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Handicapping

2017 Valero Texas Open Picks

Valero Texas Open Preview and Picks to Win the Tournament
When: April 20-23, 2017
Where: TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course) Ė San Antonio, TX
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergeen, Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com

I am writing this preview fully in the midst of an Easter-related ham hangover. A ham-over if you will, so please excuse any needless rambling that follows. The PGA Tour competition is heating up right alongside the weather and this week marks the annual trip to San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open. The Texas Open has been part of the PGA calendar since 1922, making it one of longest tenured stops on Tour but the host Oaks Course has only been around since 2010 so there is still a fresh vibe about this historic event. A large chunk of the EPGA pros headed home after Augusta and there are several who will tee it up at the Shenzen International this week so the Texas Open is dominated by U.S. born talent. Matt Kuchar, Jimmy Walker and Brooks Koepka are among the favorites to win, as is San Antonio-raised Patrick Reed who came up one stroke short of a title here last year. Luke Donald, a 33 to 1 bet to win this week, is fresh off another runner-up finish at Harbour Town and could be the biggest threat to win from the international draw.

The Oaks at TPC San Antonio is a tough track as intended by designer Greg Norman. Sergio Garcia also chipped in with some consulting on the 7,435 yard, par-72 course so there is a nice marriage of new-era design and traditional Texas golf here. The course demands accurate tee shots to narrow landing areas and wayward approaches are gobbled up by well-placed and troublesome bunkers. Missed greens leave players with tough up-and-down chances which makes for a relatively moderate scoring pace. The winning score here has been between 8 and 14-under par since moving to the Oaks and it is especially difficult to card four under-par rounds, much less four consecutive in the sixties. The scoring booms and busts with each individual player on a day-to-day basis so donít fret if your guy is five or six back as there is always a chance to card that single low round and vault up the leaderboard. Players that can make the weekend can turn it on and get a win from pretty far back in the field so expect a race come Sunday afternoon. Six of the seven Texas Opens since 2010 have been decided by one or two strokes.

Each week, we take a look at Bovada Sportsbook (50% bonus up to $250 FREE and your credit card will work there!) and highlight the best bets. We make some picks to win and breakdown a couple of the head-to-head matchups most commonly floating around the golf betting outlets. Here are our picks to win the 2017 Valero Texas Open.

Ryan Moore (20 to 1 odds to win)
Moore is a bit of gut pick given his relative lack of experience here. He has only played in one Texas Open since the event moved to the Oaks but he managed a T8 in that appearance so there is at least a little evidence that he can handle the course. Ryan has missed just one cut in eleven starts this season and is coming off a week of rest after a top-10 at Augusta. He is among the best in this field at finding the fairway, ranking 21st†on Tour overall and he is also 21stin strokes gained on approach. That is a blend of several metrics the PGA tracks but the bottom line is that he is significantly better with the second shot than most on Tour. He is good with the putter and nets a top-50 scoring average despite not being a true standout in any one skill category. I think he is one of the better grinders on Tour and this is an event that will reward consistency and persistence.

Billy Horschel (33 to 1)
Overall, Billy has had a solid campaign in 2017 but he is still looking for that first win. He came close with a T4 at the Honda and a T2 at the RSM Classic and the only thing he really has to blame for the somewhat modest results is his somewhat modest putting performance. Horschel is 195th†in putting average on greens hit in regulation which means he isnít necessarily a bad putter overall but he certainly isnít seeing a lot of birdies drop either. His 173rd†ranked birdie average is well behind average but he does milk a top-50 scoring average out of that so his ability to save strokes is a big help. I think the putter has a chance to respond this week as Horschel is riding a two year streak at The Oaks where he has finished in the top-4 both times. He is 11th†on Tour in greens hit and can possibly leverage his comfort with these greens into a win.

Chris Kirk (75 to 1)
Kirk has been scuffling a bit of late with three missed cuts and T65 in his last four starts. That isnít the kind of trend you want to be on but the upside of that is plenty of rest and Chris has tweeted that he has been working on his game with that downtime. Despite the rocky last month or so, Kirk still ranks 13th†in birdie average and brings a tidy approach game that ranks 25th†in proximity of approach. He is 27th†in putting average relative to the field and 4th†in overall putting average so he is cashing in on his chances and saving a few strokes here and there as well. He has been 13th†and 8th†here in the last two years so he is another that should rebound with a strong performance at a seemingly favored course.

Head-to-Head Matches
Picks to win based on predicted score after all four rounds. Check with your 5Dimes Sportsbook for the best array of single round matches and a the best variety of prop bets.

Matt Kuchar v. Brooks Koepka (pick to win: Kuchar)
TPC San Antonio isnít at the very top of courses where accuracy is the absolute must but it trends in that direction more than most and that gives Kuchar the advantage in this pairing. Kuch is significantly ahead in fairways and greens hit, along with better overall tee-to-green and approach metrics. Matt is the better scorer despite Koepka having the better birdie average and that is just another way of saying Brooks has more bust potential this week. With a medium scoring pace a likelihood, you want to stick with the higher floor guys rather than the higher ceiling player.

