Farmer's Insurance Open Expert Picks
FARMER'S INSURANCE OPEN EXPERT PICKS -- Your intrepid and accident-prone analyst accidentally deleted a very thorough write-up of this tournament, and now there is about one hour until golfers tee off. This one will be fast, folks. Reminder: This tournament starts on Wednesday so the final round won't compete with NFL conference championships.
We had a couple guys in the hunt last week, but Poston couldn't really find second-gear on Sunday and Montgomery rinsed one on the par-3 17th to end his chances. Rahm (+450) closed it out like the hottest player on earth and he's coming to Torrey Pines this week looking for three straight wins. His odds this week are horrible. And I couldn't in good conscience tell anyone to bet him at those odds. But he does scare me, so this is a pretty light betting card for me this week.
We have two courses at Torrey Pines. Players will rotate and play one round each at the North and South courses before heading over to the South for the final two rounds.
The North plays significantly easier than the South. It's about 500 yards shorter with bentgrass greens (instead of the trickier poa annua on the South), and the rough is less penal. The South generally rates as one of the more challenging tracks on the Tour rotation.
For betting purposes, I'm looking to target guys pre-tournament who start on the easier North course. Their odds will likely not be as good if they shoot a hot round to get things started. I'll probably be active in grabbing some guys after today who started on the South course. They will be towards the middle of the leaderboards and could see their odds drift up before they get a crack at the easy North course.
Favorites (not named Jon Rahm)
Tony Finau (+1000) is the obvious person to look at if you're intent on not betting the favorite this week. He's second on the board and for good reason. He's only finished outside of the top-25 here once in eight tries and he's been in the top-6 four times. He's long off the tee and this tournament is perfect for his game. He's shown he can close after years of us wondering about his killer instinct.
Betting Finau is like ordering the second cheapest bottle of wine at a restaurant. You do it because you know you don't want the cheapest thing, but you also don't really know much about wine. Sure, it may be good, but it's maybe not the best informed decision.
If you want to take a swing at some other guys near the top, have a gander at Max Homa (+2200) and Taylor Montgomery (+2500). Homa has shown the ability to win on courses that favor players who are strong off the tee as evidenced by a win at Riviera. He tends to be a closer, so if he's in the hunt on Sunday, he'll be battling. Montgomery blends a ton of distance off the tee with an elite putter. That game travels anywhere, but it could be even more advantageous on the South course which is brutally long and difficult. You'll need a guy draining par putts this week to have a chance.
There isn't a ton I love in this range at the moment. This field is unusually top-heavy by Tour standards. Five of the world's top-10 are in the field, but only 12 of the top-50. Someone like Kurt Kitayama (+6500) is one of those guys in the top-50 and his odds don't really reflect that, so there may be some value on him. He pops up for a top-5 finish every once in a while, so maybe explore top-5 and top=10 odds for him as well.
I'll likely be adding to this article or writing another one with bets I'm adding, so stay tuned for that.
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of January 25th, 2023
Jhonny Vegas (+15000) is a guy worth a long look this week if you want a deep sleeper. He's played decent here in the past with eight made cuts in 12 tries, and he's really long off the tee. When you're rummaging around for triple-digit odds, you aren't going to have the ideal candidate, you just need potential.
Garrick Higgo (+25000) and Harrison Endycott (+50000) are big deep sleepers. They both played decent on the weekend last week, and their ball striking numbers were fairly solid. Neither of them are going to physically overpower a golf course, but they should be able to hold their own at Torrey Pines. Maybe explore some top-5 and top-10 options for those guys if you don't like burning money on 500/1 long shots.
Putting it all together
I'm going to sprinkle a couple long shots for now and see how things develop after the first round. I'll be back with more picks tomorrow morning once we have a clearer picture of A.) How dominant Jon Rahm is and B.) If anyone else can keep up.