AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Odds, Field, and Best Bets
AT&T PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM: ODDS, FIELD AND BEST BETS – The Tour stays in California for another week with the season’s second signature event on the calendar. The format has switched a bit due to the elevation of this event on the schedule. The amateurs will only play the first two rounds with their professional partners, and since there is no cut, the full field will continue on through the weekend.
Another notable change is that this tournament will move from a three-course rotation down to two. Spyglass Hill and Pebble Beach will each host one of the first two rounds, before everyone moves over to Pebble for the final two rounds.
The good news is that we have quite a bit of data about who tends to perform well at Pebble Beach because it’s the only site that provides strokes gained data in the rotation. Having 75% of the tournament happen here really helps to narrow down the guys who should be able to play well.
Pebble Beach isn’t exactly a tricky course, but it is challenging. The greens are extremely small so good iron players tend to be the best bets, broadly.
Short game is also an important factor around Pebble simply because the greens are so small that a lot of players will miss them. Typically this is an easier version of Pebble to accommodate the amateurs, so the rough won’t be nearly as penal as it is for major championships. Getting up and down effectively will be critical for the eventual winner.
The weather is always a wild card and this year it has potential to really make things interesting. It should rain for the first two rounds, dry up Saturday, and then rain again Sunday. As the Pineapple Express moves through with the rain, if should also bring howling winds. Wind is Pebble’s biggest defense with so many holes exposed to the Pacific Ocean coastline. This week the weather will be feisty.
Neither course on the rotation is terribly long. We’ve seen a lot of shorter hitters and short game wizards do well here. My betting card is loaded with either elite iron players or elite short games.
Justin Thomas (+2000)
I’m not really interested in a lot of the elite names towards the top. Typically this is an event that a lot of top players skip, so their familiarity will be a little bit less. I’ll move down a bit to get a better price.
JT is getting a ton of pub this week, so if this ticket cashes there will be a whole lot of happy bettors. I will be one of them.
Last year would’ve been forgettable if it wasn’t such a complete and utter disaster. He missed the cut in three majors and finished 65th in his one major made cut. He was then a captain’s pick for a Ryder Cup team that performed about as admirably as the Hindenburg after getting a ton of hype.
He seems to be back though. He was in the final group a couple of weeks ago at the AmEx and notched his fourth consecutive top-five finish to start the season. He’s gaining strokes like crazy with his irons right now and that will be critical if he wants to be able to battle through what will be challenging conditions.
Tommy Fleetwood (+3500)
If we can have four triple-digit longshots win to start the season, including an amateur, surely Tommy Fleetwood can get his first win on U.S. soil.
He has been on a heater recently, outdueling Rory McIlroy in Dubai to kick off the season on the DP World Tour. Really, he’s been playing well since last summer.
Tommy has a reputation as a mudder who thrives in wet and windy conditions. The Englishman should be well-suited for what should be some proper English weather this week. His iron game and short game are as good as they’ve ever been.
I tend to think his first win will come somewhere that suits his style of play, like Pebble Beach or Harbour Town. This could be the week.
Mark Hubbard (+13000)
Hubbs fits the profile pretty solidly here. He’s not very long, so I usually only look his way on shorter tracks. This is a course that should play to his strengths. His iron game is good and he’s got a solid short game.
He gained a hilarious amount of strokes on approach last week, so we’re hoping he carries over that form to this week.
This feels a little like a dart throw, but he finished 20th here last year and most of his best finishes have come on shorter courses with small greens. This week the course and conditions should suit his crafty style of play.