Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2 goal gap backing recap

here's the thread I did last month about backing big prices on the footie - especially/usually when there is a 2 goal gap > ie when a team goes 2-0 up you back the losing team (or lay the winning team) on the basis that if they score the next goal, then there will be a good profit to be made as the market contracts

have a look...

this week has seen some cracking examples with man utd going up by 2 goals twice!

and then barca being 1-01 last night to win (draw matched at huge price too) and chelsea scoring the next goal.. and the one after that too!

backing big prices (2 goal gap)

all this needs is a decent over-reaction from the market and then if the NEXT GOAL is scored by the losing team and bringing them back into the game, then there is money to be made!!

zurich classic

off to louisiana this week for the tricky ZURICH CLASSIC, a tough test for a change for these lads as this course is long and has fairly tricky greens too; the rough isn't too bad though so still good chances for some low scoring but hopefully a truer test of decent ball-strikers and good putters

the prices don't really attract however and thus not much interest although there are a few who catch my eye at half-decent odds.. looking more to trade this week as good chance of some performances from triple-figure players perhaps

tentaive picks (ie small stakes probably!) >

peter HANSON > 55 is big enough for the perenially under-rated swede; in good form for a while and obviously put up a good effort at the masters - hopefully the jaunt to china won't affect him too much and he can do well here as his game is in good shape (on at 55 yesterday but 50 now)

hunter HAAS > could be a good longshot if he manages to avoid the killer 77s he often finds.. back into a bit of form and played ok here last year,  not a bad putter from long distance which should help here too - decent at 180 b/f (on at 180 although 150 or so now)

ernie ELS > 60 again looks decent for the big easy who may be relaxed again after his pursuit of a masters place - has been playing well and could be due a further good spell as has the long game for sure

last 2 pics are tentative as not too sure about them.. PIERCY at 100 is possible as he has the ability I feel and backed him last wk when he got close with a 65 but not close enough (dropped from 80 to 40 mid tourney), CHALMERS at 75 may not be long but has done well here and has a great neat game / also in better form and more confident after a good aussie summer

had thoughts about Crane (70) and Palmer (100) but will leave them for now

> not going with as big stakes as usual as this tournament has a real unknown feel about it and I will look daft when the top 5 is full of those at the top of the market probably! but happy with these mentioned above and definitely looking for good trades this week

trading > these all attract me for various reasons so will be looking for them to start well and provide some profit or a free bet at least

lamely 800 hunch bet purely! (now 870)
adams 450 always catches my eye and this price is big (down to 350 now)
mathis 310 off the back of a good effort last week (out to 380 now)
taylor 300 hunch bet and did well couple of wks back for me (230 now)
couch 450 should go well if he gets his (usually) good putting back on song (340 now)

* prices altered on b/f as I drafted this article yesterday

ballantine's championship (euro tour)

quick post about this week's BALLANTINE'S Championship in Korea - this is a superb course and should be a tough test - there looks to be some standout prices here although such a hard tour to call usually

not interested in scott at his price and couple near the top of the market are no value... expect a decent show from the korean players but the odds take that into account maybe too much already


McGRANE > 80 is generous indeed for mcgrane who should enjoy this course and also any inclement weather as that massive victory in the storms a few yrs ago in this part of the world lingers on; finding some good form and expect him to go well - would back him at near half this price so happy indeed with 80 (13th here last yr)

DERKSEN > 85 on b/f and that's good enough for this guy who seems to really enjoy playing in asia and often appears from nowhere to do well - top 20 last wk and good chance at highish odds here, 13th here last yr also

FISHER > 90 on b/f looks interesting; not sure what his plans are as he didnt play much at all until the masters which was strange but still played ok there - his great tee to green game should mean he finds enough birdie opps here as it's a tough course for anyone wayward; risky bet as bit of unknown factor with so little golf be he was a consistently good player a couple of yrs back and may be worth a dabble - MC last wk with 71/72 but good warm-up for this one perhaps

DUBUISSON > young french lad hits it long and is in good form with an excellent consistent effort last wk (all four rounds in the 60s), has potential to be a decent player indeed and if he can continue that good run then he is worth an interest this wk at 55

final pick was between Kruger, Lowry, Noren, Coetzee and Olesen all of whom I have backed in recent times - might watch them all and see if I can get better price early in the event

trading-wise > expecting a good home show so have dabbled on j-k mo, s-h park, s-s hong, d-h kim all at around 3-400 and looking for quick drop and out


