The PGA Tour heads to southern California this week to Torrey Pines as we focus on the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open betting picks. Torrey is a classic early stop for the tour and will play host to this year’s U.S. Open.
Players will play one round on the North and South Courses each, Thursday and Friday before playing the tougher South Course Saturday and Sunday. (Note: only the South Course will be played at the U.S. Open.)
This will be a good chance for some of the best players in the world to get a look at Torrey before the U.S. Open even while under different playing conditions. This week’s field is pretty strong with nine of the top 20 golfers in the Official World Golf Rankings teeing it up.
Jon Rahm and Rory headline the field, and both have had success at this tournament including a win by Rahm and consecutive top 5’s from Rory.
About the North Course
The North Course at Torrey is considered the easier of the two and scores are typically significantly lower on that course. The South Course is the more difficult course because of its length and hard to find fairways. The South course comes in around 7,765 yards with the North around 7,265, both pars are 72.
Also, the North Course greens are bent grass greens while the South Course greens feature poa-annua grass. Poa greens get bumpy and lighting fast as the day goes on leading to tough conditions. Scores in the past have varied significantly based on the weather for that week.
Torrey Pines is a coastal course and when the wind blows and the greens firm up, it gets difficult like 2016 when Brandt Snedeker won at 6-under par. However, if the weather is benign, scores like Justin Rose’s 21-under in 2019 are possible as well.
The weather forecast for this weekend is calling for a little wind and possibly rain on Friday which will only make the course play longer.
It’s important for players to take advantage of the North Course but tournaments are won on Saturday and Sunday so most of my focus will be on the South Course. I always start my research with strokes gained approach. This is the best indicator of someone’s ball striking and the best ball strikers are usually more reliable players.
Stats that I am looking at in particular for Torrey beyond SG:APP are SG:OTT (strokes gained off the tee) and driving distance. This course is long especially if it’s wet so guys who bomb it will have an advantage. Course familiarity and history will also be considered as 10 of the last 12 winners of this tournament had previously finished in the top 10 here before winning.
I won’t put too much stock into a player’s Strokes Gained Putting this week as poa greens tend to get bumpy and inconsistent, leveling the putting playing field a bit.
Farmers Insurance Open Betting Picks
Ok, now that we talked a bit about the course — let’s dive into the Farmers Insurance Open betting odds and picks for this event. You can also read more about how to bet on golf here.
When I look for outright picks, I am trying to find guys with a winning pedigree. It’s hard to pick out the guy who is going to get his first win during a given week. Players who have proven they can close out a tournament are where I typically go to unless I’m looking deeper down the odds board.
Picking an outright winner is always tough, but I think it is a bit easier at a course like Torrey Pines and with a stronger field like we will see this week. When the field is strong and the course has some teeth, it usually reduces the number of guys capable of winning.
Five of the last six winners of the Farmers Insurance Open ranked in the top 30 in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week and the one exception was Jon Rahm (2017), the current No. 2 player in the OWGR.
Matthew Wolff +3500 (Draftkings)
Matthew Wolff’s game was made for Torrey Pines. He is long off the tee, is a really improved ball striker (No. 2 in the field in SG:APP over the last 50 rounds) and while putting and chipping are still relative weaknesses, those may not matter as much at this event.
First and foremost, he smashes it and when he is in a groove, he can really get it going. He is a southern California guy and is surely familiar with the tricky poa greens. He finished in a tie for 21st in this event last year and was able to knock the rust off last week with a solid made cut and 40th place finish at The American Express with some encouraging ball striking numbers in round 4 (+1.95 SG:APP and +1.08 SG:OTT).
Wolff is primed for a big year after his relative breakout last year and I think it could start this week with a win.
Adam Scott +4500 (Draftkings)
Scott is a popular pick this week based on “golf twitter” but that doesn’t scare me off. Over Scott’s last 50 rounds, he is gaining strokes in every category. He is one of the best all-around guys on tour and he has plenty of length and ball striking to contend at Torrey.
He has played twice already this year at the Tournament of Champions and the following week in Hawaii at the Sony Open finishing t-21 and t-41 respectively. Scott has only played this tournament once, placing second in 2019. Scott has always been a premier ball striker on tour, but his putter has held him back.
