Memorial Tournament betting guide: 7 picks our gambling expert loves this week

Russell Henley watches his tee shot on the third hole during the final round of Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 12, 2024 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Our expert likes Russell Henley's chances this week.

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Welcome to our weekly PGA Tour gambling-tips column, featuring picks from’s expert prognosticator Brady Kannon. A seasoned golf bettor and commentator, Kannon is a regular guest on SportsGrid, a syndicated audio network devoted to sports and sport betting. You can follow on Twitter at @LasVegasGolfer, and you can read his picks below for the Memorial Tournament, which gets underway Thursday in Dublin, Ohio. Along with Kannon’s recommended plays, 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.

For the second time in the last month, the PGA Tour is using one of its most illustrious events to act as the precursor to a major championship. In May, it was the Wells Fargo Championship, a Signature Event, preceding the PGA Championship. Now, it is the Memorial Tournament, also of Signature Event status, coming the week before the U.S. Open.

This week on Tour is commonly referred to as a stop at “Jack’s Place.” Jack Nicklaus is the owner and designer of Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, a course he opened in 1974 with it first hosting the Memorial in 1976.

Nicklaus has done many tweaks to the golf course over the years, with the latest changes being made in 2020. As it stands now, the course has been stretched to nearly 7,600 yards. It is a par 72 with generous fairways bordered by very penal, thick rough. The greens are smaller than average, undulated, very fast, bentgrass surfaces. Muirfield Village is named after Nicklaus’ favorite British Open venue, Muirfield in Scotland, where he won the claret jug in 1966. The design, in many ways, was inspired by another Nicklaus favorite, Augusta National, where Jack won the Masters six times. Probably the greatest example of a comparison to Augusta is the 12th hole at Muirfield Village. It is nearly a carbon copy of the iconic par-3 12th hole at Augusta National.

Yes, we have seen some crossover success with Masters winners also winning the Memorial. Tiger Woods won here five times. Both Nicklaus and Tom Watson have won the Memorial along with Raymond Floyd, Fred Couples, and most recently, Jon Rahm. The Memorial also seems to have ties to U.S. Open success with Bryson DeChambeau, Rahm, Watson, Floyd, Woods, Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Curtis Strange and Hale Irwin all having won both championships.

Distance off the tee at Muirfield Village helps for sure, as it almost always does, but the course has seen many shorter knockers prevail as well. The wide fairways don’t necessarily make Driving Accuracy a huge requirement, but avoiding the rough is crucial as it is some of the more penal rough we see all season. In true Nicklaus fashion, Muirfield Village is a second-shot golf course. Iron play must be incredibly strong. And long iron play at that, with most of the approach shots coming from 175 yards out and beyond into these smaller greens. And because of that, Scrambling becomes a key category. These greens will be missed and getting up and down has shown to be a crucial ingredient to success here over the years.

2024 Memorial Tournament odds: Last year’s runner-up is our long-shot pick
By: Kevin Cunningham

We have noted the ties to Augusta National and U.S. Open play. It is true, Muirfield Village really requires a little bit of everything in order to achieve success, as do major championships. And while I did consider multiple statistical areas this week, I emphasized iron play (Strokes Gained: Approach), Par 4 Scoring (450-500 yards), and Scrambling. 

I believe there are a number of ways one can go when trying to pinpoint correlated courses to Muirfield Village. We can note Bay Hill, Torrey Pines, and Quail Hollow for their length and championship pedigree. Augusta National has to be in the conversation. We can look at other Nicklaus designs like Valhalla Golf Club, but I believe from a layout standpoint, and the courses that demand similar skill sets, TPC Potomac (2022 Wells Fargo Championship), The Concession (2021 WGC – Workday Championship), Oak Hill Country Club (2023 PGA Championship), Innisbrook (Valspar Championship), Firestone Country Club (once a regular Tour stop for decades), and TPC Twin Cities (3M Open) present the most similarities. It’s a mixed bag for sure, but you tend to see many of the same names having success at all of these properties and Muirfield Village as well.

