The PGA Tour continues this week with the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am golf tournament. While the competition remains serious, there is a lighthearted edge as celebrity amateurs line up alongside the professionals.
It is an unusual format too with three distinctly different venues being used before the players come home at Pebble Beach on Sunday. We have seen some unlikely winners at the start of the year in America with Gary Woodland continuing the trend at the TPC Scottsdale, so let’s see if we can nail some winners this time around.
The big news this week is that Dustin Johnson is back in what looks to be the strongest field of 2018 so far. The World Number One opened 2018 with victory in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and he is also a two-time winner of this event.
Another golfer to have started the year in positive fashion is Jon Rahm who follows on as second favorite this week. The Spaniard has moved quickly up the rankings to take the World Number Two slot and while he has no record at this event, Rahm seems to have the game for any situation.
Jordan Spieth may be our defending champion but it’s been more than six months since his last win and a very subdued start to 2018 leaves him in the chasing pack. Spieth won by four strokes from Kelly Kraft last year and must be taken seriously but the longer that drought continues, the more anxious he will be to put a win on the board.
Two men who have enjoyed more productive golf in recent weeks are Jason Day and Rory McIlroy. Day already has a win in 2018 having claimed the Farmers Open while Rory really should have closed out the Dubai Desert Classic and looks set for a more positive 2018.
Our most recent winner heads the list of outside options this week and Gary Woodland is also nicely placed in the Power Rankings for Pebble Beach having tied for 5th here in 2017. He is flying out of the blocks at the start of 2018 and Woodland has to be a contender in the Top Ten markets at the very least.
Lots of attention will also be focused on Phil Mickelson who is a few points further back. Lefty came close at Scottsdale and there is a possible trend here. While many feel that Phil is past his best, last week’s tournament has always been a strong one for him so, as a four time winner at Pebble Beach, we have to give him serious consideration.
Paul Casey is a favourite of ours and starts at a mid-range price, around 28/1. This is his first appearance in this event since 2002 but on the plus side, the Englishman hasn’t missed a cut anywhere in over a year.
Also worth a look from the more distant prices is Pat Perez who is eighth in this week’s Power Rankings and has a decent record in this event. Moving further down, we come to a number of golfers who gave us some good profits in 2017 but have yet to fire in the New Year. Included here are the likes of Matt Kuchar, Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman to name just three.
Our Preview’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am Predictions, Betting Picks & Course Trends
Aside from our host course at Pebble Beach, players will also tackle the nearby Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula this week. All of those are short at under 7,000 yards although only Monterey is down to Par 70 from the conventional 72. A number of different tests are therefore offered but the one key stat across all three has been Greens in Regulation.
Americans have a near monopoly on this event and since Australia’s Brett Ogle took the trophy in 1993, only Vijay Singh in 2004 has managed to break the US stranglehold. However, with McIlroy and Rahm in excellent early form, this could well be the year that this particular trend gets broken.
These are our preview’s betting predictions and picks, in a bid to beat the US-friendly bookmakers:
- For this week, it’s a tough field but I’m taking a punt on Phil Mickelson at +2800 with Bovada. He likes this tournament and somewhat thrives on its unusual nature and celebrity element.
- At the time of writing there are no Top Ten markets available but Bovada will usually publish these and when they do, we’re looking to add Casey, Rahm and Perez to our betslip to make the Top 10.
Matt Harris is a golf and soccer expert for USA Betting. His other area of specialist knowledge is cricket. He is well known in sports journalism and contributes articles to a plethora of big-name websites and media outlets. Titles that he writes or has written for include: Betfair, BetVictor, Unibet & Just Bookies.