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Yes, you’ve clicked on a golf piece here, but I need to ask a few football questions first.
Are you planning to bet the upcoming Super Bowl? (Silly question, of course you are.) One week ahead of time, are you leaning a certain way? (Sure you are.) Are you good with getting -110 odds against the spread? (You’d better be, because that’s how it works.)
I ask each of these questions for a reason.
When it comes to a golf tournament, getting a player at even-money feels like a sucker bet. I have often written that I can’t get excited for any favorite who’s single-digit odds pre-tourney. Those numbers change, of course, as an event progresses — sometimes to the point where a player is even-money, essentially turning into a “leader or the field” wager.
Such is the case entering the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open, as 2017 champion Jon Rahm leads by one stroke over Ryan Palmer and three over the next closest contender after a third-round 65.
My gut reaction in these circumstances is that I’ve seen too many wacky back-nine stretches to make this kind of even-money bet.
Then again, my gut reaction in this instance is that Rahm is 18 holes away from winning this tournament again, asserting himself as one of the world’s best players and perhaps signaling the start of a major championship-winning season.
Moral of the story? While I don’t usually like such a short price, we should think of it in these terms: Are you more confident in Rahm winning this title than in either the Chiefs or 49ers next Sunday? If the answer is yes, there’s no reason not to bet this one if you’re going to bet that one.
Let’s get to my favorite head-to-head bets for the final round (groups will play in threesomes on Sunday).
Tiger Woods (-135) over J.B. Holmes and Tom Hoge — How can we take advantage of Tiger’s Torrey Pines prowess without betting him to come back and win from a five-stroke deficit? By taking him against his Sunday playing partners. He’s still the obvious favorite here, but betting him against two others instead of just one will help the odds.
Maverick McNealy (+220) over Sungjae Im and Kevin Streelman — The reigning rookie of the year, Im isn’t a guy we like to fade very often, due to his overall consistency. On Sunday, though, he’ll find himself matched up against a potential rookie of the year candidate for this season — and McNealy’s ball-striking has been tremendous this week. I like him to keep it going as the underdog in this one.