Sobel’s Waste Management Open Matchup Bets: Backing One of the World’s Best as an Underdog

Sobel’s Waste Management Open Matchup Bets: Backing One of the World’s Best as an Underdog article feature image
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Brian Spurlock, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Justin Thomas

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — If the first two rounds of the Waste Management Phoenix Open were the hors d’oeuvre portion of the party, Saturday is the part where they wheel in the kegs and everyone’s dancing with a lampshade on their head.

Expect TPC Scottsdale to be rocking today — maybe even more than usual, due to the electric final pairing.

Our third-round matchup bets start there, as we can grab one of the world’s best players as an underdog.

Season record: 24-31-3, -6.76 units

Justin Thomas (-0.5 strokes) over Rickie Fowler by +0.5 (-145)

They’re buddies, they’re sharing a house this week and they’ll be third-round playing partners, much to the delight of the bazillion spectators here. I’m not sure either has much of an edge; Thomas has gained more than six shots on the field from tee to green, which sounds great until we see that Fowler has gained more than nine in the same category.

The logic here is that anytime you can take JT and get a half-stroke, it’s probably a good idea to pull the trigger.

Byeong-hun An over Bubba Watson (Even)

Bubba has a history of playing well on this golf course — and it makes zero sense. It’s not that TPC Scottsdale doesn’t suit his game, it’s that a guy who readily admits he doesn’t like competing in front of big crowds and has rabbit ears shouldn’t find success at an event that is more party than golf tournament.

I’m backing An here for the sole reason that I think the Saturday pandemonium could severely impact Watson’s focus, especially on the back-nine.

Jon Rahm over Gary Woodland by -0.5 (-105)

A true heavyweight matchup in the fifth-to-last pairing, but I think the defending champion is going to see an extra gear from Rahm today. He’s in contention here in his adopted hometown and really hasn’t played his best golf yet. Don’t be surprised if he turns it on to the tune of a 66 or so today.