AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Betting Preview
It was a solid week last week in Scottsdale, with Xander coming through with another top 10 finish as well as Corey Conners, Sungjae Im and Will Zalatoris all finishing inside the top 20. Russell Henley was able to hang on despite a poor round Sunday to win his matchup over Si Woo Kim.
We saw a Jordan Spieth revival and a choke job by everyone at the top of the leaderboard Sunday, particularly Xander Schauffele and James Hahn after his electric front nine. Ultimately, Brooks Koepka chipped in for eagle on 17 to separate himself from the pack and get the victory.
The Monterey Peninsula hosts the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am this week, where golfers will play Spyglass Hill one of their rounds Thursday or Friday and Pebble Beach for the other three rounds. This event is typically played at a third course as well, but because of COVID concerns, they will only be playing the two courses this year, and the pro-am portion of the event is canceled.
Pebble has hosted this tournament for many years as well as hosting multiple U.S. Opens, including in 2019. Pebble is known for its tiny greens, doglegs, and tight fairways. It is a par 72, playing around 7,051 yards. You won’t see the bombers popping up here unless their irons and short game are firing.
The field this week is a strange one. It’s a full-field event meaning there will be around 156 guys teeing it up, but many top players are not playing, and already we have seen some others drop out. It might be a weird betting week with very few top names offering value. Candidly, it’s the weakest field I have seen in quite a while, especially after Dustin Johnson withdrew Monday.
Because the greens are so small and difficult to hit, I will be focusing even more than usual on approach play (SG:APP) as well as SG: Around the Green and putting. I will be looking specifically at players who putt well on poa-annua greens as they are certainly unique. Driving accuracy is important, but longer players can typically club down to find fairways and not suffer too much.
Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Picks
With the field being so weak, the odds board is a mess. Plenty of guys with little to no experience closing tournaments are priced under 100-1. There are also veterans in bad form currently that are priced pretty low as well.
This tournament has produced some longshot winners (Ted Potter Jr. in 2018 and Vaughn Taylor in 2016), and that is even more likely to happen given the relative strength of this field.
Good luck finding the needle in the haystack this week on outrights, but I will give it a shot, and don’t be afraid to try some each-way bets on players down the odds board.
Paul Casey +1600 Betrivers
This number is really low, but I think any Casey number 16-1 or higher holds value in this field. Casey is playing really well right now with an 8th in his last start on tour and a win in Dubai two weeks ago.
Casey is one of the best drivers of the ball on tour and will be in the fairway all week. His iron play is excellent as well, ranking 16th in the field in SG:APP over the last 36 rounds.
Casey also has a good track record at Pebble Beach. He finished 21st at the 2019 U.S. Open held at Pebble and has two top 10’s in his last three attempts at this tournament. Casey is one of only five players in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings playing this week and is in really nice form.
Henrik Norlander +4500 (Betrivers)
While this number is pretty low compared to his normal range, we have to factor in the field here. I prefer to bet him with longer odds, but the board just isn’t offering much this week. However, Norlander is a good fit here and on a nice run.
Norlander is coming off a 22nd place finish last week as well as a 2nd the week before. He has gained strokes on approach in each of the four events since the calendar turned over and showed some ability to contend with that 2nd place finish.
I love his approach numbers (3rd in the field over the last 36 rounds), and he is top 20 in the field in proximity to the hole from both 100-125 yards and 125-150, where a lot of approach shots come from at Pebble Beach.
Look for Norlander to continue his strong play and follow up a 25th at this event last year with another chance to contend. Norlander is also +175 to finish in the top 20.
Longshots I like: Doug Ghim +7000, Ryan Moore +15000, & Chris Baker +40000
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Top 10 –
Jason Day +225 (Betrivers)
Day’s form recently isn’t encouraging, but he quietly gained 2.5 strokes on approach last week at TPC Scottsdale. The real reason Day is listed here is his history at Pebble.
Day has finished no worse than 11th in each of the last six years at this event. Something about this tournament and course seems to get him going. He is one of the best players on and around the green on tour, which is critical here, and I like to see that his iron play is coming around based on last week’s numbers.
I’ll ride one of the most talented and accomplished players in the field at his favorite track this week and hope he can find that magic at Pebble again.
Longshot I like: Kevin Streelman +400
Top 20 –
Max Homa +164 (Betrivers)
I’m going back to Homa this week after a disappointing weekend in Phoenix. However, he did gain 5.9 strokes on approach last week, which will be even more important this week. As long as Homa’s short game is decent, his approach play should shine through at Pebble.
Like I mentioned last week, Homa thrives this time of year on tour. He has made all three cuts since the new year and went on a really hot run this time last year as well. He finished in the top 20 each of the last two years at this event.
Homa is from Southern California and is familiar with this area and the difficult poa greens. I think Homa has a big week, and you could do worse than Homa in the outright market as well (+4000).
Peter Malnati +250 (Betrivers)
Malnati has shown some really nice form over the last few months. His ball-striking has come around, and his always good putting has carried him to five top 21 finishes in his last eight starts.
Malnati is always good with the flat stick, but he is particularly good on poa greens ranking 12th in the field in SG: Putting on poa over the last 50 rounds. Malnati has also gained strokes on approach in five of his last six events.
Malnati’s short hitting off the tee won’t matter much this week, and his putting and approach play will be able to carry him on a shorter course.
Longshots I like: Scott Piercy +400 & Joseph Bramlett +600
Harold Varner III -110 over Adam Long (William Hill)
Varner is one of the streakiest players on a round by round basis and can have big swings Day to Day because of his poor putting. Despite that, he is a consistently good iron player. He is top ten in both SG:APP and SG:ARG over the last 36 rounds, both of which are key to succeeding at Pebble Beach.
Varner also had a nice week in Phoenix, grabbing a top 20 finish gaining 4.8 strokes on approach. His irons are on right now; as long as his putter cooperates, he should have a good week.
Long is coming off a missed cut and a 69th place finishes in his two starts since the new year losing strokes on approach in both events. Also, over the last 36 rounds, Long ranks outside the top 90 in the field in SG:APP, SG:ARG, and proximity to the hole from 100-150.
Long has missed the cut in two tries at this event as well.
I like Varner III to come through here, and hopefully, this one is wrapped up Friday night.
NeSmith is a player that has always popped up in models because of his positive strokes gained numbers but has failed to really perform up to those numbers. However, there are signs his game is coming together.
NeSmith has gained strokes on approach in 21 of his last 24 starts and is coming off a 7th place finish last week. His putter can tend to hold him back, but his putter got hot last week, and I don’t mind riding a guy with good approach form and a hot putter.
NeSmith’s iron play should give him a good chance to succeed at Pebble Beach, and an 11th place finish last year in this event doesn’t hurt either. NeSmith is +300 to finish in the top 20 and +163 to finish in the top 30.
*Stats are from pgatour.com and fantasynational.com