PGA Odds & Picks: Why We Like Kevin Streelman, Francesco Molinari, Others To Win Pebble Beach
Marianna Massey/Getty Images. Pictured: Francesco Molinari
- Daniel Berger. Francesco Molinari. Jason Day. Kevin Streelman.
- Find out why those four are among our staff's favorite outright bets the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
All of a sudden, the 2021 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am looks wide open. That’s because Dustin Johnson, who opened as a prohibitive +400 favorite to win the tournament, withdrew on Monday afternoon, leaving a pretty substantial hole at the top of the betting board.
With DJ out, Patrick Cantlay is now the betting favorite at +750 and there’s a bit of a drop between Cantlay and the next group, which starts with Daniel Berger and Paul Casey at +1400.
A field like this should leave plenty of room for chaos. With that in mind, here are our favorite outright bets for Pebble Beach:
Jason Day (+2000)
Am I trying to tap into some of that Big Koepka Energy from last week? You’re damn right I am. Like Koepka, Day missed the cut in his first two starts of 2021. Like Koepka, Day is returning to an event where he’s owned a lot of success. And like Koepka, Day is undervalued based on his overall talent level. Maybe it’s asking too much for this formula to succeed for a second week in a row, but I’ve got more than just synergy in my corner.
Despite an MC last week in Phoenix, Day gained strokes in every major category except for putting. Moving from the Bermuda greens of TPC Scottsdale to the poa annua of Pebble should help that number. And while he’s never won this tourney, Day has been otherwise terrific here. In 11 career starts, he owns seven top-10 finishes, including top-fives in each of the past four years.
I liked him a lot better at the original +3500 number, before Dustin Johnson withdrew, but this price could pay off, as there’s certainly plenty of reason to believe he can turn it around this week.
Kevin Streelman (+4000)
Streelman was the first guy on my card this week. Not only is he starting to round into form off a solid performance in Phoenix, but Streelman has a great track record at this event, finishing inside the top-20 five years in a row, including a runner-up finish in 2020.
Streelman also figures to benefit from the removal of Monterrey from the rotation for this year’s event. He’s lost strokes on Monterrey in three of his last five trips to Pebble Beach, so getting him on the two tracks where he does his best work is a plus.
Kevin Streelman (+4000)
I am staying away from the top of the board this week (though I will admit to a FOMO play on Will Zalatoris) as this tournament always seems to bring out the longshots. Streelman’s number has shrunk this week along with everyone else’s when Dustin Johnson withdrew, but he is still at a nice number for a player that hasn’t finished worse than 17th in the last five years and was runner-up in 2020.
As I noted in my strokes gained article to start the week, he comes in with good form off of his 22nd-place finish at the Waste Management where he gained more than a stroke on the field per round with his irons.
His approach game will be the key at Pebble Beach where the greens are the smallest on TOUR, and Streelman looks poised to take advantage.
Francesco Molinari (+2200)
When Tiger Woods ruthlessly snatched the Green Jacket from Moli at Augusta National in 2019, he seemed to have taken his skill along with it. In a scene analogous to the Monstars taking the basketball skills from Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley in the 1996 movie Space Jam, Tiger left Francesco talentless and visibly shaken.
Almost two years later, the Italian has finally rounded back into form. Coming off of back-to-back top 10’s on the West Coast, Molinari’s approach game is clicking on all cylinders, gaining 4.1 strokes in the category at Torrey Pines.
We now go to a course that is much more suitable for Molinari to contend. While he is an excellent iron player, length off of the tee isn’t Francesco’s strong suit. Luckily for him Pebble Beach is the shortest Par 72 on the PGA TOUR measuring 6,816 yards. With six European Tour wins on his resume including the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links, Moli is no stranger to coastal links tracks.
Since 2006, no golfer has won at Pebble Beach without a previous top 21 finish at the course. Although this will be his first appearance at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, he did finish 16th at the 2019 U.S. Open played at Pebble Beach while gaining 7.1 strokes tee to green.
This is the right course at the right time for Molinari to make his triumphant return to the winner’s circle.
Daniel Berger (+1400)
It feels like Berger is the forgotten man this week. Everyone is discussing how DJ withdrawing improves the chances of all these decent-to-mediocre type golfers, but that also applies to the top of the board, and 14/1 for Berger in this type of field offers a bit of value.
Despite being a Florida guy, Berger’s preferred putting surface appears to be Poa, as he’s about .3 strokes better compared to other surfaces. A brutal Friday round last week led to a MC at the WMPO, but the three-time TOUR winner still ranks ninth in this field in total strokes gained across his past 12 rounds. His short game is a major strength, which if you’ve heard may be important at Pebble.
It’s also evident Berger loves this coastal track, as he’s played here twice finishing fifth and 10th respectively. Experience matters at this event, and with DJ’s WD, Berger has as good a chance as anyone of being in the final group come Sunday.