RBC Canadian Open betting guide: 6 picks our expert loves this week

Sahith Theegala of the United States plays his shot from the fourth tee during the third round of the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on May 18, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Our expert likes Sahith Theegala's chances this week.

Getty Images

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 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 RBC Canadian Open, which gets underway Thursday in Hamilton, Ontario. 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.

Golf bettors and golf enthusiasts are in the middle of what is a very good run of events. It began with the Wells Fargo Championship three weeks ago. The PGA Championship and Charles Schwab Challenge made up the last two weeks on the schedule. This week, we are north of the border for the RBC Canadian Open and then it is on to a Signature Event at Muirfield Village for the Memorial Tournament, followed by the third major of the season, the U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

Last year, the Canadian Open was one of the more exciting finishes of the entire season when Nick Taylor dropped a 72-foot bomb of a putt for eagle to defeat Tommy Fleetwood on the fourth playoff hole at Oakdale Golf and Country Club in Toronto. Taylor became the first Canadian to win his national open in 59 years. We famously remember fellow Canadian, Adam Hadwin, getting slammed to the ground by a security guard on his way out to the green to congratulate Taylor. Off of that momentum, I expect Canadian fans to be out in full force this year at Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Hamilton, Ontario.

Hamilton has hosted the RBC Canadian Open six times in the past, most recently in 2006, 2012 and 2019. Rory McIlroy is in the field this week as the prohibitive favorite and was a winner by seven shots here in 2019 over Shane Lowry.

The course was designed in 1914 by Harry Colt. Immediately following the 2019 edition, Martin Ebert was called upon to perform a massive renovation of the course in an effort to restore some of Colt’s original design characteristics. Hamilton Golf and Country Club plays as a par 70, measuring nearly 7,100 yards. It features narrow, tree-lined fairways, with mounding, undulation, and dog-legs bordered by thick rough. The four par-3s are very challenging with three of the four measuring well over 200 yards. Of the twelve par-4s, seven of them measure between 400 and 450+ yards. The greens are above tour average in size, undulated, and, since Ebert’s renovation, are now pure bentgrass surfaces.

Close-up image of Nick Taylor at 2023 RBC Canadian Open
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In addition to the par-3s and the par-4s between 400-450 yards, I looked at Strokes Gained: Approach, Scrambling, and Strokes Gained: Putting (bentgrass). I also emphasized Good Drives and Fairways Gained off the tee as the Canadian Opens of the past held at Hamilton have shown that to be a beneficial skill set. When McIlroy won here in 2019, he was sixth in this field for Driving Distance but also ranked 22nd for Driving Accuracy. If you look at the past tournaments held at this course, Driving Accuracy looks to be a prevalent trend amongst the leaders.

Finding courses that compare to Hamilton Golf and Country Club can be a bit challenging as we have only seen this course a few times in the last 20 years but I have found that the last two Canadian Open venues are comparable, Oakdale Golf and Country Club (2023) and St. George’s Golf and Country Club (2022). I also looked TPC River Highlands (Travelers Championship), Sedgefield (Wyndham Championship), Pebble Beach (AT&T Pebble Beach), Detroit Golf Club (Rocket Mortgage Classic), Silverado (Fortinet Championship), and Port Royal Golf Club (Bermuda Championship). One other course I looked at was Wentworth in England. It is also a Harry Colt design and plays host to the BMW Championship annually on the DP World Tour.

Note that there has been a lot of rain in the area leading up to this event. I expect we’ll see a very receptive course, much like we have witnessed the last two weeks at Valhalla Golf Club and at Colonial Country Club. Scores could be low and birdies will need to be made.

We cashed two top-20 finishes last week with Collin Morikawa and Christiaan Bezuidenhout. Morikawa was the only player in the field who shot all four rounds in the 60s but still could not get to the winner’s circle, settling for a fourth-place finish. We have six outright winner selections this week and I have also played each of them for a top-20 finish.

