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    Best bets for the PGA Championship ⛳

    Best bets for the PGA Championship


    The PGA Championship 2020, the first major of the season, is here, though it isn't the tournament we're accustomed to seeing kick things off. For years the final major of the season, the PGA will be the first of three majors contested in 2020.

    The field is loaded as always, with two-time defending champ Brooks Koepka and newly minted No. 1 player in the world Justin Thomas among the favorites. Plus, Tiger Woods is always a popular pick.

    Who will hoist the Wanamaker Trophy at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco? What bets and props are worth a look?

    Betting expert Chris "The Bear" Fallica, ESPN.com sports betting deputy editor David Bearman, ESPN betting analyst Doug Kezirian and fantasy analyst Anita Marks, who nailed last week's Justin Thomas pick, offer their best bets.

    Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook unless otherwise noted.

    Bets to win

    Brooks Koepka 13-1; Top-10 finish (+155)

    Bearman: I'm not one to take a favorite, but there are exceptions to the norm. A week ago, I was very concerned about Koepka's knee and recent results. Let's call it what it was: He had been awful since the restart, with one top-30 in five events (T-7 at RBC), two missed cuts and a T-62 at Jack's place. We weren't talking PGA Championship three-peat. We were talking, "Will he make the FedEx Cup playoffs?" Then, he tees it up for one of the top 10 events of the year, shoots a 62 on Thursday and makes a Sunday run. If not for a bad drive on the 72nd hole, he very well could've won in Memphis after playing as well as anyone else in the field.

    Most of my picks in this column are based on metrics (Koepka's aren't good), recent form (we just discussed) and course form (there is none). Not this pick. Brooks is a big-time player at big-time events. If healthy, there's no reason to pick against the two-time defending champion and a guy who has four wins, two runner-ups, a T-4 and a T-6 in his past 10 majors. I wish I had taken him a week ago, when his odds for this tourney were in the 15/20-1 range. Either way, you can count on him to be around in contention on Sunday.

    Marks: Koepka shot an opening-round 62 last week and had three rounds in the 60s. With him looking to win the PGA Championship for the third time in a row, this is the major stage Koepka shows up for. When asked what sets him apart this week, he responded, "I like when things get complicated and love how I can hang in there mentally." This past week, Koepka ranked first in strokes gained on approach and tied for third in par-4 scoring birdies or better, which are key metrics at TPC Harding Park. "This is a big boy course," Koepka said earlier this week. I'm banking that he puts on his big boy pants and three-peats.

    Jon Rahm 15-1

    Kezirian: His reign with the world's top ranking lasted only two weeks, but I have faith that he can regain the top billing. The 15-1 odds are pretty enticing, considering that they dropped only after last week's mediocre performance, which came after an outright win. Rahm ranks sixth this season in strokes gained off the tee, and that should help at this par-70 course of 7,200 yards. At some point, he will lose the label of the best golfer without a major championship, and his recent form suggests that he is more than capable of erasing that designation at TPC Harding Park.

    Patrick Cantlay 22-1; Top-10 finish (+275 at DK), Top-20 finish (+120)

    Fallica: Cantlay appeared to get his game in order on the weekend in Memphis, and despite entering the PGA Championship with consecutive finishes outside the top 20, he has a great shot this week. He's top-10 on tour in strokes gained tee to green and total strokes gained, and he has been in the major mix on Sunday before (see last year's Masters and a third-place finish in last year's PGA). Back home in California, he could be poised to become the debutante major winner and at the very least post a top-20 finish. If you consider: 12 of the past 17 major winners were first-timers, 27 of the past 29 major winners were ranked in the top 30, and the last time three straight majors were won by players outside the top 20 was 2009. Cantlay, who hasn't won a major and is ranked 10th in the world, falls into each of those qualifying categories.

    Tony Finau 35-1; Top-20 finish (+200)

    Fallica: It's a bit of an unfortunate punch line that's out there these days: "Can't wait to fade Finau on Sunday. ... The only time he has won on tour was in an alternate field event. ..." People are almost forgetting he has five top-10s in the past eight majors and has been in the final pairing twice. No, he hasn't won a major yet, but it's not like he hasn't been right there. Like Gary Woodland, Finau has the length off the tee to handle this course and is hot and cold with the putter. The price to win is worth a shot (and is better at some other books), as are the other markets, such as top-20 (and even a little for a top-10).

    Finau is another who fits the criteria I mentioned with Cantlay. He's 10th on tour in strokes gained tee to green and in the top 36 in all other strokes gained metrics, other than putting. The No. 17 player in the world has the game, and if he puts it together this week, it should surprise nobody. If you're wondering about the other players who fit the recent mold (no major titles and ranked in the top 20), they are Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Marc Leishman and Daniel Berger.

