Valero Texas Open Betting Guide: Strong Drivers Who Should Be on Your Radar
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Rickie Fowler, Tony Finau
- The 2019 Valero Texas Open begins on Thursday, April 4.
- Rickie Fowler (+1000) is the favorite to win, with Tony Finau (+1600) right behind.
- Joshua Perry highlights the favorite who is best positioned, plus mid-tier and longshot plays.
The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event started well for us. Rory McIlroy cruised through his group, but he was far from his best against that Tiger guy and was unceremoniously bounced from the event.
Meanwhile in the Dominican Republic at the alternate field event, Mackenzie Hughes was in the running before a bogey on 18 saw him fall one shot short of a playoff.
Now the focus shifts to the Valero Texas Open, with focus being the key word. The Masters is looming next week, so the level of motivation might not be where it needs to this week, especially for many near the top of the odds.
The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio tends to be one of the tougher tests on tour. It’s a 7,435-yard par 72, and if the wind picks up, breaking par can be difficult.
The course plays pretty long and tends to favorite strong drivers — basically every past winner on the course has been very good off the tee.
Guys like Charley Hoffman, Adam Scott, Kevin Chappell, Brendan Steele and Jimmy Walker have all won here. It’s not the most elite group because of where the tournament has been placed on the schedule in recent years, but they all would consider their tee ball one of the strongest parts of their game.
With most of the world’s best players resting up for Augusta, it’s pretty slim pickings at the top of the board. Rickie Fowler opened as the favorite at +1000 after taking the match play event off last week.
Right behind Fowler is Tony Finau at +1600, while Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth are the only other players sub-+2000 at +1800.
Of the main guys, I like Finau the best — but not at that number. As we mentioned, the tee ball is king here, and he’s one of the best in that regard.
We’ll be taking a shot a three solid drivers here and see if they can get in contention from this range.
We’ll start with Byeong Hun An at +4000. An is great from tee to green, but it’s just up to one of those guys whose putter never tends to show up. He’s been playing well with no missed cuts on the PGA Tour in 10 months.
If the putter is field average, he’ll be in the top 10.
Next up is Luke List at +5500 — another elite tee to green player with a balky putter. Four of his 11 starts were inside the top 15. In a weaker field like this, it will be similar to An, which means if the putter is average, List will probably contend.
Lastly is Jhonattan Vegas at +5675. He’s gained strokes off the tee in eight of his last nine events and was third a couple weeks back at The Players. He’s been playing pretty consistently the past couple months with finishes in the top 26 in five of his past six events.
Five of the last eight winners have come from the triple-digit range, including four straight from 2011 to 2014. With the favorites focused on the Masters, there’s been value in this range in the past.
There are a couple guys I like in this range starting with Justin Harding at +10000. Harding played pretty well at match play, winning two of his three matches with only a loss to McIlroy thrown in there. Harding has been riding good form on the European Tour as well with three top four finishes in his past five events, including a win at the Qatar Masters.
We’ll also take a shot on Sam Ryder at +25000.
Guys in this range aren’t going to have much going for them stat wise, but Ryder has gained strokes either off the tee or with approach in seven straight events. So it’s more about getting everything with the game lined up for him. Ryder also showed he could contend in the fall swing with a couple top-five finishes.
I’ll also throw out a top-20 on Scottie Scheffler at +500.
I was a little surprised we got the number this high honestly. Scheffler is a Texas product with a limited tour history.
His most recent start was the Sanderson Farms where he gained over 10 strokes tee to green. He’s been great off the tee on the Web.com tour where he’s top 10 in total driving. He’s also in good form, finishing second last week and is in strong position to join the PGA Tour next season, ranking ninth on the points list.
Valero Texas Open Card
- Byeong Hun An +4000 (.825 units)
- Luke List +5500/+1000 Top 5 (.6/.6 units)
- Jhonattan Vegas +5675 (.58 units)
- Justin Harding +10000 (.33 units)
- Sam Ryder +25000/+800 Top 20 ( .13/.5 units)
- Scottie Scheffler +550 Top 20 (1 unit)
Total Stake: 4.565 units
Season: -12.885 units