PGA Betting Guide for the Rocket Mortgage Classic
The PGA Tour is always exciting because every week offers a new opportunity for a champion.
Zack Sucher couldn't pull off a win last week at the Travelers, but Chez Reavie netted his first win in 11 years. This week, the real wrinkle is a brand new golf course: Detroit Golf Club. (You can find out the course basics for Pebble Beach via Mike Rodden's course primer and the Heat Check podcast.
The course could play really easily, and that should lead to low scores for the winner, so how does that impact our betting card?
Let's dig into the field and see what stands out and which golfers might fit your eye to back this week. (All stats come from FantasyNational.com and cover the past 100 rounds on the PGA Tour, unless otherwise noted.)
Approach to the Card
This week, there's a heavy favorite: Dustin Johnson. Johnson is listed at +600 on FanDuel Sportsbook. My simulations give him about a 15.1% chance to emerge victorious this week, a pretty astounding rate, and actually some value at those odds.
But a bet on Johnson shouldn't lead to much (if any) action on the next tier or two of golfers. So, do we pair DJ with some long shots, or do we try to pepper the mid-range?
For me, I'm just not backing Johnson, though he's a core FanDuel play for me. The asking price is just too steep. Instead, I think it's a week to target other options.
Picks to Consider
Hideki Matsuyama (FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: +1100) - If I'm backing a favorite, it'll be Hideki. He leads the entire field in opportunities gained, a FantasyNational stat that indicates scoring opportunities rather than just birdie and eagle conversions, which rely on putting. Obviously, putting isn't Matsuyama's strong suit, but he's actually 68th in the field in strokes gained: putting over the past 100 rounds, per FantasyNational. Along with that, he is 27th in strokes gained: off the tee, 2nd in strokes gained: approach, and 14th in strokes gained: around the green. He should be able to score on the par 5s and gain distance on the field.
Ryan Moore (+2600) - I don't love this price for Moore, but I do love his fit for this new course. Moore ranks 25th in strokes gained: off the tee, 3rd in strokes gained: approach, and 20th in strokes gained: around the green in our sample, and he's 4th in fairways gained in that split, too. As for the scoring chances, he's seventh in opportunities gained, and he won at a Donald Ross course in 2009 and also at TPC Deere Run, which comps well to what we can expect from Detroit Golf Club.
Billy Horschel (+2900) - Horschel has been much better than most people probably realize. Among the field, he grades out fifth in total strokes gained over his past 100 rounds, and according to my own adjustments and tweaks, he is seventh in the field in adjusted strokes gained in 2019. Sure, he's got a good putter, but he's also 23rd in strokes gained: off the tee and 14th in strokes gained: approach, plus 5th in scrambling and 35th in fairways gained. He profiles as a golfer who can pick apart what could be an easy course.
Keith Mitchell (+6000) - Mitchell could struggle on the greens here, which are supposed to be poa, but the rest of his profile implies he could go low. Mitchell grades out 10th in strokes gained: tee to green despite sitting 124th in strokes gained: around the green. That's because he's 3rd off the tee and 32nd in approach. He should dominate the par 5s and has the distance to be aggressive. There's risk here, of course, but if we want someone with enough scoring upside to flirt with 20 under, Mitchell has it.
Vaughn Taylor (+8000) - Taylor doesn't possess the distance to go for it often, and that could be his real downfall, but he should be able to place it where he wants and take advantage of the easy rough. Taylor grades out 23rd in strokes gained: approach and is actually 3rd in opportunities gained among the entire field. He also plays well out of the bunker, and maybe he's more suited for a top-10, but +8000 is an enticing number for Taylor here.
Corey Conners (+10000) - Conners does a few things well, and those things tend to be the most important aspects of golf. Over our 100-round sample, he is 8th in strokes gained: off the tee, 9th in strokes gained: approach, 33rd in driving distance, 29th in driving accuracy, 3rd in greens in regulation, and 2nd in good drive rate. Those are elite ball-striking marks. The issues come from the short game: 112th in strokes gained: around the green, 145th in strokes gained: putting, 125th in sand saves, and 135th in scrambling. If he's on, though, he shouldn't find much trouble, and that makes Conners a dangerous golfer at +10000.