2023 Mexico Open Sleeper Picks: Bet Luke List & Kevin Roy at Vidanta

2023 Mexico Open Sleeper Picks: Bet Luke List & Kevin Roy at Vidanta article feature image

Via Andrew Redington/Getty Images. Pictured: Luke List of the United States plays his shot from the fifth tee during the first round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on April 13, 2023 in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

The PGA Tour season continues with its second trip to Vidanta Vallarta for the 2023 Mexico Open at Vidanta.

This week’s field features just two of the top 40 golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship next week, a designated event at Quail Hollow Club. Consequently, Jon Rahm is a remarkably short betting favorite this week at a consensus +275 to win outright, followed by Tony Finau at +800.

It’s disappointing that their short odds didn’t provide value for other players further down the board, as this week’s odds board features a ridiculous total hold percentage of 171.54%, via my fellow Links & Locks Podcast host Spencer Aguiar, who noted this is the highest he has seen to date.

However, I have still found value on one player who has the tee-to-green game to win outright over Rahm and Finau and another top-40 bet on another ball striker. Find those sleeper picks and analysis for the Mexico Open at Vidanta below.

You can also find an in-depth breakdown of how I'm betting this week's tournament wherever you get your podcasts on our Links and Locks Mexico Open at Vidanta Betting Preview.

Mexico Open at Vidanta Sleeper Picks

Luke List +8000 (bet365)

List has high upside from tee to green in a field that severely lacks upside outside of the top few players on the board. If he can put it together on the greens, he can win outright.

I was mildly surprised when doing my research this week to see that List leads this week’s field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (0.660) ranking 11th on Tour this season. This will be a huge advantage for him at Vidanta Vallarta, as this is one of the longer courses on Tour and features very generous fairways, which should allow him to rip driver frequently. The rough is some of the least penal on Tour at just 1.5 inches.

During last year’s Mexico Open, players hit 44.1% of their approach shots from 200+ yards, as the course features the longest combined par-4s and 5s on Tour. This is an advantage for List, who's significantly above the Tour average in approach proximity from 200+ yards — and he will be closer than average players on par-4 and 5 approaches thanks to ranking 16th on Tour in driving distance.

Overall, List ranks 69th in SG: Approach this season.

The biggest challenge for List lies on the greens, as he's one of the worst players on Tour with the flatstick. After losing strokes on the greens in his first 11 tracked starts this season, List has shown signs of life lately, gaining strokes on the greens in two of his last five events, including this past weekend.

The relatively slow paspalum greens at Vidanta Vallarta may work in his favor (and also against the best putters), and he also has recorded his only PGA Tour win at a relatively similar bumpy Poa annua site at Torrey Pines in 2022.

His putter is the biggest issue, but List’s ball striking gives him just about as much upside as anyone outside of Rahm and Finau in this field. I recommend betting him at bet365’s Enhanced Win market at +8000 or for a top-five/10 finish if you already have enough exposure in the outright market at +1000/+450.

Kevin Roy Top 40 +250 (FanDuel)

Like List, rookie Kevin Roy also has issues with his short game, but his exceptional long iron play gives him a chance to cash a top-40 bet at +250 odds.

Overall, Roy ranks 21st this season in SG: Approach (0.598), but his long iron play is extremely impressive. On all approaches from at least 200 yards, he ranks third on Tour in proximity (45’8”). He's above average on Tour from each yardage range over 200 yards: 57th from 200-225 yards, 25th from 225-250 yards and second (albeit with a very small sample size) from 250-275 yards.

If we expand our analysis to 150-200 yards on approach — where 35.6% of last year’s approach shots came from — Roy ranks 39th on Tour in proximity from 150-175 yards and 37th from 175-200 yards. In his last nine tracked PGA Tour events, Roy has gained strokes on approach in all nine.

Roy’s below-average driving accuracy and slightly above-average driving distance off the tee should play at Vidanta, but his short game is the big issue. Roy ranks 145th in SG: Around the Green (-0.149) and 199th in SG: Putting (-0.852).

While we don’t necessarily need Roy to play well around the green or with the putter due to the strength (or lack thereof) of this field, we need him to avoid utter disaster.

Like List, the slow paspalum surfaces should help neutralize his weakness with the flatstick (and the strength of some better putters as well), and I believe this course fits his current statistical profile as well as any on Tour.

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