Thursday, April 19, 2012

valero texas open

brief picks from me for this week's less than stellar event in texas... weak field and very open so plenty who could nick a maiden win here or surprise at decent odds - hard to call so smallish stakes this week... course is long and has undulating greens so no real bias at all other than for length and someone in form who can get it close enough to have a few birdie attempts - anyone short or wayward will consistently be relying on their short game to save par which is hard to do over 4 days

picks are >

PALMER > 40 isn't great for someone not in good form but have always liked Ryan Palmer as he can find a win from nowhere every now and again (3 tour wins 04 08 and 10, similar to kuchar who has 3 tour wins!) - texan lad so will presumably show up well as he has in the past in his home state; played ok at houston recently and being a good mid range putter he could find some form here and get in amongst them, happy to be on a proven winner at 40 

PIERCY > should do well on this course, won at reno-tahoe last yr which is similar so that bodes well, played well at houston and was 5th in the transitions, good long putter which will help here - decent shout at 80 

WALKER > local lad as lives here so no idea how often he may have plaed this track but should do better than usual with all the home town support - has had 3 top 10s already this yr but I'm wary that he did the same last yr before fading so hope he can maintain the form a bit longer this time > 55 Betfair is enough to tempt 

STADLER > in excellent recent form with 3 top 10s in last 4 events played, needs to improve like this or become a journeyman - overdue being in contention on a sunday and hope that recent run will continue here - good putter too, 50 on Betfair 

had few thoughts about Huh, Wagner and even Delaet (course suits but out of form) - WAGNER may get some interest from me as he is a proven winner and born in texas (another with 3 career wins) 

Monday, April 02, 2012

example of golf trading

Trading Example

had some requests for info on how to trade the golf so will run through an example and hopefully this will be of some help...

just using 1 player for now..


ok...player A

* price is 200 and you back for 20pts

Betfair screen will show 3980.00 under his name (use the what if? option) and -20.00 under all other golfers

this means you have a potential profit of 3980pts if he wins (green) and a loss of 20pts (red) if he loses (ie any other player wins)


* he plays well and price drops to 50

now you can Lay him for various amounts depending on how you want to go...

Lay him for 20pts so clearing your stake - you now have a free bet as you have balanced your staking

if he wins, you would now win 3000pts > this is 3980 from the back bet above less your Lay bet of 980pts (20pts @ 49.0 = 980pt liability)

your screen will show 3000.00 under player A ingreen and 0.00 in green under all other players

so you have no loss risk and still have a big potential win on player A

2/ you could Lay him for 40pts - this means you have backed for 20pts and laid for 40pts so you are effectively 20pts in profit on your staking

if he wins, you would now win 2020pts > this is the original 3980pts back bet less your Lay bet of 1960pts (40pts @ 49.0 = 1960pt liability)

your screen would show 2020.00 in green under player A and 20.00 in green on all other players

so you have a green screen meaning profit on any result; a big win on player A still and small return on any other player

3/ you could Lay him for 70pts - this means you have backed for 20pts and laid for 70 making a profit on staking of 50pts

if he wins, you would now win 550pts > this is the original 3980pts back less your Lay bet of 3430pts (70pts @ 49.0 = 3430 liability)

your screen would show 550.00 under player A and 50.00 under all other players

so you have a green screen with profit on all outcomes; a decent win on player A and nice return on all other players


* this is if price drops to 50 which is 4 times less - if the price then dropped to say 20 you have a 'tenfold' drop.. these are obviously great as your options are the same but you can use bigger amounts

eg price of 20 to Lay now... assuming you didn't Lay off at 50, you can Lay for 200pts now and have a 180pt profit on any outcome at all

> your original 200pt back was 3980pts profit and your Lay now of 200pts @ 19.0 = 3800pt liability, so 3980 less 3800 = 180pt profit on your player A

> and your original 20pt back less your new 200pt Lay = 180pt profit on any other player

> ideal situation as you have a good profit (9 times your original stake!) whatever the result


* if the price drops more and down to say 5 then you are laughing as you can Lay for 800pts and have a green screen of 780pts on any result

> this is your 3980pt original back profit, less your new 3200pt Lay bet liability (800 @ 4.0 = 3200pts)

you now have a very good profit on any result (39 times your original stake)

this is an example of how you can avoid losing your stake, or make a profit on all outcomes - the levels depend on the prices and how much you Lay for

simple rules are >

* practice it until you know what you are doing

* use stakes you can afford to lose (ie your bank for the event) so there is no pressure or need to recoup meaning daft decisions

* decide if you want to make small profits all-round or have free bets and potential big profit on one player

* be flexible and assess all the relevant factors - don't get drawn into a fixed price to hit

>> and hopefully you will pick the right players and trade them to make good profits... this builds the bank up and then you can either use bigger stakes or select more players

golf trading tips (part 2)

When to back or lay?

