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Phoenix Open betting preview

January 27th, 2014

This week's event on the PGA Tour is the elegantly-titled Waste Management Phoenix Open, which was won last year by Phil Mickelson at unusually long odds of 25/1. The champion is back to defend his title at the TPC Scottsdale and you can see how he gets on live on Sky Sports, with coverage beginning on Thursday at 8pm UK time.

Mickelson's victory here last year was his third at this course following his successes in 1996 and 2005 and, as we pointed out at the time, "he’s more than capable of going close and you don’t often see such a big price against his name."

There's no such big price against Mickelson's name this week - he’s no bigger than the 14/1 on offer from Sky Bet, BetVictor and Coral - and backing him to win is a risky strategy following his withdrawal from last week's Farmers Insurance Open due to a troublesome back. Despite his injury he was playing well, but back problems have a tendency to flare up again and there's no guarantee that he will get through four days.

The other leading names in this week's field include Brandt Snedeker, Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan, while Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Ian Poulter offer some European interest near the top of the betting market.

Snedeker finished second here last year with a 24-under-par total, still some four shots behind the winner. Scott Piercy and Ryan Moore also got below 20-under on a layout which quite obviously offers plenty of birdie opportunities. After missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, Snedeker is a 33/1 chance this week.

The second favourite is Webb Simpson, who was in blistering form in the opening months of the 2013/14 season. Simpson, an 18/1 shot with BetVictor, Paddy Power and Coral, didn’t play here last year but is looking for a third successive top 10 on this course.

Recent winners of this event include Kyle Stanley, Mark Wilson and Mahan, who showed up well in some big tournaments last season and definitely has the game to make an impression here once more. William Hill offer 33/1 about the 2010 champion.

Another man worth noting is Gary Woodland, who has done well here in recent years and was in good form in testing conditions at Torrey Pines last week. Woodland, who shared fifth place on his first visit to Scottsdale in 2011, is a combined total of 46-under-par for his last 4 events, so there's plenty of evidence that his putter is working well. Bet365 offer 35/1.

Bill Haas, too, deserves some attention this week as he bids to continue a run of consistent form which has seen him place in the top 25 at 14 of his last 16 events. Haas tied for sixth place here 12 months ago and his results here are on an upward curve. He can be backed at 33/1 with Paddy Power.

Hunter Mahan Tournament Winner 33/1 William Hill
Gary Woodland Tournament Winner 35/1 Bet365
Bill Haas Tournament Winner 33/1
Paddy Power

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