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Waste Management Phoenix Open picks 2022: Justin Thomas is due

February 08, 2022
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We’re now getting into the meat of the early portion of the 2022 PGA Tour schedule, and the Waste Management Phoenix Open could not have arrived a moment too soon for the gambling community. No more three-course rotation, no more Pro-Ams, no more “shot 1 from tee box.” Four rounds, all at the same course, with an elite field. Cherish these moments.

Last week, our experts came so, so close to hitting a second straight winner. Pat Mayo was on Jordan Spieth (solo second) and Brandon Gdula was on Seamus Power (36-hole leader, finished T-9). Unfortunately, second and T-9 results do not cash outright tickets.

But there’s no debating that we’re on the right track, and we’ll be doing our best to stay hot in the desert. Speaking of staying hot, Justin Thomas, who has four top-five finishes in his last seven starts, is looking to cash in on this strong run of form in the form of a win at TPC Scottsdale, where he owns a strong record that’s missing only one thing – a win. Two of our experts believe JT is due.

Scroll down to see who else we like this week at the 2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Waste Management Phoenix Open picks 2022: Our experts' outright predictions

Anonymous Caddie Picker of the week: Justin Thomas (10-1, DraftKings) — JT’s record here the past three years is matched by few. If it weren’t for 72s on Sunday in 2019 and 2021, he’d have at least one win. He’s one of the best drivers, a top-five iron player—and he’s proven he likes these greens. Give me JT at almost double the odds of Rahm on this course.

Pat Mayo, DraftKings/Fantasy National, Mayo Media Network analyst: Hideki Matsuyama (14-1, DraftKings) — Already a two-time winner in Phoenix, Matsuyama’s tee-to-green game is nearing peak levels once again. Like always, it’s going to come down to his flat stick. Can he not lose so many strokes he can still claim victory? Normally, that bet would be, no. Over the last year, it’s still usually no, but his tee-to-green play is so strong that if you luck into a solid putting week, he’s probably going to win.

Brandon Gdula, FanDuel/numberFire managing editor: Sam Burns (33-1, FanDuel) — Burns has started 2022 cold, compared to how he ended 2021, and while his two underwhelming showings did come with poor iron play, the larger sample is fantastic for him. That’s led to a drop in his odds and value for us as bettors.

Rick Gehman, data scientist and RickRunGood.com founder: Justin Thomas (10-1, DraftKings) — Thomas is basically the walking blueprint of how to win golf tournaments in the modern game. He’s elite with his approach play, gaining multiple strokes in that category in seven of his last eight measured starts. He’s the fifth-best approach player on tour in the last 50 rounds, gaining 0.80 strokes per round – per the RickRunGood.com golf database. His inconsistencies with the putter are actually a good thing and he doesn’t need to lead the field in putting to win. Now he’ll look to continue the good vibes in Scottsdale, where he has four straight top 20s with two top-three finishes.

Stephen Hennessey, Golf Digest dep. managing editor: Viktor Hovland (19-1, Bet365) — The disrespect to the third-ranked player in the world is mind-boggling to me. The guy has three wins in his past five starts … all at desert courses. And you know he’s hungry for another PGA Tour victory. Frankly, it would be more surprising to me if he’s not in the mix on Sunday.

Christopher Powers, Golf Digest assistant editor: Scottie Scheffler (29-1, FanDuel) — Scheffler’s had a quiet start to 2022, well, quiet by his standards. He’s still managed back-to-back top 25s at AMEX and Farmers, the latter of which he gained 5.9 strokes tee-to-green and 5.7 on approach in. If he builds on that at TPC Scottsdale, where he tied for seventh a year ago, you have to love his chances at a long-awaited breakthrough.

Lee Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Jon Rahm (+750, Caesars Sportsbook) — Rahm comes into this event ranked sixth in the FanShareSports Course Suitability Ranking. He also ranks first in the field for SG/Total over the last two years and over the last two months.

Past results: Golf Digest's betting panel had another strong season in 2020-’21, correctly predicting 14 winners in the last 28 events of the year. We’re already off to a hot start in the new season, too, with Pat Mayo correctly predicting Luke List’s victory at Torrey Pines at 70-1 in our “Sleepers/Dark Horses” section. Rick Gehman also hit Sam Burns (16-1) at the Sanderson Farms Championship in the fall, as well as Viktor Hovland (19-1) at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. Brandon Gdula also hit on Hovland at Mayakoba, and Stephen Hennessey cashed on Hideki Matsuyama (12-1) at the Zozo Championship.

