Charles Schwab Challenge Betting Odds, Picks, and Preview
The PGATOUR season resumes next week as Colonial Country Club hosts the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge. There will be plenty of interesting dynamics at play as the tour resumes play for the first time since the COVID-19 crisis caused The Players Championship to be canceled after the opening round.
Colonial Country Club is a Par 70 that plays 7209 yards long and is middle of the road in both fairway width and par-adjusted distance, playing as one of the ten hardest courses on tour in 2019 relative to par. This should pose some interesting dynamics, especially when combined with one of the strongest fields that the event has ever seen, including Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka, and Dustin Johnson.
Charles Schwab Challenge Betting Market Favorites
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Rory McIlroy headlines the event and is offered at 7.5-1 to win the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge. Both long-term and short-term before the COVID layoff McIlroy was on top of the golfing world so it isn’t surprising to see him as a favorite. Two of the favorites that are offered at longer odds include Brooks Koepka (22-1) and Dustin Johnson (28-1). Both players are ranked Top 5 in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) but had struggled to kick off the 2020 season. The Top 15 players in the field are listed below along with their odds to win.
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One of the biggest challenges this week will be the lack of “current form” or recent performances for any players in the field. With COVID impacting travel, driving range availability, and players having varying levels of access to their coaches or teams it is a bit of a guessing game as to who is in form. While I typically balance both long-term (1-2 years) and short-term (0-3 months) form in assessing players, I think it makes sense to lean more on long-term form than other metrics. Two other elements to consider are course fit and course history.
Charles Schwab Challenge Course Fit
The layout of Colonial Country Club is atypical from many PGATOUR stops and doesn’t place as much of an emphasis on driving distance, taking one weapon out of many players’ hands. The course fit from DataGolf drives this point home, with driving distance mattering very little. Instead, Strokes Gained Around the Green (SG ARG) receives an outsized level of importance compared to the average course.
Per Fantasy National, some of the strongest SG ARG players over their past 100 rounds in the field include Byeong Hun An, Brandt Snedeker, Rory McIlroy, Webb Simpson, Charles Howell III, Patrick Reed and Jason Day.
Charles Schwab Challenge Course History
The other element that is priced heavily into the betting markets is course history. Noted short knocker Kevin Na (+0.95 strokes gained above expectation) has performed better than any golfer in the field at this event relative to his personal skill, while Jordan Spieth (+2.52 strokes gained) has the strongest outright performance in the 28 rounds he’s played.
Some other strong performances from players with at least 20 rounds at the Charles Schwab Challenge include Harris English (+1.58), Kevin Kisner (+1.53), Zach Johnson (+1.53) and Matt Kuchar (+1.48) which again exemplifies it is often shorter players with strong accuracy that can contend consistently.
Charles Schwab Challenge Outright Betting Picks
Is their value betting Rory McIlroy? At 7.5-1, I don’t think so. Rory is the deserved favorite, and strong enough on approach and around the green to win even if he can’t weaponize his driver. Still, there is no price discount offered here for a course the diminishes one of his strongest assets.
Collin Morikawa (45-1): Despite his youth, Morikawa ranks inside the Top 10 in strokes gained tee-to-green including 4th overall in strokes gained approach. Morikawa is DataGolf’s 10th rated player in this field and a nice mid-tier betting selection. The biggest gap in his game right now is his short-game, but on weeks where he runs even close to average with his putter, he will be in contention.
Jason Day (66-1): Jason Day checks a lot of boxes this week as the tour relaunches, as the former OWGR #1 has a strong long-term form but is offered at a discount due to weaker recent performance. Day has +1.3 strokes gained on average at Colonial, ranks inside the Top 10 of the field in strokes gained around the green and putting, and is DataGolf’s 15th ranked player in the field but has the 24th deepest odds. Of course, the large asterisk with Day is always his health, and backing a health risk during a pandemic is ambitious.
Because of this, I prefer to invest in Day only in high risk/reward formats like outrights or in large field GPPs for DFS. Both Byeong Hun An and Brandt Snedeker are tempting clicks from the same course fit perspective and also offered at 66-1, but rate as lower overall golfers. An’s ball-striking is ELITE but he is outside of the Top 100 with his putter, while Snedeker offers middling ball-striking both is one of the Top 10 short-game players in the field, on a course where that matters more than most.
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