We would pick a PGA Tour winner.
There was trepidation. It ain’t easy. We follow all of the pros week in and week out, tournament after tournament. We follow, too, that all of those pros can win week in and week out, tournament after tournament.
There is validation. Jessica Marksbury made it look easy.
In the second week of our GOLF.com betting game, Marksbury picked the winner of the RBC Heritage, Webb Simpson, paying her $3,000 on her $100 wager as he went off at 30-1 odds. Marksbury is now the leader of our game.
What did Marksbury see? Only a few nuggets that someone who follows the pros week in and week out, tournament after tournament can tell you. Simpson enjoys Harbour Town Golf Links. “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,” Marksbury wrote last week.
It’s also her strategy this week as the Tour heads to the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.
Bubba Watson, at 35-1 odds.
“I’m going with Bubba this week because I’m a believer in horses for courses,” Marksbury writes. “Not only has Bubba won the Travelers THREE TIMES since 2010, he’s also having a really good season thus far, with three top 10s — including a T7 at the Schwab.”
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)
Jessica Marksbury ($6,600)
To-win: Bubba Watson, +3,500. I’m going with Bubba this week because I’m a believer in horses for courses. Not only has Bubba won the Travelers THREE TIMES since 2010, he’s also having a really good season thus far, with three top 10s — including a T7 at the Schwab.
Top 10: Bryson DeChambeau, +163. Bryson hasn’t finished outside the top eight since February’s WMPO, so I’m going to continue to ride the wave and bank on him to continue the streak this week. It helps that he’s also finished in the top nine at TPC River Highlands in each of the past two years.
Prop: Winner to play final first tee grouping in round four, no, +163. Like last week at Harbour Town, TPC River Highlands is a course where guys can and will go low. For that reason, I expect a clubhouse victory from Bubba after he shoots 63 on Sunday afternoon a few groups ahead of the leaders.
Tim Reilly ($4,650)
To-win: Bryson DeChambeau, +1,100. He has been riding on victory lane the past two weeks but couldn’t quite get across the finish line. This is the week he does, as the monster is let out of his cage.
Top 10: Joaquin Niemann, +500. The rising star looks sharp, and at +500, I’ll take those odds for another Top 10 finish.
Prop: Winner to play in final first tee grouping in round four, no, +163: Someone will get hot and once again come from behind to win on Sunday. There aren’t many guys who can handle the pressure of holding a 54-hole lead.
Alan Bastable ($4,550)
To-win: Joaquin Niemann, +4,000. Got better through the week at Harbour Town, where he finished T-5, which is exactly where he finished at the Travelers a year ago. Kid’s gonna have a big week.
Top 10: Paul Casey, +400. First post-reset start, but you couldn’t ask for a more comfortable setting: four top-5 finishes for Casey in past five Travelers starts.
Prop: Webb Simpson to make the cut, no, +275. His last round at the Travelers, in the second round in 2018, was a second-round, pack-your-bags 77. Look for a post-victory swoon from Webb in Hartford.
Josh Berhow ($4,465)
To-win: Jordan Spieth, +5,000. You read that correctly. He won here in 2017 and has shown some nice signs the past couple of weeks. Here’s hoping he finds some good mojo in Hartford once again. (Plus, I like these odds.)
Top 10: Bubba Watson, +300. Bubba owns this place — three wins, six top 10s and eight top 25s in 13 starts. Better yet, he’s due some good karma after taking proper care of that crab last week.
Prop: Winning margin, two strokes, +400. The winning margin hasn’t been two strokes since 2003. We are due!
Josh Sens ($4,388)
To-win: JT Poston, +7,000. With the talent pool as deep as it is on Tour, picking an outright winner is a complete crap shoot. Might as well go for a hefty payout on a guy who’s got two top 10s in his past two starts.
Top 10: Abraham Ancer, +600. Honest Abe has been on a heater lately. A top 10 is the least we should expect.
Prop: Winner to play in final first tee grouping in round four, no, +163. In a talent-packed field, the odds are good of someone catching fire on Sunday and posting a scorching, come-from-behind 63.
Jonathan Wall ($4,320)
To-win: Viktor Hovland, +6,000: This is a complete dart throw. Like the way he played over the weekend at RBC (68-66) and think he finds a way to keep the momentum going.
Top 10: Sungjae Im, +300: Hit paydirt with a top-10 finish from Im at Colonial. Going to hop back on the train.
Prop: Best finishing position, Reed vs. Rose, Reed, +105: Expect him to rebound after missing the cut last week. Finishing in the top 11 in two of his past four Travelers starts is promising.
