2021 Valero Texas Open Betting Picks: Our Staff’s Best Outrights, Matchups & More at TPC San Antonio
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Doug Ghim
- Need picks for the 2021 Valero Texas Open? We've got you covered with outrights, matchups, finishing position bets and more for this weekend's tournament at TPC San Antonio.
- This has been a wide-open tournament in the past without the best players on TOUR, since The Masters is next week.
Augusta may be looming on the horizon but there’s still business — and betting — to attend to before we head down Magnolia Lane.
The Valero Texas Open can be full of surprises. Featuring a wide-open field on a tricky course and the potential for some hijinks from Mother Nature, don’t be shocked if we see some funky stuff go down on TOUR this week.
Check out below for our favorite outright bets, sleeper picks, props and matchups for the Valero Texas Open:
Valero Texas Open Best Bets
Ryan Palmer (+2800)
There might not be a more unheralded, overlooked player in the world’s top-30 right now than Palmer, who’s finished in the top-25 in 15 of 27 starts since the beginning of last year. Perhaps the answer to rhetorical question as to why he doesn’t receive more attention lies in what he hasn’t accomplished more than what he has.
Palmer has ascended the OWGR despite only winning three individual titles on the PGA TOUR – and none since 2010. Yes, he did win the Zurich Classic alongside Jon Rahm two years ago and yes, that does count as an official victory, but it wasn’t recognized by the OWGR, which means that according to those numbers, the world’s 26th-ranked player hasn’t won a golf tournament in more than 11 years.
Well, apparently he’s due – and there would be few events that would be as fitting for the Texan as the Texas Open. Palmer MC’d in each of his last two starts here, but finished 6th-4th-6th in the three years before that. You would’ve lost a few bucks betting him to win over his last – gulp – 263 starts without a victory, but it’s time for him to add another one to his profile.
Cameron Davis (+4100)
There is no doubt that Cameron Davis has the talent to win on TOUR and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finally break through this week at TPC San Antonio. This course sets up really well for the Australian, as he handles the wind well and has shown to be a ball-striking machine this season.
The stats I’m paying attention to the most this week all have to do with ball-striking with a heavy lean towards approach play. Each of the last three winners of this event have finished first or second on the week in strokes gained: approach, and that is an area Davis has been thriving of late. He’s gained at least 2.5 strokes with his irons in six of his last eight tournaments, and most recently gained 4.5 strokes on approach at the Honda Classic.
If Davis can continue to hit it well off the tee, and position himself to pepper these difficult to hit greens, Davis can get himself in contention with just an average putter, all of which is worth a gamble at +4100.
Lanto Griffin (+5000)
A former winner in Texas, Lanto comes to TPC San Antonio in good form. In the field over his past 24 rounds Griffin ranks sixth in approach, 11th in Ball-Striking and 8th in Bermudagrass putting.
If he is in contention down the stretch I trust his ability to win a PGA TOUR event, which can’t be said for many golfers in the mid-tier this week.
Cameron Tringale (+3300)
It feels like Tringale has been knocking on the door for quite awhile now. We’ve seen him post a myriad of top-10 finishes throughout his career, but for whatever reason it hasn’t all clicked at the same time. It just shows how difficult it is to win on TOUR.
Tringale has been one of the hottest players on the planet for a while now, as over his past 48 rounds in this field he sits third overall in total strokes gained and 12th in SG: Ball-Striking.
This is most certainly a ball-striker’s course and with the Dustin Johnson withdrawal it opens the door for others to take advantage. Tringale has played this event every year since 2010 and made the cut in seven of those appearances. He’s also shown upside here with a pair of top-10s and a T-17 back in 2019. He’s 33/1 on FanDuel compared to 25/1 on DraftKings, showing how important it is to shop around for your lines.
Charley Hoffman (+3300)
I’ll take the all-time tournament earnings leader and his sick record at TPC San Antonio, especially in this field. Even better, his Sunday fade at Corales likely impacted his value in our favor.
Cameron Davis (+4100)
As recent as the American Express event played in January, Davis was listed at 100/1. He finished third that week, but proved he has what it takes to win on TOUR.
I certainly miss the days where we were able to get triple-digit odds on him, but, the market has caught on to how good this kid really is. His immaculate ball-striking, and ability to control his ball in windy conditions, will be useful weapons that fit TPC San Antonio perfectly. I like Davis to break through this week.
Matthew NeSmith (+12500)
If there’s a player who can come close to replicating the Cinderella story of Corey Conners from two years ago (he qualified on Monday, then punched his ticket to Augusta six days later), it might be NeSmith, who grew up in North Augusta and from the age of 8 until he left for college, attended the tournament every year.
While bettors and DFS players know this, he’s been better this year than most golf fans probably realize, with three top-20s in nine starts and a T-36 at the Honda in his most recent start. This is a course where ball-strikers thrive and that’s the best part of NeSmith’s game.
