PGA picks: McIlroy kicks off Tour season with win at Pebble Beach

Photo of PGA picks: McIlroy kicks off Tour season with win at Pebble Beach

The PGA Tour leaves the raucous atmosphere in the desert that is the Waste Management Phoenix Open and heads to the beautiful Pacific coast and Pebble Beach this week.

Jordan Spieth will defend his AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am title with a star-studded field that also includes the top-two players in the world, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm.

While you can expect that trio to contend, it's another well-known name that is the pick to leave the event this week with the title.

Favorite to watch (odds less than 25-1)

Rory McIlroy

McIlroy is making his tournament debut at Pebble Beach but comes in on a hot streak after an impressive showing in the European Tour's middle eastern swing. The Northern Irishman has already notched a second- and third-place showing on the year and will begin his official PGA Tour schedule with a bang on the picturesque Monterey Peninsula.

Odds to win: 10-1
Top-five odds: 2-1

Second tier (odds 25-1 or greater)

Matt Kuchar

Kuchar made a weekend charge with rounds of 64 and 67 at the Phoenix Open to finish in a tie for fifth. He led the field in strokes-gained putting and should have no problem bringing that success with him to the west coast. While he doesn't have much success at this event in the past to lean on, Kuchar in form at 33-1 is too good value to pass up.

Odds to win: 33-1
Top-five odds: 7-1

Long shot (odds 50-1 or greater)

Kevin Kisner

With six of his last eight rounds at 68 or better, Kisner comes to Pebble Beach in fine form to make a run at the title. The 33-year-old has some past success at this event to boost his confidence, having posted a 10th-place finish last year. Watch for some consistent play from Kisner this week to put him in contention coming down the stretch.

Odds to win: 50-1
Top-five odds: 8-1

Super long shot (odds 80-1 or greater)

Nick Watney

Watney will come to Pebble Beach with some confidence as he recorded his best finish since June last week in Phoenix with a 26th-place showing. The familiarity of the beautiful layout should only add to that as Watney has a 14th- and a second-place finish in his last two starts at this event. At 100-1, he's worth a wager this week.

Odds to win: 100-1
Top-five odds: 20-1

Hit this bet, buy a car (odds 125-1 or greater)

Nick Taylor

The Canadian has four top-25 finishes already in this wraparound season and is having another strong showing in the strokes-gained tee-to-green statistical category. Taylor had a very strong 10th-place finish in last year's event at Pebble Beach, and if he can get the putter going this week, he could contend at 175-1.

Odds to win: 175-1
Top-5 odds: 33-1

Last week's results

Jordan Spieth: MC
Zach Johnson: T-57
Adam Hadwin: T-43
Russell Henley: MC
Bryson DeChambeau: T-5

Record for year (five events)

Wins: 2 (Dustin Johnson 15-2, Jon Rahm 8-1)
Top five: 4

(Odds courtesy: Bodog)
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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