PGA Championship betting guide: 7 picks our expert loves this week

Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau tied for sixth at the Masters last month.

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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 PGA Championship, which gets underway Thursday in Louisville, Ky. 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.

The pieces of golf’s puzzle all seem to be falling into a nice arrangement as we head into the second major championship of the season, the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.

World No. 1, Scottie Scheffler and wife Meredith have welcomed their first child into the world. World No. 2 Rory McIlroy has won in two straight starts and arrives at the same golf course at which he won the PGA Championship in 2014 (when he also came in off two consecutive victories). Three-time PGA Championship winner and the defending champion, Brooks Koepka, arrives off a victory in his last start in Singapore. No. 3 in the OWGR, Xander Schauffele, comes in having let go of a 54-hole lead in a Signature Event for the second time this season, surrendering those two leads by the way, to Scheffler (The Players) and McIlroy (Wells Fargo). And then there’s World No. 5 Jon Rahm, who arrives having finished top 10 in each of the seven LIV events this season.

On top of those storylines, we have the greatest field of players assembled we’ve seen this season. While there are 20 PGA Club Professionals in the mix, there are no amateurs in the field, and there are 16 members of the LIV Golf circuit competing. In total, 156 players will tee it up on Thursday at this 7,609-yard par-71 Jack Nicklaus design for what will be Valhalla’s fourth PGA Championship and first in a decade. The top 70 players and ties make the cut.

The golf course has been lengthened by roughly 150 yards versus what it was in 2014 when McIlroy held off Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler for the win. Given the natural trajectory of technology and everything else, an average increase of 8 yards per hole means this golf course is basically unchanged in length from where it was 10 years ago. Quail Hollow Club was an excellent tune-up last week, as Valhalla too will require a driver-heavy approach, and length off the tee is a big first step toward success. As it was last week at the Wells Fargo, Total Driving (Length plus Accuracy) is a good skill set to have here in Louisville. If you look at the top 10 on that leaderboard from Valhalla in 2014, nearly every single player flourished in driving distance and putting.

Zoysiagrass makes up what are wide, sometimes mounded, oftentimes tree-lined fairways bordered by thick, four-inch rough. The greens are smaller than Tour average and relatively flat, bentgrass surfaces. Most of the approach shots this week will fall into a 175-200+ yard window, and while these small greens will be missed in regulation — making scrambling a relevant necessity — Strokes Gained: Around the Green should not be incredibly difficult for the better players in this field.

I looked at SG: Approach, SG: Par-4s (450-500 yards) and Bogey Avoidance. I also looked at major championship history and recent form. It seems that more so than any other major, the PGA Championship rewards players that arrive playing well. Of the last 18 PGA Championship winners, 16 of them finished in the top 25 in their last start. Also, the last 12 PGA Championship winners all made the cut at the Masters. Note that 2018 winner, Koepka, did not play the Masters that year and 2020 is an exception as the Masters did not precede the PGA due to Covid. Since moving to May in 2019, the average finishing position at the Masters was eighth for the eventual PGA champion.

The top eight from this year’s Masters were: Scheffler, Ludvig Aberg, Max Homa, Collin Morikawa, Tommy Fleetwood, Bryson DeChambeau, Cam Smith and Schauffele.

For comp courses this week, it is a bit of a mixed bag. Torrey Pines, Bay Hill and Quail Hollow are all good examples where Total Driving is a key component. Harding Park, Winged Foot and Olympia Fields are relatable championship venues. Bellerive, site of the 2018 PGA Championship, also features the combination of Zoysiagrass fairways and bentgrass greens. Muirfield Village and the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West (American Express) are Jack Nicklaus designs that are also worthy of our attention for comparison sake.

Valhalla Golf Club pictured before the 2024 PGA Championship.
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One more thing before we dive into the selections, and that is the weather. There has been quite a bit of rain in the Louisville, Ky., area leading up to this tournament and it appears that will continue for the first couple of rounds. I believe this golf course will be on the softer-side, extending the advantage for the longer hitters and making that thick rough even more difficult – again, especially for the shorter hitters.

It was a solid week for the column last week with half of our selections cashing a top-20 finish. This week, I will again play for both the outright win and a top-20 finish, but on a couple of the shorter shots, we’ll upgrade to a top-10 finish instead.

PGA Championship betting guide: 7 picks we love

Xander Schauffele (14-1)

It takes a leap of faith, doesn’t it? I mentioned earlier, we have seen Schauffele twice lose the 54-hole lead this season, at both The Players Championship and last week’s Wells Fargo Championship. But he remains a top-five player in the world and has the skill set for this golf course. He is sixth on Tour in Total Driving and over the last 24 rounds ranks No. 1 in this field for Hole Proximity from 200+ yards. He is also second in Bogey Avoidance, 15th in SG: Approach and 17th for SG: Putting (bentgrass). I too have reservations about his ability to close and will add the aforementioned top-10 finish bet on Schauffele, but there are a couple of factors here that have me going down this road. First, there aren’t any question marks about the game, the correlated courses, his record in major championships, etc. But secondly, I believe the price is very fair — and the timing could be right when everyone in the world (it seems) has given up on this guy after falling to McIlroy last week. While everyone else is sitting down on Schauffele, I’m going to stand up. It seems one thing is for sure and that is that he will have another excellent chance to win again this week, and I believe his chances of actually getting it all the way home are better than 14-1.