With regard to setting a price target for trading >

* It depends on many factors so I don't really have a price in mind or a target, I look at various factors and decide accordingly... and then maybe Lay it all off for a free bet or green screen or whatever

Factors are >

what stage of the tourney is it?
what stake did I use?
how is he playing so far?
how is the course playing/weather forecast?
what is the score in relation to others?
does he have a chance of winning?
is he a good finisher or a weekend blowout type?
is his score good or bad compared with his play quality?

and so on...

Reasoning behind these points is as follows >

what stage of the tourney is it?

This makes a big difference on Betfair obviously - if it's round 1 and the player is a big outsider then the price will drop but not to low figures unless he has gone 4 clear etc - eg yesterday I got barnes at 500 and 510 (average 505) and he shot a 66 which was 2 behind the leader; very well placed and his price has dropped to 75 to Lay.. now that is instant small profit if I want it... being this early in the tourney tho' there is a likelihood that he will start over par in rd2 and price will fly up again

Thus, bearing in mind other factors, I would be thinking of laying this off a lot if not all as it's early in the event - if it was rd 3 then the price would be considerably lower and I would run more of it if not all

(some people think if you punt at big odds and they do well then why not run the whole lot and try and win big but that's fixed odds punting rather than trading and I think smaller regular profit is more sensible)

Example would be Palmer when he won - I backed him at 390 and he shot 65 opening day to lead, price dropped but only to 30 I think.. then he hung around the top of the board so he dropped to 8 or so by weekend, then he still played well and was up there so dropped to about 3.75 by final round as by then he had a very clear chance of winning - 18 holes to mess up rather than say 54 so price reflected that - he was no different scorewise to the field really from day 1 to 3 but the time left and potential win had changed drastically

what stake did I use?

If you use a very small stake then it's probably not worth trading too much - if you use a considerable stake then you have more options - I constantly strive to build the bank up so I can use a %age of it with no worries if I lose - this then means bigger stakes so you have more worthwhile options

eg £2 at 200 and price drops to 20 you aren't going to be hugely in profit laying off, but if it was £20 at 200 and the price drops to 20 then you could Lay off for £200 and have a £180 profit on any result or alternatively Lay for £100 and have a big potential profit on that player (£2080) and a nice £80 on everyone else

how is he playing so far?

Has he chipped in 3 times and sunk some 50-foot putts or is he playing really well and looking capable of going low again, that kind of thing

course/weather forecast?

Look at who else is due to play and when ie late starters in the day, has the wind died down, is it forecast for wind the next day, what are tee times, is the course drying out, are the greens getting roughened up etc all things that may affect certain players due to their type of shot or ability in certain conditions etc

score in relation to others?

If the fav is 4 shots clear then the Betfair price on your outsider just wont come down, it will climb... the winning likelihood is reduced massively... if there are a lot of players within a few shots then equally it's hard to get the price lower - if the field is strung out and some others at the top are lowly ranked then the price may well drop significantly as the market will view the winning chance as much higher

chance of winning?

Some players can win tournaments, Palmer I mentioned I backed because he has a record of winning occasionally from nowhere..others haven't - this doesn't mean they won't win but the chance is what I assess - I would rather back a player at 400 who has a win on his CV as this may mean a quicker drop in price if he plays well as the market realises the chance of a win is maybe higher than a maiden at 400

This also depends on whether I Lay on a sunday morning - if a player is in contention but I don't rate him winning then I will Lay and accept it if he wins... some though have the winning touch and I will probably run those

good finisher or weekend blowout?

As above really - some players see the winning line and choke, some go for it... some are excellent tournament starters but can't hold on for 4 rounds.. all to do with mental strength really and affects my Lay decision

good or bad score?

