PGA Championship picks, best odds, sleepers to win 2021 tournament
It’s major week, and the highly anticipated PGA Championship is finally here! This week we look to the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island where the track measures 7,876 yards for a par 72. That means it will be the longest course in major championship history, like in 2012. Speaking of 2012, that’s it. the last time we were back here when Rory McIlroy destroyed the competition. Due to this display from Rory and his recent victory at the Wells Fargo Championship, he enters this event as a betting favorite at +1100. Defending champion Collin Morikawa’s betting odds are +2800.
Looking at the course, the turf that is going to be used is called paspalum, which is popular on European slopes. Kiawah Island’s ocean course lives up to its name with, you guessed it, plenty of water. Even though it’s located in South Carolina, the Ocean Course plays similarly to a European-style links course. As for the weather, there should be some gusts this week so that will be something to watch out for. All these elements together should bode well for European golfers accustomed to playing on these courses and in these conditions. Either way, buckle up, as the water and wind are expected to create a lot of drama on Sunday.
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With all of that in mind, this week I’m targeting guys with good ‘shots won: off the tee’, ‘driving distance’, ‘shots won: approach’ and ‘shots won: around the green’ metric. .
Betting on golf always seems to come down to the thread, which is why I got hooked. As for my betting picks this week, you won’t find anything too revolutionary here. In addition to digging into the data at RickRunGood.com Database and a few other role models, I’m trying to look for guys who’ve had success on the particular course before, valuable games, and players who are moving in the right direction when entering an event.
Overall the field is absolutely stacked so it will be fun to watch, especially on Sunday night. Let’s seek and find winners!
PGA Championship pick, 2021 predictions
* Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Best bets to win outright
Dustin Johnson +1 800
I know DJ retired from AT&T Byron Nelson last Monday and hasn’t been keen recently, but I can’t resist betting him at these odds, especially in his home country. This situation kind of reminds me that everyone was off Rory McIlroy before he took down Wells Fargo.
The # 1 golfer ranks first in “Won Strokes: Total” in his last 50 rounds on the Dye courses. It also ranks ninth in “Driving Distance” and in the top 30 on several other key metrics. If there’s one golfer in the world who can flip the switch and dominate, it’s Johnson.
He’s always been in contention at PGA Championship events and plays well in Dye’s courts so I couldn’t fire him.
Viktor Hovland +1800
I’m not going to slip away here with Hovland because I’m sure he’ll be on a lot of people’s cards this week. Rightly so, because he plays terrific golf, finishing third in each of his last two events. He also won two Tour victories (Puerto Rico Open and Mayakoba Classic) over paspalum.
Metrically, Hovland comes out of the leaderboards, placing fourth in both “Won Strokes: Total” and “Won Strokes: Off-the-Tee,” sixth in “Won Strokes: Tee-to-Green” and 23rd in “SG: Approach” this season.
Take the tour because I was still seeing +2000s there.
Best sleeper / long-shot choices
In this section, I’m looking for guys who are 25-1 or higher. If either of them is in the running next Sunday, I’ll bet and cover myself for some pizza money to make sure I win.
Collin Morikawa +2800
I know it will be difficult for Morikawa to win this event in consecutive years, but I can’t resist. He fits like his putter, but his irons and approach game will keep him in contention here. At least that’s how I see it.
Sharing the PGA 101 (excellent follow on Twitter) used real “Strokes Gained” data from Data Golf, adjusted for field strength, and saw that Morikawa is the best ball scorer in the PGA Championship for the past 20 rounds.
He is also first in “Won Strokes: Approach-the-Green”, second in “Won Strokes: Tee-to-Green” and 22nd in “Won Strokes: Total”. At those odds, I had to pay him money.
Daniel Berger +2800
Most people don’t realize how good Berger has been recently and over the past year. He has finished in the top 20 in four of his last five starts and is fifth in “Won Strokes: Total” in his last 24 rounds. He also comes into this event after a third place finish at Byron Nelson, so you know he’s in great shape.
I’m afraid this class is a little too long for him, but it’s too good to ignore.
Tyrrell Hatton +5000
I’ve been back and forth here with my English compatriot Paul Casey, but I moved to Hatton for several reasons. Of his 10 professional victories, six have taken part in the European Tour on links-type courses. His only victory in 2021 was at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship which featured paspalum. He has also shown he can play with the big boys and has three other Top 25 finishes in 2021, including an 18th place finish at the Masters.
Hatton is ninth in “Won Strokes: Approach-the-Green” and 20th in “Won Strokes: Off-the-Tee”. Finally, the RickRunGood Tournament Predictor Also love it at these odds and rated it as the # 1 value game of the event.
Tommy Fleetwood +6600
Other than being ranked seventh in “Won Strokes: Around the Green,” his measures don’t break the charts. Of course, that’s why we’ll bring it down to 66-1. His form in 2021 has also been inconsistent, but he finished 10th at Arnold Palmer and 14th at Wells Fargo, so it’s in him to be in contention.
The main reason I am sprinkling Fleetwood this week is its success on coastal and links type courses. In 2020 he finished second at the Scottish Open and in 2019 he finished second at the Open Championship. In 2018, he finished second in the Open Championship and the US Open.
He’s used to this type of course and conditions so if the wind takes its toll this weekend he might be able to make the jump.