Northern Trust Open Predictions to Win

Northern Trust Open Predictions to Win
Dates: February 19-22
Course: Riviera CC - Pacific Palisades, CA
TV: CBS/The Golf Channel
by Evergreen, Golf Betting Analyst, Predictem.com

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If your current view out the window includes several feet of fresh snow and you cant bring yourself to watch anything on TV that is set in good weather, I understand. At many times during the winter, golf taunts the snowbound fans with pristine images that will not come to certain latitudes for many months. Despite our collective chagrin, the Northern Trust Open is on tap for the PGA pros and we all have another opportunity to at least see what green grass looks like.
Bubba Watson returns to Riviera Country Club to defend his Northern Trust title against a very capable field. Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia and last weeks winner Brandt Snedeker are just a few that will tee it up this week. The season is still early by most measures but the fields are filling with more and more top notch players as the march to the Masters is getting underway.

Riviera CC has deep roots with the PGA Tour, dating back to the days of the L.A. Open. The course itself provides a stiff test as it meanders through 7,300 yards and the winner this week will need a full slate of skills at his disposal. Many different types of player have won here but all that managed to hoist the trophy had tremendous ballstriking weeks. Long players like Watson and Phil Mickelson have solved Riviera but control players like Steve Stricker and Mike Weir have also won. Going back in tournament history, we even see Corey Pavin as a tournament champion so there really is no prototype to win here. Riviera demands accuracy into the greens as two-tiered putting surfaces lend birdies to only the best approaches. A strong recovery game and clutch putting week will also be in order for the eventual winner. You can score here as Watson proved during his 64/64 winning weekend last year but the field will likely average over-par for the week and par is a good score here on most holes.

Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the players that we think are good bets to win. We make a few straight-up picks and breakdown a couple of head to head matches that can be found at just about any golf sportsbook. Our two week win streak was snapped last time out but we are still in good shape overall after +40 and +14 hits recently. Here are our picks to win the Northern Trust Open.

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Bubba Watson (11 to 1 odds to win)
Picking the defending champion lacks imagination on some levels and winning in back to back years is a longshot in and of itself but Watson demands attention after three top-10s in three 2015 starts. If Bubba is on his game, there are few who would be better suited to score at Riviera. There are just the three par-5s so his length will come in handy one the easiest holes and his talent at carving the ball around the course will also pay off through the week. He is hitting nearly 68% of his fairways in 2015 competition, which is a good bit more accurate than he has been and he clocks in at number 1 in total driving. Add in 5.25 birdies per round in the early going along with top-13 marks in ballstriking and the all-around category and you see why he is a deserving favorite.

Nick Watney (28 to 1)
This is our third week in a row picking Mr. Watney so I will keep my analysis pretty short other than to say his T7 and T2 outings instill the confidence to keep betting on him. Nick has scored well with his tee-to-green game but also putted well so it might just be a bounce or two that sees him put it all together and win. Watney is 12thin total driving and 15thin ballstriking entering the week and Riviera will chew up those players that do not have solid overall games so good ballstrikers will have an advantage.

Robert Streb (66 to 1)
There are a lot of players just getting into the swing of things still but Streb is making his ninth start of this Tour season and has made the cut in all of those events. He won at the McGladreyss and leads the Tour with five top-10 finishes so far. When looking for solid overall players, it is hard to ignore the #2 all around player. Streb earns that all around rank with top-20 stats in total driving, ballstriking, strokes gained-putting and posts top-10s in birdies and scoring. I think this is one of the best value bets in the field, one with a chance to bring a big value return if Robert can get it rolling all four days.

Francesco Molinari (80 to 1)
Ive talked about Franky before during this early season and he has had a bit of success with three cuts made and a T10 at the Humana. After making just 12 starts in the U.S. last year, Molinari is already teeing it up for the fourth time with this start. He seems committed to sharpening his American golf chops but he still has all that globetrotting experience built into his game. The big positives for this week are his 22ndrank in total driving, 2ndin fairways and 9thin ballstriking. He is a longshot based on his zero PGA Tour wins but he has won five times in Europe and routinely does well in WGC events. I think the stability of staying stateside for longer periods will pay off, history has proved that for many other Euro Tour stars.

Head to Head Matches
Picks to win based on final score after all four rounds. Check with your favorite online betting site for single round matches and a variety of prop bets.

Dustin Johnson v. Jordan Spieth (pick to win: Johnson)
It is easy to forget how well DJ was playing last year as his off-course issues dominated much of the latter part of his season. He played so well, in fact, that he remained qualified for the Playoff events despite not playing for nearly the entire back half of the schedule. He has apparently straightened out his personal life and could easily see a boost to his career if his demons were holding back his talent at all. DJ missed the cut at the Farmers but shook off that rust and finished T4 at the AT&T. Spieth is certainly a talented player and a very underrated scrambler and putter but Johnson has the better Riviera record and is the better ballstriker on a ballstrikers course. Spieth is a tough man to bet against given his moxie but this isnt his best venue on paper.

Bill Haas v. Sergio Garcia (pick to win: Garcia)
Haas is a former champion at Riviera so he can easily be considered among the best head to head options outside of the bigger names but he loses a couple of key categories to Garcia. Sergio is making his first U.S. start in 2015 but remains the number 7 player in the world and finished last year ranked second in scoring and second in scrambling. Given that Garcia played most of his stat-relevant rounds in Majors or WGC events, it is impressive that he has as many top-tier stat ranks. Some players take advantage of easier tracks but Sergio plays at the Tours toughest almost exclusively. Even with that, he has the edge over Haas in ballstriking, birdies and scoring while also being the longer hitter. Garcia has dramatically improved his putting over that last couple of years and that makes him a very tough draw for any player in a head to head.

Good luck and good golf!