Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. However, 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 select a champion.
Below, we will cover the best bets for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds.
The run of rotation courses mercifully comes to an end this week at Pebble Beach, formerly a top-tier event that is now a casualty of the PGA Tour's new elevated event structure. The novelty of watching Bill Murray putt like he's shooting pool wears off quickly when you're in the midst of a six-hour round and a $20 million purse awaits in two weeks. The Tour's elite have better things to do, and consequently, this week's field features just 3 golfers in the top 20 by Official World Golf Ranking.
Golfers split their first three rounds across Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill, and Monterey Peninsula Country Club, three short courses that can be ranked in quality in that order. Tiny greens on the namesake course, on which cutmakers will finish their week after the Pro-Am ends, has some of the smallest greens on Tour and requires precision iron play and a creative short game.
Long rounds and daily rotations make for a disjointed week. In addition to approach and around the green stats, we can pivot away from ball-striking and toward that old dirty word -- putting. Pebble Beach greens are notoriously fast, even if slowed by the conditions this time of year. We'll take the added variance as an opportunity to float a few extra long shots who have the ability to get hot with the putter.
At The Top
Jordan Spieth (+1000) - Of the three favorites, Spieth owns by far the best course form. A winner here in 2017, Spieth has five more top-10s in his 10 trips, including each of the last three years. Viktor Hovland and Matthew Fitzpatrick (also both +1000) are better players at this point, but Hovland's short game is not up to snuff, and he has been here only once, while Fitz has played this event just three times. Jordan is a magician around the greens and is hot and cold with his irons, but the record here is long enough that we have to consider him the pick of the bunch.
Spieth has been lapped by his contemporaries and the next generation, but the pedigree is still there and at certain courses, he must be seriously considered. According to datagolf's course history tool, Spieth is in the top 15 in this field in true strokes gained on all three courses.
Joel Dahmen (+3600) - The easygoing new dad is well suited for a week of chatty rounds with celebrities, and Dahmen has thrived here recently. He finished T6 and T14 the last two years, and he does most of his damage on Monterey Peninsula and especially Spyglass Hill. He's also in fine form. Since missing the cut at the Fortinet Championship to start the season, Dahmen has five finishes of T16 or better in his five events since. That includes three straight top-10s at Mayakoba, Memorial Park, and Sea Island.
The putter is the question mark, but everything else in his game is clicking. Dahmen ranks 28th and 33rd in strokes gained: approach and around the green, respectively. He's way down in the distance ranking, but at three courses that barely stretch beyond 7,000 yards in length, he doesn't have to be long to contend here.
Seonghyeon Kim (+7500) - Kim has rode a hot putter to four top-20s so far this season, including last week at the Farmers Insurance Open. A Sunday 76 was a huge disappointment, but that's the kind of up-and-down performer who can break out at this type of event. He was a top-10 machine on the Korn Ferry Tour last year, thanks mostly to the flat stick. Kim ranked 4th in putting on the Korn Ferry Tour for the season, and over the last six months has gained an average of 0.75 strokes putting per round, according to datagolf.
Danny Willett (+18000) - Willett's form spans PGA and DP World Tour events and includes a couple of withdrawals in the fall, but over the last six months, he's a gainer in strokes gained: around the green, according to datagolf's true strokes gained stats. He was right in the mix with world-beater Max Homa back in September at the Fortinent Championship, and a few weeks earlier had finished T9 at the European Omega Masters. He was T12 at Pebble Beach when the U.S. Open was held here in 2019, and generally, we're most interested in Willett if the conditions look especially tough.
Matthias Schmid (+21000) - Schmid's T6 finish at the American Express catches the eye here, another rotational event in California. A Sunday 64 at the Stadium Course was one of the best rounds of his career, and over the last three months, he's gaining 1.2 strokes putting per round on average. That doesn't include the unmeasured events on the Nicklaus Tournament Course and La Quinta Country Club. Schmid managed a few strong finishes on the DP World Tour and Korn Ferry Tour in the second half of last year without breaking into the winner's circle, and a fourth-place finish at The Investec South African Open Championship in December plus the AmEx give him two top-10s in his last four starts.