- The Betting Bunker
Mahan in Hunt for glory at PebbleAlex Livie February 6, 2013
The West Coast swing on the PGA Tour continues with Pebble Beach playing host to the AT&T National Pro-Am and the bookmakers are running scared of Phil Mickelson following his demolition job in Phoenix last week.
And with good reason. Not even in his pomp did Mickelson drive the ball as well as he did at TPC Scottsdale. If that's no flash in the pan, and the player himself believes not having spoken positively about making tweaks to his game in the off season, then he could be set for a golden run this year.
Bet365 have priced him up at 7/1 and that's about fair, given the form he is in and his record at Pebble Beach. He is the defending champion, which was his fourth win in the event dating back to the first in 1998.
The Bunker would not put anyone off having a punt on Mickelson, who looks like he could go on a run of form ahead of the Masters (a major he has won on three occasions), but we'd prefer to look a little further down the betting for the winner.
- Hunter Mahan - 20/1 E/W at bet365
Aaron Baddeley 40/1 E/W
Dustin Johnson is second best in the betting and he too has a sparkling record at Pebble, winning in 2009 and 2010, while FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker is in red-hot form having chased home Mickelson last week.
The first three in the market are worthy of their positions, but we feel it is worth taking a chance on Hunter Mahan at 20/1. The California native had a torrid time in the second half of 2012, having won the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in February.
He has worked hard on his game in the off season, particularly his short game, and his results in recent weeks have been positive. Six of his last eight rounds have been in the 60s and he has top-20 finishes at the Farmers Insurance Open and Waste Management Phoenix Open.
"I have actually done a couple things that I'm really excited about, and so I'm happy where things are right now and excited about the prospect of the upcoming tournaments and the upcoming year," Mahan said.
Mahan can also draw on positives in terms of course form, as he was runner-up to DA Points in 2011, and it is worth chancing that his upturn in form will continue this week.
A lively outsider at 40/1 is Aaron Baddeley. The Australian has decent form at Pebble, his last two starts have yielded top-six finishes, and he was sixth two starts ago at the Farmers.
Baddeley is one of the tour's premier putters, he was sixth in strokes gained putting in 2012, and that is a major string to your bow on the tough Pebble Beach greens. Baddeley may not be as fashionable as his fellow Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott, but that is reflected in his price and 40/1 is too big to ignore on a course that fits his eye.
Please note that odds are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.