The PGA Tour season reaches its third tournament of the campaign but the first to feature a strong and competitive field. Among the golfers in California for the Safeway Open are Justin Thomas, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Cantlay and Brandt Snedeker. So we are finally starting to develop the circuit as September comes to a close.
We also have some good momentum of our own as we nailed Billy Horschel as a decent-priced top 10 finish pick for Europe’s BMW PGA last week. This Safeway Open preview is now off to Napa to see if we can keep that run going.
The 26-year-old Justin Thomas (+650 with Bovada offshore bookmaker) leads the outright betting odds by some distance. In his last six outings, JT has finished no lower than 12th and clearly his injury issues from last season are behind him.
Admittedly, those six tournaments have been spread over several weeks but two top 10 finishes in two appearances at the Safeway Open adds to Thomas’ appeal this week.
Patrick Cantlay (+1000) is second favorite for the Safeway Open. He has only played this tournament on one previous occasion and a tie for 17th in 2018 isn’t encouraging. However, Cantlay has good stats going into Thursday.
Hideki Matsuyama (14/1) and Adam Scott (16/1) follow while Bryson DeChambeau (20/1) will be looking to make an impression following a difficult few weeks. Scott is making his debut here while Matsuyama has a scoring average under 70 over eight rounds at Silverado but none of those three are making a particularly strong case.
In contrast, there is definite interest in Sungjae Im (20/1) following his playoff loss on Sunday. The former Rookie of the Year is threatening a maiden win this season and he lies second in this week’s Power Rankings.
Other players to mention before we get into outsider territory include Byeong Hung An (28/1) and 2018 Open Champion Francesco Molinari (25/1). An is also making his Safeway Open debut but strong, relevant stats put him in the form mix.
The last two winners of the Safeway Open occupy contrasting positions in this section. Defending Champion Kevin Tway (66/1) is towards the front of the outsiders while 2016 and 2017 title holder Brendan Steele (80/1) is much further down.
Neither man carries any real form over from last season and their respective places in the outright market are fully justified. Elsewhere, Brandt Snedeker (25/1) was, along with Ryan Moore (33/1), a runner up in the Safeway Open 12 months ago and there is greater interest in these two names. We could make a case for both men: Sneds is a personal favorite of ours in the top 10 betting while Moore has an exceptional record and a scoring average of 69.33 around this course.
Next, we come to Collin Morikawa (28/1) and, along with many other tipsters, we are expecting big things from him in 2019/20. He may have missed the cut on his Tour debut here in 2016 but the 22-year-old should be in contention this time around.
There is plenty of depth to this market and punters may well want to consider Kevin Streelman, Chez Reavie, Marc Leishman, Phil Mickelson and Kevin Na amongst others.
Our Preview’s Safeway Open Predictions & Picks Verdict with Course & Betting Trends
The Safeway Open has been held at the Silverado Country Club in Napa, California since 2014. It is on the North Course which is a par 72 but it will be modest in terms of length at just over 7150 yards.
Wide fairways mean that inaccuracy from the tee isn’t always punished but tight, tiny greens mean that the second shot is crucial. Previous renewals suggest that putting and scrambling will be pivotal so who’s going to win the Safeway Open 2019?
It’s tough for this preview to make a case against Justin Thomas, other than his short odds in the top rated USA sportsbooks’ betting markets isn’t going to produce a big return. He is the best golfer here by some margin, he is in form and he has the relevant stats to justify his position at the top of the betting.
Regular readers of this column will know that we prefer not to back the favorites and in fairness, they rarely come through to deliver. If you prefer, you can focus on our top 10 finish picks for outsider options but we just can’t see past JT in Silverado.
Here are the Safeway Open predictions for this week’s golf preview:
- Justin Thomas to win @ best odds of +650 (13/2) with Bovada, Intertops or BetOnline.
- Kevin Na (+350), Sungjae Im (+240) and Ryan Moore (+350) for top 10 finishes and all those prices are with BetOnline. Bovada will also be offering odds on this market, but they are not yet published at the time of writing.
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.