Waste Management Phoenix Open picks 2022: Sleepers/Dark horses who could win

Caddie: Louis Oosthuizen (46-1, Bet365) — I know we haven’t seen Louie since the fall, but we’re talking about one of the top-10 elite players in the world at a longshot type of price. He’s still looking for that first win, and maybe this won’t be the week, but I think the price is right.

Mayo: Abraham Ancer (55-1, DraftKings) — 2022 hasn’t started quite like Ancer would have wanted, but there are signs of life now. After a disaster at the year-opener Tournament of Champions, he missed the cut at Sony and followed it up with a T-40 at AMEX. The thing is, the ball striking has been fine, his flat stick has sunk him. Ancer isn’t the world’s greatest putter but this has been brutal, even for him. And really, he seemed to turn his flat stick fortunes around last week in Saudi, churning out a T-8 in a much stronger field than at Pebble Beach. It’s just, no one noticed.

Gdula: Aaron Wise (90-1, FanDuel) — Wise knocked off the rust at the Farmers with a missed cut that he was poor tee to green in his only measured round. That’s not enough to override his strong splits over the past year. He’s a value play at 90-1.

Gehman: Matt Kuchar (100-1, DraftKings) — Last week’s missed cut ended a streak of five straight cuts made for Kuchar who has been playing much better to start this season. His ability to hit fairways (top 25 in fairways hit on tour) will put him in prime position to play into the greens at TPC Scottsdale. Kuchar hasn’t missed this cut in this event for five straight years and he has four top 20s during that stretch.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Mito Pereira (150-1, BetRivers) — Last year, Mito was one of the better ball-strikers on the PGA Tour, albeit in some weaker fields. He’s got off to a slow start this year, but his numbers still put him as a top-15 player in this field in terms of off the tee and approach over the past 36 rounds, per Fantasy National. This number is just too good to pass up.

Powers, Golf Digest: Matt Kuchar (100-1, DraftKings) — Admittedly, Rick stole my thunder on this one, which is always a good sign. That brief sign of life at Sony on the back of a solid run of form in the fall was all I needed to see to start blindly backing Kuch again, especially at triple-digit odds at a course he loves.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Denny McCarthy (120-1, FanDuel) — McCarthy comes into this event ranked eighth in this field for SG/Putting on fast, Bermuda greens over the last two years so it’s not surprising to see he also ranks fourth in the FanShareSports Course Suitability Ranking. McCarthy’s form is excellent too, ranking sixth in this field for SG/Total over the last two months.

Waste Management Phoenix Open 2022 picks: Players we're fading

Caddie: Xander Schauffele (20-1, DraftKings) — Besides some flashes from Xander at Kapalua, he’s been pretty quiet. I think he’s figuring out his game … and I doubt the jet lag from Saudi will help.

Mayo: Patrick Cantlay (16-1, DraftKings) — I’m so rarely a fan of Cantlay on the back end of consecutive tournaments. I can’t imagine the crowd reaction on No. 16 when it takes him 74 minutes to line up a six-inch putt.

Gdula: Brooks Koepka (27-1, FanDuel) — Koepka’s number should be longer if not for the two wins he’s had at TPC Scottsdale. The current form should have his odds closer to the 40s at best.

Gehman: Tony Finau (35-1, DraftKings) — In a field this deep, Finau struggles to stand out. To start the calendar year, Finau has a T-19 at the Tournament of Champions (field of 38), a T-40 at The American Express, a missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open and a T-28 in Saudi Arabia. That’s not particularly noteworthy when you start comparing the recent form of his peers. Going back further, since his win in August, Finau is gaining just 0.15 strokes per round to the field. That’s worse than Luke Donald, Brendan Steele and Matthew NeSmith to name a few. That doesn’t reconcile when you look at his price this week.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Daniel Berger (25-1, DraftKings) — I doubt anyone is spending their hard-earned cash on someone who’s been battling an injury and WD’d at the last minute from Pebble Beach last week defending his title. But for those not paying close attention, there are a lot of better ways to spend your money this week.

Powers, Golf Digest: Patrick Cantlay (16-1, DraftKings) — He finally cooled off on Sunday at Pebble and I’d imagine it’s going to be tough to get right back on the horse in Arizona. Cantlay hasn’t played back-to-back weeks since August.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Patrick Cantlay (16-1, DraftKings) — Cantlay may be on fire right now but his putting on fast Bermuda raises enough question marks to avoid him this week. He ranks just 112th in the field this week for SG/Putting on fast, Bermuda over the last two years. This plays a big part in why he also ranks just 46th in the FanShareSports Course Suitability Ranking this week.