As above to how is he playing - is the score relatively good, or early in the day, or did he play averagely but perhaps get lucky with an eagle or two - was it a 'quality round' means did he hit a lot of GIR and have tap-ins or did he have some luck

I assess the field scores and hole scores quickly and see if it was a career best or just a good day at work - this means is there more in the tank and should I keep the bet open


>> This may sound a lot but it is a fairly methodical way of assessing quickly the value of the price... I do like a price to drop by ten times ie 100 down to 10 or 400 down to 40 - this gives me ample room for profit all round and still keeping a big potential on the original bet

If I get lucky (Palmer at 390 winning) then I cash in all the way.. laying off regularly when the price is low and guaranteeing decent profit all round

If I have a decent start with someone who I'm not so confident with then I trade and accept I may be blowing a bigger win - this can work with short prices too ie a player may be 10 so I may back him to Lay at 5... simple and not too tricky if he is the sort to often trade lower than starting price

Someone like Quiros I will probably trade back and forth as he is more likely to go to 80 then back to 15!

So, in summary, there is no fixed price or target - I assess and react accordingly due to a number of factors.. looking for a few or even one of my trades each event to be a good 'un and to cover everything else - and then big wins come along to make life better 

golf trading tips

Golf Trading

* thought I would post an article I wrote on OLBG a while back now about golf trading

Pre-Tournament >

Prices usually form around Monday...

Betfair prices aren't great on Monday (often have a lot of 200 prices that will start the tourney at 500 etc) but by Tuesday they have usually firmed up to the correct price

You may get some movement based on well-known tipsters or forums - their picks can affect the prices sometimes

Picking pre-event is up to your knowledge mainly

I use a ratings system which is fairly simple >

I take the player's ranking and then add my own ratings for current form, event form, stats, mental ability, X factor (my personal rating of that player) and then see how my rankings compare... I use a weighted points system to reflect the different criteria strength

the better the difference in my ranking to the official ranking is a good indicator for me of a 'value' bet.. not always someone who will win but one that has a better chance than the market will probably price him at

Then I look to see if the price is good for me... in a weak field it probably won't be as there will be a lot of players at lowish prices - in a strong field (tiger, micko, etc) you will get much higher prices on the majority of the field and that's where the value v price comes in and I select my picks

You can pick players to win or to trade > I do both but tend to run anyone I back at say 70.. there is a big payout if they win... I may Lay off but it's all about judgment and being flexible

Players at say 250 I will usually trade as a big win possibility is tempting but quite rare and I prefer to Lay off and get a green screen... in a good week I may pick 5 for trading and perhaps Lay off 4 early on and have a really good profit all-round..

I can then go back in on Saturday and back a few more who may win in the knowledge I'm playing with profit; then I can make even more... if it goes wrong early then you are only limited to your original stakes (I don't tend to Lay pre-tourney)

Tips >

Pick your own selections (devising your own ratings is a good idea, or at least having a list of in-form players, ones with good event or course form, etc)

Then maybe check others tips / comments etc to see if you have missed anything or agree with someone else's bet

Then pick your final selections after checking prices etc and check staking plan

Trading >

If your selection drops then you can always trade pre-event

If it drifts you can either Lay off for small loss (why?!) or back some more if you have the funds.. if it was good before its better now eh?!

In Running (IR) >

If the price drops > either Lay off for free bet or Lay off for a profit


* Player A is at 300 for 20pts = 5980.00 profit

> Price drops to 100 IR

* Lay for 20pts = 1980 liability

> you have a free bet on player A with potential profit of 3800pts (4000 less 5% comm)


* Lay for 60pts = 5940 liability

> you have a profit of 38pts on any outcome (5980-5940, less 5% commission)

 So, if you manage a few good trades like this you have a very nice profit all-round > of course you could run the price drop and see what's what.. if the price drops to say 30 from 300 then you have the lovely situation where you can Lay off some for profit and keep some for the big win


* 20pt back at 300 = 5980 profit

> Price drops to 30

* Lay 100pts at 30 = 2900 liability

This means you have a profit of 80pts on any other player (pre commission) and still have a 3080 profit bet on player A


Playoffs can be good for quick trading > the prices move rapidly however so there is a massive advantage to anyone with quick pictures; there are delays with most broadcasters so you will often see the market move before you see it with your own eyes - this means trouble, the only way around this really is to 'predict' the result of a shot, or to watch for 'over-reactions'


Obviously this is guesswork; however, by watching the play you can make reasoned judgements

is player A has holing everything - is he due to miss a putt perhaps?

What's he like on 5 footers under pressure?

Is it an uphill straight putt or a tricky downhiller with a break?

