Sunday night, about an hour after the Charles Schwab Challenge, an editor asked in our team’s Slack channel who the big winner was for week one for the GOLF.com betting game.
The person who asked is also not involved in the game. The stakes are that important. To all of us.
To answer that person’s question, Tim Reilly, one of our social media editors, brought home the most (fake) money. Reilly’s pick to win (Brooks Koepka) did not come through, but his top 10 (Jordan Spieth) and prop (to be decided by a playoff, yes) did. Josh Berhow, Zephyr Melton, Josh Sens and Jonathan Wall also went 2 for 3. (The author of this story, the person who published five — five! — stories last week on how to bet on golf, went 0 for 3. This person wrote the stories, but, apparently, this person did not read them.)
Our team and the PGA Tour now turn to the RBC Heritage, played at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C. Reilly was the winner in week 1, so let’s lean on him for a week 2 pick.
Sungjae Im, at 35-1 odds. (A favorite, too, of Melton.)
“I expect Im’s stellar play to continue after he quietly put up a top-10 finish at the Charles Schwab,” Reilly wrote. “That’s three straight top-10 finishes, including a win at the Honda Classic. I have no doubt Sungjae kept his game sharp during the Tour’s hiatus, and he’s going to put up another big week as others continue to knock some rust off.”
A quick refresher on the game. Fourteen members of our staff will make three $100 bets — to win, top 10 and a prop bet of choice — for each tournament from the Charles Schwab Challenge through the Masters in November. Each member starts with $4,000, and the odds will come from the DraftKings website. The first-place finisher will play a round of golf when it’s all said and done, and the last-place finisher is on the bag for the winner.
Our primary goal, of course, is to help you with your own weekly picks, whether those are for a low-stakes office fantasy league or (legal!) big-bucks bets with a sportsbook.
The picks (in order of money total)
Tim Reilly ($4,950 total)
To-win: Sungjae Im, +3,500. I expect Im’s stellar play to continue after he quietly put up a top-10 finish at the Charles Schwab. That’s three straight top-10 finishes, including a win at the Honda Classic. I have no doubt Sungjae kept his game sharp during the Tour’s hiatus, and he’s going to put up another big week as others continue to knock some rust off.
Top 10: Kevin Kisner, +550. Kisner is South Carolina through and through. I’m expecting a solid week from one of the more consistent guys on Tour in his backyard.
Prop: To be decided by a playoff, yes, +400. Lighting will strike for a second week in a row. The field is deep, and no one is in prime game-shape to run away from the pack.
Josh Sens ($4,688)
To-win: Patrick Reed, +3,000. Showed fine form last week, and always seems to play well with garish jackets on the line.
Top 10: Xander Schauffele, +250. I’m expecting a red-ass bounce back from Xander after that agonizing lip out down the stretch at Colonial.
Prop: Winner to birdie the 72nd hole, yes, +600. This won’t come from the final group. It will be an earlier finisher who posts a number that no one can catch.
Jonathan Wall ($4,620)
To-win: Kevin Kisner, +5,500. South Carolina native has fared well at his local event, with three top-11 finishes in his past five starts at Hilton Head.
Top 10: Kevin Kisner, +550. Feels like a good week to hitch my cart to the Kisner train and see if I can somehow double-up.
Prop: Winner to birdie 18th hole, yes, +600. The 18th at Hilton Head can be a brute when the wind is up. Here’s hoping wind conditions remain relatively calm.
Sean Zak ($4,350)
To-win: Justin Thomas, +1,600. I was impressed with his game at Colonial, a course he’d never competed at. I think he is automatically in contention this week.
Top 10: Dustin Johnson, +450. He is far too good for this juice on a top 10 bet. Simple as that.
Prop: Brooks Koepka, to miss the cut, yes, +188. Brooks hasn’t played this course in competition. His game showed some rust last week. I think it won’t add up this week.
Alan Bastable ($4,300)
To-win: Kevin Kisner, +5,500. Stout track record at Harbour Town (three top-11 finishes in past seven starts), which should come as no surprise: The Aiken native grew up playing junior tourneys on this course.
Top 10: Webb Simpson, +350. Three top-20s in past three RBC starts. MC last week at Colonial was concerning, but remember, he started 2020 on a heater, with a third-place finish at the Sony and a W in Phoenix.
Prop: To be decided by a playoff, yes, +400. For same reason, I took this bet last week: Loaded field on a tight, short course feels like another crowded Sunday leaderboard.
Zephyr Melton ($4,251)
To-win: Sungjae Im, +3,500. The man simply doesn’t miss shots. He had yet another top 10 last week, and it won’t be long before he finds himself in the winner’s circle again. I’m all aboard the Sungjae hype train.
Top 10: Jordan Spieth, +350. He was my top-10 pick last week, and that was a winner, so why not double down? Spieth had moments of brilliance mixed with moments of ineptitude at Colonial (the four-putt was particularly brutal), but his game appeared to be heading in the right direction coming off the break.
Prop: No albatross, -5,000. Here’s to another safe bet to pad the stats.
Josh Berhow ($4,215)
To-win: Patrick Reed, +3,000. He’s coming off a good week, and, like I said last week, I doubt there were many people who practiced more than Reed over the past few months.
