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RSM Classic Betting Preview: Familiar Cast Returns to Sea Island

RSM Classic Betting Preview: Familiar Cast Returns to Sea Island
Russell Henley plays his shot from the seventh tee during the final round of the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images via AFP.

A quality field of regular contenders returns to Sea Island Resort for the RSM Classic, and our betting preview breaks it down with matchups, props, and picks to win.

The RSM Classic is the final full-field PGA Tour event of 2021. Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka will compete in The Match V next week, with the Hero World Challenge and QBE Shootout taking place over the first two weeks of December.

The 2022 portion of the schedule will start January 6 with the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open in Hawaii Jan. 13-16, before the PGA Tour returns to the mainland for its West Coast swing.

Here are my outright, matchup, and prop betting picks for the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic at Sea Island Resort in St. Simons Island, GA.

RSM Classic Odds

DraftKingsFanDuelBetMGM
Scottie Scheffler+1000+1400+1400
Webb Simpson+1200+1400+1600
Cameron Smith+1400+1700+1800
Louis Oosthuizen+1600+2500+2000
Corey Conners+2200+2700+2500
Russell Henley+2500+2700+2800
Harris English+2500+3000+3000
Talor Gooch+3500+3800+4000
Adam Scott+3500+3600+4000
Joaquin Niemann+3500+3100+3500
RSM Classic outright odds

RSM Classic Odds Analysis

Scheffler, who’s fresh off tying for second during last week’s Houston Open and rising to a career-best No. 17 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), is the consensus favorite for the RSM Classic. His implied winning probability ranges from 9.09 percent at DraftKings to 6.67 percent at BetMGM and FanDuel. He opened with the second-best odds to win last week’s event.

FanDuel and BetMGM are both higher on Georgia native Kevin Kisner than DraftKings, with the former two sportsbooks giving him the seventh- and ninth-best odds, respectively.

The RSM Classic odds have shifted after several early withdrawals. Patrick Reed, Sungjae Im, and Houston Open winner Jason Kokrak are the top contenders to pull out of the trip to Sea Island.

Sea Island Resort Betting Profile

The RSM Classic is split between the Seaside and Plantation courses at Sea Island Resort. The former is the shorter of the two at 7,005 yards and playing to a par of 70. The latter measures 7,060 yards with a par of 72. All golfers in the field will alternate courses Thursday and Friday, with both weekend rounds played at the Seaside Course. For betting purposes, we’ll focus on the Seaside Course.

The short course puts an emphasis on driving accuracy and positioning off the tee. There are fewer sand bunkers than the Plantation Course, but water is in play on nearly half the holes on both courses. Golfers will need to battle crosswinds while playing alongside the Atlantic Ocean.

The par 3s range from 179 to 223 yards, with two of the four longer than 200 yards. The three par 5s check in at 565, 582, and 623 yards. Just one of the par 4s is shorter than 400 yards, with the longest measuring 470 yards. The most common range is between 400 and 450 yards, which includes eight holes. Two of the 10 par 4s on the Plantation Course are between 400 and 450 yards, with five shorter than 400 yards.

The greens are composed of Bermuda grass, and the putting surfaces on the Seaside Course are quite large.

RSM Classic Betting Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • SG: Off-the-Tee (accuracy over distance)
  • Par 4 efficiency: 400-450 yards
  • Birdie-or-better percentage

The last three winners of The RSM Classic were decided in a playoff, including Robert Streb winning this event for the second time last year. He ranked third in the field with 3.23 total strokes gained per round on the Seaside Course, including 1.50 Strokes Gained: Putting per round. Kyle Stanley, Corey Conners, and Doug Ghim were the leaders in Strokes Gained: Approach.

Webb Simpson (29 rounds) and Kisner (28) are the course history darlings with 1.88 and 1.61 strokes gained on the field per round at this venue, respectively.

RSM Classic Betting Picks

To win: Russell Henley (+2800 via BetMGM), Chris Kirk (+6500 via FanDuel), Kramer Hickok (+18000 via DraftKings)
Tournament matchup: Luke List vs. Robert Streb (+100 via BetMGM), Corey Conners vs. Louis Oosthuizen (-120)
Top-10 finish: Mackenzie Hughes (+550 via BetMGM)
Winning margin: One stroke (+225 via DraftKings)
Top English: Aaron Rai (+275 via BetMGM)

RSM Classic Outright Picks

Henley (+2800)

Henley opened with a share of the first-round lead at 5-under par last week and went on to tie for seventh while averaging 1.16 Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, 0.94 Strokes Gained: Putting, and 0.78 Strokes Gained: Approach for the tournament. It was his best finish following four events to start the 2021-22 FedExCup season.

