PGA Betting Guide for the Workday Charity Open
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 Workday Charity Open based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at Golf odds.
Due to the condensed schedule and an event cancellation, golfers and fans alike will get a sneak peek at Muirfield Village Golf Club before the Memorial next week. This track is generally known for its penal rough and fast greens, and while early indications are that it will not play quite up to its typical championship standards in this first edition, at some point, the course is the course. Areas where spectators might have trampled down borders will be flush this year, and on the whole, we don't want to try to guess too much about how differently a course might play when we have decades of history to go off.
We will play pretty straight here -- the cream rises to the top at Muirfield, and we will keep an eye to the overall quality when making our selections. Despite the stray David Lingmerth or William McGirt, this course is typically one where the best in the world duke it out.
For more info on Muirfield Village Golf Club, along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out the course primer.
At the Top
Justin Thomas (+1200) - Thomas has seen his odds lengthen a bit this week, coming off at 10/1 at the opening. Any slippage gives him immediate value, and with an aberration in Connecticut two weeks in the rearview, the books are giving us a fair price on JT. The second favorite is Patrick Cantlay (+1400), the last to win at Muirfield in what was his second victory on the PGA Tour. Thomas doubled that win total in the fall. Thomas is among the very best tee to green players in the world and kicks down the door when his short game clicks.
Hideki Matsuyama (+1700) - Hold your nose to swallow this price for Deki, with a top-heavy field and FAR less historical win equity than everyone surrounding him below 20/1. But it would be just like Matsuyama to burn all of his loyal defenders/obsessives and get a win at an objectively unfair price. So with little value beyond Thomas at the top of the market, we'll go with the 2014 Memorial champ who was third in strokes gained: tee to green last week in Detroit and was ablaze at TPC Sawgrass when the world came to a shrieking halt. That first-round lead doesn't appear on his scorecard thanks to the event cancellation, and besides a T21 last week, the short-sighted will see only a missed cut at the RBC Heritage and a T56 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Harbour Town messes with even the best players, and Bay Hill was downright devilish back in March, but still, Matsuyama's only real downfall was that he lost more than 5.0 strokes putting in each event. If he can putt even field average, he'll be in contention come Sunday. Even if he doesn't, he can still be in the mix at just worse than even money for a Top 20 Finish (-115).
Patrick Reed (+4000) - It's a funny thing, how Reed -- already with a legit win this season at the WGC-Mexico and a top 10 in one of the post-layoff starts -- can still be more than double the odds of Matsuyama and others. He should line up well, with four made cuts in four tries at Muirfield and a best of 8th place back in 2016, plus quality play at two correlated courses in Augusta National and Innisbrook Resort. His occasional inconsistency is matched by his occasional winning, whereas some of the shorter names are often consistent and are also often cashing 10th place checks that don't come with trophies. As one of the few bright spots on the board, we'll happily invest in Reed.
Joaquin Niemann (+4500) - Back to a reasonable number, Niemann is probably still a tad short for where he compares to the players around him. But the ballstriking profile and finishes of T27 and T6 in two tries at Muirfield still put him under the spotlight, especially considering his positive bentgrass splits. On Niemann's last 50 rounds on bentgrass greens, he has gained 4.3 strokes putting. Compare that to his last 100 rounds on all surfaces, where he has lost 1.5 strokes overall. Part of the game here is how fast the greens are, and good putters' advantage is mitigated when everyone is challenged by the putting surfaces. Niemann gets an edge on the field, when his irons reign and the field comes back to him with the flat stick.
Max Homa (+11000) - This far down the board, we need someone live. Homa fits that bill with a win in a loaded Wells Fargo Championship last year, and prior to the layoff, he was in terrific form with five straight top 25s (including three top 10s). He has started cool out of the break, with finishes of MC, T41, and MC to start, but we know his best is good enough to win, and we can't say that about many of the golfers beyond the big names at the top of the market.
Keegan Bradley (+15000) - Same goes for Keegan, who only wins when the competition is ramped up. His PGA Championship is long behind him, but he does have two top 10s at Muirfield and is one of those poor putters who, quite simply, can't really get much worse than he is any other week. When right, he is one of the best tee to green and specifically approach players in the world. He finished last season 19th in strokes gained: approach and 36th in strokes gained: tee to green.