GOLF

PGA Betting Guide for the Travelers Championship

We size up the field for the Travelers Championship with an eye toward the mid range as we try to find the next breakout performer to pick up a win at TPC River Highlands.

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 Travelers Championship based on current form, course fit, and -- of course -- the value of their odds over at FanDuel Sportsbook.

The week after a major championship typically sees a weaker field tee it up, but we have plenty of options to choose from this week. We have a few super-elites in the field that open up value further down the market. We'll focus in the mid-range value options this week with some sprinkles on super long shots that are at numbers too good to pass up for a small bet.

TPC River Highlands is a par 70 that features short par 4s and loads of scoring opportunities. The winning score has cracked 17-under par for each of the past three years, and we'll be focusing on scoring upside with our picks. Birdies are the name of the game, and specifically birdie or better percentage and birdies on par 4s from the PGA Tour's official statistics.

For more info on the TPC River Highlands along with this week's key stats and comparable courses, check out the course primer.

At the Top

Scottie Scheffler (+2300) - The history of the Travelers Championship winners is sort of complicated. Two surefire Hall of Famers in Dustin Johnson (+1300) and Jordan Spieth won in 2020 and 2017 respectively, and two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson (+3700) has won three times since 2010. So we are talking about big-time elite talents, as well as quality golfers who rarely win in 2014 winner Kevin Streelman (+3200), 2016 winner Russell Knox (+17000), and 2019 winner Chez Reavie (+14000).

All of the top-shelf names warrant consideration, but on the heels of the U.S. Open, we are going to full fade the very top of the board and start with the longest odds under 25/1 in Scheffler. He is among the best young players in the world without a win to his name, and he was in the mix at Torrey Pines before fading on Sunday, He'll be thrilled to see friendlier scoring conditions here in Connecticut, as he ranks second in par 4 birdie or better percentage and sixth overall in birdie or better percentage so far this season.

Value Spots

Abraham Ancer (+2800) - Ancer is another breakout candidate who has yet to find paydirt on the PGA Tour. He has really taken to TPC River Highlands the past two years, finishing 11th and 8th and gaining in all four strokes gained categories in both editions. He ranks 30th in birdie or better percentage this season, but he's 7th just on the par 4s. Before a missed cut at the U.S. Open, he had piled up five straight top-20 finishes and was worse than 26th just twice since the Masters. His scoring bona fides were on display while posting a scorching 66 and nearly picking Rory McIlroy's pocket at the Wells Fargo Championship. In a different week that may well have been enough for his first Tour win, but that near-miss would make a win this week all the more special.

Joaquin Niemann (+3900) - Niemann was 5th here on debut in 2019 and played fine tee to green but putted miserably en route to a 63rd last year. He is 17th in birdie or better percentage and 28th on par 4s for the season, and he should find more opportunities this week than last when posting a T31 finish at the U.S. Open. According to stats from Fantasy National Golf Club, he gained 3.2 strokes off the tee and 3.9 on approaches but gave some back around and on the greens. He is far more confident putting on bentgrass than poa annua or bermuda, and the ballstriking has been rock solid week in and week out.

Charley Hoffman (+4400) - Hoffman has been playing lights out this year, and without a win since 2016, he certainly fits the bill for a long overdue victory. He posted top-20 finishes in seven of eight events prior to consecutive 57th-place finishes at the Memorial and U.S. Open, two loaded events that featured far stronger fields than this week. He lost 2.8 strokes on approach last week, the worst week with his irons in almost a year. We can expect a bounce-back this week and a return to his highly efficient ways, and a wager on a Top-20 Finish (+220) looks like a good way to get exposure to Hoffman.

Long Shots

Sam Burns (+7000) - Burns leads the way on Tour this season in birdies or better overall and on par 4s, and we are just three events removed from him finishing second at the AT&T Byron Nelson a week after winning the Valspar Championship. A second PGA Tour win so close to his first is a tall order, but Burns has proven he can get out to a fast start and maintain pace. So we'll back him not just for the outright but also as the First Round Leader (+5500).

While we typically focus our card, some names way down the board look like enough value to warrant a sprinkle, including course horse Brendan Steele (+17000), birdie machine Doug Ghim (+25000), and moonshot Sung Kang (+46000).