So far in 2018, our Spiv has walked away with the cash thanks to Pat Perez at the Tournament of Champions and Tommy Fleetwood’s awesome win at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Now he aims for a hat-trick as he takes on the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
The big news this week is that Tiger is back. Unlike the Hero Challenge, this one is for real and we will fully judge if he is back for good. The bookies like his chances placing him at 22/1 to win here at Torrey Pines. However, as much as I would like to see him do that, I think it might be a step too far. Hopefully, he makes the cut.
Jon Rahm starts as the favourite and it is easy to see why. A victory last week will make him hungry for more as he enters as the defending champion. His best odds are hanging around the 8/1 mark.
However, despite that, old Spiv likes his odds a little more worthwhile. With that in mind, here is who I’m placing my money on this week.
Justin Rose 16/1 (William Hill)
Rose’s recent record speaks for itself. Three wins out of seven put him in good shape entering Torrey Pines. He also likes this track with a T-4th finish here last year. 16/1 seems more than fair given that record.
Charles Howell III 40/1 (Coral)
Some people just love a course that suits them and with that in mind, Charles Howell III is your man. He has finished runner-up on three occasions and produced seven top 10 finishes here. Looks like a solid E/W.
Ollie Schniederjans 50/1 (Coral)
Not heard of him before? Here’s why you should consider him. A top ten finish here last year and finished in the top ten at the Sony Open. The bookies have seen his odds drop since the market opened with plenty thinking about him. Looking at that trend makes me want to place an E/W.
Adam Hadwin 70/1 (BetFred)
Comes in following a solid tie for third at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Has the game that is for sure and with some much-needed confidence he could be ready to challenge here. 70/1 is the best price and could be a good outsider.
It’s the event where all the big boys turn up. Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose head the pack as the favourites to lift the title in Abu Dhabi. Johnson has certainly started 2018 well with victory at the Tournament of Champions. For the others, it is the first one of the season.
Johnson starts as the clear favourite with his best odds at 5/1. Rose can be found at 8/1 with McIlroy just behind at 9/1. But, as always, those kind of odds don’t really appeal. We like our odds a little bigger than that. With that in mind, here is where we are placing our money.
Henrik Stenson 18/1 (PaddyPower)
Stenson has a fantastic record in Abu Dhabi over the past two years. Two top ten finishes in his last two visits to the course show the Iceman is not one to wilt in the sun. Starting 2018 with a nice match play win at the EurAsia Cup will put him in a good mood going into this one.
Branden Grace 22/1 (888)
The South African will enter Abu Dhabi in high hopes following his second place at the BMW SA Open. Like Stenson, he also has a strong record on this track over the past few years. T-13th in 2017 and T-5th in 2016 shows that Grace likes it here. 22/1 is the best price out there due to his recent finish.
Tommy Fleetwood 22/1 (Bet365)
A 100% record for team Europe at the EurAsia Cup has certainly raised Thomas Bjorn’s eyebrows. Fleetwood has happy memories of Abu Dhabi as it was here where he started his awesome season in style. His EurAsia Cup performance will certainly provide a spring in his step.
Tyrrell Hatton 28/1 (StanJames)
Like Fleetwood, Hatton also produced the goods at the EurAsia Cup. Hatton has certainly become one of the European Tour’s prized assets and the betting market has taken notice. His game suits Abu Dhabi with his best performance coming in 2016 where he finished in T-6.
Kiradich Aphibarnrat 50/1 (888)
A top-five performance in Abu Dhabi last year was the catalyst Aphibarnrat needed to propel himself up the rankings. Producing his best season since 2015, Aphibarnrat’s strong end to the season has caught my eye as he bids to continue his form. Great price for an E/W.
The festive period is now over and for many of us the call to work beckons. The same could be said for professional golfers as they prepare for another season. Whilst some will have another week off from competitive golf, those who were lucky enough to win a PGA title in 2017 will face the Tournament of Champions. The elite field of 34 of last year’s winners includes some stellar names but also some who you might not be aware of. Thankfully The Spiv is here to highlight those who have a real chance of victory.
Jordan Spieth starts as the favourite with his best odds currently standing at 6/1. He was a three-time winner in 2017 including his Open victory at Royal Birkdale. He is closely followed by Justin Thomas who won five titles including his PGA Championship at 7/1.
So with 34 title winners taking part, who has The Spiv got his money on this week?
Justin Thomas 7/1 (Betfair)
What a year 2017 was for Justin Thomas. Five titles including a major have seen his stock rise on the betting market and he will enter the Tournament of Champions full of confidence. He likes it here in Hawaii. Last year he won the Tournament of Champions with a three-shot victory. Got the form and the game to defend his title.
