Odds for this tournament taken from Caesars Sportsbook
Maverick McNealy is the outright pick at +2800 with Caesars Sportsbook
Also take Michael Thompson each way at +6600 with Unibet
Jordan Spieth to defeat Seamus Power in a matchbet at -110 with DraftKings
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In one sense this year’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am is just like old times because last year, hemmed in by Covid restrictions, only two courses were used.
This year, however, there is a return to the old familiar three-course format which means everyone – players, fans, TV audiences – gets to enjoy the undulating fairways, greens perched on the cliff tops, waves crashing below, and the stunning Pacific Ocean views.
But not quite everything is back to normal.
Because there is a significant change this year. Far away, across the Pacific Ocean, and then across the Indian Ocean as well, the Saudi International is taking place and the backers of that event have deep, deep pockets.
The appearance fees they have offered have, with very few exceptions, been accepted and at least 10 players in the Middle East might have been playing in California this week in different circumstances.
It’s a loss for the tournament, no doubt. But, with defending champion Daniel Berger, the reigning FedExCup champion Patrick Cantlay and past winner Jordan Spieth playing, all is not lost.
And for punters, the challenge is a fond one. This tournament has a habit of being won by players who have thrived on the course in the past, ones who are not afraid of the tricky Poa Annua grass on the greens or the slow pace of play alongside the amateurs, many of them celebrities gurning for the cameras.
It’s a great viewing experience and not a bad betting one either.
With three top 10 finishes on the PGA Tour in 2020 and four in 2021, you get the sense that Maverick McNealy is closing in on a first win sooner rather than later.
And you also suspect he has a great chance of getting over the line in his home state of California because that’s where five of them have already been landed (and he also had one in Golden State on the second tier).
He’s twice gone close to the win in the Barracuda Championship, high up in mountains, but he’s also thrived by the sea on Poa greens.
He’s three times finished top 30 at Torrey Pines (including last week), he was second at Silverado last September (when leading through 36 and 54 holes), and he’s got great tournament form as well.
He was tied fifth in 2020 and solo second last year.
Last year he said: “I tend to play well closer to home and I’m just really excited to be on a golf course I’m comfortable at, with conditions I’m familiar with, and it would be really, really fun to win here.”
Take him each way in the outright at +2800 with Caesars Sportsbook, a good price and paying out eight places.
One of the highlights of the new year has been the resplendent beard that Michael Thompson has revealed post-holidays.
It’s a truly wonderful creation, one his wife is apparently delighted with, and it also seems to have granted him an extra authority on the course.
That might be something of an illusion, but he’s definitely in a fine run of form and playing with his confidence sky-high.
He was tied fifth when attacking the small greens at Waialae last month (one neat pointer for this week) and T11th last week on the cliff tops at Torrey Pines (another decent guide).
After the latter performance he said: “I’m getting to the point now in my career where I know I can play well, it’s just a matter of whether my game’s in shape and I feel like I’m in a good spot right now.”
He’s also been a decent performer in this event in recent times, recording T10th in 2019 and T34th last year.
Take the two-time PGA Tour winner each way with Unibet offering +6600.
The only problem about the match-up DraftKings are offering in the form of Jordan Spieth versus Seamus Power is that it’s simply too good to be true.
At first glance you might wonder about that because Irishman Power is in sensational form having landed 13 top 25 finishes in his last 17 starts (and he’s never been outside the top 15 in his last four appearances).
However there looks to be a good reason to oppose him this week and a simple one, too: he doesn’t like Poa Annua.
How else do we explain that in 11 appearances on that grass in California he has played four rounds just three times with a best result of T38th?
What we know for certain is that he doesn’t seem like a natural match bet foe for tournament specialist Spieth whose nine starts includes no less than eight top 25 finishes.
In career head-to-heads Spieth leads 23-9 which is a slightly deceptive tally because they’ve rarely played the same event since Power found his legs on the PGA Tour.
But a tournament score of 4-0 and a California/Poa count of 8-0 have to be considered.
Spieth demands to be backed at -110.
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|Tournament||The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am|
|Location||Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill GC, Monterey Peninsula CC|
|Time||Thursday February 3 – Sunday February 6|
|How to watch||Thursday & Friday 3pm, 7pm & 11pm ET (Golf Channel), Saturday 1pm & 8pm ET (Golf Channel), Sunday 1pm & 7.30pm ET (Golf Channel). And all four days on Sky Sports.|
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Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics. Email: [email protected]More info on Matt Cooper
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