By Matt Youmans
VSiN senior editor
Similar to handicapping a horse race, the aim for most golf bettors is to beat the favorite. In this case, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth are co-favorites.
The Pebble Beach Pro-Am is one of the most picturesque stops on the PGA Tour. It’s also one of the most entertaining because of the celebrity personalities involved, including Bill Murray, Bill Belichick, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers. It’s a safe bet Murray will crack more jokes on the course than Belichick.
Spieth is a good bet to be in contention Sunday. He has three Top 10s in three starts in 2017, and he’s going to win again, sooner or later. But he’s becoming a tease, testing the patience of his betting backers on a weekly basis. Spieth was a disappointment last year relative to high expectations. Still, he’s close.
Instead of playing Spieth or Johnson at 8-1, take a look at the 12-1 odds on Justin Rose, who tees off Thursday with playing partner Justin Timberlake.
Rose is off to a strong start on the West Coast swing. He finished second at the Sony Open in Hawaii in mid-January and followed with a tie for fourth at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. A year ago, he finished sixth at Pebble Beach.
“Rose has got good form, and I think people are kind of overlooking him,” said golf handicapper Wes Reynolds, who posts his plays on Twitter @WesReynolds1.
Rose, who putts well on Pebble Beach’s slower greens and is a steady player in windy conditions, is one of Reynolds’ best bets this week on the California coast. Reynolds’ long-shot plays are Shane Lowry (50-1), Adam Hadwin (50-1) and J.J. Spaun (60-1).
“It’s a tough one for me to handicap because of the three-course rotation and a lot of weather elements,” Westgate sports book manager Jeff Sherman said. “It’s a nice top-heavy field. I would look beyond the top guys.”
Sherman’s futures recommendations are J.B. Holmes (30-1) and Cameron Smith (100-1). He also played Spieth to beat Jason Day in a head-to-head matchup.
“I like the way Spieth has started this season,” Sherman said. “Day seems like he’s still trying to find his game after taking a lengthy break.”
Keep an eye on Jon Rahm, who earned his first PGA Tour win at Torrey Pines two weeks ago, and Brandt Snedeker, who won at Pebble Beach in 2013 and 2015.
Best bets: Rose (12-1), Snedeker (15-1), Rahm (20-1).