Waste Management Phoenix Open picks 2022: Matchups

Caddie: Scottie Scheffler (-110) over Xander Schauffele (PointsBet) — Scheffler, like Xander, had a top finish at TPC Scottsdale last year. But Scheffler seems to be trending toward earning that first victory. I don’t think Xander’s game’s quite there. I like Scheffler’s chances of contending and having a top finish much better than Xander’s.

Mayo: Max Homa (-110) over Denny McCarthy (DraftKings) — Maybe McCarthy can putt his way to the win, but Scottsdale is a course which prioritizes ball striking over short game. And, on paper, this is one of the larger mismatches on the market.

Gdula: Patrick Cantlay (-105) over Viktor Hovland (FOX Bet) — My model likes Cantlay as high as -130 in this head-to-head matchup over Hovland. Cantlay’s consistency really pushes him over the edge in this one.

Gehman: Webb Simpson (-120) over Seamus Power (DraftKings) — Simpson won this event in 2020, marking his fifth top-10 finish over his last nine trips to Phoenix. Last season was a struggle for Simpson, as he failed to earn a top-three finish for the first time since 2010. However, he still finished 12th in SG/Total for the season. In a down year! Now we are starting to see signs of improvement as we travel to one of the best spots on tour to deploy Simpson.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Talor Gooch (-111) over Abraham Ancer (Bet365) — Gooch is probably a top 10 ball-striker in this field at the moment, and I’m not sure we can say the same about Ancer. Gooch is making birdies at a higher rate and his approach play over the past 36 rounds is significantly better than Ancer’s. At even odds, I think there’s definitely value here.

Powers, Golf Digest: Abraham Ancer (+100) over Harold Varner III (DraftKings) — Amazing, amazing win for HV3 in Saudi last week, but I’m betting on a natural letdown off the Sunday of his life and a bounce back from Abe here.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Russell Henley (-115) over Matthew Fitzpatrick (Bet365) — As you’ll see in the Top 10s section, I’m a massive fan of Henley this week. Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, comes into this event ranked just 61st in our FanShare Sports Course Suitability Ranking and will be playing TPC Scottsdale for the first time.

Matchup Results from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Caddie: 1 for 1 (Bezuidenhout (-111) over Palmer); Mayo: 1 for 1 (Merritt (+105) over Palmer); Gdula: 1 for 1 (Hughes (-105) over Pereira); Gehman: 0 for 1; Hennessey: 0 for 1; Powers: 0 for 1; Alldrick: 0 for 1

Matchup Results from this season (Wins-Losses-Pushes): Mayo: 11-2-2 (up 8.35 units); Powers: 10-4-1 (up 5.75 units); Caddie: 8-6-1 (up 1.71 units); Hennessey: 6-8-1 (down 4.61 units); Alldrick: 5-9-1 (down 4.82 units); Gdula: 5-10-0 (down 5.32 units); Gehman: 3-10-2 (down 7.49 units)

Waste Management Phoenix Open picks 2022: Top 10s

Caddie: Aaron Wise (+700, Bet365) — Wise had a great stretch to end the year—with two top-10s at desert courses in Vegas and a top-15 in Mexico. He’s shaken the rust off with two starts thus far … if he has truly improved as a putter, he could definitely get within earshot of the lead here.

Mayo: Bubba Watson (+300, DraftKings) — TPC Scottsdale is Bubba’s best track where he’s never collected a win. He’s finished inside the top 10 two of the past three years, and five times in the last decade. It’s always tough to gauge his form, but a solo second in Saudi last week shows he’s still lurking on leaderboards.

Gdula: Webb Simpson (+360, FanDuel) — Webb, now healthy, has his game trending back up. He is a former winner here with five top-10 finishes in 10 tries.

Gehman: Russell Knox (+1100, DraftKings) — Knox has struggled with consistency, but that helps lengthen his odds here. He’s made the cut in three of his last four events and earned a T-7 at the Sony Open earlier this year. His strength is his iron-play, ranking fourth in this field in SG/Approach over the last 20 rounds, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. He has three top-16 finishes in his six trips to Scottsdale, so there is certainly a comfort level around this course.

Hennessey, Golf Digest: Russell Henley (+475, Bet365) — It will be tough to resist betting Henley outright … he’s second in SG/approach and third in Opportunities Gained over the past 36 rounds, per Fantasy National. It’s the putter you worry about with Russ. But we’ve seen bad putters do well here in the past, so maybe that’s in Henley’s benefit! Ball-striking wise, he’s a great course fit.

