Formerly known as the Cadillac Championship when played at Doral, the first WGC event on the calendar is one of the most predictable tournament of the year. Only Patrick Reed in 2014 and Justin Rose in 2012 started anywhere near our 99-1 target and both, of course, would later go on to much greater things.
In complete contrast the Puerto Rico Open is an outsiders paradise, as Steve Rawlings explains in his comprehensive preview. However as it isn't televised and getting bets laid back in-running could be problematic, my focus is in entirely on the main event.
It is worth noting that, in the two years since moving to Chapultepec and becoming the Mexico Championship, the trend is slightly different. While Justin Thomas and Phil Mickelson were relatively predictable, the leaderboards were less so. This tight, classical course may not prove the type where elite bombers will always, inevitably rise to the fore.
Short game test should be perfect for Smith
Back Cameron Smith 2u @ 120.0119/1
Place order to lay 25u @ 8.07/1
Nor, given the strength of any WGC field nowadays, is it impossible to find elite players at enhanced, triple-figure, win only odds on the exchange. My first pick is already recommended at 60-1 for our each-way column, but we can get double those odds if betting win only or, in this case, for back to lay purposes.
Although he is yet to appear at Chapultepec, it looks exactly the sort of course where Smith will thrive. Not impossibly long given the altitude, with a big premium on short game. As Steve explains in his preview, the latter is the key attribute.
Having honed his skills on firm, fast championship courses in Australia, Smith has taken immediately to the biggest US events. He finished fourth as a rookie in the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay and fifth at last year's Masters - well clear of the next best outsider. He will love the poa annua greens, as demonstrated in Future of Fantasy's invaluable stats.
Resurgent Lowry has plenty of US pedigree
Back Shane Lowry 2u @ 160.0159/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 15.014/1
Place order to lay 20u @ 5.04/1
The 'European feel' of this course was widely observed during previous renewals and many featured prominently on both leaderboards. Here's one of their number with a fabulous short game, pedigree in elite US events and in great form.
Lowry is a former champion of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational and runner-up in a US Open. He recently won the high-class Abu Dhabi Championship, building on promising Race to Dubai form towards the end of 2018. His greens in regulation stats have been excellent for months and that must bode well, given these smaller than average putting surfaces.
Master scrambler Aphibarnrat to go well again
Back Kiradech Aphibarnrat 1u each-way @ 150/1 (1/5 odds, seven places)
The final bet requires forgiving a slow start to his 2019 campaign but considering these odds, each-way terms and his wider pedigree, that feels valid. The most important skills this week is Scrambling and, in that regard, Aphibarnrat is up there with the very best.
The Thai ranks eighth for scrambling for this PGA Tour season and was sixth for strokes gained around the green on last year's European Tour. His last three WGC appearances yielded fifth here, fourth at the HSBC Champions and the quarter-finals of the World Matchplay. In scarce starts in US majors, he's already notched top-15s in both the Masters and US Open.
Numerous alternatives are worth a mention. In particular around the 100.099/1 mark, it is easy to make a case for Matthew Fitzpatrick or the in-form Louis Oosthuizen, although the latter surprisingly failed on both visits.
Steve flags up Alexander Bjork at 200-1 in our each-way column - another European with the right short game skills. I'd also add the highly progressive Lucas Bjerregaard at 330.0329/1 to the list.
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