PGA Betting Guide to Specials and Props: PGA Championship
Picking winners for a golf tournament is incredibly difficult and requires -- we hate to say it -- tons of luck to get it right.
One wayward drive, one plugged bunker shot, or one shanked approach is all it takes to turn your magical big money payout into a stone-cold zero. Fortunately, we can play the prop market on FanDuel Sportsbook for the PGA Championship and find a few other ways to wager on this week's tournament without that all-or-nothing downside.
Whereas outright bets only pay out if the golfer wins the event, specials and props can keep bettors interested all the way through the end of the tournament. So let's focus on some of those opportunities: finishing position, first-round leader, matchup betting, and a pick to miss the cut.
Brooks Koepka (+750 for a Top 5 Finish) - What we've seen from Koepka recently tells us he can contend if he's on and he'll be way out of it if he's not. So far this 2020-21 season, he has 4 finishes of T7 or better and 5 missed cuts in 11 events, and while that lack of consistency affects the overall market for him, his distribution of results shows that a near miss -- if not a win -- is well within his range of outcomes this week.
Louis Oosthuizen (+650 for a Top 10 Finish) - Quietly, Oosthuizen leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained: putting this season, conventionally a not so predictive statistic but one that plays to Louis' strengths when combined with his sterling record in major championships. He's been runner up in all four and most recently posted a 3rd place finish at the U.S. Open and finishes of T23 and T26 at the two editions of The Masters. The latter finish was this past April, where a first-round 76 put him in position to battle his way back all week.
Bubba Watson (+750 for a Top 10 Finish) - Watson consistently plays well at certain courses and is prone to hot streaks, both of which play to his favor this week. He was 11th at Kiawah Island in 2012 (a mile behind winner Rory McIlroy, but still), and he has a very strong record on Pete Dye-designed courses. He was runner up and T21 in two cracks at Whistling Straits -- another gusty Pete Dye design in the PGA Championship rotation. He won the match play at the Dye-designed Austin County Club in 2018 and has three wins at TPC River Highlands.
Collin Morikawa (+150 for a Top 20 Finish) - One of the top iron players in the world at 24 years old, Morikawa is sure to be in contention if he putts just to the field average or even right below, and on slower paspalum greens he has a fighting chance. His ballstriking prowess is enough to windy conditions and elevation changes all over the Ocean Course, and his accuracy off the tee should minimize his risk of big numbers.
First Round Leader
Jordan Spieth (+2600) - Spieth did not quite make our outright card by virtue of being shorter to win than the top two players in the world, but there is no denying he's found his mojo and every reason to believe he'll be a factor this week. That starts on Thursday, and Spieth will have a good idea of where he needs to be to grab an early lead. He sank a huge putt on his 18th hole to take the lead at the AT&T Byron Nelson, and brimming with confidence as he pursues the career grand slam, there's no reason to doubt the magic is back.
Tournament Match Betting
Dustin Johnson (-102 over Bryson DeChambeau) - We'll find any way we can to bet on Johnson, with all due respect to Beefy Bryson. DeChambeau could well take this course by storm and has played well in windy conditions even since going full Hulk off the tee. We are betting on DJ here, not against Bryson. Each has a recent major championship to his name and could well add another this week, but the value is on DJ as a shorter outright bet (+1800 to Bryson's +1900) but a dog in their head-to-head matchup.
Marc Leishman (+134 over Tyrrell Hatton) - These golfers duked it out in the grueling windy conditions at Bay Hill in 2020, with Hatton ultimately getting the better of Leishman and earning his first career PGA Tour win. We'll take the Aussie in this matchup against Hatton's poor recent record in major championships. Leishman is well suited to the challenge Kiawah presents, and in 2012 when the wind was wild enough to make the second-round scoring average a robust 78, he shot one of the best rounds of the day with a 72.
Bubba Watson (Top Lefty +270) - If we think Watson has a good shot at a top 10, we can take him here over just four other offerings. Only Brian Harman (+185) is shorter in this prop, and while he has played well recently, we have to side with Watson's history on Dye courses and positive trends.
Lee Westwood (Top English Player +900) - After consecutive runner-up finishes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and THE PLAYERS Championship, Westwood went into a bit of a tailspin and missed two consecutive cuts and finsihed T63 at the RBC Heritage before finally bouncing back with a T21 at the AT&T Byron Nelson. That he scored well enough there bodes well as Kiawah is a more natural fit for the 48-year-old. He'll be on the shortlist later this summer as we prepare for the first Open Championship in two years, but we'll chance him at a tasty 9/1.