He returns to Sea Island after tying for 30th last year, and he’s averaged 0.97 total strokes gained on the field over 19 career rounds on the Seaside Course. He’s second on the PGA Tour with 1.40 Strokes Gained: Approach through 12 measured rounds this season. Additionally, he was 27th in driving accuracy and tied for 12th in par-4 efficiency from our key distance last season.

DraftKings gives him the sixth-best odds at +2500, but Henley is slightly discounted at FanDuel and BetMGM for a greater return.

Kirk (+6500)

Kirk offers tremendous value at FanDuel, and he’s listed at +4500 at DraftKings and +5500 at BetMGM. The four-time PGA Tour champ won most recently on the Korn Ferry Tour last year. He enters the week 79th in the OWGR with four top-10 finishes this calendar year. 

The veteran has logged 32 career rounds on the Seaside Course with an average of 0.98 strokes gained per outing. He won the 2013 McGladrey Classic, which was played exclusively on the Seaside Course. His best finish this season through four events is tying for 14th at The CJ Cup, and he tied for 18th in this event last year.

The 36-year-old averaged 0.35 Strokes Gained: Approach per round last season while also ranking 67th in driving accuracy and 94th in birdie-or-better percentage. Most importantly, he was third in par 4 efficiency from 400-450 yards.

Hickok (+18000)

Hickok soared to 133rd in the OWGR (from 171st) after a fourth-place finish at the Houston Open. It was his second-best career PGA Tour result, and Hickok’s second top-10 finish this calendar year.

The 29-year-old averaged 1.08 Strokes Gained: Approach and 1.25 Strokes Gained: Putting per round last week. While putting is extremely volatile from week to week, he’ll remain on Bermuda grass greens. Hickok was 14th on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy and tied for 45th in par 4 efficiency from our key distance last season.

Get him while he’s hot and still offering an excellent return at 180-1. FanDuel is weighing last week’s result much more heavily with +12000 odds.

RSM Classic Matchup Picks

List vs. Streb (+100)

The defending champ offers excellent value for an even-money return. Streb didn’t record a finish better than tying for 13th with 12 missed cuts through 24 events this year until tying for ninth at The CJ Cup. He also tied for seventh last week in Houston while averaging 1.26 Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and 0.84 Strokes Gained: Putting per round.

List tied for 11th last week, but he lost another 1.45 strokes per round with the putter. He lost 1.72 strokes putting in his one round on the Seaside Course prior to a missed cut last year.

Conners vs. Oosthuizen (-120)

Oosthuizen missed the cut at the 2020 RSM Classic after an uncharacteristically bad approach-game performance. He still managed to gain 1.76 strokes with the putter during his one round.

Conners tied for 10th during his first appearance in this event last fall. However, he averaged just 0.05 Strokes Gained: Putting per round at Seaside. Expect Oosthuizen to produce a better performance with the irons than last year and win this head-to-head matchup through his putting.

RSM Classic Top Prop Picks

Top 10: Mackenzie Hughes (+550)

Hughes missed the cut at Sea Island last year, but he prevailed during a five-man playoff in 2016. He tied for fourth at the Zozo Championship in Japan before returning to play in America and tying for 29th last week.

His usually sharp putting should return after a poor performance in Houston. He averaged 0.92 Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green and 1.12 Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green per round at the Memorial Park Golf Course.

Winning margin: One stroke (+225)

Each of the last three and six of the 11 events held at Sea Island went to a playoff. We could bet on this event going beyond 72 holes for +340 at DraftKings, but I’ll take the lower return for a little added safety with this prop.

A margin greater than a single stroke has decided just two of the 11 events held at this venue.

Top English Player: Rai (+275)

Rai enters the week 10th in the OWGR and with five professional wins, but none on U.S. soil. He missed the cut in three straight events to open the 2021-22 season. However, Rai has rebounded while tying for 15th at the World Wide Technology Championship and tying for 19th last week. He was fourth in the Houston Open field with 1.43 Strokes Gained: Approach per round.

Justin Rose is the favorite in this pool at +200. He missed the cut in this event last year due to a dreadful putting performance, and the former world No. 1 has dropped from No. 35 to No. 45 in the OWGR this year.

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Picks made on 11/16/21 at 9:45 a.m. ET.