PGA Championship picks to win: Here’s who our professional gambler is betting on

Viktor Hovland

Viktor Hovland hits a tee shot during the Wells Fargo Championship earlier this month.

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At this week’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, 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.

All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy a linked product, GOLF.COM may earn a fee. Pricing may vary.

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The facts 

This week’s tournament: PGA Championship, at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, Kiawah Island, S.C.

TV: Thursday, 7 a.m.-1 p.m., ESPN+, 1-7 p.m., ESPN; Friday, 7 a.m.-1 p.m., ESPN+, 1-7 p.m., ESPN; Saturday, 8-10 a.m., ESPN+, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., ESPN, 1-7 p.m., CBS; Sunday, 8-10 a.m., ESPN+, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., ESPN, 1-7 p.m., CBS.

Weather (weather.com): Thursday, sunny, 77 degrees, 13 mph E wind; Friday, sunny, 78 degrees, 17 mph ENE wind; Saturday, partly cloudy, 79 degrees, 9 mph ENE wind; Sunday, mostly sunny, 85 degrees, 12 mph WSW wind 

Defending champion: Collin Morikawa

Top 10 in odds (via DraftKings): Rory McIlroy, +1,150; Jon Rahm, +1,450; Justin Thomas, +1,450; Jordan Spieth, +1,500; Bryson DeChambeau, +1,650; Xander Schauffele, +1,700; Dustin Johnson, +1,800; Viktor Hovland, +2,000; Daniel Berger, +2,800; Collin Morikawa, +3000. 

Expert picks 

The sportsbook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.
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Nick Piastowski, GOLF.com, @nickpia

Bet 1: Abraham Ancer, top 10, +450. He might actually win, so this feels safe. He’s been knocking on the door for the past two months. 

Bet 2: Tony Finau, top 10, +300. Finau’s length, combined with playable greens, makes this an easy call. 

Bet 3: Matthew Fitzpatrick, to-win, +6,000. I picked Fitzpatrick in our staff picks to win, and I’m sticking with it here. I felt even better about it when I heard the answer to question No. 18 here

Jessica Marksbury, GOLF.com, @Jess_Marksbury

Bet 1: Rory McIlroy, top 10, +138. This is the surest of all sure bets in the history of sure bets. I’m sure of it.

Bet 2: Marc Leishman, top 20, +225. Very nice odds for a guy who has not only been a very good major player for a while, but is also on a bit of a hot streak, having won the Zurich Classic only a couple of weeks ago.

Bet 3: Tony Finau, top 20 after Round 1, +225. Feeling good about this one. Tony often goes low early, and this week’s long, firm and fast conditions should suit his game very well.

Brady Kannon, host, Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN), @lasvegasgolfer

Bet 1: Daniel Berger over Jon Rahm, best finishing position, +130. This is just too big of a price to pass up on Berger, in my opinion. I think he could win the championship, let alone beat Jon Rahm. Rahm has been just a bit out of sorts as of late, and he spoke recently about how difficult the course is, seemingly kind of frustrated. I think he may struggle while I am betting on Berger to have a very good week.

Bet 2: Abraham Ancer, top 20, +190. Ancer is rated as the best specialist in the field on Pete Dye courses. He’s been in excellent form as of late, coming off of two straight top five finishes. He drives it very straight and is great on approach. I think he could go Top 10 or better, so I’ll gladly take top 20 at nearly 2-1.

Bet 3: Brian Harman, top 20, +300. Another Pete Dye specialist who just finished third at Dye’s TPC Sawgrass. He hasn’t finished worse than 18th in four starts since then. He owns a tremendous short game, and if his irons fire this week, he could be in contention on Sunday.

Wes Reynolds, host, Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN), @WesReynolds1

Bet 1: Viktor Hovland, to-win, +2,000. Eight of the past 10 PGA winners were in their 20s. Hovland has earned back-to-back top 3 finishes (Valspar and Wells Fargo). 

Bet 2: Jon Rahm, top 10, +163. While he has not been on his usual form this year, he does have six top 10 finishes already this season. 

Bet 3: Robert MacIntyre over Garrick Higgo, best finishing position, -143. Higgo is playing his first major and is a talented young player, but this course is a better fit for Bobby Mac, who showed some major championship mettle with a top 12 at Augusta National. 

Ryan Palmer hits out of the sand during last year's Charles Schwab Challenge.
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Martin de Knijff, Metric Gaming, @mdkentrepreneur 

Bet 1: Xander Schauffele, to-win, +2,300. Perfect set-up for the Southern Californian. His game is made for the majors, and hitting a draw will be an advantage here (in particular with irons). 

Bet 2: Rory McIlroy, to miss cut, +400. Essentially, the angle here is how poorly Rory has responded to pressure the past few years. Expectations are sky high, and that will be his demise.

Bet 3: Jon Rahm, top 20, -140. This is a big play for me. The Spaniard excels at every part of the game, and the somewhat slower greens in combination with phenomenal chipping and imagination around the greens will be a significant advantage, I predict. I got him in the Top 20 almost two-thirds of the time.  

John Rathouz, PGA Tour caddie and Caddie Network contributor, @rathouz

Bet 1: Viktor Hovland, top 10, +225. Hovland should be in the mix come Sunday, like pretty much every week recently. Both victories have come on paspalum grass, and caddie Shay Knight lives in the area. Lots of handicappers taking him to win, myself included, and while the PGA is often a breakthrough major just like for Morikawa last year, an odd chip here or there could cost him the title.

Bet 2: Daniel Berger, top 20, +138. Berger might win this week, but in case something funky happens, I’ll take the easier money to be able to pay the bills. Pete Dye master who has two wins since the Covid-19 restart, and aiming for the Ryder Cup team while playing with Captain Stricker to open the championship.

Bet 3: Emiliano Grillo, top 30, +175. There aren’t many players in the field better at playing on the western side of the Atlantic Ocean, particularly when paspalum grass is involved. There aren’t many players in the field better at placing just inside the top 30 as well.

The “old-school” gambler, an “old-school” gambler, @notthefakeW 

Bet 1: Collin Morikawa, top 5, +500. Despite the length of the Ocean Course, this week will be more about iron play. Or so I’m wagering.

Bet 2: Patrick Reed, to-win. +3,500. No matter what you think about him, you can’t deny that there’s no quit in the guy. I’m looking for him to gut his way around a very tough track.

Bet 3: Jon Rahm, top 10, +163. How do you say ‘lock’ in Spanish?

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: Viktor Hovland, to win, +2,000. He is going to run away with a tournament soon.

Bet 2: Marc Leishman, top 10, +550. Firm and fast should suit him. He was hitting lasers last week, so he’s in good form.

Bet 3: Cam Davis, top 10, +1,400. Best young player who hasn’t won. He could very well be in the running Sunday.  

How to bet on the PGA Championship — for free! 

Chirp is a new golf-gaming platform that allows users to place live bets using fake money to win amazing, real-life prizes. The app, which is owned by GOLF.com’s parent company, 8AM Golf, is designed to inject the adrenaline of live gambling into a fun, risk-free contest. For more on Chirp, click here.

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Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor