Updated 2022 Valero Texas Open Odds, Picks, Predictions for Chris Kirk, Jordan Spieth, More
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Kirk.
- The Valero Texas Open is the final PGA TOUR stop before the Master.
- Rory McIlroy is favored, although the winner here has often been of the longshot variety.
- Jason Sobel breaks down his best bets and previews the tournament at TPC San Antonio.
Click arrow to expand 2022 Valero Texas Open odds via PointsBet
2022 Valero Texas Open Odds
|Si Woo Kim||+2800|
|Mito Guillermo Pereira||+6000|
|Charles Howell III||+9000|
|J. J. Spaun||+12500|
|Andrew D. Putnam||+15000|
|Min Woo Lee||+15000|
|Dawie van der Walt||+50000|
Three years ago, Corey Conners scored golf’s ultimate golden ticket to the Chocolate Factory.
The story is already the stuff of golf lore. Conners played in the Monday qualifier for the Valero Texas Open, clinched one of the last spots in the tournament field, then won it all six days later to secure the final Masters invitation for the very next week.
With the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama and Bryson DeChambeau in the field, this week’s Augusta precursor shouldn’t be devoid of entertainment value, though the real drama will come Sunday afternoon if a handful of contenders are seeking that final golden ticket.
It remains one of the greatest underlying subplots at any event on the schedule. If we’re searching for narratives, we can look at motivation just as optimistically as we can view nerves pessimistically. That’s what happens when a win comes with not just the usual spoils of a two-year exemption and a seven-figure paycheck, but also a Sunday night trip to Augusta.
Maybe it’s more of a romantic than realistic notion, but I’m mostly – mostly – looking beyond those already qualified for the Masters who might be looking beyond this tourney, and instead focusing on those who need this one a little more.
Let’s get right to the picks, starting with an outright who’s certainly been trending in the right direction.
One player to win the tournament.
Chris Kirk (+4000)
I’d expect this to be a popular outright play this week.
Kirk owns the type of form/history intersection we so often seek, with three finishes of 14th or better in his last four starts and four finishes of 13th or better in his last six Texas Open starts.
And hey, if we’re going after a story, let’s really go after one. Not only would Kirk clinch a return trip to Augusta for the first time since 2016 – he’s not currently in next week’s Masters field, so he’s among those who needs a win to get in – he’s nearly three full years from taking a self-imposed leave of absence from the PGA TOUR due to alcohol abuse and depression.
Ever since last year’s feel-good story at the Sony Open, when he finished runner-up and retained full playing privileges, I’ve believed Kirk would get back to the winner’s circle for a fifth time and he’s been knocking on that door lately. With strokes gained ranks of 33rd off the tee, 43rd on approach shots and 17th around the greens, plus a positive putting number, Kirk is clearly doing everything at a high level right now.
Potential selections for one-and-done options.
Abraham Ancer (+2200)
Perhaps it took a match-play event for Ancer to gain a little confidence, as he reached the quarterfinals of last week’s WGC for his first PGA TOUR finish inside the top-30 in eight starts this year. That could translate into another solid week at this one, where he’s 4-for-4 in making the cut but has never finished better than last year’s T23.
Corey Conners (+1800)
I’m listing this one as an option, but with a little trepidation, as well. Granted, he’s obviously played well here in the past, as outlined in the intro to this preview, and he’s similarly in form right now, but fresh off a lengthy five-day, seven-round event, it wouldn’t be shocking if he’s looking past this one and toward next week just a bit.
Robert Macintyre (+7000)
It feels like just about every week, I’ve been listing a potential OAD play who isn’t viable on too many other occasions. Louis Oosthuizen and Tyrrell Hatton certainly fit the bill in that they’re good enough to be picked, obviously, but it’s tough to find a perfect tourney for them. Same goes for Macintyre, who should enjoy the local conditions if the wind blows, as it usually does at this one. There’s some win equity here for a guy who already has that Masters invitation but is still seeking full-time PGA TOUR status.
Rickie Fowler (+7000)
I get it. If you’ve taken Fowler as an OAD selection at any point in the past year, he’s likely burned you – and if you haven’t taken him, it’s because you’ve been paying attention to those results.
It’s been less than three months since he ended 2021 at 85th on the OWGR; he’s now some 50 spots worse. That’s a dramatic decline, so why should we consider him here?
A few reasons: He’s finished T17 in each of his two starts at this event; he’s one of the game’s more creative wind players; and the opportunity to qualify for a major where he owns five career top-12 finishes should serve as motivation to go for broke this week.
Matthew NeSmith (+10000)
Fresh off a T3 at the Valspar in his last start, I had NeSmith on my SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio show “Hitting the Green” a few days afterward — and he was very insightful about that search for success. He revealed that Jason Day told him not long ago, “Try softer,” which is essentially the opposite of, “Try harder.” It doesn’t mean actually trying any less, but just not stressing out about it as much.
In any case, he certainly seems like he’s in a good place right now, so I don’t mind taking a shot on him parlaying one top finish into another.
One player to finish top-five.
Branden Grace (+2500)
For me, Grace epitomizes the rationale behind sticking with a player until he pays off. There have been slight signals that the man once ranked as high as 10th in the world is ready to return to something close to that prominence.
This feels like the right spot for him to take that next step, as he’s finished 23rd-10th-9th-30th in his last four starts at this one. I’ll sprinkle some on him outright, but top-five/10 props feel like nice hedges.
One player to finish top-10.
Taylor Moore (+700)
A native of nearby Oklahoma, Moore played his college golf at Arkansas, all of which suggests he’s played a few windy rounds in his day.
His initial PGA TOUR season has been a mixed bag so far, but he’s shown that when he’s striking it well, he can post some solid results. While his 13 starts include just a single top-10, this is a place where I’ve had him targeted for a while, as it should suit his style.
One player to finish top-20.
Matt Kuchar (+300)
This isn’t the same Kuchar who not that long ago was racking up big-money paychecks on a seemingly weekly basis. But at 43, he also isn’t done playing decent golf, as evidenced by his T16 at the Valspar in his most recent start.
Over the past decade at the Texas Open, he’s never missed a cut and owns five top-20 results, which should offer some optimism in picking him to replicate that feat.
One player to finish top-30.
The world’s third-ranked amateur should follow the same blueprint we’ve seen from other top collegians in recent years, which is to say, he won’t exactly be too starry-eyed to compete against some of the game’s best pros.
The Sweden native has played six events on the Nordic Golf League circuit and won two of ‘em. He finished T30 in his lone DP World Tour start. He’s 1-for-2 making the cut on the PGA TOUR so far. Add in the fact that the Texas Tech junior owns a win and a fifth-place finish in his last two collegiate events, and all signs point to him having another solid week at this one.
One player to finish top-40.
Austin Smotherman (+170)
He missed the cut at last week’s Corales Puntacana event, but the PGA TOUR rookie still owns top-40 finishes in three of his last six starts. If you’re playing top-40s, you might as well take a few shots and this one should own some value.
DFS Free Bingo Square
A safe plug-and-play option for DFS.
It might not be a hard-and-fast rule that we always blindly play Spieth in his home state of Texas, but it’s not too far off either.
I’m usually a fan of fading the defending champion if he’s not completely on top of his game. Think about it: If you attempt to replicate a career peak, it would probably lead to disappointment more often than further success.
In the case of Spieth, though, a return to this one should offer some good vibes this week, as in addition to that win, he also has a runner-up, a T10 and a T30 in his last four starts here.
A lower-priced option for DFS.
Might as well pair the safe play above with “Jordan Spieth’s good friend.” No, I’m not talking about Justin Thomas, though that prefix for him should be dead and buried.
Hickok is a longtime buddy of Spieth, with whom he played together at the University of Texas, but he’s making a name for himself of late. His most famous (or infamous) performance took place at last year’s eight-hole playoff loss to Harris English at the Travelers Championship, but Hickok has been playing nicely this year, as well, and should hold some nice value here.
One player to post the low score Thursday.
Charley Hoffman (+6500)
There’s no event that screams “CHARLEY HOFFMAN!” like this one, as the 2016 champion also has three runner-up finishes (including each of the last two editions of this event), one third, seven top-10s and 12 top-25s in 15 career starts.
There’s also no bet that screams “CHARLEY HOFFMAN!” like the FRL, as he’s built a reputation of going low on Thursdays. That includes at this event, where his opening-round scoring average over the years is 69.47, his lowest (though just barely) of any specific round.
A lingering back injury has hampered his performance so far this year, which should keep us from going all-in, but he’s certainly capable of putting together one strong round and chances are, it could be the first one.
One player who should beat comparable players.
Brendan Steele (+7000)
As I so often write, we like to target players in matchups who essentially give us two chances to win these bets — one on Friday and one on Sunday. That equates to picking those with high-ceiling/high-floor potential, to which you should rightly be commenting to yourself, “No duh.”
On the list of those who have win equity and cut-making value is Steele, who took this title in his rookie year of 2011 and has just a single MC against four top-25s in 10 career starts. With results of T13 at THE PLAYERS and T26 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in his last two starts, there’s a nice convergence here.
Also Receiving Votes
Other players who should provide value.
Maverick McNealy (+3300), Sahith Theegala (+6600), Ryan Palmer (+6000), Jhonattan Vegas (+5000), Russell Knox (+5000), Dylan Frittelli (+10000), Tyler Duncan (+15000)
The Big Fade
One top player to avoid at this tournament.
Hideki Matsuyama (+1600)
It would be too easy for me to suggest a Bryson DeChambeau fade after he spent the first three days of his competitive return in Austin last week searching for golf balls and taking drops. I do give him credit for playing this week, though, at least trying to work his way into playing shape for the Masters.
Same goes for the guy who will be hosting next week’s champions dinner, as Matsuyama hasn’t played since the Arnold Palmer Invitational, withdrawing late from THE PLAYERS due to a lingering back injury. There are reasons to believe he’ll simply be using this as a bit of prep to ready himself for Augusta, so I won’t have any Hideki investments.
My favorite non-PGA TOUR play of the week.
Jin Young Ko to win the Chevron Championship (+475)
There have been plenty of superstars in the game – both on the men’s and women’s sides – over the past decade-and-a-half, but not since Tiger Woods’ prime years have we asked the legitimate question of whether we’d take a single player or the rest of the field.
For as great as Lorena Ochoa and Yani Tseng and Inbee Park and Nelly Korda were/are, I don’t think any of them at any point were worthy of the “JYK or the field?” treatment we should give the world’s No. 1 player right now.
Sure, it’s a short number this week and an outright play is undeniably chalky, but if we’d really consider her against literally everyone else (and we undoubtedly should), then there’s actually some value in playing her at this price for the year’s first major.