Today's Free Picks for
Posted Wednesday, February 7 at 2:30 PM EST.
Cutoff time for this event is 10:30 AM EST.
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
As always, the action will unfold over three courses. The iconic Pebble Beach is our host, and they will take the honors for one of the opening trio of rounds on the rotation, as well as being the scene for the coronation of the champion on Sunday. Spyglass Hill and Monterey Shore make up the trio. They all share some things in common. The coastal, Californian location ensures that the weather can play a factor with the wind in particular an occasional nuisance, and all three tracks are said to be Links-style in nature. All feature Poa Annua greens, too.
Pebble Beach has hosted five editions of the US Open plus a PGA Championship, and that should give some indication of its complexity. Measuring 6,816 yards for its Par 72, this is one of the shortest layouts on the PGA TOUR, and with fairly wide fairways you might be thinking == how is this a major championship course? Well, the answer lies in the tiny Poa Annua greens, which really do take some hitting. Factor in the wind and you have a recipe for a tough old test: Graeme McDowell won the 2010 US Open here in level par, while Tiger Woods’ absurd winning mark of -12 in 2000 is made all the more remarkable by noting that Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez T2, finished at +3! The players will be looking to make hay at the other two courses then, with Monterey typically playing the easiest of the bunch. At 6,958 yards for its Par 71, no player is discounted in terms of length, and the greens are twice the size of those at Pebble Beach. Despite its Par 71 billing, Monterey features four Par 5s with a trio of those coming on the back nine.
Spyglass can play pretty tough on any given day, but because it is largely tree-lined it boasts a huge advantage: the course is less exposed to the elements than the other two. And so while the Par 72, 6,858 yard layout is a stern test of ball-striking, it can actually serve up a draw bias to those who play here on the windiest of days. Spyglass Hill has been called the ‘best course never to have hosted a major’, and it was here that Bing Crosby famously bet Jack Nicklaus that he couldn’t break par during his National Pro-Am event. The Golden Bear fired a round of 70 (-2) to win the tournament and nab a crisp $5 note from the White Christmas crooner. The 2017 edition of the AT&T Pebble Beach was very much the Jordan Spieth show. He was T2 after a tough opening round that saw him shoot 68 at Monterey, but from there he did not look back: a pair of 65s saw him hold a commanding six-shot lead over Brandt Snedeker at the 54-hole mark.
What we’re looking for this week:
Spieth closed out with a 70 at Pebble Beach to win by four shots from Kelly Kraft and five from Dustin Johnson. Snedeker would go on to finish solo fourth, while Gary Woodland, Jon Rahm and Jason Day were all tied up in fifth. Notable rounds of the week came from Spieth, who fired 65s at Spyglass Hill and Pebble Beach on Friday/Saturday to set up his win, with Day taking the top honors with 64 at Spyglass. Kraft played his 36 holes at Pebble Beach in -11, with DJ not far behind at -10. Not for the first time in his young career, Jordan Spieth was indebted to his ridiculous putting stroke in adding yet another trophy to his collection. Solid from tee-to-green but by no means spectacular, Spieth gained +2.13 strokes on the field with his flat stick, and that ability to break par – particularly during the middle 36 holes, where he went -14 through Pebble Beach and Spyglass – was the defining factor of his victory.
But that isn’t the only trick to taming Pebble Beach. Kelly Kraft was on fire with his irons, ranking first for SG: Tee to Green and SG: Approach, in a performance that he hasn’t matched since. At Pebble Beach in particular laser-like precision is required on approach, so Kraft’s solo second should come as no surprise to anyone. The fact that Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Kevin Kisner finished inside the top-10 and also ranked among the best of the week from tee-to-green should add further fuel to the flames. Indeed, if we park Kraft to one side for the time being, the first six players home were Spieth, DJ, Snedeker, Woodland, Day and Rahm, so the conclusion we can make is that the cream will rise to the top at Pebble Beach – this isn’t a birdie-fest event where any old Tom, Dick or Harry ca get hot with the putter and win. As for other correlations to consider, clearly good putting on Poa Annua (typically found on Californian courses) is key, as is a penchant for playing well in windy, coastal locations (think RSM Classic, RBC Heritage etc).
We’re also willing to suggest that decent finishes in Pro-Am events are well worth looking up. This is a unique format of golf that perhaps takes an outgoing personality type to thrive in, especially if paired with an amateur who is shanking their ball to all parts. That said, Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge, and we wouldn’t necessarily be categorizing him as the jovial, good-natured type out on the course. One final link that appears is there is plenty of evidence to suggest there is a correlation between Pebble Beach and the Golf Club of Houston, the host for the Houston Open. The likes of Phil Mickelson and D.A Points have won both events, while a lengthy list that includes Spieth, J.B Holmes, Vaughn Taylor, Chris Kirk, Vijay Singh and Hunter Mahan have finished either first or second in both.
