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Valero Open: Kuchar’s a horse for course

Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

I’m having difficulty controlling my excitement for this week’s Valero Texas Open. Even though I didn’t hit a massive +20000 ticket on J.J. Spaun last year, I did smash Jordan Spieth the year prior. Last year’s field was much deeper than this year’s, and I probably played one too many favorites. This year, I’m swinging for the fences. I have quite a few outright bets, with the shortest odds being Chris Kirk at +3100. You can read my NBC Sports EDGE 2023 Valero Texas Open outright betting article by clicking here. You can also find my entire betting card on my Twitter Page.

This week’s PGA Tour event is played at TPC San Antonio. It’s a long course where par is your friend. Although it’s a 7,438-yard par 72 course, it has been bested by both short and long hitters. I like to use driving distance as a key measurement here, but that doesn’t mean shorter hitters like Matt Kuchar can’t have success here. I want golfers who gain a ton of strokes on approach, can get hot with the flat stick, and can avoid bogeys like the plague.

A few golfers have caught my attention in the derivative markets. Each bet will be one unit. When betting placement bets, remember BetMGM pays all ties in full.

2023 Valero Texas Open Derivative Bets

Matt Kuchar to Finish Top 20 (+125)

I alluded to Kuchar’s driving prowess or lack thereof. He’s only averaging 289 yards per drive but hitting fairways at a 62% clip. Despite not being one of the bombers on Tour, Kuchar has seen success playing here. Over his last three trips, Kuchar has finished no worse than T12. His +28.83 strokes gained is fourth best in the field. In his previous three trips here, he’s only lost strokes putting in a round twice and has gained strokes on approach in every round.

Kuchar shows up 18th on my primary model. He’s losing a few points for driving distance, but he’s gaining in the areas that heavily correlate to success. He’s 29th in par 5 scoring, second in sand save percentage, 12th in bogey avoidance, and 17th in good drives. Kuchar is coming off back-to-back missed cuts, so betting on him comes with some volatility. However, given his success here, betting on him is a must.

Nicolai Hojgaard to Finish Top 40 (-110) | 2-units

I don’t bet multiple units in the placement market often, but Nicolai Hojgaard is a baller who warrants some aggression until the oddsmakers pay him the respect he’s deserved. Hojgaard is coming off a solo second finish at the Corales Puntacana Championship. He was so close to securing his first PGA Tour win, but he should feel confident that he’s on the cusp of winning on Tour. The Danish golfer has two wins on the DP World Tour and doesn’t have a finish worse than T38 over there. Hojgaard will have a different approach to this course than Kuchar. He’s crazy long off the tee and should use his length to try and have a wedge in his hands as often as possible. He should be in line for a big tournament run.