It may be lacking in celebrity this year but it won't take away from what is always a popular event. Barry Plummer runs his eye over the form
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Staking plan
Paul Casey – 2.5pt e/w @ 20/1 with Bet365
Casey has been in scintillating form of late, winning in Dubai and recording two additional top-12 finishes in three starts this year. Casey was disadvantaged by the draw last week in Saudi, but still managed to string together a textbook performance to secure a 12th-place finish. His performances on the European Tour so far this season have him ranked 1st for SG: Total, 5th for SG: Approach, and 17th for SG: Putting. This hasn’t come out of the blue for Casey, who also ranks 1st for SG: Approach and 2nd for SG: Tee-to-Green in the last three months. Those sorts of figures will serve him well this week, and with two top 10s in this event previously it is clear he knows how to manage it. With plenty to play for in terms of a Ryder Cup spot, Casey will be desperate to continue this run of fine form, and with his tenacious ability to lead from the front I like his chances this week.
Francesco Molinari– 2pt e/w @ 28/1 with Bet365
After keeping a close eye on his performances of late, I find myself wondering if we are seeing the resurgence of Molinari. Two top-10 finishes in his last two appearances show signs of improvement, and a 10th-place finish at the Farmers is particularly interesting as it came on Poa Annua putting surfaces. As a former Open champion, Molinari clearly knows how to manage the conditions which will no doubt play a factor this week. His performances recently look primed for this challenge, ranking 5th for SG: Tee-to-Green and 15th for SG: Approach in 2021. If Molinari can get the putter firing this week, he could be an interesting debutant at this event.
Max Homa – 1.5pt e/w @ 40/1 with Bet365
Homa is another player who is hitting a run of form at present, with two top-21 finishes in his last three events. His performance last week could be described as steady, without ever really challenging the leaders, but his statistics are interesting when considering the profile of previous winners at this week’s event. Homa ranked in the top 5 for SG: Approach last week, and currently ranks in the top 10 for the same measure in 2021. His best finish of the season so far came at the Mayakoba, where the wind can often play its part in the outcome, and his performance on Poa greens at the Farmers is also encouraging. With back-to-back top-15 finishes in this event in 2019 and 2020, I am backing Homa to make it a hat-trick.
Matthew NeSmith – 1pt e/w @ 80/1 with Bet365
NeSmith was one of the success stories at the Phoenix Open, but he certainly didn’t have it all his own way. Eventually finishing 7th, NeSmith shot a career-best 63 in round one to lead before faltering over the next couple of rounds. A gutsy performance on Sunday saw him sneak back into the places, ranking in the top 5 for SG: Putting and SG: Approach. NeSmith has been building his reputation on the PGA Tour recently with four top 20s in his eight starts this season, thanks in no small part to his consistent approach play. This season only two players have a better GIR percentage than NeSmith, and that could be crucial at an event where he finished 11th in 2020. At what seems a big price based on his recent performances, I think NeSmith represents great each-way value.
Peter Malnati– 1pt e/w @ 90/1 with Bet365
Malnati has quietly gone about his business of late, securing two top-15 finishes in his last three starts. That run includes a top 10 at the Farmers, on Poa surfaces. Malnati was 11th here last year, and is undoubtedly one of the best putters on tour at the moment. In fact, in the last six months Malnati ranks 1st for SG: Putting and also ranked 1st in the same category at the Safeway Open this season – another venue with Poa Annua greens. His approach play could be more consistent, but despite that he ranks 34th for SG: Approach this season, and if he finds the putting surface you would bank on him giving it a good go. At this price, Malnati looks to be excellent value for an each-way bet.
For more prices, visit Bet365.