)
Round of 16: 5/8
Quarterfinals: 2/4
Semifinals: 1/2

On the other hand, most of the misclassifications were often marked as having poor odds. For instance, for the Semifinal between England and Croatia, our model gave England a 53% chance to win. The odds were small enough to suggest extra time would be a decent possibility, and in fact
that was the outcome. Also, no other models I was actively monitoring forecasted the more unbelievable results, such as Russia knocking off Spain. In general, we are pleased with our results.

On that note, here are our predictions for the final weekend of the World Cup:

Final: France defeats Croatia (78%)

3rd Place: England defeats Belgium (65%)

World Cup Quarterfinals

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Eight teams remain in contention for the World Cup. Our model went 5-3 predicting "Round of 16" matches. While many were predictable, few saw Russia upsetting Spain; the other two we missed (Uruguay beating Portugal and Sweden knocking off Switzerland) were essentially toss-ups. So far, we are quite pleased with our results.

Our next step is to predict Quarterfinal matches, and if you cannot wait for our social media posts or our reveals on Good Day, here they are:

Brazil defeats Belgium (76.4%)
Russia defeats Croatia (50.7%)
England defeats Sweden (58.2%)
France defeats Uruguay (67.8%)