By Tyler Duke
After leaving Southern Hills, we head back to Texas one more time for the oldest host course on the PGA Tour. Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth has hosted the Charles Schwab Challenge under various names since 1946. The Colonial is the start of a short, three-week stretch warming up for golf’s third major of the year.
Online sportsbooks offer a wide range of betting markets each and every week of the PGA Tour season, allowing you to bet on everything from the outright winner to prop bets based on player nationalities, and everything in between. Below, we’ll preview the upcoming event and display some of that variety with our 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge betting picks.
2022 Charles Schwab Challenge Betting | Colonial Country Club Preview
Colonial Country Club was designed by John Bredemus and Perry Maxwell the Southern Hills architect) back in 1936. It plays as a Par 70 at around 7,200 yards and is typically one of the hardest courses on the circuit each year. Much of that is due to narrow, tree-lined holes and tiny greens.
The wind can also kick up in Texas, which creates extremely difficult conditions to hit greens and score around the classically designed track – especially since the wind is hard to judge below the tall trees.
Colonial has produced winners of many different styles. It’s certainly not a bomber’s paradise – the average driving distance is around 275 yards compared to the average of 284 yards across all tour events. Generally, the winner produces a nice mix of hitting fairways and greens and finding a hot putter for four rounds.
We’ve seen some all-around games in Jason Kokrak and Daniel Berger take the trophy the last two years with great approaches and putting. Almost everyone inside the top 20 both years had a great putting week, so you’ll want to keep in mind that Colonial may not be the best course to take a chance on a guy that rarely gets the flat stick going.
2022 Charles Schwab Challenge Betting | Colonial Country Club Key Stats
The formula at Colonial really isn’t too tricky, so it makes coming up with a model pretty simple this week. Don’t overthink it and put a premium on accurate players who can get the putter rolling.
With tiny greens that are very difficult to hit in winds, we’re going to value SG: Approach and Greens in Regulation. Premier iron players like Berger, Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Boo Weekly, Steve Stricker, and Sergio Garcia have won here in the past, with plenty of others joining them. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to fake your way around here without striking the ball well into these greens.
Driving the ball isn’t overly important here since the rough isn’t too long and distance doesn’t play much of a factor. But there is a correlation to finding fairways and being able to win around here. That makes sense with trees blocking angles and wanting good lies into tough greens. We’ll use Fairway Percentage to see who can keep it in play and help themselves have easier shots with the irons all week.
I’m generally not a big putting guy as most of you should know, but Colonial is definitely a course that hot putters tend to do well at. These Bent greens tend to run very pure, and the world’s best on the greens stack up a ton of feet made. SG: Putting on Bent will be the best measurement to use.
Proximity: 150-175 Yards is another good option for approach play, but we’ll use Scoring on Par 4: 400-450 Yards since at least seven of them will run in that range this week. It’s a scoreable range and should highlight who will pick up some key strokes.
- SG: Approach
- Greens in Regulation Percentage
- Fairway Percentage
- SG: Putting
- Par 4: 400-450 Yards
2022 Charles Schwab Challenge Picks & Predictions | How To Bet Colonial Country Club
Collin Morikawa to win outright:
Morikawa has unsurprisingly been fantastic at Colonial in two tries so far. In 2020, he nearly won in the strongest field in Colonial history but lost in a playoff to Berger. He bettered his ball striking a year later but finished 14th due to some rocky putting down the stretch.
While I did say you don’t want to take too many chances with putting this week, I do want to take some high upside guys with the irons first and foremost. We know that Morikawa can get the putter rolling at the right time, and he fared quite well here in 2020.
Pure, Bent greens have been pretty kind to him overall, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get hot this week. It’s been a bit of a down stretch for Morikawa by his standards, so I expect him to pop soon … and Colonial is the perfect course to do it. Collin ranks 5th in Greens and 16th in Fairways.
Viktor Hovland to win outright:
I never loved Southern Hills as a course fit for Hovland, and he continued to struggle to get in contention at a major. Luckily for him, I do see Colonial as a perfect track for him. As we saw with Kokrak last year, you don’t need to chip well to win here, and that’s Hovland’s only real struggle.
The putter has been just fine most of the year, and he also putts it decently on Bent compared to the Bermuda grass. In his only start at Colonial, Hovland struck it well but lacked the real upside to get in contention in a 23rd.
Two years later, he’s hitting his irons better than anyone in the world and figures to be a real factor here with his accurate driving and ability to create birdie chances. Hovland ranks 1st in SG: Approach and 12th in Greens.
