Sony Open Round 4 Odds & Betting Picks: Will Brendan Steele Seal the Deal?


Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Brendan Steele

Jan 12, 2020, 10:19 AM EST

Brendan Steele leads by three strokes entering the final round of the Sony Open, trying to set a record you won’t find in any PGA Tour record book, but one which has a little special place in our hearts ‘round here: He could become the first player to win a tournament after “hiring” an Action Network employee to be his caddie.

Yes, that caddie bib is hanging on the wall of my home office and no, I didn’t make him write that inscription. (I’m also not coming out of retirement anytime soon to put my 68.00 career caddie scoring average on the line – unless it’s for the right price.)

As you might imagine, I have a personal investment in Steele’s future that extends beyond a financial stake. As one of the PGA Tour’s good guys and someone who’s slumped over the past year, I really want to see him in the winner’s circle again.

There are very few ways that golf betting can resemble betting on team sports, but this specific instance – for me, at least – there’s a direct correlation. Just as some bettors might resist betting either for or against their favorite football teams, I feel the same way in this situation.

After all, this is the part of my Round 4 preview column where I’m supposed to give my objective opinion on which player I think will claim the title Sunday evening, but it’s tough to remain objective when the favorite is a guy who once let you carry his bag for 18 holes.

If I pick Steele (+135 odds at FanDuel) to win, there’s a chance I jinx it. If I pick him to lose, well, then I’m just a bitter ex-looper who carries a grudge.

In all seriousness, each of Steele’s three previous wins – the 2011 Texas Open and 2016 and ’17 Safeway Opens – took place when there were some blustery winds, which has again been a common theme this week. His strokes gained tee to green number has improved every day this week, while his putter remains red-hot, leading the field on the greens by nearly a full stroke.

So, you can kind of guess where I’m leaning here. But I mean, I don’t want to jinx it.

Let’s get to the Round 4 matchups, as players will compete in groups of three yet again.

Round 4 Matchup Picks: 2020 Sony Open

Nick Taylor (+170) over Peter Malnati and Tom Hoge

Already owning Low Taylor honors by a stroke over Vaughn, I’m taking the Canadian. Simply put, Nick is hitting the ball better right now than his final-round playing partners, as he gained the most strokes tee to green of any player in the field on Saturday.

Bonus bet: Keep him in mind for next week’s American Express event, as well. He could make for a nice top-10 or low-priced DFS play.

[In New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana or West Virginia? Bet now at FanDuel]

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