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Sep 08, 2020

Safeway Open Picks and Predictions

Weekly PGA
Picks & Predictions

There is no rest for the wicked, as the PGA Tour goes with the Tour Championship one week, and then turns around the very next week and begins their modified 2020-2021 season. That will be a unique season in itself, because should they host the Masters and US Open again in the spring/summer, we'd have a season where two Major titles would be won at each event.

Can you imagine winning the Masters twice in the same season?

That's neither here nor there though, as all the big names take this week off before the US Open hits the board next week. This week's “season opener” couldn't start with less of a bang then being sandwiched between the Tour Championship and a Major championship. Then add in that the most recent start was a win on the Champions Tour for one of the co-favorites for this Safeway Open (Phil Mickelson +2200) and that tells you all you need to know about the strength of the field and overall excitement for the event.

But after connecting with Xander Schauffele +1100 last week for the Tour Championship (no starting strokes), I'm looking to keep the golf muscles sharp. So let's try to find some gems out there in this wide open field.

PGA Tour Betting Resources
2020 Safeway Open

Before we get to the field, we've got to talk about the course, which is one that should really bring little concern with it. Length is an advantage, but anyone can have comfortable clubs with their approach shots and that's more vital in the end. A couple of bombers in Cameron Champ and Kevin Tway are the recent winners here, but they also had names like Adam Hadwin and Brandt Snedeker chasing them and finishing just short. Those two guys are all about the approach and short game.

That's really no different than most weeks, but there is much more variance in that regard given the nature of the field, and finding the guys who end up on a heater has a much higher reward because of it. The three co-favorites – Mickelson, Si Woo Kim, and Brendan Steele – had a best finish of 49th between the three of them last year.

Recent winners don't exactly come out of nowhere for this event either though, with each of the past six winners all closing at 125/1 or better odds. Four of the six being 55/1 or better as well.

That's still a big list of names to work through though, even with the favorites clocking in at 22/1.

  • Tour: PGA
  • Date: Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020 to Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020
  • Venue: Silverado Country Club
  • Location: Napa, California
  • Par-Yardage: 72, 7,203 yards
  • TV: Golf Channel
  • Vegas Expert Picks
  • Betting Odds

Behind those three names at the top comes players such as Joel Dahmen (+2800), Sergio Garcia (+2800), Jordan Spieth (+3000) and Harold Varner (+3000). There are pros and cons with all of these guys but even in this field I'm not sure the win equity is there for a couple of them.

At least one of them will likely have a strong run at this title come Sunday though, but my field starts beyond them.

Safeway Open
Betting Odds

  • Si-Woo Kim: +1600
  • Brendan Steele: +2000
  • Phil Mickelson: +2000
  • Shane Lowry: +2200
  • Joel Dahmen: +2700
  • Jordan Spieth: +2700
  • Sergio Garcia: +2700
  • Emiliano Grillo: +2900
  • Harold Varner: +2900
  • More Golfers
  • (Odds Subject to Change)

Golfers to Watch - Safeway Open
Top Picks and Predictions

Contender to Back
Safeway Open

Brandt Snedeker +4500

Snedeker went full bore at making the Fed Ex Cup playoffs over the past month, playing the final three weeks to get in, but he missed the cut up in Boston and that was that. Could have been fatigue, could have been poor play, but either way, you've got to think two weeks off to step away from things was welcomed.

Snedeker also returns to a course where he was runner-up (in a playoff) back in 2018, and has not finished worse than 17th in three starts here since 2015. And while length is generally an advantage, it's not nearly the advantage it is here that it is elsewhere, which does work in Snedeker's favor. His MC in Boston in the playoffs came thanks to an ice cold putter, and that's not a common occurrence for this guy.

Snedeker likes the track, is a guy that loves to post quality finishes in these lesser field events, and is priced in a range that's good enough to take, and a frequent enough hitter for winners of the Safeway Open.

Mid-Range Value
Safeway Open

Tyler Duncan +5500

Duncan's playoff journey ended after the week in Chicago that was absolutely brutal for most of the field. Duncan's weakness that week was his play around the greens, but with the rough, wind, and glassy greens that course had, everyone struggled with some part of their game that week. A week off is generally more than this guy wants though, as he only has now taken three weeks off since the restart.