Justin Rose to win outright:
Rose quietly finished 13th last week at the PGA with a lovely week with the irons and putter. That’s exactly what you’re going to need at Colonial, and it just so happens that Rose has been fantastic here in his career. He won here in 2018, finished 3rd in the stacked 2020 field, and even finished 20th last year during some big struggles. His putter seems to catch fire on these pure greens, and the technical test of the irons brings out some of his best.
Though he’s been pretty terrible all year, Rose usually runs in streaks, so I’d think he’ll come in confident this week after putting together his best week in quite some time. That also happened at a difficult major, so this could be the starting point in Rose returning to form.
He’s a horses for courses guy, so I’m willing to jump all over this number with him striking it so well last week and playing a track that he clearly adores. Rose ranks 1st in Par 4: 400-450 Yards and 24th in SG: Putting.
2022 PGA Championship Props and Matchups | How To Bet Colonial Country Club
Luke Donald to finish Top 40:
I’m going to continue to jump on Top 40s for Luke Donald on courses that still fit his game. He came through for us at the Wells Fargo with a 25th, and we find another good number this week on one of the few courses left on Tour that the former World No. 1 could legitimately contend at. He’s one of the worst drivers in the game, combining poor distance with below-average accuracy. Thankfully, he can get away with that a bit here if he can find a few fairways.
With the irons, Donald is truly in form and should hit a ton of greens when he finds the fairway. He’s also been putting a bit better lately and could give us an above average week there to comfortably cash a Top 40. Donald ranks 5th in SG: Approach and 25th in Par 4: 400-450 Yards.
Austin Smotherman to finish Top 40:
Smotherman is a Tour rookie who has flashed some real potential on courses that put a premium on accuracy. He ranks highly in finding fairways and greens and seems to really be able to attack flags on tough courses.
The issue for him early in the year was a terrible putter, but he’s evened that out a bit and tallied consecutive 25th place finishes. The books haven’t quite caught up to his potential that I’m seeing, so I think a nice number for a Top 40 could be a really good play this week.
I do think there’s even a play for a long shot outright here if you have room on the card. Smotherman ranks 11th in SG: Approach and 27th in Fairways.
2022 Charles Schwab Challenge Odds
How to bet on golf and win
Odds to win a tournament can range from as low as +500 for a favorite like Dustin Johnson or John Rahm in an event with a weaker field to upward of +250000 for a little-known, low-ranked golfer. Outrights are also available to lead after each round, with odds rising slightly for the top of the field and dropping for the longshots. It’s best to spread out your wagers across several golfers with odds of +2000 or higher while steering clear of the heavy favorites.
All books will offer bets for a top 5, top 10, top 20 or even top 30 finish; these are available for the whole tournament or for each round. The odds drop significantly, especially for a top 30 showing, but it’s a good way to still get action on the longshot you like when backing a win is too much of a risk. Odds are released a little later than the outright odds.
Head-to-head or 3-ball
These bets pair golfers from the same tournament groupings or from similar Official World Golf Ranking positions for the best score in either a single round or the tournament. Compare world rankings of golfers from the same group, while adjusting for current form and course history. Odds will generally range from -150 to +150 for a much smaller return on your investment.
Like the above, books will also compose larger groups of comparable golfers based on their OWGR position or nationality. Back a golfer to finish as the top American or top South African. Groups generally consist of between six and eight golfers with odds ranging from -110 to +1000.
These bets carry an incredible amount of risk but can be the best way to find value in fields fronted by two of the world’s top golfers. You’ll need to predict the exact finishing position of the winner and runner-up, i.e. McIlroy to win and Jon Rahm to finish second. While they’d individually be carrying outright odds lower than +1000, the straight forecast can fetch a much greater return.
Each way bets combine an outright bet with a placing wager. Bettors make both bets and are paid out for both if their golfer wins, or just for the placing of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th.
The PGA Tour website (and other sites) track golfer scoring by round and by tee time, whether it be in the morning or afternoon. Look at these stats and recent form and back a longshot to get off to a hot start before falling off. Additionally, someone like McIlroy will often have higher odds to lead after just 18 holes than he would to win the tournament.
Weekly props ask for a hole-in-one to be scored, for the winner to birdie the 72nd hole, or for the event to go to a playoff. These are generally far less profitable than an outright ticket or other props. Like Super Bowl novelty props, there isn’t a whole lot of research required for most of these odds, and odds will be heavily skewed toward the most likely result.
Golf betting strategy
Having gone over where to bet on the PGA Tour and some of the available betting options, we’ll now look at some strategies for long-term golf betting success to keep you turning a consistent profit week to week.
