U.S. Open

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Betting Analysis

AT&T Pebble Beach 2021 experts picks: Our bold Jordan Spieth predictions


Jed Jacobsohn

You’ll have to forgive us, but this paragraph will be dedicated to some quick gloating. Two of our experts—Pat Mayo and Christopher Powers—touted Brooks Koepka at 55-1 in this column last week. At those odds, Koepka was technically a dark horse, but as the four-time major champion showed late on Sunday, he should never, ever be considered a dark horse as long as he has a pulse.

Hopefully, you took our advice and made some bank, but we know we’re only as good as this week’s picks. Just like golf itself, picking winners is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately game, but we’re confident we can keep on building your bank roll—like we did last season, with our experts going up more than 200 units, and now we’re starting to catch fire.

Our experts’ picks this week like every week includes an anonymous tour caddie reporting live from the range (for a top-50 player, we can say that!); plus data scientists Rick Gehman (RickRunGood.com); Pat Mayo (Fantasy National, DraftKings and Mayo Media Network); Brandon Gdula (numberFire and FanDuel); and Lee Alldrick (FanShareSports.com).

This week, two of our experts are buying into the Jordan Spieth hype. Maybe he can channel the redemption narrative like Koepka did last week and earn a win in friendly confines. We also have experts fading Spieth, too. So scroll down for our complete analysis of this year’s AT&T Pebble Beach.

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AT&T Pebble Beach 2021 expert picks: Our Experts’ Outright Predictions (Odds from FanDuel)

Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Will Zalatoris (19-1) — He’s going to win on tour. In this weak field, this might be his time. He’s on form, and I saw a quote from Torrey where he said he loved putting on Poa annua, having played a lot of golf at Cal Club growing up. The kid is hungry, and even though Pebble is a big-time venue, it’ll be easier to get that first win if he’s competing against some lesser-known names down the stretch.

Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Francesco Molinari (23-1) — If we’re discussing favorites, the cut off in this field on the odds board is probably the Italian. After punting 2020, Molinari has two top-10s to open the year and now gets a course that fits his historic skill set. If he can continue rolling his putter at an above field pace, the opportunities won’t be an issue because he’ll have the wedges dialed in.

Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Daniel Berger (14-1) — I’ve been a week early on Reed and (almost) Schauffele the past two weeks, so I’m going to stick with Berger not just from that angle but because what I liked last week is true again—this time in a weaker field. Berger boasts the best adjusted strokes gained data since 2020 in my model among this field and is elite everywhere, including when putting on poa greens (83rd percentile among this field), based on data from FantasyNational.com. He has two top-10s here and made the cut at the US Open in 2019 at Pebble.

Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Daniel Berger (14-1) — DJ’s WD has left a crater in this field, and Berger is the most logical to step in and fill it. Without DJ, Berger has the best total strokes-gained average (1.44 per round) of anyone in this field since the restart. Not only is he solid in every single category, but his short game is excellent. With the small greens at Pebble Beach, getting up and down is going to be critical. Berger doesn’t have much room to improve on his T-5 from last year, but he will certainly try.

Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Jordan Spieth (23-1) — Call me a sucker. But it wasn’t the electric third-round 61 that has roped me in. It’s his ball-striking numbers. He gained 7.1 strokes/approach last week. The last time he gained more than five strokes on approach? At Pebble Beach last year, where he gained 5.2 strokes/approach en route to a T-9 finish. This is as comfortable a venue to him as any—including a W in 2017 and three other top-10s. At 23-1 or better, I don’t think it’s a sucker’s bet.

Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Jason Day (21-1) — For course history suckers like myself, Pebble week is THE ultimate course history week. Perhaps no one outside of Phil Mickelson in this field has better course history than J-Day, who, believe it or not, hasn’t actually won at Pebble Beach. He has, however, finished fifth or better in five of his past six AT&Ts, and the only time during that stretch that he didn’t finish fifth or better, he still posted an 11th. In addition to that, he has two other top sixes here. I’m ignoring that he’s missed three out of his last four cuts and buying into the horse for the course narrative. Day gets his first win since 2018 this week. Book it.

Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Jordan Spieth (23-1) — The only apparent problem with Spieth’s game right now appears to be his driving. Luckily, Pebble Beach is so short the driver isn’t needed too often at all this week. Therefore it is not surprising to see that Spieth ranks 12th in FanShare’s course-suitability ranking this week. His game has been pretty solid of late, too, ranking eighth for Opportunities Gained in this field over the past two months.

Results from last season: Golf Digest's betting panel predicted 14 winners correctly last season, and collectively on outright winners, top-10 bets and matchups won and lost, our panel went up 225.30 units (the equivalent of being up $2,253 if you wagered $10 on all of our bets) last season. Last week, as mentioned, Powers and Mayo both hit Brooks Koepka (55-1) for our first big hit in this column in 2021. At the end of 2020, our anonymous tour caddie nailed Viktor Hovland (25-1), and Brandon Gdula of numberFire/FanDuel correctly picked Patrick Cantlay at the Zozo Championship (30-1). Of course, Powers also predicted Bryson DeChambeau (28-1 at the U.S. Open)—picking up the momentum we had in the 2019-’20 season. Be sure to check this column every week for picks from the hottest betting panel in golf!

AT&T Pebble Beach 2021 expert picks: Sleepers/Dark Horses Who Could Win (odds from FanDuel)

Caddie: Alex Noren (50-1) — He will win in the States. He’s just simply too good not to. He’s a fighter and solid ball-striker. Like most of the guys, it’ll be whether or not he can manage the difficult and bumpy Poa annua greens.


Icon Sportswire

Mayo: Nate Lashley (180-1) — Nasty Nate (above) secretly loves Pebble Beach Golf Links. Which is a bonus since three of the four rounds will be played on that layout this year. In this specific event, he’s gaining more than a stroke on the field on average with his irons (in three rounds), and was actually sixth among all players at the 2019 US Open, gaining 6.6 strokes. So that, plus he’s coming off a week where he was sixth in approach in Phoenix, and I really like this bet. This event has been kind to longshots in the past, and at least Lashley has a win under his belt on tour already.

Gdula: Joel Dahmen (75-1) — Dahmen sits in the 93rd percentile in SG/off the tee and in the 79th percentile in SG/approach since 2020, according to my data. The issue is always the short game for him, but Poa is actually his best putting surface, per FantasyNational.com. That doesn’t mean he’s good on it, but he could lead a field like this in SG/tee-to-green. His three missed cuts are a little inflated based on his performance, and he finished 14th here last year.

Gehman: Sam Burns (37-1) — If you’re betting longshots, you want guys with incredibly high ceilings and that’s exactly what Burns has shown in 2021. Per the RickRunGood.com golf database, Burns has gained at least 3.5 strokes in a single round on four (!!) different occasions this year. The only golfers to match that feat: Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and Si Woo Kim. His problem has been putting all four rounds together, but having a ceiling that high is step one to winning a golf tournament as a longshot.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Brendan Steele (75-1) — Steele is hitting the ball as well as anyone in this field. As Gehman points out in our DFS column this week, the three-time PGA Tour winner led the field in strokes gained/off the tee last week and was third tee to green. He’s hungry for another win after that blown 54-hole lead at the Sony.

Powers, Golf Digest: Harold Varner III (70-1) — HV3’s only career start at AT&T came last year, and it resulted in a MC. But, he did open with a 67 at Pebble. If he can just grind out a decent round at Spyglass, he should get three cracks at Pebble, which suits his strengths: elite approach and tee-to-green play and a solid short game. He gained nearly five strokes on approach and seven strokes tee-to-green last week en route to a 13th, his fourth top-15 in his past 10 starts. The overall game is there, he just needs to have a great putting week to finally get that first win.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Nate Lashley (180-1) — Lashley comes into this event off of a solid 17th-place finish last week and ranks 23rd for Opportunities Gained over the past two months, per FantasyNational.com. With being the fourth-best putter on Poa greens in the field, he should give himself plenty of chances if keeps hitting it well.

AT&T Pebble Beach 2021 expert picks: Players to Fade This Week (who will disappoint)

Caddie: Paul Casey (18-1) — In predicting golf tournaments, I’m a firm believer in finding guys who are in form and have a solid history where they are playing. Casey has played several times this year and has been on form each time. He’s coming off a win two weeks ago in Dubai and has putted much better so far. But … and it’s a big but: I think he’ll be feeling the effects of a long stretch in the Middle East and a busy schedule.

