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2014 Northern Trust Open Preview/Picks & Gambling Lines

PGA Golf Handicapping – Northern Trust Open

The famed Riviera Country Club hosts the PGA pros this week – a 7,349 yard par 71 track that challenges every aspect of one’s game. In fact, Riviera was the fourth toughest Par 71 the pros played last year.

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2014 Northern Trust Open
Location: Pacific Palisades, California, United States
Course: Riviera Country Club
Total Purse: US $ 6,700,000
Winner’s Share: US $ 1,206,000 (18% of total purse)
Odds from

Defending Champion: John Merrick ($1,188,000)

Fairways are notoriously difficult to hit, the greens in regulation stats hover around 50% which is amongst the lowest of any track on TOUR, and scrambling hasn’t exactly been a picnic here either.

John Merrick is the defending champion at this event – efficiency is all aspects of the game propelled him to the improbable win. So who will shine this week? Is there another Merrick in the field or will one of the faves emerge? Let’s break in down.

The Favorites:

Dustin Johnson 14/1

Johnson has put together quite a run as of late – a T2 at Pebble Beach followed at T6 at the Hyundai in his only two starts of the year thus far. He has six starts at this event with three top 10s and two top 4s – a T3 (2010) and a T4 (2012). History shows that when he has done well at Pebble Beach he has done very well at the Northern Trust and he was terrific at Pebble Beach.

Hunter Mahan 18/1

Enters off back-to-back top 6 finishes and had a career best finish last year at Riviera – a T8 which is his only top 10 on this track to date. Mahan has been knocking on the door lately and looks overdue for a win. Unfortunately his history here isn’t terrific.

Jimmy Walker 18/1

The dream season continues for Jimmy Walker. He enters this week on fire – three wins already this season including last week. This week he gets a crack at arguably his favorite course where he is 6 for his last six including a pair of T4s and a T16 in his last three starts. He is third in strokes gained-putting, eighth in adjusted scoring, 22nd in scrambling and fifth in par-4 scoring on TOUR and absolutely cannot be discounted.

Jordan Spieth 18/1

Played pretty well last week en route to a T4 – his seventh top 5 in the last 11 months. He has led after 36 holes in each of his last two starts but is stumbling a bit on the weekend – something that will right itself before too long. Spieth has played here just once – missing the cut as an amateur.

Webb Simpson 18/1

Has been consistently good as of late – six top 10s in his last seven starts and has finished inside the top 15 in his last two starts here. Simpson enters in good form and has shown well on this track in the past.

The Contenders:

Justin Rose 20/1

Rose makes his 2014 PGA debut this week after a break due to some shoulder issues. Before the forced break he made seven of eight cuts with a T9 and a T13 in his last two starts. There is no denying his class but I expect rust to play a factor this week.
Graham Delaet 22/1

Has been sensational – doing everything but winning. His first PGA win will come sooner rather than later – almost guaranteed. He has been the co-runner up in his last two starts overall and has finished inside the top 7 in his last four starts overall. He is 7th in total driving, 6th in GIR, and 2nd in adjusted scoring on TOUR and is more than due for a breakthrough.

Matt Kuchar 22/1

Has quietly been OK – six top 10s in his last 10 starts worldwide and he has made the cut all eight times he`s teed it up at Riviera. Kuchar has the all around game to contend and should be in the mix Sunday.

Bill Haas 28/1

Haas has experienced a ton of success here – he won this tourney in 2012 and finished T3 last year to go along with a T12 in 2011. Course history is definitely on his side but present form is just OK – T6, T43 and T34 in his last three. Mahan obviously has the all around game to make some noise here – just wish he was playing a little better at the moment.

Bubba Watson 28/1

Watson is a bit tricky to figure out right now – he has missed the cut in three of his last six starts but he also has a T2 and a T23 over that span. His course history here is just OK – like his present form.

Keegan Bradley 28/1

His missed cut at the Waste Management have a few people scared off and rightfully so. Other than that he`s had 12 top 20s in his previous starts. He had a T2 here in 2012 and a T16 on this track in 2013 but to say he is trending upward ahead of this event may be a bit of a stretch.

Ryan Moore 33/1

Has made his last six cuts here with two top 20s and has been great as of late – six top 25s in his last seven starts. He has a T4, T17, and T27 run in his last three starts on this track and has finished 10th and 6th in his two 2014 starts.

The Sleepers (50/1 or higher):

Marc Leishman 50/1

Looked good before missing the cut at the Waste Management but had a fifth and a T2 in his two starts before. He has made three of four cuts in this event with two top 20s and looks like decent value this week.

Pat Perez 50/1

May actually be the best value on the board with four top 11s in his last five starts, He has made the cut here 10 times in 13 appearances but has just one 10 – an eighth in 2007. Still his current form is excellent and his knowledge of this track is worthy of mention.

The Pick:

It’s pretty hard not to pick Jimmy Walker this week but he has to stumble sometime. If he wins his fourth tournament this season I’ll be kicking myself.

Instead I am going with Graham DeLaet at 22/1. He could be the best ball striker on the planet right now – something that will come in handy at Riviera. There is no player more due for a win – I think DeLaet gets his this week.

My sleeper is Pat Perez at 50/1. Perez’s past three starts – T2 at Torrey Pines, 11th in Phoenix and T7 at Pebble Beach – not too shabby. His form makes him a very enticing 50/1.


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About DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.