Marc Leishman 22/1 (BetVictor)
Leishman recorded two PGA victories as he rose up the rankings in 2017 to enter this one as the world number 12. Since his last missed cut at the Northern Trust, the Australian has made four top-five finishes in his last six events including his win at the BMW Championship. Great odds considering the shortened field.
Pat Perez 30/1 (William Hill)
GolfPunk favourite Pat Perez is back on form. Victory at CIMB confirmed his place and if his 2017 performance at the Tournament of Champions is anything to go by, then hopefully we can expect a good payout. He finished in a tie for third last time out but enters in stronger form.
Cameron Smith 40/1 (BetFred)
The last man to make the Tournament of Champions following his victory at the Australian PGA Championship will make his debut. For that reason, it is difficult to know exactly how he will fair. But if his form is anything to go by, then he could surprise us. Four top-five finishes including his win in Australia show he could be a real contender.
Tiger Woods is back! The Hero World Challenge could be the place he announces his arrival back to competitive golf in style. After all, it is one of those events where it could actually happen. With only 18 players taking part in this no-cut event it gives Woods a fantastic opportunity to do so. Apparently, he is even outdriving Dustin Johnson!
However, the bookies don’t hold much hope for Tiger and have placed him as the 18th favourite in this 18 man field. It doesn’t bode well for him but golf is a funny thing. Justin Thomas starts as the favourite alongside Dustin Johnson who both start at 6/1 with many bookies.
With such a small field and no cut affecting them, this could be a good time to get some great value. So here is who takes the Spivs fancy this week.
Rickie Fowler 9/1 (SkyBet)
Placed as the fourth favourite his odds are low due to the limited field but here is a player that can deliver. Fresh from his second-place finish at the OHL Classic, Fowler will be looking to end the year on a high. Bet to win on this one as an Each Way provides little value.
Patrick Reed 20/1 (William Hill)
Reed enters the Hero World Challenge following a T-10 at the DP World Tour Championship. He has also performed well in the past finishing in second place in 2015. Form and knowledge could work well for him and these are great odds for such a limited field.
Matt Kuchar 28/1 (Ladbrokes)
Kuch came third here last year and is arguably one of the most consistent players out there. Only two missed cuts for the whole season has seen him rise up the World rankings. No idea why he is so unfancied here so might be a good opportunity to get some cash from this event. Solid Each Way.
Tiger Woods 45/1 (StanJames)
They say you should never let your heart rule your head when it comes to betting but I just can’t help this one. Perhaps I’ve fallen for the hype but come on...Tiger’s back and at these odds it is well worth a couple of quid just to hope that he can do it.
Three players have the chance to lift the Race to Dubai title at the DP World Tour Championship and end the season as the European Tour Number One. Tommy Fleetwood leads the way but Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia can snatch it away from as the season heads to Dubai for the final event of the season.
The bookies place Justin Rose as the favourite to do just that with odds of 7/1 following his back to back wins. Garcia’s best odds are 12/1 to win here with Fleetwood at 25/1. It is clear to see how they think things will unravel.
However, golf is never that obvious. Matthew Fitzpatrick won here last year for his biggest win to date and with the pressure the Rose, Garcia and Fleetwood could we see another name slip through to claim victory in Dubai?
Here’s who the Spiv is placing his cash on this time around.
Tyrrell Hatton 16/1 (William Hill)
Hatton was practicing on the range alone as he was the first to arrive for the DP World Championship. For Hatton, this was the one that got away last year as he was just edged out by Fitzpatrick. He feels comfortable on this track. A tie for sixth in 2014 and a second place in 2016 shows just that. With two wins under his belt in 2017, the Englishman could end the season on a high.
Francesco Molinari 25/1 (Coral)
When it comes to consistency in Dubai the Molinari is your man. Tied fourth in 2015 and 2016 shows that the Italian knows exactly what to do around here. Winless this year but the world number 21 has what it takes to match anyone on his day. His second place at the PGA Championship proves that.
Victor Dubuisson 25/1 (Coral)
When he’s good, he’s great. However, the same can’t be said when the Frenchman is having an off day. So why has he made the list? Well it is the time of the year when Dubuisson decides that he wants to be good. Tied for fourth last year after a strong showing at the NedBank. Just had a strong finish at the NedBank, see the connection? Expect him to finish on a high.
