Welcome to Virtual Insanity, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on golf betting. It's that simple!
Last week was a fantastic week for the feature, as one of our tips, 80/1 shot Luke List, fended off our 28/1 headline selection Will Zalatoris in a play off to win the Farmers Insurance Open. We hope you were on!
So profit is at 12% for 2022 as the virtual pot is at €1120 from €1000 entering this week's PGA Tour tournament of focus, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am in California.
The tournament is played at three courses; Spyglass Hill, Monterey Country Club and Pebble Beach itself. The players play each course in rotation and then the iconic Pebble Beach is the venue for the final round.
This week's event starts at 4pm Irish time on Thursday.
There are a few things to note here; the first three rounds are with amateurs - celebrities and business executives - so your professional will need to embrace that. This tournament is also more about par 4 performance and strong putting on the poa annua greens rather than bombing it off the tee. The weather forecast is benign.
Be sure to shop around, with bookmakers such as Paddy Power, Betfair, Ladbrokes, Coral, Betfred, William Hill and SKY Bet offering 1/5 the odds for your pick to get into the top 8 places.
Our first selection is Justin Rose for €4 each way at 28/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill).
England's Justin Rose played really well in the Farmers Insurance Open last week and if he had made birdie on the last rather than finding the water, he would have made a play off. This is a former US Open and Olympic champion who was the number one ranked golfer in the world less than three years ago. Rose was happy with his tee to green game at Torrey Pines and he could be in store for a strong year after a quiet spell. Rose is not a regular fixture in this tournament, but he did finish in a tie for sixth back in 2016 and was tied for third in the US Open at Pebble Beach in 2019. Rose ranks inside the top 10 for strokes gained in the last 50 rounds at these three courses and was inside the top five for strokes gained with his approach shots last week. A class act, he's a decent price in my view and rates as the headline selection this week.
Our second selection is Mito Pereira for €2.50 each way at 50/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill, Betfred, SKY Bet).
Last season on the Korn Ferry Tour, it was Chile's Mito Pereira who won the BMW Charity Pro Am - conditions similar to what he will face here. The 26 year old claimed victory three times on the feeder Tour last year and began the new PGA Tour season with a solo third at the Fortinet Championship. He was 16th in strokes gained at Torrey Pines last week, posting a solid finish of tied 25th, his third top 30 in succession. He is also seventh in strokes gained for approach shots on the PGA Tour this season. The biggest thing I like about Pereria though is that he knows how to get the job done and close out tournaments. It's a priceless commodity in competitive golf.
Our third selection is Taylor Pendrith for €2.50 each way at 100/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, Paddy Power, Betfair, William Hill).
Canada's Taylor Pendrith smokes it off the tee and I followed him closely last week at Torrey Pines, where he was tied for 16th. Pendrith was the 54 hole leader at the Bermuda Championship earlier in the season and let a winning position slip, so he has experienced Sunday pressure and may have learned from it. I noticed that he was either second or tied for second in three tournaments in a row on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, so the 30-year-old is capable of putting good finishes together. This is his first look at the AT&T Pebble Beach, but I feel he is one of the more progressive sorts in the field.
Our fourth selection is Russell Knox for €2 each way at 66/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill).
There was once a time when Scotland's Russell Knox was a World Golf Championship event winner, but his non-selection for the 2016 Ryder Cup must have rankled. He was inside the top 20 in the world back then and finished 10th in the Fed Ex Cup in that year. Knox has been on the road to recovery in recent times and he posted a tie for seventh in Hawaii on his penultimate start. Always an excellent tee to green player, 2018 Irish Open winner Knox likes the fiddly lay out out of these courses. He ranks inside the top 20 for strokes gained in the last 50 rounds at Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey and the results don't lie - three top 15s in his last four starts in this tournament suggest he could contend again.
Our fifth selection is Matthew NeSmith for €1.50 each way at 100/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, Paddy Power, Betfair, William Hill, SKY Bet, Betfred).
Horses for courses is what they say and American Matthew NeSmith has been tied 11th and tied 16th on his two visits to this tournament in 2020 and 2021. He ranks inside the top 15 for strokes gained at these courses against the current field and is a winner on the Korn Ferry Tour. He has yet to find his voice on the PGA Tour, but one thing he is good at is hitting greens - he was fourth on the PGA Tour for that last season. A tidy game is what is required this week and NeSmith goes into Thursday off a tie for 34th at Torrey Pines, where he ranked 13th in putting on the poa annua surfaces. He will forgotten by many, but not by me.
Our sixth selection is Scott Stallings for €1.50 each way at 100/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, Paddy Power, Betfair, SKY Bet, Betfred).
One of the best performers in this tournament in recent years has been American Scott Stallings. He ranks inside the top 15 for strokes gained in the last 50 rounds at these courses and has three top 15 finishes in this event in his last five starts. Solo third in this tournament back in 2019, Stallings is capable of exceptional golf - his 62 in the final round of the Bermuda Championship, put together in a gale - was a reminder of his talent. He also closed with a 65 in the final round at Torrey Pines last week and ranks as one of the better outsiders in my view.
Our final selection is Nick Watney for €1 each way at 500/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, Paddy Power, Betfair, William Hill).
Back in 2015, American Nick Watney was solo second in this event. He's not the golfer he was then, when had five PGA Tour titles to his name, but at 500/1, I do think he's worth a flier this week. He missed the cut at Torrey Pines, but topped the approach stats of those players who had the weekend off. Working with legendary coach Butch Harmon again, Watney finished tied second at the Sanderson Farms Championship last October. It's worth a shot in the dark that he is capable of finding something and as he's from this area of California, the tournament may conjure nice memories.
So that's €30 wagered virtually on this week's golf.
Please gamble responsibly, never bet more than you can afford, and good luck!