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 PGA Championship based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.
The second major of the season is upon us, with the world's top golfers descending upon Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma this week. The course is a beast, measuring 7,556 yards and playing to just a par 70. We can expect it to play firm and fast up the fairway and especially on the greens. Those greens are also quite small, and driving it well to find a short club in will be a big leg up. In lieu of big power, a creative short game will is a must.
Notwithstanding Phil Mickelson's miracle last year, we want golfers in good form for the season when trying to find possible winners at the PGA Championship. Six of the last eight winners had a trophy earlier in the season the year they won, and that held true the first two years of this event's new spot in the calendar. Mickelson did win on the Champions Tour early last year, as well, which would make Jimmy Walker the only winner since 2012 to not already have a win on the season before hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy. We'll zero in on that form qualifier and mostly target golfers who have a win this season.
For more info on Southern Hills Country Club along with this week's key stats and Brandon Gdula's win simulations, check out his article.
At the Top
Rory McIlroy (+1600) - The top of the market is crowded -- as is expected at a major championship -- and with fear in our hearts, we'll forego co-favorites Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler (each +1200) and start our card with Rory, who has finished second and fifth in his last two starts. Granted, that runner-up at The Masters was from way behind and still three short of Scheffler's number, but a strong follow-up showing at TPC Potomac shows he is locked in. His win in the fall at THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT checks our win criteria to go along with the recent form. McIlroy is a two-time PGA Championship winner, and we should like his chances even more if conditions stay calm heading into the tee times on Thursday.
Viktor Hovland (+2500) - It's been a long layoff for Hovland, who was a staple on leaderboards early this season, including wins at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba and the Hero World Challenge. He also won overseas in February, and after missing the cut in Phoenix, he posted three straight top 10s. He's been off since The Masters, and the simple fact of having not seen him for a bit seems to have helped his win odds. We'll gladly take the discount, and getting 25/1 for a golfer who has looked every bit as good as anyone outside of Scheffler over the last seven months is a no-brainer.
Xander Schauffele (+2800) - Missed cuts at the two premier events of the season thus far -- THE PLAYERS Championship and The Masters -- does not inspire a ton of confidence in Schauffele, but a team win in the Zurich Classic and an electric final-round 61 at the AT&T Byron Nelson last week draw us back to Xander this week. Last week, he made the cut on the number thanks to five back-nine birdies on Friday, and his confidence should be sky-high after parlaying that effort into a T5 finish. He's been unlucky not to win more over the past couple of years, and the vibes are about as good as they can be for someone with that kind of monkey on his back. The weight of expectations has been his enemy, but right now, all signs are looking up as he tries to earn that marquee win.
Hideki Matsuyama (+3200) - Matsuyama's Sunday 62 was overshadowed a bit by Schauffele's charge, but Hideki's iron play was absolutely stellar at TPC Craig Ranch. He led the field with 9.4 strokes gained: approach, according to stats from Fantasy National Golf Club, and only one player in the field was within 3.0 of him. Matsuyama has won twice already this year, first at the ZOZO Championship in his native Japan and then at the Sony Open in Hawaii to start 2022. While he didn't follow last year's Masters win with a run of dominance, he has been remarkably consistent and has made the cut in all but one event since becoming the first Japanese male to win a major.
Joaquin Niemann (+4100) - Niemann was another name in the hunt at the AT&T Byron Nelson -- until an uncharacteristically disastrous final round dropped him out of the picture. While Schauffele and Matsuyama catch the eye for their terrific closing rounds, Niemann is even more noteworthy for how bad he was. He lost 3.6 strokes putting and 2.9 strokes on approaches, his fourth- and second-worst single-round performances, respectively, in those stats over the last 18 months. That round was an aberration, and an overcorrection is in order. Niemann won earlier this season against a world-class field at Riviera, and that type of experience can make a huge difference if he's in the hunt come Sunday. The short game has evolved into, at worst, a neutral part of his game and sometimes even a strength, and with his ball-striking ability, Niemann is the total package.
Cameron Champ (+12000) - Everybody's favorite long shot because he does what we need here -- he wins. Dipping this far into the bargain bin won't produce many recent winners, but Champ now has three PGA Tour wins and one repeatable, essential skill in which he can be the best in the field in any given week. His driver gives him a major advantage in a 7,456-yard course. The recent form is solid, as well, with top 10s at both The Masters and the Mexico Open before settling for a T38 at the AT&T Byron Nelson. He gained 4.7 strokes off the tee and 3.8 strokes gained: approach last week but struggled with his short game. That area of his game is by far the weakest, but we still see outlier performances that lead to trophies. He's worth a stab at this price.