Originally established in 1932, the Phoenix Open is one of the oldest events on the PGA Tour and it’s next up on the schedule with the action getting underway on Thursday. Over its long history, there have been some big-name winners and it is a strong field once again in 2021.
The start of the new year has seen a similar pattern at each tournament with some of the biggest names sitting it out but, once again, we have a strong and competitive declaration this week.
Our tip for glory at the Farmers Insurance Open was Tony Finau and he gave us a good run, eventually tying for second as Patrick Reed ran away at the top. The profit wasn’t there but Finau took us close so let’s see if we can get over the line down in Arizona with our Phoenix Open predictions for this preview.
Jon Rahm remains on the Tour and the Spaniard leads the outright betting at best industry odds of 13/2 (+650). Rahm has enjoyed a run of three straight ties for seventh place and he is yet to miss the cut in five visits to this tournament. That’s not the most exciting stat but his worst finish is a tie for 16th in those five attempts so he’s a definite threat.
Next up is Justin Thomas who is marginally further back at 8/1 in places. JT gave us a good run as our opening pick of the year and, while the Sentry Tournament of Champions also provided a low point in his playing career, he should be refreshed and ready to climb the leaderboard again.
Then comes Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele who can both be backed at a best of 11/1. Both men climbed the world rankings after strong performances last week and should continue to provide a challenge in Arizona. Rory lines up for the first time in this event while Xander has three straight top 20 finishes here in three attempts.
Next up is our defending champion Webb Simpson, who edged out Tony Finau in a playoff 12 months ago. Simpson enjoyed a strong run that kept him at the top of the FedEx rankings for some time and he is at 14/1 ahead of Thursday’s start. Among five top ten finishes on this course is that 2020 title and a runners up slot behind Hideki Matsuyama in 2017.
Also this group are Daniel Berger and the aforementioned Hideki Matsuyama at 20/1, followed by Harris English and Sungjae Im at 28/1. Matsuyama is the standout from that bunch thanks to his stellar record at the Phoenix Open which includes back-to-back wins from 2016 and a runners up slot in 2015.
Ryan Palmer tied along with Matsuyama as one of four runners up behind Brooks Koepka in 2015 and he is attracting interest this week. With three top five finishes in his last four starts, Palmer is in contention and at a best of 45/1 for the win, he could be a value pick in the top 10 finish markets at the very least.
The 2015 Phoenix Open champion Koepka is also at 45/1 in places while other golfers at those same odds include Will Zalatoris, Scottie Scheffler, Rickie Fowler, Louis Oosthuizen and Bubba Watson. Of those names, Fowler has the best record by far with a 2019 Phoenix Open victory to add to a runners up slot three years earlier. A slide down the rankings has followed but Fowler, along with any of those 45/1 chances, could pose an outside threat this week.
Our Preview’s Phoenix Open Predictions, Course & Betting Trends & Picks Verdict
The Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale has been home to the Phoenix Open since 1987 and the venue will therefore be very familiar for most of this year’s field. It’s a par 71 at some 7,266 yards with a tendency for low scoring and it is interesting to note that four of the last five editions have needed a playoff to decide them.
Accuracy will be vital and 2020 champion Webb Simpson underlines the qualities needed to succeed on this course. On his way to victory, Simpson ranked inside the top 10 for fairways hit, greens in regulation, par 4 scoring, proximity to the hole and strokes gained: Tee to Green.
That’s an impressive list and one man who can emulate those numbers this year is Justin Thomas. JT started 2021 in fine form on the course but there is the concern that the issue that led to the loss of sponsorship will have a detrimental impact. We hope that’s behind him and that Thomas dispensed with any after effects by subsequently missing the cut in Abu Dhabi,
Rested and refreshed, Justin Thomas is firmly in contention and he has those great all round stats that make him our tip for the 2021 Phoenix Open. So our betting predictions and picks against the United States’ sportsbooks are:
- Justin Thomas to win @ +900 (9/1) with BetOnline or Bookmaker.
- Justin Thomas (best -140 at Bovada), Webb Simpson (+130 Bovada), Hideki Matsuyama (+225 BetOnline) and Ryan Palmer (+450 BetOnline) for top 10 finishes.
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.