If bunkered, whats the lie like ? what's his scrambling ability? Etc

And so on, good judgement here can get the right result maybe 70% of the time in which case you are making a profit on level staking


The difference between the shots of two players can make a price drop instantly and by a lot..

ie player A is 25 feet away and player B hits it to 4 feet > the price on B will drop massively, then people will see a different camera angle perhaps or realise it's not such a cert and the price will increase a bit

so, if player B is 1.9 and hits it to 4 feet, the price may go to 1.2 then settle at 1.3 a few moments later

the trick is to Lay at 1.2 and then buy back in; he may well miss the putt anyway so the 1.2 could be a winning Lay but it's all down to managing your stake and your judgement

Equally, player A may be 1.9 and go to 3.3 when player B hits his approach close, then player A price may contract slightly as there are punters who will think he could make the 25 footer and they like the 3.3 price..

again, buy at 3.3 and Lay off at 3.2 perhaps; small margins but trading winners before the putts have been taken

example >

* player A price 1.9 > hits approach close

> Lay 1.2 for 250pts (liability 50pts)

* price settles back at 1.3 > buy 1.3 for 230.76pts (profit of 69.23)

if this works then you have a quick profit of 19.23 whatever

if the price only drifts to 1.25 then you back for 240 and have a guaranteed 10pts profit whatever

NB > you have to have your stakes worked out ready to go in these cases.. the downside is you don't get your back bet on and you lose your 50pt liability..

this example shows how you can make either 18.27 (19.23 less 5% comm so 18.27 actual return) on a price drift of 1.2 to 1.3 or 9.50 (10 less 5% comm) on a price drift of 1.2 to just 1.25

a profit of 36.5% or 19%

NB > if the price drops to 1.1 you can still back it for 250pts (your original stake) and halve your potential loss (50pt liability)

This basically means playing the price movement as opposed to following the market which is fairly predictable dependent on the shot 

Pre-Tourney Assessments

it's always worth checking any players form in previous events on a particular course... or in the event in previous years

make sure it's the same course as events are hosted on different courses sometimes..

some players really like certain courses - could be because it suits their game - some are short accurate hitters who like courses under 7,000 yards and play good target golf (ie short inland american courses) where you hit from A to B and rely on a hot putter

others like links courses where you often have to play the wind and shape shots - and quite often have to be a very good lag putter

some courses favour players who tend to draw the ball (augusta used to but has changed a fair bit in recent yrs) and others are set up more for faders of the ball

then you look at those who putt well on certain greens - there are plenty of variations in the speed let alone the type of grass - some players grow up on links courses so play well on those slick greens as opposed to watered inland courses

so the course itself will favour certain entrants more than others - hence some pros having terrific records in some tour events but not really showing up in others

living near the course is usually helpful too

so weigh up these factors too when trading... sometimes these factors will mean the price has been over-compensated for - and the actual golfer isnt in very good form - then he may become a good Lay bet as his price has dropped too low

i tend to include the event/course in my own rankings but weight the current form and X factor in too so there is a bias towards recent form more than course form - and then add in the usual stats form too... good indicators although not guaranteed

sometimes you get all factors pointing towards a very good bet risk - that's where you have to judge the price in your own eyes

eg you may really rate a player's form both current and in an event - you then look at competition and decide he should be a 10/1 shot - if his price is 17.0 he should be good value and worth backing - if he is 8/1 he may well win but is he value?

the trading trick is to assess and bet accordingly

you might back at 17.0 and have a Lay in place if it gets under 11.0 - or you may run it and go for full profit on a win

you may ignore the price if it's 8.0 and watch to see if it hits your asessment of 12.0 - or you may Lay it 8.0 thinking it's too low and then plan to back it at above 11.0 (your assessment)


Round 1 & 2 Trading

always watch the leaderboard - if good players go out early and make birdies you often get a drift on players who haven't started - the market tends to think they are less likely to make equivalent birdies and thus they drift - this is a good time to back

if they then start with birdies the price drops rapidly as the market assume they will go on and score really well.. so the first few holes are fairly important in a player's round

then > watch for streaky players..some players often shoot -5 in 6 holes... they hit a streak of hot putting... these players quite often rip a course up for a while..going -7 or 8 by 13 holes - then they fall back with a bogey or two as it's hard to maintain that form.. if you time it right you can back during the streak.. then Lay off when they stop getting birdies

also keep an eye on weather forecasts as there is a big difference on thurs/friday between starting at 7am or 3pm... if poor weather is forecast the prices on late starters can drift

tricky to get right but very pleasing when you do - just a matter of staying ahead of the game really and using all the info available

tips >

* check course and event form
* check recent form
* assess price
* watch weather
* check tee times
* check leaderboard pre starting

