RBC Canadian Open betting guide: 7 picks our expert loves
Welcome to our weekly PGA Tour gambling-tips column, featuring picks from GOLF.com’s expert prognosticator, Brady Kannon. A seasoned golf bettor and commentator, Kannon is the host of the HeatStrokes podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @LasVegasGolfer, and you can read below to see his favorite plays for the RBC Canadian Open, which kicks off Thursday at Oakdale Golf & Country Club, in Toronto. Keep scrolling past Kannon’s picks, and you’ll also see data from Chirp, a free-to-play mobile platform that features a range of games with enticing prizes, giving fans all kinds of ways to engage in the action without risking any money.
The RBC Canadian Open falls into an unfortunate gap on the PGA Tour schedule, between an elevated event and a major championship. But 10 of the Top 30 players in the Official World Golf Ranking have made the trip north of the border to Oakdale Golf & Country Club, in Toronto.
The Canadian Open is the fourth-oldest event on the PGA Tour. But this will be the first time in its 117 years that the event will be held at Oakdale, a 27-hole facility designed by Stanley Thompson and Robbie Robinson. A combination of the three nines will be used this week to make up an 18-hole, par-72 test that can be adjusted to anywhere from 7,200 to 7,400 yards. Like many of the courses in the Canadian Open rotation, Oakdale is a parkland-style, tree-lined layout. The fairways are of average width and bordered by thick rough. The greens are a bentgrass-poa annua blend and are smaller than average in size.
Rory McIlroy is the two-time defending champion, having won in 2019 and 2022. In 2020 and 2021, the event was canceled due to Covid. McIlroy won in 2019 at Hamilton Golf & Country Club and at St. George’s Golf & Country Club, in 2022. St. George’s is also a Stanley Thompson design, similar in style to Oakdale.
Since this is our first look at Oakdale, identifying the relevant skill sets on this course involves more guesswork than usual. But I’ve dug into the numbers to arrive at what I think is a reliable formula. Please note, though, that I am dumbing-down the risk this week, as I often do when new courses, new tournaments, or new formats are introduced on Tour.
Let’s start with Strokes Gained: Approach, as this is a crucial element on any course and any tournament. I slightly favor Driving Accuracy this week over Driving Distance, but I am going to split the difference and go with Good Drives Gained. I believe the golf course will yield low scores, so I am taking into account Birdies or Better. With the smaller greens and thick rough, I am betting that Strokes Gained: Around the Green will be important this week. And finally, in looking at the yardage of the golf course, I believe the majority of the approach shots will fall between 75 and 150 yards.
For comparable courses, last year’s site, St. George’s, fits the bill. I also considered Glen Abby, another Canadian Open host course. I looked at Colonial Country Club, home to the Charles Schwab Challenge, Pebble Beach, TPC Craig Ranch, and the courses used at the American Express in La Quinta, Calif. All of these courses have either tree-lined fairways that require positional shots off the tee or smaller greens, or both, making them conducive to a birdie fest.
To Win the RBC Canadian Open (and to Finish Top 20)
I went with two players that are favorites to win this week and then three long bombs at triple-digit odds.
Tyrrell Hatton (13-1)
Hatton is ranked 16th in the OWGR, but he has been having one of the best seasons of anyone on Tour. He is the second on the betting board this week, behind McIlroy. He was fifth earlier this year at TPC Craig Ranch, eighth more recently at Colonial, and has five Top 10 finishes this season, along with two Top 15s, and one Top 20. Over the last 36 rounds, he is fourth in this field for SG Approach, second for Good Drives Gained, and third in Birdies or Better.
Justin Rose (23-1)
Like Hatton, Rose has been having an excellent season. He’s a former winner at Colonial, won at Pebble Beach this year, and took fourth at last year’s Canadian Open. Over the last 36 rounds, he is second in this field for SG Approach, 24th for SG Around the Green, ninth in Good Drives Gained and ninth for Birdies or Better. With his lone major being a U.S. Open and that being on tap for next week, I have to believe Rose will be dialed in this week, looking to have his game peaking at the right time.
Brendon Todd (100-1)
Todd’s strength is the short game. He is tops in this field for SG Around the Green and in Hole Proximity from 75-100 yards over the last 36 rounds. He also leads the field in SG Putting on Bent/Poa greens. He finished 13th in Canada last year and has Top 10 finishes at the American Express, Colonial, and Pebble Beach.
Mark Hubbard (100-1)
This may be Hubbard’s best-ever season on Tour. He finished 20th at Pebble Beach and ninth at the Charles Schwab Challenge. He was Top 30 versus an elevated field at the Wells Fargo Championship and 11th against another elevated field at Harbour Town. Over the last 36 rounds, he ranks sixth in this field for SG Approach, 16th for Good Drives Gained, and 24th for Birdies or Better.
Nate Lashley (150-1)
Right behind Hubbard, Lashley ranks seventh in this field for SG Approach over the last 36 rounds, and just ahead of him – 13th in Good Drives Gained and 21st in Birdies or Better. He has two Top 25 finishes at TPC Craig Ranch, a Top 15 at the American Express, and has finished as high as fifth at Pebble Beach. In two elevated events this season, he finished 20th at the Genesis Invitational, and held the 36-hole lead at the Wells Fargo Championship before finishing 27th.
Full Tournament Head to Head Matchups (30-25-3 YTD)
Nate Lashley (+110) over Dylan Wu
Brendon Todd (+110) over Michael Kim
Who Chirp users think will win
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