Shell Houston Open Predictions to Win
Date: April 2-5, 2015
Course: Golf Club of Houston Humble, TX
TV: NBC/The Golf Channel
by Evergreen, Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com
Spring is a great time for a lot of things, including some really fantastic sporting events. We are hitting the crescendo of the NCAA Basketball Tournaments, MLB regular season baseball is quickly approaching and the Masters is just a week away. Before we head to Augusta however, the PGA Tour has one more stop. The Shell Houston Open is on tap this week and the tournament is a bit unique as there are players that are looking to warm up and others that are using this week as a Hail Mary to qualify for the Masters. Fourteen of the top-30 in the world are in attendance at The Golf Club of Houston, including Texas natives Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed. Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose and several other top players highlight this very talented and hungry field.
The week before a Major isnt always the best spot on the schedule but GC of Houston has done such a good job of approximating the challenges and feel of the Masters that many players view this event as excellent prep for Augusta National. The event has been pre-Masters since 2007 and the 7,441 yard, par-72 layout features the same shaved banks, greenside collection area and lighting fast greens that they will see next week. GC of Houston has plenty of challenge but also plenty of opportunities to score and the winning total since the 2005 course remodel has been in the teens under-par. I would expect another moderate to fast scoring pace as players will be focused and looking to make the most out of their last few go-a-rounds.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight a few players that we think have the best chance to win it all. We make some picks to win and breakdown a couple of head to head matches that you can find at any online sportsbook. Here are our picks to win the 2015 Shell Houston Open.
Patrick Reed (14 to 1 odds to win)
It has been a fine start to the year for Reed with a TOC win and playoff runner up at the Valspar already on the record. The San Antonio born Reed will have plenty of local love going for him as he winds around GC Houston and his recovery game should be very useful. Reed leads the Tour in scrambling and is second in sand-saves so he should still be in good shape should he miss the greens and find the run-offs. He uses his putter in that recovery game but also nets the 15thbest birdie average with top-10s in total putting average and three-putt avoidance. Scoring here is more about what you do on and around the greens so Reed should be able to have an edge on the field given his ability to salvage pars where others would drop shots.
Ryan Moore (25 to 1 odds)
Ryan isnt a flashy Tour product but there are few better workers out there and after missing his first cut in October, Moore has made his last eight cuts with T9 and T5 finishes in his last two starts. That stretch also includes a win at the CIMB Classic and he hasnt finished worse than 28thin any event. Moore is a control player that hits a lot of fairways and is usually in the best position to attack the pin locations. The tee-to-green portion should be relatively easy this week and Ryan can get to work on the greens where he brings the 8th best putting average and a top-25 rank in 1-putt percentage. Moore would be in contention every week if he could only develop a little more powerful driver but this course wont overly penalize his relative lack of distance and Ryan has proved that the rest of his game is good enough to be among the best in a field like this.
Keegan Bradley (33 to 1 odds)
Predicting winners in golf is a tough task, even when you put in the research time so sometimes you just have to go with the un-scientific pick and Bradley fits that bill this week. I dont like throwing money away but finding a struggling player to bet on usually means he is attached to a good value given his previous successes or talents. Golf doesnt have injury reports and players are often tight-lipped about why they arent playing well but one can pretty easily infer that Bradley is dealing with his switch to a standard length putter. All of his putting stats are outside the top-100 entering the week and that is really the culprit as all of his other stats are plenty good enough to contend. So, at some point, Keegan will either get his putter in check or really suffer the Tour consequences. Im betting that a week on some very fast greens will actually simplify some things for him and he has proven he can hang here with four cuts made in four SHO stats.
Paul Casey (45 to 1)
It has been a boom or bust season for Casey as he has traded missed cuts with T3 and runner-up finishes. Casey is the 2009 Shell Houston Open champ and he has the goods the make another run this week. Paul is top-40 in both greens hit and driving distance and brings a top-15 putting average. Casey is top-25 in birdie and scoring average. His scrambling game is not a plus stat for him right now which might cause a problem at GC Houston but my guess is that he can get around well enough to not encounter too many tough up and downs. He obviously knows how to conquer the course and there are not really many better options in the longshot category this week so having a former champ on your betting ticket is a good bet in principle.
Head to Head Matches
Picks to win based on final score after all four rounds. Check out 5Dimes Sportsbook for single round matches and a variety of prop bets, all at the absolute best odds anywhere! Fastest payouts too!
Rickie Fowler v. Phil Mickelson (pick to win: Fowler)
Lost in all the talk of Tigers demise is the rather dramatic fall of Phil Mickelson. He is getting older, he has some medical issues that cant be helping his game but there hasnt been much made of his relatively poor play over a period of time that is now extending to nearly two full years. The linesmakers havent caught on either and Lefty is routinely trotted out there against the very best of the field each week and Phil just isnt playing well enough to warrant these pairings. Phil can still hit the ball a decent distance but the rest of his stat sheet is average at best and some of his traditional standout skills like scrambling have suffered the worst. Mickelson enters the week 111thin scrambling and is also outside the top-110 in putting average so bet with your head and not with your heart when it comes to Lefty, at least until the books wise up a bit and pair him with like competition.
Charley Hoffman v. Hunter Mahan (pick to win: Hoffman)
I will admit to being completely without an explanation as to why Mahans scoring average is so out of whack with the rest of his stat sheet but it just is. Hunter is 17thin ballstriking and 35thin strokes gained-putting but he manages just the 103rdbest birdie average with the 123rdranked scoring average. I would say that Hunter is in line for some serious statistical correction but Im not betting on him until I see it come to life. Hoffman is simply scoring better than Mahan right now and owns a bit of a distance advantage as well. Most of the ballstriking stats are fairly even for these players right now but Charley has the better mojo going right now, or maybe Mahan is just completely lacking it. Bet your Shell Houston Open picks at an online sportsbook where credit cards work for deposits and where you can cash in on a GIGANTIC 50% bonus up to $2000 in free cash: MyBookie!
Good luck and good golf!