Unless otherwise stated, the following bets to win outright will be placed at BET365 because of their cash-out option during the event:
Chris Kirk 80-1
After a tough 2017, Chris Kirk’s game is certainly heading in the right direction. A form line of 11-35-MC-10-4 certainly hints at a return to the heady days, which saw Kirk land four PGA TOUR titles, and while his last came as long ago as 2014, lest we forget how Gary Woodland and Chez Reavie turned back the clock at Scottsdale last week. These quality campaigners can get the job done when in the mix. What we particularly liked about that T11 from Kirk at the Phoenix Open was his ball-striking: the 32-year-old ranked fifth and seventh for Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and Approach respectively, and when his irons are dialed in, you know you are going to get a decent showing from this pro. A second-place finish at Pebble Beach in 2013 offers a tantalizing glimpse of what could be in store for Kirk backers this week. Kirk ranks 15th ON TOUR in Strokes Gained (SG): Approach, 25th in SG: Tee-to-Green and 39th SG: Total, which are some handy numbers to take into this event (Risking 0.2 units to win 16).
Russell Henley 100-1
Russell Henley is priced the same as David Duval this week in Fantasy (DFS), which means he a must play in terms of value for all you DFS players. We mentioned the Houston Open as a potential correlating course, and Henley took the spoils there in April last year. The fact he also won a blustery Sony Open in 2013 is also a nice indicator. Henley heads to Pebble Beach on the back of two missed cuts and a mixed record at this stretch, but a best of T16 in 2010 suggests a certain suitability. The 28-year-old’s missed cuts have come at -1 and level par respectively, so he clearly isn’t stinking the place out, and there is enough goodwill in the bank collected from a T11 at The Masters and T3 at the TOUR Championship last season to suggest Henley is haplessly underpriced here. Henley ranks 20th ON TOUR in Driving Accuracy, and 46th in SG: Approach but the two missed cuts in a row has this market turning their backs on him. At this price, dude is worth a bet (Risking 0.2 units to win 20 units).
Chesson Hadley 45-1
Hadley struck the ball very nicely at the Farmers Insurance Open for minimal reward (T23), and so it was nice to see him continue his rich vein of form from tee-to-green and this time cash in with T5 at Scottsdale last week. This is the best, and the most consistent that the 30-year-old has played as a PGA TOUR member, and so that’s a pleasing omen ahead of a return to a track at which he recorded back-to-back top-10 finishes in 2014-15. The idea at the trio of host venues this week is to get your ball as close to the hole as possible – it always is, of course, but you get what we’re saying, and with Hadley’s irons red hot right now, he should give us another excellent run for our money (Risking 0.2 units to win 9).
Beau Hossler 80-1
Here’s a remarkable statistic: Beau Hossler ranked 18th for Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green at Pebble Beach last season….and somehow still managed to miss the cut. The answer, as is usually the case, was that the 22-year-old had a bit of a nightmare week with the putter: -1.38 strokes ‘gained’, to be precise but the good news is that he is in fine touch with the flat stick right now, ranking ninth for SG: Putting at Scottsdale last week, and that follows a rank of first for Putting Average at the CareerBuilder Challenge, so there aren’t any Poa Annua demons here – unsurprising for a guy who was born and raised in California. Hossler was T20 at the CareerBuilder Challenge after opening up with a round of 64, and his neat chipping-and-putting game should be well suited to these Pebble Beach resort tests. Hossler won’t be coming in at prices like this much longer, as he’s on the verge of some more wins and we don’t want to miss out when he wins one of these events going away. He’s that good (Risking 0.2 units to win 18).
Talor Gooch 275-1
We always like to take a shot at a big-time price and our attention this week turns to Talor Gooch. The former Oklahoma State standout went on a roll late in the summer to secure his first trip to the Tour, finishing T-11, T-10, second and first in four consecutive events and he’s already 4-for-5 in cuts made this season. Gooch was a golf prodigy, much like Tiger Woods, breaking 80 before the age of seven and staring at Oklahoma State. He’s now 26 years old and there’s a great chance that his success will continue at the PGA Tour level. Gooch has played a total of eight events at this level and has made the cut seven times. He’s played multiple course events twice in his last three events and finished at -11 at the Sony Open. He’s from Texas so the windy conditions here should not get in his way. We don’t expect him to win but he has a better chance than many priced lower and for a tiny investment, the risk is worth the reward (Risking 0.2 units to win 55 units).
