Who does the journalist, betting analyst or data guru like? Or the caddie? Or the old-school gambler? Gimme the facts, storylines and trends. Gimme that inside-the-ropes look. Gimme your gut feeling.
You bet, bettor.
Welcome to GOLF.com’s new gambling advice column, where we’ve assembled a panel of those aforementioned experts to make three “best bets.” A real-life professional bettor here will then heed that advice, add his acumen and wager his own cash. It’s not unlike what you do through texts and Google searches — except now it’s all in one place.
Our hope is to help you with your own weekly picks, whether those are for a low-stakes office fantasy league, (legal!) big-bucks bets with a sportsbook or through free-to-play Chirp Golf, an app from our parent company that is available in the App Store and at Google Play.
Now, on to some facts, the expert picks, the bettor’s best bets and info on how to bet for free.
This week’s tournament: The BMW Championship, Caves Valley Golf Club, Owings Mill, Md.
TV schedule: Thursday, August 26: 3-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Friday, August 27: 3-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday, August 28: 1-3 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); 3-6 p.m. ET (NBC); Sunday, August 29: 12-2 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); 2-6 p.m. ET (NBC)
Defending champ: Jon Rahm
Top 10 in odds (via DraftKings): Jon Rahm +600; Justin Thomas +1800, Xander Schauffele +1800, Bryson DeChambeau +2000; Collin Morikawa +2000; Dustin Johnson +2200; Jordan Spieth +2200; Brooks Koepka +2500; Cameron Smith +2500; Louis Oosthuizen +2500.
Jessica Marksbury, GOLF.com, @Jess_Marksbury:
Bet 1: Jon Rahm, to win, +650. These odds aren’t great, but Rahm has really risen to the challenge when he has something to prove. The near-miss at the Northern Trust should fuel his fire this week.
Bet 2: Brooks Koepka, top 5, +450. It’s getting close to crunch time, and that’s when Koepka seems to perform his best. And this PGA Tour statistic is encouraging: Koepka hasn’t gone more than two events without posting a T6 in all of 2021. So, after a T54 and a T31, he’s due.
Bet 3: Webb Simpson top 10, +200. My man, Old Reliable! He’ll be on the outside looking in for next week’s Tour Championship if he doesn’t step it up this week. I’m banking on him to deliver.
Brady Kannon, host, Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN), @lasvegasgolfer:
Bet 1: Jon Rahm, top 5, +130. The best player in the world came four holes short of going wire to wire last week. I expect more of the same this week and possibly a win. He’s playing on a much higher level than anyone right now (as evidenced by the odds this week).
Bet 2: Scottie Scheffler, top 10, +230. Much like Rahm, he ranks very high on Tour in Total Driving and Birdie Average, which will be paramount at this BIG golf course. He’s also 24th in the FedEx Cup points, so he knows he has to show up in order to be around for next week.
Bet 3: Xander Schauffele, top 10, +140. Xander is the master of the limited-field, no-cut event, as evidenced by his gold medal in Tokyo, which by the way also came on a Tom Fazio design. He has two top 25s at the Wells Fargo (Fazio) and a 2nd-place finish last fall at Shadow Creek (another Fazio). Current form and comp courses check out. I think he’ll have a good week.
Wes Reynolds, host, Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN), @WesReynolds1:
Bet 1: Bryson DeChambeau, top 5, +450. The wedge game has been struggling as of late for DeChambeau but he showed signs of life last week in New Jersey. He was 4th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and 20th in SG: Approach. DeChambeau has always been good with the longer irons, ranking 9th for Greens in Regulation of 200-plus yards and 2nd for Proximity from 200-plus yards on the season. The putter did not fire last week, but all other facets of his game looked good. He is still the biggest hitter in the game and that will play well on a big boy golf course.
Bet 2: Keegan Bradley, top 10, +400. Bradley has a lot to play for this week. At No. 32, he needs to climb just two spots to get into the Tour Championship and earn himself invitations to the 2022 Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship. He ranks 4th for Total Driving and 1st for Greens in Regulation from 200-plus yards.
Bet 3: Patrick Cantlay +100 over Collin Morikawa. Morikawa is battling a bad back, and walking a 7,500-plus-yard hilly and undulating course is not the best thing for it.
Bet 1: Sam Burns +105 over Harris English. Burns in a bentgrass birdie fest!
Bet 2: Dustin Johnson, to win, +2200. Cutter, bomber and birdie-maker. His strategy is underrated and will come in handy on a course many are playing for the first time.
Bet 3: Webb Simpson -115 over Joaquin Niemann. Word is Webb has played this course more than anyone and he checks the box in every category I valued.
The “old-school” gambler:
Bet 1: Jon Rahm, to win, +600. Rahm in a romp. It’s fun to say. Should also be fun to watch.
Bet 2: Justin Thomas, to win, +1800. Thomas has been rounding into form. In this case, JT stands for Just in Time.
Bet 3: Jordan Spieth, top 5, +333. A disastrous final round last week was entirely out of character for Jordan, who has been playing some of the steadiest golf on Tour this year.
The pro bettor’s best bets
Erick Lindgren. Lindgren, the 2008 World Series of Poker Player of the Year, has won more than $10.5 million in poker tournament earnings and is an avid sports bettor. @EdogPoker:
Bet 1: Bryson DeChambeau, to win, +2500. It’s been a bumpy stretch for Bryson, but he’s been playing better than results indicate. The public has steered clear of him, making these odds a good value play
Bet 2: Hideki Matsuyama, to win, +4000. The long game is as solid as ever, and the short game isn’t shabby either, especially on bentgrass greens.
Bet 3: Sam Burns, top 5, +8000. A macho ball-striker on a meaty course. I like him to be in the mix.