2020 Safeway Open: Head-to-Head Matchup Card

The beginning of the 2020-2021 PGA Tour season brings a fresh start for sports bettors. Reset those trackers, forget about the bad beats, and come into the new season swinging.

As for me, I learned a lot about my tendencies during the 2019-2020 season. I can’t pick Paul Casey correctly, and no matter what, pick Ryan Palmer in a matchup. This year will bring new challenges, most likely filled with the highest of highs and hopefully only some shallow lows. Funny enough, I have already run into my first challenge. The sports book here in Washington D.C. has yet to post their lines for the Safeway Open and as such, I will be going off William Hill’s New Jersey odds. They are historically pretty similar to each other, but not without their differences. But enough about me, let’s talk about the 2020 Safeway Open.

The Safeway Open is no stranger to hosting the season opener on the PGA Tour. The tournament takes place at the Silverado Resort & Spa North Course – stretching out to nearly 7,200 yards, the par 72 rewards solid tee-to-green play and poa annua grass putters. Like I previously said, this field is one of the weaker ones that we will see this year. It’ll be a total snooze-fest. One of those tournaments that you toss on hungover on Sunday, only to take a 3 hour nap during and wake up wondering what planet you are on. Not only are those the best naps, but those are also the best tournaments to wager on.

Brendan Steele (-125) vs. Jordan Spieth (+100)

If you told me 3 years ago that Brendan Steele would be a favorite over Jordan Spieth in a golf tournament, I’d call you crazy. But alas, here we are. It’s a sad time to be a Jordan Spieth fan, his game has severely dropped off and those on-course antics that many called “passionate” are now just flat-out annoying. His play from the tee has regressed more than his hairline and without the handy “let me drain a 30-footer for par” card in his back pocket, Spieth’s game has found its home in the toilet (shoutout Odell Beckham Jr.). When it comes to Brendan Steele, it seems like he typically pops up on the leaderboard 3-4 times per year, and it would not be surprising if this week is one of those times. Over his past 36 rounds, the 2-time Safeway Open Champion is 17th off-the-tee and 2nd in proximity from 125-150 yards – two stats that players will rely heavily on this week.

Kevin Streelman (-110) vs. Erik Van Rooyen (-110)

Don’t let the fact that Kevin Streelman looks like a guy who could sell you insurance fool you. This guy can play. Ranking 11th in my statistical model this week (man, I sound like a nerd), Streelman ranks 6th in both off-the-tee and approach. What might be cause for concern are his recent finishes, but if you look deeper, you would actually find that the tee-to-green game was very good. As for Erik Van Rooyen, known by many as EVR or the guy that wears joggers, I can’t trust him. Not only does he spell Erik with a “k”, but we also haven’t seen him in action since the PGA Championship. He’s a fine player in his own right, but the inconsistencies with his irons, coupled with a month layoff are enough for me to go with the guy who’s ankles will be covered this week.

Keegan Bradley (-110) vs. Bud Cauley (-110)

This will be the pick that I’m going to regret come Friday afternoon. Keegan Bradley is a horrible putter. Frustrating honestly, but the tee-to-green game is too good to ignore. I’m hoping he is able to find something this week on the poa annua greens. He’s had past success in California, which is a stretch, I know, but he just needs to be half decent with the flatstick to make me not look like a complete idiot. Luckily for us, Bud Cauley sucks at putting too, especially on poa annua. The thing that sticks out to me about Bud’s game is where he gains all his strokes – around the green. Obviously chipping and getting up and down is vital, but if you take that out, the rest of his game is quite poor. I’ll take Bad Putter #1 over Bad Putter #2 in a matchup that’ll age me 10+ years.

Cameron Davis (-105) vs. Brandt Snedeker (-120)

Cameron Davis? Who the hell is this guy? I’m sure that’s the reaction most fans will have to this pick, but the young Aussie’s numbers are very good. Having most recently appeared in Boston, Davis was amongst the leaders before having a poor weekend. The kid has three top-30s in a row, mostly due to a putter that he typically struggles with. The tee-to-green game will travel to Napa Valley and I’m hoping the putter will too. You all already know my thoughts on Mr. Snedeker. Maybe it’s the floppy hair, or the visor, or the fact that without his putter, he’d be out of a job. Sure, there’s always a threat that Snedeker blacks out on the greens (especially being in wine country), but his ball striking has been so bad, that even if he does, I’m still comfortable with this one.

Next: 2020 Safeway Open FanDuel picks

Chez Reavie (+100) vs. Emilliano Grillo (-125)

This honestly might be my favorite play of the week, and the fact that we are getting it at even money makes it that much better. Chez is the average-man golfer. He hits fairways, he hits greens, and he’ll roll in a few putts here and there. There is nothing flashy about it and that’s why I love him this week. As for Emilliano Grillo, the Argentinian is known for his ball striking prowess and his putting blindness. Having won here in 2015, I believe that is why the line is what it currently is. His tee-to-green game is amongst the best when it’s on, but there is so much volatility in his game that I would much rather take a Steady Eddy like Chez.

5-way Parlay: +2459

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