Sahith Theegala (20-1)

With limited star power in the field this week, I imagine Theegala will be a popular selection. While that is typically something I like to avoid, he is tough to cross off this week’s list. Theegala has really been playing great golf this season, beginning with his win at the Fortinet Championship last fall. Most recently, he was in contention at the PGA Championship, resulting in his seventh top-20 finish of 2024. Over the last 24 rounds, Theegala ranks 22nd in this field for Good Drives Gained, 13th for SG: Approach, No. 1 on the Par 3s, and is second on the Par 4s (400-450 yards). He also ranks fourth in this field for SG: Putting (bentgrass).

Alex Noren (25-1)

Speaking of playing good golf, Noren is one of the hottest players in the world right now, with eight-straight top-25 finishes and no missed cuts this season. He has twice finished top 10 at Detroit Golf Club, was runner-up at Port Royal Golf Club, and has a win and a third place finish at Wentworth. Noren has an excellent short game, ranking second on Tour in Scrambling. In this field, over the last 24-rounds, Noren is 11th for SG: Approach, 12th in Good Drives Gained, and fifth on the 400-450 yard Par 4s.

Aaron Rai (42-1)

In looking at the RBC Canadian Opens played at what I believe are correlated courses, Rai was third last year at Oakdale and 13th in 2022 at St. George’s. He has also finished 14th and runner-up at Wentworth. His putting can be cause for concern but he ought to have plenty of looks as he is seventh on Tour in Hole Proximity, second in this field for Fairways Gained over the last 24 rounds and fifth for SG: Approach. Rai also ranks eighth in Scrambling. The current form looks good as he has made four straight cuts, including a fourth-place finish earlier this month at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson.

mark hubbard hits a tee shot at the 2024 wm phoenix open
Mark Hubbard hits a tee shot at the 2024 WM Phoenix Open. Getty Images

Mark Hubbard (80-1)

Hubbard is likely having the best year of his career. He is yet to miss a cut in 2024 and was in contention at the PGA Championship through the first 36 holes before finishing 26th. He was sixth last year at the Canadian Open at Oakdale and has top-20 finishes or better at the Travelers Championship, Wyndham Championship, Pebble Beach, Silverado, Detroit Golf Club, and at Port Royal. Over the last 24 rounds, Hubbard is ninth in this field for Fairways Gained, 28th on approach, and 25th on the Par 4s (400-450 yards). His putting has been a big area of improvement, ranking 26th in this field for SG: Putting (bentgrass) over the last 24 rounds. It feels like his first-ever Tour win is coming soon, and this venue against this field just might be the right spot.

Daniel Berger (80-1)

I’ve been waiting to see when the right time might be to jump back in on Berger, who, prior to reemerging in January of this year, missed roughly 19 months on Tour with back injuries. He may be starting to turn the corner as he’s made the cut in five of his last six starts.  Remember, before the back issues, Berger was a top player in the world. Maybe he’s ready to show that again this week. Back when Berger was a regular contender on Tour, he twice finished top 5 at TPC River Highlands, three times finished top 10 at Pebble Beach, including a win, and had two top-25 finishes at Silverado. The ball striking looks good as of late as he is fourth in this field for Fairways Gained over the last 24-rounds and 26th for SG: Approach. If his short game follows suit, Berger could make some noise.

Seamus Power (105-1)

Davis Riley took us back to the triple-digit winners having their way on the PGA Tour this season last week at the Charles Schwab Challenge and as I noted earlier, without too much star power in this field, we could be in for another long bomb this week. With that, I’m going to give Power a shot. He has top-25 finishes at both the Travelers and Wyndham Championships. He has top-10 and top-15 finishes at both Pebble Beach and Detroit Golf Club, and was a winner at Port Royal Golf Club for the Bermuda Championship in 2022. He’s very solid in the stats this week, ranking 21st for Fairways Gained over the last 24 rounds, 14th in SG: Approach, and 21st in Scrambling. Power finished 12th against a Signature-status field last month at the RBC Heritage and was 16th three weeks ago at the Wells Fargo Championship, another Signature Event. As is the case for Rai and Berger, if the putter shows up, Power ought to be in the mix.

Who Chirp users like this week

Chirp user picks for RBC Canadian Open
Chirp user picks for the RBC Canadian Open. Chirp

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