Farmers Insurance Open betting guide: 7 picks our gambling expert loves this week

ony Finau of the United States hits a tee shot on the 11th hole during the final round of The American Express at Pete Dye Stadium Course on January 21, 2024 in La Quinta, California. (

Tony Finau is a our expert's top betting pick at Torrey Pines this week.

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Welcome to our weekly PGA Tour gambling-tips column, featuring picks from’s expert prognosticator Brady Kannon. A seasoned golf bettor and commentator, Kannon is a regular guest on SportsGrid, a syndicated audio network devoted to sports and sport betting. You can follow on Twitter at @LasVegasGolfer, and you can read his picks below for the Farmers Insurance Open, which gets underway Wednesday in La Jolla, Calif. Along with Kannon’s recommended plays, you’ll also see data from Chirp, a free-to-play mobile platform that features a range of games with enticing prizes, giving fans all kinds of ways to engage in the action without risking any money.

After three straight winners, cashing at triple-digit odds, the PGA Tour continues its West Coast Swing in San Diego at storied Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open. Host of the U.S. Open in both 2008 and 2021, Torrey Pines is expected to be the toughest test these players have faced so far in 2024. This week’s winning score proposition bet is the highest it’s been this season with an under/over of 272.5, or 15.5 under par. 

Three of the four rounds will be played on the monster South Course, which stretches to nearly 7,800 yards. On Wednesday and Thursday, each player will play one round on the easier North Course. Note that this tournament will begin on Wednesday for the third straight year, ending on Saturday to avoid viewership conflict with the NFL Championship games coming up this Sunday.

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With three of the four rounds being played on the South Course, we’ll focus on this in our handicap. With the course being so long, distance off the tee is a bonus but not necessarily a requirement as we have seen shorter knockers win here in the past. More importantly, I like to look at Total Driving — a measurement of combined accuracy and distance off the tee. The putting surfaces on the South Course are Poa Annua, a common coastal grass that can really divide a field as some players tend to really struggle with it while others flourish. Case in point: Brandt Snedeker and Jason Day, Poa Annua specialists who have each won twice at Torrey Pines.

The rough will be thick and likely wet as there has been rain in the area leading up to Wednesday’s start. The forecast during play however, is not calling for additional rain. Soft conditions may tend to hold more tee shots in the fairway. The majority of the approach shots here will come from 200+ yards and most of the par 4’s measure between 450-500 yards.

Finally, Scrambling. With a golf course of this length, hitting the greens in regulation will not be easy and players will be asked to get up and down from around the greens repeatedly. Because this is a championship track, one must do everything well here this week in order to succeed — but three areas of great importance for me are Total Driving, as mentioned, approach play from 200+, and Scrambling. Do these three things well and make a few putts, and you may find yourself winning the Farmers Insurance Open.

Tony Finau (28-1)

One of the class players in the field, Finau may have the best course form of the bunch with a Top 20 and a Top 15 finish here in the past, along with five Top-10 finishes, including a runner-up. He comes in playing well, with seven of his eight rounds this season being in the 60s. Over his last 24-rounds, Finau ranks 13th in this field for Hole Proximity from 200+ yards. He’s also fared well on a few of the correlated courses I looked at, taking first and second at Vidanta Vallarta for the Mexican Open, finishing eighth at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in 2020, and fourth at Harding Park for the PGA Championship in that same year.

Harris English (50-1)

Like Finau, English is another player with strong history at Torrey Pines, having finished eighth, 14th and runner-up in 2015. He took third here at the 2021 U.S. Open. English was fourth at Winged Foot in 2020 and 19th at Harding Park. Two other courses I considered as corollaries: Quail Hollow and Corales Puntacana. English has finished Top 5 at both. Over the last 12 rounds on Poa Annua greens, English is fifth in this field for SG: Putting. He is also strong in Driving Accuracy and on approach. In English’s last three starts, he’s been Top 20 in the field for Driving Accuracy and Top 15 for SG: Approach.

Nicolai Hojgaard (50-1)

A member of the winning Ryder Cup team back in September, the Dane is making his debut at the Farmers Insurance Open and his first start in America of 2024. It can be risky backing a debutant, but there is a lot to like about the way Hojgaard has been going as of late. Since November on the DP World Tour, in his last four starts, Hojgaard has finished seventh, 25th, first, and second. He is very long off the tee, ranking 16th in this field for Driving Distance over the last 24 rounds. In 2023, Hojgaard finished 33rd at Vidanta Vallarta and second at Corales Puntacana. I’ll take a chance on a player with a very hot hand.

Shane Lowry (70-1)

I will admit, this may be a bit of an odd pick for a guy that hasn’t been quite what we are used to in a couple of seasons, but there are definitely some signs that he could go well here at this venue. Lowry has always been a player that excels on demanding golf courses. Last season, he recorded Top 20 finishes at the Genesis Invitational, Honda Classic, the Masters, PGA Championship, the Memorial, U.S. Open, and the Genesis Scottish Open. He ranked 14th on Tour in Total Driving last season. Over the last 24 rounds, Lowry is eighth in this field for SG: Approach, and 36th in Hole Proximity from 200+ yards. The short game has been a problem recently, but over time, he’s been known to have some of the best touch around the greens in the world. I believe he just might show up with a chance this week in San Diego.

Adam Svensson (90-1)

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After getting his first Tour win in the fall of 2022, Svensson has been a player on the rise, now ranked 58th in the OWGR. In 2023, he finished the season ranked 34th on Tour for SG: Total, 59th in SG: Off the Tee, 50th in SG: Approach, and 59th for SG: Putting. In this field, over the last 24-rounds, Svensson ranks 12th on approach, 33rd for Good Drives Gained, 27th on the Par 4s 450-500 yards, and first in Hole Proximity from 200+ yards. He’s 24th in this field over the last 12 rounds for SG: Putting on Poa Annua. At Quail Hollow, a correlated course for me, it was last season, against a stacked field at the Wells Fargo Championship (a Signature Event) that Svensson finished a very respectable 27th.

Ben Griffin (100-1)

Will it be four triple-digit odds winners in a row? If it is, Griffin ought to be one that is in the mix. He comes off of two very solid showings to start the season: 30th at the Sony Open and ninth last week at the American Express. He closed last season with a Top-10 finish at the RSM Classic in November. In his first-ever trip to Torrey Pines last season, Griffin finished 31st, ranking 16th in the field for Driving Distance. Over the last 24-rounds, he is 31st in this field in Scrambling, 25th in Hole Proximity from 200+ yards, and 13th on the Par 4s of 450-500 yards.

Taylor Pendrith (130-1)

Pendrith is a big hitter with a solid track record at other especially long golf courses. He’s finished 16th here at Torrey Pines, 30th at Vidanta Vallarta, 34th at Corales Puntacana, and 23rd at Winged Foot at the 2020 U.S. Open. He’s shown an ability to putt on Poa Annua with a seventh-place finish at Pebble Beach last year and comes in off of a 10th place finish at the Sony Open two weeks ago. Over the last 24 rounds, Pendrith ranks seventh in this field for SG: Approach, 20th in Scrambling, 11th in Hole Proximity from 200+ yards and 18th on the 450-500 yard Par 4s.

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