GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for the Charles Schwab Challenge

In the first major U.S. sporting event since the coronavirus pandemic, Colonial Country Club hosts a terrific field for the Charles Schwab Challenge. See who presents good value at an otherwise unpredictable event.

Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. But finding value is something all bettors must practice in order to give themselves the best chance to make hay when the day finally comes that they ping a champion.

Below, we will cover the best bets for the Charles Schwab Challenge based on current form (not that anyone has any this week!), course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.

The PGA Tour returns to action for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic forced a cancellation after the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship back in March. The landing spot for an absolutely loaded field itching to get back into action is Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. Many of the best players in the world will tee it up this week, including 16 of the top 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Unlike a typical event with this level of field strength -- think major championships and WGC events -- we have no idea how even the most consistent golfers are going to fare after a three-month layoff from PGA action. Colonial is not your typical bombers track, either, making it a weird fit for most of the top players. Many of the names at the top of the betting odds willingly skip this event every year, and leaderboards here historically are composed of a blend household names and relative unknowns. This week should be one of the more wide open events we've seen, opening up massive opportunity on the back end of our card.

For more info on Colonial Country Club, along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out the course primer.

At the Top

Justin Thomas (+1600) - These odds are probably still too short to really draw much interest given the context around this event, but Thomas is noteworthy in that his odds are twice that of the favorite, Rory McIlroy (+800). Neither have ever played Colonial, and the weight we are otherwise placing on short game and putting this week should be a disqualifier for Thomas. Yet we know he's not one to have been putting his feet up on the break, and with three wins in the six months, he was on a great trajectory.

Brooks Koepka (+2500) - The erstwhile dominant player in the world now comes off at a juicy price that is likely longer than he'll be at any major championship this year. And we're supposed to just keep scrolling? A runner-up finish in 2018, his only run at Colonial, gives hope to the folks making their debuts this week but also proves Koepka has what it takes to roll through Colonial when both he and the course are in good condition. His scary knee injury was still far from 100% when back in action earlier in the year, but rest and rehab opportunities will hopefully get him back to his best, and a strong showing this week would put the rest of the Tour on notice heading into a condensed schedule with majors around every corner.

Value Spots

Xander Schauffele (+3300) - Schauffele is riding an 18-month winless stretch that could easily have seen him with multiple wins and odds at half this number were two or three shots to go differently, and he has the feel of a golfer who can go on a run if it all clicks. We'll happily buy at this price, and even if he fails to convert between now and August, he could well be shorter than this number at the year's first major in Harding Park. Even without trophies, he's been remarkably consistent over the past year, missing just two cuts in the past 12 months. Course history truthers will look to two MC's and T48 the past three years, but he shot 67 on Friday last year and has the all-around game to make it work as he gains experience on a different kind of course than the typical Tour bomb-fest.

Matt Kuchar (+4500) - Accurate off the tee and solid all around, Kuchar seems to be getting better with age. Colonial is one of the few tracks left on Tour that does not set him back immediately against the big hitters, and while some would prefer him next week at Harbour Town, he is more than welcome on our card here as well. After starting strong in the swing season and early part of 2019, he faded down the stretch as a long season of grinding caught up to the 41-year-old. He was coming on before the break, with a runner-up at the Genesis Invitational and a T22 at the WGC-Mexico that would have been much better were it not for a Thursday 75.

Long Shots

Joaquin Niemann (+8500) - There's no reason for Niemann to be this far down the board when back on more comfortable bentgrass greens. He most certainly suffered a hangover from his breakthrough win at the Greenbrier, an event that seems like it was about 600 years ago. He has been T8 and T31 in two tries, the former in similarly friendly conditions back in 2018. While yet to break through in a field even approaching this one, he has plenty of reasons to be doubted. But so do about two dozen golfers offered at shorter odds and few with as much natural talent and upside as Niemann.

Phil Mickelson (+9500) - In his elder years, Mickelson has shined early in the season and faded as the year went on. So while the last three months haven't exactly been the holiday break, we know Mickelson has gotten himself into great shape and is riding good vibes from his performance both on the course and in Tom Brady's ear during The Match 2. Known more for his Twitter feed and calf muscles than his golf game over the past year, Phil goes off at close to triple digits at a course where he's twice won. He's mostly avoided Colonial over the past decade, but when at the top of the sport, this was one of his most friendly tracks.