Picking winners of a golf tournament is hard. Doing it consistently is downright impossible. But finding value is something all bettors must practice in order to give themselves the best chance to make hay when the day finally comes that they ping a champion.
Below, we will cover the best bets for the Memorial Tournament based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Another thrilling finish on the PGA Tour last week saw our top-billed selection, Sam Burns, pick up his third win of the season. Our strategy to fade the top of the market almost bit us as favorite Scottie Scheffler held pole position heading into the back nine on Sunday, but ultimately, Burns was the best player of the week and we can give ourselves solid marks on the process. We'll implement the opposite strategy this week and stack our card with high-profile choices across the board.
The Memorial is one for the greats, and a certain minimum level of pedigree is absolutely a must this week. As we eye up the board, we see a couple of names that are now firmly in that class, albeit still a measure below the cream of the crop. We don't see a huge number standing much of a chance this week, but with a few props thrown in, we can balance some of the exposure we face when backing short prices.
The name of the game at Muirfield Village is ball-striking. The catch-all strokes gained: tee to green is a useful guide, but we have to carve out golfers who rely on scrambling too much. All of our selections are in the top 25 in that stat for the season. Form here and at other elite annual courses -- think Riviera and Quail Hollow -- can inform some key choices.
At the Top
Jon Rahm (+1100 outright and +185 for a Top 10 Finish) - Rahm won here in 2020 and famously had to withdraw heading into his final round with a six-stroke lead due to a positive COVID test last year. He was also 27th the week before his win at the Workday Championship when Muirfield pulled double duty coming out of the pandemic layoff. That substitute event played much softer and opened up the field, but Rahm did fire the best round of the week with a Sunday 64, a harbinger of his dominance the following week.
Rahm's victory at the Mexico Open was his outlier result recently, as he's been well below his standard of excellence in limited action of late. He was T48 at the PGA Championship, T27 at The Masters, and T55 at THE PLAYERS -- though he did win his pod at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play during that span. Rahm is overdue for a beatdown performance, and this is the perfect course for him to get back to his dominant ways.
Cameron Smith (+1900 and +240 for a Top-10 Finish) - With Burns and Scheffler back at it again at Colonial, we can't forget about Smith and his two PGA Tour wins this season, first at the short field Sentry Tournament of Champions and the second at THE PLAYERS. The latter marked a landmark achievement for Smith as the biggest win of his career, and based on the past year's performance, a strong showing at the Memorial seems almost a formality for him. Smith is now the third-ranked player in the world behind only Scheffler and Rahm, up from 28th this time last year. Smith is very much among the elite players and can get it done in this field.
Max Homa (+3400) - Homa is a champion already at our two best comp courses, winning the Genesis Invitational last year and the Wells Fargo Championship back in 2019, an event he won again this year at an alternate venue. Homa's transformation from Twitter wisecracker -- who used to be most famous for his ongoing gag of roasting people's swings -- to top-tier talent has been incredible to watch. He's kept his everyman, likable persona through his rise, and he's easy to back when he's in form like he is now. He followed his win with a T13 at the PGA Championship and a T23 at the Charles Schwab Invitational, the latter just his third time outside the top 20 since the calendar turned to 2022. He was also sixth here last year.
Will Zalatoris (+3500) - If a couple of swings go differently, Zalatoris could be a two-time major champion, with runner-up finishes at the PGA Championship two weeks ago and at The Masters in 2021. To think he's still without a win seems absurd, and Zalatoris is surely due for his breakthrough sooner rather than later. It would be apt to come here, where fast greens make even good putters look like Will Zalatoris with the short stick. His iron play is among the best in the world, and at Jack's Place, that's about as good of an indicator as we'll get.
Joaquin Niemann (+4800) - A winner at the Riv earlier this season, Niemann has been solid if not spectacular since -- with a predictable missed cut at the Honda the week after followed by five straight top-35s that included no top 10s. He's lost strokes on approach in two straight, which either portends bad things or means he's due for an overcorrection. We'll bank on the overcorrection and grab almost 50/1 for the man who finished sixth here as a 20-year-old. Niemann has improved as a putter but still has heavily skewed positive splits on bentgrass greens. At this number, he's an auto-bet for us.
Luke List (+15000) - Our one bomb this week is List, who is fifth on Tour in strokes gained: tee to green and has some interesting history at Muirfield and our two comps. He has a 10th here, a 6th and 9th at Quail Hollow, and a 15th and 20th at Riviera. He's been quite poor since his win at Torrey Pines, thanks mostly to a very poor putter. This type of stretch is not uncharacteristic for List, but the numbers are ugly. After winning the Farmers, he lost 5.9, 2.0, 7.1, 3.1, 5.8, 2.1, and 3.0 strokes putting before gaining 3.0 at the PGA Championship. With some regression toward his mean of being merely a bad putter as opposed to the worst putter in the world, List could make some noise this week.