Hot PGA Picks for the Valero Texas Open

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Last week, Billy Horschel won his first PGA Tour event in three years. He defeated Scottie Scheffler on Sunday afternoon in the final round of the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club in Texas.

The tour will remain in Texas this week for the Valero Texas Open, one final tune-up before the Masters.

The TPC Oaks Course in San Antonio hosted a Korn Ferry Tour event in 2020 when Davis Riley came out victorious. The last time the PGA Tour played an event here was the 2019 Valero Open, where Corey Conners came out with the victory.

Course Breakdown and Weather
The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio appears to be one of the more difficult courses on the circuit on paper. However, the past two winners won the event with final scores of 17- and 20-under. It is a 7,435-yard par-72 layout that can prove incredibly difficult if wind comes into play.

The course plays very long and favors the long hitters. Past winners, such as Corey Conners, Charley Hoffman, Adam Scott, Kevin Chappell, and Jimmy Walker have all credited their ball striking as what won them the event. The weather throughout this week’s tournament is supposed to be pleasant and should not be much of a factor, with moderate winds blowing 10-13 miles per hour.

The Favorites

World No.1 Dustin Johnson withdrew from the tournament on Monday, leaving the winner of this event truly up for grabs. Austin native Jordan Spieth (+1200) sits at the top of the odds board this week ahead of Tony Finau (+1600), Scottie Scheffler (+1600), Hideki Matsuyama (+1800), and Abraham Ancer (+2200).

Spieth has not won an event since the 2017 Open Championship, making it a risk to invest in him to win this event at only 12-1.

Scheffler played seven rounds of golf last week before falling to Billy Horschel in the Match Play finals. Six rounds of golf take a toll on even pro golfers. And with the Masters right around the corner, there is likely to be a slight lapse of concentration this week for the competitors who advanced deep in the Match Play event.

So, the first name worth a bet is Tony Finau at 16-1. While Finau ranks 13th in the Official World Golf Rankings and has collected 44 top-10 finishes in his career, he has won only once in his career against a light field at the 2016 Puerto Rico Open.

Finau has five top-10 finishes already this season, including a playoff loss to Max Homa at The Genesis Invitational. Finau has been knocking on the door to the winner’s circle. And in this week’s watered-down field, Finau is worth a bet at 16-1 to finally hoist the victor’s trophy on the 18th green on Sunday.

Please Note:
With Finau often coming up short, also bet on him at +210 to finish inside the top five. Former winners Corey Conners (+2200), Charley Hoffman (+3300), and Brendan Steele (+4000) are all amongst the favorites. But the next golfer to bet is Ryan Palmer (+2800).

Palmer ranks inside the world’s top 30 and has finished inside the top 25 in 15 of his last 27 starts since the beginning of last year. Palmer has not won an individual golf tournament since 2010 but has been knocking on the door countless times since then. He has three top-six finishes in his last five starts at the Valero Open, making this the perfect place for him to snap his 263-start winless streak. He is, without a doubt, one of the best golfers in the field. And at 28-1, he is worth a wager.

The Picks:
Tony Finau
Ryan Palmer
Bonus Pick: Tony Finau Top-Five Finish for (+210) at Bovada.

Best Value Plays

The first name to bet in the middle tier is Cameron Davis (+4000). Davis did not play well in Florida, but he did pick up a 33rd-place finish at The Honda Classic when he excelled with his ball-striking. He has the driver and iron play to make a run at this course where those are the most important attributes for a player. Davis was playing well earlier in the year with a third-place finish at the American Express and a sixth at the Sanderson Farms Championship.

This week offers him a great chance to return to earlier season form and compete.

The next name to look at in this odds range is another golfer who has struggled after success earlier in the year in Sam Burns (+4500). Burns picked up a seventh-place finish in the Houston Open and a third at the Genesis Invitational earlier this season. The strength of his game is with his driver. Although he has struggled recently, he collected that seventh-place finish the last time he played in Texas. He finished tied for 23rd here two years ago but has improved his golf game greatly over the past two years.

The Picks:
Cameron Davis
Sam Burns

The Longshots and Other Plays

In a field this weak, it’s a smart move to bet on a couple of longshots that are capable of finding themselves in contention.

It’s not just smart to bet longshots, it is also wise in this case—as in Aaron Wise (+7500), in fact.

He held a 36-hole lead at the Honda Classic this year before he shot 5-over on Saturday and found himself unable to catch eventual winner Matt Jones on Sunday. He has one career PGA Tour win and picked up another at a Texas event with a win at the Byron Nelson in 2018. Wise has always excelled with his driver, and that will help him climb up the leaderboard throughout the week. Wise at 75-1 is definitely the first bet worth a look in this range.

Please Note:
Once you cross over the 100-1 mark, all you can look for is a golfer capable of winning on Tour. Cameron Champ (+11000) has one top-10 finish this season at the Zozo Championship. He has struggled mightily of late, but this is the perfect week to turn it around. Champ has always excelled with his driver, ranking inside the top four in PGA Tour average driving distance in each of the past three seasons. At 110-1, Champ has enough of a chance to win this week to be worth a bet.

The next golfer worth a look is another bomber off the tee box in Luke List (+14000). List has two top-10 finishes this season alone. And while he owns no wins on the Tour yet, he has come close with two runner-up finishes in his career. List finished in 10th at the 2020 Memorial Tournament, so he is not intimidated by tough conditions if it suddenly and unexpectedly gets windy this week. He ranks seventh in average driving distance this season at 313.5 yards per drive. List can bomb and gouge this course and have a chance to win this week in San Antonio.

The Picks:
Aaron Wise
Cameron Champ
Luke List

Matchup Play of the Week

The first matchup play of the week is Zach Johnson over Matt Kuchar. While most of the bets to look at this week feature long hitters, the best matchup play is between two short hitters. Johnson won this event in 2008 and 2009, his first two starts in his long and distinguished career. He finished tied for eighth at the Honda Classic in his most recent start.

While Kuchar was able to return to decent form with a semifinal appearance at the WGC Dell-Technologies Match Play last week, he did play six rounds of golf in five days. Not to mention, Kuchar is 42 years old. Expect Kuchar to fade as the week progresses, while Johnson—the former Open and Masters Champion—competes at a venue where he boasts two previous victories.

The next matchup play that’s worth a wager this week also involves fading a golfer who was in fine form just last week. Joel Dahmen won his first ever PGA Tour event on Sunday by capturing the Corales Puntacana Golf Championship against a lighter field in the Dominican Republic.

Dahmen himself said that he was going to party hard following the victory. Dahmen will find himself in contention in many more tournaments throughout his career. But this week, he will be experiencing a tournament win hangover for the first time ever. Not to mention, Aaron Wise has the driver and approach play to find himself inside the top 10 all four days. Take Aaron Wise to defeat Dahmen head-to-head in relatively easy fashion.

The Picks:
Zach Johnson over Matt Kuchar
Aaron Wise over Joel Dahmen
Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.