GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for the Safeway Open

Sandwiched between the TOUR Championship last week and the U.S. Open next week, the Safeway Open features a field devoid of top-level betting favorites. However, there is value further down the board this week.

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.

The new PGA season picks up right after the TOUR Championship, with a few big names and a lot of incentive, even on the heels of last year's finale. The top 30 at the TOUR Championship included the Safeway winner from last year, Cameron Champ, as well as swing season winners Joaquin Niemann, Kevin Na, Sebastian Munoz, Lanto Griffin, and Brendon Todd. These events don't hold the name value of a major or WGC event, but the wins here count for a bigtime head start in FedEx Cup points, and that means, at a minimum, more events at the end of the year and more opportunities for the big prize pools.

So we'll pause at the top of the market and see a few names last seen either on the Champions Tour or at three or four times as long of a price. At a course where everyone will be letting it rip off the tee, we can punt the lack of value at the top and spread out our card a bit more.

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

At the Top

The price is just not right this week, with just four golfers priced under 25/1. We won't touch Si Woo Kim (+1600), Brendan Steele (+2000), Phil Mickelson (+2000), or Shane Lowry (+2200) at these numbers. Steele played well in strong fields and is a two-time winner here, and Mickelson arrives off a win in his Champions Tour debut, but neither has contended with enough consistency this year to warrant prices in this range.

Value Spots

Doc Redman (+3300) - Redman could be the best pure iron player in this field (aside from the occasional Si Woo fireball performance). He has shown the ability to sniff the very top of the leaderboard in his short career, with a T3 at the Wyndham Championship his most recent foray onto the podium. We'll bet on talent and upside when we are missing out on a more firm lean to lead our card.

Henrik Norlander (+5000) - Norlander strung together a few solid outings post-COVID layoff, highlighted by a T31 and T6 in back to back weeks at Muirfield Village. He rode a hot putter at the Memorial, but his ballstriking was carried him in each of his other solid outings. He gained 10.6 strokes combined off the tee and on approach en route to a T12 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and 7.9 when finishing 23rd at the 3M Open. Those two fields were the most comparable to this one that Norlander has seen in six months.

Long Shots

Luke List (+5500) - Like Champ and 2018 winner Kevin Tway, List shines with distance off the tee and just tries to tread water from there. List is also a solid chipper in his defense. He was fourth here two years ago when he drove it well and gained 5.9 strokes off the tee, and he gained at least 4.0 such strokes in two of his past five starts. He has the potential to lead the field in strokes gained: tee to green this week, and that type of player will always be in the mix.

Harry Higgs (+6500) - Higgs popped up on a few leaderboards early this summer before fading over the weekend, and in his first season, he played his best golf out West. He was T23 at last year's Safeway, T9 at the Farmers Insurance Open, T25 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and T18 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He can ride those good vibes to a high finish, but two things we know for sure are -- he will enjoy all that Napa Valley has to offer and will be wearing the deepest V-necks on the course.

Wyndham Clark (+8000) - Driving and putting. Clark finished 2019-20 with the 32nd-longest average driving distance and 16th in strokes gained: putting. He was playing well in February and March before COVID-19 put the season on hold, and coming back in strong fields where his strengths are less pronounced led to a string of six missed cuts in seven events before closing the season with a solid T29 at THE NORTHERN TRUST. He's lost strokes with the putter just three times (in measured events) over the past year, and a decent return on a Top 20 Finish (+500) is enticing this week.