Head-to-head Matchups for AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am
HEAD-TO-HEAD MATCHUPS for AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am
The quality of talent at this level is getting better every year and there are literally between 45 and 50 golfers every event that have a truly legit chance to win but we can’t bet them all. To pick a winner outright is a big time challenge but the real money in these events is in the head-to-head challenges and that’s where our bread and butter will be earned. We may post daily head-to-heads as well so keep your eye out for those. In the meantime, the H2H wagers below are for 72 holes:
#7025 Chasson Hadley -101 over Chez Reavie
Allow us to take you back to Super Bowl Sunday at about 5 PM EST, 90 m8inurtes before kickoff. There was not many games going on at that time but everyone was tuned into the final few holes at the WM Phoenix Open, where Chez Reavie was battling it out with Gary Woodland for the championship. Reavie went on to birdie the final two holes to force a playoff in rather dramatic fashion we might add but just fell short in the first playoff hole to pick up a pretty sweet second place pay-check. More importantly, the market watched and learned quite a bit about Reavie and this week the entire golf betting world is touting him. Reavie has quietly been the most consistent player on Tour this year. He's been piling up the Top 25s and two years ago, he was sixth heading into the final day at Pebble but a 77 derailed his solid week. Overall, he hasn't shot worse than 74 in any of his 32 competitive rounds. That’s nice but when the world is jumping on, we’re usually jumping off and that applies here. We always like to fade a pro coming off an intense four days and a miss that was as close as it comes. Furthermore, Reavie's event history is dreadful with a cut, cut, 62nd, cut, 26th, cut since 2011. Is he that improved? Yes but the timing is off and we love that the sportsbooks have him matched up against a relative unknown that was in the mix last week but was showed on TV once every 25 shots while Reavie’s every shot was featured.
We have Hadley featured to win so there’s that info above on him. Additionally, Hadley ranks fourth tee-to-green and ninth in birdie or better rate over the past 12 weeks, which is a strong recipe for a nice finish this week. He's got a pair of top-10s (10th in 2014 and 2015) at the Pebble Beach rotation but did miss the cut in 2016 and didn't play here last year but we’re not concerned in the least. His recent stats stand out and as an added bonus, Hadley has called this his favorite course (Risking 2.02 units to win 2).
Pat Perez +128 over Phil Mickelson
Mickelson is another pro who’s every shot from start to finish, whether he’s 10-over or 10-under is always featured on TV. The networks and media just pound Phil’s face and game into our minds. Mickelson is also coming off a very successful event last week and he’s had nothing but success at this course. He’s also a three-time winner here and in decent form. Look it, we love Phil as much as the next guy and find him to be one of the most fascinating figures in the history of sports. His passion for the game, his intensity and his will to succeed is unmatched. However, he’s still 47-years-old and he misses cuts. He could go off the rail at any event and that makes him a risk. After such a great showing last week, his game could easily be off this week. Even if he has another decent event here, Pat Perez can beat him. There’s also the possibility that Mickelson is not close to being at his best.
Pat Perez is too good to be priced like this against Mickelson. This is truly a market influenced price, as Phil is Phil while Perez gets a fraction of the respect that Phil gets. Perez is enjoying a great season and is top-5 in both Strokes Gained Putting and Greens in Regulation. Perez shifted gears after a T4 at the Tournament of Champions and played in the Singapore Open (T21) and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic (T29). Perez has played this course more than a dozen times and this particular rotation in seven straight years. His past four finishes were a 7th, 4th, 41st, and 14th here. Perez ranks 3rd in birdie or better rate over the past 12 events, plus 8th on par 4s, and 46th tee-to-green (Risking 2 units to win 2.56 units).
Patrick Reed -110 over Brandt Snedeker @ Bet365
Another pro that is on most people’s radar this week is Brandt Snedeker because of his course form here. He has two wins at this event with the latest being in 2015 when conditions were similar to the one’s expected this week. That’s nice but we faded Sneds last week and we’re going to fade him again this week because he’s overpriced and his form is not good. Sneds ranks 96th Tee to Green and 140th in Approach over his past four events but you’ll pay for his upside at this course. Dude is regressing and if he comes to life here and beats us, we can live with it. Brandt is 37-years-old and has missed quite a bit of time over the past 52 weeks due to injury.
Patrick Reed can return to great form at any time like when he was winning tournaments and wagging his finger at Rory McIlroy in the Ryder Cup. Perhaps the site of McIlroy will get his juices pumping. This event plays to Reed's strengths. He's seventh in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green, and eighth in Approach Proximity 100-125 yards this season and he should see a lot of approaches from that distance. Reed finished inside the Top 30 in 2015 and 2017 here, and T6 in 2016, so he's certainly comfortable on these tracks (Risking 2.2 units to win 2)
For Fantasy Players:
Horse for the Course: Dustin Johnson
The AT&T Pebble Beach is an event where the big boys tend to have their wicked way with the rest of the field; or at least it was last year when six of the first seven players home were all multiple-time PGA TOUR winners. That is probably due to the complexity of the courses involved – certainly Pebble Beach and Spyglass anyway – and also the inclement weather, so drafting some classy types is the way to go this week.
