Jon Rahm tickets cashed in Mexico, but does that mean it was good value?

Jon Rahm plays his shot from the second tee during the second round of the BMW Championship golf tournament.
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Diane Knox Balas


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Diane Knox Balas loves golf (she’s Scottish, so of course she does) but let’s just say she’s much better at analyzing golf than playing! The same cannot be said for her brother, Russell Knox, who’s a 2-time winner on the PGA Tour and fueled Diane’s initial passion for the sport. A seasoned TV and radio host, Diane has given out 8 outright winners since joining the Pickswise team in April 2022. Her general rule is she has to have three stand-out reasons for each pick and spends her time studying stats, playing form and little nuggets of information from golfers’ lives on Tour. Diane lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband Garrett, son Greyson and two English Bulldogs Bowser & Barkley. You can follow her antics on Twitter @KnoxyDiane and Instagram @dianeknoxbalas. For Diane Knox Balas media enquiries, please email
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Ask anyone teeing it up on the PGA Tour, it’s tough to win out there. Actually, ask anyone but Scottie Scheffler, who’s won four times since February! Each week when the odds come out prior to a tournament kicking off, there are clear favorites based on current form, world ranking and – quite frankly – just how damn good they are. And that was certainly the case this past week with Jon Rahm.

The Mexico Open at Vidanta was a new addition to the PGA Tour schedule, being held on a course that was hosting a professional event for the first time – Vidanta Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta. Jon Rahm, the #2 golfer in the world, was the headline name and the betting favorite…by a mile. The best odds I saw for Rahm at the start of the week were +450 (and some sportsbooks had him as low as +350), with the second-favorite Abraham Ancer priced at +1800. There was a lot of value to be had throughout the field, and viewing the relatively weaker event as an “opportunity week” to find value further down the board was a more attractive prospect for many, including myself.

As analysts, and as bettors, we want to make money. We want to look down the board and see a supremely talented player in good form at odds of 35/1. And then we want to find a triple-digit longshot and watch his rise to glory. (Don’t get me started on my +2800 pick of Martin Trainer to finish in the Top-10, who ended up getting knocked back to T11 in the final moments of the tournament.) These are all appealing picks.

But what about backing an overwhelming favorite at odds as short as +350? Should you ever do it?

If you did put your money on Rahm last week – however small the odds were – you would’ve cashed out. Looking back, I almost kicked myself for not doing so! But there’s no such thing as a safe bet, and such small odds just don’t have the curb appeal in terms of long-term value.

I’ve been wracking my brains to think of the last time I saw another player with such short of a price, and I keep going back to Tiger. It has to be Tiger, right? In 2000, he was +125 to win the Buick Open (he didn’t win), 3/1 to win the Masters (finished 5th), 3/1 to win the U.S Open (he won!), 4/1 to win The Open (he won that one, too) and 4/1 to win the PGA Championship (yep, he won). In fact, he was 1/3 to win ANY Major that year, and he won three of them! But that was Tiger in his prime, and 2000 was a very special year.

Rahm is no stranger to the short odds market. In fact, back in 2021 at the Fortinet Championship, the Spaniard was listed as +375, the shortest odds to win a PGA Tour event since gambling was legalized in 2018. He went on to miss the 54-hole cut.

See? No such thing as a sure bet. Having said that, it dawned on me Sunday when Rahm lifted his seventh PGA Tour trophy that I may have overlooked a motivating factor at the start of the week. Scheffler had knocked Rahm off his OWGR #1 spot after winning the WGC-Dell Tech Matchplay, a position Rahm had held for 36 consecutive weeks. With his fiery, super-competitive temperament, Rahm certainly wants the top spot back. His win in Mexico was a first step, and it wouldn’t be surprising if a sustained run of great form allows him to reclaim it. 

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