Betting favorite Dustin Johnson seeks second major at PGA Championship

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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 betting favorite heading into the TOUR Championship

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It is mathematically possible for Jordan Spieth to capture the FedExCup title – and the $10-million bonus – without winning the TOUR Championship. Perhaps that might be a prod to look beyond laying chalk for the PGA Tour playoffs’ finale.

Spieth, who’s first in the FedExCup standings, is listed as a +500 betting favorite to win the TOUR Championship, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Like Spieth, four others in the 30-man field converging on the 7,385-yard par-70 layout at East Lake in Atlanta would win the FedExCup automatically by winning the tournament. That includes (in order of seeding, not price), Justin Thomas (+1100), Dustin Johnson (+750), Mark Leishman (+1800) and Jon Rahm (+1200).

Spieth’s average finish since June has been 7.7, so it’s a safe bet he’ll continue his strong play. But a situation could arise where, if none of the other top five seeds are in contention, he might focus on the Cup and not the tournament itself, which has a slightly smaller payout of $8.8 million.

Johnson has been outside the top 15 in his last two starts, so it might be best to fade him. Leishman (+1800) is coming in hot after his five-shot win in the BMW Championship, but do remember this will be just his second time in the event. If you’re basing your pick on recent performance, Rahm has three top-5 finishes in a row and is in the top 20 on tour in strokes gained: approach-the-green, which is a good quality on a long par-70 such as East Lake.

The highest price of any player outside of those top five seeds belongs to Rickie Fowler (+1000). He was 10th at this event in 2015, the last time he played in it, and he’s second on the entire Tour in strokes gained.

Likewise, Justin Rose (+1200) has two second-place finishes at the TOUR Championship in the last four years.

Incidentally, Hideki Matsuyama (+1800) is ninth in the approach-the-green stat, which might make him a wild card this weekend even though his results have been inauspicious of late. Another darkhorse play with an enticing price on the golf betting lines is Matt Kuchar, who has had three top-10 finishes in the last four tournaments and is very steady, a handy trait to have at a par-70 course.

Each of the past seven FedExCup champions has secured it by winning the TOUR Championship. The law of averages would indicate that streak might end sooner rather than later.

PGA Championship Odds: McIlroy, Fowler coming in hot for Quail Hollow

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The combo of a soggy course and a season-long trend of first-time winners could come into play at the PGA championship this week at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Two-time winner Rory McIlroy is the +700 favorite on the odds to win the PGA Championship at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Jordan Spieth (+800), who’s less than a month removed from his British Open victory, is a close second favorite, with WGC-Bridgestone Invitational winner Hideki Matsuyama (+1100), world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (+1200) and Rickie Fowler (+1600) also high on the board.

Quail Hollow is a fixture on the PGA Tour, hosting the Wells Fargo Championship each May. The course has had an aggressive renovation to get it “major ready.” Rain is also expected for all four days, which could create an advantage for long hitters who don’t need a huge roll from tee shots. A course also plays differently in the summer than it does in the spring.

Playing the chalk is justifiable. McIlroy has two Tour victories on this course and had a strong fifth at the Bridgestone last weekend at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. However the course renovations factor into scoring, he’s still been dominant at Quail Hollow. It’s probably reasonable to fade Spieth, given his wonky putting last weekend. It’s just tough to win two majors in a row.

Among the players with odds in the 10/1 to 20/1 range, Dustin Johnson has simply been too inconsistent to inspire much confidence. Fowler will be playing at the course where he got his first Tour victory and he’s playing well, as evidenced by successive 67s at the Bridgestone. He’s also third in the Tour’s total driving stat, which suggests his strengths are suited to Quail Hollow.

Similar things can be said about Matsuyama, who like Fowler is still in search of his first major championship. The 25-year-old Japanese standout won the Bridgestone in a showing that was a testament to his burgeoning talent, and he’s also 12th in driving accuracy.

If the weather is as wet as promised, it plays to the advantage of Brooks Koepka (+2500), the U.S. Open champion who is sixth in driving distance this season. Koepka’s top-10 finish at the British Open indicates that he is not some big-driving one-hit wonder.

The value pick might well be Daniel Berger (+5500), who has three top-five finishes and a win in his last six tournaments. Berger was also in the top 20 at the 2016 Wells Fargo tourney at Quail Hollow. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson (+6600) also has a high price that belies that he was runner-up at the Bridgestone last weekend.

Jimmy Walker, the defending champion, is listed at +10000, only slightly below the +12500 price he had at online gambling sites prior to his unexpected victory in 2016.

This will be the second-last PGA Championship held in August; starting in 2019, it will move to May and become the second major on the golf calendar.