A surprisingly strong PGA Tour field is at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C., for the 2021 RBC Heritage on the heels of Hideki Matsuyama’s historic Masters victory in Augusta, Ga. Matsuyama isn’t playing this week, but world No. 1 Dustin Johnson tries to shake off a missed cut at Augusta National Golf Club in the defense of his 2020 Masters title from the fall. Below, we shop the odds at DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook for our golf betting picks to win the RBC Heritage.
Webb Simpson, the 2020 RBC Heritage champ from last summer, looks to defend his Harbour Town title off of a T-12 finish last week. Bryson DeChambeau and Joel Dahmen are among the early withdrawals this week; there may be more to come as players adjust their schedules following the Masters.
The course: Harbour Town Golf Links
Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus designed Harbour Town Golf Links; it has hosted a PGA Tour event every year since 1969. The course measures 7,099 yards and plays to a par of 71. Bermudagrass makes up both the greens and fairways.
Water is in play on 10 holes and driving accuracy is an essential skill. All fairways are tight and bunkers were added both in the fairways and to guard the greens. The alterations should help guard against low scores after four players finished 20-under par or better with Simpson winning by one at minus-22 in 2020.
Eleven holes played below par a year ago. The easiest, on average, was the 502-yard, par-5 2nd at a scoring average of 4.386; it saw 22 eagles and 249 birdies against 12 bogeys and two doubles. The most difficult hole was the 469-yard, par-4 3rd at a scoring average of 4.093. The 332-yard, par-4 9th saw four eagles scored.
Key stats to consider
The tight fairways put the focus on Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee with greater emphasis on Driving Accuracy. The small and well-protected greens also require strengths in SG: Around-the-Green and Scrambling. Sand Save Percentage can also be considered.
Of the last nine winners before Simpson in the COVID-19 altered 2020 schedule, five had played the Masters the week before, five were from outside the United States, and four claimed their maiden PGA Tour victory. Despite the seemingly strong field, the Masters hangover has a real effect and this tournament routinely produces long-shot winners.
2021 RBC Heritage sleepers and value bets
Brendon Todd +9000
Todd hasn’t made much noise since winning in back-to-back appearances in the Fall Swing of 2019. He has just three top-10 finishes in his last 34 events, but he missed the cut only once in nine events to begin 2021. He’s 54th in the Official World Golf Ranking following a T-46 finish at the Masters.
The three-time PGA Tour winner leads the Tour in driving accuracy through 57 rounds on the 2020-21 season, and he’s T-11 in sand save percentage despite being just 82nd in scrambling. He’s also averaging 1.07 SG: Putting per round for the season.
Get the best Brendon Todd odds at FanDuel Sportsbook
Matt Kuchar +7500
Kuchar, ranked 46th in the world following a missed cut at the Masters, won here in 2014 and was the runner-up in 2019 while finishing 11-under par in both events. His 64 rounds played at Harbour Town are the most in this field, and he has averaged 1.72 strokes gained on the field per round despite a lackluster T-41 finish last summer.
He’s 18th in driving accuracy and 52nd in sand save percentage with 0.13 strokes gained per round on approach and around-the-green. His short game was much sharper in a T-12 finish at the Valero Texas Open the week before the Masters.
He’s just +4500 at DraftKings and presents excellent value at FanDuel.
Get the best Matt Kuchar odds at FanDuel Sportsbook
Christiaan Bezuidenhout +7000
Bezuidenhout, who’s coming off a T-40 finish in his second career appearance at the Masters checks both of our boxes as a potential international and first-time winner. He had a career-best PGA Tour finish of seventh at the Arnold Palmer Invitational earlier this season, but he claimed his second and third European Tour wins last fall.
The 26-year-old has an excellent short game with 0.69 SG: Around-the-Green per round this season. He’s tied for fourth in sand save percentage and operates at better than 60 percent in both scrambling and driving accuracy. He tied for 28th in his debut at this event last year with 1.05 SG: Putting per round.
Get the best Christiaan Bezuidenhout odds at DraftKings Sportsbook
2021 RBC Heritage betting picks: Our winner
Abraham Ancer +3200
Ancer won the 2018 Emirates Australian Open and has three career runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour, including at this event last summer. He’s 32nd in the OWGR following a T-26 finish last week, but he has ranked as high as 20th. He again checks the boxes of a would-be first-time international winner.
His strength is his iron play, as he’s averaging 0.43 SG: Approach for the season. He’s also second to Todd in driving accuracy and 36th in scrambling. He’s a solid value when fading the top-10 betting favorites.
Get the best Abraham Ancer odds at FanDuel Sportsbook
This article was originally published Monday, April 12. Odds subject to change.
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.
How to bet on golf and win
Odds to win a tournament can range from as low as +500 for a favorite like world No. 1 Dustin Johnson 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, either 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. These 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 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.
Separate your weekly allowance – approximately 10 percent of your bankroll – between outright, placing and matchup bets. While the large profits come from hitting an outright winner, hedge those bets on more conservative lines to give yourself a better chance of making at least a moderate return on your overall investment.
One of the most frustrating parts of sports betting, in general, is having a golfer withdraw from a tournament due to injury. Your bet is likely to be refunded if they 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 teams in other 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 which 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. Golfers can be swayed to participate in events on the European Tour by sponsorships, prize money or appearance fees. 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 not be regarded as such by early 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 in hopes of gaining 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.