Pebble Beach Pro-Am betting: Hoge's and grinders
Golf betting is its own type of grind. The nature of betting outright is such that you can lose over and over, but one win makes it all go away - whether that's over the course of a few weeks or in one tournament.
Such was the case last week at the Farmers Insurance Open, where we were mid-disappointment in Justin Thomas finishing a stroke outside the top 20 and in Taylor Montgomery's 75-75 weekend. Then Max Homa swooped in to win at 20-1, turning a losing week into a hot start.
Now the PGA TOUR heads up the coast to the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where Tom Hoge came from relative obscurity last year to edge Jordan Spieth and where the TOUR players aren't necessarily the biggest stars on the course. A trio of big names makes up the favorites, as Spieth, Matthew Fitzpatrick, and Viktor Hovland are the pros that the gallery will gravitate to but who we'll have to ignore if we're looking for valuable golfers to contend.
Three draws (odds to win/top 20)
Three golfers more valuable than their odds suggest this week.
Nick Taylor (+6600 / +300)
There's a lot going on at this event, with the X-factor of the pros playing with amateurs - famous or otherwise - and very long rounds. So we'll lean on a player who has a history of being unfazed by it all. Taylor won this event in 2019, has made the cut in six of seven tournaments since his rookie year, and shot over par just once since his first lap around Pebble's trio of tracks. Taylor's form is fine, with three top-20s since the start of the wraparound season and just one round over par in the 2022-23 season.
Taylor Moore (+6600 / +300)
Moore played his first full season on TOUR last year and had early success with a T16 at Pebble Beach. After struggling in the middle of the season, he closed with a pair of top-20s and added another in October. Though he missed the cut in Palm Springs, he shot under par in all three rounds of a tournament where you needed to go very low. In far more difficult coastal conditions at Torrey Pines last week, Moore was one of eight players to not have a round over par on his way to finishing T11. In a weaker field and at a place he's had success before, Moore should make the cut and have a chance at another top-20 - a good bet at 3-to-1 odds.
Brendon Todd (+8000 / +350)
After the three stars mentioned above, oddsmakers slot in the next handful of players on the oddsboard based on their historical success at the course, but some fall through the cracks. Todd has been hot and cold when coming to Pebble, but we play on polar results in golf betting. At last year's tournament, Todd was ninth in strokes gained: tee-to-green but lost strokes on the Pebble Beach greens. Given that putting is Todd's strength - he's gained plus-0.53 strokes per round in the last 18 months - if he can get a putt to drop, he can improve on a T16 and comfortably cash a +350 payout.
The scary fade
When you least expect it, you mega-slice a tee shot into the trees. We pick a golfer with high expectations who's worth betting to miss the cut at a big price.
Robby Shelton (+150 to miss cut)
It speaks to the shallowness of the field that Shelton is expected to make the cut in a tournament he's never played in. He finished last week at Torrey Pines with rounds of 74, 75, and 76. So between struggles last weekend and dealing with unfamiliar circumstances this week, we'll take plus money that Shelton doesn't make it to Sunday.
The favorite club in the bag
Going into this betting season, we're picking two golfers to bet to win each week - Max Homa and Tom Kim. The thinking is that our second-tier duo on the oddsboard will win more than once and be profitable on the assumption they play 20-to-25 events.
Did Max or Tom win yet?
Actually, yes! Homa (20-1) won last week at Torrey Pines for a big score in our first try with this gambit. Both Homa and Kim are off this week - Kim for the second week in a row.
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.
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