2018 Phoenix Open picks, field: Spieth, Fowler, Thomas lead fun lineup in desert

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Maybe the most fun annual event on the PGA Tour schedule takes place this week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama will all all play following a week of Tiger-mania at Torrey Pines. There are always fun Super Bowl-related props for this tournament, fascinating products handed out on the 16th hole and outrageously large crowds that (that this year could top 250,000 in one day). 

Let's take a look at this week's contest.

Event information

Event: Waste Management Phoenix Open
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona | Dates: Feb. 1-4

Field and odds

  • Hideki Matsuyama: 9-1
  • Jordan Spieth: 9-1
  • Jon Rahm: 10-1
  • Justin Thomas: 14-1
  • Rickie Fowler: 14-1
  • Marc Leishman: 30-1

Field strength: A-

This is a sneaky tremendous field. I included Leishman in the odds above just to display how severe the drop is following the top five favorites. Also, how good must Matsuyama be at this event to have the same odds as Spieth going in? Hey, I'm glad you asked because we're about to take a look.

Three stories to watch

1. Hideki owns Phoenix: Yes, Hideki Matsuyama owns the Phoenix Open. He has won each of the last two years, and he nearly won the two years before that. Now you see why he's a co-favorite with Spieth.

2. Super Bowl props: Degenerates only. The list of this year's Super Bowl props is so preposterous that I'm not even sure Phil Mickelson would touch them with a 10-foot pole.

Which will be higher? 
Jordan Spieth final round total birdies (+135)
Zach Ertz total receptions (-160)

Which will be higher?
Jordan Spieth final round score (-115)
Jay Ajayi rushing yards (-115)

Which will be higher? 
Phil Mickelson final round avg. driving distance (-110)
Tom Brady passing yards (-120)

Which will be higher? 
Phil Mickelson final round total birdies (+110)
Rob Gronkowski total receptions (-140)

3. That 16th hole: Love it or hate it, the 16th hole has become must-see television, especially when it's being played by golf's stars. Whether it's Phil Mickelson tossing footballs into the stands or aces being dropped in front of thousands of lathered up patrons, something insane will happen at the 16th because something insane happens at the 16th every year. 

Past winners

  • 2017: Hideki Matsuyama
  • 2016: Hideki Matsuyama
  • 2015: Brooks Koepka
  • 2014: Kevin Stadler
  • 2013: Phil Mickelson

A pretty impressive list. Stadler certainly sticks out as he's all but disappeared from the circuit. He's played just four events since 2015 after struggling with a wrist injury he can't seem to solve

Phoenix Open picks

Winner -- Spieth has two top 10s here in two showings. I trust that he figured out the putting over the last few weeks. If he did, it's game, blouses because his ball-striking in Hawaii was exquisite. Odds: 9-1   
Top 10 -- Matsuyama is more of a lock than Tom Brady over Nick Foles. You saw the stats above, yes? Matsuyama in Phoenix makes Spieth at Augusta look sad by comparison. Odds: 9-1   
Adam Hadwin
Sleeper -- Hadwin is a fun 75-1 pick.  He has back-to-back top 20 finishes here  and is going to be flying in under every radar that exists. Finished T3 at the CareerBuilder Challenge two weeks ago. Odds: 75-1   
CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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