GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of the Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro Victoria.
The European Tour's mini-Iberian swing rolls into Portugal for two events and we arrive at an established event and course – Dom Pedro Victoria. This'll be the 14th time we've seen the Arnold Palmer design on Tour. It's a fairly exposed, typical resort-like course with water in-play on seven of its holes. That being said, it's often a track that these pros take apart with low scores.
This week it'll play at a par 71, just under 7,200 yards and those that score well on the par-4s tend to be the ones in contention come Sunday afternoon. This usually boils down into a birdie-fest and putting contest but we'll factor in the big bombers, accurate iron play as well as scrambling.
Tommy Fleetwood plugs the gap before the US Open with a trip back over to Europe and he firmly heads the market. The field isn't too strong with Haotong Li, George Coetzee and Ryan Fox follow closely behind.
We'll start the staking plan with two players I instantly bet when the odds came out, Guido Migliozzi (40/1 Coral) and Brandon Stone. The Italian endured a tough UK swing but bounced back at Valderrama last week which in itself was a nightmare of a test.
That T6 was hugely encouraging and now we're at a course that's at the completely opposite end of the spectrum, he could kick on. He putted the lights out at the weekend, which is a good hint to this week and of course, he's won twice on tour already.
While Brandon Stone (50/1 Coral) is a ball-striking dream, has the length off the tee and showed up with a T6 at Hanbury Manor, which could tie into well this week's test.
A missed cut last week can be ignored as he's better suited to a birdie-fest and that's backed up by his 2nd place around here last year. He's another winner on Tour too.
I'm going to take a chance on someone who hasn't played Dom Pedro before in Frenchman Antoine Rozner (66/1 with Betfair boost).
He's the perfect fit for this week as he currently ranks inside the top 15 on Tour for SG: Approach and Greens In Regulation as well as inside the top 50 for par-4 scoring, birdies and Driving Distance. He finished T3 around the impossible Valderrama and picked up a T10 during the UK swing too. He's shown up in Portugal during the Challenge Tour, so perhaps it's a place he likes coming to.
Next on the staking plan is course horse Justin Walters (80/1 SkyBet). The South African has never won on the ET, but he has come close, including around here back in 2013 and last year, finishing as runner-up both times. He's often hard to get right but clearly,
Dom Pedro is a course that suits his game. In between two missed cuts, Walters finished 2nd at Celtic Manor and overall, he's inside the top 40 on Tour for SG:App, GIR, DD, birdies and putting. These are all key factors around here, and when you consider the weaker field, he certainly is higher up on the list.
And finally, it would be rude not to go back to Laurie Canter (66/1 Betfair) who remains some way off the top ten in the betting despite arguably being one of the most inform players on the Tour right now. He notched three top-10s during the UK swing and took last week off, which was probably a wise decision given how gruelling Valderrama turned out to be.
Again, he's another who has all the right skills to succeed around here despite an average past around this track. He's been killing it off the tee lately and rates out as the best birdiemaker in this field statistically, a lot of which come on those par-4s. He completes the plan this week.
The likes of Will Besseling, Chris Paisley and Jordan Smith were all very close to making it, so hopefully they don't have me looking like a fool come the end of the weekend.