GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for the Sentry Tournament of Champions

The PGA Tour kicks off 2020 with the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Here are the best bets in each range for this short field 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 Sentry Tournament of Champions based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.

We get back on our PGA betting horse with the Tournament of Champions, the annual collection of the prior year's winners that this year also includes invitations to anyone who made it to the TOUR Championship field even without a win. Given the prerequisites for inclusion, it's no surprise that former or eventual major championship winners have won all but one installment of the TOC since 2013. The only one who has not yet won a major is Xander Schauffele (2019), who has been knocking on that door for the past few seasons and is a good bet to pick one up by the time his career is over.

The new wrinkle to the field this year may throw that into flux, but for the most part, we are looking for the cream of the crop here. The vast majority of PGA Tour pros will never win, so just earning a spot is a testament to the skill and talent of every golfer in the field. But for our purposes, we'll be keying in mostly on golfers who have either won majors or we believe have the ability to do so in the future. For our long-shot bet, we'll highlight a golfer capable of running hot enough to overcome the talent gap to the top of the field.

For more info on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out the course primer.

At the Top

Jon Rahm (+850) - With two-time TOC winners Dustin Johnson (+650) and Justin Thomas (+750) only slightly shorter than Rahm, the 26-year-old Spaniard may not scream value at first glance. But his game is perfect for this environment, with Rahm built for distance and perfectly capable of controlling his game in windy conditions. FanDuel Sportsbook offers look-ahead odds for all four major championships, and Rahm is shorter than JT in all four. He was runner-up on debut in 2018 and has since finished T8 and 10th. Over his last seven events, Rahm has finished T7 or better five times.

Bryson DeChambeau (+1100) - With a small field and a wide-open landscape for DeChambeau to let loose off the tee, we'll start our card by skipping the big three and grabbing the immediate value. His game is completely different than when he was 26th in 2018 or 7th in 2019, but at least some familiarity and the long layoff should be enough for him to dissect every inch of the nearly 7,600-yard Plantation Course. Kapalua is an interesting layout, with six par 4s under 400 yards and three over 500, but in either case DeChambeau gains an advantage with his ability to either easily reach the green on the former and eye a wedge into the green on the latter. If this is to be the year of Bryson, we may look back at a statement win to start the year and realize it foretold the story of 2021.

Value Spots

Collin Morikawa (+3000) - Morikawa is already one of the top iron players on Tour, and over the past 12 months he is third on the entire Tour in strokes gained: approach, according to stats from Fantasy National Golf Club. Thomas is second in that stat and Johnson is fifth, and those two have won three of the past four times in Kapalua. Morikawa fits the bill as a major champion, having hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy this past summer.

Joaquin Niemann (+3500) - Niemann, on the other hand, takes some speculating to see his major championship bona fides. He's missed the cut in five of his seven major appearances, with his other results a T71 at the 2018 PGA and a T23 at this fall's U.S. Open. That finish was largely the result of an outlier putting performance, so nothing in his past indicates his game translates against the top competition. At least not yet. Niemann is still just 22 years old, and with great form leading into The Masters he was unfortunately forced to withdraw after a positive COVID-19 test. His ballstriking is already elite across the entire Tour, as in that 12-month sample he ranks 15th in strokes gained: approach and 16th in strokes gained: off the tee.

Long Shots

Kevin Na (+10000) - In a small field, we can do worse than hitch our wagon to a 100/1 golfer who is capable of lapping the field with his short game. It's a big hill to climb for any of the golfers longer than 40/1 with the talent at the top of the market, but Na has shown an ability to catch fire and certainly won't be intimidated facing off against the best of the best. He played well at Augusta to a T13 finish, and he makes for a great dart throw any time we can get him at long odds on bermuda greens.