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Handicapping

Phoenix Open Picks

The Waste Management Phoenix Open
Dates: February 2-5, 2017
Course:TPC Scottsdale Ė Phoenix, AZ
TV:The Golf Channel/CBS
by: Evergreen of Predictem.com

I know there is a relatively important football game going on this weekend but donít forget to set aside a few bucks to bet on golf this weekend and Iíll try to make it easy on you by giving you the right picks to put your money on. The Waste Management Phoenix Open is the next stop for the PGA pros and there are very few tournaments that are as popular as the Phoenix stop. The Masters and the other major championships get more attention and certainly more TV-ratings but more patrons set foot on site during this week than any other Tour event. It is not uncommon to see 250,000 fans on any individual day roaming around TPC Scottsdale with the stadium venue at No.16 serving as one of the very best single crowds in all of sports, not just golf. The vibrant crowds make this a favorite for many players as well and we will see a very strong field even though there is a high profile event in Dubai competing for top talent. Jordan Spieth highlights the attendees with defending champ Hideki Matsuyama among the favorites to win. Justin Thomas has two wins already in 2017 and looks to make it three with last weekís champ Jon Rahm also teeing it up. Phil Mickelson is a three time winner in Phoenix and most folks know about his sterling record in the desert. Americans have pretty much owned the podium with just three international players getting a win here since 1999. It should be a great field and great competition all week long.

The early portion of the PGA schedule is based in Hawaii and California so the switch to desert golf is a bit of a culture shock for the players. The stadium course is pretty straightforward but plays fast and the elevation leads to players shortening the course with big drives. The winning total has been 28-under par on three occasions since moving to Scottsdale but look for something more in the high teens under this week. Nearly anyone can get it going here if they are rolling it well on the greens but longer hitters do have an advantage, especially the longest players. The lack of trees and relative lack of big time trouble allows those that can carry the ball massive distances to cut across the winding layout and put themselves in position to approach nearly every hole with very short irons or wedges. There is plenty of water on this course despite the desert locale but those trouble spots are mostly avoidable and not much of an issue if a player is striking it well. Diversity is a good thing to have on most courses but you can get away with a more simple style here. Players will be allowed to hit their favorite shots on most holes which is another reason why scores tend to be pretty low each year.

Each week, we take a look at the golf betting sites and highlight the best bets. We make some picks to win the event outright and breakdown a couple of the most popular head-to-head matches that are floating around the golf betting sites. Here are our picks to win the 2017 Phoenix Open.

Bubba Watson (25 to 1 odds to win )

You could see me angling toward the bombers in the course overview and there arenít many better than Bubba. We was T14 here last year and has been no worse than 15th in his five previous Phoenix starts with a T5 and two T2ís thrown in there. He is not getting the high billing of Spieth and Matsuyama or even Thomas for that matter so his 25 to 1 is tremendous value. I like this ability to work the ball both ways so he can attack all pin locations and should be able to abuse the par-5ís all week. He played well in terms of tee-to-green performance last season but just putted like garbage to be honest. His 174th rank in overall putting average is a tough pill to swallow but a bit deeper look reveals that he finished middle-of-the-pack as far as three-putts go. It wasnít that he was blowing it ten-feet by the hole every time, but he just wasnít making anything and tap-in pars donít get wins out here. I expect he put in some work during the offseason and heading back to a familiar course gives the hope that he can turn around that flatstick to its former major-winning form.

Rickie Fowler (30 to 1)

The orange clad one was involved in a four hole playoff last year before hooking a ball into the water and all but gift wrapping the win for Matsuyama. He should have some motivation brewing to erase that finish and he should be stinging a bit after missing the cut last week. Fowler does have a T6 at the HSBC on the plus side of his record this season and he has always been a tough one to predict using recent results. He is less boom and bust rather simply unpredictable and while that makes betting on him a little stressful, he clearly has the ceiling to win going away should he be on his game. The best stats for this week are his 23rd rank for driving distance and 21st best scrambling rate. It is hard to go around all week without missing a few greens so having the ability to save pars is nearly as important as the amount of birdies a player can get. Rickie is quietly one of the best players from about 150 yards and in as well. He isnít at the level that Lefty got to with the wedges but it is a strong suit in his overall game and he should have plenty of changes from that range this week.

Tony Finau (40 to 1)

There are still a lot of players that are making their second or third start of the year and there are a lot of questions when the sample size is that low. Tony will be making his eighth start of the year however and that gives us a lot better handle on his game at this point. Signs are looking good too with T4, T20 and T9 finishes in the last three starts and six cuts made in seven appearances overall. He is 10th in driving distance and hitting nearly 75% of his greens in 2017 as a result. He is decent scrambler but his overall putting is ranked outside the top-175. He clearly needs that to improve to put together a legit run here but he has putted better over his last three starts and another improvement should bring even better results.

Head-to-Head Matches

Picks to win based on predicted score for all four rounds. Check with our favorite golf betting site - 5Dimes for single round matches and a variety of prop bets.

Jordan Spieth v. Hideki Matsuyama (pick to win: Matsuyama)

Spieth is great and very nearly unbeatable when he is at his best. He has made both of his cuts in 2017, finishing third in both events. So, why is our picking going the other direction? Basically it is because Matsuyama has edged ahead of Spieth in the world ranks and won the HSBC earlier this year. He has done so without the glowing fanfare that Jordan gets but it is real and Hideki even got the better of this match a couple of weeks ago at the TOC where he was a runner up. I saw Spieth listed as the heavy favorite at plenty of sites so there is a fair chance you can get Matsuyama at even money, which is fantastic considering he should be the on paper favorite. Hideki leads 2017 scoring and is longer than Spieth off the tee. It wonít be easy but I think Jordan loses by a stroke with both doing very well.

Harris English v. Zach Johnson (pick to win: English)

There is an unfinished business vibe going on for Harris after taking the 54-hole lead here last year before misfiring through most of the final round to miss the playoff. Johnson is the more accurate player in terms of both fairways and greens but English has the big distance advantage and putts better as well. That leads to more birdies for English but it is Johnson that scores a bit better due to a stronger scrambling skill set. I would take Johnson on many other courses but I want the better birdie practitioner this week and I will take my chances that English puts in another solid week like he did here last year.

Good luck and good golf!

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