Scott’s putting has improved over the last year and he has a win on poa greens last year at The Genesis Invitational. Scott’s game fits Torrey well and at 45/1 I think we’re getting good value.
- Longshots I like: Ryan Palmer +5500 & Cameron Smith +6600
Top 10 for the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open
Typically, when looking at derivative markets like the top 10’s and 20’s I am looking for value on guys who’s outright price is too steep to bet or guys who I’m not sure can win but who could have a strong week nonetheless. Another strategy here is to double down on players who I bet outright as a kind of insurance for a guy failing to close.
Rory McIlroy +125 (Draftkings)
This week I am all in on Rory McIlroy. Rory is a big-time winner on tour except that he hasn’t won since November of 2019 at the HSBC WGC event. He was dominating pre-covid last year with six straight top five finishes to begin his season.
Rory struggled to find his game for four rounds at a time after the Covid break but seems to be trending upward. He finished the previous season with two solid finishes in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, followed by a good showing at both Covid-postponed majors with top tens at both the U.S. Open and the Masters. He is coming off a third-place finish in Abu Dhabi last week with two stellar rounds.
He is in good form and has finished 5th and 3rd in his two starts at this tournament. His game sets up perfectly for Torrey, he bombs it (No.1 in the field over the last 50 rounds in SG:OTT) and is solid in every category. Rory’s outright number is too low for my taste when betting outrights but I’ll take the plus money on him to top 10, something he does as often as almost anyone on tour.
- Longshot I like: Corey Conners +650
Top 20 for the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open
Gary Woodland +300
A really good value play in the top 20 market this week should be Gary Woodland. I know his form over the last 6 months or so has been pretty poor, but he admitted he played through a torn labrum in his hip. Last week Woodland played for the first time in over a month and looked really good finishing t-12.
He talked about how healthy he felt and that he was just happy to play four pain-free rounds again. Getting a healthy Woodland at this price point likely won’t happen for long if he continues to show good form and health. Gary is a proven winner and when healthy, one of the best drivers of the ball on tour.
Woodland’s record at this tournament is pretty solid with five top 20’s in his last 7 tries. I just think the value is too good here and I wouldn’t fault anyone for taking an outright stab as well.
- Longshots I like: Russell Knox +400 & Justin Suh +700
Matchup Bets and Picks
Charles Howell III -106 over Rickie Fowler (Draftkings)
Fowler just hasn’t been the same guy we used to see popping up on leaderboards all the time. Last season he posted just two top 10 finishes and failed to qualify for even the second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. His typically good putting has vanished and his ball-striking just isn’t elite enough to carry him week to week. Fowler hasn’t finished better than 61st in his last seven attempts at Torrey with five missed cuts.
Howell is the ultimate horse for the course pick at Torrey. He isn’t exactly the long hitter you expect to succeed here but his track record on this course is unnassailable. He has made the cut in all 17 tries in this event with 12 top 25 finishes. You know what you’re getting with Howell III here and I’ll take his consistency here over Fowler’s poor track record and form.
Other Guys to Consider
Like I do seemingly every week, I am going back in for some Doc Redman. Doc has probably cost me more money than anyone betting outrights but I’ll go down with the ship. He definitely has the game and the stats have been there to back him up, he just hasn’t broken through yet. His recent form is just okay, but the skills are there for him to break out this year and I have already invested in him so much, what’s one more week. Redman is +500 to finish in the top 20, +300 for top 30 and +188 for top 40.
One other guy that may be unknown to some that I think we’ll all know soon is Will Zalatoris. Zalatoris cleaned house on the Korn Ferry Tour last year, basically finishing in the top 20 every time he teed it up. He has had some success (4 top 20’s in 6 PGA Tour starts) in his limited starts on the PGA tour and he has unlimited sponsor’s exemptions for this season so we will see him a ton.
He has shown exceptional ball-striking (No. 1 in SG: Tee to Green in the field over the last six months) and he proved at the U.S. Open that he can handle a tough test on a long golf course. Zalatoris is +250 to finish in the top 20, +163 for top 30 and +110 for top 40.
Ok, hopefully, this helps you with your 2021 Farmers Insurance Open betting. Good luck!