Mayo: Paul Casey (18-1) — I love Paul Casey. I don’t love Paul Casey at this price, even in a weak field. Although he claimed a title overseas two weeks ago, his win rate just isn’t high enough to justify these odds.


Michael Reaves

Gdula: Paul Casey (18-1) — Casey won in Dubai while dominating tee to green and then followed up well with a 12th in Saudi Arabia, but he has to travel back for this week’s event and is at his worst when putting on Poa. He has two top-10s at this event but lacks the high-end short game needed at that number even in this field.

Gehman: Phil Mickelson (47-1) — It seems silly to fade a guy who has won this tournament five different times and hasn’t finished worse than third in each of the last three years. The problem, however, is that Mickelson has so many holes to plug at the moment. He ranks outside the top 115 in each of the four major strokes-gained categories and is a staggering 206th in total strokes-gained this season. There is only one golfer on the tour, with at least 20 rounds, who has missed more fairways than Mickelson (Jimmy Walker). It’s difficult to find any bright spot at the moment.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Patrick Cantlay (7-1) — This is just a massive price at an event where longshots tend to pop—I’d much rather spend my money down the board on some fliers.

Powers, Golf Digest: Jordan Spieth (23-1) — Prior to last week’s turnaround, the guy had drifted all the way to triple-digit odds and was at risk of dropping outside of the top 100 in the OWGR. We’re all here for the Spieth comeback—the game is ELECTRIC when he did what he did last Saturday—but I’m not ready to start backing him at these odds. Let’s see him consistently contend and then we’ll talk.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Patrick Cantlay (7-1) — Cantlay is the biggest favorite this week, however, he ranks outside the top 60 for total strokes-gained at Pebble Beach, strokes-gained/putting on Poa and opportunities gained over the last two months.

AT&T Pebble Beach 2021 expert picks: Matchups

Caddie: Daniel Berger (-136) over Paul Casey (DraftKings) — On paper this doesn’t make much sense with Berger missing the cut in Phoenix and Casey coming off a great Middle East trip. However, Berger is a hard worker who will fix what went wrong last week, and he’ll be hungry to get back after it. I just believe Casey will be too exhausted to play at his normally high level.

Mayo: Cameron Davis (-125) over Sam Burns (DraftKings) — Burns has flashed an amazing ceiling over the past year, but his floor is almost non-existent. He’s very prone to the blow-up round. And if that happens one of the first two days, the consistent Cam Davis will just cruise past him into the weekend.

Gdula: Ryan Moore (-118) over Branden Grace (FanDuel) — Moore has missed four straight cuts but has fine tee-to-green data in them. He was a disaster last week with the putter and is a 70th-percentile putter on Poa over the past 100 rounds among this field. Grace is in the 20th percentile. My data has Moore around half a shot better per round than Grace since 2020.

Gehman: Alex Noren (+100) over Rickie Fowler (DraftKings) — Fowler has been stifled by swing changes for over a year and now appears to be losing confidence in his putter. He tinkered and went back to a blade style putter on Friday at the Waste Management before missing the cut. That’s rarely a sign of a confident player. Noren is an absolute grinder who can lean on his short game around Pebble Beach. He should be able to hold things together if they start to go sideways.

Hennessey: Matt Jones (+105) over Rickie Fowler (BetMGM) — Rickie’s without a top 10 in more than a year (since January 2020) and missed the cut at one of his favorite events (WMPO) last week, whereas Matt Jones hasn’t missed a cut in eight events. Jones finished fourth in the fall in Bermuda, another seaside venue that can get windy, just like what they expect on the weekend at Pebble. The Aussie also finished fifth here last year. Fading Rickie has been profitable lately, and I’ll keep riding it.


Jamie Squire

Powers: Alex Noren (+100) over Rickie Fowler (DraftKings) — At his favorite tour stop last week, Rickie Fowler still could not conjure up any magic, missing the cut by three shots. He is hitting the ball much better, but the putter has gone ice cold. I don’t see him fixing that on Pebble’s bumpy Poa greens, his least favorite putting surface. Noren (above), meanwhile, has gained strokes/putting in eight of his past 11 starts.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Jordan Spieth (-125) over Si Woo Kim (Betfair) — As you can see above, Spieth is my favorite to win this week. Kim on the other hand struggles at Pebble Beach. He ranks just 75th for total strokes gained at Pebble largely due to his poor putting on Poa greens.