Rafa Cabrera Bello 40/1 (Coral)
Switching between the PGA Tour and European Tour has meant that the Spaniard has put in plenty of Air miles this year and perhaps it has taken its toll. However, class is permanent as they say and Cabrera Bello has the game to take this course on. He may have struggled at Sun City but a tie for fifth at the HSBC Champions shows he is up there. Great E/W.
The Rolex Series includes the NedBank Golf Challenge to its ranks and yet there are few noticeable absentees making this one anyones. Hosted by Gary Player at Sun City, there is still plenty of talent on show as the Race to Dubai comes close to completion. For the likes of Tommy Fleetwood, a strong showing can strengthen his position at the top of the rankings but there are also others looking to book their place to Dubai for the finals.
Expect this one to be explosive. An in form Tyrrell Hatton starts as the bookies favourite with prices as low as 14/1. Following him are the South African pairing of Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace at 16/1 as they aim to win on home ground. Whilst these guys catch the Spivs eye, the prices do not. As we all know, he likes his odds a little higher.
So who is the Spiv placing his cash on this week?
Tommy Fleetwood 20/1 (SkyBet)
The Race to Dubai is getting close following two wins in a row by Justin Rose. Fleetwood can ease the pressure piled on by Rose with a strong performance at the NedBank and he knows it. Thankfully for Tommy, Sun City has been good to him. Last year he finished in a tie for 14th but this year he is looking like a more complete player. The only question is, can he handle the situation?
Alex Noren 28/1 (StanJames)
Noren may not have been firing on all cylinders recently but don’t let that put you off. Last year he blitzed Sun City to win by six shots. As defending champion, he clearly likes this track and knows what it takes to win handsomely. Great odds even for an Each Way will make many take him seriously.
Nicolas Colsaerts 40/1 (William Hill)
Fresh from his second (tied) finish at the Turkish Airlines Open, Colsaerts is looking in fine form. Even more so considering his usual mid-table finish in Turkey. A player who can surprise and raise a few eyebrows. Can he do it again? At 40/1 the price seems fair if he can maintain that kind of form going into the NedBank.
Andy Sullivan 80/1 (StanJames)
Sullivan may not have set the world on fire this season but there is always a time to make it happen. Sun City has been a happy hunting ground in the past and the Englishman did produce a third place finish last year. Sullivan will be hoping for another finish like that and at 80/1 he looks like a good Each Way.
It’s the WGC HSBC Champions this week we head to China. The star-studded line up includes winners from the PGA and European Tours. However, some are not making the trip. Garcia, Spieth, McIlroy will not be there but fear not, there is plenty of talent on show here.
Dustin Johnson starts as the favourite with every bookie at the 8/1 mark. Defending champion, Hideki Matsuyama, is the second favourite at 10/1. Both great players but both prices are far too short for my liking. Instead, I have had a closer look at players who are in strong form but also like this course based their previous performances.
So here is where the value is this week at the WGC HSBC Champions.
Marc Leishman 18/1 (Bet365)
In the last four tournaments, Leishman has produced a victory a second and a third place. Marc is playing the best golf ever in his career and is remaining consistent. His price is low because of this but that is understandable. Expect Leishman to feel comfortable here and extend his form further.
Ross Fisher 28/1 (Bet365)
Fisher is on fire at the moment with two-second place finishes in a row. In terms of form, he is red hot. The only other question is just how good he is on this track? Well back in 2015 Fisher finished in a tie for third and last year he settled for a tie for sixth. Comfortable on the track and in hot form...Fisher is a no-brainer at this price.
Francesco Molinari 33/1 (Ladbrokes)
Molinari came sixth here last year in a tie alongside Ross Fisher. So he knows he can do well on this course. A good showing at the Italian Open and the BMW Championship will provide some much-needed confidence. A player who can perform well on the big stage as he did at the PGA Championship, Molinari can be considered a contender.
Pat Perez 35/1 (Betfair)
Pat Perez makes the list following his best season to date. A winner only a couple of weeks at the CIMB Classic, Perez is looking good and at this price could be a great E/W.
Bill Haas 70/1 (Bet365)
Haas makes the list due to his previous efforts at this course. A tie for fourth place last year shows he feels comfortable and the course suits his game. Whilst he has been off the radar recently we should all remember that Haas ups his game for these big ones. Could be a dark horse.
It’s the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship this week as the pros, along with their celebrity/amateur partners, take on Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and of course, The Old Course at St Andrews. Three courses over four days presents a challenge for the Spiv as I’m looking for the complete links player.
Rory McIlroy starts as the favourite following his brilliant performance at the British Masters. The Northern Irishman starts at 11/2. In terms of value, that’s not much bang for your buck.
So here are the players that represent the best value and who also have a great chance of winning.
