Three wins in succession in this event wouldn’t be unique as Arnold Palmer managed to pull off the ‘three-peat’ at the start of the 1960’s but in the modern era, it would be an amazing achievement. Can Hideki pull it off or is there a more likely winner this week?
It’s tough for the bookies to split three players right now with Coral among a number of outlets giving the same 9/1 price on the following three. Elsewhere, Jordan Spieth is a slight favourite at best odds of 19/2 with MarathonBet but having slipped down the world rankings since his last win in July, is this the right time to back him?
One man in significantly better form is Jon Rahm who is available at a top price of 10/1 with Paddy Power and Sun Bets. In three tournaments across the end of 2017 and the start of the New Year, the Spaniard won twice and finished second so he’s a genuine chance and worthy of his new ranking of second in the world.
Now we come to Matsuyama who can’t boast a rich vein of form but with two wins and a second place at the Phoenix Open in the last three years, there will be plenty of takers at best odds of 10/1 with Stan James and BetFred. When a golfer has a love for a certain course, you have to consider him strongly but form makes us wary of backing the ‘three-peat’.
Behind the three favourites we don’t have to move too far back to find Rickie Fowler who is on offer at a best of 14/1 with Bet365 and William Hill. Fowler finished 2017 strongly by claiming the Hero World Challenge in December but while many of his contemporaries took a break, the 29 year old played through and may just be showing signs of some fatigue.
A better option may therefore be to get behind Justin Thomas who seems rested and ready to go despite not having a great record at the Phoenix Open. Thomas looks good to us at his best price of 16/1 with William Hill and Winner Sports.
From that point, it’s into some mid and long range prices but this is a perfect time to pick out some value tips in a strong field.
You can’t really ignore Marc Leishman who has six top ten finishes in his last nine events and starts here at a top price of 30/1 with Paddy Power and 10Bet. We also have Alex Noren who is going to be a contender on the US Tour this year and after a strong start at the Farmers Insurance Open last weekend, the Swede will attract many at his best odds of 45/1 with Stan James.
Others in this mid range list include Webb Simpson at 40/1 with Coral and Betway, Kevin Chappell at 66/1 with Bet365 and Sun Bets plus Charley Hoffman at 70/1 with Bet365 and MarathonBet. All showed well at certain points in 2017 but do they possess the key stats to win in Arizona on Sunday?
As we have already seen, there is no shortage of multiple winners and we can also add Phil Mickelson to that list, who added his third Phoenix Open trophy in 2013 and goes off this week at best odds of 51/1 with 10Bet and Sport Pesa.
As for key characteristics, the TPC Scottsdale course in Arizona is our venue this week and was extended in 2015 with additional bunkers added. Distance hitting isn’t a great indicator but accuracy of the tee and greens in regulation will be important over the four days.
Course knowledge is also important but while two-time winner Hideki Matsuyama makes a strong case, we’re going to overlook his credentials this time. Favourites don’t always entice us but when you feel someone is going to win, you follow your instinct and that 19/2 on Jordan Spieth is a reasonable price from MarathonBet in a strong field.
From the chasing pack, there is plenty of potential to make an even better profit just by looking for the Top Ten markets and we’ll finish this round up with three extra tips and hopefully look to a healthy overall profit in Arizona this weekend.