PGA Tour Picks: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 10/15/2014
OK, if this golf season is like the last one then I'm probably going to go winless again -- I am just being honest. If I'm a little ticked off it's because I do homework on these tournaments and then guys come from way out of nowhere to win.
That was the case last week (and much of last year) in the season-opening Frys.com Open. South Korea's Sang-Moon Bae didn't have a single Top-10 finish in the 2013-14 season and made only 13 cuts in 24 starts. So of course he took the Frys.com Open by two shots over Steven Bowditch. Bae began the week all the way down at No. 195 in the rankings. Bae isn't totally out of nowhere as it was his second Tour win, the first being the Bryon Nelson in May 2013. He joins K.J. Choi and Y.E. Yang as the only Korean men to win multiple times on the Tour. Bae was one of seven players last season who didn't get a single Top 10 after getting a victory in 2013. More good news for Bae: Seven of the previous eight winners of the Tour's season-opening event in the FedEx Cup era have then finished in the Top 30 on the money list and qualified for the Tour Championship. The only one who didn't was Daniel Chopra in 2008.
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The Bovada favorite and highest-ranked player in the Frys.com Open was Matt Kuchar, and he was third entering Sunday but shot a final-round 76 to finish 21st. There were no Top-10 props when I wrote this last week, but I said roll the dice on Kuchar, Jimmy Walker and Brooks Koepka for Top 5s. Walker was a disappointing 63rd as the defending champion. Koepka finished T8, just a shot out of a Top 5. My winning choice was Brandt Snedeker and he was a non-factor at T57. Head-to-head, the only winner was Marc Leishman at -125 over Ben Crane. It just wasn't a great week, but it's always tough to forecast a tournament at a brand new course.
This week the Tour heads to Las Vegas, which always means really low scores, for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin. Vegas courses are all easy because people are in Vegas to have fun (talking about the non-pros) and not chopping through rough. Plus it's hot as sin and you don't want to be out there sweating up a storm while double-bogeying every hole. In the 10 years that this event has been a four-round tournament, only once has the winner shot less than 20 under par.
Last year, Webb Simpson dominated, winning at tournament-record-tying 24-under 260 and six shots clear of the field. Ryo Ishikawa and Jason Bohn were second. There were a whopping 36 rounds by the field last year of 65 or better. Simpson is back to defend and only Jim Furyk (1998-99) has done so here. Six other previous winners are set to play: Ryan Moore (2012), Kevin Na (2011), Jonathan Byrd (2010), Martin Laird (2009), George McNeill (2007) and Stuart Appleby (2003). Moore and Na both live in Vegas. Many golfers have Vegas ties and they usually play well in this event.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Favorites
Billy Horschel is the 14/1 betting favorite at Bovada. Of course Horschel closed last season scorching hot, finishing second in the Deutsche Bank and winning the BMW Championship and Tour Championship on the way to the FedEx Cup. Yet he wasn't on Team USA for the Ryder Cup. Horschel was T16 here in his only appearance in 2011.
Hideki Matsuyama is 18/1. He was T3 last week -- his first Top 10 since a win at the Memorial -- and makes his first ever appearance in this event. Walker and Simpson are 20/1. Walker might have been a bit tired last week in his struggles. He was T12 here last year and T10 in 2011. Simpson has shot nine consecutive rounds in the 60s at TPC Summerlin dating to 2009. He didn't play in 2011-12 before last year's win.
Moore, who went to UNLV, rounds out the favorites at 22/1. Moore followed up his victory here in 2012 with a T9 a year ago. He is the only player to shoot four rounds in the 60s at the Shriners in each of the last two years.
PGA Tour Picks: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Predictions
Bovada currently doesn't have Top-10 props, so I will use Sportsbook.ag for that. I like Moore at +160, Simpson at +167, Koepka at +185 and Laird at +220. Back to Bovada for head-to-head, go with Horschel (-115) over Matsuyama (-115), Laird (-115) over Graham DeLaet (-115), Nick Watney (-115), another Vegas guy, over Snedeker (-115), and Charley Hoffman (+105) over Cameron Tringale (-135).
I am tempted to go with Moore but wonder if he's rusty having not played since the third leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs. Hoffman, another Vegas guy, is tempting at 40/1 as he generally plays well here and was T4 last year. However, I'm taking Laird at 25/1 off his T3 last week and win here five years ago. He also lost in a playoff in 2010.
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