> if you want to trade a lot then dont get too greedy - decide where you want to get out if you plan to Lay after backing at higher price.... as jimmy mentioned above he settles for a small but regular profit

> if you get lucky and your player's price drops massively, then you have that lovely position of being able to Lay off some and still have a big profit on the original bet

Price differences

you can get some big differences in trading prices... sometimes you might see a back at 20.0 and Lay at 30.0

(this happens a lot at higher may have a 200 back and a 500 Lay)

nothing to stop you trying to get a match at 28.0 or so... then if you were the only back bet at that price, you may see the 30.0 Lay price drop to 22.0 as the market tightens up that player's price

eg 20.0 back, 30.0 Lay > you offer 28.0 and it gets taken... then the Lay drops from 30.0 to 22.0

(if the player plays a good shot it may well be a back bet of 16.0 and the Lay drops to 18.0)

you can then Lay at 22.0 for a quick small return or a free bet 

us masters


5th-8th APRIL - the 76th running of this spectacular and popular major

Course > Augusta National, par 72 and 7,435 yards.. It is an undulating course so you can get a lot of run on some holes and you don’t need to be a long hitter to do well. You do however need to have a great short game as good approaches can often end up off the green and the greens are tricky to say the least – fast with plenty of subtle borrows and swales

In the past few years the scores have been higher generally with not so many golfers breaking par by the Sunday night (Tiger's fault for shooting 270 in 1997!) although last year it played relatively easily with -14 being the winning score

A few yrs ago, Augusta was capable of being tamed but now there are less 'easy' holes where birdies are fairly common, and many more holes where you are thankful to get a part; I've watched the Masters for over 30yrs and the winner is not so much whoever has the game for the course (ie those who draw the ball not fade used to succeed more, plus the big hitters used to dominate it as it was so open) but more whoever is playing at the top of their form

You have to drive well and putt well obviously but also stay positive and ignore the inevitable bogey - play the sensible shot when it matters and not go for broke on the par5s unless you are hitting it really well; the 15th always offers eagle opportunity but plenty have found the water short and suffered a 6 or more..  likewise the 13th is tempting but sometimes you get as many birdies by those laying up as those who go for the green in two

Scoring > you have to expect 8-10 bogeys over the wk probably for the winner - could be higher but that's the usual mark ie take your medicine and accept a couple of bogeys a round. Birdies are available of course; the most has been 25 by Mickelson which is some going. A lot of players will be looking to shoot around par ie 3 birdies and 3 bogeys perhaps and take a good round if it's there, you don't normally get too many 65s here; anyone who sprays it around will no doubt have to have an immense short game to escape with decent scores

Also depends a bit on the weather of course but more so on the green speed and the pin placements - the greens will be their usual speed probably and the pin placements are the main defence that the course has - all the usual spots with sunday being the hardest as always (bar the 16th where there is a decent chance of an ace)

Odds > all on betfair

Woods 5.8 > can you back against him?

McIlroy 7.0 > meltdown will be forgotten with a win, skinny price though
Mickelson 14 > hard to back against with his record and form
Donald 17 > great chance with terrific short game
Westwood 21 > overdue
Rose 34 > maybe just past his hot spell, good 1st round leader bet!
Mahan 36 popular after winning this wk but hard to go back to back let alone win this
Scott 38 > flatters to deceive
Day 42 > great debut last yr but not much form to warrant this price
Schwartzel 46 > on the drift which is good news as great chance of a repeat
Bradley > 40 > inform but debutants never win here!
Watson 55 > length but suspect under pressure

field > 60 and above... some great value in there especially for trading

* the beauty of having an inform duo at the top of the market is that it pushes the prices out for everyone else - there are some terrific players at 70 or 80 or 100 who could easily win this... Mickelson with his record and form this yr should really be a 7/1 shot but he's 13/1 here due to the Tiger & 'boy wonder' prices

Last Year (2011) >
1 Schwartzel -14
2 Day -12
3 Scott -12
4 Woods -10
4 Ogilvy -10
4 Donald -10
7 Cabrera -9
8 Van Pelt -8
8 Choi -8
10 Palmer -6