Nick Taylor (+20000)
The last two winners of this event went off around +20000 and I think we may see another player from this range get the win this week in San Antonio. Nick Taylor certainly fits the bill there, and he seems to be rounding into form as he seeks his second career TOUR win.
The Canadian has gained more than four strokes on approach in each of the last two events he played, and one of those was over just two rounds in a missed cut at the Honda Classic. I am willing to take a shot that he can find a bit more consistency off the tee this week to put himself in position to take advantage of this great iron play and get opportunities to score around this course.
Cameron Champ (+11000)
While always a volatile play, Champ does offer a good deal of win equity. Bombers have typically fared well at TPC San Antonio as the past four winners of the Valero Texas Open have ranked 8th, 4th, 9th, 4th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee.
Champ comes into the event in poor form, but that hasn’t stopped previous winners of the Valero Texas Open in the past. Six of the past 10 winners of this event had finished 42nd or worse in their most recent start, including 4 missed cuts among those golfers.
While inconsistent, Champ has two PGA TOUR wins since 2018 and is the type of talent who can pop for a win from seemingly out of nowhere. TPC San Antonio seems like a really good spot for the 25 year old to earn his third TOUR victory.
John Huh (+8000)
Huh has had quite the resurgence in his age 30 season. He’s made eight of nine cuts with five top-21 finishes on the year. He’s also shown he can handle himself adequately at TPC San Antonio, making the weekend in five of his seven trips with a T-22 and runner up finish in that span.
He ranks 18th in this field in SG: Ball-Striking over his past 16 rounds, which is very strong for someone with 80/1 odds. Many of the top guys in this field will be looking ahead to Augusta, which is one week away, so it’s quite possible we see an unexpected winner this week. Huh has a nice combination of good form and good course history, making him a very attractive bet this week.
Sam Ryder (+10000)
His T2 at Corales arguably wasn’t as stressful as Rafael Campos’ because Ryder started the day outside the top 10 and closed with 67. In that context, it presents more as a bonus than a close call. With it coming on the heels of T8 at PGA National where he was fourth after a second-round 63 proves that the mild slide that weekend didn’t deter him in the Dominican Republic. He’s also surgical on approach and arrives having cashed in both previous trips to TPC San Antonio.
Doug Ghim (+8500)
This number is just too high for a player with this type of talent. Heading into Sunday in the star-studded field at the Players Championship, Doug Ghim was tied for 3rd place. An unfortunate final round score of 78 shot him out of contention, but he proved he has the talent to compete with the best. Coming off a missed cut at Honda, where he still gained over a full stroke on approach over the field, Ghim seems to be going overlooked. He has gained strokes on approach In 12 of his last 13 tracked events on tour, and seems primed for a breakout. Love the value in this number at 100:1.
Doug Ghim Top-20 Finish (+275)
If you didn’t know about Ghim before The Players, then your lasting impression of him is probably that of a guy who wilted in the spotlight alongside Justin Thomas in the final round, shooting 78 to finish T-29 and lose himself an awful lot of money and ranking points. You shouldn’t judge him, though, by how he played in that situation. I’m a big believer that such experiences are always positive ones, especially for young players, and there’s no reason to think Ghim won’t continue playing like the guy who’s been very consistent this season. I like him for a top-10 play this week, but for purposes of this prop, I’ll go a little more conservative and take him for a top-20.
Doug Ghim First-Round Leader (+8000)
Let’s go deep for a big winner this week and put an eye on the First-Round Leader market. It looks like heavy winds and 45-degree weather will greet the morning wave on Thursday, so it’s a rare opening round where the afternoon wave appears to have an advantage as the temperature warms and the wind dies down.
Doug Ghim sticks out to me at +8000 as he ranks 18th this season in opening round scoring average and has had a great run of golf over the last several events.
His big issue has been closing on Sundays, so I’m happy to grab him at a high number to start fast as he has done in the past and not have to worry about him folding under the weekend pressure.
Akshay Bhatia Top-10 Finish (+1600)
Akshay is a player I have been very high on and think he is a future superstar on TOUR. The smooth-swinging lefty is exciting to watch and in terms of betting him I would rather be early than late as his breakthrough may come soon.
The last we saw him he finished 30th at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and Bhatia’s only top 10 so far in his 12 PGA TOUR starts came in The Safeway Open at Silverado; a par 72 that has many similarities to TPC San Antonio.
I’ll take a shot on the super talented 19-year-old to get himself into contention in Texas this week.
Bo Hoag Top-30 Finish (+360)
On weeks this season when Hoag has made the cut, he’s shown a nice amount of upside, finishing inside the top-36 in each of those past six instances. His ball0striking has been on point of late as well, as he ranks 14th in this field over his past 16 rounds in SG: Ball-Striking.
