Bet Golf! Mike Kern has the odds and picks for the Farmers Insurance Open, with Jon Rahm as the favorite
Adam Scott watches a shot during the first round of the Tournament of Champions golf event Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, at Kapalua Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii. Scott, at 40-1, is one of Kern's players to watch.Matthew Thayer | The Maui News via Associated Press

Bet Golf! Mike Kern has the odds and picks for the Farmers Insurance Open, with Jon Rahm as the favorite

The Farmers Insurance Open starts on Thursday, January 28, and will air on CBS and the Golf Channel

Hey, our top two picks last week both missed the cut. It happens. Even to us sometimes. But it’s a new week on the PGA Tour, so let’s get right back in the saddle.

The strongest field so far of this year is teeing it up at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego. The site is of course Torrey Pines (they will use both the North and South layouts), which will also host the U.S. Open in June. Tiger Woods won the Open there in 2008, but he’s not playing this week while he recovers from yet another back surgery. That happens too.

The favorite is Jon Rahm, at 7-1. He was a late withdraw last week but won this even in 2017 in his debut there. At like 50-1 at the time. Times change. Rory McIlroy, who hasn’t won in over a year, is next at 8.5-1. He finished third last week in Dubai, losing the lead on the last day. In his two starts here the last two years he’s been third and fifth. Xander Schauffele is 11-1, followed by Tony Finau at 20-1. Finau was in contention last week, as he often is, but didn’t win, which he’s only done once. And I have him this week in my yearlong pool. That didn’t work out very well last week for me with Scottie Scheffler. Again, it’s been known to happen.

Harris English, who won in Hawaii to start the month, is 20-1. Hideki Matsuyama, who hasn’t won for the longest time, is 22-1. As is Patrick Reed. Viktor Hovland is 30-1. Jason Day, who won here a few years back, is 33-1. My man Scheffler is also 33-1. And since he missed the cut for me last week, that sometimes means he will do very well this week. Just saying. Matthew Wolff, who I believed I also jinxed last week, is 33-1 as well.

Brooks Koepka is 35-1. Still not sure what to make of him at this point. Sungjae Im, who usually gives you a pretty solid effort for your investment, is 35-1 too. Billy Horschel and Marc Leishman, your defending champ, are 40-1. Ditto Adam Scott, who tied for second in his lone start here two years ago. Si Woo Kim, who contended last week, and Bubba Watson, who won here in 2011 and tied for sixth last year, are also 40-1.

Without running down everyone, some other notables are Rickie Fowler at 60-1, Louis Oosthuizen at 66-1, Francesco Molinari at 75-1, Cameron Champ at 80-1, Alexander Noren at 80-1, and Jordan Spieth at 80-1. There are obviously many others, but I’ll let you find them on your own.

You know I don’t like going with the chalk whenever I can avoid it, because we’re looking for value. But I am tempted to go with Rory McIlroy, since I think he’ll at least be in it til at least somewhere near the end. I could be wrong. He’s plus $190 to finish in the top five. That’s not much of a return, but it could be the way to go. Whatever you do, I wouldn’t go too heavy. Again, due to his odds.

There’s a lot of ways I could go further down the board. So, I’ll throw out a few and let you decide. Or maybe you toss a little on all of them. I’m looking at Adam Scott and Bubba Watson, both at 40-1. I think both are live relative longer shots. Scott doesn’t play as often as he used to, at his age. And Bubba is one of those guys who seems to do well at certain tracks. This seems to be one of them. And they’re each 8-1 for a top five, which isn’t a bad backup strategy. Or even 4-1 for a top 10. You can spread your bankroll around.

More down the list, I might throw something on Cameron Champ, who missed the cut last week but has been playing well. He’s got the length you seem to need here. And he’s 80-1, 16-1 for a top five and half of that for a 10. Win, place and show.

For whatever it’s worth, Phil Mickelson is 150-1 along with Brandt Snedeker, who won this not that long ago. Yo, you never know sometimes. But the longshot I’m willing to lose a buck or so on is J.B. Holmes, who’s finished sixth or better here three of the last six years. He’s 200-1, 60-1 and 30-1. You could so a lot worse. And it only costs you six dollars if he does nothing.

Go for it. And good luck out there. Let’s hope we can cash a ticket or two this time out.

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