AT&T Pebble Peach Pro-Am Round 3 Odds & Picks: A Superstar to Fade and Why to Back Viktor Hovland

Credit:

Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Viktor Hovland of Norway in Pebble Beach, California.

Feb 08, 2020, 08:04 AM EST

Even though the cut at this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am doesn’t take place until after Saturday’s third round, we’re already starting to see some separation between the haves and have-nots through 36 holes.

There’s one Hall of Famer and two future HOFers among the top-seven on the leaderboard, with Jason Day (+275) at 12-under — two behind leader Nick Taylor (+550) — while Phil Mickelson (+500) is one stroke further back and Dustin Johnson (+500) trails by two more.

Even though oddsmakers have enlisted Day as the live favorite, if I’m choosing solely amongst those three superstars, he’s probably last on my list — and for just one reason.

As I wrote about after the opening round, the scoring differential between the three courses hasn’t been nearly as dramatic as in previous years, but there remains a definitive advantage.

In the second round, Spyglass Hill regained its rightful spot in the hierarchy, playing to an average score of 72.667, while Pebble Beach decreased nearly a full stroke from the previous day, moving to 71.135, and Monterey Peninsula CC again played as the easiest, more than a full stroke easier than Thursday at 69.019.

Day, as those know who’ve been paying close attention, has played MPCC and Pebble so far this week, which leaves him with the toughest track in the rotation.

Johnson and Mickelson, though, got through that one in the opening round and will be competing on a getable Pebble track Saturday afternoon.

That doesn’t mean Day will sink down the leaderboard, nor does it mean DJ or Phil will automatically shoot to the top of it.

It does, however, offer an edge to the two stars who currently own higher odds than the one facing the toughest scenario in the upcoming third round.

If you’re looking to make a live play and choosing between these guys, that’s an important fact to keep in mind.


Odds as of Saturday morning and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.


Round 3 Matchup

Viktor Hovland over Jimmy Walker (-135)

Well, Jordan Spieth didn’t play terribly on Friday, but the idea of fading Johnson was admittedly ill-timed. If there’s a saving grace here, it’s that at least we lost the bet going after plus-money instead of backing a big favorite and swallowing the L.

I’m not usually a fan of backing favorites in head-to-head matchups, just based on the inherent volatility of the game, but this Saturday play is too good to ignore.

Walker is a former winner of this event. While his game has suffered due to illness and injury over the last few years, he slowly seems to be regaining some form, posting rounds of 73-68 so far this week.

That won’t be enough to overcome playing partner Hovland, who finally gets to play his next two rounds at Pebble, site of his U.S. Amateur victory in 2018 and U.S. Open low-am honors last year.

Not only does Hovland love this track, he also apparently loves playing weekend golf. Last season, his Round 3 scoring average was 69.25 and Round 4 average was 67.38; this season, those numbers are 69.67 and 68.33, respectively.

I like Hovland to clean up in this matchup, even giving up a half-stroke to move the number to -140.

And if you’re really bullish on a guy sitting in T-24, nine strokes off the lead, I don’t mind a dart-throw outright bet on him at +8000.

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