Betting on Golf: Mexico Open at Vidanta

Betting on Golf: Mexico Open at Vidanta

This article is part of our Golf Picks series.

Mexico Open at Vidanta Betting Preview

Stroke play tournaments resume after the lone team event of the season, and golfers will be heading south of the border for the Mexico Open.

This week's event essentially takes the place of last year's WGC-Workday Championship, with the Tour reducing the number of World Golf Championship tournaments from four to two. Most of the top players on Tour are using this week to prepare for the PGA Championship in three weeks, and world No. 2 Jon Rahm – the favorite at 7-2 odds – headlines a field that consists of just six top-50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking. 

The host course this week is Vidanta Vallarta, a new stop that will host this event for the next three years. A par-71 at over 7,400 yards with five par-3s and four par-5s, the course will play true to its length. Unlike the WGC-Mexico Championship at Chapultepec, which played about a mile and a half above sea level, Vallarta is not at high altitude. 

It's difficult to know much about the course with this being the first PGA Tour event held there, so I tend to default to strong ball strikers who excel in the long game. Being a resort course on the Pacific Ocean, there will be plenty of birdie opportunities and the winner will likely finish around 20-under-par. Vidanta is known for having over 100 bunkers and wide fairways, and with five of the par-4s playing at least 475 yards, driving distance should be more important that accuracy. The weak field will provide an opportunity for some long shots to come through and also for some up-and-coming rookies to work their way into contention.

All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 6:00 ET Tuesday.

As a Matter of Form

These five golfers, on a per-round basis, gained the most strokes off the tee and on approach combined over their last 20 rounds.

It's no surprise to see the favorite Rahm atop this list – and by a massive margin. Rahm has been overshadowed by Scottie Scheffler of late, but he looked like the unquestioned best player in the world last summer and into the beginning of this year, and he is clearly the class of this field, notching a top-10 in 70 percent of his starts this season and leading the Tour in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. Another player in the field striking the ball well is Wise, who is gaining over three-quarters of a shot per round in the long game. His results haven't followed the stats just yet, as he lacks a top-15 finish this year. However, he was in contention in the final round of the RBC Heritage and also played well at Bay Hill. He should be able to take advantage of a weak field, making him a good target at 30-1 odds.

Outright Picks

Chris Kirk (35-1)

Given Rahm's short odds and some questionable options in the 20-1 range, it's hard to love any of the options at the top of the board. I'll pivot to Kirk, who is arguably the hottest golfer in the field. He has been trending upward since February, notching three top-15s over his last six starts – all against much better fields.

Matt Jones (55-1)

Jones' odds are pretty lofty considering the strength of field. The oddsmakers seem to have forgotten that he won on Tour last year and is coming off a T2 finish in his most recent start at the Valero Texas Open. Jones has been solid from tee to green, ranking 35th in that category over the course of the season and fifth in this week's field. He should find himself in contention with a good week on the greens. He has been above average on the putting surface throughout his career despite his struggles this season.

C.T. Pan (60-1)

Pan is one of those players who is easy to overlook because he doesn't stand out in any specific category. However, he also doesn't have any weaknesses, is a good iron player and is excellent around the green. He has one PGA Tour win to his name, medaled at the Olympics and had a top-10 at Riviera a couple months ago in a much better field.

Top-10 Wagers

Doug Ghim (5-1)

Ghim has shown himself to be a strong iron player over the past two seasons, ranking 21st in SG: Approach last season and 50th during the current campaign. He has also gained strokes in that category in four straight starts. He's made the cut a decent 11-of-16 times this season and recently recorded a top-10 at THE PLAYERS.

Adam Long (6-1)

Three of Long's five top-5 finishes on Tour have come in Mexico and on paspalum grass, which is the same surface he will see at Vidanta. Although he struggled through much of last season, he seems to be back in form, notching five top-25s in 18 events and posting a T12 result at the RBC Heritage in his most recent solo start.

Adam Svensson (10-1)

I love this number on the Canadian, who has a pair of top-10s this season and is one of the better iron players in the field. He has had trouble elevating his game against tougher competition, but in a weak field he should feel more at home, having won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour last season.  

Head-to-Head Matchups

Mark Hubbard (-110) over Russell Knox

Hubbard is a good target in matchups due to his consistency. He has made 7-of-10 cuts this season and has four top-25 finishes – the same as Knox, but in eight fewer starts. His four starts on the Korn Ferry Tour this year have all led to top-15 finishes, so he's clearly playing well. Outside of a top-10 at his home course of TPC Sawgrass, Knox has been fairly benign this season.

Scott Stallings (-120) over Chad Ramey

Stallings comes in as a slight favorite, but I'm willing to lay the extra juice, as he's a much better player than the PGA Tour rookie. Ramey is a short hitter, which will be a bigger disadvantage this week than usual, and Stallings also has the much better short game. Stallings has made three of his last four cuts and posted a pair of top-20 finishes during that stretch.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Pohle
Ryan Pohle breaks down golf bets and covers college basketball for RotoWire.
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