Bombs & Values Valero Texas Open

2021 Valero Texas Open Bombs & Values: The 5 Best Value Plays For Your DFS Lineups and Betting Cards

We all know this is my favorite article to write up every week, so it pained me to have to take a break for the WGC Dell Match Play to accommodate the group bracket set up. Thankfully that’s over now and we can get back to our regularly scheduled program of Bombs & Values.

The last installment of this article highlighted Aaron Wise at the Honda Classic, who at one point led by 6 strokes on Saturday before cataclysmically dwindling outside the Top 10. Even still, he far exceeded his value in DFS and made for a great hedge opportunity with Matt Jones who ultimately bested him for the win.

This week we’re looking to continue the momentum into the Valero Texas Open, and as I wrote about in the Tournament Preview, the formula for success will be a combination of Approach and Short Game, with a sprinkle of Course History. I’m rendering SG: OTT effectively irrelevant as far as the value players go, so that presents a great opportunity to buy low on players who excel from their second shot and on. And with the last 3 winners of this event getting their first career victory here, it’s as good a time as any to hoist up some long shot bombs!

DFS Values

PGA Tour Bubble Boys: Ted Potter, Jr. sits on cut line

Pricing from Draft Kings

Charles Howell III ($7,800)

We’ve had a few recent CHIII chalk weeks, as he has some impeccable course history at many tracks in the January and February schedule. I’ve faded him every step of the way and honestly haven’t given those fades a second thought at any point this year. But I was shocked to see that Howell has gained 3 strokes on Approach in each of his last two events at THE PLAYERS and API and a combined 18 strokes T2G over those last two events. Howell is known over the course of his career to be a great Bermuda putter, so it seems like some major regression is looming for him, as he comes into Valero having lost at least 2 strokes Putting in each of his last 4 events.

Howell has only played this event twice in his career, and not since 2015, but for what it’s worth, he did finish T8 here all the way back in 2011. I like that Howell ranks 13th in GIRs Gained, 9th in SG: OTT, 9th in Prox 75-100, and 25th in both Par 4 and Par 5 scoring. He also ranks 27th in Weighted Putting across Total, Bermuda, and Course History stats, so that gives me reason to believe this is the week he turns around his 2021 woes on the greens, with everything else clicking T2G.

John Huh ($7,400)

John Huh is the lowest-priced player this week to rank Above Average in each of the Top 10 correlated Stat categories for success at the Valero Texas Open. He was also in prime position to contend for a win at the 2017 Valero Texas Open, before torpedoing himself to a T22 finish thanks to a Sunday 77.

Huh has solid history at this event over the years, ranking 35th SG: TOT and 15th SG: APP at TPC San Antonio. My favorite stat about John Huh? He has not lost strokes T2G in the last calendar year! That’s 9 consecutive events he’s gained T2G since the 2020 Honda Classic. It’s really just been the putter that’s held Huh back in 2021, but he broke a streak of 4 straight events losing strokes putting in his last trip at The Honda Classic, which gives reason for optimism that he’s turning things around on the greens.

Chase Seiffert ($7,100)

Like it or not, you will find few players coming into this week riding hotter form than Chase Seiffert, who has 4 T20s in his last 6 starts, including the 3-straight T20 streak he’s currently on. Much of that success came at non-ShotLink events in Punta Cana and Puerto Rico, but the last time SG: APP numbers were measured at the Honda, he gained 7.9 strokes on the field en route to a T3 finish. What those last 3 starts at Corales, The Honda Classic, and The Puerto Rico Open do have in common with TPC San Antonio however is the wind, so it’s encouraging to see he hasn’t been phased yet when tested by the elements.

Seiffert’s SG numbers over the last 24 rounds won’t wow you due to the omitted success from recent non-ShotLink events, you just need to know that his strengths are in his Approach (#43) and Putting (#28), which should set him up well for his Valero Texas Open debut.

Roger Sloan ($6,700)

I love Roger Sloan. He reminds me of 2020 Adam Long, where regardless of how many T25s he strung together, Draft Kings would just refuse to change his price from the $6K range. His game also reminds me of Cameron Tringale’s, in that he consistently gains across all SG categories (OTT, APP, ARG, P) week over week, without really making a concerted Sunday push to gain people’s attention. Well, Tringale is $9,300 this week with one T25 in his last 3 starts and Sloan sits here at $6,700 riding three consecutive T25s coming in, so you do the math!

Sloan comes into this week one of just 14 other players who rank above average in all of my key stat categories this week, highlighted by ranks of 16th APP, 17th BS, 20th T2G, 2nd GIRs Gained, and 12th Par 4 Scoring.

You’d have to go back 13 starts to the Wyndham Championship last August to find the last time Roger Sloan lost strokes to the field Ball Striking. Corey Conners was in the $6K range and #1 in the field Ball Striking coming into this event when he won in 2019, so I’d say Sloan’s profile sets him up for similar success in 2021. At this price you’re really only asking to get through the cut, but who’s to say Sloan’s T25 streak is coming to a hault versus this field?

Ted Potter Jr ($6,300)

Alright, let’s get weird, shall we? This not-so-little T-Pot is short (OTT) and stout (with his irons and wedges), which is exactly the kind of player profile I’m looking for in my player pool of low-end values.

The three stat categories I’m weighting most heavily this week are SG: APP, SG: SG, and Birdies Gained. There were just 5 players in the field entering this week who ranked T50 in SG: APP & SG: SG and T10 in Birdies Gained: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Tony Finau, Cameron Tringale, and TED POTTER JR. Now that DJ’s out of the mix, I only see 3 other players standing in his way.

It’s going to be tempting to jam in multiple top players in your DFS lineups this week, especially with Dustin Johnson out of the mix, so if you do go that route, Ted Potter Jr is sitting here with his two T20s in his last 6 starts just waiting to offer you salary relief.

