5 picks I love at the Waste Management Open, according to a professional gambler

Do you like Jordan Spieth this week? Our expert does.

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On Super Bowl Sunday, the crowds will be raucous, the competition taut, the atmosphere befitting a gladiator battle.

At some point, there will also be a football game.

But the main event for golf fans will be the Waste Management Open, the sun-kissed kegger known as the Greatest Show on Turf. TPC Scottsdale is the venue, a stadium course that tends to yield birdies in bunches, even as it brings plenty of peril into play.

Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth on the tee during 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black
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Brooks Koepka is the defending champ, and if he’s going to repeat, he’ll have to hold off a loaded field highlighted by Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Hideki Matsuyama, Xander Schauffele and world No. 1 Jon Rahm, who, not surprisingly, is the current favorite on the betting board.

Rahm has had a pair of close calls lately, with runner-up finishes in last two events. Erick Lindgren has also come within in a whisker of the winner’s circle, At last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AM, GOLF.com’s expert prognosticator was all in on Jordan Spieth to win, a 20-1 wager that would have paid $4,000 had Tom Hoge not edged Spieth coming down the stretch. At the Waste Management, Lindgren will be at it again.

The terms are the same as ever: we give Lindgren a $1,000 gambling budget (just play money), and he gives us his five favorite plays. Check out his picks below.

(Looking to play any of these bets yourself? We teamed with BetMGM and the online sports book is offering a Risk-Free Bet of up to $1,000).

Jordan Spieth to win: +2,000 (wager: $300)

At the 2021 Waste Management, Spieth fired a third-round 61 before stumbling on Sunday to a fourth-place finish. It’s payback time, Lindgren says. “I think Jordan has the one circled after what happened last year,” he says. “I won’t be surprised if Spieth is number-one in the world by the end of the season. I see it starting with a win here.”

Hideki Matsuyama to win: +1,600 (wager: $200)

Lindgren is high on Hideki, and not just because he’s won twice here. “He has been over-performing this year on courses that weren’t historically great for him,” Lindgren says. “I see him as another player trending toward his peak.”

Keith Mitchell to finish in the top 10: +700 (wager: $200)

As Lindgren sees it, the fact that Mitchell has yet to punch his ticket to the Masters should be extra motivation for the former Georgia Bulldog. “He’s always had the confidence,” Lindgren says. “And his game is starting to catch up with this swagger.”

Keegan Bradley to finish in the top 5 in the first round: +1,400 (wager: $200)

Golf is a marathon, not a sprint. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bet on guys to break out quick. “Bradley is a perennial fast starter,” Lindgren says. “And his game is a good fit here.”

Sam Burns first round leader: +4,000 (wager: $100)

“This man is capable of scorching any course,” says Lindgren, who is banking on a repeat performance out of Burns, who opened with a 64 here last year.


Josh Sens

Golf.com Contributor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.