Zephyr Melton ($4,153)
To-win: Brooks Koepka, +2,200. The man is lurking and looks to be healthy once again after the extended layoff. He’ll be back in the winner’s circle before long, and with a major-worthy field, he should have no trouble getting motivated.
Top 10: Joaquin Niemann, +500. The uber-talented Chilean had it rolling on the weekend at Harbour Town. I expect him to ride that momentum to another top-10 showing in Connecticut.
Prop: Winner to birdie the 72nd hole, yes, +350. The hole yielded just 55 birdies last year and played as one of the most difficult holes on the course, but I’m feeling lucky.
Sean Zak ($4,050)
To-win: Justin Thomas, +1,100. He’s too good! Hasn’t even had his best stuff thus far and is cruising along in contention.
Top 10: Sungjae Im, +300. He’s also too good! I’m trying to think of a course his game hasn’t traveled to. It’s a short list.
Prop: Jim Furyk to make cut, yes, -120. Furyk has the 58 vibes out there. He’ll at least get himself to the weekend.
Nick Piastowski ($3,620)
To-win: Patrick Cantlay, +2,800. This is his first tournament since the return. While others have been grinding through the new normal, he’s rested.
Top 10: Bubba Watson, +300. He’s won here three times, and he’s shot just one round in the 70s since the Tour’s return at the Charles Schwab.
Prop: Collin Morikawa, to make the cut, yes, -345. I like free money.
James Colgan ($3,400)
To-win: Paul Casey, +4,000. I love the value of experience this weekend.
Top 10: Dylan Frittelli, +1,400. Played stupendously at Harbour Town, capping off an impressive week with a final-round 62. Young player with a ton of value, and I’m already down $600 — might as well burn the boats.
Prop: Winner to play in final first tee group in round four, no, +163. The Sunday leaderboards have been jammed since the restart, and they don’t look like they’re slowing down now.
Dylan Dethier ($3,400)
To win: Patrick Cantlay, +2,800. Yeah, we’ve not seen him — that’s just the way he likes it. Good setup for an under-the-radar Cantlay.
Top 10: Corey Conners, +750. Hits it straight and hits a ton of greens and so TPC River Highlands is a logical fit. Just waiting for a proper breakthrough, and this feels like a good number for this week.
Prop: To be decided by a playoff, yes, +400. These loaded fields at normal Tour stops have been TIGHT down the stretch — this number feels way too high.
Luke Kerr-Dineen ($3,400)
To-win: Bryson DeChambeau, +1,500. I wanted to pick an underdog in this spot, largely because those are the kind of players who have seemed to win here in the past, but the field is slightly more stacked than usual this year so I’m going with a bigger name. A course that rewards good drivers of the ball, and a player who has prioritized sending it? Wouldn’t be surprised to see Bryson eat the course alive this week, both figuratively and literally.
Top 10: Viktor Hovland, +550. Good driver of the golf ball, finished only three shots outside the top 10 last week, decent odds. I’m trying not to overthink this one.
Prop: Leader after round one, Jordan Spieth, +5,500. Some really juicy odds here for a guy who shot 66 in the first round last week and has been just two off the lead after the first round in two consecutive starts.
Ashley Mayo ($3,400)
To-win: Jordan Spieth, +5,000. These oddsmakers aren’t giving Spieth enough credit. One terrible round really ruined his week at the RBC, but I think he’s hungrier than ever and I’m feeling a breakthrough soon.
Top 10: Viktor Hovland, +500. This 22-year-old has become one of my favorite golfers to watch. Not only does his smile and positivity shine through the telecast, but I think those qualities will help him stay poised when he finds himself in the hunt on Sunday.
Prop: Winning margin, one stroke, +250. Since I haven’t yet made a single cent through two weeks of action, I need a nice, safe bet to boost my ego and pad my hypothetical wallet.
Andrew Tursky ($3,400)
To-win: Matthew Fitzpatrick, +5,500. Fun fact: Fitzpatrick has shot eight-consecutive rounds in the 60s the past two weeks. Let’s hope he takes that streak to 12 this week and throws in a couple really low rounds, too.
Top 10: Patrick Reed, +300. Yes, Reed missed the cut last week at Harbour Town, but he finished T7 at the Charles Schwab Challenge and now he comes to a course where he’s played well in the past (T11 in 2016, T5 in 2017). TPC RIver Highlands sets up well for right-to-left shots, and Reed primarily plays a draw. He’s also a grinder, so I’d be shocked if he hasn’t ironed out any issues with his game heading into this week.
Prop: Winner to par the 72nd hole, yes, -200. I need a win on the board because it hasn’t been going well so far. This is my low-risk bet.