We have reservations about defending champion Jordan Spieth, who has hinted at changing the mechanics of his putting stroke – a work in progress, and Rory McIlroy, who was impressive in the Middle East but who is making his first start on US soil for quite some time. Jason Day will surely have been off celebrating a long-awaited win at Torrey Pines. And, controversially, Jon Rahm’s mental fragility is a concern to us. That might sound ridiculous given all he has achieved in his young career, and the manner in which he broke down on the Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open – where the enormity of defending a title, winning two weeks in a row and going to world number one suddenly dawned on him – is forgivable, the Spaniard showed his vulnerability again on Sunday at Scottsdale. Rahm pierced the second fairway with a perfect drive, but his ball would end up unluckily in a divot. “That’s just a sign that things are not going to go good,” he said with a shrug. He would go on to card a 72, and become only of only three of the first 20 players home to shoot over par on Sunday.
One player whose psychology we don’t need to worry about is Dustin Johnson, the world number one whose form line worldwide reads 9-1-14-2-1-17. His record at Pebble Beach is spectacular.
Others to consider for DFS or to win are:
Rafa Cabrera-Bello ($6,900 Draft Kings, 10,200 Fan Duel)
Rafa Cabrera-Bello has been making his way around the Euro Tour as of late and playing well, we might add. Cabrera-Bello's biggest weakness, driving accuracy, is taken away at this course. Cabrera-Bello can put the driver in his bag for most holes and hit an iron or fairway wood to keep his ball in play. From there, he should have no problem sticking his wedges and short irons onto greens. He may not be super familiar with the courses, but Cabrera-Bello is ranked number 21 in the world and is 8-8 this year in cuts made. You don't get ranked that high without figuring out some courses that you don't play as often and if you are going to use a high-priced horse like DJ, you need some lower-to mid-tier guys to fill in the blanks. Rafa fits perfectly.
Kevin Streelman ($7,300 Draft Kings, 8,700 Fan Duel)
Streelman has been a permanent Sleeper throughout 2017-18, but he’s worth every penny of his low price. Currently he’s 44th in the FedExCup standings with four top 20s as cornerstones of his 8-for-8 record. Streelman ranks 18th in total driving, fourth in greens hit and fifth in scrambling. In seven appearances at the AT&T since 2010, he's missed only one cut while hanging up three top 20s, including in each of the last two years.
Russell Knox ($6,700 Draft Kings, 9,300 Fan Duel)
When the wind is up, Russell Knox is the man to take advantage. Top-10s this season at the OHL Classic and the Sony Open followed a T11 last term at the RBC Heritage (plus T2 a year before), and that confirms the Scot’s abilities at coastal layouts. A sorry 2017 has already been improved upon this year, with those top-10s listed above preceding T29 finishes at the Farmers and CareerBuilder Challenge. Knox may have missed the cut at the Phoenix Open last time out, but he did so at level par and with a second round score of 68. A two-time winner on the PGA TOUR, Knox will prove to be a value play for those seeking a bargain pick who will surely make the cut.
Key Stats: SG: Around-the-Green – 14th Greens in Regulation – 21st, SG: Tee-to-Green – 32nd.
Two rookies to keep an eye on are Denny McCarthy (600-1 to win) and Keith Mitchell (300-1)
Denny McCarthy was a picture of consistency in 2017, finishing in the top 25 in nearly half (11) of his 23 starts on the Web.com Tour. Another solid putter but he also hits it far enough to be a contender any week on Tour
Keith Mitchell averaged 321 yards off the tee last season (Tony Finau led the PGA Tour in 2017 with a 336-yard average) and, perhaps more impressive, he hit 63 percent of his fairways. He also has a confidence that will serve him well on Tour. We just love his game, his energy, his attitude and how far he hits it. He just doesn’t hit it far, he hits it straight.
The above are just suggestions to help you along with your roster, as there are dozens more we could have easily profiled too. You have to mix and match to come up with a roster and hopefully finish in the money. If you are stuck, you can always Tweet me to ask about a low-priced golfer to fill out your roster and I would be happy to assist you. For instance, you might have 6800.00 left for one player and need the best choice in that range. I can usually give you a strong suggestion.
The total risk for this event is 7.22 units and we’ll update it when the results are official.
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AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am (Risking 7.22 units - To Win: 0.00)