Betting favorite Dustin Johnson seeks second major at PGA Championship

Leave a comment

Recent history at the PGA Championship might suggest the winner of the season’s final major will be someone who’s young-ish, has a win this season and is playing well of late.

Dustin Johnson, the U.S. Open champion, is the favorite at +800 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com heading into the showdown at Baltusrol Golf Club, followed by the two most recent winners, Jason Day (2015) and Rory McIlroy (2012 and 2014), who are listed at +900.

No one has ever gone 10 under par or lower in a major at Baltusrol, which is long for a par-70 layout at 7,462 yards. The last time the PGA Championship was played there in 2005, Phil Mickelson won with a 4-under 276.

Over the last 10 years, nine PGA Championship winners had won a tournament earlier in the season. Nine also had a top-10 finish in at least one of their previous two starts. Seven of the 10 had a previous top-10 finish at the PGA Championship. Seven of the last 10 winners had also posted a top-10 score in at least one of that season’s first three majors.

Five of the 10 were golfers who were in their twenties. The last champion who was over 40 years was Vijay Singh, 41, in 2004. That does not mean, of course, that whoever hoists the Wanamaker Trophy will check off all of those boxes, especially given the current run of first-time major winners.

Johnson has finished fifth or higher in five of his last six events. McIlroy, whose only win this season is the Irish Open, has had an up-and-down year, but his strength off the tee gives him a fighting chance. Day has the status of being the world No. 1 and the defending champion after his 20-under 268 at Whistling Straits, but he has finished outside of the top 10 in his last two events.

Jordan Spieth’s recent slip has led to him receiving +1400 odds. Spieth was runner-up to Day at the 2015 PGA Championship, but it was his first time making the cut in the event. The 23-year-old has three wins this season, but believers in recency might put more stock on Spieth having finished 37th and 30th at the past two majors.

Henrik Stenson, the British Open champion, is also listed at +1400. Based on the profile of past winners, Stenson being 40 years old might count against him.

Farther down the board, Brandt Snedeker (+4900) is coming off a fifth-place finish at the RBC Canadian Open, and has a 2016 tournament win to his name. Hideki Matsuyama, the 24-year-old from Japan who finished seventh this spring at the Masters and The Players Championship, is listed at +6600 on the golf betting lines due to a recent slump.

At Baltusrol, there’s always a capacity for one of the bigger hitters to muscle his way into the mix in the final round. Two of the Tour’s leaders in driving distance, J.B. Holmes (+6400) and sleeper pick Tony Finau (+10000) are each available at a good price. Holmes has finished in the top five twice in majors this year, but he has never finished in the top 20 at the PGA.

The 26-year-old Finau was 10th in the tournament last season, and has finished in the top 20 in each of his first four majors.

Jordan Spieth Has Top Odds, Tiger Woods Making Charge on Masters Betting Lines

Leave a comment

Jordan Spieth has top odds and Tiger Woods is charging up the futures board, but recent history at Augusta National dictates fading those who have already won the green jacket.

Spieth is the +900 favorite on the 2018 Masters betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with the golf season’s first major due to commence on Thursday. All told, nine men in the field have odds of lower than +2000 (or 20/1), including Rory McIlroy (+1000), Justin Thomas (+1100), Dustin Johnson (+1100), Woods (+1400), Justin Rose (+1400), Bubba Watson (+1600), Jason Day (+1800) and Phil Mickelson (+1800).

However, only two recent champions – Mickelson in 2010 and Spieth in 2015 – have gone off at lower than +2000 odds. Woods is drawing a lot of action at many sportsbooks and it’s all well and good to indulge the thought of an all-time great writing a comeback story, but it will be his first major since 2015. Also, no one over age 40 has won the Masters since 1998.

Eight of the last nine major winners have been first-timers, with Spieth (2017 British Open) being the only exception in that span. Those trends don’t mean automatically having to rule out a favorite. Rose, who was the runner-up at the 2017 Masters, has had five top-10 finishes in the event and is also playing well so far this season, with three top-5 placings.

With a 7,435-yard course that is free of flat hole layouts, Augusta rewards golfers who are efficient with their approach. While there hasn’t been a repeat winner since Woods in 2001-02, defending champion Sergio Garcia (+2800) leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained: approach, while Thomas and Mickelson are also among the leaders.

Two-time winner Bubba Watson missed the cut in in three of the 2017 majors, including the Masters, but his recent win the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is a reason to consider investing in him.

If one is bent on backing someone who is on the Yet To Win A Major Shortlist, there’s Paul Casey (+2200), who has finished sixth or better in his last three majors. A wrist ailment has affected Hideki Matsuyama (+3300) at times this season, but the Japanese star has finished 11th or higher in his last three starts at the Masters. Matsuyama’s odds are right in the range of several recent Masters champions.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Tony Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

Getty Images
Leave a comment

While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he’s apparently been hard at work ever since.

“I’ll be treating it very serious,” Romo told reporters Tuesday. “My wife will tell you she hasn’t seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I’m going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you’ll get the best I’ve got this week.”

Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf “you’re trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag.”

“I’m not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball,” Romo said. “It’s at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that’s difficult, and sometimes that’s easier depending on the situation.”

Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which “was not up to any Tour standard.” The first-tee jitters can’t be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Web.com Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

“I think they’re waiting to either tell me ‘Congrats’ or ‘I knew it, terrible,'” Romo said. “Something along those lines. They’re probably going to wait to see which way the wind’s blowing before they send them.”

Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.