Valero Texas Open In-Tournament Picks: Look for Vegas, Norlander to Make Runs

Valero Texas Open live betting picks and predictions. Andy gives us his in-tournament picks and analysis for the Valero Texas Open. Find out who presents the most value at the halfway point.
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Valero Texas Open In-Tournament Picks: Look for Vegas, Norlander to Make Runs

  • Current Leader: Ryan Palmer (-10)
  • Round 3 Start Time:
  • Course: The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio
  • Purse: $7,900,000
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Valero Texas Open In-Tournament Picks

Breaking down the Valero Texas Open just six days before the Masters almost feels criminal, but we still have an interesting tournament shaping up for us in Texas. The biggest names, Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau, and Hideki Matsuyama, either withdrew or missed the cut, and the top 26 players on the current oddsboard have combined for one PGA Tour win in the last two years. In my opinion, situations like these present the best betting opporunities.

After a second round 66 in difficult afternoon conditions, Ryan Palmer leads the pack at 10-under par. The 45-year-old also sits on top of the oddsboard and can be found as high as +450 via the OddsChecker golf grid. Palmer is looking for his first individual PGA Tour win over a decade.

Dylan Frittelli, Kevin Chappell, and Matt Kuchar all sit two strokes back at eight-under par. Lucas Glover, J.J. Spaun, Gary Woodland, Charles Howell III, and Brendon Todd are lurking at seven-under par. With all due respect to Palmer, a solid PGA Tour veteran who possesses a stellar track record both at this golf course and in the state of Texas in general, this tournament is wide open. 21 players are within five shots of the lead, and all 72 players who made the cut are within nine strokes of lead. The players at one-under par are likely too far back, but we are used to seeing far more separation by the 36-hole mark. For this reason, I find this an appealing in-tournament market to dive into.

Let's start with the current betting favorites. I see no value in betting Palmer, Woodland, Frittelli, Kuchar, Chappell, or Howell at under 20/1. Outside of Woodland, every single one of these players were at least 60/1 pre-tournament, and Howell, Frittelli, Kuchar, and Chappell could be widely found at triple digits. Woodland is certainly the best player of this group, but I have a hard time justifying a +750 play on him with when 55 other players are within five shots of him. Instead, I'll turn my attention farther down the board to two players with more far attractive prices.

Jhonattan Vegas was one of my pre-tournament outrights, and I feel even more strongly about his chances at the halfway point. The three-time PGA Tour winner sits at five-under par after a stellar round of 68 today. Vegas was firmly on my radar this week as a long and accurate driver of the ball, a solid mid-iron player, and an elite Par-5 scorer. The Venezuelan was coming off a fourth-place finish in Punta Cana, and prior to that, he gained 6.2 strokes ball-striking at the Valspar Championship. Vegas has quietly been playing some solid golf all season, and it actually seems to be improving by the week. Through 36 holes, Vegas ranks second in strokes gained off the tee, 24th in strokes gained approach, and ninth in strokes gained around the green. Add all of this together and Vegas has been the number one player in this field from tee-to-green through two rounds. The only reason why he is not at the top of the leaderboard is because he ranks 67th in putting. There's hope though. Vegas lost an abysmal 2.4 strokes putting in round one, but he improved vastly in round two, gaining 0.01 strokes with the flat-stick. If Vegas continues this upward putting trajectory, he is hitting the ball more than well enough to win this tournament. Vegas can be found at 30/1 on DraftKings SportsBook via the OddsChecker golf grid. I believe he will be firmly in the mix come Sunday afternoon.

Another player who sits at five under par with even more enticing odds is Henrik Norlander. The big-hitting Swede can be found at 120/1 on FanDuel SportsBook via the OddsChecker golf grid. Yes, Norlander is a rather unproven commodity who is still searching for his maiden PGA Tour victory, but I found his price to be far too high given the talent he brings to the table. For context, Beau Hossler is also at five-under par, but only 50/1. J.J. Spaun only leads Norlander by two strokes and is 25/1. Doc Redman, Peter Uihlein, J.T. Poston, and Brandt Snedeker have also shot the same score as Norlander, while hitting the ball far worse, and all sit at significantly lower odds than the Augusta State product. That's right, Norlander went to college down the street from Augusta National, and still lives in the area. Not that any other player isn't motivated, but punching his first ticket to the Masters would be extra meaningful for Norlander. Yes, that is an unquantifiable narrative, but what we can quantify is the fact that Norlander has been the number one ball-striker in this field through two rounds, gaining a whopping 2.1 strokes off the tee and 5.4 strokes on approach. This should not come as a surprise. Norlander has contended before in big time events such as the Farmer's Insurance Open and the Memorial. He has multiple top-fives at the Sanderson Farms Championship, another 7,400 yard plus Bermuda-grass course, and multiple top-fives in windy conditions at the RSM Classic. While he has yet to break through, he's been close, many times in fact, and he's currently hitting the ball better than anyone else in the entire field. This is a pure number play, as Norlander's odds are criminal.

Valero Texas Open Picks

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Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from Manhattan, New York. Andy came to OddsChecker in January 2022 after previously writing for Golf Digest, GolfWRX, Rotoballer, and the Score. Andy is also the host of a golf betting and daily fantasy podcast, Inside Golf Podcast, as well as "The Scramble” with Rick Gehman, and a recurring guest on the Pat Mayo Experience. In his free time, Andy is still grinding away at his lifelong dream of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur, and if not writing, can likely be found somewhere on a golf course.

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