Webb Simpson averaged 1.65 strokes gained putting per round as a scorching putter carried him past the elite iron play of Abraham Ancer (+2.96 SG Approach). Readers of last week’s column were able to cash Simpson at 29-1 for a healthy payday, and providing the benefit of having a short memory and forgiving Simpson for his missed cut the week before at the Charles Schwab Challenge. This week features another similarly strong field with even more top-end talent. Patrick Cantlay, Paul Casey, and Marc Leishman are among the new players in the field this week as the tour travels to Hartford for the Travelers Championship.
The Travelers Championship is played at TPC River Highlands, a Par 70 that plays just under 6850 yards and is one of the shortest courses on tour in par adjusted distance, while also featuring the 15th narrowest fairways. These fairways, along with water features, place a demand on driving accuracy as the course places a heavier emphasis on that characteristic than most courses on tour.
Still, despite the fact that it is one of the shortest courses on tour, it doesn’t penalize driving distance as much as it rewards accuracy. Bubba Watson has won the event three times in the past decade, while other recent champions include Jordan Spieth, Kevin Streelman, Russell Knox, Marc Leishman and Chez Reavie. Accurate bombers should be able to take advantage of the scoring, but the medium-length players who have strong approach game are still live to contend, as Paul Casey notably has went 5-2-5-17-2 in his last five starts at this venue.
Travelers Championship Betting Odds
At Fanduel Sportsbook Rory Mcilroy, Justin Thomas and Bryson Dechambeau serve as the co-favorites for the event with Rory getting a slight nod. Long-term, McIlroy is the best golfer in the world, but shorter term he’s been struggling on approach, averaging only 0.25 strokes gained on approach through the two restart events. Dechambeau meanwhile has lapped Rory off the tee (1.4 to 0.7) and on approach (1.3 to 0.25) making it a classic decision of short vs long-term form.
Speaking of which, the books wasted no time boosting the odds of several players that showed a return to form last week. Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia all saw their odds slashed from last week, while Webb Simpson saw his price nearly cut in half coming off of the victory.
If the value doesn’t lay at the top of the card, where does it lie?
All odds shown below are opening odds, be sure to check the current odds before placing your wagers.
Travelers Championship Betting Picks
Jon Rahm has averaged 1.3 strokes gained per round since the relaunch but his form looks bad off of a poor (rusty?) -2.1 SGP performance in his first event back. The OWGR #2 has won three events in every season on tour and opened up at a great value of 20-1 to win. That number has been bet down at Fanduel Sportsbook but we still see value in backing Rahm at the current 18-1 number and our odds think that it should be Rahm who is priced up top similar to JT, Rory, and Bryson.
Instead of begrudgingly touting Ryan Moore for the 2nd straight week (though I still think his 130-1 price is too deep) I’ll turn to Scottie Scheffler (we would back 55-1 or deeper) and Sungjae Im (35-1) as mid-tier selections. The work by DataGolf shows Scheffler has been trending towards a Top 15 professional based on his true strokes gained metrics, and its possible that books aren’t pricing in his win at a pretty talented Dallas Charity Event to his recent form.
I also have no problem going back to Sungjae Im despite a missed cut last week. Like Simpson the week before, Im’s missed cut wasn’t as bad as it seemed – Im floundered in his opening round but gained 1.43 strokes T2G on Friday – with a negative 4.3 stroke putting loss being the driver. Putting can be volatile week to week, but long-term we know that Im usually gained 0.40 strokes per round with the flat stick, so positive regression should be incoming.
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