Northern Trust Open Golf Tips: A speciality bets portfolio for Riviera

Webb Simpson has taken an instant liking to Riviera
Webb Simpson has taken an instant liking to Riviera

In keeping with successful previous renewals, Paul Krishnamurty has scoured the speciality markets for the Northern Trust Open and recommends a mixture of pre-tournament and in-play trades...

"It is hard to see Webb Simpson being far away, making it highly likely he'll trade shorter than a generous opening 23.022/1 quote. There was plenty to like about his 15th place on debut in 2010...Back then, Webb was a little-known non-winner, now he's a major champion who is rarely seen far away from contention."

With over 40 years of course form and trends to pore over, there are few better events on the PGA Tour calendar to search for value amongst the wide variety of outright and speciality markets than this week's Northern Trust Open. Like most championship courses, sometimes major venue Riviera CC presents the type of stern test that suits some players down to the ground, whereas others just never get the hang of it. Most famously, Riviera is the track that Tiger Woods could never tame, even at his virtually invincible peak, which partly explains the world number one's absence. Nevertheless, even without Tiger, a world-class field has assembled, meaning a wide-open betting market. In addition to this pair of Find Me a 100 Winner picks, I'm going in with the following portfolio.


Back to lays

Back Webb Simpson 5u @ 23.022/1
Back Charl Schwartzel 3u @ 42.041/1
Place orders to lay both players 20u @ 5.04/1

One notable feature of Riviera renewals is that this is a course where things change thick and fast. Many a player has made a great start, with their odds duly collapsing, only to swiftly fall back into the pack. For example last year I recommended a back to lay on Sergio Garcia that, remarkably, yielded a profit by Friday afternoon as the Spaniard traded down to 4.03/1. By the end of that round, Sergio had dropped right back into the pack and never featured in contention again. A classic case of how an ordinary tip can still yield dividends, thanks to the dramatic fluctuations of the in-play market.

This year I'm trying a combined trade on two players who, unlike most, took to Riviera immediately. First it is hard to see Webb Simpson being far away, making it highly likely he'll trade shorter than a generous opening 23.022/1 quote. There was plenty to like about his 15th place on debut in 2010, staying on very strongly after a slow start. Back then, Webb was a little-known non-winner, now he's a major champion who is rarely seen far away from contention. Five of his last six events yielded top-tens, including a win, and a close sixth place on last year's second visit to Riviera confirmed his suitability for this place.

Charl Schwartzel's course debut was even more impressive, finishing third, just one shot out of a play-off, 12 months ago. Granted, two failures on home turf this year are a worry, but given that he won twice in the autumn it makes sense not to over-react. I also like Steve Rawlings logic regarding South Africans' advantage on Kikuya grass, and am following him in at 42.041/1. The trading plan is to stake eight units on the pair, then place an order to lay each for 20 units at 5.04/1 to bank a 150% profit, whilst leaving extra profits if either of them win.


Tournament Matchbets

Back Keegan Bradley 6u @ 1.9310/11 (vs Furyk)

This match bet involves abandoning the habits of a lifetime, opposing my all-time favourite match betting candidate with a young gun who I'm normally inclined to take on. One must adapt to changing times, however, and it would be churlish to deny that Jim Furyk and Keegan Bradley's careers are moving in different directions. While Furyk has been remarkably consistent throughout his long career, (a length of time that more or less mirrors my golf punting career), Riviera has never been one of his favourite places. He's only made one top-ten ever at Riviera in 20 years of trying, which by his standards is a poor return. In contrast Bradley took an almost instant liking to this place, finishing runner-up on only his second attempt in 2012 and making last year's top-20. Given that the latter has been in solid form already this year whereas Furyk was ordinary on last week's seasonal debut, its hard to justify these odds.


Top-ten finish

Back Ernie Els 1u @ 11.521/2
Back Fred Couples 1u @ 13.5

There is no substitute for course experience, so it will be no surprise to see one of these former Riviera champions record a high finish or even contend. 1999 champion Ernie Els also led for almost the entire 1995 USPGA on this course and has remained competitive here even as his game has declined. Ernie hasn't missed a cut this century and made the top-13 on two of his last three tries. A lack of recent form is obviously a worry, but the Big Easy remains a class act, capable of bouncing back at any moment, and is a very big price in all markets given his pedigree. The case for twice former champion Fred Couples is laid out in greater detail here.


In-play tactics

Finally, this looks an ideal opportunity to employ my 'Lay In-Play' trading system, explained in detail here. Last year would have been a goldmine for such a plan as numerous players exchanged favouritism right up to the 72nd hole, when two total outsiders suddenly found themselves in a play-off, despite never having traded short. The lay orders are listed below.

Opening trades, to run throughout rounds 1 and 2
Important: When placing these orders, make sure to click the 'Keep In-Play' option to ensure your orders stay live on the system once the market turns in-play.

Place order to lay each player 2u @ 5.04/1
Place order to lay each player 3u @ 3.02/1
Place order to lay each player 7u @ 1.42/5

Before the third round, update the remaining lay orders to the following targets...

Place order to lay each player 2.5u @ 4.03/1
Place order to lay each player 4u @ 2.56/4
Place order to lay each player 7u @ 1.42/5

Before the fourth round, update the remaining lay orders to the following targets...

Place order to lay each player 3u @ 3.02/1
Place order to lay each player 5u @ 2.01/1
Place order to lay each player 7u @ 1.42/5


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