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Statistically he's always struggled with things around the green, but that isn't the biggest concern for guys at this course. Duncan is another guy whose name is much more in play when length is not a requirement, as he's a fairways (6th in accuracy) and greens (67.5%) type of guy and hopes the putter gets hot.

With a 5th place finish at this course back in 2017, there is a precedent for Duncan's putter finding the right navigation this week. And with Duncan clearly anxious to get right back at it after finishing 40th and missing out on the Tour Championship by just those 10 spots, I'll take that as a positive this week in looking at his chances.

All you can ask for is fairways and greens with him, but he's among the better ones to do it in this field in my view. I'll take my chances with everything else.

Long Shot Pick
Safeway Open

Kyle Stanley +7000

Sits in 5th in driving accuracy percentage (71.29%) and 2nd in GIR % (72.54), which is about as good as it gets when you've got the wide open field that we do this week. The problem is Stanley can't putt, so even with him hitting all these fairways, and all these greens, even eight-footers should be expected to be two putt pars at best.

When you can't putt to begin with, catching lightning in a bottle with that club for four days is tougher, but Stanley's got all the right tools around that flatstick to do his best to make it happen. A missed cut at this tournament last year – his first start here since a 22nd in 2016 – isn't anything to be too concerned about either, he just likely had a sub-par putting week, which for most everyone else is an awful putting week.

It happens with Stanley, but you don't have two career wins and nine career Top-3 finishes in your career without running into a hot putter every once in awhile. Hopefully that's this week for Stanley.

Props & Matchups - Safeway Open

72 Hole Matchup to Take: Emiliano Grillo (-120) over Chez Reavie

Speaking of guys who struggle with the putter, Grillo and Reavie are two of the worst guys on Tour on the green, and I'm actually laying the slight chalk with the worst of the bunch.

But Grillo started to find something in his approach game the final few weeks of the year, something that appeared to be lost during the stoppage. He's always going to lose strokes putting, but it's not been worse than 0.6 of a stroke over any of his last four starts. Grillo's also a past winner here (2015) so if there ever was a place he could like a fuse with the putter, why couldn't it be these greens.

Reavie is always going to be Mr Consistent in the long game, but his putting woes have never really shown stretches of prolonged improvement. He's got five straight starts of 33rd or better at this event, so it's not like he doesn't have upside here as well, I just believe Grillo's ceiling is higher both from the course, and current form perspectives.

Top 40 Finish: Fabian Gomez +175

Gomez has not missed a cut at this tournament the past five years, and while his finishes have gotten essentially worse with each passing year, this is a guy who's got his game sharp in the sense that he's one of the few in this entire field that played a week ago. Gomez finished 35th in the Korn Ferry event and now has a great opportunity at the Safeway Open to parlay this start into a quality finish and bigger and brighter starts down the line.

Yes, only two of those five finishes the past five years here have been inside the Top 40, but there is enough course history there for me to take a piece of Gomez to get inside the best 40 golfers this week.

How to Bet on Golf

Golf betting has gained much more exposure and interest in the past few years, and with plenty of plus-money prices littered throughout the various forms of golf wagers, the chance for bigger scores is part of the reason behind that increased popularity.

2020 Golf Betting Schedule

Sportsbooks ensure that there are no shortage of wagering options on golf tournaments every week, and it isn't all about picking the winner. Grabbing the outright winner of a golf tournament is the best way to get that 'big score' but it's also the hardest wager to cash. After all, a typical professional golf tournament has a field of 140+ different players to consider.

Understanding Golf Odds and Bets

Most golf odds are listed in the fractional format – 10/1 on Dustin Johnson for example – and in that particular case you would multiply the amount bet by that first number to project your winnings. So a $100 bet on DJ to win that particular event would win you $1000.

If you are more comfortable with the American version of odds listings that you typically see across the other major North American sports – ie +1000 – these numbers are easily convertible. Online and app based books may already have that option built in, but the easiest way to do it yourself is to add two zeros to the first number in the fraction. So a 10/1 price on DJ converts to +1000 in that format.


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