Last week normally would have been The Open Championship over in Europe, but because of the altered schedule, we had The Memorial instead. Apparently, Jack Nicklaus wanted to pay homage because Sunday saw players facing brutal windy conditions and scoring averages around four strokes over par. The Memorial field was stacked, and we once again saw a premier player in Jon Rahm take home a trophy, which adds to the list of quality players winning in the PGA betting market out of the break.
Looking ahead to this week, we have to adjust our focus as the 3M Open is going to be a completely different situation. This is a field that is significantly weaker and a course that is going to resemble the birdie-fests that we saw prior to Memorial. That will cause the numbers in the PGA betting market to look way less appealing since the overall talent of the field has dragged everyone’s numbers down. Still, we look to grab another outright winner and have a few guys at interesting numbers.
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Bubba Watson 28-1
It’s clear that Dustin Johnson is the favorite and the guy to beat, but I am not running to bet him at 11-1. Honestly, I don’t hate that price, but I feel like if we survive Johnson, then the tournament is wide open for a lot of guys to get in the mix. I still wanted to target a proven winner towards the top of my card, and Watson is sitting there at almost 30-1 coming off a great showing at the Memorial.
Watson finished 32nd last week, but that doesn’t tell the story. He gained 7.8 strokes on the approach, and when he is striking it that well, it is just a matter of time before he gets in the mix. Unfortunately, the putter lost again, which makes it five straight tournament with negative strokes gained putting. That is the key for Watson here as it is hard to imagine winning an event unless the putter cooperates. Still, I’m willing to take a shot that the ball striking will continue and the putter will flip, as we know how fluky the flat stick can be. In a field this weak, 28-1 is good enough for me to take a shot even if we recognize that Johnson is the one to beat in this spot.
Bernd Wiesberger 90-1
This was a play that I had to back on principle alone, as the situation doesn’t correlate to the odds we have here. This field is weak and the 29th-ranked golfer in the world is sitting at almost 100-1 to win outright. Now, it’s a reasonable argument to say the OWGR is not accurate in regards to guys who play in Europe, and that is why we see this, but I still don’t buy it.
Although Wiesberger doesn’t have a lot of PGA Tour pedigree he is a veteran of European Tour Golf with plenty of victories on the resume. He has competed in majors, WGCs and dozens of tournaments with fields significantly stronger than this one, so the level of competition isn’t an issue. He wasn’t great last week at Memorial, but considering that was his first start back in difficult conditions, I don’t read much into that. I will gladly take 90-1 on a proven winner even if those victories came across the pond, and I think this is worth adding to the betting card as a longshot.
Richy Werenski 9-1
This field is going to bring in a lot of guys who aren’t used to being in contention most weeks on Tour. Although the prices feel uncomfortable at first, we can quickly realize this is a golden opportunity for some lesser-known players to make an impact, and we can find some value targeting them. Richy Werenski caught my eye, as he has been playing well out of the break with four straight made cuts and some quality iron performances.
Werenski hasn’t made an impact on the final leaderboards yet as his best finish was 21st post-break, but that doesn’t mean he cannot get in contention. He prefers bentgrass, which this is, and has five career top-10 finishes on Tour. He is coming off Workday where he gained six strokes on the approach, and that is what we need to see here with a course that requires scoring. If the putter can heat up, this is a great spot to target him for a top 10 at 9-1 in a field that lacks firepower at the top.
Ryan Moore (-120) vs. Charles Howell III
We head to the matchup market here as there are a bunch of individual matchups to break down if you are looking for less volatility. Another reason to bet a matchup is you are looking to short a specific player, and you can take several head-to-heads with him, hoping he doesn’t find the weekend.
The matchup I’m going to here has Ryan Moore, hoping to build off an average 40th-place finish last week at the Memorial, against Charles Howell III, who also made the weekend and finished 48th. Neither guy seems to be firing on all cylinders, but when we dig into the strokes gained data, there is a clear edge in this one.
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Moore hasn’t been great, but he has gained tee to green in two straight events and comes to a course that won’t require a lot of length. This course should put some wedges in his hand, and if he can avoid the hazards, I don’t see any reason he can’t build upon what we saw last week at Memorial. Moore should be able to lean on his ball striking, put together four quality rounds and book a solid showing in a field like this.
On the other side, Howell hasn’t been great so far in 2020. Since January, his best finish was last week at Memorial with a 48th, and strokes gained information doesn’t give us a lot to work with. Howell has lost both off the tee and with the irons in two straight events, and that is a recipe for disaster. Last week he gained a ridiculous six strokes with the short game, and that is the only reason he found the weekend at all. That isn’t even remotely sustainable. Unless he fixes the ball striking, I see no reason why he would find the weekend here.
If you are unfamiliar with PGA betting or are just looking to dive into it for the first time, make sure to try and understand each type of bet and how to properly allocate bankroll for each. When choosing a few outrights at long odds, we are hoping to hit one of those a year as it would pay for the entire season and then some. Think of that as the large-field GPPs where you hope to tread water and then rely on a big hit once every year or so to do major damage.
On the other side, we have head-to-head bets, which, naturally, are more like cash games or head-to-heads in DFS where you aren’t going to win a huge multiplier of your money, but also should be hitting them at a reasonable clip. Getting a clearer picture of what each bet is like is important as this is a long season with a lot of opportunities to take some stabs in the PGA betting markets.