Wells Fargo Championship betting guide: 9 picks our expert loves at Quail Hollow

Rory McIlroy is a favorite this week for a reason.

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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 the host of the HeatStrokes podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @LasVegasGolfer, and you can read below to see his favorite plays for the Wells Fargo Championship, which kicks off Thursday at Quail Hollow Club, in Charlotte. Keep scrolling past Kannon’s picks, and 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.


This week brings another Designated event, the Wells Fargo Championship, and at one of the finest courses in the country, Quail Hollow Club, which is playing host to the tournament for the 16th time. Most of the top players in the world are here and for many this may be their final tune-up before the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. Of the notables, only Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler have decided to skip this week. Next week is the Byron Nelson in McKinney, Texas, and then it is on to Oak Hill and the quest for the Wanamaker Trophy.

Both last week — the Mexico Open at Vidanta — and this week should give us some insights on what it will take to win the PGA Championship. Both Vidanta, where Tony Finau prevailed, and Quail Hollow are big properties where length off the tee is rewarded. Vidanta was a 7,456-yard par-71, Quail Hollow is a 7,554-yard par-71 and Oak Hill will play as a 7,390-yard par 70. Notably, Quail is scheduled to host its second PGA Championship in the spring of 2025.

So big boy golf is definitely the theme on Tour in recent weeks. Leading the Tour in Driving Distance is Rory McIlroy, has won the Wells Fargo Championship three times. (Jim Furyk, when he won here in 2006, is the only Wells Fargo winner to rank worse than 28th in the field for Driving Distance that week.) I like to take it a step further and also look at Total Driving, which measures a combination of distance and accuracy off the tee. I also used Strokes Gained: Off the Tee in my handicap this week.

Quail Hollow was originally designed by George Cobb in 1961 but it is now primarily treated as a Tom Fazio design as he made extensive changes to the course in 1997 and further tweaks in 2013, 2014 and 2017. Long-iron play will be an important aspect at Quail Hollow with the majority of the pa- 4s falling between 450-500 yards. Three of the four par-3s stretch to over 200 yards. I looked at Hole Proximity this week from 175-200 yards out.

The greens are Bermuda, and they are firm and fast. This too can give the longer hitters an advantage as they can come in with shorter irons that produce more lofted shots, with the goal of landing the ball more softly on the firm putting surfaces. Scrambling has also been a key statistic in this tournament over the years. Your last three winners at Quail Hollow — Jason Day, Max Homa and Rory McIlroy — finished 2nd, 2nd and 1st in the field for Scrambling on the week.

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Finally, a couple of things about this course and its comps. Because the 2017 PGA Championship and 2022 Presidents Cup were held at Quail Hollow, the Wells Fargo was moved to different sites in those years. It was also skipped in 2020 due to Covid 19. In the 15 other editions at this course, the final three holes, known as “the Green Mile,” have played as one of the most difficult finishing stretches on Tour, averaging nearly a full shot over par. During the years this championship has been held at Quail Hollow, this is one of the stronger tournaments on Tour for course history, meaning those who play well here typically do so year after year.

For correlated courses this week, I looked at Fazio designs like Congaree, where the 2022 CJ Cup was held, and Caves Valley, site of the 2021 BMW Championship. I looked at big, lengthy courses like Winged Foot, site of the 2020 U.S. Open, and also Torrey Pines, where Total Driving is a crucial ingredient.

To Win the Wells Fargo Championship (and finish Top 20)

Rory McIlroy (+750)

In the last two weeks, we’ve had short prices at the top of the oddsboard. The team of Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay went off at less than 4-1 at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Last week, Jon Rahm was trading at roughly +250. I stayed away then but now I am going to dive in on what is the shortest shot of the week.

Rory has had an extended break after missing the cut at the Masters. He is well rested and returns to action at a course he has dominated in his career. In addition to his three wins, McIlroy has also finished 2nd, 10th, 8th twice and 4th. Over the last 36 rounds, he is first in this field for Driving Distance, fifth in SG Off the Tee, fifth in SG Approach, and fourth on the par-4s of 450-500 yards, as well as fourth in Hole Proximity from 175-200. If the stats and the course history aren’t enough, he has two top-5 finishes at Torrey Pines, was 8th at Winged Foot, 4th  at Caves Valley and won last fall at Congaree.

Cameron Young (21-1)

Young is one of the biggest hitters on Tour and ranks 16th in Total Driving. He is also fifth on Tour in Hole Proximity from 175-200. Young is familiar with this course, having attended nearby Wake Forest University. I also love the fact that his new caddie is Paul Tesori. Tesori used to caddie for Webb Simpson, who is a long-time Quail Hollow member. Tesori’s insight and experience with this course ought to go a long way. 

Viktor Hovland (21-1)

The theme of big hitters and some of the finest drivers continues with Hovland, who comes off of a 7th place finish at the Masters, where he was your first-round leader, and nearly was the very next week at Harbour Town, where he opened with a 64. Hovland is fourth on Tour in Total Driving and 39th in Scrambling. Over the last 36 rounds, he is eighth in this field for SG Off the Tee, 19th in SG Approach, and 6th on the par-4s of 450-500 yards. He’s finished third here in the past and second at Torrey Pines.

Hovland ranks 4th on Tour in Total Driving. getty images

Sungjae Im (25-1)

Im plays nearly every week on Tour but he did not last week in Mexico, so I like that he has taken a week off to rest before this week’s test. He is 17th on Tour in Total Driving and also in Scrambling. Despite not having quite as much distance off the tee as some of the others, he is still 12th in this field over the last 36 rounds for SG: Off the Tee. Im has also finished sixth and fourth at Torrey Pines in his career and took third last fall at the CJ Cup at Congaree.

Sam Burns (36-1)

Burns went through a short-lived dry spell in late February-early March of this season but rebounded quickly with a sixth place finish at the Valspar and a win at the WGC Dell Match Play, and he has since recorded two top-15 finishes. He is a Bermuda grass specialist. Over the last 36 rounds, he is second in this field for SG Putting and avoiding 3-putts on Bermuda — and also 12th in Driving Distance and 17th in Scrambling. Burns finished 7th at Congaree and 8th at Caves Valley in 2021.

Gary Woodland (80-1)

One of the game’s best drivers, Woodland is seventh in this field for Driving Distance over the last 36 rounds, sixth in SG Off the Tee, 8th in SG Approach and ninth in Hole Proximity from 175-200 yards out. He has two Top 5 finishes at the Wells Fargo in the past and two Top 10 finishes at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Full Tournament Head-to-Head Matchups (23-15-2 YTD)

Rory McIlroy (-170) over Xander Schauffele

Rory McIlroy (-140) over Patrick Cantlay

Cameron Young (-135) over Matt Fitzpatrick

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