Brooks Koepka (14-1)

Two weeks ago following his LIV win in Singapore, I did not want to join the masses in running to the window to bet on Koepka at the PGA. Having a knee-jerk reaction can often lead to trouble in sports betting. But after grinding over all of the numbers, trends and history, it’s very difficult to not include this man on one’s card. Not only for a major but especially for a PGA Championship, a tournament he’s won three times already. Koepka has two wins and a fourth-place finish at the U.S. Open. He has four top-10 finishes at the Open Championship. He’s been runner-up twice at the Masters and, in addition to the three Wanamaker Trophies, he has three other top-five finishes at the PGA Championship. It is worth noting that Koepka has finished third, runner-up twice, and won at TPC Southwind, another course featuring Zoysiagrass fairways, which is also the case at Sentosa Golf Club, where he just won in Singapore. I found Koepka at Even Money (+100) for a top-20 finish. Any number worse than that, I would go with a plus price on a top 10.

Bryson DeChambeau (31-1)

Jordan Spieth at Valhalla for the PGA Championship.
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DeChambeau hasn’t made many of my cards for majors in the past but now that his career has matured a bit, we can start to see his results become more than just a trend. He’s won a U.S. Open, has finished fourth twice at the PGA, top 10 at the Open Championship and is coming off his best-ever at the Masters, a sixth-place finish. He has also won at Muirfield Village. Over the last 24 rounds, DeChambeau is second in this field for Driving Distance and is No. 1 on the par-4s measuring 450-500 yards. He’s 24th in Bogey Avoidance and 34th in SG: Putting (bentgrass). His last two starts on the LIV circuit were very pedestrian but prior to that he put together four top-10 finishes in the season’s first five events. Like Schauffele and Koepka, DeChambeau too has that rare combination of tremendous length and an excellent putting stroke — a proven winning combination at Valhalla.

Collin Morikawa (32-1)

Morikawa is not considered a bomber but he still averaged just a tick under 300 yards off the tee last week in Charlotte, where he finished 16th. He ranks 49th on Tour in Total Driving, mostly due to his incredible accuracy; he ranked second on Tour and second in the field last week for Driving Accuracy. He has an eighth-place finish at the PGA Championship and was a winner at Harding Park in 2020. He has two top-five finishes at U.S. Opens, a win at the Open Championship and has finished top 10 at the Masters three times, most recently taking third back in April. The putting for Morikawa has been markedly improved recently as well, gaining strokes with the flatstick in each of his last three stroke-play starts. He ranks 12th on Tour in One-Putt Percentage and has won three times on Jack Nicklaus-designed courses. He also won the Zozo Championship at Narashino Country Club in October 2023, a course that also features Zoysiagrass fairways. He checks quite a few boxes this week and is obviously not one to be taken lightly in major championships.

Joaquin Niemann (40-1)

Niemann has a third- and a sixth-place finish at the Memorial, staged at Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village. His best work with the putter has come on bentgrass greens and he’s ranked seventh on the LIV circuit for putting average. He is also second on LIV in both Greens in Regulation and Driving Distance. He has two LIV victories and four top-10 finishes in just seven events, including a seventh-place finish in his last start in Singapore. Niemann also finished third at Olympia Fields in the 2020 BMW Championship, has a sixth-place finish at Torrey Pines and finished 18th at Quail Hollow in 2021. But any time Scottie Scheffler is in the field, he’s the man to beat. And I believe with their “A-games” that Niemann, DeChambeau and Koepka are all capable of doing so. Maybe it is easier coming from LIV where one is not used to getting beat by Scheffler every week?

Will Zalatoris (57-1)

I was pleasantly surprised by this price until I woke up on Monday morning and saw Zalatoris being listed even higher, anywhere from 60/1 to 90/1. I have to believe this stems from his finish last week at the Wells Fargo Championship, where he started off beautifully but shot 80 on Sunday and ultimately finished 60th. It doesn’t fit our top-25 finish in one’s last start trend, but I still have confidence in a young man who has been a machine in majors. Last week was the only blip this season as far as not having a strong finish in “Big Boy” events: 13th at Torrey Pines, runner-up at the Genesis Invitational, fourth at Bay Hill and ninth at the Masters. Zalatoris, in fact, has three top-10s at the Masters, a sixth and a runner-up at the U.S. Open and a runner-up and an eighth-place finish at the PGA Championship. His lone PGA Tour win came at the 2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind, a course that features Zoysiagrass fairways. He’s finished fifth at the Memorial, second and seventh (and 13th) at Torrey Pines, 10th (and fourth) at Bay Hill and ranks 28th on Tour in Total Driving.

Sepp Straka (125-1)

I’ve seen this price come down to as low as 80-1 but I’m still OK with anything at 100-1 or better and, of course, a top-20 finish. This is our real long shot of the week but I definitely believe it is a worthy play. Straka was seventh last year at Oak Hill at the PGA Championship, another beast of a golf course that relied heavily on Driving Distance. Straka, like Morikawa and Zalatoris, is not a bomber but is deadly accurate off the tee, ranking third on Tour in Driving Accuracy. He’s finished 16th or better in five of his last six starts on Tour, including a 16th at the Masters and an eighth-place finish last week at Quail Hollow. Straka finished runner-up at last year’s Open Championship, has a 16th and a 13th at Torrey Pines and has a win on a Jack Nicklaus design, the 2022 Honda Classic at PGA National. It was also on those Zoysiagrass fairways at TPC Southwind where Straka lost in a playoff to Zalatoris in 2022. I believe it also helps that he contributed to a team win last fall in the Ryder Cup for Team Europe. In his relatively young career, he has shown he can compete on the biggest stages and seems to be only getting progressively better.

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