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(Courtesy: GolfDigest)

Believe it or not, the 2017-18 PGA Tour season is already upon us — which means we’ve all got a clean slate. Whether you’re a PGA Tour rookie, a journeyman pro or a degenerate wagerer like myself, it’s time to begin anew. Last year means nothing. Tomorrow is here and it’s time to make hay while the sun shines!

The PGA Tour kicks off the race to the FedExCup in Napa Valley, California with the Safeway Classic. At time of print, there’s a mere 88 players committed to play in the event. The remaining 56 will most likely be a collection of newly minted touring pros and sponsors exemptions.

Now, looking at the field will illicit much the same reactions as the Cleveland Indians spring training invitee’s list in “Major League” did — but fret not! Golfstradamus is back in action, recommitted to taking Vegas for all she has to offer.

A weak field with a smattering of marquee players just means that the odds will be stacked and the payouts large.

So — if you’re ready to get your 2018 season started on the right foot, I recommend you listen up and take note:

Safeway Open
Silverado Resort and Spa (North) – Napa, California
October 5 – 8, 2017

ODDS to Win:
Phil Mickelson 15/1
Tony Finau 15/1
Webb Simpson 15/1
Kevin Na 25/1
Bill Haas 25/1
Zach Johnson 25/1
Ryan Moore 25/1
Brendan Steele 25/1
Keegan Bradley 30/1
Emiliano Grillo 30/1
Chez Reavie 30/1
Lucas Glover 30/1
Jamie Lovemark 40/1
Martin Laird 40/1
Peter Uihlein 40/1
Bud Cauley 40/1
Bryson DeChambeau 50/1
Ollie Schniederjans 50/1
Luke List 50/1
Chesson Hadley 50/1
Grayson Murray 50/1
Harold Varner III 50/1
Graham DeLaet 60/1
Scott Brown 60/1
Patrick Rodgers 60/1
Sam Saunders 60/1
Jason Kokrak 60/1
Kevin Streelman 60/1
Scott Piercy 80/1
Harris English 80/1
Matt Jones 80/1
Rob Oppenheim 80/1
Mackenzie Hughes 80/1
Robert Garrigus 80/1
Ben Martin 80/1
Chris Kirk 80/1
Kevin Tway 80/1
Seamus Power 80/1
Sung Kang 80/1
Sangmoon Bae 100/1
Richy Werenski 100/1
Chad Campbell 100/1
Daniel Summerhays 100/1
Rory Sabbatini 100/1
Smylie Kaufman 100/1
Cameron Tringale 100/1
Chris Stroud 125/1
Aaron Wise 125/1
Maverick McNealy 150/1
Field (all others) 2/1

Mortal Locks:

Tony Finau — Still looking for that maiden trip to victory lane in a full-field PGA Tour event, Tony Finau is on the verge of busting out and doing so in a big way. Finau, who played well enough to make it all the way to East Lake for the Tour Championship during the 2016-17 season, is poised to post another career year in 2018. I’m talking multiple wins and, perhaps, player of the year consideration. He has the game and now, the experience needed to be a bonafide star. At 15/1, Finau could get us all off to a flying start in the new season.

Zach Johnson — Thanks to a newish rule on the PGA Tour, there are a lot of players playing in events they never have in the past and, honestly, that you probably wouldn’t ever expect them to. This week, Zach Johnson is one of those guys. While you might assume that his lack of experience would be a problem, it won’t be. Besides Phil Mickelson, ZJ has the best pedigree of anyone teeing it up at Silverado. At 25/1, the juice is worth the squeeze.

Bang for Your Buck:

 Sam Saunders — Coming in hot after a runner-up in last week’s Tour event, Sam Saunders is poised for a good week. After re-securing his PGA Tour card, firing a 59 last Thursday and collecting a second place finish in four days time, Saunders is riding a high that will be hard to squash. At 60/1, a Saunders victory would be quite lucrative for you, too.

Richie Werenski — This week is all about making a mark early on in the year while the fields are weak and the steaks are low. I think we’d all be remiss to pass on a guy like Richie Werenski in that sort of environment. Obviously, Werenski has some experience having made a nice little run during the playoffs — so he’s playing well — which means he’s already got a leg up on all these rookies who will be a little dear in the headlights this week. At 100/1, Werenski is a long shot you can feel good about.

Fun Under $5

Maverick McNealy — Is there a better name for a golfer — or gambler — in the game today than Maverick McNealy? Don’t bother answering. That was rhetorical. I know McNealy is making his first start on Tour and will be playing a limited schedule this season with sponsor’s exemptions and the sort, but what a story it would be if he won in his first start? At 150/1, it’s hardly a good bet — but McNealy is one of this unique talents that could certainly surprise and author a Cinderella-type performance in Napa.

There you have it, friends and degenerates. Now, if you’ll excuse me I’ve got wine to drink and post season baseball to watch. Don’t think for a second that this sickness sleeps — in game betting is a thing of beauty and I’ve wasted enough precious attention on this column as it is. Let’s go Twins!

Until next time, go and choose wisely…


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