Waste Management Phoenix Open Best Bets (How to Bet Golfers at TPC Scottsdale)

The PGA Tour has had five consecutive longshot winners. I'm predicting a sixth, but it's a familiar name.

Rickie Fowler - AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am - Round Two
Rickie Fowler - AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am - Round Two / Al Chang/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Last week, I know our own Iain MacMillan was happy about the weather-shortened Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but I wasn’t. 

For the fourth consecutive week, it was a ‘close but no cigar’ finish as our two horses Jason Day (+4000) and Tom Hoge (+10000) got stuck in sixth and first round contender Patrick Cantlay (+2000) faded.

This week, it’s back to my old stomping grounds in Scottsdale, Ariz. for the wild and wooly Waste Management Phoenix Open.  Another low scoring golf course, the TPC Scottsdale offers a great finish with two par fives, the raucous par three 16th, the drivable par four 17th, and the birdie-able (ok, I made up the word) 18th. 

Scottie Scheffler (+450) is the two-time defending champ and is a heavy favorite.  Second favorite is the on-form Justin Thomas (+1000).  However, if this year has taught us anything, it’s that 2024 is the year of the longshot. Wyndham Clark (+8000) is the lowest outright winner this year.  Incredible. 

And so, this week, we will ride the wave of the longshot and emphasize longer shots with local ties and a history of success at this event.  Here are this week’s Lucky Seven (plus two):

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The WM Phoenix Open Picks

Justin Thomas (+900)

Form: His slump is over.  He’s played twice this year and finished tied third at The Sentry and tied for sixth last week.

Horse for course: In the last six times he’s played here, JT’s worst finish is a T17.  Last year, he tied fourth, has a solo third and a tie for third and a tie for eighth. 

Stats: .  So far this year, JT ranks first in strokes gained tee-to-green, seventh in strokes gained approaching the green, second in strokes gained around-the-green, 11th in total driving, second in GIR, and first in scrambling.  His putting stats continue to lag ranking 57th in total putting, 78th in putts per round, and 101st in putting average.  Believe it or not, those putting stats are vastly improved from 2023.

Local Ties: This Kentuckian Bama grad currently living in South Florida has no local ties.

Odds: Very low odds for JT so we will double the units on him this week. 

Sam Burns (+1600)

Form:  We’re going to give Burns another shot after arguably choking The Amex on the 71st hole. That water ball dropped him down to a tie for sixth, but he rebounded last week with a tie for 10th at the AT&T. 

Horse for course: Burns has only four starts and has missed the cut twice in this event but did finish tied for sixth last year and a T22 in 2021.

Stats: Burns is known for his putting, but his other stats are respectable.  He drives it long but not necessarily straight.  He’s ranked 17th in driving distance but only 104th in driving accuracy.  He’s ranked a solid 15th in GIR and 23rd in scrambling.  For putting, Burns is ranked 22nd in total putting, 20th in putting average, and is ranked first in putts made from 15 to 20 feet.

Local Ties:  Burns is pure Louisiana. Born there, lives there, plays there, and went to LSU.

Odds: With many big names sitting out, Burns’ odds are lower than we might normally expect.

Ben An (+3300)

Form:  We’re going to give Big Ben another shot as well.  He looked like our sure +4000 winner in week two until he missed a five-foot putt in the playoff.  Last week, he finished nicely with a 67 (T31) after struggling a bit in the first two rounds, and he finished solo fourth at The Sentry.

Horse for course:  An has had some success here.  In five starts, he has a solo sixth, a tie for ninth, a T20, and a T23.

Stats: An does most things well.  He ranks seventh in overall strokes gained, 21st in strokes gained tee-to-green, 16th in strokes gained around-the-green, 11th in driving distance, 29th in GIR, 28th in scrambling, 17th in total putting, 11th in overall putting average, and ranks in the top 10 four times in various putting length categories.

Local Ties:  The South Korean attended Cal Berkeley so he has a bit of West Coast in him.

