The best derivative picks from the Valero Texas Open

After sharing my modeling strategy for this weekend’s Valero Texas Open, it’s time to apply it and make some decisions.

Today’s column will focus on the derivatives markets available to bettors before we move on to some matchup betting tomorrow. It should be noted that I’m staying away from the futures market as I believe Rory McIlroy is a legitimate favorite but doesn’t have a betting number.

However, I have found tons of value in the derivatives markets, including a large discrepancy based on my modelling. So, without further ado, here are my best derivative bets for the Valero Texas Open.

Best Bet #1 – Jhonattan Vegas Top 40 Placement (-110 at DraftKings Sportsbook)

Vegas had a great result at last weekend’s Corales Puntacana Championship and scored incredibly high in my model for this week.

Vegas ranks second in my model for the last 36 rounds, in large part due to his ability to score par 4s between 350 and 400 yards (he’s ranked first in that category in his last 36 rounds). Expanding the sample size to include the final 75 laps of the field, Vegas ranks first at TPC San Antonio in this particular model and ranks in the top-10 or better in four out of five model metrics.

The only reason I choose a safer derivatives market is because Vegas doesn’t have the best history on this event. He missed the cut in 2021 and has not finished in the top 30 in any of his last five appearances.

But despite missing the cut last year, he won shots on the field both on the approach and off the tee to the green. So I hope he can keep that record and get a better result at TPC San Antonio. Ultimately I’d be quite surprised if he wins, but I think a top 40 finish is doable.

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Best Bet #2 – Chris Kirk Top 20 Placement (+140 at BetMGM)

In his last five starts, it’s been feast or famine for Kirk in the Valero. But in the festive years, the results have been incredibly positive.

Kirk posted a top 6 finish in 2021 to pair with a top 8 finish in 2018 and a top 13 finish in 2016. Also, his recent form suggests Kirk is primed for a good result at TPC San Antonio. Before missing the cut at The Players Championship, Kirk finished in the top 15 in three consecutive starts at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Honda Classic and WM Phoenix Open.

Regarding Kirk’s placement in my model, he competes sixth in both the 36-lap and 50-lap models in this event. Reducing the sample size to the final 24 rounds moves Kirk to third place among players who qualified for at least 24 rounds of play.

Chris Kirk
Chris Kirk
Getty Images

And while it’s the smallest overall sample, Kirk’s 24-round modeling statistics help address some concerns. For example, on par 5s, Kirk is 45th in field and scoring on holes between 550 and 600 yards, but is second in field in that category for the last 24 rounds.

Combine that with 6th best SG:T2G metrics in the field over the last 24 rounds and 5th best scoring record on par 4 between 350 and 400 yards and I think you’ll see another strong showing from the University of Georgia product in Texas.

Best Bet #3 – Rory McIlroy Top 10 Placement (+110 at BetMGM)

The bad news for Rory is that there is no price history here, but the good news is that it shows up really well in my model.

As mentioned, I think the Northern Irishman is a legitimate favourite. He is third in my 36 lap model, first in the last 50 laps and second in the last 75 laps recorded. Also, while he has no direct experience at TPC San Antonio, he has had good results at a number of similar courses. In his last three starts at Riviera Country Club – a correlated place according to – McIlroy has two top 10 finishes.

In terms of statistical performance alone, McIlroy scores very well in my modeling categories. He is fourth or better for the last 36 rounds at SG: T2G, par 5s scoring on holes between 550 and 600 yards and par 4s scoring on holes between 350 and 400 yards.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy
Getty Images

And although his SG: Approach stat is 31st for the last 36 laps, that has been improving lately. Over his last eight laps, McIlroy is 12th in the field in that category.

Bettors should reckon with McIlroy’s best efforts as he prepares for a trip to Augusta National next week to try and finish the career grand slam. For that reason, don’t expect him to do worse than a single digit result. The best derivative picks from the Valero Texas Open


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