Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Brendan Steele
- Patrick Cantlay (+1400 odds) is the betting favorite at the Safeway Open, which tees off in Napa on Thursday, Oct. 4.
- Brendan Steele (+4000) won this tournament in back-to-back years, namely in the sweet spot as a mid-tier player in 2016.
- I'm targeting four guys in that middle range for this weekend, plus four longshots.
After a long offseason that spanned nearly two weeks, the 2018-19 PGA Tour campaign is set to tee off at the Safeway Open in Napa.
Since it’s a new season, and betting records start from scratch, we’ll start with a brief rundown of my basic strategy for a tournament before diving into the course and picks.
For outright winners, I’ll limit myself to 4.5-5.5 units per week with a win amount of 33 units per bet. Basically, 33-1 is a full unit play, 66-1 is a half-unit and everything is adjusted from there.
With 46 total events for the season, this strategy means that we’ll need six or seven winners to keep our heads above water, depending on how much is actually bet each week.
I don’t have an exact number of golfers that I’ll play each week, because it varies based on the course and odds.
Sometimes, a course sets up for longshot, in which case it’s better to play a bunch of guys at 100-1 or longer. Other times, when a course has been historically good to the top players, I’ll limit myself to a couple of guys at the top of the card.
The amount of golfers bet doesn’t matter as much as staying within my bankroll for that tournament.
I’ll typically start between 3.5-4.5 units before the tournament and try to leave myself at least one unit to add someone on Thursday or Friday night.
There are a million ways to play it in golf. This is simply what works for me.
Now on to Wine Country and the Brendan Steele Open.
Silverado Country Club will host the Safeway Open to tee off a new PGA Tour season for the fifth time.
This has been Brendan Steele’s tournament. He’s the two-time defending champion, and he held the 54-hole lead in 2015 before fading on the Sunday of that weekend.
He’s the go-to when looking for the type of player who can succeed here.
Steele is a great ball-striker, and his driving and approach numbers are well above the Tour average. Not really a bomber, he’s more of a Keegan Bradley-type who hits it far enough to be competitive, but is also pretty accurate.
It make sense that those strengths would play well at Silverado, which isn’t particularly long for a Par 72, spanning 7,166 yards.
His putter is pretty bad, but that’s neutralized a bit on this course because of the Poa Annua greens, which are usually bumpier than the Bermuda and Bentgrass green that are more prevalent on tour.
Being from California, Steele has a bit of an advantage on these greens. He’s usually losing strokes to the field with the putter, but finishes above field-average on this type of surface.
Steele is obviously a name to look for among the favorites, but his form was so bad to close the year that he actually checks in at +4000. Nevertheless, I won’t be backing him because he hasn’t had a top-20 finish since the team event in New Orleans in April.
It’s probably time for someone else to take this title.