Keegan Bradley v. Kevin Na (pick to win: Bradley)
I think Kevin Naís career is one of the best to read up on if you have any kind of performance anxiety or stress issues. Na was nearly unable to swing a club just a few years ago as his mental game eroded so badly that it caused what amounted to a figurative paralysis on the course. It was at this event that Na carded a 16 on one hole as he battled his swing and the difficulty of the natural landscape. I give the guy immense credit in getting back to relevancy on Tour but I think this is not the week to back him. Maybe he is completely over his blow-up here but I donít like anyone returning to the site of an epic train wreck. Bradley is the lesser putter of the two but has the advantage in nearly every other category including fairways, greens, birdies and scoring. Na winning here would make a remarkable story considering his history but you canít make a statistical argument that he will beat Bradley so backing Keegan is the better bet. Another great place to bet on golf and take advantage of more free cash (50% bonus) is MyBookie. Free loot is good loot!

2017 Valero Texas Open Betting Odds to Win

Matt Kuchar 15/1
Brooks Koepka 20/1
Charley Hoffman 20/1
Adam Hadwin 25/1
Branden Grace 25/1
Brendan Steele 25/1
Jimmy Walker 25/1
Ryan Moore 25/1
Billy Horschel 30/1
Kevin Chappell 30/1
Luke Donald 30/1
Patrick Reed 30/1
Kevin Na 40/1
Ollie Schniederjans 40/1
Ryan Palmer 40/1
Tony Finau 40/1
Zach Johnson 40/1
Byeong Hun An 50/1
J.J. Spaun 50/1
Keegan Bradley 50/1
Luke List 50/1
Soren Kjeldsen 55/1
Anirban Lahiri 60/1
Chris Kirk 60/1
Daniel Summerhays 60/1
Graeme McDowell 60/1
Ian Poulter 60/1
Jhonattan Vegas 60/1
Martin Laird 60/1
Sung Kang 65/1
Harold Varner III 75/1
Bryson Dechambeau 80/1
Bud Cauley 80/1
Jamie Lovemark 80/1
Jason Kokrak 80/1
Nick Watney 80/1
Danny Lee 85/1
Aaron Baddeley 100/1
Cameron Smith 100/1
J.T. Poston 100/1
Kevin Streelman 100/1
Sam Saunders 100/1
Scott Piercy 100/1
Stewart Cink 100/1
Chad Campbell 125/1
David Hearn 125/1
Nick Taylor 125/1
Zac Blair 125/1
Brandon Hagy 140/1
Andrew Johnston 150/1
Billy Hurley III 150/1
C.T. Pan 150/1
Cameron Tringale 150/1
Curtis Luck 150/1
D.A. Points 150/1
Jim Herman 150/1
Matt Jones 150/1
Michael Kim 150/1
Scott Stallings 150/1
Blayne Barber 175/1
Brian Stuard 175/1
Bryce Molder 175/1
Cameron Percy 175/1
John Huh 175/1
John Peterson 175/1
Michael Thompson 175/1
Robert Garrigus 175/1
Tim Wilkinson 175/1
Andres Gonzales 200/1
Brian Gay 200/1
Chris Stroud 200/1
Dominic Bozzelli 200/1
Mackenzie Hughes 200/1
Martin Flores 200/1
Morgan Hoffmann 200/1
Retief Goosen 200/1
Robert Streb 200/1
Ryan Blaum 200/1
Seamus Power 200/1
Seung-Yul Noh 200/1
Trey Mullinax 200/1
Whee Kim 200/1
Will MacKenzie 200/1
Beau Hossler 225/1
Kyle Reifers 225/1
Si Woo Kim 225/1
Alex Cejka 250/1
Camilo Villegas 250/1
Cody Gribble 250/1
Geoff Ogilvy 250/1
J.J. Henry 250/1
Johnson Wagner 250/1
Julian Etulain 250/1
Ricky Barnes 250/1
Rory Sabbatini 250/1
Ryo Ishikawa 250/1
Tom Hoge 250/1
Tyler Aldridge 250/1
Tyrone Van Aswegen 250/1
Ben Crane 275/1
Jonathan Randolph 275/1
Troy Merritt 275/1
Andrew Loupe 300/1
Angel Cabrera 300/1
Brad Fritsch 300/1
Brian Campbell 300/1
Chad Collins 300/1
Hunter Mahan 300/1
Jason Bohn 300/1
John Senden 300/1
K.J. Choi 300/1
Peter Malnati 300/1
Richy Werenski 300/1
Roberto Castro 300/1
Shawn Stefani 300/1
Smylie Kaufman 300/1
Spencer Levin 300/1
Steve Wheatcroft 300/1
Xander Schauffele 300/1
Bobby Wyatt 350/1
Freddie Jacobson 350/1
Greg Owen 350/1
Jordan Niebrugge 350/1
Mark Anderson 350/1
Robby Shelton 350/1
Ryan Armour 350/1
Ryan Brehm 350/1
Bob Estes 400/1
Carl Pettersson 400/1
Gonzalo Fdez-castano 400/1
Greg Chalmers 400/1
Justin Leonard 400/1
Nicholas Lindheim 400/1
Steve Marino 400/1
Tag Ridings 400/1
Brett Stegmaier 500/1
Joel Dahmen 500/1
Kelly Kraft 500/1
Ken Duke 500/1
Kevin Tway 500/1
Matt Every 500/1
Max Homa 500/1
Miguel Angel Carballo 500/1
Steven Bowditch 500/1
Zack Sucher 500/1
Ben Curtis 750/1
Brett Drewitt 750/1
Casey Russell 750/1
Rick Lamb 750/1
Sebastian Munoz 750/1
Steven Alker 750/1

Good luck and good golf.

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