This article is part of our Betting on Golf series.
Travelers Championship Betting Preview
Across the country we go again as the Tour heads to the lone yearly regular-season stop in the northeast for this week's Travelers Championship in Cromwell, CT.
While we are just one week removed from a major, there is still a strong field on hand, one that includes half of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking as well as three-time Travlers Championship winner Bubba Watson. Last year, Dustin Johnson, at 28-1 odds, used a third-round 61 to secure a one-shot victory over Kevin Streelman.
TPC River Highlands isn't immune to low scores, as Jim Furyk's PGA Tour record 58 came at this course in the final round of the 2016 edition. Despite being one of only three courses on this season's schedule that will play less than 6,900 yards, players will still need to use their drivers on about half the track. Water comes into play down the stretch, which could lead to a lot of excitement and all kinds of scores. The 15th hole is a risk/reward driveable par-4, and players are then faced with water surrounding the front of the par-3 16th. Following that is the par-4 17th that has water in play off the tee and on approach.
We've seen players of all kinds of styles succeed here, but driving accuracy is typically a key stat, with approach play being mitigated a bit with wedges frequently in hand. In addition to that, I'll be leaning on players I feel are undervalued and/or are in good form.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 5:00 PM Tuesday.
Navigating the Highlands
The following five golfers, with a minimum of three appearances, have the lowest scoring average at TPC River Highlands since 2016:
Although he's still searching for his first win at this event, Casey has been a model of consistency at the Travelers Championship with a pair of runner-up finishes and a lowest finish of T32 in six appearances since 2015. He comes in on the heels of a T7 finish at last week's U.S. Open – his second consecutive top-10 result. He's deservedly getting the respect of the oddsmakers, who have made him the fourth choice on the board at 18-1. Another former runner-up in the field is Hoffman, who is on an impressive streak of 12 made cuts in a row that has featured four top-10s. High finishes in this event have been frequent for Hoffman, who has recorded seven top-30 results here in his career.
Drive for Show
These golfers gained the most strokes off the tee, on a per-round basis, over their last 20 rounds:
- Bryson DeChambeau: 0.93
- Abraham Ancer: 0.87
- Scottie Scheffler: 0.81
- Patrick Cantlay: 0.75
- Jason Day: 0.72
DeChambeau checks in as the only player in both groups, and it's no surprise him to see him top a list that involves driving considering he leads the Tour in both Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and driving distance. With three straight top-10s at this event, DeChambeau is the oddsmakers' favorite at 12-1, but he'll have to shake off an 8-over back nine to close last week's U.S. Open. Meanwhile, Cantlay has excelled off the tee recently with his combination of length and accuracy and haas recorded three straight top-25 results, including a win at the Memorial. He should enjoy a return trip to TPC River Highlands, where he's finished top-15 three years running.
Patrick Reed (22-1)
If you're looking for a pivot off the top options in hopes of a slightly bigger payout, Reed is a good target, as he's been near the top of the leaderboard regularly since his win at the Farmers Insurance Open in January. Reed has a favorable track record at the Travelers Championship with five top-30 results, including a best finish of T5.
Bubba Watson (45-1)
There's no need to overthink this one, as Watson has won this tournament three times yet is tied for only the 15th-best odds on the board. Although he struggled over the weekend at the U.S. Open, he was only two shots behind after two rounds. With a pair of top-20s over his last five events I am confident in the value here. Watson is still an elite driver of the golf ball but has been held back by his putter this season.
Emiliano Grillo (70-1)
In a year in which we've seen several golfers break a winless drought, Grillo could be the next to join the list. He picked up his only win in 2015 but knocked on the door a couple months ago with a runner-up at the RBC Heritage and has notched a pair of top-15s since. As an accurate driver and in a week that will be key, he's a quality dark horse.
Marc Leishman (6-1)
If you're looking for someone who is familiar with the course, look no further than the 2012 winner of the event. The Aussie has played here 10 times and has recorded a top-30 result over half of the time. I'm inclined to play it safe with Leishman and only go with a top-10 or top-20 bet, as an outright win seems unlikely with him finishing no better than 57th the last three times he took the course.
Kyle Stanley (15-2)
Stanley is an easy guy to overlook considering he hasn't been in contention late in quite some time, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been playing some quality golf. He led the field in SG: Tee-to-Green at Colonial three weeks ago and he's finished at least 10-under-par in two of his last three trips to Connecticut.
C.T. Pan (12-1)
This is a generous price for Pan, who has had success on shorter courses with a T3 at this year's Honda Classic and his lone win coming at Harbour Town. His form is in reasonable shape with four made cuts in a row, and he's recorded a top-10 here before, posting a T8 in 2017.
Don't overlook Ancer after his missed cut at the U.S. Open, as Torrey Pines is simply a course that doesn't suit his strengths. TPC River Highlands is a different story – he finished no worse than T11 over the last two years – and he tallied four consecutive top-15 results prior to last week. Niemann has been trending downwards with no top-25 results over his last four starts.
Can you go wrong fading Koepka at a regular Tour stop? Finau is coming off a disappointing week, but he has recorded three top-25 results at TPC River Highlands. He's not a primary betting/DFS target for me this week, but he's still an elite ball striker and a nice underdog play in this matchup.
It's crazy to think Scott's best finish since winning at Riviera in February of 2020 is a share of 10th in January. Meanwhile, Fowler is starting to show glimpses of his old self with back-to-back top-12 finishes. He is more accurate off the tee than Scott, and that should come in handy.