Let’s get to the goods. I have played each selection this week for an outright win as well as a top-20 finish. Note, with all the luminaries in the field this week, Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, etc., we are getting quite the juicy prices on some of the “other” best players in the world — in a field, mind you, of only 73 players.

Russell Henley (40-1)

I mentioned giving special attention to SG: Approach, Scrambling, and scoring on the Par 4ss this week. Henley is one of the very best in the field when you combine all three. Over the last 36 rounds, He is 13th on approach, sixth in Scrambling, and 15th on the Par 4’s measuring 450-500 yards. He finished 16th here last year and has strong recent finishes at the Masters. Henley has finished as high as ninth at the Valspar Championship. I like the current form as well, as he has three top-12 finishes in the last two months. 

Keegan Bradley (60-1)

The current form is excellent for Bradley as well, going 21-18-and runner-up at the Wells Fargo Championship, PGA Championship, and Charles Schwab Challenge, respectively. He was runner-up at the Valspar in 2021 and runner-up at TPC Potomac in 2022. He’s finished top 10 here at the Memorial twice. Over the last 36 rounds, he is 20th in this field for SG: Off the Tee, 23rd in SG: Approach, and is eighth in SG: Putting (bentgrass).

Alex Noren (60-1)

We’ve been backing Noren quite a bit this season and while it hasn’t resulted in an outright win, he had tallied eight-straight top-25 finishes before missing his first cut of the season last week in Canada. He excels in just about every category this week and over the last 36 rounds, ranks top 10 in this field for Scrambling, Par 4 Scoring (450-500 yards), Par 5 scoring (550-600 yards), and Bogey Avoidance.

Sam Burns watches a shot at the PGA Championship. Getty Images

Sam Burns (60-1)

Burns sandwiched a missed cut at the PGA Championship between a 13th-place finish at the Wells Fargo Championship last month and a 10th-place finish in Canada last week. It appears his early-season form is on the return. He has twice won the Valspar Championship, finished seventh at TPC Twin Cities, and was 16th here last season. He’s top tier in all of the stats this week, including 16th for SG: Off the Tee, 13th in Bogey Avoidance, 13th on the Par 5s (550-600 yards), 16th in Hole Proximity from 175-200 yards, and 12th in SG: Putting (bentgrass) over the last 36 rounds.

Shane Lowry (70-1)

Lowry won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone CC in 2015 in Akron, Ohio and has finishes of 15-6-16 here in Dublin. Coming in, he has a win in the team event, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, a sixth at the PGA Championship, and shot three of four rounds in the 60s last week in Canada. He was 12th at the Valspar in 2022 and 12th again last year at Oak Hill for the PGA Championship. Over the last 36 rounds, Lowry is 19th in this field for SG: Off the Tee, 10th for SG: Approach, ninth on the Par 4’s (450-500 yards), and 12th in Hole Proximity from 175-200 yards.

Tom Hoge (92-1)

Other than Scottie Scheffler, Hoge may be the best ball-striker in this week’s field. He ranks third on approach and is 13th in Good Drives Gained over the last 36 rounds. He was 13th here in 2018 and fourth at TPC Twin Cities in 2022. He arrives having missed only one cut all season long in stroke-play events and was 23rd three weeks ago at the PGA Championship, followed by a 17th at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

Kurt Kitayama (125-1)

A Signature Event winner already last year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Kitayama has begun to emerge as higher-tier player more so than ever before in his career. He too has only missed one cut all season and comes in off a 26th place finish at the PGA Championship. He was 15th at TPC Potomac in 2022 and finished fourth at last year’s PGA Championship at Oak Hill. Over the last 36 rounds, Kitayama ranks 10th in this field for SG: Off the Tee, 20th for SG: Approach, and is 18th in Hole Proximity from 175-200 yards.

Who Chirp users like this week

Chirp user picks for the Memorial Tournament. Chirp

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