Despite missing the cut at both the Honda and THE PLAYERS Hoag sits sixth in this field in SG: Off-the-Tee over his past four rounds, which means it’s been his short game that’s let him down of late. If he hits it that well off the tee this week he will for sure be in contention. All we are looking for here is a top 30, and at almost 4/1 odds I will take my chances he drains a few putts to make the weekend.
David Hearn Top-40 Finish (+400)
Hearn should be shorter after a T13 at Corales and a trio of top 20s at TPC San Antonio. However, it could be bait after he backdoored the strong finish on Sunday with a 66 – he started the day positioned T46 with a sleeve of 72s – but I’m nibbling! The Canadian is a mainstay over time in my weekly Sleepers at PGATOUR.com, and he often delivers.
Charley Hoffman First-Round Leader (+4000)
For first-round leader bets, I like to look for players who have great recent strokes gained approach numbers. If I can find a player with solid approach numbers, who also has great course history at a given venue, all the better.
I couldn’t pull the trigger on Charley to win outright this week at his +3300, but his course history at TPC San Antonio is absolutely absurd. Hoffman has played here nine times since 2011 and has finished 2nd, 13th, 3rd, 11th, 11th, 1st, 40th, 64th, 2nd in that span. You will be hard-pressed to find a better course history from any golfer, on any course. To boot, In his last three tracked events this season, he has gained 7.3, 5.5, and 4.8 strokes on approach.
This is the perfect storm for a first-round leader bet.
Abraham Ancer (-103) vs. Hideki Matsuyama
In his last three starts, Ancer has finished 18-22-18, including last week at the WGC-Match Play, when he was rolling along nicely, but lost in a playoff to make it to the weekend rounds. He’s a solid ball-striker, a good wind player and competing in his hometown of San Antonio this week, all of which should mean good things. As if that wasn’t enough, though, he’s an underdog in this matchup against Hideki Matsuyama, who only has one top-10 finish in his last 15 starts and has never before played this event, suggesting there’s some anxiety before next week’s Masters. I think the wrong player is favored in this one — and we should take advantage of that pricing.
Si Woo Kim (-126) vs. Chris Kirk
The more I dig in on Si Woo Kim this week, the more excited I get about his potential to be in contention down the stretch on the weekend. He tried to go wire-to-wire at this event in 2019 but was run down by Corey Conners, and fell short into a tie for fourth.
Kim comes in off of a week where he actually played quite well at the Match Play, shooting under par in each match, but falling short in his effort to advance out of group play. He also had a good showing at THE PLAYERS where he finished 9th, and gained more than 8 strokes on approach.
This matchup just comes as the only one I could find to bet Si Woo, so it’s nothing against Kirk but rather an opportunity for me to highlight Kim. I’ll be betting Si Woo in all markets this week, and Chris Kirk just happens to be in the crosshairs of that effort.
Jordan Spieth (-125) vs. Ryan Palmer
I never envisioned that I would be writing these words but Jordan Spieth has been remarkably consistent of late. He has gained strokes on approach in six of his past seven starts with four top-15 finishes to show for it. Spieth now returns to a course where he has a great track record including a runner-up finish in 2015.
Palmer has missed his past two cuts at TPC San Antonio, but this is more of a play on Spieth than it is a play against Palmer. I feel extremely confident that Jordan will get in the mix this week in an attempt to be in peak form for Augusta.
Sebastian Munoz (-109) vs. Adam Hadwin
Hadwin, as per usual, has been great with his short game and putter of late, but putrid with his ball-striking. From all accounts, that’s not a good recipe here at TPC San Antonio. Hadwin ranks 93rd on approach and 53rd off-the-tee both over his past 16 rounds and he is still somehow favored over the superior ball-striker in Munoz.
The Columbian ranks a respectable 33rd in this field in the ball-striking department over his past 12 rounds and he’s played well in the past at this event, finishing T-27 in 2017. Hadwin has never really fared well here, boasting a T-72 and a MC in his two appearances. I like the dog in this spot.
Chris Kirk (-103) vs. Lanto Griffin
I love both guys but I’m not ruling out Griffin looking ahead at his second Masters, especially after he missed the cut at his first. Although more seasoned, Kirk’s only method of entry into the major is with a win, so his focus is on this week only. Of course, and naturally, a win pays me off, too.
Harold Varner III (-110) vs. Denny McCarthy
Varner has been very consistent this season, making the cut in 9 out of 13 events, and is coming off a solid 19th-place finish at Honda where he gained strokes in every tracked category.
Varner depends on his ball-striking for success on TOUR, while McCarthy relies very heavily on his putter. Given putting is the most volatile aspect of golf, I will take the ball-striker over the putter any day. Vegas essentially makes this matchup a coin flip, while my model gives a 60/40 edge to Varner.
Take Harold and hope to fade a hot putter from Denny this week.
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