The Farmers Insurance Open Picks
Event: The Farmers Insurance Open
Date: January 24-27
Course: Torrey Pines (South and
North) - San Diego, CA
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
There are natural peaks and valleys over the course of what can seem like a nearly endless PGA Tour schedule. Of course, the Majors, the FedExCup Playoffs and special events like the Ryder Cup will always command the greatest attention but other events are notable, often for who is playing. Tour
fans have been looking forward to the 2019 debut of Tiger Woods and they have to wait no longer as Woods is part of the field this week at the Farmers Insurance Open. Still the biggest draw in the sports, Woods was last seen losing a made-for-TV match to Phil
Mickelson but his return to actual Tour competition is big news considering he won the season ending Tour Championship in his last start. Torrey Pines has been a common starting point for Woods through his career and he has done remarkably well here with seven
Farmers Open, formerly Buick Invitational, wins. A fast start this week will really crank up the hype machine for Tiger’s chances to win the Masters which is just over two months away. Jason Day returns to Torrey Pines to defend his 2018 crown against a very
strong field that includes Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.
Torrey Pines has been a fixture on Tour for decades and the courses are famous for the beauty of the coastal views and their ability to produce entertaining golf. Players will log one round at the North and the South before the cut is made with all weekend play coming at the South Course. Both play
at par-72 with the South reaching out to 7,700 yards while the North caps out just over 7,250 yards. After some very soft conditions to start the PGA Tour schedule, Torrey provides a more demanding challenge and scores will trend much lower than what we have
seen in Hawaii and the other early stops. Winning totals in the high single digits to mid-teens under par are common here and both courses can play very difficult if the winds should kick up. The forecast is for cooler temps but the winds are supposed low
so the scoring trend could pick up but players are going to have to earn it with solid tee-to-green games.
Each week, we take a look at the sportsbooks and highlight the best values on the board. We make a short, middle and long odds pick to win and breakdown a couple of the most popular head-to-head matches that can be found at any online betting outlet. Here are our picks to win the 2019 Farmers Insurance
Tony Finau (18 to 1 to win)
Finau will be making his first start of 2019 after an extremely hot finish to last season. Tony was no worse
than 15th in any playoff event, including three top-8 finishes and was the runner-up at the HSBC event in October. His Torrey record is excellent with T4 and T6 finishes in his last two Farmers starts and the fantasy world likes him as well with DraftKings
listing Tony as the highest salary player in their contests this week. The fantasy-to-betting lines aren’t exactly straight but it is notable that the algorithms that produce those DFS contests think Finau is the top player this week but he is not nearly the
betting favorite. The stat sheet has been amazing for Tony as he ranks as the longest player on Tour and has top-10 marks in birdies and scoring. He is also a top-15 scrambler, which is a nice way to round things out for a player with all that power. The winner
this week will have to beat most of the top-25 in the world but Finau has fared well in big events and a win here is not beyond his talents.
Rickie Fowler (25 to 1)
While Finau is a common name across betting and fantasy lists for this week, Rickie Fowler is not. That isn’t
all that surprising considering his Torrey record is less than good but his value is an outlier here, especially for him. It is much more common to see Rickie in the 15 or 18 to 1 range so these odds are about as good as it gets if you want to bet Fowler at
a regular Tour stop. He hasn’t played much since the end of the 2018 season but he did have a T4 at the Shriners and a T16 in Mexico to show that he isn’t far off from top form. Fowler is solid all-around and should be able to produce at both courses with
the 21st ranked tee-to-green game and the 14th best scrambling stat. He finished last year at 11th in total strokes gained over the field and 8th in scoring average. He has the shots in his bag to win anywhere and is also a bit overdue with his last win coming
in February of 2017.
Brandt Snedeker (40 to 1)
Torrey Pines has been a bit of an oddity in that just about every style of player has won here. Bombers like
Tiger, Bubba Watson and Jon Rahm have won as well as control players like Ben Crane and Snedeker, who has two wins here, the last coming in 2016. Brandt also has three more runner-up finishes at Torrey to make for the best event record this side of Tiger’s
seven wins. He hasn’t missed a cut this season and was T2 at The Safeway with a T16 at the Sony most recently. You can lean on his record but an 11th ranked putter is also on his side and the greens at Torrey South are notorious for requiring a lot of experience
to solve. Snedeker has the volume of experience and also the quality experience with those five winning or contending runs. He is a control player first but also has some pop in that driver with a near-300 yard average so he can still attack the par-5 holes.
Picks to win based on predicted score for all four rounds. Check with your favorite online betting site for
single round matches and a variety of prop bets.
(pick to win: Day)
You have not been able to make a lot of money betting against Justin Rose in the last year or even two so this
pick in favor of Day is probably calling for an upset even with Jason as the defending champ. Rose has a boring stat sheet in that everything is top-30 and that no-weakness game produced the 2nd best birdie and scoring average last season. Day wasn’t far behind
with the 9th and 11th best ranks in those categories and he does have a key advantage this week. Day is the better putter, in fact he is near the best on Tour in terms of strokes gained and that helps him close the gap on just about everyone, including someone
like Rose who is the better ballstriker. The Torrey courses have greens that frustrate and going on a cold run with the putter has happened to the best here. I think Day’s T13 at the TOC was good enough to assume he is near the top of his game and he proved
last season that his best is good enough to beat all comers.
Rory McIlroy v. Tiger Woods
(pick to win: Woods)
The marquee matchup of this week, at least in terms of name power, appears close on paper but I don’t think
it is a close as most would predict. Most remember Woods finally returning to the winner’s circle at the Tour Championship but he also had four other top-6 finishes from July to the end of 2018, including two near misses in Majors. Rory wasn’t too far off
that level of performance but it more meaningful that Woods re-attained that and did so in high-level events. Tiger has now had a run of health that he hasn’t in probably a decade and has had the appropriate time to work on his driver especially, plus any
other fine-tuning his game needed. McIlroy is making his first Torrey start and that lack of familiarity will be tough to overcome, especially against a player with vast experience here. Rory remains of the better pure ballstikers on Tour but Tiger finished
2018 as the better putter and had better numbers around the green. Woods can leverage his complete Torrey knowledge base this week and that is going to make him tough to beat with the assumption he anywhere near his winning form from last season.
Good luck and good golf!
Editor’s Note: Delayed at source. We posted it because we believe it still has some value for in-game bettors.