GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for the Safeway Open

With Justin Thomas offered at a steep price as the favorite, look further down the board for which golfers present value opportunities in the betting market for the Safeway Open.

Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. But finding value is something all bettors must practice in order to give themselves the best chance to make hay when the day finally comes that they ping a champion.

Below we will cover the best bets for the Safeway Open based on current form, course fit, and, of course, the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Previously the opening event of the season before the new schedule this year, the Safeway Open is held at Silverado Resort and Spa North in Napa, California. We'll break down the best values in the field and which long shots have a chance to contend this week. We are looking for quality ball strikers who can find their way onto greens that even Brendan Steele and Kevin Tway can tame.

For more info on Silverado Resort and Spa North along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out the course primer.

At the Top

Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama (+1400 each) - Skipping the top two names on the board will land you squarely on Scott and Matsuyama at the same price. It's been a minute since either earned some hardware, with Hideki having last won in August 2017 and Scott in March 2016. Both are elite ball strikers who have struggled to find consistency with the putter. They are expensive for having shown such little finishing ability recently, but -- analytically speaking, of course -- they are due. Scott racked up 9 top 10 finishes in the 2018-19 season including two runner-ups, while Matsuyama had 7 top-10s. And both closed the year in absolutely sparkling form in the Playoffs. If you want some safety, both are offered at +185 for a top-10 finish while Matsuyama is slightly cheaper in the top-20 market (-115 to Scott's -125).

Value Spots

Francesco Molinari (+2700) - Molinari has a history of catching fire after just one hot finish, and a T14 at the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour could end up as the first step. He is accurate off the tee and a long iron master, suiting him well for the challenging par 5s at Silverado. A year's worth of data makes a big difference, but this time last year Molinari would likely have been offered at a third this price. He proved in 2018 that his best is as good as it gets, and there is absolutely no let up in his game when he's on. His birdie-making ability combined with his propensity to go on bogey-free streaks sets up perfectly for this track. He can play from ahead as he showed at The Open, or he can charge from behind as he did at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. That winning mentality is worth the investment this far down the board.

Collin Morikawa (+2900) - The price seems hefty given the former major winner offered just above, but Morikawa is every bit the stud we saw debut last year with three consecutive top-fives. He was a Matthew Wolff miracle putt away from a playoff at the 3M Open, and aside from the top four names on the board he has the best statistical case in the field -- he only has 38 rounds on the PGA Tour, and we can compare basically his entire body of work against the field by filtering the stats at Fantasy National Golf Club to the last 36 rounds. In that sample, Morikawa is 2nd in strokes gained: approach, 4th in opportunities gained, 7th in strokes gained: tee to green, and 12th in birdies or better gained.

Long Shots

Wyndham Clark (+9000) - Clark can follow the path set by last year's winner, Tway. Tway's strength is his driver, and he ranked 25th on Tour last season in driving distance, whereas Clark was all the way up at 5th. Clark has finished inside the top-20 in half of his last eight events, and the missed cut at the Sanderson Farms Championship just means that he got out west earlier than some of the competition. He got a look at Silverado last year and was in a tie for fourth place after the first round before three straight rounds of even par netted him a T33 finish. Over his last 50 rounds, Clark is seventh in the field in strokes gained on par 5s.

Jhonattan Vegas (+12000) - Vegas is another bomber who flashed elite form in a few spots last year, most notably at TPC Sawgrass en route to a T3 finish. He was 12th in distance last year and that extra length should get him some shorter clubs into these greens. He has up and down history here but did pop for a T10 in fall 2015, and in his first action since THE NORTHERN TRUST, he should be well rested. He threw out the first pitch at the Houston Astros game a couple weeks ago and brings some championship contender mojo to the course this week. Over his last 50 rounds, Vegas is fifth in the field in strokes gained on par 5s and sixth in birdies or better gained.