Our Staff’s Favorite Outright Bets, Sleeper Picks, Matchups and Props for the 2020 Safeway Open
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Harold Varner III
- The 2020 Safeway Open tees off Thursday at 7:00 a.m. ET, and our staff has plenty of golf betting insights to keep you entertained throughout the weekend.
- Below, you'll find our favorite outright bets, longshots, matchups and player props for this weekend's tournament at Silverado Country Club in Napa, California.
After a long, two-day offseason, the 2020/21 PGA TOUR campaign is set to begin with the Safeway Open at Silverado Country Club in Napa, Calif.
This field looks very different from the ones we’ve seen over the past month at the PGA Championship and during the FedEx Cup Playoffs. It isn’t every week that you see Phil Mickelson (+2200), Si Woo Kim (+2200) and Brendan Steele (+2200) top the odds as co-favorites.
While some casual fans may lament the lack of starpower at the Safeway, bettors embrace this kind of tournament. It truly could be anybody’s week at Silverado.
Here are our favorite bets for the 2020 Safeway Open:
Joel Dahmen +2800 ($10 bet wins $280)
At some point – maybe during a week when we don’t have two days in between seasons – I’m going to sit down and pen a column on the current best players on the PGA TOUR who have yet to post a victory. I’ll have to pore over some research to figure out just where Dahmen’s name will be on such a list, but I don’t imagine it’ll be too far down.
That is, unless he disqualifies himself from consideration by winning one before then. Dahmen has proven to be an above-average ball-striker, ranking 32nd in strokes gained tee-to-green last season. He’s also a guy who tends to make birdies in bunches, which also seems like a nice thing to have in the arsenal.
He doesn’t own a great record in Napa, but top-20s in three of his last four starts – including a major, a WGC and a playoff event – should give him some nice momentum going into this one.
Mark Hubbard +5000
Hubbard has been the model of consistency since the restart, making eight of nine cuts.
He’s a good all around player with a strong putter and should be comfortable with Poa greens. He’s also got some local ties as well, having played his college golf at nearby San Jose State.
We’ve already seen this number drop from +7000, when I initially wrote him up on Monday, so I wouldn’t go below this range.
Harold Varner III +3000
HV3 fits the profile of past winners at Silverado perfectly. He is a great ball-striker who is excellent tee to green. Varner has been a poor putter throughout his career, but that deficiency hasn’t prevented other golfers with a similar skill set from winning on this track (Champ, Tway, Steele, Grillo).
He has solid course history, finishing in the top 20 in 3 of his 4 starts at Silverado including a 17th place finish last year. In his past 24 rounds, Varner ranks 4th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 9th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking, and 10th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee.
If he can maintain his good form and find a way to putt slightly above field average, HV3 has a good chance to finally get his first victory on the PGA TOUR.
Jhonattan Vegas +10000 ($10 bet wins $1,000)
On our weekly Action Network podcast, Peter Jennings and I often speak about the fact that Vegas doesn’t get nearly enough respect in the marketplace for a guy with three career victories.
A big dude who can bust it a long way and owns soft hands around the greens, Vegas owns the look of a player who could/should be a top-30 player in the world, despite the fact that he’s never been higher than 35th and currently checks in at 167th.
Don’t be surprised if he moves up at least 100 spots by the time this upcoming season is over.
Joseph Bramlett +17500
Bramlett is a solid tee-to-green player who struggles with the putter. But things to tend to even out on the greens when we shift to the West Coast for the Stanford grad. His two best finishes this year came at Pebble Beach and the Barracuda, both in California.
He should be pretty comfortable on this course and that could lead to a good week with many of the bigger names prepping for the U.S. Open next week.
Wesley Bryan +11000
After missing two seasons due to a shoulder injury, Wes Bryan seems to be rounding back into his pre-injury form.
In his past three starts, he has finished 24th, 21st, and 31st while making all four cuts since his return to action. Bryan’s weakness is his lack of driving distance, which shouldn’t be too much of an issue at Silverado.
The North course is the third-shortest Par 72 course on TOUR, making it an ideal track for Wes to get back into the winner’s circle. In his past 24 rounds, he ranks 5th in Strokes Gained: Approach. His strong iron play should give him plenty of birdie looks at this week’s Safeway Open.
Patrick Rodgers Top-20 Finish (+350)
We’ve been waiting a while for Rodgers to make the leap into the next echelon, but unlike many of his fellow Class of 2011’ers, it’s been a more gradual process. That doesn’t mean it isn’t coming, though. Rodgers has played some of his best golf on the West Coast and he’s also played some of his best golf in the early part of the schedule, so this could be a week when he makes yet another serious title contention. I put him down as a top-five play in my weekly column, but you can be more conservative and still have a nice ROI with a top-20 this week.
Henrik Norlander Top-10 Finish (+500)
Norlander’s statistics heading into the Safeway Open are simply impossible to ignore. In his past 24 rounds, he ranks 2nd in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 1st in Strokes Gained: Approach, 2nd in Strokes gained: Ball Striking, 4th in Greens in Regulation, and 2nd in Scrambling.
He has been one of the best in the field at every aspect of the game that will be important at Silverado. In an event with a relatively weak field, Norlander should be able to get in the mix.
Chez Reavie (+100) over Emiliano Grillo
Reavie is the world’s 41st-ranked player; Grillo is 148th. Reavie is more reliable, with six top-30 finishes in his last dozen starts; Grillo is more volatile, with just two top-30s in the same amount of starts.
So, why is Reavie the ‘dog in this matchup? One reason might be simply that the short-knock life doesn’t get enough respect from the books. Another is that Grillo is a former winner of this event, though that was five years ago and he was playing much more consistent golf at the time.
In any case, neither of those reasons are enough to keep me from loving Reavie in this mis-priced matchup.
Brendan Steele (+100) over Si Woo Kim
I’ll just go with the guy who has the proven track record on this course. Steele is solid form. He’s made seven straight cuts on Tour. He’s also made all six cuts at this course, including a couple of wins. Si Woo may be the favorite, but we know how volatile he can be. So I’ll take the consistent player as a small underdog.
Cam Davis (-120) over Talor Gooch
Coming off of an impressive performance at the Northern Trust, Cameron Davis should have an even better showing at the Safeway Open. Silverado is a ball-striker’s paradise, and not many golfers in this field have been striking it as well as Cam. His ability to gain strokes on the field both off the tee and on approach should make him a strong play this week.
Alternatively, Gooch has lost strokes off the tee and on approach in his past two starts including losing an abysmal -6.8 strokes in his most recent start at the BMW Championship.
I’ll take the superior tee to green player at Silverado.