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 Farmers Insurance Open based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds.
We stay in California this weekend, which is Jon Rahm's honorary home state and the site of his latest triumph -- and our ultimate dismay. Rahm was Thanos-level inevitable as he chased down our 340-to-1 longshot, Davis Thompson, at the American Express, giving this space two runners-up in three events this season at the hands of the 28-year-old Spaniard. Onward we go to Torrey Pines, where -- surprise -- Rahm is a massive favorite at +390.
Golfers will split their first two rounds between the iconic South Course and the cakewalk North Course before cut-makers tangle with the South twice over the weekend. Golfers who start on the North Course will have a head start before yielding that ground on Friday, so of all events, this is definitely one to keep an eye on the live odds and take advantage of line movement. We can't in good conscience back Rahm at his price, but if he approaches 10-to-1 after a slow start, we'd be negligent to not at least consider it with the way he's playing.
Class courses tend to produce class winners, and one variant round at the North Course aside, we'll stack our card with high-end options. Strokes gained: off-the-tee and strokes gained: approach are the keys to the kingdom here, so ball-strikers only need apply.
At The Top
Justin Thomas (+1300) - A light schedule in the fall brings Thomas to Torrey with a number slightly bigger than we might expect, yet we'll gladly take the bait and get JT at this price. His T20 finish last year was his first trip to the Farmers since 2015, and he got off to a blistering start with rounds of 68 and 63 before shooting over par for the weekend.
As you might expect, that 63 came on the easier course. JT's aggressive nature and scoring prowess are obviously more effective on the North Course, but he's capable of holding his own against the South. He finished T19 at the 2021 U.S. Open there, and his approach game will always give him a high floor -- even on the toughest tracks.
Sungjae Im (+2000) - Sungjae has had Torrey Pines on his schedule each year as a pro, improving his finish each year from T52 to T36 to T32 to T6. The Tour's ball-striking statistic combines total driving and greens in regulation, and Im has ranked inside the top 10 each of the last two seasons.
In advanced stats, he had his best season, ranking 9th in strokes gained: tee to green, and he posted his first finish inside the top 30 on Tour. He's certainly not the longest golfer on Tour, but he still manages to post impressive strokes gained: off-the-tee marks also improving in each of his five seasons. He was eighth in that metric last season.
Max Homa (+2000) - We've missed out on Homa before because the numbers didn't look juicy enough. Notably, that was earlier this season when he was the favorite at the Fortinet Championship, and two years ago, it was as a high mid-range option at the Genesis Invitational.
He's got two California wins to his name already and decent form at the Farmers (missed cut last year, but T18 and T9 the two prior years), and this is a bonafide top-20 player in the world, so the price is justified here. He parlayed his Napa victory into a productive Presidents Cup and finished T20, T23, and T3 in his official events since. Homa was 24th in the catch-all strokes gained: tee-to-green in his best season as a pro.
Hideki Matsuyama (+3100) - Matsuyama is the line of demarcation in this week's field. With all due respect to Si Woo Kim (+3300) and his recent win, the top-10 golfers on the board this week are in a totally different class. Taylor Montgomery (+2600) is overvalued at his price, and Matsuyama's resume clearly deserves more respect. Inconsistency in the fall -- and in Hawaii -- is the culprit, but we'll take any value we can get in this market.
Hideki has made six straight cuts and has a top finish of T3 in 2019. Matsuyama has been a staple in strokes gained: tee-to-green his entire career, having never ranked outside the top 20 in his nine fully measured years. The winning pedigree, experience at Torrey, and ballstriking skillset more than makeup for a slow start to the season. He's a gamer and will break out at a course that demands it.
Ryan Palmer (+10000) - Palmer has two runner-up finishes at the Farmers Insurance Open, and just two years ago, he was a top-25 player in the Official World Golf Rankings. He makes the trip to Torrey Pines every year, and over the past five years, he has had three more top-25 finishes in addition to one of those runner-ups. The form is not what it used to be, but he's shown some recent signs of life with a second place in the team event in December -- and rounds of 71-67-68-65 at the Sony Open.
Palmer is in the first group out on Thursday at the North Course, which is an opportunity for a quick start to build his confidence at an event where he's consistently had success.