SO before I dig myself into an even deeper hole, let me say straight away that the wise money this week is probably on a Jon Rahm-Roy McIlroy trans-Atlantic double.
Rahm has rewarded favourite backers by winning his last two starts, and is as low as 7-2 to make it a hat-trick at another of his favourite events, the Farmers Insurance Open.
No real surprise there. In addition to being on a sizzling streak – four wins from his last six starts – he claimed his first professional victory at the Farmers in 2017, and has only once finished outside the top seven in six visits.
McIlroy is also back at the venue where he opened his professional account, winning the Dubai shootout FOURTEEN years ago.
Rory has never finished outside the top ten in eight subsequent starts, winning again in 2015, and finishing third and second in the last two years.
He is also priced at around 7-2. And while the double is certainly a strong possibility, I’m going to continue to avoid the blindingly obvious, risk getting more egg on my face by opposing Rahm – again! – and try for a better price elsewhere…
Hotshot: Will Zalatoris, 16-1
The crazy scoring at the AmEx proved too hot for Zalatoris, but he still shot four sub-70 rounds to make it eight in a row since his return from injury.
I remain convinced this will prove a multiple win season for the slim American, and there is the considerable bonus that he clearly loves this week’s venue, Torrey Pines.
Zalatoris looked the likely winner for most of last year’s event, before being edged out by Luke List in a play-off. He was seventh here a year earlier, so expect another bold showing.
Mid price: Taylor Montgomery, 28-1
Montgomery has had plenty of people raving about him in the States for a while, but it has taken me a while to accept that he is the real deal.
But he has been the model of consistency over the past few months, and I liked what I saw when he finished fifth at the AmEx, shooting rounds of 64-69-65-66.
Throw in the fact that he finished in a share of 11th on his tournament debut here a year ago – and will know a lot more about the place now – and he is a player I want on my side.
Long shot: Ben Griffin, 125-1
The rookie is one of the best of the new crop, and a share of 12th in Hawaii was followed by another good effort at the Amex.
He bounced back from a grisly first round 73 with scores of 67-64-67 for a respectable share of 32nd place.
If he can avoid another slow start, he could make those three figure odds look very appealing.
Let’s roll back the years and root for another big performance from Padraig Harrington, who finished an eye-catching fourth in Abu Dhabi last week.
The three time Major champion is playing better than he has for years – and he has finished sixth and ninth in his last two starts in Dubai.
The 51 year old Irishman was a four-time winner on the Champions Tour last year. With Coral pricing him up at 45-1, and offering ten places, he is a sporting bet to put the youngsters in their place.
Golf betting offers
Paddy Power: Bet £20 and get it back as Cash if it Loses – CLAIM HERE
New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or Apple Pay will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. Paddy’s Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply. 18+ Begambleaware.org
Betfair: Bet £20 and get it back as Cash if it Loses – CLAIM HERE
Max £/€20 refund on first bet. Bet must be placed in first 7 days of account opening. Only deposits made via Debit Card will be eligible for the promotion. T&Cs apply. 18+ BeGambleAware.Org
Sky Bet: Get £20 in free bets – CLAIM HERE
New customers only. First single and E/W bet only. Odds of 1/1 or greater. 2 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets exclude virtuals. Free bets are non withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions and further T&Cs apply. 18+. Begambleaware.org
William Hill: Bet £10 and get £30 in free bets – CLAIM HERE
18+. Play Safe. New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
Ladbrokes: Bet £5 Get £20 – CLAIM HERE
18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply Begambleaware.org
Coral: Bet £5 Get £20 – CLAIM HERE
Eligible UK+IRE players. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cash-out, restrictions & T&Cs apply. 18+ T&Cs Apply. Begambleaware.org
Remember to gamble responsibly
A responsible gambler is someone who:
- Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
- Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
- Never chase their losses
- Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
- Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
- Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org
For help with a gambling problem, call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or go to www.gamstop.co.uk to be excluded from all UK-regulated gambling websites.