For those who missed it, please check out the 2020 Travelers Championship Preview and Betting Strategies column for the types of golfers you should look to target for your bets.
With that in mind, here’s who I like this week at TPC River Highlands (with odds courtesy of MyBookie.ag).
Champion Futures (With Top 10 Prop Odds)
Bryson DeChambeau – 14/1 (+135): The old Bryson had great success at TPC River Highlands, gaining 1.6 strokes per round at the course across four appearances and two consecutive Top 10’s. Bryson 2.0’s has made enough improvements to his game to finally grab the trophy. Bryson won’t be handcuffed off the tee like he was at Harbour Town and has more than enough length to hit over the doglegs and fairway bunkers for short wedges into the green. That was the recipe for success to Bubba Watson’s three wins at TPC River Highlands, and Bryson can easily adopt the same strategy to get the win.
Patrick Cantlay – 22/1 (+250): This will be the first time we’ve seen Cantlay after the COVID break, so there are some concerns about some course rust. We last saw him at the Players Championship, and there were similar questions about how well he’d do off a long break as he took a few weeks off to repair a deviated septum. Cantlay showed no signs of rust at TPC Sawgrass, firing an opening round of 67 before the tournament was cancelled.
Cantlay has greatly improved how accurate he is off the tee, which pairs nicely to his already above average length. Cantlay also has great performances on bentgrass/poa golf courses and should be a factor over the weekend. Shop his price around though, as many books have him as high as 28/1.
Justin Rose – 25/1 (+260): Rose showed last week at Harbour Town that his resurgence in form is legit, posting his second consecutive strong ball striking performance since going back to the TaylorMade clubs. Rose lost strokes on the greens at Harbour Town and has room for positive regression, especially because he has a good track record on bentgrass/poa putting surfaces. The only concern I have is it seems like he’ll be a very popular pick this week, but I can’t find any reason other than that not to like him.
Xander Schauffele – 28/1 (+275): Xander was awful in almost every area at Harbour Town, yet were complete outliers compared to his long-term trends. He underperformed relative to his long-term trends off the tee, with his irons, around the green and with his putter. Harbour Town has never been a friendly place for Xander, but he’s found much more success at TPC River Highlands as he’s gained over a stroke per round on the field in his career there. A combination of positive regression and a friendlier golf course should see him bounce back to give him an opportunity to redeem himself for letting the Colonial slip through his fingers.
Others to Consider (with Top 20 Prop Odds)
Gary Woodland – 45/1 (+225): Third time’s a charm, right? This makes three straight appearances for Woodland in this space, and while he lived up to the love at Colonial he was very disappointing at Harbour Town. Woodland doesn’t have a great track record at TPC River Highlands, but he hasn’t played this event since 2016 and has greatly improved into a more well-rounded ball striker since then. Woodland really underachieved tee-to-green last week at Harbour Town, but an expected bounce back to his expected levels should put him back in the mix like he was two weeks ago.
Scottie Scheffler – 75/1 (+300): Scheffler took a week off following the Colonial and should be well prepared to take on TPC River Highlands. At Colonial, Scheffler underperformed tee-to-green and with his putting relative to his long-term trends. That should turn around for a bounce back on a golf course that suits his strengths.
Harold Varner III – 200/1 (+650): Varner is very mispriced this week. Like Woodland he underachieved massively with his ball striking at Harbour Town but should see positive regression on a golf course that better matches his strengths. He also underperformed with his putting, but that too could see positive regression as he has good results on golf courses with bentgrass/poa surfaces. Expect Varner to play closer to what he showed at Colonial than Harbour Town this week.
Other Finishing Position Futures
Rory McIlroy Top 10 – +120: Rory has taken a lot of heat lately, first by completely imploding while in contention at Colonial and getting off to a slow start in Harbour Town. The reality is while the ball-striking performances he showed have been lackluster to what we expect of him, it’s screams for some positive regression this week. McIlroy has found success at TPC River Highlands in the last few years, and a return to the Top 10 should be in order for him.
Sungjae Im Top 10 – +320: What an unexpected dud from Sungjae Im. Known as a great all-around player, Sungjae was anything but at Harbour Town seeing his ball striking and putting metrics crater. He struggled at Harbour Town last year too, so maybe that’s just a course that doesn’t suit his eye. Sungjae played well at TPC River Highlands last year and an expected bounce back with his ball striking and putting should put him in line for a return to the first page of the leaderboard.
Collin Morikawa Top 20 – +185: A disappointing showing at Harbour Town isn’t all that surprising given the heartbreak he endured at Colonial. What is surprising, however, is how dreadful his performance with his irons were. Morikawa had his worst performance in Strokes Gained – Approach since he turned professional last year. That won’t happen to weeks in a row. While I have some concerns about his putting, he should be a safe bet to finish inside the Top 20 this week.
Other Top 20 Props to Consider: Viktor Hovland (+240), Corey Conners (+333), Joel Dahmen (+350), Ryan Moore (+400), Kevin Streelman (+550), Russell Henley (+650)