The Valero Texas Open is always a bit of a strange week with the Masters looming and a field that is desperately trying to win to get that final invite to Magnolia Lane. With the added presence of wild weather early in the week, the Valero Texas Open odds board has been tough to predict since Monday morning. Still, a few of the expected names have fought through the conditions and found their way into contention for the final round at TPC San Antonio.
Tournament Recap Through First Three Rounds
A lot of the talk before players teed off in San Antonio this week was about the draw bias that could wipe out half the field. The wind forecast certainly showed a huge advantage to the guys teeing off early on Thursday morning, but we know mother nature tends to be unpredictable. Instead of the wind favoring half of the field, heavy fog delayed tee times for hours, and the wave splits ended up being slightly in favor of the late-early starters.
Patrick Rodgers took advantage of his fortunes, and he flew out to a solid lead through two rounds after a 66, 67 start. The Stanford product was once considered the brightest young name in golf, but he has rarely lived up to expectations and still hasn’t won on the PGA TOUR. A victory on Sunday in San Antonio would give him his first invitation to the Masters as well.
But Saturday showcased why Rodgers has struggled on TOUR at times. He failed to build off his start in easy conditions and let a large chunk of the field back in contention for the final round. The scariest contender is Corey Conners, the 2019 Monday-qualifier winner at this event. Conners has taken the rewards from that victory and capitalized on them by becoming one of the best ball strikers on the PGA TOUR.
Among others in contention is Matt Kuchar at three shots back as he also tries to make a return to Augusta, Sam Stevens at four shots back, and recent winner Chris Kirk at four shots back.
TPC San Antonio is a true challenge in tough conditions, and it certainly promotes a big come-from-behind winner because of that.
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Winner: Corey Conners
Best Odds Still Available:
While I, like many others, would enjoy finally seeing Patrick Rodgers get his first trophy on the PGA TOUR. I can’t help but feel like the Stanford star showcased on Saturday why he hasn’t crossed the finish line. The irons that held their own in the first two rounds failed him again, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they again look like the set of clubs that have given him a poor start to the year. He hasn’t gained strokes on approach since The RSM Classic in November.
I would still believe in Rodgers to hold on if he wasn’t being chased by such a capable player. Conners won here four years ago, and he’s become a mainstay in contention since. While it’s been a mediocre year by his standards, he struck it great in Austin when losing in a group stage playoff.
He’s the rightful favorite heading into the final round, and I’m much more confident in the Canadian hitting the ball well to put himself in the right spot than Rodgers. The concern, of course, is with Conners losing the putter. But the flat stick has been decent for him lately, and he’s at plus-1.49 strokes with it so far this week. The main factor continues to be that ball striking. Conners is second in the field in approach, and he’s also hitting the driver well, sitting in 11th for the week.
Rodgers, on the other hand, lost nearly a full stroke with the irons on Saturday and found just 11 greens. His history with failing to find the finish line makes him unsafe to back at these odds in the final round.
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Winner/Top-Five Finish: Sam Stevens
Best Odds Still Available: +2200, +210
Sam Stevens continues to impress in his rookie campaign as of late. After a brutal start last year, the Oklahoma State product has three finishes in the top 15 since Torrey Pines in late January.
He sits in 18th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and 10th in Strokes Gained: Approach through three rounds. He looked like a potential winner at Corales last week before falling just off the pace late on Sunday. It’s notable that Stevens is also fifth in putting this week, so he’s really only off the current pace because of some unusual struggles around the greens.
Stevens has just three names in front of him, and it’d be hard to argue against him having the best form of all the players he’s trying to chase down.
It’s a big ask for Stevens to take down two notable names in Kuchar and Conners for his first PGA TOUR victory, but these odds are tough to pass up for someone playing such strong golf.
The +210 odds to maintain his top-five placement is also a nice bet to put alongside the massive odds of a victory. This is probably the most value on the Valero Texas Open odds board heading into the final round, as it’s clear people are still doubting Stevens as a legitimate contender.
Top-10 Finish: Byeong Hun An
Best Odds Still Available: +110
Byeong Hun An has had a decent resurgence as of late as the once promising player has had to rebound from playing on the Korn Ferry Tour last year. Once known as one of the best ball strikers on TOUR as well as one of the worst putters, An has removed the extremes and become a bit less volatile on TOUR this season.
I liked him heading into the week, and he’s shown why with three solid rounds and a great ball striking performance. An sits first in the field with 3.6 Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. He’s also eighth in Strokes Gained: Approach with 4.2.
An getting plus-odds to maintain his current position in a tie for sixth is great value. When things get tight in a final round, you always want a guy that you trust to hit the ball solidly and put himself in good position to score. An is as capable as anyone of that, and I believe he’ll log his second top 10 of the season on Sunday.
Valero Texas Open Odds
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