AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Faves & Fades

Faves & Fades: The 3 Best Players To Bet On and Avoid at the 2021 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

I contemplated making this a short and sweet article that read “Fade the tournament, save your money, and try again next week.” We will probably look back on this as the worst Strength of Field “A” tournament of the season when all is said and done. For the love of God, Kevin Streelman has Top 10 odds this week at 35/1. I’m not saying those odds are wrong, it’s the principle of watching a tournament in which only 9 players are better than Kevin Streelman that really gets to me.

But then I thought better of it. Most of us were sharp enough to get action on the Field before they plummeted following DJ’s WD, and although all the value on the betting board is now gone, DFS prices have not changed. And that’s where I’m really looking to hone in on my favorite plays this week, so alas, there is great reason yet again to comb through Faves and Fades. The Matchups, the DFS GPPs, they all pay the same regardless of the crop of talent playing. So there we have it, feast your eyes on this week’s foundation studs, and over-hyped leverage fades to avoid.

Faves

Patrick Cantlay (+750, $11,300)

I don’t have stats to back this up, but it just seems like Patrick Cantlay always plays his best rounds in the cold. Every picture I find of him hoisting a trophy, he’s wearing a ski cap or a nice Hugo Boss Sweater. With all the early reports of cool, windy, rainy weather this week, I give a wardrobe edge to Cantlay off the bat.

And yes, he’s the odds-on favorite this week so I’m not exactly going out on a limb here. But I don’t always love the price of the favorites. I didn’t have any exposure to Rahm last week and that turned out just fine. When I look at a field as bereft of talent as this week’s, Patrick Cantlay is head and shoulders above the rest, and someone you can easily (perhaps too easily looking at ownership projections) find budget for in your lineups now that DJ is out of the picture.

He’s #1 in the Field SG: Total and SG: Short Game this week, putts best on Poa, and the local-Californian returns to the AT&T Pro-Am after a strong T11 showing last year. I’m not betting him outright at these odds, but think Cantlay slots in for a nice T10 finish pretty easily this week.

Daniel Berger (+1400, $10,100)

We’ve got ourselves a redemption week! I think if not for DJ’s withdrawal, Berger would have gone overlooked coming off a disappointing chalk week MC at the WMPO. However, he’s a class name at the top of a putrid Field, so the industry looks to have quickly forgiven him. Great players can bounce back quickly after a MC, and having the extra 2 days to practice/correct errors from the previous event can go a long way, as Brooks Koepke and Patrick Reed have proven, winning the last two events coming off a MC. And it’s not like Daniel Berger was awful last week, he shot 69-71 and missed the cut on the number. I have no reservations going back to him again this week, where he finished T5 last year.

Berger also comes into this event #2 SG: Total and #2 SG: Putting (L50 rounds), and historically has putted best on Poa greens. Daniel Berger has only missed one other cut since 2019 (!), which came at The Memorial, and he followed that up the very next week with a T2 finish at the WGC St. Jude vs one of the strongest Fields of the season. I can’t think of a reason not to go back to him this week.

Francesco Molinari (+2200, $9,300)

I could have written up Paul Casey here, but saying the top-3 players in this Field are my three favorites is not exactly the hard hitting analysis that readers of thepgatout.com deserve. In fact, I’m actually giving a slight edge to Molinari over Casey this week.

We have seen the former Major champion on five occasions since the restart, and if we remove The Masters, where he’s emotionally damaged and doesn’t offer the luxury of SG data, he’s gained strokes T2G, OTT, and ARG in all of them. He’s also coming off of back-to-back T10 finishes in his last two events.

Molinari stepped away from the game in the midst of COVID and it really seems that his personal restart is paying dividends and showing a return to Prime form in his all around game. While he hasn’t played the AT&T Pro-Am before, that may actually be a blessing in disguise, as his only familiarity with this track is from the US Open where he finished T16 in 2019, featuring 4 rounds on Pebble Beach.

2020 was a hideous year for Franky, but if we’re willing to toss that away and start anew, his 22/1 price tag is a bargain in this Field.

Fades

Will Zalatoris (+1800, $9,900)

This is not a typo. I am as bullish on Will Zalatoris as they come, but I always (usually) put my money where my brain is, not my heart. Zalatoris has burst onto this scene with phenomenal Approach play and Distance off the tee in his young, burgeoning PGA career. But where he falls short is Accuracy OTT and Putting. If we know anything about Pebble Beach, you need experience around the course, control off the tee, and strong putting to rise above the pack. Those are probably the only three characteristics Will Zalatoris does not have in his arsenal.

The other thing to keep in mind with Zalatoris is he’s been a notorious slow starter, ranking #117 in R1 scoring, despite his #3 overall rank in SG: TOT. For a young guy making his rounds at PGA tracks for the first time, that makes sense, but because of that, I’d much rather play wait and see with him and get a discounted live number if that trend continues.

I really like Will Zalatoris the player, the person. But hate Will Zalatoris the +1800 4th favorite in this Field, and would rather take my chances on him +230 to miss the cut.

Jason Day (+2000, $9,500)

Fading Jason Day in 2021 is the most profitable strategy I’ve rolled out this year. He missed the cut at the Farmers where he has exceptional history and missed the cut again at the WMPO the next week. He has a great track record at the AT&T Pro-Am, but with the recent changes to his equipment and drastic changes to the event’s format this year, I don’t think we can assume the same Jason Day of years’ past is showing up again here in 2021.

We know that Jason Day is a great putter – with the Taylormade Spider, that is. Day has not made a cut since his post-2020 equipment revamp and has lost 1+ strokes putting in each of his 2021 starts with the new ball and Putter in play. No, I don’t expect Day to lose 5 strokes putting again, but I’m comfortable being late to jump back on Jason Day after he’s proven he can gain strokes T2G and Putting in the same round, which he has only been able to do one time in 9 events since last August.

Jordan Spieth (+2500, $9,700)

I’m not a Jordan Spieth lover, I’m not a Jordan Spieth hater. I can objectively recognize that Spieth being back in contention is great for the game of Golf, and once all my outright sweats were out of the picture last Sunday, I was really pulling for Jordan to get it done.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jordan Spieth’s first ascent back to relevance since the restart came at the first event that welcomed back crowds. He is the most cerebral over-thinker on Tour, and when you’re playing a competitive round with nobody around you, it can be tough to get out of your own head. I think having the fans back was a welcomed distraction that helped him channel the inner gamer in him who ascended to prominence in 2017.

I’m going to put that hypothesis to the test at Pebble Beach this week. If I’m wrong, I hope he wins. But I will not pay 25/1 odds for a player that has lost strokes OTT in 13 consecutive events.