Fortinet Championship expert picks: 4 picks we really like this week in Napa

Could Cam Davis be in for a big week? Our betting expert Andy Lack thinks so.

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Sheesh. That was quite a year.

And now, after a brief respite to collect our collect breath, the 2022-23 calendar gets underway, the kickoff of what will be the Tour’s last wrap-around season before scheduling changes set in next year.

It’s harvest season in California wine country, and past champ Max Homa will be looking to pop another celebratory bottle of sparkling wine. He’s the current betting favorite at the Fortinet Championship, at Silverado Resort, in Napa, with Corey Conners and Hideki Matsuyama trailing close behind. Two-time Fortinet winner will also be back at it, a ball-striking force who often struggles with the flat-stick but not at Silverado. His stroke has been smooth chardonnay in past showings here.

Andy Lack has a discerning gambling palate. Golf.com’s expert prognosticator closed last season on a hot streak and he’s with us once again. You can see his four favorite wagers below. If you’d like to get a sense of where the public is leaning, keep reading, as we’re also including data from Chirp, a free-to-play mobile platform that gives fans a range of ways to engage in the action.

Let’s raise a glass to a profitable new year.

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Lack’s Picks

Pick to Win: Cam Davis (30/1) (Odds Available at Bet365): There’s a lot to love this week about Davis, who should feel right at home at Silverado. The former Rocket Mortgage Classic winner has lots of pop off the tee, is an excellent wedge player, and significantly raises his baseline on Bentgrass surfaces, which explains his success on courses such as Detroit Golf Club and TPC Deere Run. The recent selection to the International President’s Cup team enters this week on the back of six straight top-25 finishes to close out the 2021-2022 season. I expect him to carry that momentum into Napa.

Top 10: Troy Merritt (+700) (Odds Available at FanDuel): I’m often keen on Merritt on easier courses with Bentgrass greens. Both of the 36-year-old’s wins have come at 18-under or lower with similar agronomy to Silverado, and he boasts an immaculate record at Detroit Golf Club as well. It should not come as a surprise that the Boise State product has performed admirably at Silverado as well, with a fourth-place finish in 2018, and a 16th-place finish last year. Not typically the strongest aspect of his game, Merritt’s irons have also been sharp of late. He has gained over two strokes on approach in four of his last five starts. Expect that trend to continue, and Merritt to find himself firmly in the mix in Napa come Sunday afternoon.

Top 40: David Lipsky (+185) (Odds Available at FanDuel): I was surprised to see how well Lipsky rated out for me at Silverado, but it begins to make sense on deeper inspection. The Los Angeles native is coming off a solid season in which he recorded nine top-30 finishes in 23 starts, including top-10s at the Corales Punta Cana Championship, the Zurich Classic, and the Mexico Open. With top-40 finishes at John Deere Classic and Rocket Mortgage under his belt as well, Lipsky seems up for the task at easier Bent-grass courses. The 34-year-old remains one of the most accurate drivers in this field, and he enters this week in impressive form, gaining strokes ball-striking in his last seven starts.

Matchup: Chris Kirk (-110) over Thomas Detry (Odds Available on DraftKings): I will happily ride with Kirk in this matchup, which sports books are suggesting is nothing more than a coin flip to outperform Thomas Detry. The four time PGA Tour winner also checks the box of elite comparable course form, with a 21st, 12th, and 17th in three appearances at Detroit Golf Club, and wins at Colonial and TPC Boston, all shorter Bent-grass courses that feature easier than Tour average scoring conditions. The 37-year-old has an extremely well-balanced attack of above average driving, wedge play, and putting, and he feels a relatively safe bet to make the weekend. Detry, on the other hand, is a talented long-hitter who has already experienced a fair amount of success on the Korn Ferry Tour. That said, he competed at the BMW Championship at Wentworth last week, and as someone who just returned to California from Ireland, traveling from the UK to West Coast time zone is not exactly ideal. Detry certainly possesses the upside to compete here, but I have far more faith in Kirk’s consistency.

Public Opinion

The Trifecta game on Chirp (an affiliate of Golf.com) calls for fans to make three picks: a winner, a contender and a long shot, all categories based on the Official World Golf Ranking. Here are the leaders in each of those brackets, along with the percentage of votes they have received.

Favorites:

Hideki Matsuyama (40.38 percent)

Max Homa (29.40 percent)

Corey Conners (9.07 percent)

Contenders:

Andrew Putnam (17.03 percent)

Cameron Champ (14.56 percent)

Kevin Streelman (8.52 percent)

Long Shots

Harry Higgs (25 percent)

Patrick Rodgers (11.54 percent)

Michael Thompson (10.44 percent)

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josh sens

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.