Matchup results from the Waste Management: Powers: 1 for 1 (Sam Burns (+105) over Gary Woodland); Alldrick: 1 for 1 (Burns (+100) over Si Woo Kim); Mayo: 1 for 1 (John Huh (-110) over Chris Kirk); Hennessey: 1 for 1 (Bubba Watson (-118) over Ryan Palmer); Everybody: Caddie and Gehman: pushed (JT/Rahm); Gdula: 0 for 1.

Matchup Results this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Alldrick: 13-4-0 (up 7.87 units); Hennessey: 9-6-1 (up 2.05 units); Powers: 7-6-4 (up 0.57 units); Gdula: 9-8-0 (up 0.29 units); Gehman: 5-10-2 (down 4.28 units); Mayo: 6-10-1 (down 4.32 units); Caddie: 4-12-2 (down 5.82 units).

AT&T Pebble Beach 2021 expert picks: Top 10 (odds from DraftKings Sportsbook)

Caddie: Kevin Streelman (+400) — Kevin has great history at Pebble Beach with three consecutive top 10s. He’s been playing solid each week and with Monterey Peninsula out of the rotation this year, ball striking will become that much more Important.

Mayo: Chris Baker (+2800) — Chris Baker the birdie maker should be at home at a shorter course. Per Fantasy National, over the past 24 rounds, Baker rates out top 10 in the field in both driving and approach, and he has a T-38 here from a year ago—on the strength of excellent iron and putting.

Gdula: Brian Harman (+400) — Harman ranks fifth in long-term adjusted form since 2020 in my database among this field, and he just has the right fit for a top 10 here. He’s a 97th-percentile Poa putter relative to this field and is in the 76th percentile or better in adjusted SG/off-the-tee and around-the-green. There’s a lack of Pebble data in his profile, but he’s at a good number for a top-10 finish.

Gehman: Kevin Streelman (+400) — Streelman is such a horse for this course—currently on a five-year stretch with no finish worse than T-17. Last year’s runner-up was his best finish in that span and he was one of the best ball-strikers in Phoenix last week. He’s in great form, heading to a place he loves—sign me up.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Scott Stallings (+800) — I was forced to watch a lot of Scott Stallings on Saturday morning as he played with one of the PGA Tour Live featured groups. And his ball-striking was on—he just couldn’t putt. Stallings tends to play well at Pebble—a third-place, seventh- and a 14th place in three of the past four years. He’s gained strokes tee to green in his past three starts even though the results aren’t there, maybe he puts it together this week.

Powers, Golf Digest: Ted Potter Jr. (+1600) — If you’re not betting TPJ in some capacity on Pebble week, you’re simply doing it wrong. After missing 10 consecutive cuts, he’s made his last two, including an 18th at Torrey Pines. He’s gained strokes around-the-green and on approach both times, and he gained nearly six strokes putting at Torrey. Great Poa putter, great Pebble player (win in 2018, 16th in 2013).

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Kevin Streelman (+400) — Streelman’s stats have been excellent at Pebble Beach. He ranks second for total strokes-gained at Pebble over those that have played more than 10 rounds here. Ranked 59th in the world, Streelman comes into this event ranked 22nd for SG/tee-to-green over the last two months and 14th for Opportunities Gained.

Top-10 results from the Waste Management: Everybody: 0 for 1.

Top-10 results from this season: Gehman: 6 for 17 (up 21.1 units); Mayo: 2 for 17 (down 2 units); Powers: 1 for 17 (down 3 units); Tour caddie: 2 for 17 (down 11.95 units); Hennessey: 1 for 17 (down 13 units); Alldrick: 0 for 16 (down 16 units); Gdula: 0 for 17 (down 17 units).

AT&T Pebble Beach 2021 expert picks: One and Done selections

Gehman: Jason Day — Jason Day is such a natural fit for Pebble Beach, considering his results at this event and the lack of desire to really use him at another event. He’s done everything but win at this tournament, notching (seven) top 10s in 11 starts and finishing no worse than T-11 in any of his last six trips. The departure of Dustin Johnson has really opened up this field, making Day much more appealing by the minute.

