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Valero Texas Open: Preview, Odds & Best Bets

Sportsnaut
Mar 6, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot on the first hole during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Valero Texas Open is the final PGA Tour stop before the Masters and begins Thursday at TPC San Antonio.

Jordan Spieth will attempt to successfully defend a title for the first time on the PGA tour, while 121 other players in the field get one final chance to qualify to play at Augusta National.

VALERO TEXAS OPEN
San Antonio, Texas, March 31-April 3
Course: TPC San Antonio, Oaks Course (Par 72, 7,494 yards)
Purse: $8.6M (Winner: $1.548M)
Defending Champion: Jordan Spieth
FedExCup Leader: Scottie Scheffler

HOW TO FOLLOW
TV: Thursday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday, 1-3:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3:30-6 p.m. (NBC); Sunday, 1-2 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2-6 p.m. (NBC).
PGA Tour Live: Daily feeds on ESPN+
Social Media: @ValeroTXOpen (Twitter)

NOTES
–This is the 100th anniversary of the event, with TPC San Antonio the venue for the 13th time.
–Spieth snapped a drought of 82 PGA Tour events without a win last year, claiming his first title since the 2017 Open Championship.
–Jason Day and Rickie Fowler are among the 121 players in the field who are not currently qualified for next week’s Masters but could earn a spot with a victory in San Antonio. Also needing a victory to play at Augusta is Richard Bland, who would have qualified for the Masters with a win over Dustin Johnson in the Round of 16 in last week’s Match Play event. Twenty-three players in the field are already qualified for the Masters.
–The last player to win the event to qualify for the Masters was Corey Conners with his maiden tour victory in 2019.
–Matt Kuchar will make his 500th career PGA Tour start.
–College stars Logan McAllister (Oklahoma) and Ludvig Aberg (Texas Tech) are among the sponsors exemptions.

BEST BETS
–Rory McIlroy (+750 at DraftKings) will make his first event start since a runner-up in his lone previous appearance in 2013. This is the first time he will tee it up the week before the Masters since 2014.
–Hideki Matsuyama (+1400) will make his tournament debut ahead of defending his Masters title next week. He has not played since withdrawing from The Players with a back injury.
–Spieth (+1400) has not posted a top 25 in his past four starts following a runner-up at Pebble Beach. However, he is the biggest liability at BetMGM, where Spieth leads the field with 7.1 percent of the total bets and 15.2 percent of the handle – more than twice as much as any other player.
–Conners (+1800) won three years ago and is coming off a third-place finish at the Match Play. … Abraham –Ancer (+2200) is a San Antonio resident who finished T23 last year. He leads all players with 5.3 percent of the outright winner bets and 7.5 percent of the handle at DraftKings.
–Chris Kirk (+2500) hasn’t generated a ton of action at DraftKings. However, he’s the third biggest liability at BetMGM with 6.2 percent of the handle as his odds have moved from +4000 to +3000. Kirk also leads the field with 5.2 percent of the total bets and 9.4 percent of the handle at PointsBet.
–Bryson DeChambeau (+2800) failed to advance from group play last week in his first event since January. He has missed the cut in each of his two previous event starts and DeChambeau’s odds at BetMGM lengthened to +2800 after opening at +2600.
–Tony Finau (+4000) has been a popular with 4.2 percent of the bets and 5.3 percent of the handle at DraftKings. His odds opened at +5000 at BetMGM but have moved to +3500 with Finau backed by 5.4 and 6.6 percent of the action, respectively, making him the sportsbook’s second biggest liability.
–Charley Hoffman (+7500) is the event’s all-time money leader and was the runner up in 2019 and ’21. He leads the way at DraftKings with 6.4 percent of the bets and 7.9 percent of the money backing Hoffman to lead after the first round. He is also backed by 3.5 and 3.3 percent, respectively, to win outright.
–Alex Smotherman has drawn some large wagers at +20000 at PointsBet, where he has been backed by 4.8 percent of the bets and 3.1 percent of the handle to claim his first PGA Tour victory.

–Field Level Media