Valero Texas Open betting guide: 8 picks our expert loves

alex noren watches a shot

Alex Noren watches a shot during the Players Championship.

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Welcome to our weekly PGA Tour gambling-tips column, featuring picks from’s expert prognosticator, Brady Kannon. You can follow Kannon on Twitter at @LasVegasGolfer and you can read below to see his favorite plays for the Valero Texas Open, which kicks off Thursday in San Antonio, Texas. Keep scrolling past Kannon’s picks, and you’ll also see data from Chirp, a free-to-play mobile platform — and affiliate — 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 an entertaining week in Austin at the WGC-Dell Match Play, the PGA Tour will stay in Texas for the Valero Texas Open. The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio is a Greg Norman design with Sergio Garcia acting as a player consultant. It has been the host course for this event since 2010 and has proven to be one of the more difficult tests on Tour.

The course is a lengthy par 72, stretching over 7,400 yards. Oak trees line the fairways and can cause a lot of problems for errant tee shots, but on a course with very little rough, neither driving accuracy nor driving distance has been critical to success here. TPC San Antonio‘s biggest defenses are the wind and firm conditions. The forecast calls for steady breezes, so the course ought to be a stiff challenge once again. 

With the Masters on tap next week, many of the game’s top players are skipping this event, but the winner of the Valero Texas Open will get a spot in Augusta if not already qualified.

Looking at the past winners of this event, on this course, since 2010, a few things stand out:

2010 – Adam Scott
2011 – Brendan Steele
2012 – Ben Curtis
2013 – Martin Laird
2014 – Steven Bowditch
2015 – Jimmy Walker
2016 – Charley Hoffman
2017 – Kevin Chappell
2018 – Andrew Landry
2019 – Corey Conners
2021 – Jordan Spieth
2022 – J.J. Spaun

Australians are typically good wind players (Adam Scott and Steven Bowditch). Players from Texas and Oklahoma are typically good wind players (Jordan Spieth, Andrew Landry, Jimmy Walker). Charley Hoffman played collegiate golf at UNLV. Martin Laird has won the Shriner’s Children’s Open in Las Vegas twice. These results can also be connected to the wind that often blows in the Las Vegas area. Finally, players having had British Open success and/or victories (Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Ben Curtis). Again, wind is the common denominator.

Adam Scott, Brendan Steele, Martin Laird, Kevin Chappell. All of these players are or have been very good drivers in their careers and while I noted that neither accuracy or distance have proven to be of tremendous importance here, I used good drives gained in my statistical analysis as I want someone who is able to position himself well off the tee. As it is every week, strokes gained: approach will be important here. We noted that this is a challenging golf course, so I looked at bogey avoidance this week — and related to that, I also looked at scrambling and strokes gained: around the green, which brings us back to the wind. Approach shots can be thrown off by the breezes and the firm conditions. This will force players to be sharp with their short games — and avoid bogeys — so I believe that all of these areas or factors are especially tied to one another this week.

Finally, I looked at strokes gained: par-5s. The long holes here are monsters and scoring on these four holes will go a long way this week, and it has in the past. As a collection, the par-5s here are some of the toughest on Tour.

For correlated courses, I looked at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas (Shriner’s Children’s Open), TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas,  (AT&T Byron Nelson), Waialae Country Club (Sony Open in Hawaii), and El Camaleon — another Norman design and former host of the Mayakoba Championship.

To win the Valero Texas Open (and to finish top 20)

Alex Noren (45-1)

Noren knows how to play in the wind, having played extensively on the DP World Tour and at Oklahoma State. He has an excellent short game, ranking 20th in this field over the last 36 rounds for scrambling and 19th in bogey avoidance. In  November, Noren took 4th at the Houston Open. Texas seems to suit him. He ranks 8th in this field for SG: total on the correlated courses over the last 12 rounds.

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Brendon Todd (50-1)

Todd is an extremely accurate driver of the golf ball and is a past winner at Mayakoba. He played in two elevated events in Florida earlier this month and in those stacked fields finished 39th and 27th, respectively, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship. He ought to be able to improve upon those finishes here against a much lighter field. Over the last 36 rounds, Todd ranks fifth in SG: around the green and 11th in bogey avoidance. In addition to the excellent short game, he is 12th in this field for SG: par-5s.

Nick Taylor (52-1)

It was back in February in Phoenix when Taylor took Scottie Scheffler down to the wire, eventually finishing second. It was just two weeks ago that he finished 10th at the Valspar, so I like his form coming into this week. Over the last 36 rounds, he is 14th in this field for SG: around the green and over the last eight events on either the PGA or DP World Tours, he ranks 19th for SG: tee to green and 13th for SG: total.

Sam Ryder (70-1)

We saw Ryder nearly pull off a win back in February, at Torrey Pines, before eventually falling to Max Homa. He gained valuable experience being in the mix. Since then, Ryder has only missed one cut. He is coming off a top-20 finish at the Valspar two weeks ago. Over the last 24 rounds in windy conditions, Ryder ranks 17th in SG: total in this field. Over the last 36 rounds, he is sixth in scrambling and 9th in bogey avoidance.

Full tournament head to head matchups (YTD Record 17-9-2)

Taylor Montgomery (-130) over Davis Riley
Nick Taylor (-140) over Taylor Pendrith
Byeong Hun An (-115) over Emiliano Grillo
Charley Hoffman (+110) over Kevin Streelman

Who Chirp users think will win

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