Valero Texas Open: Best Third-Round Matchup, Future Bets

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Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ryan Moore

It’s been a great start to the Valero Texas Open for our pre-tournament selection.

Ryan Moore (pictured above) is tied at the top with Zach Johnson after two rounds at 9-under par. Johnson is the slight favorite heading into the weekend at +275, with Moore right behind him at +300.

Moore was our pick among the favorites at +2500, and he’s gained strokes in all areas, so I’m willing to ride him out on Saturday and see where he ends up.

We also have one of our longshot plays, Grayson Murray, just a stroke back. Murray was available at +14000 early in the week, but he’s now third on the odds board behind Johnson and Moore at +700. Andrew Landry is the only other player closer than three shots back of the lead. He’s tied with Murray at 8-under and is +1000 to win the title.

Overall, we’re in a pretty good spot. Both Murray and Moore are in the top four in strokes gained: tee to green, so they’re not being propped up by a hot putter. It’s likely they’ll both keep playing well through the weekend after many of the big names faded on Thursday and Friday.

Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott and Luke List were all among the favorites and missed the cut. Charley Hoffman and Matt Kuchar were also under +2000 to begin the week but are way off the pace and probably won’t be a factor.

If you’re looking to jump in now, Keegan Bradley might be worth a look at +2800. Bradley is four back and is putting around field average for once. Usually his tee-to-green game is among the best in the field, but his putter has been a disaster for a few years. If he can keep maintain his average putting instead of handing strokes to the field, he’ll have a chance to make a comeback.

Matchups

We’re looking at threesomes on Saturday with a secondary cut looming.

I’ll be targeting Harris English in his matchup with Vaughn Taylor and Brian Stuard. We’re still waiting on odds from Bovada at the time of publication, but Taylor and Stuard have both lost strokes with their approach through two rounds. Their hot putters have vaulted them into the top 20 on the tournament leaderboard, but it’s unlikely their putting consistency will continue. That’s especially the case for Taylor, who ranks 128th in strokes gained: putting this year but is third so far this week. English is gaining strokes everywhere except with the putter, where he’s lost a little over two strokes. He’s more likely to keep climbing the leaderboard than his two playing partners.

All odds via Bovada and current as of Friday evening unless otherwise noted