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2020 Waste Management Phoenix Open Betting Picks & Predictions: Best Bets for TPC Scottsdale

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Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR. Pictured: Rickie Fowler

It’s Super Bowl Weekend and to golf fans and bettors that means one thing — it’s time for the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Jon Rahm (+650), fresh off a second-place finish at Torrey Pines, is the sole favorite at TPC Scottsdale, followed by Justin Thomas (+850), Webb Simpson (+1400), Hideki Matsuyama (+1600) and defending champ Rickie Fowler (+1600).

Here’s how our golf staffers are betting golf’s biggest party:


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Bryan Mears

The Bet: Top South African Player (Branden Grace -135)

Grace will compete with Charl Schwartzel (+275) and Dylan Frittelli (+275) for this crown. Looking at the data that has best predicted this event over recent years, long-term form really stood out over course history and recent form. But thankfully in this prop with Grace, I really get it all.

Grace has been far superior over the last year to Schwartzel, who has missed 11 of the 14 cuts in that time frame, including the last two. Interestingly, the times he’s made the cuts, he’s had some brilliant finishes, but those are almost completely attributable to a smoking hot putter, which is obviously hard to predict. Schwartzel doesn’t have good long-term or recent form, and in his one time at this course (last season), he missed the cut despite a decent putting effort.

So I think it comes down to Grace and Frittelli, and admittedly they’re just about neck-and-neck in long-term form. But Grace gets the bump elsewhere: He’s played very well of late, winning earlier this month at the South African Open.

These are lower-tier events, sure, but our Adjusted Round Score metric adjusts for field strength, and he still outclasses Frittelli, who has struggled with all facets of his game of late. Further, Frittelli has no history at this course, so he’ll be learning on the fly.

I’ll take Grace at reasonable odds here.

Josh Perry

The Bet: Matt Kuchar top 20 +105

Kuchar fits this course to perfection as evidenced by three consecutive top-10 finishes at the WMPO. He is also coming off a win in Singapore a couple weeks ago, so the game should be in good shape and since he’s had a week off, I don’t worry about any travel fatigue.

I’ll back Kuch for a top-20 finish at his courses anytime we’re getting plus money.

Justin Bailey

The Bet: Denny McCarthy (-120) over Beau Hossler

TPC Scottsdale favors golfers with strong off-the-tee and approach games. McCarthy and Hossler don’t excel at either of those things as McCarthy ranks 84th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and 104th in Strokes Gained: Approach over his last 50 rounds, per Fantasy National. It’s a similar story for Hossler, who ranks 79th and 125th over the same time frame.

It’s not often I’m on a matchup that involves two anti-course fits, normally I’m targeting strength vs. weakness. Neither have good iron play, just different degrees of bad.

But overall, I think McCarthy is the better golfer in the grand scheme of things. Per the FantasyLabs Player Models, he tops Hossler in the other metrics that I am weighing:

  • Long-Term Adjusted Round Score: 69.6 vs. 70.2
  • Birdies per tournament: 15.1 vs. 13.6
  • Adjusted strokes on par 4s: -1.6 vs. 0.2
  • Adjusted strokes on par 5s: -5.2 vs. -4.0

His superiority in Long-Term Adjusted Round Score is the biggest key for me because I think it’s one of the best catch-all metrics to look at since it’s adjusted for course and field strength.

In reality, this is likely just a putting contest as McCarthy and Hossler are historically reliable putters. So I’ll side with the guy who ranks first in Strokes Gained: Putting over his last 50 rounds and better long-term metrics.

Jason Sobel

The Bet: Daniel Berger (EV) over Russell Knox

He’s not quite there yet, but Berger is on the verge of returning to the status he owned just a few years ago, when he was a member of the U.S. Presidents Cup team.

Already with a T-38 and T-29 this year, he’s inching closer to a title contention and this could be the right place for it, with three finishes of 11th-or-better in five previous starts here. I like him for a longshot outright, top-10 and DFS pick, but Berger’s value might be most dangerous against other players priced similarly.

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