Tyrrell Hatton 20/1 (Betfred)
Made his breakthrough here last year and enters as the defending champion. A solid links player who has finished in the top 5 in the three links based events he has played back in 2016. In great form at the moment with two top tens in his past two events. Hatton is definitely on to keep an eye on this week.
Thorbjorn Olesen 33/1 (BoyleSports)
The 2015 champion is another to conquer the links of Scotland. 2017 may not have been his year so far but there have been some strong performances. At 33/1 he is worth a couple of quid as on his day he is brilliant.
Eddie Pepperell 60/1 (SkyBet)
A missed cut at the British Masters may have put a dampener on Pepperell but prior to that, he secured three top fives in a row. Not bad for a player who had to fight to regain his card last year. It is these fighting qualities that I like about Pepperell. His best finish here was 26th but he is looking stronger entering this one.
Lee Slattery 125/1 (Unibet)
Lee may have struggled at the Alfred Dunhill in the past but he comes into this in better form. Two top tens and a second place at the Czech Masters shows he can be a dark horse and at 125/1 should not be overlooked.
Lee Westwood will be hosting the British Masters this week at Close House for one of the European Tour’s best events of the year. A star-studded field including Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia will all be taking part and one thing is certain, the crowds will be huge as the North East of England plays host. Predicting who will win is one thing but there are other more important questions to think about mainly, will Newcastle Brown Ale be served at the bar?
With the GolfPunk crew heading to Close House (sadly not me, I have the consolation prize of a free golf getaway to Valencia...it’s a hard life) to cover the event, I have been tasked once again with finding you the best value bets out there. McIlroy starts as the clear favourite on 8/1 with Sergio close behind him at 9/1. After that, the betting market is wide open. So here are five British players who may just take the title.
Matthew Fitzpatrick 20/1 Ladbrokes
Fitzpatrick has not had what he would call a good season but last time out he proved that he is a still a winner. The European Masters champion has won the British Master before and hopefully, his latest win will give him some extra confidence going into Close House.
Lee Westwood 28/1 BetFred
This week’s host enters following a third-place finish at the KLM Open. Westwood may be the host but he will also be gunning for victory at his home course. Local Knowledge and fresh from an excellent tournament could be a huge week for Westie.
Jordan Smith 60/1 Bet365
Top 10 in a major, winner on the European Tour and a Spiv winner to boot. Smith is the real deal that is for sure. He is having a great season since graduating from the Challenge Tour. Has the ability to tear this course apart and at these odds is great value. Tipped him once before and won big.
Chris Paisley 100/1 MarathonBet
Local knowledge could be massively beneficial for Paisley as he is one of Close House’s professionals. Throw into the mix his recent form and you have a wildcard that could challenge this week. His best finish on the European Tour this year has been his third-place finish in Denmark. He is knocking on the door that is for sure. A great Each Way here.
Marc Warren 100/1 Bet365
Marc Warren might be a little inconsistent but when he’s good, he’s really good. Second in Portugal last week will have boosted his confidence no end. The Scot could shock here as he has nothing to lose and is off the radar. If he plays like he did in Portugal then he could walk away with the trophy.
When you hear that some guy won £11,488 from a single golf bet it makes you think that perhaps you need to work a little harder at this betting lark. Although Rose did pay out at the weekend, I’m now thinking about upping the ante for this week. After all, go big or go home right?
So this week I’m trying a cheeky little double of my own aiming to select the winners of the Tour Championship and the Portugal Masters. In order not wimp out, this will be the only bet I place week. It will also be as an Each Way. Now, I’ve never tried this before but I feel inspired (and threatened) by this double winning guy.
Usually I pick about five players who I think can win a tournament. This week however, we are going for the Golfhacker double.
Portugal Masters: Andy Sullivan 20/1 (Ladbrokes)
Sullivan and Portugal, what could possibly go wrong? Well, Sulli might not be playing as well as he did in 2015 and 2016 but this place will feel like home. He won here in 2015 with the record low score and finished second last year. For 20/1 odds...well you’d be a fool not to. If I’m looking for someone reliable to complete the double then it has to be this guy really.
Tour Championship: Justin Rose 14/1 (Ladbrokes)
Payed out at the weekend and is looking in good form. He likes East Lake and usually performs strongly at here. Two second place finishes and not worse than sixth in the past four years on this track. Like Sullivan, reliability is the key to this double. I like Rose’s chances here as the real pressure will be on Spieth and Thomas for the FedEx.
So what are the odds of both of these men winning come Sunday. 314/1 is the price I have. It might be as high as the other guys win but it’s a start.