PGA Tour Picks: Farmers Insurance Open Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Spaniard Jon Rahm was the +900 opening favorite last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge in northern California, and he beat relative unknown Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death for his second career PGA Tour win and to replace Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world rankings.
Rahm, just 23, and Landry finished 72 holes at 22-under; Rahm, who started Sunday two shots out of the lead, would win by birdieing the fourth extra hole for his fourth worldwide victory in the past year. Landry had made a birdie on his 72nd hole to force the playoff. He's a two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour. Landry missed an 11-footer to extend the playoff to a fifth hole. Neither player missed a green in the four holes of sudden-death. It was Landry's first time in the final group since he was alongside eventual winner Dustin Johnson in Sunday's final group at the 2016 U.S. Open. Landry blew up that day with a 78 and finished 15th. Austin Cook, the 54-hole leader at the CareerBuilder, shot a final-round 75 to finish T14.
I didn't recommend Rahm to win but did get him for a Top 10 at -150 and -225 as top European finisher. I went with a longer-shot in Bud Cauley at +3300 to win and he finished T14 at 16 under.
The PGA Tour heads down the California coast to Torrey Pines in San Diego for the Farmers Insurance Open this week, and it's a tournament likely to get a bump in both TV ratings and betting-wise because Tiger Woods makes his 2018 debut at a course he has dominated - his last major title was the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines when Woods beat Rocco Mediate in a 19-hole Monday playoff. Can you believe it has been a decade? Woods is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines - seven times in the Farmers and that U.S. Open. Tiger grew up in Southern California and also will play the Genesis Open on Feb. 15-18 at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.
Tiger made his unofficial return from another back surgery in early December in the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, a tournament his foundation runs. He was ninth in the 18-man field at 8-under and had three rounds under par. Woods played the Farmers last year, missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, went to Dubai the next week and would withdraw after one round due to back problems. Surgery followed. This year, the Dubai Desert Classic is opposite the Farmers, so Woods isn't going overseas. Just making the cut would have to be called a success this week. He's -200 to make the cut at Bovada and +150 to miss. You can also get Tiger as +500 on a yes-only prop to win a major in 2018.
A total of 11 of the world's Top 30 are set to play at Torrey Pines. The South course is the main one there and is a par 72 measuring 7,698 yards. Torrey Pines' North course (7,258/72) again will be used for the first two rounds. Rahm is your defending champion. He was three shots out of the lead when he teed off Sunday in 2017 but shot a 5-under 67, including a spectacular eagle on the 18th to win by three shots. Then 22, Rahm became the youngest winner of this event. He also became the first player in 26 years to capture his first PGA Tour title at Torrey Pines. Nine different players had at least a share of the lead on Sunday.
The last repeat winner here was Tiger in 2008 when he won the event for a fourth straight time. He co-owns the tournament 72-hole record of 22-under 266 and holds the South course record of 62 (both in 1999).
Golf Odds: Farmers Insurance Open Favorites
Rahm is the +800 Bovada favorite. Only a few other guys have even won this tournament multiple times. The most recent was Brandt Snedeker in 2012 and then 2016. Rahm hasn't finished worse than second in his past four worldwide events - he also won the European Tour 2016-17 season finale.
Rickie Fowler is +1600. He was last fourth at the 2018 opening Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. Fowler doesn't seem to like Torrey Pines much as he has missed the cut in three of his past four visits. Hideki Matsuyama and Justin Rose are +1600 each, with Tiger, Jason Day and Marc Leishman all +2200. Day makes his 2018 debut and won here in 2015. He missed the cut the past two years. Matsuyama has a best finish of 16th in four trips here and two missed cuts. Leishman was a runner-up here in 2010 & '14 but hasn't been better than 20th since.
Golf Odds: Farmers Insurance Open Picks
For a Top-10 finish, I like Rahm (-165), Leishman (+200) and Tony Finau (+275). Take Rahm (+120) again as top European and Leishman (+200) as top Aussie. Head-to-head, go Brian Harman (-165) over Tiger (+125), Finau (-130) over Snedeker (even), Phil Mickelson (-130) over Cauley (even), Rose (-115) over Matsuyama (-115), and Rahm (-135) over Fowler (+105).
You can get Rose, Day and Tiger at +600 vs. the field (-1100). Ditto Rahm & Fowler (+450) vs. the field (-750). Last one is tempting but no. I'll take a shot with big-hitting Gary Woodland to win at +4000. He has never missed a cut in eight trips to this tournament with three Top 20s in the past four visits.
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