It’s Major week, and the highly anticipated PGA Championship is finally here! This week, we shift our sights onto the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island where the track measures at 7,876 yards for a par 72. This means it will be the longest course in major championship history, as it was in 2012. Speaking of 2012, that’s the last time we were back here when Rory McIlroy destroyed the competition. Because of that showing by Rory and his recent win at the Wells Fargo Championship, he comes into this event as the betting favorite at +1100. Defending champion Collin Morikawa’s betting odds are listed at +2800.
Looking at the course, the putting grass that’s going to be used is called paspalum, which is popular on European tracks. The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island lives up to its name with, you guessed it, a lot of water. Even though it’s located in South Carolina, the Ocean Course plays similar to a European-style links course. When it comes to the weather, it’s supposed to be gusty this week, so that will be something to keep an eye on. All of these things put together should bode well for the European golfers who are used to playing on these courses and in these conditions. Either way, buckle up, because water and wind should make for plenty of drama come Sunday.
WIN CASH WITH ROTOQL & BETQL: Start free trial
With all of this in mind, this week I’m targeting guys with good “Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee,” “Driving Distance,” “Strokes Gained: Approach,” and “Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green” metrics.
Wagering on golf always seems to come down to the wire, which is why I’ve become hooked. When it comes to my betting picks this week, you won’t find anything too groundbreaking here. Aside from digging into the data at the RickRunGood.com database and a couple of other models, I try to look for guys that have had past success at the particular course, value plays, and players that are trending in the right direction coming into an event.
Overall, the field is absolutely stacked, so this will be fun to watch, especially come Sunday. Let’s dig in and find some winners!
PGA Championship picks, predictions 2021
*Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Best bets to win outright
Dustin Johnson +1800
I know DJ withdrew from the AT&T Byron Nelson last Monday and hasn’t been sharp recently, but I can’t resist betting him at these odds, especially in his home state. This situation reminds me a little of everyone being off of Rory McIlroy before he took down the Wells Fargo.
The No. 1 golfer ranks first in “Strokes Gained: Total” over his past 50 rounds on Dye courses. He also ranks ninth in “Driving Distance” and in the top 30 of several other key metrics. If there’s any golfer in the world who can flip the switch and dominate, it’s Johnson.
He’s always been in contention at the PGA Championship events and plays well at Dye courses, so I couldn’t lay off of him.
Viktor Hovland +1800
I’m not going out on a limb here with Hovland, as I’m sure he will be on many people’s cards this week. Justly so, as he’s playing terrific golf, finishing third in each of his past two events. He also has two Tour victories (Puerto Rico Open & Mayakoba Classic) on paspalum.
Metrics wise, Hovland pops off the charts, ranking fourth in both “Strokes Gained: Total” and “Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee,” sixth in “Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green,” and 23rd in “SG: Approach” this season.
Shop around because I was still seeing some +2000’s out there.
Best sleeper/long-shot picks
In this section, I’m looking for guys that have 25-1 or longer odds. If any of them are in the running come Sunday, I will live bet and hedge for a little pizza money to make sure I come out on top.
Collin Morikawa +2800
I know it’s going to be tough for Morikawa to win this event in back-to-back years, but I can’t resist. He goes as his putter goes, but his irons and approach game will keep him in contention here. At least that’s how I see it playing out.
PGA Splits 101 (great Twitter follow) used true “Strokes Gained” data from Data Golf, adjusted for field strength, and saw that Morikawa is the best ball-striker at the PGA Championship over the past 20 rounds.
He’s also first in “Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green,” second in “Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green,” and 22nd in “Strokes Gained: Total.” At these odds, I had to throw some money down on him.
Daniel Berger +2800
Most people don’t realize how good Berger has been recently and over the past year. He’s finished in the top 20 in four out of his past five starts and is fifth in “Strokes Gained: Total” over his past 24 rounds. He’s also coming into this event off of a third-place finish at the Byron Nelson, so you know he’s in great form.
I worry this course might be a little too long for him, but he’s too good to leave off the card.
Tyrrell Hatton +5000
I went back and forth here with fellow Englishman Paul Casey, but I settled on Hatton for a few reasons. Out of his 10 professional wins, six have come on the European Tour on links-style courses. His only win in 2021 was at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship that featured paspalum. He’s also shown that he can play with the big boys and has three other top-25 finishes in 2021, including finishing 18th at The Masters.
Hatton ranks ninth in “Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green” and 20th in “Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee.” Lastly, the RickRunGood Tournament Predictor also loves him at these odds and has him listed as the No. 1 value play in the event.
Tommy Fleetwood +6600
Other than being ranked seventh in “Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green,” his metrics don’t pop off the charts. Of course, that’s why we are getting him at 66-1. His form in 2021 has also been inconsistent, but he finished 10th at the Arnold Palmer and 14th at Wells Fargo, so he has it in him to be in contention.
The biggest reason I am sprinkling on Fleetwood this week is his success on coastal- and links-style courses. In 2020, he finished second at the Scottish Open and in 2019, he finished second at the Open Championship. In 2018, he finished second at both the Open Championship and at the U.S. Open.
He’s used to these types of courses and conditions, so if the wind causes havoc this weekend, he might be able to make the leap.
Source: Read Full Article