Powers, Golf Digest: Ryan Moore (+3000, DraftKings) — An out of left field mega bomb, seemingly. But Moore but together two strong rounds last week at Pebble and Monterey Peninsula, and has great history at TPC Scottsdale, albeit all between 2009 and 2016. The real kicker, though, as my friend @Sundogmonkey pointed out on Twitter, is that Moore has two starts left on his medical extension and needs around 80 FedEx Cup points in those two starts or else he gets demoted to conditional status. In other words, he needs a good week, which does not guarantee a good week, of course.

Alldrick, FanShare Sports: Russell Henley (+360, FanDuel) — Henley’s recent form is electric. He ranks third in the field for Opportunities Gained over the last two months and first for Opportunities Gained. His long term form is also excellent, ranking seventh in this field for SG/Total over the last two years.

Top-10 results from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Alldrick: 1 for 1 (Troy Merritt +900); Gehman: 1 for 1 (Tom Hoge +550); Gdula: 1 for 1 (Seamus Power +240); Everybody else: 0 for 1

Top-10 results from this season: Powers: 5 for 15 (up 17.75 units); Alldrick: 3 for 15 (up 10 units); Gehman: 4 for 15 (up 5.7 units); Mayo: 2 for 15 (up 1.45 units); Hennessey: 4 for 15 (up 0.47 units); Caddie: 4 for 15 (down 4.15 units); Gdula: 1 for 15 (down 11.6 units)

Waste Management Phoenix Open picks 2022: One and Done



Gehman: Viktor Hovland —
Hovland is, quite frankly, the hottest golfer on the planet. He’s won three times in his last five starts, and has ascended to No. 3 in the Official World Golf Ranking. With fairways being hard to come by at TPC Scottsdale, Hovland can rely on his elite ball-striking and give himself plenty of opportunities to make birdie. The only question is whether we should save Hovland for a bigger event, but I’m willing to forgo that thought process for someone in the midst of an absolute heater.

Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Kevin Na; Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira. Shriners: Abraham Ancer. CJ Cup: Louis Oosthuizen. Zozo Championship: Hideki Matsuyama. Bermuda Championship: Seamus Power. Mayakoba: Abraham Ancer. Houston Open: Sam Burns. RSM Classic: Scottie Scheffler. Sentry TOC: Sungjae Im. Sony Open: Corey Conners. American Express: Talor Gooch. Farmers Insurance Open: Tony Finau. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Daniel Berger.

Hennessey: Viktor Hovland — Fully onboard using Hovland this week. You probably don’t pencil him in for some of the biggest events, so it could be a perfect spot to use him while he’s so hot

Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Emiliano Grillo; Sanderson Farms Championship: Carlos Ortiz. Shriners: Abraham Ancer. CJ Cup: Collin Morikawa. Zozo Championship: Takumi Kanaya. Bermuda Championship: Seamus Power. Mayakoba: Aaron Wise. Houston Open: Sam Burns. RSM Classic: Brendon Todd. Sentry TOC: Xander Schauffele. Sony Open: Marc Leishman. American Express: Sungjae Im. Farmers Insurance Open: Daniel Berger. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Lanto Griffin.

Powers: Bubba Watson — Unless you’re saving him for Riviera, Augusta or TPC River Highlands, I think this is a great spot to use him. He was a 92-foot eagle bomb away from a playoff in Saudi and has always played well at WMPO, despite never winning it.

Previous weeks: Fortinet Championship: Brendan Steele. Sanderson Farms Championship: Mito Pereira. Shriners: Aaron Wise. CJ Cup: Talor Gooch. Zozo Championship: Joaquin Niemann. Bermuda Championship: Patrick Rodgers. Mayakoba: Jhonattan Vegas. Houston Open: Marc Leishman. RSM Classic: Corey Conners. Sentry TOC: Daniel Berger. Sony Open: Kevin Na. American Express: Seamus Power. Farmers Insurance Open: Luke List. AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Cameron Tringale.

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) was nominated as the 2021 Golf Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writing Association, having won the 2020 FSWA 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 in 2020. He was finalist for four FSWA Awards in 2020 (Best Podcast, Best Video, Daily Fantasy Writer of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year) and is a finalist again for the Podcast of the Year for 2021. His 23 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, was nominated for the 2021 FSWA Podcast of the Year and won 2018 fantasy sports-writers association Golf Writer of the Year. Gdula (@Gdula13) 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.