Top 10: Daniel Berger, +350. My man is on a heater. Another ball-striker’s course is up next. Gotta take him.
Prop: Collin Morikawa, top 30, -175. This guy’s the real deal, as we saw at Colonial. He’s already a magnificent ball-striker, which is the name of the game at a narrow Harbour Town.
James Colgan ($3,700)
To-win: Matt Kuchar, +4,000. Finished second at Harbour Town last year, won in 2014. Kuchar’s game just fits the course. A win this week wouldn’t shock anyone. At +4000, that’s good enough for me.
Top 10: Sungjae Im, +450. Sungjae was on golf’s biggest heater prior to the layoff and finished T-10 at Colonial. These odds feel too good to be true.
Prop: Sungjae Im, Group B top finisher, +400. For as long as oddsmakers are going to give generous lines on Sungjae, I’m going to roll with him. I’m all Im.
Dylan Dethier ($3,700)
To-win: Billy Horschel, +6600. He’s good. The course is a natural fit. He hasn’t won in forever — here’s the week!
Top 10: Dustin Johnson, +450. Look, this is just wrong. This number feels reactionary based on DJ’s relative mediocrity going into last week, plus the fact that he missed the cut. But he’s still Dustin Johnson. Plus this is a sponsor week!
Prop: To be decided by a three-man playoff, +1,600. Bring on the carnage.
Luke Kerr-Dineen ($3,700)
To-win: Justin Rose, +3,500. Rose is a consummate professional, the kind who saw the PGA Tour’s recent break as an opportunity. Whereas others took a breather, he went to work, and we saw the results last week — ninth in the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green and sixth in strokes gained: Putting — for a T-3 finish. His game offers the perfect blend for a tricky Harbor Town course, which calls for a bit of everything. Rose is rounding into form, and he’ll prove that with a win this week.
Top 10: Jim Furyk, +1,200. There are a few names I like in this spot. Sungjae, Hatton, Kisner and Morikawa to name a few. But instead I’m going with one of the straightest, most consistent ball-strikers in PGA Tour history, one who loves this course, has won here twice before, and whose biggest weakness — a lack of distance — couldn’t be any less important this week. He’s got some seriously juicy odds for what, ultimately, is just a top-10 finish.
Prop: Bryson DeChambeau, to make the cut, no, +400. Bryson is great, and I think what he’s doing with his swing and body right now is a stroke of genius that will eventually lead him to world No. 1. But I can’t help but think beefed-up Bryson, who missed the cut here last year, is going to play a little too aggressively around a thread-the-needle golf course and will go full-send OB one too many times.
Jessica Marksbury ($3,700)
To-win: Webb Simpson, +3,000. Though Simpson missed the cut at the Schwab, I have faith that he can turn things around this week. He was T11 at the Heritage in 2017, T5 in 2018, T16 last year, and he finished as high as solo second back in 2013, so we know he can play well at Harbour Town. Here’s hoping he can reach the mountaintop there this week.
Top 10: Sungjae Im, +450. Im was playing awesome in March, with a win and a solo third in back-to-back weeks, and he picked up pretty much where he left off with a T10 at the Schwab. I’m confident he can keep it going at Harbour Town.
Prop: Winner to birdie the 72nd hole, +600. Since we had a playoff at the Schwab, I think we’re due for a dramatic finish this week, so I’m banking on a birdie on No. 18 on Sunday to crown the winner, who will be Webb Simpson.
Ashley Mayo ($3,700)
To-win: Justin Rose, +$3,500. We saw Rose play so consistently at Colonial, shooting in the 60s from start to finish. A confident Rose is a golfer to watch out for, and since he’s sporting a whole new set of gear, I have a strong feeling he’s feeling more confident these days than he has in a long while.
Top 10: Bud Cauley, +$1,000: After dealing with a variety of injuries over the years, Bud was finding a groove earlier this year before tournament play was suspended, and I’d suspected he treated his time off as an opportunity to get stronger and healthier. His play at Colonial (71-67-67-68) proved that, and I predict he’ll only get steadier.
Prop: Wire-to-wire winner, +1,000. Not only will Rose win, but he’ll be on top from day one.
Nick Piastowski ($3,700)
To-win: Brooks Koepka, +4,500. He shot four rounds in the 60s at the Charles Schwab — and his odds drop? I’ll take it.
Top 10: Matt Kuchar, +400. He finished second last year. He can squeeze out a top 10 this year.
Prop: To make the cut, Collin Morikawa, yes, -500. This is a long game, and I want to constantly churn out winners. This is a lock.
Andrew Tursky ($3,700)
To-win: Scott Piercy, +20,000. The odds say he’s a long shot to win, but his past two outings at RBC were T16 (2018) and T3 (2019). He finished T64 at Colonial last week, so he’s not firing on all cylinders, but he has an event under his belt and he clearly plays well at Harbour Town.
Top 10: Jason Kokrak, +500. He finished T3 last week at Colonial, just one shot shy of the playoff, after shooting 65-64 on the weekend. His game is obviously in form. He also finished T16 in last year’s RBC Heritage, so he knows the course well.
Prop: To be decided by playoff, yes, +400. It’s a tough closing stretch, and the leaderboard here always tends to get bunched. Let’s keep the playoff train rolling!