    Daniel Berger 40-1; Top-20 finish (+185)

    Bearman: If you've been following along during the restart, there are guys I like every week, and Berger is one of them. He's one of the underrated players on tour, and the betting value doesn't match his metrics or the results he has produced this year. In Berger's past seven starts, dating to February, he has six top-10s (five of which are top-5s) and one missed cut. That's correct: six top-10s/five top-5s in seven starts. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Berger's three top-5s since the restart are most on tour, and his five since Jan. 1 are tied for the most. He's fifth in total shots gained, 13th in tee to green, 14th in putting and 24th in approach. He's also fifth on tour with a 69.3 scoring average. For all that, you are still getting 35-1, which is ranked 12th among golfers in the field this week. It's great value and a good chance for Berger to break through for his first major win. Dating to 2009, seven of the past 11 PGA Champions (everyone but Koepka and Rory McIlroy) were first-time major winners.

    Kezirian: It's hard to imagine a guy performing this well and flying more below the radar. Berger has finished in the top five in five of his past six starts. Go read that last sentence again. It's an incredible run that includes a win at the Charles Schwab Challenge. He also ranks third in strokes gained since the tour's restart, behind only Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau. A 40-1 price is just too much for a guy this hot.

    Matthew Fitzpatrick 40-1; Top-20 finish (+210)

    Bearman: After the top 10-15 players who are considered front-runners sits Fitzpatrick, who has some nice value at 40-1. The 25-year-old went T-3 and T-6 in strong fields at The Memorial and the WGC-FedEx and had a T-14 at Harbour Town. It might have flown under the radar, but Fitzpatrick also finished in the top 20 in three of the four majors last season. He led the field last week in strokes gained putting and is second on tour. Picking up shots on the public greens will be key this week. The 2-1 value on a top 20 should be played here as well.

    Gary Woodland 40-1; Top-10 finish (+500 at DK), top-20 finish (+200 at DK)

    Fallica: People are talking about Rory McIlroy winning the Match Play here in 2015, but whom did he beat in the final? Woodland. Who stared down Koepka to win the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach last year? Woodland. Who has been almost completely forgotten this week? Woodland. He has the length off the tee and the iron play to handle a long, par-70 course, and as he showed last year at Pebble, he can get hot with the putter. He's in the top 25 on tour in strokes gained on approach, strokes gained putting and total strokes gained. He has posted top-10s the past two years in the PGA Championship, and last year's PGA top-10 preceded his win at Pebble.

    Long shots

    Harris English 150-1

    Bearman: Everyone loves a long shot to sprinkle some winnings on, right? Why English? His metrics play well here; he's eighth on tour in greens in regulation and in the top 30 in both strokes gained putting and off the tee. His recent form is strong, too, with three top-20 finishes in a row and in six of his past seven events. The PGA Championship is primed for a first-time major winner. Maybe it'll be English.

    Si Woo Kim 200-1

    Kezirian: He's good for a great round or two per tournament, but I am hoping that he can string together an entire tournament. He has two career wins, including the 2017 Players Championship, so it has been done, and it seems like he's ready to break through. Some of his recent stats back it up, including ranking 37th in strokes gained around the green this season. There's a reason he's 200-1, but I am grabbing the long-shot odds.

    Prop bets

    Xander Schauffele top-5 finish (+450 at DK); Schauffele (+100) over DeChambeau (-125) at DK

    Marks: Having California roots is a nice advantage for Schauffele this week. Golf feels different on the left coast, with the time change and weather conditions. Schauffele has four straight top-20s since the tour resumed. He can drive it long and find the fairway, two important metrics this week. Also, I love his tournament matchup over DeChambeau, who struggled with his approach shots last week in Memphis.

    Collin Morikawa top-5 finish (+750 at DK)

    Marks: Morikawa is another Californian who will feel right at home with the expected weather in the high 50s/low 60s. Driving distance combined with driving accuracy will be key for the rough this week, and Morikawa can do both well. Being one of the best ball strikers on tour, Morikawa will be in contention come Sunday.

    Cantlay top-10 finish (+275 at DK)

    Marks: Cantlay is coming in hot after shooting 65 and 67 this past weekend in Memphis. He's another Californian who sports all the top metrics to win on this track; he ranks seventh in strokes gained tee to green this season and 11th in par-4 scoring birdie or better.

    Koepka top-10 finish (+155)

    Fallica: Koepka has been out of the top 10 twice in the past 10 majors. A +155 return on something that has happened 80% of the time the past three years is a risk I'm willing to take.

    Hideki Matsuyama top-10 finish (+400 at DK); first-round leader (50-1 at DK)

    Marks: Matsuyama is another great ball striker, and he will need to be in the expected conditions this week (he ranks second on tour this season in strokes gained tee to green). Putting stats are not as crucial at TPC Harding Park, a huge reason I have Matsuyama in my top 10. Fog and cloudy conditions are expected Thursday morning, and he tees off at 1:36 p.m. ET, when the fog is expected to die down. I love his odds sitting at the top of the leaderboard Thursday.

