Valero Texas Open Picks and Head to Head Matchups
When: April 4-7, 2019
Where: AT&T Oaks at TPC San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
TV: The Golf Channel/NBC
After a wild week at the Match Play, most golfers and golf fans are looking ahead to The Masters. While the year’s first Major is an all-encompassing draw, the PGA does need to make one more stop in Texas before heading down Magnolia Lane. The Valero Texas Open will offer one more chance for someone to sneak into the Augusta field and the event itself should get a little more respect than it does considering its roots stretch back nearly 100 years on Tour. Many pros are already doing their own Masters prep and the Valero field has been somewhat lacking in star power over the years. That is somewhat true again this season but Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth bring some name brand appeal to this event. As a result of the field strength, this stop has a reputation of being wide open and often produces first time winners as was the case in 2018 when Andrew Landry got the W.
The Oaks course at TPC San Antonio is a relative newcomer on Tour but the Greg Norman design has quickly established a championship presence. The 7,435 yard, par-72 layout winds through natural stands of oak for a look that is quite a bit different than the typical wide-open Texas venue. Straight drives will be a key this week and those that can add length off the tee will be able to earn a few more birdie looks by shrinking the course. The par-5 final hole stretches out to nearly 600 yards but is still a birdie hole for both long and short hitters with a risk/reward choice to be made for those looking to attack the green. Look for the scoring pace to be rather quick this week with Landry winning at 17-under and runner-up Trey Mullinax setting the course record of 62 during the third round last season. Even though there will be plenty of players going low, don’t be surprised to see some struggle as The Oaks has very little patience for those that are mis-hitting it off the tee.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the best values on the board.We make a short, middle and long odds pick to win and breakdown a couple of head-to-head matches that you can find at just about any golf betting outlet. Odds and pairings courtesy of the board at Bovada. Here are our picks to win the 2019 Valero Texas Open.
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Tony Finau (16 to 1 odds to win)
With TPC San Antonio checking in at nearly 7,500 yards, it will be nice to have Finau’s tee ball length in your corner. He enters the week 12th in driving distance and hit a good amount of fairways for a bomber, netting the 13th best off-the-tee performance rank. He is probably the best power player in this field and he showed he can use that to his advantage while finishing 3rd here in 2017. Finau failed to get out of the group stage at the Dell but that only serves to give him an extra day of rest and prep for the Valero. Tony is 48th in strokes gained putting, 41st in GIR putting and 42nd in overall putting average to hammer home just how good he has been on the greens. Top-15 marks in both birdies and scoring are also due to that good work with the putter and that is a handy skill with a shootout likely.
Graeme McDowell (40 to 1)
While Kevin Kisner was busy taking down the Match Play crown, McDowell was winning in Punta Cana. Graeme took down the second-tier event by shooting back-to-back rounds of 64 on Friday and Saturday and there will be plenty of momentum for him coming off the win, even though it was not against a top field. That win marks his only top-10 finish of the year but McDowell has been playing relatively well with just one missed cut in ten starts. He remains one of the best off the tee in terms of accuracy with the 31st best fairways hit mark. The putter has been very strong, ranking 15th in strokes gained on the field and stands as the Tour-best when you consolidate it all into the total putting stat. Graeme is the kind of well traveled vet that knows how to limit his mistakes and his scoring average is not surprisingly better than his raw birdie rate. He is still a top-50 scrambler so he can keep pace even when he is a little off with the approaches. It is tough to win in back-to-back weeks on Tour but the modest field strength is a big plus for McDowell to stay hot and have it mean another run at the top.
Jimmy Walker (55 to 1)
After an impressive second act to his career that saw multiple wins on Tour, Walker has slid back to 103rd in the World Rank. That spotty play over the last few years puts him firmly in the longshot category but he has managed to maintain solid results at the Valero. After winning the 2015 Texas Open, Walker added a T13 in 2017 and was solo-4th last year. He can still bang it out there off the tee, averaging 297 yards per drive and he uses that length to attack the par-5’s in particular. Walker is 35th on Tour in scoring when attempting to hit those five-pars in two and that is going to be a big part of the winner’s profile this week. Walker will get plenty of crowd love as a Baylor alum and he has the knack of coming back from bad shots, ranking 38th in the bounce back category. He likes the course for sure and the middle-strength field eliminates the need to beat all of the top dogs.
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Picks to win based on predicted score after all four rounds. Check with your favorite online betting site for single round matches and a variety of prop bets.
Charley Hoffman (-115) v. Ryan Moore (-115) (pick to win: Moore)
Hoffman has had a nice career at TPC San Antonio with the 2016 Valero win as part of his record but he has managed just T40 and T64 finishes here since. Charley has made just five cuts in eleven starts this season with no top-10 finishes so it appears that he is in full slump-mode. Moore hasn’t been tremendous at any point this season but did run T2 at the Safeway in the fall and put together a top-20 against a strong field at the Players most recently. Moore ranks over 100 spots better than Hoffman in fairways hit with big advantages in greens hit, putting and scoring. Hoffman has really struggled around the greens, ranking 209th in scrambling and that is just poison to a players ability to put together a good round or make a cut. Moore has the more stable trend right now, especially in limiting mistakes and I think he grinds out a nice T30 finish while Hoffman is no safe bet to see the weekend.
Jordan Spieth (-105) v. Matt Kuchar (-125) (pick to win: Kuchar)
The golf demons are still holding Spieth down at the moment and it is hard to think he’s going to bust out and beat Kuchar who has won twice this season, nearly won last week and hasn’t missed a cut at TPC San Antonio. Spieth has commented that he feels good about his putting in advance of the Masters but the rest of the game is not in championship shape. Jordan enters the week 213th in fairways, 158th in greens hit and 188th in overall tee-to-green performance. That is especially bad for a player with his career record and he is paired against one of the steadiest players in this field that also happens to be near the top of his game. Kuchar is 6th in fairways, leads the Tour in greens hit and putts well enough to net the 13th best scoring average. Spieth is still making enough birdies to be relevant but for now, his mistakes are gutting his chances to put together good rounds and good tournaments. It is more than OK to pick on struggling players in these head-to-heads and there is no real reason to overthink a Kuchar pick here.
Good luck and good golf!