Thomas, Rose challenge favorite Johnson on PGA Championship odds

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Dustin Johnson has the top odds at the sportsbooks, but the golf season’s final major might be a battle of the Justins – Thomas and Rose.

Johnson is the +800 favorite on the PGA Championship odds at sportsbooks monitored by, with the tournament due to tee off on Thursday at the 7,547-yard, par-71 Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country, Missouri.

The top of the board also includes Rory McIlroy (+1200), the aforementioned defending champion Justin Thomas (+1400), Jason Day (+2000), Brooks Koepka (+2000), Jordan Spieth (+2000), Rickie Fowler (+2200), Justin Rose (+2200), Jon Rahm (+2500) and Tiger Woods (+2800).

Johnson is coming off a tie for third at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and a win in the RBC Canadian Open. The world No. 1 is also first on the PGA Tour in strokes gained tee-to-green, an attribute that is likely to factor in heavily with the layout at Bellerive, which is exceptionally long for a par-71. Laying chalk here is justifiable, but there is also the regression factor; everyone cools off eventually.

Thomas won the Bridgestone handily, by four shots, and in the process climbed to second in strokes gained tee-to-green and third in approach. He still has a modicum of betting value and rates strong consideration. Rose is a chancier proposition after missing the Bridgestone Invitational with back spasms, but he is on a streak of five consecutive top-10 finishes and his game seems adaptable to any course.

On the plus side with McIlroy, a two-time PGA Championship winner, he is playing well enough to be in the hunt almost every week of late. The downside is that he’s had four events this season where he’s played in the final grouping on Sunday and hasn’t won any of them – so either he’s due, or he’s not right mentally.

Jason Day also offers some upside, on the strength of having two wins this season and four top-10 finishes in the last five PGA Championships, the most of any player.

Spieth has battled inconsistency and Woods has been erratic with his iron play of late, which could only get worse in the sweltering humidity expected in Missouri. It might also be best to fade Fowler, who has been as likely to shoot 73 as 63 lately. Rahm is on a course tailor-made for a big hitter such as he, but a suspect approach game might keep him from the birdie opportunities that a lot of the leaders will be cashing in throughout the week.

Among the relative darkhorses on the golf odds for this week, Tony Finau (+4000) is the only player with top-10 finishes in each of this season’s first three majors, while he’s also in the top 15 in strokes gained tee-to-green.

A string of poor results in majors have led to bookmakers fading Bubba Watson (+5000), but the left-hander does have three wins this season and his game might be a good fit for Bellerive. Henrik Stenson (+5000) is also second only to Dustin Johnson in gaining more strokes combined off the tee and on approach shots. Stenson’s three top-10 finishes in the last five PGA Championships are second only to Jason Day.

This will be the final PGA Championship held in August. Starting in 2019, it will be held in May and serve as the second major of the year, in between the Masters and the U.S. Open.

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