    Jason Day top-20 finish (+185)

    Fallica: Day has 44 rounds in the 60s in the majors, and 21 have come in the PGA Championship -- the only major he has won. He has played quite well lately, finishing T-7, T-4 and T-6 the past three weeks. Although it's always a risk to take a player with an achy back -- especially when the weather is damp and likely a little cooler -- I'll back Day to post a top-20 finish at almost 2-1 odds.

    Morikawa top-20 finish (No -180); misses cut (+235 at DK)

    Fallica: This is just the second major for Morikawa, and he played very well in last year's U.S. Open at Pebble, finishing T-35. But since the restart, he has finished outside the top 20 as many times as he has finished in the top 20 (three each). He doesn't hit it a long way based on today's standards, and even though he has great iron play, he's someone I'm looking to take a little stand against this week.

    Koepka (-167) over Tigers Woods (+130) at DK

    Fallica: I saw this number at DraftKings on Tuesday and had to make sure I read it correctly. Yeah, I'll bite. By Sunday afternoon, I'll probably be saying to myself, "If it looks too good to be true ..."

    Tyrrell Hatton (+105) over Finau (-125)

    Bearman: To me, this one is pure math and eye test. On one hand, you have Hatton, who is in the top 25 in nearly every golf metric and who has finished in the top 14 in six of the seven events he has played this season on the PGA Tour, including a win in Arnie's event and back-to-back top-5s after the restart. In Finau, you have a guy who continues to be near the top of the leaderboard Thursday and Friday and then horribly fades on the weekend. He is averaging close to 2-over par on weekend rounds, which is something I want to be on the other side of. Hatton doesn't have a great majors résumé, but he has five top-5s the past four seasons. I am not asking him to win ... just beat a weekend fader.

    Berger (+100) over Webb Simpson (-125) at DK

    Marks: Berger's game has been epic since the tour resumed, with six top-10s in seven starts. Meanwhile, Simpson will be without caddie Paul Tesori because of a back issue. Plus, he doesn't have the distance off the tee to score well on this track.

    Woodland (-134) over Billy Horschel (+105) at DK

    Fallica: I mentioned how much I like Woodland, and a matchup up against Horschel -- who has posted two top-20s in majors in his career, with the most recent coming at the 2016 Masters -- along with the fact that he missed the cut in five of his past 10 majors seems like a good proposition to me.

    Berger to miss cut (+300 at DK)

    Fallica: Berger was the 54-hole co-leader at Shinnecock in 2018 after shooting a 66 to move up 44 spots on the leaderboard. He then shot 73 on Sunday and finished T-6. That's the only bit of major contention on his résumé. Berger has five missed cuts in majors, with two of them coming on PGA Championship setups. It seems like Berger's best work is done on courses in the South and Southeast, and I'm not sold that he'll enjoy the conditions at Harding Park.

    Tyrrell Hatton to miss cut (+200 at DK)

    Fallica: The next major Hatton contends in will be the first. He has been in the top 10 following a round twice in majors: the first round of last year's Open Championship and after the third round of the 2018 U.S. Open. He flirted with cuts in two of the majors he played last year and has missed eight cuts in 19 majors. He has had a great year on tour, and maybe last week's poor showing at Southwind was an aberration, but I could see him struggling on a longer par 70.

    Schauffele to miss cut (+325 at DK)

    Fallica: Schauffele is a popular pick this week -- for good reason. But I'm going to go a bit contrarian here in case he struggles early, as he has done in the past (see the RBC and Memorial). Considering that all five of his top-10s in majors have come in the Masters, The Open or the U.S. Open and his only cut came at the PGA Championship, I'll throw a little something on the missed cut as more of a flier than anything.

    Winner to birdie the 72nd hole (Yes +800 at DK)

    Marks: No. 18 is a 463-yard, par-4, dogleg left around a lake that a golfer must carry to be on the green in two. The key will be avoiding bunkers and landing on the correct tier on the green. Talk about drama. Plus, there's no better way to win the first major of the season than with a birdie putt on the final hole.

    Abraham Ancer (-120) over Viktor Hovland (even) at SuperBook

    Fallica: Hovland is coming off a bad week, and I wonder if the grind of playing every week except for the 3M has finally caught up with him. If it has (Hovland has posted his worst two finishes since the restart the past two weeks), it couldn't come at a worse time. Ancer is rock-solid in nearly all strokes-gained metrics, has been outside the top 15 just once since the restart, and very easily could have won the RBC Heritage. You might want to consider Ancer to finish in the top 20 at +250 as well.

    Cantlay (-125) over Morikawa (+105); Cantlay (+120) over Schauffele (-140) at SuperBook

    Fallica: I'm bullish on Cantlay this week and am interested in fading both Morikawa and Schauffele, so it's a match made in heaven. Or maybe it's a double-edged sword?

  2. #2
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    RudyRuetigger's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    little late bro

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    Hman's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    Quote Originally Posted by RudyRuetigger View Post
    little late bro

    Posted wrong thing.....already posted this days ago