Odds: His odds keep improving with his consistency but still a good price at +3300.

JT Poston (+3300)

Form:  Mr. Consistency was back at it last week finishing T20 which marks his fourth top 20 out of four starts.  His other three starts include a T11, a solo sixth, and a tie for fifth.

Horse for course:  In his five appearances, Poston has a tie for ninth in 2022 and a T11 in 2021. 

Stats: Poston’s stats match his consistent results.  He ranks 11th in strokes gained overall, 18th in strokes gained putting, ninth in GIR, 15th in scrambling, 12th in total putting, and eighth in putting average.

Local Ties:  Poston is an East Coaster from North Carolina who resides in Georgia.

Odds: Fair odds. Middle ground.

Rickie Fowler (+5500)

Form:  Call me crazy.  My pick to win this week.  I’m certainly not picking him based on form.  He’s shown nothing this year in three starts.  One missed cut, a 56th, and a T47 last week. 

Horse for course:  I was an early backer and picked him to win this event last year before he really got it going.  He finished a respectable 10th.  He missed the cut in 2022 and 2021 during the slump, but he has a win in 2019, a second in 2016, a fourth in 2017, and a T11 in 2018.  Expect him to contend.

Stats: His stats certainly mirror his current form.  His driving and putting stats rank in the high 100s.  However, he does rank 11th in GIR and plays the par threes well ranking fifth overall.

Local Ties:  An original West Coaster and dirt biker out of Southern Cal.  We all know he went to Oklahoma State and lives in Jupiter, Fla.

Odds: I like the pot odds here and will gladly take them.

Thomas Detry (+6600)

Form:  Detry has appeared on the leaderboard his last two events.  He was the first round leader at Pebble and finished fourth.  At the Farmers he had a share of the lead before a lousy weekend put him in a T20.  Last year he had three top 10s and finished t13 at The Open Championship, so he’s got game.

Horse for course:  First time playing this event.

Stats: Detry has some well-balanced stats thus far this year.  He is ranked 47th in strokes gained off-the-tee, 25th in total driving, 56th in GIR, 21st in proximity to the hole, 16th in putting average, and 19th in strokes gained in putting.

Local Ties:  I’m always amazed how many Euros actually went to US universities. The Belgian went to Illinois and played for coach Mike Small.

Odds: Excellent pot odds for a hot golfer.

Kevin Yu (+9000)

Form:  With the rowdy local fans, I will always take a shot with a home course Arizona State grad.  Last week Yu cooled off with only a T58 finish.  The two weeks prior he made some noise with a tie for sixth at The Farmers and a tie for third at The Amex.

Horse for course:  Yu hasn’t officially played the course professionally but he’s plenty familiar with it living in Scottsdale.

Stats: Yu ranks sixth in strokes gained off-the-tee, ninth in total driving, 53rd in GIR, and 29th in proximity to the hole.  Unfortunately, his putting stats rank in the 150s so hopefully the familiarity with the local greens will propel him to a high finish.

Local Ties:  Originally from Chinese Taipei, Yu now lives right around the corner from TPC Scottsdale and as mentioned, attended ASU.

Odds: Once again, I like the pot odds for this longshot.

Last Man Out

Min Woo Lee (+3300)

(Long)shot in the Dark Picks

Daniel Berger (+10000)

I might be a few weeks early with Berger who is on the comeback trail.  He might be more successful in his home state of Florida.  He began the season with a T39 at The Amex and missed the cut at The Farmers. 

Berger has four top 11s in this event.  A top 20 is certainly within the realm of possibility.

Chez Reavie (+40000)

Who? You know. The guy with the over-sized hat who also went to ASU. 

This pick isn’t for the faint of heart. Reavie has shown no form this year with two missed cuts and a T52.  Reavie has seven missed cuts here but almost won in 2018 when he lost in a playoff to Gary Woodland. He also finished T4 in 2019. 

I’ll sprinkle in a top 20 as well.

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.