PGA Championship Betting Guide
The final major of the year brings the PGA Tour to the Midwest, where Bellerive Country Club is set to host the 100th edition of the PGA Championship. Without much course history, recent form and performance in strong fields takes even more weight this week. Three of the last four PGA Championship winners have entered the event having finished in the top-30 at each of the season’s majors (Jimmy Walker in 2016 is the exception).
Let's go through some tiers (sorted by PaddyPower's Win Odds), divided into plays and fades, identifying good values versus those who are overpriced given their current form and past history.
Keep in mind that betting lines can -- and will -- change in the days leading up to Thursday's opening round.
All statistics are from Fantasy National Golf Club.
The Studs Tier (25/1 and Shorter)
Play: Rickie Fowler (20/1) - Fowler enters with solid major form, having finished 28th at the Open Championship, 20th at the U.S. Open, and 2nd at the Masters this season. Over his last 50 rounds, Fowler is 7th in proximity gained and 12th in strokes gained: par 4s. This could be the week he finally gets the major championship monkey off his back.
Fade: Tiger Woods (16/1) - As is the case almost every week, Tiger is simply not a good value for the price on his win odds. While his approach game has been solid all year (8th in the field over the last 50 rounds) and he has been a capable putter and scrambler, it is just too difficult to swallow 16/1 given his Sunday fades at The Open Championship and WGC-Bridgestone.
The Best of the Rest Tier (30/1 - 50/1)
Play: Tony Finau (35/1) - Keeping with the trend, here are Finau’s finishes at The Open, U.S. Open, and Masters this year: T9-5-T10. Finau’s stats undersell his recent form because strokes gained data is not available for the majors, but in his last 24 rounds he still ranks 5th in total strokes gained, 17th in strokes gained: tee to green, and 22nd in strokes gained: approach.
Fade: Alex Noren (40/1) - Noren may have missed his window for a major championship this year. His game set up well at Carnoustie, and the oddsmakers rated him highly enough that his odds were roughly half his number this week. Noren flopped badly at the WGC-Bridgestone, as he finished 31st out of 71 golfers despite gaining 7.3(!) strokes putting. If his tee-to-green form is this off, he is an easy name to avoid this week.
The Middle Tier (55/1 - 90/1)
Play: Webb Simpson (60/1) - The PLAYERS Champion has seen his odds slowly regress back to appropriate length after an initial period of being overvalued in the events immediately following his dominant win at TPC Sawgrass. Simpson has been terrific in the majors this year, with three top-20s in addition to his win at the Tour's “fifth major.” He is 4th in the field in proximity gained in his last 12 rounds, even without data from The Open Championship.
Fade: Kevin Kisner (66/1) - Before ultimately faltering down the stretch, some heroics at Carnoustie appear to have inflated Kisner’s reputation in the betting market. Aside from his T2 at The Open, Kisner has not had an above average finish at any event since a T7 at the RBC Heritage in April. He ranks 116th in this field in strokes gained: tee to green in his last 50 rounds.
The Long Shots (100/1 - 125/1)
Play: Ryan Moore (125/1) - Moore is a tee-to-green ace, as he ranks 9th in this field in the last 50 rounds and is up to 4th over the last 24 rounds. He is also 4th in proximity gained over the last 24. Moore did not qualify for the U.S. Open, but posted a T12 at Carnoustie and a T28 at the Masters. The Masters finish was no fluke, as he has two other recent top-12 finishes at Augusta, another long course with bentgrass greens.
Fade: Charles Howell III (125/1) - Howell has respectable stats and is an above average pro, but he has never come close to pushing for the top of the leaderboard at a major. Even with a strong resume and better name recognition and stats than some other golfers in this range, Howell would not make a good investment at this price.
The Lloyd Christmas “So You’re Telling Me There’s a Chance!” Tier: (150/1 or longer)
Play: Kevin Na (150/1) - Na has put together an impressive run of golf since last year’s PGA Championship. He picked up his second career win on Tour at the Greenbrier to go along with five other top-6 finishes since missing the cut at Quail Hollow. What he lacks in tee-to-green dominance (46th over the last 50 rounds), Na makes up for with an uncanny ability to find the cup. Over the last 50 rounds, he is 1st in scrambling gained and 3rd in strokes gained around the green.
Fade: Whee Kim (250/1) - The flip side of Na is a player like Kim, who finished at the top of the leaderboard recently and will be fresh in speculators’ minds when they eye such long odds. But Kim has not shown an ability to consistently reach those heights and ranks just 129th in strokes gained: tee to green over his last 50 rounds.