This article is part of our Betting on Golf series.
Valero Texas Open Betting Strategy
Following a week with one PGA Tour event in Texas and another in the Dominican Republic, the focus is now squarely on the Lone Star State.
Not everyone has their eye on Augusta just yet, as 23 players in the field for The Masters will tee it up at the Valero Texas Open in an effort to build some momentum and fine-tune their games before the first major of 2021. After a stretch of four straight years where the winner finished no better than 12-under-par, light winds and shorter grass led to lower scores over the past two editions of the tournament. In 2019, Corey Conners, at 20-under, defeated Charley Hoffman by two strokes to became the first Monday qualifier to win on the PGA Tour in nine years.
TPC San Antonio is one of the longer courses on Tour at over 7,400 yards, but driving distance usually isn't a big factor when it comes to determining a winner. The yardage is stretched out through three long par-3s and three long par-5s that often lead to second-shot layups. With half the par-4s playing 410 yards or shorter, look for players to have several approaches from inside 100 yards. That will put a premium on wedge play this week.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 6:30 PM ET Tuesday.
On the Right Track
The following five players have the lowest score relative to par at the Valero Texas Open since 2015:
Moore has played some of his best golf at TPC San Antonio. He comes in with back-to-back top-10 results and hasn't finished outside the top 20 in four career appearances. He enters this week in search of better form, though, having missed the cut in 4-of-6 events this season and failing to record a top-25 finish. A player in good form with a good track record here is Kim. He has already won this year and ranked second in SG: Approach in his last stroke-play appearance at THE PLAYERS Championship. At 35-1 odds, he's certainly a player to keep an eye on after holding the 36-hole lead the last time this event was held.
From Point A to Point B
These players have gained the most strokes from tee to green since the start of 2021:
Not only is Conners the defending champion, he has also been better from tee to green this year than anyone in the field. That will be a key factor in determining the winner this week, as the champion has finished first or second in the category on three straight occasions. Conners is looking to bounce back after going a tough 0-3-0 in last week's Match Play event. Meanwhile, Kirk (41-1 odds) has recently looked like the 2014-15 version of himself, when he made it inside the top 20 in the world. He should feel good at TPC San Antonio, having recorded three top-15 results in his last four appearances at the course and ranking second in SG: Tee-to-Green on this track in 2018.
Charley Hoffman (33-1)
Hoffman seems like a chalky pick this week, having won here in 2016 while also finishing runner-up on two occasions since 2011. Besides the course history, he's also played some great golf over the last two months, with five straight cuts made and a pair of top-10s. With some of the top choices on the board dealing with a draining week of match play and/or looking ahead to next week, Hoffman provides good value as the ninth choice on the board.
Brendan Steele (41-1)
Speaking of players that feast at TPC San Antonio, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone other than Hoffman who has fared as well as Steele. A winner back in 2011, Steele has two top-10s here since, and he has only missed the cut in one of his nine appearances. He has been one of the most consistent golfers this year, having made the cut in all eight events, and he comes in off a T3 at The Honda Classic in his most recent start.
Phil Mickelson (110-1)
I can't remember the last time I bet on Mickelson, as he generally tends to be overpriced due to name recognition. However, I can be enticed at these odds. He doesn't have much recent course history to go off of, having last played this event in 2016, but his lack of accuracy off the tee shouldn't be as detrimental as it is at other Tour venues. Mickelson can still spring to life occasionally, as his runner-up finish at the WGC event last August showed. Plus, he has a little momentum, as his best two results since came in the past two weeks.
John Huh (11-2)
Huh finished runner-up here back in 2012 when he was playing the best golf of his career. He's starting to round back into form, and while I don't have enough confidence to bet on him to win, I do like him in this spot. Huh has had a chance to record a top-10 finish in 5-of-9 events this season, and it's only a matter of time before he breaks through. This should be a good spot for him to do that against a below-average field.
Danny Willett (8-1)
While we're talking about players rounding into form, Willett has made seven consecutive cuts and is coming off a top-10 in the Dominican Republic last week. Although it's tough to gauge how he will fare in hisTexas Open debut, he should be a good fit for the course, as his issues with both distance and accuracy with the driver shouldn't hamper him much this week.
Bernd Wiesberger (11-1)
It's easy to overlook golfers that play primarily on the European Tour, and it looks like the oddsmakers may have done that with Wiesberger, giving him a less-than-10 percent chance to finish among the top 10. Since 2017, he's made the cut in 26-of-30 PGA Tour starts, and most of those are in events with stronger fields than this week. That stretch includes a top-5 result at The RSM Classic last fall.
This is mainly a fade on Hadwin as a considerable favorite, as he has shot in the 80s in 2-of-6 rounds at TPC San Antonio. Although Munoz has been in a little bit of a lull since a stellar 2019-20 season, he played well at The Concession and is the better golfer despite being an underdog. He should also feel comfortable in his surroundings, having played collegiately at North Texas.
Ancer has lost 1.19 strokes on approach over his last eight rounds at TPC San Antonio, and it's going to be hard for him to compete if that aspect of his game isn't in form. That's the strongest part of Matsuyama's game, as he ranked fifth in SG: Approach last season. This is an event he has skipped in the past, but his game should fit in well.
These are two guys trending in opposite directions, and I'll ride with the hot hand in Vegas. He's only missed one cut this season, was runner-up in Puerto Rico and has much more course experience than Woodland. In a head-to-head matchup Woodland is a risky play, as he missed the cut in his last three full-field events and hasn't looked like his usual self in quite a while.