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Prop Farm: Keith Mitchell attracting sharp action ahead of Mexico Open

4 Min Read

Golfbet News


    Written by Brady Kannon @lasvegasgolfer

    Bridging the gap between the West Coast Swing and the Florida Swing is the Mexico Open at Vidanta. A tournament that has been around for 80 years makes its third consecutive appearance as a PGA TOUR event and for the third straight year, will be contested at Vidanta Vallarta.

    The golf course is big. A par 71 and nearly 7,500 yards, Vidanta Vallarta has very wide fairways with very little rough and large greens. Paspalum grass runs throughout. It was thought from the get-go that big hitters would flourish on this layout and that has indeed played out with bombers dominating the top of the leaderboard in each of the first two editions.

    Coming off the star-studded field that made up The Genesis Invitational, this field is littered with up-and-coming, younger talent. Tony Finau is the defending champion and is by far the shortest-priced player on the board this week to make it back-to-back victories south of the border at +800 at BetMGM Sportsbook.

    It is interesting to see the betting public is jumping on the more recognizable favorites and not diving down the board much deeper. As Tristan Davis, senior manager at Mandalay Bay Race & Sportsbook in Las Vegas, explained, "The clear best-bet runner has been Finau (+800) with a percentage handle so far at 17%, followed by Nicolai Højgaard (+1600) at 12% of the handle."

    "We have also seen good support for Brandon Wu (+3500) and Taylor Pendrith at +2500,” Davis continued, noting support for last year's third-place finisher. “Punters this week are really sticking with the shorter-priced players unlike the last few weeks where we have seen a lot more money on outsiders."

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    Pendrith took 30th here last season and comes off a recent top-10 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open - where Højgaard finished runner-up. There has not been a tournament winner yet this season priced shorter than +6000 pre-tournament.

    Drew O'Dell, an analyst at BetMGM, is seeing a similar pattern with Finau and Højgaard, combining for over 11% of the ticket count to win the tournament outright but is also seeing support for Keith Mitchell, garnering 4.5% of the ticket count currently.

    "Our biggest liability though is with Nicolai Højgaard, Taylor Pendrith and Tony Finau," said O'Dell.

    Thomas Gable, director of race and sportsbook at The Borgata in New Jersey, brought up another big hitter who is seeing action at his shop. "Our biggest liability right now for the overall tournament winner is Jhonattan Vegas at +6600," he said.

    This will be the debut appearance at Vidanta for both Vegas and Mitchell. But who will top the leaderboard on Thursday?

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    "In the First Round Leader market, we have taken some respected play on Ryan Fox (+4500), Mark Hubbard (+5000) and Kevin Chappell (+12500)," Gable said.

    A few of the same names we have seen as popular already, are also popping up for O'Dell. "For First Round Leader, Keith Mitchell is getting the most attention ticket-wise at 6.2%, followed closely by Vegas at 6%," he said. "Stephan Jaeger is responsible for 4.9% of the tickets and Sam Stevens is at 4.7%."

    It appears that there is a pattern to some of these First Round Leader wagers as Pendrith, Fox, Stevens, Chappell, Hubbard and Mitchell will all tee off in the early wave on Thursday. While the forecast in the Nuevo Vallarta area is calling for very calm winds of 10 mph or less, the coastal breezes do tend to kick up there in the afternoons.

    Last season on TOUR, Jaeger ranked 10th in first-round scoring average while Mitchell was 24th and Hubbard was 49th.

    Both Davis and Gable are seeing some respected play in the head-to-head matchup market.

    "We have seen some 'sharp-ish' money for Patrick Rodgers to beat Erik van Rooyen," Davis said. "We went from -120 on Rodgers to -125. However, the biggest move in our matchups has been Keith Mitchell to beat Thorbjorn Olesen. Mitchell was -115 and is now -130."

    Seemingly a popular choice all over the board, Gable is seeing Mitchell action at The Borgata as well.

    "Keith Mitchell (-130) is getting bet in his match-up against Taylor Pendrith (+110),” he said. “Interesting match-up as I know Pendrith grades out pretty well for this tournament, so it should be a fun one to track."

    Both Pendrith and Mitchell caught my eye this week in my own handicap. They are both big hitters, excellent drivers of the golf ball, and I like Pendrith's finish at Torrey Pines back in January as a possible indicator - but in reading the markets and handicapping the handicappers, ultimately I deemed these two were going to be "too popular" for my liking. According to BetMGM numbers, they indeed look to be popular choices this week in Mexico.

    Evidently Jaeger and Højgaard qualify as popular as well - and they both did make my card this week in at least a market or two.

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