Luckily for us all both Jason and Steven managed to keep this column going last week, in my absence and for that I am extremely grateful. This week I am back to writing duties, and continue to have both alongside me in order to provide you with three side-market bets this week.
For those that have perhaps not read our two previous entries yet, the idea is that all three writers from the site will provide a bet, aside from their outright selections, be it First Round Leader or in the Top Nationality market etc. which they believe is good value across any tournament that week.
Without further ado, and to save you from my continuous ramble, here are the three picks made by us writers this week.
Jason Daniels – Gaganjeet Bhullar to be the First Round Leader @ Hero Indian Open – 66/1 e/w (General)
In his last thirteen starts, Bhullar has been placed 1st three times, 2nd once and 3rd once after round one and similar can be expected this week.
Two of those leads came either side of the new year, and he has also had mid-60 rounds in recent events, so he has been going low enough of late to reward backers in this market.
A home event for Bhullar, who has won 17 times as a professional (including 8 Asia Tour wins), this certainly looks a good spot for him and given his knack for starting fast, this may be the way to get him onside this week.
In 2011, he won the tough Kensville Open, sitting 5th after round one and then 1st for the next three rounds to clinch the title and that is another positive ahead of the challenge he faces this week.
Before missing the cut in Perth, Bhullar had finished T27-T10-T27 in his three co-sanctioned events in 2018, so he has been in solid form, which will hopefully continue this week.
You can check out Jason’s full double preview here
Steven Gray – Webb Simpson to be the First Round Leader @ The Valspar Championship – 55/1 e/w (Betfair/PaddyPower)
Webb Simpson has been back to his best on the putting greens this year as he ranks 6th in strokes gained: putting so far in the 2018 season.
Combine that with his usually accurate tee-to-green game and we might see him win again this year. If he is to do so, it will likely be on a shorter, tougher, championship style layout like the Copperhead course at Innisbrook.
Simpson’s last four opening rounds on bermuda greens have been 67-67-69-66 and he opened with a 67 here last year.
Simpson will be teeing off at 08:07 on Thursday morning so will therefore get the best of the greens, something he should hopefully relish given his current form with the putter.
He may well find himself in the winners’ circle for the first time in years this season, but on this occasion all we need him to do is lead by the end of Thursday evening.
You can check out Steven’s full preview of the Hero Indian Open here
Tom Jacobs – Tony Finau to be the First Round Leader @ The Valspar Championship – 40/1 e/w (Betfair/PaddyPower)
Tony Finau currently sits 4th in Round 1 Scoring Average, with an average score of 67.89 and I expect that to improve even further this week.
Of the three players that rank ahead of him, only Jason Kokrak (11) has played more events than Finau, and both have played a lot more events than Kiradech Aphibarnrat who is averaging 67.33 in the three PGA Tour events he has played. Jon Rahm is also ahead of Finau and Kokrak, averaging 67.71 but again has played less events (7) than the pair.
Finau and Kokrak both seem very likely to shoot a reasonably low round on day one, at any event this season but Finau also has history here.
As mentioned in my Valspar Betting Preview, Finau finished 5th here last season, and whilst his best round of the week (64) came on the final day, he also managed to shoot a respectable 67 on day one.
He will need to go lower this week you feel to take the first round lead here, but one thing that shouldn’t play against him too much is the tee time.
Despite teeing off in the afternoon wave (12:35) there is every chance Finau can threaten the first round lead here, as he ranks T3 in Late Round 1 Scoring Average, averaging 67.0 over the four occasions he has teed up late on a Thursday.
With the decent performance last year behind him, as well as the good run of form he is currently on, I thought Finau looked a touch of value at 40/1 to lead come Thursday night.
You can check out Tom’s full preview of the Valspar Championship here.
Three First Round Leader bets from our writers this week, which will hopefully give us a chance to get the week off to a fast start.