Since 2000 (last 11 Yrs) > Top 10 finishes

9 - Mickelson
8 - Tiger
6 - VJ
5 - Els
4 - Goosen

* stunning record of big Phil and Tiger has to be respected here as they are amazingly consistent for a tour event let alone a major

The Field > being a major you would expect to see an unusual name up near the top of the leaderboard on day 1 (Justin Rose has however managed to be top after 1st round 3 times) but they usually fade and by Sunday the bigger names appear – definitely a case of ‘you can’t win it on Thursday & Friday but you can lose it’ – last year saw Couples & Tom Watson at the top after day 1 though so the evergreen pros still do well here – this isn’t a course/event for debutants to flourish in 

Look for > Current form and good previous history here definitely helps, debutants often struggle as do those who just can’t seem to get it going here; for some reason, there are a few with average at best records (Kaymer for example) but it is of course a major tourney with the world’s best players so you would expect the cream to rise to the top

Those who can putt well from distance and also 5-6 feet as you will get a lot of those par-saver distances here

GIR is more important here than accuracy or distance off the tee – you can’t keep missing greens and expect to keep getting up and down so those who do well will be probably top 5 in this stat

Experience counts – it will be unusual for a non tour winner to succeed here; you will probably have a champion who has won many times on tour and/or majors 

Woods > 7 years have elapsed since he donned the green jacket; could be time for him to notch another major as it seems to be almost inevitable in some ways - the win a fortnight ago certainly pushed a lot of doubters back towards backing him and his price consequently firmed up a lot - whether 5/1 is worth taking is another matter as this isn't an ordinary tour event. Tiger is no ordinary player though so with his confidence on the greens back, his superb tee to green game and his experience, hard to go against him eh? unless someone else has an absolute blinder or gets very lucky I expect him to shoot 68-69 average and -14 or so may be hard to beat > not sure whether I will back him at 5/1 unless I go in with big stakes but I may just trade him as a separate entity to all my other bets (I often trade Tiger back and forth as it is quite easy to read the market moves with him)

Donald > a player I used to rarely back as he didn't have the killer instinct, steady and solid bu tnot doing enough when it mattered - he has really stepped up a level or two obviously and is the deserved world no 1 although doesn't get the credit he should as he is not a media darling - terrific short game and such a reliable putter these days and that is to his benefit here; can see him working his way through the field and probably being the steadiest on Sunday and notching birdies late on whilst others fall away under the pressure.. could well be a duel between him and Tiger which is the world no 1 against the 'soon to be' world no 1 again perhaps > will be taking Luke at about 17

so that's 2 of the top 3 in the betting - won't go for Mickelson although he looks to be a solid bet with a win this year, great form this week and his amazing record here too - if anyone is going to walk this tournament it could be him but there is also always that doubt with Phil that he may suddenly lose his way or miss some daft short putts

I'm leaving Rory and Westy as both are more than capable but I have the odd doubt - Rory will win more majors for sure but it might take him a while to get settled enough again to do so - Westy is a nearly man like Monty these days - should have won one by now and has been so close but cant quite seem to get it done in the majors

Rose has had his hot spell recently where he hit form and played courses he likes - he loves this one too and has a knack of leading after round 1 (3 times!) but may have gone off the boil slightly now. Day played extremely well last year in the majors and was so close here too but hasn't really done much in recent months and is probably having a quiet year before re-surfacing on the scene in a big way as he has the ability for sure. Scott is a good player and will benefit from having Steve Williams on his bag but doesn't look quite strong enough currently against a field of this quality and current form

Schwartzel was an early pick of mine for this a month or so back - his form has drifted in the last few weeks with 2 missed cuts on this tour after a string of top 5s etc > whether this is him tweaking before his defence of this trophy we don't know but he should still put up a spirited effort - those 2 missed cuts are unusual though and maybe a sign of him going off the boil - his odds have drifted accordingly from 38 to about 46 now

Bradley is making his debut here and that's not a reason to back any golfer here - he has the ability and the form but it is a big ask to come here and win at the first go although it isn't impossible - will have plenty of supporters though and 40/1 isn't too bad but just looks skinny compared with some others

Bubba is a decent price if going by stats is the way - his length and GIR record should mean plenty of birdie opps but always a doubt over his temperament and ability to withstand the extreme pressure on a Sunday

So on to the others >

Van Pelt > in great form, stats are good, had some good finishes already this season so should be full of confidence and was top 10 here last year > perhaps unlikely to win but could go really well at a good price and looks a reasonably good shout for the top 10 too > 130 betfair