Previous weeks: Safeway Open: Joel Dahmen; U.S. Open: Jon Rahm; Corales: Denny McCarthy. Sanderson: Sebastian Munoz. Shriners: Matthew Wolff. CJ Cup: Xander Schauffele. Zozo: Bubba Watson. Bermuda: Rasmus Hojgaard. Houston: Lanto Griffin. Masters: Rory McIlroy. RSM: Webb Simpson. Sentry TOC: Patrick Reed. Sony: Abraham Ancer. AMEX: Patrick Cantlay. Torrey: Jon Rahm. Waste Management: Webb Simpson

Hennessey: Francesco Molinari — This is a brutal one-and-done week. I will probably go with J-Day, too, but I’m seeing Powers and Gehman both picked him—so I’ll give you guys another option. I would go back to Berger, whom I burned in one of my four OADs, and gave out here last week (sorry). I’ll go with the Italian—fresh off two top-10 finishes. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he won, and I trust his consistency a bit more than Spieth, or else I’d go Spieth here.

Previous weeks: Safeway Open: Phil Mickelson; U.S. Open: Hideki Matsuyama; Corales: Adam Long. Sanderson: Sam Burns. Shriners: Harris English. CJ Cup: Kevin Na. Zozo: Joaquin Niemann. Bermuda: Doc Redman. Houston: Russell Henley. Masters: Tyrrell Hatton. RSM: Brian Harman. Sentry TOC: Justin Thomas. Sony: Ryan Palmer. AMEX: Scottie Scheffler. Torrey: Sungjae Im. Waste Management: Daniel Berger.

Powers: Jason Day — If you haven’t used Jason Day yet, you’d be an absolute fool to not use him here. And it’s not like you’re saving him. Would love to see him contend in a major again, but there are so many other guys I’ll be looking at before him for the four big ones. Use him here, take your T-3 finish and like it.

Previous weeks: Safeway Open: Brendan Steele; U.S. Open: Louis Oosthuizen; Corales: Adam Long. Sanderson: Sam Burns. Shriners: Jason Kokrak. CJ Cup: Daniel Berger. Zozo: Joaquin Niemann. Bermuda: Denny McCarthy. Houston: Russell Henley. Masters: Bubba Watson. RSM: Brian Harman. Mayakoba: Corey Conners. Sentry TOC: Harris English. Sony: Zach Johnson. AMEX: Matthew Wolff. Torrey: Tony Finau. Waste Management: Sungjae Im.

By The Numbers:

Courtesy of Rick Gehman of RickRunGood.com:

7.85 The number of strokes gained on approach last week by Jordan Spieth. That was best in the field and the most by Spieth in a single tournament since the 2018 Houston Open (8.66).

112.5 — The number of DraftKings points scored by Matthew NeSmith last week, the second most in his career.

73 — The number of times that Pebble Beach Golf Links has played host to this event—every year since 1947.

265 (-22) — The tournament scoring record set by Brandt Snedeker in 2015 en route to his second title at this event.

About our experts

Pat Mayo is an award-winning video host and producer of long and short-form content, owner of the Mayo Media Network and host of The Pat Mayo Experience. (Subscribe for video or audio. Mayo (@ThePME) won the 2020 Fantasy Sports Writing Association Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year and Golf Writer of the Year awards, along with the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Best Sports Betting Analyst award, and was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year). His 21 FSWA nominations lead all writers this decade and are third-most all-time. Mayo is on the board of governors at www.fantasynational.com.

Brandon Gdula, managing editor and analyst for NumberFire, a FanDuel daily-fantasy analysis company, recently won the 2018 fantasy sports-writers association Golf Writer of the Year *(congrats, Brandon!)*. Gdula also co-hosts the DFS Heat Check podcast.

Rick Gehman is the founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.

Lee Alldrick of FanShare Sports started out writing an article highlighting the best bargain plays for fantasy golf under his twitter handle @DKGolfBargains. His success at this prompted FanShare Sports to enlist him as a guest writer, which evolved into him writing the weekly Under The Radar article. As a U.K.-based expert, Alldrick’s insight into European Tour regulars and low priced, low owned plays has provided an invaluable edge for readers when it comes to DFS GPPs.