The best betting props for the Valero Texas Open
This week is the 20th anniversary of one of the biggest, most shocking events in sporting history – and it happened right here in Texas.
Stone Cold Steve Austin sold his soul to the devil himself, joining forces with Mr. McMahon. Austin hit The Rock 16 times with a steel chair before winning the WWF Championship and sharing a beer with Vince. 12-year-old me couldn’t believe it. I still can’t.
If that was shocking, the last two winners of the Texas Open are just as surprising. Corey Conners won the event in 2019 at odds of +26000, and in 2018 Andrew Landry won at odds of +15000. Last year’s event was cancelled because of the pandemic.
That means picking prop bets this year is a tricky prospect and gives us a puzzle to wrestle with. 23 players here are also due to feature in the Masters next week, so they may be forgiven for having one eye on Augusta. A winner at big odds should not come out of the blue.
Putting is the key at the San Antonio course. Five of the last six winners have all ranked inside the top-five for putting average, and the odd one out there Kevin Chappell was still ranked 14th in 2017. In 2019, Conners was ranked No. 1 for putting average with a score of just 1.53.
Winners here are also brilliant off the tee. In 2019, thee top five players on the leaderboard were in the top 10 players for shots gained: approach, and in 2018 five of the top seven were in the top 10 as well.
Odds to win the Texas Open
Here are the four best prop bets for the week, focussing on red-hot putters, excellent ball-strikers, and players that can cope with windy conditions.
Top South African Player: Branden Grace (+135)
Branden Grace is the first name that stood out in the props markets and this bet looks very strong. He didn’t play in this event in 2019 or 2018, but in the couple of years before that had two top 10 finishes. In his last appearance here, he was just one shot off the lead in second before his final round, before eventually dropping to 10th.
While his season-long putting average is nothing to shout about, the South African has been performing well on the greens in recent tournaments. He was 18th for putting average (1.70) on his way to winning the Puerto Rico Open at the end of February and was second in putting average (1.63) a week later in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
He missed the cut last time out in the Players Championship, but I’m happy to forgive him that after playing five tournaments in a row. Now with three weeks of rest under his belt, Grace can putt himself into contention.
Matchbet: Charley Hoffman to beat Ryan Palmer (-105)
Hoffman’s putting is a bit of a red flag based on the above analysis, but one thing you can’t deny is his course form. The Hoff has played this event 10 times, he’s never missed the cut, and finished in the top 3 four times, winning here in 2016, and finishing second in 2019.
Recent results have been mixed, but in his last three appearances he finished 10th in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, 17th in the Players Championship, and would have been top 10 in the Corales Puntacana had it not been for a poor round of 77 on the Sunday where he dropped five shots over the last two holes.
Hoffman ranks 18th on Tour this season for shots gained: approach the green, and his ball striking is consistently good. Palmer is a Texas native who putts well, but despite three top 10s here between 2015 and 2017, he’s now missed back-to-back cuts at San Antonio. Back the Hoff.
Matchbet: Corey Conners to beat Scottie Scheffler (+110)
Two players who had contrasted fortunes in last week’s Matchplay – Conners didn’t win a single match and was bottom of his group, while Scheffler beat Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm on his way to the final, only to lose 2&1 to Billy Horschel.
But this matchbet looks set to be closer than the odds suggest, and therefore Conners is worth a wager.
The Canadian was 26th on his debut in this tournament in 2018, and went on to win it in 2019 with two rounds of 66 over the weekend. Before the Matchplay he finished seventh in the Players Championship, and third in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, so there are no question marks over his stroke play form.
Conners ranks in the top 15 on tour this season for shots gained off the tee, shots gained approaching the green, and shots gained tee to green – so there are no worries about his ball striking. He is just as good as Scheffler with the flat-stick, and merits a value bet here.
Top 20 Finish: Peter Malnati (+600)
Finally, I’m happy to take a flyer on Peter Malnati. He’s missed five cuts in a row which does not bode well, but in 2016 he finished 13th here, and 12 months ago he was 23rd. Earlier this year he finished 14th in the Sony Open, and 10th in the Farmers Insurance Open, so there have been flashes of form despite his recent rotten run.
The reason I’m happy to take a chance on Malnati is his putting. He averages 1.679 for the season with his putting – only Patrick Thomas and Patrick Reed have putted better than him on Tour. Not bad company to be in.
This is a risky prop bet, but one that’s worth considering.