GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for the Sanderson Farms Championship

Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. However, 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 select a champion.

Below, we will cover the best bets for the Sanderson Farms Championship based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.

The Swing Season gets into full, er, swing this week in Mississippi, with a field loaded with Korn Ferry Tour graduates looking to take advantage of a post-Ryder Cup lull in field strength to get some legitimate PGA reps in. Defending champ Sergio Garcia makes the trip after adding to his all-time Ryder Cup points lead, but we can forgive a letdown were he to stumble in his defense.

The very top of the market is thin on elite talent, but in this field we can find two who adore bermuda enough to warrant cautious investment. Given its slot in the calendar, this event has produced quite a few first-time winners. But the PGA Tour keeps getting deeper and more talented every year, and as we saw two weeks ago in Max Homa, sometimes we have to give a little credit to the golfers who have shown us they have what it takes. What we want this week are birdie-makers first and foremost, and along those lines, our theme should be golfers who can drive the ball well, can get hot with the putter, and can win on the PGA Tour.

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

At the Top

Sam Burns (+1800) - When Burns teed it up here last year, he had high hopes for the 2020-21 season. He was ranked 168th in the world, and after finishes of T7 and T28 to start the season in California and the Dominican Republic, he had every reason to confidently approach a return to his favored bermudagrass. Then he missed the cut. Fast forward one year, and Burns realized his full potential anyway. Currently 25th in the world and one of the very last names excluded from the U.S. side in the Ryder Cup, Burns arrives as the favorite having closed the season with finishes of T2, T21, 8th, and T17 across a WGC and the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

It's enough that he made it to East Lake at all, and he has to be considered the most dangerous at the top of the market this week. The number is short for sure, but if we're backing a horse shorter than 25/1, we'll take the one who finished fourth on the entire PGA Tour in birdie-or-better percentage last season.

Value Spots

Carlos Ortiz (+3600) - Third and fourth in his first two trips to Mississippi, Ortiz missed the cut last year while in the midst of a poor stretch overall. One month later, he was lifting a trophy in Houston. He generally has shown his best stuff in the fall, and on a related note, he tends to show up when the scoring environment is friendly. He was 43rd in birdie-or-better percentage last year, and while he's inconsistent, he is capable of spike weeks with both his irons and his putter.

Matthew Wolff (+4500) - Wolff no doubt felt the pang of jealousy seeing Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland face off in the Ryder Cup; the three will be tied together as long as he stays relevant. All three turned pro at the same time, and while Wolff picked up the first win, he's been soundly lapped by both since. But, soft courses that can be dominated by the driver are right up Wolff's alley, and after an injury-plagued season, Wolff is primed for a rebound season. The driver is a weapon when it's not a complete disaster -- Wolff was 4th in average driving distance last season but 173rd in strokes gained: off the tee after being 9th and 12th in those stats in 2020. Wolff is also a good putter, and his high variance game makes him a clear play at 45/1 in this field.

Long Shots

Aaron Wise (+6000) - Wise has been a prolific birdie-maker over his career, with ranks across the PGA Tour of 13th, 7th, 48th, and 25th in his four full seasons. He was the Rookie of the Year in 2018 and has been good for a couple of top-10s but not much more each year since. He closed 2020-21 with a eight straight made cuts and a T17 at the no-cut BMW Championship. He's a poor putter over the course of a season, but from event to event, he has enough variance to make him attractive in the right spots. Dating back to last year's Sanderson Farms Championship, where he was T17, Wise has played 20 events with strokes gained data. According to stats from Fantasy National Golf Club, he gained 2.5 or more strokes putting in 7 events and lost 2.5 or more in 8 events -- 6 of which were more than 4.0. The point here is when he's bad, he's often terrible. However, when he's good, he's actually good enough to win.

Keith Mitchell (+7000) - A well-documented affinity for bermuda and a stellar win on his resume make Mitchell a good bargain at 70/1. He closed the 2020-21 season losing with top-10s in half his final 4 starts, and while not always among the top birdie-makers on Tour, he's outshone most in this field. He ranks 9th over his last 50 rounds in birdies or better gained, per Fantasy National. The putter is similar to Wise's, having gained 2.5 or more in 6 of his last 12 starts and lost 2.5 or more in 4 of the other 6. Always a good driver of the ball, he fits our mold well enough this week, and at 70/1 having stood firm against the likes of Brooks Koepka at PGA National, he's a cut above those in the same range.