Betting Bombs

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Sam Ryder (+10000)

Sam-bitionz Az A Ryder, like Tupac’s Coachella hologram, has returned from the dead over the last 2 weeks. He quietly backdoored his way into the Top 10 at the Honda Classic thanks to a Sunday surge, riding 5 strokes gained on Approach and 1.5 strokes gained OTT, ARG, and P. And then this weekend he followed that up with a near identical backdoor T2 at Corales thanks to a -5 on Sunday.

Ryder has made two trips to the Valero Texas Open and made the cut each time, with a modest T36 and T42 in 2018 and 2019. That doesn’t sound remarkable, until you dig in and see he gained a combined 10 strokes on Approach in those two trips, which is good enough for 6th in this field in SG: APP at TPC San Antonio. That approach prowess is not limited to past years however, as Ryder ranks #26 SG: APP over the last 24 rounds coming into this event and #4 GIRs Gained in that span.

With such a premium on Approach play at this event, there are few others with better Approach form to lean on than Sam Ryder in the triple-digit range.

Doug Ghim (+10000)

Jordan Spieth and Scottie Scheffler will command most of the Local Texas conversation this week, but thanks to a MC at the Honda, I suspect Doug Ghim and his Longhorn ties will go overlooked at Valero, just 3 weeks removed from his penultimate Sunday Pairing at THE PLAYERS.

The Ghim Reaper is one of only 13 players in this week’s field to rank above average in the Top 10 key correlated stats for success at TPC San Antonio, and he’s the only one of those 13 players to lie in the 100/1+ range.

Ghim has 6 T25 finishes in his last 16 starts and has gained strokes on approach in his last 7 consecutive events dating back to The American Express where he finished T5. His putter has hit a bit of a cold streak the last couple weeks, but he gained 2+ strokes putting the last time we saw him on Poa at both the Genesis and Farmers, so these blended Bermuda + Poa over-seeded greens should help Ghim turn the flat stick around.

Patton Kizzire (+10000)

Kevin Kisner reminded us why he’s still renowned as one of the most lethal putters on Tour at last week’s WGC Match Play, but it’s a different Kiz I’m looking at this week to drain some long Birdies.

Patton Kizzire seems to be on a mission recently to dispel the rumor that he is purely a putting specialist, as he’s gained over 1 stroke on Approach in 3 of his last 4 events. He’s never been great OTT, but that hasn’t stopped him from gaining strokes T2G in 3 of his last 4 events as well, thanks to that strong combination of Approach and Short Game play we’re looking for this week.

From a Putting standpoint, he has gained at least 3.5 strokes Putting on 5 occasions over his last 15 starts, which is the type of hot putting upside I dreamed of after a week of sweating Aaron Wise 3-foot Par-saves at the Honda.

This will be Kizzire’s first trip to the Valero Texas Open, but last time he was in Texas for the 2020 Houston Open, he finished T11, so let’s hope he can cowboy up here again in San Antonio.

Harry Higgs (+13000)

I’ve waited a long time to back Harry “Say it with your chest” Higgs, and while I like the guy enough to root for him even without any skin in the game, this time I want in. Higgs opened at an offensive 130/1 on DK Sportsbook and it took me less than a second to pull the trigger on him at those odds. In his most recent event at the Honda Classic, Higgs led the field with a gaudy 8.1 strokes gained on Approach, but by losing 3.1 strokes putting that same week, he was able to fly under the radar with a modest T19 finish.

Higgs has gained strokes on Approach in his last 8 events and has not lost strokes to the field on Approach since the Zozo last October. He runs extremely hot and cold with the putter week to week and has either gained or lost at least one stroke putting every week going back to the Zozo. But when you’re talking about placing a 130/1 outright bomb, you’re betting on Higgs’ ability to have gained at least 2.4 strokes putting on three occasions in his last 7 starts.

Harry Higgs has the ability to gain multiple strokes on the field in all the key stats that matter this week, so at these odds, I’m just hoping he can piece it all together for 4 rounds at TPC San Antonio.

Akshay Bhatia (+32000)

Akshay headlines a list of players I will blindly support regardless of his fit at a given course, because I love his game, love watching him play, and when he inevitably does get his first Tour victory, I’ll be there to hang his banner up in the rafters.

I made the mistake of fading him at the AT&T Pro-Am because I thought the projected gale force winds would blow his 90 pound frame into the Pacific Ocean, but instead we saw him set a Pebble Beach record hitting every green in regulation in the opening round. Many may have forgotten that feat, as a month and a half later Akshay still has not played another event, but it’s still fresh in my mind as we gear up for the Valero Texas Open where GIRs Gained is amongst the key stats of the week.

Since Akshay is pretty much limited to Sponsor exemptions to play these days in his young burgeoning career, there’s no course history and little recent form to go off of. But what we know about Akshay’s game from the data we do have, is that SG: APP and SG: ARG are his strengths, the putter is up and down with the potential to get hot (has gained 3 strokes Putting in 2 of his last 3 measured rounds), and SG: OTT is the area he needs to improve the most. He’s on a short list of players in this price range who are better than Field average in SG: APP & SG: SG, the two most important stat indicators this week, and we know a sub-par OTT showing won’t kill you here.

Akshay has made the cut in 3 of his last 5 starts, and in the two outings he MC’d, he still managed to gain strokes on the Field, so those are encouraging early signs to see from such a young player still getting his feet wet on Tour. There’s a good chance I end up placing a T10, T20, or FRL bet, if not an outright, but with a T9 just 5 starts ago at the Safeway and facing a field as weak as this one, the upside to contend for a high finish is there for my man Akshay.