PGA Tour Picks: Waste Management Phoenix Open Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 1/28/2015
I figured 2014 was a fluke! I came close a handful of times to picking a tournament winner last but wasn't able to do so until my final prediction of the year in late November, and that was on the European Tour. Only three events have been played in the New Year and already, to quote White Sox announcer "Hawk" Harrelson: "You can put it on the board! YES!"
Bill Haas, in his first start of the new wraparound season, was my pick at 25/1 to win last week's Humana Challenge at PGA West in California. Indeed Haas did, although he almost gagged his way into a playoff on No. 18 Sunday. Leading by a stroke, Haas flew a bunker on the right side and it caught on the ledge of the front lip. That left Haas standing deep in the bunker with the ball nearly at his waist. He wailed away with an 8-iron and hit it 80 yards down the fairway. He was able to finish with at two-putt par on the par 5 to beat Charley Hoffman, Brendan Steele, Sung Joon Park, Steve Wheatcroft and Matt Kuchar by a shot.
Haas, who shot a final-round 67, finished at 22-under 266 to earn his sixth career PGA Tour title and second at the Humana (also 2010). Haas hadn't played an official round since the WGC-HSBC Champions in November as he let a fracture in his left wrist heal. Why did I like Haas then? In addition to his 2010 win, Haas also finished second at the 2011 Humana and sixth last year.
In addition to that 25/1 payoff at Bovada, Haas paid +225 for a Top-10 finish. I also got Kuchar at +155 on that prop. Head-to-head I hit on Ryan Palmer at -130 over Phil Mickelson, Haas (-115) over Harris English and Billy Horschel (-115) over Brandt Snedeker. Also hit on Rory Sabbatini at +250 as the top South African. So it was a very profitable tournament indeed.
This week the Tour heads to the big party that is the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, and it will even be rowdier this week with the Super Bowl also in town. Plus, Tiger Woods is playing for the first time since 2001. He had a very memorable hole-in-one here at the 16th (the party hole) way back in 1997. I recommend you YouTube it. This course underwent a $12 million upgrade last summer. A total of 12 of the world's Top 25 are playing, including hometown favorite and former Arizona State star Phil Mickelson. Last week Lefty had 26 birdies at the Humana, tied for most in the field, but also had 11 bogeys to finish 24th.
Last year Kevin Stadler, Craig's son, won this tournament for his first Tour win. Stadler shot a final-round 68 for a one-shot win over Bubba Watson, who missed a five-foot par putt on No. 18, and Graham DeLaet. It was cool because Stadler was dressed in Broncos colors last Super Bowl Sunday as he's from Colorado and a big fan. Stadler is dealing with an injury and won't defend. I guarantee you these golfers don't want any weather delays, etc., with no doubt some headed to the game if possible.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Waste Management Phoenix Open Favorites
Watson and Jordan Spieth are the 14/1 co-favorites at Bovada. TPC Scottsdale serves Watson's length well. He led after each of the first three rounds last year before finishing T2, his fourth Top-10 finish in eight trips to this event. Spieth hasn't played since winning Tiger's unofficial Hero World Challenge in Florida in early December. He has never played this tournament.
Kuchar, Rickie Fowler and Tiger all round out the favorites at 20/1, with Haas and Mickelson just outside the Top 5 at 22/1. I pretty much take Kuchar for a Top 10 every week and will again here as he has back-to-back Top 5s. He has played here just once before, a T6 in 2009. I think Fowler is going to have a huge year after somehow not winning at all last season despite great finishes in all four majors. He also hasn't played since Tiger's tournament. Fowler missed the cut here last year but was second in 2010. As for Tiger? I have no clue what to expect. I don't believe he's ready to contend yet even though he raved about his game this week.
PGA Tour Picks: Waste Management Phoenix Open Expert Betting Predictions
For a Top 10, I will go Kuchar (+150), Watson (+120) and Mickelson (+165). Bovada offers some "will he make the cut" props. I might take no on Tiger at +185 as he shakes off the rust. Head-to-head I like Watson (-115) over Spieth (-115), Kuchar (-115) over Fowler (-115), Mickelson (-115) over Patrick Reed (-115), Haas (-130) over Tiger (even money), and Hunter Mahan (-115) over DeLaet (-115). Go with Jonas Blixt at 7/1 as the top European and Robert Allenby at +900 as the top Aussie -- if anyone needs a good tournament it's Allenby, if what he says happened to him in Hawaii really was the truth (I doubt it).
Steele is interesting value at 40/1 to win. He was T2 last week and has finished T6 or better each of the last three years at TPC Scottsdale. Mahan also is interesting at 33/1. He won here in 2010 and was T4 last year. He loves this course. But I'm going with Lefty. He has won this tournament three times, last in 2013 when he almost shot a 59 in one round. There were enough good signs last week to think Mickelson can end his victory drought.
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