WM Phoenix Open betting guide: 8 picks our gambling expert loves this week
Welcome to our weekly PGA Tour gambling-tips column, featuring picks from GOLF.com’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 WM Phoenix Open, which gets underway Thursday in Scottsdale, Ariz. 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 rain and heavy winds reduced the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am to just 54 holes, a trip to the desert feels like a much-needed break. The West Coast Swing continues on the PGA Tour this week with its annual stop at TPC Scottsdale for the WM Phoenix Open — the Greenest Show on Grass. What the players this week will face weather-wise however, won’t be all that dissimilar to what they saw along the Monterey Peninsula.
Wind does not appear to be an issue, according to the forecast in the Scottsdale area, but rain is expected Tuesday through Saturday. A test that normally features firm and fast greens, TPC Scottsdale will likely play softer this week with the moisture expected.
Aside from the weather factors, the WM Phoenix Open has largely become one of, if not the most pronounced ball-striking test on Tour. It is no surprise to see the leader in that category, Scottie Scheffler, looking to make it his third straight Phoenix Open victory here this week. It is also not a surprise to see his success repeated as course history is a strong piece to consider in the handicap at Scottsdale. Players that play well here, tend to do so year after year. Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama, Daniel Berger, and Scheffler are prime examples of that.
Dating back to 2010, nine WMPO winners have led the field in Strokes Gained: Approach. Ten of the last 11 winners have been at or near the top of the heap for Par 4 Scoring. TPC Scottsdale is a Par 71, so 11 Par 4s come into play, and most of them measure between 450-500 yards. Scrambling is another skill set I looked at this week, as it has proven to be a key ingredient, being able to get up and down from some of the tricky run-off areas around the greens of this desert design.
Finally, other courses on Tour at which we have seen crossover success or feature similar layouts to TPC Scottsdale are Memorial Park in Houston, Detroit Golf Club (home to the Rocket Mortgage Classic), TPC Boston, TPC Deere Run, and Southern Hills (site of the 2022 PGA Championship). Lastly, the course that I believe has emerged as the strongest connector to TPC Scottsdale is Bay Hill, where they play the Arnold Palmer Invitational — yes, another event that has been won by Scottie Scheffler.
Scottie Scheffler (5-1)
With the run of long shots we’ve seen cash tickets on the PGA Tour so far this season, this would be a complete reversal of that trend, landing on the shortest-priced player on the board. In looking at the stats, Scheffler pops every week but I’m not sure there is a better course for him than this one. It also helped his cause when two top-notch threats in Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele elected to withdraw and skip the trip to Arizona this week. We noted that Scheffler is your two-time defending champion and that he has a win at Bay Hill. He also has a runner-up finish at Memorial Park and a fourth place finish at TPC Boston at the Northern Trust in 2020, where he shot a 59 in the second round. I’m going to eat some chalk here as I actually feel the price is worth it and I can’t see him not contending once again.
Matt Fitzpatrick (35-1)
Ball-striking has of course, been a long-standing necessity at a U.S. Open and we have seen a lot of crossover success with U.S. Open winners here in Phoenix. Brooks Koepka, Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland, Rocco Mediate, Steve Jones, Lee Janzen, and Johnny Miller have all won this tournament in the past. Fitzpatrick finished fifth at Southern Hills in 2022 and then went on to win the U.S. Open at The Country Club in that same year. He’s finished 29th and 10th here in two visits and has also finished 14th and ninth at Bay Hill. He’s been in solid form too. He won the Alfred Dunhill Links back in October, finished Top 30 at the DP World Tour Championship in November, took 14th at The Sentry to begin the PGA Tour season, and sat in 10th place after 36-holes last week before the weather kicked in. It looks like a nice price on the ninth-best player in the OWGR.
Adam Hadwin (50-1)
Having been a resident of the Scottsdale area for a while now, Hadwin has shown an affinity for desert golf. He’s finished 10th, 12th, and 17th here at the WMPO, has five Top-10 finishes in Las Vegas, and another five Top 10s at the American Express in La Quinta. He’s finished as high as sixth at Bay Hill, has a seventh in Houston, an eighth at the John Deere Classic, and a fourth and a runner-up at Detroit Golf Club. Over the last 24 rounds, Hadwin ranks 12th in this field on Par 4s measuring between 450-500 yards.
Corey Conners (60-1)
If there is one thing we know about Conners, it’s that he is a ball-striker, and it translates here as he has never missed a cut in four trips to TPC Scottsdale, with his highest finish being 17th. In fact, he hasn’t missed a cut on Tour since June of 2023. Conners has also finished 11th and third at Bay Hill. Over the last 24 rounds, Conners ranks ninth in this field for Stokes Gained: Ball Striking. With the rain possibly creating more forgiving putting surfaces this week in the desert, it could be the difference for Conners in turning a Top 20 finish into a win.
Tom Hoge (115-1)
We have Scheffler at the top of the board but we probably need a triple-digit play as well, given how things have been going on Tour in 2024 and Hoge makes a lot of sense to me at such a price. I’ve seen him as low as 80-1 in some shops. He comes off of a sixth place finish last week at Pebble Beach and has a 14th place finish to his credit here in Phoenix, along with a 15th place finish at Bay Hill and a ninth at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills in 2022. He is of the ball-striker mold for sure and he can also putt. Over the last 24 rounds, Hoge ranks 11th in this field for Strokes Gained: Approach and 39th on the Par 4s of 450-500 yards. Last season on Tour, Hoge ranked 52nd in Par 4 Scoring. If the long-shot trend continues, Hoge looks to be a worthy candidate.
Full-Tournament Head to Head Matchups:
Keith Mitchell (+108) over Harris English
Chesson Hadley (-110) over Scott Stallings
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (-120) over Brendon Todd
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