Sobel’s Farmers Insurance Open Matchup Bets: Stay Away From The Stars in Round 1

Sobel’s Farmers Insurance Open Matchup Bets: Stay Away From The Stars in Round 1 article feature image

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Charl Schwartzel.

  • Jason Sobel runs through his three favorite matchup bets for the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
  • The players analyzed here include Jhonattan Vegas, Danny Willett, Brandon Harkins and more.

What a big week in golf.

Tiger Woods is back. Nine of the world’s top-15 players are in the field. And during a bye week before the Super Bowl, the Farmers Insurance Open should be the biggest event on the sporting landscape.

Yup, all of these big names — and I’m about to hit you with some of the other guys.

I believe there’s value in first-round matchup bets at Torrey Pines, but I’m staying away from the stars.

Season record: 16-23-3 (-7.96 units)

Jhonattan Vegas over Danny Willett (-125)

1:40 p.m. ET

Apologies to the former Masters champion, but these days I’m licking my chops anytime I see a viable matchup against him. Last week, it was Brendan Steele in the desert; this week, it’s Vegas, who MC’d at Torrey last year, but finished 28th or better each of the three previous years. Load up on him against the struggling Willett.

Brandon Harkins over Patrick Rodgers (Even)

1:50 p.m. ET

Despite a T-4 at this event two years ago, Rodgers traditionally doesn’t fare very well on the West Coast Swing.

Throw in an MC that saw him four places from the bottom of the board in his only previous start this year and I’m leaning heavily toward Harkins, who was T-12 at Torrey a year ago and tends to play well in California-based events.

Keith Mitchell over Charl Schwartzel (-115)

1:20 p.m. ET

Truth be told, when I first saw this matchup, I was hoping their group was starting on the more gettable North Course, because Mitchell is a guy who can make birdies in bunches and could take advantage of easier conditions.

I’m sticking with him here against Schwartzel, who MC’d last week, doesn’t usually play the Farmers and generally owns a poor record in West Coast events. If this one’s not a winner, though, double-down Friday, when they finally get to the easier track.