This article is part of our Golf Picks series.
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Betting Preview
This week the PGA Tour heads to one of the most iconic venues in all of golf and one of the longest running Tour events for this week's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. 156 professionals will team with an amateur for the Pro-Am portion of the event and will rotate between Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course and Monterey Peninsula Country Club over the first three rounds, with those that make the 54-hole cut playing the final round at Pebble Beach. Tournament favorite Matt Fitzpatrick, at 11-1 odds, headlines a field in which he's the only top-10 player in the Official World Golf Ranking. Last year, Tom Hoge -- at 50-1 -- surged late to defeat Jordan Spieth by two shots for his first Tour victory.
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Pebble Beach - Par 72, 6,972 yards
Spyglass Hill - Par 72, 7,041 yards
Monterey - Par 71, 6,957 yards
Average Strokes Gained Rankings: Farmers Insurance Open Winners Since 2018
- SG: Off-the-Tee: 45.0
- SG: Approach: 14.0
- SG: Around-the-Green: 35.8
- SG: Putting: 21.6
- SG: Tee-to-Green: 9.6
- Driving Distance: 71.0
- Driving Accuracy: 54.0
With the three courses that are being played being some of the shortest on Tour, it's no surprise that driving play and especially driving distance haven't been a key factor in determining the winner. Iron play on the other hand certainly has, as three of the last four winners have finished no worse than sixth in Strokes Gained: Approach. Note that this data doesn't include Gary Woodland's victory in the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where he finished third in approach. With the winner typically approaching 20-under par, I'll be looking for birdie makers, golfers that putt it well on poa annua greens and those that excel with their irons, especially those from 150 yards on in.
The following five golfers averaged the most birdies per round in this event over the last five years.
- Troy Merritt: 4.7
- Jordan Spieth: 4.7
- Maverick McNealy: 4.5
- Kevin Streelman: 4.5
- Tom Hoge: 4.4
Merritt finds himself at the top of the list following a T4 finish here a year ago in which he posted 21 birdies and an eagle, and ranked second in SG: Approach. The short but accurate hitter off-the-tee is clearly a good course fit for the three-course rotation, as he's posted two career top-10s here and four consecutive top-25 results. Another golfer with a similar playing style that's found success here is Streelman, who missed the cut here last year for the first time since 2015, which followed a stretch of six straight top-20 finishes. Despite his success, he enters the tournament as a long shot at 110-1 to win as the Tour veteran has a best finish of T20 in nine starts this season. Nevertheless, his strong showings at the event over the years make him a solid low-cost DFS option.
Approach the Bench
These players, on a per-round basis, gained the most strokes on approach over their last 20 rounds.
- Tom Hoge: 1.54
- Nick Hardy: 1.15
- Russell Knox: 1.08
- Ben Martin: 0.74
- Robby Shelton: 0.69
The only golfer to appear on both lists is the defending champion Hoge, who leads the Tour in SG: Approach early this season. His only glaring weakness has been his around-the-green play, as he ranks a lowly 197th in the category and is getting up-and-down from the sand less than half of the time. Still, it's hard to argue with him as the sixth choice on the board at 22-1, and he'll be a popular pick in one-and-done contests. Also in good form with his irons is the second-year PGA Tour player Hardy, who has gained strokes on approach in every tournament this season. With most of his best results coming in weaker field events, this is a prime spot for him to work his way into contention over the weekend.
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Bets: Outright Picks
Keith Mitchell (35-1)
I'm going to go the route of fading the top seven choices on the board that are all 25-1 or less due to not seeing much value. Mitchell is due to break through with a win soon as he's one of the best drivers on Tour. He finished T12 here last year despite losing shots around the green and putting over two rounds at Pebble.
Denny McCarthy (35-1)
Speaking of players that are overdue to win, McCarthy is on my short list of players who haven't won that I expect to in 2023. Just like Mitchell, he was in the mix last year with a T12 finish, and he's historically putted well on poa greens.
Beau Hossler (60-1)
Hossler would certainly be a surprise winner, but we've seen some long shots win over the years. His short game is one of the best on Tour, and he's made three cuts in a row here including a solo third result last year. After going through a rough stretch to finish last season, Hossler has made 6-of-8 cuts with three top-25s thus far in 2022-23.
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Bets: Top-10 Wagers
David Lipsky (6-1)
Coming off a top-10 with Bradley last week, I'll look towards Lipksy who is trending in the right direction with a top-5 finish in Hawaii and three top-25s over his last five starts. He played well in his debut here last year with a T24 result and his strengths of driving accuracy and iron play should translate into having a good showing.
Erik van Rooyen (8-1)
Van Rooyen is being undervalued by the oddsmakers and is one of my favorite dark horse options this week. He was playing like a top-50 player until a neck injury derailed the latter part of 2022, but he's back in form after a T6 at The American Express two weeks ago. He has also historically played well on shorter courses.
Mark Hubbard (11-1)
Hubbard is likely a boom-or-bust pick as he's missed five cuts in a row, but with that comes value. He was bothered by a toe injury this fall and prior to his struggles, he posted four top-15s in an eight-event stretch. His only weakness is his lack of distance, which shouldn't be much of a detriment here.
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Bets: Head-to-Head Matchups
Andrew Putnam (-120) over Justin Rose
Putnam has quietly played solid golf since the end of the summer, making 13 cuts in a row which makes him an excellent target for a head-to-head wager. He's turned three of those starts into top-5 finishes and is coming off a T6 result here last year. Meanwhile, Rose has usually skipped this event and finished 62nd last year and is much streakier than Putnam.
Alex Smalley (-110) over Scott Stallings
A matchup between two players trending in opposite directions, I'll favor Smalley who has a pair of top-5s in his last five starts compared to Stallings who has yet to record one in six starts this season. Smalley ranks 48th in SG: Tee-to-Green this season compared to 143rd for Stallings, so this is good value in a one-on-one matchup.
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