The Valero Texas Open occupies one of the most peculiar spots on the entire sporting calendar.
Obviously, golf is different compared to other sports, and the schedule is entirely unique, but it’s hard to come up with a comparison to the event we’re about to watch — and bet on — come Thursday.
What makes the Valero Texas Open so unique is actually what happens after the Valero Texas Open – namely, The Masters, which begins on April 6.
For some players, like Rickie Fowler, the Valero Texas Open is the last chance to punch a ticket to Augusta National, but for others, like tournament favorite Tyrrell Hatton, this is a tune-up event.
And the fact that Hatton is the favorite tells you everything you need to know about this field.
Basically, every star on the PGA Tour has opted to skip this week in order to be fresh for the Masters.
In other words, the Valero Texas Open is an unpredictable, wide-open event.
That should make for some attractive betting options down the board:
Valero Texas Open predictions
Byeong-hun An (+9000, FanDuel):
Just a couple weeks ago, Benny An was hanging around the +4500 to +5500 range in a similar field at the Valspar Championship.
An wasn’t all that sharp at the Valspar, but he still made the cut and got off the blocks quickly before fading on Saturday and Sunday.
That’s kind of the pattern that the South Korean has been following all season, though it’s worth noting that he’s yet to miss a cut (although he did withdraw at the Arnold Palmer after Round 1) in eight starts in 2023.
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An’s two best finishes in that span were T12 and T21, which aren’t going to leap off the page, but for a talented player who lost his tour card two years ago, things are generally pointing in the right direction.
If An is going to win on the PGA Tour, it will likely come in a field like this, where there’s not a huge gap in talent between him and most of the folks above him on the board.
Akshay Bhatia (+10000, BetMGM)
Bhatia is always going to be a relatively trendy long shot at this price and in this kind of field, but there’s plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the 21-year-old this week.
Bhatia may have missed the cut at the Valspar a fortnight ago, but he bookended that performance with a runner-up finish in Puerto Rico and a T3 showing at the Corales.
None of those tournaments will rank high on the prestige level, but neither will the Valero Texas Open.
Bhatia’s form is good enough to take a shot at this number, as he won’t be a triple-digit player for much longer.