Farmers Insurance Open Betting Guide: Back Tiger Woods in His 2019 Debut?

Farmers Insurance Open Betting Guide: Back Tiger Woods in His 2019 Debut? article feature image

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tiger Woods

  • Tiger Woods (+1800) makes his 2019 debut among the favorites at this weekend's Famers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
  • Jon Rahm (+1000) sits atop the odds with Justin Rose (+1200) and Rory McIlroy (+1200) right behind.
  • Joshua Perry breaks down his card, featuring one favorite and a couple mid-tier guys.

The Desert Classic was a good reminder of how difficult picking a winner can be.

Adam Hadwin and Phil Mickelson were two of the top players in field and both were playing great. But even the best players in the field can be tracked down by an unknown rookie playing the round of his life.

Adam Long was never at shorter than 500-1 odds before the tournament and could have been found even higher in a few spots. There’s no metric we could look at that would have identified Long. There was no form we could point to. He’d never even finished in the top 50 of a PGA Tour event.

It was just one of those spots when we’re reminded of how important bankroll management is: Never get too heavily invested in any these events and simply move on knowing there’s probably nothing that could be done.

So now we move on to one of the premier events and top courses on tour: The Farmers Insurance Open.

The Course(s)

The first two days will be split over Torrey Pines’ South and North Courses.

The South course is the better known of the two tracks and will be played for both weekend rounds. It’s a long and difficult par 72 measuring nearly 7,700 yards. On top of the length, it presents narrow fairways and deep rough to make it one of the hardest driving tests on tour.

Length is an advantage, but only if golfers can keep the driver in play. Shorter, more accurate hitters like Brandt Snedeker, Ben Crane and K.J. Choi have had success here over the past decade.

The North course is the easier source and plays about 450 yards shorter. It’s played about a shot harder since a renovation following the 2016 tournament, but it still plays about 1.5 strokes easier than the South course and should be the target if you’re betting first round leader markets.

The Field

Tiger Woods makes his 2019 debut at a place he’s been dominant at over the years. He’s won the Farmers seven times and also took down a U.S Open at Torrey Pines. He opened at +1800, which is surprisingly high, given that he’s a favorite at around +1000 for every major.

Instead it’s 2017 winner Jon Rahm at the top of the odds at +1000. Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy are next in line at +1200, followed by reigning champ Jason Day at +1600.

Tony Finau is in line with Woods at +1800, then Marc Leishman and Xander Schauffele close out the group of favorites at +2000.

Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth are starting to see some real movement in their numbers thanks to winless 2018 campaigns. Fowler comes in at +2500 while Spieth opened at +4000.

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The Favorites

This has been where the winners have come from in recent years. Four of the past six years, the champion opened at less than +2000, with only Rahm two years ago and Scott Stallings in 2014 opening higher than that range.

It’s a strong field that usually produces a strong winner. The problem is there isn’t much value in any of the guys at the top.

The numbers all appear to be in line.

I’m not going to over think this one. I’m taking Woods at +1800 at Torrey Pines. My only concern would be that he hasn’t played since the Hero. But four of his seven wins in this event came in his first tournament of the year. Woods knows how to prepare without competitive rounds.

I fully expect to see +1200 at most on Sunday. I just didn’t expect to see him at this number.

Mid Tier

With Tiger at the top of the card, it limits what I’m able to do elsewhere. But there are two plays I’m going to make in this range.

Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Patrick Cantlay

We’ll start with Patrick Cantlay at +3029 on Bookmaker. Cantlay was solid in his first tournament of the year last week, finishing ninth. He just always plays well. He hasn’t finished outside the top 10 since the Safeway in the first event of the fall swing. And he hasn’t missed a cut since Colonial in May.

Cantlay is going to win one of these strong field events soon, and he’s still getting odds just outside the top players.

The other play is Hideki Matsuyama at +6600. This is a play backing the overall talent more than anything we’ve seen recently. He wasn’t great at the Hero or the Sony, and was battling an injury much of 2018. He showed signs of during the playoff events that he was returning to form with a couple of fourth-place finishes.

If he’s healthy this year, I like Matsuyama bouncing back.


Scott Stallings took this title in 2014, but outside of that, it’s been a tournament for proven commodities.

The other winners this decade are Woods, Bubba Watson, Day, Snedeker and Rahm. We just don’t get the out-of-nowhere champ very often here.

So I’m not betting any outright to win this, but there’s top 20 play I like: We’ll go with Anders Albertson at +850. He gained strokes in both ball striking categories last week and has a couple top 20s already in his rookie season.

Farmers Insurance Open Card

  • Tiger Woods +1800 (1.83 units)
  • Patrick Cantlay +3029 (1.09 units)
  • Hideki Matsuyama +6600 (.5 units)
  • Anders Albertson +850 top 20 (1 unit)

Total Stake: 4.42 units
Season: +9.005 units