GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for the Waste Management Phoenix Open

Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. But finding value is something all bettors must practice in order to give themselves the best chance to make hay when the day finally comes that they ping a champion.

Below, we will cover the best bets for the Waste Management Phoenix Open based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.

The field is spectacular this week for the annual party event of the season. In keeping with tradition at nearby Arizona State University, TPC Scottsdale offers an atmosphere that eschews the more fussy aspects of golf in favor of excitement and energy. Opposite a well-paying event on the Euro circuit, the WMPO still draws elite players every year. In this installment, 10 of the top 26 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are on site, including returning champion Rickie Fowler, two-time winner Hideki Matsuyama, and arguably the two hottest players in the world, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas.

Historically, we've seen some consistent performances over time here. While course history can always be a bit noisy, TPC Scottsdale seems to bring out the best in some guys and utterly confound others (looking at you Tony Finau, with your four straight missed cuts). We'll be weighing that history and correlated performances heavily as we decide where to allocate our wagers this week.

For more info on TPC Scottsdale, along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out the course primer.

At the Top

Jon Rahm (+650) and Justin Thomas (+850) - I suppose Thomas gets the edge from a value standpoint given the slightly better payoff, but both of these golfers are in absolute peak form and would be sound investments this week. Thomas was 3rd last year and has two other top-20s (also two missed cuts), while Rahm's worst effort in four tries was a T16. As far as recent form goes, they each have three wins worldwide since the U.S. Open last June and could easily have had more if a few strokes went differently. Rahm has 12 top-10s in his last 15 events, while Thomas 7 such finishes in 12 events. With both course fit and recent form in their favor, these two studs are clearly ahead of the pack heading into this week.

Xander Schauffele (+1800) - Right behind the two course history monsters -- Fowler and Matsuyama (both +1600) -- we get a player who has indisputably been better than both over the past 18 months. Schauffele also has more win equity than either, as he has shown an ability to close out events with a win in each of the past two seasons. Fowler's win here last year was his first official PGA win since February 2017, and Matsuyama has not hoisted any hardware since the WGC-Bridgestone in August 2017. Schauffele generally plays well where Rickie and Hideki do, and has a T17 and T10 in two trips to TPC Scottsdale, with far less hype around his name this week. All three golfers have played well at Augusta, TPC Sawgrass, Sheshan International (host of the WGC-HSBC Champions), and the Plantation Course at Kapalua. At these prices, we can comfortably fade the public plays and opt for the better player at longer odds.

Value Spots

Gary Woodland (+2900) - Woodland was featured in this space last week and bombed to a missed cut. He battled back after an ugly start, but he was a mess on the greens at Torrey Pines, losing 2.3 strokes in just his round at the South Course. He brings a much better vibe this week, returning to a track he's won at before and the site of his touching practice hole with his friend Amy Bockerstette last year. He'd go on to finish T7 and has unfinished business this year. He struggled after his U.S. Open win but had posted four straight top-10s leading into the Farmers Insurance Open (full disclosure: one of those events was the tiny field Hero World Challenge). His price is inflated this week, and he is a great value at 29/1.

Viktor Hovland (+4200) - Hovland returns from his overseas misadventures to get back to business stateside, where he last left us on the heels of seven straight finishes of T16 or better between the PGA and Korn Ferry Tours. Hovland was apparently overtaken by Collin Morikawa (+2900) in that span, but all that does is give us a juicy price on Vik before the books get wise. His first career win would do the trick, and at a course where ballstrikers have reigned, he is extremely attractive at this price. For those not quite sure whether Hovland is ready for prime time, consider making a wager for a Top 20 Finish (+185).

Long Shots

Brian Harman (+6000) - We don't see a ton of no-namers make waves at TPC Scottsdale, so we'll cross off the very long shots and focus on fairly well-known golfers like Harman, who fit the course and have solid recent form. Harman has five top-25 finishes so far in the 2019-20 season and could cap off a rock-solid six months with a win this week.

Adam Hadwin (+8000) - Hadwin tees it up for the first time since he and his wife welcomed a baby earlier this month. The Canadian played well enough down the stretch and in the swing season to earn a spot on Ernie Els' international squad for the Presidents Cup, and included in that stretch was a runner up at the Safeway Open, one of our correlated events and courses to the WMPO. He's made four straight cuts at TPC Scottsdale and can get hot enough with the putter to contend any week.