GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of the Portugal Masters.
Portugal Masters | 24th-27th October 2019 | Sky Sports
The final regular season European Tour event is upon us as we head to Portugal before we wind down with a WGC event and three Rolex Series tournaments to end the year.
Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Club plays host this week – an Arnold Palmer redesign with wide fairways, although, they are putting the rough up a tad this week. It's flat and exposed which normally means birdies. It is a par-71 measuring nearly 7,200-yards with three par-5s.
Keys for this week include ball-striking, power off the tee, a sharp short-game, scoring and usually a solid putter wins.
You can look towards events such as the Links events across Great Britain and similarly natured competitions in Scandinavia, etc while Qatar seems to pop due to the correlations to what's already been mentioned.
Only the top 117 in the Race to Dubai make it past this week, so many of those on the fringe will need to bring their A-game.
Chris Paisley (35/1 Betfair)
First up we will ride with a player in hot form after last week's T8 at the Open de France. He pops at all the right places – T5 round here in 2016, a couple of top-20s in Qatar and has a handful of similar placed finishes across the British Isles and in Denmark.
His short-game is up there with the best on the European Tour, let alone this field so his scrambling and putting should have him playing to his price at the absolute minimum.
At 73rd in the RTD, he will need a good week to firmly cement his chances of being at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai next month. Those in front of him are very fairly priced, making it hard to come down firmly on one of them so I am happy to open here.
Nino Bertasio (66/1 Betfair)
Next is Italian Nino Bertasio, who looks very nicely priced here. He's another around the 70 mark in the RTD needing a solid week to play all three Rolex events.
The 31-year-old gives us another solid chance on the putting green as he ranks 15th on the ET for Putts per round – if he's having less of them it means he is putting himself in spots to do so.
He's also got the distance and iron game to contend. Earlier this year a T4 at the Scottish Open suggests he likes this sort of test while he has a T12 round here and plenty of top-20s at events that could correlate here.
Alexander Levy (55/1 Coral), Hugo Leon (70/1 Betfair) and Ben Evans (200/1 Betfair)
These three complete our staking plan and instead of waffling on about all of them in immense detail, I'll group them together and say these are our stabs at potential players who will elevate their game to make it into the final cut for the RTD. All three sit between 120th and 140th, so one solid week is going to springboard them into the Turkish Airlines Open.
Levy is a quality player that has found this year mightily tough with no wins and 14/22 missed cuts. Now this doesn't sound promising, but he has shown glimpses – T5 at the Scandi, T15 in Spain recently. He's won this event, contended in England, Sweden and more. Levy is a top ball-striker when on his game and can match the scoring rate if he gets going.
Leon is in top, top form – he's managed four top-10s since the Belgian Knockout, including a T8 at last week's Open de France while a T5 at the KLM could stand him in good stead for this challenge. He's has elite ball-striking potential as he ranks inside the top-30 for both SG:App and SG:OTT, he's also got the distance for this track.
Finally, a proper longshot completes the plan with Ben Evans at three figures. He is another with a consistent short game, both scrambling-wise and with the flat stick. He has made six of eight cuts, which offers encouragement at these odds as they suggest he's frequently some way off the mark.
Evans just needs a solid weekend to project himself up there. He carries from in Portugal from the Challenge Tour and has contended the Alfred Dunhill Links on more than one occasion with two top-20s in the last four years. 200s seems big for a man that will need to give it his all.