The PGA Tour settles into Muirfield Village Golf Club this week with the 2020 Workday Charity Open being the first of back-to-back events played at the course in Dublin, Ohio. This event is replacing the canceled John Deere Classic and preludes next week’s Memorial Tournament. Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, and Brooks Koepka return this week as three of the top six players in the Official World Golf Ranking are in the 156-man field. Below, we look at the betting odds at DraftKings Sportsbook and highlight the best value and sleeper bets, along with our picks to win the 2020 Workday Charity Open.
Bryson DeChambeau is taking a much-deserved week off of tournament play. He has risen to seventh in the OWGR following a victory at last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic to cap a stretch of four straight top-eight finishes since golf returned. He can be expected to return next week, as can World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, and recent winners Dustin Johnson and Webb Simpson. Tiger Woods may even make his return next week.
What we learned last week
The best golfers in the world are taking over once again. Simpson, Johnson, and DeChambeau have won the last three tournaments after Daniel Berger claimed victory at the Charles Schwab Challenge. As such, some of the value has been taken away from the betting odds. DeChambeau was a +650 favorite when the odds opened last week.
While the favorites are ending up in the winner’s circle, the weekend leaderboards have remained extremely crowded. Seven players finished T-4 or better and 20 were T-12 or better last week. Spread out your bets and pair your outright wagers with plenty of top-5, top-10, or top-20 placing bets.
The course: Muirfield Village Golf Club
Designed by Jack Nicklaus, Muirfield Village GC has long been an annual favorite of the world’s top players and the Memorial Tournament thus routinely draws a strong field. The course typically measures 7,392 yards but will be lengthened to 7,456 yards this week. It will remain at a par of 72. The greens are a mix of Bentgrass and Poa Annua.
Seven holes play to scoring averages below par. The easiest is the 521-yard, par-5 fifth hole at an average of 4.534 strokes. It sees 51 percent of players card a birdie. The most difficult hole on average has been the 483-yard, par-4 18th at 4.276. Just 12 percent of players register a birdie with 30 percent carding a bogey or worse. Five of the 10 par 4s range from 450 to 500 yards, two are shorter than 400 yards.
Each of the last seven champions of the Memorial Tournament finished 12-under par or better. Patrick Cantlay‘s minus-19 score last year was the best since Tiger shot the same 269 in 2000. Tom Lehman holds the tournament record at minus-20 in a five-stroke victory in 1994.
Workday Charity Open key stats to consider
Despite the routine strong fields at the Memorial Tournament, this course has produced several longshot winners. David Lingmerth ranked 212th in the world ahead of his 2015 victory. William McGirt was 102nd prior to his win in 2016, and Jason Dufner was 65th entering the week of his 2017 victory. Last year’s Memorial Tournament ranked 11th on the PGA Tour with a Strength of Field rating of 596. Three of the four events since the Tour returned to play last month have exceeded that rating.
Our key stats for this week are Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, SG: Approach, Par 4 Efficiency: 450-500 Yards, Birdies or Better Gained, and Proximity from 175-200 Yards. These have been common themes on recent leaderboards for the Memorial Tournament.
Just three of the 12 players to finish inside the top 10 last year averaged better than one SG: Putting per round; none of those players averaged less than 1.50 SG: Tee-to-Green per round, according to Data Golf. My model at Fantasy National looks at the most recent 50 rounds for every player in the field on courses exceeding 7,400 yards.
Workday Charity Open sleepers and value bets
Top 5: Keith Mitchell +7000
Mitchell is an immense longshot at +40000 to win the tournament outright, but a bet for a top-5 finish provides some insurance while still returning a profit of $700 on a $10 investment. His lone career victory to date came at The Honda Classic in March of last year at the Nicklaus-redesigned PGA National Golf Club.
One of the longest hitters on Tour, Mitchell ranks fifth in this field in Birdies or Better Gained and 10th in SG: Tee-to-Green on courses in excess of 7,400 yards in length. He’s coming off a missed cuts at the RBC Heritage and Travelers Championship, but he took last week off to regroup. He tied for 48th at the 2019 Memorial Tournament in just his second appearance and gained 1.03 strokes per round off the tee.
Top 10: Rory Sabbatini +1100
Sabbatini missed the cut last week. He tied for 14th at the Charles Schwab Challenge and 21st at the RBC Heritage, both in much stronger fields. Experience is back on the Tour veteran’s side this week, as he has played 34 career rounds at Muirfield Village with an average of 2.00 strokes gained on the field per round. His best rank in the key stats is 24th in BoB Gained.
Leader after Round 1: Ian Poulter +8000
Poulter ranks seventh on Tour with a first-round scoring average of 68.63 through eight events on the 2019-20 season. He hasn’t shot worse than his 67 in the opening round of the Travelers Championship in his first three events back from the midseason suspension, and he was the co-leader after Round 1 of the RBC Heritage after firing a 7-under 64. He has 17 career rounds played at this venue and has averaged 0.89 strokes gained on the field.
Best 18 hole round score: Patrick Cantlay +1800
This is a better way to get some action on the defending champ than his +1300 odds to win the tournament as the co-No. 2 favorite. His victory at the 2019 Memorial Tournament was due in large part to a final-round 64. He opened the Travelers Championship with a 66 and closed with a 65 to finish 11th in his return to play. He ranked second in last year’s Memorial Tournament field with 3.64 SG: Tee-to-Green per round, and he finished fourth in 2018 at minus-14.
2020 Workday Charity Open: Our pick to win
Justin Rose +2600
Rose shares the seventh-best odds to win the tournament with Viktor Hovland, who comes off a T-12 finish last week. Rose returned to play with a T-3 result at the Charles Schwab Challenge and then tied for 14th at the RBC Heritage before missing the cut at the Travelers Championship and skipping last week’s event.
A 10-time PGA Tour winner, his first career victory came at the 2010 Memorial Tournament. He ranks third in this week’s field with 2.39 strokes gained per round at Muirfield Village, and he finished 13th in 2019. He leads my stat model and ranks third in the field in both SG: Approach and Birdies or Better Gained. Only three players in the field have more experience here than Rose’s 46 career rounds played.
This article was originally published on Monday, July 6. 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 Rory McIlroy 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 generally 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.
Typically less rewarding and exciting than any of the above, weekly props will 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. 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. If they do so before hitting their first tee shot of the week, your initial bet is likely to be refunded, but if it comes after the first shot or at any point thereafter, you’re probably going 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 also be swayed to participate in events on the European Tour either by sponsorships, prize money or appearance fees. Most of the 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 a 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 in their performance, especially in windier conditions on the west coast or in rainy locations. 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, but 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.