2021 Valero Texas Open Picks: Our Favorite Prop Bets & Matchups at TPC San Antonio
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Harold Varner III
- Bettors can expect a little bit of chaos at TPC San Antonio this week and thus there could be value deeper on the betting board.
- Here are our favorite prop bets and matchups for the 2021 Valero Texas Open:
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.
With that in mind here are our favorite props and matchup bets for the 2021 Valero Texas Open:
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.