AT&T Pebble Beach First-Round Matchup Bets: Fade Dustin Johnson?
Dennis Schneidler, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Ernie Els
Round-by-round matchups are going to be a little trickier this week, just because of the three-course rotation and the fact that any momentum gained on a specific track will only lead to a fresh start on a new one the following day.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t value, as we can find plenty of it in the opening round.
Here are my three favorite matchup bets for Day 1 at Pebble:
Season record: 25-36-3, -11.51 units
Sungjae Im over Ernie Els by -0.5 (-155)
I couldn’t figure out this pairing for a while, but then it dawned on me: As the captain of this year’s International team in the Presidents Cup, Els wants to get a look at a kid who could be one of his new stars.
The type of pressure could backfire on Im, but he doesn’t seem the type who gets scared off easily. Instead, I just think the Big Easy’s presence will offer greater motivation – and I expect Im to go low in their opening round at MPCC.
Jordan Spieth over Dustin Johnson (+147)
I haven’t been shy about my Spieth hunch this week; I think this could be the place where he turns it all around. Although he didn’t do much for the final three days, he opened with a 65 at Torrey Pines (granted, on the easier North Course), which shows the prep needed to come hustling out of the gates.
Betting against DJ at Pebble is an uncommonly risky proposition, but after expending mental energy in last week’s victory, then taking a plane from Saudi Arabia to California, I can’t imagine he’ll be 100 percent ready for this tilt at MPCC.
Brandt Snedeker over Matthew Fitzpatrick by -0.5 (+115)
Sneds has been there, done that at this tournament, a past champion who also won the pro-am portion of the event that same year. Fitz is making his maiden voyage here, which could be a little tricky on foreign soil.
He’s obviously a talented young player, but I’ll take the former winner at plus-money to win this matchup at Pebble, where he’s played so well in the past.