Ed Molinari > great player and has the game for this course - has returned from injury and played well recently so is warming up nicely for this - should go on to do better than his more heralded brother - price is 450 which I'm all over as a good start should see that fall nicely so a good trading opportunity if nothing else.. great value for a classy player, 11th last year after an opening 74

Simpson > odds of 80 make this a more tempting bet than the 40 on bradley - simpson has been a bit under the radar and as a debutant you wouldn't expect much but he has the ability and can putt well especially from mid to long range - might be a quiet one that sneaks through and suddenly appears on Sunday in the top 5

Bill Haas > super popular young man who has really proven to have what it takes - has already won tournaments and the fedex cup (in style!) and wouldn't surprise me if he found his form here and put in a great showing - 120 is tempting as he has had a rest before this event; played ok last yr here but struggled on the 13th, will have learned a bit and should improve on that 42nd place

Stanley > unlikely to do well as young and confident and on debut here which is normally a recipe for disaster! but this guy has stacks of ability - hits it long and hits greens and makes birdies - should score well on the par5s and may just enjoy this - not sure he will last so maybe a back to lay bet but worth taking on at 150 on potential! will probably miss too many short putts but a bit of luck may help

Oosthuizen > 90 is attractive for Oosty who should really benefit from last week's effort - just missed out on the win but playing well and that should give him the necessary boost - if he clicks he will make that price look daft

Choi > always worth a passing interest in the super steady unflappable KJ - played well here in recent years of course and will know what to do and no doubt plod around happily although it won't show... steady and popular and 75 is about right - not in great form so not a definite back

* there are plenty of others too such as Stricker, Poulter, DJ and so on... 

Old Boys > you often get a few previous winners having good rounds here and reminding us former glories - expect good showings from Couples, Immelman and Cabrera with the latter being a decent bet for this tourney at 100 as he likes it here and has the record and recent form too

SELECTIONS > narrowing these down to who could win or who is a possible winner makes this easier - there are plenty of good bets on paper but will some of them WIN? there are certain players you expect to come through on Sunday afternoon and others who will fall away

Tiger WOODS > 5.8 is high enough as the script seems written to me - he has the form and confidence and obviously the ability and experience - must have had doubts in his own mind but consolidating his lead and strolling to victory recently will have surely given that last bit of the jigsaw as he looks to establish himself back at the top and notch more majors; any edge that may have gone of fhis game looks to have been replaced by a super solid swing and a desire to prove a few critics wrong since his 'problems'

Luke DONALD > maybe the most likely to push Tiger or win in his own right - seems slightly miffed still by the lack of respect for his ranking and would probably love to win this to prove his point > 17.5 gets my money

Louis OOSTHUIZEN > the good showing at Houston is likely to give him the impetus to do well and when he plays well he can be really good - odds have tightened but 90 is still attractive for a major winner in form

Charl SCHWARTZEL > despite a couple of missed cuts I'm not deserting the defending champ as he can turn it on and often players have done well here year on year - has the ability and obviously confidence being the title holder; was extremely consistent worldwide until those last 2 events but perhaps his eye was off the ball and he was saving his efforts for this week here - drifted to 46 which is good, should be a good top 10 bet unless his game has really gone off the boil

Bo VAN PELT > you often get someone who don't expect lurking in the top 5 at the weekend and Bo looks the one for me - excellent form with 4 top 10s in last 4 strokeplay events, had a brief rest too; was 8th here last yr (previous visit was 2005) - stats this yr are superb and no1 ranked in total putting and strokes gained... looks a decent shout at good odds and will be backing him for top 10 too > 130 betfair

* these will be my 5 picks this week - will also look to trade a few and have some top 10 bets as well as they have been really profitable in the last few weeks since I started looking at them

will keep an eye on Haas, Simpson and Stanley as all good players who could flourish and in the 80-150 price range - all possible top 10 bets for me too

Trading > 

Ed Molinari huge at 450 and if he gets off to a good start then that should come down nicely, great longshot for me as mentioned above

Moore looks big at 320 (good record here and decent amount of top 10s, big blowout last wk though, dropped 11 shots in 6 holes on way to an 85)

Ishikawa at 380 (terrific short game will really help compensate his lack of distance and experience)

Palmer at 300 (multiple tour winner and always one I look for at big odds, capable of going really well)