GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for the Memorial Tournament

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.

After one of the most famous courses in the PGA Tour rotation, we head to...another of the most famous courses in PGA Tour rotation! Muirfield Village Golf Club a/k/a Jack's Place pulled double duty last year and produce widely different setups but, perhaps unsurprisingly, a classy winner in both instances. We'll get another new look this year as the course underwent a redesign shortly after the 2020 Memorial that actually began while eventual champion Jon Rahm was still on the course.

In addition to lengthening the course by about 150 yards, the fairways were rerouted and the greens were rebuilt. The pin locations for last year's weekend were downright diabolical, and changes to the greens, in particular, make this an altogether different test from years past. Still, this is a Jack Nicklaus design and heavily tree-lined fairways will make the drive off the tee more of a setup shot than a weapon. Distance is always a plus, but this is a second shot golf course through and through. That's the case every week, and what we are looking for in our picks this week is a sense of consistency and long-term quality that is on the brink of paying off.

At the Top

Jordan Spieth (+1600) - It's hard to overlook the two reigning approach kings in Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa at the same number, but Spieth has been possessed the past few months and looks primed to win again soon. Both Thomas and Morikawa are also winners on Tour this season, but Spieth is in the mix every single week with another runner-up finish at the Charles Schwab Challenge. A disappointing Sunday at Colonial won't dissuade us from backing him again this week. He finished 7th and 13th here the last two years, even while fumbling his way around most courses over that period. Whatever he did to right himself, Spieth has the look once again and has gained strokes in all four metrics -- off the tee, approach, around the greens, and putting -- in three of his last four measured events.

Viktor Hovland (+1600) - Hovland is still looking for that big boy win, and this week presents a good opportunity for him to get that monkey off his back. Hovland is second only to Spieth in total strokes gained over the past six months on the entire PGA Tour, according to stats on FantasyNational Golf Club. He is incredibly consistent, with just one PGA Tour missed cut in the past 15 months, and since his win in Mexico in December he has five top-five finishes. He's right on the brink of another victory, and Vegas certainly believes in him with this number.

Xander Schauffele (+2000) - With so much win equity in this field tied up in the top 10 golfers in the market, we're willing to add a third bet shorter than 25/1 and allocate our bankroll accordingly. Backing multiple "favorites" is always a tricky proposition, but the field here is so top-heavy that we have to consider the opportunity cost of shorting the big names. Schauffele is starting to get the reputation that he can't seal the deal, but his consistently strong performance is simply too much to ignore. He ranks second only to Rahm in datagolf's True Strokes Gained model over the 50 round sample, and between this season and last their expected wins model expects that Schuaffele would have won three times. In that span he has not won even once, so for as much as the No. 5 player in the world can be unlucky with his results, Schauffele has been.

Value Spots

Matthew Fitzpatrick (+3100) - Fitzpatrick is still looking for that first PGA Tour win, but now the 18th ranked golfer in the world the time may never be better for him. He won the European Tour finale to end 2020 and missed the cut in his first event following that victory, but since then he's posted seven top 20s and missed just one cut at the AT&T Byron Nelson, a curious choice in his calendar that was quickly forgotten. He was third here last year, firing a final round 68 that was two clear of the next best round and 3.9 strokes better than the field. He's shown top-level approach play at times over the past year, and the short game is always a strength.

Joaquin Niemann (+3400) - Niemann has been a consistent gainer both off the tee and on approach, and like Hovland, he's in need of a big-time win to really step up into the next tier. Still just 22 years old, a win at Muirfield may seem like a tall order but Niemann is primed to make that leap. He was the top-ranked amateur in the world before turning pro in April 2018, and a few months later he was sixth here despite carding the worst final round of any golfer in the top 40. With no PGA missed cuts in the past nine months and five top 10s, Niemann is getting by just fine despite not having his best stuff most weeks. When he puts it together, he'll get that second win.

Long Shot

Russell Henley (+6000) - Henley led the Tour in strokes gained: approach for much of the first half of the season, and despite some recent struggles the long-term form was unrewarded and he's due for a market correction. Once upon a time, he was an absolute killer on the greens, and while that magic has seemingly left his game we have seen good putters regain their mojo. Henley's last five events show how close he is to putting it together -- his approach numbers over that span are +3.2, -0.6, -0.4, +8.8, and +2.7, while his putting strokes are +1.0, -3.7, -1.7, -2.7, and +8.2. If he can put it together he'll be a threat, as he was when finishing T7 at the Workday Charity Open last year.