Unlike in the NFL where bettors have up to 16 games on which to bet per week, or the NBA, MLB, or NHL with 10-15 games per day, golf bettors have around 155 golfers they could back every week. It’s important to diversify and back several different golfers each week, all while focusing on longshots. Like Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm or Brooks Koepka? They likely won’t be worth your while at odds ranging from +500 to +1500. Focus the majority of your weekly bets on those priced at +2000 or higher, with a win going a lot further.
One of the most frustrating parts of sports betting, in general, is having a golfer withdraw from a tournament due to injury. Bets are likely to be refunded if the golfer withdrew before hitting their first tee shot. If it comes after the first shot or at any point thereafter, you’re likely to be out of luck. This is another reason to diversify your wagers.
There’s also little news circulating before events regarding which golfers may be dealing with injuries. There aren’t beat reporters tied to each golfer, like in team sports. It’s largely on bettors to monitor schedules, results, and news pertaining to surgeries or injury treatments. Always be wary of golfers coming off a withdrawal, missed cut, or a particularly poor round that may have been the result of a minor injury.
Course history vs. recent form vs. stats
The three main areas of PGA Tour betting research focus on past success at a course and/or tournament, recent results and scores, and statistical rankings against the rest of the field. The latter has been a major area of growth in recent years, both on the PGA Tour website and third-party sites, with a focus on Strokes Gained. This measures a golfer’s performance in a statistical area against the rest of the field in events they’ve played.
Course history vs. recent form can be a point of contention in the golf betting community. All too often in golf we see someone come off a string of missed cuts only to put together the perfect four rounds for their first career win. We also see golfers win an event after never having cracked the top 10 of a field there or miss a cut after five-plus years of top finishes. It all goes into making golf one of the most exciting and sweat-inducing sports on which to bet.
The PGA Tour schedule is made up of 49 events over the course of the year, though some of these tournaments run in the same weeks. Sponsorships, prize money, or appearance fees can sway top golfers to play a European Tour event over a lesser PGA Tour tournament. Most top-ranked golfers will pick and choose their events throughout a season, focusing on majors and the most profitable tournaments. Others will play nearly every week while attempting to work their way up the OWGR or gain entry to other more exclusive events.
When looking to place a wager, it’s important to track a golfer’s travel, whether it be back-and-forth from the US and Europe, or bouncing between the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour. Other golfers may take prolonged breaks either to rest an injury, prepare for a particular event, or work on their game outside of a tournament format. It’s also common for more experienced and successful golfers to tailor their annual schedules around events and courses where they’ve previously won, or the majors.
Sportsbook line movement
Betting on golf is all about knowing how to spot value. Top-ranked golfers are nearly always worth a wager on the rare occasions when they carry odds higher than 20-1. Proven winners can put it together at any time on any course, regardless of their course history, recent form, or statistical rankings.
Lines can also adjust throughout a tournament week based on the public’s betting action. Someone regarded as a value when the odds are posted Monday afternoon may lose some of their profit margin by Thursday morning.
All of this is especially important when looking to place futures bets on majors. Know a golfer’s worth and true abilities, and be prepared to place your futures bet amid a poor stretch of results in regular tournaments or following a minor injury. While their odds may rise several months out from a major, they’re likely to correct by the time of the tournament week.
While not as commonly discussed as weather pertaining to baseball or football games, forecasts are extremely important in golf betting. Whether a golfer is teeing off in the morning or afternoon waves can make a world of difference. Windier conditions on the west coast or in rainy locations are especially impactful. Always be sure to check daily and hourly forecasts, especially when looking to place a First-Round Leader bet or for any single-round bet.
Many golf fans and professionals alike often joke about the importance of the FedExCup. It has become more of an incentive for others, largely due to the significant financial bonus attached. Additionally, mid-tier golfers will load up their schedules around majors. This can help them gain a late entry to a field with a preceding win or a move up the world rankings. Be wary of a top-ranked golfer appearing in a weaker field at a lesser-known event. Just because sponsors want them there doesn’t mean the tournament will get their full effort.
Best golf betting sites
The PGA Tour is one of the major focuses of online and mobile sportsbooks such as DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, and BetMGM. All three online books, and their respective mobile apps, offer outright, placing, matchup, and prop odds on weekly tournaments, as well as futures on majors and the Ryder and Presidents Cups. It’s also possible to live-bet a tournament mid-round or at the end of the first, second, or third rounds as odds adjust.
Once you have an account on your book of choice, select PGA Tour or Golf from the top menu alongside NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and the other sporting options. From there, choose the tournament for a given week, or look to the Masters, PGA Championship, US Open, or Open Championship among the available futures bets. Place your wagers for the outright winner, top 5 or top 10 finishers, or head-to-head round or tournament matchups.