Valero Texas Open expert picks, best bets for PGA Tour golf this week

Apr 1, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Hideki Matsuyama hits from the 11th tee during the first round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 1, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Hideki Matsuyama hits from the 11th tee during the first round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports /

Golf makes its last stop before The Masters with a trip to TPC San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open and our PGA Tour expert picks are locked and loaded.

Fresh off his win in Austin, Scottie Scheffler is the new No. 1-ranked player in the world, but he won’t be in the field the week before we head to The Masters as we go to TPC San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open. We saw Jordan Spieth win this event last year and he’s in the field again, but he’s joined but a much stronger field than usual with Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Bryson DeChambeau and several other top players getting tuned up for The Masters.

Before we get into this week, though, we need to quickly recap the carnage that was our picks for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Put simply, we missed across the board. Patrick Cantlay was terrible, Justin Thomas was lackluster, Matt Fitzpatrick couldn’t get past the eventual champion and Brooks Koepka got clipped by a tough knockout stage draw.

Alas, we move forward and try to make our money back. So that’s where our Valero Texas Open best bets and PGA Tour expert picks come into play.

Note: All odds are courtesy of WynnBet. For more betting picks and advice, check out BetSided.

PGA Tour expert picks for Valero Texas Open: Winner, Top 10, One and Done

One and Done pick for Valero Texas Open: Maverick McNealy

What’s not to like about what Maverick McNealy is showing us right now? He hasn’t missed a cut since the Shriner’s in October and has been reeling off some nice finishes. In fact, he has four Top 20 finishes since then, including a T7 at The Genesis Invitational.

Frankly, I’m not looking to burn a big name at TPC San Antonio because that seems misguided from a One and Done strategy standpoint. But I love the combination of upside and floor that McNealy provides, especially after showing out extremely well at the Match Play last week but also losing in a playoff for the group stages, meaning he didn’t get overworked playing a huge number of matches.

Top 10 pick for Valero Texas Open: Chris Kirk 

WynnBet has not released the odds for finishing positions but you can find Chris Kirk at around +275 consensus odds to finish in the top 10 and I absolutely love that play this week in San Antonio.

Kirk has been on an absolute tear of late and has been a ball-striking dream with improved putting. He’s fourth in this field over the last 50 rounds in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green per round and his finishes back that up with two top-10s prior to the wonky week at THE PLAYERS. Moreover, he has great history at this event with two top-10s and three top-13 finishes since 2016. In his form, this feels like tremendous value for this play.

Pick to Win Valero Texas Open: Hideki Matsuyama (+1800)

I’ve already seen a number of people ready to fade Hideki Matsuyama because the last time we thought of him, he was withdrawing from THE PLAYERS with a back injury. But leading up to his defense at The Masters, that’s honestly not shocking or worrisome to me. He’s trying to rest up and get healthy and that makes perfect sense after playing quite a bit in January-February.

Before that WD, though, Matsuyama has been in great form with two wins already this season, which he accomplished with a hot putter and, more notably, continued elite ball-striking. He can score on Par-5s, a key component of contending at TPC San Antonio, has terrific wedge, sand and around-the-green play and the driving accuracy to be in great spots. I love that he’s being slept on because that’s the type of tournament that he goes out and wins.

PGA Tour best bets for the Valero Texas Open

You can check out Iain MacMillan and I breaking down some of our picks and best bets for the BetSided YouTube channel here before we get into the rest of the picks.

Rory McIlroy to finish Top 10

For the above video, I had Rory McIlroy as my Top 5 pick but I’m going to go a little more conservative for the column and have him to finish the Top 10. That’s obviously going to give you worse odds but you’re still going to be looking at plus money and it feels like a great spot for the favorite to win in this field.

To hear the conversation about McIlroy right now, you’d think he was missing cuts routinely. The truth of the matter is, though, that he’s just not winning — but he’s contending. In his last eight starts worldwide, he has a win, three top 10 finishes and five top 15 finishes with no finish worse than T33. He’s been outstanding overall and I love for him to be in that mode yet again.

Charley Hoffman to finish Top 20

In case you were unaware, this tournament is affectionately referred to as the Charley Hoffman Invitational by some because the man just dominates (relative to overall performance) at this course. He’s BetSided’s Iain MacMillan’s Top 10 pick this week and I’ll let him lay out the case as to why.

"Charley Hoffman has had a rough season so far, there’s no doubt about that.But sometimes you just have to bet on a guy who continuously does well at a course year after year. Dating back to his debut at the tournament in 2010, he has five top five finishes including a win in 2016. He also has two 11th place finishes and two 13th place finishes, and he’s finished second in back-to-back years. He’s an auto-bet at TPC San Antonio no matter his form."

He’s an auto-bet for me as well, just to a lesser degree. The form scares me enough to bump it down to a Top 20 finish, but that will still net you around +300 according to consensus odds, which feels both profitable and safe given his history here.

Bryson DeChambeau to Miss the Cut

While WynnBet doesn’t normally give us odds for this, you can find consensus odds ranging anywhere from +175 to north of +200 for Bryson DeChambeau to miss the cut and I’m hammering that this week.

DeChambeau returned from an injury-related hiatus at the Match Play last week and, frankly, didn’t look good. Some said he looked healthy, but he’s still nursing some ailments and the game is just nowhere close to being good. Most importantly, his driver was otherworldly erratic in Austin, which is something that he and others will pay a severe penalty for this week. Throw in that his irons and wedges looked extremely rusty too and I’m fading him as much as possible once again this week.

Longshot pick to win: Tyler Duncan (+20000)

Tyler Duncan is a far cry from the most consistent golfer on the PGA Tour but this is a player who won the RSM Classic back in 2019 and has shown that he can pop up on occasion. And the one thing about when that happens is that you can usually see it coming. We seem as if we could be trending that way yet again.

In his last two starts, Duncan finished T25 at the Valspar and T35 at the Puerto Rico Open. What’s better, though, is that he’s been gaining strokes in every category with his performance of late and striking the ball really well from tee to green. Coming into form, I like the longshot value but will probably also sprinkle something on him for a Top 20 finish this week as well.

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